How to swallow your pride

How to swallow your pride

Only two words need best summarize the No. 6 entry in WWE.com's list of Most Extreme Matches: I. Quit.

Just as tornadoes form monstrously strong winds and create weapons from debris, the "I Quit" Match can involve chairs, barbed wire, tables and any other nightmarish instrument a Superstar can come up with. The goal is to torture your opponent to the point where their pain and anguish overcomes their pride. By any means possible, with no risk of being disqualified, competitors beat and maim each other until someone finally yells "I quit."

Now, these aren't garden-variety grapplers we're talking about. WWE Superstars are extremely proud people, with an unearthly tolerance for pain. They don't just surrender the moment they taste their own blood or feel a muscle pulled out of its socket. Their obstinate refusal to quit, in fact, can become an even greater problem for them, career-wise. On SmackDown in October 2006, Chavo Guerrero put Rey Mysterio out of action for more than nine months when the masked Superstar refused to surrender immediately, despite the fact that he dangled by his feet on part of the SmackDown set while his enraged former friend repeatedly beat his knee with a chair. It wasn't until the following August at SummerSlam that Mysterio would enter the ring again; that night was also the masked Superstar's moment of retribution when he defeated Chavo at Continental Airlines Arena.

Only ECW could have given birth to a competition as vicious as the "I Quit" Match. In 1993, Terry Funk defeated Eddie Gilbert in a Texas Death Match, spurring the first "I Quit" Contest a year and a half later. Tommy Dreamer made Sandman give up in October 1994 and in 1995, the "I Quit" Match entered the grandest realm in all of sports-entertainment, when Bret Hart was victorious over Bob Backlund at WrestleMania XI.

If you honestly believe that some WWE Superstars and Legends will never swallow their pride and give in to the pain, guess again. Before defending his WWE Championship at the 1999 Royal Rumble, Mick Foley went so far as to write a Seussical poem to remind himself and his opponent, The Rock, that he "will not, will not, will not quit." Yet a dozen chair blasts to the skull, plus a pre-recorded Foley sound byte prepped by The Great One, forced him to call his uncle. Foley would truly make the degrading declaration at SummerSlam 2006, when Ric Flair threatened to hurt his friend Melina in order to pick up the win. Melina would say the phrase herself at One Night Stand 2008 at the mercy of Beth Phoenix during the first and only Divas "I Quit" Match. Even John Bradshaw Layfield, one of the toughest hombres ever to step into a squared circle, was forced to utter those two humiliating words when he faced John Cena for WWE gold at Judgment Day 2005.

Arguably, the "I Quit" Match allows Superstars to air out a grudge better than any other method. In fact, WWE hopes Matt and Jeff Hardy will finally resolve their differences - something even the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania wasn't able to accomplish - when they go head-to-head in this stipulation at Backlash.

Bare hands, ring equipment…so long as you control the match, you make the rules. Needles to say, such unpredictability and career-threatening carnage make this extreme contest almost as excruciating to watch as it is fun.

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