In the world of pro wrestling, a finisher is a wrestler’s customized move that is supposedly so devastating that it will usually put their opponent down for the three count. Realistically, some finishers are basically ordinary suplexes or slams but they’re delivered with a little flair and are therefore convincing as an especially tough move. Some of these are visually impressive but relatively easy for both the wrestler and the opponent to do like Stone Cold Steve Austin’s Stunner. It’s basically a kick to the gut and a drop where the opponent’s chin appears to hit Austin’s shoulder. Some are tougher to deliver because the wrestler has to carry his opponent’s weight and in real life protect his or her opponent from any serious injury, like the Undertaker’s Tombstone Piledriver. And then there are moves that just don’t look very convincing. Basically just variations of a punch or an elbow drop that are pretty generic moves but for some reason are treated as completely devastating. Following are some of these moves that are just not believable either because they appear weak, confusing or just plain ordinary.
Mark Henry World’s Strongest Slam/John Cena’s Attitude Adjustment
Both of these are probably pretty painful but they don’t register as any stronger than other moves these guys do – they’re a slam, getting thrown to the mat. Cena does a fireman’s carry (putting the opponent across the shoulders) and then a slam to the side. Mark Henry delivers the World’s Strongest Slam which is a Falling Powerslam: he holds his opponent across his chest and throws him to the ground. Both of these have the same problem – they’re delivered pretty slow and don’t come across as especially intense. It’s just gravity dropping someone on their back. It’s especially egregious because Mark Henry is portrayed as the strongest man in the world but he’s just dropping someone from chest height. Similarly, Cena is the most dominant good guy (face) in the WWE but his Attitude Adjustment is a pretty generic slam. He has other moves that come across as more powerful but somehow dropping a guy off his shoulders just knocks them right out.
Great Khali Brain Chop
The Great Khali couldn’t wrestle very well because he couldn’t move much. He had a good look because he was very tall. But his finisher was exceptionally weak. He’d slap a guy in the back of the head. It wasn’t even something like a punch or maybe a double axe handle from the top rope. He’d just… slap someone and they’d just about die. It was never convincing.
Umaga’s Samoan Spike/Santino’s Cobra
I’m sure that in real life if you got hit in the throat it would stop you from fighting. But when you’re watching a theatrical fight that needs to be able to read from rows and rows back, a quick jab to the throat does not appear to be much of anything. Umaga would jab a thumb in his opponent’s throat. Santino would put a big silly sock on his arm and jab them in the throat. Either way, from just a little distance, it looks like a tiny jab towards someone’s face. The problem with pro wrestling is that a move that hurts doesn’t matter – it has to LOOK like it hurts.
Texas Tornado Punch/Heart Punch/Big Show WMD
In pro wrestling, you aren’t supposed to deliver a close handed punch. It’s supposedly against the rules although it never leads to a disqualification, just a ref yelling to stop. But wrestlers deliver punches all the time to wear down their opponents. But no matter what, a punch does not work as an effective finisher BECAUSE every wrestler throws punches. So they don’t appear to be that painful. Kerry Von Erich would spin around and deliver a Texas Tornado Punch. Old school wrestlers like Stan Stasiak and Ox Baker would deliver the “heart punch” which supposedly stops the opponent’s heart for a moment and renders them unconscious. But the most egregious offender of using a punch as a finisher is Big Show. He’s throwing punches left and right but then suddenly one big punch knocks someone out? Why don’t his other punches do that? It’s such a boring move.
The spear is basically a tackle. And it can look really effective. Goldberg had a very convincing spear. Edge used it as his main finisher and while I loved Edge his spear looked wimpy. Instead of knocking someone down, Edge looked more like he hugged someone’s midsection and they both took a small, slow drop to the mat. It didn’t look like it would knock the wind out of anyone, let alone leave them so concussed that they couldn’t kick out of a pin.
Sheik’s Armpit Claw/Nasty Boys’ Pit Stop
The original Sheik (not the Iron Sheik) was one of the first hardcore wrestlers, throwing fireballs and stabbing opponents with a pencil. He was a tough dude. But his finisher was utterly ridiculous. He’d basically dig his fingers into his opponent’s armpit and theoretically, this would cut off the blood supply and knock out his opponent. It was treated like a submission. But it looked like he was just grabbing someone’s armpits and it looked stupid. Arguably stupider was when tag team The Nasty Boys would make their opponent smell their armpit and the smell was so bad it knocked them out. That’s just gross.
Scotty 2 Hotty’s Worm/ Rock’s People’s Elbow
An elbow drop should be a move in the middle of a match used to disorient or weaken the opponent. Both Scotty 2 Hotty and the Rock used it as a finisher and the only reason the crowd could buy into it is because of a huge elaborate show leading up to the elbow drop. But realistically, the performance before the elbow drop would be so long, they should have just pinned their opponent first. Scotty 2 Hotty would dance around and hop on one foot while the audience shouted out W-O-R-M, then he’d do a breakdance worm, then he’d finally stand up and drop an elbow. Ridiculous. The Rock would stand over his opponent, remove an elbow pad and toss it into the crowd, run the ropes twice while jumping over his downed opponent, wave his arms and finally drop an elbow. Well, any move probably seems painful when the opponent is just laying still for 10 to 20 seconds!
Big E’s Big Ending
Big E’s finisher looks like it would hurt him more than his opponent. He has his opponent draped over one of his shoulders, then jumps up and lands on his back with his opponent ostensibly landing on their face. But it looks more like they just sort of land on Big E. I seriously do not understand how this is supposed to hurt the opponent but not him.
This is one of the most confusing moves. MVP puts one leg over his opponent’s neck while that guy is bent over. From here, he looks off balance and if the opponent simply stood up, it looks like he’d rip some ligaments. But then he sort of falls forward in such a way that I guess his opponent his hitting his head on the mat but it looks more like it’s bouncing off his calf muscle. It is really hard to understand how the opponent his getting hurt with this one.
Hulk Hogan’s Atomic Leg Drop
A leg drop? Even when wrestling was slower and more methodical, I don’t understand how this was ever a theatrical enough move to be a convincing finisher. This is the TOP guy in wrestling and the way he puts someone away is to just drop onto his butt with his leg hitting his opponent across the throat? I could see this being badass from the top rope, but from a standing position? I mean, are his legs supposed to be full or iron or something? It’s so lame!