Hey everyone, I hope you all still remember me. I haven't written in about two weeks, and there is a reason. Anyone who sent me mail recently, I didn't get it, and AOL users probably got a message saying "Bucs792 is not a known member". Basically, AOL is run buy a bunch of morons. Anyway, this looks to be a long column as it is, so enough chatter.
Recently, Shaddax reviewed Wrestlemania 12 and said the ironman match is a great gimmick match, and it made me think. So I decided to list all the important gimmick matches, and what I think of them. After each one, I'll list good examples of the gimmick, trying to stay fairly recent.
Ironman Match- I love these matches. The story telling possibilities are endless. The way one fall affects all the following ones. The "Should I just tap now to avoid further damage" mentality wrestlers must take. Plus, this is an ultimate test to see if a wrestler is for real or not. (Rock v. Triple H, Judgment Day 2000; Shawn Michaels v. Bret Hart, Wrestlemania XII; Kurt Angle v. Chris Benoit, Backlash 2001)
2/3 Falls Match- Just like in the Ironman match, the outcome of one fall can affect the rest of the match. However, I don't remember ever seeing a match like this not go to a third fall, and the current trend of making a separate stipulation for each fall makes it even more predictable. It makes the first two falls seem like a mere formality, and each fall seems to become independent of the other two. The match many consider to be the greatest match of all-time falls in this category. (Ric Flair v Ricky Steamboat, Clash of the Champions 6; Steve Austin v. Triple H, No Way Out 2001; Kurt Angle v. Chris Benoit, Judgment Day 2001)
Submission Match- There are variations of this match. The white-towel match at Survivor Series 1994. The ultimate submission match at Backlash this year. No matter the type, this match can also tell a great story. Like a bloodied Steve Austin being pulled away from the ropes by Bret Hart, so close, and not giving up. Chris Benoit getting frustrated by his inability to make Chris Jericho scream mercy, so he calmly slides his hand down to Jericho's throat and chokes him until he passes out. However, a lot of these matches end with someone passing out rather than submit, which I think is a cheap ending.
Ladder Match- Another usually fantastic match. I was worried that TLC had killed this match forever, as the battle to get to the ladder first seemed secondary to how many tables got involved, but Benoit, along with Jericho, took his own advice and proved me wrong at the Rumble. Perhaps the only thing more exciting than seeing how the wrestlers keep the other down long enough to get the ladder is seeing how they keep the other down to scale it. Stay away from the Austin v. McMahons match at King of the Ring. (Razor Ramon v. Shawn Michaels, Wrestlemania X; Triple H v. the Rock, Summerslam 1998; Chris Benoit v. Chris Jericho, Royal Rumble 2001)
First Blood Match- This is a good match if you have two men who really want to kick each other's ass, but they aren't exactly technically gifted. The nature of the match makes it more of abrawl, which turns some people off immediately, but it can get really intense if it isn't too long. Unfortunately, blood isn't really a novelty anymore. (Steve Austin v. Kane, King of the Ring 1998)
I Quit Match- I originally had this under submission match, but then decided against it. Like the first blood match, two guys can go into this match and tear each other apart, without being as skilled as the Benoits and Angles of the world. Also like the first blood match, the I quit match can provide moments of incredible intensity and emotion, or it can absolutely suck. There is no in the middle. Again like the first blood match, this match is kind of rare, making it feel special when it does take place.
Last Man Standing Match- Another brawling match. Like the previous two, this match is saved for when two men just can't dish out enough punishment with chinlocks or suplexes or when the ring just can't contain them. More drama. More intensity. More excitement. It also provides a good way for guys like Jericho to lose while still looking good and ready for the main event.
Hell In a Cell Match- Easily the most marketable match the Fed has. I think most fans have forgotten about the Undertaker/Bossman disaster at WM 15, but the 6 way at Armageddon hurt the match's image. It should have been played up as the ultimate grudge match. Two men just can't even stand living on the same planet, so they go in the cell to settle their differences. Instead, it looks like they couldn't find a suitable opponent for Angle's title, so they throw 5 guys in there with him and hope something special happens. There was no memorable feud to go with that match.
Cage Match- This was once the sign of a great rivalry. If you need proof, look no further than the fact that the main event of Wrestlemania was once a cage match. However, now it is old and cliche, and is sometimes even used as the undercard of Raw! This still could be a great match, though. Take the Austin/McMahon match from '99 for example. Austin had been trying for months to get his hands on Vince, but Vince always had a plan to screw Stone Cold. So what results? Austin gets him in a cage, where nobody can interfere (I know Paul Wight did anyway, so don't e-mail me to tell me that) and proceeds to beat the living hell out of him. However, some recent cage matches have included Rock v. Bossman/Buchanan, and Rock v. Shane McMahon, two matches that came with only 2 hours buildup.
Royal Rumble Match- The Royal Rumble usually only has one or two reasonable possibilities for victors. In 2000, nobody but the Rock could have won. This year, we had two choices. The Rumble allows guys like Kane or HBK to show off by going 50-60 minutes. If they get enough star power into it, this match can be great, and is usually exciting anyway, but seems to be more traditionally used to start elevation of midcard guys (Diesel, Michaels, Austin). Stay away from 1999.
Battle Royal- We don't see these very often anymore, for two reasons. Too many of them would make the Rumble seem less unique, and they suck. Too many people in the ring at once, basically. The one at WM 2000 was all right, but then, that wasn't a typical Battle Royal, was it?
Street Fight Match- This includes the millions of versions of No DQ matches. Bunkhouse Brawl, No Holds Barred, whatever. Just a regular match, pinfalls to win, but a lot more gore. More twisted psychotic freaks like Cactus Jack running aroundwith barbed wire. Thinking about it, though, a "No DQ" match really isn't the same as a "Street Fight". We wouldn't see Angle suplex the shit out of Shane in a No DQ match, even if the rules are the same. Reputations I guess.
Gauntlet Match- For some reason, we see more tag team gauntlets then singles ones. If you look at these as individual matches, they won't be very good, but when you look at them collectively, they tell a story. Like Edge & Christian almost running it, only to be crushed by the Acolytes (which sucked by the way.). I still think their boring though, as hard as I tried to like the one at Judgment Day this year.
Scaffold Match- Sucks, haven't seen one in years, don't want to, won't even recommend one.
Finishing Move Match- Any match where you win by doing a certain move to your opponent goes here. Bodyslam matches, powerbomb matches, the recent spanking match on Raw, all of them. And they usually suck. Anticlimactic is the best word I can think of them. No reccommendations here either.
TLC Match- This also includes the No Mercy ladder match, even though there were no chairs or tables involved. I said earlier that I worried that these matches would make regular ladder matches obsolete, and they still may. However, I have a feeling we won't see anymore of these for a while, and certainly not from the usual participants. Also, each match is really just a copy of the ones that came before it, so it's not as innovative and original as some may think.
Bra & Panties Match- Get them off my TV.
Table Match- Overused. I think this match would be cool if we didn't have them main eventing every other Raw. Now, going through the table means nothing, because anyone who is anyone in the WWF has experienced it.
Specialty Match- By this, I mean matches that we associate with a certain wrestler. Who cares if Kane has never won one, the inferno match is HIS match. They don't serve much purpose that I see, but it was pretty funny seeing Al Snow brag in January 2000 about beating the Rock in his OWN match after pinning him in a Bull Rope match. (Casket Match, Undertaker; Tables Mach, Dudley Boyz)
Strap Match- These usually suck. I can only think of one good one, ever. It's hard to book a good finish around one guy dragging the other to each corner.
There you have it. I realize I didn't do much WCW stuff, and the reason is simple. They didn't many gimmick matches before Russo came on board, the ones they did sucked, and I tried to stay recent for most of it so I could give a fair and accurate representation of the matches mean today. As always, mail is welcome.