The wrestling finisher is, was, and always will be the money shot of professional wrestling. It's the move everyone wants to see their favorite wrestler pull off and, much like a home run in baseball, a knockout in boxing, or a penalty shot in hockey, nothing brings a crowd to their feet faster than a well timed finisher. There are some absolute great finishers out there, like Sister Abigail by Bray Wyatt, Styles Clash by A.J. Styles, and the RKO by Randy Orton. Those are the kinds of moves that will get a crowd to its feet in no time.
The finisher has changed so much over the years. In the 80s, the finisher was just that, it was the final blow after a long grueling battle. Randy Savage's flying elbow was a thing of beauty, Arn Anderson and Jake "The Snake" Roberts revolutionized the DDT. The Flip Flop and Fly by Dusty Rhodes was weak but for the time was cool to watch. Bret Hart's Sharpshooter is still used today by various wrestlers and the greatest of all time. "Nature Boy" Ric Flair and his use of the figure four leg lock has made it one of the more popular moves today.
The finisher now has become a devastating move that needs to be impressive and can end a match or interview at any time. They've got fun names now like the F-5 or The Attitude Adjustment or The Pedigree. In today's reality era they need to be flashy yet believable. The average fan wants to be entertained, but they also want to buy in and believe that thid move could really knock a guy out for a three count. However, there are some finishers that are just pathetic. Some finishers that are insulting to the fans intelligence, or are so over the top with a massive build up that the end result is just a let down. So, lets take a look at the 15 least impressive or just plain unrealistic finishers in wrestling history.
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15 The KO Punch - Big Show
This is one move that would have been incredibly impressive in 1985, but is just embarrassing in 2015. Paul "Big Show" Wight is a legend in the wrestling business, a future Hall of Famer and for 20 years he has done more in wrestling then most people ever have and that includes switching between heel and face. He has switched allegiances so often that he doesn't even know what side he is on. In the early part of his career he switched finishers almost as often. Now, understandably so, a man of his size is limited to power moves and the chokeslam. When he used the Final Cut and Show Stopper as his finishers, they were not great either but at least they were believable. In 2007, Big Show left for a time and when he returned the story was that he was training to be a boxer. Since then we have been subjected to one of the lamest right hooks in wrestling history.
14 The Lethal Injection - Jay Lethal
The cutter, throughout history, has been one of the greatest finishers in wrestling. Randy Orton with the RKO and Diamond Dallas Page with the Diamond Cutter made this move into an impressive finisher that could truly come from nowhere and end a match. However, Jay Lethal took that move and managed to make it a one dimensional finisher that can be done one way and one way only, in the middle of the ring. In order to perform his finisher, Lethal must run to the ropes, do a springboard hand stand and hit the cutter. As devastating as the cutter is, the set up makes this the worst variation of the cutter we've ever seen.
13 The Rear View - Naomi
The state of the women's division in the WWE has been less then ideal for many years. The women have been considered more eye-candy then wrestlers since Trish Stratus, Lita, Mickie James, and Gail Kim either retired or moved on. Regardless of their talent, the Divas of the WWE have not been taken seriously as wrestlers for the better part of a decade and this finisher by Naomi is one of the reasons why. Can someone please explain how a running booty bump to the face is going to be devastating? Now if the Big Show would do it that would not only be impressive but would make him someone that is much watch attraction.
12 The Rooster Wing - Red Rooster
As mentioned in the opening, the 80s were a much different time for finishers, but a horrible move is horrible in any era. The submission move when done correctly can transcend time and be just as impressive in 2016 as it was in 1979. The Sharpshooter, The Figure Four Leglock and The Crossface are still used today and just as impressive. However, The Rooster Wing is not one of the impressive ones. The move is a lifting hammer lock,usually being lifted up the Roosters back. We're sure there is some pain associated with it, but when a guy has just been "punched in the face' for 15 minutes, we're not sure this is the one move that would make him say "I quit."
11 Cobra Strike - Santino Marella
We don't know what was more ridiculous, the fact that his finisher was essentially a slap to someones chin or the set up where he would slap his wrist, then his elbow, then turn his hand and yell "Cobra!" Since he was a comedic wrestler, it is understandable that he needed to have a finisher that the fans could laugh about. And a weak finisher is something that makes the audience chuckle and adds to your character. Unfortunately in the land of the tough guy, it doesn't really work all that well. Then, when you take into account that he would sometimes talk to his finisher, it just makes it all the more embarrassing.
10 Samoan Spike - Umaga
The reason that this ranks higher than the Cobra Strike is because Umaga was billed as a destructive unstoppable force. Essentially all strikes to the face and neck are really weak. In wrestling, a man can get hit in the face repeatedly with punches and kicks and shake it off like nothing happened. But take a taped thumb and jam it into the side of his neck and we're supposed to believe that knocked him out? It's pretty sad that a man who was supposed to be as feared as Umaga couldn't have had a signature splash or run into the corner while his opponent is in the Tree of Woe. Instead, we got the Samoan Spike.
9 Coup De Grace - Finn Balor
As a founding member of Bullet Club and a star in New Japan Pro Wrestling, Finn Balor, then going by Prince Devitt, was considered one of the best wrestlers on the planet. Expectations were high when it was rumored that he had signed with the WWE to join their developmental territory NXT. One of the best finishers of all time, Bloody Sunday, was coming to WWE. Bloody Sunday is a single arm lifting DDT where the opponent is lifted straight up in the air and dropped on their head. Instead, we got a double foot stomp off the top rope with a fancy name.
8 The People's Elbow - The Rock
The most electrifying man in sports entertainment. The man with so much charisma he makes most of the guys in WWE today look like Lance Storm. For the majority of his run as The Rock he used the Rock Bottom, which is a pretty cool finisher. Somewhere along the line, he decided that was not enough to finish the match, so he took his mid match signature move and made that one of his finishers. Now, don't get me wrong. The fans love it and it gets them to their feet, but how is an elbow drop to a man's pectoral muscle emphasized by running and bouncing of the ropes enough to knock someone out for a count of three?
7 Discus Clothesline - Luke Harper
The clothesline has been used as a finisher for years, from the springboard clothesline to the diving clothesline, and most wrestlers have their own take on it. JBL may have had the best one with his Clothesline from Hell. If that was the best, this is easily the worst. For some reason, we are to believe that spinning around at the last second gives Harper more momentum and can make the clothesline a more powerful move than the normal clothesline. We're starting to think that the spinning around just activates the sweat stain on the front of his shirt and that its smell is what actually knocks his opponents out.
6 Claymore - Drew Galloway
During his time in the WWE Drew used one of the most impressive double underhook DDT's we've ever seen, with The Future Shock. Since leaving the WWE and joining TNA, that has become a mid match move and since replaced by The Claymore. This consists of essentially a one legged drop kick, made worse by his occasional lead up where he stands in the corner, begs his opponent to get up and then stomps his foot like he's Shawn Michaels about to deliver Sweet Chin Music. Sidekicks and big boots could make you feel like the match was over because those are usually a kick to the face, but a single legged drop kick to the chest just doesn't feel devastating.
5 The Running Powerslam - British Bulldog
The powerslam on its own is an incredibly impressive move, especially when done to a larger opponent. When done by a larger opponent, it looks devastating enough to keep someone down for three seconds. We realize that each wrestler tries to make it their own by adding a little of their own touch to it, but the reason such an impressive move is on this list is because of the running part. The reason it is so high is because Davey Boy's running was instead taking three steps before delivering it. We guess The Walking Powerslam doesn't strike as much fear in your opponent as a running one would.
4 Heart Punch - Crush
The Heart Punch is not only a horrible move to use as a finisher, it's just a horrible move in general. In reality, a blow to the chest can stop a heart from beating but it is more a fluke then the norm. There is a 15 millisecond window where if the object that is striking the chest is moving between 40-60 miles an hour, that it could indeed stop your heart. That is the part that makes it so ridiculous. Are we supposed to believe the WWE would allow Crush to kill another opponent in the middle of the ring just to win a match? We are supposed to buy into the moves and the pain, but it's impossible to believe that someone in a organized reality, even one as violent as professional wrestling, would allow that to happen on a nightly basis.
3 The Worm - Scotty 2 Hotty
This move was cool when he was a part of Too Cool with Bryan Christopher and it was a mid match thing. but when it became his finisher, it became more unbelievable then the five knuckle shuffle. First of all, we are supposed to believe that an opponent would be knocked out long enough to not cover him, but lay there motionless while Scotty runs in place, hops on one foot while the crowd spells out W.O.R.M, then proceeds to do the worm before standing up and waving his arms and giving a punch to the top of his opponents head. In a real fight, which is what we are supposed to believe this is, we would've been knocked out by the time he got to "O."
2 Khali Chop - The Great Khali
We could do a whole article on why The Great Khali never should have been a wrestler in the first place, much less a WWE champion (in fact, I may pitch my editor on that idea). The fact that this move was performed just as slow as the KO punch and was less believable makes it twice as lame. A shot to the head is in all reality is very dangerous, it could cause a concussion and knock a person out. A chop to the head by the Great Kahli looks like it would hurt about as much as getting hit in the stomach with a down feather pillow.
1 Leg Drop of Doom - Hulk Hogan
This is another wrestler we could probably do a whole article on. Hulk Hogan is a true legend and the one man that was honestly bigger then the sport. Stone Cold Steve Austin may be the most popular wrestler in the history of the WWE but we are almost 20 years past Hogan's prime and if he walked out the place would still explode. That being said, he had easily the worst finisher of any era. The lead up to it with the Hulking up and no selling punches, the finger shake, the three punches, the big boot, and then the Leg Drop? Well that was great when I was 11, not so great by the time I was 20. And to make things worse, when WCW realized that the leg drop wasn't working anymore as a believable finisher. they renamed it the Leg Drop of Doom. Surprisingly we still didn't buy it.
So that's my list. Did we miss any? Were there any that should not have been included? Let us know in the comments section below.
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