Ah, the gimmick match. I think we can all agree that no matter how much we love the purest form of professional wrestling (yes, I still call it that), which is two competitors going at it in the middle of the ring with no strings attached, one-fall-to-a-finish, we all love the gimmick match from time to time. They just bring a little something extra to an event.
There are a ton of gimmick matches that have worked over the years. From something as simple as adding a body for a Triple Threat, or throwing up a cage around the ring (tell me you want to see the blue cage at least one more time), gimmick matches have provided some of the most entertaining moments in wrestling history. Why do you think The Undertaker-Mick Foley Hell In A Cell match from King of the Ring in 1998 is still talked about so many years later? There's a reason we get upset when there's not some sort of ladder match at WrestleMania. We stay up until all hours of the night watching old ECW footage on the WWE Network, and love replay after replay of the classic TLC matches between Edge & Christian, the Hardys and the Dudleys.
Ratings are down in WWE and the PG era has taken away some of the things we all grew up watching, so I've come up with 15 different matches that we haven't seen in a while that might just bring back some excitement to the company. They've got the talent to pull some of these off, so why not give them a shot?
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15 Hardcore Match
Yes, there still are variations of this match in WWE with the "No Holds Barred" or "Extreme Rules" match or something similar, but I'm talking about something that takes what they're doing now and put it on steroids. It's not something I'd want to see all the time, but if you're honestly going to put on an "Extreme Rules" pay-per-view, then give me a match with some tacks or some chair shots to the head or maybe some blood, but I'll get into a little more of that later. Hell, even bring back the Hardcore title and the 24/7 rule, if for no other reason than to give some of the guys that we never see something to do.
14 Empty Arena
The obvious drawback to something like this is that Vince can't sell tickets to it, but once every couple of years, I really think this could work. Call it a "special event" and throw it on the network, but wouldn't it be nice for WWE to throw their golden boy, Roman Reigns, into a fight and not have to listen to him get booed out of an arena? The fact that the Mick Foley vs The Rock match that they did at halftime of the Super Bowl was one of the most-watched matches in WWE history, so it's been very surprising that this hasn't been done since. Instead of using the traditional cage match to end a feud, bill it as a "the ring couldn't contain this rivalry" kind of thing and let two guys get after it. All you'd have to do is tape it before a show that you're already set up to do anyway.
13 Bra and Panties Match
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know we're supposed to be in the middle of this Divas Revolution, and I'm all for it. The company has some unbelievably talented females working for them, and there's a lot of them that actually can wrestle, but be honest, you miss a bra and panties match every now and again. Are you honestly going to tell me that you wouldn't tune in to watch Alexa Bliss vs. Dana Brooke on NXT or Paige vs. Becky Lynch if you knew one of them was going to strip a little?
12 Boiler Room Brawl
It takes two a special kind of feud to pull this off, which is probably the reason that Mick Foley was involved in every single one of these matches, but you could throw just about any member of the Wyatt family in something like this, and it could be amazing. If you're not familiar with the match, it's just what it sounds like. It takes place in the boiler room of the arena, and the winner is usually the person that can escape the room first. Weapons usually come into play here as well, which certainly adds to the brutality. The only problem with this one is that it cheats the live audience a little bit, but it can be extremely entertaining for television viewers.
11 Blindfold Match
Before you start yelling at me, I know that nearly all of the blindfold matches in wrestling history have gone horribly. They're slow-paced and can be incredibly boring, but I think it's because they've never done one correctly. Look, we all know that the two guys wearing them can actually see through them, but wouldn't it still look pretty cool if Neville hit a Red Arrow while wearing a blindfold?
The wrestlers in WWE are played up to be the best in the world at what they do, and should know their surroundings and their opponent so well that you really could almost have a real match with blindfolds on, and not one that makes me want to take my restroom break.
10 Buried Alive
You could almost put the casket match in place of this, but they're essentially one and the same. They were both basically created for The Undertaker and both, when done correctly, can be quite entertaining. The Buried Alive match just brings a little more to the table. Can you imagine how much better the Bray Wyatt-Undertaker match could have been at WrestleMania if it had been a Buried Alive match?
Even the recent feud with the Brothers of Destruction and the Wyatt Family would have been more entertaining. I mean, if creative is going to bury Bray Wyatt anyway, you might as well actually bury him.
9 Parking Lot Brawl
This is another one that cheats the live audience out of a match, but I've always enjoyed a good parking lot brawl. This is a great match for those rivalries that have some of that extra intensity. What it says is that one guy just can't wait for the other to even get into the arena before going after him. WWE also likes to say that the feud is so intense that the ring/arena just isn't big enough to handle it, and I actually love the fans that couldn't get a ticket outside yelling at the guys fighting. It just brings a little something different to the table, as evidenced by a match most people forget about between John Cena and Eddie Guerrero from a 2003 Smackdown episode.
8 Strap Match
The strap match takes the right wrestlers to pull it off, but when done properly, it can be very exciting. One that comes to mind is Savio Vega and Steve Austin back at In Your House: Beware of Dog (the only good thing to come out of that event). The strap match tends to involve the two competitors tied together and one has to touch all four corners in succession to win. It provides for some cool false finishes and can give a good change of pace.
7 Iron Man Match
I know the first thing you're going to say. Didn't Bayley and Sasha Banks just have one of these? Yes, they did, but that was 30 minutes. A lot of matches at WrestleMania go 25-30 minutes. Was that a great match? Absolutely, but I'm talking about a Bret Hart-Shawn Michaels-type one-hour classic. I don't know if it's the shorter attention spans of people these days or what, but I'm ready for a match like this to return. Can you imagine what Seth Rollins and Finn Balor (a feud that would be amazing) could do in an hour? A match like that could be unbelievable. The last one I can remember happened in 2009, and I think we're all ready for another one.
6 Barbed Wire Match
You could maybe classify this under the regular type of hardcore match, but I'm talking about a match where the wire is the key component in the contest. Again, you could throw this on the Extreme Rules pay-per-view with a couple of the crazy guys or the bigger guys on the roster. Now that I'm thinking about it, wouldn't this budding feud between Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens be perfect for something like this? They could use the barbed wire bats, use the barbed wire turnbuckles to minimize damage if that's how the company wants to do it, but something else would have to come out of it, which leads me right into my next item on the list.
5 First Blood
I know I'm not alone in missing a little bit of the blood in wrestling. A lot of the matches that I've mentioned so far would require the guys to bleed a little bit, but that's not something the company condones anymore, but it's a component that has been in the professional wrestling world since its inception. Is it absolutely necessary in every single match? Of course not. Do I want to see it occasionally, especially in a brutal match? Yes, I do, and that obviously includes this one. This is another type of match that's good to end a feud, and there hasn't been a First Blood since 2008 between John Cena and JBL, so a comeback now would be nice to see.
4 Punjabi Prison Match
Take it easy, take it easy. I am in no way calling for the return of The Great Khali, but I am calling for the return of the match that was created for him. If you don't remember what it is, the ring is surrounded by a cage, but the cage is made of bamboo, not steel, and there are four doors as opposed to one. There's another cage beyond that one, almost shaped like the Elimination Chamber, but this one doesn't have any doors. Once a door is opened, it stays open for a while, but then it is closed and locked. Once that happens to all four doors, the only way to win is to go over the top of the outer cage. That takes away the pinfall and submission option that used to come with a cage match anyway, and if you put the right people in this match (aka NOT The Great Khali), it could really be amazing.
I'm sure a lot of you are asking what in the hell Battlebowl is, but it's actually a creation of the late, great Dusty Rhodes. WCW used it a few times over the years and I actually love the concept. You could almost make an entire pay-per-view or an episode of Monday Night Raw out of it in my opinion. What happens is that guys are "randomly" selected in a lottery and put on a team with a few other guys to face a team that's put together in the same manner.
At the end of the night, the members of the teams that win their matches are put into a battle royal to compete for some kind of prize. They could be battling for a vacant title or a number one contender spot, but what it would do would give you some matchups you wouldn't normally see, and actually have it mean something.
2 Championship Scramble
The rules of this can get a little bit complicated, but it's essentially a match in which multiple competitors are involved in a title match. Two people start the match and every five minutes, another wrestler enters the fray. I know that sounds a little bit like the Elimination Chamber, but that's about where the similarities end. When a guy gets pinned, he's not out of the match, but the guy that pins or submits someone becomes the "interim champion."
Time keeps going until everyone is in the match, and even if you've been pinned or submitted, you might get the next one and become the champion for a few minutes. After everyone is in the match, the timer keeps going and the person who has the last pinfall or submission when time runs out is the champion. It might sound a little strange, but it is a great way to have some very solid, fast-paced matches with the top guys on the card.
1 War Games
I know they had the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic on NXT recently, but if the company really wanted to honor him, they would bring back one of his greatest creations, War Games. I don't know how this hasn't made its way to WWE after WCW folded, but I'm still holding out hope.
If you've never seen it, go to the WWE Network and check it out, but what it is is essentially a Hell In A Cell structure that hangs over two rings that are placed side by side. Two men start, and every two minutes, in alternating fashion, another wrestler enters, which gives a team (usually the heel team) the advantage for a few minutes, until all all competitors are in the ring. The only way to win, at least back then, was by submission, and I'm sure a few tweaks could be thrown in to bring things into this era, but I think a lot of people, including myself, would mark out like crazy for the return of War Games.
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