Ah, wrestling; good old fashioned entertainment. Guys beating each other up for either no reason whatsoever, or for personal matters. Sometimes, though, simply beating up your opponent just does not cut it, and one looks to embarrass and/or maim, or prove ultimate superiority over the opposition. And sometimes, this plan backfires, not just only embarrassing the wrestlers involved, but the wrestling business in general. In no particular order, I present to you some of the worst match concepts we fans have been subjected too.
Object on a Pole
Let’s get this concept out of the way quickly…
The premise behind this concept isn’t that bad, really. Two opponents battling over one another, trying to claim some item, attached to a pole, atop opposing ring posts. The problem arises when…well, when Vince Russo is behind them. Since he’s the person behind the vast majority of pole matches, the concept has been deemed horrible. Mr. Russo has some sort of weird fetish when it comes to pole matches. He enjoys putting odd items on them, such as, but certainly not limited to: Viagra, a person, DNA, vibrators…alrighty, moving on.
Dog Poo Match
Just by the name, you’re probably thinking that whoever came up with this concept has some serious issues, and I must agree.
The year is 1999. The Attitude Era is in full-throtle, as the WWF continues to come up with ways and ideas to further push edginess to it’s limits. So many memorable moments come out of this period; this is certainly not one of them. Making yet another return to the organization, Davey Boy Smith began a feud with The Rock, who was currently half of The Rock n’ Sock Connection, alongside Mankind. Now, with all three being such huge, beloved names, maybe you’re thinking that this isn’t as bad as it sounds. Oh, but it is! During their short feud, The Rock would challenge Davey Boy to a Dog Poo match, to which Mankind brought a platter of poo, out to the ring. To win the bout, one had to put their opponent into the poo.
There are several reasons this concept gets put onto people’s “worst concepts” lists. One, these matches are legitimately dangerous, as the scaffolds are most often insecure, and you have multiple wrestlers climbing up on them. Don’t forget to factor in the height. Secondly, once on top of the things, you’re rather restricted in what you can do, due to the limited amount of room to work. Then, there’s the way in which you win the match, by knocking your opponent/s off the scaffold, or occasionally capturing a flag on their side. Needless to say, it’s a pretty pointlessly dangerous match.
King of the Mountain
Ok, here’s the thing: I’m actually kind of fond of this TNA concept. Probably, because it’s a “TNA original” kind of thing. However, if you’re a new fan to the company, or have never seen this match, chances are you’re going to be confused. The basic premise of this match is that of a reverse ladder match, in that the goal is to climb a ladder, and hang a belt/contract/etc on a hook, hanging above the ring. Add in the little red, penalty cage and stipulations, plus TNA’s booking department, and you have a recipe for a worst match concept!
On a few occasions, the World of wrestling has attempted to pull off “Electrified ____” matches, and on many occasions, these are nothing but sheer failures. The most notable “electrified” concept, is the Electrified Cage. In 2007, TNA attempted one of these matches with Team 3D and LAX. Whenever one of the competitors made contact with the cage, they and the cage shook about, while the lights flickered. They also blared horrible sound effects out of speakers set up in the arena. However, the audience was very aware of this, and the match subsequently received a bad reaction. “Fire Russo!”
What do you get when you have Sting, El Gigante, and the Steiener Brothers vs. Abdullah the Butcher, Vader, Cactus Jack, and Diamond Studd, in WCW? Chamber of Horrors! (really, that’s the name of the match) First, you have cage around the ring,then you have another, smaller, cage inside the ring, inside which, was an electric chair. The goal here, was to strap down one of the other teams’ members, and then flip a switch down, electrocuting them. Funny fact: the switch stayed in the down position for the majority of the match until someone finally realized this, and flipped it up. (personally, I believe this concept would have been better suited for Tuesday in Texas)
Reverse Battle Royal
I don’t know what it is about TNA, but they love to take a good idea, and reverse it, thus making it bad. Take the Battle Royal; perfectly fine, good old match concept, that has determined the fate of many. This is simply not confusing enough for TNA. So, in 2006, the company decided to change it up a bit. Ok, a lot. In order to name a new #1 Contender for the World Championship, they held a “Fight for the Right” tournament, consisting of three stages. In the first stage, you have about 20 guys outside the ring, battling to get inside. The first 8 or so to get in the ring, then advance to the second stage, which is a regular Battle Royal. Once only two competitors remain, they then compete in a regular match. Now, you would think that this being such a confusing match, that they would only do this once. You would be wrong, as the held another “Fight for the Right” the very next year.
Brawl for All
Here’s another tournament concept, this one presented in 1998 by the WWF. Around this time period, tough man contests had become fairly popular. The WWF tried to capitalize on the popularity, by holding a tournament consisting of shoot fighting matches. Surprisingly, wrestling fans want wrestling. Who would’ve thought?
“Dr. Death” Steve Williams was brought in during this time, and the was the guy officials wanted to win, as the WWF was prepared to give him a huge push. Unfortunately for Williams, his push was halted when he was defeated by Bart Gunn, who ended up winning the tournament. Gunn would go on to lose to Butterbean at WrestleMania XV in under a minute.
Empty Arena Match
Live crowds can make or break a match, and even an entire show. They create the atmosphere, electricity, add entertainment via memorable chants, and at some shows, can even physically assist the performers. Whether the crowd be a raucous, Hammerstein Ballroom crowd, or reserved Japanese crowd, the crowd is a very essential aspect of professional wrestling events.
That being said, you can see why a match held in an arena not full of fans is automatically a terrible idea.
Wrestler Somehow Impaired
Obviously, whenever you impair a wrestler in some way during a match, it’s not going to be pretty.
I’d like to think that blindfold match was created to test wrestler’s ring awareness, but that’s most likely not the case. I’d also like to think that hand/s tied match to prove one’s in-ring prowess, but that’s probably not the case either.
In TNA’s incredible ability to make things worse, they concocted a blindfold, cage match. Poor James Storm and Chris Harris were pitted against one another in one of these, during their feud in 2007.
Kennel From Hell
Apparently, someone in the WWF in 1999, had a thing for dogs. I already listed the Dog Poo match between Davey Boy and The Rock, here we have Al Snow vs. Big Boss Man. This one here may actually be worse than the prior, as with the Dog Poo match, maybe the feces isn’t real, and the story isn’t nearly as gruesome.
Setting up this match, Big Boss Man cooked Al Snow’s dog, Pepper. Oh, it gets worse. Not only did he cook poor Pepper, he tricked Al Snow into eating his own pet. At this point, the storyline is bad enough, unfortunately, the WWF then went on to book this infamously horrendous Hell in a Cell, Cage match. Yes, both a HIAC and Cage match in one! Wow, you’d think that would be epic…but no.
The cage surrounded the ring, the cell encompassed the cage. To win the match, you had to escape from both. Between the cell and cage,though, roamed “rabid” dogs, who were supposed to “chomp, bite, and get revenge.” However, these ferocious beasts couldn’t care less, and spent their time defecating, urinating, and mating around the ringside area.
A match designed to be the signature match of a horrible wrestler, cannot be good.
-Retirement/Loser Leaves Matches
All too often retirees make a comeback…and then another…and another…Or, the loser doesn’t actually leave, or simply jumps to other brand. It’s sad, and annoying.
WCW liked to take an idea and make it bigger! This is a prime example of just that. Take a big cage, add another, medium sized caged on top of the big cage, and then add yet another, smaller cage, on top of the medium one. Pair up two top guys(Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage), against a locker room of heels and a couple actors, with the goal being to be the first team to reach the top. It was ugly.
Another WCW gem. All you need to know, is that it was a bad match, that took place in a junkyard. You won by escaping the yard.
-Diva gimmick Matches
No, not like table matches. I’m talking about mud wrestling matches, jello matches, pillow fights, water gun fights, strip matches (women and men), and the such. Degrading, stupid, humiliating, pointless…
-Arkansas Hog Pen Match
This is a personal embarrassment to the entire state of Arkansas, myself included.
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