Have good finishers in the WWE been finished off?
Wrestlers are remembered for a variety of things. While some are remembered for the number of champions they have won, others might be remembered for something else. For instance, Jake The Snake Roberts is and will always be remembered for his ability to deliver flawless promos. He was a true master of the art of delivering a great promo.
Another thing that some wrestlers are remembered for, is their finishers. A good finisher doesn't have to be the most innovative and it doesn't have to necessarily be an attractive maneuver. It simply must help in the process of telling a story and when it's delivered, it should be the end of the road for one’s opponent.
One example of someone who had a great finisher, even though it wasn't the most creative, is Hulk Hogan. When Hogan landed the big leg across his opponents chest, you knew with absolute certainty that the match was over.
It wasn't because it was a sexy move, it was because in the events leading up to the leg drop, he and his opponent had told such a compelling story in the ring, up to that point, that the crowd then knew the match was over, just as soon as he dropped the leg.
Throughout the years, a select group of professional wrestlers have had great finishers in their arsenal. Guys like Stone Cold Steve Austin made you believe that once he hit his opponent with the Stunner, it was lights out.
When Ric Flair locked on the Figure Four, it would be a mere matter of seconds before we witnessed his opponent either tap out, or pass out. Then there was The Rock. When he got ready to deliver the People's Elbow, the audience prepared to themselves for an electrifying experience.
Fast forward to the current era of professional wrestling. Sure, there are superstars like Bray Wyatt and Brock Lesnar who both possess great finishers, for the most part, there's a huge void in that category.
Even the guys with quality finishers are forced to deal with the fact that far too many times, a finisher is followed by a "kick-out at two". No matter how convincing their finisher may be, no matter how precisely it's executed, it's completely ruined when the creative team decides it's best to have someone kick-out of The Undertakers tombstone piledriver.
So, what is the problem with finishers today? Is it the lack of creativity when the character is being built? Perhaps the problem lies within the fact that there are far too many kick-outs? Maybe today's stars are simply not selling their respective finishers convincingly enough.
Or, maybe it's a combination of several things. Personally, I agree with that notion. I don't believe there is enough emphasis placed on the wrestlers finishing maneuver. Also, I don't believe it's a high enough priority on anyone's mind today and that's a shame.
The DDT was magical when Jake Roberts planted his opponent with it. There was no doubt about the match being over at that point. Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake made us believe that no matter what happened, once he locked in, his opponent was going to sleep and probably getting a haircut afterwards.
There's just a lazy approach to finishers today. They're not considered a priority anymore and until someone decides to change that, I'm afraid things will not get any better in regards to making a difference with the lack of quality finishers.