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Gimmick matches are a professional wrestling term for matches that have additional stipulations beyond the standard "one fall to a finish." Gimmick matches are commonly used in the case of a rematch, albeit the whole idea of a "rematch" may be the original gimmick itself. Most gimmick matches typically add an element of danger to a standard match, although in the past they used to have higher stakes or more definitively determine the better man. Sometimes, newer gimmick matches have added elements of confusion for the viewer.
Below is a list of the most common (or most convoluted) gimmick matches with a quick explanation of each:
- Battle Royal - A match where multiple competitors fill the ring, and people are eliminated by being thrown from the ring (typically over the top rope with both feet hitting the floor mats) until there is only one person left in the ring, who is declared the winner.
- Elimination match - A match where two teams compete and when a person is pinned or submits, he/she is eliminated from the match, but the match continues until all the people on one team have been eliminated. Also, see Survivor Series.
- Handicap match - A match where two teams compete but one side has more competitors than the other side. A 2:1 handicap match has two wrestlers face one, 3:2 handicap match has three wrestlers face two, etc. These matches are often "one fall to a finish," but they can be in an elimination format.
- Gauntlet match - A match where one individual (challenger) attempts to defeat a number of opponents in succession. Unlike a handicap match, each fall is 1:1 so if the challenger defeats the first opponent, another one will replace him immediately, until the challenger has beaten all the opponents or until the challenger has been defeated.
- Triple Threat match - A match where three competitors face each other, and the first man to score a pinfall or submission is declared the winner. Often interchangeable with the term "Triangle match" (although, "triangle" should indicate an elimination aspect to the match).
- Fatal Four-way match - A match where four competitors face each other, and the first man to score a pinfall or submission is declared the winner. Often interchangeable with a "Four Corners match" (although, "Four Corners" should indicate an elimination aspect to the match).
- Steel Cage match - A match where a fence surrounds the ring, and often, the only way to win is to escape the cage by climbing up the wall and scaling down the side, or by going through the door after incapacitating your opponent. Other times, a referee will be in the cage with the wrestlers and pinfalls/submission are another means of victory.
- Lumberjack match - A match where several wrestlers surround the ring to ensure that both competitors stay inside the ring until the match is completed. Although the idea is to prevent wrestlers from escaping the fight, this match may have the highest proportion of outside interference, so instead of running, a heel can just have someone else fight his matches for him. When two women are the competitors, it may be billed as a Lumberjill match. If the match takes place on the beach, it may be called a Lifeguard match.
- Submission match - A match where the only way to win is to force your opponent to tap out by a submission hold.
- First Blood match - A match where the only way to win is to be the first person to force your opponent to bleed.
- Bodyslam match - A match where the only way to win is to bodyslam your opponent, usually reserved for men of large size like Andre The Giant or Big Show.
- "I Quit" match - Similar to a submission match, the only way to win is to get your opponent to quit; however, unlike a submission match, your opponent has to concede defeat into a microphone, so the focus is often in beating your opponent into quitting moreso than focusing on submission arts.
- Last Man Standing - A match where two men fight to incapacitate the other for a ten-count. Arguably a misnomer, because the referee will often count when both men are down. This match is an off-set of the old school Death Matches, where wrestlers had until ten-count to answer the bell after a fall before the match was over.
- Best of Three Falls match - Unlike the standard "one fall to a finish" matches, this match requires a wrestler or tag team to defeat his/her/their opponent(s) twice in up to three falls.
- Three Stages of Hell match - Similar to a Best of Three Falls match, Three Stages of Hell will feature a different stipulation in each fall. For example, the first fall would be "first blood," the second fall would be a submission match, and the third fall (if necessary) would be Last Man Standing.
- Iron Man match - Similar to a Best of Three Falls match, the match requires a wrestler to defeat his/her opponent multiple times, but instead of a set number of falls, the match is scheduled for a set amount of time and the wrestler who acquires the most falls is declared the winner.
- War Games/The Match Beyond - A match between two opposing teams where two men start in the ring and, every five minutes, another man joins the match from alternating teams until all the competitors from both teams has entered the match, at which point the teams battle to secure a submission or surrender.
- Elimination Chamber - Two men start in the ring while another four men are sequestered to a chamber. The two men fight for 3- or 5-minute intervals, before another man joins the fray. This continues until five men have been eliminated by pinfall or submission, and the last man standing is declared the winner.
- Hell in a Cell - Not unlike a steel cage, a Hell in a Cell match is when the fence is shaped to encompass the ringside area and the cage is topped. These matches are won by pinfall or submission.
- Inferno match - A match where the ring is surrounded by flames and the only way to win is to set your opponent on fire. Also known as a Human Torch match.
- Haircut match - Typically, a "one fall to a finish" match, except the winner gets to shave his/her opponent's head bald, or sometimes two men will represent wrestlers and the man whose wrestler loses gets his head shaved. Other variations include a Weasel Suit match, but the idea of the winner getting to humiliate the loser is in tact.
- Flag match - Typically, a "one fall to a finish" match, except the winner gets to have his Flag displayed to the crowd. In a variation of the match, there can be two flags on a pole and the winner is the first person to retrieve the flag (sometimes called a "Capture The Flag" match).
- (Object) On a Pole match - Typically, a "one fall to a finish" match where where there is an item, usually a weapon, suspended above the ring, and the first man to retrieve the item is allowed to use it in the match.
- No Holds Barred match - Typically, a "one fall to a finish" match where no disqualifications are permitted, very similar to Street Fights or No Disqualification matches.
- Street Fight - Typically, a "one fall to a finish" match where no disqualifications are permitted, very similar to No Hold Barred matches or No Disqualification matches. In the old school stipulation, street fights were usually "come dressed as you are" and the competitors would wear street clothes instead of traditional wrestling attire.
- Falls Count Anywhere match - Typically, very similar to a No Holds Barred or No Disqualification match, except falls can take place anywhere in the arena. This stipulation often went without say in Hardcore matches.
- Casket match - A match where the only way to win is to place your opponent into a casket sitting at ringside and closing the lid to win. Other variations include a Dumpster match, in which a dumpster replaces the casket.
- Buried Alive match - A match where the only way to win is to place your opponent into a pre-determined "plot" and covering it with dirt to win.
- Arkansas Hog Pen match - A match where the only way to win is to dump your opponent into a pre-determined pen covered with mud and filled with pigs.
- Kennel From Hell match - A match where a cage is constructed inside a cell and vicious attack dogs are placed between the ring and the cell, so the only way to win is to scale out of the cage and exit the cell door without getting mauled to death by the attack dogs.
- Ladder match - A match where the only way to win is to ascend a ladder in the middle of the ring and retrieve the elevated item, typically a championship belt or briefcase.
- Tables match - A match where the only way to win is to put your opponent through a table sitting at ringside.
- TLC match - A match where tables, ladders, and chairs (TLC) are avaiable throughout the ringside area, often the only way to win is to scale a ladder (or create a scaffold with the items) and retrieve the elevated item, typically a championship belt or briefcase.
- Ultimate X match - A match where the only way to win is to navigate across cables and retrieve the elevated item, typically a championship or giant red X, in the center of the ring.
- Scaffold match - A match where the competitors ascend to an elevated platform and the the only way to win is to knock your opponent from the platform to the ring below.
- Texas Bullrope match - A match where both competitors are strapped to a single bullrope, and the only way to win is to touch all four corners without being disrupted in momentum. Often known as a Strap match.
- Dog Collar match - A match where both competitors are affixed by the same chain with dog collars around their necks, but the match is typically "one fall to a finish" (sometimes, the win stipulation is the same as the aforementioned strap match).
- Triple Header match - A tag match where two champions team together to challenge tag team champions, and the person who takes the fall loses his championship.
- Tuxedo match - A match where the only way to win is to strip your opponent of his tuxedo jacket, cumberbun, and pants; these matches typically take place between non-wrestlers, like managers or announcers. When two women are the competitors, it is known as an Evening Gown match (or a Bra & Panties match if they aren't wearing gowns).
- King of the Mountain match - A match where the only way to win is to scale a ladder and affix the championship belt to a hook. Before you are eligible to win, you must pin an opponent or force a submission; conversely, if you take a fall, then you are sequestered to a penalty box at ringside for two minutes.
- Championship Scramble - A match where two competitors start in the ring, and another competitor enters every five minutes until all five competitors are in the match. Once the last competitor enters the match, the countdown clock begins and the person with the most recent fall when time expires is declared the winner. Falls can take place at any point in the match, but only the last fall matters. A Hardcore Battle Royal took place at WrestleMania 2000 under a similiar format (except all the competitors were active at the start of the match).
- Triple Cage match - A title match where a championship is suspended in the top cell, and competitors battle through a lower cell and a middle cell to reach the top cell and retrieve the championship belt. Also known as War Games 2000 when competitors enter at different intervals and the only way to win is to exit the lower cell's door with the championship belt in tow.