Whenever you put together a list of the “greatest” or “best of” anything, you’re going to have a hard time narrowing your list. Having already released DVDs based on things such as the best OMG moments, top wrestlers of all time and greatest superstars of this century, WWE is arguably the authority on deciding who and what constitute the best when it comes to wrestling. But when that task is as sensitive as declaring WWE’s top 50 finishing maneuvers, you’re bound to bruise some egos and have a few “experts” who refuse to submit to some of the choices.
But that certainly hasn’t stopped WWE from putting together its latest release, The 50 Greatest Finishing Moves in WWE History. As the name implies, this three-DVD set counts down from WWE’s choice for the 50th best finishing move all the way up to the best finisher of all time. 50 Greatest Finishing Moves eschews the guest host format, presenting its countdown with graphics of a lottery ball machine presenting the successive entries on the list. But these choices are far from random, as they have each been proven to keep opponents down for the three-count or submission on multiple occasions.
There are certain finishers that simply could not have been left off of this list, such as “Diamond” Dallas Page‘s Diamond Cutter, Jerry “The King” Lawler‘s piledriver, the Road Warriors‘ Doomsday Device, Hulk Hogan‘s leg drop and Ric Flair‘s figure four leg lock. Then there’s the dominating power of moves like the Vader Bomb, Lex Luger‘s torture rack, Yokozuna‘s Bonzai Drop, Kevin Nash‘s jackknife powerbomb and the Undertaker‘s tombstone piledriver. And on the opposite end of the spectrum are the flashier moves of high fliers like Rob Van Dam‘s five-star frog splash, Rey Mysterio‘s 619, Jeff Hardy‘s Swanton Bomb. Jimmy Snuka‘s Superfly Splash and Lita‘s Litasault (the only female finisher on the list). Finally, there are the technical moves like Sting‘s Scorpion Deathlock, Bob Baklund‘s crossface chicken wing. Mr. Perfect‘s Perfect Plex, the Walls of Jericho and Bret Hart‘s Sharpshooter.
Whether you’re perplexed by the ability of a man as big as Bam Bam Bigelow to execute flawless moonsaults off the top rope, or just waiting for the wrestling machine known as Kurt Angle to slap on his ankle lock, you’ll have a hard time arguing with any of the inclusions on this list. And regardless of how you feel about their placement, you can sit back and watch more than a dozen matches where finishers such as Shawn Michaels‘ Sweet Chin Music, Triple H‘s Pedigree, Sgt. Slaughter‘s cobra clutch and Bruno Sammartino‘s bear hug are focal points. In order to get as many examples of these moves in as possible, most of these matches include multiple participants, allowing various finishers to be executed within single matches.
One thing that isn’t necessarily pointed out in 50 Greatest Finishing Moves, but that should be apparent by the wrestlers and matches featured here, is that the advent of big finishing moves is a rather recent development, with wrestlers using these athletic displays to further establish their personas and talent. And whether they are more for showmanship and entertainment value or legitimately putting one’s opponents out of commission, these finishing moves definitely provide some added drama, spectacle and athleticism to an already over-the-top form of entertainment.
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