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Fan Submission: The Finishing Move

This is an email we received, but proved much too long  and in depth to read and respond to on the show.  So here it is, in it’s  entirely.  Give it a read, and  give your feedback  in the comments.


       Watching Raw this week made me very reflective.  Maybe it was the redness of Natch’s face or perhaps it was the amount of time they spent shoving “12-Rounds” down my throat, but I found myself pondering “why I actually watch wrestling, anyway”…to that end, I came up with a 3-word answer, THE FINISHING MOVE.

So, what exactly is a “Finishing Move”?  If you are a decent no name wrestler, a good “Finishing Move” can get you noticed, if you are a small wrestler a good one can elevate the size of guys you can face and if you are a good all around wrestler, the perfect “Finishing Move” can make you a great one.  They come in all shapes and sizes from the “Razor’s Edge” to the “Tongan Death Grip”, I can end a match with the “Figure Four Leg-Lock” or the “Un-Prettier”….in every case the “Move” needs to represent your fighting style and your overall character.  In every case a finishing move should be able to be put on at a moments notice and inevitably one way or another, decide the match or at least create some drama.  I’m going to evaluate a few moves to rate them on their effectiveness by way of Trauma Caused by the Move, Suddenness of the Move, Ability for the Opponent to Sell the Move and the Unilateral Nature of the Move.


Let’s first take a look at an un-popular example, John Cena’s “F.U.”.  This signature move on a scale of 1 to 10 is about a 7.   Let’s look at why.  The move for the most part a standing fireman’s carry, which isn’t the most devastating move.  It mainly causes trauma to the shoulder and back, with some secondary impact to the back of the head, which is ok.  Those are areas that can be easily “sold” by the recipient, so that’s a positive.  Also, the way Cena delivers the move allows him to really sell his body into the move as well.  By following through in the motions, he can give the illusion of power in the delivery, also a positive.  The move isn’t applied with quickness or suddenly for the most part.  At the apex of the move he usually pauses, which allows for an opponent to counter or evade it, which is a bit of a minus.  Finally, due to Cena’s size and strength, he is able to place this move on anyone and he proved this with Big Show, so that is a positive as well.  So, I rate the overall move a 7.


Now let’s look at another move that I rate vary highly, the “Stunner/Diamond Cutter/RKO”.  Now I know, they are different moves, but really they are just a different variation of the same basic move.  You step in front of your opponent, facing away from them; you wrap an arm around their head and fall/jump to your butt.  This move causes injury to the head and neck with what appears to be a high amount of force, a huge positive.  It can be applied suddenly and seemingly “out of nowhere”, changing the entire tide of a match, another huge positive.  It can also be applied to anyone who can stand up or at least can be held up, a positive.  The only negative to this move is the selling point.  Since for every action there needs to be a re-action, you opponent is required to sell the move with a bit of a backlash from the force.  Without some sort of reaction it appears as though you are applying this move to a dead fish.  Granted the RKO and the Diamond cutter do not require the same reaction a Stunner does (due to the positioning of the head off of the shoulder) but there is still a high degree of difficulty in selling the move.  So, looking at these factors I give each of those moves a 9.


Now I will give you an example of what I consider to be a bad finisher.  I’m going to bump up the controversy here and say…..C.M. Punk’s G.T.S.  I know, I just basically humped every Indy Fan’s dead grandma’s corpse with that choice, but hear me out.  The move is taking your opponent into a fireman’s carry and then from that position, you float him over your head and deliver a high knee to the forehead as they are falling down.  This move cause’s drama to the head with seemingly a high amount of force, which is positive, but much like Cena’s move it cannot be done suddenly, there is a high amount of setup required.  Also, there is a hesitation at the apex of the move, which allows most able-bodied opponents to escape.  In addition, this is a difficult move to sell.  As the opponent, you must have a high amount of body control to be able to sell the reactive response of a knee to your forehead while in mid-air.  There are a limited number of wrestlers able to react like that, especially when tired near the end of a match.  Finally, due to C.M. Punk’s limited size, this move is not something that could be done to “Super Heavy-Weight” opponents.  Even if a guy like Big Show could sell the move, it is hard to believe that Punk can deliver it in a match ending scenario.  Based on those facts, rate it a 5.  Before everyone gets their panties in a bunch, I understand that the “story of a match” can be constructed to make nearly every finishing move believable, which is true; however, I would argue that a good move can be just as effective when delivered during a promo as it is in the middle of an Iron-Man Match.


Now, in my current memory, I have only one move that rates a perfect 10.  It causes significant trauma, it can be done quickly or with some bravado, it is very difficult to escape and it can be done to anyone at anytime, anywhere……….the Pedigree.  With that, I’ll leave you to talk amongst yourselves.