One of the best. . . and worst. . .things about professional wrestling is the gimmick match, when some sort of stipulation is added to the bout for intrigue or importance. In some cases, it can be a thing of beauty (the Steel Cage, I Quit and Ironman formats come to mind). In others, it can become synonymous with certain talents. If I say “Casket match”, only one man comes to mind; when I see TLC, I think of three teams specifically.
Then we have the bad gimmick matches.
I dare not list examples, for each one both turns the stomach and truly is deserving of its own Throwback Thursday. Let’s just assume you know the kinds of matches of which I speak.
Today’s throwback came along as part of my quest to watch all NWA and WCW PPV’s in chronological order, and while WWE Network seems to be throwing up roadblocks to stop me from doing this (anyone else getting odd glitches galore?), it did not stop me from entering the Chamber of Horror. . . I’ll repeat that.
Let’s see. . . How does one explain the chamber of horror? Well, there was a cage, to start. You knew that was coming. Some wrestlers entered the ring with weapons, including one Hardcore Legend who brought a chainsaw for the fight. . . I believe there were caskets on the floor inside the cage.
Oh, yes, and of course, there’s the objective.
TO FRY YOUR OPPONENT IN AN ELECTRIC CHAIR!
In the middle of the ring was a second steel cage, inside which sat an electric chair. On the side of the larger cage sat a stereotypical “switch”. Find a way to get one of your opponents into the chair, have a partner flip the switch, and DING DING DING! You win!
Congratulations, you killed a man! Paul Edgecombe would be proud. . .
(Bonus points if you recognized that Green Mile reference. . . Double bonus points if you scoffed at me, since Edgecombe was a good man who didn’t really like killing people. Especially John Coffey. Like the drink. . . Only spelled different. . .
Thus ends our literature portion of the column.)
If you’re confused about the match, worry not - you weren’t alone. The fans in the arena were confused, the announcers were confused, even the combatants really seemed to be unsure of what exactly was happening.
And what combatants they were; the list of talents in this match is basically a Who’s Who of Hall of Fame talents from the last 20 years.
Rick Steiner and his brother, "Belly-to-Belly Suplex" Steiner. . . Oh wait, this was back when he was just Scott.
Abdullah the Butcher.
Scott Hall (known then as The Diamond Stud, which is essentially Razor Ramon without the vest or the accent.)
What a cast of all-time greats! Can you believe it?
Wait, what’s that? What did you say? El Gigante was in the match as well? How did I miss a 7’7” behemoth?
(Answer: He was so terrible, I blocked it out. Thanks for reminding me. Jerk.)
“So DC,” you might be saying, “with such a cavalcade of wrestling stars, surely the match was entertaining?”
The match was a train wreck. Not helping matters was the fact that they decided to have this match be the pilot program for the “Refer-Eye”, which was a camera attached to a helmet that the referee wore. So frequently throughout the contest we got a Blair Witch-ian look as Nick Patrick running along the edge of the ring, looking down on the action down among the caskets.
Like I said. Train. Wreck.
There was violence. There was bleeding. And in the end, as expected, there was capital punishment.
Thankfully, WCW “death” is even shorter than what you read in the Bible, for not 3 minutes after he was fried, Abby was up and as wild as ever, taking out the ghoulish orderlies waiting to cart him out on a stretcher.
Didn’t I mention the ghoulish orderlies, dressed up like an early version of Abe “Knuckleball” Schwartz? Sorry, too much crap to keep straight.
If you’re a fan of pure wrestling, of crisp moves and clean combinations, of talents giving their all to the “sport” we all love - DO NOT WATCH THIS MATCH!
However, if you believe that in order to truly appreciate this art, you need to see it all - the Good, the Bad and the very, very ugly, then head over to WWE Network and watch the opening match from Halloween Havoc 1991.
When you’re done, let me know if you have any skipping issues. I need to know if my PS3 is quitting on me due to overuse.