The finisher is the most important move in a wrestler’s arsenal, and therefore the most important move in a match. An ideal finisher should be spectacular, compelling, exciting and effective. If a move meets those requirements, then it will surely be one of the best finishers out there.
Throughout WWE history, there have been several wrestlers whose finishers meet those requirements. Furthermore, these wrestlers had illustrious careers, making it clear that their finisher was a crucial part of their success. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the top 10 finishers in WWE history.
UPDATE: 2023/11/19 13:36 EST BY BRANDON EWING
The wrestling industry has evolved and changed over the years. Finishers from a simple “Piledriver” have now evolved to wrestlers executing a “Canadian Destroyer” or “Code Red”. A wrestler’s finishing move is just as important as their own character’s persona, entrance, and entrance music. Finishing moves is how we define a wrestler and connect with them. The “Scorpion Deathlock”, for example, will forever be a move that is directly tied to Sting. A finishing move defines these characters, bringing them to life, adding another layer to the complexity of these larger-than-life personalities we love to see on weekly WWE television.
10 Jeff Hardy’s Swanton Bomb
One Of The Most Death-Defying Moves In WWE History
- The Swanton Bomb was originally used by The Great Sasuke and was referred to as the “Senton Atomico”
- Jeff Hardy has performed this move from steel cages, ladders, and other structures throughout his career.
- Hardy has admitted the move is painful to perform and has executed this move less and less these days.
Jeff Hardy’s Swanton Bomb is one of the most spectacular finishers in wrestling history. Perhaps it didn’t look like a big deal when Hardy performed it from the top rope, but he wasn’t afraid of going higher and taking things to a whole new level. Jeff Hardy performed his Swanton Bomb off ladders, balconies, or any other high structure, putting his body and life on the line, and that was what made his finisher so special.
9 Randy Savage’s Diving Elbow Drop
The Master Of The Diving Elbow Drop
Randy Savage is one of the best wrestlers in WWE history. He had several memorable moments in the 1980s and 1990s, and won many matches thanks to his Diving Elbow Drop. This move looked great because Savage performed it from the top rope, while his opponent was lying in the center of the ring. Also, this finisher was convincing, as it looked really painful, and, in fact, some wrestlers who took a Macho Man’s Elbow said it really hurt.
8 AJ Lee’s Black Widow
A Deadly Variation Of The Octopus Stretch
AJ Lee’s Black Widow is one of the most underrated finishers of all, but this time we will give it the recognition it deserves and place it among the best finishers in WWE history. This move is original, the execution is complicated, but it looks painful enough to make the victim tap out. In fact, it was practically impossible to get out of this move. AJ Lee was a generational talent, and her finisher was unique.
7 Bret Hart’s Sharpshooter
A Legendary Finisher That Is Lethal And Deadly To This Very Day
- The Sharpshooter is an alternative variation to the Scorpion Deathlock, originally used by Japanese wrestler Riki Chosu and later performed worldwide by Sting.
- Bret Hart learned how to perform the Sharpshooter from Konnan.
- The name “Sharpshooter” was inspired by Bret’s nickname, “The Hitman”.
Speaking of epic submission moves, Bret Hart’s Sharpshooter could not be missing in this list. This move was compelling and very exciting, because when Hart pinned his opponent, the fans went crazy and knew that the end of the match was very close. The Hitman is one of the best wrestlers of all time, and his finisher fit him perfectly, especially because he executed it flawlessly.
6 Shawn Michaels’ Sweet Chin Music
The Iconic Superkick That Inspired A Generation
Certainly, Shawn Michaels’ finisher was a Superkick, but it was definitely the best Superkick out there. Nowadays many wrestlers use the Superkick, like The Usos, Kevin Owens, The Young Bucks, Adam Cole, Dolph Ziggler, among others, but frankly, HBK’s Sweet Chin Music is way above the rest.
Michaels’ finisher is iconic, the setup and execution were unique, and he defeated several phenomenal wrestlers with that move. So, no matter how many wrestlers use the Superkick, Michaels’ Sweet Chin Music will always be unmatched.
5 Bianca Belair’s KOD
One Kiss From This Finisher Signals The End For Anyone Who Opposes Bianca Belair
- The “kiss” print attire was a heavy inspiration for the name, “Kiss of Death” (KOD).
- Bianca took the initials “K.O.D” from rap artist, J. Cole, who originally used the acronym for “Kids on Drugs” and created her variation for the finisher as the “Kiss of Death”.
- She began using the KOD in 2016 after she began her tenure in NXT.
Bianca Belair’s KOD is not only the best women’s finisher today, but also one of the best finishers in WWE history. We’re talking about an impressive move, as Belair uses her massive strength to lift any opponent and then sends them to the mat, causing a huge, devastating impact. This finisher looks great, is outstanding among women, is convincing and, especially, effective, as no one in the main roster has ever kicked out of the KOD. This finisher is amazing, and so is Bianca Belair.
4 Brock Lesnar’s F5
The F5 Is One Of The Most Impactful Moves In The History Of WWE
Brock Lesnar is one of the most dominant wrestlers of all time, and one of the reasons why is his finishing move, the F5. When this beast performs his F5 with so much power, it’s pretty much impossible to keep fighting, and that’s why this is one of the most effective moves in wrestling history. Lesnar takes his opponents to Suplex City, which seems devastating enough, but after that, he hits his F5 to put his opponents’ lights out.
3 The Undertaker’s Tombstone Piledriver
The Most Legendary Piledriver Of All Time
- The Undertaker first performed the Tombstone Piledriver during his debut at the 1990 Survivor Series against Koko B. Ware.
- The Deadman is also known to “jump” and deliver the Tombstone Piledriver for added punishment.
- Ironically, The Undertaker’s brother “Kane” was the first wrestler to ever kick out of the Tombstone Piledriver.
The Undertaker used several finishers during his career, such as Hell’s Gate, the Chokeslam, or the Last Ride, and they were all great, but none as cool and iconic as the Tombstone Piledriver.
With this move, The Deadman caused devastating damage to his opponent’s head, sending him to rest in peace. The Undertaker is arguably the most iconic wrestling character in WWE history, and the Tombstone Piledriver fit him perfectly.
2 Randy Orton’s RKO
The RKO Is Without A Doubt The Most Adaptable Finisher Of All-Time
This list would be incomplete without Randy Orton’s RKO. We are talking about one of the coolest, most devastating finishers of all time. Orton can hit his finishers out of nowhere, when nobody is expecting it, he can even use it to counter an opponent’s move, and this makes his finisher unpredictable and unique. As if that wasn’t enough, the RKO looks painful and convincing, as the victim takes a lot of damage in the face/head.
1 Steve Austin’s Stone Cold Stunner
A Finisher That Helped Define The Attitude Era
- Infamously used on Vince McMahon and The Rock throughout the “Attitude Era”.
- The first Stone Cold Stunner performed by Austin was on WWE Superstars (June 1996) against Jason Arndt.
- Ironically, the last Stone Cold Stunner performed was at WrestleMania 38 (2022) on Vince McMahon, which arguably was the worst selling Stunner of all time.
Stone Cold Steve Austin is one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. He had a unique personality and was extremely charismatic, so it’s no wonder he captivated millions of fans around the world. His finisher, the Stunner, is actually a pretty simple move and doesn’t look painful, but still, it’s arguably the best finisher in WWE history. Well, Stone Cold executed it in a special way, with charisma, with beer flying, and it’s also worth mentioning that wrestlers like The Rock always sold this finisher in an epic way, and that’s what made it popular.