Somebody once said that there are only two things important in professional wrestling: a wrestler’s entrance music and their finisher. There is nothing more absolute than a finisher in a wrestling match. A finisher signals the end of the contest. Back in the old days, finishers carried a lot more power. Once a wrestler executes their finisher, the pinfall is certain. Well now, an Attitude Adjustment barely keeps down somebody for a 2-count. Around two decades ago, the sight of someone kicking out of Hulk Hogan’s Atomic Leg Drop would be as rare as seeing an actual atomic entity being dropped on someone’s head.
Still, there are a handful of finishers that still carry a sense of finality to them. Finishers that instantly incite waves of cheers from the crowd and causes a big fraction of them to lose their minds. A finisher should be both amazing to look at and also carry with itself a history of devastation and legends. What makes a finisher that much better is the fact that they can come out of nowhere and end the match in a flash.
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These finishers are not only impressive to look at, these legitimately look like they could hurt someone and have been revered greatly in the eyes of professional wrestling fans. Here is a list of ten such finishers.
10. Goldberg/Edge/ Many Others: Spear
The Spear has been used by a number of wrestlers over the years in WWE, such as Goldberg, Edge and more recently Roman Reigns. It looks like the ultimate blow when executed by the right man. Imagine someone the size of Roman Reigns or Goldberg running at you top speed and diving to drive their shoulder in your stomach and pin you down hard on the mat. That does not sound like a fun experience. In fact, it sounds very, very frightening.
It’s a move that has a well-documented history in the WWE and it can be performed at any stage of the match and will seem just as legitimate. Goldberg broke out the spear in the advent stages of his match against Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series and ended the match in a matter of 86 seconds.
The Spear will continue being a move that has stood the test of time, and if anything, it’s popularity is still growing as newer wrestlers still adopt the move to great effect.
9. Finn Balor: Coup de Grace
Okay just take a look at that for a second. Now, did you feel the urge to somehow take poor Roman Reigns’ place in that situation and take that move instead of him? If the answer is no, then you’re still a human being with a proper functioning brain.
The Coup de Grace (pronounced: koo-day-grah), the namesake alone is enough to land it on this list. Coup de Grace is french for “the mercy blow” or “the death blow”. It was essentially used when a warrior would end his enemy’s misery by killing him with one final move.
Finn Balor’s Coup de Grace is essentially the most quintessential move of wrestling. The mercy blow to put the opponent out of his misery. Balor climbs up to the top rope and dives feet first onto the downed opponent’s chest.
The move carries with itself a sense of finality the likes of which barely any other move does. The sight of Balor on the top rope with supposed murder in his eyes along with his demon attire is a sight to behold in WWE right now.
8. Kane/Big Show, etc: Chokeslam
This is one move that every kid tried to perform in his school, apartments or colony simply because it looked so cool. Mostly all of us have been guilty of mispronouncing the move in our childhood days and calling it “chalk-slam” instead.
The Chokeslam is the prototype wrestling finisher: it looks devastating and it can be busted completely out of nowhere. A move reserve only for the big guys in the industry. The height of the wrestler is essential to this move. Imagine a 5″10′ Rey Mysterio busting out a Chokeslam, it would only hurt a little more than a mosquito bite.
Now imagine a 7-feet giant like Kane grabbing you by the neck and hoisting you several feet in the air and dropping you down with mean force to the ground. Yes, not a place you’d want to be in. Several big men have employed the Chokeslam to put their opponents out of commission. However, the move hasn’t lost its aura.
7. Seth Rollins: Curb Stomp
This is as simple a wrestling move can get. Yet the beauty of the Curb Stomp lies in its simplicity and just how devastating yet impressive it looks like. When the opponent is downed and slowly rising up, Seth Rollins runs and leaps in the air and brings his foot down hard on his head and drives it into the mat.
It is one of those moves that Vince McMahon decided was too dangerous and subsequently banned Seth Rollins from using it ever again. The fact that Vince had to ban the move for looking too dangerous is testament to the fact that the Curb Stomp was a beautifully devastating finisher.
Although the move probably wouldn’t be seen on WWE television anymore, it is still remembered fondly by fans.
6. Shawn Michaels: Sweet Chin Music
Do not be ashamed if you ever stamped your food on the ground and then turned sideways to try and kick as high as you can. We all did. Shawn Michaels was the coolest wrestler around for a lot of WWE fans around the world. The long flowing hair, the catchy entrance theme and the just the way he carried himself.
A lot his popularity was owed to his finisher: Sweet Chin Music. The Sweet Chin Music is essentially a Superkick but the fact that Shawn Michaels tuned up the band with his feet in preparation for the move only added to the move’s value. Which is why it always comes up whenever a conversation for the best finishers is struck up.
It looks like a move that will definitely knock you out. The point is made in bold when you hear the loud crack when Michaels’ feet makes devastating contact with the opponent’s face.
5. Shinsuke Nakamura: Kinshasa/ Boma Ye Knee
This one is relatively new to the list and not many WWE fans might be aware of who Shinsuke Nakamura is and why this is an absolutely deadly move.
Shinsuke Nakamura is already a sure-shot legend in the professional wrestling industry. He is what you get when you mix Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger and Mohammed Ali. An absolutely charismatic, fun wrestler to watch. And also, he might actually have steel hammers instead of knees.
He isn’t dubbed “The King of Strong Style” for no reason. He previously worked in New Japan Pro Wrestling which is the home for “kicking people in the face, really freaking hard”. He is known to be super-stiff inside the ring, meaning, his moves have an underlying hint of legitimacy and can actually hurt.
The Kinshasa, in all its stiff glory, is an absolutely deadly move. Nakamura runs full speed and smashes knee in the opponent’s face. That looks like it could actually kill someone. The Kinshasa was previously known as the “Boma Ye Knee” which is Japanese for “Kill Him Knee”. Yeah, that is one devastating move.
4. Baron Corbin: End of Days
Baron Corbin is one mean looking bad-ass. His finisher only drives the point further. Called the “End of Days”, it is a loud exclamation point of a finisher that looks amazing and frightening at the same time.
The End of Days legitimately looks like it could knock someone out, which is the entire point of a wrestling finisher. It could be argued that Corbin himself takes a bit of punishment himself but that just adds to Corbin’s character. He is just here to hurt people. He will go to any lengths to see a man writhing in pain. That is exactly what a finisher should be able to accomplish. Encapsulate the wrestler’s character in one single move.
3. Randy Orton: RKO
What are the 2 words that best sum up the RKO? Everyone knows it: “Outta Nowhere”. An “RKO Outta Nowhere” is one of many sights to behold in the WWE. It is an absolutely timeless move and was popular back when DDP used the original “Diamond Cutter” to put people away. The RKO was a variant of the Cutter and looked even better than the original.
The RKO perfectly captures the aura of Randy Orton, dubbed the “Apex Predator” and “The Viper”, it looks exactly what a predator the likes of a viper would use to put its enemies away. The RKO comes truly out of nowhere and is extremely swift and quick.
It is one of the best-looking finishers in the WWE ever and the only that managed to transcend the boundaries of WWE and became an internet meme.
2. The Undertaker: Tombstone Piledriver
This one doesn’t look as devastating but it is considered one of the best finishers in WWE simply because it is that monumental of a move. The Undertaker is an absolute legend of the business, being one of the most respected people in the industry ever. Fans for generations have been loving the Undertaker and his move, for the longest time, stands out as a sight to behold.
One of the most protected finishers in the WWE, meaning rarely anyone kicked out of the Tombstone Piledriver. It is more to do with who executes that move more than the move itself but that’s not to say an actual Tombstone Piledriver will absolutely bash your head in.
In retrospective, has there ever been a move that has had a better name than the “Tombstone Piledriver”. Rather fitting, isn’t it?
1. Triple H: The Pedigree
If you were wondering why the Pedigree didn’t appear on the list earlier, you probably assumed it would be right on the top. The Pedigree is easily one of the best things about the absolute legend that is Triple H. The way he looks at the crowd one last time before delivering the final blow as if to declare to the masses that the Game for his opponent his over.
The Pedigree is one of the most protected moves in the WWE because it is just that good. It looks absolutely painful, devasting and quite disturbingly, beautiful. This was the move that best-suited Triple H when he was a young man who announced his arrival in the big leagues and declared that it was “My Time” and that he would one day be the king of WWE. Fast forward 17 years, Triple H is not just a player, he is the whole damn Game. It suits him even now when he is the widely accepted “King of Kings”.
When you see Triple H hooking those arms, you know you’re about to see a man endure the absolute version of pain. With your hands tied to your back, there is nothing to cushion the impact, and the results are devastating.