The biggest news to come around this week has been the release of the cards for the New Japan/Ring of Honor shows next month. And while they look very cool, there’s not much to talk about just yet. The other news story of note was some scuttlebutt that Seth Rollins finisher, the Curb Stomp, was being “banned,” or at least phased out. This was seemingly proven when he debuted a new finisher on Raw, a faceplant DDT, where the opponent takes the exact same bump he would if he had been Curb Stomped instead. So I don’t know if or why it would be changed, but it got me thinking on wrestlers finishers.
My favorite finisher of all time is easily the Tombstone Piledriver. It shows off the strength of the user, and dropping someone on their head is usually a pretty good finish. The move itself makes sense in that it would be more damaging then a regular piledriver since victim’s entire body weight is added to the move. I’m also a big fan of the Diamond Cutter/RKO. While DDP could hit it anytime, anywhere, Randy Orton has turned it into an art. I’m not a fan of Orton as a wrestler or his character, but I love that RKO. My ideal scenario is just for Orton to randomly run around, giving the RKO to people, then leaving.
Aerial finishers are always fun too. There are some damn impressive athletic moves out there, from 630 senton splashes to the Phoenix Splash, but my favorite is the relatively simple Shooting Star Press. Evan Bourne/Matt Sydal hits a picture perfect SSP every time. And that’s the most important thing for aerial finishers for me. Can a guy hit it perfectly every time? A perfect example would be John Morrison/Johnny Mundo. His springboard corkscrew moonsault should be an awesome move, but he often doesn’t twist enough, or doesn’t hit them square on the body. I don’t believe it’s a good finish if your move barely hits the guy.
There are also submission finishers, a personal favorite of mine. Daniel Bryan uses a crossface variation that’s pretty neat, but it’s hard to beat the Crippler Crossface when done by He Who Must Not Be Named. My favorite submission is probably the Dragon Sleeper, which no one does anymore. A successful submission needs to be snug to be believable, and working over the body part in question is always a plus. This is why the STF from John Cena is so weak. He never works the leg before putting the move on, then just kind of lays on top of the guy, hugging him from behind. To make the STF work, you have to get those arms around the guys head, and Cena doesn’t do that at all.
Strike finishers seem to be getting more and more popular. There’s always been a few around, but now it seems like half the roster has a striker for a finisher. Bryan’s flying knee, Wade Barrett’s Bullhammer, Roman Reigns’ Spear, Sheamus’ Brogue Kick, I could go on. I’m kind of over the whole thing really. Some of them are ridiculous, like the Big Show’s KO Punch. It’s just a punch. That’s it. A few weeks ago on Raw, the announcers were yelling about if the punch Big Show just threw was a KO Punch. If your finishing move looks exactly like a regular move, it’s not going to work for me.
I can’t over-emphasize how important it is for finishers to actually end matches. When everyone starts kicking out of every finisher, it devalues the move. For a long time, no one kicked out of the Tombstone. When Undertaker hit it, the match was over. As Undertaker went on his streak of great Wrestlemania matches, the Tombstone started losing it’s value. A kick out of a finisher can be dramatic, but by the time he fought CM Punk at Wrestlemania 29, you knew just one Tombstone wasn’t enough. The first time he hits the move, I just shrugged, knowing it wasn’t going to be over. This hurts the move. Nowadays, I never expect an Attitude Adjustment to win a match for example, and when it does, it just makes the person losing look weak.