The WWE has always looked to push the boundaries when it comes to increasing the entertainment factor of its existence. Always looking to reinvent the way in which its performers stand out to the crowds and solidifying a level of faith in its use of storylines. As such, every decision made within the company is with the ‘universe’ in mind.
Take, for example, the inception of new and refreshing match types. Stepping aside from the standard one-on-one matchups, ignoring the original pinfall and submission rule and laying waste to the out-of-ring 10-count, through the years we have bared witness to some truly unbelievable and quite bizarre creations of matches that deserve applause for their ingenuity alone.
Very much serving as essential props in ongoing storylines through the eras, these specific match types have been cemented in the history books. Whether it be for the sheer audacity or their one-of-a-kind nature, we’ve been privy to some truly remarkable ideas from Creative when it comes to special matches that will stand the test of time.
While certain matches have been cemented in wrestling lore – even creating specific pay-per-view events (Hell In A Cell, Tables, Ladders and Chairs) – others have provided classic throwbacks to a time when the WWE certainly pushed beyond the boundaries to enthrall its audience and deliver a thrilling experience.
Let’s take a look back at some of those matches we certainly won’t be seeing any time soon but rather fondly remember for their chaos, carnage and everything else in-between.
10. Arkansas Hog Pen Match
Triple H has seen his fair share of insane matches through the years, but the King of Kings may have competed in the craziest of his illustrious career in his earlier days.
Sparking a rivalry with Henry Godwinn, Triple H found himself in the thick of it (literally) as he took part in the one and only Arkansas Hog Pen match, overseen by Hillbilly Jim.
The aim of the contest: throw your opponent into the rather hideous pigpen beside the entrance ramp and bask in the glory of being the cleanest and smell-free of wrestlers. Except, even victor Triple H couldn’t avoid finding himself caked in mud by the end of this one.
9. Punjabi Prison Match
This one has only been in effect for two years but in terms of fitting in with the spirit of Halloween you can’t help but applaud the creativity.
The Trick or Street Fight – brilliantly titled – is your basic Street Fight with the added element of the weapons at hand being those which you would associate with All Hallows Eve.
That’s right, anything from pumpkins, broomsticks, candy kendo sticks and so much more are utilized in one of the more chaotic and hilarious match types currently out there. What makes this match type so fun is the fact that it comes around only once a year, so it’s always one to look forward to.
7. Gravy Bowl Match
You read that correctly; it wasn’t enough for the WWE Divas to compete in those classic Bra and Panties matches, or even roll around in mud for the audience’s ultimate glee, so the WWE decided to create the Gravy Bowl match.
Originating in a feud between Jacqueline and Ivory (two classic names in the Divas division), this was a match that spoke for itself. Two women, an inflatable pool filled with gravy and a whole lot of hair pulling and slippery fun.
6. Boiler Room Brawl
Remember those days when Mankind used to channel his inner crazy and hang around the boiler room? Inevitably, this created the interesting Boiler Room Brawl, pitting Mankind against various opponents as they looked to escape the confines of the steam-filled room and come out victorious.
The first of these matches saw Mankind take on The Undertaker, with the original rule seeing the victor grab the famous urn from Paul Bearer in the middle of the ring.
This was soon altered and victory came by way of literally escaping the dangerous room and leaving the opponent to dust. The Big Show, Undertaker, Triple H and even Santa Claus have taken part in these matches, the last of which took place over 15 years ago.
5. Gulf Of Mexico Match
Technically this one emanates from ECW, but as this now comes under the bracket of the WWE, we’ll let it slide…
Years before Cody Rhodes infamously threw Damien Sandow’s Money in the Bank briefcase into the Gulf of Mexico, a matchup between CM Punk and Chavo Guerrero saw the two hardcore competitors street fight like no other.
Instead of your standard stroll around the arena coupled with various weaponry, the great outdoors of Corpus Christi played host to a grueling battle. The main function of this match that took it to the extreme was the fact that the winner was the man able to throw his opponent into the Gulf of Mexico.
Bring back more matches like this one!
4. Good Housekeeping Match
There’s no doubt that Chyna could certainly hold her own in matches against the men of the WWE universe in the Attitude Era, but when a specific hardcore match for the Intercontinental title surfaced it certainly pushed her to the limit.
Instead of the obligatory tables, chairs, kendo sticks and other familiar instruments of carnage that we were familiar with, this Good Housekeeping Match promised only household items for utilization.
You can only imagine the extents to which both competitors would go to claim the title, and Jarrett would be the one to find himself wearing a toilet seat. Enough said…
3. Buried Alive Match
When you’ve got someone as iconic as The Undertaker spearheading the business then you simply have to give him a signature match and, while Hell in a Cell is arguably his pick, the Buried Alive Match was primed for the Deadman.
Initially introduced in 1996, it was another edition of the Mankind versus Undertaker story that saw the first iteration of this famed match type. Taker would prevail as the winner in a grueling fight, but would fall three times – in total – to opponents as he competed in five editions altogether.
The last Buried Alive Match took place some five years ago between the Brothers of Destruction, but with Undertaker’s career coming to a close, don’t rule out one final match of this kind in the near future.
2. Dumpster Match
Back in the day, there were many ways to defeat your opponent by throwing them into the confines of a vehicle or a particular item. Casket matches, Ambulance matches and so forth came and went, but one of those that sticks in the memory is the classic Dumpster Match.
While it needs little explanation – the winner is the superstar (or tag team) to throw their opponent/s into the dumpster and close the lid – it did produce some true classics.
One such instance came at WrestleMania XIV as tag team champions The New Age Outlaws came across Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie. Enthralling and utterly engrossing, this fight went back and forth, and even to the backstage area, where eventually a forklift saw new champions crowned and an incredible match stipulation born.
1. Inferno Match
For all the insanity of various special matches within the WWE as the years have rolled by, the very fact that you have to set your opponent on fire makes the Inferno Match by far the craziest.
While his brother’s signature match is very much about digging deep (in more ways than one), Kane‘s own match of choice – the brainchild of Paul Bearer – is one engulfed in flames. After all, the Big Red Machine has been a part of all four editions of the Inferno Match, despite only winning one of them.
Of course, the most epic Inferno battles took place between the Brothers of Destruction.