There are a great amount of amazing moves in pro wrestling, but only so few that always seem to get the job done. Sure some of the more flashy moves (such as the Shooting Star Press) always get massive reactions, but only 15 are so feared that opponents base their whole match strategy around avoiding them. The following is a ranking of the best of the best as of 2013:
Note: I neglected to include moves from any wrestler who competes primarily on a part-time basis (such as The Rock, Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker, Sting, Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle)
Dolph Ziggler (WWE) – Super Kick – Though Ziggler primarily uses the Zig Zag as his finish, lately it’s his Superkick that has earned him victories over the likes of Randy Orton and John Cena. The lightening fast strike to the jaw can come from nowhere and never ceases to get a reaction from the crowd.
Samoa Joe (TNA) – Rear Naked Choke – Samoa Joe was at one point, the most dominant force in professional wrestling. His “Coquina Clutch” finish was the pre-eminent reason why. No other submission in TNA history has put away as many top superstars and it’s very likely none ever will.
Austin Aries (TNA) – 450 Splash – Austin Aries posses the most lethal pair of finishing maneuvers in all of Impact Wrestling. His Brainbuster is always impressive and usually, puts opponents down for the three count, but it’s his awe-inspiring 450 splash that never fails.
Kassius Ohno (WWE) – Rolling Elbow – Kassius Ohno (formerly Chris Hero) has one of the best variations of the rolling elbow I’ve ever seen. It’s a move made famous by Mitsuharu Misawa and has been passed down to talented performers like Ohno who’s now properly named the finish the “KO”.
Sheamus (WWE) – Brogue Kick – The Celtic Warrior nearly takes his opponent’s head clean off when he charges with his running bicycle kick. It’s a move that can be done to anyone, anytime and regardless of the opponent, it always looks completely brutal.
Jeff Hardy (TNA) – Swanton Bomb – The rainbow haired risk taker has one of the most popular finishers in the history of pro wrestling. It’s a move that is quite simple, yet done with a unique combination of grace and effectiveness rarely seen. Hands down, it’s the best top rope finish in the biz right now.
Randy Orton (WWE) – RKO – There is no other move in wrestling today that is more over than Randy Orton’s RKO. The move has gotten so popular that it’s arguable it’s become an event into itself. Still, that would mean nothing if it weren’t for the unmatched execution Orton delivers the move with. Quick, lethal and utterly amazing.
Cheerleader Melissa (Shimmer) – Kudo Driver – No other woman in all of pro wrestling possesses a more lethal finisher than Shimmer’s resident show stealer, Cheerleader Melissa. Dropping opponents on their heads is always a safe bet to win a match, but there aren’t many more effective (and downright cringe worthy) ways to do so.
Shinsuke Nakamura (NJPW) – Boma Ye – One of the most exciting moves in wrestling right now rightfully belongs to one of the most exciting performers to watch. Shinsuke Nakamura’s running knee trembler is New Japan’s equivalent of the RKO. It’s taken on a life of it’s own.
Ryback (WWE) – Shell Shocked – Of all the moves on this list, this one is the only one that has taken out two or three superstars at a time. Though Ryback has also yet to win any real noteworthy matches with the move. Still, no man has yet to kick out and that’s saying something.
KENTA (NOAH) – GTS (Go To Sleep) – Sure most casual fans associate this move with it’s most famous owner, CM Punk, but it’s KENTA that innovated the maneuver and no one else executes it with more brutal efficiency.
Kevin Steen (ROH) – Package Piledriver – It’s the only move on this list that has ever been banned due to it’s sheer brutality. It’s also arguably, the most feared move in ROH history. If one is hit with it, winning is no longer an option and survival becomes the only concern.
Hiroshi Tanahashi (NJPW) – High Fly Flow – The undisputed Ace of New Japan has dominated the title scene for nearly three years using his impactful variations of the frog splash. The only reason he doesn’t rank higher is due to the fact that his opponents have begun to smarten up and many have found ways around the move as of late.
John Cena (WWE) – Attitude Adjustment – A controversial pick for sure, but is there really an argument about the moves effectiveness? The men who’ve fallen to this move read like a who’s who of WWE superstars. CM Punk, Randy Orton, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Batista, Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho, Sheamus, Big Show and countless others can all testify.
Kazuchika Okada (NJPW) – Rainmaker – Okada is pro wrestling’s hottest commodity right now and his fast ascension to elite status can practically be attributed to the devastation his arm trap lariat leaves in it’s wake. Hands down, it’s the best and most feared finisher in the world today.
Feel free to drop a comment below on which of these finishers you find to be particularly brutal. Or you can always contact me on twitter (@g9zwrestling) for more!
Thanks for reading,
Yeah, Orton’s RKO might be the most “over” move since the Stunner.
I like Alex Riley’s TKO. It’s half Attitude Adjustment, half RKO.
If he were more over, I’d agree.
Kofi Kingston’s (WWE) “Trouble in Paradise” is a good one. It knocked The Miz out.
And look up Petey Williams’s (TNA) Canadian Destroyer.
The Destroyer wouldn’t be effective against a larger opponent and both that & Kofi’s T.I.P. haven’t really been proven much against elite competition.
Very much so!
No GTS ? Can you imagine being dropped from someone’s shoulder face first into a lifting knee ? That HURTS ! lol Plus I’m a HUGE Punk fan.
GTS is there, but it’s attached to KENTA because it’s his move.
Oh ok cool I did not know that … I really only watch WWE because of the entertainment factor and I grew up watching of course.
On CM Punk’s DVD, he said he stole the move. What’s cool is that out of respect, Punk kept the same name and didn’t change it.
Yeah I remember him saying that. Most wrestlers copy moves from other wrestlers, they have to really. Only so many moves can be done. Like I’m sure The Rock wasn’t the first person to do a move like the Rock bottom.
Foley should’ve done a version and called it the “Sock Bottom”.
Big Show’s W.M.D. is a finisher opponents truly try to avoid and has a fantastic win percentage.
Are these in any order? I noticed you said something about one of the moves being “ranked higher.”
Either way, great concept for an article. I would love to see something with an actual “victims list” or win percentage.
Yes, they are listed in order. And I agree that Big Show’s WMD finish is another worthy of this list. I think if we’re talking a victims list, then Cena would probably finish first with Show & Orton a close 2nd.