The Tombstone Piledriver. The Stone Cold Stunner. The Pedigree. Every successful wrestler in the history of the sport has a finishing move as identifiable as the character he plays in the ring. A professional wrestler's finishing move is arguably his most important character trait. It's the exclamation point at the end of his matches.

Just because a wrestler's finisher ends the match, that doesn't always mean it's lethal. In some instances, the finisher isn't really a finishing move at all, but the wrestlers sell it so well the crowd is forced to believe the blow was devastating. In other words, for every "Stunner" there is a "People's Elbow" which fans are made to believe could keep a man down for a three count.

Here are ten incredibly famous but completely unbelievable finishing moves.

  • 1

    The Heart Punch

    Big John Studd and Crush

    A move that dates back as far as wrestling itself, Big John Studd and several other big men over the years will have the crowd believe that one perfectly placed punch to the heart "makes it stop" and puts a man on his back. A wrestler could sell a move like David Carradine at the end of 'Kill Bill', but we're still not buying into its authenticity. Especially since we've tried it on friends and siblings hundreds of times.

  • 2

    Double Dropkick

    The Rock 'N' Roll Express

    Two dudes who rocked long before Shawn Michaels and Marty Janetty, the Rock 'N' Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson) were a couple of high flyers who rose to fame in the NWA. Back before high flying was really a thing, the Express would finish people off with the dazzling double dropkick. No frills, no jumping off the top rope, just two regular dropkicks from two of the smaller dudes from that era.  One dropkick could daze a man but TWO...TWO...could easily leave bruises.

  • 3

    The People's Elbow

    The Rock

    "The most electrifying move in sports entertainment" is actually one of the stupidest looking. Hulk Hogan's leg drop is considered the epitome of lame finishers, but a leg from the Hulkster looks a hundred times more devastating than this floppy elbow drop from The Rock. We won't even mention the fact that the set-up to the elbow was 'The Rock Bottom.' The Rock Bottom move so brutal an opponent would lay incapacitated on the mat for over twenty seconds waiting for Rock to run himself ragged  just drop an elbow. Or, you know, Rock could have just pinned him in those twenty seconds.

  • 4

    The Cobra

    Santino Marella

    The Cobra is about as outrageous as WWE programming gets these days. Santino Marella pulls a green sock puppet out of his pants, and finger strikes himself to victory. The Finger Poke of Doom only happened once, but The Cobra made Santino a champion. An incredibly gifted wrestler, Santino will remain a middle card name until the WWE makes him find a better finisher.

  • 5

    The Worm

    Scotty Too Hotty

    Just as long as a wrestler danced or chugged beer, plausibility didn't matter to the Attitude Era crowd, and finishers like The Worm and The People's Elbow were all the rage.

    Once upon a time, Scotty Too Hotty was over in a huge way. A big part of his popularity was this horrid finishing move -- a terrible 80s dance move called The Worm followed by a lazy forearm drop. At least The Rock Bottom set up The People's Elbow. Scotty's opponents just dropped to the mat in embarrassment over the fact they were about to lose to an elbow from a cruiserweight.


  • 6

    The Claw

    Kurrgan and Barry Windham

    Another move that seems as old as babyfaces and heels, the Claw made little sense. It doesn't look all that painful, more like an annoying move from a bored older brother. A few wrestlers wore little pads on their fingers to make it seem like the grip was more excruciating, but no matter who applied the Claw, it looked like nonsense. It does look like it would relive a few migraines.

  • 7

    The Masterlock

    Chris Masters

    The Masterlock was a lame finisher for a guy who looked like he could tear the bars off a jail cell. The full nelson is basically a rest hold in wrestling, used in instances when guys have to catch their breath or just talk quickly about the next set of moves. To use a full nelson as a finisher seems like a lack of logic. "Hey, you know that move we use to transition to actual holds? Let's use that one to end the match!"

  • 8

    Starship Pain

    John Morrison

    If flopping around like a dead fish is your thing, then you'll love Starship Pain. This went along with John Morrison's "King of Parkour" gimmick, which was never cool. John Morrison seemed poised to be in the WWE main event picture for a while, but injuries and backstage heat seemed to put a stop to that. If he ever makes a return to WWE, hopefully he's got a new finish in mind. If not, this move caused a "starship crash."

  • 9

    The Rough Ryder

    Zack Ryder

    Is there anything better than a flying teabag to put opponents away? The shame of it all is that Zack Ryder does the Broski Boot, which should be his actual finisher. It's not really a surprise that Zack Ryder doesn't win a lot of matches, since this move looks absolutely ridiculous.

  • 10


    John Cena

    The STF is a devastating finisher. Too bad Cena delivers the worst STF ever. John Cena just clasps his hands together, applies zero pressure to the neck, spine or head. It's like an STF, but without the chin-locking, neck-cranking and everything that makes it look painful. It looks absolutely painless, and it's probably ended more main events than any other finisher in the history of wrestling. This looks like it hurts? STFU!

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