The idea of a finishing move is one that was born in the unique world of pro wrestling. After all, in a real competition, if a competitor used the same move over and over to win bouts, the opponent would know to look out for it.
But a pro wrestler is just expected to have a finisher in the modern era. Mankind had the Mandible Claw, AJ Styles has the Styles Clash, and Hulk Hogan had the Immortal leg drop.
The idea of a finishing move had bled into other forms of entertainment, such as Anime. (Goku from the Dragon Ball Z series uses a spirit bomb to dispense with his adversaries, while Black Widow from the Avengers movies tends to use a hurracanrana type head scissors takedown.)
These days a wrestler wouldn't even dream of lacing up the boots unless they had developed a good finishing maneuver. Without further ado, here are ten of the best finishers in pro wrestling today.
#1. Superman Punch - Roman Reigns
Type of Maneuver: Strike
Who invented the move: Bas Rutten used it in an MMA fight, but Roman Reigns has popularized it in pro wrestling.
Description: To perform a Superman Punch, one gathers momentum and leaps into the air, extending their body like Superman in flight, then punches one's opponent across the jaw.
Strengths: Quick to deploy, devastating knockout potential
Weaknesses: Does not lead directly to a pinfall, easy to see coming, the opponent must be standing.
The Superman punch has its roots in Mixed Martial Arts. Bas Rutten is credited for using the move originally, pushing off the cage with his foot for extra oomph. Roman Reigns has greatly popularized the move and has been using it as his finisher for years.
#2. The 630 Senton - Ricochet (Formerly Prince Puma)
Type of Maneuver: Top rope splash.
Who invented the move: Credited to Jack Evans, but popularized by Ricochet/Prince Puma.
Description: With the opponent lying prone on the mat, one ascends to the top rope and hurls oneself off with a high speed forward rotation. The wrestler must complete a full somersault and a half before impact for it to be a true 630 Senton.
Strengths: A real crowd-pleasing move, hits with a lot of impact.
Weaknesses: Can only be performed on a prone opponent, does not lead directly into a pinfall attempt, dangerous.
The 630 Senton is one of the most dazzling, most difficult, and most impressive moves in pro wrestling today. Most fans are familiar with Ricochet using the move in NXT but it was also used extensively by Jack Evans in Mexico.
#3. The RKO - Randy Orton
Type of Maneuver: 3/4 face lock bulldog
Who invented the move: While many credit the move's invention to Diamond Dallas Page--incorrectly--it was actually created by Johnny Ace, an American wrestler who primarily worked in the Japanese promotions.
Description: One first applies a 3/4 face lock, often with great rapidity, and then leaps forward and falls prone to the mat, dragging the opponent face first into the mat.
Strengths: Very quick and versatile move that can be used as a counter for many other maneuvers, devastating impact.
Weaknesses: Other than not flowing into a pinfall, it has none.
The RKO is the current iteration of a cutter, a modified bulldog that involves a front 3/4 face lock instead of the standard side headlock. While Randy Orton did not invent the move, his tremendous jumping ability and speed allow for the most spectacular variation of it so far.
#4. The Brainbuster - Austin Aries
Type of Maneuver: Vertical drop DDT.
Who invented the move: Most credit Killer Karl Kox with the invention of the brainbuster. Apparently, Kox hefted a large opponent up for a standard vertical suplex but lost his balance and dropped straight down, inventing the move by accident.
Description: After applying a front face lock, one hefts the opponent up into the air as if for a vertical suplex, but instead of falling backward kicks the legs out and drops straight down.
Strengths: Devastating move, knockout potential.
Weaknesses: Difficult to perform against large opponents, does not lead directly into a pinfall.
A brainbuster is one of the more dangerous, and exciting, moves in pro wrestling. Austin Aries has been using the move for years, but at one time it was a staple pro wrestling move. Interestingly, in Japanese fandom, a brainbuster refers simply to a vertical suplex, while a Vertical drop brainbuster is used to differentiate from this finisher.
#5. The F5 - Brock Lesnar
Type of Maneuver: Spinning fireman's carry facebuster.
Who invented the Move: Brock Lesnar, though Sean O'Haire and Marc Mero used similar moves.
Description: The person performing the f5 first hefts their opponent up into a fireman's carry. Then, they spin the opponent off their shoulders while falling backward, driving the opponent's face into the mat.
Strengths: Devastating move.
Weaknesses: Easy to counter or escape, does not lead to a pinfall, sometimes the opponent ends up outside of the ring.
Brock Lesnar invented the F5 during his days in Ohio Valley Wrestling. Due to his tremendous strength and athletic ability, Brock is one of the few wrestlers who can actually perform the move well. The F5 gets its name from the Fujita scale, a system of measuring tornado strength. The move involves a cyclone like spin and looks devastating, hence the name.
#6. Best Moonsault Ever - Christopher Daniels
Type of Maneuver: Top rope body press
Who invented the move: Mando Guerrero, but it was popularized by Great Muta.
Description: To perform a moonsault, one must first have a prone opponent. Then one ascends to the top rope with their back facing the ring, and performs a backflip, landing on the fallen foe.
Strengths: Leads directly into a pin, one of the quicker top rope moves, spectacular.
Weaknesses: Must turn back on the opponent to perform the move.
The Moonsault is a spectacular aerial move that involves leaping backward off the top rope, completing one backflip rotation, and landing on the prone opponent in a pinfall lateral press. Mando Guerrero, of the famous Guerrero family (whose members include Eddie and Chavo), invented the move, but the Great Muta popularized it. Some would say that Christopher Daniels perfected it.
#7. The Super Collider - The Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar)
Type of Maneuver: Tandem double impact powerbombs.
Who invented the move: The Authors of Pain, Akam and Rezar
Description: To perform the tag team finisher, both opponents must be picked up in the powerbomb position. Then the Authors ram their foes into each other before delivering devastating powerbombs.
Strengths: Devastating move, looks amazing.
Weaknesses: Requires both opponents to be ragged, does not lead to a pinfall.
The Super Collider is a move that has hitherto only been used by the Authors of Pain. Both members lift their hapless foes up onto their shoulders as if for a powerbomb, and then the Authors run into each other. The move gets its name from a machine used in physics experiments also called a supercollider. It goes well with Akame and Rezar, whose names are taken from the Physics theory Occam's Razor.
#8. The Figure 8 - Charlotte Flair
Type of Maneuver: Leg submission hold.
Who invented the move: Charlotte Flair, who modified the Figure 4 Leg Lock with an additional bridge.
Description: After first applying a figure four leg lock (step over toe hold, spin, and knee hammerlock) one bends backward into a bridge, increasing the pressure on the knees tenfold.
Strengths: Devastating submission, hard to escape.
Weaknesses: Can only be performed effectively in the ring, complicated setup and execution.
The Figure 8 submission hold used by Charlotte is an upgraded modification on the traditional figure four leg lock. Charlotte developed the move as an homage to her famous father, while also attempting to improve on his legacy. It is the only move Asuka has tapped out to in her entire WWE career, giving the move additional prestige. Ric Flair would surely approve!
#9. One-Winged Angel - Kenny Omega
Type of Maneuver: One-handed electric chair driver
Who invented the move: Kenny Omega, though others have used similar finishers (such as Chris Sabin's package driver.)
Description: After first hoisting one's opponent to the shoulders, similar to an electric chair drop, one then swings the opponent forward and falls to the mat, driving the opponent head first with the limbs entangled.
Strengths: Devastating and spectacular move.
Weaknesses: Takes a long time to set up (increasing the odds it will be escaped/countered) and difficult to perform against large opponents.
The One Winged Angel is Kenny Omega's finisher. A long time anime and video game RPG fan, Omega named the move for the Final Fantasy main antagonist Sephiroph (who himself was a one-winged angel.) The move bears some similarity to a package driver but starts from the electric chair position.
#10. Styles Clash - AJ Styles
Type of Maneuver: Facebuster into a cradle pin.
Who invented the move: AJ Styles first innovated the facebuster into a pinfall, but Col. Debeers is often credited with inventing the original facebuster.
Description: First, AJ lifts the opponent up in the piledriver position. Then, he entangles their arms with his legs, drops forward, and rolls the opponent onto their back for a pinfall attempt.
Strengths: Devastating knockout move, leads right into a pin.
Weaknesses: Long set up time.
AJ Styles created the Styles Clash because he wanted a finisher that didn't involve coming off the top rope. Though he is quite adept at aerial maneuvers, he worried that by the end of the match he would be tired and the ropes coated in a sheen of sweat, so he wanted something more reliable that he could still pull off under those conditions. He has been using the move since 2001.
There you have it; Ten of the top finishers in pro wrestling today. What's your favorite finisher? Did it make our list? Please be sure to comment and let us know, and thanks for reading!