Hello again grapple gang!
I’ve been enjoying going through the history of Professional Wrestling to select some of my all-time favourite bout ending manoeuvres, so I felt I’d return to the subject for this week’s article. For those not au fait with the wrestle realm, a Finishing Move or “Finisher” is a signature move/hold/attack that a wrestler will often rely upon to close out a bout. I’ve already written two of these articles before (HERE & HERE) so feel free to read up on those before delving into this one if you are so inclined.
Please feel free to share any of your own suggestions in the comments section as well, as I’m sure I’ll have missed out some of your own favourites.
Diving Head-butt – The Dynamite Kid
Originally from the North West of England, The Dynamite Kid quickly rose to fame both in North America and Japan due to his revolutionary high-impact style. Being a revolutionary worker quickly took its toll on Dynamite though and he ended up having to retire young due to all the years of punishment catching up with him. Moves like the Diving Head-butt played a big role in Dynamite getting noticed however, especially as coming off the top rope wasn’t something you saw as often back then, and especially not with the grace that Dynamite displayed. The move itself is pretty straightforward. Dynamite would floor an opponent, climb to the top rope and then leap off onto their prostrate body with a big head-butt. Brutally simple but elegantly delivered.
The Honour Roll – Christopher Nowinski
Harvard Graduate Christopher Nowinski was a pretty effective lower card bad guy during his stint in WWE from 2002-03. His arrogant interviews and imminently punchable smug facial expressions made it easy for crowds to dislike him, and his natural athleticism gave him a decent base upon which to build a solid wrestling career. Unfortunately for Nowinski he ended up suffering a serious brain injury and had to step away from the ring, dedicating himself to researching head injuries to both wrestlers and other athletes to this very day. I was sad to hear that Nowinski had been forced into retirement back in the day, as I enjoyed his act and thought he had potential to kick on. One reason for that was his excellent Honour Roll Finisher, which saw him grabbing his opponents arms in an under hooked position before heaving them up and then twisting them so that they landed on their back in a slam position. When it comes to Finishing Moves, this one is top of the class! (…I’ll get me coat)
Orienteering With Napalm Death – Zack Sabre Jr
Zack Sabre Jr once said in an interview that Harry Potter wasn’t the only wizard from England, and if you could see some of his technical wizardry between the ropes then you might just agree with him. Sabre Jr is one of those wrestlers where I just always look forward to seeing one of his matches just to see what punishing holds he’ll pull out of his back pocket. It’s like watching a poor hapless combatant have to take on a boa constrictor in there. Orienteering With Napalm Death (named after a routine by British comedian Stewart Lee) is not only an awesomely named manoeuvre, but it also looks like it produces absolute agony. You can very much believe that someone would cry uncle if they found themselves trapped in it with no escape to be found.
Northern Lights Bomb – Akira Hokuto/Kensuke Sasaki/Al Snow/Dom Travis
I decided to list all four of these wrestlers because they all delivered this move with their own special twist, and Travis in particular was someone I was lucky to know in real life and is very dearly missed. Originated by Hokuto (and then used by her husband Sasaki in a “aw shucks, that’s pretty cute” example of move theft) and then popularised by Snow in the west before Travis started using it in the 00’s UK scene. The move combines both a scoop slam and a Brain Buster, as the opponent is first hooked in a front face lock before getting one of their legs hooked and then lifted up into a side or back head drop. It looks awesome and remains one of the coolest and most brutal looking Finishing Moves you can find.
Stump Puller – Doink The Clown
The child friendly good guy version of Doink is often remembered as one of the lamer characters of the WWF’s mid-90’s “New Generation” Era, but what people often forget is that the character first debuted in 1992 as a psychotic villain. Evil Doink was a supremely entertaining and genuinely unnerving character, as he would clobber WWF good guys such as Kona Crush with car batteries and would pop the balloons of unsuspecting kids at ringside with his lit cigar. Sadly Matt Borne (the original man behind the gimmick) left the WWF in 1993 and the character ended up becoming a lame good guy clown that people barfed on. Whilst he was still EVIL though; Doink had one of the better Finishing Moves in the whole WWF, as he would force opponents to submit to his dreaded Stump Puller hold. Doink would sit on the shoulders of his opponent and then lock their legs together before lifting them, causing pain to both the neck and leg area.