Wrestling: Ranking the top 10 finishing moves in history

WWE, Drew McIntyre (photo courtesy of WWE)
WWE, Drew McIntyre (photo courtesy of WWE) /
7 of 11
NJPW, Minoru Suzuki (Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images)
NJPW, Minoru Suzuki (Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images) /

5. Rear-Naked Choke

Let’s be clear, I’m not talking about the sleeper hold that smaller wrestlers apply on their much larger opponents by jumping on their backs as a means to slow them down, or the side headlock that pro-wrestlers use to lie down on the mat to stop the momentum of the match and have a bit of a breather.

No, I’m talking about the rear-naked choke, the one you see the meanest man on the planet, Minoru Suzuki, choking out the second meanest man on the planet, Jon Moxley, with in the picture above. Actually, I’m not really sure who’s meaner.

Out of all the finishers on this list, this is hands down the most believable and legitimate match-ending submission. It’s used in MMA, you know, where the fighting isn’t staged and the competitors are looking to hurt each other for real.

The rear-naked choke can and will end your life if put on correctly and for enough time. Many wrestlers have accidentally choked out their opponents for real with the move, including Bret Hart, who’s widely regarded as the safest pro-wrestler to work with.

How’s that for suspending your disbelief?

Most of us have probably been in a hold like this, maybe by an older brother, or possibly by some bully, so it has that relatability factor as we all know how it feels to be helpless and gasping for air, it’s a horrible situation to be in.

Many wrestlers have used the choke to great effect.

“Rowdy” Roddy Piper immediately comes to mind, the perfect heel with the perfect finisher.

Samoa Joe and Karrion Kross have mastered the facial expressions that go along with the move, with menacing, wide-eyed, crazy looks on their faces that feels like they’re committing actual murder. They also look at the hard cam like they’re coming for you next. Terrifiying.

Shayna Baszler creates beautiful setpieces centered around her Kirifuda Clutch, it’s been a while though, hope to see more NXT style Baszler finishing sequences soon.

Asuka has the Asuka Lock and it’s great because Asuka’s great at everything.

Finally, Khabib Nurmagomedov choked out Conor McGregor at UFC 229, enjoy retirement champ!