Dean Malenko Was The Mastermind Behind Iconic WWE Finisher

Dean Malenko

Dean Malenko’s decades in the wrestling business saw him become a master of both psychology and technical moves, and a new video reveals that he was the mastermind behind a very familiar finishing move.

Speaking in a new video posted to his TikTok account, The Miz revealed that it was Malenko who came up with his iconic Skull Crushing Finale.

“How did I come up with my finisher? So, if you remember, I used to wear shorts, and I was a tag team Superstar, and one time, the one time I wore trunks, literally from then on I was wearing trunks for the rest of my life, like the rest of my career, like it was just happening.

“So once that switch happened to trunks, I had to find a new finisher, and a new character, and a new kind of just, be more serious. So, I went with Dean Malenko and Arn Anderson and every live event, every television, Monday Night Raw, like we would literally be like, just racking our brains on different finishers. I had that had the knee DDT, which everyone thought was a half DDT, So they were like, ‘No.’

“Then I had the knee lift into the neck breaker, which was my former one, and I called it a Reality Check. And they were like, ‘That’s just not a finisher’ and then I re-upped it and I said, ‘Well, what if I do it into one move and I do it on my knee into a neckbreaker?’ There they still ‘That’s not enough.’

And one day Dean was like, ‘Why don’t you try and do like a full nelson and sweep a front of his leg and see if that works. And we did it and everyone seemed to like it. I liked it because I could do it pretty much on everybody. And so that is how the Skull Crushing Finale was created.”

In November of 2010, The Miz won his first WWE Championship when he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and used his Skull Crushing Finale on Randy Orton before pinning him to the mat. He would go on to defend the title against John Cena at WrestleMania, retaining the championship with assistance from The Rock.

Eric Bischoff Had High Praise For Dean Malenko

On a January 2021 episode of 83 Weeks, former WCW President Eric Bischoff had high praise for Dean Malenko and said that he loves his in-ring style despite it garnering criticism from some.

“There’ll never be enough ways for me to put over Dean Malenko…Malenko, to me, represents the best of what I like. Knowing not everybody agrees with me and if I was producing a show today, I wouldn’t produce a show where everybody was some kind of version of a Dean Malenko style because I know not everybody likes that, but man I do.”

If you use any quotes from these transcriptions, please credit the original source and link back to this article with a h/t to Inside the Ropes