A wrestler’s finisher/s is/are the best weapon/s in their arsenal. It says something about them, explains how they choose to fight and how they decide to end their matches. Not only that, good finishers can also define the wrestler they belong to – what would Stone Cold be without the Stunner, or Scotty 2 Hotty without The Worm? Given how important they are, nailing a good finisher is one of the most important decisions a wrestler can make; sometimes they get it right, sometimes they get it wrong. In this list, I’ll be looking at the wrestlers in WWE today that really got it right (don’t worry, I’ll be looking at the bad ones later).
I’m going to be ranking the Top 15 finishers in WWE today based on how effective they are, how believable they are as a move capable of finishing a match, and how visually appealing they are to me.
There are currently over 100 active competitors signed to WWE, each with at least one finishing manoeuvre, therefore whittling this list down to just fifteen was a tough job that left some great moves out of the running. Also, I will only be including finishers by people who have appeared on WWE TV in the last 90 days. Finishers are incredibly subjective things, thus if your favourite moves aren’t featured, or aren’t as high as you would expect, let me know about it in a comment or on Twitter (@hairywrestling).
- Magic Killer
WWE may have killed their momentum slightly with their recent string of big losses; however, Anderson and Gallows are the only ones that are killing magic in the company. The move reflects the duo perfectly: not particularly flashy, not overly complicated, yet impressively fluid and effective. Now that The Dudley Boyz have left the company, the Magic Killer is arguably the best double-team finisher in WWE.
- Skull Crushing Finale
The Miz is currently doing the best work of his career, and people either love him or despise him. It’s this passion that prevents people from realising what a great finisher he has; I myself have been guilty of not realising how effective The Skull Crushing Finale actually is until recently. By locking in a full nelson, his opponent has absolutely no way of softening the blow when The Miz sweeps their legs and crushes their skull into the mat. Definitely an underrated finisher, and not to mention, the name is awesome.
I’ve said it before, I’m not the biggest supporter of venomous Randal. I can fully appreciate why others may be fans of his work, but he just doesn’t tick many boxes for me. Also, truth be told, I’m not even that big of a fan of his signature maneuver, the RKO; it doesn’t look all that painful, or even believable enough to bring someone to ground. So, I can hear you all cry, “Why is it on this list then?!” Well, it’s simply because it can come from “outta nowhere”, as they say.
Randy’s ability to seamlessly hit this move from a variety of positions every single time is impressive enough to earn a place on any finishers list. The standard RKO isn’t all that special, yet Mr Orton’s finishing move performed on the likes of Evan Bourne mid-Shooting Star Press, or catching a soaring Seth Rollins’ after a countered curb stomp into his signature cutter, they’ll be replayed in highlight reels for decades to come, and they’re enough to make any Orton cynic rave about it.
- Salida del Sol
Ever since I first saw Ultimo Dragon perform this move years ago, I couldn’t comprehend how a human could actually do something so bemusing. Now I’m a little older and a little smarter, the move isn’t quite as mystifying to me, yet that doesn’t stop it from being damn impressive. And even though it’s executed by a different man under a different name, it’s still stunning. Although not the most painful looking move, the visual stimulation is enough to guarantee it a place on this list. Also, who could ever forget the Salida Del Sol off a ladder onto another ladder from TLC 2015? That one example of the move is enough to give it an honourable mention at the very least.
- Standing 450
Being able to rotate your body 450 degrees from high-atop a turnbuckle is impressive enough, whereas being able to do it from the same surface that a foe is laid on is simply spectacular. Despite not having the falling velocity of a standard 450, the amount of force it takes to propel a body around quickly enough to land that move from a standing position is enough to leave anyone prone to a dreaded three count.
At the heart of it, being dropped onto someone’s lifting knee would render the best of us incapacitated when executed properly, and nobody performs it like Hideo Itami. CM Punk’s rendition of the move was perfectly fine, but Hideo just manages to clinch the best version due to the added force and viciousness he incorporates every single time he uses it. What’s more, the move is infamous for being associated with one of wrestling’s most controversial figures, and now he’s left the business for a different career path, the Go to Sleep’s innovator came and reclaimed it in WWE, which is guaranteed to get a huge pop every single time he does it.
- End of Days
A regular Flatliner is all well and good, yet it’s Corbin’s ability to swing his opponent 180* degrees before slamming them to the mat that earns this move my number nine place on this list. The rotation not only adds to the forcefulness of the move, it also makes for a very impressive sight, especially when Corbin is executing it on the likes of Samoa Joe. It has a really cool name, and it’s also a really cool move.
Although Brock isn’t slamming his opponent to the floor, the F-5 still looks impressive no matter who is receiving it. Whether it’s Brock’s ability to fling smaller guys like they’re pillows, or the fact he can hoist giants on his shoulders and send them crashing to earth with a colossal thud, either way you’re going to be impressed.
Despite the level of nostalgia most wrestling fans will have towards the Chokeslam, which may potentially affect its ranking on this list, the fact remains that it is still an almost seven foot tall monster picking somebody up by the throat, lifting them into the air, and slamming them into the canvas. When performed by behemoths the likes of Kane, the height and impact of the move makes it seem fatally ruinous. Like the F-5, the Chokeslam is equally appealing at both ends of the weight scale – smaller opponents are hoisted up to the heavens, and sent careening to Earth like a meteorite, whilst seeing a 300+ pounder hoisting another man of similar or greater mass above his head, then subsequently thrusting them onto the floor is comparable to watching two Greek gods colliding.
Although Kane doesn’t deliver it with as much drive as he used to (the main reason why it doesn’t place higher on the list), it is still a fantastically destructive move nonetheless. The Chokeslam is iconic, impactful, and impressive; what more does a move need to be considered one of the greatest in the WWE, and possibly of all time?
- Lumbar Check
The only way I could describe the Lumbar Check would be “beautiful devastation.” In the hands of someone as talented as Cedric Alexander, this sensational backbreaker will have you gasping in wonder, shortly followed by a painful intake of breath in response to the carnage you have just witnessed. The car crash levels of height and impact are what earn this move a relatively high place in my list.
Granted, if he ever deviates from the cruiserweight division to face larger opponents, he won’t be able to execute this move with quite such vigour, or at all on the likes of Kane and Braun Strowman, yet Alexander is so athletically gifted that no doubt he will find an equally awe-inspiring way to finish off his foe.
- Red Arrow
Neville is bewilderingly athletic; the things this man can do are beyond human. During his time in WWE, we still haven’t even seen everything in this man’s unbelievable arsenal, yet one thing we do see on a regular basis is the inconceivable Red Arrow. No matter how many times I witness this spectacle of a move, I just can’t work out how a person can twist and manipulate their body to pull off this masterpiece. Even though it sadly doesn’t get to finish off as many opponents as other moves on this list these days, it still doesn’t take away from the fact that this is one of the most incredible ways to end a match in wrestling.
- Diving Corkscrew Stunner
At the time of writing, this move doesn’t even have an actual name in WWE (I assume it will be called Eclipse or something moon related) as it’s only been seen a few times in NXT, yet that doesn’t stop it from being an unbelievably athletic way to finish a match. Seriously, this maneuver deserves to be hung up in a gallery because it is a work of art.
A typical stunner doesn’t exactly look like the most effective of moves – simply grabbing somebody’s head and falling to the floor probably wouldn’t do that much damage, however, soaring and twisting through the air, and then grasping someone’s head during your descent would most likely create enough force to result in some serious whiplash.
The Diving Corkscrew Stunner ticks every single box: it’s unique, incredibly athletic, it’s absolutely beautiful, it’s effects are believable, and it is an absolutely awe-inspiring thing to watch. With a finisher like this, and the ability it takes to execute it, Ember Moon is going straight to the top of WWE’s women’s division.
- Sister Abigail
The beauty of Sister Abigail is that it can either come from out of nowhere, be instigated and over within an instant, or it can have the longest, eeriest of set-ups, whether that’s with a spider walk, waltzing with his opponent, or the dreaded kiss of death. I’ve seen spinning STOs in the past, yet nobody hits it with the rapid aggression of Bray Wyatt. Forcing someone’s head into the floor at such a rapid pace would destroy anyone.
Bray’s execution and theatrics he incorporates into the move are what make it so effective. With its destructive results and extremely unique name, Sister Abigail is the perfect finisher for The Eater of Worlds. If the Sister Abigail is in your future, I have one word of advice for you…
You know what hurts? Getting kneed in the face. You know what REALLY hurts? Getting kneed in the face by The King of Strong Style himself, Shinsuke Nakamura.
We all know how hard a knee can be – just look at John Cena’s face after being kneed by Seth Rollins. It’s a pain we can relate to and instantly translates to an audience, which is what makes the Kinshasa so effect. What’s more, Shinsuke’s knees aren’t only reserved for his finishing maneuver; they are utilised in various ways throughout his matches, which makes fans realise the dangerousness of his knee strikes, thus when he uses his best move from his best body part to finish a match, you know it must be effective.
Having a man in red leather posing, running, and then swinging his knee into another man’s face whilst they’re stood upright is an incredible, impressive sight, and Corey Graves’ excellent delivery of, “KINSHASAAAAAAAAA!!!” just adds to wonder of this move.
Honourable Mentions –
Shatter machine – The Revival have mastered the art of tag team wrestling, no duo in the WWE is as technically sound as they are. The Shatter Machine is a great finisher, however as the execution of the move can sometimes be a little bit sloppy, it misses out a spot on my list.
Grand amplitude – The first time I saw this move, I was in awe. Jordan launched his opponent high into the air, then Gable leapt up, grabbed his foe, and slammed him to the mat. The only problem is that American Alpha don’t always hit this move with as much impact as they are capable off, which is why they only get an honourable mention.
Bank Statement – The backstabber transitioned into a submission is a fantastic idea, and when performed correctly, it is a seamless combination. Despite this, from time to time, Sasha makes this changeover of moves seem a bit awkward and clunky, keeping it off the list.
Phenomenal forearm – Now, I understand a lot of people are going to be surprised that the Styles Clash hasn’t made my list. As much as I love AJ, I’m judging this list purely on the moves themselves, not by who’s delivering them, and although I will pop like crazy whenever Styles hits his signature move on the likes of John Cena, it’s just not that good of a move in my eyes – most of Styles’ weight crashes down on the legs and lower back on his opponent, rather than the face, sternum, and chest where it would create much more painful results. Styles’ newest finishing move is a much higher contender in my eyes, as he flies through the arm and smashes his right arm in his opponent’s face. Phenomenal, but not enough to get a place on the list.
Fall of Man – It’s true that The Ascension have fallen (no pun intended) far compared to their run in NXT; but despite their recent win-loss record, their finishing move still looks pretty damn impressive…that is whenever they actually get a chance to hit it.
Halluva Kick – It’s a straight up kick to the face, what’s not effective about that? Plus, Sami always manages to deliver it at an impressive pace. It only just missed out a place on the list.
- Pop-up Powerbomb
When it comes to impact, it doesn’t get much greater than a powerbomb. Impaling somebody on their head, neck, shoulders, and back is enough to paralyse the strongest of competitors long enough for the feared three seconds. However, Kevin Owens has stepped this demolition of a move up a level, by launching his foes into the air, catching them mid-flight, and swiftly ramming them into the ringmat. Not only does it look more appealing, the sudden nature of the move adds more velocity (and thus more pain) than a regular powerbomb. From John Cena to Seth Rollins, there doesn’t seem to be anyone that Owens can’t put any with this move, he’s even hit it on the likes of the colossal Mark Henry. Perhaps Big Show might be slightly unrealistic, but apart from that, Owens pop-up almost any man into the air, and explode them onto the canvas with his powerbomb.
Some may not agree with this decision at all, some still won’t accept Kevin finishing off an opponent with anything but the Package Piledriver, despite that, this is my list, and when it comes to a move that I believe could genuinely finish a match and a result in a W, this is as good as it gets in WWE today.
The finisher series will continue with the Top 10 Worst Finishers in WWE.
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