For the most part, I think it would be fair to say that
gimmick matches have been a good thing for professional wrestling.
Ladder matches, cage matches, over-the-top rope elimination matches - all of these have been staple parts of a healthy wrestling diet over the years. And many of these match types have since been evolved into even more exciting concepts, such as your Hell in a Cell meetings, your Elimination Chambers and your Tables, Ladders and Chairs bouts.
But as is often the case, for all these classic stipulations, we’ve also seen our fair share of rubbish along the way. Even some of the most legendary, seemingly bulletproof gimmick matches have been adulterated into some pretty terrible iterations.
This article looks back at some of these most notable examples, but first let’s go over the two key qualifying factors for prospective entries on this list.
First off, it needs to be a terrible iteration, some kind of spin on a match that probably should have been best avoided. Secondly - and this is the crucial part - it has to be variant of a match that was actually considered legendary in the first place.
So all those “so-and-so on a pole” matches we’ve seen over the years aren’t up for consideration, as I’m not sure how many pole matches were even deemed “legendary gimmick matches” to begin with…
10. World War 3
Our first guilty party to be named and shamed is WCW’s World
A variation of a Battle Royal, this was in essence WCW’s response to the WWE’s wildly successful Royal Rumble showdown. But rather than simply mimic the Rumble, WCW wanted to up the ante.
So instead of having one ring, World War 3 would have three. And rather than featuring 30 participants, World War 3 would feature 60. Admittedly, that may sound impressive on paper, but in reality it was incredibly difficult to execute correctly.
Cameramen naturally found it difficult to capture all of the action, and with all 60 men starting the match at the same time (much like a traditional Battle Royal) there wasn’t really enough space in which the wrestlers could operate. Long story short; it was all a bit of a mess, really.
The great thing about the Rumble is that the entrants are diluted and smaller sub-plots can develop within the match. In the case of World War 3, the sheer mayhem that came as a result of staging three simultaneous Battle Royals, which would eventually merge into a single contest, just wasn’t able to replicate the magic of the Rumble.
Still, they did manage to eke out four years of the concept before finally replacing it in 1999.