One of the most unique weapons in WWE history is Finlay‘s Shillelagh .
The Norther-Irishman brought the weapon to the WWE for the first time in 2006, introducing the American audience to a key piece of Irish culture.
This was quite nefarious, however. Finlay would use the weapon illegally, knocking out his opponents behind the referee’s back and picking up victories he had no right taking.
Finlay’s legacy is being continued by his son, who wrestles in New Japan as the leader of the infamous faction Bullet Club, using a Shillelagh of his own, to great effect.
Finlay’s Shillelagh In WWE
In the WWE, Northern Irish wrestler Finlay began using the shillelagh as a weapon during matches.
The shillelagh was a thick wooden stick, and proved an effective weapon for the legendary grappler.
Finlay began using the shillelagh as a weapon in 2006, during his time as a heel in the WWE.
He used the weapon in the build up to WrestleMania 22, where he competed in the Money in the Bank ladder match.
The shillelagh represented his Northern Irish nationality, with the weapon being something very personal to the people of his home country.
The shillelagh was effectively Finlay’s finisher during his time in the WWE. His “Celtic Cross” finisher rarely actually won matches, with most of his wins coming from a distraction from Hornswoggle and a hit in the head by the shillelagh.
While this didn’t help him win many championships (with only a single US Championship reign to his name), it was an effective weapon for Finlay during his late-career run in the WWE.
What Is A Shillelagh?
While unique in the world of professional wrestling, the Shillelagh is something very well known in Ireland.
Made popular by Finlay in the WWE, the Shillelagh is a wooden walking stick, or club. Made primarily with blackthorn stick, it is an incredible hard stick that can cause real damage if wielded.
Adding to the danger is the large, heavy knob at the top of the stick. This is where the real danger can occur, and the part of the Shillelagh that Finlay would hit his opponents with.
The origin of the name “Shillelagh” is disputed, although it was likely derived from the wood being sourced from forest land in the village or barony of Shillelagh, County Wicklow.
They were originally used as weapons for dueling, created for the purpose of settling friendly disputes between two disagreeable parties.
David Finlay Uses The Shillelagh In NJPW
Bullet Club leader David Finlay is carrying on his father’s legacy by using his shillelagh during matches in NJPW.
As the son of Fit Finlay, David Finlay is in touch with his Irish heritage, despite being born and raised in the United States.
In homage to his father, he used the Shillelagh in much the same way Fit Finlay did. With help from the rest of Bullet Club, David Finlay clubs his opponents over the head with the Shillelagh, many times picking up the victory.
This was most recently seen in his G1 Climax 2023 quarter-final match against Will Ospreay, although the Englishman managed to kick out before the three count after being clocked over the head.
While not as effective as when Finlay used it in the WWE, David Finlay still wields the Shillelagh as a dangerous weapon, terrorizing his opponents in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.