April 21, 2005
SLAM! Speaks - Gimmicked goodness
By SLAM! Wrestling Staff
While most in the wrestling industry are fearing that Sunday's TNA Lockdown pay-per-view event will spell the end for the steel cage as a novelty gimmick match, we at SLAM! are a little bit more optimistic. As such, we are taking this opportunity to look back on our favourite gimmick matches.
Out of all the gimmick matches, the Royal Rumble stands out as my personal favourite. I remember watching Rumbles in the late 80s and early 90s, absolutely convinced that the outcome wasnít planned ahead of time. I still love the suspense and intrigue of the match, from the order of entry and
elimination to the frequent surprise entries (Tenryu, anyone?). Watching workers like Shawn Michaels and Chris Benoit go end to end, teasing elimination for over an hour leaves me in suspense to this day. Itís fun to watch unusual alliances develop and crumble, and seeing guys who are a few
months away from having their mugs on milk cartons going toe-to-toe with the main eventers is always cool.
It's hard to pick a favorite gimmick match because so many of them have been run into the ground. While it's been done too often, TNA's Ultimate X has proven to be one of the most creative new matches in the last few years. Take two cables, cross them above the ring, hang something from it and let your best go at it. Guys like Chris Sabin, Petey Williams, Low Ki, Frankie Kazarian, AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels have competed in these matches and the results were astonishing. Instead of it being simple high spots, some great storys were told amidst some absolutely breathtaking moves. If TNA ever releases a DVD of all of the Ultimate X matches, I will be first in line to buy it.
My favorite gimmick match would have to be the Royal Rumble. You don't know who's coming and when, and history has proven that anything can happen and anyone can show up. The Royal Rumble carries so many rich memories and has been considered as a one-way ticket to stardom. For those reasons, Royal Rumble is my favorite gimmick match.
While the Royal Rumble definitely ranks high on my list, the simplicity of a Battle Royal pushes it ahead. In the Rumble, it's very easy for a match to slow down, especially when it's down to two (or even one) wrestler. In the Battle Royal, however, the only time that happens is at the most dramatic moment - when there are two men left standing. What I also like about the Battle Royal is there is more of a sense that anyone can win it because usually the result is meaningless, whereas the Rumble has had the "title shot" stip. for the last decade or so. Let's put it this way - Funaki is as likely as Big Show to win a Battle Royal, but there's no way Smackdown's Number One announcer will even make the final four in the Rumble.
So what do you think is the best gimmick match in wrestling? Do you prefer pole matches, or would you take tables over taped fists? Send us your thoughts on the best gimmick matches. Results will be posted next week.
-- compiled by Jon Waldman