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It's often been said about Professional Wrestling that a successful wrestler doesn't need to have an extensive library of moves that he can execute with average proficiency: he just needs a few moves that he can do well.

Just about every wrestler has a Finishing Move. Some wrestlers, however, have an entire finishing sequence -- a series of moves done in the same order to cap off every match. Though the sequence may be interrupted, the wrestler always seems to return to it at the earliest opportunity. If they don't get a chance to return to it though, they're probably going to lose the match.

The trope's name comes from fan commentary (particularly Scott Keith's) on one of the most infamous examples of using a sequence, Bret Hart, from the newsgroup rec.sport.pro-wrestling in the mid '90s.

A similar trope in music is Three Chords and the Truth. For examples in other fiction, see Theme Deck.

Oh, and by the way, not being able to use more than four moves hails from something else. This is about a finishing sequence, not a limit on total moves.

This can be somewhat expanded to apply to all Martial Arts, as (to quote the Bruce Lee page heading) - "I fear not the man who has practiced ten thousand kicks once. But I fear the man who has practiced one kick ten thousand times."


Examples:

  • Bret Hart is one of the most well-known examples: his sequence, the original Five Moves of Doom, is the inverted atomic drop, Russian legsweep, backbreaker, elbowdrop from the second rope, and Sharpshooter.
    • The inverted atomic drop was often substituted for a snap suplex or a running bulldog. As it was rare for Bret to actually go straight to a successful Sharpshooter, this led to the chain still being five moves long.
    • Bret even has sequences for other specific spots in a match, such as rapid pinfall attemtps (sunset flip, inverted sunset slip, crucifix, small package, victory roll) or simply working the leg (hamstring pull, elbow drop, knee drop, seated senton, figure four leglock)
  • Bret's perennial rival, Shawn Michaels, has his own sequence: Manhattan drop, flying forearm, scoopslam, elbowdrop from the top rope, Superkick (aka Sweet Chin Music). He originally had another move after the Superkick, a spinning side suplex called the Teardrop.
  • John Cena's sequence: Flying shoulderblock, sitout hip toss, side-release spinout powerbomb, Five Knuckle Shuffle (fistdrop), FU Attitude Adjustment (Fireman's Carry Takeover). Cena has the honor of being the first, and so far only, wrestler to openly refer to his sequence as the Five Moves of Doom in his promos. He's since added the STFU (STF STS crossface combo) to the end of the sequence, making it his Six Moves of Doom.
    • Although he has recently phased out the sit-out hip toss, as well as his guillotine legdrop, to bring it back down to Five.
    • It should also be noted that Cena turned this into an Ascended Meme.
  • For some time after his WWE debut, CM Punk had a finishing sequence of four moves: Running kneelift in the corner, bulldog, uranage, Anaconda Vice. With the addition of Go to Sleep (Fireman's carry followed by a knee drop), His standard moveset became five.
    • CM Punk has since phased out his Uranage and Anaconda Vice, and added a Springboard Clothesline, as well as a Kick to the head, as made famous by Tajiri. Nowadays, Punk's sequence goes as follows: Kneelift to the corner, Bulldog, Springboard Clothesline, Buzzsaw Kick and/or Go to Sleep.
    • More recently, Punk brought the Anaconda Vice back, and even won the WWE title with it.
  • Hulk Hogan's superhuman comeback was always the same: Finger Wag, shake off punches, point, Finger Wag, block a right, punch, punch, punch, Irish whip, boot to the head, legdrop.
  • Chris Benoit: rolling German suplexes (usually three, but he's gone up to ten), Swan Dive headbutt, Crippler Crossface.
    • Kurt Angle has a similar sequence, except with the Angle Slam and Ankle Lock instead of the headbutt and Crossface.
  • Don't forget The Rock: variations of running Spinebuster or Scoop slam (one or the other is performed first), then a Rock Bottom, followed with removing his elbow pad and the People's eyebrow, finishing with The Most Electrifying move in Sports Entertainment!
  • KENTA: Two open-palm strikes followed by a Discus Backhand, Roundhouse Kick, finished with either a Go 2 Sleep or a Busaiku Knee Smash (or he just does both)
  • Nobody will ever accuse Bryan Danielson of having a limited moveset, but once his longer matches hit the final stretch, he begins to alternate between the MMA Elbows, the Cattle Mutilation, the triangle choke, the Crossface Chickenwing, and "you're gonna get your fucking head kicked in" - once Danielson uses one, the endgame has started, and he will keep switching among them until the match finishes.
    • His WWE Daniel Bryan Five Moves: Tiger Mask dodge, running forearm, buzzsaw kick, missile dropkick, Le Bell Lock. Missed missile dropkick in the corner optional.
  • Goldust has this, though given he's usually a jobber, it's hard to call them Moves of Doom.
  • Christian doesn't always do them in sequence but sometimes. At least one of the moves is fairly contrived: A sunset flip from the corner, usually to an opponent who literally just wanders to the corner where Christian is waiting.
  • R-Truth's set can alternate, but usually contains the following: duck a charge out of the corner with a split, jumping back-heel kick, sitout inverted suplex slam, suplex stunner, finishing with either the Lie Detector (cockscrew flying forearm smash) or lately a jumping reverse STO.
  • Jake "The Snake" Roberts would tend to end matches with jab, jab, jab, haymaker/clothesline, short-arm clothesline, DDT.
  • Mickie James: flying clothesline, Lou Thesz press, hurricanrana from the corner, Thesz Press off the top rope and a DDT to finish off. She sometimes uses a spinning roundhouse kick as well.
  • Santino Marella has 4 moves. 1)Duck a clothesline by doing a split. 2)Hip toss. 3)Diving head butt with a salute. 4)The Cobra.
  • Randy Orton has begun to develop his own since he recently became a face in late 2010 starting with a series of short arm clothesline, followed by a scoop powerslam, a inverted headlock back breaker or sometimes an Angle Slam, followed by a rope hung DDT and lastly the RKO, punt or combination of the two.
  • Kane usually comes with stiff uppercuts, an Irish whip into the turnbuckle followed by a clothesline which immediately leads to a one-armed sidewalk slam. He then gets on top of the turnbuckle and hits a flying clothesline and then finishes with the chokeslam.
  • While not necessarily done in sequence, The Undertaker has the leg drop from the apron, "Old School" tightrope walk armbreaker, choke slam, Last Ride powerbomb and Tombstone piledriver.
  • Sheamus has recently strung together a finishing series. Forearm shots to the chest of an opponent trapped in the ropes to a running knee lift followed by a diving shoulder block, a Brogue Kick usually finishes after that, and if they kick out he'll use the High Cross Powerbomb.
  • Maryse - forward leg sweep, camel clutch, backbreaker, French TKO/French Kiss DDT. Plus a lot of slapping.
  • Kelly Kelly - clotheslines, headscissors takedown, hurricanrana into a pin, handspring elbow, Kelly Killer/K2. Averted completely now as she uses several different moves.

Other

  • Video Game Example: In at least one version of the WWE Smackdown! series, the player is given the chance to program their created wrestlers with two finishers, and then three more moves that they prefer. Five moves of doom.
    • 2009 lets you create your own finisher...with a little creativity you can make your own five moves of doom. Mmmmmm...superkick into chokeslam into military press into cyclone into powerbomb.
    • Executing five signature moves in a single match in WWE All-Stars earns the achievement "Five Moves of Doom."
    • WWE 12 features "Comeback Attacks", which are essentially the beginning of wrestlers' five moves of doom sequenced together. Several of the examples listed above are available.
  • King from Tekken, as appropriate for a wrestling character, has a few of these sequences in his chain throws. His Mexican Magma Drive, is seven moves long, but in keeping with the spirit of the trope, there are two combinations with five moves long; (reverse armslam, backdrop, German suplex, powerbomb, giant swing) and (reverse stretch bomb, cannonball, inverted atomic drop, Texas piledriver, and muscle buster).
  • Another Video Game example: Fire Storm, archery barrage, heavy blade beatdown, Valkyrie with a sword, Great Magic, Soul Crush, Soul Crush, and NIBELUNG VALESTIIIII!!. Every single battle. Optional addition: WTF he's still alive?! Ah, hell, counterattack time...
  • Odin Sphere: It's a side-scrolling beat-em-up video game that lets you use junk item drops to do alchemy and make one weird potion for every letter of the alphabet. If you chain enough effects together, such as Blizzard (freezes all enemies in place for about twenty seconds), Overload (doubles your attack power), and an attack spell, you can stomp most battles.

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