Many types of wrestling matches, sometimes called "concept" or "gimmick matches" in the jargon of the business, are performed in professional wrestling. Some gimmick matches are more common than others and are often used to advance or conclude a storyline. Throughout professional wrestling's decades long history, some gimmick matches have spawned many variations of the core concept.
The singles match is the most common of all professional wrestling matches, which involves only two competitors competing for one fall. A victory is obtained by pinfall, submission, knockout, countout, or disqualification. Some of the most common variations on the singles match is to restrict the possible means for victory.
A Duchess of Queensbury Rules match is a singles match contested under specific, often undisclosed rules is replaced by a title usually meant to sound traditional for one combatant. A wrestler challenging another wrestler to a match to be contested under some kind of rules without going into any detail, then making up rules in their favor as the match progresses and feeding them to the ring announcer. This match type was first occurred at Backlash (2001) pay-per-view between Chris Jericho vs. William Regal which Regal won despite the rule settings.
A Knockout match is a singles match where a wrestler must force his opponent to “pass out” to the other wrestler/wrestlers in a submission hold. To determine if a wrestler has passed out, the referee usually picks up and drops his hand. If it drops to the mat or floor three consecutive times without the wrestler having the strength to hold it up, the wrestler is considered to have passed out. If the wrestler has passed out, the opponent then has lost by knockout. A wrestler can also win by technical knockout if the competitor does not resort to submission holds, but stills pummels his opponent to the point that the competitor is completely out cold. To check for a knockout in this manner a referee would wave his/her hand in front of the wrestlers' face and, if the wrestler does not react in any way, the referee would award the victory to the other wrestler.
A No Count-Out match is a singles match in which both competitors can stay outside of the ring without being counted out or stay outside of the ring longer than the standard amount of time. An well known example is at Vengeance (2003) between Stephanie McMahon and Sable, which Sable won.
A No Surrender match is a singles match with the "No Surrender" stipulation added, meaning that neither competitor would be permitted to submit in the match. TNA had a main event at the TNA No Surrender 2005 pay-per-view for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship between Raven and Abyss.
A One Sided Rules match is a singles match where one of the competitors cannot be disqualified or counted out, while the other opponent can. This stipulation can give the other opponent a serious disadvantage to win. One example of this match took place at The Horror Show at Extreme Rules in 2020 between Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre, in which the latter won despite having the disadvantage. Another example was Carlito vs. Triple H at 2007's Unforgiven in a no disqualification match where the no-disqualification rule applied only to Carlito where, despite this advantage, Carlito lost.
An Pinfall match (also known as Pinfall Only) is a singles match where only a pinfall are permitted inside the ring to win. There are no submissions, no disqualifications, and no countouts in this match.
The Pure Wrestling Rules match was most commonly appearing in Ring of Honor (ROH). A singles match where each wrestler is allowed only three rope breaks. Once they are all used up, the wrestler cannot use the ropes to escape pins or submissions. Closed fists are illegal, and using them will cause the wrestler to be penalized a rope break – if he/she is out of rope breaks, he/she will be disqualified.
An Time Limit match is a singles match contested at a allotted time limit until the wrestler achieves an victory or the time reaches zero, resulted as an official draw. Sometimes, a match that ends in an draw will ruled as a "no contest" before there is an winner or disqualification occurred.
Some matches are based on different attire where competitors must wear specific outfits, reduced clothing, or blindfolds.
In a Blindfold match, the two participants must wear a blindfold over their eyes for the entire duration of the match. A well-known example of this match is the WrestleMania VII match between Jake "The Snake" Roberts and Rick Martel.
Women's match types include those in which women wrestle in less clothing. This may include bikinis (Bikini match), lingerie (Lingerie match), wet clothing (Wet and Wild match), or no clothing (matches in the Naked Women's Wrestling League).
In a Trading Places match, the two participants must dress up as each other. In addition to dressing up as the other, a participant also uses the other's entrance theme as his own.
The battle royal is a multi-competitor match type in which wrestlers are eliminated until only one is left. Typical battle royals begin with 20 or more participants all in the ring at the same time, who are then eliminated by being thrown over the top rope and having both feet touch the venue floor.
Main article: Battlebowl
The Battlebowl is a two-ring variation on a battle royal, the wrestlers start in one ring and try to throw wrestlers into the second ring, after which they can be eliminated by being thrown out of that ring. The last remaining wrestler in the first ring can rest until only one wrestler is left in the second ring, after which they fight in both rings until one is eliminated and a winner is declared, in similar fashion to a double elimination tournament. This was held by World Championship Wrestling at the 1991 Starrcade event, but future Battlebowl matches were contested under normal battle royal rules.
The battle zone features any number of men in one ring over the top rope elimination. Typical battle royal, except this one features tables covered with barbed wire, thumbtacks, and light bulbs on the outside of the ring, which may catch wrestlers as they are thrown out of the ring.
The National Wrestling Alliance's (NWA) Bunkhouse Stampede involved wrestlers wearing what was described as "bunkhouse gear"—cowboy boots, jeans, T-shirts—instead of their normal wrestling tights and not only allowed but encouraged the bringing of weapons. In 1988 the NWA named a pay-per-view after the Bunkhouse Stampede, headlined by a Bunkhouse Stampede match held inside a cage.
The Fulfill Your Fantasy is a women's battle royal with the addition of fetish outfits, such as a French maid, lingerie, nurse, schoolgirl, etc. Often the type of outfit is chosen by an audience poll.
A battle royal with hardcore rules (no disqualifications and no count-outs) involving several competitors in the ring at the same time. The match could last for either 15 or 20 minutes. All participants are not eliminated by being thrown out of the ring and both feet touching the floor. Pinning or forcing to submit whomever was current Hardcore champion would result in the victorious participant becoming the interim champion. Whoever the person held the title at end of the time limit would be declared the winner of the match and the official champion.
A Last Blood battle royal is essentially a multi-competitor First Blood match. All competitors start at the same time and wrestlers are eliminated when they start bleeding. The winner is the last wrestler in the match not bleeding. This match was held in the Tri-State Wrestling Association, a predecessor to Extreme Championship Wrestling.
Generally used in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, a reverse battle royal begins with wrestlers surrounding the ring instead of inside it. At the start of the match they battle for half of them to get into the ring, at which point a standard last person standing wins the battle royal. The Cage Reverse Battle Royal is another TNA variation of this match type. This actually has three stages. It begins as an inside-out battle royal with 15 or more wrestlers involved. The first 7 to enter the ring over the top cage go to the second stage which is a Gauntlet Match. When it gets down to the final two wrestlers, the match is decided by pinfall or submission.
A semi-final battle royal consists of a battle royal where when a specific number of wrestlers are remaining, the match ends, and those that remain are placed in a standard wrestling match for the prize at stake.
In All Elite Wrestling, it is known as a Dynamite Dozen Battle Royal, as twelve competitors compete until it is reduced to two, and there is a subsequent episode where the final two compete, in this case, "AEW Dynamite Diamond Ring".
In New Japan Pro-Wrestling, the 2021 New Japan Rumble at Wrestle Kingdom 15 was conducted as a semi-final battle royal. Chase Owens, Bad Luck Fale, Tetsuya Bushi, and Toru Yano were the final four that competed in a championship match the next day.
The tag team battle royal consist of designated tag teams of wrestlers, (usually) two members on the team. This match uses the normal battle royal rules, teams may be eliminated when either one or both partners are thrown over the top rope, depending on the stipulation. This match is conducted similarly to a battle royal. In most cases both wrestlers are considered active at the same time and there are no tags, as in a tornado tag team match.
The Thunderbowl is another variation of Battlebowl involves 100 wrestlers split into 50 in two rings. The only way to be eliminated is to be thrown over the ropes. No matter how and where you hit, whether its apron, floor or barricade you are also eliminated. When 25 wrestlers are left in each ring stage 2 begins. This 2nd stage is when all 50 wrestlers get into one ring and there is no elimination. After a 5-minute period, the match turns into a Battle Royal where elimination is gained by throwing your opponent over the ropes and to the floor. When 5 wrestlers remain stage 3 begins. This 3rd stage then turns into a 5-Way match where pinfall and submission will eliminate an opponent. When 2 wrestlers are left, the match turns into a last man standing where KO is legal.
The TNA Knockout Makeover will begin as the multi-women over-the-top elimination battle royal. They are eliminated from the match if they are thrown over the top rope and both feet land on the floor, until the final two competitors are left. The final two competitors will face each other in a ladder match, where the winner will receive a TNA Knockout Championship match, while the runner-up will have her head shaved.
A women's battle royal is one which features female competitors. This variant may allow women to be eliminated by being thrown through or under the ropes as well as over the top rope. A Divas battle royal in the WWE is another battle royal variation consisting of all female compeitors. The battle royal is mainly aimed at either the Women's title, a contenders opportunity at the title, or some sort of theme mainly used to entertain the crowd by having the divas wear various skimpy outfits. As stated by Jonathan Coachman on February 20, 2006, edition of RAW, during a contender's Divas battle royal, a participant is eliminated when they go through the ropes in addition to going over the top rope, as opposed to a males battle royal in which they must go over the top rope.
Main article: WCW World War 3
Created by World Championship Wrestling in 1995, the World War 3 battle royal involved a three-ring setup and 60 competitors. 20 wrestlers started in each of the 3 rings in which they would wrestle under regular battle royal rules. Once there were 30 competitors remaining (except in 1997, where the number was 20), all competitors would enter the center ring and continue under regular rules until only one wrestler was left standing.
A cinematic match is not technically a match type itself, but rather, it is a term used to refer to matches that are produced with various cinematic techniques. The rules vary from match to match, but generally have a basis in hardcore wrestling. Unlike a normal wrestling match, which is done in one take and typically in front of a live audience, cinematic matches are shot over several hours with various scenes filmed, similar to filmmaking, with higher-budget production involved. The final product (the complete match) generally lasts from 20 to 40 minutes and airs at a later time, typically for a pay-per-view event. They are also usually filmed on-location or at a custom built set.
While not considered a cinematic match at the time, the Hollywood Backlot Brawl between Roddy Piper and Goldust at WrestleMania XII in 1996 is considered an early cinematic match by the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE), as it used techniques now featured in cinematic matches. Unlike future cinematic matches (which typically air during one segment), the match aired during several segments in between matches inside the ring, and featured both pre-taped segments outside the Arrowhead Pond of the two fighting as well as Piper "chasing" Goldust's solid gold Cadillac in a white Ford Bronco in an obvious reference to the then-ongoing O. J. Simpson murder case. (Vince McMahon mentioned on commentary without completely breaking kayfabe that the "footage looked awfully familiar"; in reality, repurposed footage of Simpson's infamous Bronco chase was actually used as part of the match.) The match eventually ended in the ring live, when Piper stripped Goldust down to women's lingerie and kissed him as part of "making him a man".
It would be another twenty years before cinematic matches gained popularity when in 2016, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA, now Impact Wrestling) held a match entitled the "Final Deletion" between brothers Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy for the July 5 episode of Impact Wrestling, which was filmed at Matt Hardy's compound. It was a hardcore wrestling match with falls count anywhere. The sequel was a brawl between The Broken Hardys and Decay titled "Delete or Decay". The Broken Hardys and Decay continued their feud at Bound for Glory, where Decay lost their TNA World Tag Team Championship to The Hardys in "The Great War". The Hardys issued an open tag team invitational at their compound on December 15 episode of Impact Wrestling, titled Total Nonstop Deletion. The main event was the "Tag Team Apocalypto" where The Hardys last defeated Decay.
Although not contested as a match, WWE followed this up shortly after and filmed a cinematic-style brawl between The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods) and The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan, and Braun Strowman) that was held at The Wyatt Family Compound and shown on July 11, 2016, episode of WWE Raw. WWE then taped their own cinematic match for their 2017 pay-per-view Payback, called a House of Horrors match between Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt. Similar to the "Final Deletion" match in TNA, this one was held at an abandoned house, but instead of falls count anywhere, this match had to end in the ring in the arena that the event was held in (the House of Horrors scenes were pre-taped, while the in-ring portion was live). The next cinematic match would occur on March 19, 2018, episode of Raw, which featured Matt Hardy, who had returned to WWE and became "Woken" Matt Hardy, against Bray Wyatt and was called the "Ultimate Deletion;" this was just like the "Final Deletion," including being held at Matt's compound.
Cinematic matches became more frequent in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; the pandemic began affecting the professional wrestling industry in March that year, forcing promotions to hold events behind closed doors. WWE would hold several cinematic matches at their pay-per-views between March and August, being highly praised for the two that occurred at WrestleMania 36; a Boneyard match between The Undertaker and AJ Styles, which was a Buried Alive match held at a custom built cemetery set in the Orlando area, and a Firefly Fun House match between John Cena and "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt. (Although the match ended with The Fiend pinning Cena in a ring, the match itself was a dream-like sequence of Cena's career, showing his perceived character flaws; the various segments were filmed at WWE's Titan Towers headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut). Following this, cinematic matches occurred at Money in the Bank in May, which was the event's eponymous ladder matches that occurred at WWE's headquarters, a Backlot Brawl between Adam Cole and Velveteen Dream in the parking lot of Full Sail University at NXT TakeOver: In Your House in June, a cinematically produced singles match between Edge and Randy Orton at Backlash also in June, and a Wyatt Swamp Fight between Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman at The Horror Show at Extreme Rules in July. Since the introduction of the WWE ThunderDome and Capitol Wrestling Center (CWC) staging arenas in August and October, respectively, cinematic matches have been minimally produced by WWE, as these new staging arenas allow fans to attend the events virtually. To go with the Halloween-theme at NXT: Halloween Havoc in October, a Haunted House of Terrors match was held between Dexter Lumis and Cameron Grimes, which was similar to the House of Horrors match from Payback 2017. Matches involving Randy Orton, "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt, and Alexa Bliss have also used cinematic techniques, such as the Firefly Inferno match between Orton and The Fiend at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs in December, where Orton set The Fiend's entire body on fire, and an intergender match between Orton and Bliss at Fastlane in March 2021, where Bliss used supernatural powers.
All Elite Wrestling (AEW) has also incorporated cinematic matches, most notably the Stadium Stampede match at Double or Nothing 2020, which was a 5v5 empty arena match in the TIAA Bank Field stadium. Since then, they have had at least one cinematic match at each of their PPVs: a "Tooth and Nail match" at All Out 2020 between Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. and Big Swole at Baker's real-life dental office, a match entitled "The Elite Deletion" at Full Gear 2020, featuring Matt Hardy against Sammy Guevara and similar to the other deletion matches involving Hardy, and a tag team Street Fight pitting Darby Allin and Sting against Team Taz (Brian Cage and Ricky Starks) at Revolution 2021, which was held at an abandoned warehouse somewhere in Atlanta, Georgia. The 2021 Stadium Stampede match was a hybrid cinematic match with the first half taking place at TIAA Bank Field, then concluding live at Daily's Place a few days later. Viewers watched the first half of the match on the big screen television before the action spilled into the amphitheater.
Impact Wrestling would also return to producing cinematic matches in 2021 when Ethan Page wrestled his alter ego "The Karate Man" at Hard to Kill in a Mortal Kombat–style cinematic match that saw The Karate Man "kill" Page in what would be Page's last appearance with Impact before leaving for AEW.
Some matches have a container stationed in or near the ring, with the object of the match being to trap the opposing wrestler in it. All of these matches are fought under hardcore rules, and many of these matches take the name of the container, such as Ambulance match and the Casket match. A similar type of match aims to restrain opposing wrestlers somehow, and the match often takes the name of the restraining device – for example, the Stretcher. None of these matches can end in a pinfall, submission, countout, or disqualification.
Common containers used for these matches are caskets (connected to The Undertaker's Deadman persona, either using a typical coffin or a double-deep, double-wide casket, sometimes specially designed for specific opponents The Undertaker takes on), ambulances, dumpsters, hearses (known as a "Last Ride match", also connected to The Undertaker gimmick), and stretchers.
An Ambulance match is fought under hardcore rules, no pinfalls, no submissions, no disqualifications, no countouts and the only way to win is for one wrestler to force their opponent into the back of an ambulance and close the door. There have only been five known Ambulance Matches in WWE. The first one took place at Survivor Series 2003 where Kane defeated Shane McMahon. The second one took place at Elimination Chamber (2012) which also involved Kane as one of the competitors. His opponent was John Cena, who won the match, where an additional rule was added in that the ambulance has to leave to win. The third Ambulance match was part of Three stages of Hell match at WWE Payback on June 16, 2013, in Rosemont, Illinois between John Cena and Ryback for the WWE Championship.
A Buried Alive match is in which the object is for one wrestler to throw his opponent into a grave dug out of a large mound of soil placed outside the ring. Once in the grave, the wrestler must bury his opponent in soil to the referee's discretion. Equipment ranging from shovels and wheelbarrows to bulldozers are often made available to completely bury the opponent. The Buried Alive match is one of two of The Undertaker's signature matches.
A cinematic Buried Alive match was held between The Undertaker and AJ Styles for WrestleMania 36, referred to as a "Boneyard match" . The match took place outdoors in a cemetery-like setting near an abandoned warehouse, rather than in a traditional ring.
The casket match (originally known as the coffin match) has a casket near the ring, with the objective of the match being to trap the opposing wrestler in it. The casket match began its life as a one-off coffin match in the 1970s fought between Dusty Rhodes and Ivan Koloff. The coffin match was revived by The Undertaker and first appeared on television at the Survivor Series as the coffin match against Kamala. Prior to that, on July 14, 1991, the Ultimate Warrior defeated the Undertaker in a casket match in St. Louis, Missouri at Busch Stadium. This is one of The Undertaker's signature matches, and 17 casket matches have taken place, 11 of which have been won by The Undertaker. In addition to WWE, the casket match has recently been adopted for use in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling and Lucha Underground, with Lucha Underground denominating it as the Grave Consequences (subsequently Graver Consequences) match. Another toned-down version of the Casket Match is when a victory is not obtained by placing the opponent in the coffin but by pinfall or submission. However, the defeated wrestler is then placed into the coffin.
The Last Rites match is a TNA variation where a casket is lowered into the center of the ring, and the objective is to get your opponent into the casket, which is raised to the ceiling following the match. Only one Last Rites match was done, between Sting and Abyss. Vince Russo came up with this match, the match was perceived to be a disaster because neither wrestler could work properly due the placement of the casket in the ring, which limited and obstructed their work space. The match went over so badly that during the match, the enraged crowd screamed "Fire Russo!" so loudly that the commentators had to yell into their microphones to be heard.
A dumpster match is a no-disqualification, no-countout, no-fall match which is won by forcing your opponent into a dumpster and closing the lid. The first one was at WrestleMania XIV, pitting The New Age Outlaws against Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie.
A Last Ride match is a hardcore match in which the victory condition is for one wrestler to force their opponent into the back of a hearse, close the door, and drive it out of the arena. The first match of this type occurred at No Mercy when The Undertaker challenged John "Bradshaw" Layfield for the WWE Championship, although a match was held previously with similar stipulations.
In the stretcher match, one wrestler must incapacitate their opponent to such an extent that they are able to get them onto a stretcher and roll them to the finish line; usually past a line at the top of the entrance ramp. The first match of this type was different as a wrestler lost if after being pushed out of the ring, four medics were able to load him on a "carry" stretcher, pick him up all the way, and start walking out with him.
Some matches take place in specific enclosed environments. Although the majority of these enclosures are set up either in or around the ring, some of them are placed apart from it. In all cases, the structure itself is considered "in play" and most enclosure-based matches are decided by pinfall or submission unless specific other stipulations are made beforehand.
Steel cages are one of the oldest form of enclosures used in professional wrestling. The earliest known "steel cage matches" of any kind took place on January 9, 1936, in Caruthersville, Missouri, in a card that included two such "chicken wire fence" matches between Jez and Otto Ludwig, and Joe Dillman vs. Charles Sinkey. These matches took place in a ring surrounded by chicken wire, to keep the athletes inside, and prevent any potential interference. They have evolved a great deal over time, changing from chicken wire to steel bars to chain-link fencing (the latter is now the standard, due to it being cheaper to manufacture, lighter to transport, and more flexible and thus safer for the wrestlers).
A steel cage match is a match fought within a cage formed by placing sheets of mesh metal around, in, or against the edges of the wrestling ring. The most common way of winning is by simply escaping the cage, either over the top of the cage wall and having both feet touch the arena floor, or by escaping through the cage door with both feet touching the arena floor. The other occasional ways to win a steel cage match are by pinfall, by submission, though these are less common stipulations in the modern era, an even less likely stipulation is that weapons can be thrown into the ring by the wrestlers' managers. Another variation of this match is the Final Wars Steel Cage which starts off with two wrestlers brawl inside a steel cage for usually 15 or 30 minutes with the other wrestlers entering at a timed interval to help out one of the opponents for a victory.
It is possible to have one wrestler attempting to escape over the top of the cage wall while another tries to escape through the cage door. In Mexico, steel cage matches are won by just climbing to the top of the cage wall. In TNA's Impact Wrestling's past, the matches were often called "six sides of steel" as the cage surrounded their six-sided ring. WWE also uses the "classic blue cage" during the heights of the Attitude Era.
The Asylum match is the name given to two different types of matches, both involving an chain link cage in the shape of a circle placed in the middle of the ring.
The first Asylum match type was a match created by Scott Steiner in WCW, held within a small chain link cage in the shape of a circle placed in the middle of the ring. Victory occurred only by submission.
On May 16, 2016, a second type of Asylum match was introduced and scheduled between Dean Ambrose and Chris Jericho at Extreme Rules, a variation to the steel cage match where weapons are suspended above the cage and escaping the cage is not a means of victory, leaving only pinfall or submission.
On August 10, 2019, a third type of Asylum match, which also included a barbed wire steel cage stipulation (a type of match where the steel cage door is locked with chains and a padlock) was introduced after Adam Cole and Johnny Gargano tied one to one after a normal match and a no holds barred match at NXT TakeOver: Toronto (2019) where weapons are connected to the steel cage and barbed wire on the top.
A barbed wire steel cage match is a match that uses strands of barbed wire in a steel cage match in some capacity, usually around the top of the cage. Simply using barbed wire in an otherwise regular steel cage match does not make the match a barbed wire steel cage match; the barbed wire must be part of the cage's design. This type of match is one where escape from the cage is almost impossible, because in addition to the barbed wire preventing escape over the top of the cage, the cage's door is also locked with chains and a padlock, like a Hell in a Cell match. One particular example was John "Bradshaw" Layfield vs. Big Show at No Way Out 2005 where in addition to the barbed wire there was also razor wire wrapped around the top of the cage in a circular fashion; and another example was Adam Cole vs Johnny Gargano at NXT TakeOver: Toronto 2019 where in addition to the barbed wire and the chain-locked door, various weapons were made available at the top of the cage; this cage however did not have razor wire.
Other variations are the razor wire steel cage match, a similar concept to that of the barbed wire cage match, however the barbed wire is replaced by razor wire and is wrapped around the top, corners, and walls of the cage, and barbed wire razor wire steel cage match is the same as the barbed wire cage match, however the top, corners, and walls of the cage are covered with barbed wire, then also further covered with razor wire.
Main article: CZW Cage of Death
The Cage of Death match is type of steel cage match with various weapons littered in the cage, such as electrified cage walls, cacti, tables, light tubes, glass, thumbtacks, baseball bats, barbed wire and numerous other weapons and objects have been used in it. This match always features as the main event of CZW's biggest show, Cage of Death.
In TNA, the chamber match starts off between two wrestlers (or up to 6) fighting inside a chamber. Wrestlers who were not involved in the match surrounded the chamber. About 5 minutes into the match, the outside wrestlers throw weapons into the chamber. This match only ends when one wrestler knocks out his opponent.
The cage-based match, came from Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling (ECCW), in which the 8-feet-high steel cage which surrounds the ringside area with the top wrapped in barbed wire and "extreme" weapons scattered around the ring and ringside area. Disqualifications, count-outs and rope-breaks do not apply. The winner is decided by pinfall, submission or being unable to stand up at 10-count.
A Chamber of Horrors match was an enclosed steel cage match between two teams of four men. In the middle of the cage there was a smaller cage with an electric chair connected to a lever. The way to win this match is to put the opponent in the chair and switch the lever on (which was attached to the outer cage and 6 feet off the ground), so as, in kayfabe, the person is electrocuted. This match was used in WCW only once, with Abdullah the Butcher being electrocuted accidentally by his teammate Cactus Jack after being placed in the chair at the last second by Rick Steiner.
A Dixieland match (named for TNA President Dixie Carter, who "invented" the match) is a hybrid steel cage/ladder match. The wrestlers start the match in the ring enclosed in a steel cage. To win the match, a wrestler must first climb out of the cage, then go up the entrance ramp where a championship belt is hung from the ceiling, and finally climb a ladder to retrieve the belt. The first match of this type occurred during the Impact Wrestling: Final Resolution taping on December 3, 2013, as Magnus defeated Jeff Hardy to become TNA World Heavyweight Champion.
Also called a Tower of Doom, the Doomsday Cage is a three-story cage – the middle one split into two rooms – all of which house wrestlers. The object of the match is for a team of wrestlers to fight their way from the top cage to the bottom, where pinfalls and submissions come into play. In the later days of WCW, it was referred to as a Triple Decker Cage match, a reference to the match type being used in the finale of the film Ready to Rumble. The most notable match of this type occurred at WCW's Uncensored event in 1996, when Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage fought Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Meng, The Barbarian, Lex Luger, Kevin Sullivan, Z-Gangsta, and The Ultimate Solution.
The Doomsday Chamber of Blood match was created by Abyss, even though he was never known as a creative genius; however this match came from the mind of the monster. This match is a lethal combination of the Barbed Wire Cage, Six Sides of Steel, and Sadistic Madness. The cage has a barbed wire roof on top. This match can be won by making your opponent bleed first then pin your opponent only. Matt Morgan and Abyss competed in one of these matches at TNA's Lockdown (2009) pay-per-view.
The Electricfied Cage match is a match where the ring is surrounded by an electrified steel cage. The cage can be also used as a weapon. The only way to win is by pinfall or submission. The Lucha en Jaula Electrificada is another variation of the electrified cage match which the only way to win is by escape. The cage is turned off in a time interval, allowing the participants a chance at escape before it turns back on. Used by the AAA promotion in Mexico.
Main article: Elimination Chamber
The Elimination Chamber (known as No Escape in Germany to avoid a potential brand blunder over references of gas chambers in The Holocaust), which was the result of an idea by Triple H and introduced by Eric Bischoff for WWE in 2002, is a steel cage with a grid-locked, chain-linked enclosure with support bars that surrounds the ring entirely, including creating a steel grated (later padded) floor area on the apron. Inside the cage, at each turnbuckle, is a clear pod in which competitors in the match wait to join the match. As the name implies, this is an elimination-style match, so wrestlers are eliminated one-by-one via pinfall or submission until only one remains.
An Extreme Elimination Chamber took place at the 2006 December to Dismember pay-per-view, where each waiting wrestler was given a weapon. Since 2010, WWE has held an eponymous Elimination Chamber pay-per-view every February, with this match type as one of its marquee matches. At its 2018 edition, the first-ever women's Elimination Chamber match was held, as well as the first seven-man Elimination Chamber match.
A variation of a cage match where the ring is surrounded by a steel cell rather than ropes and turnbuckles, with a catwalk surrounding the top. The catwalk has metal railings surrounding the outer edge, which the wrestlers can climb up to and jump from. The match also has a no-pinfall stipulation, which means it can only be won by submission or being unable to stand up at a 10-count. The inaugural fight pit match was held during the May 27, 2020, episode of NXT, between Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher (with Kurt Angle as a guest referee).
Main article: Hell in a Cell
A specific kind of enclosure match run by WWE inside a 4-sided cuboid made from open-weave steel mesh chain-link fencing, which extends beyond the ring apron, leaving a gap between the edge of the ring and the cell wall. As opposed to a conventional steel cage, the cell fencing continues across the top, hence the name 'Cell'. Unlike a standard cage match, there is no escape clause because the door of the Cell is locked with chains and a padlock from the outside by referees to prevent the combatants from escaping (although it has been fairly common for Hell in a Cell matches to spill out of the cell and even onto the ceiling of the cage). The match has a no disqualification "anything goes" stipulation, and can only be won via pinfall or submission inside the ring.
Because of the "anything goes" rule, this match developed an infamous reputation in its early years. This match usually takes place on pay-per-view shows (there have only been 4 exceptions: 3 Cell Matches occurred on Raw in 1998, 2011 (as a dark match), and 2021, while the first-ever Cell Match on Smackdown happened on June 18, 2021). Many wrestlers were legitimately injured during these matches (most notably Mick Foley) thanks to the dangerous bumps involved and the chain-link fencing of the Cell. In kayfabe, it is regarded as the most dangerous match in the entire promotion. Jim Ross has referred to the cell itself as "a demonic structure" that is "custom built for injury." There have been 49 Hell in a Cell matches to date, with The Undertaker competing in 14 (with his last at WrestleMania 32), more than any other WWE performer. The first match was between The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels at Badd Blood: In Your House in St. Louis in 1997.
A Kennel from Hell match was held at WWF's Unforgiven pay-per-view in 1999, between Al Snow and The Big Boss Man for the WWF Hardcore Championship. The match was held within a steel cage, but with the Hell in a Cell structure also placed over the ring, and it was stated that hostile attack dogs would roam the apron between the two cages. This match was conceived by Vince Russo as part of Snow's short-lived feud with The Big Boss Man—in which he had kidnapped and killed his pet chihuahua Pepper.
After being unable to obtain trained attack dogs, Russo sought dogs from local owners on short notice. The dogs were playful and friendly towards Russo, and during the match, they were seen urinating, defecating, and trying to mate with one another rather than making any attempt at attacking the wrestlers. The match was deemed by critics to be one of the worst gimmick matches, if not one of the worst matches ever, in WWE history.
In an Inferno match (a type of no-disqualification, no-fall, no-countout match), the ring is completely surrounded by flames once both contenders have entered the ring. The only way to win is to set your opponent on fire. Inferno matches usually end on the outside of the ring; this way, paramedics can assist the loser of the match. Due to the potentially graphic or dangerous nature of this type of match, it is very rarely seen in North America. As of December 2020, there have only been six inferno matches in WWE, with almost all of them have involved Kane, this being his signature match.
The first inferno match took place in 1987 at the Juan Pachin Vicens coliseum in Ponce, Puerto Rico, where the ropes were simply soaked with gasoline and lit on fire. The first WWF Inferno Match was between Kane and The Undertaker at 1998 Unforgiven pay-per-view in Greensboro, North Carolina, where special effects and pyrotechnics experts were brought in from Hollywood to set up and control the fire around the ring. Kane had been thrown out of the ring and The Undertaker had no way of attacking him unless he too went out of the ring. The match ended in The Undertaker's victory. WCW also attempted an Inferno match, known as the Human Torch match, at The Great American Bash in 2000 between Sting and Vampiro.
A version of the match known as the "Firefly Inferno match" was held at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs in 2020, between "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton; its title referenced Wyatt's "Firefly Fun House" gimmick.
Another variation of the Inferno match dubbed a "Ring of Fire match", took place at SummerSlam in 2013, when Kane faced Bray Wyatt. While the ring is surrounded by flames just like in a standard Inferno match, the match is decided by pinfall or submission and not by burning your opponent. In addition, the flames prevent others from possibly interfering in the match, as was the case with Luke Harper and Erick Rowan of The Wyatt Family.
Main article: Lethal Lockdown match
Similar to the WarGames match used in WCW, TNA/Impact Wrestling's Lethal Lockdown consists of a single ring enclosed by a steel cage with two teams facing off with each other. The staggered entry system is identical, but weapons are permitted and are even provided. When all competitors have entered the ring, a roof is lowered onto the top of the cage, with various weapons hanging from it. Victory can be attained by pinfall or submission. This match has become a staple of TNA's Lockdown pay-per-view event, but has also made appearances at other TNA pay-per-views.
The Lion's Den match is a match where a wrestler must knock out their opponent unconscious or make them submit inside an octagonal cage. The rules are made to mimic mixed martial arts matches, with the octagonal cage meant to mimic the cage used by the Ultimate Fighting Championship. This was Ken Shamrock's specialty match; the first example was at the SummerSlam (1998) pay-per-view between Ken Shamrock vs. Owen Hart (with Dan Severn), and then another example was the SummerSlam (1999) pay-per-view with Ken Shamrock vs. Steve Blackman.
The Moonlight Sonata match is held inside a barbed-wire cage with a ropeless ring. Various weapons, such as steel chairs, neon tubes or kendo sticks, are scattered around the ring and the match is fought under hardcore rules. On each corner of the cage are hanged bags, one of which contains the belt, while the other 3 are full of thumbtacks. In order to win, a contestant has to climb the cage using the protuberances on its corners, find the belt and get out.
Another variation of the match involves a normal cage (not barbed-wire) and lacks the steps-like protuberances.
The Punjabi Prison match, named after the Punjab state that The Great Khali (the match's founder) is billed from, consists of two large steel-reinforced bamboo cages. The first is four sided and stands 16 feet (4.8 m) tall, while the second has eight sides and stands 20 feet (6 m) and surrounds the first.
The inner cage has a four-foot (1.2 m) by four-foot door on each of its sides, with a referee standing by to open them at a wrestler's request. Each door may only be opened once and is only allowed to remain open for sixty seconds, after which it is padlocked. Should all four doors end up locked before the wrestlers escape, they are forced to climb out over the top, where the bamboo is fashioned into spikes. Between the two cages are sometimes placed two tables, on which are weapons (both "medieval" and "bamboo" variations of standard wrestling weapons). There are also extended straps at the corners of the cage which can be used to choke the opponent. Once a wrestler has escaped the first cage, he must climb over and out of the second cage, with the first wrestler having both of their feet touch the arena floor is the winner of the match.
The match was revived with modifications in 2017 as the main event of Battleground, with Indo-Canadian Jinder Mahal facing Randy Orton.
A Rage in a Cage match is held in an oval-shaped steel cage. It is typically used as the arena for the blowoff match of a feud and can be used for a tag team or singles match. In this match, wins are usually by pinfall or submission. Alternatively, Rage in the Cage may refer to a match that held in Florida independent organizations such as IPW and NWA Florida in which 20 or more wrestlers take part in a battle royal inside a steel cage. Each wrestler is encouraged to bring different weapons to the match, and a wrestler is eliminated by being thrown through the cage door.
The Scramble Cage match was contested exclusively in Ring of Honor (ROH), in which the ring is surrounded by a steel cage with four wooden platforms at the corners of the cage to make the "high risk" wrestling moves. All participants are allowed to be inside and outside the cage at any time. The Scramble Cage Melee is an elimination cage match held in a cage similar to the one used in the Scramble Cage match, with wooden platforms on the top corners. There are no pinfalls or submissions; wrestlers are eliminated only by aerial moves performed from the platforms.
The first and, as of 2021, only such match took place in Ring of Honor (ROH) on August 24, 2004, at the show Scramble Cage Melee. The competitors in this match were Jack Evans, Trent Acid, Loc, Devito, Dan Maff, BJ Whitmer, Oman Turtuga, Diablo Santiago, Fast Eddie, Altar Boy Luke, Dunn, and Marcos.
World Championship Wrestling's Thundercage, based on the film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, is a large domed structure of steel bars engulfing the ring. Although it does not have a top, the sides curve in to prevent escape.
Mexico's AAA promotion tweaked the concept with the Domo de la Muerte ("Dome of Death"), which uses a similar cage but only allows victory by escaping through a hole at the top center. This variation is also used in TNA, where it was called the TerrorDome, or more recently the Steel Asylum. In AAA it is typically used for multi-man "luchas de apuestas" (bet matches), with the last man standing in the cage losing his mask or hair.
The Thunderdome is a variation on the Thundercage, with the area near the top of the cage electrified. The only way for a wrestler to win the Thunderdome match is to have their opponents' "terminator" (usually a manager who stands outside of the ring) throw in the towel to stop the match. In another variation of this match, each pinned competitor in the match is handcuffed to the cage. The last man left is given a key to unlock his teammates to attack the other team, who are still handcuffed.
A triple cage match involves three cages stacked on top of each other, with each cage decreasing in size from the bottom up. Two variations exist. In one, similar to a ladder match, competitors begin in the ring inside the lowest cage and must make their way to the roof of the third cage where an object is suspended, with the winner being the first competitor to obtain the object or exit the cage, depending on the stipulations in play.
The other, dubbed the Tower of Doom match, had two teams of five make their way down from the uppermost cage to the bottom, with victory achieved when all five members of a team escaped a door there. The cages were cut off from each other, with doors controlled from outside by referees, who only opened them for two-minute intervals.
The Triple Decker Cage match is also known in WCW because that's exactly what it is, three cages stacked on top of one another. Typically, the central cage is divided into two rooms housing two teams of wrestlers. Pinfalls and submissions only count in the ring on the bottom cage, so the teams will fight each other to reach the bottom, or in some cases, to force the opposition to the bottom where they can be eliminated.
Main article: WarGames match
Sometimes suffixed with the tagline "The Match Beyond", the WarGames match features two rings surrounded by an enclosed steel cage (usually with a roof), with two teams (or sometimes three) of four or five wrestlers facing one another. After a portion of the match fought one-on-one, members of the two teams begin to alternate entering the other ring at staggered intervals (with the order decided by a coin toss); once both teams' members have all entered the ring, the first team to score submission or surrender over a member of the opposing team is declared the winner. Depending on the rules used, a team may also win by scoring a knockout or pinfall.
This match was made famous by Jim Crockett Promotions' annual Great American Bash, and later WCW's Wrestle War, before becoming a tradition at their annual Fall Brawl pay-per-view event from 1993 to 1998. ECW held its own version of WarGames known as an "Ultimate Jeopardy steel cage match" (typically as part of an eponymous event), with weapons available, pinfalls counting, and the losing team receiving a stipulation as a penalty.
WWE's NXT brand began holding the event NXT TakeOver: WarGames in 2017, which features a WarGames match as its signature match. The NXT version does not use a roofed cage, and pinfalls count.
In 2021, AEW first held its own version of WarGames as the "Blood and Guts match", between The Pinnacle and The Inner Circle, during an eponymous special episode of its weekly series Dynamite. The Blood and Guts match follows the original WarGames rules used by Jim Crockett Promotions, with a roofed cage and no pinfalls.
The Xscape match has been held by TNA/Impact Wrestling as one of the signature matches of its Lockdown pay-per-view, which exclusively features cage matches. The match begins with 4 to 8 competitors, who are eliminated by either pinfall or submission; eliminated wrestlers leave the cage through a door. When only two competitors remain, the first to escape the cage by climbing out and reaching the floor is declared the winner.
The flag match is essentially the professional wrestling version of capture the flag. For the match two flags are placed on opposite turnbuckles, each representing a specific wrestler or team of wrestlers and the objective of the match is to retrieve the opponent's flag and raise it while defending the flag in the wrestler's corner. If the referee is knocked down and cannot acknowledge the win, the defender can put the flag back in its place, thus resetting the match.
An Anthem match is a variation of a flag match with the added stipulation that the national anthem of the winning wrestler's or team's home country will be played in the arena after the match, similarly to a medal ceremony. This can be used to promote patriotism for the face wrestler or heat for the heel wrestler. Another variation of the Anthem Match can be a regular Interpromotion match between two wrestlers, each usually representing a different promotion, fighting for the right to raise the flag of their respected promotion. This variation was only used at ECW's November to Remember 1997 in a match between Rob Van Dam (representing WWE) vs. Tommy Dreamer (representing ECW).
A handicap match is any match pitting one wrestler or team of wrestlers against a team of wrestlers with numerical superiority such as (two against one) or (three against two) for quick examples. Normally the babyfaces are outnumbered with the heels having more members on their team to provide an unfair advantage. In some two-on-one handicap matches, the team with superior numbers act under tag team rules, with one person in the ring at a time. In others, such as tornado tag team handicap matches, all competitors are in the ring at the same time. In the 1980s and 1990s, handicap matches were used in preliminary matches involving large star wrestlers (usually heels), such as King Kong Bundy, Big Van Vader or Yokozuna, who – as a way to get a monster heel persona/gimmick over with the crowd – would completely dominate their opponents despite the latter's superiority in numbers.
Main article: Hardcore wrestling
Hardcore wrestling, the most violent and bloody type of professional wrestling is a subset in which some or all of the traditional rules do not apply. Most often this simply means there are no-disqualifications, which itself eliminates countouts, sometimes allowing decisions to take place anywhere. Most hardcore matches or deathmatches often have a combination of match types within one, and elaborate titles are often used, particularly in Japanese wrestling promotions. (example: "Barbed Wire Rope, Exploding Barbed Wire Boards and Exploding Ring Time Bomb Deathmatch")
Some promotions, such as Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling, the International Wrestling Association of Japan, International Wrestling Syndicate, Extreme Championship Wrestling, Big Japan Pro Wrestling, and Combat Zone Wrestling, have specialized in hardcore matches, with "standard" non-hardcore matches being the exception.
A standard hardcore match, also known as a Devil's Playground match, a Belfast Brawl match or a Guerrilla Warfare match is a no-disqualification, no-countout, falls count anywhere, one-fall match where the only rule (unless specifically noted) is to pin the opponent for a 3-count. Otherwise, anything goes: any weapon can be used, any amount of wrestlers who are not booked in the match can be involved and any move can be used (except moves banned by the promotion booking the match before-hand). Hardcore matches came to prominence in Japan in the 1970s, and then in the United States in the 1990s in promotions like ECW and later WWE. Blunt objects such as steel chairs, wooden event tables, ladders, wrestling ring stairs, kendo sticks, baseball bats, flour, metal cylindrical trashcans, trashcan lids and road signs are often featured in hardcore matches. Other common euphemisms for hardcore matches are the No Holds Barred match (which suggests wrestlers uses any illegal moves are allowed), Street Fight (which suggests wrestlers are to dress in normal street clothes), and World Championship Wrestling used the term Raven's rules for hardcore matches involving the wrestler Raven. They also created their own specific brand of hardcore match, for which bouts were to begin backstage rather than in the ring.
A variant of a hardcore match is a non-sanctioned match or unsanctioned match, also called a lights out match. In addition to the match not having any rules and the objective being achieving a pinfall or submission anywhere, the match is not officially recognized by the promotion (such as in All Elite Wrestling, where the match does not count towards a wrestler's win-loss record). In kayfabe, the match is sometimes used when a wrestler is "injured" (at the hands of another wrestler) and wants revenge but cannot be "medically cleared," thus he agrees to a non-sanctioned match where "the promotion is not held liable" for any injuries incurred during the match.
A more extreme version of a hardcore match, a deathmatch is effectively the same as a hardcore match only even more violent and bloody, hence why the match is called a "deathmatch". In addition to blunt objects, deathmatches often include sharp objects and even more dangerous objects and elements, such as bricks, nails, staple guns, explosives, thumbtacks, barbed wire, light tubes, standard glass, cactus plants, gardening tools (such as weed wackers) and even fire mixed with lighter fluid or gasoline. Although hardcore matches do on occasion feature sharp objects- particularly hardcore matches with Mick Foley, they are not used in such a gratuitous manner as they are in deathmatches. Other common euphemisms for deathmatches are extreme rules match, ultraviolent rules match (hardcore rules matches exclusively in CZW) and HardKore X-Treme match.
An Anus Explosion Deathmatch is a match where the only way to win is to stick a firecracker up an opponent's buttocks and light it. Once the firecracker goes off while lodged inside an incapacitated wrestler's buttocks, the match ends. This match was only done once, by Japanese hardcore wrestling promotion Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling in October 1999, where Mr. Gannosuke faced off against Hayabusa.
A barbed wire ring rope match or no rope barbed wire match is a match where the ring ropes are replaced with barbed wire. There are 4 known ways to prop up barbed wire in place of ring ropes: with 3 strands of barbed wire run from turnbuckle to turnbuckle; with 5 strands of wire tied to form an "X"; "spider net", where the ring ropes are not replaced and barbed wire is wrapped up and down the ropes to create a wall of barbed wire, and finally barbed wire wrapped in the "X" fashion- that has been electrified or rigged with explosives. These types of matches were made popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s by American territory wrestling promotions, as well as Japanese promotions during the 1990s. These types of matches often included other stipulations and weapons in them.
A Barbed Wire Massacre is a type of barbed wire rope match where the barbed wire ropes are set up in the "X" fashion and the use of additional items that have barbed wire attached to or wrapped around them are made available, such as plywood, baseball bats, steel folding chairs and other weapons. This match originated in TNA (now Impact Wrestling) in 2005. Since then, there have been four such matches, the most recent in 2021. However the fourth Barbed Wire Massacre match, unlike the first three did not remove the ring ropes and replace them with barbed wire.
The Japanese Barbed Wire massacre is different from a normal barbed wire match in the fact that there are wooden boards covered with barbed wire and have a small charge goes off when someone lands on it.
The Bath House Deathmatch was believed to have been started by IWA Japan in 1995, The wrestlers compete in the pool of a public bathhouse, with even naked or toweled women in this bath house during this match. Besides regular wrestling rules, if they leave the pool, they are disqualified. The pool is heated by a fire that is regularly fed more logs, making staying in it harder and harder.
The beds of object(s) deathmatch is a hardcore match that has beds of thumbtacks, nails, barbed wire, glass, broken lightbulbs and/or mixed.
The Big Born Crisis Deathmatch starts out on a scaffold above a barbed wire net over a ring. The ring itself is surrounded by cactus, fire stones (electric space heaters wrapped in barbed wire) and dry ice. Thumbtacks are scattered in the ring. In the middle of the ring is a tank of scorpions. Various weapons including light bulbs, bats, drills, saws and swords are permitted. The match is fought with all members of two teams active at the same time under street fight rules. When all the wrestlers have fallen into the barbed wire net, the next phase of the match begins. The barbed wire net is removed and the match continues. Wrestlers leave the match by submission, by having their head put in the scorpion tank for ten seconds or by passing out.
The Caribbean Barbed Wire Deathmatch is a match where barbed wire is wrapped around the ring ropes in "spidernet" fashion on two sides, and on the other two sides are barricaded traps on ground level situated right next to the ring. These elaborate traps are wooden structures featuring multiple strands of barbed wire strung from short adjacent wooden poles covered by panes of glass, with a thick wooden board below as foundation for the entire trap. The wooden poles stand 18 inches high on one side, and 2 feet on the other side. This match was featured in the W*ING hardcore wrestling promotion in Japan and was first done in 1993.
A Circus Deathmatch is a type of scaffold match where in the ring is a scaffold and under that scaffold, there is a type of spider net made of barbed wire 6 feet below. The first wrestler to fall off of the scaffold into the barbed wire spider net loses. The first match was between Mad Man Pondo and Ryuji Ito in Japan. 
The Clockwork House of Fun match, known as "Raven's House of Fun" or simply "House of Fun", was created by professional wrestler Raven (legitimately, as Raven pitched the idea himself to TNA's creative team). It is a singles match for which poles attached to the ring posts measured about five to six feet above the turnbuckles, with single chains wrapped from and hanging on the poles to various points on the ring itself with many weapons hanging from and attached to steel chains above the ring, sometimes with sides of a steel cage attached to and erected on the ring. In the first match the use of weapons is legal, and the only way to win was to put an opponent through two tables after throwing them off "Raven's perch" (a small scaffold), but afterwards it was changed to falls-count-anywhere rules.
A Crocodile Deathmatch is an animal deathmatch, with the added stipulation that the loser must wrestle a crocodile at the completion of the match. An example of this match would be between Mitsuhiro Matsunaga and Shadow WX.
A Desert Deathmatch is a match where there is a tank full of scorpions is placed in the center of the ring, and the first wrestler placed in this tank for 10 seconds loses. There are also barbed wire boards in the ring, and also 2 cactus plants in the ring on two opposing corners.
A Double Hell Deathmatch is a match where exploding (or non-exploding) barbed wire is put up at two sides of the ring in place of ropes, and the other two are left with nothing. However, at ringside on the empty sides, there are huge boards laden with barbed wire and landmines/explosives (and sometimes glass). This makes it a lot easier for a participant to fall out of the ring. One type of Double Hell Deathmatch done by FMW in 1994 was on a ring centered in a large swimming pool full of water, and the wrestlers had to be transported to the ring via a dinghy. This was an elimination-style match where the last man standing out of 5 was the winner. There were two ways to win this match: one via pinfall, or to toss a wrestler off the ring and into the pool, where explosives surrounding the ring would go off.
The Electric Pool match was a very dangerous type of match which has only been held once. The ring was placed in a large pool of water, with no ropes on 2 sides of the ring, and exploding barbed wire on the other two sides of the ring. Wrestlers were transported to the ring via a dinghy, and the ring was put on a floating device, then it was surrounded by 4 metal barricades. There was a current running through these 4 barricades (which were essentially small sections of the pool enclosed off from the rest of the pool), enabling the water to "explode" when a wrestler was thrown into one of these barricaded areas. Considering the danger involved in allowing a current to run through water, this match was only used once in FMW in 1994, which was known for its extreme hardcore matches.
An empty arena match is a hardcore (no disqualification, falls count anywhere) "anything goes" match between two or more wrestlers that takes place in an arena or stadium that although is fully set up for a wrestling event, is devoid of fans. The only people present are the competitors, referee, commentators, and cameramen. The match is broadcast, or videotaped and played later. An example of this is the WWF championship match between The Rock and Mankind that took place in Tucson, Arizona, at the Tucson Convention Center, which aired as part of a special Halftime Heat edition of Sunday Night Heat aired against the Super Bowl halftime show of Super Bowl XXXIII in 1999. One of the earliest and best known empty arena matches occurred in 1981 in Memphis, Tennessee, at the Mid-South Coliseum between Jerry Lawler and Terry Funk. During its 2020 Double or Nothing pay-per-view, All Elite Wrestling held a 5-on-5 empty arena match in an outdoor stadium known as a "Stadium Stampede", between The Elite and The Inner Circle inside TIAA Bank Field.
The WWE did a variation of an no disqualification "empty arena" contest called a Dungeon match, where Owen Hart challenged Ken Shamrock to come to his basement (AKA the legendary Hart Family Dungeon) for a fight.
A lack of audience that is a legitimate aspect of the production and not a kayfabe stipulation of the match (i.e. the match is conducted normally, except with no audience, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic) is not necessarily considered an empty arena match.
The 2021 AEW Double or Nothing "Stadium Stampede" match was a hybrid Empty Arena match. The match (which was a hybrid cinematic empty arena match and half live match) started out as a cinematic empty arena match taped earlier in advance, but then moved into a live match in-person at Daily's Place for its conclusion.
The Explosion deathmatch is usually accompanied with barbed wire ropes, a large barbed wire wrapped explosion board is placed in the ring laced with a small amount of C-4. The loser is the wrestler that is blown up. The match can be won by either a pinfall or a submission. In some versions of the C-4 match is to finish the match before the timer runs out and detonates the ring (although this does not necessarily end the match) while in others the explosives are concentrated in a specific area, with the wrestlers struggling not to get pushed onto it.
All Elite Wrestling's variation is an Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch which is a combination of an Explosion Deathmatch, Barbed Wire Ring Rope match, Double Hell Deathmatch, and Time Bomb Deathmatch. There was three sides of barbed wire ring ropes with explosives triggered upon contact, three zones around the ringside floor wired to explosives (Triple Hell), and a 30-minute countdown timer until all explosives in and around the ring detonate. The match was contested between Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley for the AEW World Championship at Revolution, which Omega won.
A Eye for an Eye match is a hardcore match that could only be won when one competitor "extracts" an eye of their opponent. This match only occurred once between Rey Mysterio and Seth Rollins at The Horror Show at Extreme Rules.
A falls count anywhere match allows pinfalls to take place in any location, negating the standard rule that they must take place inside the ring and between the ropes. Submissions may or may not also be covered by this rule. This also eliminates the usual "countout" rule. A variation of the rules states that once a pinfall takes place, the pinned wrestler loses the match if they are unable to return to the ring within a specific amount of time – usually a referee's count of 10 or 30. If the pinned wrestler makes it to the ring in this time, the match continues. Occasionally, this stipulation is listed as having a specific territory in which falls count (e.g. the state, county, or general location the match is in). As the match may take place in various parts of the arena, the "falls count anywhere" provision is almost always accompanied with a "no-disqualification" stipulation to make the match a hardcore match, so as to allow wrestlers the convenience to use any objects they may find wherever they wrestle.
A Firestone Deathmatch is a standard deathmatch where the ring is lined with electric space heaters wrapped in barbed wire. The match can be lost by submission or when one of the wrestlers passes out. Also, The Brimstone Deathmatch is another variation where the only way to win is to throw your opponent in burning hot coals laid on the floor which forms a blistering perimeter that encircles the ring.
In a first blood match is a no-disqualification, no-fall, no-countout match in which the first wrestler to bleed anywhere loses the match. Depending on the nuance of the stipulation, this might include bleeding noses. Although there are no-disqualifications, outside interference cannot be seen causing the participant to bleed. The first televised First Blood match was Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Kane at King of the Ring 1998, which was the main event match that came after the famous The Undertaker vs. Mankind Hell in a Cell match.
A Doomsday Chamber of Blood match, created by Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, is a First Blood match that takes place inside of a barbed wire topped cage.
A Sadistic Madness match, created by Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, is another variation of the First Blood match, the main difference being that the opponent must be bleeding before a wrestler can legally pin them.
A Four Corners of Pain match is a match where in each corner of the ring, there is a container that has a weapon or another type of harmful item. This match originated at the 2003 Combat Zone Wrestling Tournament of Death II, and at the 2006 IWA-MS Queen of the Deathmatch, Amy Lee took on Sexxxy Eddy in this match.
The Hard Ten match was created by TNA. It is contested on a points system, where the points are earned for the use of weapons. The first wrestler to earn ten points and be at least two points ahead is the winner. Regular strikes with a weapon are worth one point while putting an opponent through a table is worth five points. Unlike the tables match, a wrestler simply moving out of the way and letting an opponent put them self through a table does count in this match type.
A last man standing match (or last woman standing) is a hardcore-style match in which the only way to win is by count out, and a wrestler can be counted out anywhere. A wrestler will lose the match if they are unable to answer a ten-count after being downed, similar to the knockout rules of a boxing match. To avoid losing, the downed wrestler must be on their feet by the count of 10, but they can not lose by leaving the ring for 10-count (ring out) if they are still on his feet while recovering.
A variant of the Last Man Standing match is the Texas Deathmatch (a.k.a. Mexican Deathmatch, or Armageddon Rules match), in which a wrestler must be pinned or made to submit/rendered unconscious before the referee will begin the ten-count. Some of these matches have been known to last for hours, including one that Dory Funk participated in that went on for more than four hours. This match was often done by Dory and his brother Terry Funk in the 1960s in their father Dory Sr.'s promotion Western States Sports.
A light tube match is a match where hundreds (usually 200) of long, cylindrical, glass fluorescent light tubes are attached to the ring ropes (usually via tape), and mock shaped weapons and mock large objects made of light tubes are made available. These matches often end with most or all of the light tubes broken or shattered; these matches are some of the bloodiest, most gruesome and most dangerous types of wrestling matches because the glass in a light tube contains poisonous and carcinogenic chemicals, and when broken, the poisonous and carcinogenic dust from the shattered glass gets into the air and allows audience members, the referee and the wrestlers to breathe it in. Another hazard of this match is shards of broken glass still rife with dangerous chemicals laying around the ring mat and sticking in the wrestlers' bodies (when they are slammed onto the wrestling mat), but in with more organized wrestling promotions there are attendants that briefly enter the ring and quickly clean the broken glass off of the mat. This type of match originated in Japan in the late 1990s and early 2000s in Big Japan Pro Wrestling, and some independent promotions in the United States feature this type of match.
A 2/3 Light Tube Log Cabins Deathmatch is a match where the only way to win is to break two shaped light tube weapons over and or on an opponent. Combat Zone Wrestling has used this match in their Tournament of Death series.
A Monster's Ball match is a match invented and staged by TNA Impact Wrestling. The key premise of the match was that all contenders are sequestered alone in a locked room without light, food or water for twenty-four hours before the match. This stipulation is intended to induce extreme feelings of aggression in the competitors. Once released, the wrestlers fight one another in a hardcore match, with the usage of weapons encouraged. Victory can be achieved by pinfall or submission, with the match ending as soon as one wrestler is pinned or submits.
The Monster's Ball match typically features numerous high spots. There have been 51 matches taking place under TNA, as well as several unaffiliated independent promotions hosting the match. The match has almost always featured Abyss in some capacity, wrestling in 46 of 48 and managing in one, as it is his signature match. There are various weapons frequently used in the match, including Thumb tacks, "Janice" (A board filled with nails, Abyss's signature weapon) and a bed of barbed wire.
A No Disqualification match, also known as no holds barred match, or sometimes as an "anything goes" match, "boot camp" match, "Raven's rules" match, or "extreme rules" match, is a match in which neither wrestler can be disqualified, allowing for weapons and outside interference. The key differences between a no holds barred match and a standard hardcore match are that in a no holds barred match, falls must be made in the ring and there is less emphasis on the use of weapons whereas in a hardcore match, not only are there no disqualifications, falls can happen anywhere.
No-disqualification matches may be used in feuds in which a challenger may have won matches against the champion, but did not claim the championship because the champion was disqualified (championships usually only change hands via pinfall or submission).
Unless stipulated, a no-disqualification match can end in a countout. Those that cannot are no-disqualification, no-countout matches.
A Piranha Deathmatch or Amazon River Piranha Deathmatch, similar to a Desert Deathmatch is a type of highly dangerous match where a fish tank containing dangerous and flesh-eating Piranha fish is placed in the center of the ring, and the first wrestler who gets put into the tank for 10 seconds loses. There was only one match ever done, and it was at Big Japan Pro Wrestling's Summer Night Dream event in Yokohama, Japan in September 1996, where in the main event Kendo Nagasaki put Mitsuhiro Matsunaga in the tank, defeating him.
A Razor Deathmatch is an often extremely bloody match where boards full of razor blades are made available as weapons. This match is known for Japanese hardcore wrestler Jun Kasai's 5-time participation in this kind of match.
A Spike Nail Deathmatch is a match where a large bed of six-inch spiked nails sticking out of a rectangular piece of plywood is made available. The most famous example of this kind of match was at the IWA Kawasaki Dream King of the Deathmatch, where Cactus Jack faced Shoji Nakamaki in August 1995. Another type of Spike Nail match was rather than achieving a fall to win, the first wrestler to take a bump on the huge planks of wood infested with six-inch nails at ringside loses.
A Nail Hell Deathmatch is a match where some boards with nails were hung on the ring ropes all the way across, and onto opposing sides of the ring there was a board, on one side there was nails and on the other side was barbed wire. Only one match like this was done, in December 1994 by IWA Japan.
A street fight is a type of hardcore match without disqualifications, in which falls count anywhere, and weapons are legal. The main difference between a hardcore match and a street fight is that while wrestlers wear tights in hardcore matches, wrestlers (particularly in modern times) almost always wear their own street clothes in street fights. Sometimes street fights have the name of the host arena's city in the name, such as "Chicago Street Fight" or "New York Street Fight".
A Miracle on a 34th Street Fight is a Christmas-themed variant of a Street Fight, named after the movie Miracle on 34th Street, involving Christmas-themed weapons including fire extinguishers, pumpkin pies, presents, Christmas trees, Christmas wreaths, candy cane themed kendo sticks, bowling balls, and teddy bears, plus common wrestling weapons such as tables and chairs.
A Trick or Street Fight is a Halloween-themed variant of a Street Fight, named after the Halloween tradition "trick or treating", involving Halloween-themed weapons including pumpkins, buckets of candy, bowls full of water and apples, skeletons, witches' brooms, gravestones, candy corn themed kendo sticks, plus common wrestling weapons such as tables and chairs.
In a Taipei deathmatch the wrestlers' fists are taped and dipped into glue and in broken and crushed glass, allowing shards to stick to their fists. Win by pinfall, submission or escape.
A Thumbtack Deathmatch is a match where one or more trays containing thousands (usually 10,000) of thumbtacks is/are made available and usually placed in either the center or apron of the ring. The most well known version of this match was at the IWA Kawasaki Dream King of the Deathmatch, where Terry Gordy faced Cactus Jack in August 1995. Variants of the thumbtack deathmatch staged by TNA Impact Wrestling have been done where the objective is modified to simply slam an opponent into the pile of thumbtacks on the mat. A variation of this match is a cross between a Ladder Match and 10,000 Thumbtacks Match called a Thumbtacks Ladder Match in which a ladder is placed in the ring with a reward at the top. Thumbtacks are also spread out across the ring. A variant of the 10,000 thumbtacks deathmatch is the East Coast Thumbtack, this match has 177,000 thumbtacks placed in the ring. The first match was between Ian Rotten and The Messiah.
A Time Bomb Deathmatch is a type of deathmatch where explosives or fireworks set up around the ring are set off after an allotted time. This match originated in Japan and was done various times in the 1990s. Mick Foley and Terry Funk participated in a "Barbed Wire Rope, Exploding Barbed Wire Boards and Exploding Ring Time Bomb Deathmatch" as the final match of the 1995 Kawasaki Dream King of the Deathmatch tournament, where there were multiple plywood boards with barbed wire and explosives attached to them strewn around the ring.
A Time Bomb Exploding Cage Deathmatch is a mixture of a Steel Cage match and a Time Bomb Deathmatch, where every square foot of a steel cage is wrapped in barbed wire and explosives set up around the ring go off after a set time, and 5 minutes before the explosion a loud siren is activated. The match, unlike a traditional steel cage match is a one-fall match and victory cannot be achieved via escaping the cage, which, if attempted would be very painful and difficult. This match also originated in Japan in the early 1990s.
An Unlucky 13 Deathmatch is a match was invented by Ian Rotten where to win, a wrestler must staple seven out of thirteen one dollar bills to their opponent's mouth.
Main article: Iron Man match
An Iron Man (or Iron Woman for female matches) match is a multiple-fall match with a set time limit usually (30 or 60 minutes). The match is won by the wrestler who wins the most falls within the time limit by either pinfall, submission, disqualification, or countout. If there is ever a tie, the match goes to overtime in which the wrestler who scores one fall on their opponent will be declared the winner. An example of an Iron Man Match is Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins at Extreme Rules (2018) for the Intercontinental Championship. Other examples are Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar on an episode of SmackDown! in 2003 for the WWE Championship, and Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels at WWE Wrestlemania XII for the WWE Championship. The first Iron Woman match was between Bayley and Sasha Banks at NXT TakeOver: Respect in 2015.
An Anything Goes Iron Man match is the hardcore variation of an Iron Man match: there are no disqualifications, no countouts and falls count anywhere. John Cena faced Randy Orton in an Anything Goes Iron Man match at Bragging Rights 2009.
The Thunder Queen battle is a hybrid tag team/iron woman match was used in All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling where the two teams of four members wrestle each other. The match starts off with individual members will have a five-minute singles Iron Woman match (20 minutes total each), followed by a 40-minute tag team Iron Woman match. The team with the highest total number of points within the time limit wins.
An Ultimate Submission match is a variation of an Iron Man match where the only way to score a fall within the allotted time limit is to make your opponent submit. Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle had an Ultimate Submission match at Backlash 2001 for 30 minutes plus 1 minute and 33 seconds of tie-breaking overtime.
Though most matches take place in and around the ring, some are designed specifically for more exotic locales. The majority of these matches take on the name of their setting, often appending "brawl" to the end, and all of them are hardcore by definition. The following is a list of locale-based variations that supplant or replace the standard rules. The following is a list of locale-based variations that supplant or replace the standard rules.
A Bar Room Brawl is a multi-competitor no disqualification match held in a bar. During the match wrestlers are encouraged to drink while fighting, and the "last man standing" is declared winner. Wrestlers can be eliminated from the match both by the standard pinfall, submission, or by simply becoming too (kayfabe) drunk to continue the match. An known example of this match is the APA Invitational Bar Room Brawl at Vengeance 2003 which Bradshaw won after knocking down Brother Love. Another example, a Bar Fight was done in 2020, with Jeff Hardy facing off against Sheamus.
A Boiler Room Brawl or Boiler Room match starts in a boiler room, with the winner being the first wrestler to successfully get out. This match is a no-disqualification, no-falls, no-countout match, so anything goes, so long as someone escapes first. The rather hazardous environment of this match featured some of the arena's internal infrastructure, such as all sorts of large, exposed metal piping with large bolts, concrete flooring and solid electrical equipment everywhere, among other features. Mick Foley participated in all of the WWF-run Boiler Room Brawls under his persona Mankind, because this persona dwelled in boiler rooms, hence this being Mankind's signature match. The first Boiler Room Brawl happened at SummerSlam 1996 with Mankind vs. The Undertaker, where in addition to escaping the boiler room the combatant had to make his way to the ring and grab Paul Bearer's urn; but when the next Boiler Room Brawl was contested at Backlash 1999 with Mankind against The Big Show, the objective was simplified to just escaping the boiler room first. World Championship Wrestling used a match with similar rules, naming their match and its location the Block.
A Body of Water match is a match where the sole objective is to get your opponent into the waters of a body of water, which is often named, for example, a Gulf of Mexico match requires a wrestler to put their opponent into The Gulf of Mexico. This match was only done once, where CM Punk faced Chavo Guerrero during an ECW show in Corpus Christi, Texas (which is located right on the Gulf of Mexico) in February 2008.
A Parking Lot Brawl is a Falls Count Anywhere match that is usually fought in an interior location or in an outside parking lot around a tightly parked circle of cars. The first wrestler to score a pinfall, submission, or knockout in a Parking Lot Brawl is the winner. Both wrestlers are allowed to use everything around them as weapons, including the cars. The first Parking Lot Brawl was between Jerry Lawler and Eddie Gilbert in Memphis, Tennessee in 1988, which was fought all over the arena and its outside parking lot. More well known examples of a Parking Lot Brawl both involved John Cena, where he faced Eddie Guerrero in 2003 and JBL in 2008. A renamed Parking Lot Brawl, an Iron Circle match was a match where Ken Shamrock fought Steve Blackman at WWF Fully Loaded 1999. Another famous match called the Hollywood Backlot Brawl was fought between Goldust and Roddy Piper which involved the two performers actually driving cars for a long period of time.
The scaffold match takes place on a scaffold above the ring. The two ways to win the match are to push the opponent off of the scaffold so that he/she hits the mat or to grab the flag from the opponent's home base of the scaffold and return it to one's own home base. Some variations include putting weapons or objects into the ring for when the opponent lands, for example card tables.
Another variation, called a Scaffold Cage Match, is when the wrestlers beat each other until one is knocked off of the scaffold and into the ring. The ring is surrounded by a high steel cage and the only way to win is by pinfall.
A Tooth and Nail match is a Falls Count Anywhere-stipulation match that is fought in and around a dental office, and any weapon is legal. This is Britt Baker's speciality match, based on her role as a dentist in both kayfabe and off-screen reality, and the objective of this match is to achieve a pinfall, submission or countout.
A lumberjack match is a standard match with the exception that the ring is surrounded by a group of wrestlers not directly involved in it. These wrestlers, known collectively as lumberjacks (female wrestlers serving in this manner are sometimes called lumberjills; lumberjack matches between female wrestlers are called lumberjill matches, a play on the famous Nursery Rhyme, "Jack and Jill"), are there to prevent the wrestlers in the match from getting out of the ring. The groups of lumberjacks are typically split up into groups of faces and heels who occupy opposing sides around the ring. Usually, the "opposing" lumberjacks (that is, face lumberjacks if the wrestler is a heel, and vice versa) swarm the wrestlers if they leave the ring and force them back in it. Occasional interference from the lumberjacks is common, as is an all-out brawl on the outside involving most of the lumberjacks. Early lumberjack matches even featured the lumberjacks wearing stereotypical lumberjack clothing in keeping with the lumberjack theme, though this is generally no longer done. A common theme is for the lumberjacks to consist entirely of heel wrestlers to stack the odds against the face competitor. The Lumberjill Snowbunny match is another variation of the Lumberjill match with female lumberjacks, held in a pit of snow.
A "Canadian" lumberjack match is a variation of a lumberjack match in which the lumberjacks are equipped with leather straps. TNA's "fan's revenge" lumberjack match did their own version of a Canadian lumberjack match where fans equipped with straps act as lumberjacks and were encouraged to whip wrestlers.
The Extreme Lumberjack match is a lumberjack match competed under hardcore rules, where there are no disqualifications, no countouts, and falls count anywhere.
On some occasions, a match may be held between more than two individual wrestlers or teams. Multi-competitor matches are often broken down to eliminations and non-eliminations.
The most common example of a non-elimination match is the three-way match (also known as a Triple Threat Match in WWE, Triangle Match in WCW, Three-Way Dance in ECW), in which three wrestlers compete under standard rules with the first competitor to achieve a pinfall or submission being declared the winner. Triple Threat matches are fought under no-disqualification and no-countout stipulations. Triangle matches are often contested like a tag match where only two can be in the match at one time while the third waits on the ring apron and the only elimination factor is if a competitor is disqualified.
In many promotions, there are typically no distinctions between the two terms. Non-elimination variations are the four-way match (known as a Fatal Four-Way in WWE, Four Corners in WCW), the five-way match (known as a Fatal Five-Way in WWE) or the six-way match (known as the Six-Pack Challenge in WWE), involving four, five, or six wrestlers, respectively.  American independent promotion USA Xtreme Wrestling hosted a match involving 8–12 competitors known as the 8 Ball Challenge. These types of matches can be used in certain situations to take a title off a wrestler without weakening him in the process.
On some occasions, multi-competitor matches are contested under similar rules as a tag team match. Two competitors start the match in the ring while the other wrestler(s) wait outside the ring for a tag from another wrestler, often achieved by touching an unsuspecting competitor in the ring. Variations of this include a Four Corners Survival or Six-Man Mayhem match in Ring of Honor. Competitors are permitted to leave their position and attack wrestlers outside of the ring, such as when one or both wrestlers have been thrown over the top rope.
Matches involving a larger number of competitors are typically elimination matches. These matches may begin with all of the competitors in the ring at the same time. The standard match rules apply as wrestlers may leave the position and attack other wrestlers outside the ring with a twist that the wrestler be pinned or forced to submit is eliminated from the match.
The most common example of an elimination match is the Three-Way Dance, where the first fall would eliminate one wrestler, reducing the match to a standard one-fall match. The Three-Way Dance was a specialty of Extreme Championship Wrestling.
A Four-Way Dance is similar except it involves four wrestlers in Extreme Championship Wrestling and some promotions use a tag format for the match instead of having all the wrestlers in the ring at the same time. Elimination variations are the four-way match (known as a Fatal Four-Way in WWE), the five-way match (known as a Fatal Five-Way in WWE) or the six-way match (known as the Six-Pack Challenge in WWE), involving four, five, or six wrestlers inside the ring, respectively.
The Deadly Draw match is a TNA variation where four competitors wrestle in this match. The rules are very complex which it starts out as a one-on-one match. For five minutes, the two participants try and fought each other. After five minutes pass, the third competitor enters the ring. Another five more minutes pass then the final competitor enters the ring. Any wrestler who gets pinned or submitted or any wrestler not involved in the decision who has entered is also eliminated. The last man standing wins.
A Beat the Clock challenge is a match in which wrestlers must defeat their opponent before the clock runs out. In doing so, the victorious wrestler usually gets some type of reward in return, such as inclusion in a title match, for instance. In a variation on November 20, 2013, episode of NXT, two wrestlers completed a match, with the match duration being used as the marker for two other wrestlers to complete their match.
WWE features a match called the Championship Scramble in which none of the wrestlers are eliminated. Two wrestlers start the match and every five minutes another wrestler enters until all five participants are present. After the last wrestler enters, there is a predetermined time limit. Each time a wrestler scores a pinfall or submission, he becomes the interim champion. Such reigns are not recorded as title reigns. The winner is the wrestler who scores the last pinfall or submission before the time limit expires. The Unforgiven pay-per view of 2008 is arguably the most prominent showcase of this match type, as all three world titles were contested under a Championship Scramble match.
The Elimination Chase, first used in WWE's version of ECW brand in 2007, is a series of multi-competitor, one fall matches, with the loser of the fall being eliminated from future matches until one competitor remains.
The Special Guest Referee is any match in which the usual referee is replaced with a "guest" filling in as the official. Celebrities (such as Muhammad Ali in the main event of WrestleMania I), managers and other wrestlers can "guest" as the special referee. In some cases, a special referee is put into a match which is already a different match type or stipulation. The special referee will often be biased towards or against one of the competitors or will be assigned as the Special Referee to ensure the match is called down the line. Special Outside Referee also known as Special Enforcer or Special Guest Enforcer is same as the Special Referee but the guest referee stays on the outside enforcing what the normal referee doesn't see. These guests are sometimes known as "enforcers", the most famous of which was Mike Tyson, who served as the Special Guest Enforcer for the WWF title match between Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XIV, and Chuck Norris who served as Special Guest Enforcer at Survivor Series 1994 in a match between The Undertaker and Yokozuna. Another example of this is Triple H vs The Undertaker in a Hell in a cell match at WrestleMania 28 with Shawn Michaels being the Special Guest Referee.
Occasionally, a match would take place under the rules of a different type of contest. Like professional wrestling matches, the matches would be worked, with the participants not being in the perceived danger and the winner being predetermined.
An arm wrestling match, in the context of professional wrestling, is a basic arm wrestling contest. It can be contested between two females, two males or between one male and one female. Often the male in the latter will be a manager going against the wrestler of a competitor.
The professional wrestling version of a boxing match has standard boxing rules applied to it. Wrestlers wear boxing gloves and the match is contested in rounds with fouls given out, though the matches are generally worked and end with one wrestler cheating and using wrestling maneuvers.
The professional wrestling version of a mixed martial arts (MMA) match under standard MMA. As in MMA, pinfalls are not a valid method of victory. Matches can typically only be won by knockout, submission, disqualification, forfeit or by going to a referee's decision.
For a sumo match, the ropes are removed from the ring and standard sumo rules apply. The first person to step outside of the ring or touch the mat with any part of the body except the soles of the feet is the loser. The most infamous match of this kind in WWE happened at WrestleMania 21 between The Big Show and Sumo Grand Champion, Akebono.
A Sumo Monster Truck match is a regular tug-o-war contest where two wrestlers are driving monster trucks, pushing each other. An known example of this match type is at the Halloween Havoc (1995) pay-per-view between Hulk Hogan and The Giant.
In this version – unlike traditional battle royals where all the wrestlers begin the match in the ring – the competitors (after numbers 1 and 2 begin the match) enter at timed intervals in accordance with the number that they have drawn until the entire field has entered.
Aztec Warfare is the Lucha Underground version of the "Rumble Rules" battle royal. Upwards to 20 participants enter every 90 seconds and elimination occurs by either pinfall or submission and has to take place inside the ring. There are no count-outs and no disqualifications. As of April 2019, four Aztec Warfare matches have occurred—one in each season of Lucha Underground.
Main article: MLW Battle Riot
The Battle Riot is Major League Wrestling's "Rumble" style battle royal. This match is different from all the other wrestling rumble rules, participants enter at one minute intervals and are eliminated by pinfall, submission, or being thrown over the top rope with both feet touching the floor.
Main article: Casino Battle Royale
The Casino Battle Royale is used by All Elite Wrestling (AEW). It is a modified rumble rules battle royal that features 21 entrants. It begins with a group of five wrestlers, and every three minutes, another group of five wrestlers enter, while the 21st and final entrant enters alone. The wrestlers are grouped based on the suit they drew from a deck of cards – spades, diamonds, clubs, or hearts – and the order of when each group enters is based on a random draw of the cards. The 21st and final entrant is the wrestler who drew the joker. The winner receives a world championship match of their respective gender's division—either the AEW World Championship or the AEW Women's World Championship.
The first Casino Battle Royale occurred during the pre-show of AEW's inaugural event, Double or Nothing in 2019, and was a men's match. The winner of the inaugural match was entered into the match to determine the inaugural AEW World Champion at All Out that year. The second Casino Battle Royale was an all-female version and was held during the pre-show of the aforementioned All Out event. Like the first, the winner of this second iteration was entered into the match to determine the inaugural AEW Women's World Champion on the debut episode of AEW's weekly television show, Dynamite. The third Casino Battle Royale—a men's match—took place at All Out in 2020 and the winner received a future AEW World Championship match.
Ring of Honor (ROH) also periodically features the "Rumble" style of battle royal on their shows, billing it as the Honor Rumble. This battle royal differs from a standard version of the match in that the contestants do not all begin in the ring at the same time, but instead enter the match at timed intervals in order of their assigned entry numbers (comparable in style to WWE's Royal Rumble match). Numbers are usually drawn through a lottery that is typically staged right before the event begins, although participants can also win desirable spots via a number of other means, the most common being winning a match.
New Japan Pro-Wrestling's annual "Rumble" battle royal, takes place on the pre-show of Wrestle Kingdom on January 4. Participants enter at one minute intervals and are eliminated via pinfall, submission or by being thrown over the top rope. Typically leaning towards light comedy, the match includes past stars as surprise entrants.
Main article: Royal Rumble match
See also: Royal Rumble
WWE's Royal Rumble is the original battle royal to use this format. It begins with two wrestlers in the ring, with the remaining participants introduced one by one at a set time period, usually 90 seconds or two minutes. Elimination occurs in the normal way with the last person standing as the winner, after all participants (traditionally 30) have entered the ring eliminated by being thrown over the top rope and having both feet touch the venue floor. (referred to as the "Shawn Michaels rule" in Royal Rumble 1995) There is both a men's and women's Royal Rumble match, although WWE's first official women's Royal Rumble match debuted in 2018 used the same rules as the men's version, with the winners getting a world championship match (in their respective divisions) at that year's WrestleMania, which is WWE's biggest annual show. At the Greatest Royal Rumble in 2018, 50 participants entered the match. Stone Cold Steve Austin is the only 3-time Royal Rumble winner.
Square Go! is Insane Championship Wrestling's (ICW) very own hybrid of WWE's Royal Rumble and Money in the Bank matches, and named for the Glaswegian term for a street fight. The competitors will compete in a 30-man over-the-top-rope battle royal, the Square Go!, with the winner earning the Square Go Briefcase. It has mostly the same rules apply as Royal Rumble, two competitors who draw the numbers 1 and 2. The remaining participants which will enter the ring one-by-one at every 2-minute intervals.
5 people have drawn entry numbers that allow them to carry a weapon of their choice into the ring. Participants were eliminated when thrown over the top ropes with both feet landing on the floor. The winner will win a briefcase that will entitle him to a match for the ICW World Championship at any time and anywhere of their choosing for 1 year (similar to Money in the Bank).
Series matches may involve the same match throughout, or may use different matches for some or all of the series. The most common form of a series match is extending the one-fall concept to a series of falls.
The Best of Three Rounds is a match that has a set time limit with preset breaks where the wrestlers must cease all contact and return to their corners to rest, in mimicry of boxing. Like the Iron Man match, each pinfall or submission counts as a point, with the winner being the wrestler with the most points at the end of all the rounds.
A “Best of Series” style is similar to a two out of three falls, though takes place over several nights to extend a feud rather than settle it in one night. One variation is a Best of Five Series where a wrestler must win 3 matches to win the series. John Cena defeated Booker T 3–2 to win the WWE United States Championship at No Mercy (2004).
The Best of Seven Series is another variation, where a wrestler must win four matches to win the series. Sheamus and Cesaro ended in a 3–3 draw when their seventh match at Clash of Champions (2016) ended in a no-contest.
A Gauntlet match, also referred to as a Turmoil match, is a quick series of one-fall one-on-one matches. Two wrestlers begin the match and are replaced whenever one is eliminated (by pinfall or submission). After a predetermined number of wrestlers have competed in the match, the last person standing is named the winner. A Gauntlet match may also be played out in multiple "parts" as part of a storyline (in which a face wrestler must face a series of a heel wrestler's underlings before facing the heel himself, for instance) this was common in World Championship Wrestling in the early 1990s. A participant involved in a Gauntlet match may be said to be "running the gauntlet" but in most cases this designation being reserved for those who are involved for most of the match. Sometimes, It could also be (one-on-three) or (one-on-four) handicap match. Unlike tag matches, the three/four-man team will challenge the person handicapped individually until he is knocked out, at which time the match is over. One example of this was on September 23, 1999, edition of WWE SmackDown where Triple H, being punished by Vince McMahon for his actions against him and his family booked Triple H in 5 gimmick matches in one night a mere 3 days before he was to face each of these opponents in a 6-way match at a pay-per-view: A Chokeslam Challenge match (a match where the first to Chokeslam their opponent wins) against The Big Show, a Handicap Casket match against Viscera and Mideon, an Inferno match against Kane, a Boiler Room Brawl against Mankind, and a Brahma Bullrope match against The Rock.
A Gauntlet eliminator is a type of match in which two wrestlers start in the ring and every 4 minutes, another wrestler enters until all the competitors have entered. Eliminations can occur only by pinfall or submission. The last wrestler remaining wins. The most prominent example was on Night 1 of NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver when Leon Ruff, Isaiah "Swerve" Scott, Bronson Reed, Dexter Lumis and LA Knight fought for an NXT North American Championship opportunity versus Johnny Gargano on Night 2.
Main article: Gauntlet for the Gold
Impact Wrestling (formerly Total Nonstop Action Wrestling) uses the "Gauntlet for the Gold" format, which is named similarly to the Gauntlet match but is actually very different. The wrestlers enter at regular intervals, and elimination occurs when thrown over the top rope with both feet hitting the floor (as in a Royal Rumble match). This continues until only two wrestlers remain, after which the final winner is decided by pinfall or submission. This match type was first featured on the first ever NWA-TNA PPV, with Ken Shamrock defeating Malice in the final two.
The Three Strikes match (often shortened to Three Strikes' You're Out), is where wrestlers must achieve three victories of a specific nature in a specific order before the other. The name of the match is taken from baseball, referring to the notion that losing three times would entail losing the match. Because of the format, wrestlers may be attempting to fulfill different victory conditions (like first blood or last man standing for quick examples). Like most generic series matches, these are often booked so as to have both wrestlers have two "strikes" against them, with the final victory condition being a particularly brutal manner. The most common arrangement for the three strikes are pinfall, submission, and knockout with the entire match being fought under no disqualification and no countout rules.
A Two out of Three falls match is a multiple-fall match where a wrestler/team must beat the other opponent/team not once but twice in that same match. (by pinfall, submission, disqualification, or countout). For such examples of this match type are the Extreme Rules 2012 between Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus and Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho at the SummerSlam (2000) pay-per-view. Also, an tag team variation of this match type is at the Payback (2015) pay-per-view between The New Day vs. Cesaro & Tyson Kidd for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship.
The Gate Of Heaven match is a match that is applied to tag team matches. Started in Dragon Gate, with the first match being a strict tag team match with two referees to make sure tags actually happen. The second match being the Dragon Gate rules. The third match, if necessary, tables, ladders and chairs are now legal.
A Three Stages of Hell match is a rare series match in which two wrestlers must wrestle three special types of matches. A wrestler must achieve two victories before the other. As of 2021, there have only been five occasions in which this match has been contested in WWE history. The first Three Stages of Hell match occurred in 2001 between Triple H and Steve Austin at No Way Out (2001), which Triple H won 2–1. Another match of this type took place at Armageddon (2002) between Shawn Michaels and Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship. The most recent example of this was at NXT TakeOver: Toronto (2019), when Adam Cole faced Johnny Gargano for the NXT Championship.
An Three Degrees of Pain match is a hybrid two out of three falls/steel cage match where a wrestler must achieve a victory in the specific order before the other. The first victory is a pinfall, the second victory is a submission, and the third victory is to escape from the steel cage. There have only been two of these matches occurred in TNA history and both were feud-enders. For this reason, Kurt Angle is the only wrestler to have competed in both matches.
As professional wrestling seeks to also tell a story, some matches are made solely for the purposes of advancing the plot. This typically involves the loser of a match being penalized in some way.
A Crybaby match is a singles match with the exception that the loser would have to dress as a baby by wearing a diaper and sucking from a bottle. This match only occurred once between 1-2-3 Kid and Razor Ramon at the In Your House 6 pay-per-view.
A Jailhouse match is a singles match with the exception that the loser would have to spend the night in a New York City jail cell. This match featured heavy brawling by both competitors The Mountie and Big Bossman at SummerSlam (1991). At one point the Mountie tried to use his cattle prod, but missed. Bossman got the pin following a double leg slam and NYC police officers came down to handcuff the Mountie and take him to jail.
A Kiss My Foot match is a singles match with the exception that the loser must kiss the winner's bare foot. Such matches included Bret Hart vs. Jerry Lawler during the 1995 King of the Ring and Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole during the 2011 Over the Limit pay-per-view. The match would also develop wrestlers to have a foot fetish.
A Kiss My Ass match is a singles match in which the loser has to kiss the winner's bare buttocks, or sometimes even between the buttocks, in front of the crowd; it became prominent during WWE's Attitude Era. A notable example is The Rock vs. Billy Gunn at SummerSlam 1999, which The Rock won. The match type made a reappearance for Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler at Extreme Rules 2015, where it was branded a Kiss Me Arse match in reference to Sheamus' Irish accent. Ziggler won, but Sheamus attacked him and forced Ziggler's unconscious self to kiss Sheamus' behind.
Loser Wears a Chicken Suit match is a singles match where the loser must wear a chicken suit either following the match or at another event soon after. Col. Robert Parker had to wear a chicken suit on the January 29, 1994 episode of WCW Saturday Night following his loss to Flyin’ Brian Pillman at Clash of the Champions XXVI.
A last chance match, also called a "do or die" match, is a championship match in which the challenger, if he does not win the title, is banned from challenging for it again as long as that reigning champion holds it. Rarely, the loser may even be barred from challenging for that title for as long as they remain employed at the company. (Examples of this are Slammiversary XI, when Sting was defeated by defending champion Bully Ray in a no holds barred variant of this match and was barred from challenging for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship again no matter who held it, however that ban was lifted when he was given one final opportunity at the TNA World Championship at Genesis 2014, where if he lost he would have to leave TNA, which he lost. On the debut episode of NWA Power, where Tim Storm was barred from challenging for the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship ever again as a result of losing to Nick Aldis.) On the October 2, 2014 episode of NXT, Tyson Kidd lost in a last chance match for the NXT Championship against Adrian Neville, and per the stipulation, he would never be allowed to challenge for the NXT Championship no matter who held the title. Coincidentally, at Survivor Series 2006, Batista battled King Booker for the World Heavyweight Championship in a last chance match, where if Batista lost the match, he would never be allowed to challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship again no matter who held the title. However, before the match, SmackDown general manager Theodore Long made the last chance match an even playing field by eliminating the championship advantages. That meant that if King Booker was counted out or disqualified, Batista would win the championship from King Booker. After many attempts throughout late 2006, Batista hit Booker with the World Title in the skull with the ref not seeing it; the ref was tending to Queen Sharmell, and Batista pinned Booker and won the World Heavyweight Championship back in the same city where he had to surrender it, in Philadelphia. However the second time around did not play out kindly for Batista as he challenged Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship at the Vengeance (2007) pay-per-view, where if Batista did not beat Edge, he would never have another chance at the championship as long as Edge was World Champion, as Batista challenged him for the title twice before. However Edge tried to get himself disqualified and when he did, SmackDown general manager Theodore Long ordered the match to be restarted, adding the stipulation that if Edge got counted out or disqualified again, he would lose the World Championship. However despite the added stipulations, Batista was not as fortunate. As Batista was rolling Edge into the ring after hitting a “Batista Bomb” to the outside of the ring, Batista was about to enter the ring as he got counted out and Batista was heartbroken to find out that he would not have another chance as long as Edge was the champion. However, The ban luckily only lasted for the remainder of that specific title reign where he lost, as Batista did challenge Edge for the championship in future title reigns. On the September 4, 2007 episode of ECW, CM Punk battled John Morrison for the ECW Championship In a last chance match where if CM Punk lost the match, he would never have another chance to wrestle for the ECW championship no matter who held the title, but after many tries throughout the summer of 2007, CM Punk's journey culminated with a “Go to Sleep” on John Morrison, winning him the ECW Championship for the very first time. At NXT TakeOver: In Your House, when Velveteen Dream lost to Adam Cole in a Backlot Brawl for the NXT Championship, Velveteen was barred from challenging Cole for the NXT Championship. Cody was banned from ever challenging for the AEW Championship after losing to Chris Jericho at Full Gear (2019) per the stipulations.
"Loser leaves town" is a generic term for any match in which the loser has to leave the current promotion or sub-division. These matches were most often held during the "territorial days", when wrestlers frequently jumped from company to company. It has been held with greater frequency in WWE during the brand split; the losing wrestler typically leaves the brand (usually either Raw or SmackDown), only to go to the other brand. It is also used as a way to write a wrestler off TV to give them some time off.
Loser Wears Dress match is a singles match with the exception that the loser must wear a dress temporarily. The match is won by pinfall or submission. An example of this type of match is at Souled Out (1999) between Chris Jericho and Perry Saturn which Jericho won.
Main article: Lucha libre § lucha de apuestas
Luchas de apuestas (literally "gambling fights") are matches in which both wrestlers wager something specific (the mask or hair) on the outcome. The loser of the match then loses the item, being forced to take off their mask or be shaved bald. It is also possible for a wrestler to put someone else's item on the line, with the same stipulation applying in the event of a loss. These matches have a storied history in Mexico. Upon unmasking, it is not unheard of for a wrestler's real name and information to be published. As a form of further humiliation, the loser can be forced to physically hand the mask they just lost to the winner.
The most popular types of wager are the mask of a masked wrestler or the hair of a non-masked wrestler, most commonly put against each other in mask vs. mask (in Spanish: máscara contra máscara), mask vs. hair (máscara contra cabellera), or hair vs. hair (cabellera contra cabellera) matches. Throughout Mexico, when masked wrestlers lose their masks, they are not allowed to compete under a mask with that same gimmick. In addition to masks and hair, championships, or careers — as a form of retirement match — can be put up as the wager in any combination.
A Move match is the objective in this match is to perform a specific move. Usually a signature move of the wrestlers is selected, although on occasion it will be a generic move that is notoriously hard to perform on both wrestlers. The match usually takes the name of the target move if both wrestlers are trying to perform their finisher for the win. The best known of these was "Yokozuna's Bodyslam Challenge", which Lex Luger won. Another famous move match was the "$15,000 Body Slam Challenge" between Andre The Giant and Big John Studd at the first WrestleMania. Another move match was the "Masterlock Challenge" which was created by Chris Masters. A "Chokeslam Challenge" match was also done between The Big Show and Triple H on WWE Smackdown in September 1999. A "Stink Face" match is another move match where whoever delivers the Stink Face to their opponent first wins.
A Banned Move match is a singles match when one or both of the competitors is not allowed to use their finishing move or else they will be disqualified. One of the competitors cannot be disqualified if that wrestler uses the move to give an unfair disadvantage. Sometimes this stipulation is used in a feud with wrestlers whose finishers are the same or similar, in these cases it is common to see the stipulation added that the losing wrestler is no longer allowed to use that move anymore. This type of match often forces the banned wrestler to get more creative and use moves they don't normally use in an attempt to win. An example of this match took place at Extreme Rules in 2015 between Seth Rollins and Randy Orton, in which the latter's finisher is banned.
The retirement stipulation can be applied to just one wrestler or both wrestlers in a match can be wrestling for their careers. More loosely, the term can refer to the last match of a (usually "legendary") wrestler's career. Such a match is designed to be a last hurrah, showcasing the wrestler's talent one last time for their fans. Some examples of this stipulation of match are Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair at WrestleMania XXIV, and Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXVI
Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal was introduced in WCW at the 1992 Halloween Havoc for the Sting versus Jake Roberts match. It was remade in TNA as the "Wheel of Dixie" and in WWE as "Raw Roulette", Not a match type itself, it assigns a type to a match. Before the match, a wheel of fortune featuring a number of match types is spun, with the match landed on being used for the night. WWE usually made use of this when Raw was in the Las Vegas area. It was also used at NXT: Halloween Havoc three times. The matches in that instance were Johnny Gargano vs Damian Priest for the NXT North American Championship (wheel landed on Devil's Playground), Dexter Lumis vs Cameron Grimes (wheel landed on Haunted House of Terrors) and Io Shirai vs Candice LeRae for the NXT Women's Championship (wheel landed on Tables, Ladders and Scares).
In two kinds of matches, a wrestler does not win by pinfall or submission, but only by stripping their opponent of their clothing. Historically, these types of matches were contested between managers or valets, due to their supposed lack of wrestling ability. In the Attitude Era, however, full-time female wrestlers (known formerly as Divas in WWE) began engaging in strip matches for the purpose of titillation.
The Bra and Panties match is a match consisting of two or more female wrestlers where the only way to win is to strip one of the opponents to their bra and panties. An Bra and Panties Gauntlet match is a mixture of a Bra and Panties match and a standard gauntlet match, only involving divas and with eliminations occurring as a result of stripping an opponent of their clothes.
An Evening Gown match is usually contested by two female competitors. The victor of the match is the wrestler who removes the evening gown off of her opponent. However, in the Evening Gown Match booked for WrestleMania XX in 2004, all four women in the match stripped to their undergarments before wrestling started; the match then proceeded as a normal tag team match with no further undressing. Another example of this match type is at the King of the Ring (2000) pay-per-view, Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco, two elderly male former wrestlers, had a match of this kind. Pure, refined horror, even when put in context; they were feuding with Crash Holly for the Hardcore Championship (which was then defended under a 24/7 rule, which meant the title could be on the line anytime, anywhere).
A Tuxedo match is contested between two male competitors in tuxedos. To win, a wrestler must strip their opponent's tuxedo off. WCW had a famous Tuxedo Match between the two managers of The Midnight Express, Jim Cornette and Paul E. Dangerously. Rather than try to remove each other's clothing they just beat each other, to the best of their ability.
A submission match is typically a match in which pinfalls, count-outs, and disqualifications are not legal and the match could only end by making an opponent tap out to a submission hold.
A Catch-as-Catch Can match is a match where any submission hold are allowed that is not intended to inflict injury, which contained mostly submission amateur-style wrestling. This match is altered to stipulate that a wrestler may lose by going to or being forced to the arena floor, like in a battle royal. An example of this type of match is the infamous match between Dean Malenko and Billy Kidman during WCW's Souled Out (2000), where Malenko lost two minutes in by forgetting the rules and escaping to the floor after a barrage of attacks from Kidman.
Main article: "I Quit" match
A "I Quit" match is a match where a wrestler must force the other wrestler to submit in the form of saying the words "I Quit" to win. This match is run under hardcore rules - no disqualifications, no countouts and the submission can happen anywhere. The referee follows the action with a microphone in hand during the event.
A "I Respect You" match is also similar to an "I Quit" match, that means, anything goes. In order to win, a wrestler must hurt his opponent brutally that it leaves the other wrestler no other choice but force to say, "I Respect You" into the microphone. This match type took place at WCW's SuperBrawl VI in 1996 which marked Brian Pillman's final match in WCW in his "I Respect You" Strap Match against The Taskmaster, before Pillman shouted "I Respect You", Bookerman!", breaking kayfabe, before leaving the ring.
The Submission Count Anywhere match was debuted at Breaking Point 2009 between D-Generation X and The Legacy where a wrestler can be submitted anywhere to win. Also, there are no falls, no disqualifications, and no countouts. This match occurred only once in WWE history.
The match is contested in a large container filled with various substances, typically between two female individuals who may or may not have experience with wrestling. Substances can include anything from mud to chocolate milk. Sometimes, specialty substances are used for certain occasions like gravy for Thanksgiving and egg nog for Christmas.
A notable example of this match type was the Mimosa Mayhem Match, which was contested between Chris Jericho and Orange Cassidy at All Elite Wrestling's All Out pay-per-view in September 2020, where the only ways to gain victory were by pinfall, submission or by knocking the opponent into a large vat of mimosa. Unlike the traditional reasoning, the theme fit with both parties' gimmicks: Jericho was promoting his own line of champagne, and Cassidy is billed as "Freshly Squeezed" as part of his gimmick.
Another example of this match was the Pudding match when Candice Michelle defeated Melina in one of these by holding her head under the chocolate pudding until she tapped out to keep from drowning.
A Blood Bath match is a no-disqualification match where the first to be covered in a vat of blood dispensed from a bucket loses. The Brood members Edge and Gangrel had a Blood Bath match on WWE Raw in August 1999.
Perhaps the most notable substance match was a mud match, where wrestlers would wrestle in an area or container full of mud, usually away from the ring. Usually women would participate in these matches with some occasional male involvement.
A variation of a Mud Match is the Hog Pen match, which is a Mud Match held in a pig pen on a farm, often filled with mud and pig excrement. Triple H and Henry O. Godwinn participated in a Hog Pen match at WWE's In Your House 5 in December 1995. The only way to win is the first wrestler to thrown their opponent into a pig pen.
Matches are often contested between two or more teams, most often consisting of two members each. Tag team matches can range from two teams of two fighting, to multiple man teams challenging each other.
Main article: Professional wrestling tag team match types
On most occasions, one member of the team competes in the ring with one or more of his or her teammates standing behind the ropes. Wrestlers switch positions by "tagging" one another, usually similar to a high five and, as a result, these teams are referred to as tag teams. This can create tension during the match as an injured wrestler in the middle of the ring attempts to reach his or her teammates, often with the heel team preventing them from doing so. In typical tag team matches, standard wrestling rules apply with a match ending by pinfall, submission, countout, or disqualification.
Promotions usually have a tag team championship for a team of two wrestlers, and on rare occasion allies of the reigning tag team will be allowed to defend the title in the place of one of the reigning wrestlers under the Freebird rule. Though common in Mexican lucha libre, at one point, World Championship Wrestling (WCW) had a championship for teams of three. WWE also can have three (triple threat) or four (fatal four-way) tag teams going against each other as well. The Tag Team Triple Threat match (known as Tag Team Triangle match in WCW) involves three teams where a member of two teams are in the ring and can tag their partner or a member of the third team. The first team with an active competitor to win by pinfall or submission wins the match for the team.
The Tag Team Four Corners match (also known as Tag Team Fatal Four-Way match) is another variation that starts off with four teams positioned as in a tag team match and two wrestlers active in the ring. The two wrestlers in the ring can tag their partner or members of a team not already represented in the match. It is an advantage to have a team member tagged into the match as you can only win by being a legal competitor in the match and the one who scores the fall wins the match for the team. One example was a four team match for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship at Starrcade (2019).
Another variation of the four-way tag team match is to have a member of each of the four teams in competition while their partners are on the apron and the active member who scores a pinfall or submission wins the match for the team. One example of this variation was contested for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship at Clash of Champions (2017).
Sometimes a team will have members of three, four or five in non-elimination tag matches. They are often named based on the number of participants and gender involved. Six-Man (Six-Woman) Tag Team match (known as Trios match in AEW) is one variation. The Wyatt Family defeated The Shield at Elimination Chamber (2014) in a six-man tag team match.
The tornado tag team match (Originally known as the Texas Tornado) is a match where all wrestlers involved are allowed to be in the ring at the same time, and thus all wrestlers are vulnerable to having a fall scored against them. Whether or not it is truly a tag team match is debatable, as it involves no tagging, but it is contested between tag teams. The first match of this kind was held on October 2, 1937, in Houston between Milo Steinborn and Whiskers Savage against Tiger Daula and Fazul Mohammed. It was the brainchild of promoter Morris Sigel. Another well known example of this match is when The Shield (Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins) challenged Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan & Kane) for the WWE Tag Team Championship at Extreme Rules (2013).
Tag team matches are occasionally held under elimination rules; that is, the losing wrestler is eliminated from the match, but their team is allowed to continue with their remaining members until all members of one team are eliminated.
WWE also can have three (triple threat) or four (fatal four-way) tag teams going against each other as well. Anyone can be tagged in by anyone else and can be subject to immediate disqualification for failure to accept a tag. When a wrestler is pinned or submitted, the entire team is eliminated and the last team remaining wins.
In WWE, these matches are primarily featured during its Survivor Series pay-per-views, where they are billed as a "Survivor Series match". Teams of four or five, though on some occasions as many as seven, compete under elimination rules. All other standard rules apply, and team members may tag in and out in any order. While some teams are already established stables, others may need to recruit members for their team. In lucha libre promotions, a torneo cibernetico is a similar type of match between teams of up to eight wrestlers who enter in a predetermined order.
A captain's fall match is a match where two teams of multiple competitors compete in an elimination match and captains are assigned to both teams. The purpose of the match is to score a fall over the captain to get the win. Eliminations may occur until the captain is pinned or submitted, the team loses if a captain is pinned.
A tables and stables match are similar to table matches, however, in an elimination styled-manner. Two teams consisting of four members compete, and one wrestler can be eliminated either getting dropped by their opponent through a table or accidentally falling by themselves. As with a normal table match, the match is a no disqualification and a no countout match.
A tag team turmoil is another version of an elimination tag team match. The match has a team in each of the four corners to start the match, but as each team is eliminated another team takes its place, similar to a gauntlet match. Another variation of tag team turmoil took place at SummerSlam in 1999, Night of Champions in 2010, Night of Champions Kickoff Show in 2013, and Elimination Chamber in 2017. Two teams start, when one is eliminated a new team comes to the ring until all teams have competed, the remaining team is the winner. This was used on May 31, 2011, episode of NXT, with a team consisting of a WWE pro and an NXT rookie. The winning team earned three redemption points for the rookie in this version. This was also used on May 8, 2017, episode of Raw, where the winning team earned a number one contender's spot for Matt and Jeff Hardy's WWE Raw Tag Team Championship.
Primarily associated with Ring of Honor (ROH), An Ultimate Endurance match is an tag team elimination match that typically includes three to four tag teams with the members of two. The match starts off with a particular set of special stipulations, with the stipulation changing every time a team is eliminated. These stipulations are predetermined and are not limited to any specific type.
An mixed tag team match features mixed-sex teams that only wrestlers of the same sex may be in the ring at the same time will wrestle each other under the standard rules. For example, if a woman tags her male partner, both women leave the ring and both men enter. The Mixed Match Challenge tournament was debuted on January 16, 2018, which both team winners The Miz and Asuka won season one while R-Truth and Carmella won season two, earning themselves the No. 30 spots in the 2019 Royal Rumble matches and an all-expenses-paid vacation, respectively.
An Intergender tag team match features mixed-sex teams but it differs from the Mixed Tag Team match in which that both men and women can be in the ring at the same time to wrestle each other under the tornado tag team rules. This match was popularized in the early 2000s by Team Xtreme during the Attitude Era.
A Strange Bedfellows match is a match where a member of one tag team has to team up with a member of another tag team they are feuding with. One example of this was when Matt Hardy had to team up with Christian against his brother/tag team partner Jeff Hardy and Christian's tag team partner Edge.
Through the use of foreign objects, the matches generally take the name of the weapon being used ("Singapore cane match", "Chairs match"). In the following list of weapon-based matches additional rules have supplanted or replaced the standard rules.
An Arcade Anarchy match is a tag-team hardcore match that originated in AEW where various items found in arcades like air hockey tables, mallet hammers (for Mogura Taiji), various video game stalls, a claw crane and even Teddy bears filled with Lego bricks are made available and placed around the ring. There is also a "prize wall" made available with traditional hardcore professional wrestling weapons hanging on this wall. This match was first done on AEW Dynamite on March 31, 2021.
A Bricks match is a match where concrete bricks are made available as weapons. Bricks were often integrated into no-rope barbed wire deathmatches, and bricks first made their appearance in Japanese deathmatches in 1993.
A Chairs match, also known as a steel chair match, is a standard weapons match with chairs being the only legal weapon. The match can be won by standard pinfall or submission.
A Country Whipping match is a match where all competitors are armed with leather belts, which is the only legal weapon in the match. This was known to be The Godwinns speciality match.
The Crazy 8 match, used mostly in the defunct Pro Wrestling Unplugged promotion, involves placing a championship belt at the top of a scaffold with the first wrestler to retrieve it being declared the winner. Placed in and around the ring for the wrestlers to use during the match are one side of a steel cage, two trampolines, and four rope swings.
A Fans Bring the Weapons match is a type of dangerous match where the competing wrestlers take random blunt objects from audience members and use them in the match. This match was first pioneered in ECW in the mid 1990s.
A Good Housekeeping match is a match where various items usually found in private homes such as trashcans, kitchen sinks, ironing boards, pans, tables, brooms, utensils and various raw food ingredients are made available as weapons- and these are the only legal weapons. This match is fought under no-countout rules. Jeff Jarrett fought Chyna in a Good Housekeeping match at WWE's No Mercy 1999.
A Handcuff match is when a wrestler must retrieve a pair of handcuffs and then handcuff the opposing wrestler to a ring fixture to win the match but sometimes so that the opposing wrestler is unable to make use of their hands.
The Hangman Horror match was created by Raven to end his feud with Vampiro. The objective in this match is to wrap your opponent's neck with a steel chain and then proceed in hanging him over the ring ropes. Once he is declared unconscious by the referee, the person in charge of the horrific hanging will gain the victory.
A kendo stick match, also known as a Singapore cane match or dueling canes match, is a standard weapons match with a kendo stick being the only legal weapon. Often, the ring will be lined with many kendo sticks for the wrestlers to use. Hardcore wrestling promotion Combat Zone Wrestling has used this match with fluorescent light tubes instead of kendo sticks.
Main article: Ladder match
A ladder match is a match in which a specific object (usually a title belt, a contract or a briefcase) is placed above the ring—out of the reach of the competitors—with the winner being the first person to climb a ladder and retrieve it. This is often used in WWE with their Money in the Bank matches. The ladder may be used as a weapon.
A Full Metal Mayhem match is a variation on a TLC match (see below), where in addition to tables and chairs being present, steel chains are made available, and any other weapon that is metallic (trashcans, thumbtacks) often make appearances. This match originated in TNA Impact Wrestling and this promotion has had at least one of these matches every year since 2005.
Further information: King of the Mountain match
The King of the Mountain match is described as a "reverse ladder match". Instead of retrieving an object hanging above the ring, the winner is the first person to use a ladder to hang a championship belt above the ring—after having scored a pinfall or submission (pinfalls count anywhere) to earn the right to try. A wrestler who has been pinned or forced to submit must spend two minutes in a penalty box.
Used in ECW, a Stairway to Hell match is a ladder match with a weapon hanging over the ring. Rather than winning the match by retiring this, the first wrestler to climb a ladder and retrieve the weapon is allowed to use it in the match. The match is won by standard pinfall or submission.
Main article: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match
A tables, ladders and chairs match, often abbreviated as TLC match, is an extension of a ladder match with chairs and tables also being present as legal weapons. This match was introduced because each of the 3 teams specialized in one of these weapons: Edge and Christian were known for their frequent use of steel folding chairs and the tandem "con-chair-to" move; the Dudley Boyz were known for their pioneering, hard-hitting use of slamming their opponents through wooden event tables; and the Hardy Boyz were known for their high-flying acrobatics off of twin-step ladders. There had been a similar type of match at WrestleMania 2000 called the "Triangle Ladder Match" which also involved tables and chairs. But the first ever official TLC match took place between Edge and Christian, The Dudley Boyz and the Hardy Boyz at the WWF event Summerslam 2000; and another at Wrestlemania X-Seven. Due to the destructive, dangerous, violent, frenetic and physically demanding nature of these matches every subsequent TLC match since the Wrestlemania X-Seven match was toned down to reduce the very high demands and risks this type of match poses. Since 2009, WWE has held a pay-per-view in December named TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, which features this match as its marquee matches. The match has two variations: one is competed as a ladder match, which the person/people must retrieve an object suspended above the ring, and the other is a traditional style match won by pinfall or submission. One particular spectacle that is generated from these matches is a war zone-like scene of mass destruction where destroyed tables, ladders, chairs and barely mobile wrestlers lay strewn in and around the ring. In WWE, Edge has competed in the most TLC matches (7) including the first three, and has often used this match to gain an advantage in a storyline, with some referring to it as his specialty match.
The Ultimate X match is a "ladder match without the ladders" where two cables are strung across the ring, forming an "X" pattern and the object (normally a championship belt or a large red "X") is placed where the cables connected to metal structures rising from the four corners of the ring, cross 15 feet above the middle of the ring. The objective of this match is to climb the turnbuckles and then climb hand-over-hand across the cables to claim the item to win. The match is contested by three or more wrestlers of the X Division. TNA made the transition to a hexagonal ring in June 2004, the cables were suspended from the four turnbuckles that were not perpendicular to the entrance ramp.
A Nigerian Drum Fight is a no-disqualification stipulation match where various musical percussion instruments used in traditional Nigerian music, such as bongos and a gong are made available at ringside, as are tables and kendo sticks. Big E faced Apollo Crews at WrestleMania 37 in a Nigerian Drum Fight.
The Object on a Pole match, whose name is usually derived from the object being hung, i.e. "Brass knuckles on a Pole", "Steel chair on a Pole", "Singapore cane on a Pole", "Paddle on a Pole", "Viagra on a Pole", "Contract on a pole", "Michael Shechter on a Pole", "Mistletoe on a Pole" or "Judy Bagwell on a Pole", is the spiritual forebear of the ladder match. In this case, an object is placed on a pole that extends from one of the four turnbuckles on the ring with the wrestlers battling to reach it first. Unlike the ladder match, however, reaching the object doesn't usually end the match; it simply allows that wrestler to use it as a weapon. This is not a no-disqualification match; the weapon on the pole is merely an exception to the disqualification rule. However, this is sometimes a no-disqualification match in which any weapon, plus the one on the pole, can be used. This match is referred to by many wrestling critics as a "Russo Special", due to the propensity of WCW booker Vince Russo's use of Pole Matches during his tenure at the company. Another World Championship Wrestling specialty is the San Francisco 49ers match, where four boxes are placed in the four corners of the ring, one with the championship belt and the other three with weapons. You must find box with the belt to win the match and the championship. To date, this match is only known to have happened in a major wrestling federation once (Booker T. defeating Jeff Jarrett to become the WCW World Heavyweight champion on October 2, 2000).
Multiple variations of the "Pole match" exist. In some cases the match is closer to the ladder match, in that reaching the object does end the match. In others there will be objects above all of the turnbuckles. Further still, there can be a mixture of the two, with an object placed at (though not above) each turnbuckle, one to end the match, the rest to be used as weapons. Total Nonstop Action Wrestling used a "Pole match" as a setup to another match, placing objects at four of their six turnbuckles with the promise that the first wrestler to reach each object would be allowed to use them weeks later at an already scheduled cage match. In a Feast or Fired match each case contains a contract to fight for a TNA World Heavyweight Championship, TNA Tag Team Championship or TNA X-Division Championship, with the final case contains a pink slip, mean the holder of that case would be fired immediately, but if the person holding the X-Division title shot briefcase went on to win that title, it cannot be cashed in right away for the World Heavyweight Championship (Option C). The Coal Miner's Glove match is a variation of the typical "Object on a Pole Match" in which the object in question is a coal miner's glove, which can be used on one's opponent upon retrieval.
A Biker Chain match is a match where a chain is attached to a pole and is the only legal weapon, but the object of this match is to pin your opponent. Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker did a Biker Chain match at WWE's No Mercy 2003.
A pillow fight is a match held for which pillows and a bed are placed in the ring. The pillows may be used as weapons, but other than that, standard wrestling rules apply. Notably, Torrie Wilson once picked up the bed with Candice Michelle on it and threw it. Another variation, the Lingerie Pillow Fight, requires the participants to wear lingerie. Another variation, the Pajama Pillow Fight, requires the participants to wear pajamas.
In a straitjacket match, a wrestler must put their opponent into a straitjacket, usually after knocking the opponent out or by rendering them unconscious by submission holds. It made its televised debut on TNA when Samuel Shaw beat Mr. Anderson by first rendering him unconscious with a chokehold and then putting him into the straitjacket. On WWF Raw in June 1999, Ken Shamrock, who was the only participant confined to the straitjacket, still won his match with Jeff Jarrett after forcing him to submit to a headscissors submission hold.
A strap match, known by many names and done with many slight variations, is any match in which the competitors are placed on the opposite ends of a restraint to keep them in close physical proximity. By definition, the strap and anything tied to it are considered legal and in play weapons. The most common rule for victory is to achieve a pinfall, but there is a common variation where one wrestler has to go around the ring and touch all four corners in quick order, without interruption. Because of the strap's legality, and subsequent use as a choking device, submissions are generally not allowed.
The traditional strap match involves two wrestlers tied together via a leather strap, and the strap match is one of the most varied forms of professional wrestling match type, both in name and implements used, with the name used generally coming from the implement used and one or both of the participants. Common restraints include a belt, bullrope (length of rope with a cowbell in the center), steel chains, one to two-foot "leash", or leather strap, where the wrestlers are tied together at one wrist.
A Dog Collar match is a type of strap match where instead of a leather strap, the competing wrestlers are bound together by the neck via dog collars and chains. The late wrestler Jon "Brodie Lee" Huber had a Dog Collar match with Cody Rhodes in what would be his last ever wrestling match before his death.
The Four Corners Strap match is when the first wrestler to touch all four turnbuckle pads in succession without any form of interruption from his opponent or anyone else wins. If at any point a wrestler starts touching pads but is taken down before the wrestler can finish touching them all, they must start over again. There are no pinfalls, no submissions, no countouts, or no disqualifications in this match. At WCW's Uncensored 1995, Hulk Hogan actually dragged non-participant (Ric Flair) to all four corners to win his strap match against Big Van Vader. This match was renamed a Samoan Strap match for WWE's Extreme Rules 2009 pay-per-view with Umaga facing off against CM Punk. WCW has their own variation strap match as well named the Yapapi Indian Strap match between Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair at the 2000 Uncensored pay-per-view. All Elite Wrestling (AEW) also has its own variation of the Four Corners Strap match, dubbed the South Beach Strap match, which has been used once in a match between Cody Rhodes and QT Marshall at the Road Rager event in July 2021. It was named as such due to the event taking place in Downtown Miami, close to the neighbourhood of South Beach.
A Russian Chain match is a type of strap match where instead of an elastic strap, a thick, 15-foot steel chain is used to bound the wrestlers, and this chain is often used as a weapon. This match has come under many names, including a Texas Chain match (a Biker Chain match is a variation of an Object on a Pole match) The Russian Chain match was the speciality match of Ivan Koloff and Boris Malenko.
A Texas Bullrope match is a type of strap match where the wrestlers are bound together by a thick cattle rope with a cowbell in the center; the objective of this match is to achieve a single pinfall. The Rock had his own signature match, the Brahma Bullrope match which was a renamed Texas Bullrope match.
A Steel Stairs match is a match where the only legal weapon are any number of steel stairs typically situated the on opposite sides of the ring that can be used to enter the ring. The Big Show faced Erick Rowan in a Steel Stairs match at the TLC 2014 WWE pay-per view.
A Symphony of Destruction match is a match where various musical instruments are available at ringside as weapons. This is Elias's speciality match; it was first done in 2018 when Elias faced Braun Strowman.
A Tables match is a match in which, to win, one's opponent must somehow be driven through a table with an offensive move by their opponent. It can only be won with an offensive maneuver.
Tables matches can be contested with tag teams, under both elimination and one fall rules. The first tables match in the WWE was a tag-team Tables match with The Hardy Boyz versus The Dudley Boyz (the latter were known for their pioneering use of tables in professional wrestling) at the 2000 Royal Rumble. The object of this match was to drive all team members through a table with offensive moves, but after the high level of violence and brutality, the extensive use of steel chairs, and the non-elimination and offensive move stipulations (even after one opponent had been driven through a table with an offensive move) of this particular match, the latter making the match difficult to understand and follow- the objective of every subsequent Tables match was toned town, focused primarily on tables as the premier weapon of this match and given clarity to have just one opponent to go through a table. It is common for tables matches to also include a "no-disqualification" clause, which turns them into hardcore matches by nature (although this variation may also be alternately known as a Hardcore Tables Match). In some tag matches, a person can save his teammate by breaking the table with his own body. Apparently this does not count against the team.
A Flaming Tables Match, an Extreme Championship Wrestling specialty match, where the tables are set on fire, and the only way to win is to put opponents through the lit tables.
A High Impact Tables Match is a variation of a Tables Match in which you must put your opponent through a table off an elevated surface.
A Two out of Three Tables match is a match which can only be won when a wrestler or team puts their opponent through two tables, but it does not have to be at the same time.
For a taped fist match the wrestlers are allowed to tape and/or wrap their hands to allow them to punch harder without damaging their hands. In one variation, the Taipei Death match, the taped fists are dipped in super glue, then broken glass.
A water fight is a match which the ring is surrounded with buckets of water, water guns, and water balloons to use as weapons. Notably, Jillian Hall once smacked Mickie James over the head with a water gun during this match but other than that; standard wrestling rules apply. Also, another victory of this match in which the only way to win is to successfully score some type of splash on your opponent.
The Weapon Rumble match is a stipulation invented in DDT Pro-Wrestling in which, similarly to a Rumble rules match, with every time interval a new weapon is introduced in the match. The weapons are chosen by the participants beforehand and can widely vary due to the loose interpretation of the definition of a "weapon" that's used by the company in a comedic manner.
A Winner Takes All match is a match in which both wrestlers (or teams if a tag team match) are champions going into the match, and the winner receives the championship of the loser, thus "taking all". This differs from a championship unification match, where one championship is absorbed into the other and retired/deactivated. In a Winner Take All scenario, both titles are still active and defended as separate entities.
The bout will be held inside the Six Sides Of Steel cage with barbed wire lining the top – and in order to qualify to pin your opponent you have to make someone bleed!
SADISTIC MADNESS[...]The rules are that a guy had to bleed before he could be pinned..
April 29, 1996
Jim Cornette said he would pick out 10, 12 or 18 TNA fans to act as Lumbjacks with a leather strap. ... Jim Cornette announced that Jeff Jarrett would face Samoa Joe in a "Fans Revenge Lumberjack Match".
Ultimately, the [...] ECW General Manager mandated a three-week competition between all four Superstars that would [...] determine who would face champion CM Punk [...]. The loser of each week’s Elimination Chase match would be cut from the running until there was only one man left standing.
Chris Jericho defeats Juventud Guerrera with the Liontamer in a mask vs. title match.
TITLE VS. CAREER
NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
MATCH: Eugene Dinsmore w/William Regal vs Johnny Nitro (If he loses he is FIRED!)..
Match 5: Loser retires – Curt Hennig vs. Buff Bagwell
MANKIND [...] v. LA ROCA in a "pink slip on a pole" match
HOCKEY STICK STREET FIGHT: 3-Live Krew defeated Team Canada with Kip James as referee..
Match #8: Jeff Jarrett vs. Booker T. in a San Francisco 49'ers Match for the vacant WCW World Heavyweight Title
Match 5: Strap match — Shane Douglas (w/Torrie Wilson) vs. Kidman[...]Kidman pins Douglas.
FLAMING TABLES AT BLAZE OF GLORY [...]To Win you have to put your opponent through a Table that has been set alight.
Ian Rotten vs. Axl Rotten (Taipei Death match, broken Glass was glued to their fists)