WWE Greatest Finishers: Attitude Adjustment and Overrated, Underrated Finishers
The WWE's list of the 50 greatest finishers, per an upcoming DVD feature, has been leaked. Debate is only inevitable as the WWE recounts some of its greatest signature maneuvers from a myriad of Hall of Famers.
The most unique thing about finishing moves and their legacies is some of the most impressive finishers didn't necessarily have to be innovated, utilized or invented by prestigious professional wrestlers.
Or so one would think.
WWE's latest scripture of politics and posturing includes a generous handful of memorable and admirable finishing moves, splashed with the same backhanded scoring system only sure to induce head shaking.
Here's to another list that Bret Hart can castrate for refusing to give him the top spot.
Bruno Sammartino's Bear Hug, No. 16: Too High
Was this a sneaky ploy to finally get WWE's original poster boy to uncross his arms and stop giving Vince McMahon the silent treatment?
Bruno Sammartino will forever be on the short list of one of pro wrestling's quasi-messiahs, but by no means does this mean his finisher should.
The ideal finisher is quick, exciting and can come out of nowhere. Bruno's Bearhug (or any bearhug, for that matter) was none of those.
Greatness tends to be laced with an invisible powder of delusion that often causes historians and observers alike to inaccurately romanticize about iconic, yet very human, figures.
Joe Montana was a below-average athlete, not to mention skinny. The same goes for Tom Brady. Yet one Getty image of either legend hoisting a Lombardi trophy seems to drown any lingering deficiencies with prestige and perceived invincibility.
The bearhug may be one of the more famous professional wrestling maneuvers, but being famous and being interesting are hardly the same thing. Few people know who invented the chinlock, but less care because it's a boring
place holder hold used to pace out a match.
We should be thankful that it wasn't Steve Austin's finisher, or this list could get ugly.
John Cena's Attitude Adjustment, No. 21: Too High
While No. 21 in anything seems to be too high for someone of John Cena's stature, Cena's vanilla finisher has no business camping out near the top 30.
Cena's not-so-patented move was a watered-down variation of the much cooler F-5. The move's original name was even an ode to its predecessor.
And if you want to get really technical, Saturn perfected this maneuver with what he called the Death Valley Driver. Throw in a table and a few hundred bloodthirsty drunks and you get Tommy Dreamer.
The WWE seems to realize the rather mediocre nature of its top stars' finishers, and to play devil's advocate, they could only drop Cena so far before eyebrows began to raise internally.
However, the cheesy, alliterative name change for this finisher tells you everything you need to know about how bland it really is.
Brock Lesnar's F-5, No. 29: Too Low
Brock Lesnar's F-5 was an aggressive illustration of the rampaging ways of the WWE's versatile former champion.
Lesnar spent his first month or so in the WWE tearing through the roster, and just as important as Lesnar's size, speed, agility, Paul Heyman or the creative direction of the Brock Lesnar character was his finishing maneuver.
Few moves could have scared fans into taking notice of what was once billed as the next big thing, and Brock Lesnar gave it to them with the force and vitriol of a convicted felon.
Spinning opponents of all sizes around like a feral disk jockey, everything about Brock Lesnar's kiss of death screamed "finisher."
The fact that the Ankle Lock ranks above the F-5 on this list really isn't much of a fact.
From technique, to delivery, to showmanship, the F-5 was worth the price of admission in and of itself. There's a reason that very move wasn't given to another wrestler verbatim, and it's safe to say that it never will be.
Scott Hall's Razor's Edge, No. 20: Too Low
The Razor's Edge is a finishing move in its truest form. More than simply an enhancer, Scott Hall innovated an already interesting maneuver (the power bomb) and in turn, strengthened its legacy.
The entire sequence was predicated on anticipation. It was a one-hold theater and everything a match ending should be.
Scott Hall's failure to win a world championship in a major promotion, and subsequently endless problems outside of the ring, might have hurt his standing here. But I, for the life of me, cannot remember the last time the Razor's Edge entered rehab.
Very rarely did superstars kick out of this finisher, even during the quintessential epic battle where wrestlers are booked to soldier through the most potent of moves to create a more dramatic atmosphere and add value to the final pinfall.
The only way the No. 2 should be remotely associated with the Razor's Edge, is if this legendary throw is in the top five.
CM Punk's Go to Sleep, No. 30: Too Low
Sure, CM Punk stole the GTS from Japanese wrestler KENTA, but how can anybody explain arguably the most creative finisher in history barely being able to clear the top 30?
What's worse is that CM Punk is your WWE Champion—some list makers in question with some pretty serious stroke must really be unimpressed with an otherwise impressive feat.
The GTS is unlike anything North American professional wrestling has ever seen, and the imported stunt more than adds a legitimate, shoot fight feel to a wrestling match.
Show a casual wrestling fan the GTS on YouTube, and it's likely they'd be more apt to replay to that five-second knee to the chin than a Bearhug, Leg Drop or even a Camel Clutch.