Changing up your moveset is sometimes a necessity for a wrestler. If you come out and do the same thing every match for years and years, the fans will get bored of you pretty quickly. In the old days, you could probably get away with a routine, because fans weren't as exposed to the wrestlers, only seeing them perform about once a month. Fans weren't seeing their favorites on TV multiple times a week, so a wrestler's shtick took a while to get stale. Nowadays, a guy who was fresh one year ago could be stale as hell today.
Wrestlers all have to find a way to constantly re-invent themselves. Sometimes it's tweaking their gimmick, sometimes it's finding new ring attire, other times it's adding to their moveset. Plenty of performers have added to their moveset or changed it over the years to either stay fresh and/or prolong their careers.
Sometimes the move(s) added will include a tribute to a former legend and bringing back one of their signature moves. Look at Jake Roberts' DDT. Back when The Snake used it, it was a devastating finisher, but nowadays it's just another move. While it will look vicious most of the time, very few could quite capture what Roberts did.
Sometimes in a match, a wrestler will simply copy their opponent's signature move to add intrigue to a match. It could get a good pop to see a guy steal his opponent's signature move.
There are times though, when a new finisher/signature move introduced by a wrestler is a terrible edition of it. Many signature moves have been poorly executed by newbies over the years. Even great wrestlers may completely botch the move, as they may have never gotten proper instruction on how to execute it. Here are 15 wrestlers who failed when trying other finishers.
15 Michael Cole - Ankle Lock
Okay, so Michael Cole can barely even qualify as a wrestler. Still, he was inexplicably given a WrestleMania match and given Jack Swagger in his corner to look a little more credible. I sure hope it wasn't Swagger who taught Cole how to apply the Ankle Lock, or the Cole Lock, as Cole's version was incredibly weak. You'd come to expect that from an announcer with some spare tire (at the time) but perhaps the WWE would have been better off not assigning a finisher to Cole. Or just don't have him wrestle.
14 The Miz - Figure Four
It's clear Miz doesn't work as a babyface. He just doesn't really seem like a likable guy and it has reflected on the crowd whenever he was turned face. In his last face run, Miz got a bit of a rub from Ric Flair when he began using the Nature Boy's legendary Figure Four. Miz's version never seemed to be applied right. Usually the opponent's legs should cross at 90 degrees so there's pressure on the knee and thigh, but Miz's often had his opponent's feet and shins crossed, making it look more like a rest hold than a finisher.
13 Vince McMahon - Stone Cold Stunner
Vince McMahon was entertainingly sloppy in the ring. The man has no athleticism or coordination for a guy that's so built. It was pretty much a given that McMahon was going to make a move look bad when he executed it. While in a brief face run back in 1999, McMahon started using his old nemesis, Stone Cold's, Stunner. McMahon jumped so high, you thought his rear end would hurt a lot more than his opponent getting stunned. Either way it was hilarious to watch.
12 Jim Ross - Stone Cold Stunner
It made sense that if Jim Ross was going to use any move, it'd be his good friend Steve Austin's move. What didn't make sense was having good ol' J.R. ever wrestle, especially in a singles match. When Ross was wrestling the Coach for his announcing job back, he pulled out his friend's old move. Ross is no athlete and the Stunner lacked the viciousness Stone Cold possessed. Coach's sell was funny, but if you take finishers seriously, this one made you cringe.
11 Vickie Guerrero - Frog Splash
Look, I get it; Vickie Guerrero is not a wrestler, and that's not her fault. But who the hell thought it was a good idea for Vickie to attempt her late husband's legendary Frog Splash? While Eddie didn't perform the move as well as Art Barr, at least there was grace to it. I get what the WWE was thinking, that it'd be a great moment for Vickie to pay tribute to her husband, but this didn't look very flattering to the move. I think Vickie cutting great heel promos was a far better tribute to Eduardo Guerrero.
10 CM Punk - Macho Man Elbow
The late Macho Man Randy Savage's elbow drop has been used time and time again in different variations, but Punk used it as an outright tribute to one of his childhood favorites. He brought the move to his arsenal after Savage passed away in 2011. Punk's version saw him hang in the air a little too long, while Savage looked a lot more fluid and of course it looked a lot better with his huge elbow hitting an opponent's chest.
9 Owen Hart - Tombstone
This is the most painful entry to write, as this rendition of the Tombstone broke Stone Cold's neck and ultimately shortened his career. It's also hard to pick out a late great like Owen Hart, but the fact remains this was an ill advised way to do the Tombstone. Owen had done it before, in his match with Bret at WrestleMania X, but went to his knees, a much safer way to perform the move. For whatever reason, Owen dropped to his rear end on this one and the resulted were disastrous.
8 Edge - Spear
I'm not sure why Edge changed his signature move from the Impaler DDT to the Spear, but I was never a fan of Edge's version. The Spear should be used by guys who are pure powerhouses in the ring, like Goldberg, Rhyno, heck even the Big Show could use it. With Edge having a lankier frame, it just didn't look quite as menacing as the move had in the past. After Edge retired, Christian incorporated it into his arsenal and again, it just didn't look right.
7 Seth Rollins - Pedigree
I feel bad for Seth Rollins here, because he had a finisher people liked and it looked very convincing. To ask Rollins to do a move made famous by one of the greats of the business had to have been a very hard task. Maybe his version will get better over time, but it just pales in comparison to Triple H's version. The Curb Stomp was much more suited for Rollins' slimy heel character.
6 Stone Cold Steve Austin - Sharpshooter
Stone Cold and The Rock put on classics every time they tangled, but it seemed neither man could really grasp the Sharpshooter. Both men obviously had great respect for Bret Hart, but neither could duplicate the Hitman's legendary hold. Austin would often either drop too low or not low enough, making the move look very avoidable. Only a select few of guys broke Hart's Sharpshooter and it was believable. It looked like anybody could have broken Austin's.
5 John Cena - (Springboard) Stunner
I'll give John Cena credit for trying something new and really, he had an awesome 2015, proving to everybody he can wrestle and even have the best match of the night on a consistent basis. Something he should leave behind in 2015 is the Springboard Stunner. It reeks of a guy trying to do too much for the sake of a spot, rather than it having any place in a match. It's also a move incredibly easy to botch, which it has been. Stone Cold has called Cena out on it, saying if a version of his legendary Stunner is to be used, it shouldn't be as a throwaway in a match.
4 Everybody - DDT
You can't really call out a single guy for using the DDT because it's used by so many wrestlers today. It's become a routine move in a match and that's where my beef lies. If a DDT is going to be used in a match, it should lead to a pause in the match, not just a quick kickout at two to lead into another spot. Jake Roberts' character was cold and calculated, reflected in his DDT. It's not a move to be performed at 100 miles an hour just to be another spot in a match.
3 John Cena - STF
You would think that with the STF being his finisher, John Cena would have learned to execute it properly night after night by now. Invented by the late great Lou Thesz, the STF involves a wrestler wrapping his opponent's leg, leaning on his back and cinching up around the chin. Cena often doesn't cinch it up tight enough, and it looks like he's just showing off his forearm muscles, rather than hurting his opponent. Another move that he's been called out on by Stone Cold.
2 Shawn Michaels - Sharpshooter
What the hell is Shawn Michaels trying to do here? I don't know what it is, but it's not a Sharpshooter. The legs are crossed the wrong way and Michaels looks like he's doing everything in his power to not drop Hogan's legs. Michaels pulled out the Sharpshooter as a heel against Hogan in 2005 and it was about the ugliest sharpshooter ever seen. Michaels was even about to execute move incorrectly to set up the Montreal Screwjob, but Bret was there to correct him in the midst of the move. Imagine that.
1 The Rock - Sharpshooter
I don't think The Rock's sharpshooter was as bad as HBK's but The Rock used it more often, so you would have expected him to perfect the move after a while. It started at Survivor Series 1998 when WWE re-enacted the '97 Screwjob and the move stuck with The Rock.
He was very inconsistent with it, as it could look pretty one night and downright ugly the next. Sometimes the legs would be crossed the wrong way, other times it seemed he was hanging on for dear life with the move. Bret Hart was able to do the move on a 500-pound Yokozuna and wasn't nearly as strong as The Rock. The Hitman himself has called out The Great One on his execution of the move. Perhaps a tutorial is in order when The Rock decides to wrestle another match.