There was a day in professional wrestling when somebody would slap their finishing hold on an opponent and as a fan, you knew that was the end. Back in the 1980s, when it was just squash matches featured on the weekly Saturday morning television show, the finishing move meant a merciful end to the three-minute beating the nobody jobber took from the big star. On January 11, 1993, Monday Night Raw debuted and the day of a finisher working 100 percent of the time was done.
Some finishers, like John Cena’s STF or Attitude Adjustment, still work most of the time, but there is no guarantee. If Wrestler X can never overcome Wrestler Y’s finisher, the outcome of the match is never in doubt. If the outcome isn’t it doubt, the promoter isn’t going to sell tickets.
There are certain holds, such as Scott Hall’s Razor’s Edge or Lex Luger’s Torture Rack that are so closely defined with a specific character that it would look like blatantly ripping the creator of the move off if another wrestler tried to claim that finisher as their own. And then there are the holds that were once finishers that have either disappeared (the swinging neckbreaker), been banned (chairshots to the head), or been converted to a non-finisher (the clothesline). Here are 10 classic finishers that don’t work anymore.
9 Sunset Flip
8 Pile Driver
7 Hammerlock/Chicken Wing
6 Flying Headbutt
5 Sleeper Hold
4 Claw Hold
3 Bear Hug
2 Figure Four Leglock
You’d think a move that WWE themselves ranked as the No. 5 best finisher of all time on their DVD specifically about closing moves, and a move so closely associated with one of the all-time greats, Jake “The Snake” Roberts would never have devolved into such a common maneuver. Even though it was named for a deadly pesticide used in the 1970s, Roberts once said that the letters D-D-T stood for “The End.” Now it just momentarily stops an opponent. At least Roberts can say the move still has the same name as when he made it one of those moves that always meant lights out. A lot of former finishers, like Curt Hennig’s PerfectPlex, have reverted back to their original names, the Fisherman’s Suplex.
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