WWE Power Rankings: The 25 Best Finishers in WWE History
In a way, the finishing maneuver is where it all begins for a superstar.
A wrestler's finishing move is attached to their character as much as anything could be. Stone Cold Steve Austin is known as much for the Stone Cold Stunner as he is for Austin 3:16 and drinking beer.
The frogsplash may forever be linked to the late Eddie Guerrero. And the list goes on.
But what are the greatest finishers in WWE history?
This list takes into account many different factors. Could it come from "out of nowhere?" Was it pretty cool to see? Was it unique? Did the move actually look like it hurt?
Here, from 25 to 1, are the best finishers WWE has seen.
Randy Orton's RKO - A great, versatile move. Not as versatile as DDP's Diamond Cutter, but the RKO usually spells the end for its recipient.
Justin Gabriel's 450 Splash - It's a hard move to do in the first place, but Gabriel executes it to near-perfection every time.
Undertaker's Hell's Gate - Would you want this move put on you? Didn't think so.
JBL's Clothesline From Hell - Simple, but brutally effective.
25. Gail Kim's Eat Defeat
The first time I saw Gail Kim perform Eat Defeat in a match, I cringed a little bit.
Eat Defeat is simplistic and painfully effective. A foot to the jaw is bad enough, but getting pulled down by your arm before being jolted to a stop with your jaw firmly placed on Gail Kim's right boot is not the way you would want to end the night.
And when Kim hits this maneuver, the match usually reaches its conclusion. Quickly.
24. John Morrison's Starship Pain
There's little doubt Morrison is one of only a couple of people currently employed by WWE that could actually pull this maneuver off on a regular basis.
The only knock on this move is Morrison's ability actually complete the move regularly. As of late, it's almost turning into more of an elbow drop than it is a moonsault.
Nonetheless, it's one of the most unique moves in wrestling today, and it's damn cool to watch.
23. Paul Burchill's C4
While John Morrison may be using the move occasionally, it was Paul Burchill who brought the backflip side slam to the WWE as the C4.
If this list were based solely on the uniqueness of a finisher, Burchill's C4 would likely be in the top five. But because it really doesn't appear to be a devastating finisher, it falls to No. 23.
22. Tyler Reks' Burning Hammer
It may not be Kenta Kobashi's reverse Death Valley Driver version, but it's effectiveness surely isn't in question.
Tyler Reks may be on his way to breaking onto the SmackDown scene in a big way, and his devastating Burning Hammer is going to play a big part in getting him where he wants to go.
21. Chris Jericho's Codebreaker
Much like John Morrison's Starship Pain, the only knock I have on Jericho's Codebreaker is the lack of consistency in the move.
More often than not, Jericho's opponent was landing on Jericho's shin, or a single knee. While that definitely wouldn't be a fun place to be, the move is intended to be a balanced strike with both knees.
Regardless of the inconsistency, the move is still highly effective, and ranks high in the "out of nowhere" department.
20. Carlito's Backstabber
The Backstabber was another one of those moves that made me cringe out loud when I first saw it.
While it looks relatively harmless from a professional wrestling performance standpoint, the casual viewer would be impressed with how painful the move really is. And isn't that the point of a finisher?
Carlito could hit the Backstabber from a number of different places in a number of different scenarios. And it really does look like it hurts like hell.
19. Cody Rhodes' Cross Rhodes
Unlike fellow former Legacy member Ted DiBiase, Cody Rhodes went about as far away from his famous father's finishing maneuver as possible.
Test initially used the move in the middle stages of his career, but Rhodes has brought the spinning facebuster back to the WWE Universe.
18. Victoria's Widow's Peak
The top women's finisher on the list, the Widow's Peak was a move that very few Divas got up from.
It won Victoria countless matches, and a couple WWE Women's Championships. It doesn't matter if it was a man or a woman performing this move—this one will put a stop to a match in a hurry.
17. Paul London and Brian Kendrick's Tower Of London
The first (but certainly not last) tag-team finisher on our list is the Tower of London, performed by longtime tag champs Paul London and Brian Kendrick.
Kendrick mastered the Sliced Bread No. 2 finisher, but the Tower of London really takes that move to a whole new level. The creativity, as well as the effective factor, takes the Tower of London to No. 17 in this power ranking.
16. Evan Bourne's Air Bourne
Billy Kidman popularized the Shooting Star Press while in WCW, but Evan Bourne took the move to new heights with Air Bourne.
Much like Justin Gabriel and the 450 Splash, Bourne's consistently flawless execution of the Shooting Star Press makes the move all the more impressive.
Add in the hang time, the ankle grab, and the sheer sight of seeing the move live, and Air Bourne is one of the most impressive high-flying finishers of all time.
15. Rey Mysterio's 619
If you're looking for a maneuver like Rey Mysterio's 619, you'll likely be hard pressed to find one. Simply put, there just aren't all that many.
Mysterio's 619 is one of the moves like the Stunner and the Figure Four—it is synonymous with Rey Mysterio.
The 619 often leads to a top-rope splash (West Coast Pop) and a victory for Mysterio.
14. Batista's Batista Bomb
The power bomb is one of the most effective moves in the history of professional wrestling. Nobody, however, could deliver a more effective sit-out power bomb than Batista.
An opponent's size never seemed to be an issue for the Batista Bomb. Umaga, Kane and The Undertaker all fell victim to the devastating sit-out power bomb.
13. The Undertaker's Last Ride
As if The Undertaker needed another finisher to add to his arsenal, The Deadman unveiled The Last Ride during his American Badass period.
The power bomb is a powerful move on its own, but The Undertaker added a wrinkle by further elevating his opponent before sending them crashing to the mat.
Few men have two devastating finishers at their disposal like the legendary Undertaker does.
12. Legion Of Doom's Doomsday Device
When you talk about the most famous tag teams of all time, the Legion of Doom/Road Warriors must be in the conversation.
And when you talk about devastating finishers, the Legion of Doom's Doomsday Device was one of the most feared in WWE history.
When Animal hoisted an opponent atop his shoulder, and Hawk climbed the top rope to hit his flying clothesline, the opponent just didn't get back up.
11. Hurricane Helms' Vertebreaker
Because few wrestlers in WWE were allowed to use dangerous moves that dropped the opponent on his or her head, Helms wasn't allowed to use the Vertebreaker long. But he capitalized on the time he had to use it.
The creativity and devastation factors are off the charts with the Vertebreaker. It looks like it could paralyze the opponent at worst, and at best, send them back to the locker room with one hell of a sore body.
Homicide brought the move back to mainstream American pro wrestling, calling it the Gringo Killa, in TNA, but it was Helms who was the first (and last in WWE—the move was banned in 2003) to use the devastating Vertebreaker.
10. Mr. Perfect's Perfect Plex
Was the execution of this move anything less than perfect? Of course not.
Curt Hennig, known in the WWE as Mr. Perfect, utilized the Perfect Plex to its utmost advantage.
Not only did the move stun the opponent after an awkward landing, Hennig's opponents were immediately put into a pinning predicament upon landing on the mat.
Few broke the clutches of the Perfect Plex. It was everything its name said it was.
9. Rob Van Dam's Five-Star Frog Splash
No matter where he went, or what promotion he was working for, Rob Van Dam was The Whole F'n Show. And no maneuver captured the essence of that than the Five-Star Frog Splash.
There has never been an aerial move like it. Van Dam hits it while his opponent is in any multitude of places around the squared circle, lying in any multitude of positions.
It was always a thing of beauty to watch. WWE hasn't seen anything like it before Van Dam's arrival, or since his departure.
8. Triple H's Pedigree
Triple H has been using the Pedigree since he debuted in the World Wrestling Federation as Hunter Hearst Helmsley.
Thirteen years and 13 world championships later, The Game still punctuates every victory with the Pedigree.
It has stood the test of time (much like his entrance music) and continues to incapacitate opponents who dare enter the ring with Triple H.
It's a quick move, so despite its simplicity, it can come out of nowhere.
7. CM Punk's Go To Sleep
Any time a man's face comes in direct contact with another man's knee, it's never a good thing.
Add in the gravity factor, and a rising left knee, and you have CM Punk's Go To Sleep.
The name is indicative of exactly what it does to Punk's opponents: It makes them go to sleep, figuratively.
Punk may not be the biggest man in WWE history, but as long as he can get his opponent into a fireman's carry, he can make them Go To Sleep.
6. Brock Lesnar's F5
A powerful man needs a powerful finisher. Few finishers were more powerful than Brock Lesnar's F5.
Lesnar is a huge man, and the force he brought upon the opponents unfortunate enough to suffer the fate of the F5 was often too much to overcome.
And if you ever question the devastation factor of the F5, ask A-Train how bad Lesnar can make things with his F5.
5. The Dudley Boyz's Dudley Death Drop
It could come from anywhere. It could be hit nearly anywhere. It even broke two necks.
The Dudley Death Drop, or 3D, is the most devastating tag-team finisher in professional wrestling history, and one of the most devastating finishers in all of pro wrestling.
Bubba Ray and D-Von sent plenty of victims to defeat, and won countless tag team titles, with the Dudley Death Drop. They may not be one of the best tag teams of all-time were it not for the inclusion of 3D.
4. The Undertaker's Tombstone Piledriver
The list of names to fall victim to The Undertaker's Tombstone Piledriver is a who's who of wrestling legends.
Hulk Hogan. Ric Flair. Shawn Michaels. Triple H. Stone Cold Steve Austin. And the list goes on.
For as long as he's been The Deadman, The Undertaker has almost always ended his opponent's night by dropping them on their head.
When The Undertaker hits the Tombstone, his opponent almost always rests in peace.
3. Bret Hart's Sharpshooter
There is no other submission maneuver greater than Bret Hart's Sharpshooter.
Hart wasn't the only man to use it, either. His late brother Owen used it frequently. The Rock added it to his arsenal near the end of his WWE run. Natalya and Tyson Kidd use it in today's WWE.
The Excellence of Execution rarely let an opponent out of the clutches of the Sharpshooter.
It was (and still is) one-of-a-kind, and its continued use nearly 20 years after its inception shows just how potent a maneuver Hart's submission hold is.
2. Shawn Michaels' Sweet Chin Music
If you heard the band tuning up, you knew it was coming.
But it even came out of nowhere, striking some of the greatest names in pro wrestling history...and ending the WWE career of Hall of Famer Ric Flair.
Sweet Chin Music is simple, but supremely effective.
It won Shawn Michaels numerous championships throughout his illustrious WWE career, and made him the Showstopper, the Main Event, and Mr. WrestleMania.
1. John Cena's Attitude Adjustment
1. Stone Cold Steve Austin's Stone Cold Stunner
As I mentioned in the beginning, it is attached to Austin's name just as much as beer drinking, ass kicking, and Austin 3:16.
It came out of nowhere. It came at you quickly. And it very rarely didn't result in victory for the Rattlesnake.
What seems so simple is just so effective. Like the Tombstone and Sweet Chin Music, the list of victims of the Stunner is a who's who of wrestling icons.
Even the Chairman of WWE has felt the wrath of the Stunner, on multiple occasions.
Few finishers receive the reaction Austin's Stunner receives. And few finishers can compare.
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