The summer of 2008 will go down in history as the beginning of the PG Era in the WWE. The victims of that policy decision took many forms and shapes. It was the death of stipulation matches, rated-R antics, and the most hardcore of spots that can be performed. It’s a business move that affected a lot of fans, especially those from the Attitude and Ruthless Aggression Eras. We never truly were able to say good bye.
Our list takes us back to those moments that are forever seared into our memories. A time when The Rock would talk about eating some cherry pie and Mick Foley would use his head to catch chair shots. When a wrestler would wear a crimson mask as if it was the norm and every night Jerry Lawler would be screaming the word puppies. Even though most stipulations on the list are banned because of the PG Era, some won’t ever happen again because they were downright awful.
So, what is a stipulation? If you follow John Cena on Twitter, you know he likes to tweet out a word and definition. We are just going to follow in his footsteps. Stipulation: something that is required as part of an agreement. To qualify for the list, a stipulation match must have occurred in the WWE. Even though the WWE has bought the rights to countless organizations over the decades, we wanted to keep it in the WWE family. WCW’s destruction derby was a wreck, no-pun intended, and ECW had crazy “death” match themed contests. If Vince McMahon didn’t give the match his stamp of approval, it doesn’t count.
For those wondering why a casket match, boiler room brawl, or hog pen match isn’t on the list, it’s because there’s a shred of hope it can still happen. Daniel Bryan and Kane had a casket match in 2015 and somewhere, somehow, a wrestler with a southern rancher gimmick will bring back the hog pen. Enjoy the trip down memory lane.
15. Cry Baby Match
The feud between Razor Roman and 1-2-3 Kid escalated into a stipulation match with the loser having to wear a diaper and get a facial of baby powder. The New Generation Era was still trying to find its groove and the feud between the two Kliq members was white hot at the time. It was the only one of its kind and will never be duplicated again. Something about a grown man wearing a diaper just isn’t funny in 2016. Maybe because men actually enjoy dressing up as a baby or the fact that it doesn’t really give much to end a story line. I doubt will see a Cry Baby match ever again.
14. Jailhouse Match
It was two authoritative characters (The Big Boss Man and The Mountie), from two different countries, going toe-to-toe with everything on the line in a Jailhouse Match at SummerSlam ’91. It works beautifully in a time when every wrestler had a job occupation or looked like they belong in a comic book, but with kayfabe dead and buried, it wouldn’t work today. They still have people arrested on television, mostly the McMahon’s, but we all know it’s fake and it doesn’t really make anything seem alive and real. That’s why you haven’t seen a match like that in over twenty years.
13. Pillow Fight
The stipulation was just another way for the WWE to inadvertently (or maybe with ill intention) discredit women wrestlers by showing off their goods instead of their talent. It usually involved multiple women and they either were wearing tight pajamas or lingerie. We will never witness a pillow fight in the WWE again. Maybe at the start of the PG Era it was okay but with the “Women’s Revolution” here to stay, people would go ape crazy if they pull that stunt again. Could you imagine if WWE made Bayley, a role model for all children, come out in lingerie and use a pillow as a weapon? No, we didn’t think so.
12. Dog Poop Match
Want to hear Michael Cole scream “dog poop,” six times in 12 seconds? Watch The British Bulldog battle The Rock on Monday Night RAW in ’99. The Attitude Era was an insane time and it’s hard to even describe it to those who didn’t have the chance to see it play out every week, meaning the fans had no idea what was going to happen. Case in point, Davey Boy Smith comes back for his last stint with the WWE and creative decided to have him face The Rock in a dog poop match. The first to smear their opponent with the canine feces wins. We all know a white hot Rock wasn’t going to lose but still, it was great to see him Rock Bottom a man into dog dung.
11. Put a Liquid Substance in a Rubber Pool Match
This goes for all the matches involving mud, gravy, and who knows what else. Like many of the other female stipulation matches, these pool wars with a liquid substance were aimed for titillation. Sure, you have a comedic element to the match, but don’t get it wrong, the main purpose was to see women get soaking wet. No way can a match like that be booked today in the WWE. I can’t picture Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks even entertaining the thought, they’re just too good at actual wrestling.
10. Evening Gown Match
Like many of the other stipulations involving borderline adult content…. we can just flat out say softcore adult entertainment. right? The Evening Gown Match was no different from the other titillating matches on the list. Luna and Sable started the trend in ’98 and it took off from there with a Playboy Evening Gown and Tuxedo/Evening Gown matches. It’s funny to see who and what contributed to the success of the Monday Night Wars and the Attitude Era but we never see specials on the WWE Network about women battling it out in sexy lingerie. Maybe it’s a good thing, do we really want to see Mae Young having intercourse with Mark Henry and flashing her goods everywhere?
9. Blindfold Match
It happened between Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Rick “The Model” Martel at WrestleMania VII. It wasn’t the best match by any standards but it kept the crowd involved. Jake would point to where he thought Martel was and the crowd would help him. The match was a little too slow and having the hood on limited their in-ring ability. This match wouldn’t fly today because fans would be bored and boo them to death. If Jake and Rick couldn’t make the match memorable enough at WrestleMania to have blind fold matches in the future, then who can?
8. Bikini Match
Sex sells and boy did it sell during the Attitude Era for the WWE. It was ’02, Torrie Wilson and Stacy Keibler were in a feud that escalated into a Bikini match on Monday Night RAW. Not a bikini contest but an actual match in a bikini. It’s a pretty safe bet that no one left their seats and everyone stayed on the channel at home. With the “Women’s Revolution” in full swing, a stipulation match like this would set them back for decades. Looking back on it, you can make an argument for what was more entertaining, the match itself or Jerry King Lawler’s announcing.
7. Iron Circle Match
It was like a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie, only it involved Ken Shamrock and Steve Blackman at Fully Loaded ’99. The location, a parking garage, the stipulation, cars would be set up in a circle and the two competitors would battle in the middle. Random men would be seen cheering them on to make it look authentic. It fell flat on the hype and is a pretty bad match. WCW followed this terrible match gimmick with Regal and Finlay going one on one in the same type of matchup.
It would have been better if both guys showcased their martial arts skills in a ring than clumsily trying to make it work on top of a car. Shamrock also had a Lion’s Den and Hart Dungeon match, so both are honorable mentions.
6. Bra and Panties
The stipulation called for the wrestler to strip their opponent down to their bra and panties in order to win. A great way to get managers, beautiful women, and those who can’t wrestle involved in the ring. Let’s just say the match’s sole purpose was to titillate the fans. We took for granted the cries of “Puppies” from Lawler and now it’s like whispering “Great White Buffalo.” We know why this stipulation couldn’t be done today in the WWE, it would cause an uproar among many and be shameful for women who can actually wrestle. I wonder if McMahon was playing strip poker when he thought of it, we may never know.
5. Hardcore Cross Dressing Evening Gown Match
This has all the hallmarks of Vince McMahon. Yes, we covered the Evening Gown match but this one is so special that it deserves its own place on the list. It wasn’t just any Evening Gown match, it was a hardcore battle involving two legends of the industry whom also happened to be males. So, you had cross dressing elements in the match and on top of that, two guys who could have been anyone’s grandpas were bashing each other all over the place. I doubt the LGBT movement would appreciate this match if it happened today, as it would probably be a political fire storm.
4. Empty Arena Match
It was a bold move to make and has become one of the most unique matches to appear on television. Terry Funk and Jerry Lawler may have started the empty arena stipulation match in the ‘80s but Mick Foley vs The Rock brought it to the mainstream culture. McMahon was crazy enough to go up against the Super Bowl XXXIII’s halftime show in ’99. It was dubbed “Halftime Heat” and the match could never happen today. There’s too much money to be made by having fans in the stands. If it was such a success, there would be more matches like it, but that was not the case.
3. Attitude Era’s “I Quit” Match
There have been many I Quit matches and I do see some in the future, but it will be nothing like the Attitude Era matches. The most brutal I Quit match took place at the ’99 Royal Rumble featuring Mick Foley and The Rock for the WWE Championship. The match was as stiff and violent as you can get. Mick Foley received a chair shot to the skull at least a dozen times and he was handcuffed on top of that. The company wants to stay away from spots that look like a concussion can occur, such as Seth Rollins’ curb stomp, so it’s no surprise that you will never see a match like this in the foreseeable future.
2. Dog Kennel From Hell Match
The worst stipulation match ever created in the Attitude Era and arguably the worst in the industry. The WWE Hardcore Championship match involved Al Snow and The Big Boss Man at Unforgiven ’99. Basically The Big Boss Man tricked Al Snow into eating his dog, Pepper. The feud concluded with the stipulation of vicious dogs surrounding a steel cage that’s inside a Hell in the Cell. The dogs were acting like dogs and decided to mate, pee, and defecate during the match. It pretty much was a laughing stock and embarrassed everyone involved. You got to love the Attitude Era.
1. First Blood Match
It’s only natural that fans clamor for blood. Something about it makes us become rabid dogs during a match. If it wasn’t true, you wouldn’t have the greatest wrestlers in the world blading themselves for the fans. The idea may seem barbaric by today’s standards but having a bloody mess was a great way to conclude a feud. It was only a matter of time before Vince McMahon and his Attitude Era bravado came up with a First Blood match. This stipulation could never happen in the PG-Era of today. The strict rules on blading and showing blood wouldn’t allow for it on television, making it number one on the list.
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