How to Choose Your Wrestling Finisher

You gotta begin with the end in mind. So how do you choose your wrestling finisher?

Let me explain with an analogy.

I describe a wrestling match to my trainees this way. Imagine stand up comedy. The comedian is telling a joke, and the buildup leads to the payoff when he delivers his punchline. What makes the audience laugh?

It’s when the punchline is dropped with excellent impact, flourish, and timing. The best ones are those swerves the audience doesn’t see coming. An unpredictable setup, a plot twist, a clever change of perspective.

And that’s how your wrestling finisher should work. Everything in the match leads up to the finish. So it’s pretty obvious it’s one of the most important elements of any match, and any wrestler’s overall package.

The concept of a trademark finisher is what makes wrestling unique. Here are 3 points to consider when adopting one.

  1. Can you execute your finisher on 80% of your opponents?
  2. Does it contribute to your wrestling persona?
  3. Is it the most impactful move in your wrestling arsenal?

There are many others of course, but let’s break each of these down, so you have a better idea of how to choose your wrestling finisher as your journey progresses.

Ladykiller's wrestling finisher is the Spear
Example: The Ladykiller finishes opponents off with an explosive rugby tackle called the Spear

1. Can you execute it on 80% of your opponents?

If you’re not able to finish 4 out of 5 opponents the same way, how can your audience reliably associate you with it? So this means you need to select a move that you can consistently perform on most opponents.

This point is also about being practical. Regardless of how tall, short, heavy, or light your opponent is, or how gassed or jet lagged you are, you need adequate mastery and control to be able to hit your move safely and convincingly. Don’t get too ambitious. Otherwise you’re putting someone else’s health at risk.

"Hotshot" Wilson's finisher is the cutter or RKO
Example: “Hotshot” Wilson’s RKO can be executed on 100% of his opponents. It doesn’t matter how large or heavy they are.

2. Does it contribute to your wrestling persona?

If your character is built around speed and agility, and you’ve been exhibiting this trait throughout your match, then your finisher should drive home this point. A finisher that demonstrates a different trait makes elements of your character incongruent. Worse is if it creates a contradiction.

Your wrestling finisher adds to the whole package. Think of the characters of Brock Lesnar, and Santino Marella. Now swap their finishers. Brock Lesnar does the Cobra, and Santino Marella does the F-5. Something doesn’t add up now, you see what I mean?

Choosing your wrestling finisher: The Crossface
Example: “Endboss” GREGORY has a reputation as the best technical wrestler in the region. He finishes his matches by making opponents tap out to submission holds.

3. Is it the most impactful move in your arsenal?

The finisher is the ending of the match. You’ve taken the audience on a ride, their emotions are peaking, and now you wanna bring it to a climax. So choose a wrestling finisher that has an appropriate power level to fit the situation.

Picture a superhero movie where the intensity of the film in the 15th minute is the greatest, and the final fight at the 90th minute is a sleepy afterthought. That’s what you want to avoid.

Design the progression of your wrestling action such that your audience can subconsciously sense a change in pace. Faster, more complex, harder-hitting. If they can detect that, you’re doing a good job.

Example: Smart Dave is a powerhouse-type wrestler. He finishes matches with a Brainbuster, after building up to it with strikes and suplexes.

Conclusion

This post helps you understand some of the logic we use at Grapple MAX, to guide our trainees and help them select their finishers. The training syllabus is systematic, and we cover such classes in advanced sessions.

Find out when the next training intake is at Grapple MAX!

Interesting? Then check out this guide that helps you choose your wrestling name!

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