I have been a wrestling fan ever since I first saw a man wearing a pink and black singlet back in 1998 on WCW Nitro. So in my eighteen years of pure, uninterrupted obsession, I have seen a LOT of finishing moves, so picking out the worst of the worst was a difficult task. Nevertheless, I powered my way through to bring you my Top 10 Worst Finishers of All Time.
I’ve ranked these moves based on how weak they look, and how ridiculous/ineffective they are. My worst finishers of all time may be different to yours, so let me know what your personal preferences are in a comment below, or tweet them to me @hairywrestling. With that being said, let’s get on with the list.
The problem with the Stun Gun is that it just doesn’t look like a finisher; it’s clunky, awkward, and nowhere near impactful or theatrical as a good finisher deserves to be. A finisher needs to reflect the person delivering it, something that the Stun Gun failed to do. Stunning Steve Austin was a fantastic technical wrestler, which is what makes this finisher all the more worse.
You may know that wrestling ropes are usually very stiff, thus the Stun Gun may actually be quite a painful move to receive (not quite painful enough to finish a match, yet still effective), however, when every wrestler in the business bounces off those ropes like they’re made of rubber, the damage caused by landing on them is going to be completely lost on the audience. Sure, there are arguably more terrible, much less effective finishers out there, for example, Kung Fu Naki’s Crane Kick, yet the deciding difference is the person delivering it. Sure, the Crane Kick is a stupid move, but Kung Fu Naki was a stupid gimmick. He wasn’t supposed to be an actual master of Kung Fu with devastating strikes, his whole persona was based on pun, and he literally won one singles match with that move, whereas with Stunning Steve, he was perceived as a fantastic in-ring technician that won the US Championship, beat the likes of Ricky Steamboat, and was one of the key components of The Dangerous Alliance.
As bad as the Stun Gun was, luckily for Steve, he went on to get a new finisher a few years down the line, which was ironically, a bit more ‘stunning’.
Just look it. It’s terrible. Stick to commentary, Saxton.
Strikes are quite hard to get over as believable finishers. A taped up thumb though, that’s a whole different challenge.
Now, if the Samoan Spike was just one of Umaga’s signature moves, it wouldn’t be so bad, yet as something that could potentially end a match, it doesn’t work. The main problem with the move is actually how the receiver reacts to it. A precision strike to the throat should not send you hurtling backwards in the same manner that a running clothesline would; it should make you clutch at your throat, struggle for breath, and maybe drop to your knees. It isn’t a move that should force you to the mat, it’s a move that should render you breathless and helpless, thus it is actually the perfect move to set-up a finisher, rather than being the ultimate move itself. Perhaps when we remember the career of the late Eddie Fatu, we should just forget about this move.
7.Lost in the Woods/Eat Defeat/Sole Food
No matter who is delivering it, Lost in the Woods/Eat Defeat/Sole Food, whatever you want to call it, is a terrible move. The user falls backwards as they simultaneously pull their opponents face into their boot, the problem being that there is no impact whatsoever. It makes no sense – how does falling onto somebody’s foot hurt even in the slightest bit, let alone send you flying backwards to the mat? It may not be the worst striking finisher on this list, but it really needs to get ‘lost’.
Name one good claw hold. Go on, try. There was the Iron Claw, where the Von Erich’s used their hand to squeeze on their foe’s forehead with extremely boring, weak looking results. There was the Mandible Claw, completely ridiculous and requiring a lot of explanation in order for the effectiveness of the move to become apparent (sorry Mick, I love you). There have even been armpit claws used as finishers weirdly enough. No matter what body part is being grasped, is looks awful. Thankfully, Claws are something almost extinct in modern wrestling, and for good reason.
This move actually beat The Undertaker. This move genuinely resulted in one of the greatest wrestlers in history being down for the three count. Sometimes WWE, I hate you.
The Great Khali is a monstrous man (who was almost as ugly as your mam), so describing a strike from someone that size as “weak” seems ridiculous, yet once you see it, totally understandable. There’s a reason why this move didn’t last long as his finisher, being replaced by the Khali Bomb and the Vice Grip, as despite the size of his extremities, Khali’s hand hit with the same amount of force as a puppy’s kiss. Nothing about Khali’s moveset was all that ‘great’, yet this move has got to be the worst weapon in his arsenal.
Using the most cushioned part of your body to beat someone up makes absolutely no sense whatsoever (neither does bouncing back off the ropes when someone gets whipped into them, but that’s beside the point). Imagine if you lost to a flying arse, you’d feel so embarrassed and demoralised. The worst part of the Rear View is that Naomi deserves so much more; with her impressive talents in the ring and fantastic image and entrance, she needs a legitimate, believable way to end a match. Naomi must get a new finisher that displays her amazing athleticism, rather than a move that displays her rear end.
The gigantic Big Show once had a fantastic finisher in the Showstopper Chokeslam, so the fact we have to watch him use this monstrosity of a move to end his match is a crying shame. Admittedly, it is far more effective than other finishers featured on this list, yet the single biggest problem with the KO Punch is that it is void of all logic – most finishers require some kind of setup, and most of the time, competitors need to weaken their opponent in order to successfully hit it, whereas with this, Big Show could literally hit this at any time in the match. What’s more, he actively chooses not to use it at any chance he can. Rather than punching his foe in their face which, as we’ve seen, can leave anyone completely incapacitated (its guaranteed knockout ability is another problem with the move) and almost ensures victory, he instead punches them in the sternum, thus in spite of having a gigantic head with a massive brain to match, Big Show is clearly a colossal idiot. As his wrestling career slowly draws to a close, Big Show needs to revert back to his old ways to ensure his retirement is a showstopper.
The Heart Punch is possibly the most notoriously bad finisher on this list. No matter who delivers the strike, it just looks ridiculous. This move is so 1970s that it hurts.
Wrestling lore states that the Heart Punch isn’t just a regular strike to the chest, it is actually so damaging that the receiver’s heart is overwhelmed by the impact, causing them to collapse. As we’ve seen with the W.M.D, a regular standing punch is basically impossible to get over as a good finisher, but at least the effects of Big Show’s strike are somewhat believable. We all know that getting punched in the face can knock anyone out if done right, especially by someone the size of Paul Wight, yet a punch to the chest so brutal that it causes cardiac failure is a bit too kayfabe for my liking. This move got left back in the 90s with Brian Adams, and even then it had overstayed it’s welcome.
Dishonourable mentions –
Trip to the Batcave: It was a big fat slob that literally sat on people. No momentum, no build up, he just planted his booger booty on their chest. In fact, he didn’t even really sit on them, he actually fell to his knees so clearly his opponent wasn’t taking any of his weight. Simply terrible, and like Bastion Booger himself, hard to watch.
Cobra: This originally made it onto my list, yet when I thought about it, I don’t really hate it as much as most people seem to. Santino was a comedy gimmick, and the Cobra is just a part of that. Sure, it’s fucking ridiculous, nowhere near believable enough to finish a match, and if I had to job to that move I’d feel like my career had reached an all-time low, but it was all just a bit of fun. Nobody at any point made this terrible strike seem like it was utterly destructive, like they did with the Samoan Spike and the Brain Chop, which saves it from placing on this list.
People’s Elbow: Now, as a move, the People’s Elbow is perfectly fine, it’s a bit of fun, yet when he’s using it to win world title matches, it feels a bit silly. And the thing is, unlike Santino, The Rock isn’t a comedy wrestler; sure, he’ll put a smile on anyone’s face when he’s on the mic, however in that ring, he’s supposed to be one of the best the company has ever seen, winning championships and main-eventing Wrestlemanias, making this ridiculous finisher seem rather out of place. Despite of all that, what stops this finisher from earning a place on the list is the fact that it’s undeniable how much the People’s Elbow excites a crowd – it’s not called “The Most Electrifying Move in Sports Entertainment” for nothing you know. A move that elicits so much passion and joy in people can’t be considered one of the worst.
The Worm: Although this move did actually place on my list of my Top 15 Favourite Finishers of All Time, I can’t deny that the actual striking part of this finisher is absolutely abysmal. Scotty’s dancing antics and fun save it from taking a place on the list, yet the falling chop earns it an honourable mention.
Leg Drop: The Leg Drop is one of the weakest finishing moves in history, as it is painfully clear that absolutely no weight lands on the receiver of the move. However, like the aforementioned People’s Elbow, the Leg Drop is rescued from a ranking on this list based on the fact a crowd would erupt whenever Hogan hit this move, meaning that although it doesn’t look painful, it clearly worked.
Battering ram Headbutt: The problem with this double team finisher is that it would actually work better without the second man. A regular headbutt is much more effective than one man locking a headlock onto his partner and then driving their head into an opponent. In all fairness, this was The Bushwhackers’ finisher, so it wasn’t exactly used to earn many victories. Plus, The Bushwhackers are supposed to be stupid, thus it’s pretty inevitable that their finisher will be a little stupid too. Also, on a personal note, The Bushwhackers were the first wrestlers I ever met when I was just a little boy wearing a purple knock-off WWF headband (there’s a polaroid of that moment hidden away somewhere), so there’s no way I can put them on this list.
It doesn’t get any worse than this: overly complicated, awkward to execute, ridiculous, and it looks completely painless. You know a finishing move is truly terrible when the receiver is dealt basically no damage as their head lands completely on the back of their opponents knee, whilst the person delivering the Playmaker/Overdrive has to slam their own knee directly into the mat to pull it off, meaning that they absorb the majority of pain from their own finisher. Whenever Carlito, Orton, or MVP attempted to pull it off, it looked as though they were struggling just to get their leg and opponent into position, so when a move doesn’t even have a smooth set-up, it is doomed from the start. Understandably, Randy and Carlito casted aside the Overdrive in pretty quick fashion, whereas MVP actually kept using the move for the majority of his WWE run. Despite three big names all using it at one point to finish their matches, nobody is eager to claim this move as their own, or even have us remember that they used it, and I can completely understand why.
So those are my worst finishers of all time. Want to tell me how terrible my choices are? Leave a comment below or tweet abuse to me @hairywrestling.
For more finishers lists, both good and bad, click this link.