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Finishing Move
aka: Fatality
Well. He's not getting up after that.

The Finishing Move is the martial arts equivalent of the Forgotten Superweapon — a special combat maneuver that is only ever used to cap off a battle, especially one that's already been won. It's often incredibly flashy, frequently requiring a "charge-up" time long enough that it would be impractical to use if your opponent weren't already on the ground in a bloody heap. Even without a "charge-up" time, using a Finishing Move at the beginning of a fight is often unwise (especially if It Only Works Once), because if the enemy can counter it, they most likely will.

When a new Finishing Move is introduced in a story, it's often treated as a case of Forbidden Chekhov's Gun — if the move isn't carried out perfectly, it could backfire and kill our hero(es), or even cause The End of the World as We Know It. Inevitably, the move turns out to be the only thing that can save them this week, and so it works perfectly, and it's treated as being reliable from then on.

Limit Breaks in video games are usually intended as Finishing Moves, but often have different uses. Finishing Moves are also common as a natural part of gameplay in games, as opposed to being intended to be used when you probably don't need it and it's just cool.

A Coup de Grâce may be used as one, as might Kick Them While They Are Down. See also Coup de Grâce Cutscene. If the effect tends to be delayed then it is You Are Already Dead. If the move is countered, No Selled or otherwise fails to finish off an enemy, especially if it's to show off how Badass the newest villain is, then you've got a case of The Worf Barrage.

Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Most Super Robots develop a paralyzing move that they use to ensure the real Finishing Move hits, unless they already come equipped with one:
    • Mazinger Z: A bit of a subversion. Breast Fire and Rust Hurricane would be Mazinger-Z Finishing Moves. However, Kouji used whatever weapon he saw fit to end up the battle. In the original manga, Kouji mainly used Mazinger-Z's fists and kicks to beat the enemy and then he finished it off with whatever weapon.
    • Great Mazinger: The aptly named Hissatsu Power Thunder Break is possibly the first "proper" example in the Super Robot Genre. Amusingly enough, it is also a subversion: Tetsuya used it constantly, in many different ways, and he came up with a lot of variations.
    • Combattler V: Its finishing move consists of two moves: Combattler paralyzes its enemy with Choudenji Tatsumaki (an electromagnetic discharge) before ramming through it with Choudenji Spin. Choudenji Tatsumaki is always used first in order to ensure the enemy does not move and dodge the second move.
    • Voltes V: Voltes did not get one until its Mid-Season Upgrade, but it presents the first proper example: the V-giri Slash.
    • Daimos: Daimos performs setup moves that chain into their signature moves.
    • Godannar in Twin Drive Mode.
    • Gurren Lagann's famous Giga Drill Break(er). In the dub, Kamina and Simon do refer it as Finishing Move (Hissatsu, meaning Certain Kill in Japanese) the first time they perform the move.
      • Pointedly subverted after the Time Skip and ostensible Genre Shift, when the move not only fails to defeat a foe, but is performed offscreen, in blatant violation of the rules of the genre. Of course, the foe is defeated shortly thereafter, but the point is made.
      • It also doesn't quite work against Lordgenome, although this might be because Simon neglected to howl "FINISHING MOVE!" before the attack.
    • God Mars's Final Godmars.
      Takeru: Zuul! I'll show you everyone's anger! This is the final fight! I'll put everything on the line!
      (God Mars turns golden while church bells ring in the background.)
      Takeru:MARS FLASH!
      (God Mars summons the Mars Flash.)
      Takeru: FINAL GODMARS!
      (God Mars performs a vertical slash and jams the Mars Flash into Zuul's gut.)
    • The Guyvers in Bio Booster Armour Guyver (aka Guyver: The Bioboosted Armour) can fire devastatingly powerful "Mega-Smasher" beams from their chests. In something of a subversion, even though the charging time is relatively short for a Finishing Move, it is frequently interrupted (it is one of the only attacks with any charge time at all). In addition, a Guyver cannot use this attack if the protective panels on his chest have any kind of injury, which happens surprisingly often.
    • GaoGaiGar has the "Hell & Heaven" attack, which ends up inverting the "super-risky new move" subtrope — it starts out as a Once an Episode finisher until the characters realize it's slowly killing the mech's pilot, at which point it gets an upgrade to Dangerous Forbidden Technique. GGG summons a magnetic storm to lock his enemy in place when he performs the move.
      • Then there's the Goldion Hammer, the weapon they devised to replace Hell and Heaven, turns out to be just as deadly. Instead of trying again, they decide to build a robot whose job is basically to act as a giant oven mitt so that GaoGaiGar can use it safely.
      • The Goldion Crusher (the aforementioned weapon's oversized Spiritual Successor) takes this trope and breaks the frickin' knob.
    • Shin Getter Robo: The devestating STONER SUNSHINE works about as often as the spirit bomb. Other units in Getter Robo have moves such as Getter Dragon and Shin Dragon's Shine Spark moves, and Getter One and New Getter's Getter beam.
    • Go Lion/Voltron's Juu Ou Ken (Beast King Sword)/Blazing Sword.
    • Nearly every pilot in G Gundam has one of these. Naturally, it takes about eight to ten episodes for hero Domon Kasshu to learn the "Super Mode" stance, the activation of which usually marks the ending 3 minutes of the episode.
  • Star Driver's Taubaurn has a good half dozen finishing techniques, gained as necessary throughout the series, ranging from a chop to the face, to a giant booster-rocket propelled Rocket Punch, to the main character firing himself as a projectile and tearing through the enemy. Due to the nature of the series, all of them end with the enemy flying up into the air and exploding in a massive fireball, no matter whether they're underwhelming or not.
  • In Dragonball Z, almost every character seems to have a few of these. Although nearly every time, the target just shrugs them off to little or no effect. Vegeta's Galick/Garlic Gun seems to fall under this a lot.
  • F-Zero: Captain Falcon's Falcon Punch that he uses to finish off Black Shadow. He sacrifices himself in the process though.
  • Ranma 1/2 parodies this with the "Saotome Secret Maneuver" — which is running away from a fight one's losing to regroup and reconsider tactics.
    • Ranma and Ryoga both have what could be considered finishing moves in the Hiryu-shoten-ha and the Shi-shi-hokodan. While Ryoga's shi-shi-hokodan is not always the end of a fight (Ranma survives several blasts of the "perfected" version), Ranma's Hiryu-Shoten-ha is only kept from being a show winner because it tends to stick around. After Ranma uses the technique (which creates a tornado), he often times gets swept up in it, and there is a sizable chunk of time dealing with this. At the end of the manga, with a bit of help from some artifacts, Ranma manages to blow up a mountain.
  • Most characters in Rurouni Kenshin have their own Finishing Move: Kenshin's Amakakeru Ryuu no Hirameki, Aoshi's Kaiten Kenbu Rokuren, Saitou's Gatotsu Zeroshiki, etc. Subverted with Sanosuke, who only knows one special move, the Futae no Kiwami, (the Sanjuu no Kiwami, its finishing variation, was made up on the spot and is never used again), and Sojiro, whose finishing move is merely a combination of simple battoujutsu and his incredible speed. The Big Bad of the Kyoto Arc, Shishio, has a Finishing Move as well, but we never see it executed.
    • As for damage to self, the Amakakeru Ryuu no Hirameki requires incredible will as well as impeccable timing to execute, or the reversed blade may well slash Kenshin's left leg off in the process. (The detrimental effects of the entire Hiten Mitsurugi Ryuu on Kenshin are well detailed elsewhere.) Repeated use of the Futae no Kiwami turns Sanosuke's hands into broken wrecks, much to Megumi's displeasure.
    • Kenshin's mentor, Hiko Seijuro XIII, knows all the same moves as Kenshin, but seems to prefer Kuzu Ryu Sen as his finisher, despite Amakakeru Ryuu no Hirameki being more powerful. Then again, Hiko is so ridiculously stronger than everyone else in the entire series that Amakakeru Ryuu no Hirameki would be beyond overkill for him.
  • In Naruto, several ninjas have these, given the many ways ninjas in Naruto can cheat their way out of being hit, these moves seem to be more trouble than they're worth. The effective ones thus far include:
    • Sasuke's adaption of the Chidori; channeling the electricity into his sword, projecting the electricity for a ranged attack, and developing his own technique called Kirin that involves actual lightning and acts as a massive-area attack.
      • Kakashi later refined the Chidori to create his slightly superior Lightning Cutter, and so far has killed 1 person with it.
    • Minato Namikaze's Rasengan - the superior product to the Chidori - used traditionally by the main character himself as his signature finishing move in practically all of the films.
      • Naruto later upgrades this to the Rasenshuriken by infusing it with wind to improve its cutting power.
    • This is also parodied, with Kakashi's "Leaf Style Secret Ninja Art: One Thousand Years of Death," which amounts to performing kancho (a Japanese practical joke that involves poking someone in the rectal area) on your opponent. Naruto later converts it into a very serious technique, though. Instead of a finger poke, he jams a kunai in an opponent's rectal area. An exploding kunai.
    • Rock Lee subverts this with his "Reverse Lotus," because it never actually ends a fight. Its two seen uses have its effect all but negated and avoided completely.
  • The Giga Slave from Slayers was at first treated this way; since it worked the first time, Lina was fully ready to depend on it again. It was subverted in the second season due to the fact that the consequences for failing (of which she apparently wasn't fully aware) turned out to be so high that she became terrified to try it again.
    • Further subverted in that the main villain for that arc actually WANTS Lina to use the Giga Slave on him, so he can test his mettle by seeing if he can survive it.
  • Starlight Breaker of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha's titular character, which generally caps off the big battle of the season. Since it gathers residue magic from the environment, the later it's used in a magic battle, the harder it hits. Interestingly, each time Nanoha uses Starlight Breaker in the anime, it's always a stronger variation of the one she used before.
  • Fist of the North Star contains fighting styles that pretty much consist entirely of finishing moves. The flashier ones became "Fatal KO" moves in the PS2 Fighting Game. The finisher most associated with Kenshiro, however, is the Hokuto Hyakuretsu Ken, which fires off a rapid series of attacks to every one of his opponent's Pressure Points resulting in full body explosion.
  • Sailor Moon. In fact, it can be argued that all she has is a finishing move, which she uses after the others have weakened the Monster of the Week. (Unless you count her Moon Tiara.)
    • A fighting game produced for the Super S season, in fact, combines this with The Worf Barrage by featuring all of the sailor scouts finishing moves from previous seasons as special moves of increasing potency with the most recent one being their true finishing move.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima! gives finishing strikes to Negi, Kotaro, and Setsuna on a fairly regular basis. Jack Rakan also lampshades it, stepping into Meta Guy talking about how important having a Finishing Move is. He then proceeds to offer to sell one to Negi for an absurd amount of money. Negi often uses his Finishing Move (Oukahouken) without ending the fight, as its power is based on the number of magic arrows he fires in a given attack.
    • Rakan actually develops a hilariously over-the-top Finishing Move for Negi... and later uses it on Negi himself.
    • Negi invents a new finishing move in the form of the Titanok'tonon ("Titan Slayer"): a combination of Jaculatio Fulgoris (lightning spears) and Khilipl Astrape ("Thousand Thunderbolts"). It's essentially a gigantic lightning spear with all the power of an anti-army spell condensed into one point. Very rarely does a battle continue after he's used that thing.
  • InuYasha has had a succession of these since he obtained Tessaiga: first was the Wind Scar, then the Backlash Wave; when the Wind Scar became So Last Season he upgraded to the Adamant Barrage, and finally inherited the Meid? Zangetsuha (Dark Path) from Sesshoumaru's Tenseiga.
  • When Hayate the Combat Butler goes up against another Battle Butler, the guy shows off one of his Finishing/Ultimate Moves, (specifically, one that creates a huge gout of fire... from a wooden sword) and tells Hayate that he's surprised that he doesn't have one. In his words "every butler should have a finishing move or two". Almost certainly a Lampshade Hanging, especially since these are literal battle butlers.
    • At the end of volume 6, Hayate finally develops one, called the "Hayate No Gotoku" (Whimsical Hurricane).
    • When a thug with a knife attacked "Sister" Sonia, she crossed herself, saying, "Now pray," before throwing him to the ground. Then, just before the blow that onlookers acknowledged as a finishing move, she added, "Amen." Bonus points for her Scary Shiny Glasses as she said the last word.
  • "I call upon the Viridian Forest...give us the power! The power of...MEGAVOLT!!"
    • Yellow is also given the task of delivering the final blow to the fake Kyogre when nine Elemental Beams wasn't enough to dispell it. Two Pikachu and their Pichu kid launching themselves in the air on a Surfboard for a triple Volt Tackle...EPIC.
    • In the anime, Ash's Charizard always performs a literally over-the-top Seismic Toss to finish off his opponents, first flying high into the sky, and, as soon as he builds momentum (by circling the moon), tosses the opponent brutally back to the ground.
      • Subverted 3 times in which it's either been countered (Drake's Dragonite and Harison's Blaziken) or didn't work ( Brandon's Dusclops)
  • One Piece varies up what moves finish a fight, but Luffy's Gomu-Gomu no Bazooka was notable for commonly either ending a fight or breaking through an opponent's defenses long enough for Luffy to score a true finishing blow. Interestingly, Luffy's Gomu-Gomu no Gatling was given an upgrade and promoted to finisher after it was voted the most popular attack in the series. Chopper probably plays this trope most straight, however - his fighting style consists of maneuvering his opponent around until he can transform into Arm Point and use one of his Roseo moves.
    • After learning the hard way how debilitating Gear Third is to his speed and maneuverability, Luffy has taken to using Gear Third mostly for this.
  • Kitano from Angel Densetsu, despite being an Actual Pacifist gets one. We only see it used when his few Berserk Buttons are pressed however, and being an 1-hit KO that simply puts the opponent unconscious without real permanent damage it's ''Actually'' pacifistic. His father got the same one, albeit being slightly more Technical Pacifist.
  • The Zenon Winzard in Beet the Vandel Buster is the epitome of this, having been blocked a grand total of twice, and survived once when used wrong. And one of those blocks involved having a giant metal rhinoceros take the hit, get split in half, and still only absorb a fraction of the damage.
    • And yet, its still less powerful than the Boltic Axe when properly aimed, though far easier to hit someone with.
      • If we define properly aimed as summoned mid air while falling on an opponent pinned by an ally, then yes.
  • Ayanes High Kick features the eponymous wannabe pro-wrestler's "Golden High Kick." Due to the length of her strong legs, she can land a blow directly to her opponent's temple... which her coach asserts will lead to a certain K.O.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica has Mami Tomoe's Tiro Finale, which she summons up a gigantic gun for. Pity it isn't enough to finish Charlotte.
  • Each of the Ronin Warriors and their enemies have a finishing move in Yoroiden Samurai Troopers. Such as Ryo's Flare Up Now (Sou En Zan), Kento/Shu's Iron Rock Crusher (Gan Tei Sai), Sage/Seiji's Thunder Bolt Cut (Rai Kou Zan), Cye/Shin's Super Wave Smasher (Chou Ryuu Ha) and Rowen/Touma's Arrow Shock Wave (Shin Kyuu Ha).
  • Zettai Muteki Raijin-Oh's "God Thunder Crash!"
  • In Kinnikuman every wrestler has at least one finishing move that is supposed to end the fight as soon as it's done. The Kinniku Buster is just one of these skills as he has made many variations to it to fit the situation.
  • Most of the characters in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure have a finishing move, but they usually boil down to just hitting the opponent a lot while shouting their respective Kiai. This is noticeable in the All Stars Battle fighting game, where the barrages make up most of the characters' Great Heat Attacks.
    • ORAORAORAORAORA!
  • All of the various Pretty Cure characters have finishing moves, though they end up usually using a Combination Attack instead as their numbers grow. As well, like the Sailor Moon example above, most of the girls only have Finishing Move attacks, but make up for it by using good old fisticuffs... well, except for the HeartCatch Pretty Cure! characters, who are armed to the teeth with attacks.
  • Kill la Kill: SEN'I SOUSHITSU! Senketsu even informs Ryuko at one point that an enemy hasn't been defeated because the move didn't work.

    Film 
  • In Troy, Achilles uses a leaping downward stab to kill a rival army's champion in one blow, and continues using it on various Trojan soldiers. One of the signs that Hector is a worthy adversary is that he is able to block the blow.
    • Multiple times.
  • In the Godzilla movies, the atomic breath usually serves this function.
  • In Iron Man 2, Stark's "one-time-use" personal laser array that takes out the remaining drone suits.
    • Subverted with the "Ex-Wife", the one-shot super-missile in Rhodey's War Machine suit. Subverted because it sputters and barely dents Whiplash's armor, to the groans of Tony and Rhodey.
  • In The Wrestler, Randy Ram's finishing move is a top-rope dive called the "Ram Jam." He performs one in the movie's finale, possibly committing suicide as he does so.
  • In Serenity, the Operative has a particularly sweet one where he effectively paralyzes his victim, then places his sword at such an angle that the victim slowly overbalances and is impaled.
    • Though it only works once, when delivering a You Have Failed Me to a scientist, Mal is immune because he had that nerve cluster moved.
  • Pacific Rim: While not called as such, the Jaegers seem to have weapons that are normally used to finish off a Kaiju and end the fight, such as Gipsy Danger's Plasma Caster or Striker Eureka's Anti-Kaiju Missiles. A straighter example is Gipsy Danger's Nuclear Vortex Turbine, which sees one use in an actual fight and that's to kill Slattern. Considering the film is a gigantic homage to Tokusatsu and Super Robot anime, this is no surprise.

    Live Action TV 
  • In early Super Sentai, fancy hissatsu moves for the robos were necessary (but got less fancy as the years went by). Just look at DaiDenzin's (DENSHI MANGETSU GIRI/Electric Full Moon Cut) or GoggleRobo's (DENSHI GINGA GIRI/Electron Galaxy Cut) for good examples!
    • Less fancy? With the CGI and 12 mecha combinations, giant robo finishers have only gotten more complex. It's the team finishers that have simplified. From Goranger to Bioman the monster would be defeated by a complex formation attack of all 5 members. After that though Sentai introduced the less fancy BFG giant cannons which have been standard since then. Of course, the first mecha finisher will still frequently boil down to "Stock Footage shiny sword slash."
      • Subverted by Magiranger, they didn't have them outside of MagiKing form.
    • Power Rangers, naturally, shares many of the same finishing moves, with a few more thrown in for American-exclusive weapons / Battlizers.
  • Rider Kick.
  • The mecha of Tomica Hero Rescue Force all possess a "Final Rescue" which requires authorization from a commanding officer before being let loose.
  • The Halliwell Sisters in Charmed can kill almost any enemy by holding hands and simultaneously chanting "The Power of Three will set us free". As the series progressed they used specific spells for various enemies.
  • Pretty much every single Ultraman has one of these, executed by crossing the arms into some formation or another. This almost always destroys the monster in one or two shots, and is always used after three or four minutes of wrestling. In fact, the only times it's ever used at the start of a fight is when the monster is capable of withstanding it! The explanation is normally that Ultramen only have so much power to spare on Earth and using their finishing move more rapidly drains their power supply. Thus why they only use it when they've got a pretty good idea that it'll work.
  • Parodied by the sketch comedy Almost Live! and its "Billy Quan" skits; Billy's Finishing Move is a double-footed jump-kick which can travel for blocks, go around corners, wait for an elevator, etc.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In Thimble Theater Popeye had the twister sock, a spiraling knockout punch which also appears in the cartoons and the live action movie (sometimes alternately called the twister punch).

    Pinball 
  • Revenge from Mars has a mode wherein you take control of a giant Abraham Lincoln robot and battle a giant Martian. After depleting his Life Meter, the player is commanded to FINISH HIM!, and you must then punch the alien, causing him to fly into a nearby saucer and destroy it.
  • In Stern Pinball's Star Trek, there is an optional "Victory Lap" shot available after completing some of the game Modes that is worth significantly higher points.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Common in Professional Wrestling. Some wrestlers even have multiple finishing moves, either done alternately, or in sequence.
  • Several finishing moves have become synonymous with the wrestlers who used them.
    • Of particular note is the Camel Clutch used by The Iron Sheik, which hit all cylinders by being visually effective, having some real basis to its effectiveness, and hitting the Foreign Wrestling Heel trope.
      • It's almost a requirement that, if you're an Arabic wrestler, you have to use the Camel Clutch in your repertoire.
      • Good thing The Iron Sheik is Persian then.
      • Ironically, the move was actually a Gory Guerrero creation, and not an invention of the Original Sheik.
    • The Claw, used by the Von Erich Family as well as Baron von Raschke.
    • Hulk Hogan's Big Leg Drop. As it was in Hogan's heyday, this was easily a contender for the spot of the most powerful finisher in the history of American pro wrestling; he put down the likes of André the Giant, Antonio Inoki, Randy "Macho Man" Savage, and other legendary stars with it, and it wasn't until nearly ten years after Hulkamania swept the WWF that someone managed to survive it. It lost a lot of its power when he became the evil "Hollywood" Hogan, to the point where Goldberg survived an unprecedented three in a row (still surprising, despite Goldberg's gimmick). It regained some of its kick during Hogan's last WWE run as a good guy, but it was kicked out of far more frequently by the then-current main event talent. Even though it's extremely devastating in kayfabe, there are some who aren't impressed: namely modern fans used to flashier finishing moves, and smarks with an axe to grind with Hogan for his backstage antics in WCW.
    • Bret Hart's Sharpshooter / Sting's Scorpion Deathlock. They target different parts of the leg, in theory but you would be hard pressed to find two wrestling fans who could tell what the difference between them is.
    • Chris Benoit's Crippler Crossface.
    • Masahiro Chono's STF.
    • Randy "Macho Man" Savage's flying elbow drop.
    • The Big Show's knockout punch.
      • In WCW, he was known for the choke slam. When he moved to the WWE, he changed it due to back problems (and the fact that it's on a lower part of both The Undertaker's and Kane's Five Moves of Doom.)
    • The Undertaker's Tombstone Piledriver.
      • Which may be the last piledriver anyone sees in the WWE, since Vince has banned the piledriver for anyone else (due to way too many wrestlers getting neck injuries from them.)
      • Except the one time CM Punk didn't get the memo.
    • The Rock's People's Elbow (actually, insert any move you want here.) In the same vein, Sting's Stinger Splash.
    • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's Stone Cold Stunner.
    • Kurt Angle's Angle Slam (or Olympic Slam).
    • Diamond Dallas Page's Diamond Cutter / Randy Orton's RKO. Similar to the Sharpshooter/Scorpion Deathlock, the RKO involves Randy jumping higher but they are functionally identical otherwise.
    • Jake "The Snake" Roberts' DDT.
    • Ric Flair's Figure Four leglock.
    • Triple H's Pedigree.
    • Shawn Michaels's Sweet Chin Music.
    • Eddie Guerrero's Frog Splash.
      • Which is used by his nephew Chavo in tribute. (Chavo previously used the Tornado DDT.)
      • Which is ironic, because Eddie himself adopted the move in tribute to "Love Machine" Art Barr, his friend and tag team partner from his days in the AAA in Mexico.
    • Bruiser Brody, who made his career on being a monster heel, would finish his matches with a powerful knee-drop. Some may find it unimpressive by today's standards, but Brody was a mountain of a man, 6'6 (6'8 in Kayfabe) tall and weighed at various points between 280 and 310 pounds and the sheer height he would get on his leap (around 6 feet) made it a truly devastating move. He would also use a top turnbuckle diving knee-drop in some matches, bringing the elevation to around 12 feet.
    • The splash invented by Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka. Interesting, the Frog Splash is the only other variation of the move as likely to be a finisher as the original version. Big Splash? Corner Splash? Yeah right.
      • And Rob Van Dam called his version the "Five-Star Frog Splash", which involved pointing at himself while he jumped, and then hurting himself as a result of being such a show off.
    • John "Earthquake" Tenta during his run as a monster heel did a seated senton which was called the Earthquake Splash. He would often do this over and over even after the match ended, often resulting in his unfortunate opponent having to be carried out on a stretcher.
    • Kenta Kobashi's Burning Hammer.
      • And also Tyler Reks' finisher, which is called the Burning Hammer yet is notably different from Kobashi's move.
    • Mitsuharu Misawa's Emerald Flowsion.
    • Martial arts kick (to the head) from Asian wrestlers. Yoshihiro Tajiri and Yoshi Tatsu, for example. Tajiri would kick the legs multiple times until they bent or kneel over and then kick them in the head.
  • Finishing moves also have included the Rule of Funny.
    • Mick Foley, in his non-Cactus Jack personas of Dude Love and Mankind, would parody other wrestlers' signature moves. The most famous would be Dude Love's "Sweet Shin Music," a parody of Shawn Michaels' "Sweet Chin Music" (a superkick to the jaw). Dude Love would do Shawn's trademark stomp, and then kick the opponent in the shins. When the opponent doubled over in pain, he would execute a double-arm DDT.
    • The Honky Tonk Man, himself an Elvis parody, would do a hip shake before executing a swinging neckbreaker, which he called "Shake, Rattle and Roll."
    • Rick Rude used a hangman's neckbreaker called the Rude Awakening, which was preceded by gyrating his hips to give the ladies a glimpse of what a REAL MAN looked like.
      • Before that, he used what is commonly referred to as the "Torture Rack", popularized by Lex Luger.
    • W! O! R! M!
    • Santino Marella's "Cobra".
  • The legendary tag teams also have legendary finishing moves, the most famous being The Road Warriors' Doomsday Device.
    • The Dudley Boys were notorious for breaking tables as part of their finishers, and they had their own famous finisher in the 3-D (Dudley Death Drop).
    • Sabu and Rob Van Dam of ECW utilized chairs in one of their finishers - a combination of RVD's Rolling Thunder and Sabu's Arabian Facebuster.
  • Several finishing moves have been copied so often, that they are no longer associated with a single wrestler, although sometimes little variations are added just to appear different.
    • Variations of the Boston Crab have been used by Bret Hart, Chris Jericho, Sting, and more.
      • Really, the Sharpshooter/Scorpion Deathlock is more of a modified figure-four than a Boston Crab. And it can be quite painful in actual fact.
    • Tito Santana's flying forearm (nicknamed lovingly by Bobby "The Brain" Heenan as the Flying Jalapeno) was later used as a finishing move by Lex Luger, and today is no longer even considered a finishing move.
      • R-Truth has started using the flying forearm since returning to the WWE. Of course, he puts his own twist on performing the move, making it the Lie Detector.
      • The reason the forearm was Luger's finishing move was because of a motorcycle accident he was in; the forearm in question was said to have a metal plate in it that made the forearm more damaging. An entire plotline was formed around the danger of Luger's forearm.
    • The superkick, first made popular by Chris Adams, was later used by Shawn Michaels, Glacier and others.
      • According to Adams' bio on Wikipedia, the first "superkick" Adams used was in fact, the move now known as the enzuigiri. After a stint in Japan, he saw the move we commonly know as the superkick being used, and adapted it.
    • The chokeslam is now a signature move of all "giant" wrestlers.
    • The frog splash has been used by Eddie Guerrero, various tag teams, and more.
    • The moonsault, a notoriously difficult move to execute, is not often used as a finisher, but has a prominent place in the Five Moves of Doom in lightweight and ladies' wrestling. However, some wrestlers still utilize it as a finisher, most notably Sabu and Christopher Daniels with the triple jump moonsault and best moonsault ever variations.
      • Not to mention the Shooting Star Press (or when Marc Mero used it as a finishing move, the Wild Thing). Shortly after Billy Kidman retired, this move was actually banned in the WWE for awhile due to being extremely dangerous. Current wrestler Evan Bourne was only permitted to use it because he's practically perfected it. "Air Bourne" has since become very closely connected to him.
    • The cobra clutch, a form of sleeper hold, was used by both Sgt Slaughter and Ted DiBiase ("which he called The Million Dollar Dream") while they were both active in the WWF.
    • The fisherman's suplex was a finishing move for Harley Race and Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig, but is a staple move for light heavyweight and ladies competition.
    • The pumphandle slam seems to be the designated finisher for midcard monster heels (Test, A-1, Snitsky, among others).
    • Jack Swagger's finisher is the gutwrench powerbomb. Created by female Japanese wrestler Akira Hokuto, it was popularized by American wrestler (and fellow Oklahoma native) the late Dr. Death Steve Williams.
    • The Death Valley Driver (firemans' carry to dump on the head) has inspired plenty of variations other fireman's carry setups, with the current most famous being John Cena's Attitude Adjustment (formerly the F-U, which was a parody of Brock Lesnar's similar finisher, the F-5).
  • Finishing moves are also subject to Villain Decay, as more and more elaborate moves make previous moves seem much weaker by comparison. Ivan Putski used a double axe handle blow as his finisher in the '70's, but today it probably isn't even good enough to be one of the Five Moves of Doom.
    • It might have been. Chris Masters used the Polish Hammer to the face of Stevie Richards in his WWE debut match. It broke Richards' nose and hasn't been used since.
      • Sheamus now uses the move on rare occasions, under the name the "Celtic War Sword".
      • Eugene used a top rope double axe handle as a finishing move, after giving the opponent an airplane spin first...which is actually a good example of "more elaborate".
    • Hulk Hogan's Big Leg Drop was no sold by Yokozuna
    • Also in this category, every single move Ric Flair uses.
    • Chair shots, kendo sticks, guitars, etc. even though they are still just as dangerous. Recently, to Gain A Level Of Badass, Triple H used a sledgehammer, and getting hit by a car (and even car bombs) became a standard prop. Eddie Gilbert once did that to Jerry Lawler on the TV show in Memphis.
    • Honestly, unless you were doing it before it became mundane (for instance Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Raven or Tommy Dreamer), you can't win a match with a normal DDT. You could win if you DDT them on a chair, do an inverted DDT, an lifting DDT, a jumping DDT, a double-arm DDT, a spinning-upside-down-DDT-con-queso, or whatever, but the basic "kick to gut, fall backwards DDT" never wins matches anymore.
      • The Undertaker beat Viscera once with one on Smack Down though.
      • Somewhat averted in the main event at Backlash 2000 when The Rock hit Triple H with a regular DDT. He didn't win by it but this was because Shane McMahon was the referee and neglected to count the fall to save his brother-in-lawnote  from losing. It was made pretty clear had Shane counted it, the Rock would have won.
      • Also averted at Judgment Day in the Iron Man match between The Rock and Triple H, when Rock hit HHH with a regular DDT and pinned him for a 3 count (after a botched floatover DDT).
      • And at around the same time (I'm not sure of the exact year) Chyna once "knocked out" Owen Hart with a normal DDT that wasn't even from standing height.
    • The king of this subsection of unimpressive "finishers" has to be The Big Show's current habit of lugging around a "knock out punch". Which is... A punch. In the head. Not a secret punch, or an assisted punch, or a blow to a particular area, or even a particularly hyped up punch, he just hauls off and slugs you, with only the color commentary freakout and a brief faux boxing pose to differentiate it from all the other punches he's probably thrown. Sure, it's a fist the size of your head thrown by a guy the size of your car, but c'mon.
    • Similarly, Randy Orton's punt is sold as causing severe injuries. A running head kick probably could severely damage or kill in real life, but its a bit underwhelming when somebody who can get back to his feet after chairshots or being slammed through tables is put on the shelf for a month by a kick.
      • Humorously, the move is sometimes referred to as "the Punt of Doom."
  • Several finishing moves have more to do with character development than actual utility. The Ur example would be The Undertaker's Casket Matches, where as soon as the casket is closed, the opponent is considered defeated.
    • Wouldn't that just be an Instant-Win Condition of the match, and not a finishing move?
    • Breakaway props are also in this category. All country-music themed wrestlers (Honky Tonk Man, Jeff Jarrett) carry prop guitars that they use during the course of the match to cheat.
    • LGBT-themed attacks are generally considered more character building rather than effective.
      • Goldust would use LGBT finishing moves, usually involving groin attacks, male-to-male kisses or inappropriate body contact.
      • Rikishi's Stink Face, where he would sit on the opponent's face, also had LGBT overtones. Interestingly, Vince McMahon would use this too as part of his "Kiss My Ass" gimmick.
      • In a similar vein, Yokozuna's Banzai Drop, affectionately referred to as the "Butt Bomb" by fans, was used to emphasize how heavy he was.
    • On several memorable occasions, Jake "The Snake" Roberts would bring one of his pet pythons to the match. In early 1989, André the Giant was given a snake phobia.
    • Before women became legitimate talents, limp-wristed slaps by female managers (like Miss Elizabeth) would be the equivalent to a chair shot or Mr Fuji's cane.
  • Several moves have been used as finishers by some wrestlers, and part of the 5 Moves of Doom of other wrestlers, sometimes in the same federation simultaneously.
    • In various incarnations, the sleeper hold has been used as finisher, a move, or as a rest hold.
    • A lifted double leg takedown was used as a finisher by Arn Anderson (Spinebuster).
    • Variations of the suplex are used as a finisher by Koko B Ware and Goldbergnote , but as a move by Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit.
    • To go the other way, the football tackle (Spear) was used as the start of Goldberg's five moves, but as a finisher by Rhyno and Edge (in Rhyno's case, it was called the Gore. However, Rhyno's spear was different from those used by Edge, Christian, and Goldberg. Wheras their spear targeted the lower body and took down both legs, Rhyno's was a striking spear that targeted the midsection and relied on the force of the spear rather than the leg takedown).
      • Christian now uses it as a finisher in homage to his long time friend Edge.
    • The hurricanrana is a regular move performed by Rey Mysterio Jr several times during one of his matches, a leaping version is used as his finisher, and a standing version is done by Scott Steiner as the Frankensteiner, and is a staple move for light heavyweights and ladies wrestling.
  • Another type of finishing move has more flash and substance, and people would often question if the move actually hurt or not, although in the days where suspension of disbelief was strongest, these were often accepted by the audience.
    • The most notorious of this type would be variations of spinning an opponent, like the airplane spin, in that being dizzy somehow knocked out the opponent.
    • The worst modern example would be the People's Elbow (a right elbow drop to the sternum after a long series of theatrics) though it could be argued that the move is more a final insult to injury than it is an actual finisher. Still, the Rock would probably win a lot more matches if he'd just pin the other guy after either the spinebuster or the Rock Bottom (standing side slam) which always precedes it, since it seems to knock them out long enough for him to literally run across the whole of the ring before he drops the elbow. Of course, the audience still accepts because...well he's The Rock.
    • The Kiwi Roll, used by Chavo Guerrero, popular in Mexico, is incomprehensible in the US.
    • Flash paper was a common type of cheat, until a wrestler (can't find the source atm) was badly burned.
      • I think you might be talking about Hulk Hogan vs The Ultimate Warrior at Halloween Havoc. One of the worst blown spots in living memory.
      • More likely thinking of the occasion when Jim "Sinister Minister" Mitchell was using a small device which launched burning flash paper to throw fireballs and the thing blew up, costing him one-and-a-half fingers, part of his intestines and several months of rehab.
      • Mitchell said in an interview that he and a friend were drunk and messing around with the flash tube backstage for kicks after a show. Mitchell says he loaded too much powder into the tube and tried to light it, causing it to explode and blow off his finger. So really it was his own fault. Hogan simply singed off one of his eyebrows.
    • The Gorilla Press, invented by Gorilla Monsoon, and later used as a finisher by The Ultimate Warrior, was simply a body slam raised about a foot higher.
      • Warrior actually used a Gorilla Press and splash combination. "Mr. USA" Tony Atlas, on the other hand, used a straight press.
    • Although visually stunning and expertly performed, it is clear that the opponent's face and head don't touch the canvas in either Triple H's Pedigree nor The Undertaker's Tombstone Piledriver. (Of course, when they do, it can be career-ending. Just look what a botched regular piledriver did to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.)
    • Jackknifing in the middle of a top rope splash doesn't add any extra impact to Eddie Guerrero's Frog Splash over any other splash.
    • To help sell a particularly weak finishing move (e.g. the Von Erich's Claw,) the opponent would cut themselves with a hidden razor, in a practice called blading, to pretend that the move was more dangerous than it actually was.
  • Cheating would comprise an entire category of finishing moves.
    • Brass knuckles, rolls of coins, and other "punch improvers" were often used, most interestingly by William Regal in his "Power of the Punch," brass knuckles-aided, finishing move.
    • Edge and Christian would commonly both swing steel chairs into an opponent's skull simultaneously, known as the "con-chair-to"
    • Mr. Fuji, as mentioned above, would finish a match with a strike from his cane.
    • Jimmy Hart's megaphone often ended matches.
    • As expected, subversion abounded as the Face would counter, reverse, take away, show the ref, or otherwise win the match by using the heel's cheating method.
    • As a corollary to the Glass Jaw Referee, incumbent champions would attack the referee to gain a DQ to keep the belt.
    • In a rare case of a Face having an outside object, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan would often bring a 2X4 board to the ring, although he rarely used it to cheat to win. He was much more likely to have it grabbed by the heel and used against him. He occasionally won fights with a big fist clothesline aided by a roll of tape wound around his fist prior, though.
    • Outside objects were a fixture in ECW, "Hardcore" or "shoot" matches, although rarely did they decide the outcome of the match. New Jack and Rob Van Dam had finishing moves involving objects though.
    • Jim Cornette's tennis racket back when he was actually managing wrestlers. If you think about it though its actually hilarious because hitting them with the webbing of the racket would mean it would just bounce off the wrestler's head. The Midnight Express did load it with a brick at least once though.
    • A favorite of heels, they would put their legs on the ropes to gain additional leverage during a pin, or pull the trunks during a roll-up.
  • Odd subversions of finishing moves also occurred when the script couldn't be followed because of injuries during the match.
    • In 1997's Summerslam, Owen Hart was scripted to drop the IC title against "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, but accidentally broke Austin's neck in a botched piledriver. To maintain the script's outcome, Steve Austin used a roll-up pin to win the title.
    • In the infamous Hell in the Cell match at King of the Ring, Mick Foley sustained severe injuries after being hurled off the top of the cage onto the announcer's table, and then chokeslammed on top of the cage, breaking the wire, and then falling down to the mat. He was knocked out several times in the match, and was unable to recall events. The Undertaker used a stalling tactic to allow Foley to regain consciousness, and they finished the match.
    • Gruesomely supported in 1990, when Shawn Michaels' Rockers tag team accidentally broke the neck of unknown Charles Austin. When Austin whispered to Marty Jannetty that he was severely injured, Jannetty had no choice but to roll him into the middle of the ring for Shawn's finishing move, a flying elbow off the top rope. Luckily, Austin would later get his revenge by A) not becoming a parplegic and B) winning a $26.7 million lawsuit against the WWF.
  • And then, there's a whole category of finishing moves that are just weird and/or surreal.
    • Of course, Mick Foley would have one with his Mandible Claw. As time went by, it began to be looked on as a rather lame finishing move, and then he added a twist through self-parody: creating a sock personality (Socko), pulling the sock from his groin area, wearing the sock on his hand like a hand puppet, and then doing the Mandible Claw. Ring announcers would then comment that the move was effective not because of the hold itself, but because of the cleanliness of the sock.
      • In Mick Foley's book Have A Nice Day he states that the mandible claw was based on a nerve pinch used by a much older wrestler, and it was indeed supposed to be painful (if done properly, as opposed to merely being a hand in the mouth). Whether this is true or not is arguable.
      • It was invented by Dr. Sam Sheppard (who was the loose inspiration for The Fugitive) and when used properly, as a nerve hold, it's extremely debilitating.
    • In a case of a finishing move arms race, the Dudleys would increase the number of tables they slammed opponents through, reaching rather ludicrous proportions when slamming through 3 or more tables.
    • In his memorable return as Chainsaw C Wharlie, the chainsaw using serial killer, Terry Funk did one Groin Attack after pulling out his opponent's athletic cup.
    • Haku/Meng (aka Tonga Fifta, one half of the Faces of Fear) had an arsenal of moves as part of his Five Moves of Doom, but his finishing moves were rather odd. One of them, the Tongan Death Grip, was basically a Von Erich Claw applied to the soft area under the chin (try it and see if it hurts). He also had the Tongan Spike, which appeared to be his thumb jammed into the jugular vein. His Five Moves of Doom, on the other hand, consisted of power moves like the atomic drop, super kick, power bomb, and many other moves other wrestlers were using as their finishers.
    • The Finger Poke of Doom signaled the death knell for WCW.
    • Ron Garvin invented a rather interesting finishing move called "The Garvin Stomp," where he would walk around a prone wrestler and stomp every section of their body. As anybody who's had a charley horse knows, that is a pretty cool way to kayfabe cripple somebody. However, for whatever reason, he was the only one who ever used it.
      • Randy Orton uses it, though not as a finishing move. He's an asshole, though, so it makes sense to kick them while they're down...
    • Another example of the finishing move arms race occurred during the Von Erich/Freebird feud in WCCW. In the first match, Kevin Von Erich used the Claw to win. In the second match, a 2nd member of the Freebirds ran in, and Kevin used the left-handed version of the Claw on the second Freebird. In the third match, he had the Claw on the first Freebird, left-handed on the 2nd Freebird, and when the third Freebird ran in, he used a leg scissors, so he had all three in a hold and wasn't touching the ground.
      • An interesting subversion occurred when the heels of the WCCW figured out that they could block the Claw, Three Stooges Style by putting their hand in front of their forehead, which is when the Von Erichs unleashed...the ABDOMINAL CLAW!
    • As part of his character, Shane "The Hurricane" Helms parodied the choke slam used by the larger wrestlers. His version, called the Hurrichokeslam, involved him dramatically grabbing a much larger opponent by the throat, and then failing to lift him up. This was especially funny the time he tried it on The Big Show, as his arm was fully extended to reach The Big Show's throat. Rock, it's online.
    • John "Earthquake" Tenta, a 400 lb. wrestler, used the Earthquake splash, which had three steps: First, he would jump around the opponent's body, shaking the ring, and then run back and forth in the ropes, and then do a flying squat on top of the victim. For some strange reason, his opponent would try to sell the jumping part of the move as causing pain.
    • W!! O!! R!! M!! Pose. Pose. Falling tomahawk chop to head..
    • For a while, Al Snow would use as his finishing move in hardcore matches—get ready for it—a bowling ball to the groin known as the 7-10 Split. Well, you can't fault him for his logic....
      • Al Snow's normal finishing move "The Snowplow", a bodyslam piledriver between his legs, was actually quite dangerous looking as well.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons's 3.5 edition supplement "The Book of Nine Swords" features a high-level technique for warriors explicitly titled "Finishing Move". Used against a slightly injured or uninjured opponent, it's somewhat effective; used against someone below half their hit points, it's exactly what the name implies.
    • Any character is capable of delivering a Coup de Grace to a "helpless" (ie immobilized or unconscious) opponent. It counts as an automatic critical hit, and even if the opponent survives that, he still dies unless he makes his saving throw.
    • The "Wicked Fantasy Factory" line from Goodman Games had rules for finishing moves in 3.0/3.5 d20, including giving bonus experience points for opponents killed with one. (If you don't get enough damage to kill the opponent, it doesn't do any damage; apparently unlike the "Book of Nine Swords" version.)
    • The 4e has an entire character classes, The Assassin and its Shadow-counterpart Executioner built around the concept of Finishing Move. In game term, they can instantly kill anything that is injured enough — in flavor text, but not so much by the actual rules. There are a few moves that automatically kill an enemy if he has less than 10 hit points left after the move connects, but obviously these are weaker than a move that simply deals 10 more damage and can be used at any time.
  • If you use martial arts from Shadowrun 4E's Arsenal book, Finishing Move is the name of a martial arts maneuver that allows you to spend your next action as an interrupt to immediately follow up a successful melee attack.
    • Returning in 5E's Run & Gun book, you also have to spend Edge and gain a bonus to the follow-up attack.

    Video Games 
  • "Finish Him!!" The Mortal Kombat games are infamous for their "secret" Fatality finishing moves, which evolved in later games into Babality, Animality, Friendship, Brutality, and so on.
    • From Deception onward, you can FINISH HIM! before the round ends via Death Traps on certain stages. You don't get the bonus koins, though. (You get 100 koins in Armageddon, but that's nothing compared to the 500 you can get with a kustom Fatality.) And for some reason, if you do it on round 1, he gets up again for the next round.
      • It should be noted that Death Traps started out as Stage Fatalities in the original games. The very first was the Pit Fatality, which was done with an uppercut motion, that knocked your opponent into the spikes below. Later games made these fatalities separate inputs like the rest of them.
  • MadWorld has a finisher for each boss, one which makes the Mortal Kombat fatalities look reserved by comparison. One involves shooting someone so many times they get skeletonized, then explode.
  • Almost any Capcom fighter with a super meter. While not strictly a finishing move, since you can perform them any time your meter is full, they do produce special effects when the player lands a killing blow with one, possibly including the announcer Calling Your Attacks, a special icon denoting your win by super move, or a dramatic background flash.
    "Hyper Combo Finish!"
    • Of particular note is Akuma's Shun Goku Satsu, which depending on which continuity you're looking at either is an innumerable number of punches, each firing a Hadoken, or Akuma dragging you off to Hell. In Street Fighter III, he gets another secret attack, the Kongo Kokuretsuzan, which Akuma has used to split mountains.
      • And in Super IV he gets the Tensho Kairekijin (Demon Armageddon), where he kicks the opponent into the air, then propels himself via Hurricane Kick into the air, and impales his foot into the enemy's chest as his symbol flashes in the background. Then he cuts through them anime style.
      • It should also be noted that characters who utilize the Satsui no Hado (Akuma, Evil Ryu, Oni) get special finish backgrounds when their Raging Demons connect. There is no KO announcement from the announcer (implying the opponent is dead), and instead of the background flashing orange, it flashes monochrome and a different KO sound effect is used. Akuma and Oni even get this effect from their Ultras, which use a modified version of the Raging Demon KO sound effect that adds in creepy children's laughter in the background.
    • In a case of What Could Have Been, the cancelled Crossover fighter Capcom Fighting All Stars would have played this trope straight with "Finishers." Basically Capcom's take on Mk style Fatalities.
  • Old-school robot fighting game One Must Fall has the Scrap and Destruction-moves after an opponent was defeated, which basically work the same as Mortal Kombat's Finishing moves.
  • Ultra and Ultimate combos in Killer Instinct. Ultra Combos function like a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, while an Ultimate Combo is your standard "Fatality" finisher. If you're doing exceptionally well in a battle, you can also go for the dreaded "Humiliation", where you force your opponent to dance in shame.
  • Mega Man X: Command Mission features a "Final Strike" move where all the characters fire everything they have at the enemy — sometimes a pointless gesture, since it can only be done when the enemy has received 75% of their current HP in damage in one action (i.e. one character's attack). However, it can be a lot more useful on bosses.
  • The Instant Kills from the Guilty Gear franchise.
    • And its successor BlazBlue has Astral Heats. Unlike the aforementioned instant kills, you can only use an Astral Heat in the final round of a battle, when your opponent has 20% or less health remaining, and you have a full special bar. (one win for each character in a best-of-three fight, or any match in the story mode).
    • They changed the conditions for the sequel. Now you can do it on any game setting round and when your opponent has 35% life remaining, but you need a spare Barrier Burst in order for it to work. They even changed some of their properties so they can now be comboed into.
  • In the game Gears of War, shooting something down not through the head won't kill them, it will incapacitate them, meaning that they can be finished by a melee attack, a headshot to their downed body, more bullets in them, an explosive or just wait for them to bleed out (aside from the multiplayer mode Execution, in which they can get back up after waiting long enough, removing the bleed out possibility). Explosives and headshots automatically kill when doing enough damage if they are still standing. In the singleplayer mode, however, your enemies don't automatically become 'downed' from taking too much damage from bullets, unless shot in the knees or perhaps legs.
    • And don't forget the chainsaw bayonet! Instant kills any enemy it hits (even in multiplayer), with the downsides that you have to be close enough to kiss them for it to work, it takes a few seconds to rev up, and if you are hit during the animation you are stunned and become easy pickings for any player with half a brain. Its riskier than the stomp, but isn't the payoff worth it?
    • Gears 3 takes it Up to Eleven with a unique execution for every weapon except the snub pistol and grenades, which instead allow access to your team's unique execution. These new executions range from burning someone from the inside out with the Scorcher to beating someone to death with their own arm to dropping a mortar launcher onto someone's head.
  • In the Real-Time Strategy game Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, nearly every unit capable of fighting in close combat (which is most of them) has a number of special killing animations when they win the fight. Some even have special animations depending on who the poor sap is.
  • Another Warhammer game, Space Marine, uses God of War-style finishing moves extensively. The main way to replenish health is not to hide behind a wall and wait but to grab your most vicious melee weapon, wade into the thick of combat, and personally rip the Emperor's foes to pieces!
  • Every character in Valkyrie Profile has one of these (called "Purify Weird Soul" in-game), and can only use them by filling a combo meter. Timing the order of the party's attacks is important, so if one wants to use these finishing moves, Button Mashing is a no-no. With careful planning, it's possible to have all four of Valkyrie's party members use these in a single turn.
    • Valkyrie Profile 2 Silmeria increased the scale of these to the epic level. They are no longer called "Purify Weird Soul", but "Soul Crush" instead. By the end of the game, these moves range from summoning 50 meter tall lances to ripping asteroids out of orbit to invoking supernova-like explosions.
    • Magic-users are an exception (most of the time); rather than using a character-specific move, they use either a powered-up version of whatever spell is set as their "default" attack (in Lenneth only) or a special "Grand Magic" attack (also reliant on their default spell) depending on the stave they wield. Some bosses in Silmeria use Great Magic not normally available to casters (Meteor Swarm, Phantom Destruction, Pale Flare). Post-game bosses that utilize these Great Magics generally tend to drop the wand used to cast them upon defeat, which replaces the default Grand Magic while equipped.
  • Rogues and Cat-form Druids in World of Warcraft have Finishing Moves which are powered by Combo Points given by their other attacks (and which consume them). They come in multiple variations, some of which aren't particularly suited to finishing a battle. For example, the Rogue has a rarely-used Finishing Move that reduces the opponent's armor instead of damage.
    • Warriors have a more standard example: the Execute skill converts all of their rage into damage in one attack, but the enemy's health has to be below 20% to use it.
      • Which is often a massive overkill if the attack is critical. Except against raid bosses, which still can withstand a lot of punishment at 20% health. There is even one that starts at 20%.
      • Something of a trend lately, first Paladins got a slightly less deadly but ranged version and Hunters got the appropriately-named Kill Shot. In Cataclysm, feral druids get a talent that greatly simplifies their rotation when the target is below 25% health, allowing them to use one of their finishers which they previously only used when they had nothing else to do.
    • Warlocks can spec for Shadowburn spell, which is an instant cast spell that can be used at any time, but unless the target dies within a few seconds of casting, you lose a Soul Shard so it's mainly used as a finishing move. Warlocks also have Drain Soul, a channeled spell which deals 4 times its normal damage when the target it below 25% health. There is also a high-end demonology talent that reduces the cast time of Soul Fire (normally very impractical spell due to its long cast time) by 60% if the target is below 35% health and is hit by Shadowbolt or Incinerate.
      • And Priests' Shadow Word: Death damages the caster if it doesn't kill the target.
      • Several classes also have talents that increase damage dealt to targets that are low on health.
      • As of the most recent expansion Paladin were given a finisher in the same vein as Rogues and Druids, when properly built up the Templar's Verdict ability can hit for almost three times the damage of a normal weapon attack.
  • Either under special circumstances never revealed or just randomly, Samurai Shodown IV allowed the winning player to perform a fatality-like move on the opponent called a No Contest, or a losing player to perform a fatality on themselves. Later, in Samurai Shodown V Special, finishing moves called Zetsumei Ougis were introduced, which like in Guilty Gear would automatically end the match, and in a very gory fashion.
    • The Zetsumei Ougis were so gory in fact, that they had to be censored for the Neo-Geo release, which introduced several Game-Breaking Bug. The only way you can reactivate them is by hacking intensively into the game.
  • The Final Smashes in Super Smash Bros.. Brawl don't necessarily auto-KO opponents, since KO's are determined by being thrown off-screen and not by a strict damage meter, but they're still very flashy, very powerful, and require the use of a special item to perform. A few of them are virtually guaranteed to KO (Marth's Critical Hit, Zelda/Sheik's Light Arrows), provided that they connect. Captain Olimar's Final Smash is extremely likely to KO opponents (Especially if there are four players) and will always deal some damage to anyone who doesn't have an Invincibility Star.
    • Only certain final smashes belong to this trope, though. Some characters, like Wario and Bowser, go into Super Mode. Others create weird effects which have zero chance of knocking an opponent out (but generally leave your opponents nearly defenseless, letting you KO them personally).
  • The entire premise of Battle Chess was finishing moves... in chess! It had dozens of animated fatalities depending on which type of piece took which other piece, and the gimmick alone made it one of the most popular chess titles of its time.
  • Colonel in Mega Man Battle Network 6 has a Finishing Move that blinds you with his cape, then cuts you in half (complete with the screen going black, then a sword flash). At first, it was believed that the move was an instant-kill; later, it was discovered that Colonel's AI simply only used the move when your HP was below its damage.
    • The wonderful thing about that move is when you have Undershirt installed, it doesn't kill you, but it does turn Mega Man to angry mode, doubling the damage of his next attack. If one has a powerful attack already lined up, it is possible to take out Colonel on the next shot. Unless you suck so much that by the time he pulls this on you you haven't really dented him, of course.
  • In some Super Robot Wars games, the animation for some attacks (usually that Humongous Mecha's high-end attack) extends whenever the attack destroys an enemy; these are called Dynamic Kills. They often just show the mecha watching the explosion or striking a pose against it, or continuing past the normal attack animation to finish the target off, but the worst example has to be the Super Robot Wars W's resident god-bot Valzacard and its Exa Nova Shoot OVER. Normally, this attack just pierces the enemy with multiple crystal ray things in an already delightfully overblown sequence involving transforming and cutscenes. If it would kill an enemy, it then invokes the triangle of solomon and seals them in a giant red occult circle, where six shining copies of the Valzacard charge it and erase it from existence. (Link; normally, the attack stops before the crystals turn red.)
    • The Dynamic Kill for its Dimension Breaker is worse: The Dynamic Kill lives up to its name by cracking a hole in reality, and blasting the victim clear outta the galaxy through Hyperspace. (See for yourself).
    • Solvlius Rex of K presents a rarity: a dynamic kill that's considered worse than the normal animation. The mecha calls the stages of its Crystal Heart Sword sequence on the cockpit screen (in Gratuitous German), then finishes it off by displaying "SIEG". But the Dynamic Kill skips the "SIEG" when it goes into the rest of is animation. The irony, of course, is that "sieg" means victory and would be more appropriate to a killing shot.
    • The Astray Red Frame's Power Loader's normal melee attack has the Loader clamping down on the target with a massive claw, then punching them away. The Dynamic Kill actually cuts the animation short as the clamp attack crushes them right there.
    • Most crossover mecha retain their own finishing moves in the games and many get upgraded versions as actual finishers. Units without any spectacular super moves (particularly Real Robots) will instead re-enact a Coup de Grâce or Crowning Moment Of Awesome from their home series and can do so more than once.
    • Mazinkaiser in Super Robot Wars W need a mention for the sheer number of this. At first, it only has the Chest Blaster Burning Fire as its finisher. Midway through the game, it gets the Final Kaiser Blade and 3 Combination Attacks including the Double Burning Fire(which ends with it and Great Mazinger watching the burned battlefield but has no dynamic kill). After Time Skip it gains combination attack with Shin Getter Robo involving one of its previous finishing move, Kaiser Nova(where it creates an interstellar explosion) and Final Dynamic Special which is a Finishing Move by 3 Super Robot Genre complete with a super robot brofist in dynamic kill.
    • Super Robot Wars MX has the Final Dynamic Special reenactment in one scenario. After this scene, Kouji, Ryouma, Tetsuya and Duke can use this attack whenever they please.
  • These are a vital game mechanic in Ninja Gaiden II for 360 in order to ensure that enemies are truly dead and not trying to grab Ryu for a suicide bombing; fortunately, it is easy to pull these off. They even have the snappy name of "Obliteration Techniques". Ninja Gaiden had the Fiend Sealer and its variants, which can only be used on downed opponents.
  • Age of Conan features "fatalities" which sometimes trigger upon the use of a combo or spell. In contrast to the normal MMO kill, where the enemy just falls over, these involve decapitation, arterial sprays, electrocution, and such. Even better, upon delivering such a fatality, your character receives a buff for a few seconds, increasing damage and regeneration of mana and stamina. The type of fatality depends on the weapon used (one-handed edged, one-handed blunt, etc.)
  • Amusingly, the Tenchu franchise features opening finishers. If the protagonist manages to hit a guard who doesn't know you're around, you're treated to cinematic, sometimes disturbingly convoluted killing strokes. No matter how many Hit Points the guard had, he's instakilled.
  • The Manhunt Series also have Opening Finishers as Sneak Attacks. Aproach an enemy with a shard of glass for the right time and kill him the most gruesome way possible.
  • Ōkami had you figuring out the finishing move on the enemy and then preforming it after you've defeated the enemy as it enters a Bullet Time death to gain Demon Fangs.
  • Link has a finishing move in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess that can be used whenever an enemy has been knocked over. If you press A before the enemy gets back up, Link does an over-head jump strike, stabbing the monster through the chest or stomach. Later he also gains an attack called "Mortal Draw", which lets you perform an instant-kill on most humanoid enemies as long as you keep your sword sheathed and the enemy is close enough. (Putting you at risk of getting hit.)
    • The later game The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword also uses the former finishing move, although with a different mechanic. One particularly noteworthy use of it is the final boss battle. It only sticks if the player is fast, but it involves Link jumping high and getting the Master Sword struck by lightning before impact.
  • Soul Calibur IV introduces the "critical finish" to the series, though the mechanics of it make it very difficult to pull of in most matches. It's mostly there as a deterrent to those abuse guarding. However, it's always a 1-Hit KO, and you get a special victory pose if you win a match with one.
  • There are plenty of these in Achaea, with the available choices depending on the character class. One of the more graphic ones is called 'Cleave', and uses a broadsword to slice the helpless opponent in two. Vertically.
  • Tales of Vesperia has finishing moves, called Fatal Strikes, that can only be performed after you have sufficiently damaged an enemy with a large enough amount of related skills. Against normal enemies, they act as an instant kill, but against boss enemies, they just do a large amount of damage. More conventionally, Burst Artes and Mystic Artes are performed by expending the overlimit meter filled by hitting or being hit by the enemy repeatedly. They are very shiny with special animation and even a special quote from each character as you perform their unique mystic arte. Horribly, horribly subverted by the "minimum damage" skill which make even these two flashy moves do only one point of damage. The fact that you get a lot of Grade points for performing Burst and Mystic artes means that this has become a central pillar of the technique known as "grade farming"
  • In Fire Emblem, units of the Assassin class have a skill called "Silencer" that does Exactly What It Says on the Tin — it instantly kills anything, even if the Assassin could not damage it with its normal attacks. It looks the same as a Critical Hit, but there's a flash that makes it different.
  • In Soul Reaver, the only way to kill the vampires is to use a finishing move, either impaling them on a spike or a spear, lighting them on fire, blowing them up with the Soul Reaver, or using sunlight or water. If you run into a vampire and you don't have access to any of these, you're better off just running away.
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time had the Prince need to dispatch sand creatures by planting the Dagger of Time in them after knocking them down, lest they get back up again. Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones removed this need.
    • In Warrior Within Prince would sometimes behead an enemy or chop him in halves in a cinematic slow-mo view. If a thrown weapon was enough to kill an opponent it would also produce an explicit death scene.
  • The Wild Stomp from Devil May Cry 3, with Dante filling a prone enemy with lead and then kicking its body away, is clearly meant to be one of these, but on higher difficulties it is never enough.
    • Dante's "Dance Macabre" attack in Swordmaster style, on the other hand, will murder almost anything that isn't a boss in Devil May Cry 3 and 4. In 3, the combination even ends with a final big swing and Dante saying "Down and out!".
  • Alyssa has a devastating Finishing Move in Clock Tower 3 which can kill the first few bosses in a single hit, but which needs to be unlocked by tethering the enemy in place by pulling off several charged shots from different angles before the enemy can break free. Given that Alyssa must spend most of the fight running around in circles looking for an opening to get in a good shot, the fights are hard enough. In the final battle, however, her opponent Lord Burroughs has his own finishing move which works in exactly the same way, and is a guaranteed one-hit kill, and he doesn't need to charge his shots as Alyssa does to bind her in place. A minor laundry issue may ensue.
  • Failure to perform finishing moves on fallen foes in Eternal Darkness often results in their standing back up & attacking you again. Don't abandon your melee weapons; gun finishers burn ammo quicker than you'd think.
  • City of Heroes/City of Villains players who buy the "Super Booster I: Cyborg" expansion pack gain a "Self Destruct" power that can be used as a Pyhrric finishing move — although it kills the character using it, it does so with a massive explosion that inflicts obscene amounts of damage to every enemy in a rather large area.
    • Some players like to pick one of their standard powers to use as a finisher, just to add some style and flair to combat. Knockback attacks such as Crane Kick or Knockout Punch are especially popular (especially if positioned to make the enemy fall of a ledge), but everything from Cherry Tapping with the most basic punch to Tier-9 Nukes can work.
    • The Corrupter Archetype has this as their special ability, Scourge, which grants them an increasing chance to land a Critical Hit (starting at 0% and then reaching 100%) as the enemies HP drops. The final blow on an enemy is almost guaranteed.
  • The Force Unleashed combines this with Reaction Commands; when a boss's health is low enough, pressing the right buttons and/or moving the Wiimote at the right intervals allows Starkiller to perform an over-the-top (and often brutal) finisher that varies from one boss to the next.
  • In Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, Soma must finish off bosses by sealing them within magic glyphs. Failure to do so within the time limit will just resurrect the boss with enough power to put up a fight again.
  • Kingdom of Loathing: Finishing an opponent with a Disco Combo ending in a Face Stab results in FATALITY! and increased stat points for the fight.
  • The Warriors has this as special attack during rage mode. If done correctly, you can instantly kill enemies, excluding bosses.
  • Onimusha(all of them) has a finishing stab that is more or less an instant kill to non-boss enemies when they are prone on the ground.
  • Even Deadly Creatures has this. The Scorpion, in the game, plays as more of brawler than the Tarantula, and consequently it has the default special ability of Finishing Move, where battering an enemy into sufficient weakness and then pressing the C button triggers a Quick Time Event where a specific set of Wiimote and Nunchuck gestures triggers an enemy specific, and very brutal, killing strike.
  • Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side.
  • The little-known fighter Weaponlord had "barbaric victories" that functioned similarly to traditional fatalities; during a brief stun animation at the end of the match, the winning characters' moves took on fatal properties (projectiles lopped off limbs, etc.) These had unique ties into gameplay. If you were killed via barbaric victory you were not allowed to continue and received an automatic game-over. If you did not finish your opponent with a barbaric victory you had to face every opponent you failed to dispatch as such in a gauntlet level before the final boss.
  • The end of Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story has Bowser finishing off Dark Bowser with five charged up punches, the last one being so powerful that Dark Bowser flips into the air and explodes from it.
    • At the end of every Giant Battle in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, you're allowed to use the Finishing Bros. attack. It initiates a sequence where Giant Luigi flies into the stars and throws a huge star with Mario on it at the boss. You then get to control the star as it flies down and smack the boss in a weak point to finish it off. On the last Giant Battle, doing this once isn't enough. On the second time, the Finishing Bros. is upgraded to the Star Driver, which makes the star Mario rides on absolutely gigantic. (Bigger than Giant Luigi.) You have to go through a different (and much harder) sequence to deliver the true finishing blow.
  • Some of the Execution Styles in The Godfather: The Game are used to finish off a weakened opponent and are clearly distinct from those that are gained through standard fighting. You could, for example, carry out a Coup de Grâce or a Neck Snap.
  • In Pokémon, there are several moves that are guaranteed to knock out the opponent, namely Sheer Cold, Guillotine, Fissure, and Horn Drill. Granted, it doesn't work on targets that are a higher level than you, and said moves are highly inaccurate, but still.
    • The FEAR strategy is also a prime example of this trope. Provided that the opponent only has one Pokémon left, it will nearly always work unless the opponent takes certain specific countermeasures that may not be obvious to many players.
    • Brine, which doubles in power (which makes it stronger than a Hydro Pump) when the target has less than half of its HP left. This makes the move's primary purpose to finish off weakened enemies.
    • Venoshock, which increases in power if an enemy is poisoned and Hex, which increases in power if the target has any status condition.
  • Dissidia: Final Fantasy has EX Bursts, only executable when you hit with with an HP attack in EX Mode. They're the most powerful attack of any character, and range from a Gunblade spam-attack to Chainspelled high-level spells to Breaking a Meteor in four and kicking it at the poor sap you just drove your gigantic, flaming sword through.
    • Mind you, they don't necessarily finish the target off, though, if it does (that is to say, if the BRV you've collected is greater than the opponent's HP in the attack), you get an EXP bonus.
  • In the God of War series, when the circle symbol appears above an enemy that you've been giving the beatdown, it's time for Kratos to finish that enemy in exceedingly brutal fashion. Kratos's most brutal and badass kills are reserved for the many bosses he faces.
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, you can only defeat bosses with the finishing move at the end of a combo, a reaction attack, or a magic spell. This can make it difficult if you're faced with a boss that's difficult to finish a combo against.
    • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep: During the final battle as Ventus, the boss will force a D-link on you. After you fill up the gauge completely, you can perform the Last Word command and kill him.
    • Can also work with the Final Boss of the Final story if you get pulled into his mind. You have to get close to him WITHOUT hurting him.
  • In No More Heroes, each boss has a cinematic ending Finishing Move. Actually, you can even use a Finishing Move against Mooks that usually kill others around the unlucky minion.
  • Bayonetta has a few good finishing moves for mooks, and a special one of these for each of the bosses, which get more ridiculous as the game progresses; she punches the final boss INTO THE SUN. The good part is that you get to control her trip the entire way while the boss screams in pain: the bad part is that if you hit any of the planets on the way, the collision blows it up, she recovers and charges back at you with a murderous grin on her face, finishing you off while you're weakened from the effort.
  • Every fight scene in Batman: Arkham Asylum will end with Batman performing a random finishing move on the last mook in the battle, in slow motion.
  • While whittling away at opponents' life is one tactic, it's far more efficient and awesome to use Executions in Assassin's Creed I. They come in Counter, by timing the weapon button while guarding, and Combo, timing the weapon button while attacking, flavors, and range from slightly puzzling (How does tripping a guard kill him?) to down right brutal. And that video doesn't even have the knee stomp.
    • And now Brotherhood lets you pull off a chain of Executions in a matter of seconds. Ezio is now officially as awesome as Altair.
  • Touhou: FINAL SPELL! MAGICANNON, FINAL...SPAAAAAAARK!
    • Also, Reimu's Fantasy Heaven, which parodies Fist of the North Star and plays a special victory theme that strongly resembles the winning theme from the FoTNS games if you win a tiebreaker with it. Considering it's pretty much a "you get hit, you die" kind of thing, the only problem players have with it is setting the damn thing up...
  • The Dishwasher, an XBLA Hack and Slash game, has finishing moves ("Clean Kills" and "Messy Kills") as a key part of its gameplay flow. When an enemy's cybernetics start sparking, one or both of the grab or heavy attack buttons will appear over their head. Using the indicated attack will reward you with restored health or a skull magic...Though the player would probably do them anyways, as the finishers are both very violent and very cathartic.
  • Many creatures from the Resident Evil games have instant kill animations that replace their normal attacks if your health is too low. Some can also One-Hit Kill regardless of your health level. A few bosses, such as El Gigante, require the player to perform a finishing move.
  • In Duke Nukem Forever, a Finishing Move is required to beat almost all major bosses—if you don't complete the necessary button combo in time, the boss will get up, having regenerated all health, and you'll fight him all over again. Finishing moves usually involve Duke climbing onto the boss and ripping off some important body part. Some bosses require more than one finishing move to go down (Final Boss takes three); yet others offer the "Humiliate" option, which is like a second finishing move but you can Take Your Time on it.
    • Also, early basic enemies will often drop on their knees instead of dying, allowing Duke to "Execute" them. Apart from making you feel good, Executions fully restore Duke's EGO.
  • Buffy on XBOX has these. The heroine herself has to stake or burn vampires, behead zombies as such. In order for enemies to actually kill Buffy they have to feed on her (zombies), bite her (spiders), slash her throat (demons) or crush her (giant vamps).
  • In Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Fateshifting can most accurately be described as ripping out your victim's fate, shaping it into a hammer or sword or whatever, and beating them to death with it.
  • AdventureQuest Worlds has the Undead Slayer's Dragon Lance attack, probably the most damaging move in the class's entire arsenal. It is only available to use after you have accumulated 20 or more Spirit Power, which powers the class's healing abilities and anti-undead attacks. Using this move burns ALL of your Spirit Power (returning you to somewhat low damage and healing power) in order to do 4 to 5 digit damage to undead foes, so this attack is best used to finish off an undead boss after accumulating a load of Spirit Power and battering him down to low HP with supercharged attacks.
  • In terms of gameplay mechanics, Guild Wars 2 offers up a couple of varieties: "combo finishers", which are typically caused by a move default to your class or by attacking through someone else's active fire/lightning/poison/whatever field to make a combo and then hitting a particular weapon skill to great effect; Warriors also get "Adrenaline Boost" attacks, which charge up with each successful hit, only to deliver a devastating flurry or a single massive strike. From a visual perspective, finishing off an enemy with some sort of elemental damage often leaves them twitching and spasming, screaming and rolling around to put out the flames, choking in poisonous fumes, etc.
  • This can be done in the Mega Man Zero series when Zero depletes the remainder of a boss' health with a slash from his Z-Saber. This causes the boss (this includes all of the Mutos Reploids, along with Randam Bandam from Mega Man Zero 4) to be bisected.
    • The same applies for the Mega Man ZX games. However, Mega Man ZX Advent adds a second finisher which involves a fully charged buster shot that blasts off a chunk of the Pseudoroids' abdomens (in some cases, one side of their upper bodies are utterly wiped out). For those who don't know, the Zero and ZX bosses are robots, so there's no gore, although you wouldn't believe it by how painful it is for them to talk, then yell when all is said and done.
  • Section 8: Prejudice allows you to perform a "fatality" with a combat knife. There's two different versions of it, one of which has your character punch the other guy a couple times with the knife-wielding hand, then jam the knife through the neck joint of your opponent's Powered Armor.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has various finishing moves in melee combat (beheadings, running your opponent through, breaking their neck with a shield, sneaking up behind and cutting their throat, etc.). A patch added them for ranged weapons and magic.
    • Although the ranged/magic finishers aren't so much finishers as they are the original attack with slo-mo and panning camera. Not quite as impressive.
  • Dragon Age: Origins had a number of brutal finishers for different types of enemies (though mainly for melee-based characters). To name a few examples: pinning a humanoid enemy in the chest with a dagger, then taking off his head with the sword in the main hand; leaping into the air to slice an Ogre's throat in flight; and jumping onto a dragon's neck and repeatedly stabbing it in the eyes and head until it falls to the ground.
  • Level 3 Supers in Playstation All Stars Battle Royale are designed to be so powerful that no one else on the battlefield can survive them without tremendous luck (or the user's ineptitude). Entire matches have been won using just this technique.
  • League of Legends: Garen's "Demacian Justice" deals additional damage based on how much health his opponent is missing. Cho'Gath's "Feast" deals a great deal of true damage and makes him grow in size and increases his maximum health if the enemy is killed by it. Darius' "Noxian Guillotine" deals additional damage based on bleed stacks added by his other abilities and can be repeated each time the target gets killed by it.
  • In Ultraman for the Super Famicom, the enemies can only be defeated with a Specium Beam while they have no HP. To complicate things, their health regenerates, Ultraman's power takes a long time to charge and you'll probably have to spend it sometimes while struggling against the tougher opponents.
  • Joe Dever's Lone Wolf: Lone Wolf has the option of performing one on the last enemy slain during a battle, or on particularly strong enemies, using the Summerswerd to deal the finishing blow. This refills his Kai (The game's version of Mana) power.
  • In Spec Ops: The Line, executions of downed enemies are used to show Walker's deteriorating mental state as the game goes on. Early in the game, they're quick, simple, and painless, generally a single headshot. Later on, they become more brutal, including smashing the enemy's head against the ground or wrestling a gun into their mouth.

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alternative title(s): Fatality; Ultimate Attack
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