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Professional wrestling match types
Many types of wrestling matches, sometimes called "concept" or "gimmick matches" in the jargon of the business, are performed in professional wrestling. Some of them occur relatively frequently while others are developed so as to advance an angle and such match types are used rarely. Because of professional wrestling's long history over decades, many things have been recycled (many match types often being variations of previous match types). These match types can be organized into several loose groups, in which some are more popular then others, such as a ladder match, which is more popular than an "I quit" match. Most of the time, the uncommon matches are normally at a big events, typically held as a way to end a feud.
The singles match is the most basic 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 Knockout match is where a wrestler must pass out the other wrestler in a submission hold. To determine if a wrestler has passed out in WWE, 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. At one point this was largely ignored. However, the rule is now much more commonly observed for safety reasons. If the wrestler has passed out, the opponent then has lost by knockout. A wrestler can also win by knockout if he does not resort to submission holds, but stills pummels his opponent to the point that he is completely out cold. To check for a knockout in this manner a referee would wave his 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.
No Count-Out match
A No Count-Out match is a regular 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 10 seconds.
No Surrender match
TNA Wrestling had a main event at TNA No Surrender 2005 for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship between Raven and Abyss with a "No Surrender" stipulation, meaning that neither competitor would be permitted to submit or give up in the match.
A Pinfall match is a standard match where only a pinfall are permitted inside the ring to win. Sometimes can be contested under the hardcore rules.
Time Limit match
A Time Limit match is a standard match contested (usually 15 or 30 minutes) until the set time is reached zero or a wrestler achieves victory. Sometimes is often held in tribute to another wrestler, where all means of victory are removed for wrestlers to simply wrestle each other for a fixed amount of time, without victory taken into consideration.
Catch-as-Catch Can match
A Catch-as-Catch Can match are allowed any hold given that is not intended to inflict injury thus typically 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) PPV, where Malenko lost two minutes in by forgetting the rules and escaping to the floor after a barrage of attacks from Kidman.
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 is the WrestleMania VII match between Jake "The Snake" Roberts and Rick Martel.
Reduced clothing match
Women's match types include those in which women wrestle wearing only lingerie, bikinis, schoolgirl outfits, wet clothing or nude. In nude matches in the Naked Women's Wrestling League, the female referee would also display varying degrees of nudity.
Trading places match
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.
Battle royal-based variations
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 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.
Any number of men: 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.
Dynamite Dozen Battle Royale
The Dynamite Dozen Battle Royale is used by All Elite Wrestling (AEW). The match features twelve wrestlers fighting in a standard battle royal, with the final two competitors remaining in the ring going on to face each other at a later date in order to win a special prize.
Only one such match type has taken place so far, which was on the November 20, 2019 episode of AEW Dynamite. Adam Page and MJF were the final two combatants; MJF would defeat Page on the following week's episode of Dynamite and was awarded the "AEW Dynamite Diamond Ring".
Fulfill Your Fantasy battle royal
Hardcore battle royal
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.
Last Blood battle royal
A Last Blood battle royal is essentially a multi-competitor First Blood match. 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. Mick Foley had mentioned this match in his book Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks.
Reverse battle royal
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.
Tag Team battle royal
The tag team battle royal consist of designated tag teams of wrestlers, usually two to a team. There are different types of such matches, and though most follow normal battle royal rules, teams may be eliminated when either one or both partners are eliminated from the ring. This match is conducted similarly to a battle royal. If a wrestler is thrown over the ring ropes, both they and their partner are eliminated from the match. 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.
TNA Knockout Makeover Battle Royal
Match 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.
Women's battle royal
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 the 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.
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.
Cinematic matches are 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 more 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 (like a wrestler's house) or at a custom built set.
Cinematic matches first gained popularity in 2016 when Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA, now Impact Wrestling) held a match entitled the "Final Deletion" between brothers Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy for an episode of Impact Wrestling, which was filmed at Matt's home. It was a hardcore wrestling match with falls count anywhere. 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 an episode of WWE Raw. WWE then taped their own cinematic match for Payback 2017, this one 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 an episode of Raw in 2018, 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 home.
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.) All Elite Wrestling (AEW) also incorporated cinematic matches, most notably the Stadium Stampede match at Double or Nothing, which was an empty arena match in the TIAA Bank Field stadium, and then later, a match entitled "The Elite Deletion" at Full Gear, featuring Matt Hardy (who had since signed with AEW) against Sammy Guevara; this was also similar to the previous two "deletion" matches involving Matt Hardy.
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 rest 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), body bags, ambulances, dumpsters, hearses (known as a "Last Ride match", also connected to The Undertaker gimmick), and stretchers.
An Ambulance match is a match where the only way to win is for one wrestler to force their opponent into the back of an ambulance and close the door. The loser is then (in kayfabe) taken to the hospital. The most recent ambulance match featured Drew McIntyre against Randy Orton at Clash of Champions for the WWE Championship on September 27, 2020.
Body Bag match
A Body Bag match is a match where the only way to win is for one wrestler to force their opponent into a body bag and close the body bag.
Buried Alive match
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. All buried alive matches thus far had The Undertaker as a competitor.
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. 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 (as in a Casket Match) but by pinfall or submission. However, the defeated wrestler is then placed into the coffin.
A dumpster match is a hardcore 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.
Last Ride match
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 cage match
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 Lon Chaney and Otto Ludwig, and Joe Dillman vs. Charles Sinkey. These matches took place in a ring surrounded by chicken wire, in order 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.
In WWE in the mid-2000's, a number of steel cage matches involving barbed wire wrapped around the top of the cage were done.
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 Impact Wrestling's past, the matches were often called "six sides of steel" as the cage surrounded their six-sided ring.
The Asylum match is the name given to two different types of matches, both involving cages.
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 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.
Barbed wire steel cage match
A barbed wire steel cage match is one of any number of matches that uses strands of barbed wire in some capacity. 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 match's design. 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. One particular example was John "Bradshaw" Layfield vs the Big Show at No Way Out 2005 where barbed wire was wrapped around the top of the cage, more or less preventing escape over the top of the cage.
Cage of Death match
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, this match was 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.
Chamber of Extreme match
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.
Chamber of Horrors match
This stipulation was used in WCW. This 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.
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.
Doomsday Cage match
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.
Electrified cage match
The ring is surrounded by an electrified steel cage. The cage can be 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 certain interval, allowing the participants a chance at escape before it turns back on. Used by the AAA promotion in Mexico.
Elimination Chamber match
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.
Fight Pit 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).
Hell in a Cell match
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. Anything not nailed to the floor may be used as a weapon, including the Cell's structure. This type of match outside of the WWE is considered a cage match since most promotions do not consider escaping from the ring as a victory.
Because of the "anything goes" rule, this match developed an infamous reputation in its early years. This match only takes place on pay-per-view shows (with the exception of 2 taking place on Raw in 1998 and a dark match on Raw in 2011), and 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 40 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 in 1997. The Hell in a Cell (2019) PPV ended in controversy when Seth Rollins faced Bray Wyatt. Seth beat up Bray and when he hit Bray with a sledgehammer with Bray under a ladder the referee had no choice but to end the match disregarding the fact that the only way to win is by pinfall or submission.
A Kennel From Hell match is a match that originated in WWE where a Hell in a Cell cage is placed over a traditional steel cage, and in the tight space between the Cell and the ring a pack of roaming ferocious dogs are present. The objective of this match is to escape the Cell and not get attacked by dogs. This match was only done once in 1999 and was perceived to be a disaster, mainly because of the uninterested Rottweilers that were used in the match. The Kennel from Hell match is a Hell in a Cell variation "conceived" by wrestler Al Snow in the WWF during his short-lived feud with The Big Boss Man in mid-1999.
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 unfortunate 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. Kane is best known for his participation in the first five inferno matches.
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 the 1998 Unforgiven pay-per-view, 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 Firefly Inferno match is a safer, more elaborate version of an Inferno match, where the flames are just behind the barricades, and various other decorative items are also set on fire—this setup was only capable thanks to the WWE ThunderDome arena staging during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has no fans physically in attendance. This variation was done at WWE's TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs 2020 pay-per-view event when "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt faced Randy Orton. The name of the match is a play on Wyatt's gimmick, as in addition to the sinister Fiend character, he also portrays a cheery Pee-wee Herman-esque character who resides in the Firefly Fun House—fireflies are also what Wyatt called his fans during his previous cult leader gimmick.
A 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.
Lethal Lockdown match
Similar to the WarGames match utilized in WCW, Total Nonstop Action 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.
Lion's Den match
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.
Punjabi Prison match
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 in 2017, but as part of a series of changes relating to safety after the Chris Benoit incident in 2007 WWE eliminated the spikes on the bamboo and the straps used to choke opponents.
Rage in a Cage
A Rage in a Cage match is held in an oval-shaped cage. It is typically used as the arena for the "blowoff match" of a feud. It 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 held in Florida independent organizations 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 over the outside of the cage or through the cage door. Another variation of this match is the Final Wars Steel Cage which starts off with two wrestlers brawl inside a steel cage for thirty minutes with other wrestlers entering at a timed interval to help out one of the opponents for an victory.
Scramble Cage match
The match, 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.
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.
Triple cage match
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.
Sometimes suffixed with the tagline "The Match Beyond", the WarGames match features two rings surrounded by an enclosed steel cage (perhaps with a roof) with two teams (or sometimes three) facing one another. In Extreme Championship Wrestling, this was known as an Ultimate Jeopardy match. This match was made famous by NWA's annual Great American Bash and later WCWs Wrestle War before becoming a tradition at their annual Fall Brawl pay-per-view event from 1993-1998.
The Xscape match was featured annually at the Lockdown all-steel-cage pay-per-view in April. This variation of the Lockdown Match has 4–8 competitors and is a two-stage process. The first stage is a standard pin/submission elimination contest, with eliminated wrestlers leaving the cage through the door until there are only two wrestlers left. The last two competitors then face off; the only way to win at this stage is to climb out of the cage all the way to the floor.
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 variant 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 one-fall-to-a-finish 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 used at ECW's November to Remember 1997 in a match between Rob Van Dam (representing World Wrestling Federation) and Tommy Dreamer (representing Extreme Championship Wrestling).
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, three against two etc. 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 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.
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. Other common euphemisms for hardcore matches are "street fight" (which suggests wrestlers are to dress in normal street clothes), "extreme rules" match, "ultraviolent rules" match (hardcore rules matches exclusively in CZW that usually involve ladders, tables, steel folding chairs, thumbtacks, barbed wire, weed whackers, light tubes, and fire), HardKore X-Treme match (A version of the hardcore match except weapons include flaming tables, flaming chairs, razor wire, sheets of glass and weapons wrapped in barbed wire), no holds barred match, and the "good housekeeping" match (which emphasized the use of kitchen implements as weapons). 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. World Championship Wrestling utilized 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 standard hardcore match, also known as a Devil's Playground 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.
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 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. A Texas Deathmatch, a mix of a last man standing match and a hardcore match was a match that was often done by brothers Dory and Terry Funk in the 1960s in their father Dory Sr.'s promotion Western States Sports.
Anus Explosion Deathmatch
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 1998, where Mr. Gannosuke faced off against Hayabusa.
Barbed Wire Ring Rope match
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. 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.
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.
Beds of Object(s) Deathmatch
A hardcore match that has beds of thumbtacks, nails, barbed wire, glass, and/or lightbulbs. Some of these matches usually occur in Deathmatch Title matches or Deathmatches in general.
Belfast Brawl match
The Belfast brawl match was first contested on an episode of WWE's SmackDown television program, and saw Finlay face The Great Khali. The match must be won by pinfall or submission, and there are no countouts and no disqualifications.
Big Born Crisis Deathmatch
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.
Caribbean Barbed Wire Barricade Glass Deathmatch
The Caribbean Barbed Wire Barricade Glass 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. 
Clockwork House of Fun match
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 a standard death match, with the added stipulation that the loser must wrestle a crocodile at the completion of the match. An example would be between Mitsuhiro Matsunaga and Shadow WX.
A Desert Deathmatch is a match where there 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.
Double Hell Deathmatch
A Double Hell Deathmatch or an electric pool match is when 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.
Electric Pool match
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. 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.
Empty Arena match
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 tag team empty arena match in an outdoor stadium known as a "Stadium Stampede", between The Elite and The Inner Circle inside TIAA Bank Field.
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 Explosion match 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.
Falls Count Anywhere match
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.
Fans Bring the Weapons match
In a Fans Bring the Weapons match, all the weapons are provided by the fans prior to the show. Sometimes the weapons will be in the ring before the match starts, although occasionally weapons will be handed to the wrestlers during the action. This match type gained popularity in the now defunct ECW. Designated a "Believers' Backlash" match in Lucha Underground.
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.
First Blood match
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 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.
Four Corners of Pain match
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.
Last Man Standing match
A Last Man Standing match (or Last Woman Standing) is a hardcore-style match in which 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 death match, 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.
Light Tube Deathmatch
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). 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.
Monster's Ball match
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.
No Disqualification match
A No Disqualification match, also known as a 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.
Another variant of a no disqualification match is a non-sanctioned match or unsanctioned match, also called a lights out match. In this variation, there are no rules (with the exception of the pinfall or submission)
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.
Spike Nail Deathmatch
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 cane themed kendo sticks, plus common wrestling weapons such as tables and chairs.
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 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.
Time Bomb Deathmatch
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.
Unlucky 13 Deathmatch
An Unlucky 13 Deathmatch is a match invented by Ian Rotten where, in order to win, a wrestler must staple seven out of thirteen dollar bills to their opponent's mouth.
Iron Man match
An iron man (or iron woman) 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. Another example is Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar on an episode of SmackDown! in 2003 for the WWE Championship.
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 are generally hardcore by definition. The following is a list of locale-based variations that supplant or replace the standard rules.
A Backstage Brawl take place at backstage or the locker room. Two wrestlers fighting in a backstage area, wrestlers are allowed to use everything around them as weapons. The first wrestler to score a pinfall, submission, or knockout is the winner.
Bar Room Brawl
The Bar Room brawl is held in a bar, which combines hardcore wrestling with pool sticks, bottles, and other items used as weapons. The first wrestler to score a pinfall, submission, or knockout is the winner.
Boiler Room Brawl
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. 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.
The Harbor Brawl is a match where wrestlers battle near or on a dock. The first wrestler to either win by knockout or throw their opponent in the water is declared the winner.
A Junkyard Match is similar to an Iron Circle match, occurred at WCW Bash At The Beach 1999, where the match took place within a Junkyard surrounded by a steel fence. The Junkyard included cars, burning oil drums, tires, and many other dangerous objects. To win, the wrestler had to climb out of the area via the fence, similar to the winning method of the traditional Cage Match.
King of the Road match
The King of the Road match was a match held at WCW Uncensored 1995 pay-per-view between Dustin Rhodes and The Blacktop Bully. It was contested on the flatbed of a moving semi-trailer truck which drove up to 55 MPH. The participants started the match at the back of the flatbed with the object being to advance to the front of the flatbed to reach a horn. The first wrestler to blow the bullhorn won the match. Currently, this is the only match of its kind.
Parking Lot Brawl
Two types of matches take place in parking lots, the parking lot brawl and the iron circle match. They are essentially the same thing, two wrestlers fighting in a parking lot, the major difference being the iron circle match takes place in the middle of a multitude of cars parked in a circle with their headlights on, while the parking lot brawl tends to be in a sparser location. Both wrestlers are allowed to use everything around them as weapons, including the cars. The first wrestler to score a pinfall, submission, or knockout is the winner.
The Alley Brawl is a great example of this match is the Southside Scuffle where wrestlers fight in a back alley with both sides blocked off by other wrestlers. The first wrestler to score a pinfall, submission, or knockout is the winner.
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, and 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 not uncommon, nor 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.
Canadian Lumberjack match
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 a Canadian lumberjack match where fans equipped with straps act as lumberjacks and were encouraged to whip wrestlers.
Extreme Lumberjack match
Multi-competitor based variations
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.
Basic elimination matches
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.
Basic non-elimination matches
The most common example of a non-elimination match is the three-way match (known as a Triple Threat Match in WWE, a Triangle Match in WCW and a 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. One distinction from a singles match is that these matches usually exclude disqualifications or count-outs.
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), 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.
Beat the Clock challenge
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 the 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.
Arm wrestling match
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.
Mixed martial arts match
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.
Rumble rules-based variations
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.
Casino Battle Royale
The Casino Battle Royale is utilized 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.
Gauntlet for the Gold
Gauntlet for the Gold is the "Rumble" style battle royal used by Impact Wrestling. In this version two wrestlers begin in the ring, with additional wrestlers entering on a set time period. Wrestlers are eliminated by being thrown over the top rope and to the floor until two wrestlers are left, at which point a standard singles match begins.
New Japan Rumble
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.
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.
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 a one-on-three or a 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.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling has created a match type that they also call the guantlet, but the rules are dramatically different. Wrestlers enter at regular intervals, elimination is achieved by being thrown over the top rope and down to the arena floor (both feet do not have to touch), and the last elimination is by pinfall or submission.
Three Stages of Hell match
A Three Stages of Hell match is a rare match that forces two wrestlers to wrestle three different types of matches. Since 2020, There have only been five of these kind of matches in WWE history, originating in 2001 between Triple H and Steve Austin at No Way Out (2001) which HHH won 2-1 falls.
Two out of three falls match
A Two out of three falls match is a match where in order to win a wrestler must beat their opponent (by pinfall, submission, disqualification, or countout) not once but twice. For such examples like the Extreme Rules 2012 PPV between Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus and The Rock vs. Triple H at the WWE In Your House: Fully Loaded PPV.
Three Strikes, You're Out! match
The Three Strikes, You're Out! match (often shortened to Three Strikes), is one 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 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 rules.
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 match when the loser would have to dress as a baby by wearing a diaper and sucking from a bottle. This match only occurs between 1-2-3 Kid and Razor Ramon at the In Your House 6 PPV.
A Finisher 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 or is more genericized to a Finisher Match if both wrestlers are trying to perform their finisher for the win. 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.
A Jailhouse Match is a match in which the loser would 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.
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. The scaffold is not very wide, meaning wrestling moves are rarely done during these matches and stay a kick/punch affair.
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. Elevation X is another variation has two scaffolds placed above the ring intersecting each other to form an "X".
Last Chance match
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 and 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.) At NXT TakeOver: In Your House, when Velveteen Dream lost to Adam Cole for the NXT Championship, Velveteen was barred from challenging Cole for the NXT Championship.
Loser Leaves Town match
"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.
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. An example of this is Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair at WrestleMania XXIV. Another example of this is Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXVI
Kiss My Foot match
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.
A similar variation of this match is the Kiss My Ass match, which the loser has to kiss the winner's bare buttocks and was prominently held during WWE's Attitude Era. An example of this is the Extreme Rules (2015) between Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler and The Rock vs. Billy Gunn at SummerSlam (1999) event.
Luchas 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.
In matches in which hair is on the line, the heel wrestler generally loses the match, as it is designed to humiliate them. Among notable wrestlers who have lost such matches, Gorgeous George, Adrian Adonis, Jeff Jarrett, Kurt Angle, Molly Holly, Vince McMahon, and CM Punk were all heels when on the losing end of hair vs. hair matches.
While most wrestlers (especially female wrestlers) end up growing their hair back out, in some cases the wrestler may tend to keep a shaved head as part of their look. For instance, Angle's kayfabe explanation was that he could not regrow it despite using Rogaine, hair tonic, and even fertilizer. In reality, he was already going bald naturally, with many jokes about his receding hair line having been made on TV long before his head was shaved; his wife, Karen, had wanted Angle to shave his head. Angle would briefly regrow it for his role in the movie Warrior before shaving it again. Some, such as Molly Holly and CM Punk, wore wigs or masks to hide their head until enough hair had grown back in for them to forego wearing a wig or mask.
A wrestler with hair, usually long hair, wrestles a masked wrestler. The loser is either unmasked or his head is shaved or cut short. This usually takes place in Mexico, where it is called Máscara contra Cabellera.
The loser either loses their title or get their hair shaved.
The loser of the match is unmasked. In Mexico, this is called Máscara contra Máscara. In Mexico this can be the most important match in a wrestler's career, since almost every wrestler begins their career masked. Only a few of the greatest wrestlers will keep their mask their entire career, such as El Santo and Blue Demon. In Mexico, by law, once a wrestler is unmasked they may never wear a mask as that character again.
The loser either gives up the title or takes off their mask.
Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal
Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal initially introduced in WCW at the 1992 Halloween Havoc for the Sting versus Jake Roberts match, also known in TNA as the "Wheel of Dixie" and WWE as "Raw Roulette", is not a match type itself, but a way to assign a type to a match that does not yet have one. 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.
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.
Bra and panties match
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. A Bra & Panties Gauntlet Match is another variation much like a standard gauntlet match, only involving divas and with eliminations occurring as a result of stripping an opponent of their clothes instead of pinfall.
Evening gown match
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.
Submission Count Anywhere match
Ultimate Submission match
In an ultimate submission match, there is a set time limit (usually 30 or 60 minutes), and the objective is to make your opponent tap out as many times as possible within that time limit. The first wrestler who makes his opponent tap out the most is declared the winner. The first Ultimate Submission match featuring Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle, which Benoit won in a 4-3 sudden death overtime at Backlash (2001).
"I Quit" match
A "I Quit" match is a match where a wrestler must force the other wrestler to say the words "I Quit" in order to win. The referee follows the actions with a microphone in hand in the event that a competitor gives up.
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 e.g. 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 was 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 (who was promoting his own line of champagne) and Cassidy's "Freshly Squeezed" gimmick.
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. Other variations of this match is the Egg Nog match is where it is held in a pool of egg nog, while the Gravy match is held in a pool of gravy.
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.
Tag team match
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 established tag teams that most often compete in team matches rather than singles matches, though teams will often break up to pursue a singles career, usually via a turn. Teams often consist of real-life friends or relatives. On other occasions, teams are booked together by promoters based on their face or heel alignment in order to increase the amount of wrestlers on the card or to advance multiple storylines at once.
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.
Originally known as the Texas Tornado match. In this match, 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.
Elimination tag team match
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.
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 and the team loses if a captain is pinned.
In a three-way tag team elimination match, three teams compete as tag teams with two or more members per team. One member of three teams start. 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, the entire team is eliminated and the last team left of the three wins.
Much similar to a three-way tag team elimination match, a four-way tag team elimination match is a match where four teams compete with two or more members per team. One member of four teams start. 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, the entire team is eliminated and the last team of the four wins.
Tables and stables are similar to table matches, however, in an elimination styled-manner. Two teams consisting of four 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.
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 the 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 the 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, an Ultimate Endurance Match is an elimination match that typically includes three to four tag teams. The match starts off with a particular set of special stipulations, with the stipulation changing every time a team is eliminated. The stipulations are predetermined and are not limited to any specific type.
Mixed tag team match
A Mixed Tag Team Match features mixed-sex teams. Only wrestlers of the same sex may be in the ring at the same time. For example, if a woman tags her male partner, both women leave the ring and both men enter. The match can be won by pinfall, submission, disqualification, or countout.
The Intergender tag team match features mixed-sex teams but it differs from a Mixed Tag Team match in which that men and women can be in the ring at the same time and face each other under the standard rules. Six person Intergender Tag Team matches are also common, popularized in the early 2000s by Team Xtreme.
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.
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 is won by standard pinfall or submission.
Crazy 8 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 utilize during the match are one side of a steel cage, two trampolines, and four rope swings.
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.
Hangman's Horror match
The Hangman Horror match was created by Raven to end his feud with Vampiro. The objective in this match is to choke the opponent with a dog collar, which is hanging from the ring post, until they can no longer continue.
Kendo stick match
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.
A ladder match is a match in which a specific object (usually a title belt or a contract) 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.
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.
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 16 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 dangerous, violent, frenetic, destructive 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. In TNA's "Full Metal Mayhem" variation, steel chains are also permitted along with tables, ladders, and chairs. 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 wring. 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.
Object on a Pole match
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", "Necklace 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.
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).
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. A 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 you must fully dress your opponent into a straitjacket, and the most common method in doing so is to first knock the opponent out or to render him unconscious by submission holds (mostly a chokehold and/or a hold to weaken the arms and/or shoulders). 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 for one wrestler to have to go around the ring, touching all four corners in order and without stopping, although they can also end in pinfalls. At WCW's Uncensored 1995, Hulk Hogan actually dragged non-participant (Ric Flair) to all four corners in order to win his strap match against Big Van Vader. Because of the strap's legality, and subsequent use as a choking device, submissions are generally not allowed.
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 gimmicks (i.e. Russian Chain match, Yappapi Indian Strap match, Samoan strap match, Texas Bullrope match, Country Whipping Match). 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. In the dog collar variation, the wrestlers are connected at the neck by dog collars. The Rock had his own variant of a strap match: the Brahma Bullrope match, a renamed bullrope match (because of The Rock's nickname, The Brahma Bull) during the WWE's Attitude Era.
Symphony of Destruction match
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.
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 an offensive move, but after the high level of violence and brutality of this particular match, the objective of every subsequent Tables match was toned town to have just one opponent driven through a table with an offensive move. 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 more "extreme" version, the Flaming Table match requires the table to be set aflame before an opponent is put through it. Another variation is the two out of three tables match. There is also another type called the three table showdown, which can only be won when one wrestler puts his opponent through three tables, but it does not have to be at the same time.
Taped fist match
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.
Weapon Rumble match
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.
Winner Takes All match
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.
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April 29, 1996
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Match 5: Loser retires – Curt Hennig vs. Buff Bagwell
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TITLE VS. CAREER
NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
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MANKIND [...] v. LA ROCA in a "pink slip on a pole" match
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Match #8: Jeff Jarrett vs. Booker T. in a San Francisco 49'ers Match for the vacant WCW World Heavyweight Title
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FLAMING TABLES AT BLAZE OF GLORY [...]To Win you have to put your opponent through a Table that has been set alight.
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Ian Rotten vs. Axl Rotten (Taipei Death match, broken Glass was glued to their fists)
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- This page is based on the Wikipedia article Professional wrestling match types; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA.