5 Failed WWE Wrestling Match Formats
Writer: Brett Porter
Hey look, another wrestling article. Over the years, the world of professional wrestling has seen some shots in the dark. Every now and then, creative departments will experiment with new types of matches to either put a certain star over or add some pizzaz to an ongoing storyline. Sometimes, these never-before-used match formats stand the test of time, some of which becoming mainstays of a company’s image. Let’s be realistic though. Not every new type of match gets the positive feedback. Not every idea from creative can be an Elimination Chamber, Hell in a Cell, or Royal Rumble. Some of these match types become forgotten to history, never to be used again. Today, I’m highlighting five that I find interesting
5. 6 Man Hell in a Cell (2000)
Look, Hell in a Cell matches are chaotic enough. Let’s not forget two years before this, Mankind was thrown off of this mammoth structure twice in one match. The last thing anyone needed was an added stipulation. The Undertaker, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Rikishi, and Kurt Angle would face one another in the first and only iteration of 6 Man Hell in a Cell. Many complaints can be justified about the overall match quality, but the worst part about the match was trying to figure out where to focus your attention on. Why mess with a good thing?
4. Extreme Elimination Chamber (2006)
I’m going to make the same point here as I did with the first entry. Why mess with a proven formula? Your traditional Elimination Chamber match consists of six total competitors, four of which start off in locked pods. As time elapsed, the wrestlers would join the action until one superstar was left. It’s simple. It’s incredible. It’s a homerun of a concept. During a 2006 WWE/ECW crossover pay-per-view, December to Dismember, someone made the decision to give every locked up wrestler some form of a weapon. Dude, it’s total overkill. The Elimination Chamber IS A WEAPON. Did they not remember a few short years prior when Goldberg laid out Chris Jericho with one of the nastiest spears, through a pod no less? There was no need to add extra weapons. Another classic example of why you don’t mess with a good thing.
3. Asylum Match (2016)
Chris Jericho, to me at least, will go down as one of the greatest heels in the history of the sport. His portrayal of a condescending and egotistical jerk is truly one of the greatest characters to come out of WWE creative. In 2016, Jericho had a feud with Dean Ambrose. Ambrose’s character was basically a mentally unwell person with violent tendencies, burdened to roam the world with his best friend Mitch, a potted plant. Jericho killed Mitch, and needless to say, Ambrose wasn’t happy. The Lunatic Fringe himself challenged Y2J to an interesting spin on the traditional Steel Cage match. Weapons would be scattered throughout the walls of the cage. Compared to the previous two entries, the extra weapons helped sell the storyline of Dean Ambrose being absolutely batshit. This match was also the first to see thumbtacks used in WWE’s PG Era. I loved it. If fitting, I’d love to see it make a return.
2. The RAW Bowl (1996)
Vince McMahon has done more for this industry than anyone else on this planet. I’ll fight anybody who disagrees. He made some gutsy decisions throughout his tenure ad Chairman of the Board that springboarded World Wrestling Entertainment to where it is today. That’s not to say he hasn’t messed up along the way. A few major blunders were made, making it worthy of being its own article, but this one is downright silly. Anyone who follows wrestling knows McMahon has tried on two separate occasions to make the XFL a worthy competitor to the juggernaut that is the NFL. Those who follow wrestling also know both attempts fell quite flat. Other ideas have been implemented with the goal of getting new fans through the pigskin. Vince McMahon tried to capitalize on the handful of college bowl games. The RAW Bowl was a four team elimination match, where everyone was competing for the Steve Lombardi Trophy. You don’t have to be that adept on American football to know how obvious of a rip this is. The referees and wrestlers were both dressed up in football uniforms. There was a marching band. Hell, every team had one timeout. This bizarre crossover went so well that the match type was never used again, and hopefully stays that way.
1. Custody of Dominic Ladder Match (2005)
It’s amazing to me that the nine-year old version of me was convinced two wrestlers were fighting over the custody of a seven or eight year old boy. Eddie Guererro and Rey Mysterio would put on an incredible match, both fighting to get the suitcase containing adoption papers for Dominic. The match included some heart-tugging moments, like the young lad trying to push Guererro off the ladder, only to be attacked. Eventually, with the help of Vicki Guererro, Rey Mysterio would make it up the ladder, secure the briefcase, and embrace his new life as the luchador’s son. The craziest part of this storyline is that Dominic is the biological son of Mysterio. Dominic Mysterio is now one of my favorite heels in the company. He’s only 26, meaning, at least technically, he’s been in the industry on and off for 18 years. All jokes aside, I’d imagine every superstar fondly remembers their first appearance in the big leagues, but to be the subject of one of the most shocking plots in WWE history at such a young age… that’s something right there.
Getting back to the main point though, the plot was seen by many to be in poor taste, and hopefully the WWE doesn’t revive this terrible match format.
Well, that’s it. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it.