Ranking the 15 worst finishers in WWE history: All the facts and details

Ranking the 15 worst finishers in WWE history: All the facts and details

Ciku Njuguna
updated at March 18, 2024 at 7:46 PM

Every WWE match tells a story. Tensions rise and fall with each blow. At the end of the fight, the prevailing contender announces their dominance with a finishing move. Dig in and discover the worst finishers in WWE and the lacklustre finishing moves used throughout WWE history.

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson (l) and John Cena (r) in a bearhug
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson (l) and John Cena (r) in a bearhug during WrestleMania XXVIII at Sun Life Stadium on April 1, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Ron Elkman/Sports Imagery.
Source: Getty Images

Table of Сontents:

What is a finisher in WWE? Each wrestler brings a set of unique fighting and finishing moves to the ring. This article is a rundown of the worst finishers in WWE history based on their execution, effectiveness and impact.

What are the worst WWE finishers of all time?

Sports Brief has scoured the wrestling world using credible evidence from YouTube, detailing wrestlers’ experiences and the critics and fans' perspectives. Here is an extensive summary of the worst WWE signature moves and finishers with pictures.



Finishing move



Bayley to Belly



The RearView


Jake Roberts, Destino, Gangrel, and Robert Roode, among others

Double Arm DDT


Santino Marella

The Cobra


AJ Styles

Styles Clash


Becky Lynch

Manhandle Slam


Grayson Walker

Rolling Stunner


Vickie Guerrero

Cougar Splash


Bruno Sammartino, Ivan Koloff, and Superstar Graham, among others



The Bushwhackers

Batting Ram


Hulk Hogan

The Leg Drop


Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson

The People's Elbow


Battle Kat

Feline Antics


Chris Benoit

Flying Headbutt



Underwear Swipe

15. Bayley to Belly

The Bayley to Belly is one of the most unique WWE signature moves and finishers, and it was performed by Pamela Rose Martinez, better known as Bayley. The move requires a wrestler to grab their opponent in a stance akin to a hug and slamming them on their backs. Bayley has proved her strength, taking down both male and female opponents.

14. The Rear View

The Rear View is a signature move executed by two-time SmackDown Women’s Championship winner Naomi. Known for her athleticism, Naomi performs a split mid-air while knocking out her opponent with her rear end. While being on the receiving end of the rear view is arguably the worst experience, one can not help but be impressed by Naomi's execution, the move’s effectiveness, and safety level.

13. Double Arm DDT

The DDT refers to moves where the prevailing wrestler has their opponent in an inverted headlock and falls backwards, forcefully driving the opponent's head onto the mat.

The Double arm DDT, also known as the Butterfly or Double Underhook DDT, is a variation of the original where a wrestler bends their opponent forward, tucking their head and hooking their arms behind the opponent's back. The wrestler then falls backwards, pulling the opponent flat on his face.

Since the 80s, the DDT has proved effective as a finisher. However, its effectiveness lies in execution. Double DDT is also known for its dangerous element when not performed correctly.

Two wrestlers in action.
Two wrestlers in action. Photo by @Mick Foley.
Source: Facebook

12. The Cobra

The Cobra is one of the most entertaining WWE finishers. Loved by the crowd, Santino Marella performs his Cobra style by using his puppet arm to imitate a cobra's strike, often at the opponent's neck, causing them to fall defeated. In an interview with Marella, TV personality and YouTuber Chris Van Villet acknowledged the effectiveness of the move on TikTok, saying,

“The Cobra is a really deadly move, right? Nobody kicks out the Cobra. It is pretty crazy that you make a move like that, and it is over. I put it up with the People's Elbow because it is a move that should not be a finisher, but it is entertaining. The crowd is so into it that it works.”

11. Styles Clash

The Styles Clash is a signature move for one of the best male wrestlers, AJ Styles. The Sportster described it as one of the most dangerous wrestling moves. In the move, the wrestler picks up his defeated opponent, places his legs over his shoulders, wraps his legs around the opponent's hands, and falls forward.

For the move to work, the wrestler and his opponent must work together to prevent career-ending head, neck or spinal injuries. In 2014, Lionheart broke his neck after being slammed by Styles. Other wrestlers, such as James Ellsworth and Yoshi Tatsu, have also landed in trouble after encountering the move.

AJ Styles (r) takes down Dolph Ziggler (l).
AJ Styles (r) takes down Dolph Ziggler (l) using the Styles Clash. Photo by @AJ Styles.
Source: Facebook

10. Manhandle Slam

Performed by Becky Lynch or the Man, the Manhandle is a variation of the Rock's Rock Bottom. Along with Beth Phoenix’s Glam Slam, the move places high injury risks on the opponent and the wrestler using it.

9. Rolling Stunner

Grayson Walker is an Australian wrestler who does the Rolling Thunder Stunner. To carry out his signature move, Walker often rolls into the ring and attacks the opponent by grabbing their head in a facelock with the opponent's neck or jaw above his shoulder. He then takes a seated position, forcing the opponent's neck or jaw down on his shoulder.

The ease and athleticism shown whenever the 2022 Iron Survivor Challenge winner executes the Rolling Stunner excites fans and critics alike. However, it has the potential to cause head, neck or spinal harm to the opponent.

Grayson Walker (far left) in action during a Smackdown fight.
Grayson Walker (far left) in action during a Smackdown fight. Photo by Claiton Barreto_.
Source: Twitter

8. Cougar Splash

Vickie Guerrero is one of the most loved and hated female wrestlers in the WWE. During WrestleMania XXVI, she adapted her version of Eddie Guerrero's signature move, the Frog Splash on Kelly Kelly, helping her tag team win.

7. Bearhug

The Bearhug is a commonly used WWE finisher according to Bear Hugger. While the move ranks as one of the most painful WWE finishers, poor execution makes it underwhelming.

When applied correctly, the Bearhug finisher is a perfect example of a submission move where the opponent goes limb, and the referee calls a win.

Wrestlers use the Bearhug move on their opponents.
On the left, Nia Jax bear hugs Carmella. On the right, a male wrestler uses the move on his opponent. Photo by WWE & AEW Women's Fan Club and @tonybgunn.
Source: UGC

6. Batting Ram

Between the 1960s and the late 1990s, The Bushwhackers, a tag team duo of cousins Luke and Butch, rose to WWE stardom. The pair popularised the Batting Ram, a finishing move where one of the Bushwhackers would hold their partner in a headlock and ram into their opponent.

The pair, who had previously enjoyed a successful reputation as the fearsome Sheepherders, could not muster the same success, partly because of the Batting Ram, the worst WWE finisher.

5. The Leg Drop

Starting the list of the top 10 worst finishers in WWE is the Leg Drop. Nobody can speak of the Golden Age of WWE without mentioning Hulk Hogan.

While his signature finisher was well-approved by fans, it was a health risk to Hogan himself. Speaking to Chris Van Villet on YouTube, he talked about his regrets in wrestling, saying,

"The leg drop does not look like a tough move, but what most people do not realize is that I started wrestling in 1977. The equipment was not like it is now. I remember wrestling with Andre in Baltimore, and he goes, 'Boss, do not fall down.' It was a 22-foot boxing ring with a concrete floor with bumps, holes and lumps. It was the most dangerous ring I had ever been in. Now, the WWE has got really good rings. It makes a big difference when you are in equipment that is good."

Hulk added,

"All those years dropping that leg in those rings with the boards sticking up or landing on my tail. I would have changed that, and I would have never dropped the leg."

4. The People's Elbow

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is unmistakably one of the greatest WWE wrestlers of all time. According to GiveMeSport, the first People's Elbow was recorded in 1980. Since then, the move received mixed reactions from fans, with many convinced it did not inflict any pain as a finisher.

3. Feline Antics

As one of the worst wrestling finishers, Feline Antics was not a favourite with fans. Masked wrestler Brady Boone, better known as Battle Kat, became renowned for the move.

2. Flying Headbutt

The Flying or Diving Headbutt is an aerial wrestling move commonly used in the ring by various wrestlers such as Bryan Danielson and Chris Benoit. Although loved by fans, Chris Benoit’s signature move and finisher have been linked to his brain and neck injuries.

1. Underwear Swipe

At the top of the worst WWE finishers‌ is Phantasio's Underwear Swipe. Phantasio, the Spellbinder's backstory, revolved around a magician who performed tricks throughout his fight.

The tricks included ripping his face off, miming, turning a candle into a walking stick, and, for his final trick, stunning his opponent, Tony Devito, by stealing his underpants just before the final roll-up and winning his debut.

Frequently asked questions

Finisher moves are fighting manoeuvres used by professional wrestlers as part of their gimmick. Some have even led to WWE deaths. Here are some interesting facts about finishing moves in wrestling.

1. What are the most powerful WWE finishers?

Various moves, such as the Neutralizer, stand out in the world of professional wrestling. Primarily performed by Antonio Cesaro, it involves lifting and slamming down opponents of varied weight classes.

2. What is the best finishing move in WWE history?

The best finishing moves show intense strength, acrobatic skills, athleticism and creativity. The best moves in the WWE include Kofi Kingston's Trouble in Paradise.

2. What are the most painful WWE finishers?

The Spear is one of the most painful finishers in WWE history. The Edge, Roman Reigns, and Goldberg often use it against their opponents. However, it can cause harm to the opponent and the wrestler using it. Other painful moves include the Piledriver, Kawada Driver, Brainbuster, and Burning Hammer.

Final word

Wrestlers have the freedom to create moves that can stun, entertain and dominate their opponents. The worst finishers in WWE history are entertaining but pose a danger to wrestlers.

READ ALSO: A ranked list of the most painful wrestling moves in WWE

Sports Brief has published an article on some of the most excruciating wrestling moves used in the WWE. Although professional wrestlers are trained for active fights, almost all moves pose a risk to the fighter and their opponent. Click on this link for a list of the most dangerous moves used in the ring.

Ciku Njuguna photo
Ciku Njuguna
Ciku Njuguna is a journalist with 3 year’s experience in content creation based in Kenya. She currently covers sports personnel as well as team biographies.