Wrestling is all about stipulations: “Falls Count Anywhere,” “Cagematch,” “Elimination Chamber.” When done correctly a match stipulation can add drama to a boring match, blow off a feud in a satisfying manner or let a face finally get revenge on a heel. Some stipulations, however, are not only illogical but worse….boring. Here are the five worst.
The point of a Scaffold Match is to throw your opponent off the scaffold and onto the ring 20 feet below. If wrestling weren’t pre-determined, these matches would last seconds. People get body slammed regularly, now you just have to body slam your opponent off a scaffold. The truth is that none of the athletes really want to hurt their fellow wrestlers or themselves and the scaffold tends to be narrow. Perhaps, the worst Scaffold Match was at Starrcade ‘86 When the Roadwarriors fought the Midnight Express. Both teams were uneasy on the scaffold and, because it was a tag match, there were four people up there. All four men stumbled around trying not to lose their balance, so the match was boring AND Jim Cornette took a bad fall off the scaffold permanently injuring his knee. Boring and dangerous? Bad combination.
Want to watch to amazing athletes stumble around the ring and not be able to make contact? Want to watch a lot of air punches? Then the Blindfold Match is for you. Two wrestlers are blindfolded and then spend an amazing amount of time just trying to lock up. The most famous of these is Jake Roberts Vs. Rick Martel. Martel had sprayed perfume in Jake’s eyes blinding him so once he got his sight back….he decided to wrestle his opponent blindfolded? It was illogical and stupefyingly boring.
Hog Pen Match:
The purpose of a Hog Pen Match is to throw your opponent into a pit of mud. That’s it. Much like the Scaffold Match moves like a back body drop or a body slam, done in every match, become impossible because it would end the match instantly. Instead, it becomes a shoving contest where both men try to shove the other into the mud. At least there’s an embarrassing titillation factor with women but watching Hunter Hearst Helmsley (Triple H) and Henry O. Godwinn wrestle in one of these is painful. It involved lost pushing, shoving and flailing of arms. The only memorable thing was HHH was being punished at the time (see next week’s article on in-ring punishments), and he was forced to job to Godwinn and take a mud bath.
Shark Cage Match:
This match has been refined so that when someone keeps interfering they are locked in a shark cage above the ring. This isn’t a terrible stipulation although the heel in the cage almost always manages to interfere anyway. The original Shark Cage match was to have to have two guys wrestle in a very very tiny cage. There really isn’t room for them, so it ends up being just a lot of choking. The most notable match is Chief Jay Strongbow Vs. Bulldog Don Kent. Kent kept on running from Strongbow, and Strongbow claimed that a normal cage would be too easy to escape from thus a shark cage. You can watch the entire match on YouTube, but I don’t recommend it.
Pole Matches are rarely good. Early on the idea was to put a weapon on a pole and whoever got the weapon first could use it in the match. Not a terrible idea but watching big men trying to climb a pole is usually not that exciting. There have been however some good Coal Miner Glove matches, and Singapore Cane matches even though they aren’t the norm. Then some genius booker got the idea to replace a weapon with….anything else. I have to give two bad example of this as I couldn’t decide which is worse.
The first was a Viagra on a Pole match between Shane Douglas and Billy Kidman. Both men claimed to have slept with Torrie Wilson, but the claim was that one of them couldn’t have because….you know…I’m going to stop right there. It was an awful match with two athletes battling over medicine.
The second is, The Judy Bagwell on a Pole match. So, Buff Bagwell’s real-life mother Judy was on a forklift and, Buff Bagwell was wrestling Kanyon for her, the first wrestler to get to her won the match and Judy. Firstly, a forklift is not a pole, and it wouldn’t have made the match stupider to call it a Judy Bagwell on a Forklift Match. Secondly, neither man wanted to be anywhere near this match and wrestled with no enthusiasm. Thirdly, David Arquette, yes the actor, interfered for no reason and fourthly if Kanyon HAD won he would have owned a human being. Just terrible.
In the end, wrestling is all about the suspension of disbelief. When a match makes no logical sense AND is boring, it just breaks the whole idea of professional wrestling.