Throughout the history of professional wrestling or sports entertainment (as the WWE prefers to call it these days) there have been a multitude of incredible maneuvers utilized by wrestlers and sports entertainers to signal the end of a grueling contest. These maneuvers (known simply as finishing moves) can be executed from a variety of positions or situations to help a wrestler earn the victory whether that is obtained by way of pinfall, submission, or even by knockout (in some rare cases). Each wrestler understandably attempts to utilize a fishing move that will help highlight their natural strengths and abilities while capturing the imagination of the audience. These finishing moves are one of the best ways for a wrestler or sports entertainer to put away an opponent as well as display their dominance and showcase their various skills.
10. The DDT
Innovated by Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, the DDT is simply executed by grabbing the opponent in a front facelock, and falling back to drive the opponent’s head into the mat; simple and vicious. It looks devastating and it was new when Roberts began performing it. It has also stood the test of time, as many wrestlers have adopted the move into their repertoire. There’s a good reason for that. It looks cool and it really looks like it can damage the recipient.
The name DDT originally came from a notorious pesticide chemical known as dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane. This is a hazardous chemical buried in the ground and can cause brain damage. That’s what the finishing move looked like too. The victim’s head is driven into the mat and it can clearly cause damage if not executed by a professional.
The move has also been modified by many wrestlers into many different variations such as a swinging DDT, a double-arm DDT or a running DDT. However you spin it, it’s devastating and the origin of its name is definitely spooky.
9. The Go To Sleep
Japanese pro wrestler Kenta created the move, but out here in the Western world, we know this move as CM Punk‘s devastating finishing move.
The move itself begins with a fireman’s carry. The opponent is then dropped in front of the executor, who lifts his knee up right in the opponent’s face. It must be quite a sight to be falling to the ground and seeing a knee about to make contact with your face.
CM Punk has a great all-around move set, but the GTS really caps it off in a great way. While Punk’s mic ability is what truly made him a top star in the WWE, his great arsenal and finishing moves cannot be discounted in deciphering why fans have been so entertained with Punk. Hopefully we haven’t seen the last of this move.
When a wrestler begins his career 173-0 with a finisher, it belongs amongst the all-time greats. How perfectly did a spear fit a devastating wrestler like Goldberg? A former football player, Goldberg took WCW by storm, taking out a new victim week after week.
Goldberg was somewhat limited in the ring, but his high-impact offence and his brute strength made his quick victories believable and the fans embraced him. He perhaps had the best one-two punch finishing move in history.
The spear looked devastating enough as Goldberg would crouch in a corner, wait for his opponent to get up and drive his shoulder into the ribs of his opponent, much like a football tackle. Goldberg would then signify for the end, which was the Jackhammer.
The Jackhammer involved Goldberg picking up his opponent in position for a suplex, but would have his opponent hang in the air and shift the suplex into a powerslam. With that, Goldberg would take another victory and it was on to the next victim.
7. The People’s Elbow
After moving to their upper body he would lightly kick his opponent’s arm while slowly removing his elbow pad (which he would subsequently toss into the audience). The Rock then flings his arms back and fourth before running from one side of the ropes to the other. After hopping over his opponent and rebounding back off the far ropes he would lift his leg midair and jiggle it briefly before dropping an elbow on his opponent. Overall the best part of the move is The Rock’s taunting, and the setup in general. The move itself is just terrible. To think, it ended CM Punk’s historic 434-day title reign. Fortunately for The Rock, he’s so revered that he’s earned a pass on this move.
6. The F-5
Brock Lesnar seemed destined to be a big star from the moment he set foot in the squared circle. He had the look, the strength, the amateur wrestling accolades and was billed as a monster. He had a high impact offence mixed in with impressive traditional wrestling moves.
A mediocre finisher simply wouldn’t do, but the F-5 worked just perfectly. Another move that begins with a fireman’s carry, the F-5 is executed when the wrestler throws the opponent’s legs out in front of him while simultaneously falling himself, causing the opponent to land on his face and upper body. F-5 as in a devastating tornado. Marc Mero and Sable actually used the move, calling it a TKO, but again, Lesnar has really taken this move to another level
5. The Cobra
First and foremost Santino Marella is one of the most entertaining and comedic personalities in sports entertainment. Having said that, it is undeniably clear that this finishing move is meant to be comedic which is the only reason it isn’t ranked closer to the top of the list. The move begins with Santino reaching into his tights and pulling out the Cobra (I know how that sounds…) similarly to how Mick Foley would pull out Mr. Socko in preparation for the Mandible Claw. Next Santino places the Cobra on his arm and utilizes the venomous snake to deliver a “devastating” strike to his opponent’s throat. The only reason this move is truly required for this list is because Santino actually beats opponents with the finishing maneuver.
4. The Sharpshooter
The name sounds cool enough and when you see it, man does it hurt. Bret Hitman Hart performed this move with such perfect execution. It has become perhaps the most famous submission move in wrestling history and it wouldn’t have happened without Hart. Although he didn’t invent it, he sure made it what it is. It can be known as Canada’s finishing move. The move was invented by Japanese professional wrestler Riki Chōshū, while Ronnie Garvin and Sting both used variations of the hold before Hart. However, the Sharpshooter is the common name given to the hold today.
It begins with the opponent on his back. The wrestler sticks either his right leg to his/her right, or left leg to his/her left, wraps the shins, grabs the top leg and turns over, leaving the opponent prone on the mat on their stomach with all the pressure on their lower back and legs.
3. Brain Chop
Towering above the competition at a jaw dropping 7-foot-1, The Great Khali must have an excruciating finisher right? Not so much. Although the Brain Chop looks like it deals a great deal of damage to opponents and most likely hurts more than an unprotected chair shot to the head, it’s extremely unimpressive and dull. The finishing maneuver is exactly what it sounds like. The Great Khali simply waits for his unsuspecting opponent to face him and then slams down full force on their head with a massive karate chop. Moreover, Khali’s limited athleticism and lack of speed only made the finisher look worse. Fortunately in later years, Khali began utilizing other moves as his finishers including the “Punjabi Plunge” and the “Khali Vice Grip” however both still fell flat but neither as much as the Brain Chop.
2. The Pedigree
Originally known as a double underhook facebuster, Triple H adopted this move when debuting with the WWE in 1995. He may not have had the perfect gimmick right away, but he sure had an impressive finisher throughout his entire career.
The move we now know as the Pedigree begins with the wrestler bending the opponent’s head forward, placing the opponent’s head between the wrestler’s legs, hooking the arms and dropping to the canvas, leaving the opponent defenceless for the impact coming to their head.
The Pedigree has stood the test of time, as Triple H, nearly 20 years into his WWE career still uses it when he occasionally wrestles. It still looks great and the amount of opponents it has put away sticks with fans and tells us how devastating it is when it’s delivered.
1. Tombstone Piledriver
No finishing move or name ever fit a character more than the Tombstone Piledriver fit The Undertaker. For so many years, no man got up from the Tombstone. Kane, HBK, Triple H and CM Punk are the only guys who spring to mind who have done so.
This move looks deadly and it’s fitting that the Deadman performs it. The traditional piledriver is lethal itself, and the move has been banned from usage in the WWE since 2000. Only Undertaker and Kane are still allowed to perform their Tombstone version. Kane adopted the use of this move, but it will forever be the Undertaker’s.
The kneeling reverse piledriver, as it is technically called, was used quite often prior to Undertaker, but he’s the one who truly took it to new heights.
It’s performed when the wrestler places an arm between the opponent’s legs and the other arm on the opposite shoulder. The wrestler then lifts the opponent up to the other shoulder like a body slam lift and into a reverse piledriver position. The wrestler then drops to their knees, driving the victim’s head into the mat. When this move is performed by a 6’10” Undertaker, it simply looks mesmerizing and you can’t picture a wrestler kicking out once it’s done.
Adding to the move itself are all the little touches Undertaker adds to it when executing the move. His signature throat slash signifies it’s coming. After performing it, he cross the opponent’s arms the way a body would look in a casket, while pinning their shoulders to the mat 1-2-3. Everything about this move works for the Undertaker.