The 10 Best WWE Finishers of All Time
Last updated on May 9th, 2022 at 12:02 pm
A finishing move is not just a wrestler’s way of ending a match but it’s also part of a wrestler’s unique identity. It speaks volumes about the wrestler’s overall style of wrestling, brand and how the wrestler wants to be perceived by the public.
Over the years, we’ve seen many wrestlers use a plethora of finishing moves in an effort to close out matches. From the iconic DDT to the Jackhammer to the widely used Spear to Bret Hart’s Sharpshooter.
While many wrestlers end up popularizing various moves, many at times these wrestlers are often not the inventors of these moves.
The real brains behind some of the iconic moves in pro-wrestling often end up receiving little to no credit.
While we have plenty of finishing moves that deserve to be on this top 10 list, some didn’t just make the cut. These are the 10 best WWE finishers moves of all time.
10. The Diamond Cutter
Regarded as one of the most memorable and best WWE finishers of all time, the Diamond Cutter was widely popularized by Diamond Dallas Page. While many wrestlers have created their own versions of the Diamond Cutter, the initial Diamond Cutter remains one of the most popular moves.
Some of the moves that borrowed heavily from the Diamond Cutter include Randy Orton’s RKO and the Twist of Fate by one of the greatest tag team duos, the Hardy Boyz.
Like most moves on this list, DDP did not invent the move but rather popularized it. Back in his wrestling days, John Laurinaitis invented the move during his Johnny Ace days.
9. The Jackhammer
One of the most decorated wrestlers of all time, Goldberg’s illustrious wrestling career saw him lift multiple titles. Unlike most wrestlers in the WWE, Goldberg has a limited array of moves and thus often relies on the spear and the jackhammer.
While the Jackhammer was invented back in the 1980s by Jaguar Yokota, it’s Goldberg who would go ahead and popularize the move. Also known as the suplex powerslam, the Jackhammer is a move that requires an upper core strength to properly execute.
Despite being able to put many wrestlers down with the move, Goldberg was still hesitant to use the move sometimes due to a string of shoulder injuries.
8. Canadian Destroyer
At one point in time, the Canadian Destroyer was a highly innovating and effective maneuver that would end a match in an instant. According to many wrestling fans, the Canadian Destroyer was one of the best WWE finishers.
However, these days, it has ended up becoming just another move that wrestlers add to their arsenal to project enhance the visual elements of matches.
Invented by Petey Williams, the Canadian was first introduced into a wrestling match against Matt Sydal in 2003. Like any other iconic signature move, the Canadian Destroyer requires corporation from the opponent for proper execution.
The Canadian Destroyer gained popularity during Petey’s tenure with TNA, where he played a vital role in establishing the promotion’s X-Division. While TNA did not command a bigger chunk of the market like the WWE, the Canadian Destroyer grew extremely popular among ardent TNA fans.
As professional wrestling began to evolve, embracing speed and high flying techniques, the move began to gain popularity among various promotions. While Petey Williams began the Canadian Destroyer as a finishing move, many promotions and wrestlers began to incorporate the move within matches rather than at the end of matches.
Overexposure of the move ultimately led to the de-evaluation of the Canadian Destroyer. Nonetheless, the Canadian Destroyer still remains one of the best WWE finishers to date.
7. Shooting Star Press-Billy Kidman
Despite the controversy that surrounded the shooting star press, it’s still considered to be one of the best finishers of all time. While many wrestlers such as Brock Lesnar, Juventud Guerrero and many others have continued to use the shooting star press, it’s Billy Kidman who was among the first wrestler to use the move in the WWE.
Invented by non-other than Jushin Liger, the Shooting Star press instantly became a highlight reel moment in any match that it was used.
Over the years, there are many wrestlers who used the move outside the WWE, however, it’s only a few who perfected this move.
While the Shooting Star Press aesthetic element depends on the wrestler’s execution and, it’s quite devastating, to say the least. AJ Styles is one of the few wrestlers given the greenlight by Vince McMahon to use one of the best WWE finishers of all time.
For nearly two decades, the RKO has been one of the most devastating and unpredictable finishing moves in pro-wrestling. Apart from helping Randy Orton win 14 world titles, the finishing move also came in handy during his unprecedented attacks on wrestlers and renowned media personalities.
Although Randy Orton ended up popularizing the RKO, he was not the originator of the move. Although the RKO is much similar to the Diamond Cutter by DDP, it is actually John Laurinaitis who created the move.
While wrestling as Johnny Ace, John Laurinaitis delivered the first-ever RKO many years ago. At that point in time, the move was referred to as the ace crusher. Over the years, many wrestlers have managed to make their mark by coming up with different variations of the move.
From Jeff Hardy’s Twist of Fate to Stone Cold Steve Austin’s Stunner to Dudley Boyz 3D, all these finishing maneuvers borrowed heavily from John Laurinaitis’s initial finishing move.
5. People’s Elbow
What initially began as an inside joke, ultimately became one of the best WWE finishers of all time.
According to Triple H, The Brahma Bull began the people’s elbow as an attempt to get The Undertaker to laugh. Because of his no-nonsense gimmicks, many wrestlers were more than determined to make The Undertaker break character. Nonetheless, despite starting out as a joke, the People’s Elbow went on to become iconic.
Throughout the years, many wrestlers have fallen victim to The Rock’s signature move. While The People’s Elbow cannot be compared to other moves on this list in terms of impact and damage, it still manages to get a reaction from the crowd.
That said, despite being an iconic move, The People’s Elbow still remains one of the most controversial moves of all time. According to many wrestling purists, the People’s Elbow was not only annoying but was somewhat overrated.
The group also go ahead to argue that the move was somewhat disrespectful to other wrestlers such as The Undertaker, whom The Rock beat fair and square with The People’s Elbow.
Considered to be one of the most lethal finishers of all time, Brock Lesnar’s F5 is not only aesthetically pleasing but also iconic. Unlike most WWE moves, Brock Lesnar did not borrow the move from another wrestler but came up with it while messing around in the squared circle.
While practicing a move like the F5, John Laurinaitis, a road agent, approached Brock Lesnar and asked him to incorporate both moves, so that it became some type of DDT, a spinning DDT to be precise. The resultant move was not only looked devastating but was also very effective.
In the WWE, the F5 has not only ended up being quite popular but also quite effective. With the F5, Brock Lesnar has won 5 WWE championships, 3 Universal titles, a Royal Rumble tournament and King of the Ring tourney, all with the help of this move.
Some of the biggest names in the WWE, both in the current and previous era, have been on the receiving end of the F5. According to Beast Incarnate, delivering the F5 to the Big Show, Rikishi and Mark Henry were some of his biggest feats.
3. Sharpshooter-Bret Hart
For many WWE fans, Bret “The Hitman” Hart was undeniably the excellence of execution. Ever since he began his wrestling career, it was quite clear that Bret Hart was destined for greatness.
Despite having plenty of skills in his arsenal, Bret Hart ultimately became known as a submission wrestler, thanks to the Sharpshooter. Being a great and highly effective move, many wrestlers continued to use the move.
Some of these wrestlers include sting, who used the move during his WCW days but under a different name: The Scorpion Deathlock. During an interview, Bret Hart revealed that he saw the move first in Japan but was not so sure how he was going to replicate the move.
However, Konnan stepped in and explained in detail what the move entailed and how Bret could use the move during matches. After learning the move, Bret Hart approached Vince McMahon and informed him that he had just learnt how to use the move and the rest is history.
Over the years, many wrestlers such as The Rock, Trish Stratus and Natalya have used Bret Hart’s version of the move. For many die-hard wrestling fans and analysts, Bret Hart’s Sharpshooter is not just an imitation of the move but rather a symbol of Hart’s influence in professional wrestling.
2. Shawn Michael’s Superkick
Like most wrestlers on this list, Shawn Michaels Superkick or Sweet Chin Music was not his initial finishing maneuver. Between 1992 to 1993, Shawn Michaels used another finishing maneuver, the Teardrop Supplex.
The Teardrop Supplex was nothing short of a Leg Hook Supplex that was made famous, by Masa Saito, one of the greatest Japanese wrestlers of all time. When Michaels began using the Superkick, it was nothing short of a regular move that he used alongside his other moves.
However, it did not take long for Michaels to learn that the Sweet Chin Music superkick was not only more stylish but somewhat looked a little bit more lucrative than all his other moves at the time. Thus, he dropped his previous move and began using Sweet Chin Music as his finishing move.
In the squared circle, the Sweet Chin Music is still one of the most lethal moves as it tends to come out of nowhere and can also be used in several ways. Even though Shawn Michaels is currently in retirement, he continues to use the move during his random WWE appearances, reminding the fans of his brilliant career in the WWE.
1. Stone Cold Stunner
From what we’ve seen over the years, the stunner is arguably the best WWE finisher of all time. Perfomed by one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, Stone-Cold Steve Austin was not only a great mic worker during his wrestling days, but also a solid wrestler.
Simply put, his influence in sports entertainment will continue many years down the line.
While Stone Cold’s impact in the WWE cannot be overlooked, his iconic signature move, The Stunner continues to be the talk of the town, many years after he retired. Apart from professional wrestlers, other renowned personalities have also been on the receiving end of this iconic move.
For many years, Stone Cold had been using the Million Dollar Dream as his finishing move. However, one day prior to Monday Night Raw session in 1996, Michael Hayes approached Stone Cold and told him that he might just have come with a much better finishing move than the one he had been using.
The new move involved Robert “The Snake” Robert’s iconic short-arm clotheslines. However, Stone Cold needed a new way to set up the opponent for the finishing move and that’s where the kick to the gut came in.
In the long run, the kick to the gut was not only a way of setting up the opponent but also became a visual signal to the WWE fans that the stunner was coming up next. Even though Stone Cold Steve Austin delivered the stunner on a plethora of wrestlers, his most memorable use of the stunner was against the CEO of the WWE, Vince McMahon.
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