Thursday, April 18

Worst Wrestling Finishers Of The 2000s

A wrestler’s finishing move is an important detail that can make or break a wrestler. Just take Steve Austin as an example: he had found decent success using the Stun Gun but as soon as he started using a Standing Figure Four (That’s A Wrap) his WCW career went downhill. Similarly, after he dropped the Million Dollar Dream in favor of the Stunner, his WWE career took off. To be fair, correlation and causation are two different things but there is no doubt that the quick Stunner worked better for a ‘Rattlesnake’ than an python-like chokehold.



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Wrestling has seen its fair share of bad finishers – some of them didn’t even hurt the wrestler’s using them. Hulk Hogan’s legdrop or The Rock’s People’s Elbow were ridiculous on the surface but the people executing the move made it work. But unless you are over like Hogan or The Rock in their prime, these things don’t work. Following are eight examples of terrible finishers from the 2000s that just didn’t work.


Big Show’s KO Punch Was Believable But Boring

Well, It’s A Big… Letdown!

  • Big Show began using the WMD after his feud with Floyd Mayweather
  • He previously used the Chokeslam as a finisher


Was The Big Show’s knockout punch believable? Sure. A single punch with a fist the size of a baby’s head seems like a realistic finish. But optics matter in wrestling and a punch simply isn’t exciting. Add to that the fact that Show’s punch often looked like it missed by a few inches and you have a really bad finish.

Shelton Benjamin’s Exploder Didn’t Fit

A Great Wrestler With An Average Finisher

  • Benjamin began using the Exploder Suplex once he broke away from tag team with Charlie Haas
  • He later used the Paydirt – a jumping facebuster – as his finisher


When Shelton Benjamin broke away from Charlie Haas in 2004, he was quickly moved into the midcard. By October, he had won the Intercontinental Title from Chris Jericho. However, as good as Shelton was in the ring, his finisher just didn’t seem right. An exploder (or t-bone) suplex fit the amateur background of Shelton but it just didn’t connect with the high-flying athleticism of Benjamin. He later used the Paydirt, a kind of jumping flatliner, and while it was an improvement, it didn’t excite fans either. In the end, never finding the right finisher may have contributed to the fact that Shelton never reached his full potential.

Shane Douglas’ Franchiser Looked Odd

It Simply Wasn’t The Stunner

  • Douglas mostly used a Belly-to-Belly Suplex or Fisherman’s Buster (Pittsburgh Plunge) as his finisher
  • The Franchiser was a short-lived finisher in WCW 2000


For most of his career, Shane Douglas had used a Belly-to-Belly suplex or a Fisherman’s Buster (called the Pittsburgh Plunge) as his finish. In the summer of 2000 though, while in WCW, he decided to try something else. The Franchiser was essentially a reverse Stunner: Douglas would kind of hug his opponent and place their chin on his shoulder before dropping to his knees. The move just looked odd and it didn’t really last long.

Jeff Jarrett Indeed Had The Stroke

A Clever Play On Words

  • Jarrett started using The Stroke in WWE in 1998 as a secondary finisher
  • Jarrett had mostly used the Figure Four Leglock as his finisher beforehand


Starting in 1998, Jeff Jarrett had begun using a front-faced Russian Legsweep in WWE although it had remained nameless for quite some time. It eventually got the name The Stroke and, while in WCW, it became Jeff’s full-time finisher. Since Jarrett was the Chosen One, he now had all the stroke – quite literally. Unfortunately though, the finish often looked bad and never really got over with fans.

John Cena’s STF Was The Worst

Cena’s Execution Of The Move Was Horrible

  • Cena started using the STF – then known as STFU – in 2005 as a secondary finisher
  • He was told to ‘loosen up’ on the hold after applying it too snug a few times

There are three kinds of terrible finishers. There are those that are simply bad moves (Franchiser, Stroke). Then there are the comedy moves (we’ll get to those later on this list). And then there are those moves that are technically fine as a finish but just executed terribly. While those are very rare, one example was pulled off by the biggest name in wrestling in the mid-to-late 2000s: John Cena.


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His STF (a.k.a. STFU) looked terrible as John would clutch his hands often three or four inches in front of his opponents face (although Arn Anderson claimed this was because Cena had been too snug with it at first). However, the STF(U) was only John’s second worst finisher: for a brief moment, he introduced the Lightning Fist in the late 2010s.

Scotty 2 Hotty’s Worm Was Over But It Shouldn’t Have Been A Finisher

  • The Worm began as a signature move during Scotty’s Too Cool Days
  • It later morphed into his finisher once the team split upon Brian Christopher’s release


There is a case to be made that some moves work despite looking weird or being essentially ineffective. Shane Douglas’ Franchiser, for example, may have worked as a transition or signature move but looked bad as a finish. In a similar case, Scotty 2 Hotty’s Worm was immensely over in 2000. However, once Scotty began using it as his finish it began to cool off. Why? Well, he had done it for quite some time. But it was likely also a case of where fans loved the move but didn’t take it seriously. The Worm was better off as a signature spot.

The Great Khali’s Chop Was The Worst Of His Finishers

Giant Baba He Was Not

  • Khali also used the Cranium Crush, Iron Claw, and Chokebomb as finishers
  • Great Khali used the move to defeat The Undertaker in his WWE PPV debut


It’s no secret that The Great Khali was, well, limited in the ring. Nonetheless, he usually had decent and believable finishers in the Chokebomb and the Khali Vice head squeeze. But there was also the Khali Chop. Much like the Baba Chop, it was simply a chop to the top of the head. Unfortunately, Khali wasn’t over like Baba in Japan and so the whole move didn’t really work.

Carlito’s Backstabber Never Quite Worked As A Finisher

The Name Was Great But The Move Didn’t Quite Work

  • Carlito first used an inverted swinging neckbreaker as his finish
  • Carlito returned to WWE full-time in 2023

When he debuted in 2004, Carlito didn’t seem fully formed in the ring yet. As the years passed though, Carlito improved and he eventually settled on a finisher: the Backstabber. As fitting as the name was (think: John Cena storyline) the move itself didn’t really fit. Not only that: the move also didn’t look all that impressive and lacked impact, especially against the historically larger WWE roster.


Kizarny’s Finisher Was A Bad Double-Arm DDT

As Bad As His Finisher Was, The Gimmick Was Even Worse

  • Kizarny debuted in January 2009 after weeks of vignettes
  • Kizarny was released after just two televised matches

In 2009, WWE fans were briefly graced with the presence of Kizarny – a wrestler from, well, the carnival. His finishing move was supposed to be a double-arm DDT. While there is nothing wrong with that move – Drew McIntyre and Mick Foley have used it with great success – Kizarny’s version was unique, to put it friendly. He applied the move but, as he went down, jumped almost into a body scissor and rolled into the pin. It looked more like a botched monkey flip.


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The entire gimmick didn’t really work either. After his win over MVP, he was seen once more, in a battle royal a few weeks later and was gone from the company within months.

The Playmaker/Overdrive Was Tried By Many & Perfected By None

Randy Orton & MVP Weren’t Able To Get This Finisher Over

  • Used in WWE by MVP and Randy Orton, among others
  • Its biggest problem is the complicated setup

The Overdrive may be the worst move in the history of finishers. Over time it has been given to many wrestlers, including MVP and Randy Orton – nobody was able to get it over. It begins with its odd setup that includes a wristlock and draping your leg over the opponent’s neck. From there, it is supposed to turn into a swinging neckbreaker. Without a doubt it is the worst finisher of the 2000s, underlined by the fact that it was given to at least two significant stars of the decade and neither was able to get it over.


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