Top 7 Best Wrestling Finishing Moves of All Time, Ranked

How do you know when a wrestling match is about to end? Finishing moves, of course. When a star wrestler hits his or her finishing maneuver, it’s all over for their opponent. Finishers are the most exciting moves in pro wrestling, and without a doubt, fans have seen some spectacular finishing moves over the years. Every competitor has a finisher, but only a few deserve to be called the best wrestling finishing moves of all time.

It’s time to celebrate the athletic feats of professional wrestling! StudyFinds did some digging, consulting nine sports and wrestling entertainment sites to bring you a consensus list of the best wrestling finishing moves of all time. Our list comprises the seven most frequently listed finishers from across these sites. Think your favorite wrestler’s specialty move was snubbed? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!

wrestler in ring
A wrestler performing a finisher move in a match (Photo by Jason Pofahl on Unsplash)

The List: Best Pro Wrestling Finish Moves of All Time, Per Fans

1. Stone Cold Stunner

Steve Austin at the 1999 Teen Choice Awards (Photo by Featureflash Photo Agency on Shutterstock)
Steve Austin at the 1999 Teen Choice Awards (Photo by Featureflash Photo Agency on Shutterstock)

The top spot on the list of the best pro wrestling finishing moves of all time belongs to the Stone Cold Stunner. Made infamous by Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Stunner is perhaps the most recognizable wrestling move in the world. As Wrestling Junkie notes, everything about this finishing maneuver is part of wrestling history. From the double middle fingers to the kick to the gut to the way victims of the Stunner sell the move, everything about the Stone Cold Stunner is legendary.

When Stone Cold threw those fingers in an opponent’s face, every wrestling fan knew what was coming next – the Stunner. Stone Cold Steve Austin’s character was a beer-chugging, cursing, fighting redneck who was more than happy to tell his boss what he thought of him. Stone Cold’s persona fits together perfectly with his finishing move and likewise, explains Stadium Talk.

The way Austin would hit the Stunner helps make it one of the most iconic finishers in history. During the Attitude Era of pro wrestling, countless episodes of Monday Night Raw went off the air with Stone Cold handing out Stunners to everyone and everything that moved, furthers eWrestling News.

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2. Sweet Chin Music

Next up on the list of the top wrestling finishers in history is Shawn Michaels’ Sweet Chin Music. Sweet Chin Music was nothing more than a superkick to the face, but the way Michaels would wind up in the corner, tapping his foot on the mat, before delivering a punishing kick to his opponent’s face is what sold this move perfectly. The realism of Sweet Chin Music makes it one of the most devastating maneuvers in the history of pro wrestling, notes The Sportster.

This electrifying move helped Michaels secure victories across three whole decades, mentions Stadium Talk. Imagine the anticipation – Michaels fulfilling his childhood dream by winning the WWF championship, ending the legendary career of Ric Flair, and countless other unforgettable moments. Each time he’d stomp his foot, signaling the end was near, the crowd would erupt and his opponent would be left flat on their back.

While the move itself was pioneered by his mentor, Chris Adams, Michaels added his own signature flair, literally “tuning up the band” before delivering the blow, explains eWrestling News. This finishing move was a perfect match for Michaels’ smaller stature – he could connect with it on almost any opponent! The speed and force of the kick perfectly embodied his opportunistic wrestling style. And the influence? Let’s just say Michaels retired a legend, but his superkick legacy lived on. Wrestlers like Lance Storm, Rikishi, and many others adopted the move, solidifying its place in professional wrestling history.

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3. Tombstone

Without a doubt, the Tombstone is etched in the minds of anyone who grew up watching pro wrestling in the ’80s and ’90s, furthers Wrestling Inc. Both The Undertaker and his fictional brother Kane utilized the Tombstone Piledriver as a finishing move. The sheer power of getting a 250-300 lb. man upside down, holding him, and dropping to your knees is truly impressive.

Imagine it – he slams his opponent down, practically laying them to rest in a symbolic coffin before the final pin. This dark imagery perfectly complements The Undertaker’s “Dead Man” character, making the Tombstone a truly chilling sight, raves eWrestling News. And it wasn’t just for show – The Undertaker could execute this move with devastating efficiency on anyone, big or small. No wonder it became a key factor in his record-breaking Wrestlemania streak (21 straight wins)!

Let’s face it, wrestling is a show, a very dangerous show. The Tombstone is one of the most potentially devastating moves a wrestler can endure, yet The Undertaker never seriously hurt anyone, explains Give Me Sport. The Undertaker’s career spanned more than 25 years and he’s still just as popular today as he was in the middle of his successful run as “The Dead Man.” The Tombstone Piledriver goes beyond just a finishing move – it’s a visual representation of The Undertaker’s dominance and a major reason why he’s a wrestling legend.

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4. RKO

The fourth spot on the list of the best finishing moves in the history of pro wrestling goes to Randy Orton’s RKO (Randy Knock Out).  The RKO is similar to the Stone Cold Stunner but instead of going to a seated position, Orton took it to the next level, going to his back and smashing his opponent’s face into the mat, One37PM explains. The RKO out of nowhere has become Orton’s calling card in the ring.

Orton has hit some memorable RKO’s throughout his career, notes Wrestling Inc. But none quite capture the essence of this move like the one he delivered to Seth Rollins at Wrestlemania 31. Rollins goes in for his signature Curb Stomp finisher, but Orton pulls off a lightning-fast counter, delivering a devastating RKO out of thin air! This perfectly embodies the RKO’s unpredictable nature – it can strike at any moment, leaving opponents flat on their backs before they even know what hit them.

Video compilations of the “greatest RKOs” are sure to keep you entertained for a rainy afternoon. The “RKO Out of Nowhere” has even transcended wrestling culture into the mainstream to the point where even non-wrestling fans know what it is. Orton took this finishing move up a few notches by delivering it to opponents in the most diverse ways imaginable, notes Wrestling Junkie. Crossing over to the public conscience is an important attribute that helps make an all-time great finishing move.

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5. Sharpshooter

Next up on the list of the top finishing moves in wrestling history is none other than the Sharpshooter. The submission move was made famous by Bret “The Hitman” Hart as one of wrestling’s most inescapable positions. As Bleacher Report notes, the Sharpshooter claimed countless victims throughout the ‘90s as Hart was one of the most successful and popular wrestlers of his generation.

The Hitman called this hold the Sharpshooter while Sting called it the Scorpion Death Lock. Regardless of what it’s called, the Sharpshooter is executed when a wrestler twists an opponent’s legs around theirs before flipping them over to their stomach and applying pressure on the back and knees, describes One37PM. Hart was able to deliver this submission move to wrestlers of all sizes including the nearly 600 lb. Yokozuna.

The Sharpshooter is certainly one of the top submission finishers of all time, furthers Wrestling Junkie. The move resembles Ric Flair’s Figure Four leg lock combined with a Boston Crab. The hold looks as though it would be painful and the way “The Hitman” executed it helped bring the move to prominence.

6. F5

The F5 takes its name from an F5 tornado. Brock Lesnar puts his opponent on his shoulders and spins them a full 180 degrees before face-planting them into the mat. As Wrestling Inc. explains, the force and speed by which Lesnar delivers the F5 is perhaps the most impressive aspect of this finisher.

Give Me Sport agrees that the F5 is one of the most devastating finishers wrestling fans have ever seen. The F5 is a true testament to Lesnar’s raw power and athleticism. The move helped power Lesnar to victories over legends such as The Undertaker, John Cena, and Goldberg.

Lesnar is certainly one of the most feared athletes on the planet. Known as “The Beast Incarnate,” he found success in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and was even on the Minnesota Vikings roster throughout training camp in 2004. Still, Lesnar is best known for being a WWE superstar and the F5 is a big part of his popularity, adds Stadium Talk.

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7. Pedigree

Rounding out the list of the best finishing moves in pro wrestling is the Pedigree, which was made famous by Triple H. The move was part of his original wrestling gimmick, back when he was the arrogant blueblood from Connecticut, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, notes Wrestling Junkie. The fact that the Pedigree endured his character changes over the years is another testament to the greatness of Triple H.

The Pedigree is like the nastiest face buster you could ever imagine. As The Sportster explains, Triple H’s massive build and size is a big reason why this move is so successful and scary. He could perform this move on anyone from anywhere and on anything.

Everything about the move works for Triple H including the inevitable trash talk that follows a giant mat faceplant, Stadium Talk describes. He perfected this move and although it’s often imitated by today’s wrestlers, no one could pull it off like Triple H.

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