As the old saying goes: it doesn’t matter who did it first, but who did it best. Or something to that effect, get off my case already! Anyways, the point I’m trying to make is, wrestling has a finite number of moves, especially when it comes to finishers. The number of moves that look convincing enough to put a guy away for three is limited, so it’s no surprise when you see one wrestler bust out a move you swear you saw another wrestler do just a few moments ago. Whilst some moves become so iconic, there’s no way anybody could get away with stealing it, other moves are pretty much free to everybody and often end up being recycled or adopted by two wrestlers from two separate companies.
When it comes to competition, there can only ever be one winner and the same goes for finishers; a million wrestlers can use the same move and there would still only be one who could claim to be the best. So, when it comes to these fifteen famous moves, just who does it best? I know this going to be a difficult task and I can already feel the flame coming on in the comment section, but I don’t get paid to be safe. Actually, I get paid anyway, so I could just play it safe, but I like upsetting people. And on that note, it’s time to find out who did it better – here are fifteen pairs of wrestlers who used the same finisher and who did it best.
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33 Kurt Angle and Jack Swagger – Angle/Patriot Lock
One is an Olympic gold medallist renowned across the world for his work rate, devotion and story-telling. The other is Jack Swagger. Guess who’s going to win.
Kurt Angle debuted in the WWE in 1999 and quickly won the European and Intercontinental Championship just a few months after this, although he lost them both in the same match at WrestleMania 2000. Oops. Never mind though, as Angle would go on to have one of the most decorated careers of all time, winning the WWE, World Heavyweight, WWE Tag Team, Hardcore and WCW championships, as well as King of the Ring and he main evented WrestleMania XiX. Not too shabby, eh? Angle also made waves in TNA, becoming the company’s first ever world champion when they broke away from the NWA, as well as the X-Division and Tag Team Championships and was inducted into the “prestigious” TNA Hall of Fame in 2013. Angle’s two finishers were both devastating; the Angle Slam that dumped opponents hard onto their neck and, of course, the vicious Angle Lock. The move wrenches the opponent’s ankle with vicious torque, especially when Angle would wrap his own legs around his opponent’s. The move almost always ended a match, even forcing a young John Cena to tap out, even though he literally never gives up, ever, and is devastating to watch. Not as devastating as the current state of TNA, however...
32 Kurt Angle and Jack Swagger – Angle/Patriot Lock
Swagger broke into the WWE in 2008, quickly capturing the ECW Championship and racking up an impressive undefeated streak. Swagger would win Money In The Bank at WrestleMania 26 and would cash in just five (two if you factor in the day Smackdown is taped on) days later, winning his first and only World Heavyweight Championship. Despite never reaching the top of the mountain again, Swagger would win the United States Championship and would help establish a young, up and coming Rusev during his first year on the main roster. Swagger adopted the ankle lock, calling it the Patriot Lock, in 2010 and uses his size and height to make the move look extremely effective. Despite not finishing as many matches as Angle’s, Swagger’s height adds elevation to the move, increasing the pressure of the hold. Despite not being a main eventer anymore, I still wouldn’t want to get into a wrestling match with Swagger and his submission. I’d take him on in a rap battle instead. I’m sorry, Jack.
Swagger might have that college background, but he’s no Olympic gold medallist and he’s certainly no Kurt Angle. Able to hit the move out of nowhere and turn any situation to his advantage with the hold, Angle is the undisputed king of the Ankle Lock. And that’s true, in fact... nah, not doing it.
WINNER – KURT ANGLE
31 Zack Ryder and “Macho Man” Randy Savage – Elbro/Elbow Drop
Let’s continue with a finisher that is somehow still over in 2016 – the diving elbow drop.
The elbow drop from the top rope was popularised by the legend that is “Macho Man” Randy Savage, who used it to capture two WWE Championships in the 1980s and 90s as well as leading him to become one of the most famous and recognisable wrestlers of all time. Savage’s Elbow Drop was accompanied with over the top theatrics that perfectly suited his character, raising his hands above his head before diving from the top rope and landing his devastating finisher on his opponent. This variation of the move might be known to younger fans as one of CM Punk’s signature moves, although it never finished an opponent off. Talk about burying a classic more - thanks Phil.
30 Zack Ryder and “Macho Man” Randy Savage – Elbro/Elbow Drop
The elbow drop is currently used a secondary finisher by the head Broski, Zack Ryder. Only recently adding to his arsenal, the biggtest example of Zack pulling this move off probably came at WrestleMania 32 in perhaps Ryder’s biggest match, landing the move on The Miz from the top of a ladder in the match that ended with Ryder winning the Intercontinental Championship, the same title Randy Savage did battle for twice at Mania. Ryder’s version of the move hasn’t been around for long and perhaps it isn’t as well-known as his other finisher, the Rough Ryder, and isn’t used as much now that he’s teaming with Mojo Rawley, but it’s still an integral move of Ryder’s and still features during his singles matches.
So who did it better? Randy. Hands down. Savage was one of the greatest performers of all time and his iconic finisher was one of the highlights of any Savage match. Whilst Ryder’s move looks good, it just couldn’t match the (pardon the pun) pomp and circumstance of Savage’s version of the maneuverer and that for that reason, I’m giving the nod to Savage. Sorry, Zack, you’re great t0o.
WINNER – “MACHO MAN” RANDY SAVAGE
29 Sasha Banks and Taka Michinoku – Bank Statement/Just Facelock
Taka Michinoku is perhaps one of the most underrated wrestlers of all time, but I won’t be playing that up too much in case people think I’m speaking ill of The Boss. They really don’t like it when you do that.
Michinoku worked for the WWE between 1997 and 2001 and in that time became the first ever Light Heavyweight champion, a precursor to the Cruiserweight title that exists today. He also wrestled for ECW as well as several promotions in his native Japan, most notably New Japan pro Wrestling, where he won the IWGP Junior Tag Team Championships twice. Amongst his extensive arsenal, including his own invented move, the Michinoku Driver (or the Blue Thunder Bomb, if you’re Michael Cole), was the Just Facelock, a sitting, elevated Crossface. Still used by Michinoku today in New Japan, the Just Facelock looks devastating when applied and was so iconic, it even found its way over to the US.
28 Sasha Banks and Taka Michinoku – Bank Statement/Just Facelock
Sasha Banks debuted in NXT in late 2012 and competed in the tournament to crown the very first NXT Women’s Champion, but lost in the first round. Banks made it to the top of NXT’s women’s division in 2015, before being called up to the main roster later that year. Since then, she has gone on to put on one of the best matches of the year at WrestleMania 32 and win the Women’s Championship twice, cementing her position as one of the est female wrestlers in the world today. Banks’ version of the move is usually preceded by a backstabber and the sheer amount of torque Banks gets on the move makes it looks extremely realistic. However, the move is prone to being countered, as we saw at SummerSlam 2016. Oh Lord, I shouldn’t have said that. I don’t think the internet has forgiven WWE for that one yet.
So who does the move best? Well, Taka innovated the move and his technicality allows the move to come out of nowhere, so that earns him brownie points, but Banks’ backstabber to set the move up adds additional pain to the sequence and her flexibility allows for maximum stretch. Plus, it’s called the Bank Statement, cos, you know, her name’s Banks... and she’s making a statement... and, you know, bank statements. I like it ok! Anyway, Banks’ version gets the nod this time. There we go, are you happy now?
WINNER – SASHA BANKS
26 Drew Galloway and Dean Ambrose – Future Shock/Dirty Deeds
Both men were members of iconic three man groups... ok, maybe one of them wasn’t so iconic. The Shield were totally overrated.
Dean Ambrose made his WWE debut at Survivor Series 2012, interfering in the main event alongside Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns in one of the greatest WWE debuts of all time. Ambrose and his Shield brethren ran roughshod over the WWE with the Lunatic Fringe becoming the first member of the group to win a singles championship when he defeated Kofi Kingston at Extreme Rules 2013 for the United States title, a title he would go onto hold for 351 days, the longest in WWE history. Saying that, he did defend it, like, twice. Literally. It wasn’t great. Ambrose took a long, long time to make it to the top of WWE, winning the WWE title at Money in the Bank 2016 in an amazing moment, cashing in just minutes after winning the briefcase. Ambrose’s current finisher, Dirty Deeds (version 2), a snap double underhook DDT that drives the opponent’s head into the mat with a vicious speed. Ambrose’s slickness in the ring means he can hit this move out of nowhere and it can make for one incredible ending to a match. Also, it’s much better than that other move he called Dirty Deeds. That was a bit bleugh.
25 Drew Galloway and Dean Ambrose – Future Shock/Dirty Deeds
Drew Galloway first made it big in WWE as Drew McIntyre, the “Chosen One”, hand-picked by Vince McMahon to be the next big thing. Obviously, this was a story because, well, he’s not there anymore, but it made for good TV. McIntyre would win the Intercontinental and Tag Team Championships during his run with the company, as well as supposedly being the first pick to win Money in the Bank in 2010, however, these plans were nixed. McIntyre would flounder in WWE until being released in 2014. After returning to the indies, McIntyre would turn in TNA in 2015 under his real name, Drew Galloway, and would go on to win the TNA World Championship earlier this year, marking the first world title victory of his career. Sorry ICW, you just don’t count. McIntyre’s version of the finisher, named the Future Shock, doesn’t have the same velocity as Ambrose, but McIntyre is one big guy and the sheer power that massive frame produces is truly terrifying. Plus, Galloway just looks scary. The muscles. The beard. The Scottishness. Enough to give a man nightmares.
Whilst Ambrose’s finisher is quicker and come out of nowhere, Galloway’s version of the move just looks that much more impressive. His enormous frame, bulking muscles and vicious power makes the move look incredible and, when sold correctly, it looks like it could end a career. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit of a McIntyre fan boy, maybe it’s because I’m terrified of the Scottish. Whatever it is, Drew gets the nod this time.
WINNER – DREW GALLOWAY
24 CM Punk and Hideo Itami – GTS
The man who left WWE by choice and the man who keeps leaving through injury, but who puts their opponents to sleep the best?
Hideo Itami, formerly known as Kenta in Japan, made his name in All Japan Pro Wrestling, before transferring to Pro Wrestling Noah, where he would become a multiple time champion. After making a huge splash in his native nation, Kenta moved to the US where he performed in Ring of Honour. Kenta eventually found his way to the WWE under the name Hideo Itami. Despite being constantly injured, itami managed to gain a strong following and looks to make a huge impact on the yellow show, you know, when he’s not injured. Damn, Hideo, just take it easy, will you? Anyways, you probably know this, but Itami actually invented the Go 2 Sleep and used it as his principal finisher in Japan. He was discouraged from using the move in NXT (wonder why that could have been) but busted it out at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II, when he fended off Austin Aries’ attack on No Way Jose by dropping the Greatest Man Who Ever Lived with his signature move. The move, a fireman’s carry into a knee strike, looks deadly and Itami isn’t afraid to mix the move up, often using an Argentine backbreaker rack to deliver the move to the back of his opponent’s head. Ouch. That would send me to sleep for sure. Hideo pulls off the move to great effect and, if the pop at Brooklyn II told you nothing, the fans love to see it. Well, actually, they just love to see Hideo. Doesn’t happen very often.
23 CM Punk and Hideo Itami – GTS
CM Punk made his WWE debut in 2006 on ECW, quickly rising up the ranks and becoming ECW Champion just over a year later. Punk’s record-setting two Money In The Bank ladder match victories allowed him to become a huge star on the main roster and he quickly racked up an Intercontinental and World Tag Team Championship reign to go alongside his three World Heavyweight Championships. Punk’s most notable achievements came became 2011 and 2013 when he would reign twice with the WWE Championship, his second being 434 days long, the sixth longest of all time and the longest in nearly two decades. Punk left the company in controversial circumstances when he walked out the night after the 2014 Royal Rumble and had been blacklisted by the company ever since. Whilst I’m not going to get into an argument over that now, it does explain why Itami would only allowed to use the move he invented this year. Punk’s version of the move is almost an exact copy of Itami’s; the only difference being that Punk is slightly taller and heavier, but I don’t know how much difference that makes. Kenta may have invented the move but Punk definitely made it famous in the US. Shame we’ll never see him do it again.
So, who does/did the GTS better? Well, both men aren’t very big so the move is equally as useless against big men and both men have legitimate martial arts training so the efficiency of the knee strike would be the same, so this one’s actually quite tough. Despite Punk having a bigger following, I think I’m going to give Itami the nod here. He did invent the move and, whilst that doesn’t make his better on its own, his multiple variations and ease with which he can pull off his own move make his GTS just that little bit better. Or at least, it will be, when he comes back from injury. Again. I miss you, Hideo.
WINNER – HIDEO ITAMI
22 Razor Ramon and Sheamus – Razor’s Edge/Celtic Cross
It’s the battle of the ethnic stereotypes now, although one of them wasn’t actually from that country. Classic WWE.
Scott Hall debuted as Razor Ramon in 1992 with a slightly dodgy fake Cuban accent (oh, WWE) and quickly rose to stardom, partly due to his charisma and athleticism and partly due to his role in The Kliq, a backstage political group that meddled with storylines using their backstage influence. Hall won four Intercontinental Championships and helped further the belt as one of the most exciting in the company, putting on two clinics with fellow-Kliq member, Shawn Michaels, at WrestleMania X and SummerSlam 1995. Perhaps his greatest achievements, however, came when he defected to WWE’s arch-rivals, WCW, in 1996. Hall, along with fellow defector, Kevin Nash (Diesel), and Hulk Hogan formed the nWo, one of the most influential stables in wrestling history and one of the reasons there was a Monday Night War in the first place. One of the reasons Hall was so over with the fans was his finisher; the devastating Razor’s Edge. A crucifix powerbomb that saw opponents hoisted up into the air and then driven into the mat head ans shoulder first, the Razor’s Edge put many of WWE and WCW’s top stars away for three, in fact, the move was actually never kicked out of in WWE. In a world where practically every finisher can be kicked out of, a move that truly finishes a match is something to behold. One of the greats, Razor earned his place in the 2014 Hall of Fame. Just ignore the fact that he killed a guy once. Google it.
21 Razor Ramon and Sheamus – Razor’s Edge/Celtic Cross
Sheamus made his first appearance in the WWE in 2009 and would capture the WWE Championship just over a year later, defeating John Cena of all people to do so. Not too bad. Two more WWE Championships, one World Heavyweight Championship, two United States Championships, a King of the Ring, Royal Rumble and Money In The Bank ladder match victory later, Sheamus is still a large part of Monday Night Raw today and is one of the most popular superst- ok, ok, I’ll stop, I can’t keep this farce up. Before using the Brogue Kick (because Brogues are Irish, I guess?) as his primary finisher, Sheamus employed a running version of the Razor’s Edge called the High Cross or Pale Justice, because, you know, he’s pale, because, you know, he’s, he’s Irish. WWE are very creative, ok. Only used for about a year, the Celtic Cross is now used rarely as a signature and doesn’t put opponents away as much as it used to, but it’s still great to see the move used, even if everybody just calls it the Razor’s Edge anyway. Sorry, Sheamus. Actually, you gave us the League of Nations. I’m not sorry at all.
I’ve already mentioned it, but the fact that everyone still calls this move “The Razor’s Edge” says a lot and the fact that Sheamus doesn’t use it anymore really proves that Razor’s version has stood the test of time. Sheamus’ version probably hurts more because it’s done whilst running, but, in terms of longevity and legacy, I’ve gotta give the nod to The Bad Guy on this one.
WINNER – RAZOR RAMON
20 The Midnight Express and Enzo and Cass – Rocket Launcher/Bada Boom Shakalaka
One of these moves is called the Bada Boom Shakalaka. Guess which one is going to win.
The Midnight Express were a revolutionary tag team originally containing members Dennis Condrey, Randy Rose and Norvell Austin, but is perhaps most famous for its incarnation of Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane. The group travelled all over the world, winning titles in the NWA, WCW and the AWA. The “New” Midnight Express won the NWA Tag Team titles in WWE, but the less said about that, the better. To put opponents away, the team would use the Rocket Launcher; a top rope splash where the non-splashing wrestler would grab the wrestler on the top rope and push them as the jumped, helping to extend the distance and add more force. The Rocket Launcher was an effective move in getting The Midnight Express over as a team and it’s become one of the most iconic old school tag finishers of all time. A classic finisher from a classic team, not really much else to say.
19 The Midnight Express and Enzo and Cass – Rocket Launcher/Bada Boom Shakalaka
Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady (now just called Big Cass, because WWE love the first name Big) first teamed up in May of 2013 and, thanks to having known each other in real life, the two formed an instant chemistry with Enzo acting as the perfect mouth piece to Cass’ overwhelming size and power. The two would quickly get over with the NXT crowd with their sick burns and streetwise attitude, though they failed to capture the NXT Tag Team Championships, despite numerous attempts. Debuting on the main roster the night after WrestleMania 32, Enzo and Cass continue to remain a strong presence in the tag team division. Enzo and Cass’ version of the move, the, ugh, Bada Boom Shakalaka, focuses more on Cass’ height, with the previous distance of the Midnight Express’ move substituted for extra height and extra force. Cass’ giant frame is arguably the main reason this move is used by the team and it fits perfectly with the big guy/little guy dynamic that Enzo and Cass have established so easily. I suppose you could say that it came so naturally that you can’t... no, I didn’t do the Kurt Angle thing, so I’m not doing this one.
Despite having the height advantage thanks to Cass, Enzo isn’t exactly the biggest lad, so the extra height still wouldn’t have that much of an effect on the move. The Midnight Express always had two guys of roughly equal size, so whoever pulled the move off looked like they would really hurt. Plus, the focus on distance meant that the move could be hit from pretty much anywhere, whereas Enzo and Cass have to place their opponent in a specific slot. Gotta go with the Midnight Express on this one, sorry guys. But you are still great... AND YOU CAN’T! TEACH! THAT! Dammit. I just couldn’t resist.
WINNERS - MIDNIGHT EXPRESS
17 Shawn Michaels and James Storm – Sweet Chin Music/Last Call
The superkick has been used by many a wrestler in their time – Stevie Richards, “Gentleman” Chris Adams, James Ellsworth (my boy) – but the two we’re looking at here are arguably the two biggest users of the move in WWE and TNA respectively.
We’ll begin with the most famous user of the move – James Ellsworth. I’m kidding, but he’s still my boy. Shawn Michaels made a name for himself in the American Wrestling Association (AWA) in the early 1980s before beginning his first real run with the WWE in 1988. As one half of the tag team, The Rockers, with Marty Jannetty, Michaels would win over the fans in a big way with his good looks, athleticism and feuds with the likes of The Hart Foundation (foreshadowing!) and The Twin Towers. After breaking up the team in late 1991 by throwing Marty through a barbershop window (wrestling’s great, isn’t it?), Michaels would go on to have one of the best singles runs of all time in professional wrestling, winning nearly every title imaginable in the WWE as well as putting on amazing matches with everyone from Steve Austin to The Undertaker, the aforementioned Razor Ramon to Tatanka. Ok, maybe not that last one. Michaels’ most devastating move was Sweet Chin Music, a Superkick usually preceded by theatrics in the corner. Sweet Chin Music could be hit out of absolutely anywhere; when Shawn was on the defensive, from the corner, hell, even to a midair opponent. Just ask Shelton Benjamin. Turning a simple move into a devastating match-ender took a lot of charisma to pull off and not a lot of people could have done it other than HBK. An iconic finisher that still gets the fans excited today, there ain’t no music like Sweet Chin Music. Unless your James Ellsworth. What a guy.
16 Shawn Michaels and James Storm – Sweet Chin Music/Last Call
“Cowboy” James Storm debuted in TNA in 2002 and would go on to win the most championships of any wrestler in the company’s history. Forming some TNA’s biggest tag teams such as America’s Most Wanted and Beer Money Inc. as well as winning singles’ titles like the King of the Mountain Championship, the TNA World Heavyweight Championship and, most impressively of all, the TNA World Beer Drinking Championship. Twice. That’s impressive. Storm might be known to WWE for the, umm, two appearances he made on NXT in late 2015. He beat Danny Burch and Adam Rose. Not much else to say there. It was great when he showed up. Then he chose not to stay with NXT and went back to TNA. What?! Did this guy not talk to Samoa Joe, Austin Aries and Bobby Roode? Did he not know everyone else was jumping ship? What a decision. Anyway, Storm has gone through plenty of finishers in his time, including the Eight Second Ride and the Eye of the Storm, a spinning variation of the Razor’s Edge, but his most notable finisher is the Last Call superkick. It’s the move that won him the TNA world title against Kurt Angle and it helped put James Storm on the map when it came to top talent WWE needed to sign. Two matches. I’m still bitter.
I haven’t really said much about Storm’s version of the move because there isn’t really much to say – it’s a good superkick and it can come from anywhere, but it doesn’t quite have the “it” factor of Michaels’ kick. Maybe it’s because I have more memories associated with HBK or because he was able to hit it from more incredible places, but my personal favourite superkick has to be the guy that made it famous. As for you, James, well, all I can say is... SORRY! ABOUT YOUR DAMN LUCK! I love him. Why did he only have two matches in WWE? Why?
WINNER – JAMES ELLSWORTH... whoops, sorry, I meant SHAWN MICHAELS
15 Eddie Guerrero and Rob Van Dam – Frog Splash/Five Star Frog Splash
Much like the superkick, the Frog Splash is used by plenty of wrestlers, but it’s these two guys who are largely responsible for that.
Eddie Guerrero was a member of the legendary Guerrero wrestling family and made him name in Mexico in promotions such as CMLL and AAA. After a brief stint in NJPW, Eddie arrived in ECW, winning the TV title in his very first match. Eddie would win a handful of titles in ECW and later WCW, before turning up in WWE in 2000, beginning the longest and most successful tenure of his historic career. Eddie would win almost every title going in the WWE; Intercontinental, European, United States, WWE Tag and, of course, he bested Brock Lesnar at No Way Out 2004 to win his first and only WWE Championship in one of the most emotional victories in WWE history. Eddie sadly passed away in 2005, but he left behind a legacy and following unlike any other. Eddie’s finisher, adopted from his mentor in AAA, Art Barr, the Frog Splash was a splash that involved Eddie tucking his limbs into his body and then extending them out before striking his prone opponent. The move looked devastating and could be used to instigate a quick pin. Whenever anyone busts out a Frog Splash nowadays, chants of “Eddie! Eddie!” are often heard as fans pay their respects to Latino Heat. A fitting legacy for one of the best ever.
14 Eddie Guerrero and Rob Van Dam – Frog Splash/Five Star Frog Splash
Rob Van Dam began his career in ECW playing a stoner character. Yes... “playing”... RVD won over the fans with his laidback attitude and won a Television title and two Tag Team titles in his time with the Philly-based promotion. RVD was involved in ECW’s final Pay-Per-View, Guilty as Charged, before being snatched up by WWE in 2001 as the company bought out both ECW and WCW. One of the true stars of the Invasion angle (ugh), RVD had arguably the most successful run of any ex-ECW star in WWE, winning the Intercontinental, World and WWE Tag Team, European, Hardcore, ECW (the WWE version) and, of course, the WWE championship across a long and varied career that, if you read the Internet, might not be over yet. Rob Van Dam’s finisher was the Five Star Frog Splash; a variation of the splash that saw Van Dam turn in the air to land the move perfectly on a downed opponent. With his agility and quickness, Van Dam’s splash could really come out of nowhere and provided some of the most dramatic endings to WWE matches throughout the mid-2000s. Shame he got busted for pot in 2006. What could have been.
Whilst both men’s move looked great and both men are bona fide legends, I have a winner. Now, I know I gave Razor Ramon the win over Sheamus for being the innovator of the move and resonating the most amongst modern day fans and you could say the same for Eddie, Rob Van Dam made the move his own and his version was never confused with Eddie’s; the Five Star was a move in itself. For a top rope move, it could be hit relatively quickly and Van Dam’s agility made it possible to hit the move on an opponent in any position, which made for a slicker finisher. Whilst Eddie is one of my all-time favourites, I’m giving RVD the win on this one, but this was close. Congrats Rob, you’ve got to be feeling so high right now. Oh, wait, that’s for a different reason.
WINNER - RVD
13 Triple H and Seth Rollins – Pedigree
For this one, just ignore the totally illogical fact that, despite being stabbed in the back by Triple H live on TV, Seth Rollins still uses his move.
Triple H debuted in the WWE in 1995 as the Connecticut Blueblood, Hunter Hearts Helmsley, but would find his first big role as a founding member of D-Generation X, the anti-establishment faction that embodied WWE’s Attitude Era. Adopting the name Triple H (an abbreviation of his, quite frankly, ridiculous original name), The Game would go onto become one of, if not the, top heels in WWE history, running amok over the main event scene, thanks in part to his huge amount of backstage influence thanks to his marriage to Stephanie McMahon. He was also really talented, but that’s not nearly as fun to write about. Still seen on WWE TV today (sometimes), Triple H has been a part of WWE for over two decades and doesn’t look for one moment like he’s slowing down. Well, maybe in the ring he does. The Cerebral Assassin’s finisher, the Pedigree, is a double underhook facebuster that had to be adapted because it was too dangerous. That’s why you see wrestlers taking the Pedigree nowadays move their hands in front of their face. Damn you, health and safety! The move looks devastating as it pretty much drives an opponent’s entire body into the mat leaving them no way of protecting themselves (in kayfabe). Also, it’s been booked as one of the hardest finishers to kick out in WWE history. Wonder why that is...
12 Triple H and Seth Rollins – Pedigree
Seth Rollins broke into WWE alongside Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose as a member of The Shield in late 2012. As a part of one of the hottest stables in recent history, Rollins became of the most popular men on the roster before turning to the dark side in June 2014, when he broke up The Shield and defected to The Authority. Two WWE Championships, one United States Championship, a Money in the Bank ladder match and some embarrassing pictures later, Seth finds himself positioned as the top babyface on Raw (except he’s not, that’s totally Jericho) but it’s been a bumpy road to the top for The Architect and it’s not done yet. Rollins’ original finisher, the Curb Stomp, was banned in 2015 for being too dangerous, so he adopted his then-mentor, Triple H’s, move, the Pedigree, because, as we know, anyone even remotely affiliated with The Game has to use the Pedigree. I met Triple H once and now I use the Pedigree to open jars. Weird. Anyway, Rollins’ Pedigree is good and more often than not it’s sold really well, but Cross-fit Jesus has trouble hitting the bigger guys with the move on account of his small stature. Or maybe I’m just being picky because I want to see the Phoenix Splash. I really, really want to see the Phoenix Splash.
As I said, Rollins’ Pedigree only really looks effective on guys around his size, whereas Triple H, due to his crazy build, can hit the move effectively on any opponent. Rollins’ version of the move just reeks of Triple H and there really isn’t any need for him to use it anymore. It good when he was his protégée and would make for a nice touch if The Game and Rollins ever do square off (where are you, Trips?!), but, for now, I don’t like him using it and, for that reason and more, I’m giving the win to Triple H. Letting Triple H win over a younger, more talented star? I feel like Vince McMahon in 2004.
WINNER – TRIPLE H
11 The Rock and Booker T – Rock Bottom/Book End
Can you smell it, sucka? I thought I’d try and combine their entrance music there. I think it has legs as an idea.
The Rock debuted in WWE in 1996 as Rocky Maivia, a cheesy, happy-to-be-here babyface that everyone, and I mean everyone, hated. All that changed in the spring of 1997, when Rocky Maivia would die a horrible death and from the ashes, The Rock would rise. The new badass, catchphrase-spitting character was over like hell with the fans and would catapult Dwayne Johnson to the very top of the wrestling world. Rock would win numerous world titles, as well as the Intercontinental and tag titles a handful of times, win the Royal Rumble match and main event WrestleMania in three different decades. Also, he was in Tooth Fairy, which is severely underrated. The Rock’s original finisher was a shoulder breaker of all things, but that was soon replaced with the Rock Bottom – a falling side slam – and that move has stuck around. Whilst, in theory, the move isn’t actually that dangerous – the opponent just falls backwards after being lifted up – Rock makes it look devastating, driving his opponent into the mat with the full force of his giant frame. Able to come out of nowhere and a great crowd popper, the Rock Bottom has become one of the most legendary moves in WWE lore and still gets a great reaction when Dwayne makes his sporadic returns. Also, if you watch Fast and Furious 7, Rock does one on Jason Statham. Seriously. Check it out.
10 The Rock and Booker T – Rock Bottom/Book End
Booker T made his debut for WCW all the way back in 1993 after he and his brother, known as Stevie Ray, decided to turn their lives around through wrestling. What followed was an incredible career that took Booker to a United States Championship, six Television titles, a record-setting ten WCW Tag Team Championships and five (I’m not doing it, I’m not) World Championships in WCW, positioning himself as one of the top stars in the company when it folded in 2001. One of the few homegrown WCW stars to make a name for himself in WWE, Booker T won three more United States titles in WWE, the Intercontinental Championship, three tag team titles, the King of the Ring crown and the World Heavyweight Championship in a career that culminated in a Hall of Fame induction in 2012 and, despite being one of the worst commentators of all time, was thoroughly deserved. Booker’s most famous finisher was probably the Ax Kick – a devastating kick to the back of the head – but he also adopted the Book End, a move strikingly similar to the Rock Bottom, during his rivalry with The Rock during The Invasion angle in 2001. Whilst Rock flattened his whole body into the mat when delivering the move, Booker knelt as he drove his opponent down, but other than that, the moves were essentially the same. Except maybe the odd Spinaroonie afterwards. God, I’d pay good money to see Rocky to do.
In their battle at SummerSlam 2001 for the WCW Championship, The Rock won the battle of the falling side slams and I’m inclined to agree with that decision. Whilst Booker’s move did look good, it always felt like a cheap rip off of Rock’s move, because, well, it was. I know I shouldn’t base my decision entirely on that, but the fact that Rock drove his entire body into the ground alongside his opponent made his move look even bigger and added that extra desperate edge to big matches as Rock was willing to carelessly throw his body to the mat to get the big win. As much as I love Booker T, well, he’s not The Rock. No one is.
WINNER - THE ROCK
9 The Undertaker and Kane – Tombstone Piledriver
It’s the one you’ve been waiting for and I’m probably about to upset someone.
The Undertaker’s WWE career is one of legend. Debuting in 1990, The Undertaker would defeat Hulk Hogan for the WWE Championship just a year later, becoming the youngest man in history at the time to hold that honour. Over the next 25 years, The Deadman would transform from creepy funeral director to satanic cult leader to badass biker dude to undead sorcerer, all whilst keeping the WWE fans in the palm of his hand. A multi-time world champion, tag team champion, hardcore champion, WrestleMania main eventer, Royal Rumble winner and, of course, holder on the streak; 21 victories at WrestleMania without defeat, all adding to the mystique of the greatest character ever created in pro wrestling. The Last Ride, Hells Gate, Old School, the Chokeslam, Snake Eyes, Taker has a list of signature moves as long as your arm (if you have really long arms), but nothing is quite as synonymous with the Phenom than the Tombstone Piledriver. It’s been his finisher since day one and it’s so iconic that, when WWE banned the Piledriver, it was the only version allowed to be used on TV. The Tombstone Piledriver has defeated many a legend and Hall of Famer, with only eight men in history being able to kick out of it, a statistic that is just incredible. I love Taker and i love his finisher and I hate Brock Lesnar for ending the Streak. Yeah, I said it. Come at me, Beast. Actually, wait, maybe this isn’t so clever.
8 The Undertaker and Kane – Tombstone Piledriver
One of the eight men to survive Taker’s supposed-final blow was his half-brother (I think that’s what they are, but I don’t think anyone knows anymore), Kane. Debuting at Badd Blood ’97 running interference in the first ever Hell in a Cell match, Kane and Taker were destined to do battle for years and that was clear from the moment the Big Red Machine hit The Deadman with a Tombstone of his own. In the 19 years that have followed, Kane has won the WWE, World Heavyweight and ECW Championships once each, as well intercontinental, Tag Team and Hardcore titles and a Money In The Bank briefcase over the course of his long career and remains a constant presence in WWE to this day. Kane’s Tombstone has been faded out over the years in favour of the Chokeslam from Hell, which is, well, just a chokeslam, really, but when he first debuted, it was all the rage. More often than not, Kane would jump whilst hitting the move, which might be insanely dangerous and will likely never be seen again, but it was also devastating to watch and the terrifying way in which Kane was portrayed only added to the nightmares. I still can’t sleep sometimes, but that’s only at the thought of the Kane/Lita storyline. Bleugh.
This one was tough. Both men are tall so the move can be used on anyone. Both men are strong so they have the same force when using the move. Both men cut an intimidating figure. It’s so hard to choose! But, going on when both men were in their prime, Kane’s jumping variation of the move just looked more painful. Yes, Taker has jumped with the move before, but only on rare occasions, whereas Kane’s Tombstone was almost a de facto leaping one. This is gonna get me a lot of flak, but screw it, Kane, you win this one. I’m fully expecting to hear a gong and for the lights to go out anytime now. Gulp.
WINNER – KANE
7 Randy Orton and Diamond Dallas Page – RKO/Diamond Cutter
Hey, it’s me, it’s me, it’s point number three (I really hope my editor doesn’t move this point around so that doesn’t make any sense... that’s going to happen, isn’t it?)
Diamond Dallas Page was an anomaly in wrestling when he first debuted in WCW in 1991. He began his career as a manager in the AWA and managed many great performers, including The Fabulous Freebirds, before decicing to begin training as a wrestler at the age of 35. 35! To put that into perspective, Randy Orton is 36. That is insane. Despite being a relative Grandpa when he began, DDP went onto have one of the most incredible careers in WCW history. He won United States, Tag Team and Television gold and was even a three-time WCW Champion, winning his world title at the age of 43. Absolutely amazing. Despite being treated worse than WrestleMania 32 treated Roman Reigns in the WWE, Page still won European and Tag Team gold with the E and remains a popular figure in wrestling today, not least because his yoga program has helped save the lives of Scott Hall and Jake Roberts after they battled addiction. I’m telling you, Page is a true hero. His finisher, the Diamond Cutter, was just that, a Cutter and, in a precursor to our next topic, could come out of nowhere, most notably against Goldberg when Page countered the Jackhammer to almost pick up the win over Big Bill. Whilst he may not be the most famous or respected wrestler ever, DDP is one of my heroes and he should be one of yours too.
6 Randy Orton and Diamond Dallas Page – RKO/Diamond Cutter
Randy Orton may not be John Cena, but he’s still made quite the impact on WWE history. The Viper debuted in 2002 with the weight of his family heritage (Orton is a third-generation WWE wrestler) firmly behind his push. As a member of Evolution, the stable that was the living embodiment of a midlife crisis, Orton shot to the top of WWE, winning his first World Heavyweight Championship at just 24 years old, the youngest ever world champion in WWE history. Orton would carve out a career worthy of a Hall of Fame induction, winning a total of 12 world titles across his decade plus career, as well intercontinental and Tag team belts, the 2009 Royal Rumble, the 2013 Money In the Bank ladder match and he’s headlined two WrestleManias. Shame he’s a dick backstage by all accounts. Orton’s finisher is, of course, the RKO, a jumping cutter that can, quite famously, come out of nowhere. Whether it’s countering a Twist of Fate, an Airbourne or a Curb Stomp, the RKO is one of the quickest ways to get a crowd pumped and it’s one of the biggest reasons Randy is so over today. My personal favourite finisher, the RKO will go down as one of the all-time great match-enders. I hope I haven’t given my verdict away...
Of course I have, as much as I love DDP, Randy wins this one hands down. As a human being, Page is up there in my all times favourites, but as a finisher, the Diamond Cutter lacks the explosiveness and surprise factor of an RKO. An amazing move that can create sheer magic in seconds, I gotta give this one to the Apex Predator. If this were a battle over yoga, maybe I’d have been swayed the other way.
WINNER - RANDY ORTON
5 Roman Reigns, Edge and Goldberg – Spear
Ok, so I know everyone and their grandma use the Spear now, but I’m focusing on three of the most famous.
We’ll start with the WCW guy. Bill Goldberg debuted in 1996 in WCW after being spotted by Lex Luger and Sting at a gym. He went on an unbelievable undefeated streak throughout 1997 and 1998, racking up a supposed total of 173 wins in a row, capturing the United States Championship and WCW Championship in the process, before dropping the title to Kevin Nash at Starrcade ’98 after an absolute BS finish involving a taser. Ugh, late 90s WCW. Goldberg was a megastar in WCW, which, unfortunately, didn’t carry over in WWE as his year in the company was less than spectacular, despite winning the World Heavyweight Championship. Goldberg would often put his opponents away with the Jackahmmer, a vertical suplex powerslam, but his most devastating move had to be the Spear. When the big man picked up speed and cut his opponent in two, the crowd were guaranteed to pop and I imagine we’ll see this again very soon when he squares off against Brock Lesnar. Can’t believe I’m saying this in 2016.
4 Roman Reigns, Edge and Goldberg – Spear
WWE’s first introduction to the spear in a big way was through the Rated-R Superstar, Edge. Debuting in 1998, Edge soon joined up with Christian and formed one of the most popular and successful WWE tag teams in history, winning seven tag team championships over their long career and pioneering the TLC match type. As a singles wrestler, Edge went onto set records with his championship wins, winning a total of fourteen Tag Team Championships in total, a Hardcore Championship, five Intercontinental Championships, a United States Championship, a record-setting seven World Heavyweight Championships and four WWE Championships, the most championships of any wrestler in WWE history. Wow. Most of Edge’s championship wins came using the Spear, usually with theatrics and Edge’s excellent facial expressions. Edge’s Spear seemed more to slam his opponent into the mat rather than cutting him in half like Goldberg, but it still looked effective and, when done correctly, was an amazing moment. His one on Jeff Hardy at WrestleMania X-7, pure bliss.
3 Roman Reigns, Edge and Goldberg – Spear
Roman Reigns; what can I say that hasn’t already been said? Debuting with The Shield, Reigns was earmarked as the breakout star of the group, racking up records in Survivor Series and Royal Rumble matches. However, when The Shield did break up, oh boy... His push to the moon left a large portion (and a very vocal portion) of the WWE crowd turned on Reigns and the crowd reactions ruined plenty of legitimately good moments for Reigns, including his two WrestleMania main event matches against Brock Lesnar and Triple H. Reigns captured three world titles, a tag team and a United States title with his devastating spear. Much like Goldberg, Reigns’ size and power made his Spear look absolutely destructive and is one of the better parts of his arsenal. Except that stupid “woo-gah” thing he does before it. That sucks.
So who’s going to win? I’m going to rule out Edge because he lacked the size and power of the other two, so we’ll ignore him, sorry. So, who takes the crown? Reigns is slightly more athletic so he can hit the move with more speed, but Goldberg was just a hulk of a man who looked like he would eat you if you got in his way. I was tempted to give this one to Roman Reigns, but I think I’m gonna give this one to Goooooooooooooooooldberggggggggggggg. I love that chant.
2 Bret Hart and Sting – Sharpshooter/Scorpion Deathlock
Two of the greatest of all time who were treated like crap by WWE – fitting that these two go together really.
Steve Borden debuted as Sting in the promotion that would go onto become WCW in 1987 and competed in the first ever match in Starrcade history; a six-man tag that ended in a draw. Wow. Way to start off with a bang, guys. Over the next fourteen years, Sting would become the face of WWE’s arch-rivals, winning their world title six times, as well as two United States Championships, three Tag Team Championships and several other world championships with promotions such as the NWA. Sting also became the face of TNA (make of that what you will) winning their world title four times and becoming their first Hall of Fame inductee in 2012 (again, make of that what you will). Sting’s two distinctive finishers were the Scorpion Death Drop, an inverted DDT, and the subject of our list today, the Scorpion Deathlock. Whilst the move was invented by Japanese wrestler, Riki Chosu, the Scorpion Deathlock was the first time Western audiences were introduced to the move and Sting’s muscular frame and expert facial expressions made the move look devastating when applied. Despite his long-awaited run in the WWE being about as successful as the Pastamania restaurant, Sting will go down in history as one of the greatest wrestlers ever and rightfully deserves his place in both the WWE and TNA Hall of Fame. Actually, scratch that. No one deserves to be put in the TNA Hall of Fame. At least you get a free watch.
1 Bret Hart and Sting – Sharpshooter/Scorpion Deathlock
Bret “The Hitman” Hart is one of wrestling’s finest technicians. Debuting in the WWE as a member of The Hart Foundation in 1984 and would set the tag team division ablaze, winning the titles twice with Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. Hart kicked off his singles run in 1991 with an Intercontinental Championship win against Mr. Perfect and would go on to have one of the most legendary careers in WWE history. A two-time IC champ, five time world champion, co-winner of the 1994 Royal Rumble, multi-time WrestleMania main eventer and the only two-time King of the Ring winner in history, Hart’s rivalries with the likes of Shawn Michaels, Jerry Lawler and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin make Bret one of the most respect and historic figures in the world of WWE. After the Montreal Screwjob in 1997, Hart would leave WWE for twelve years, not even returning for his 2006 Hall of Fame induction. Hart eventually returned in 2010 and would even capture the United States Championship and main event that year’s SummerSlam. Boy, Vince really must have been sorry for the Screwjob because those were both terrible ideas. Hart’s version of the submission hold, the Sharpshooter, is probably the version most wrestling fans associate with the move and it has passed down to numerous wrestlers under that name; The Rock, Natalya, Tyson Kidd, Cesaro, most of whom have something to do with Bret. It might have been the move that ruined his life in Montreal, but Hart owes a lot to the Sharpshooter and, more accurately, the Sharpshooter owes a lot to Hart.
Who to choose, who to choose? Both men are absolute legends and have contributed so much to the business. However, I always had Sting down as more of a power wrestler, using big lifts and slams rather than submissions. Hart’s smoothness and slickness in the ring allowed the move to be applied with ease and a suddenness not usually associated with a submission move. So, with a heavy heart, I must disappoint you, Icon, for this round, The Hitman takes it. Maybe he can finally smile now.
WINNER - BRET HART
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