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    Friday, November 13, 2020

    #FinisherFriday (11/12/20): Take Up Your Cross and Win That Title!

    Leon Ruff performing the Crucifix Driver on Johnny Gargano in WWE NXT

    Welcome to another edition of #FinisherFriday! This is Wreddit_Regal bringing you a short review of a finisher that turned a zero into a hero.

    Leon Ruff is one of the many EVOLVE superstars who signed a deal with WWE, following the company's purchase of the promotion. Being a former EVOLVE Tag Team Champion alongside AR Fox, he has been held in high regard for his workrate in WWE matches as early as 2019, but not for a winning reason.

    Fightful Select has reported that Leon Ruff got "rave reviews" from wrestlers who had worked with him in WWE and he was even compared to an early version of Jeff Hardy. Due to Ruff making people look extremely good in his matches so far, even if they had been enhancement matches, he is held in high regard in the company at the moment.

    However, fans who have supported him since his EVOLVE days sure know that he packs more than a punch:

    His athletic prowess came into play last night when he defeated Johnny Gargano for the NXT North American Championship in shocking fashion. Take a look at this GIF of the match's closing moments:

    Breaking down this move into chunks:

    1. Leon Ruff goes behind Johnny Gargano in the usual crucifix roll-up pin starting position
    2. Instead of falling through and completing the crucifix roll-up, he instead uses his right arm and leg to forcibly roll over to his left side
    3. This results in him landing belly-first onto the mat, and Gargano landing neck and upper back first onto the canvas. Both of his arms are secured by Ruff's right arm and leg, making him unable to raise either of his shoulders up, giving Ruff the victory (and the title).

    Fun fact: The crucifix driver has also been used by a lot of wrestlers, including:


    Mayu Iwatani

    Austin Aries

    Kayden Carter

    What I like best about Leon Ruff's execution is that it doesn't have any "lag time." He immediately mounts, spins around, and makes the opponent land on his head—all in one quick and fluid motion. He gets this insane speed because the primary driving power comes from his right leg doing a 540 kick (which sorta looks like Kofi Kingston doing Trouble In Paradise:

    If I were to draw parallels from another move, I think that it would be Masato Yoshino's Lightning Spiral...

    ...with the only difference being the driving power of Yoshino's upper body versus Ruff's right arm and leg.

    Using my Regal Rating, I would give this finisher a

    9/10 for aesthetics. I'm a sucker for spinning stuff, so this automatically gets a high rating for me. Plus, the move is done in the quickest fashion. No delays, no telegraph to the audience, which means the opponent doesn't have ample time to react or to make a counter. Heck, this move could even be performed as a counter if the opponent was running from the ropes.

    8/10 for damage. I'd actually put this a little bit above the sunset flip powerbomb, since the mechanics and elevation are quite similar. 

    And that's it chaps, my short review of the crucifix driver! How long do you think Leon Ruff's going to hold the North American title? Let us know in the comment section below!


    Wreddit_Regal is the resident sports kinesiologist of Reddit's wrestling forum, r/squaredcircle. From the most basic of punches to the most intricate double-team maneuvers, he can explain them within the realm of human anatomy and physics, because when doing absolutely nothing wrestling-related, he also happens to work as an operating room nurse.

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    Item Reviewed: #FinisherFriday (11/12/20): Take Up Your Cross and Win That Title! Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Wreddit_Regal
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