Having to go home in a match means how it’s going to end. Ninety-nine percent of the time, that means using a devastating finishing move that the fans could believe means the three count or a tap out is near.
Wrestling finishers have varied far and wide over the years. From moves that seem rudimentary now, like a dropkick, or a double-ax handle to plenty of today’s big times moves; if you can make the fans believe in the power of a move, then you can make them believe that the move means the end for an opponent.
Take a headlock, for example. Now, have a strong guy like Otis use the move and make sure that no one breaks from it at first and everyone taps out to it, the fans will begin to believe in how strong the big man is and how devastating his power can be. Over time, these stars have not only come up with great finishers, but the names to match.
10 Phenomenal Forearm - AJ Styles
Phenomenal isn’t just AJ Styles’ nickname, it’s exactly who he is. Similar to guys like Shawn, Bret, Angle, and Daniel Bryan, when Styles is cooking on all cylinders, there is no one better in the ring. It’s not even close.
Over the years, the Phenomenal One has come up with devastating moves, but perhaps a forearm smash to the face is his most impactful. After getting as much height as (in)humanely as possibly, Styles crashes into his opponents with his forearm right into their face, almost always putting them down for the three count.
9 Helluva Kick - Sami Zayn
While Sami Zayn was once the scrappy underdog that was the heart and soul of NXT, he has unfortunately not been booked to do much on the main roster except be an errand boy or whine and complain. Yet, that doesn’t mean his finisher isn’t aptly named or doesn’t look devastating.
Getting kicked square in the mush with nowhere to land except the turnbuckle can’t be a pleasant feeling. The announcers have tried to call Sami’s running boot a “hel-loova” kick, but all the fans know what the real name for it, and what it looks like—a Helluva Kick.
8 Tombstone - The Undertaker
When you’re a giant evil undead wrestler who can feel no pain and inspire terror and fear in your opponents, you better have a cool finisher and a cool name for it. Innovated by the Dynamite Kid, the Kneeling Reverse Driver or the Dynamite Driver just doesn’t have quite the menacing name that the Tombstone Piledriver carries.
When the Deadman snatches you up in the position and you realize your time on this mortal coil is coming to an end, you might want to prepare for the inevitable end.
7 The Sharpshooter - The Hart Family
After borrowing the hold from Sting, Bret The Hitman Hart popularized the Scorpion Deathlock and rechristened it “The Sharpshooter.” The rest is history. The powerful submission hold catapulted the Hitman straight to the top of the WWE. Aside from being used by the Rock, the Sharpshooter has become a staple of plenty of Canadian wrestlers paying homage to Bret, including several members of the Hart family, most notably the Queen Of Harts, Natalya.
6 InSane Elbow - Kairi Sane
Seldom before has such a petite looking 115 pounds been so devastating looking. Perhaps that’s why Kairi Sane leaps as high as she can before driving her small frame into her opponents, elbow first.
It’s a little on-the-nose, but the InSane Elbow is definitely aptly named. Now that the women’s tag champs are being given a little more of a platform, Kairi Sane is primed to show the world just how dangerous that elbow can be.
5 The Curb Stomp - Seth Rollins
It’s a simple move. After the eighty bajillion moves that Seth Rollins can deliver to end the match, from the Falcon Arrow to the Frog Splash and even the Pedigree, its the Curb Stomp that he has used for most of his WWE career to put the nail in the coffin of his opponents. After doubling over in pain thanks to a well-placed kick to the gut, Rollins leaps up as high as he can and kicks your head into the mat.
4 The RKO - Randy Orton
It’s been called everything from the Ace Crusher to the Diamond Cutter to Bubba Cutter, but, to WWE fans nowadays, it’s referred to as the three most devastating letters in sports entertainment R.K.O.
While Randy Orton has plenty of detractors from marks all over the world, the guy is still one of the most consistent examples of what the company looks for in a star. Over the years, Orton has been able to pull off the R.K.O. from any and all positions and almost always, one time is all he needs to get a victory.
3 Scorpion Death Drop - Sting
When the franchise, Sting headed into the rafters and became a silent guardian of sorts for nearly a year, he also started using a new move that became one of his finishing moves as well.
He’d snatch his opponent from behind and spin them around for inverted front face lock and deliver an inverted DDT that he referred to as the Scorpion Death Drop, which is exactly what it looked like the opponent did.
2 DDT - Jake The Snake Roberts
To a lot of fans, it might be the single greatest finisher in history. When Jake Roberts was once asked what the letters DDT stood for, he famously and coldly replied—“the end.” He has also had said about the move “short ride, bad landing.”
Seldom has a superstar spoken so eloquently about their finisher. Not only did Jake do so, but he made you believe that driving his opponent’s head straight into the mat was all he needed to secure the victory.
1 Scorpion Crosslock - Paige
The move is so devastating that only two superstars have been able to pull it off—Bull Nakano and Paige. The Scorpion Crosslock almost bends your opponent into the shape of the deadly desert dweller. Slap on the Sharpshooter, but, instead of spinning around, grab your opponent’s arm instead and wrench back as hard as you can. It’s almost astounding that only two people ever have used this deadly submission as their finisher.