The Story of the Swanton Bomb


If you watch Super Smash Bros. Melee tournaments for long enough, you start to become familiar with the common stock phrases and exclamations used by popular commentators. One of my personal favorites is the Swanton Bomb, a nickname commonly used by Bobby “Scar” Scarnewman (and others) to describe a Fox combo that ends with an offstage falling up-air. A perfect example of this technique can be seen at about 10:25 in the video below:

Though the Swanton Bomb has become a well-known finishing move among Smash players, many are unaware of the origins of the phrase. The original “Swanton Bomb” was a finishing move invented by legendary Japenese pro wrestler The Great Sasuke. To satisfy the crowd’s thirst for blood, Sasuke would execute a diving flip onto his opponents in a move that he called the “Senton Atomico.” The move came to America when wrestler Jeff Hardy modified it and gave it its current name.

Over the years, the Swanton Bomb became one of Jeff Hardy’s most popular finishers. It’s difficult to do justice to his take on the move, so I’ll leave that to the eloquent top description of it on UrbanDictionary:

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A look at footage of Hardy executing the move shows a marked similarity between the way he looks coming off the top turnbuckle and the way Fox flips during a falling up-air—the comparison is an apt one.

It’s difficult to trace the origins of the phrase’s usage within the Smash scene. Its earliest mention on Smash Reddit was in 2014. Though I can’t find anything to confirm this, my earliest recollection of the term is of Scar using it at MLG Anaheim 2014, and it’s possible that he was the commentator who first used it in the context of Smash. If you have a better idea of how Melee’s use of the term began, please comment here to let me know!

Regardless of its origin, the Swanton Bomb is here to stay. Next time you see a Fox player hit his or her opponent with an offstage falling up-air, take a moment to acknowledge Jeff Hardy and The Great Sasuke’s contributions to Super Smash Bros. Melee.