I remember scrolling around the online wrestling community (IWC), approximately between 2007 and 2011, and there was a lot of discussion, when the comment boxes on the various blogs were full, about the credibility of finishers…
It was often said that the Attitude Adjustment was a transition move, that the STF appeared to cause no pain, that the People’s Elbow was only worth the public’s involvement, but that it was not a credible final blow, in addition to the many variations of Neckbreakers that part of the roster used and Santino Marella’s Cobra, just to mention a few examples. Not even Hulk Hogan’s Atomic Leg Drop was safe from discussion, especially because there were those who used it as one of many moves in the move-set. It seemed unrealistic, in the eyes of many, that some of these moves could lead to combat.
Unquestionable were the Tombstone Piledriver, the Pedigree and the GTS , while the Sweet Chin Music / Superkick , although not at the same level, had a lot of acceptance. Normally, when they were applied, they meant the end of combat. Exceptions were very rare, and could be due to some slowness between the execution of the finisher and the moment of the pinfall , an involuntary roll out of the ring, interference or the fact that it was WrestleMania and it was necessary to give the fans a spectacle a few holes above what you are used to seeing at other events.
Nowadays it’s the opposite. Seth Rollins performs the Pedigree, but rarely wins victories in the immediate aftermath, more than half of the roster uses the Superkick – and there are tag teams that even use the Double Superkick – without this meaning the end of the match and, while in WWE all Piledrivers variations were banned, it is common to see them in AEW without seeing a victorious pinfall right after .
In reality, no matter how impactful a finisher is , it is rare that its first execution during a fight means a victory. Not even when it is applied to surfaces harder than the ring mat. Both in WWE and AEW. Just recently, we saw Seth Rollins apply both a Pedigree and a Stomp on Shinsuke Nakamura at Fastlane, but even after that Nakamura managed to get up…
At WrestleDream, Christian Cage performed a Killswitch on top of the exposed ring wood on Darby Allin, at a time when the mat was removed, but in the ensuing settlement Allin kicked out . At the same event, Adam Page performed a Dead Eye on Swerve Strickland on the steps, but ended up losing the match . And to triumph in any unimportant fight, Kris Statlander executes their Wednesday / Friday / Saturday / Sunday Night Fever, a kind of Tombstone Piledriver, twice in a row. We are talking about blows that, if not carried out safely, could break bones in the head and neck, put people in wheelchairs or even lead to death.
We live in an era of “kick out after kick out” of unexpected near falls and fights in which it is almost necessary to kill the opponent to achieve victory. We all loved it, liked it and gave it five or more stars. But there are dangers… Firstly, because Pandora’s Box has opened wide and we have apparently reached a point of no return. Then, because it seems that wrestling matches, as a spectacle, seem to have less and less room to grow.