So many superstars have come through the different promotions, that occasionally two wrestlers will share the same finishing maneuver.
The title is pretty straightforward. We'll look at the two most popular wrestlers to perform a specific finisher, and judge who executed better.
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Since his days as Big Daddy Cool, Diesel, Kevin Nash has been jackknifing opponents into the mat with his power finisher. Those who were maybe not old enough to remember Nash in his prime, you got a taste of what a beast he used to be when he drilled CM Punk to the canvas at SummerSlam.
Undertaker incorporated the "Last Ride" into his repertoire during the American Bad-Ass phase of his career, and carried it on throughout. It took a couple of these to take out Shawn Michaels in back-to-back Wrestlemania bouts to keep the undefeated streak alive. The standout mark of UT's execution of the move is the crazy elevation he gets on his opponents just before sending them down.
This is a tough decision, so this particular matchup comes down to who I'd rather see perform the move on someone named.....oh, let's say Justin. Totally random name.
'TAKER gets this one.
Every big man over seven feet should and usually does have the chokeslam as part of his moveset. Undertaker does, and so do these two.
Kane learned from his big brother growing up, just before UT turned around and burned baby bro's face up. He alternates between the chokeslam and Tombstone piledriver to finish off his opponents, but opts for the former more often.
Big Show calls his version the "Showstopper." As the larger individual of the two, Big Show's chokeslam is more impressive looking, as his opponents have a litter further to fall.
He actually gave it a name, so BIG SHOW owns the chokeslam.
This next matchup is a rare one in which the participants actually had an on-screen feud originating from the similarities in their gimmicks.
The Rock had already established the Rock Bottom as his signature. With The Rock busy in Hollywood, Booker T had assumed the role of the people's champion shortly after the InVasion of WCW. Unhappy with The Rock's sudden return to reclaim his throne, Booker T and the Great One engaged in a war of words, with King Bookah mimicking many of The Rock's phrases. This led to a WCW title match at SummerSlam 2002, with The Rock's signature Rock Bottom facing Booker's rip-off, the Book End.
Rock proved you don't mess with the original, which is why the ROCK BOTTOM wins, both in the ring and in principle.
These are two of the absolute best storytellers inside of the ring.
The flying elbow drop was not HBK's signature finish, but it was often a precursor to the Sweet Chin Music, so it was an intricate part of his arsenal of moves. In terms of style, Michaels does actually give the Macho Man a run for his money. Just after launching off the turnbuckle, HBK would simultaneously set his elbow in position while giving his opponent a subliminal F-U.
However, nothing is more iconic than the skyward pointing of the Madness just before lift-off. Savage also had major hang time that made his high-flying assaults awe-inspiring. When you get down to it, which elbow drop pose does CM Punk emulate?
MACHO MAN will always be the king of the flying elbow.
The torture rack is a unique air submission maneuver, and one that I enjoyed watching Lex Luger perform as a kid. He's placed many a foe on his shoulders, and made the likes of even Hulk Hogan submit to the power of the rack.
I appreciate Ezekiel Jackson bringing the move back to the mainstream. Unfortunately, Big Zeke is not very good at looking convincing with anything he does, including being an Intercontinental Champion. His rendition of the torture rack is yet another mark on his long list of ineptitude.
While Luger's execution of the move led you to believe his victims were genuinely writhing in pain, Jackson just looks like he's bouncing his opponents up and down on his shoulders like little children playing with their big uncle Zeke. He doesn't even position them correctly.
I guess I shouldn't expect much from a person whose non-submission finisher is just a series of lame bodyslams. Really, Zeke? Body slams? It's 2011.
LEX LUGER is the master racksman. (Yep, I made that word up)
I don't want to upset my buddy Jeff Awesome too much, and I'm sure he knows where this is going so I'll try and keep it short.
No one here is really all that original. Ric Flair ripped off pretty much all of Buddy Rogers' gimmick, from the hair, to the attitude, to the Figure Four leglock. Then Jarrett comes along and bites off Flair's schtick, effectively making Jarrett a hack of a hack.
So what it really comes down to is who is the better Buddy Rogers impersonator. Flair had the charisma to pull it off, and has been doing it so long, the persona has become his own. Jarrett hasn't matched the level of quality Flair exhibited in the ring, and it's safe to say he probably never will.
Although he's had the Figure Four reversed on him more times than I can recall, I still trust RIC FLAIR to execute the move to perfection in the clutch.
The full-nelson is a powerful, underrated pressure lock. I know because I've applied the move to old schoolmates in elementary and had the favor returned. It hurts.
The main problem with the hold, especially now, is that it's not the most aesthetically appealing submission. Not much flare involved to keep a crowd engaged.
Credit is due the Warlord, who actually did a great job of hyping the move in the early 90s by issuing a full-nelson challenge to anyone who thought they could break the hold, a challenge answered and met by the British Bulldog at Wrestlemania VII.
The angle was so obscure in WWE history, that they recreated the same scenario with the "Master Lock" challenge, in which Bobby Lashley overcame and broke Chris Masters' hold.
Points to Warlord for being involved in the original idea, but CHRIS MASTERS sold the concept and the move itself much better.
When I was younger, the Boston Crab seemed like a move used by people who couldn't figure out how to perform the Sharpshooter. It's one of those maneuvers you see people do in cartoons because it looks like nothing more than a simple knee-bender.
That's why it fit Rick "The Model" Martel so well. While he and Tito Santana complimented each other during their time in the tag team division, Martel's skill set never really stood out when he branched out as a singles competitor. The Boston Crab was just another boring move for another boring gimmick.
That is, until Chris Jericho came along and slapped a signature name and modified stance to the submission hold. Early on, Y2J would use the Walls of Jericho in a way that made the Boston Crab look more effective. Instead of a simple sit-down knee bend, Jericho would go high, causing his opponents' upper chest and neck area to become the main pressure point.
For some reason, as time went on, Jericho would revert the Walls to a basic looking Boston Crab. I never understood this, but for his innovative take on the maneuver, CHRIS JERICHO is the crab connoisseur.
Originally popularized as the Ace Crusher by Johnny Ace, the cutter has been employed by a few wrestlers over the years. The two most prominent wrestlers to utilize the move are Diamond Dallas Page and Randy Orton.
But who does it better?
Signaling: DDP lets you know what's coming next with a "bang"-ing hand gesture, while Orton drops to the mat and stalks his unsuspecting prey...kinda like a viper. Oh, now I get it!! In this category, it's a draw.
Reversals: Being able to pull a finisher out of nowhere, especially from reversing an opponent's finisher, is the hallmark of what makes this particular move so special and exciting. Orton has had a couple cool moments where he pulled out a surprise RKO, but DDP takes the cake in the creativity department. YouTube some of his best Diamond Cutter moments.
DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE is still the cutter king.
The shooting star press is a thing of beauty. Many cruiserweights have used this beautiful backflip splash to end their matches. Started by Jushin Liger, the shooting star press has reached new heights of popularity thanks to Evan Bourne, who gets plenty of "air" in his execution.
But there has never been a superstar to use this move as impressively as one Brock Lesnar. At 6'3, 280lbs., it's assumed that an athlete like Lesnar would keep his feet firmly on the canvas. So when he takes to the air, the mere fact that such a large specimen can pull of this maneuver is a jaw-dropping sight to behold.
With size, however, comes risk. A cringe-worthy moment occurred at Wrestlemania XIX when Lesnar botched the press against Kurt Angle, suffering a concussion.
This really could go either way, but since someone of Bourne's slim stature is expected to be able to pull off such a move, BROCK LESNAR gets the edge, despite the glaring flaw on the grandest stage of all.
The five-star frog splash differs from a regular splash in that the wind-up frogging motion in mid-air helps deliver a stronger kayfabe impact. Rob Van Dam and Eddie Guerrero are the two most recognizable employers of the 5* splash. But who did it best?
This one comes down to the sell of the one performing the action. Upon impact, it's a given that the move actually affects both the splasher and the splashee. If you ask me, Van Dam sells the intensity of the impact more than Guerrero did.
I saved the best for last.
The most popular leglock in the history of professional wrestling is universally known as the Sharpshooter, as made popular by Bret Hart, to fit his "Hitman" persona. It's no doubt that this submission maneuver is synonymous with the Excellence of Execution.
Interestingly enough, the original name of this hold is Sasori-gatame, which is Japanese for "Scorpion Hold," the similar term to Sting's Scorpion Death Lock that fits his wrestling persona so well also.
If you ask me, both men have equally contributed to the iconic status of this famed maneuver. However, despite Sting staying true to the origins of the hold's name, the submission technique has defined Bret Hart's career...for better and for worse.
No one will ever forget the Montreal Screwjob, where Hart's own submission was used against him, and effectively was the hold that sent him out of the WWE for some 13 years. But on the flip side, Hart fought wars in the ring, with his signature leglock gaining him the victory in epic battles against the likes of Mr. Perfect and Stone Cold Steve Austin, just to name a couple.
It may have once been the Scorpion Hold, but thanks to BRET HART, it will forever be known as the Sharpshooter among the popular culture.
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