Pro Wrestling

10 Gimmick Matches That Need To Make A Comeback Source:

In its most traditional form, pro wrestling is about two wrestlers facing off, one-on-one, in a match determined by pinfall, submission, disqualification, or count-out. It’s the framework on which the entire industry is based. However, pro wrestling is also about entertainment, and a show with nothing but straight-up, no-nonsense singles matches, no matter how good, would get old fairly quickly. Thus, the gimmick match was designed. From something as simple as adding more bodies to the fray and calling it a Triple Threat, to the dangerous hardcore stipulations such as Ladder matches or the infamous Hell in a Cell, gimmick matches, done right, can add a little spice to any wrestling event. Over the years, some gimmick match types have fallen by the wayside, due to safety concerns, complexity, or because they simply were only intended to ever happen once. But some of them deserve another day in the sun, and this list spotlights a few of the more interesting possibilities.

10. Casket Match

The signature match of The Undertaker (and later his brother), a match where the only way to win is to put your opponent inside a casket and close the lid. There haven’t been many great casket matches over the years, but it’s still a match concept that can get people fired up. Unfortunately, with Undertaker (and Kane) on their last legs as active wrestlers, it’s also a match that we might not see again. However, it’s not like it would be impossible for another, similarly supernaturally inclined wrestler to bring back some sort of variation on a casket match. After all, The Wyatt Family is right there and one would think they would enjoy the psychological warfare that such a match is based on. In fact, it was surprising that the Bray Wyatt-Undertaker match at WrestleMania was not a casket match. The casket match has also expanded beyond the realm of WWE in recent years, most notably in a “Grave Consequences” match in upstart promotion Lucha Underground, where the casket was actually used as a weapon, leading to an even more innovative match and showing that you don’t need to have The Undertaker to bring caskets into play. Source:

9. Parking Lot Brawl

Though others have shared the name, there has only been one true Parking Lot Brawl in WWE, between Eddie Guerrero and John Cena, and in fact it’s largely forgotten because it was the opening match of a Smackdown that featured the very first televised Iron Man Match in WWE history. For this match, which is obviously set in a parking lot, the wrestlers are enclosed inside a ring of vehicles, which allows for innovative spots and foreign object use while still containing the match inside a single setting, making it easier both to film and for viewers to keep track of the action. For added chaos, other wrestlers observed the match from outside the circle, giving it a very “Mad Max” vibe and helping adding atmosphere to a match that was taped without a crowd present. It’s a simple concept (as long as WWE doesn’t mind paying for the damage to a bunch of cars, which has never been a problem in the past) but it creates a unique atmosphere for what would otherwise be a standard Hardcore match. Source:

8. Empty Arena

A match that has only been done a few times in history, due to wrestling organizations preferring their arenas to be full of paying customers, but also a match that was one of WWE’s most-watched, due to airing one during halftime of the Super Bowl. The concept is almost ridiculously simple: two wrestlers fight one-on-one in a completely empty arena, falls count anywhere, no holds barred. The idea behind the gimmick is partially as a climax to a feud between two wrestlers who hate each other so much that their match cannot simply be contained to a ring, and partially because it guarantees that there will be no interference from any outside forces. It’s unlikely we would ever see this sort of match headline a Pay Per View, but with WWE increasingly using the Network for “special events” like Brock-headlined house shows and King of the Ring, it’s something that could be heavily promoted as an exclusive match that can only be seen live on the Network. Source:

7. Battlebowl

A concept that was as complicated as it was insane, Battlebowl was a Dusty Rhodes invention that actually ran multiple times over the early 90s in WCW, twice as part of their biggest Pay Per View of the year, Starrcade. Basically, a bunch of WCW wrestlers were all paired together through the Lethal Lottery, an allegedly random draw (the pairings were pre-determined, but so ridiculous that people figured they might have literally picked names out of a hat), and forced to team up in a tag team match against another similarly random team. At the end of the show, all the wrestlers that won their matches fought in a Battlebowl Battle Royal, with the winner receiving some sort of prize, ranging from a WCW World title shot to a very nice ring to the satisfaction of a job well done (WCW booking was often kind of a mess). If done with something resembling competence, there would be worse ways for WWE to waste a secondary Pay Per View slot than to dedicate it to a massive tag team tournament and battle royal, and even use it to determine a new #1 contender to the WWE World Heavyweight Title. Source:

6. The APA Invitational Bar Room Brawl

This match, which only ever happened once, was less an attempt at a serious brawl and more an attempt at a humorous comedy sketch. As the name suggests, all participants had to be specifically invited by the APA (the Acolytes Protection Agency, bodyguards for hire played by Bradshaw and Faarooq), the match took place in an actual bar setting, and the only rule is that the last person still drinking wins. It was a gigantic mess, but a harmlessly fun one, and frankly, wrestling could use a few more comedy gimmick matches (as the shockingly popular “WeeLC” match from the 2014 TLC Pay Per View showed, it’s possible to have fun and still have a decent match), just to give the fans a break from relentlessly serious ones. Source:

5. Championship Scramble

This one goes under “gimmicks that were way too complicated that still resulted in some good matches”, and while the first part is a good enough reason why WWE has only used the concept once after its initial introduction at the Unforgiven 2008 Pay Per View, the second part is a good enough reason why they should bring it back. The rules behind this match are, well, not simple: Five wrestlers, including the champion, take part in the match. Two wrestlers start the match, and every five minutes, another wrestler enters. At any time, anyone can pin anyone or have them submit, at which point they become “interim champion”. Five minutes after the final wrestler enters the match, it ends, and whomever scored the final pinfall or submission before time runs out wins the match and becomes the champion in reality. WWE was forced to clarify the rules roughly a dozen times leading up to the actual event, but in the end, things worked out and the matches that followed were generally pretty good. In practise, it’s a five-way match where nobody bothers to break up pinfalls or submissions unless they’re the interim champion (who would lose that designation if someone else scores a fall) and that leaves plenty of room for wrestlers to be creative. Source:

4. Punjabi Prison

Don’t everyone start yelling all at once. Yes, we are calling for the return of a ridiculous gimmick match that was created specifically for The Great Khali, back when WWE still thought he was going to be their new unstoppable giant main event star and not a guy who would deteriorate so fast that by the end he could barely fall down properly. But here’s the thing: they went to all that trouble to create two gigantic bamboo cages and only ever used them twice! That’s almost criminally wasteful! In case you had completely forgotten what a Punjabi Prison match is (for which you can’t possibly be blamed), the ring is surrounded by one cage, similar to the traditional steel cage but made of bamboo, with four doors instead of just one. Another, larger cage surrounds the first one, with no doors. During the match, a wrestler may attempt to leave through one of the doors, but after a door has been opened once, after a certain length of time it is closed and locked. After all four doors are locked, the only way out is over the top. Then, you win the match by escaping over the top of the other, larger cage. It sounds like a mess, and given that the only four men ever to participate in this match are Khali, Batista, The Undertaker, and The Big Show (Khali actually was removed from the first-ever Prison match due to a Wellness suspension), it certainly was. However, it would be interesting just to see what kind of match could be created using this gimmick if you put talented and innovative wrestlers inside. Source:

3. First Blood

Intentional bleeding (also known as “blading”) hasn’t been a part of pro wrestling for a while now. The reasoning behind it is logical, there are potential health concerns, you’re asking people to mangle themselves intentionally, and at a certain point, due to the hardcore style and increased weapon use of the Attitude Era, it was getting way out of hand. However, while we’re not asking for a return to the glory (or is it “gory”) days of Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes wearing the “crimson mask” every time they were in a big match, in the context of a long-running feud between two wrestlers who have been portrayed as absolutely hating each other, to the point of crossing the line multiple times, a little blood to increase the intensity could be warranted. Plus, since it’s been out of style for so long, it would make fans pay attention, because if two people are fighting so hard that they’re drawing blood, then this match must be a really big deal. And hey, if you want to go Hollywood and just use fake blood, the fans shouldn’t really think less of you, because hey, none of them would really want to cut themselves on purpose if they had a choice. Source:

2. Iron Man

Amazingly, there have only been 8 true Iron Man matches in WWE history, and even then, 3 of them were only 30 minutes long as opposed to the full sixty. It should come as no surprise that the participants have had significant overlap, and all of them would be considered among the very best wrestlers in the world. NXT took the plunge in 2015 and had Bayley and Sasha compete in the first-ever Iron Woman Match (which was a thirty-minute one), but the last time WWE had a 60-minute Iron Man match was in 2009, and that one was the first of any kind in five years. Given the absurd level of talent that WWE now possesses, the time would seem ripe for two more wrestlers to get into the ring for an entire hour and find out who emerges victorious. The possible match-ups are endless, and you can be sure that no matter who was involved, the fans would be treated to a sure-fire Match of the Year contender. Source:

1. WarGames

Oh, don’t look so shocked. WarGames was the battleground for some of the best matches in the history of WCW, and the greatest invention Dusty Rhodes ever came up with (which would kind of make it a suitable tribute to bring it back). If you asked any wrestling fan what gimmick match they would pay money to see happen in WWE at the next Pay Per View, the answer always is and always will be WarGames. For those who don’t know, in WarGames, a gigantic steel cage similar to the Hell in a Cell structure would cover not one, but two wrestling rings placed side-by-side. The match takes place between two teams of five wrestlers. Two wrestlers start the match, and every two minutes, based on a coin flip (which the heels always win), another wrestler enters, alternating teams, until all ten are inside. The only time the match can end is after all participants are inside, and the only way to win is to force someone on the other team to submit. No one is quite sure why WWE has never brought back WarGames after they purchased WCW, with the most popular theory being that Vince McMahon would die rather than admit WCW did something better than WWE. More realistically, the stumbling block is likely the simple logistics of the match having a two-ring setup, which would require you to have less floor seats at that particular show. In fact, Dusty faced that same problem when he invented the concept and presented it to his bosses. His solution? Raise ticket prices, baby. Source:
Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle is an avid wrestling and film fan. He's been writing about WWE, movies, and video games for Goliath since 2015.