Best Wrestling Finishing Moves

My Top 30 Finishing Moves! (1980-2000)
March 13, 2008
Hello Everyone! Thanks for checking out my article. Since the age of three (1983), I have been addicted to professional wrestling (or "wrasslin"). In my opinion, 1980-2000, was a momentous two decades for wrestling. One thing that I always loved about wrestling were the final patented finishing moves that wrestlers used to defeat their opponents . Out of the hundreds of finishing moves performed, I have listed the 30 that glued me to the television. Additionally, this article will give full detail (thanks to how the finishers are performed and for an additional bonus, I have included YouTube clips to demonstrate these finishing maneuvers. Also, I quickly highlight my favorite submission and tag-team finishing moves.

While writing this article, I was cognizant to three things 1) I left out some good finishing moves. 2) The majority of wrestlers are from WWF. 3)The list does not include women. In my defense, I was glued mainly to the WWF and didn't start watching ECW/WCW until 1995, women wrestlers were not as prominent in the WWF as they are today, and this is my top 30 which will differ from yours (For example, you may feel that The Rock's finishing move should be #1, which is cool and leaving the Frankensteiner off this list was hard for me). I hope that you enjoy my article/list as we go down wrestling memory lane. Please leave a comment, I would love to check back and read what your favorite finishing move was or currently is.


5) Sharp Shooter/Scorpion Death Lock: Bret Hart/Sting/Owen Hart/The Rock.

The hold begins with the opponent supine on the mat with the applying wrestler stepping between the opponent's legs with his/her left leg and wraps the opponent's legs at shin level around that leg. If the applyer decides to cross the opponent's legs around his right leg, he has to cross the opponent's right leg over their left, or, otherwise, he has to cross his opponent's left leg over their right. Holding the opponent's legs in place, the wrestler then grabs the opponent's leg which he has crossed over the other and steps over him, flipping him over into a prone position before leaning back to compress his lower back. While Bret Hart is the wrestler with whom the Sharpshooter is synonymous, it was actually Sting who first popularized the move in the United States while working for WCW. Called the Scorpion Deathlock, Sting used the move as his submission finisher throughout his career, particularly during the era when Hart was still a tag team wrestler (with the Hart Foundation) and not using the Sharpshooter in any of his matches. The one notable difference between both wrestlers' use of the move is that Sting would cross his opponent's legs over his own right leg, while Hart would use his left leg.

4) Texas Cloverleaf: Dean Malenko.

Also popularly known as a Texas cloverleaf, the wrestler stands at the feet of his supine opponent, grabs the opponent's legs and lifts them up. The wrestler then bends one leg so that the shin is behind the knee of the straight leg and places the ankle of the straight leg in their armpit. With the same arm, they reach around the ankle and through the opening formed by the legs, and lock their hands together. The wrestler then steps over his opponent, turning the opponent over as in a sharpshooter and proceeds to squat and lean back. The hold compresses the legs, flexes the spine, and stretches the abdomen.

3) Figure Four: Greg "The Hammer" Valentine. "The Nature Boy: Ric Flair.

The attacker stands over the opponent who is lying on the mat face up and grasps a leg of the opponent. The wrestler then does a spinning toe hold and grasps the other leg, crossing them as he does so and falls to the mat, applying pressure to the opponent's crossed legs with his own.

2) Camel Clutch: Iron Sheik.

The wrestler sits on the back of his opponent, who is face down on the mat, and places the arm or, more commonly, both arms of the opponent on his thighs. The wrestler then reaches around the opponent's head and applies a chinlock. The wrestler then leans back and pulls the opponent's head and torso. A camel clutch can also refer simply to a rear chinlock while seated on the back of an opponent, without placing the arms on the thighs.

1) Crossface Chicken Wing: Bob Backlund (Heel)

A chickenwing variation where the wrestler applies the chickenwing to one of the opponent's arms. The wrestler then uses his free arm to either push the arm, and particularly its radius bone, against the face of the opponent to cause pain, or wrap the arm around the neck of the opponent in a sleeper hold. The wrestler may also grasp his hands together in either variation. This hold is closely associated with Bob Backlund who popularized the move in America. (I note the irony that Iron Sheik and Bob Backlund are back to back on this list).


4) Dudley Death Drop (3D) D-Von and Bubba Ray Dudley "The Dudley Boys"

The Dudley Death Drop, often shortened to 3-D, is an elevated cutter which sees a combination of a Flapjack and a cutter. While invented by Dean Malenko it was named, popularized and became more closely associated with the Dudley Boyz. This maneuver sees an opponent get pushed upwards in a flapjack throw by Brother Devon then as the opponent falls to the mat Brother Ray would apply a cutter forcing the opponent's head down to the mat.

3) Battling Ram Head Butt: Luke and Butch "The Bushwhackers"

With this move, Luke would put his head under his tag team partner's armpit in a bent over method as though he was in a headlock. Butch would then run with his brothers head under his arm as if it were a battering ram into the opponent's stomach.

2) Hart Attack: Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart and Bret Hart "The Hart Foundation"

Technically known as a Bearhug, lariat combination, this was the traditional finishing move of The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart). Neidhart would lift up the opponent in a bearhug in the center of the ring, while Hart leaned against the ringside ropes, facing the opponent's back. Hart would then run past the two and bounce off the ropes on the opposite side of the ring. On his return, Hart would make a running leap and perform a lariat takedown on the opponent as Neidhart let go of him, resulting in both Hart and the opponent falling onto their backs. Hart sometimes did the lariat takedown from the second corner rope. Strangely, this move was never referred to by name on TV. In fact, when the Hart Foundation used it to win the WWF Tag Team Titles, commentator Jesse Ventura called it simply, "the Hart Clothesline". The name Hart Attack comes from a WWF trading card of that era.

1) Total Elimination: Michael Kronus and Perry Saturn "The Eliminators"

As the opponent was standing. Michael Kronus would kick the man in the stomach while Perry Saturn would go from the back and sweep the opponent. It was a crazy move when I first saw it.


30. Rock Bottom: The Rock.

A wrestler stands face to face with the opponent, slightly to their side. The wrestler tucks his head under the opponent's near arm, reaches across the opponent's chest and around their neck with his near arm, and places his other arm against their back. The wrestler then lifts the opponent up and falls forward, either flat on their chest or their knees, slamming the opponent down to the mat back first. This move is very closely associated with The Rock who popularized the move as the Rock Bottom, although he would sometimes use a variation which sees him hook his opponent's leg in order to lift them easier. Booker T is also a practitioner of this move; his variation is called the Book End, although a noticeable difference is that Booker falls to his knees while The Rock falls chest-first and uses his hand to stop his face from impacting the mat (similar to the form of doing a one handed push up while slamming the opponent down to the mat).

29. Leg Drop: Hulk Hogan.

Variation to the original, the attacking wrestler bounces off from one side of the ring, runs and performs the leg drop across his/her opponent's chest. This became famous from Hulk Hogan, who used it as his finisher. Today, it's also known as the Atomic Leg Drop.

28. Tomb Stone Powerdriver: Undertaker/Kane.

This variation of a belly-to-belly piledriver refers to any belly-to-belly piledriver that involves the wrestler holding the opponent in a belly-to-belly position, then falling to a kneeling position. The name "Tombstone Piledriver" was popularized by The Undertaker, and later Kane

27. Bonsai Drop: Yokozuna.

The Banzai Drop, sees a wrestler who is standing above a fallen opponent, go up onto the second turnbuckle (facing away from the ring) and jump down dropping his/her buttocks on the opponent's body (usually the chest or stomach). This move is basically a butt drop from a raised platform and was originated by Yokozuna.

26. Superfly Splash: Superfly Jimmy Snuka.

The splash was popularized in America by Jimmy "The Superfly" Snuka, one of the first 'high-fliers' to wrestle in North America, who called the move the Superfly. It was one of the first and most popular highflying moves to be seen in mainstream wrestling. Even today, the move is often called a Superfly Splash in his honor.

25. Fameasser: Bad Ass Billy Gunn.

A move best known as a Fameasser, due to its use by "Mr. Ass" Billy Gunn and also known as a Famouser when Gunn called himself "The One" Billy Gunn. The move involves an attacking wrestler placing the back of his/her opponent's head (who is leaning forward) under his/her leg before dropping their leg and the opponent's head down to the mat.

24. Perfect Plex: Mr. Perfect.

Also spelled as a fisherman's suplex and also known as a leg hook suplex or a cradle suplex. Mr. Perfect is the most well known user of this move and dubbed it the Perfect-Plex, a name that has been adopted more generally since his death. With their opponent in a front facelock with the near arm draped over the attacker's shoulder, the wrestler hooks the opponent's near leg behind the opponent's knee with his/her free arm and falls backwards, flipping the opponent onto his/her back. The attacker usually keeps the leg hooked and bridges to pin the opponent in a cradle-like position, or applies a leglock submission hold.

23. Alabama Slam: Bob Holly.

Described as a double-leg slam, or flapjack spinebuster, this high-angle spinebuster variation involves a wrestler placing their head between an opponent's knees or under the opponent's arm, then standing up, holding onto their opponent's legs, so that the opponent is facing the wrestler's back. The wrestler then simply brings both hands down, throwing the opponent back-first to the mat. They may also hold the opponent in place while spinning in several circles before throwing the opponent down. The move has been known by the name Water-Wheel Slam and the Alabama Slam, named by Bob "Hardcore" Holly after his home state of Alabama

22. Warrior Press Slam: The Ultimate Warrior.

Warrior would use his upperbody strength to pick up his opponent over his head then drop him to the ground.

21. Clothesline from Hell: Bradshaw (JBL).

A Clothesline that hit so hard that it knocked the wind out of the opponent.

20. Somersault Kick: Starman. (Nintendo: Pro Wrestling).

As the opponent is standing Starman with a tap of down+A button Starman would do a backflip and kick the crap out of his opponent, I loved doing this to my friends especially after his starman splash (cheese move).

19. Pedigree: Hunter Hearst Helmsley.

The wrestler bends their opponent forward, placing the opponent's head between the wrestler's legs and then applies a double underhook on the opponent. The wrestler then jumps up while tucking their knees causing them to lift their opponent off the mat before landing on their knees, forcing the opponent's face into the mat. Triple H, the most famous user of this move, would name it the Pedigree during his "Greenwich Snob" gimmick and he still uses it today. The word Pedigree was commonly adopted when referring to this move.

18. Flying Elbow Drop: Randy "The Macho Man" Savage.

A less common variation on a diving elbow drop; the wrestler stands on the top turnbuckle facing away from the opponent then leaps backwards, extending and cocking one elbow. This allows for greater range but less precision. Randy Savage would jump from the turnbuckles smashing his elbow into the throat of his opponent which had devastating effects.

17. Scorpion Death Drop: Sting.
A reverse DDT.

16. PileDriver: "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff/Jerry "the King" Lawler.

A piledriver is a professional wrestling driver move in which the wrestler grabs his opponent, turns him upside-down, and drops into a sitting or kneeling position, driving the opponent's head into the mat.

15. Jack Knife Power Bomb: Diesel (AKA. Kevin Nash).

The term Jackknife powerbomb can refer to a normal powerbomb which sees the wrestler keep his/her head between the opponent's legs and keep a hold on the legs with his/her arms before then flipping forward planting his/her feet and bridging back, completing a Jackknife pinning hold.

14. Piranha Bite: The Amazon. (Nintendo: Pro Wrestling).

The Amazon would grab his opponent and then proceed to use his razor sharp teeth to bite his opponents head. It was such a cheap move and all your friends hated it when you did it to them when playing pro wrestling!

13. Van Terminator: Rob Van Dam.

Van Dam would place an item (most likely a garbage can or chair) on his opponent's head on one corner of the ring. Van Dam would go to the other corner of the ring and climb to the top ropes and jump off and kick the chair or garbage can into the head of his opponent who was all the way on the other side of the ring. Basically, the Van Terminator is kicking a weapon into the opponent's body from the opposite turnbuckle that they are on. An example is Shane doing it to Vince at WM17.

12. Ghetto Blaster: Bad News Brown.

Thus, an enzuigiri (often misspelled 'ensuigiri' or 'enzuiguri') is any attack that strikes the back of the head. It is usually associated with lighter weight class wrestlers, as well as wrestlers who have a martial arts background or gimmick. It is often a counter-move after a kick is blocked and the leg caught, or the initial kick is a feint to set up the real enzuigiri attack.

"Gentleman" Chris Adams' enzuigiri was often mistakenly called a superkick before bringing the real maneuver itself to the U.S. from his stint in Japan. In America, this maneuver was made famous by Bad News Brown, who used a running variation simply known as a running enzuigiri in which he calls it the Ghetto Blaster.

11. Jack Hammer: Bill Goldberg.

One of the most devastating moves in wrestling during its time, Goldberg would grip the person in a suplex-like hold. He would then lift them in the air and hold them there for a couple of seconds. He sometimes would even walk around with them up there (depending on the size of the opponent), letting the blood flow to their head. Then he would bring them down into almost a powerslam maneuver, driving them through the canvas, and ending up on top of the foe for the pin. The Jackhammer rarely failed to put away a Goldberg opponent. It was used on everyone, including the 400-lb giant later known as the Big Show.

10 450 plash: 2 Cold Scorpio.

Invented by 2 Cold Scorpio, the 450 Splash, as it's correctly known, involves flipping forward 450 from a raised platform, landing on the opponent in the splash position.

9. Iron Claw: Giant Panther. (Nintendo: Pro Wrestling).

The Iron Claw, sometimes simply referred to as "The Claw", requires the gripping of an opponent's skull and squeezing with the fingertips. Giant Panther just looked damn cool shoving his fist into his opponents face and holding it there.

8. Awesome Bomb: Mike Awesome.

A running one shoulder powerbomb, which Mike Awesome called the Running Awesome Bomb. When throwing the opponent through a table, Awesome would push the opponent off his shoulders by grabbing the opponent's armpits, similar to a crucifix powerbomb.

7. Shake Rattle and Roll: The Honkey Tonk Man.

The attacking wrestler applies a front facelock while he places their heads side by side under each other shoulder and uses their free hand to grab hold of the opponent's far hand before then swinging over the opponent and down to the ground, in a semi-circular motion, so that both the wrestler and the opponent fall to the ground back-first causing the back of the opponent's neck to impact on the shoulder of the attacking wrestler. The Honky Tonk Man popularized this move in the late 80s, calling it the Shake, Rattle, and Roll.

6. Rude Awakening: Ravishing Rick Rude.

From a back-to-back position, the attacking wrestler reaches back and pulls the opponent's head over their shoulder, then drops to a sitting/kneeling position, causing the back of the opponent's neck to impact on the shoulder of the attacking wrestler.

5. Razors Edge: Razor Ramon.

The Crucifix powerbomb was made popular by Scott Hall, who calls it by the names Razor's Edge or Outsider's Edge, and sees an opponent lifted onto the back of the wrestler with their arms spread out as in a crucifixion. The attacking wrestler then drops to a kneeling position as they bend forwards to throws the opponent forward to the mat on to their back or neck and shoulders.

4. DDT: Jake "the Snake" Roberts.

DDT is any move in which the wrestler falls down or backwards to drive a held opponent's head into the mat. The classic DDT is performed by putting the opponent in a front facelock and falling backwards so that the opponent is forced to dive forward onto his or her head.[1] The DDT is often prefaced with a kick to the stomach in order to drive the head of the opponent downwards; a kick and a DDT in quick succession is referred to as a Flowing DDT. The move was named by Jake "The Snake" Roberts, who accidentally invented the move in the 1980s. Rumors abound as to what the letters DDT supposedly stood for, including Drop Dead Twice, Demonic Death Trap, Death Drop Technique and Damien's Dinner Time after Jake's pet python Damien. When asked what DDT meant, Jake once famously replied "The End." The abbreviation itself originally came from the chemical dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane, a notorious pesticide, as stated during shoot interviews and on his "Pick Your Poison" DVD. Many think the term DDT was appropriated because the chemical DDT is something "bad" that is buried in the ground and causes extreme danger (and possible brain damage/birth defects) when there; similarly, a DDT is bad in that it buries an opponent's head into the mat, creating extreme danger to the brain and spinal cord.

3. The Diamond Cutter: Diamond Dallas Page.

In professional wrestling, a cutter is a common term which refers to the three-quarter facelock bulldog maneuver. The move is also described as an inverted neckbreaker. This move sees an attacking wrestler first apply a three-quarter facelock (reaching back and grabbing the head of an opponent, thus pulling the opponent's jaw above the wrestler's shoulder) before falling backwards (sometimes after running forwards first) to force the opponent face-first to the mat below. Due to the facelock, the opponent's face often never reaches the mat. Instead, it lands on the shoulder of the attacking wrestler, thus damaging the neck.

2. Stone Cold Stunner: Stone Cold Steve Austin.

It involves an attacking wrestler applying a three-quarter facelock (reaching back and grabbing the head of an opponent, thus pulling the opponent's jaw above the wrestler's shoulder) before falling to a seated position and forcing the opponent's jaw to drop down on the shoulder of the attacking wrestler. The free hand is sometimes used to hold the top of the head. The original move was used by Mikey Whipwreck, who called it the Whipper-snapper, in Extreme Championship Wrestling where he even jumped off a top turnbuckle to initiate the move. However, it was most popularly used by Stone Cold Steve Austin, who called it the Stone Cold Stunner, from where the term "stunner" is derived. Austin often preceded his stunner by giving an opponent the finger before kicking them in the gut and locking in the three-quarter facelock.

1. Sweet Chin Music: "The Heart Break Kid" Shawn Michaels.

Many wrestlers have used the superkick as a signature move since then, most notably Shawn Michaels who uses this as his finisher, referring to it as the Sweet Chin Music. Michaels often precedes the move with an inverted atomic drop, followed by a flying elbow from the top turnbuckle. While the opponent gathers himself and stands back up, Michaels usually stands in front of a turnbuckle and taps his feet, called by announcers as "tuning up the band", before landing the superkick. Michaels kicks the opponent in the chin, thus the move being called Sweet Chin Music. Michaels in an interview said that he learned the superkick from Adams himself while wrestling in Texas during the mid-1980s.

Lastly, just in case you were wondering.

My favorite wrestlers 1980-2000.

1) The Ultimate Warrior

2) Kurt Angle

3) Sabu

4) Honky Tonk Man

5) Rob Van Dam

6) Dean Malenko

7) Ricky The Dragon Steamboat

8) Mike Awesome

9) Rey Mysterio Jr.

10) Taz

But During the 80's I liked:

1) The Ultimate Warrior

2) Hacksaw Jim Duggan

3) Honky Tonk Man

4) Hulk Hogan

5) Ravishing Rick Rude
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