10 Times WWE Gambled On A New Gimmick Match

9. Boiler Room Brawl


1996 was a fabulous in-ring year for the WWF, and while the Buried Alive match was essentially a lipstick-on-a-pig Casket match, this excellent form spun off into the stipulation match elsewhere.

At SummerSlam, the Fed created a bespoke cracker for the Mankind character, reciprocating his ability to rewrite the in-ring language. Mankind festered in the shadows, rejection manifest, and the Boiler Room Brawl was perfect for his violent loner persona. The match itself allowed the WWF, in an era in which creativity was mandatory for interest, survival, everything, to experiment beyond the in-ring norm using every available resource to awesome effect. The dark, dim lighting created a tense atmosphere, one tethered to reality, as the 'Taker character shed its hokey, familiar skin - and this time, in marvellous psychological subversion, it was he who was victimised by a disturbing presence in the shadows.

The Boiler Room Brawl was also, of course, a platform on which for Mick Foley to endure a sh*t-load of weapon shots in what was a superb cover version, almost, of his old Cactus Jack character.

The WWF recognised the strengths of the performer and allowed him to perform as the best version of himself under their own - most fitting - aesthetic.


Former Power Slam Magazine scribe and author of Development Hell: The NXT Story - available NOW on shop.whatculture.com!