The Death of the Finisher
Pro wrestling is incredibly unique in its ability to change with the times while managing to hold on to what makes pro wrestling great. Different in ring styles, matchups and unique cards over the years have made die-hard fans stay close to the world of pro wrestling.
However, there is one thing that has changed within the core of professional wrestling, and it’s hurting the quality of wrestling. It’s something infecting not only the WWE but also the entire wrestling world. Slowly, but surely, we are witnessing the death of the finishers, and it’s hurting the business as a whole.
There is no argument wrestling can be done differently and still be done well, but there are certain things that have made wrestling great and continue to make the shows entertaining. The pageantry and spectacle, along with the overall ridiculousness of pro wrestling, is what I feel in love with all those years ago.
Seeing the back and forth between two athletes ending in a super move which no one could ever overcome is something I will always enjoy, but now the finisher has lost its glory.
Guys like Dolph Ziggler and the Miz, as good as they are, have thrown out their finishers so many times it’s almost expected that someone will kick out. Even the recent match on Smackdown between Randy Orton and John Cena had Orton kicking out of an Attitude Adjustment.
Recently Ryback made comments that wrestlers do not protect their finishers enough and regardless of how you feel about the big guy (see what I did there?) he makes a point. We’ve seen wrestlers kick out of finishers before, but in the past, it was reserved for the big moment, whether it was at WrestleMania or another big show like the Royal Rumble. They also didn’t do it every Mania but saved it for once every few years.
As great as the match between Cena and AJ Styles was, it’s adding unto the conundrum professional wrestling is facing. It’s why spotty matches are fun, but at some point hurt, because it just becomes a contest to see who can top what.
This isn’t the Jim Cornette argument shouting wrestling is dead, because that’s far from the truth. Honestly, I believe the matches we’ve seen the last few years have been some of the best. We’ve witnessed so many instant classics, but far too many have relied on false finishes to get the pop.
Everyone in the arena and watching at home has accepted wrestling is scripted. We know the basic suplex isn’t going to put someone down, but when you are into a match, and everything is going well, you don’t need several false finishers off of a finisher to get the reaction you hoped for.
It is reducing the believability of the move every time someone kicks out of it. You can protect a finisher and have a great match. We’ve seen it throughout the years. Besides, if finishers are continued to be thrown out like it is just another big move then everyone will expect a kick out, and the moment it doesn’t happen, it will deflate a crowd.
For the finisher to remain in pro wrestling, it needs to go back to what it was. The move that ended the match and if the night was big enough, someone could kick out.
For any of these moves to have the same meaning, they need to be devastating again, or they will become just another move for a cheap pop.