Wrestling is a weird and wonderful thing full of unique and quite frankly unbelievable matches – some of which we can’t believe happened!
Over the decades wrestling has us with a wide variety of wild matchups, odd opponents and bizarre stipulations some good, most bad, but all unbelievable. Beginning in the carnivals of old wrestling has always been presented as a larger-than-life special attraction that provides audiences with something unforgettable.
The same premise remains to this day with promoters booking the most outlandish matches they can to draw the attention of the fans and fortunately for this list but unfortunately for our eyes not all of them are hits.
For this list, we have scoured the internet, searched the memory banks and relived some of wrestling’s worst, wackiest and wildest matches to ever take place.
Here is our list of the 25 wrestling matches we can’t believe happened.
25. Jerry The King Lawler vs nZo – Casket Match
When we first saw that Jerry The King Lawler was facing nZo in not just a match but a Casket Match our collective WTF-o-meters went through the roof. The match caused quite a stir in the wrestling world due to the madcap nature of the stipulation and opponents involved.
At the age of 71, Lawler has competed in his fair share of off-the-wall bouts but his win over the former Enzo Amore at Northeast Wrestling’s Wrestlefest 25 in August of this year is most definitely up there.
The came about when nZo began running his mouth about not receiving a second chance from WWE when Lawler has received many. Speaking at the K&S Wrestlefest virtual signing, Lawler revealed how the match came together:
“It was crazy. nZo had been talking about – he’d been making these social media interviews about our match that was coming up and it was just gonna be a regular match, and all of a sudden, I get to hearing from some friends of some of the things nZo was saying.
“nZo had run his mouth about – you know, he was kind of throwing in a little bit of shade towards the WWE and he wanted to play off the fact that of course that I had the cardiac arrest and he said, ‘You know, Lawler got a second chance at life.
“I never got a second chance when I got fired from WWE. I didn’t get a second chance but The King did’ and he said, ‘I’m a little jealous of that fact.’ He said, so, ‘He’s not gonna get a third chance, when I finish him in the ring’ and he said he’d been studying Ox Baker’s ‘Heart Punch’ and he said, ‘I’m gonna finish Lawler off once and for all with this Heart Punch and he won’t have a third chance.
“So I heard those interviews and I called the promoter and I said, ‘You know what’d be kind of cool is why don’t we make this a Casket Match?’ And so, plus, you don’t have to actually beat anybody in a Casket Match.
“Somebody’s gonna get put in the casket and roll away and so, apparently, this is the funny thing; apparently Mike Lombardi, the Northeast Wrestling promoter, he calls up nZo and approaches him with the idea of making it a Casket Match and nZo says, ‘Oh my gosh, yeah. I own a casket.’ What? So Mike calls me back and says, ‘You know nZo owns a casket?’ I said, ‘Well that’s perfect.’ Sure enough, he pulled up in a truck with a casket behind him. So that’s how the Casket Match came about.”
24. The Rock vs The British Bulldog – Dog Poo Match – WWF Raw 1999
In 1999 the British Bulldog returned to WWE after his second stint in WCW. Smith turned heel shortly after his comeback and entered a brief feud with the Rock. In the lead up to their match at No Mercy the two crossed paths on RAW.
During the match, the partner of People’s Champion, Mankind brought a tray of dog faeces ringside, which spelt disaster for the Bulldog. The Rock planted the WWE Hall of Famer with a Rock Bottom into the pile of poo followed by a People’s Elbow to add insult to injury.
To make matters even worse it was later revealed that it was a tray of legitimate dog poo. In an interview with Heavy, the Bulldog’s daughter, Georgia Smith revealed that the Rock told her it was real faecal matter a few years later:
“It was real dog faeces and I didn’t know that… It was real and Rock actually told me that a few years ago and I was like ‘it was a fake!’ he was like, ‘no, it was real’ and he said ‘we could smell it from so far away and your dad was getting all ready for the match baby oil, pumping and stretching and he’s like ‘that’s dog shit! I’m gonna have to be Rock Bottomed in that?’ And he’s like ‘your dad’s face just fell, but you know he did it.'”
23. Dustin Rhodes vs Blacktop Bully – King of the Road Match – WCW Uncensored 1995
A match in the back of a moving truck is unbelievable, right? Wrong! In 1995 the former Axe of Demolition, Blacktop Bully battled it out with Dustin Rhodes in the first-ever King of the Road match.
Bully and Rhodes slugged it out among bales of hay while locked inside of a caged flatbed truck travelling along the road of Tupelo, Mississippi. The aim of the match was for either opponent to get from one end of the truck to the other and blow the horn to win.
What transpired was a lengthy and uncoordinated brawl, shoddy editing (note Rhodes’ disappeared/reappearing shirt) and a totally disinterested crowd. Plus both men were heavily fined and fired after the match for going against WCW’s strict no blood policy.
22. The Undertaker vs New Jack – Smokey Mountain Wrestling
Astounding as it may be but in 1995 The Undertaker faced New Jack in a match for Jim Cornette’s Smokey Mountain Wrestling promotion.
It was years before the two performers became legends of the business in their own right, but the fact that the Deadman clashed with one of wrestling’s most controversial acts during a time when WWF was a wholesome and family-friendly place is a match certainly listed in the unexpected category.
The Gangstas led by New Jack ran roughshod through SMW defeating all who stood in their way and then draping their victims in a Malcolm X flag. Cornette called in a favour from Vince McMahon and the Undertaker came in to settle the score.
At Bluegrass Brawl III The Undertaker accompanied Tracy Smothers to defeat New Jack, Mustafa Saed, and D’Lo Brown in a Three On Two Handicap Loser Salutes The Flag match. The match is utter chaos with interference galore and almost thrown out immediately. It ends with the Gangstas spray painting X on Bob Armstong before ‘Taker and Smothers clear house much to the delight of the crowd.
21. Reverse Battle Royale – TNA Bound For Glory 2007
TNA was renowned for the weird and whacky match stipulations. The King of the Mountain matches were over overly complicated ladder matches, Lethal Lockdown a PPV consisting entirely of cage matches among many other head-scratching stipulations.
However, there is one match in TNA that is so convoluted and clustered it shall forever remain in wrestling infamy. The Reverse Battle Royal took the tried and tested formula of the Battle Royal and well, reversed it (hence its title).
Wrestlers start on the floor and battle their way into the ring over the top rope. The first 10 to enter trigger the second stage of the match, which is a traditional battle royal with the wrestlers being eliminated until only two remain. Once the final two opponents the match becomes a regular one-on-one match. Confusing isn’t the word!
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) October 27, 2021
20. AJ Styles vs James Ellsworth – WWE SmackDown 2016
Back in 2016, James Ellsworth was a featured member of the SmackDown roster and astoundingly challenged AJ Styles for the WWE Championship not once, but twice. Styles was in a feud with Dean Ambrose over the title and Ellsworth became involved as a “comedic” nuisance for the champ.
AJ picked Ellsworth as an opponent for the easy win, however, SmackDown General Manager, Daniel Bryan revealed Ambrose would be Special Guest Referee. This led to Ellsworth beating Styles after Ambrose’s involvement and two Dirty Deeds.
Ellsworth went on to hold another two victories over Styles again with the help of Ambrose but the favour was not reciprocated when Ellsworth turned on the Lunatic Fringe at TLC as he wanted to defeat Styles for the WWE Championship himself.
By the time it came around the title match, Ellsworth’s novelty had worn off and thankfully Styles destroyed him in forty-five seconds mercifully ending the Ellsworth experiment.
19. Vince McMahon vs Stephanie McMahon – I Quit Match – WWE No Mercy 2003
Uncomfortable on so many levels this match saw legitimate Father and Daughter face off in a No Hold Barred I Quit match at No Mercy in 2003. The McMahon’s are a family who has experienced their fair share of feuds, but Vince and Stephanie’s issues over his relationship with Sable and the leadership of SmackDown resulted in the violent contest.
Vince used every one of his evil tendencies to torture his daughter, even jumping her from behind before the bell. Interference from Sable results in Linda pursuing her in a Benny Hill-esque chase around the outside of the ring. A catfight between the two ensues, which is both awkward and enthralling at the same time.
The match is a tough watch at times especially when a steel pipe got involved, which Vince used to beat and choke his daughter. Stephanie’s suffering was ended when her mother, who accompanied her to the ring, threw in the towel. The result wrote Stephanie off WWE television for nearly two years and allowed Vince full control of SmackDown.
The first-ever father vs. daughter match six days before my real life wedding? What could go wrong? Check out my @WWENetwork Collection & relive some of my favorite moments now: https://t.co/ZkMvU7XHnd#FlashbackFridaypic.twitter.com/ixIKxMhCSo
— Stephanie McMahon (@StephMcMahon) September 28, 2018
18. Buff Bagwell vs Kris Kanyon – Judy Bagwell On A Pole Match – WCW New Blood Rising 2000
Vince Russo’s WCW absurd booking resulted in one of the most infamous and downright unbelievable matches in wrestling history. Russo had a penchant for pole matches resulting in stipulations such as a chair, a pink slip and Viagra all hanging from a height in the corner of the ring.
During a heated rivalry, Kris Kanyon began stalking Buff Bagwell’s mother Judy, in order to achieve a mental edge on his opponent. Kanyon then kidnapped Buff’s mother, which led to the notorious Judy Bagwell On A Pole match.
To make the debacle even more bizarre the logistics of placing a human on a pole proved difficult and Judy was actually raised above the ring on a forklift truck! Kanyon addressed the situation in a pre-match promo:
“Everybody knows that this match is supposed to be a Judy Bagwell on a pole match but I searched this entire second rate country of Canada….but after searching this entire God forsaking country, I couldn’t find a pole that would hold that big fat battle-axe.”
Further still the pole stipulation, in which a wrestler has to climb the pole to retrieve the good was completely ignored resulting in a normal pinfall or submission match and therefore no need for Mother Bagwell to be elevated on a “pole” in the first place.
17. The Big Boss Man vs Al Snow – Kennel From Hell Match – WWF Unforgiven 1999
The match involved a steel cage enclosed in a Hell in a Cell with ravenous dogs patrolling the space in between. If either competitor should get caught between the two structures they would be torn apart by the hounds. Well, that is what was promised but what we got was several completely interested dogs that chose to piss, shit and shag instead of being in the match.
All this came about when the evil Boss Man killed Snow’s dog Pepper and fed it to him during a feud over the Hardcore Championship. In order to exact revenge Snow challenged the dog killer to a Kennel From Hell match.
The match itself is pretty bad with both fighters overshadowed by the ridiculousness of the defecating and fornicating canines. Speaking about the notoriously bad match, Al Snow revealed it was doomed from the start because the number one rule in entertainment, don’t work with animals:
“Number one, anyone in entertainment knows the two things you don’t work with are animals or children. Hell, even people in porn know that. You’re always going to get upstaged. Whether in a bad way or a good way you’re going to get upstaged.
“Two, you definitely do not work with animals unless they are HIGHLY trained animals. You literally have a situation where you make the entire story about the animals. Then you bring in animals that aren’t trained at all and then you wonder why it didn’t succeed.
“I’d have much rather done the Punjabi Prison. Let me tell you that would have been a lot easier and a lot more predictable then building a story around a bunch of animals that aren’t trained and just urinate, defecate and fornicate.”
16. Pat Patterson vs Gerald Brisco – Evening Gown Match – WWF King of the Ring 2000
The first-ever Intercontinental Champion and creator of the Royal Rumble vs one of wrestling’s toughest legitimate shooters Gerald Brisco battle it out for the Hardcore Champion at King of the Ring 200 in an Evening Gown match complete with knickers, bras, stockings and suspenders.
During the Attitude Era, the two wrestling legends were known as Vince McMahon’s stooges and were often put into humiliating positions but this was another level. It all started when they began feuding over the Hardcore title and in order to avoid being pinned backstage Patterson dressed as a woman and hid in the ladies dressing room.
The fight is a mess involving bananas and sanitary towels getting shoved in mouths, low blows and pantie assisted Bronco Busters. Speaking on Monday Mailbag with Gerry Brisco on AdFreeShows.com the WWE Hall of Famer disclosed what he thought about being involved in the Evening Gown match:
“I hated it. I blame Michael Hayes for that for coming up with the idea. Fast forward to the match. I’m sitting in the dressing room. I’m sitting there getting ready. I’m getting my pantyhose on. What a weird feeling that was. I did something that night I never thought I would ask a man to do in my life. I was sitting next to Triple H.
“I go over to him and say ‘Hunter will you do me a favor? I said I’m going to ask you a favor I never thought I would ask a man to do in my life.’ He said, ‘What’s that? I said, ‘Will you fasten my bra?’
“He said ‘Of course I will.’ He’s helping me get my bra looking right so when I go out in front of my millions and millions of fans out there that it will look like my boobs are balanced out. I hated it. Pat hated it. Pat kind of liked dressing like that but I hated it.
“I was helping coach a high school wrestling team at the time. I was walking in with my son and my son was embarrassed as hell because I was a man dressed as a woman on PPV. We had a big tournament somewhere and we had to walk into this high school gym and I could see all the kids over there pointing at me saying look at their coach.
“He was the guy dressed up as a girl. All the wrestlers, especially my son, were getting mad and wanting to beat up everybody in the gym. They were my bodyguards. It was great. It was a fun time.”
15. Vince Russo vs Booker T – Caged Heat Match – WCW Nitro 2000
Vince Russo was deemed as a creative genius during his time in WWE. However, when he took over WCW all of the good he did was undone with aplomb.
In an attempt to boost the Atlanta based company Russo inserted himself into the main angles and storylines. The result was disastrous, car crash television heavily focused on swerves and controversy. One such creative disaster was his WCW World Heavyweight Championship match against Booker T inside a steel cage or as WCW called it “Caged Heat”.
The match was an over-booked and chaotic mess that featured Mike Awesome, Sting, Lex Luger and Goldberg all involved for reasons ranging from illogical to pointless.
Not only did Russo, the man in charge of WCW book himself in the top angle of the show against the company’s top guy, but he booked himself to win the historic title also.
14. Hulk Hogan vs The Giant – Monster Truck Sumo Match – WCW Halloween Havoc 1995
WCW in the mid-nineties was a bizarre place and this match between Hulk Hogan and The Giant in which they drove two monster trucks battling it out on the rooftop of Cobo Hall is proof of that.
In an attempt to rid the world of Hulk Hogan and Hulkamania, Kevin Sullivan and his Dungeon of Doom secured the services of Andre the Giant’s son. After running over Hogan’s prized motorcycle with a monster truck the two would clash in a Monster Truck Sumo Match at Halloween Havoc.
The two wrestlers in personalised monster trucks locked grills and put pedal to the metal to force the other out of the ring. To higher the stakes the commentators made constant reference to the trucks falling off the roof or exploding at any moment killing the drivers.
After a back and forth struggle the Hulkster forced the Giant out of the circle to win. But the future Big Show exited his vehicle and attacked Hogan. They brawled on the rooftop before Hogan pushed the Giant off the roof seemingly committing murder.
Amazingly the Giant would appear just thirty minutes later completely unscathed and defeated Hogan in the main event for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship with help from the infamous Yeti.
13. The Undertaker vs The Dudley Boyz – Concrete Crypt Match – WWE Great American Bash 2004
The main event of WWE’s first-ever Great American Bash PPV saw The Undertaker facing the Dudley Boyz in a Two-On-One Handicapped Concrete Crypt Match.
What is a concrete crypt match you ask? Basically, it is a match with Paul Bear’s life on the line because if ‘Taker didn’t he would be drowned in a glass case full of cement.
In the lead up to this match, Paul Heyman goaded Bubba and D-Von to abduct the Undertaker’s longtime manager to make headlines. The ECW trio strapped Bearer to a chair in a glass tomb, into which concrete was intermittently poured.
The Undertaker destroyed the Dudley Boyz, while cement began to surround his manager. The Deadman then headed to save Bearer from his plight, but much to the confusion of the crowd, flicked the switch to engulf him further, essentially committing murder on live PPV.
12. Chamber of Horrors Match – WCW Halloween Havoc 1991
WCW’s run of disastrous cage matches is well known and for very good reason because matches such as the Chamber of Horrors is proof of the company’s weird and often times woeful metal encased outings.
The match placed Sting, The Steiner Brothers, and El Gigante against Cactus Jack, Big Van Vader, Abdullah the Butcher, and The Diamond Studd, which reads a solid group of competitors who are all capable of putting on or at least helping others through great matches. However this is truly awful and at times frankly unwatchable.
It was a disaster right from the start. The ring is surrounded by a chamber complete with several torture devices such as coffins, chains and an electric chair or as it is named here, the chair of torture. The aim of the game is put your opponent in the chair and turn the switch sending volts of electricity through their body.
The two teams brawl throughout the cage to varying degrees of claustrophobic calamity. At random times hooded figures emerge from caskets only to be dispatched easily. The action never levels up from slow brawling choke holds and few weapon shot thrown in for good measure.
Finally, the anti-climactic ending came when Cactus Jack electrocutes his own partner by mistake when Rick Steiner escapes the chair last second before throwing Abdullah the Butcher to his demise. As the hardcore legend convulsed the arena is filled sounds of electricity to end what has to be the least electric match in wrestling history.
11. Axel Rotten vs Ian Rotten – Tapai Death Match – ECW Hardcore Heaven 1995
Old-school ECW at its finest, and grossest. In 1995 the Rotten brothers chanelled their Tiger Tong Po in Kickboxer, taped their fists, glued broken glass to them and then punched each other in the head for seven brutal minutes.
The match is about a pretty as the competitor’s foreheads after the first glass infused punch but in true ECW style the ravenous and bloodthirsty fans lapped it up. Fists fly, glass slashes flesh and the blood pours in this gruesome yet historic match.
Devoid of any actual wrestling what actually happens is no more than a brawl one may witness outside of a bar on a Friday and Saturday night. Due to obvious reasons, the fight is not an easy watch and is recommended only for the hardcore fans among us and added to this list simply because of the unbelievable nature of what transpires in and around the blood-soaked ring.
10. Seth Rollins vs Rey Mysterio – Eye For An Eye Match – WWE Extreme Rules 2020
During the fever dream that was the WWE Performance Center era during the pandemic. Rey Mysterio and Seth Rollins were intertwined in a violent and brutal feud. The rivalry reached boiling point when Rollins attempted to severely injure Mysterio by forcing his eye into the corner of the steel ring steps.
His evil and twisted action led to the two having an Eye for an Eye match at The Horror Show at Extreme Rules. The match was a decent affair, with both Rollins and Mysterio pulling out all of the stops and hitting their signature moves.
The match will forever be remembered for the ending when Rollins would once against drive Rey Mysterio’s head into the steel steps. Rollins wouldn’t stop the assault and caused Mysterio’s eye to pop out of his head, causing Rollins to puke.
The spot was hugely controversial and widely ridiculed by many fans. However, the ending of the match is as memorable as it is absurd.
9. Kota Ibushi vs YOSHIHIKO – DDT Saitama Slam Special 2015
One of the best professional wrestlers in the world Kota Ibushi put his KO-D Openweight Championship on the line against YOSHIHIKO, who for those of you who are unaware is a blow-up sex doll. However, YOSHIHIKO is not your ordinary sex doll, it is a former Heavymetalweight champion.
DDT-Pro has a penchant for hosting out-of-the-box matches such as bouts in forests, swimming pools and in kayaks plus they have a myriad of whacked-out champions including Cocolo the miniature dachshund, a Joshi show poster, and a ladder.
For nearly twenty minutes Ibushi flings himself about the ring with passion, style and grace he is well known for but only to carry out his offence but to receive it also and he does with aplomb. The offence features multiple Canadian Destroyers, Dragon Suplexes, Piledrivers and that is just from YOSHIHIKO.
The action on display is daft, yes, but Ibushi’s ability to get an entertaining match out of a doll shows his talent from start to finish. The match is made all the better because the fans are engaged throughout buying into each and every move making it one of the craziest wrestling matches of all time.
8. The Mega Powers vs. The Alliance to End Hulkamania – Doomsday Cage Match – WCW Uncensored 1996
In 1996 after many failed attempts of ridding the world of Hulk Hogan, Kevin Sullivan’s Faces of Fear and The Four Horsemen joined forces to become The Alliance to End Hulkamania. The Alliance Arn Anderson, Kevin Sullivan, Lex Luger, Meng, Ric Flair, The Barbarian, The Ultimate Solution and Ze Gangsta.
The eight men grouped together to take out the duo of the Hogan and Savage in a triple-decker steel cage known as the Doomsday match with a different set of opponents on each level. Flair and Anderson at the top, Luger and Sullivan in one half of the second floor with Meng and Barbarian in the other while Z-Gangsta and Ultimate Solution waiting at the bottom.
Hogan and Savage join Flair and Anderson at the top of the cage and confusion begins. The action is slow and plodding with 75% of the offence being punches and no one really knowing what is actually going on. The two babyfaces stagger bout the cage aimlessly while the heel awaits their punishment. The fight goes from inside the cage to outside and back again before The Booty Man (Ed Leslie’s 19th WCW gimmick) brings in frying pans to level the odds.
The most illogical, nonsensical, and unintentionally comedic match of all time ends after 25 minutes leaving the crowd, commentators and viewers dumbfounded by what just transpired.
On his podcast, Arn Anderson spoke about the match and how the match was received both at the time and still to this day:
“It was just surrounding Hulk with as many monsters as he could possibly defeat. I don’t Hulk even realized at the time that the audience saw through it…..and again, Ric and I were tossed in there as cannon fodder. I don’t complain about it. I showed up every day at any company I worked for and whatever they want, that’s what they get.
“This is not about me. But you had a couple of professionals in there, and you had more people who were disinterested than not. You had a couple of people who were completely lost. And then you had a couple of babyfaces try to take advantage of that mass confusion and somehow get over. It didn’t, and it’ll be viewed in history as the streaming shits.”
7. Invisible Man vs Invisible Stan – GCW Joey Janela’s Spring Break 3 2019
Joey Janela’s Spring Break is known for its madcap matches but in 2019 it hosted a match so bizarre in premise but executed to perfection in reality – a hardcore match between two invisible opponents with AEW’s Bryce Remsburg controlling the narrative while the fully invested crowd eat up everything that happens in the ring.
It is top-level wrestling stupidity but in all of the absurdity, it highlights the magic of professional wrestling. GCW held invisible man matches in the past but they always had a physical opponent who would bump around the ring selling the offence of the transparent wrestler for comedic effect.
But this match is essentially a one-man show as Referee Remsburg takes the audience through action by reacting to every strike, move and even argues with the performers as the two invisible brothers trade blows, fight through the crowd, execute a balcony dive and a table spot.
Remsburg’s ability to portray the action in the ring through mime with the crowd reacting accordingly creates a special occasion that is undoubtedly ridiculous and easily one of the most unbelievable matches in wrestling history, however, it works and is good stupid fun if the viewer allows it to be.
6. Rey Mysterio vs Eddie Guerrero – Custody of Dominik Ladder Match – WWE SummerSlam 2005
In the world of wrestling, there is only one way to settle a custody battle and that is in a ladder match with custody papers hanging above the ring like a championship belt.
It is a match with a stipulation and outcome so bizarre it has lived long in the memories of wrestling fans. In the lead up to the match, Rey Mysterio had defeated Eddie Guerrero several times after their friendship dissolved over championship gold. Beyond frustrated, Guerrero began to play mind games with his foe and threatened to reveal a long-hidden secret.
Guerrero disclosed himself to be the biological father of Rey Mysterio’s son, Dominik. The dastardly Guerrero wanted custody of his son, but not for loving fatherly reasons, only to get one over on Mysterio. Of course, Mysterio was not going to let Guerrero take the boy he raised as his own.
So when SummerSlam rolled around, a briefcase with the custody papers for Dominick hangs above the ring. The first person to retrieve the briefcase wins the match and custody of Dominick.
Remembered much more for the storyline than the in-ring action it remains one of WWE’s most enduring matches.
During an episode of Out of Character Podcast with Ryan Satin, Dominick revealed that his classmates and teachers were fully sold into the angle:
“I would come back to school and all the teachers would be curious on what my home life was like because they didn’t know if my dad was my dad or Eddie was my dad or if there was this actual custody battle for me.
“Some of the teachers had to pull my mom aside or my dad aside when they’d come pick me up and ask them what’s the deal because they didn’t think it was healthy. Overall I think the kids were curious too like who my dad was but I had to tell them I’m pretty sure my dad is Rey Mysterio. They even had me hooked at one point like what’s going on here.”
Dominik even explained he was slightly confused by the storyline and thought he would have to go home and live with Eddie if he won the match.
“I don’t think I thought about it but I thought I would eventually go home with Eddie if he won. I genuinely thought I’d probably end up going home with him because I remember them telling me they wanted to do this storyline and my dad pitched it to me and I was all on board with it but I remember asking after like what’s going to happen afterwards.
“I remember thinking as a kid like what if my dad doesn’t win and I have to go home with Eddie? I never actually asked that but I thought about it. Personally, I would sit there and think about it.”
5. The Big Show vs Akebono – Sumo Match – WWE WrestleMania 21, 2005
The Big Show in a thong. Need I say more? No, but I will. In 2005 at the Grandest Stage Of Them All when WrestleMania went Hollywood, Big Show and Akebono went sumo. Sumo Grand Champion and first-ever non-Japanese Yokozuna, Akebono made his pro wrestling debut against the Big Show. Fought under sumo rules the two behemoths had to force the other out of the circle to be declared the winner.
Both wrestlers made elaborate entrances wearing Japanese robes as they made their way to the ring-turned-sumo circle. As per tradition, the referee purified the ring with salt prior to battle while the sumo-turned-wrestler and wrestler-turned-sumo did the same.
Upon the gyōji’s call, the giants slam together and begin a legitimate sumo wrestling match. There is no theatrics, no smoke and mirrors or WWE-ifying of the bout as that traded shoulder barges, palm strikes and lockups to get the better of each other.
After tussling for thirty seconds-or-so Big Show lifts the 500-pounder off his feet and toward the edge but Akebono’s sumo skills shine through and he tosses his opponent out of the circle and crashing to the floor.
Although over in under a minute, it most certainly is an interesting spectacle on a show created for such things and two superheavyweights going at it under sumo rules for the first and only time in WWE is a crazy and unbelievable exhibition.
4. New Jack vs Vic Grimes – Scaffold Match – XPW Freefall 2002
One of wrestling’s most infamous and notorious matches took place on February 23rd 2002 at XPW’s Freefall.
The match pitted ECW enemies New Jack and Vic Grimes against each other in a Scaffold Match and what transpired during it is one of the scariest bumps ever taken. This type of match is one of the riskiest in wrestling history but when the participants the New Jack and Grimes that risk is elevated beyond belief.
The former ECW madmen had a storied past and were often seen throwing themselves off heights that would make Spider-Man think twice. fgrvOne particular death-defying crash featured some hesitation from Grimes that resulted in him landing on New Jack’s head causing serious head trauma.
New Jack carried the grudge into the XPW match, which the promotion exploited to the fullest resulting in the former Gangsta legitimately attempting to kill his opponent.
In VICE’s Dark Side of the Ring series, New Jack admitted to trying to launch Grimes off the scaffold to the concrete floor outside and was disappointed that his victim crashed through one of the tables then hit the ropes. By some miracle, Grimes only suffered a dislocated ankle and was back wrestling two months later.
3. Kenny Omega vs Haruka – STARDOM 2011
Taking place at Korakuen Hall in front of a full house Kenny Omega competed against a nine-year-old girl named Haruka. The match is highly controversial due to the obvious age distance between the opponents and has felt the wrath of Jim Cornette and other old-school fans for years.
Omega had the obvious size and strength advantage over his young opponent but he heavily underestimated her speed, agility and in-ring prowess.
Haruka executed several moves on Omega including a Tornado DDT, a Tiger Feint Kick, and a top rope dive amongst others, which gives Omega haters countless rounds of ammunition to this day.
The match is an intriguing watch because of the dynamics of the battle and therefore an unbelievable spectacle.
Speaking on Talk Is Jericho in 2017, Omega explained the reason behind the match and how it came about:
“For whatever reason, when we were scouting talent and recruiting talent, in the beginners class, there was this little girl and I believe she was seven years old. And she was a huge wrestling fan and she was really jealous and heartbroken that all these girls were getting scooped [up] from the shoot boxing academy to become pro wrestlers because she was the biggest fan of them all.
“So they felt bad and they wanted to find something for her and so they had asked me because I had done some mix [gender] stuff before in Japan on the indies and said, ‘Kenny’s really good. He’s safe. He [has] helped some of our developing talents become better and maybe you could work with him for a couple of weeks and see if we can get you to a point where you could do something in the ring.’ And so, I said, ‘yeah, sure!’”
“They had said, ‘okay, well, on the day of your big show, we’re hoping that you could do an exhibition with her’ and it felt like time had moved to a standstill because I saw this grand opportunity in front of me where I could show everyone something special and something real fun and funny.
“But at the same time, it’s a huge risk because that’s a permanent black eye on your career. It’s possibly career suicide. If you hurt a girl in front of a huge, sold out crowd and then that goes online and you know how things work. And then, I just become a laughing stock if I wasn’t already. Do you know what I mean? But I think the positives outweighed the negatives.”
2. Atsushi Onita vs. Terry Funk – No Rope Exploding Barbed Wire Time Bomb Death – FMW 1993
Two crazy hardcore legends in one of the craziest matches ever created delivers twenty minutes of absolute insanity. Sure the type of match was nothing new, the FMW promotion was pretty much based around the deathmatch with the first-ever exploding one, held at FMW’s first Summer Spectacular event on August 4, 1990.
Other variations followed, such as an Exploding Barbed Wire Dynamite Pool Elimination Death Match, which is just as mad as it sounds, but none came anywhere close to the meeting of Onita and Funk. The match featured all of the trimmings expected in a barbed wire deathmatch but with one added ingredient, the ring exploded after 15 minutes!
45’000 fans filled Kawasaki Stadium to witness the spectacle that saw the two multi-time retired wrestlers hurl one another into the barbed wire with aplomb. After ten minutes of brawling and wince-inducing barbed wire-assisted violence, the alarms go off signalling the five-minute countdown to the explosion.
The two blood-soaked warriors swing wildly at each other in an attempt to finish the match and get of harms way before the bombs go off. Onita wins the match with time to spare but his fallen opponent is stranded. Onita ever the valiant soldier re-enters the battlefield to try and revive Funk with full-on slaps to the face and drag him out by his hair but it is too late so Onita has no choice but to cover and protect Funk from the explosion.
The crowd fall silent as the smoke clears and epic electric guitar wails around the stadium the two legends embrace and help each other out the ring. It is a fantastic moment at the end of the crazy and unbelievable battle.
1. Vince and Shane McMahon vs Shawn Michaels and God – No Holds Barred Tag Team Match – WWE Backlash 2006
The match that tops the list features the egomaniacal Vince McMahon and his son Shane going face-to-face with another egomaniac and Shawn Michaels. All joking aside, in 2006 Vince McMahon took it upon himself to make God – yes, THE God – a character in WWE.
God’s involvement in the match came about when McMahon ridiculed Michaels’ born-again Christianity. Vince and HBK began feuding in 2005 and saw the McMahon’s, eliminate Michaels from the Royal Rumble, re-enact the Montreal Screwjob, and clash in a No Holds Barred match at WrestleMania 22.
Michaels won their bloody brawl at WrestleMania 22 despite a tonne of interference. The following night on RAW he called his victory an act of God, which led to Vince ridicule Michaels’ and his religion before setting the match with God as HBK’s tag team partner.
The bonkers Backlash match begins with Vince McMahon cutting a promo on his opponents. He announces God as the ‘Hipster of Heaven’, ‘The Man Upstairs’ and hailing from the Kingdom of Heaven as Michaels’ partner for the night. The lights dim, angelic music plays and a spotlight follows an invisible figure down the ramp.
McMahon lambasts God’s slow entrance demanding he put more pep in his step and dance to the ring instead. Once the match got started it was highly-entertaining wrestling stupidity. Vince was on top unhinged form as he paraded about the ring trash talking God every chance he got.
The match became a two-on-one handicap when McMahon grabbed the mic and informed everyone that God had left the building and therefore allowed the father and son duo to double team, Michaels. After regaining control HBK dropped the McMahon’s through a table but The Spirit Squad interfered and took him out.
The match is unbelievable and goes down as WWE’s if not all of professional wrestling’s most unbelievable bout due to its absurd, controversial and in some circles offensive content but God’s partner Michaels although a devout Christian saw the funny side.
In 2015 Michaels spoke to the New Day a was asked about the angle and if the use of God caused any offence:
“No, it was not my idea. It was obviously Vince and creative. And, no, it never really bothered me. I guess, from my standpoint, it was so far over the top that it was absurd. I laugh at a lot of stuff. Humor and joy are a big part of our life. We, as a family, laugh a lot. We have a lot of fun. We poke fun at each other a lot.
“There were a lot of people who were offended by it. I’d never argue with people who thought it was stupid. Of course it was stupid. I’d also argue that there’s a lot of stuff in wrestling that we’d consider stupid. It can be a pretty silly job. I get it from the Christian standpoint.
“It’s one of those things that I still get in trouble from what I’d consider some purists or hoity toity Christians. But then there were others who thought just the fact that we were talking about it was pretty amazing. Who’da think it? I chose to look at it from that perspective.”