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The Best and Worst Pro Wrestling Finishers

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Who remembers the sack in the first quarter of a football game, where the quarterback was dragged to the ground? Who remembers the first at bat, where the batter hit a single? Okay, who can remember when Jordan dunked from the free throw line? Do you remember when Tracy Porter intercepted Peyton Manning for a 75 yard Touchdown to win the Super Bowl for the New Orleans Saints?

People remember the great finishes, the climactic spots, and the moments that demand to be remembered in history.  Wrestling is no different on this account. Though, it is hard for a moment to be remembered if it isn’t believable. We understand wrestling is staged, but let us believe it’s really happening. Make us wonder, “How is he still alive”? When we witness a lame finishing move, is it an insult to our intelligence, or is it a strike up to “bad judgment” by the superstar for thinking we would find the finisher cool? Let’s take a quick look at some pretty weak finishers before we see how the can of smackdown should really be opened.

“The Worm”- Scotty 2 Hotty performed this over-the-top finisher in late 1999 for the first time while being a part of the tag team “Too Cool”. Okay, so he hits a rebounding bulldog which can cause some damage to the head, but then follows up with a butterfly hop around the ring, that transcends into the worm, that, once again, transcends into the falling chop to the throat….The guy just took up 20 seconds to prepare his finisher only to do a falling chop?

So give him an A+ for theatrics. Effectiveness,  F. Even more so, do you really expect us to believe that would happen in a match? If the opponent could lay there for the entire time he’s doing “the worm”, why didn’t Scotty just pin them?

“The Cobra Strike”- Santino Marella, instead of showing up as a Russian “Ground n’ Pound” shoot-fighter, shows up as….well, I’m not sure how to describe Santino. He was used as comic relief; therefore, started using a comedic finisher. The theatrics, they were okay. The move itself, I could understand how it could hurt. Just over the top silly though. Would have been cool to see him use the other persona and how his move-set would have differed.

“The People’s Elbow”- How dare I, I know right? Luckily we’re talking about the moves themselves, not the superstar, or megastar in this case, that performs them. Some theatrics, an elbow pad toss to the crowd, bounce of the ropes aaaaaaand… Rocky has a seizure. Oh wait, he meant to look like that? Luckily, Rocky rarely finished his opponents with the move. I doubt he finished anyone with the move. Then again, there was always poor Kung Funaki on the roster. Even still when he did finish the match with this move it overshadowed how good the match was in general. Two instances I can remember off the top of my head. 1. against Bad Ass Billy Gun at Summerslam 1999 which could’ve been greater if pro-longed and the second against CM Punk at Royal Rumble 2013 which c’mon you have Rock and Punk together? That’s something the fans salivate over.

If we analyze the common denominator between the weak finishing moves we will see that they all share two traits. None are believable as being effective and they all focus on theatrics. These types of moves have their place, but as a finisher? Come on guys. Hogan was dropping 300 lbs of Hulkamaniac Thigh on someone else’s face and all you can do is chop them? Speaking of Hulkamaniac, let’s take a look at some various  realistic finishers that the industry has seen.

“Hogan Leg Drop” – I may be persecuted for putting this move on the good side of the fence but let’s look at it. We have to include the three punches to the head, followed by a massive boot to the head, topped off with a running leg drop, once again, to the head. That’s all being done by a 6’8” 300+ lb, behemoth of a man. Believable as being effective? Yes. Not to mention, the Hulkster was smart enough to use moves before the finishing Leg Drop to build the move up. He would hulk-up, then throw the punches, then bring the boot, and I can assure you that nobody in attendance, at this point, was seated. They knew the climactic finish was bouncing off the ropes and about to come crashing down.

“Tombstone Piledriver” – The move has been used by wrestlers all around the world from New Japan to Ring of Honor. Whether it is a finishing maneuver or just part of the wrestler’s regular move-set, the move is a devastating one. Most wrestling fans associate two wrestling superstars in particular to the move, The Undertaker and Kane. As if being chokeslammed wasn’t enough to fear, the two monsters had to add being held upside down and dropped on your head to the list of ways they could capture your soul, at least for a three count.

“Jackknife Powerbomb” –  A finisher that was so cool, it was only natural that Big Daddy Cool himself would punish his foes with it. Being hoisted 7 foot in the air, then dropped on the back of your neck was a bad way for you to go down. Just ask Paul Wight. This finisher would help Diesel to hold on to the WWE title longer than any other superstar during the New Generation era and nobody questioned his dominance. I personally believe that, when in WCW, he did the move a little better because of the trajectory in which he dropped his opponents. Maybe it was because he was Big Daddy Sexy at this point.

“Go To Sleep” – CM Punk may not be the innovator of the move, but it certainly didn’t stop him from using it to earn the moniker of “Best in the World”. An outright devastating move that looks so believable. Lift the opponent in a fireman carry, then launch the opponent in front of you for a face first landing on the mat. Only, instead of the mat, their face says hello to your knee. With that type of finisher in his deck, it’s easy to believe he held the WWE title for 434 days.

Of course there are many more moves out there that look debilitating, but this list has the credentials behind it. The moves aren’t done by every other superstar, nor can they be done by every other superstar. They aren’t elevated slams or submissions that nobody can figure out how they hurt. The moves listed make people cringe when witnessed. We couldnt lost them all. What moves fill you with anticipation for the end of the match? Let us know.

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Aaron Portier
Highly passionate MMA Journalist, and I've followed the sport ever since my favorite fighter, Vitor Belfort won the heavyweight tournament at UFC 12. After that I've tried to go to every local MMA event around the Gulf Coast and surrounding areas and decided to make it a point to have a career in some aspect in the fighting sport other than fighting in general (didn't want to ruin my face). I'm currently enrolled at Southeastern Louisiana University working towards a degree in Communication. I cover MMA, Boxing and Football for The Daily Star newspaper in my hometown of Hammond, Louisiana, in addition to working as a promotional writer for a local Boxing promotion known as BoxnCar and I cover boxing for 8countnews.com however SciFighting.com is my home. My main goal is to bring more publicity to MMA in my area and to the sport as a whole as all of us involved with the sport are merely scratching the surface and laying the foundation of what mixed martial arts competition will be further down the road.