The late nineties were a simpler time. Survivor hadn't become a cultural phenomenon and the closest thing to reality on television was the WWF—kids, it used to be called that, until nature stole the F and gave it an E. 1998-2000, the Attitude Era, was the high-water mark for Post-Hulk Hogan pro wrestling. It was a hell of a time to be 13 and blissfully unaware of how scripted the entire affair actually was. This list of the era's Dudefest Dozen Greatest Finishing Moves should be read by your inner child, because my inner child wrote it.
10. The Badass Billy Gunn - Famasser
A simple standing leg drop to bend over opponent but damn did it look awesome. The tag team of Billy Gunn and Road Dogg had as good an entrance (“Oh you didn’t knooow???”) as they did an exit.
9. Ken Shamrock - Ankle Lock
Shamrock was a fighter. “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” was not a professional wrestler, but he played one on TV. Shamrock fought Royce Gracie (of the Famed Gracie Jiu Jitsu Academy) at UFC 1 (yes, they started at 1) in 1993. His fighting background and face when he locked it in lent credibility to the submission finish. It takes a lot to get The Rock to howl in pain.
8. X Pac – Bronco Buster
Despite what people will say about the end of his career, X Pac was great in the attitude era. His “Bronco Buster” finisher, which included the trade mark “Suck It” crotch chop followed by rubbing his balls in his opponent's face was both unnecessary and bad ass. His brother Tu would have been proud.
7. HHH – Pedigree
Hunter Hearst Helmsley solidified his place among the greatest to ever do it with his longevity in the WWF. The theatrics of HHH putting on first one, then two underhooks before delivering his face shattering finisher were what sold the move.
6. DeVon & Bubba Ray Dudley – 3D
“DeVon, Get the Tables!” Legendary TLC matches with the Hardy Boyz and Edge and Christian put the Dudley’s on the map. They were outrageous, out of shape, and over the top but they had it in the ring. The 3D, often performed through a table, is in my opinion the greatest tag team finisher of all time.
5. Bradshaw – Clothesline from Hell
Dark horse for top finisher of the era because the move isn’t innovative or perform with theatrics. It’s literally just a really, really stiff clothesline and it looked amazing on TV.
4. Jeff Hardy – Swanton Bomb
Hardy was crazy in the ring, and as we found out later in life he was actually crazy in the head. Before his mental health issues (or perhaps because of them) Hardy would throw himself off the top rope or the top of a ladder/cage/something and come flipping through the air down at his opponent. Shit was bad ass.
3. Undertaker – Tombstone Piledriver
I don’t know how many times I have seen the Deadman deliver his Tombstone Pile Driver, cross his opponents arms over their chest and stick out his tongue as the ref counts three but I get the chills every time. It’s vicious.
2. The Rock – People’s Elbow
I know, I know, the People's Elbow is not technically The Rock’s finisher. Fuck it, it’s awesome and he beat John Cena with it at Wrestlemania XXVII. If you didn’t jump out of your seat, rip off an invisible elbow pad and swing your arms back and forth with the Great One then you fucking suck.
1. Stone Cold “Steve” Austin – Stone Cold Stunner
What needs to be said really? The Stunner. Everyone has delivered a stunner to sibling or friend growing up, and while it turns out they aren’t as effective as they look on TV, a Stunner is just fucking badass. Can you imagine being in a legitimate fight outside of a bar, scrapping with some asshole who spilled a drink and refused to apologize when all of a sudden your bro hits a stunner on the guy? Out of nowhere—boot to the mid-section—Stone Cold Stunner. Utter mayhem, shit would be epic.
Brian Kennedy may or may not be centaur.