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Finishers as a concept


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#21 SAMS

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 07:21 AM

I think this ties into what a lot of you guys have already mentioned, but when I started watching, and when my fandom was at its previous peak, the Smackdown video game series had just started and I spent an ungodly amount of time playing the first 3 or 4. Each character has their base moves, their signature moves, and a finisher or two. Through these games, perhaps even more so than actually watching the product, I'd been conditioned into recognizing a hierarchy of moves which lead, ultimately, to a finisher. When watching matches now I never expect any move to end a match unless it's a finisher or one of those cheap roll ups after a distraction or something. Even then, depending on the show, you know when the multiple finishers formula will be utilized. All this does is generate predictable matches.

 

The problem is the concept of a "finisher" itself. I think there's a place for moves such as the Burning Hammer or TD91 that are pulled out on very special occasions when nothing else you throw at a guy is getting it done. But beyond that I think having a variety of signature moves instead of one or two finishers is the way to go. I realize I'm basically echoing what Loss said and it may purely just be an issue of semantics, but having 5 or 6 "signature" moves that are not only effective enough to put a guy away, but are also even in terms of moveset hierarchy, would go a long way to restoring the drama of finishing sequences and ensuring that the work all the way up until the finish means more - as the pinfall/submission victory wouldn't just be attributable to hitting one super move, but the accumulated damage that built up throughout the match.

 

Secondly, there are currently a plethora of finishers that just don't seem that deadly. WWE might just well be the worst offenders here, but it seems that their finishers are merely another cog in their marketing machine - the RKO being the most glaring example. Gordi talked about the damage that wrestlers will take during a match, especially the gimmick matches, and stuff that looks absolutely brutal are seemingly easily endured, however moves like Sister Abigail, the Zig Zag, the Rainmaker etc. are the only things that move the needle. It doesn't have to be crazy hardcore stuff that's blown off either: Orton's draped DDT looks miles more devastating than the RKO and Kenny Omega has some brutal looking knee strikes but his finisher, the WWA, is a driver variation that looks like he just lightly places his opponent on the mat. I expect these guys watch back some of their own stuff, and if they don't, they'll have people around them who they talk to about their matches. Surely you'd go through and figure out what looks the best and rejig your moveset accordingly? Or perhaps I'm missing something obvious.

 

Finally, submissions need a whole rework. Too often tapping out is seen as emasculating to a worker, as if knowing you're beaten and living to fight another day isn't a more viable strategy than getting pummeled to the point you can't kick out of a pin. Unless a guy has an incredibly over submission finisher, you KNOW that any submission that gets locked on isn't going anywhere. If it leads to continued targeting of a body part then fine, I love a good meat and potatoes portion of a match, but too often it's done for the sake of killing time and then immediately forgotten. Not to mention the cardinal sin of lying in a submission for entire minutes. Now, I'm not an MMA watcher, but if a honest to God submission was applied I assume there's a reasonably short time period before a) the pain becomes too much or b ) the hold breaks/tears/dislocates a body part. Not many on this board are advocating for complete realism in their wrestling, but when Okada is enduring absolute eons of time in leg lock variations against Suzuki (just as an example) I reach a point where I lose my investment in the match. They've lost me. They should suck up the pain momentarily, try and scramble to the ropes, try and fight off their opponent, and if all that doesn't work tap out.

 

Final final point: love cradles, flash pins, and roll ups as match enders without them being the result of referee distractions or outside interference. Give me more.



#22 G. Badger

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 12:23 AM

Totally spot on SAMS!

I think that's what I was trying to getting at with my video game remarks earlier :) Everything builds up to the finisher. My PS1 laser burned holes through my copies of Smackdown 1 & 2 so, I remember that once you got a finisher stored, 9 out of 10 times that ended it...even if you threw a guy off the cell earlier. Didn't play any WWE games until last year and I'll be darned! It's the same way! :)

With finishes in wrestling, how do we (they) put the genie back in the bottle? I think your point of submission holds is really important here. Having quick submission finishes brings a sense of realism back to live wrestling that is sorely lacking.

(Perhaps having shorter clean matches with nothing invented before 1988 before the finishing sequence?)

Otherwise people are wanting to tune into to a live version of their wrestling game. 25+ minute matches with all kinds of bonkers shit. I know I need to take a day or two break from Fire Pro or 2K14 before I watch actual wrestling. I get desensitized..."oh a powerbomb...Ho-hum."

So, I think its all for shock value from here on out...entertaining but, lost in the shuffle with the next 4.5-5.75 star match. A series of one-ups-manship unless there's some kind of massive scale taste shift for minimalism (for lack of a better word...perhaps restraint or style?) in wrestling akin to the Thatcher, Gulak, Biff stuff from a couple years ago.

#23 sek69

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 07:58 PM

I always liked how Undertaker had multiple finishers that could believeably end a match given the circumstances. He had the triangle, the Last Ride, and of course the Tombstone. You could even argue that his chokeslam was a "jobber finish" that could end guys low on the totem pole.  



#24 gordi

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 10:14 PM

I just watched the IYH Canadian Stampede Team Bret vs Team Austin Main Event. 

 

It's absolutely one of my favourite matches of all time. It has an incredibly hot crowd that responds passionately to everything that happens in the ring. It tells a great story, and it is pretty much the perfect match for the story that they want to tell. 

 

The finish? A simple roll-up off of a distraction. 

 

And I wonder: Would they even be allowed to do something like this match as the main event of a PPV in this day and age? There is a kind of perfection in everyone laying their role well, in good guys doing good guy things and bad guys doing bad guy things and it's in service of telling a story rather than popping the crowd... but the crowd is going CRAZY.

 

Throughout the match, they use finishers very effectively. Owen takes a huge bump off of a Doomsday Device (in what is probably the biggest high-risk spot of the entire match) but he is saved when (IIRC) Anvil breaks the pin.

 

Later, Bret gets the Sharpshooter on Austin.. but Animal makes the save. The Austin gets the Sharpshooter on Bret, but Owen limps back to the ring to make the save to a HUGE pop from the Saddledome crowd. 

 

Dang... there you have all of those tropes that have become so tiresome, including finisher theft, being used to perfection. 

 

So, it's not the tropes... it's how you use them, I guess. 






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