A finishing move in the world of wrestling is crucial. Something that can make or break a pro wrestler, often the coolest looking moves don't click, while something as goofy as "The People's Elbow" becomes iconic. Each wrestler has a different method to their madness when landing on their signature, match ending match up. In this series, "Making A Finisher," Fightful.com will go in depth with wrestlers as they explain their moves, discuss how they were developed, who took it the best, the worst, why they stopped doing some of them, and the psychology behind them.
For years, there were very few constants in Impact, and perhaps the last one has seen his final days with them. Known as NWA: TNA, then just TNA, then Impact, then Global Force Wrestling, then IMPACT again, Abyss, real name Chris Parks, was there to see it all. He's tossed out a few iconic moments along the way, too.
These iconic moments led to Abyss capturing the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship in TNA en route to a Hall of Fame career over 16 years. His signature Black Hole Slam finishing maneuver was a big part of that, leading to highlights and horrors as he terrorized the TNA roster, and anyone else he really wanted to. From Prince Justice to Abyss to Joseph Park, the man behind the mask played a variety of roles during his incredible run, and he made The Black Hole Slam his.
Catching his opponents on the run, "The Monster" Abyss would go belly-to-belly with his foes, spinning them around and landing with his weight down across their chests. If the move looked familiar when you first saw it, there's a good reason for that -- another Hall of Fame wrestler in Big Bossman was the inspiration behind it.
"It was a play off of the original Bossman Slam," Abyss told Fightful in 2018. "The original finish that I had on the indies in 1995, 1996, 1997 was the regular Bossman Slam. As it evolved and I evolved, I added the spin in with it. I thought it made it really unique and something people hadn't seen a lot of. We went with it. Obviously, it's a good move. It's a pretty established finisher, and something neat for the fans to see. It worked at every level."
The inspiration came from the Big Bossman, but the execution was all his own.
Abyss being around in the early formative days of the X-Division proved to be important to the development and establishment of the Black Hole Slam. NWA: TNA was full of cruiserweight wrestlers, many eager to make themselves and their opponents look better. Considering that AJ Styles was one of the greatest rivals of Abyss, the fact that the latter considers Styles one of the best to take the move isn't much of a shock. However, it was an early Evan Bourne/Matt Sydal who got a nice shout out for helping Abyss get the move over
"AJ (Styles) always took it awesome. AJ and I always usually got two spins in. I'll tell you who took it unbelievable -- very young Matt Sydal took it so well. I think spun like three or four times, I was dizzy after it. That was when he was young Matt Sydal, before he went to WWE and Japan and everything else. You'd have to go back to the early TNA days when we were still at the Asylum when we were doing weekly pay-per-views in 2003 and 2004," said Abyss.
As well as some guys could take it, Abyss tells us that there weren't really many instances where he had trouble pulling off the move, saying "Not really! There were some bigger guys, and obviously it was a little more of a challenge to get them around on the Black Hole Slam than an AJ Styles or a Matt Sydal, but no, I can't think of one!"
The dangers of Abyss' style have been evident. As impressive as the Black Hole Slam can be on its own, that didn't keep Chris Parks from going the extra mile...through various objects. Parks was light hearted about the fact that there were plenty of times he'd end up more hurt than his opponent when that was the case.
"Oh god, yes. That happened countless times, when I'd go down into barbed wire boards or thumbtacks and came out with a little bit of pain. That's a part of the deal," Abyss laughed.
Over the next several years, you'd see the newer version of the move adopted across the board in favor of the Bossman Slam. Wade Barrett used a version called the 'Winds of Change,' while Big Cass implemented a sitout version called the 'East River Crossing.' In addition, former Intercontinental and tag team champion Luke Harper busts out the move every so often. Abyss sees this as a huge badge of honor
"It's a compliment. I totally take it as a compliment," said Abyss. "It's something that means a lot to me, that I could affect a piece of talent, somebody coming up in the next generation that saw something that I did and to copy that and take bits and pieces of it. That's a huge compliment, man. There's a lot of people in this business, and a lot of people who have come through this business. To be compared or likened by young talent, it means a lot," said Abyss.
When asking several Impact Wrestling employees in 2018 about the well received Impact Slammiversary PPV, Abyss was heavily credited for the show being so well received in the ring as a road agent. So it's no surprise that just a few months later (after our original interview), Abyss would be hired by WWE in the same role, reuniting him with the performer in AJ Styles that helped make the move so famous.