Whatever Happened to the Submission Finisher?

TJ DuncanCorrespondent IApril 22, 2009

31 Jul 1996: Kurt Angle of the United States holds the American flag at the free-style wrestling competition during the Summer Olympics at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle, Bret Hart, Ric Flair, and even John Cena—all of these wrestlers have something in common. They used to have a submission move as their finisher. What's more, they were among the best finishers.

Chris Jericho had the Walls of Jericho, which was, in my opinion, the best submission move of all time.

Chris Benoit had the Crippler Crossface. This was a move that would rival the Walls of Jericho for title of best submission hold. Benoit could lock it in at any time, often numerous times in a match, but he would almost always finish the match with it.

Bret Hart, as we all know, had the Sharpshooter, and Flair had the Figure Four Leg Lock. John Cena had the STFU. I don't think the STFU is in the same league as the above, but the fact remains that John Cena used it as his main finisher for a while, locking it in after the F-U.

Submissions were among the best and most exciting finishers in the WWE.

Now, however, they seem to have been extinguished. The only exception I can think of is Undertaker's Hell's Gates, which he uses rarely.

Jericho's Walls are now simply a prelude to the Codebreaker. I can't remember the last time I saw someone tap out to a move which used to make everyone crumble.

People have tried, but none will be able to match the way Benoit applied the crossface, and, therefore, it is unlikely that we will see someone tap out to it again.

Triple H tapped out to it before. Can you imagine him tapping out to a crossface from another superstar? Me neither.

The same applies to the Sharpshooter. Although superstars like the Rock executed the move well, it has never hit the heights it did when the Excellence of Execution was around.

Flair's Figure Four is often imitated, but never duplicated. Thus, when Triple H locks it in, you know it won't result in a submission. Even Cena's STF(U) has become just another signature move, rather than a finishing one.

I think the WWE needs to start bringing back the submission finisher. They should stop thinking of ways to slam someone into the mat, then get a three-count, and start thinking about more ways to inflict pain while the wrestler is on the mat.

A good start would be if Tyson Kidd started using the Sharpshooter, continuing the Hart legacy. Failing that, give another youngster a submission move as a finisher so that we can rebuild the reputation of the hold.