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Pole Position: The 10 Strangest Pole Matches of All Time
The ladder match is one of the most exciting bouts in all of sports-entertainment. The race to climb to the top rung and grab the prize, whether it be a title, Money in the Bank briefcase or something else, provides the WWE Universe with enough thrilling dives and vicious slams to last a lifetime.
However, much like our own families, the Ladder Match has that one strange relative no one really likes to acknowledge. It’s somewhat similar, but its peculiarities make the bout the butt of jokes everywhere. It requires competitors to utilize their climbing skills, but on a different apparatus, reaching for objects slightly less desirable than a championship. The “(insert object here) on a Pole Match” has been the squared circle equivalent of an embarrassing uncle for decades, forcing Superstars to shimmy up a steel pole to grab objects like piñatas, leather jackets and, in one bizarre case, someone’s mom.
While it hasn’t produced all-time classic matches like its ladder counterpart, the Pole Match has created some of the most unusual encounters in sports-entertainment history. Join WWEClassics.com in reliving 10 of the strangest Pole Matches ever. ( PHOTOS | VIDEO PLAYLIST)
Piñata on a Pole Match – WCW Nitro: Nov. 15, 1999
In a move that was not racially insensitive in any way, shape or form whatsoever, WCW brain trust Vince Russo gathered up five of the promotion’s best luchadores, gave them each sticks and put them in a match where the object was to break open a piñata on a pole with a $10,000 check inside.
If the mockery of Mexican culture wasn’t enough, whoever constructed the pole didn’t take enough care to make sure the piñata was properly secured to it. That’s why, about 20 seconds into the match, the piñata came crashing down when El Dandy was whipped into the corner, leading to a confused mess of a match, where the luchadores played hot potato with the piñata.
And if the “action” in the ring wasn’t bad enough, viewers at home were subjected to Oklahoma, WCW’s incredibly tasteless parody of WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross, on commentary. Though his announcing was unwelcome, he did bring “Dr. Death” Steve Williams with him. The massive Williams destroyed the luchadores, bringing this atrocity to an abrupt end. ( WATCH)
Yoshi Tatsu Action Figure on a Pole Match – WWE NXT: July 26, 2011
Getting an official WWE action figure can be a big deal to a Superstar. It was especially momentous for Yoshi Tatsu. During summer 2011, the Japanese Superstar began idolizing his plastic likeness, lighting votive candles for it and building locker room shrines to the toy. It was reminiscent of the relationship between slugger Pedro Cerrano and voodoo idol Jobu in the movie “Major League,” except Yoshi probably didn’t need any help hitting a curveball.
The dastardly Tyson Kidd, entrenched in a rivalry with Tatsu, knew how he could get under his foe’s skin. Interrupting Yoshi’s shrine building, he grabbed the toy and snapped its leg clean off, sending Tatsu into a rage. To add insult to injury, Kidd began wearing the plastic appendage on a chain around his neck, taunting the proud Japanese Superstar.
Yoshi, still toting his broken idol, knew there was only one way to regain his honor and pride. He challenged Kidd to put the toy leg on a pole, and whoever retrieved it would keep it. Kidd and Tatsu battled back and forth in what would become one of WWE.com’s Top 25 Matches of 2011. The Japanese Superstar reached for the plastic leg and retrieved it, teaching Kidd a lesson in respect. ( WATCH)
Judy Bagwell on a Pole Match – WCW New Blood Rising: Aug. 13, 2000
Here, we have the only Pole Match where no pole was involved. For weeks, crazed Diamond Dallas Page impersonator Kanyon had been harassing Buff Bagwell and his family, going so far as to take out Buff’s mom Judy with the Kanyon Cutter. Kanyon eventually kidnapped Judy Bagwell to get a match with Buff Daddy.
The showdown took place at WCW’s New Blood Rising pay-per-view. It was supposed to be a “Judy Bagwell on a Pole Match.” That changed, however, when Kanyon drove a forklift into the arena, with Buff’s mom strapped to the front. He explained that he couldn’t find a pole big enough to support her, so he went with construction equipment instead.
Unfortunately, this boiled down to a regular wrestling match. No one had to scale the forklift and retrieve Judy Bagwell, as much as we’d have liked to see Buff and Kanyon try. In the end, Buff emerged victorious, despite the interference of former WCW Champion David Arquette, and got his mother down from the forklift. ( WATCH)
Contract on a Pole Match – Raw: Aug. 10, 2009
The Miz found himself in a rough spot in summer 2009. He lost a match to John Cena on Raw and was banned from competing on Monday nights. Desperate to get back on WWE’s premier show, The Awesome One devised a scheme that would hopefully return him to the red brand.
His chance came just one week later in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The lovable Eugene was in the ring waiting to take part in a Contract on a Pole Match, where whoever retrieved the clipboard hanging above the ring would become a Raw Superstar. His opponent was a supposed newcomer to WWE, The Calgary Kid.
Though Eugene looked to have the upper hand in a quick scramble for the contract, The Kid met him on the top rope, knocking him off with a vicious headbutt, and then grabbing the contract for himself. It looked as though the WWE Universe had met the newest Superstar, until The Calgary Kid snuck up behind Eugene and laid him out with the Skull-Crushing Finale. The masked man then pulled off his hood to reveal The Awesome One, whose devious plot played out to perfection. ( WATCH)
Divas Dice on a Pole Match – SmackDown: Oct. 17, 2008
WWE matchmakers don’t discriminate when they put competitors in Pole Matches. When a No. 1 contender for the Divas Title was needed, the SmackDown Divas got in the spirit of Las Vegas, where the blue brand was performing that night. A pair of fuzzy dice was placed at the top of a pole and five Divas hit the ring with their eyes on the dice and a shot at the championship.
The Divas scrambled to reach the dice, but in the end, it was Maria who climbed the highest and grabbed the prop, securing herself a shot at the Divas Championship. ( WATCH)
Coal Miner’s Glove Match – WCW Halloween Havoc 1992
The heated rivalry between Sting and Jake “The Snake” Roberts came to a boiling point at Halloween Havoc 1992. The tension was raised even higher when the two agreed to have the stipulation of their bout decided as part of “Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal.” Twelve unique matches were placed on the wheel for Sting to spin.
WCW fans buzzed at the brutal matches on the wheel that they might get to see that night. Would it be an “I Quit” Match or a sadistic Barbed Wire Match? A Steel Cage Match? Maybe a Texas Death Match? No. When Sting spun the wheel on that fateful evening, it landed on the obscure Coal Miner’s Glove Match, leaving fans to wonder what the main event had in store for them.
They may have been slightly disappointed when they saw a pole attached to one ring post, then watched as a leather glove with a chain wrapped around it was placed atop the post. The Stinger and “The Snake” brawled all around ringside, trying to prevent each other from reaching the glove. After a wild fight, Sting reached the glove first, but as he climbed down the pole, Cactus Jack tossed Roberts his cobra. While he prepared it to strike, Sting nailed him from behind with the glove and into the venomous reptile’s bite. The Stinger emerged victorious from one of WCW’s most unusual bouts. ( WATCH)
Pink Slip on a Pole Match – Raw: Dec. 27, 1999
It’s no secret that Mick Foley loves Christmas. His holiday-themed SmackDown was a huge hit with the WWE Universe in 2011. However, the 1999 holiday season wasn’t as festive as he planned. Embroiled in a bitter rivalry with Triple H and D-Generation X, Foley (as Mankind) found himself at the mercy of The Game and his wife, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley.
The power couple wrestled control of WWE from Mr. McMahon and bent the company to their will. That included putting a damper on Mankind’s December joy by forcing him into a match with his best buddy and tag team partner, The Rock, just two days after Christmas. And to make sure that no shenanigans took place, they made it a Pink Slip on a Pole Match, where the loser would be fired.
The Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection were forced to put their partnership to the side to save their jobs. The two scrambled to get to the top of the pole with Al Snow attempting to assist Foley by taking out The Rock with his disembodied mannequin head. However, Foley refused the aid, choosing to win on his own merits or not at all. Unfortunately for Mankind, The Most Electrifying Man in Entertainment rebounded from the sneak attack quickly. The former partners battled to the top rope, under the pink slip, as the WWE Universe watched breathlessly.
The Great One was able to win the struggle, slamming Mankind’s head into the pole and sending him crashing to the arena floor. The Rock ripped the pink slip from the pole, knowing what it meant for his friend, and stormed from the ring as DX watched from the back. Foley, having had his holiday ruined, gave a heartfelt goodbye to the WWE Universe before being escorted out of the arena by police.
Nightstick Match – Survivor Series: Nov. 25, 1992
The unstable Nailz arrived in summer 1992. An ex-convict, he claimed the protector of law and order in WWE, The Big Boss Man, had assaulted him while he was incarcerated. Clad in his orange prison jumpsuit, he entered the squared circle with retribution on his mind.
Nailz jumped The Boss Man from behind and brutally attacked the former corrections officer with his own nightstick. Big Boss Man saw there was only one fair way to dish out his brand of justice. He put his nightstick at the top of a pole at Survivor Series 1992. Whoever grabbed it first would be able to use it how they saw fit.
The ex-con tried to get one up on The Boss Man by climbing up the pole before the cop entered the arena. The policeman was able to cut him off, starting a brawl between the bruisers. The Big Boss Man scaled the ropes and reached his faithful nightstick, then jumped down to the canvas and began bludgeoning the former prisoner. The match continued, with Nailz briefly gaining control of the nightstick, until Boss Man clobbered him once again and floored him with a sidewalk slam.
The Big Boss Man proved, once and for all, that crime doesn’t pay. ( WATCH)
Mistletoe on a Pole Match – SmackDown: Nov. 29, 2011
There was a much more romantic prize on the line the next time Divas were involved in a Pole Match. Jolly Old Saint Mick Foley hung mistletoe from the pole with care during his holiday SmackDown special. The Diva who retrieved it would receive an unknown prize from Foley.
All of the SmackDown Divas hit the ring in the hopes of getting an early holiday gift, but it came down to the Bella Twins in the end. There was no Twin Magic in the air that evening, as Brie tripped her sister into the corner, and then walked up her back to grab the mistletoe. Brie thought she had earned a future Divas Title opportunity, but Foley informed her that wasn’t the case; she had earned an opportunity to kiss the Superstar of her choice before December 25th. Apparently, the twin opted to keep her lip lock private. ( WATCH)
San Francisco 49ers Match – WCW Nitro: Oct. 2, 2000
If one pole isn’t enough for you, how about four? Because that’s how many there were in the oddly named San Francisco 49ers Match between Booker T and Jeff Jarrett for the WCW Championship.
The rules were simple. There was a box hung from each pole. Three of the boxes contained foreign objects for the combatants to attack each other with. The other held the championship title. The first to find the title wins.
Of course, this was WCW in 2000, so whoever picked out the “weaponry” must have had a sense of humor. Imagine the confusion on Jeff Jarrett’s face when he broke open the first box to discover … a blow up doll. Booker T grabbed the second box, which held a framed picture of former WCW and WWE competitor Scott Hall. That, at least, had the potential to do more damage than the doll, as Booker clocked Double J with the glass frame.
The future SmackDown announcer also grabbed the third container, which had a Coal Miner’s Glove inside (How’s that for continuity?). With only the championship box left in play, the match turned into a mad rush for the title. However, WCW’s stagehands’ shoddy craftsmanship reared its ugly head once again. The final box broke open and the championship fell into the hands of the ring announcer David Penzer. By the rules of the match, Penzer should have been crowned champion. Luckily, Penzer had no urge to follow in David Arquette’s footsteps. He was kind enough to hand it over to Booker, starting his third of five WCW Title reigns. ( WATCH)
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