A few weeks back I decided to list five of my personal favourite professional wrestling Finishing Moves (“Finishers” if you enjoy yourself some grapple action and have a hand on the lingo). I enjoyed that, so I thought I might as well list five more Finishers that I personally enjoy. As with last time, only listing five bone-crushing bout-enders will almost assuredly mean that I leave out some of your own personal favourites, so why not furnish us with your own picks in the comments section?
Banzai Drop – Yokozuna
Portrayed by the enormous Rodney Anoa’i, Yokozuna’s gimmick was that of a literal sumo wrestler, something that Anoa’i hadn’t actually done in real life despite having the natural size for it. Seeing as Yokozuna’s size was his primary characteristic, he was given a brutally straightforward finishing move in the form of the Banzai Drop. After flooring an opponent, ol’ Yoko would drag their poor carcass into the corner before ascending to the second rope and then leaping down so that he would crush their chest with his ample posterior. How much the Banzai Drop hurt often depended on how generous Yokozuna was feeling. If he liked you he would steady himself on the way down somewhat to make sure you didn’t get hurt too much. If he didn’t like you, well, look out below I guess!
Steiner Screwdriver – Scott Steiner
What’s more dangerous than a suplex or a piledriver I hear you ask? May a present to you the Steiner Screwdriver, a move that combines both of these punishing manoeuvres into something wholeheartedly terrifying to witness. If you ever wanted a testament to just show strong Scott Steiner was, it would probably be that he was big and strong enough to be able to deliver this move without it ever leading to a fatality in some form (that I know of). Steiner would grab an opponent in a front face lock and lift them into the air just like a mainstay move of wrestling known as the vertical suplex. However, rather than falling back to complete the move, Steiner would instead turn the opponent around so that they were facing his chest before dropping them down into a brutal looking sit out piledriver. The fact this move is an actual thing defies logic, the fact it can be done safely defies it further.
Buckshot Lariat – Hangman Page
I love Hangman Page. I think he’s just brilliant. One of the reasons why I like him so much is because he has an absolutely belting Finishing Move in the form of the Buckshot Lariat. Interestingly Hangman wasn’t the first guy I ever saw perform the move. I believe it was actually invented by former ECW competitor EZ Money, although Hangman has taken the move to a whole new level of popularity due to his association with both New Japan Pro Wrestling and All Elite Wrestling. Rather than just throw a regular Lariat/Clothesline, Hangman instead uses the ropes to give him some extra momentum by doing a front flip onto his feet before clobbering his opponent with an outstretched arm. Hangman’s timing when it comes to the execution of the move is second to none and it regularly receives a warm reception from the AEW faithful.
Kudo Diver/Vertebreaker/Gringo Killa – Megumi Kudo/Shane Helms/Homicide
I found it hard to separate which wrestler to go with for this one, as all three of the wrestlers listed used this vicious looking move to great effect over the course of their careers. Kudo is, to my knowledge, the original inventor of the move, but the first time I remember seeing it was when Helms would use it during the dying days of WCW. Homicide used the move during successful runs in both ROH and TNA, and I watched a lot of ROH in particular back in the day, so I would feel wrong to exclude any of the three mentioned from recognition here in this article. Funnily enough, the move is sometimes called the “Brain Breaker” on the WWE Smackdown games, and that seems a pretty apt name for a move that looks like it breaks far more than that. I’d struggle to even explain the move to be honest, you’ll have to watch the attached video.
Acid Drop – Little Spike Dudley
Spike Dudley’s career trajectory was quite amazing when you consider his lack of size in what is regularly an image obsessed business. What helped Spike climb the ranks from ECW all the way to the lofty heights of being Hardcore, European, Tag Team and Cruiserweight Champion in WWE was his work ethic and ability to take a beating. Few took a brutal kicking better than Spike, with his brave fight backs against regularly insurmountable odds giving him a character that anyone could understand and many could see themselves in. Spike was also clever enough to come up with a Finisher that got around his lack of size, with the Acid Drop essentially being a combination of the bulldog headlock used by Rick Steiner and the Diamond Cutter used by Diamond Dallas Page. By grabbing hold of his opponents head and getting a boost from the ropes, Spike was able to believably drive much bigger foes face first into the mat, leading to him picking up improbable wins over the likes of Mabel/Viscera and PN News whilst a member of ECW’s roster.