In wrestling, there is perhaps no more important tool in building a mega star than a good finishing move. The best ones are iconic - the Stone Cold Stunner, the RKO, Sweet Chin Music to name a few - and have brought to a close some of the most memorable matches in wrestling history. But, for every great finisher, there are those that leave audiences thoroughly unimpressed. Whether they don’t suit the wrestler in question, take too long to set up or simply don’t look that effective, a bad finishing move can be a death sentence for a wrestler’s career, leaving their matches flat and unexciting, turning the fans against them and destroying any hope of a successful run in any company. Wrestlers can go through several finishing moves before eventually deciding on the one they want to make their own, so it’s not uncommon for some wrestlers to be stuck on a bad finisher for some time before changing. However, in the case of these fifteen current WWE performers, the sooner they change their finisher, the better. Whilst some on this list need a finisher change to save their careers, others would probably do just fine with their current finishers, but, to really refine their characters, a change in their final move would be a welcome modification.
15 Bo Dallas
We’ll start with someone for whom a change of finisher could mean a rejuvenation in his career. Whilst this might sound insane given his current standings in WWE, Bo Dallas once held the record for the longest NXT Championship reign of all time at 280 days. Upon joining the main roster in May of 2014, Dallas embarked on a huge winning streak, going 17 matches undefeated until eventually losing to R-Truth (good choice there, WWE). Bo’s career stalled after that and he now finds himself as a certified jobber, rarely winning matches and seldom even appearing on TV. A change in finisher could be the kickstart that Dallas’ main roster career needs; the man proved himself in WWE’s developmental systems and, with the right booking, could be a big hit on the main roster. His current finisher, the Bo-Dog (a running, springboard bulldog), is fine and looks good when executed, but in a world where the Tornado DDT only puts people away for two, you have to admit that the Bo-Dog doesn’t quite stack up in terms of finishers. Whilst a change in moves probably won’t turn Dallas into a main eventer, it might give his career a much needed boost. Besides, let’s face it, anything’s worth a try after The Social Outcasts.
14 Tyler Breeze
Prince Pretty, The Sultan of Selfies, The King of Cuteville, Tyler Breeze is the man with the most ridiculous nicknames in pro wrestling today. A bona fide star in NXT, the supermodel gimmick adopted by wrestler Matt Clement (formerly known as Mike Dalton in Florida Championship Wrestling) was a real hit with the fans, always prompting a crowd reaction, and helping put Breeze in many big matches in NXT, including the main event of a Takeover special and the first (and to this day, only) WWE appearance of Japanese wrestling legend, Jushin Thunder Liger. Breeze’ main roster career has been less than spectacular, so this may be another case of a finisher change not being enough to save a career. Breeze’s current finisher, the Unprettier, is adopted from WWE legend Christian and whilst borrowing a move can garner a wrestler some attention, it ultimately robs them of their individuality and this is definitely the case with Breeze. A return to his old finisher, the Beauty Shot, would be fine, but, again, a new finisher isn’t going to put Tyler in the main event picture anytime soon, which is bad news for the Prime Minister of Pouts. Sorry, I thought I’d try my own one, won’t happen again.
It seems like it’s been a few centuries since R-Truth actually won a match, but the veteran continues to be very popular among the WWE audience, even if the words to his entrance theme don’t really make a lot of sense. Debuting in WWE all the way back in 2000, Truth has gone through plenty of finishers over a career that has included two Hardcore titles, a United States title and a tag team title in WWE, but none have been very memorable or inspiring. His current finisher is the Lie Detector, which has actually been the name of two of Truth’s finishers (a leaping reverse STO and a corkscrew forearm), but he has also used a corkscrew scissors kick and something called Lil Jimmy, during his weird “I can hear voices” phase. Whilst R-Truth may be in the final stages of his career and a change in finisher might be a little pointless, a consistent, effective manoeuvre to end his matches might give him a better change at some more important matches in the final few years of his WWE run. Or at least give him a tag team finisher with Goldust, because the Golden Truth seems to be official now. Great.
12 Nikki Bella
Nikki Bella is and forever shall be the longest reigning Divas Champion in history. Let that sink in for a second. Done? Good. This accolade was achieved in part due to her finisher, the Rack Attack, which, in all fairness, is one of the few lifting moves executed by WWE women on the main roster. Whilst the Rack Attack, a Backbreaker Rack Drop, is an impressive looking move, Nikki has to change it. Not because it looks bad, but because of her health. Nikki Bella was forced to take extensive time off at the end of 2015 following a potentially-career ending neck injury. Nikki has only made two TV appearances since that injury and has yet to wrestle, but she is set to return to the ring, however, due to the nature of her surgery, the Rack Attack is a move that she cannot use anymore. Nikki could go back to the Bella Buster finisher, also known as the X-Factor when used by X-Pac, the secret third Bella sister (I’m kidding, he’s a brother, duh), but something new for the returning competitor would give her plenty of momentum and draw plenty of attention.
11 Big Show
The Big Show is a giant and you shouldn’t forget it. Although, it is impossible to forget that, as WWE are constantly shoving that down our throats because it’s not like we don’t get subtle reminders of it every time he’s on screen; his nickname is “The World’s Largest Athlete”, the ring announcer says he “stands over seven feet tall” during every entrance and, according to his ring name, his first name is “big”. He’s a large man, we get it. Anyway, being large seems to give Show superhuman powers as, for years now, just one of his punches has been enough to floor any opponent. The K.O. Punch (formerly known as the W.M.D) has been Big Show’s finisher for nearly ten years now, yet it is incredibly dull; it’s literally just a punch, that’s it. I know WWE use it to play up Big Show’s strength and power, but why don’t his open-handed chops end a match? Or any of his other moves? Why just that one, specific punch? The single strike finisher has been a bone of contention among wrestling fans for years now; in the times of incredible moves like the Styles Clash, how can one punch end a match? Like R-Truth, Big Show’s career is soon to be over, but, to fully exploit his power while they still can, surely WWE can come up with a better move than just punching someone on the jaw.
The story of Charlotte’s run in WWE really has been one of two halves. In NXT, she was presented as the athletic, impressive babyface whose connection to her father, two-time WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair, was seldom mentioned and, if it was, was never exploited much on screen. However, following her ascension to the main roster and during her reign with the Divas championship, Ric Flair and his connection to Charlotte was shoved down the audience’s throats to the point where it was hard to see Charlotte as anything but Ric Flair’s daughter. This was reflected in her finisher; an adaptation of the move her father made famous, the Figure-Four Leglock. Charlotte is an incredibly talented performer who is more than capable of standing on her own two feet, but continually having her reference her father through her finisher is damaging to her presentation as a standalone wrestler. Whilst it’s fine for Charlotte to pay homage to her father through his move, Charlotte shouldn’t be held back by the connection to her father. Charlotte’s alternative finisher, Natural Selection, is being used more often since her storyline split from her father, which is a good sign. Charlotte’s use of the Flair name was an inevitable one, but let’s not becoming a total clone of her father. Can you imagine two Ric Flairs? No airport would be safe.
9 Jack Swagger
Rather ironic that a man whose name contains Swagger is known for his lack of charisma. Swagger was a hot prospect when he first debuted, winning the ECW championship, embarking on an initial undefeated run and winning Money in The Bank at WrestleMania 26, cashing it in five days later on Smackdown to become World Heavyweight Champion. Following this world title victory, Swagger would fade into the background, capturing the United States title in 2012, but other than that, Jack has yet to achieve anything remotely close to his world title win. Swagger’s original finisher, the Gutwrench Powerbomb, showed his power and linked back to his amateur background. However, following his “Real American” gimmick, Swagger’s finisher became the Patriot Lock, which is like an Ankle Lock, but it smells like apple pie and the opponent taps out to the tune of Star-Spangled Banner. The ankle lock has been used by plenty of wrestlers over the years and is already famous as the finisher of Olympic Gold Medallist, Kurt Angle. Having Swagger use the move robs him of any chance to make his own mark as a wrestler. He’s always going to be the guy who used Kurt Angle’s move and that’s no way to build a star. Swagger’s days a world champion may be over, but he’s still a capable performer who deserves more TV time. Changing his finisher or even just bringing back his old one would help rejuvenate Swagger’s career. Just, keep him away from the microphone, please.
8 Dolph Ziggler
The show-off, the show-stealer, the show-stopper, oh, wait, he’s not Shawn Michaels, he just thinks he is. The Dolph Ziggler character made his debut in 2008 and earned plenty of praise, winning numerous championships before exploding in 2012, winning Money In The Bank and cashing in the night after WrestleMania 29 in 2013 to claim the World Heavyweight Championship. Dolph has been stuck in limbo ever since an injury cut his title reign short and hasn’t really managed to achieve the same levels of success as he did a few years ago. This reflects in his finisher, or rather finishers. His traditional finisher, the Zig Zag, seldom sees action nowadays, with Ziggler often choosing to use the Superkick to finish off an opponent, often with the theatrics associated with WWE Hall of Famer, Shawn Michaels. Ziggler has all the tools to be a top star, but he desperately needs a character revamp in order to shake off years of being under used. A new finisher might just do the trick; something completely different from the Ziggler of the past to show that Dolph is truly heading in a new direction. Whether WWE will take a chance on Dolph after all these years is highly doubtful, but, if they were to, a change in his finisher might just help. Or, if all else fails, they could always put the Spirit Squad back together.
7 Nia Jax
The only NXT entrant on this list and maybe nothing to worry about – NXT is a developmental system after all – but it still warrants thinking about. Nia Jax made her NXT debut in October 2015, Jax’s size and unique look among the women of WWE made her perfect for the role of a monster heel, something seldom seen in WWE’s women’s division. Jax is a unique figure in WWE and you should imagine that her finisher would express that. However, her current finisher isn’t exactly what you’d expect from such a specimen; it’s a standing leg drop. Really? I mean, no offence, but I could do that, and Nia Jax could bruise me just by thinking about it. Nia Jax could be a huge star if handled properly, but her current finisher lacks imagination and, from a woman her size and with her power, really undersells her as an athlete. If WWE want people to see just how powerful Nia is, then they need to give her a finisher that shows this off. Jax is hopefully destined for a long and successful career, hopefully better than the last wrestler to use the leg drop as a finisher. What was his name again...?
6 The Miz
If someone had told you that a former reality TV star who was runner-up on Tough Enough in 2004 would go on to become a grand slam champion, main event WrestleMania as the world champion and defeat John Cena in that match, you’d have probably been institutionalized. But, this is exactly what has happened with Mike “The Miz” Mizanin, whose career has been one of the longest and most decorated in recent years. However, as time as passed, Miz has dropped down to the midcard and the treatment of his finisher, the Skull-Crushing Finale. The move that once beat Randy Orton for the WWE title is now being kicked out of on B-level Pay-Per-Views. When this is the case, it’s clear that a change is needed. It might be the case that Miz’s finisher has been used for so long that it’s become too iconic to change, but he is still the Intercontinental Champion, so he does need to be taken seriously. Whether an old finisher is revisited or a brand new one is created, it’s clear that Miz’s current finale is outdated and, therefore, needs to be replaced. Fun fact: Miz used to have a finisher called the “Mizzard of Oz”. That is brilliant. Bring that back.
5 Big Cass
You can’t teach being seven-foot-tall, but you might need to teach Colin Cassady a new finisher. Debuting as one half of the real-est guys in the room with Enzo Amore in 2013, Big Cass wowed audiences with his power, strength and athleticism and was a perfect complement to Enzo’s frantic, high-flying style. Since their move to the main roster and following Enzo’s devastating concussion at Payback 2016, WWE officials seem to be very high on Big Cass as a solo performer, which is the reason he is included on this list. As a team, Enzo and Cass’ finisher, the Bada Boom Shakalaka (yep, that’s what it’s called), is effective, with Enzo being aided by Cass in a top rope splash on a grounded opponent. But Cass’ two finishers as a solo performer, the Empire Elbow and East River Crossing, are less than impressive, seldom proving the final fall in a tag match and only gaining the three count when Cass is on his own. If WWE are to go ahead with Cass a solo performer, then a new finisher would be a good way to cement him as a rising star; a move that shows off Cass’ power and further emphasizes his enormous size. If his mic skills are sharpened up, then Big Cass could be a big star in the future. However, with such a huge following as a team, it would we stupid for WWE to break up Enzo and Cass for the time being. However, just because something is stupid, doesn’t mean WWE won’t do it.
Viewed by many as one of the most underrated female wrestlers in the world today, part of the reason as to why Naomi has never cracked the big time has to be her finisher. Debuting on the main roster as one half of the Funkadactyls with Cameron, Naomi spent most of the beginning of her career as a valet for the Funkasaurus, Brodus Clay. When she eventually broke away from Cameron, Naomi would spend most of her time managing her husband, Jimmy Uso, and his brother Jey’s tag team, before, finally, she broke out as a singles competitor and turned heel, bringing out a brand new side of Naomi that fans had been itching to see. Naomi’s finisher, the Rear View, involves her jumping into the air and hitting her opponent with her, well, rear view. And people wonder why she was never Divas Champion? Naomi is incredibly athletic and surely there must be a better move for her than the Rear View? This is a competitor who can perform a split-legged moonsault, please WWE, just give her something better than the butt attack.
3 Seth Rollins
The Architect, the man, cross-fit Jesus himself! Seth Rollins made a triumphant return to the ring at Money In The Bank and seems to have slotted back nicely into the main event scene that he dominated through most of 2015. Rollins is arguably one of the most popular and talented wrestlers on the roster today and the fans love to see him in action, so, it might be a surprise to you to see his name on this list. Rollins original finisher, the Curb Stomp, was an incredibly impressive move that earned Rollins a lot of popularity. However, due to the move’s targeting of the neck and head, it was banned, leaving WWE with no choice but to create a new one for Rollins. But, apparently, this was impossible, so they just gave him Triple H’s one instead. Whether this was to cultivate a feud between Rollins and Triple H that was ruined by Rollins’ injury last year will never be known, but it at least made sense for Rollins to use the move when he was under Hunter’s tutelage. However, since his return at Extreme Rules 2016, Seth has no connection to Triple H or The Authority, as Stephanie McMahon straight-up told him on Raw the week of his return. Now, Rollins using the Pedigree makes no sense; he’s lost his connection to Triple H and needs to stand on his own two feet with a finisher of his own. Rollins is highly capable of unleashing numerous high-flying attacks, but this style more suits the babyface wrestler and, at the moment, it’s hard to tell how WWE are booking Rollins. Whilst Rollins’ position on the roster is in the state of flux it is now, it’s hard to create a new finisher for him. But, when WWE do eventually turn him face, expect to see a Phoenix Splash or two grace a WWE ring from the man formerly known as Tyler Black. Ok, indie nerd moment over, back to the list.
2 Roman Reigns
Another former Shield member, only this one is slightly less popular. There have been very few men hand-picked to be the top star in WWE over the years; Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, Triple H, John Cena etc., and now we can add Roman Reigns’ name to that list. Since The Shield broke up in 2014, Roman has been pushed to the moon, winning the world title three times since Survivor Series last year and main eventing two WrestleManias back to back and looking set to dominate the main event scene for years to come. However, despite WWE trying to mark out Reigns as the next top guy, they insist on giving him a finisher that has been used to death in WWE. From Edge to Goldberg, from Kaitlyn to Stephanie McMahon, wrestlers who used the Spear is probably a list unto itself and having Reigns on that list robs him of a chance at individuality. Yes, the move can be impressive under the right circumstances, but if WWE want to get Reigns over, giving a finisher the fans have seen a million times before isn’t the right way to do. Reigns is powerful and strong, so any lifting move would look good, not to mention his quickness and athleticism, which opens up a whole other avenue for finishers. Whilst a change in finisher alone isn’t going to get the fans on Reigns’ side straight away, it might be a good way to start. At least, it will be, when he returns from suspension. Oh dear, Roman, you naughty boy.
1 Alberto Del Rio
It was pretty obvious this one was going to be top, wasn’t it? Alberto Del Rio is a multi-time world champion in WWE, a two-time United States Champion, Royal Rumble winner and Money In The Bank winner. He also ran over Santa Claus with his car on a Christmas episode of Raw once, but we won’t get into that now. In Del Rio’s initial run with WWE from 2010 to 2014, Del Rio’s finisher was the Cross-Armbreaker, a vicious looking rolling arm bar that would force most opponents to tap. However, when he returned to WWE in late 2015, the Armbreaker seemed to have disappeared as a finisher, replaced instead with a double stomp, executed to an opponent hanging from a Tree of Woe (upside down in the corner). The finisher does look like it would do some serious damage when it hits, but it takes so long to set up, is easily countered and is completely reliant on the opponent holding themselves in place. The Cross-Armbreaker was a great finisher; effective, easy to set up and tied in nicely with Del Rio’s MMA background. Combine this with the contrived nature and ineffectiveness of the double stomp and it is impossible not to make a case for Del Rio’s Armbreaker returning as his main finisher. He may be the Pride of Mexico, but if he keeps using that move, he won’t be for very long.