12 Years ago today, WWE Legend Finlay wrestled his last match on TV for the WWE. He has had a long, storied career in wrestling, starting out in the British wrestling scene alongside William Regal. He wrestled all the big stars of the era, including the legendary face of British wrestling Big Daddy on numerous occasions, during a time in which British and Irish tensions were at an all-time high.
He made a name for himself in America as part of WCW, but once that company went bust he eventually moved to the WWE. He was pushing 50 years old on his WWE debut and few had any hopes for the Northern Irish grappler making any kind of impact with the company. Luckily, his incredible work ethic and in-ring work mixed but some fantastic character work to make him a must-watch part of Friday Night Smackdown in the mid 2000s, alongside his “son”, Hornswoggle.
He won a sole United States Championship in WWE, but by his last match in 2010 never tasted World Championship Gold. He also competed for the ECW Championship during the infamous Championship Scramble match but walked out of the match still title less.
Finlay’s last singles match in WWE was a squash match against Batista on Smackdown. I say it was a squash match, even though Finlay actually won the bout! Batista was disqualified within two minutes for brutally gouging out the eyes of the Irishman, forcing the referee to call the match before he lost all of his sight to the hands of the Animal.
Batista continued the beat down, running him down on the mic as he hit move after move, decimating Finlay in and outside of the ring. This match was used to write the star off TV, as he was 52 and staring at the barrel end of his career. He would transition into a backstage role after this, although e would have one last match in a cameo appearance that nobody expected.
Finlay’s Last Match In WWE
Finlay’s last match in WWE was on Friday Night Smackdown on June 1st, 2010. The Irishman took part in a World Heavyweight Title #1 Contendership 15 Man Battle Royal, which featured a wide range of Smackdown stars. Finlay joined big stars like Rey Mysterio and Christian, as well as forgettable former wrestlers like Caylen Croft and Vance Archer (Now Lance Archer in AEW).
Finlay had a good showing in the match. He eliminated Christian, Vance Archer and MVP before being tossed over the top rope by The Big Red Machine Kane. Kane would go on to the final two, being eliminated by Rey Mysterio who won the match and earned himself a shot at Jack Swagger’s World Heavyweight Championship.
Finlay would wrestle the occasional house show match after this, but the Battle Royal was Finlay’s last WWE match ever. He would move into a backstage role and appear intermittently in backstage segments. However he was released by WWE in 2011 and continued to wrestle on the independent scene.
He wrestled a number of current WWE stars, before they signed to the company, during this run. Names like Kevin Owens and GUNTHER battled him accross the world between 2011 and 2012, usually with Finlay putting them over as he ran down his lengthy career.
His last match ever saw him, fittingly, team with his son David Finlay Jr in a Tag Team Irish Street fight, against Robbie Brookside and Dan Collins. It took place at EWP Christmas Wrestling 2012 and saw the Finlay’s take the victory in the elder of the two’s final match. His son has since signed to New Japan Pro Wrestling and competed for AEW.