Top 15 Innovative Gimmick Matches

When you turn on professional wrestling, chances are you're going to see two or more competitors battling it out until a) one is either pinned for the three count or b) forced to tap out by submission

When you turn on professional wrestling, chances are you're going to see two or more competitors battling it out until a) one is either pinned for the three count or b) forced to tap out by submission. Sometimes however, you may see a bit more such as a) someone getting smashed through a table, b) somebody falling off a ten foot ladder, or c) somebody falling off a freakin' twenty foot cage! It's crazy, right? Well aren't you a little crazy if you watch wrestling on a regular basis? Yes. Yes you are.

There are many types of matches in the wacky world of professional wrestling. Match stipulations can be added to draw more viewers, and are usually done at the culmination of a feud to get the fans even more fired up. Take for example, Brock Lesner and The Undertaker's most recent encounter in October of 2015. We had already seen them wrestle in a singles match, so we were treated to a Hell In a Cell; and it was spectacular.

There have been stipulations added to wrestling matches for decades, but it started to become more of a regular occurrence in the 1990s in order to attract a larger audience. WWE may have ECW to thank for a lot of their more insane stipulations, as ECW proved to be popular with its violent matches, so WWE took advantage. But can you blame them? Nowadays, specialty matches aren't as common as they were during the Attitude Era, but they're still wildly popular, so much so that WWE has dedicated annual Pay-Per-View events to specific match types; Hell In a Cell, Money in the Bank, and TLC: Tables Ladders and Chairs are a few examples of this.

Seeing how popular these matches have become, I thought it would be fun to look at how these matches first came to be. Do you remember the first ever Casket Match? Or the first ever Ladder Match? You might think that you do, but you might be surprised to find out the truth. So lets take a peek down memory lane why don't we...

15 Royal Rumble Match (1988)


The match has become such a fixture in WWE that it had to be included. Also, the match type has taken place 29 times, with the first coming back in 1988. Back then, the match didn't have the stipulation that the winner was guaranteed a title match at WrestleMania, but the concept was the same. Two guys would start in the ring and a new entrant would come in after 90 seconds. Pat Patterson came up with the idea and it was originally a TV special on the USA Network.

Hacksaw Jim Duggan would be the first winner of the Royal Rumble match, which really wasn't that memorable for a first match, as the company hadn't yet figured out how to properly execute one. All these years later and it's arguably the most anticipated match of the year.

14 TLC Match (2000)


Any time the Hardyz, Dudleys and Edge & Christian got together, there would be spots involving tables, ladders and chairs in any given match, so WWE decided to incorporate all these toys and let the guys go to town. While technically their first Tables, Ladders & Chairs match was at SummerSlam 2000, their Triangle Ladder Match at WrestleMania 2000 was essentially a TLC match without the name, as all those objects were used.

Edge and Christian would win those battles, as well as the epic TLC clash at WrestleMania X-Seven. Since then, the WWE has added it as a regular fixture in December, causing the match to lose a bit of its luster.

13 Buried Alive Match (1996)


The nature of the Buried Alive match only makes it so that a character like The Undertaker or Kane could compete in it, thus we have only seen five and will likely never see one again, with Undertaker and Kane's careers winding down. While the match is most associated with The Undertaker, as he's been in all five, he has a losing record at 2-3.

The Undertaker and Mankind competed in the first one, at In Your House 11: Buried Alive. 'Taker would technically defeat Mankind, but multiple wrestlers would then run in to help Mankind bury 'Taker under a mound of dirt. The Phenom would then extend his arm out of the grave after a strike of lightning hit the grave.

12 Iron Man Match (1989)


Usually having a 30-60 minute time limit, two competitors in an Iron Man match fight to accumulate the most pin falls or submissions by the end of the contest. The wrestler with the highest score by the end of the time limit picks up the victory. Although the first ever televised Iron Man Match in WWE was between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XII, Ricky Steamboat actually took on Rick Rude in a 30 minute Iron Man match at WCW's Beach Blast back in 1992. Steamboat would pick up the victory with a 4-3 score and the Iron Man match would become the perfect culmination to a great rivalry.

Fun Fact: There were non-televised Iron Man Matches before WCW would televise the first. So technically if Wikipedia is legitimate, the first ever Iron Man match may have actually been between The Rockers and The Rougeau Brothers in 1989.

11 "I Quit" Match (1985)


This humiliating match sees the loser scream "I Quit!", and Bret Hart would again be the one to wrestle the "first" I Quit Match in the WWE, but it technically wasn't the first ever. The first ever would be in a cage for the National Wrestling Alliance at Starrcade on November 28th, 1985 and saw Magnum T.A. defeat Tully Blanchard for the United States Heavyweight Championship.

How did he win, you ask? He nailed Blanchard in the head with a piece of wood. And when I say nailed, I literally mean nailed; there was nail sticking out from the piece of wood.

10 Inferno Match (1998)


If you're a big fan of the WWE, then you probably already know who was in this "first"; Kane. The Big Red Machine and The Undertaker competed in the first ever Inferno Match at WWF Unforgiven in 1998. Undertaker would pick up the win after Kane's arm caught fire, but Kane has the deepest connection with the match, as he has been in every single Inferno Match that we've seen in the WWE.

Fun Fact: Kane's 31st Birthday would coincide with the first ever Inferno Match.

9 First Blood Match (1998)


Like the Inferno Match, this match would also first occur in the WWE in 1998 during the peak of the Attitude Era; an attempt to satisfy its bloodthirsty fans. This match goes exactly how it sounds; the first person to make your opponent bleed wins.

Kane would defeat the Texas Rattlesnake at the King of the Ring event, winning his first and only WWE Championship in the process. But surprise surprise, this isn't the first time in wrestling this match would happen. Technically, the first documented First Blood Match was in ECW at the Super Summer Sizzler in 1993 and saw Tony Stetson defeat Larry Winters.

8 Last Man Standing Match (1999)


In a Last Man Standing Match, you have to, well, be the last one standing. If the referee makes it to a 10 Count while you're on the mat, then you're the loser. Although there were different variations of this match decades before, like the Texas Death Match for instance, WWE still technically did the "first" Last Man Standing Match as they modified the rules.

At the 1999 St. Valentines Day Massacre (sounding more like a slasher movie than a wrestling PPV), the most electrifying man in sports entertainment The Rock took on Mankind for the WWE Championship. After beating each other senseless with steel chairs, both men were unable to stand before the referee reached a ten count and the match ended in a no-contest.

7 Cage Match (1975)


The Cage Match has been a WWE staple for decades, and the first time the WWF Title was defended in one, was all the way back in 1975 with Bruno Sammartino emerging victorious. However, the first ever documented Cage Match occurred in 1937 between Jack Bloomfield and Count Petro Rossi. Instead of a steel cage, the structure was made out of chicken wire to keep the competitors from leaving the ring. Steel sides wouldn't be introduced until 1942, starting a long tradition of the cage being used as a weapon.

6 Elimination Chamber (2002)


After the Attitude Era, it seemed like we had seen everything in terms of match types. Eric Bischoff surprised us however, with the introduction of the Elimination Chamber Match, a match that has continued to carry forward over a decade later into the PG Era. The first time we'd bear witness to this massive chain-linked circular steel chamber would be at the 2002 Survivor Series PPV, which saw six competitors (Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Chris Jericho, Booker T, Rob Van Dam, and Kane) eliminate each other one by one until there was only one man left standing. Many have gone on record as stating that the Chamber is one of the hardest matches they have participated in, as its floor is made of steel, and is quite unforgiving.

5 Bra and Panties Match (2000)


Strip your opponent down to her bra and panties and you win the match!

The first Bra and Panties match to happen in the WWE was between Trish Status and Lita in October of 2000; but a few months earlier in August of that year, WCW technically had the first... a Rip-Off-The-Clothes Match between Major Gunns and Miss Hancock.

Still, I can't give WCW the full credit for being the first because technically WWE introduced the first ever Evening Gown Match in 1998, between Sable and Luna at Unforgiven. Like the Bra and Panties Match, the Evening Gown Match followed the same rules. Sooo. Yeah. I'll give WWE the point for this one, perverted originality at its finest.

4 Ladder Match (1972)


I know what you're thinking. The first ever Ladder Match was at WrestleMania X between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon. Well, if you thought that you are wrong. Although Shawn Michaels wrestled the first Ladder Match in the WWE, it happened two years prior at a live event for the Intercontinental Championship against Bret Hart. Even though the match was filmed, most people have never had the chance to witness the match until it was released in the WWE's Greatest Rivalries DVD in 2011.

But wait! This still wasn't the first Ladder Match.

The first documented match happened 20 years before that even. Stampede Wrestling held an event that saw Dan Kroffat win over Tor Kamata in 1972. There would be one more Ladder Match in Stampede Wrestling before it would finally be introduced in the WWE after Bret Hart suggested the match to Vince McMahon. Pretty interesting, huh?

3 Money In The Bank (2005)


With the Hardy Boyz and Edge and Christian making Ladders relevant again during the Attitude Era, we would see more variations of the match occur in the early 2000s. We would see the biggest variation of the ladder match take place at WrestleMania 21, with the introduction of the annual Money in the Bank Ladder Match. The match became so popular, that it has since had its own PPV named after it. This match has made massive stars out of Edge, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and Seth Rollins to name a few. Edge however gets the credit for being the first Money in the Bank Ladder match winner in 2005.

2 Casket Match (1992)


You'd think The Undertaker would be the one to first wrestle in a Casket Match, but he was just the first one to popularize it in the 1990s by defeating Kamala at the 1992 Survivor Series pay per view. Since its inception, Undertaker has competed in over 90% of the Casket Matches to occur in WWE. Funny enough it was actually Dusty Rhodes (God rest that beautiful man's soul) and Ivan Koloff that competed in the first ever one-off Casket Match that took place all the way back in 1980.

1 Hell In A Cell (1997)


Probably one of the most popular matches in the WWE is the Hell in a Cell match, which literally is hell in a cell for the competitors "lucky" enough to compete in one of these matches. You win by either pin fall or submission; you just do it in a cell. Although The Undertaker can't be credited for the first Casket Match, he does win this one as he was in the first ever Hell in a Cell match with Shawn Michaels at Badd Blood in 1997. Shawn Michaels would pick up the win, earning himself a Number One Contenders spot for the WWE Championship, and also laid the groundwork for one of the most iconic stipulation matches of all time.

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Top 15 Innovative Gimmick Matches