Farhan Daw @FarhanDaw
A finisher is the culmination and most fearsome attack in a wrestler’s moveset. It’s the most entrusted manoeuvre expected to secure the win and significantly symbolises the style and philosophy of the performer. Whether it be a submission hold, a soaring dive from the top turnbuckle or a physically punishing suplex, a finisher is the final resolution of an athlete’s arsenal.
In an era where there are more unique finishers than ever before, it is important for a wrestler to commend his abilities with an impressive and efficacious special move. The action doesn’t necessarily have to be pleasing on the eye but appear effective enough to procure the victory.
Therefore without any further ado and placed in no particular order, here is a list of Japan’s most devastating finishers – Part 1.
Gotch Piledriver (Sleeper hold transitioned into a Cradle Piledriver) – Minoru Suzuki
First up on the list we have the leader of Suzuki-Gun faction, Minoru Suzuki. Having been trained by the infamous Karl Gotch and what was popularly stylised as catch free wrestling style, Suzuki went onto to further develop his fighting methodology by going on to form one of the worlds first Mixed Martial Arts Organisations Pancreas, reaching the pinnacle of the promotion becoming the Openweight World Champion. Suzuki uses a Sleeper strangle hold, depriving his opponents from oxygen and leaving them disorientated. During this period he transitions into a Cradle Piledriver, spiking his victim on the top of their heads all but assuring the 1-2-3.
Emerald Flowsion – Mitsuharu Misawa
The iconic Mitsuharu Misawa, Arguably the greatest professional wrestler of all time. A five-time Triple Crown World Champion and pillar to the success of AJPW before leading the exodus that saw the inauguration of Pro Wrestling Noah. Misawa would go on to win three more world titles with Noah, winning two via the most dangerous move in his moveset, the Emerald Flowsion. Over the years Misawa tweaked how he delivered the Emerald Flowsion but the blueprint remained the same. Misawa would scoop his opponent onto his shoulder and thrust them down via the side of his body, jumping into a leg drop position with his opponent landing on the back of their neck and shoulders. This would sometimes be performed of the top rope as seen in the video clip below. RIP Misawa.
Rainmaker – Kazuchika Okada
In the hands of most, this maneuver is simply a short arm clothesline but in the hands of the current reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada, this quick transitioning Lariat has been one of NJPW’s most devastating moves in recent years and the key to Okada’s 4 IWGP World Title reigns. Having usually received a Tombstone, Insane spot dropkick or several short arm clotheslines, Okada’s dazed opponent is left ripe for the picking. With a short wrist clutch spin, he vanquishes his foes with a decapitating, bludgeoned Lariat. The only men to have kicked out of Okada’s Rainmaker are Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito and Kenny Omega.
Shouten Kai – Hirooki Goto
A suplex transitioned into a Uranage side slam. Hirooki Goto applies his Junior Heavyweight agility and frightening power to great affect, driving his opponent’s back and neck into the mat. The move requires an immense amount of power and balance. Hanging from an upside down position with blood rushing to the head, Goto ends the torment of his adversaries with this destructive finisher.
Original TTD – Hiroyoshi Tenzan
While Tenzan’s best days may be long behind him, on his way to securing 4 IWGP World Championships and a record 12 IWGP World Tag Team title reigns, Tenzan innovated the ‘Tenzan Tombstone Driver’ (TTD). While holding his opponents in a reverse cradle piledriver position, he uses his 250+ pound frame to drive his opponents head first into the mat while they remain helpless between his mammoth thighs. Additionally, the master of the Mongolian Chop also pioneered the now popular Anaconda Vice. He uses several variations most notably the Straight Jacket Choke and Cobra Clutch Anaconda Vice that he christened the Anaconda Vice Max.
Stay tuned for Part 2