You would have to search very hard to find a totally original wrestling finisher in the sport right now, with nearly every move, catchphrase and gimmick borrowing something from the past.
However, the reason why most people don’t see it as a blatant rip-off is that many wrestlers put their own twist on things to make it look and feel unique. Whether that is a pose before or after, or adding a new element to a move, it is crucial for wrestlers to change things up in order to make the sport progress.
Whilst throwbacks and nods to the past are always crucial and enjoyable for fans to see, a blatant copy is never a good thing, especially if they do the move poorly. Some wrestlers who stole their finishes have managed to make it look better than the person who created it, yet for others it is much worse, ruining the legacy of the move.
10 Do It Better: Kairi Sane (Insane Elbow)
The Elbow Drop is a move that has been done and is still done by countless wrestlers all over the world. The most memorable, of course, belongs to the Macho Man Randy Savage, who really made the Elbow Drop his own.
Ever since then a collection of wrestlers have attempted the move in order to make it their own, some have done it well and others have done it poorly. However, the best person to imitate the Elbow Drop is a former NXT Women’s Champion, Kairi Sane.
You can certainly make a case for Sane’s Elbow Drop being better than Savage’s, as the height that she manages to get on the move is amazing, with the finisher looking devastating every single time.
9 Do It Worse: Roman Reigns (Spear)
Throughout the course of wrestling, several wrestlers have adopted the Spear as their finisher, but to this point, nobody has managed to hit the move with as much power and devastation as its originator, Bill Goldberg.
Whilst Roman Reigns’ version of the Spear isn’t the worst to have ever been, that honor belongs to Edge, it isn’t exactly snappy. Instead of it looking like a huge power move that Goldberg made it seem, Roman’s looks more like a big hug.
Thankfully, the Big Dog also has the Superman Punch which means he has a backup and his matches quite easily triumph anything that Goldberg managed in his career.
8 Do It Better: Tyler Breeze (Unprettier)
Even though Tyler Breeze hasn’t hit his finisher all that many times due to the fact he has spent such a large chunk of his main roster career in the undercard, the Unprettier finisher has certainly suited Breeze better than it did the man he took it from.
The move was originally created by WWE legend, Christian, and whilst he certainly made it a great finisher during his singles run, the move simply suits Breeze and his Prince Pretty character better.
The move is exactly the same when Breeze hits it, and it is a fantastic finisher. But the fact it suits his character so well just gives him the slight edge of Captain Charisma, even if he had more success with it.
7 Do It Worse: Seth Rollins (Pedigree)
During his feud with Triple H, the Shield member ended up taking The Game’s finisher after his Curb-Stomp had been banned by the company. It made sense as it was a move that he can hit on anyone and wrestling fans were already accustomed to it and reacted accordingly.
Unfortunately, Rollins and the Pedigree never really connected with fans, perhaps because Triple H was still around on a weekly basis. The move is so iconic and suits Triple H, whereas someone as agile as Rollins really needed something a little quicker and more innovative.
Thankfully, Rollins no longer does the move and it has gone back to just being Triple H’s, whilst the Beast Slayer has regained his finisher, now named just “The Stomp,” which is one of the best in WWE right now.
6 Do It Better: Daniel Bryan (Running Knee)
People didn't know how to react when Daniel Bryan first burst out his Running Knee finish at SummerSlam to defeat John Cena, but since then he has managed to make the move his own, making it one of the most devastating finishes in WWE.
However, the move wasn't first created by Bryan like most members of the WWE Universe believe, as it was actually first created by former WWE Star, Hideo Itami (a.k.a KENTA), but he didn't use it in WWE because of Bryan.
This was the second time that Itami's move was taken by a WWE star, as CM Punk's GTS actually belonged to him as well, but because many fans didn't watch Itami prior to his NXT debut, Punk and Bryan made the moves their own in the eyes of most.
5 Do It Worse: Jon Moxley (Dirty Deeds)
Whether you know him as Jon Moxley in AEW and New Japan Pro Wrestling or his former name in WWE, Dean Ambrose, the move is exactly the same, a glorified DDT which is now known as Dirty Deeds.
Moxley opting for a very old school move that a lot of wrestlers simply throw into their arsenal as part of a match was a brave choice and to his credit, he has managed to get the move over with fans who now think of it as a finisher again.
However, Ambrose's version of the DDT doesn't pack the same punch that Jake The Snake Roberts' did back in his era, with Roberts even commenting on that fact on social media.
4 Do It Better: Nikki Bella (Rack Attack)
Even though she recently revealed she isn't going to be coming back to the ring again, Nikki Bella took the classic Torture Rack finisher that Lex Luger made famous into a whole new move.
For all the hate that fans like to give Nikki, seemingly for no reason at all, creating the Rack Attack move was a major plus point for her. It looked impactful, always got a reaction and worked as a move that could end a match.
Sadly, the move put a serious strain on Nikki's neck and actually forced her to take a significant period out of action and was a major factor in her retiring with the issues that the move caused.
3 Do It Worse: Kevin Owens (Stunner)
Sometimes a move is so iconic to one wrestler that it seems ridiculous when another wrestler does it, and no matter how hard they try they simply cannot get the move over in the same way.
That is the problem that Kevin Owens is suffering from right now, with fans still linking the Stone Cold Stunner to the WWE Hall Of Famer, Stone Cold Steve Austin.
KO changing his finisher didn't make much sense in the first place, as his Pop-Up Powerbomb was an impressive move in its own right that he had put a stamp on, so hopefully, he can return to using that full-time.
2 Do It Better: Randy Orton (RKO)
Perhaps the most famous example of a wrestler stealing someone’s finisher is Randy Orton, who actually took the RKO from Diamond Dallas Page who called the move the Diamond Cutter when he first started using it.
The fact that most wrestling fans now associate the move solely with Orton should tell you how good he has done with it, really making it his own. From his viper-like behaviors before hitting it to the way he really sells the move afterward, Orton has managed to take it to a new level.
Because Orton has become such a top main event level star and spent so many years at that level he really has made the move one of the greatest of all time. This has also been helped by the fact other wrestlers have been able to take the move in ways that DDP could never do, such as catching people from the top rope or off a ladder, which has helped Orton really make it his own.
1 Does It Worse: Elias (Drift Away)
The main appeal to Elias is his work outside of wrestling, with his microphone skills being amongst some of the best in the company. However, he is getting more shots in the ring and the need to step it up is upon him.
One way that Elias could mix things up is by getting a new finishing move, as his current move, Drift Away, isn't the strongest. The swinging neck breaker style move was really made famous by Perry Saturn but was taken to another level by Cody Rhodes.
Because Rhodes is busy working main event matches for AEW, it instantly makes Elias look like a rip-off from one of wrestlings top stars, which is never a great look. Plus, Cody's version simply looks better.