It’s no secret the tastes of wrestling fans can change over time. That goes for finishers, too. Once, moves like a bodyslam, camel clutch or other moves were top finishers in WWE, WCW and several other companies, but now are standard for matches. Even stuff like a shooting star press or a hurricanrana can’t be as fantastic as they once were, and so many finishers seem watered down these days.
However, some finishers can still rise, thanks to how amazing they were. Several have become commonplace yet could still work as believable ends to matches. They range from savage knockout blows to submission holds that can truly be painful and if the right guy can sell them, they look even better. These are ten old-school wrestling finishers that can still work today to showcase that the old ways may still be the best.
10 The Clawhold
From the Blackjacks to the Von Erichs to Baron Von Rashke, the clawhold was one of the top submission finishers around. Seeing a guy slap their hand in an iron vise around their opponent’s head and squeeze them into submission was a fun sight and it could still work today.
The guy doing it has to be strong enough to make it believable, as well as how it’s sold as being so painful. But maybe it’s time the clawhold once more got its grip on wrestling fans as a great finisher.
9 Boston Crab
We see variations of it from the Walls of Jericho to others, as the old-school Boston crab is one of the better submission holds ever created. It puts pressure on both the back and legs, and it’s even better when the guy can yank on the legs harder to add to such pressure.
It was a precursor to the Sharpshooter but, in many ways, more painful pulling the legs apart like this. The variations of it show how this was one of the best submission moves ever created, and how it still works out today.
8 Full Nelson
Something about this move just works well. Pinning a guy’s arms back while locking your hands behind his head makes for a finisher that keeps them helpless and in pain. It was used by guys such as Hercules and Chris Masters.
Bobby Lashley has been using it to great effect and it makes sense, as a powerful guy can make it look far more dominating and agonizing. That showcases how the full nelson remains a finisher that almost always leads to a submission win, and a classic move for a big man.
7 Running Powerslam
This may seem an offbeat finisher, but Braun Strowman showed it can still be a dominant one. The Junkyard Dog and Davey Boy Smith were the more famous users, hoisting a guy up on a shoulder, taking a running start then slamming them down hard.
Some guys use it today more as a wearing down move mid-match. However, it can also be very believable as a finisher with the right power put into it, showing that an old-school finisher can still be among the best.
Several versions of this exist, and when utilized by the stronger guys, it comes off as a truly painful move. Lex Luger’s torture rack was one of the best variants, with him bouncing a bit to further stretch the guy out.
A stronger guy doing it is the best as it’s more believable being bent over their shoulders can be agonizing and leading to a fast submission. Regardless of the version, the backbreaker is an underrated submission move for a stronger guy and still be good as a lively finisher to a match.
5 Perfect Plex
Although this move was used beforehand, Curt Hennig made it a huge deal in WWE. All these years later, the fisherman suplex can still be one of the more underrated finishers in wrestling.
Hooking the leg tightly made it harder to kick out of this, and Perfect was good at holding on tight and making it look artful as well. A bigger guy doing it makes more sense, and the suplex has more impact. Maybe guys don’t want to mimic Perfect too much but this does count for a great wrap-up to a bout.
4 Razor’s Edge
Scott Hall didn’t invent the crucifix powerbomb, but he made it famous as the Razor’s Edge. For a taller guy, it’s a good finisher, hoisting a guy up by the shoulder blade and then falling forward to drop him down hard on the canvas.
It almost always ended in a win for Ramon, including his first IC title victory. Some guys have used it since, if not to the same effect, yet the move still works when the guy using it is tall enough. That makes for a great end to a match and a fitting tribute to the late Hall.
Some variations of the Jackhammer can look great. But the brainbuster is a move that really needs a serious comeback. Most famously used by guys like Dick Murdoch and even Koko B. Ware, it was cool seeing a guy lifted into a suplex and then dumped onto his head.
It could be dangerous at times but also pretty impressive to watch. Like some other moves on this list, it can be a bit trick to perform and sell right but should be remembered more as a pretty effective finisher.
Maybe it’s become overused and, these days, more of a mid-match move. But there’s a reason the DDT has remained such a top move as a finisher over the years. Jake Roberts was the best, making it look truly devastating.
Arn Anderson and Raven were also great with it. Some guys make it fancier, but even a simple DDT can be terrific with a guy driven hard into the mat face or head first and a believable knockout blow. It just needs to be sold right, as the DDT has lasted so long for good reason.
The fact WWE has basically banned the piledriver shows how dangerous it is and it’s still effective. True, there have been things like an AEW show where MJF took one on the concrete floor and was back on his feet in a minute.
But when done right (and not even a Canadian Destroyer version), the piledriver is still a powerful move and totally believable as a knockout blow. If it can be built up, the piledriver can still work as one of the better finishers in wrestling due to how legit dangerous it is.