Gimmicks and stipulations can make or break a wrestling match. Sometimes they add to the intensity of an already bitter and personal feud, upping the ante and making the stakes (and possible repercussions) that much higher. Other times, we wish that the company had stopped to think things all the way through before setting up a certain style of match.
Throughout the history of wrestling, there have been some bizarre environments and conditions applied to matches that have entertained and puzzled fans. Here are five that failed as expected, along with five that actually went down well with the crowd and cemented themselves as unique little pieces of wrestling history.
Nikki and Brie Bella faced each other at Hell In A Cell to settle their differences after the former betrayed her twin sister at SummerSlam, attacking Brie during her match against Stephanie McMahon and aligning with the Authority in the process. It is a shame that the storyline led nowhere, however, except for a lackluster match with little payoff.
The stipulation that the loser of the match would become the winner's personal assistant was hard to take seriously and diminished the credibility of this feud. Despite Brie losing and having to endure 30 days of embarrassment, she still remained loyal to Nikki afterward, turning heel with no explanation.
The Final Deletion had no business being as entertaining as it was. Matt Hardy's recently debuted Broken gimmick was meet with a positive reception from fans. It allowed Matt to finally step out from under the high-flying shadow of his brother Jeff, coming into his own with a gimmick that shouldn't have worked, but definitely did.
Matt and Jeff faced each other in an eerie, cinematic match at the Hardy's compound in North Carolina. It featured bizarre moments and dangerous spots, showcasing the extent the former Tag Team Champions were willing to go to in order to push the boundaries of wrestling.
This match may have sounded like a good idea to somebody in WWE Creative, but the execution of this gimmick match was underwhelming. The match between Erik Rowan and Big Show had been built around the two Superstars attacking each other with stairs. For some reason, this led to a Stairs Match, which was bulky and awkward as expected.
The stairs got in the way of the action rather than enhanced it. The feud fizzled out soon after and remains forgettable now.
The Undertaker has made a number of gimmick matches legendary, elevating them with his unique aura and character that only he can pull off. Buried Alive matches are amongst his repertoire, having featured in numerous iconic moments that are both bizarre and awesome.
On the eleventh edition of the In Your House pay-per-view, The Undertaker faced Mankind, who had manager Paul Bearer in his corner, in a Buried Alive match. This PPV featured Taker's iconic 'rising from the grave' moment as he extends his hand from his supposed resting place.
Pudding matches remain an unfortunate blip in WWE's history, a staple from a period that treated their female employees drastically differently from the Superstars of a post-Women's Evolution era. As with other provocative gimmick matches, the emphasis was on anything but wrestling talent and provided little in the way of narrative.
Melina and Candice Michelle competed in one such match at One Night Stand in 2007, Michelle defeating Melina after forcing her opponent to submit. It was a low-point in the career of a talented wrestler and former champion.
First Blood matches were intense and brutal showdowns in a period of WWE history known for provocative controversy, long before it was rebranded a PG product. Kane faced off against Stone Cold Steve Austin at the sixth annual King Of The Ring pay-per-view, both wrestlers going all out and delivering a fight for the history books.
Kane defeated the Texas Rattlesnake in the main event, a pivotal moment in the Big Red Monster's WWE career. Kane won his first WWF Championship and avoided the added stipulation that, should he lose, he would set himself on fire.
WWE Creative made another questionable decision at Battleground in 2017, when they opted to revive the Punjabi Prison gimmick match. Originally conceived as a trademark for The Great Khali, the contraption was met with little enthusiasm from fans.
The Great Khali was originally supposed to face The Undertaker at the Great American Bash in 2006, before being forcibly pulled from the match due to health issues and replaced with Big Show at the last minute. Like Randy Orton and Jinder Mahal's clash in 2007, it was met with a negative reception.
Another strange stipulation that The Deadman managed to make work, Coffin Matches are another of The Undertaker's wrestling trademarks. The bizarre gimmick works in the same vein as The Final Deletion, suiting the characters of the wrestlers involved and producing an entertaining product.
The Undertaker's match against Kamala at Survivor Series was promoted as WWE's first Coffin Match. Taker won this match after interference from Paul Bearer and Kim Chee, nailing the coffin shut after slamming Kamala inside.
It is easy to see why Jon Moxley is glad to be gone from WWE, considering this match's existence. Like many Dean Ambrose moments, what was supposed to establish him as a credible character only succeeded in making him a comical mid-carder.
The Asylum match between Ambrose and Chris Jericho at Extreme Rules was overtly gimmicky and absurd. The Lunatic Fringe won, one of the few smart decisions made by Creative regarding this match.
The Chamber of Horrors match was one of World Championship's Wrestling more quirky gimmick ideas, but it was entertaining. The clash between El Gigante, Sting and the Steiner Brothers against Abdullah The Butcher, Cactus Jack, Big Van Vader, and The Diamond Studd was a ridiculous but enjoyable showdown.
It was a suitable addition to a Halloween-themed PPV that remains one of WCW's less outrageous stipulations.