The 10 Worst Gimmick Matches in Wrestling History
A failed gimmick match stings to watch.
In an attempt to amplify our excitement, bookers have tried nearly everything; wrestlers throwing each other into the Gulf of Mexico, wearing diapers after they've lost or battling it out in a hog pen.
Sometimes I'm embarrassed to be a wrestling fan.
The following matches are poorly conceived and poorly executed. They range from yawn-inducing to cringe-worthy and feature shark cages, dead fish and variation after variation of the steel cage.
The list will spotlight contests where the wrestlers' skills are hampered and hidden, where the audience is confused and appalled. Enjoy?
Honorable mentions go to the King of the Road, Chamber of Blood, Chamber of Horror, mixed tags with little people, Punjabi Prison, and Scaffold Matches.
10. King of the Mountain Match
In many of the matches on the list, the stipulations get in the way of the action and hinder the performers' talents. The good thing about the King of the Mountain Match is that the wrestlers are allowed to wrestle.
What ruins this match is how convoluted the rules are. A wrestler has to first qualify by scoring a pin or submission which temporarily sends their opponent to a penalty cage, they can then retrieve the title belt from the ref and climb up a ladder to hang it up.
Simplicity is often the best route in wrestling.
How many old-timers and little kids turned to someone mid-match and asked, "What’s happening now?"
9. World War 3
Simply multiplying the number of men and rings in a typical battle royal doesn’t multiply the entertainment value. WCW attempted that formula from 1995 to 1998 in an event called World War 3.
Mostly the match exhibits mass confusion.
Try as they might, the cameramen have great difficulty capturing the ho-hum mayhem inside the rings. The majority of the match is a drawn-out mess of slow-moving brawling.
Hard to really perform an actual wrestling moves surrounded by that many guys.
8. (Object) on a Pole
Leather jackets, Viagra, Buff Bagwell’s mom, stick something on a pole and have the wrestlers fight for it.
A Vince Russo special, these types of matches range from decent to completely absurd.
Still, the stipulation doesn’t prevent the performers from having a great match unless of course the object on a pole falls down midmatch and no one goes for it like in this video.
7. 49ers Match
On an episode of Nitro, Booker T faced off against Jeff Jarrett in a 49ers Match.
The match is not a reference to the football team but the inspiration for said football team, the gold-rushing folks in California.
Wooden crates are hung around the ring. One of them contains the championship belt. The others contain random items like a framed picture of Scott Hall.
Dudes sifting through boxes is not exactly compelling.
A major issue is the crates themselves. One falls prematurely and one falls apart, sapping away some of the intended drama.
I have tons of respect for Booker T and his valiant effort to save this match in spite of the boxes and a little person dressed as Superman spoiling everything at the end.
6. Ripping off Clothes (Tuxedo, Bra and Panties, Etc.)
Removing the violence from wrestling and replacing it with the shredding of clothing makes for a lackluster match.
In the Tuxedo Match, two wrestlers slowly rip each other’s clothes off. This can lead to great calls such as "He’s got his pocket!" and "The Colonel yanked the trousers down!"
For salivating teenage boys who have not realized that the Internet is overflowing with smut, they can be titillated by the Diva's Bra and Panties version of the match.
The carpentry commercial at the beginning of this video is more interesting than either variety.
5. Doomsday Cage Match
Sometimes in an attempt to rev up excitement, bookers create chaos by adding too many wrestlers and too many elements.
If fans love a good cage match, why not build a multi-floored cage with various compartments?
WCW's Doomsday Cage Match had a surplus of issues. The crowd could barely see the action inside, but because of the unsteadiness of the footing and lack of space, there wasn’t much action to see anyway.
Toss in a few frying pans in the end and you’ve completed the failure.
4. Shark Cage Match
If fans were forced to limit wrestlers to only two moves, chances are they would not be the punch and the choke. In this match, where two men are forced to battle in a shark cage, these are the only moves possible.
Thankfully, Big Time Wrestling's creation did not catch on.
Besides the boredom induced by the lack of action here, fans are subjected to one of the least believable gimmick matches of all time.
To win the match, you must escape the tiny structure, yet they stand stiffly in the cage not attempting to step the eight inches required to win.
The whole thing is an affront to the audience.
3. Fish Market Street Fight
How could one take all the thrills out of a Street Fight match? TNA's answer was to replace the chairs and kendo sticks that usually accompany the match with fish.
The match consists of the commentators making every fish pun ever conceived and the two tag teams smacking each other with salmon and trout.
For Curry Man and Shark Boy, whose two gimmicks were created no doubt by someone's five-year-old nephew, this goofball match makes sense for them. Having Team 3D stoop to this level is depressing to watch.
The crowning achievement here is having Curry Man put a Ding Dong on a fishing line and actually hook Brother Ray with it. How many wrestlers spun in their graves in unison during this mockery of the sport?
2. Reverse Battle Royal
The Royal Rumble is the standard for battle royal matches; feuding wrestlers are forced to collide, allegiances form and disband in a matter of minutes, surprise guest stars appear.
The reverse battle royal in contrast, is a complete disaster.
While seeing wrestlers being tossed over the top rope is quite exciting, a match that centers on them entering the ring is far less compelling.
In TNA's version of this debacle, The Fight for the Right, 16 wrestlers start on the outside of the ring, the first eight to enter advance to an over the top battle royal and the last two dudes fight it out in a traditional wrestling match. This many elements cloud the fan's enjoyment.
But how does the reverse battle royal earn the No. 2 spot? The stipulations of the match force the wrestlers into inaction. There are several guys standing outside the ring doing nothing.
They knew that they are not booked to be one of the eight entrants and so have to stumble around looking for an excuse not to climb into the ring.
1. Kennel from Hell
A double cage match sounds pretty thrilling even if the two participants are Al Snow vs. Big Boss Man.
The problem here is that the area between the two cages is supposed to house vicious man-eating dogs. Of course, actual aggressive dogs would kill the two men.
So WWE opted instead for passive canines that proceeded to urinate on the mat and hump each other.
A match meant to end the two wrestlers' feud over Boss Man cooking Snow’s Chihuahua and secretly serving it to him is painfully boring. The complete lack of believability in the gimmick turns this match into a trainwreck.
The commentators, Mick Foley and Kevin Kelly, do their damndest to make this seem like an incredible match, but despite their heroic efforts, it comes off as one of the silliest and most ineffectual matches ever.