Seven matches with extreme(ly unique) rules
Superstars don’t always abide by them, and WWE referees aren’t always diligent about enforcing them, but the rules and regulations governing standard wrestling matches are as well-established as Big Show’s ornery attitude or Dolph Ziggler’s cockiness.
Every once in a while, however, there is cause to deviate from the norm and embrace a rule set that is altogether strange. Forget about the tried-and-true stipulation matches like Lumberjack Matches or 2-out-of-3 Falls Matches.
Instead, we’re talking about seven bizarre — and in some cases, oft-forgotten — experiments featuring sets of rules and overarching objectives that ranged from the nebulous to the convoluted.
Tower of Doom
In short, it was a five-on-five match in which members of both teams began in the top cage and worked their way through the middle before exiting the bottom one. Competitors entered the battle in rounds, with trap doors between cages opening every two minutes. The first complete team to exit the Tower of Doom was declared the winning unit.
Spectacle though the Tower of Doom was, the premise was slightly counterintuitive: As wrestlers fled the bottom cage, they left their respective teams at a numbers disadvantage.
Oh, well. At least it looked cool.
Province of Quebec Rules
The Province of Quebec rule set sprang up once in WWE history, during a World Tag Team Championship bout between then-champions The Steiner Bros. and, fittingly enough, The Quebecers. The rules, petitioned for by Jacques & Pierre, were a hodgepodge of bylaws used in territories everywhere but WWE: Throwing an opponent over the top rope constituted a disqualification (not unlike old school NWA rules), as did performing any offensive move from the top rope (a no-no during Bill Watts’ time in charge of WCW). Piledrivers were outlawed, in an unintentional nod to lucha libre tradition.
Most importantly, at least as far as the Steiners were concerned, was the declaration that the Tag Team Championships could change hands on a count-out or a disqualification.
That particular rule proved to be Rick & Scott’s undoing when Scott used the hockey stick belonging to Quebecers manager Johnny Polo (who would go on to become Raven) and whacked Jacques with it, in full view of the referee.
King of the Road Match
With Rhodes and Bully starting near the rear axle, the object of the match was to be the first competitor to reach and blow a horn hanging from a crossbeam near the front of the trailer. The trailer floor was covered with haystacks, adding an obstacle-course dynamic to the festivities.
The response to the roaming warriors’ match was tepid. Perhaps wisely, the King of the Road Match has yet to be duplicated.
Although the fact it featured four teams, and not two, was a novelty for the time, the Raw Bowl’s innovations didn’t end there. Each team was allowed one timeout. Moreover, once a Superstar was tagged in, he had to make physical contact with the opponent before tagging out, leading to at least one awkward exchange after teammates Yokozuna and Hart were both tagged into the competition. Appropriately enough, after the match, Brooklyn Brawler presented a “Steve Lombardi Trophy” to the winning team.
When locking only one of your opponents inside a dumpster qualifies as a near-fall, you know you’re not talking about a run of the mill match. Such was the case at WrestleMania XIV, when the then–World Tag Team Champion New Age Outlaws fought now WWE Hall of Famers Cactus Jack and Terry “Chainsaw Charlie” Funk in an aptly named Dumpster Match.
The odd match stipulation demanded that a team had to lock both members of the opposing team inside a dumpster to win the title bout. Beyond that, the rules were all but nonexistent, with the Outlaws, Cactus and Funk free to bludgeon each other with baking sheets and other refuse found in the dumpster that was stationed ringside.
Cactus and Funk won the titles after the brawl journeyed into the backstage area and Funk used a forklift to load Road Dogg and Billy Gunn into another dumpster, setting the precedent that a vessel used to win a Dumpster Match need not be the one at ringside.
Duchess of Queensbury Match
The Duchess of Queensbury rules governing the Backlash 2001 contest between crooked WWE Commissioner William Regal and Chris Jericho might be described as fluid at best and unjust at worst. Heading into the battle, seemingly no one — not Jericho, not Good Ol’ J.R., not even referee Tim White — quite understood the rules. That is, other than Regal and the “Duchess” herself, who presided over the match from a ringside throne.
As the match got underway, it quickly became clear that the deck was stacked against Y2J. Any time it looked like Jericho was on the way to victory, the Duchess would reveal a previously unannounced rule. After Jericho hit the Lionsault, the Duchess abruptly announced that the “first round” time limit had expired, disrupting Jericho’s pin attempt. When Regal tapped out to the Walls of Jericho, the Duchess suddenly clarified the contest could not end by submission, rendering the tap-out meaningless.
Ultimately, Regal walked away from Backlash with the “W,” but given the uneven playing field, how could he not?
Gulf of Mexico Match
On the surface, the non-title bout between CM Punk and ECW Champion Chavo Guerrero from February 2008 was no different from countless Extreme Rules Matches that have occurred over the years. Disqualifications and count-outs were nonfactors, and both Superstars entered the ring in street gear, per the come-dressed-as-you-are tradition of the ring’s best brawl-based match formats.
This match, however, came with a twist: To win, one competitor had to hurl the other into the Gulf of Mexico. Yes, you read that right.
Held at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, the bout required combatants to traverse through the arena and outside of the building before wandering across the street to the edge of the Gulf of Mexico. Although they were nearly run over by a car in the process, Punk and Guerrero navigated their way toward the water, where The Straight Edge Savior successfully GTS’d Guerrero into the current for the win.