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#FinisherFriday (1/1/15): New Moves For Old Dogs


Happy New Year, Henrinites! 2016 is upon us, and for a lot of us, that means new beginnings—new resolutions, new promises, new changes. Sounds like a perfect theme for the first ever #FinisherFriday for the year featuring wrestlers who symbolized new beginnings by changing things up with their finishers.

Generally speaking, the legends of yesteryear relied on one main finisher throughout their whole careers. You never hear of Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, "Macho Man" Randy Savage or Bret Hart needing anything but their Legdrop, Figure Four, Big Elbow, or Sharpshooter respectively to nail down their wins.

Fingerpoke of Doom doesn't count, obvs.
Even today, while it's relatively commonplace for wrestlers to change their finishers when they move up from the indies into the WWE, i.e. Kevin Owens, Daniel Bryan, or Seth Rollins, it's quite rare that they change their primary finisher midstream in their WWE careers.

And with that, let's take a look at twenty WWE Superstars who actually did gift themselves with new finishers to mark new beginnings.

Were they always better off? We've got something to say about that as well.



1. Big Show


Remember ten years ago when Big Show used to just grab guys by the throat, lift them ten feet up in the air, then plant them straight on their backs with a Choke Slam?



Then there was that short-lived Final Cut of his, which was just aight.



Don't get us wrong, we love the Knockout Punch as a finisher, but at the end of the day, it's... just a punch.



Our verdict: Bring back the Choke Slam. Nothing quite spells out "seven-foot monster" like a finisher that leverages both your natural strength and your height. 


2. Billy Gunn


Fresh into his singles run as the Honky Tonk Man's protege, Rockabilly, as he was known, was paying tribute to his mentor with his version of the Shake, Rattle & Roll neckbreaker—a move that was so obscure, even YouTube doesn't have a video of Billy doing it.



As a member of DX, he started using the move that's perhaps best associated with him, a diving leg bulldog known as the Fame-Asser.



But as he tried to reinvent himself as "The One" Billy Gunn, he tried using a different move altogether—The One And Only, a cobra clutch slam that just didn't have the pizzazz as his previous finishing moves.



Our verdict: The Fame-Asser still rules.

3. Bob Holly


There was a time when Holly was known as the part-time racecar driver Thurman "Sparky" Plugg, who was all smiles and sunshine, and had a matching Pit Stop Plunge as his finisher, which was either a top-rope splash or a kneedrop, depending on how frisky he was feeling.



Taken on its own, his Hollycaust Falcon Arrow was a thing of beauty. We just can't imagine that name working in today's PG-conscious environment.



Thankfully, as he evolved into Hardcore Holly, he switched it out for the Alabama Slamma, which is an all-time great just based on its name alone.



Our verdict: Alabama Slamma, mama!

4. Cody Rhodes


Once upon a time, Cody was a fresh-faced, feisty young upstart who used a modified DDT to put opponents away.



He graduated to using the Cross Rhodes, which may have initially drawn some shade as generic jobber finisher #487, but looks pretty cool when he does it now.



What we don't understand is Cody's fascination with generic jobber finishers, because his new Dark Matter reverse STO is even more generic, which we didn't think was possible. Granted, he tried to spice it up a little by locking his opponent's leg, swinging his leg out, and doing the hokey-pokey first, but still.



Our verdict: Keep the Cross Rhodes.

5. Chris Jericho


Was there any other submission move that looked as wrenchingly painful as the Liontamer? Even the watered-down Walls of Jericho version was pretty cool, because as every kid who grew up in the 90s would know, Boston Crabs damn well hurt.



There was that short-lived Breakdown front legsweep facebuster too, but let's pretend it never existed.



And then there was the Codebreaker, which marked Y2J's new beginning as our short-haired savior. It's alright, but when Amazing Red is using your finisher as a transition move, it may be time to rethink your life decisions.



Our verdict: Own the Liontamer, Y2J!

6. Daniel Bryan


Despite a sometimes-awkward setup that just was never as smooth as Chris Benoit's Crippler Crossface, the YES! (or NO!) Lock was a pretty sweet finisher that proved what a master of submission the beloved Bryan was.



Having said that, OMG that Busaiku Kick is wicked brutal.



Our verdict: Busaiku Kick all day, errday!

7. Dean Ambrose


The Dirty Deeds in its headlock driver incarnation was a pretty divisive move; some people loved it, thanks to the supreme bumping skills of Kofi Kingston or Rob Van Dam, some people thought it was the most joberrific move on the planet, especially when larger wrestlers like Kane would take it.



Which is why the switch to the double-arm DDT variant was a welcome change. It's simple, it's nasty, and while it isn't quite as fluid as, say, Jake "The Snake" Roberts' DDT (but then again, what DDT is?), it's a move that reminds us that the second coming of Mick Foley just might be here.



Our verdict: Double-Arm DDT, but mainly because it's the version Kane can actually take.

8. Edge


Brooding indie goth raver Edge wasn't very fun; he'd come out of the crowd with some weak-ass techno theme and try to look cool in his pleather robes and Oakley shades, but you just couldn't shake the feeling that he was weak. Especially when you saw his finisher, the Downward Spiral.



Good job getting yourself Rock Bottomed, Edge. Your Spear still sucked, but it was a definite step up from that pansy-ass move.



Our verdict: SPEAR! SPEAR! SPEAR!

9. Goldust


So here's this beefy 6'6" dude coming to the ring covered in gold paint and a cool golden bodysuit, who, after some masterful mindgames in the ring, vanquishes his foe with... a falling bodyslam? We have no idea how the Curtain Call made it to #1 on this fan-made list.



No joke, it was a truly weak finisher to watch, and version 2 wasn't much better.



He also had his Shattered Dreams kick, alternately known as the "Golden Globes," which was only technically a finisher in the sense that he'd get disqualified every time he did it in real life.


That's why we dig his current Final Cut suplex-neckbreaker combo. That is poetry in motion, ladies and gentlemen. Someone give this guy an Oscar for Best in Breaking Necks.



Our verdict: Final Cut. Ol' Dustin deserves better.

10. The Miz


When you're trying to convince your fanbase that this reality-star-turned-pro-wrestler doesn't suck, you need to give him a cool finisher. Doesn't seem like the trainers were listening, because his original Reality Check finisher, which was just a kneelift into a neckbreaker was weak sauce in a hundred different ways.



And don't get us started on his second-rate Figure 4 Leglock.



The Skull-Crushing Finale is no great shakes, but at least it's a move he can legitimately pretend to be an A-list talent with.



Our verdict: Push. The Miz is so badly damaged now, the finisher really doesn't matter.

11. MVP


If the Cross Rhodes was generic jobber finisher #487, then MVP's original Playmaker finisher is generic jobber finisher #1 to #486. Talk about vanilla. How were we supposed to believe that this big-talking prime time player was beating everyone by... making them fall gently onto his thigh?



The Drive-By was pretty nasty, but didn't last long, mainly because the WWE allegedly didn't like the gang connotations of its name.



...which led to generic African-American finisher #1, the Play Of The Day—a move also appropriated by R-Truth and Shelton Benjamin at varying times.



Our verdict: Drive-By, please. A running kick to the head is always a pleasure to see.

12. Randy Orton


While it's hard to imagine Orton using anything but the highly meme-able RKO as his finisher, once upon a time he was using the O-Zone, which was exactly MVP's move listed above.



Thank God he found the light, and introduced the jumping cutter that will always be known as one of the top ten coolest finishers ever.



Our verdict: RKO #FromOuttaNowhere!


13. The Rock


Back when he was the jolly smiling "Blue Chipper," The Rock was using a decidedly unelectrifying shoulderbreaker as his main finisher.



Can you imagine a world without the Rock Bottom and People's Elbow as his finishers? We can't. The thought makes us sad.



Our verdict: Rock Bottom and People's Elbow all the way.

14. Seth Rollins


Everybody loves the Curb Stomp. Except the WWE, that is, who was worried about concussion-related lawsuits, and decided it wasn't good window dressing for a company supposedly as devoted to concussion research and awareness as they were.



Which is why Rollins had to change up to this falling front DDT that made its appearance in exactly one match, and never again.



The Pedigree he's been using on the regular since then hasn't been getting great reviews, but was one of the most protected finishers in the WWE in 2015. We doubt he'll be using this however when he gets back from his knee injury.



Our verdict: Curb Stomp. Please treat your fans with more intelligence, WWE.

15. Shawn Michaels


Yes, Virginia, there was a time when Sweet Chin Music wasn't the Heartbreak Kid's finisher. Anyone remember his high-angle Teardrop Suplex from when he was starting out as a singles guy?



That eventually became a piledriver.



We're glad that he discovered that stomping your foot in the corner then whacking a dude in the jaw was a much cooler way to win matches. Sweet Chin Music is just awesome.



Our verdict: Seriously, is this even up for debate? Sweet Chin Music in a landslide.

16. Sheamus


He might look stupid now, but once upon a time, the Celtic Warrior was cracking jabronis' spines and sending them to retirement with his Irish Curse backbreaker.



We suppose the WWE eventually realized that "Irish Curse" is slang for Irishmen being born with small penises, which is likely why they had him change it up with the High Cross.



That was a pretty sweet move, but not as sweet as White Noise, which he actually planted the 500-pound Big Show with a couple of times.



Now he's all about the Brogue Kick, which is a pretty cool move, but makes us cringe in fear for his opponents' humanity when he lands it.



Our verdict: White Noise nudges out the Brogue Kick by a hair

17. Steve Austin


When Austin came to the WWE as Ted DiBiase's Ringmaster, he dumped that old Stun Gun he was using in WWE in favor of his manager's legendary finisher, the Million Dollar Dream.



It was a gnarly move and all, but when Austin discovered the power of KICKWHAMSTUNNER!, that's when a legend was made.



Our verdict: Stone Cold Stunner, and that's the bottom line cos Stone Cold said so!

18. Undertaker


Ever heard of this move called the Tombstone? It was pretty nice.



That eventually became the Last Ride when he unleashed his inner redneck to become "The American Bad-Ass," A.K.A. BikerTaker



Then there was Takin' Care of Business, which probably only worked when Taker forgot to put on his deodorant. Which is fine, cos we can't imagine the Dead Man breaking out a bottle of Axe or summin.



And when Taker became obsessed with the world of mixed martial arts, he introduced the Hell's Gate gogoplata as his primary finisher.



While all of those moves were cool, we're glad he went back to using the Tombstone as his primary finisher.

Our verdict: Tombstone in a landslide.

19. Wade Barrett


Barrett was supposed to be the next big thing in pro wrestling when he led the Nexus to dismantle the set of RAW along with John Cena in the coolest invasion angle we've seen since the rise of the nWo. We just couldn't take his Wasteland seriously.



The Winds of Change were cool, but a bit too finesse-y for someone with his build and background.



We're glad that he switched things up to the Bull Hammer. Nothing says "you're finished" like a good old-fashioned crack to the temple.



Our verdict: Bull Hammer, baby!

20. William Regal


Fans of technical wrestling love everything about William Regal's famous Regal Stretch.



Which is why we all rebelled when he started using some weird, convoluted Hangman's Neckbreaker as a finisher.



Thank God he redeemed himself with the Knee Trembler.



Our verdict: Knee Trembler rules all, but by the thinnest margin over the Regal Stretch.


*****

What do you think of this list, Henrinites? Think we missed any of your favorites? Let us know in the comments section, and we'll see you next week in our regular edition of #FinisherFriday.

Until then, consider this column #FINISHED.

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