The 10 Greatest Escapes in WWE History, presented by "Lockout"
In the action-packed new movie "Lockout," Guy Pearce plays Snow, a dangerous and unpredictable government agent who is wrongly convicted of an espionage crime he did not commit. In exchange for freedom, he accepts an ultimatum to embark on a high-risk mission and rescue the President’s daughter (Maggie Grace) from a maximum-security prison in outer space that has been overcome by the inmates.
Granted, WWE's Superstars may not have traveled to outer space (apologies to Max Moon), though many have been involved in highly suspenseful escapes in their own right throughout WWE history. From Bob Backlund defending the WWE Championship in Madison Square Garden, to Daniel Bryan performing an overzealous celebration after a lucky victory, WWE has had its own share of impressive escape artists. Take a look back at 10 moments when WWE Superstars have had to overcome the odds and perform their own miraculous breakouts, both in and out of the squared circle. ( PHOTOS, VIDEO PLAYLIST)
Garden Party - June 28, 1982
Two WWE Legends collide at Madison Square Garden in this classic thrilling bout that sees Bob Backlund defend the WWE Championship against WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka inside a steel cage. With the champion down in the ring, Superfly scales the meshed steel and attempts a daring Superfly Splash from atop the cage, 15 feet in the air. Backlund has the wherewithal to avoid the impact, however, and Snuka crashes harshly onto the canvas. With his opponent having learned the pitfalls of “high-risk,” Backlund is able to crawl out of the cage to victory and retain the title in The World’s Most Famous Arena. ( WATCH)
King Kong Custody - April 7, 1986
One year after the inaugural WrestleMania, Hulk Hogan once again headlines The Show of Shows, this time defending his WWE Championship. Ignoring his doctor’s advice after King Kong Bundy severely injured Hogan’s ribs, The Immortal One steps inside a steel cage to battle the physically imposing, 458-pound behemoth. Though his ribs are heavily bandaged, Hogan's mind stays sharp as he uses the cold steel to his advantage. With his opponent down on the mat, Hogan scurries up the bars to exit the cage. Bundy’s manager, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, attempts to thwart The Hulkster’s exit as the challenger crawls toward the door, but to no avail: Hogan escapes to the floor, and holds onto WWE's ultimate prize. ( WATCH)
Trick, But No Treat - Oct. 27, 1991
Cactus Jack commits a costly error at WCW Halloween Havoc 1991, during a unique Chamber of Horrors Match in which he, WWE Hall of Famer Abdullah the Butcher, The Diamond Studd & Vader battle the team of Sting, The Steiner Brothers & El Gigante. Rick Steiner, held hostage in an electric chair by Abdullah, escapes the clutches of The Madman from the Sudan, and traps his captor in the chair. Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy, not paying enough attention to his team members, flips the switch and inadvertently costs his team the victory in this shock-filled contest.
A Royal Feat - Jan. 22, 1995
Shawn Michaels attempts to take an important step in achieving his boyhood dream of winning the WWE Championship by participating in 1995's Royal Rumble Match. Though he's the No. 1 entrant, HBK eliminates eight competitors and lasts to end of the contest when he is seemingly eliminated by The British Bulldog. The Bulldog’s music plays in triumph, but the celebration is premature. HBK suddenly re-emerges and tosses the supposed victor over the top rope. Upon multiple slow-motion replays, it is revealed that only one of Shawn’s feet touched the floor, meaning he was never officially eliminated. The Showstopper’s unparalleled athleticism allows him to escape near-certain elimination in the historic bout - and pose proudly as guest Pamela Anderson stands behind him in the middle of the ring. ( WATCH)
Office Politics - Feb. 14, 1999
In this memorable encounter during the heart of WWE’s Attitude Era, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin has his boss right where he wants him: inside a steel cage at St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Austin dominates Mr. McMahon throughout the match, but WWE's Chairman has a secret weapon. In a shocking twist, Big Show tears through the mat and climbs up from under the ring, thereby making a truly dramatic debut in WWE. The World’s Largest Athlete, taking orders from Mr. McMahon, easily manhandles Austin, but he doesn’t know his own strength. As he tosses “Stone Cold” directly into the cage, the steel structure becomes unhinged, opening wide and allowing Austin to simply drop to the floor for the victory. ( WATCH)
Taxi! - March 17, 2002
Maven enters WrestleMania X8 in Toronto's SkyDome as the Hardcore Champion, and intends to remain as such after his scheduled defense against Goldust. Though Goldust comes up short, Spike Dudley suddenly interrupts the contest and pins Maven. Worse, the title - which was truly defended 24/7 - then bounces to The Hurricane, Mighty Molly and Christian throughout the evening, making Maven’s goal of leaving as champion seem impossible. Yet as Christian prepares to enter a taxi cab in the parking lot, Maven materializes out of nowhere with a referee, surprises Captain Charisma and rolls him up for the three-count to regain the Hardcore Championship. Adding insult to injury, he also hops into Christian’s taxi, narrowly escaping the SkyDome and prevailing in perhaps the ultimate game of hot potato.
Scrambled and Toast - Sep. 7, 2008
Even though he's defeated by Shawn Michaels in an emotional and brutal Unsanctioned Match at Unforgiven, Chris Jericho emerges as the greatest victor by night’s end. After capitalizing on CM Punk’s inability to defend his title in a 20-Minute World Heavyweight Championship Scramble Match, Jericho – though battered and bruised – enters in Punk’s place with five minutes remaining. He lays low for most of the battle, but while Batista is busy with Rey Mysterio, Jericho slides into the ring and pins an already prone Kane with eight seconds remaining. In a shocking turn fo events, Jericho escapes Cleveland as the new World Heavyweight Champion. ( WATCH)
Free Agent - July 17, 2011
In one of the most unforgettable moments in WWE history, CM Punk makes good on his promise to leave with the WWE Championship on the final night of his WWE contract. Before his hometown Chicago crowd, The Voice of the Voiceless defeats John Cena to win the title, thanks to an inadvertent distraction by Mr. McMahon and Executive Vice President of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis. Panicked by the notion that Punk might leave with the title in tow, The Chairman calls for Alberto Del Rio to cash in his newly won Money in the Bank briefcase. Instead, Punk nails The Mexican Aristocrat with a swift kick to the skull. With Mr. McMahon out of options, Punk blows a goodbye kiss to the boss and escapes the arena with the company’s most coveted prize, swimming through a sea of Second City fans. ( WATCH)
Cufflinked - Dec. 18, 2011
Proving he truly is The Best in the World, CM Punk pulls a Houdini and escapes from handcuffs not once, but twice in a Triple Threat TLC Match for the WWE Championship at WWE TLC. Defending the title against Alberto Del Rio and The Miz, The Second City Saint finds himself handcuffed to one of the ladders. He snaps the ladder to break free, but The Miz, willing to employ any necessary tactics to win, later handcuffs Punk to the turnbuckle. Determined to not let his championship gold slip away, Punk quickly dismantles the turnbuckle structure while his opponents ascend the ladder. He then rushes up another ladder and fends off Miz and Del Rio, enabling him to grab hold of the dangling championship. ( WATCH)
Cliffhanger - Jan. 29, 2012
The World Heavyweight Champion finds himself in a Daniel vs. Goliaths situation at the Royal Rumble event, having to defend his title against two giants – Big Show and Mark Henry – in a Triple Threat Steel Cage Match. After The World’s Largest Athlete lays out Henry, Daniel Bryan breaks up the pin and begins to scale the cage. Big Show chases after the champion, and reaches over the top of the steel structure to awkwardly grab onto Bryan’s wrist, preventing him from escaping. With the former Internet darling dangling above the floor, Big Show eventually loses his grip. Bryan falls to victory and narrowly retains the World Heavyweight Championship. ( WATCH)