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Brainbuster Weekly (9/5/19): Analyzing Signature Finishers

Matthew Davis brings you stats & analysis to make you sound smarter than the average fan! And it’s entertaining! For starters, let’s take a look at finishers.



Austin Aries Brainbuster

Matthew Davis brings you stats and analysis to make you sound smarter than the average fan! And it’s entertaining, too! For starters, let’s take a look at finishers.

Hello everyone! This is a brand new article featured weekly here on The Chairshot! Earlier in the week I had the pleasure of introducing myself to you all, and I want to thank you all again, and the team behind The Chairshot for taking a shot on me, pun intended, to give you all the best stats, facts, and statistical analysis that can be had in professional wrestling! The debut piece here will look at the analysis of finishers.

As far back as I can remember, something that defines professional wrestling has been the signature maneuver that each wrestler had mastered to cause the most pain on their opponent. I remember watching old wrestling with my grandfather many years ago, and saw names like Gorgeous George and “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers in black and white on ESPN Classic and the old WWF 24/7, and the MSG Channel. I watched Buddy Rogers win a match with a neckbreaker. That move was considered so devastating it put everyone away for three. He also invented the figure four leglock in his career, but, I remember being amazed that the neckbreaker was considered so vicious that it won a match. Skipping ahead, in the late 1980s, we saw Jake “The Snake” Roberts innovate the DDT. Just a regular frontlock free fall head smash into the ring. But it was original and new. It won a lot of matches. These men would target certain body parts over the course of the match to finally hit their big finisher for the win. They would become massively popular moments in a match drawing emotion from the crowd.

As time has gone on, we as fans have desired more original, more devastating, more awe inspiring signature moves. Wrestling has become so athletic and creative that moves that were considered devastating 50 years ago are used as every day moves, such as the lateral press, the vertical suplex, the neckbreaker, elbow drops, and the normal DDT. We now see triple flip splashes, springboard moves, inverted combinations, and whatever Zack Sabre Jr has decided is a submission move which shouldn’t even be possible to the human body.

Let me ask you, what is your favorite finishing move? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to see your replies. Mine is The Flying Elbowsmash by Macho Man Randy Savage. I say elbow smash, and not elbowdrop, because that’s how it made it so much differently and much more effective! (All in a name, right?) When Macho Man went up top, he twirled his finger, the fans reacted, and we knew the match was finished. As wrestling began to change during the Attitude Era, we actually began to see finishing moves get countered, blocked, or miss completely. We also saw something which especially in the Western world was so shocking that it still draws gasps today, someone kicking out of a pinfall after a finisher is connected. A lot of this psychology began in companies like All Japan, New Japan, and Mexican promotions in the 1990s, where as staple companies like WCW and WWF would often use typical finishes. But as time passed, we began to see longer matches, with unpredictable finishes, especially at big shows like the Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, War Games, and Starrcade. Now kickouts are a regular thing to build suspense and drama.

Let’s take a look at some interesting tidbits and facts about finishers just this year!

  • In New Japan in 2019, there have been 860 finishing moves attempted in singles matches.
  • Of those 860: 55% have been countered, and 8% have been blocked or missed, a total of 63%
  • There have been pinfalls or submissions attempted 28% of the time a finisher is attempted
  • There have been pinfall or submissions attempted 94% of the time a finisher is connected
  • There has been a kickout or a rope-break 43% of the time a finisher is attempted
  • Overall, only 10% of all finishing attempts result in a kickout and 15% result in a decision because so many are countered, missed, blocked, etc

Let’s compare this to just the last two months (July and August) on the WWE main roster:

  • In WWE in July and August 2019, there have been 172 finishing moves attempted in singles match
  • Of those 172: 18% have been countered, and 10% have been blocked or missed, a total of 28%
  • There have been pinfalls or submissions attempted 61% of the time a finisher is attempted
  • There have been pinfall or submissions attempted 97% of the time a finisher is connected
  • There has been a kickout or a rope-break 11% of the time a finisher is attempted
  • Overall, only 9% of all finishing attempts result in a kickout yet 50% result in a decision

The companies have such brilliant differences in how matches are laid out. Seeing the numbers really brings that to life. Seeing a company like WWE have a pinfall or submission 82% of the time a finisher connects, where as the number is almost half that at 51% in New Japan shows some interesting things. Going back to the original topic of finishers being so well developed, so devastating, that in Japan, they are so revered and respected that they actually spend many hours training how to reverse and block them, where as they’re attempted less frequently in WWE (far more single matches, with almost the same percentage of finishers per year) and end matches at a much higher degree. Does that mean finishers in WWE are better than those in Japan? I’d actually say it is the opposite, even though there are more kickouts in New Japan. Moves like Ishii’s “Brainbuster” connect 29% of the time they’re attempted, while Roman Reign’s “Spear” connects 83% of the time, yet no one kicks out of the Brainbuster and people have kicked out of the Spear. Some moves like Naito’s “Destino” connect at 43%, yet are kicked out of frequently, 11 opponents have kicked out of “Destino” in his 12 singles matches, and he’s only beaten 7 of them with the move in 12 matches.

All in all, it’s just so incredible to watch the evolution of signature moves in wrestling. Perhaps a time will become where an article like this will be considered ahead of it’s time, as wrestling promotions as a whole will discuss and analyze the effectiveness of finishers, which will only create more innovation in the sport as wrestlers will need to create better finishers. The spectacle of sport has defined our lives, the admiration of statistics have allowed us to calculate awards, recognition and records. It’s far past the time for professional wrestling to be welcomed into the conversation. This is just the beginning..

That’s it, our very first Weekly Brainbuster! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you like what you see, feel free to discuss it in the comment section, or contact me at, and continue to support The Most Complete Wrestling Database Online Project by following me on Twitter at “@TMCWDOP”!

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Steve Cook’s Fave Five: March 2021

Cook gives us his quick snapshot of early storylines that might be the important things through the month of March!



It’s March! You know what that means.

It’s time for me to channel my inner Booker T and list my Fave Five in the world of wrestling! This list could very well change tomorrow, or whenever this ends up getting posted, but I only type it out once each calendar month. Consider it a snapshot in time.

5. Cameron Grimes

People have been telling me about Grimes for years, going back to his stint with Impact Wrestling. I never really saw it. Decent enough competitor, sure, but he always seemed like Just A Guy to me. Now that he hit it rich on the stock market, he’s the most entertaining part of NXT.

Get rid of Finn Balor & Adam Cole and put the strap on Grimes! TO THE MOON!

4. Shane Taylor

One of my criticisms of ROH television over the past several months has been a lack of defined characters. As fun as Pure Wrestling is, everybody involved in the tournament & the division tend to sound the same. Then, with a lot of the main guys, it’s tough to tell whether they’re good guys, bad guys, or shades of grey. There’s a place for shades of grey, but it’s tough to be interested in a TV show where you don’t know who to root for.

Shane Taylor’s presentation suffered from this for me for awhile. I wasn’t too familiar with his work pre-pandemic, so I’ve been getting to know him along with the rest of the ROH talent. From what I can gather, he was working one of those deals where the promotion didn’t really want to promote him, which can either make one very popular or largely ignored. The promotion tended to treat him like a heel. Either way, Shane looked pretty darn good in his matches, working a physical style that appeals to fans like me. Apparently it appeals to other people as well, since Taylor was the #1 choice of the fans to get a shot at Rush. Taylor was screwed this time around, but now has a story to sink his teeth into. Nothing wrong with that.

3. Tully Blanchard

2021 is quickly becoming the year of the olds. WWE has seen Goldberg & Edge emerge as top championship contenders. Keiji Muto won the GHC Heavyweight Championship. Tommy Dreamer celebrated his birthday by challenging for the Impact Championship. Sting will be taking part in a street fight this weekend.

Age is only a number, and Tully’s number is a little higher than these other men. He also spent more time out of the ring. Nearly fourteen years since he had any kind of match, but he went into Wednesday night with all guns blazing. J.J. Dillion was in the corner. Tully was wearing his classic robe & the silver US Heavyweight Championship, while FTR donned the classic NWA World Tag Team Championships. All the old school feels were being had before the match, and after the match as well, when Arn Anderson looked on from the entrance and flashed that familiar hand signal.

Tully had plenty of talent around him to make the match work, but he hit his spots well. Marko Stunt’s good to have around so he can take a slingshot suplex. JJ got to give his shoe to somebody to use. It ended up being a fitting tribute on the night of Jim Crockett Jr.’s passing, and maybe a sign that Tully’s got a little more left in the tank. (Multi-man would probably be for the best though, I’m not as confident that he can hang with Kenny.)

2. Bobby Lashley

As expected, The Miz joined the likes of Ivan Koloff, Stan Stasiak, the Iron Sheik and other men whose world championship reigns merely existed to get the title from one person to the other without having them face off. In the case of Bobby Lashley, it’s because they didn’t want him to beat Drew McIntyre for the title, so their eventual match will be a first-time (in this particular WWE run) meeting. It makese sense, and Miz played his part well, as you’d expect.

Now is Lashley’s time, and one can wonder why it took so long. The guy looks like what’d you’d expect a WWE Champion to look like. Huge. Powerful. Dominant. He fits the prototype of what Vince McMahon would have seen as an appropriate champion back in the day. Is there anything there that Vince wouldn’t like?

Bob seems to be on a collision course with Drew at WrestleMania, and that should be a pretty solid piece of business.

1. Rey Fenix

I don’t know who the “best in the world” is, but Rey Fenix is the most exciting wrestler currently gracing televisions & other viewing devices. All he does is go out there and deliver every time he’s out there, if you see him listed on a card you know it’s going to be a good match.

AEW seemed a bit slow to capitalize on Fenix’s abilities, but since 2021 began we’ve seen the masked man getting bigger matches. His win-loss record hasn’t been the best, as he’s come up short against Kenny Omega & Lance Archer and eaten the pin in some multi-man matches. He’s still making people take notice, and I’d be surprised if Fenix doesn’t jump up to the next level sometime this year.

My favorite wrestler to watch right now, which is how one tops a list like this one.

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Bodeen’s Top 5 Moments: WWE NXT (3/3/21)

Bodeen breaks out his Top 5 moments of NXT this week. Did he miss anything that made your list?



After Adam Cole put the nail in the coffin in the Undisputed Era last week, many eyes were on NXT this week to see what the reaction from Roderick Strong would be as well as the Tag title matches after the Dusty Rhodes Classic. With all these factors it’s no surprise that NXT put on another amazing night of action that was entertaining from start to finish. So without further ado, it’s time to look at the top 5 moments from NXT this week.

5. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler beat Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez

It feels like so long ago we saw Shayna Baszler on NXT. Just a few years ago Baszler was dominating the NXT women’s division as she beats the likes of Kari Sane, Mia Yim, Bianca Belair and Io Shirai. After she lost the title to Rhea Ripley and moved to RAW, over time she lost credibility and she was slowly removed from the title picture. That’s why it was so great to see the submission magician back to her former self on NXT as she and Nia Jax beat Dakota Kai and Requel Gonzalas in a great match that ended in controversial circumstances

This was another great match for the team of Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez, with Raquel Gonzalez once again being the MVP of this match as she took a hot tag from Dakota Kai to dominate Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax. The match would end under controversial circumstances after Adam Pearce called for a referee to ring the bell after Kai was trapped in a submission despite the fact Gonzales was legal.

This finish made Kai and Gonzales look strong in defeat as they did not lose cleanly. It also sets up a storyline in the future, especially after NXT General Manager, William Regal stated he had an announcement to make that would change the NXT landscape.

4. The Way go to therapy 

The Christmas with the Gargano’s vignettes were one of my favorite moments from NXT in 2020. The jokes catered to everyone and ranged from inside jokes to die-hard wrestling fans to silly, cheesy jokes that you would see in a Monty Python or Adam Sandler movie. While the Way going to therapy wasn’t near the level of Christmas with the Gargano’s it was still a fun segment that continued to highlight how good Johnny Gargano is at being a goofy heel.

Gargano’s reactions were priceless to watch as he could not believe that Austin Theory enjoyed his time with Dexter Lumis. Indi Hartwell’s innuendoes were also hilarious to watch, as this series of segments did a great job in giving all members of The Way enough lines so that no member felt pointless being there.

With Dexter Lumis most likely the next in line for Johnny Gargano’s North American Championship, it will be interesting to see the involvement of Austin Theory in what is sure to be a highly entertaining feud to watch.

3. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch beat Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher  

While it was originally meant to be Dusty Rhodes Classic winners, MSK facing Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch we instead got the makeshift team of Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher facing the NXT Tag Team champions in a brutal, hard-hitting match that was intense from start to finish, with Lorcan and Burch getting the win after Imperium distracted Thatcher and Ciampa.

This match did a good job at bringing together Thatcher and Ciampa as they smiled at each other, sharing their joy for inflicting pain on their opponents. Despite sharing a moment with each other, the relationship between the two men would be tense as Ciampa seemed annoyed at Thatcher’s history with Imperium costing them the match.

2. Roderick Strong faces off against Finn Balor  

After Adam Cole put the nail in the coffin of the Undisputed Era by superkicking Roderick Strong last week, Strong would open the show this week and would waste no time in calling Adam Cole out to the ring. Despite Strong calling Cole out, Finn Balor would come out, with Roderick blaming Balor for Cole’s actions. Balor would reply by saying that Roderick does not have the killer instinct that Balor has causing Roderick to attack the NXT Champion, leading to a match between the two men later in the night.

This was my favorite match of the night as Roderick Strong, pushed the NXT Champion to his limit, with Balor once again doing an amazing job of selling, as he sold the back which, Strong attacked throughout the match. The match would end after Balor hit the Coup De Grace and 1916 on Strong to win, with Adam Cole coming out to stare off at Balor ahead of their title match next week.

With Finn Balor and Adam Cole ready to face each other in a TakeOver worthy match, it will be interesting to see who will win, in what is sure to be an amazing match.

1. LA Knight makes his intentions known 

While his name change has led to disagreement between fans LA Knight’s short time in NXT has been entertaining to watch. His promo skills and style remind me of a 1980s movie star as he is always the center of attention when he is on the mic. This week would be no different as LA Knight cut his first in-ring promo on NXT TV as he called out the entire roster as well as sewing the seeds for a feud with Bronson Reed.

LA Knight’s promo this week was absolute gold, as he blended cockiness, arrogance, pride and emotion brilliantly, stating that he is not in NXT to do flips and dives, but rather win regardless of style. LA Knight would make his big move against Bronson Reed, as he cost Bronson Reed a match against Cameron Grimes.

Bronson Reed is a great first feud for LA Knight, as it can perfectly show off LA Knight’s style well against a bigger man like Bronson Reed.

These were my top 5 moments from NXT this week. What were your top 5 moments and who do you think will win the NXT Championship Title match next week? Let us know in the comments below.



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