WWE Network: Lynch's WWE Countdown review - Best Finishing Moves
Thomas Lynch is a longtime fan and a Prowrestling.net Member who is writing reviews of the WWE Countdown show that airs on WWE Network. He welcomes feedback and conversation on Twitter via Twitter.com/BoxieNigma.
I found the topic this week a bit odd because it was only about 18 months ago in August of 2012 when WWE released a DVD of the top 50 finishing moves of all time. I figure that only the most hardcore and lifelong WWE fans would purchase this DVD but then again that’s probably the same crowd watching the Countdown show on the Network. The major difference between the two releases was that the DVD and the show was that I believe the WWE DVD was voted on by the wrestlers and the Countdown show, as always, is voted on by the fans. Thus, the lists were a bit different.
Countdown started off with the wrestlers discussing what makes a finishing move great and also reviewing a few of them that didn’t make the cut here. They explained how the wrestlers use their finishing moves to win matches and that, many times; these moves are what the fans pay to see. Booker T mentioned how "when Big Show hits that Knockout punch you know nobody is getting up from that, CM Punk always made his opponents go to sleep." Michael Hayes mentioned how all of the great finishing moves came with a great set up that let the audience know that the move was coming and encouraged the crowd to get involved in it. Big Show’s big hand, Kevin Nash pulling down his straps, Batista shaking the ropes and Flash Funk (yes, really) signaling for the 450 leg drop were all displayed here.
Onto the Countdown…
10. Jake Roberts’ DDT: The only "classic" finishing move on the list came in at number 10 and I’m glad it did. This was a nice homage to Jake that reminded you how great the DDT was and how great the Jake Roberts character was, from his days as a fan favorite to his time as the "Trust Me" sneaky heel. Matt Striker went on to give a little bit of history to explain how Jake invented the DDT by accident. He explained how he had Lynn Denton in a front face lock, Denton tripped and Jake fell with him forcing him on to his head and the DDT was born. From here, Justin Roberts explained that Jake invented the DDT and then from there, wrestlers evolved the DDT to make it their own. Mick Foley’s Double Arm DDT, Raven’s Even flow and Edge’s "Edgecution" are all profiled here, as was the insane backflip DDT that Rey Mysterio hit on Eddie Guerrero at Halloween Havoc 1997.
9. Dudley Boyz’ 3D: Nice to see the Dudleys made the list here as the only tag team finisher mentioned on the countdown. (you could have actually put together an entire list of great tag finishers from the Doomsday Device or the Hart Attack to Total Elimination or Demolition Devastation, there were many great ones). The wrestlers here explained just how impressive the 3D was because Devon would catch the superstar off impact, he’d lift him up in the air and then Bubba would come and catch that same superstar by the neck and drive him to the mat. They continued how the move would have been so easy to screw up but that everything always went right and the move would come out of nowhere. They then ended the piece explaining how the move evolved and went on to mean even more when they started to implement the tables into the move and they show a couple of great ones, including a great slow motion one of Tony Chimel taking it through a table and looking scared out of his mind. As a side note, it was nice to see Justin Credible interviewed for this piece and looking good too.
8. Triple H’s Pedigree: This kicks off the usual suspects part of the countdown as Triple H made an appearance on his third consecutive episode of Countdown. They explained how the idea for the move came from Terry Taylor upon Hunter’s debut with WCW. Taylor explained how he suggested Hunter grab his opponent by the waste and then pick him up like a pile driver but then let his legs go and drop to his knees. From there, HHH suggested that he chicken wing both arms instead and the Pedigree was born. From here, the wrestlers went on to explain how the Pedigree was one of the most dangerous moves in WWE because you were going no handed into the mat, face first in between Hunter’s legs. Mick Foley then added that you couple all of that with thumbtacks under Triple H it certainly wasn’t going to end well. They ended off here showing the pedigree to Hornswoggle at MSG and how that one was great because it added insult to injury.
7. Bret Hart’s Sharpshooter: The piece here started with the wrestlers paying homage to Bret in explaining that because he was such a great technical wrestler, it was only fitting that his finisher was a submission hold. Wade Barrett noted that Bret was the first wrestler he can remember using a finishing hold as a finish (It’s a shame Wade never watched Ric Flair matches). From here, the conversation drifted to a pretty funny discussion comparing Bret’s Sharpshooter to Sting’s Scorpion Death Lock that ended with everyone acknowledging that the moves are basically the same. Bret Hart, himself, even admits that he basically stole the hold from Sting but that he put his own spin on it in the way that he sets up the hold.
They then ended the discussion by mentioning how others have tried to apply the sharpshooter but have usually failed. I was stunned to see that the Rock was pretty much buried here as they showed several clips of him struggling to apply the sharpshooter. Natalya then ended the piece mentioning that she applies the sharpshooter as a tribute to Bret, but she admits that she can’t hold a candle to the way that Bret applies the hold.
6. Brock Lesnar’s F5: The piece started with Paul Heyman gushing about Brock’s athletic background and dominance in the ring. John Cena mentioned how the F5 looks like he’s swinging his opponent around like a human "pizza" (yes really). They then show the most impressive F5 of all time, the F5 to the Big Show. I’ll say looking back that this particular F5 was amplified by Heyman’s facial expression the first time Brock did it at Survivor Series 2002. If you go look at this piece, when Brock hits the F5 on Show, Paul looks like he can’t believe it. On a side during this piece. Darren Young appeared with a comb stuck in his afro was pretty funny.
5-Randy Orton’s RKO: My favorite finishing move showed up on the countdown next in the form of the RKO. I’ll say it was interesting that nobody mentioned how RKO spelled out Randy’s initials. In any event, the move was really put over here for how quick it can happen out of nowhere. They showed Randy hitting the move on Sheamus from the ground, out of a pedigree position on HHH and the time he caught Evan Bourne mid shooting star press. DDP was shown here praising Orton for putting his own spin on the move (they never mentioned the diamond cutter, DDP’s finish, but this was presumably what DDP was referring to) by adding the stalking to the move and how he amps himself up by pounding the mat. The piece ended with Randy mentioning how his favorite RKO of all time was the RKO he hit to CM Punk at Wrestlemania 27, claiming that this was his Wrestlemania moment.
4. Shawn Michaels’ Sweet Chin Music: Cool bit of history started the piece here as Shawn, himself, explains that his original finisher was the teardrop suplex and he would actually use the superkick to set up the suplex. Eventually, Pat Patterson came over to him and told Shawn that he thought the kick was just better and the transition was made. Shawn mentioned that what he tried to do was add a little drama to the kick by doing the stomp in the corner leading up to the move.
The piece then ended with some of the wrestlers going through their favorite Sweet Chin Music’s of all time. Justin Roberts’ favorite was Marty Jannety- Barbershop Window, Ricky Steamboat’s was Ric Flair- Wrestlemania 24 and Daniel Bryan’s was Wrestlemania 12 against Bret Hart. The piece then closed with my personal favorite sweet chin music, the time Shawn caught Shelton Benjamin with it after Benjamin leaped off the top rope from the opposite side of the ring.
Above and Beyond: High Flyers: It’s pretty incredible that in this list, none of the high flying finishers made the top ten. They showed a really nice collection of high flying moves here in this piece. Everything from John Morrison’s Starship Pain to Kofi Kingston’s Boom Drop to Evan Bourne’s shooting star press is made mention here. There is particular notice given to Jeff Hardy’s Swanton Bomb, Randy Savage’s Elbow Drop, Jimmy Snuka’s Superfly Splash, and Eddie Guerrero’s Frog Splash. A nice piece of respect paid to the high flying wrestlers both past and present.
3. The Spear: I was glad WWE didn’t try to pass off the spear as if it only belonged to Edge. Instead this piece profiled Rhyno’s Gore, Goldberg’s Spear and then Edge’s Spear. The spear itself is introduced here as the only finishing move in wrestling history to claim the ECW world title, the WCW world tile and the WWE World title. Paul Heyman is shown a good amount during Rhyno’s piece and, in WWE at least, his commentary went hand and hand with the Gore. For Goldberg, they mentioned how he could really take down any competitor with the spear because of his size. They even showed Goldberg spearing both members of Public Enemy through a table. I found it particularly interesting that they had Randy Orton mentioning how when he first got into wrestling his favorite person to watch was Bill Goldberg.
Edge is then given a bit of a longer highlight here, which made sense since he was WWE’s version of the spear. Michael Cole mentioned how Edge’s was the best because of the psychology he added to the move in that he knew that the longer he made the audience wait, the better it was going to be. The three most famous spears of Edges are shown, off the ladder as Jeff Hardy hung from the belt, threw the flaming table to Mick Foley at Wrestlemania 22 and off the table to Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania 26. When you look back, Edge really had zero regard for his wellbeing right until the end of his career.
2. Undertaker’s Tombstone: Say what you will about the Undertaker protecting the people he’s giving the Tombstone too, go watch this piece and you’ll see that this wasn’t always the case. In particular, they showed one tombstone from early on in the Undertaker’s career where it looks like he kills a job guy. The piece then shifted with JBL joking that he’s probably faced the Undertaker 1,000 times and his record is 0-1000. JBL continued on about how before he faced the Undertaker he was 6’7 but after so many tombstones, he’s now about 6’4. Mick Foley then questioned if perhaps he had taken the most tombstones than anyone in the world. From here, a rather serious looking John Cena mentioned how the tombstone is barely legal and how it’s so dangerous only two men do it and they only do it once in a while.
This brought up a debate about who did the better tombstone between Kane and the Undertaker. Mostly everyone agreed it was Undertaker since he did it first. Kane even admitted that while he had more strength than the Undertaker, Undertaker probably had more technique in his tombstone than Kane did. That being said, WWE immediately proved Kane having more strength not to be true by showing a clip of Undertaker giving the tombstone to the 450-pound Vader. That’s an impressive sight no matter how many time you’ve seen it.
1. Stone Cold Steve Austin’s Stone Cold Stunner: Interesting to note that The Undertaker and Steve Austin were also numbers 2 and 1 respectively on the top finishing moves DVD. Austin is one of the first people seen here as he explains that he wanted a finisher that can be hit on anyone at any time. He explained that the stunner is so great because anybody can take a stunner. The wrestlers then explain that part of the fun that went into watching a stunner was watching the guy take the stunner. They showed literally about 100 different stunners throughout the four minute piece and while many agree that the Rock took the best stunner, Chris Jericho thought Vince McMahon was his favorite. Jericho then went into a very funny description of how Vince took the stunner so poorly that viewers were left wondering if perhaps Austin had hit a different move or if Vince simply had an aneurism.
That’s going to do it once again for another edition of WWE Countdown on the WWE Network. This was another exciting debate and a fun watch. It’s a shame that one of my favorite finishers, Ahmed Johnson’s Pearl River Plunge didn’t make the cut but that’s probably because most have forgotten about poor Ahmed. In any event, next week looks like it will be a fun show as the crew counts down the ten biggest backstabs in wrestling history. Until then, take care!
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