As of late, the state of tag team wrestling has seemed to be on the upturn after years of sub-par matches and teams. With teams like the Usos, the American Wolves, Goldust and Stardust and others bringing excitement back to tag team wrestling, it brings back memories of when there were numerous teams in various promotions vying for tag team gold. They had synchronized attire, complimentary movesets, and to top it off, a finisher that would lay waste to their opponents. These were the moves that when fans saw the setup coming, got out of their seats in anticipation of what was going to happen next. They knew as soon as a team hit their finishing move, the match was all over. Better yet, these moves could come from anywhere in the ring, with high flying takedowns to devastating slams. These finishers were designed to be game enders and that is exactly what these mentioned in the ranking are.
So with that in mind we decided to look back and rank the greatest tag team finishers of all time. The moves listed were chosen based on a variety of factors including originality, effectiveness, and how cool the move looked when hit, among other things. These are the moves that helped define these tag teams and made them so memorable to fans. Alongside that, the moves had to fit with the personalities of the teams using the move, as it would help establish the teams with the fans, whether it be a catchy name or how the move was executed, just something to attract fans to the team.
So please read, enjoy this ranking, and feel free to share your thoughts or feelings concerning other finishers that you felt should have made the list down in the comments section.
15. Sky Lift Slam – The Spirit Squad
While the team gimmick was pretty ridiculous, the Spirit Squad definitely worked as a cohesive group. Their finisher showed as such and worked well with their male cheerleader gimmick as they would all grab a single opponent and lift him into the air before slamming him into the ground. The move looked good as the victim would be raised up and down before being slammed, and with the idea that these were supposed to be male cheerleaders, the move looked similar to that of a traditional cheerleading maneuver.
14. Rock ‘N’ Sock Combination – Mandible Rock Bottom
One of the most unlikely teams in WWE history, former rivals The Rock and Mankind made an incredible team that found a way to make their differing styles work together. Their finisher was pretty straightforward as Mankind would lock the Mandible Claw on an opponent before releasing him into the waiting arms of the Rock who would hit the opponent with the Rock Bottom. The move, while being a combination of two established finishers, was effective because it made the cohesion between teammates work and showed that their styles could mesh together in order for them to be victorious.
13. X-Mark – Shawn Michaels & Triple H
Another finisher that blended two established moves together, the X-Mark was a devastating finisher established by the founding members of Degeneration X, Shawn Michaels and Triple H. Michaels would begin the maneuver by hitting an opponent with Sweet Chin Music, sending the opponent into Triple H who would usually kick the person in the gut and hit the Pedigree. While the move did cause fans to suspend their disbelief in seeing a person still standing after receiving the Sweet Chin Music, the move still comes off as effective as well as looking cool in how fluid the move occurs. ONly one man managed to kick out of this deadly combination.
12. Spike Piledriver – The Brain Busters
The Brain Busters a.k.a. Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard were a tough duo who were all business in and out of the ring. Their finisher was just as serious as their opponent would be put in a move that seemed like it could bust their brain, the Spike Piledriver. Back when piledrivers were used more commonly then today. This particular piledriver that adds to the danger and pain to the victim was hard to watch at times when the opponent was pushed down harder into the piledriver, crashing onto his head and neck.
11. Extreme Leg Drop – The Hardy Boyz
A move that added high flying to the mix, the Hardy Boyz’s Extreme Leg Drop looked absolutely painful. One Hardy would climb to the top turnbuckle while the other grabbed the opponent’s legs and spread them wishbone style. As the one would leap from the turnbuckle to hit a leg drop, the other would do the same between the opponent’s legs, both hitting at the same time. The move was great in how well choreographed it was and the apparent impact that it left on the opponent was evident, plus the move was definitely extreme and kept in line with the image that the Hardy’s were carrying.
10. Demolition Decapitation – Demolition
One of the two teams along with the Legion of Doom to redefine tag team wrestling with their over the top outfits and characters, Demolition were a sight to behold. Coming to the ring decked out in leather and spikes , wearing masks reminiscent of Lord Humongous from the film The Road Warrior, Demolition took the WWE Tag Division by storm. Their finisher was designed to be as deadly. When they hit the Demolition Decapitation, you knew the match was over. Combining a backbreaker and an elbow drop, the Decapitation delivered on the idea that the target was going to lose his head if hit by the maneuver.
9. Total Elimination – The Eliminators
For a tag team’s finisher to be truly effective, both members of the team have to work in perfect harmony, which is very evident in the case of the Eliminators and their Total Elmination finisher. A simple move consisting of a low sweep kick from Saturn and a spinning heel kick from Kronus hitting the opponent from opposite directions at the same time, the Total Elimination worked well in how it took the Eliminators’ opponents out of competition. The finisher itself was a testament to how well Perry Saturn and John Kronus worked together as a team since the move required absolute precision on both their parts in order for the move to be effective and look good at the same time.
8. Hart Attack – The Hart Foundation
Another move that relied on the strengths of each team member, the Hart Attack was a straightforward but powerful finisher for the Hart Foundation. Using Jim Neidhart’s power and Bret Hart’s speed, the Hart Attack is a smothering finisher that gives the intended target no chance to breathe, literally. With the move being started after Neidhart locks the target up in a bearhug, Hart would begin the process of bouncing off the ropes before coming back towards Neidhart and the target, hitting him with a clothesline. Even watching the finisher happen makes you feel like the wind is being knocked out of you, which makes it seem that much worse on the target.
7. Broken Arrow – World’s Greatest Tag Team
An inventive move utilized by a truly underappreciated tag team, the Broken Arrow is a great mixture of finesse and pain. Charlie Haas would drape his opponent over the ropes while Shelton Benjamin would bounce off the opposite ropes before leapfrogging over Haas and landing on the back of the opponent. The move looks absolutely painful, especially coming from someone who has had back pain in the past, seeing a human body bend in a way it was never really intended to. Also seeing Benjamin fly over his partner’s head to crash into the opponent looks fantastic and adds to the great teamwork shown by Benjamin and Haas inside the squared circle.
6. DWI – Beer Money, Inc.
As one of the most dominant tag teams in TNA history, it stands to reason that Beer Money, Inc. would have an equally dominant finisher. The DWI or Drinking While Investing, was a perfect finisher for the pair of technical brawlers. As James Storm would lift an opponent up for a powerbomb, Bobby Roode would prep the target for a neckbreaker at the same time. The moves complimented each other very well to come off as fluid and devastating at the same time, leaving the victim of the move no real room for escape or any chance of kicking out after being put through the maneuver.
5. Con-Chair-To – Edge & Christian
Easily the dirtiest finisher on the list, the Con-Chair-To by Edge & Christian is absolutely devastating looking and appears painful as hell. Using two chairs, Edge & Christian created a finisher that seemed downright dangerous, especially in hindsight concerning wrestling and concussions. With them hitting an opponent in the head with a chair from opposite sides, the match was all but over for the other team. We’ll likely never see a move like this again, with WWE having banned chair shots to the head.
4. Double Chokeslam – Brothers of Destruction
The team of the Undertaker and Kane were a force to be reckoned with anytime they stepped into the ring for a tag match and when you saw them prepare for their double chokeslam finisher, you knew the match was about to be over. Seeing a wrestler be hoisted almost seven feet into the air by both men before being sent crashing down towards the canvas truly lent credence to the team name of Brothers of Destruction. The move also allowed for the team to have a finisher that while still using a move from their wheelhouse, was a move that could show of the wrestlers’ strength and cohesion as a team.
3. Force of Nature – The American Wolves
Probably one of the most inventive moves on the list, the Force of Nature by the American Wolves combines a traditional powerbomb with a Backstabber, all to a devastating effect. The physics of the move make the victim of the move is bent in a couple different directions as each part of the move is completed, making the move seem that much more destructive. The move is also original enough that it helps the Wolves to stand out in the wrestling landscape, even if WWE fans may not be familiar with the duo. That gives you fans even more reason to watch the great matches that they put on.
2. Doomsday Device – The Legion of Doom/Road Warriors
A truly classic finisher, the Doomsday Device was always a sight to behold during a Legion of Doom match. Hawk and Animal worked well with each other to make sure that not only did the move seem powerful and devastating, but that it also looked good to the fans as well. This is made more impressive when you think about the move and realize that despite being a combination of a clothesline from the top turnbuckle and an elevated backdrop, the Doomsday Device is one of the most recognizable finishers in all of wrestling, not just tag team wrestling.
1. Dudley Death Drop/ 3-D – The Dudley Boys
When starting this ranking I realized I needed a strong reason for whatever move I picked as the best tag team finisher. All of these moves are exciting, devastating, and many are pretty flashy, but the thing that really pushed the Dudley Death Drop or 3D to the front of the pack was its versatility. A combination of a flapjack and a cutter, the move can be hit from so many different angles or locations within the ring, similar to how Randy Orton has shown he can hit his RKO from almost anywhere. The Dudley Boys’ finisher is so impactful and can happen at a moment’s notice, which makes it so much better than moves that require a certain setup like the Doomsday Device or require a special object like a Con-Chair-To. The 3-D is as synonymous to the Dudleys as much as their use of tables, and the ability of D-Von and Bubba Ray to be able to nail an opponent with it no matter if they are rebounding from the ropes or standing still, makes it the greatest tag team finisher of all time.
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