As always on TWM, this isn’t intended to be a “definitive list” or the opinion of the website as a whole. This is simply my favourite five gimmick matches based purely on personal preference over my experiences as a wrestling fan of almost 23 years. There’s been many gimmick matches over the last 20 or 30 years or so but here are my favourite five.
5 – Steel Cage Match
Don Muraco vs. Superfly Jimmy Snuka, Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart, Val Venis vs. Rikishi, Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle. These are some of my favourite cage matches of all time and I implore anybody reading this to check out at least one of the above if you haven’t seen them. Typically, 2 men are locked inside a steel cage and the only way to win is either escaping over the top of the cage or through the door. Over the years the format for cage matches has changed, incorporating pinfalls, submissions and more recently, regular tagging in and out and even disqualifications! The craziness and the highspots of cage matches has been reduced over the years, but to me there’s nothing quite like a Kurt Angle or a Cody Rhodes moonsault from the very top.
4 – Iron Man Match
The first Iron Man Match I ever saw was Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XII. At this point in time I’d already been watching wrestling for around 6 years and was already in love with the sport of pro wrestling, even at 10 years old. This match however made me appreciate the ART of pro wrestling and I’ve watched this match at least 10 times since then. This is a classic example of a great wrestling match. Starting slow, simmering in the middle and reaching absolute boiling point at the end, finishing 0-0 and going into overtime. Other memorable Iron Man Matches include The Rock vs. Triple H at Judgement Day 2000, Ricky Steamboat vs. Rick Rude at WCW Beach Blast 1992 and Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle in a submissions only Iron Man Match dubbed “Ultimate Submission” at Backlash 2001.
3 – TLC: Tables Ladders and Chairs (Oh my!)
The Dudley Boyz had fought The Hardy’s and Edge & Christian in tables matches, they’d gotten chairs involved and they even had an amazing tag team ladder match at WrestleMania 2000 which is still one of my favourite WrestleMania matches of all time. The ultimate gimmick match was born when all three were combined into one match in the first ever TLC match at SummerSlam 2000. There have been a huge amount of TLC matches since its inception 14 years ago and my favourite of all-time is TLC II at WrestleMania X-Seven. Sadly though this match has lost its importance over the years, and having its own PPV hasn’t helped, with TLC matches happening simply because that’s the name of the PPV and not necessarily because it’s the best way to end a feud. Also the risks taken in the first few TLC matches massively shortened the careers of all involved, and thus the risks taken in recent TLC matches has been significantly smaller.
2 – Money in The Bank
Born at WrestleMania 21, the Money in the Bank Ladder Match rules were simple. A ladder match with the volume turned up to 11. The winner would be the man who can climb the ladder and retrieve the briefcase earning him a championship opportunity at any time he chooses over the next 12 months. This has made for some absolutely exciting moments, not just in the match itself, but in its subsequent cash ins. One that immediately springs to mind was Edge cashing in right after John Cena had gone through a gruelling Elimination Chamber match earning him the monicker of “The Ultimate Opportunist”. The match iself, again has suffered slightly over the years not just because of the risks taken by the participants but because like TLC, it now has it’s own PPV which has somewhat taken the shine off the match. For me personally, Money in the Bank was perfect for WrestleMania and should have stayed there. Even more so now that the titles have been unified and there’s only going to be one Money in the Bank ladder match. The Undertaker’s Streak can’t be a staple of WrestleMania forever, but Money in the Bank certainly could be.
1 – Ladder Match
Ok, I know I know. I already used the ladder match concept for Money in the Bank. However I am exercising my right to creative control. My personal favourite gimmick match of all-time is the standard ladder match. 2 men, 1 ladder and a championship up for grabs. The most famous of ladder matches is the WrestleMania X classic between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon, however this was not the first match in WWF history. There was a match that was taped only for home video in 1992 between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels for the WWF Championship, which Bret Hart won. The match, or so the story goes, was Bret’s idea as he’d seen his father use the concept in Canada and wanted to show Vince McMahon how it worked. Shawn & Razor had a rematch at SummerSlam 95, but this was not a patch on their first encounter. There have been countless classics since, including Triple H vs. The Rock at SummerSlam 98, Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit at Royal Rumble 2001 to name just a couple. I don’t know if it’s nostalgia or an impartiality to the Intercontinental Championship, but in my eyes the ladder match will always and forever be my favourite gimmick match.
Hell in a Cell
Hardcore Matches (Especially in the 24/7 era)
Any ….on a Pole Matches
Kennel from Hell
Tuxedo, Bra & Panties etc…
– By Dean Puckering
Do you agree with me? Share your thoughts in the comments below!