What Goes into Naming a Finisher?

Wrestler’s get to name their moves to match their gimmick. It would be silly for Braun Stroman to call his powerslam the Oklahoma Stampede but it was perfect for “Dr. Death” Steve Williams who was a star at The University of Oklahoma. It would be dumb if Mark Henry called his turnbuckle squash a Stinger Splash but it worked for Sting. Occasionally however a wrestler names a move and it fits the move so well that the move BECOMES that name. Today we will look at wrestlers who permanently named wrestling moves.

The DDT- Like most wrestling moves it is unclear who created the DDT (perhaps the Mexican wrestler Black Gordman) but Jake Roberts definitely popularized it. To this day whoever does the move from Randy Orton to Drew McIntyre it is still called a DDT. Jake Roberts was cagey about how he came up with the name often delighting in making up stories of what it stood for. In interviews he’s claimed it stood for Drape Drop Takedown, Drop Dead Twice, Definitely Dead Tomorrow, Demonic Death Trap, Drop Down Town, Death Drop Technique and Damien’s Dinner Time or Damien’s Death Touch. Finally, in a shoot interview released by Jake he revealed that he was looking for a deadly name for the move. At that time a poison, called DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) had been banned In the US as being too deadly for humans and animals and that is what Jake took to calling his new finisher.

Snake Eyes- At some point in every Undertaker match he lifts someone over his shoulder and drops him on the turnbuckle in a move called Snake Eyes. But why Snake Eyes the answer lies with a successful wrestler with many terrible gimmicks. Kevin Nash started his career with 2 horrible gimmicks. The first was Oz as in the Wizard of Oz. In an attempt to merge wrestling with the Turner movie library someone in WCW came up with an idea to do a group of wrestlers based on the Wizard of Oz. Kevin was the lucky first attempt with disastrous results. His second gimmick wasn’t much better a high rolling gambler called Vinnie Vegas. Naturally his finisher had to involve gambling and since his finisher was the aforementioned drop on the turnbuckle he called it Snake Eyes and it’s still called that today.

Tree of Woe- In many matches a wrestler ends up hanging upside down with his leg trapped in the turnbuckle this is known as being tied to the Tree of Woe a really specific name. It all dates back to Kevin Sullivan. Sullivan was using a satanist gimmick in Florida and along with fellow satanists like The Purple Haze (Mark Lewin) and a fake Dusty Rhodes (Mike Davis). His finisher involved tying someone to the Tree of Woe (something Sullivan thought sounded vaguely satanic) and finishing them off by ramming his knee into them. Although the satanic gimmick is long gone, the name remains.

Sharpshooter/Scorpion Death Lock- One of the more interesting submission moves is the Sharpshooter made famous by Bret “Hit Man” Hart (a hit man obviously would be a good sharpshooter). Almost everyone called this leg grapevine move the sharpshooter. When the Monday Night wars started however WCW didn’t want the move being named after their competitors top wrestler. Since Sting used the move they changed the name to the Scorpion Deathlock. No matter who uses the move now it is generally given one of these two names but it looks like The Sharpshooter will win in the long run.

Frankensteiner- This is a confusing move as there are two similar maneuvers that are mixed up constantly. The first is the hurricanrana where a wrestler who is faced forward wraps his legs around the neck of an opposite wrestler and releases. Scott Steiner did a version of the hurricanrana but in his version instead of releasing he would grab the legs of his opponent and attempt a pin. At this point the names of the two moves are so muddled that it is unlikely they’ll ever be separated but very often a hurricanrana is called a Frankensteiner.

The very nature of wrestling is fleeting; a star today gone tomorrow, however by naming these moves wrestlers who are long forgotten will still have a taste of immortality.


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