There are few things more important to making a star in the wrestling industry than the finishing move. Entrance, look and promo ability are all arguably equally important to success, but without a finishing move, a wrestler has nothing. Some finishing moves have gone down in infamy because of their difficulty or danger (e.g. the Canadian Destroyer or sit-out pile driver), and some will live on forever as iconic moves that have helped shaped the business or create moments that will never be forgotten (e.g. the Stone Cold Stunner, the RKO or the People’s Elbow).
Unfortunately for the wrestling business, there are only so many moves that wrestlers can perform, and some moves that were once heavily protected finishers are used at will (the Young Bucks and their Superkick Party come to mind), and this has ruined the sanctity of some finishers in WWE today.
There is definitely a mixture of successful and downright terrible finishing moves in the WWE today. Here are the 10 best and 5 worst.
15 Asuka Lock – Asuka
When she came to NXT as Kana, Asuka was one of the biggest international signings in the history of the WWE, and she has quickly proven why, by running roughshod over the entire NXT Women’s division on her way to taking the title from perennial crowd favorite Bayley. Whether Asuka is putting her opponents away via KO with her spin kick, or with her devastating submission that forced Bayley to tap out, there is no one on the NXT roster capable of stopping her. When she does go to her submission, no one has yet escaped, as it is a very unique and innovative way to choke an opponent out, getting it a spot on this list due to sheer creativity and how original it is compared to the plethora of submission finishers that have come before it.
14 GTS – Hideo Itami
While the Go To Sleep was popularized in America by CM Punk, the inventor of the move was Hideo Itami (known as KENTA at the time), and every NXT fan was aware of this upon his arrival in WWE. For months and months when he was using a running kick to finish his opponents, the fans were waiting for him to pull the GTS out, and it was teased many, many times, but was never hit on television. That all changed at NXT Takeover: Back 2 Brooklyn when he saved No Way Jose from Austin Aries, and finally hit the GTS to a rapturous ovation. Going forward, this gives Itami another layer of danger in his move set, as he is already one of the stiffest strikers in NXT, and it gives him the option to put opponents away in a variety of ways, but none are better than the GTS.
13 Muscle Buster – Samoa Joe
Although he unfortunately injured Tyson Kidd in what could be a career ending injury, Joe’s muscle buster, which he has used in Ring of Honor, TNA & NXT remains one of the most devastating and best looking finishers in the entire wrestling industry. There have been many criticisms of how dangerous the move is, especially with the aforementioned injury and all the concussion issues in spot today, but it still looks like a legit finisher, and plays well to Joe’s character, which he has been playing perfectly since a 2015 heel turn on Finn Balor. The Samoan Submission Machine will hopefully be on the main roster soon after dropping his title to Shinsuke Nakamura, and it would be nice to see him deliver the devastating Muscle Buster to the likes of Roman Reings, Seth Rollins and AJ Styles.
12 Bank Statement – Sasha Banks
The Bank Statement is a combination of a back stabber into a cross face type submission, and is possibly the coolest looking finisher in the entire WWE Women’s division, finishing opponents like Bayley, Becky Lynch and Charlotte. It is quite a unique finisher and one that can come out of no where for one of the most athletic female competitors in the history of WWE, as it adds another layer to the depth of The Boss’s character, as she incorporates a devastating submission finisher in with all her high flying moves. While Sasha may be out for now, with Bayley taking her place in the Women’s Championship picture, expect her to be back soon, utilizing one of the most crowd popping finishers in WWE today to regain her Championship, hopefully on the way to a WrestleMania singles match with Bayley.
11 Helluva Kick – Sami Zayn
The Helluva Kick looks incredibly athletic and especially devastating, which makes it all the more impactful that it comes from a man the size of Sami Zayn, in which he attempts to kick the head off his opponents shoulders while they are leaning in the corner. It can come out of nowhere (maybe not to the extent of the RKO, but still), and has been used by Sami his entire career up until the WWE and is now one of the better finishes in the WWE. Zayn is currently being criminally underused by WWE, but over all has one of the most diverse and exciting move sets in wrestling, and the story telling ability in the ring to make him a key star of the new era, as he has all of the necessary traits described in the introduction. His Helluva kick has put out the best like Neville, Kevin Owens and Rusev, and the former El Generico will hopefully be Helluva Kicking his way to championship gold before long.
10 RKO – Randy Orton
The RKO gained more fame through thousands of internet memes a year ago, adding to the credence that it is one of the most lethal and surprising finishing moves in the history of the WWE. It has been around for over a decade, and Orton can still surprise his opponents and hit the devastating move from out of nowhere, and although it couldn’t get the job done against Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam, it had many fans believing Orton could pull out a victory. What gives it an extra level of ferocity is the fact that Randy has hit it on many opponents through tables, announce tables, steel steps and chairs, making it both incredibly dangerous and versatile.
9 Grand Amplitude – American Alpha
The only tag team move to appear on this list is one of absolute beauty and devastation, as much like everything else American Alpha has done in their debut year together, it has got over with fans and won them plenty of matches. The assisted suplex from Jordan to Gable is one of the most exciting finishes from the most promising team WWE has had in years, and rounds them out as one of the most polished tag teams in the entire world. While the team of Gable and Jordan don’t have the deepest roster of competition to face them on Smackdown, there is no doubting that they have no competition in WWE when it comes to tag team chemistry and moves, especially considering they have only been a team for a year. Whether they win the Smackdown Tag Team Championships soon or in the future, there is no doubting that a lethal Grand Amplitude will be the catalyst.
8 Phenomenal Forearm – AJ Styles
When AJ Styles arrived in WWE at the Royal Rumble, long time fans of his were ecstatic, and could not wait to see him show off the moves that made him an absolute star, and quite possibly the best wrestler to never wrestle for WWE. His wide array of moves has been on full display in the following 8 months, everything from his signature springboard 450 splash, to his famous Styles Clash, but the move which has looked the best and put away most opponents wasn’t even a finisher on the indies, the Phenomenal Forearm. Putting his signature Styles touch on otherwise regular moves has made Styles stand out from the pack, and made him the MVP of the main roster thus far this year. While some may think using his forearm as a finisher was silly after the vast amount of moves he finished opponents with in the past (Calf Crusher, Styles Clash, Spiral Tap, etc.), there is no doubting that it has become one of the most lethal and best looking finishers in WWE today.
7 Red Arrow – Neville
Neville has lacked character development and depth in his time with the WWE main roster, and has often been criticized for only having a finisher, as it is all WWE seem to focus on during his matches, but what a breath taking finisher it is! The Red Arrow is a corkscrew Shooting Star Press of sorts, and the former PAC performs it with absolute easy, making WWE fans think that they could probably do it, he makes it look that simple. His matches rely on this finisher though, as he has often been asked to work matches with absolutely no meaning or consequence, therefore hitting the Red Arrow is the only true importance or story in the match, but with the Cruiserweights arriving on RAW in just a few short weeks, perhaps Neville will have the opportunity to expand on his jaw-dropping move set, and show management and the WWE Universe that he is more than a one trick pony.
6 Kinshasa – Shinsuke Nakamura
There has been no better performer since his arrival in April in WWE than the King of Strong Style (maybe AJ Styles), and many worried that his strong style and unique look/move set would be watered down in WWE. These worries were put to bed immediately however, as he tore the house down in Dallas with Sami Zayn, using every part of his character that made him a star in New Japan Pro Wrestling, all the way down to the most devastating knee strike in the game. While the name has changed from Boma Ye to Kinshasa, nothing else has, as it has put down the best NXT has to offer like Sami Zayn, Austin Aries, Finn Balor and Samoa Joe. Simply put, the move is amazing. It is incredibly devastating, looks like it would genuinely put an opponent away, and suits the crazy charismatic character than Nakamura portrays, and you would be hard pressed to find many fans who don’t see it as one of the best finishers in WWE today.
5 Superkick – Dolph Ziggler
While the Super kick is one of the most iconic moves in wrestling history, perfected by arguably the best wrestler of all time, Shawn Michaels, it is so over used through the entire wrestling landscape, even in WWE that to use it as a finishing move in 2016 just doesn’t give it the same importance. Ziggler still has his ‘Zig Zag’, but in recent times has been finishing matches with the famous super kick, even defeating the Phenomenal AJ Styles with it to become #1 contender for the WWE Championship at Summerslam. With stars like Kevin Owens, the Young Bucks and most former independent stars in WWE opting to use this as a mid match transition move, Ziggler should put it away as a finisher and bring something new to the table, with hopefully a fresh, new, exciting heel persona.
4 Spear – Roman Reigns
Similar to the last entry, the spear has been used by many legendary performers like Edge, Batista and Goldberg, and for a performer who has often been criticized for his boring over use of moves, perhaps Roman should try find something a little more original or fresh to help that perception. The complaint from fans has been the pushing of Reigns as the company’s top baby face, and the over reliance on two moves (the spear and the Super man punch) have definitely not helped fans opinions, as similar to Ziggler, Reigns needs to find a new attitude and a new finishing move, as he could go down as one of the best heels of this entire generation. Whether this happens or not, there is no doubting Reigns has improved significantly as a performer, but his finish just leaves a little to be desired, and while this may not be what is stopping the fans from getting behind him, it is a small, contributing factor.
3 Attitude Adjustment – John Cena
John Cena has been using his FU/AA as a finisher for over a decade, and it has been one of the most decisive finishing moves in that time, finishing some of the greatest performers of all time. This, however, is due to the standing of Cena in the company as ‘the Face that runs the Place’ rather than the finisher itself, as it is one of the weakest looking moves used in the WWE, who have a history of watering down plenty of moves used in the wider wrestling landscape. While kicking out of the AA (see: Summerslam 2016 with AJ kicking out of a super AA) can be an incredible moment, as many amazing false finishes to matches have involved this process, the move itself is weak, boring to see after all this time and just plain predictable. While Cena, unlike the others probably doesn’t have time or the need to change it, there’s no doubting it is one of the worst finishing moves in the business today.
2 Rear View – Naomi
When this worst finishing move conversation comes up, the first move many bring up is the Rear View from Naomi, and while it has been rarely used in recent memory, it is still without a doubt one of the weakest and worst looking finishing moves in WWE history. To put it simply, Naomi runs at her opponent and hits her with her rear end, a move which legitimately looks weaker than any move I’ve personally ever seen, she would be better off finishing matches by using a simple arm drag or a side head lock. The former Funkadactyl has looked to reinvent herself with a fresh new look and entrance now that she is competing in the Smackdown exclusive women’s division, and hopefully she has found a brand new finisher to complete her transition into a serious competitor.
1 Glorious Bomb – Bobby Roode
Until recently, the Rear View was hands down the worst finisher in WWE, that is until Bobby Roode made his glorious debut at NXT Takeover: Back to Brooklyn, as he finished Andrade “Cien” Almas with a simple pump handle slam, which was a huge anti climax after what the two had been throwing at each other for the past 5-10 minutes. It’s a little criticism on one of the most polished and impressive veterans in the wrestling business, but if he truly aims to take NXT to new heights, Roode may need to look for a more impressive and effective finish to matches for the rest of the title picture to truly take him seriously. There is plenty of time to correct this, as Roode has only just recently arrived, and this was his only match so far for the developmental promotion, so hopefully he can find a more vicious and dominant move to put opponents away with.