The best finishing moves in ROH history

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I started watching the show “Best of the American Super Juniors Tournaments” from April 2005. Before watching this show, a topic for this article was kind of floating around in my brain. However, I wasn’t 100% sure if I would be entirely correct when talking about the subject. However, once I saw the first match of the show (Bryan Danielson vs. Spanky) I was convinced that I was going to bring up a good one.

Finishing Moves. We all know that every wrestler in any promotion has a finishing move. A move that finishes an opponent and wins matches. A move that the audience recognizes. Yet I’m one of the few people (I imagine) that hates finishing moves. For me, it takes away many things, including the reality of pro wrestling. Mind you, I do believe, however, in wrestlers having a series of signature moves.

One of the many reasons I love Ring of Honor, is the unpredictability of the match outcomes. Not only for the actual winner of the match but for the way has he won. I can mention wrestlers who don’t have finishing moves, that I at least I can´t identify or others that haven’t used one in a while to win a match, yet are still over. I can also mention great matches that ended without a finishing move, making that much greater.

Samoa Joe has many signature moves, like the ole ole kick; the slap to the back, kick to the chest with the jumping bomb; the power-bomb into the STF, but during his twenty one month reign he never won a match with any of these moves. In theory, his finishing move is the Muscle Buster however I don’t remember many matches in which he won with this move.

C.M. Punk’s finisher is said to be the Pepsi Plunge, however, the only time I remember him using it positively was to “injure” Christopher Daniels. In fact, he’s used it in matches where it didn’t get him the win.

I don’t remember the last time Bryan Danielson used the Cattle Mutilation to win a match. Bryan Danielson has used many different moves to win. In fact, in the first match of the “Best of the American Super Juniors Tournament” against Spanky, he won by using the Regal Stretch.

Colt Cabana started winning matches in R.O.H. with the Colt 45. However, some shows ago he came out saying he was the master of the pinning combination, and won his match with a unique pinning move. Last show (I watched) he beat Delirious with a Twirly Bird.

Austin Aries did win the R.O.H. Title with his set of finishing moves (the Brain Buster and the 450 Splash) but even when he hit them, it was unexpected because he was wrestling Samoa Joe who was champion for 21 months, and had kicked out of finishing moves in the past. Austin Aries didn’t use his finishing move to beat Colt Cabana in his title defense in a steel cage match. He dived out of the cage at the last minute when it looked like Colt Cabana had the advantage to get out.

What I’m trying to say is that I believe the lack of a finishing move makes a match more unpredictable and entertaining. That doesn’t mean a finishing move is not necessary, because I can understand how (on the other hand) a finished move also adds lots of elements to a match. Therefore, I’m going to post advantages and disadvantages of a wrestler having or not a finishing move.

The good reasons for not having a finishing move:

  • You don’t know how a match will end. Since there isn’t a move that will finish it all, you can’t expect anything, and say that’s it the match is over.
  • It eliminates the purpose of everything that happens in a match before the match. What I mean is, there’s twenty minutes (for example) of a great match, but it proves nothing because what kills it is a finishing move that ends it all a0s usual. You could say that all that happens prior to a finishing move has the purpose of wearing down an opponent to make the finishing move more effective. However, if this is true, explain to me all the beat downs John Cena receives to return with the five dooms of doom and win, or Shameus defeating Daniel Bryan in eighteen seconds.
  • Having to come up with new and unique finishing moves. With so many years of wrestling behind us, it’s harder and harder to come up with a finishing move that’s as powerful as the finishing moves being used today, either by lack of original moves left, or for it to be humanly possible to be performed.
  • Having to contemplate why some finishing moves are meant to be, or are better than others. How come the attitude adjustment (which is just a enhanced body slam) makes John Cena Superman, and is better than say C.M. Punk’s Go To Sleep which is a knee to a head. When I ask this, I mean the help to reach the World Championship.
  • When a wrestler uses the other´s finishing move to win a match. It means the finishing move is not made by the wrestler it can be done by anyone, thus not making it special.

The bad reasons for not having a finishing move

  • I’m actually in favor of submission matches, or submission moves as a finisher. In R.O.H. with a lot of mat specialists, it makes it interesting to know who can come up with the better submission hold, or who puts the most power into one.
  • When a match becomes a spotfest with spectacular moves, and there’s no finisher. I’ve read that in today’s R.O.H. wrestlers are kicking out of spectacular moves, meaning that if they can kick out of huge moves, almost nothing can beat a wrestler and moves will become pointless.
  • Kicking out of a guy’s finisher move is still meaningful. That I can understand. It can be crucial for an outcome of a match or putting a guy over as super strong.
  • It can sometimes make a wrestler. Would Stone Cold have been as big, if his finishing move was a figure four or a backbreaker? I don’t think so. I think the stunner was the perfect move to put over Stone Cold Steve Austin.

This article I guess has opened a debate, instead of trying to promote Ring of Honor (although I have said that R.O.H. doesn’t use finishing moves a lot back in the day, which I guess is a gimmick in itself) it’s stating an opinion.

What other things in favor or against can you the readers come up with on finishing moves? Are they a good thing? Insignificant? Unnecessary? Let the debate begin.

— Jose Perez