10 Terrible Gimmick Matches
This Sunday is WWE's Elimination Chamber pay-per-view.
The Elimination Chamber is one of WWE's most exciting and dangerous matches. Six competitors battle in a dome-like structure made of chains and pods made of plexiglass to isolate the wrestlers until they are released. The chamber match is where WWE superstars pull out all of the stops to put on an entertaining performance in a high-risk environment.
Gimmick matches like the Elimination Chamber, Hell in a Cell, and TLC have cemented themselves as some of the most thrilling and monumental matches. However, it's enough to make even the most avid wrestling fan question why they enjoy something so ridiculous. v
Let's look back on some of the most terrible gimmick matches that we wished never took place.
Professional wrestling has a weird obsession with evil foreign characters. Anyone with an accent who isn't an American-born citizen is automatically the villain, and it's up to the U.S.A's homegrown hero to vanquish them. One gimmick match that helped perpetuate pro wrestling's xenophobia is the Flag Match.
The objective of a flag match is to capture your opponent's flag that's placed in the opposite corner of the ring while defending your own. Most of the flag matches in wrestling history have been won by a presumably American good guy.
Thankfully there haven't been any recent Flag matches. A match stipulation that pushes American superiority in today's current social climate would be considered extremely tasteless.
Hog Pen Match
The infamous Curtain Call at Madison Square Garden performed by Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash sent shockwaves throughout the professional wrestling industry. Never before had the business been exposed in such a fashion in front of a crowd of fans. Out of the four superstars involved in the perceived blasphemy, Triple H received the worst punishment for his involvement.
Triple's H's hazing came in the form of a lengthy losing streak and a Hog Pen Match with WWF's resident pig farmer Henry O Godwinn at In Your House 5. In this particular match, a winner is declared when you throw your opponent into a hog pen.
This match's memorability exists in its stupidity and potential of ruining Triple H's career in WWE before it had even begun.
Right now, Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley are experiencing career resurgences in All Elite Wrestling. Their defection from WWE to AEW was in large part due to WWE's nonsensical booking of storylines and matches. Jericho and Moxley (Dean Ambrose during his WWE run) were victims of said nonsensical booking when they took place in the first and only Asylum Match.
An Asylum Match is essentially a steel cage match with various weapons chained to the structure. Since Ambrose's character at the time was dubbed the "Lunatic Fringe," the weapons selection ranged from lethal, like a kendo stick, to ludicrous, like a potted plant.
Ambrose and Jericho's Extreme's Rules 2016 encounter bored fans both in attendance at home. The match dragged in pace, and the only high spot was Jericho landing back-first on a bed of thumbtacks.
The popularity of Extreme Championship Wrestling's hardcore presentation forced WWF and WCW to steal some of its elements (and talent) to gain an advantage over the other during the Monday Night Wars. Both companies' attempts at replicating ECW's blood and guts brand of wrestling led to many missteps, including WCW's Junkyard Invitational Match.
Taking place at 1999's Bash at the Beach pay-per-view, The Junkyard Invitational placed underutilized WCW stars in an actual junkyard surrounded by garbage and other various harmful objects capable of doing severe damage to the performers.
This match is literally and figuratively hard to watch. The failure to light the nighttime shots correctly combined with the match's lack of cohesion highlights WCW's desperate attempt at trying to be like ECW.
Punjabi Prison Match
WWE's attempts at creating a superstar of Indian descent have been questionable. They tried making The Great Khali the next monster heel, but his limited ring abilities and microphone skills made him one of the worst characters in professional history. In 2017, the company decided to fast-track Jinder Mahal from mid-carder to WWE Champion in a matter of weeks for a lackluster championship reign.
Probably the company's biggest failure at breaking into the Indian market was the creation of the Punjabi Prison Match. To be fair, the bamboo cage was an awe-inspiring visual. However, the issue was being able to see both competitors in the ring through the elaborate structure. Plus, the convoluted rules of the match made it hard for casual fans to invest in the in-ring action.
House of Horrors Match
Bray Wyatt has persevered despite WWE's constant mishandling of his character. The third-generation superstar's immeasurable level of charisma continues to make him a fan favorite even when he's not booked accordingly. One of the many blemishes on Bray Wyatt's WWE record is his House of Horrors match with Randy Orton at 2017's Payback pay-per-view.
The House of Horrors match is a culmination of Orton and Wyatt's feud at the time. It's a pre-recorded brawl through what looks like a C-level Halloween haunted house in a residential area. This match is memorable for the wrong reasons. It highlights Bray Wyatt's dwindling believability as an eccentric but vicious cult leader, as well as WWE's propensity to make unnecessary matches that fans don't want to see.
On a Pole Match
Ladder matches rarely disappoint in professional wrestling, be it Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon's Wrestlemania 10 match or the numerous matches involving The Hardy Boyz and Edge & Christian. The adrenaline rush and anxiety fans experience watching these particular matches are indescribable — but then there are dissatisfying On a Pole matches.
Like a ladder match, a victory in an On A Pole match is contingent upon the retrieval of whatever object is hanging above the ring. But instead, the pole is placed on a turnbuckle in the same fashion as a flag in a flag match.
On a Pole matches don't offer the same level of action and innovative offense as a ladder match; and, in most cases, the object that needs to be retrieved is a ridiculous prop like a leather jacket or a pair of fuzzy dice.
Bra and Panties Matches
In hindsight, WWE's Attitude Era produced a lot of problematic moments. Their willingness to push the envelope to appease their 18-34 male demographic caused WWE to heavily rely upon gratuitous violence and scantily clad women.
WWE's Women's Division (then known as Divas) was regularly involved in Bra and Panties matches where the women had to strip their opponent down to their bra and panties to win. WWE's flesh-peddling ways are now behind them since they've adopted a more family-friendly philosophy. But during the late '90s and early 2000s, this match and others like it aided in the stigma of women wrestlers not being considered as serious performers like their male counterparts.
Chamber of Horrors Match
Not to be confused with the House of Horrors match, the Chamber of Horrors Match was the opening match of WCW's 1991 Halloween Havoc pay-per-view. In keeping with the show's Halloween theme, this 5-on-5 match took place in a steel cage littered with caskets and other horror movie paraphernalia.
WCW's outdated concept of wrestling was put on full display with the creation of this match. Had it been a regular steel cage match, then it would've gone down in history as one of the most memorable opening matches in pay-per-view history. But between the caskets and the stipulation of achieving the win by "electrocuting" a member of the opposing team, this match is more horrible than horrifying.
Kennel from Hell Match
As a WWE Hall of Famer, the late Big Boss Man's heel run during the Attitude Era is severely underappreciated. The things he said and did were evil personified but also made for entertaining television. His feud with Al Snow over the Hardcore Championship took a dark turn when he kidnapped his dog, Pepper, cooked him, and fed it to Snow.
Snow's quest for vengeance led to a Kennel from Hell Match at 1999's Unforgiven pay-per-view. He and Big Boss Man wrestled in a steel cage surrounded by the Hell in a Cell with carnivorous Rottweilers patrolling the ring. Not only did the match fail to excite fans in attendance at home, but the Rottweilers spent more time treating the ringside area like a fire hydrant instead of looking vicious.
Is there a terrible gimmick match you think should've made this list?
Let us know on Twitter @Popdust using the hashtag #ListedByDeascent!
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