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#FinisherFriday (2/28/20): Every Time You Cross Christopher Daniels, An Angel Gets His Wings


Welcome to another edition of #FinisherFriday! This is Wreddit_Regal bringing to you a review of perhaps

The "Fallen Angel" is a decorated veteran of the pro wrestling scene, spending the bulk of his career wrestling for TNA and ROH, but has also worked extensively in Japan and on the American independent circuit. He has won 20 total championships across TNA, ROH, and NJPW, and even became ROH's first-ever Grand Slam winner. As you all know, he's with All Elite Wrestling, being a member of the faction SoCal Uncensored (SCU).

Daniels' arsenal consists of a balance between striking, suplexes, submissions, and the usual flippy shit that our eyes have been conditioned to see for the last couple of years. Some of his notable finishers include:

Last Rites


Koji Clutch


Best Moonsault Ever (BME)


and our article's topic, the Angel's Wings:


Fun factIn an interview with Fightful, Christopher Daniels reveals that the Angel's Wings was meant to be a transition move at first, but decided to make it a standalone finisher in the long run:
"It's funny, the Angel's Wings started out as a transition move for me to get into a submission move that I tried for a short amount of time that I decided didn't fit me. I started doing Angel's Wings to get into the move, and when I dropped it, I started to realize that that particular move was high impact and I could get it on pretty much everyone I wrestled. It sort of became my go-to. Along with the Best Moonsault Ever, I've gone back and forth and made both of them strong enough where people believed either one of them could be the way that I end of the match."
So how is the Angel's Wings done? Let's break down the move into simple chunks:

  1. The attacker tucks the opponent's head between his thighs
  2. The attacker both arms and places them in the double underhook position
  3. The attacker lifts the opponent's body up, and swivels to his left
  4. The attacker sits down on the canvas, resulting in the opponent's head/face crashing onto the mat



The move itself is a variation of the double underhook facebuster, commonly known as the Pedigree. But is there really any difference in terms of damage taken on both of these finishers? Let's take a closer look:

Pedigree:

  • Opponent's highest point of elevation is more or less at the attacker's hip area, when the attacker starts to jump
  • The opponent's face goes down, along with the whole weight of the attacker. Imagine falling down face-first, but with a couple of bricks strapped on to your head for that added kinetic energy and crushing weight.
  • Since the opponent's head is tucked between the attacker's legs for the move's whole duration, he/she cannot tilt his/her upwards, allowing their face to fully kiss the canvas

Angel's Wings:

  • Opponent's highest point of elevation is the attacker's stomach area, as they are lifted as high as possible
  • The opponent is slammed down to the mat as hard as possible, with no added weight
  • The opponent's head is not tucked between the attacker's legs for the latter part of the move. This allows the opponent to tilt his/her head upwards to avoid as much contact from the mat as possible, but this results in the opponent taking damage to the xiphoid process, floating ribs, and the diaphragm, similar to how the Styles Clash works.

Sure, the Pedigree definitely has efficiency and ease of execution as an edge, but Angel's Wings has another ace up their sleeve should the opponent attempt to mitigate the damage received.

Using my trusty Regal Rating, I'd give the Angel's Wings a:

9/10 for aesthetics. It's done fast, the swivel is such a good addition to the pizzazz, the opponent lands almost completely horizontal (compared to most of the Pedigree's recipients who tend to minimize the damage taken by making their knees land first)

10/10 for damage. The opponent falls from a higher distance than the Pedigree, which makes up for the lack of added weight (but still a good compromise). It can also deal damage to more parts of the human body, compared to the Pedigree which only focuses on the face.

And that's it chaps, my analysis of the Angel's Wings! Amidst speculation that Christopher Daniels might be the highly-discussed "Exalted One," do you think that he fits the criteria for that identity? Let us know in the comment section below!

*****

Wreddit_Regal is the resident sports kinesiologist of Reddit's wrestling forum, r/squaredcircle. From the most basic of punches to the most intricate double-team maneuvers, he can explain them within the realm of human anatomy and physics, because when doing absolutely nothing wrestling-related, he also happens to work as an operating room nurse.

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