THE BEST GIMMICK MATCH IN PRO WRESTLING:
THE TRIPLE THREAT MATCH
Professional wrestling, or more specifically the art of wrestling for entertainment purposes dates back to the late 1800's. For almost 40 years it was looked at as a legitimate sport. As it evolved and the theatrics were admitted and it grew in popularity it was coined as "sports-entertainment". Originally it was two men, one-on-one, in a boxing ring "wrestling" each other in front of a crowd. Going back in forth in more of a story-telling, theatrical way than any kind of real competition, until one was victorious. As the decades went by and it became more and more popular, more aspects were added, such as character gimmicks and gimmick matches.
Close to 130 years later there are more than 20 one-on-one gimmick matches in the mainstream pro wrestling scene, more than 20 hardcore-style gimmick matches and dozens and dozens of special, more than 2 participants style matches. The most entertaining and best of that bunch being; The Triple Threat Match.
One man vs. one man vs. one man. Sounds simple enough, and it really is, on paper anyway. For the participants its a whole different story. Not only do you need to beat your opponent bad enough to pin him 1-2-3 or enough to make him tap, you have the other guy always behind you to kick you to break the pin or forearm smash you to break the hold. It's that much harder to win the match. That is the reason why we, the fans, love triple threat matches. When a wrestler hits his finishing maneuver, 99% of the time it means the match is over but not in triple threat. Because when he hits that move, he's gonna get the 1...2... and get him from behind. Then the match continues. When there are lots and lots of repetitive 1,2 pins its called a false finish. You think the match is over but for one reason or another the pin gets broken up at a 2 count. Wrestling fans absolutely love false finishes. Anytime you see "1!...2!....NO!" followed by a reversal, or roll-up into another immediate "1!...2!...NO!", it creates huge excitement for the match. False finishes are one of the best, if not the best way to draw the fans attention back into a match. And absolutely no other match type holds more ways or varieties of false finishes than a Triple Threat. From the standard; one wrestler hits a finisher, makes the cover for the win, when the third wrestler breaks the count at 2. Or even; wrestler hitting his finisher on one wrestler, then being caught off-guard getting hit himself, while the third gets the cheap win.
Triple Threat matches are the perfect vehicle to establish so many aspects in a wrestling match. Look at WrestleMania 24, absolutely nobody thought Randy Orton had a chance in hell at retaining the WWE Championship in the triple threat match between him, John Cena and Triple H. Randy Orton can't beat John Cena and he can't beat Triple H, and having both at the same time? No chance in hell. But, only in a triple threat can one top fan favorite hit his finisher on the other top face, only to have it stolen in a millisecond by the top heel. It happened so quickly, but look how much buzz it created. It allowed Orton to gain a win nobody ever thought he would gain and at the same time garnered him so much heat from the crowd it was unbelievable. He stole the win, the fans hated it, and it was perfect. That's something only a triple threat can accomplish.
Triple Threats are unique as can be. They can create huge pops for faces, and sometimes, more importantly help create even bigger heat for the heels. The number of match outcome possibilities are too many to count. Unpredictability. One of the most important words in pro wrestling. Unpredictability creates buzz, and is loved by the pro wrestling fan. No match is more unpredictable than a triple threat, just re-look at WrestleMania 24 again. Also, look at some of the top writers in the business' top matches of all time. You're guaranteed to see more than one triple threat match make the top 10. Even ask the top wrestlers, and you'll get the same outcome. Some of the best matches in the history of our sport are triple threat. Now go look those lists over again, and see how many other specialty matches like hardcore or table matches you see on the list.
It's such a simple concept: taking the original one-on-one and adding one more participant, and look at what can be done. The possibilities are endless. That's what makes Triple Threat matches the number one, absolute best specialty/gimmick match in Professional Wrestling.
MY TOP ALL-TIME GREAT TRIPLE THREAT MATCHES:
#3) AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe vs. Christopher Daniels - UnBreakable 2005
#2) The Rock vs. The Undertaker vs. Kurt Angle - Vengeance 2002
#1) Triple H vs. Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels - WrestleMania XX