It launches him into the air, with much less vertical distance than a fully charged Wario Waft. In Brawl, it can deal up to 19% damage if all hits connect. While this attack can be used as a third jump, it gives relatively little distance vertically and horizontally. Adding on, it has only a few frames in which the player can angle it (with a maximum angle of about 45 degrees). It is a poor move to attack with, as it is easy to Smash DI out of and be punished for using. It is similar in knockback and movement to Samus's Screw Attack and Charizard's Fly. It is considered an inferior recovery to both Wario Bike and/or a charged Wario Waft, and is rarely used before the aforementioned moves.
When Wario becomes Wario-Man, this move's effect is changed. Instead of it being a multiple-hit attack, it becomes a two hit electrical attack (one hit at initiation and another at the end of the attack). The move becomes much stronger with a higher amount of damage given, and a much larger knockback.
In Super Smash Bros. 4, Corkscrew received a few changes. Visually, Wario now clenches his fists throughout his spin and thrusts his palms out at the end, rather than having his palms open throughout like in Brawl. As a recovery move, this technique now goes higher and can sweetspot the ledge. As an attack, the move now does only 13% damage rather than 19% like before; however, it now has far more knockback as compensation.
The Corkscrew move first appeared in Smash Bros. While it shares part of the English name of Wario's Corkscrew Conk ability in Wario World, the two moves are entirely unrelated, having entirely different animations and functions. Moreover the Japanese name for the Corkscrew Conk, "Dash Jump"(ダッシュジャンプ) shares no naming similarities with the corkscrew in Super Smash Bros.
Due to the loose resemblance Corkscrew has to the Mario Bros.' tornado moves, it may be a nod to the fact Wario started his existence as a Mario doppelgänger. The Spin Jump is a common ability in the Mario series.
The move may be based on a sequence when rising between areas from Wario World. It's notable that this sequence is played while "recovering" from a pit.
Special Move customization was added in Super Smash Bros. 4. These are the variations: