In modern-era wrestling, it seems like every superstar has their own uniquely named signature and finishing moves. It’s usually just a variation of a relatively simple move, but it looks cool and some of them look like they would actually hurt. However there is one thing that every signature/finishing move has in common, whether it’s a standard or unique hold: It is only a finisher/signature if performed by (or on) a Superstar who has officially declared it so. Most wrestling matches involve a DDT, however the only time a DDT seems to result in a pinfall is if it’s performed by Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Sleeper holds are applied all the time, but unless it’s “Rowdy” Roddy Piper or Ted DiBiase, everybody’s arm stays up at two. That’s wrestling 101, folks.
So what is the special power behind declaring a signature/finishing move? Well, there are a couple schools of kayfabe thought, some of which actually carry water. The first reason why a common move could become a signature/finisher is due to the fact that the wrestler does this hold so often, he’s become a master at it and knows how to get maximum offense out of it. That seems more and more believable as the wrestler gets older and more established, but the first time DiBiase slapped on the Million Dollar Dream, Jobby McJobberson dropped and that’s all there was to it. Finisher born.
Another reason for one Superstar’s move to be more deadly than anybody else is there is something physically that makes the move more damaging. Lex Lugar’s finisher when he first came to the WWF was a forearm smash to the face, with the story being that he had a steel plate implanted in there after a motorcycle accident (this was actually true). Cody Rhodes is currently developing a tendency to use his acrylic mask, which I love, to do some serious damage. It still usually is just a set up for the CrossRhodes, but it’s gotten the W on more than one occasion. Of all the rationales people try to give, this one by far makes the most sense.
The last, and most “sports entertainment” reason why finishers/signatures are super effective for one person: They get funky with it. The People’s Elbow is just a snap elbow drop. The 5-Knuckle Shuffle is a punch to the head, and i don’t even know what the fuck to call that thing Santino Marella does. But they make it a show. And in all their dancing, pad-removing, arm-smacking and hand-waving, somehow a “waste move” becomes the deadliest thing since extremely molded sliced bread. Lets face it, the only reason these moves are so deadly is because we are told they are. And that’s fine, I can play along. I just wish a finishing move would make me go “damn!” instead of “haha”. But then again, I’m a dreamer.
Discussion Topic: Who would you want in your corner as a manager?