As the proud owner of several WWE DVDs from the 1980s including Royal Rumbles, Survivor Series and of course, Wrestlemanias, I would often watch what moves were considered finishing moves in those days and chuckle about how often these same moves are used by today’s superstars without it actually being classed as a finisher.
Watching RAW on Monday, the first match pitted Super Cena against Mr. Ziggles. The amount of time Super Cena kicked out during the match was getting absurd. I think the only way Ziggles would have won was if he hired a sniper to take him down, but anyway, Ziggler used at least 2 moves which were considered finishers back in the day, namely the DDT and the Superkick.
Jake Roberts was one of WWE’s top stars in the 80s, a great worker. In his prime, the DDT was considered a deadly finisher, which put everybody down. Yet nowadays, people use DDTs as a way of passing the time in their match. The only version of a DDT I know of these days which could result in a pinfall would be some sort of flying tornado off the top rope DDT or something similar.
I’m not wishing we were back in the 80s or anything like that, obviously, I realise the Wrestling product has evolved immensely since then, but if finishing moves from then are used for fun now, when did they become so ineffective?
Another move I spotted used in two matches on Monday was the Super Kick. Labelled Sweet Chin Music by Hall of Famer HBK, that move put down people ranging from Diesel, Vader, Undertaker etc. big guys. Apart from when Diesel kicked out at a 1 count and the fans pissed all over it. But the point is that move in the day could have stopped a steam train. It even did up to the point when Shawn retired in 2010. Yet on RAW this week, Cena kicked out at two, as did Wade Barrett. It could be because Ziggles and Santino were the ones delivering the kick, but I wouldn’t have thought that had anything to do with it.
It’s more to do with the fact, I believe, that because Santino and Ziggler were already pre-determined to lose their matches anyway, so they had to think of ways to make it look dramatic. We all know that the only ways to make matches really dramatic are near fall after near fall. But to use what was dubbed a finisher by others before, in this case the Showstopper, surely that diminishes the move? Why did it put down guys from the 90s if it doesn’t stop John Cena? Or more precisely, why can John Cena kick out at 2 if they couldn’t?
Is it that the Super Kick is becoming so ineffective or are superstars now just not fazed by it?
Sleeper Hold!! Another move which was used as a finisher. Rowdy Roddy Piper used it to beat The Mountie for the Intercontinental Championship at the 1992 Royal Rumble. I can’t remember any recent match whereby somebody used it to win. I remember everyone’s favourite ring announcer Ricardo trying to help Alberto win on Christmas Eve, but it didn’t work.
There are, of course, moves which will not work as a finisher these days and rightly shouldn’t. These include various moves including Hogan’s Leg Drop, Pat Patterson used the Atomic Drop amongst others, but in my view, some moves which were used before are still good enough to use today, including the Super Kick, you could also add to that list the spinebuster, which ‘Double A’ did better than anyone, that seems to be only used a setup to a finisher. CM Punk has been using Macho Man Randy Savage’s elbow off the top quite effectively in his matches, but not as his finisher, which is obviously GTS. However, I can’t see why he can’t class the elbow as a second finisher.
I guess these aren’t cases of disrespect towards previous finishers, but we’ve all mentioned ways in which superstars can improve their move arsenal, and if they are going to use old finishers to do that, then that is what they should be known as, finishers.