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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Best Finishing Maneuver Of The 80's"
July 15, 2005 by Christopher Guido


We've all discussed this topic at length, maybe not in such a narrow timeline though. Before the Moonsault, the Arabian Face-Buster, The Shooting Star Press or the Whippersnapper there were two holds that made me stand up and point at the screen and say "ohhhhhhhhh". With the influx of moves over the last fifteen years (and there have been tons) these two still manage to stay a staple. They can be performed in different styles but retain the brutality and pop of the original quite nicely, and they can finish an opponent off to this day. During their prime they sent columns or electricity through an arena. The first time I saw them performed live it actually sent chills up my spine. So the question I ask is this, in it's time which move was the best finisher around" I propose to you the match of the 80's, The Pile Driver vs. the DDT.

Around longer than the DDT was the Pile Driver. I won't pretend that I know who performed it first or when that date was. It's a tested and true hold. And the move had one very important thing going for it, believability. When I saw it I had no doubt in my mind that it hurt. It looked absolutely great. And I saw a friend first hand get hurt when his older brother executed it. Even better still, when I was young certain promotions had outlawed it. The wheels started to churn in my pre-teen mind. Heck, if they outlawed it then it has to be the real deal. Nothing "fake" would be outlawed, right" Just thinking back makes me shiver. Lawler's opponent is bent over, he grabs his trunks and pulls his head in between his legs. Wrapping his arms around his stomach he straightens up. His foe is upside-down. A slight jump upwards he flings his legs out and all his enemies weight comes crashing down upon his head and shoulders. His body shoots out and crashes to the mat twitching. It's all over but the shouting.

I picked Jerry only because he was famous for it, but many people used it to great effectiveness over the years, even as a tombstone. The plus to the Pile Driver was it wasn't hard to get your opponent into position and you didn't need to be a power house to execute it. And though I will be repeating myself, it just looked great. Some drawbacks could be in the implementation. It needed to be good to make sure you and your opponent were safe and the responsibility of the success or failure fell mostly on the one applying the hold. Once you are upside-down your control is pretty much gone. That being said, if it was a great worker who knew how to perform you felt pretty safe in his hands. Though one could say that Owen Hart was a tremendous performer and we all know what happened in the match with himself and Stone Cold. Nothing is 100%.

Next up is the DDT. And no one, and I mean NO ONE to this day does with that maneuver what was done by one man. I think you know who he is. Picture it, Jake the Snake attempts to throw his opponent across the ring. No wait, he holds onto his arm and brings him back into a short arm clothesline. He looks around and then brings his right arm into the air and only holding his index finger up he does a circle motion with his hand. The crowd screams and comes to their feet. He pulls his enemy up on wobbly legs (he must be on rubber-leg street). Bent over he pulls him close hooking his arm around the side of his head and in one quick fluid motion falls backwards driving his challenger's head into the mat. Three seconds later his arm is raised in victory.

There are a few reasons that I tend to lean towards the DDT as the best finisher of the 80's. For one thing it can be applied quickly without effort in almost any position as long as you are on your feet. Once the crowd bought it, anyone who performed it could "steal" a victory. You didn't need to be a great talent to perform it correctly. There isn't a lot to screw up or motion to be wasted in its application. One thing I hate is running across the ring twice only to stop all your momentum before finishing a move. This is quick, deadly, decisive. Like the name implies, it's as explosive a move as there is. One of the only drawbacks I have seen to it is the opposite of the Pile Driver. While all the responsibility of the Pile Driver was on one person, in this case the responsibility it almost 50/50 and on the surface that sounds good. But the only time I have frowned at a DDT is when the person starts to drop before the person applying the hold starts to fall back. So it's believability factor can go down in that situation, where as the Pile Driver always works, just sometimes it leaves real injuries in it's wake.

My money in this match is for the DDT.

by Christopher Guido ..


Lily Bragge wrote:
What does DDT stand for"
Kevin Luu wrote:
I love the DDT. So unique, so exciting. You're right about the electricity! Even when he attempted to DDT Randy Orton earlier this year the crowd went nuts. I feel the DDT loses it's effect sometimes when it is used as part of a normal moveset (too many people to name). I appreciate the fact that some have or do use the DDT to finish off opponents. These include Edge, Tommy Dreamer, Christian and Raven to name a few. Which reminds me, the Evenflow is a great version off the DDT. I hope we don't start seeing the Stunner or the Pedigree as a set-up move or as part of a normal moveset in the future.
J.R. Sanchez (Houston, Texas) wrote:
DDT was and is a really nice move, the sure unpredictability and the shock value... because you never see it when it hits. Snap! Lights out but people still kick out of it. But when you had a guy like Mr. Wonderful Paul Ordoff hit the piledriver you knew that was it to quote Gorilla Monsoon, "Stick a fork in him he's done!" and the many different ways to apply... sure it pisses me off a lot that when the undertaker drops one everybody act like he was doing it forever. "The tombstone" as I recall Lord Alfred Hayes referred to it as "Inverted Piledriver" when The Magnificent Muraco used it and even dedicating it to bobby Heenan on occasions. And speaking of the Brian, Bobby's Tag Team Champions "The Brain Busters" used "The Spike Piledriver" all the time it was one of those moves that when you the superstar or jobber get into position....watch out. And not only the move but the commentators made it sound even that much more devastating. You just knew when it hits "Turn out the lights the party's over!"

Just remember Koko B. Ware sang it best, "Love hits you like a PILEDRIVER!"

Piledriver 100% hands down
a.douglass wrote:
First, to answer Lily: I believe the DDT wrestling move name was taken from "Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane" (which DDT is an acronym for) initially; a lethal insecticide. Due to its toxic nature and how dangerous it is to humans added with a good sounding acronym, that would make sense. I don't know this for certain, though.

Second, to answer Christopher: I've always favored the DDT. The piledriver looks like it would be more painful, but the DDT is easier and quicker to excecute, and anyone could hit it. Hypothetically, which move could you see Ricky Steamboat nailing King Kong Bundy with back in the day; the piledriver or DDT" Although, the "Ganso" TTD ("Original" Tenzan Tombstone Driver) is one great, and scary, looking move.
Kevin Roberts wrote:
I agree. The DDT was without a doubt the stunner of the 80s. The best version I have seen of the DDT is Raven's Evenflow, where he kicks his opponent in the stomach, then DDTs him viciously. I also think the DDT should not be worn out by too many people using it for a regular move and not even doing it that good. Carlito seems to be using a version of the Evenflow DDT as a finisher or a pre-finisher right before he rolls somebody up and uses the ropes.
Z-Rich wrote:
I personally like both the DDT and piledriver, as they were some of the most innovating moves of their time. I prefer the piledriver as the jumping up before the drop makes it look a lot more impactful.

P.S. Most people probably don't know this but, Chavo Guerrero Sr. was using the Moonsault back then.
Kevin Luu wrote:
Hey just letting everyone know that Jake "the Snake" Roberts' DDT has nothing to do with the actual chemical. The insecticide is just a coincedence. It actually stands for Damien's Dinner Time to tie in with his character (Damien is the name of his snake). He also at one stage referred it as Damn Devastating Terror. That last one sounds a little silly but it's all true. I do like the piledriver but the DDT...... Now that's cool!
Thunderer wrote:
Yes as a. douglass wrote, the DDT hits like the insecticide of the same name, I believe it originally stood for Damien's Dinner Time, referring of course to the famed python pet of Roberts'. As the legend goes, Jake Roberts was poised for a vertical suplex and slipped driving the opponent onto the mat and accidentally knocking him unconscious. The crowd was so responsive that he continued its use.
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