5 WWE Finishers That No Longer Finish
What's A Finisher?
A great match ends with a great finish. Anything less, takes away from the contest as a whole. When I was a kid, things were a bit different. There was no such thing as a, “Super Kick Party,” and the most of basic slams came off as almost deadly.
*cough Ultimate Warrior, cough Big Boss Man, still coughing John Cena*
Over time, the business has evolved. There’s less storytelling in the move sets and more flash in the ring. The flow had to change because the look and ability of the Superstars changed. Gone are the days of the bulky former body builders who could make a boot and a leg drop look devastating, and an elbow from the top rope make you want to clutch your chest. Instead, we have your average joe risking it all with a corkscrew moonsault or a hybrid drop/slam. However, I digress. This is a short list of moves from the 80s and 90s that have lost their sizzle and a whole lot of pop. They’ve all taken a backseat in the modern era of WWE yet still manage to be a nice spot in a good match. Let’s dig in.
5) The Frog Splash
Whether set up by lying or cheating in order to steal a victory, or being rated 5 stars, the Frog Splash was undeniably one of the most exciting finishers you could lay eyes on while watching RAW or SmackDown. Both Eddie Guerrero and Rob Van Dam employed this mesmerizing double clutch splash to take out many a foe in route to championship gold. Seeing the cameras flash as Eddie or RVD left their perched position on the top rope was reminiscent of the opening kick at the Super Bowl, and if they hit it, it was OVER.
Fast forward to today:
In a big match and for a big spot, you MIGHT see Sasha Banks attempt a Frog Splash. Outside of that, it’s been used a few times by Seth Rollins and quite frequently by Kevin Owens. He even used it to beat a McMahon senseless (his words, not mine). It’s won a match or two, maybe three over the past 5 years but it will never be what it once was.
Eddie Vs. RVD
Who Had a Better Frog Splash?
4) The Super Kick
The Super Kick. More commonly referred to by 90s kids as Sweet Chin Music! Shawn Michaels would tune up the band and when his foot met your face, you could hear a rather large woman singing opera as you faded off into a slumber. Kicking the spit out of guys twice as large and 7 feet tall was easy money for HBK — and you can’t teach that! He may not have held the title as many times as Flair or Cena or Orton or HHH, but it was this kick that added the hot fudge to his sundae of charisma, athleticism, and overall greatness which justified strapping the title to him. He hit it like no one before him and once he did, it was lights out. Unless you’re Undertaker and it’s WrestleMania.
How popular was Shawn Michaels? Enough that his finishing move has been mimicked out of being a finishing move! Credit to Dolph Ziggler and Tamina Snuka for using it as a finish but it’s just not the same. As this is a WWE list, I won’t even mention The Young Bucks in the convo. Excluding The Elite, here’s a list of Superstars who’ve been known to land a Super Kick or two:
Jimmy & Jey Uso
James Ellsworth (That one’s called No Chin Music)
That’s just off the top of my head and I’m just now realizing they’re all on SmackDown. Super Kick show? It very well may be and it’s all thanks to The Heartbreak Kid.
Super Kick Party!
Who Has the Best Super Kick In WWE Today?
3) The Neckbreaker
A long time ago, there was a shakin’ rattlin’ rockin’ and rollin’ man. This man held the Intercontinental Title for a very long time. He dressed and looked like Elvis, and he had a guitar. He was known as The Honky Tonk Man. Now I know this may sound silly but what if I told you he only held the title once and it was for over 450 days? His finish? Well aside from running away and using that guitar at times was a Swinging Neckbreaker! That move was no joke back in the day. In fact, it was more of a set up or one of those moves used to really inflict damage on your opponent after the match type moves. It was also the finish for a more, “ravishing” individual. Enter, talk smack, take off robe, break neck. That Neckbreaker put away many a jobber and caused headaches for many a foe, leading Ravishing Rick Rude to his own run atop the mid card with the IC title. See what I did there?
Today you can see any average Joe or Joanna dropping their opponent with a neck breaker. A couple stand out names are Elias Samson and Nikki Cross. They honor the greats by using a variation as a finish. Cross is a mainstay in the NXT Women’s Championship picture, and as history would have it, Samson is gradually climbing the mid card and looking like a contender for the IC title. Long story short, you want a run with the IC title, get neck breaker and make it our finish. Otherwise just keep doing what you’re doing and leave the neck breaking to the pros.
2) The Powerbomb
Diesel. Sid Vicious. Batista. Sable? Bombs everywhere. This was THEE finisher of the 90s. It was usually a big overpowering figure like Ahmed Johnson or Biker Undertaker. I guess the idea is that if a near 7 footer lifts you above his head and slams you down with seemingly all of his might, you’re not gonna have a good time. Flawless logic, right?
Well it was for a very long time. Nowadays we see everyone and their imaginary friend bombing each other. I myself have been known to playfully toss the neighborhood kids around like Sable did Marc Mero. I mean, the Superplex power bomb spot we see in every PPV match with 4 or more people in it would be murder during the Attitude Era. Elevated sunset flip or not, finisher or not, it’s entirely lost its shimmer. A once OP move has become quite pedestrian.
1) The DDT
Jake The Snake Roberts. Need I say more? He mastered this maneuver and somehow never got a title run. It was unlike anything of its time and no one was getting up from it. It truly put you to sleep and ended the match. Next thing you know, you’re waking up with a snake draped over you. Cut and dry, it was the most devastating move I had ever seen as a child, right next to the Tombstone Piledriver.
Close your eyes. Now open them. It’s a Monday night in 2017 and RAW is on. Blink. How many DDTs did you miss? 3. At least 3 and it’s only the first match of the night! The DDT has become more of a transition than any other finisher on this list. They must be teaching it at every school across the nation. Of all the moves on this list, it’s fallen the furthest from its peak position. Male, female, cruiserweight or heavyweight, everyone has their own variation of this move. The Miz has a nice DDT, Mick Foley’s double underhook version was electrifying, Randy Orton took it to a whole new level, and Sami Zayn’s diving tornado DDT is a sight to behold. Sure you can argue that variations of the original DDT are still winning titles today, (Bobby Roode, Drew McIntyre, Alexa Bliss, and Dean Ambrose) but all this proves is the day of the classic and original good ol’ fashioned noggin crushing DDT have been blown to smithereens.
History would suggest that when a legend hangs up their boots, his or her legacy will live on through usage or references of what made them great in the first place. This seems to be true when you look down this list. Everyone that uses these moves has an energy as if to say, “My version is good but it’s not as strong as the original,” so we as fans accept that a knee drop from Shinsuke Nakamura won’t feel as epic as one from Ric Flair 30 years ago, or a Super Kick is just a quick jab with your foot unless your name rhymes with Dawn Bibles. And then we have a guy like Kevin Owens who uses every move on this list and more. Is he paying homage or trying to prove a point? Is HE responsible for this mayhem, or is he merely trying to keep a Golden Era of wrestling —as well as his childhood… alive? Finishers are meant to finish and life goes on. So when the user or creator calls it quit, is it fair to take their finisher with them? Should it be left behind for others to modify or possibly improve? What do YOU think?
© 2017 Earvin Allen