I thought itâ<80><99>d be fun to take a look at a very integral (but not often discussed) aspect of pro wrestling: the finishing hold. If developed and promoted correctly, a finishing maneuver is one of the most important aspects of a wrestlerâ<80><99>s career. When the perfect union of wrestler and finisher comes along, it can escalate a sports entertainer to the promised land. I strongly believe that the success of a finisher can be attributed to a variety of different aspects: how identifiable it is to the wrestler, the moveâ<80><99>s success rate and effectiveness in putting away an opponent, how well it works with the character, believability, and so much more. Clearly this is open to wild interpretation and I sincerely hope that this sparks a huge debate â<80>” this list is highly subjectiveâ<80>¦without further adieu, here is my list of the ten greatest finishers of all-time.
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10) Ric Flair – Figure Four Leg Lock
Over the course of Flairâ<80><99>s storied 35 year career, there has been one major constant â<80>” the figure four. How many epic, 45 minute classics ended with a submission smack in the middle of the ring? I know there are two dissenting camps on this matter, but if thereâ<80><99>s any justice in the world, Flair will retire with Shawn Michaels tapping to the Figure Four on the biggest stage of them all, Wrestlemania. The only reason this isnâ<80><99>t higher on the list, is the moveâ<80><99>s relative ineffectiveness throughout the past few years of Ricâ<80><99>s career. One too many reversals, breaks, etc. have rendered the move less of a sure thing than it once was â<80>” but when you think of Flair, you think of the Figure Four.
9) Power & Glory â<80>” The PowerPlex
Power & Glory was one of the very first of many tag teams to be formed from fledgling solo performers, in this case Hercules and Paul Roma. Some such teams have been highly success (ie the New Age Outlaws) and others have not been quite as lucky (for example, Rhythm & Blues). Unfortunately for them, Power & Glory fits the profile of the latter. The one thing they did have going for them was their finisher, the PowerPlex. In one fell swoop, Hercules would execute his top rope superplex, as Roma simultaneously leapt from the other turnbuckle for a top rope splash. The timing was impeccable and the visual was impressive. Even to this day, Iâ<80><99>m not certain that any tag team has come up with a unison finisher that was as innovative as the PowerPlex.
8) The Undertaker â<80>” Tombstone Piledriver
When I think of The Undertaker, one of the very first thing that comes to mind is his laying in the North-South position, pinning his fallen opponent…their arms crossed and his eyes rolled back. And what is that as a result of? The Tombstone Piledriver. The Tombstone was well named and well conceived from the very beginning â<80>” not to mention, the move has always been positioned as a 100% game ender. Through 15 consecutive WM wins, victims have ranged from Jimmy Snuka to Batista. The reason that this doesnâ<80><99>t find its way higher on the list is the fact that the Last Ride, chokeslam, and now the gogoplata submission have crept their way into the mix now and then. Even still, the Tombstone has always remained and come back strong.
7) DDP / Randy Orton â<80>” Diamond Cutter / RKO
I think what makes this move so cool is that it can be pulled off anytime, anywhere, at any juncture in the match â<80>” when winning, when losing, pre-meditated, or out of the blue. It blends lightning fast quickness, the element of surprise, and yet is still a power hold. In turn, it has lead to some of the most exciting, unpredictable finishes in all of wrestling. Additionally, the move somehow fit the slyness of both DDP and Ortonâ<80><99>s characters.
6) Mankind â<80>” The Mandible Claw (Pre-Socko)
This is likely the move on the list that yielded the most visceral, intense impression on me the first time I saw it. First of all, the move was brand new, unique, and PERFECT for the character. Top that off with the fact that it was shown as paralyzing the opponentâ<80>¦even resulting in them foaming at the mouth. The overall effect was creepy, bizarre, and utterly awesome. Letâ<80><99>s not even talk about the retarded Socko versionâ<80>¦Iâ<80><99>m talking mask, leather finger gloves, etc.
5) Stone Cold Steve Austin â<80>” Stone Cold Stunner
Completely speaks for itself. Who hasnâ<80><99>t been the recipient of this move? The Rock, Chyna, Triple H, HBK, Bret Hart, Savio Vega, Vince McMahon, hell even Linda McMahon. And often, it came one after the other after the other. When I think of the Stunner, I just think of piles of carnage and wreckage . Not to mention, several of the best moments in the history of the WWE.
4) Petey Williams – The Canadian Destroyer
Wow! This is the one entry on the list that makes it solely due to the move itself. TNA can thank Petey Williams, because having this move in their commercials made a fan out of me. I mentioned this list to a few buddies and each and every one of them cited this one as deserving. The visual is just devastating. I mark out for this every single time.
3) Shawn Michaels â<80>” Sweet Chin Music
Another classic. Another move that can be pulled out of anywhere. Another move that has put down the best the industry has to offer. So letâ<80><99>s talk about the one thing that spikes HBKâ<80><99>s superkick to the top of this list â<80>” Brutus Beefcakeâ<80><99>s Barber Shop window. Shawn kicking Marty through the Barber Shop window was one of the two single greatest heel turns of all time (the other best heel turn just so happens to be by #1 on this list). To me it is one of the most memorable and greatest moments in wrestling history.
2) Bob Backlund â<80>” Crossface Chicken Wing
My personal favorite move and one of my personal favorite characters of all-time. Talk about the perfect blend of finisher and character. When a possessed Backlund would stalk his prey from behind and lock this on, it was just brilliant. The fact that heâ<80><99>d look at his own hands in awe after the submission, like he was thinking â<80><9c>what did I just do? Look at the power of my hands,â<80> was classic and priceless every time. One of the greatest matches in WWE history was Survivor Seriesâ<80><99> Bret Hart vs Bob Backlund submission match for the title. Cemented both Backlund and Owenâ<80><99>s status as some of the very top heels of their generation. And if you donâ<80><99>t think this hold would be effective, read Bret Hartâ<80><99>s autobiography.
THE BEST FINISHER OF ALL-TIME…
1) Hulk Hogan â<80>” Leg Drop
What can I say? The simplest, crappiest move on this entire list is in fact the greatest finisher of all-time. Hulk Hogan and his leg drop single-handedly made the business what it is today. It is completely identifiable with the Hulkster and put down every last opponent that the industry has to offer. The honest truth is, I couldnâ<80><99>t imagine it any other way â<80>” could you envision Hulk ending a match with a powerbomb or boston crab or 450 splash? When you think wrestling, you think Hulk Hogan â<80>” and when you think Hogan, you think leg drop. The greatest icon in all of sports yields the greatest finisher. I can just imagne your reactions nowâ<80>¦FLAME AWAY!
Honorable Mentions: The Beserkerâ<80><99>s throw over the top rope, The Great Mutaâ<80><99>s red mist of death/moonsault combo, F-5, Swanton, Pedigree, Buff Blockbuster, Randy Savageâ<80><99>s top rope elbow, Tazzmission, Kidmanâ<80><99>s shooting star press
And really quickly off the top of my head, some suggestions for the WORST finishers of all-time:
– Great Khaliâ<80><99>s big chop â<80>” look at the guyâ<80>¦this was the best they could do for his debut?
– Doink the Clownâ<80><99>s stump puller â<80>” There is no conceivable way that this move would hurt whatsoever
– Papa Shangoâ<80><99>s shoulder breaker â<80>” Is a technical shoulder breaker really a good fit for a scary voodoo doctor?
– Test/Boggeyman/Road Dogg/etcâ<80><99>s pump handle slam â<80>” The move breaks all flow of the matchâ<80>¦just takes too long to pull off and always looks way too weak
– Marty Jannettyâ<80><99>s rocker dropper â<80>” this is for the express reason that it crippled a jobber. I debated for a long time whether or not that should put it on the best or worst list. Truly, it probably just puts Jannetty on the sloppiest wrestler list.
– Deuce and Dominoâ<80><99>s running kick â<80>” individual finishers for tag teams are always lame, let alone pathetic kicks from guys who are under 6â<80><99>10â<80>
– The Texas Tornadoâ<80><99>s discuss punch â<80>” I get it, it was like a tornadoâ<80>¦gimme a break.
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