With World Wrestling Entertainment airing some of the best wrestling matches for nearly seven decades, they have introduced innovative match types to capture their audience. From bloody hardcore matches to daring street fights, the premier wrestling brand has brought new ways to entertain us. The feeling is similar to how free spins no deposit casinos allow players to experience the thrill of casino games without spending.
Today, let’s review some of the best stipulations that WWE has given the masses. We’ll look at what makes them unique and their lasting effect on the sports entertainment landscape.
5. ‘I Quit’ Match
Imagine your typical one-on-one wrestling match, but instead of tapping out or falling on a three-count, the loser has to say “I quit.” That’s what the match stipulation is in a nutshell.
The World Wrestling Entertainment has used several types of matches, with some hits and misses along the way. One of the most memorable ones includes the grueling battle between The Rock and Mankind in Royal Rumble 1999, where The Rock won the WWE Championship belt despite Mankind not saying “I quit.”
4. Steel Cage Match
One of the more commonly-used match types nowadays, there was a time when the steel cage presented as a career-defining bout for any wrestler. Despite its frequent appearance, there’s always a level of thrill and excitement whenever the cage is lowered to the ring.
Initially, the cage match is set to avoid any outside interference, with bouts ending when one is pinned, tapped out, or escapes the cage. However, in recent times, it’s almost expected that someone will interfere with the match, discounting its effect.
The main event bout between ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and WWE owner Vince McMahon on St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in February 1999 is a good example. Big Show, then known as Paul Wight, popped in the middle of the ring to aid McMahon during the match. Unfortunately, this led to Austin winning the match and “sticking it up to the man” one more time.
3. Elimination Chamber Match
Your typical elimination chamber match is similar to the beloved steel cage match but jacked up to 11. This stipulation was designed to make matches more exciting and captivating by combining several match types, including Hell in a Cell, Royal Rumble, and War Games from former rival brand World Championship Wrestling.
First introduced in Survivor Series 2002, the rules are simple: six competitors enter the ring, yet only one reigns supreme. Matches start with two superstars squaring off, with the other four locked up in individual pods. As the match plays out, the remaining wrestlers are released from their pods and join in the fray.
The inaugural match saw the returning Shawn Michaels win the World Heavyweight Championship against Booker T, Kane, Chris Jericho, Rob Van Dam, and Triple H, who was the current champion at the time. Since then, the Elimination Chamber has not only been used in 28 matches but has earned its annual pay-per-view event.
2. Ladder Match
In the early days of sports entertainment, stipulation matches were few and far between, making each one a memorable event. And as the industry grew and they added more match types, nothing has captured the audience more like the beloved ladder match.
In its first incarnation, the ladder match only had a single ladder for the wrestlers to reach the target object; typically, a championship belt hung above the ring. Nowadays, with the match used for different goals, like in Money in the Bank, the ring is littered with various ladders for added tension.
The first ladder match in WWE was seen in the July 1992 installment of WWF Wrestling Challenge, where Bret ‘the Hitman’ Hart won against the Heartbreak Kid for the Intercontinental championship. Its first pay-per-view showing was at 1994’s WrestleMania X, where Razor Ramon bested Michaels for the undisputed Intercontinental title.
1. Iron Man Match
While most match stipulations we’ve mentioned above see action at least once a year, the Iron Man match is only used on a handful of events. The rarity of this match type, along with the legendary bouts it delivers, makes it a class of its own.
In this battle, the wrestlers aim to score the most pinfalls or submissions within the allotted time. Matches usually last between 30 to 60 minutes. In case of a tie, the match goes to sudden death, where the first to score a fall wins.
There have been some memorable matches under this stipulation, including the first between the Hitman and ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair in 1993, Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle in 2003, and John Cena and Randy Orton in 2009. But for avid wrestling fans, WrestleMania XII’s iron man match main event where HBK won against Hart for the WWF Championship in a 1-0 score is what the match is all about.
Tap Out or Hands Up
There you have it, the best match types in the WWE. Now, this is not an exhaustive list, and there are tons of other match stipulations out there, but our list holds a special place in the hearts of wrestling fans.