The excitement and anticipation of a finishing move in professional wrestling is second to none in terms of putting you at the edge of your seat. Throughout the history of wrestling, we have seen some moves recreated or modified. Some moves have stayed true to original form. Others have been something totally new. One thing remains though, the excitement for the fan when they know the end is near is awesome.
For me personally, striking finishers were always my favorite because those can always be sold the best. I like the idea of just clobbering someone with a boot, elbow or iron fist. Here are my 10 favorite finishers in wrestling history.
10. Angle Lock
Performed by: Kurt Angle
Normally, I am not a big submission guy, but something about the Angle lock was always great to me. Kurt Angle sold it so well. I love how he always had a new way of executing it. First, it was Ken Shamrock style where he was on one knee holding the ankle. Then, he began standing. Eventually, he started falling on the leg and wrapping it up so opponents could no longer crawl to the rope. The constant screaming while holding the ankle usually helped sell it.
Performed by: Roman Reigns
The spear became a huge move when Goldberg bursted on to the scene. Since then, we have seen him, Edge, Batista, Rhyno, Big Show and many others use it along the way. However after looking at all of them, I like Reigns variation of the move the best. Aside from the set up, Edge’s spear was shit. Rhyno’s mainly looked great because he didn’t wrap up which allowed people to flip all over the place. Goldberg just fucked it up more than he nailed it. Hate Reigns all you want, but I love that he leaves his feet and throws himself at the opponent.
8. Clothesline From Hell
Performed By: JBL
Underrated! I know it is a clothesline…a basic move used by just about everyone. But, JBL damn near took his opponents head off when he threw his arm into someone. I could watch this move for days.
7. Bull Hammer
Performed By: Wade Barrett
This move probably won’t make most people’s list, but fuck it. This my list damn it. Basically an elbow to the jaw on steroids. The idea of throwing a clean elbow to someone’s jaw is orgasmic. It is also a move that can be used from anywhere in the ring.
6. Stone Cold Stunner
Performed By: Stone Cold Steve Austin
It is the Stone Cold Stunner for god sake. This is the move every person my age did to their friends when we were growing up because it is so easy to execute. The kick to the gut followed by a variation of a neck/jaw breaker. Most people will probably have this move number one, sorry about ya. Not here.
5. Sweet Chin Music
Performed By: Shawn Michaels
Tune up the band baby! This will always be one of my favorites. The set up standing in the corner, stomping your foot and then ripping your opponents head off with a swift kick. Literally, nothing better. I love that Shawn would sell it after the kick by twirling around then falling on his opponent for the three count. There are so many times where you think he may have actually kicked this guy in the head. In Randy Orton’s case, he did. If you watch Orton’s documentary, Triple H told him to not lean in if Shawn went for the Sweet Chin Music. Orton did so anyway and wound up with a concussion.
4. Five Star Frog Splash
Performed By: Rob Van Dam
Back when I had dreams of being a WWE superstar, this was going to be my finishing move after setting it up with a super kick. Rob Van Dam did the frog splash better than Eddie Guerrero, D-Lo Brown or anyone else. Again, thanks to the sell. After hitting the move, he would bounce off the mat almost as if it hurt him more than the opponent. Who doesn’t love a top rope move to begin with?
3. Curb Stomp
Performed By: Seth Rollins
Obviously banned by the WWE now. Lame. The name and the action of driving someone’s head into the ground with your foot is obviously not “politically correct” these days. Again, lame. Before Rollins used the Pedigree and now the ripcord knee strike, the curb stomp was destroying everyone in WWE. Short lived in WWE, but will always be one of my favorites.
Performed By: Triple H
While I hated Seth Rollins using it, something about HHH using it was awesome. I just always thought it fit Trips and it just seems like a good finisher for a heel. The move used to look devastating when he would hold the arms the entire way down. Eventually, he had to let go of the arms and would just drive them down with his hands. Either way, loved this move from the beginning.
Performed By: Randy Orton
Even someone who has never watched wrestling probably knows what an RKO is thanks to all the social media videos. I am not sure an RKO has been hit out of somewhere because we all know they come “outa nowhere.” This will forever be my favorite move of all time. I know it originated from the diamond cutter by Diamond Dallas Page, but Randy took it to a whole different level. The stalking to set up and jumping into the neck breaker. RKO! OUTA NOWHERE! FOR THE WIN!