Professional wrestling match types
There are many types of matches in professional wrestling.
Singles match change
A singles match also known as a regular match is between two wrestlers. The first person to either win by pinfall or submission is the winner. If one of the wrestlers gets disqualified, or "counted out" (when a wrestler is caught outside of the ring and the referee counts to either 10 or 20, depending on the companys' rules) they will lose the match.
Cinematic match change
A Cinematic match is where there are many different techniques during the filming of it. Unlike a usual match which is done in one take, a cinematic match is typically filmed over a longer period of time. This type of match became more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Empty Arena match change
An Empty arena match is a falls count anywhere match where the wrestlers start the match inside the ring in an arena that has no fans in it and can only end by pinfall or submission inside or outside of the arena. The only people that are present in the arena are the wrestlers, referee, and the camera crew. One of the first known empty arenas matches took place in 1981 at the Mid South Coliseum in Memphis, Tennessee between Terry Funk and Jerry Lawler. Another well known empty arena match happened between The Rock and Mankind and was shown during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXIII.
Falls Count Anywhere match change
A Falls Count Anywhere match is a match type where pinfalls or submissions can happen anywhere inside or outside of the arena. Weapons are legal and often used because there are no disqualifications. These types of matches often go into the audience, backstage areas or parking lots.
Flag match change
A Flag match is where flags representing two different countries are placed in neutral corners raised up by a metal pole that is attached to the ring post. To win the match, either wrestler or team of wrestlers must grab their country's flag before the opposition does and raise it to be declared the winner. The only exception to these rules was the flag match that took place at WrestleMania 2 in which the match had to be won by pinfall or submission with the winner of the match getting to wave around their country's flag.
Handicap match change
A Handicap match is where one wrestler or a team competes against a team of wrestlers with a higher number (for example; two vs. one or three vs. two) Usually it is the babyface wrestlers that are outnumbered by the heel wrestlers. Usually in two-on-one Handicap matches, the matches are under tag team rules (The side that has the advantage must tag in and out of the match or risk being disqualified). If both wrestlers on the side with the advantage remain inside the ring at the same time and the referee reaches a count of five, the team or just the illegal wrestler (if elimination rules apply), with the advantage will be disqualified.
Hardcore-type matches change
A hardcore match (also known as a Street Fight, a No Holds Barred match, or other names) is where there are no disqualifications and no countouts. Weapons are allowed to be used and other wrestlers are allowed to interfere in the match. The match must end by pinfall, submission or knockout.
An Unsanctioned match is a match that has no rules and is not recognized as an official match. There is also a version called a Lights Out match where the lights in the arena are dimmed.
A Deathmatch is where there are multiple different weapons used. Popular weapons used are fluorescent light tubes and barbed wire. These matches are usually very bloody and have a high level of violence in them.
A Barbed Wire Ring Rope match is where wrestlers compete in a ring where the regular ring ropes have been replaced with barbed wire. Sometimes the barbed wire is wrapped around the ring ropes.
An Explosion or Bomb Deathmatch is a type of Deathmatch where there are barbed wire ropes and a piece of wooden board with an explosive on it. Sometimes there is a timer which counts down and when it hits 00:00, explosives go off around the ring. The match can either be won by pinfall, submission, or in some cases, throwing the other wrestler into the explosion. For the timer version, wrestlers usually try to finish the match before the timer runs out and the ring explodes.
An Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch was done by All Elite Wrestling (AEW) during their Revolution pay-per-view. It was held between Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley for Omega's AEW World Championship. There was a 30-minute timer, barbed wire ropes and three sections around the ringside with explosives.
Monster's Ball match change
A Monster's Ball match is where the wrestlers are locked inside of a pitch black room for 24 hours with no food or water beforehand. When they are let out, they wrestle a No Disqualification match.
Lumberjack match change
A Lumberjack match is a regular match where the outside of the ring is surrounded by wrestlers. The wrestlers that surround the ring are called lumberjacks (females wrestlers are sometimes called lumberjills). If a wrestler is knocked out of the ring, the lumberjacks/lumberjills will beat him or her up and put them back in. They are usually split in groups of faces and heels.
Casino Battle Royal change
The Casino Battle Royal is a match done by All Elite Wrestling (AEW). The match has similar rules to the Royal Rumble match except it has 21 wrestlers in it. The wrestlers are selected by a suit of cards that they draw. The drawing of the cards is random and the wrestlers come out when the suit is chosen. The last wrestler that comes out is the wrestler who drew The Joker card. The match begins with 5 wrestlers. 5 more wrestlers come out when the clock hits 3 minutes. The winner of the men's version gets a shot at the AEW World Championship and the winner of the women's version gets a shot at the AEW Women's World Championship.
Bra and Panties match change
A bra and panties match is where a female wrestler or team of wrestlers must strip their opponent(s) to their bra and panties to win.
Tuxedo match change
A Tuxedo match is where two wrestlers wear tuxedos and one wrestlers has to tear the tuxedo off of the other to win.
Submission match change
A Submission match is where the wrestler has to make the other wrestler give up by either tapping out or verbally saying that they quit the match. The match can only be won by submission.
A "I Quit" match is where a wrestler must force the other wrestler to say the words "I Quit" in order to win.
Substance match change
A Substance match is where a wrestler has to throw another wrestler into a container filled with something. Female wrestlers used to fight in matches such as a mud wrestling match or chocolate pudding match. At All Out, Orange Cassidy would defeat Chris Jericho in a Mimosa Mayhem Match by throwing him in a giant vat of Mimosa that was at ringside.
Multi-person matches change
An Elimination match is where a wrestler must pin or submit the other wrestlers to eliminate them from the match. The match differs depending on how many wrestlers are in the match.
A Tag Team match is between four wrestlers divided into teams of two. One wrestler of each team stands just outside the ring ropes until he is tagged in by his partner by slapping hands/lightly slapping their partners back with the ref watching or both wrestlers can fight at the same time in a "tornado" format. This match is won by pinfall or submission.
A Tornado Tag Team match is where all the wrestlers can be in the ring at the same time. The match doesn't involve tagging in or out like the rules of a normal tag team match. All Elite Wrestling (AEW) has a version of this match called the Anarchy in the Arena match.
An Elimination Tag Team match is where if a wrestler on a team gets pinned or submitted then they are eliminated from the match. To win the match, all wrestlers from a team must be eliminated. WWE holds a similar match called the Survivor Series Elimination match during their Survivor Series pay-per-views.
A Triple Threat match has three wrestlers instead of two. First wrestler to score a pinfall or submission wins. No disqualification or countouts apply.
A Fatal Four-Way match includes four wrestlers competing against each other at once. The first wrestler scores a pinfall or submission is the winner. No disqualification or countouts apply.
A Six-Pack Challenge is a match where six wrestlers compete against each other all at one time. The wrestler who gets a pinfall or submission is the winner. There are no disqualifications or countouts.
WWE features a match called the Championship Scramble in which none of the wrestlers are eliminated. Two wrestlers start the match and every five minutes another wrestler enters until all five participants are present. After the last wrestler enters, there is a predetermined time limit. Each time a wrestler scores a pinfall or submission, he becomes the interim champion. Such reigns are not recorded as title reigns. The winner is the wrestler who scores the last pinfall or submission before the time limit expires. The Unforgiven pay-per view of 2008 is arguably the most prominent showcase of this match type, as all three world titles were contested under a Championship Scramble match.
A Special Guest Referee match is a match where another wrestler acts as the referee in the match. The referee doesn't have to be a wrestler and come sometimes be an authority figure or celebrity.
Non-Wrestling matches change
An Arm Wrestling match is a "match" (moreso a contest) where two wrestlers arm wrestle each other. It usually ends with one wrestler attacking the other after.
First Blood match change
A First Blood match is a match where there are no disqualifications. To win the match, a wrestler must make their opponent bleed.
No Disqualification match change
A No Disqualification match (also known as a No Holds Barred match) is a match where there are no disqualifications. This means a wrestler can hit another wrestler with a weapon or someone can interfere in the match and they won't lose because of it.
Last Man Standing match change
A Last Man Standing match is where a wrestler has to hurt their opponent enough so he cannot make it to his feet before the count of 10. The one who cannot meet the count loses. There are no pinfalls or submission, no disqualifications, no count outs.
Series matches change
A Best of Series match is where there are multiple match over a period of time. It is usually held in a series of five or seven. To win a Best of Five, the wrestler or team must win three matches. To win a Best of Seven, the wrestler or team must win four matches.
A Gauntlet match is where a wrestler must defeat a number of opponents in order to win. Standard rules apply.
An Iron Man match is a multi-fall match where there is a set time limit. The way to win the match is to have the most points by the end of the time limit. To gain a point, the wrestler must pin or submit their opponent. A point can also be gained by countout or disqualification. If both wrestlers have the same amount of points as the time limit expires, the match is supposed to be declared a draw, but sometimes they will go to "sudden death" rules. (first wrestler to gain a point after the regulation time has expired will gain the victory). Sometimes the "ultimate submission" stipulation is also used as well.
A Two out of Three falls match is where a wrestler or team has to win twice to win the match. They can win by either pinfall, submission, disqualification, or knockout.
A Three Stages of Hell match is a three match series where the wrestler is allowed to pick any three match types. The first wrestler that score two out of three falls declares the winner.
Stipulation matches change
A Kiss My Foot match is a type of singles match where the loser has to kiss the winner's foot. Known matches include Bret Hart vs Jerry Lawler at the King of the Ring pay per view held in 1995 as well as Jerry Lawler vs Michael Cole at the Over the Limit pay per view held in 2011. A similar version of this match is the "Kiss My Ass Match", where the loser had to kiss the winner's butt and was held during WWF's Attitude Era.
A Last Chance match is where a wrestler challenges for a championship. If they lose the match, they are not allowed to challenge the title holder for the championship again.
A Loser Leaves Town match is where if the wrestler loses, they have to leave the company. This match was popular during the days of the wrestling territories in the 1980s.
Luchas de Apuestas (gambling fights) are matches where both of the wrestlers put something on the line, usually their mask or hair. The loser of the match would then lose the thing that they put on the line. A masked wrestler would be forced to unmask and a wrestler that put their hair on the line would be shaven bald. This type of match is popular in Mexico.
A Move match is where a specific wrestling move must be used by a wrestler to win the match. The move depends on the wrestlers in the match or the storyline going into it.
There is also a match called a Banned Move match where a specific move will be banned in the match, usually on of the wrestler's finishing moves. If the wrestler uses the move, they will be disqualified.
A Retirement match is where if the wrestler loses they have to retire from professional wrestling.
Royal Rumble match change
A Royal Rumble match is a 30-man battle royal with a interval time. Only two wrestlers will start the match with the #1 and #2 draw before the next wrestler enters the ring. Eliminations only counts when a wrestler goes over the top rope with both feet touching the floor. The last wrestler remaining is the winner. This match was created by Pat Patterson.
Ambulance match change
An Ambulance match is fought under hardcore rules; the only way to win is for a wrestler to force their opponent into the back of an ambulance and close the door.
Steel Cage match change
A steel cage match takes place in a steel cage which surrounds the ring. You can win by pinfall, submission or escaping the cage by climbing over with both feet hitting the floor outside or by exiting the door with both feet hitting the floor.
Elimination Chamber match change
An Elimination Chamber match takes place in a large, circular steel cage that surrounds the entire ring. The chamber contains four clear, plexiglass pods which holds four of the six wrestlers in the match. A pod opens every five minutes to let another wrestler into the match. A wrestler can be eliminated from the match by either pinfall or submission inside the ring. The last wrestler remaining is the winner. The match was created by Triple H and was introduced by Eric Bischoff in November 2002.
Hell in a Cell match change
A Hell in a Cell match takes place in a large cage which covers beyond the ring apron is lowered around the ring and leaves a small gap between the edge of the ring and the cage wall. It also covers the top of the cage hence the name 'cell'. There is no disqualification and wrestlers are allowed to go outside the cell. The match can be won by pinfall or submission.
During the early Hell in a Cell matches, many wrestlers got injured. A famous moment happened in 1998 at King of the Ring when The Undertaker threw Mankind off the 16-foot (5 m) high cell through the Spanish announcers table. Undertaker also chokeslammed Mankind through the roof of the cell onto a thumbtack-covered mat in the same match.
Lethal Lockdown match change
A Lethal Lockdown match is a steel cage match where two teams face each other and each member of the teams enter similar to the rules of WarGames. A roof is lowered onto the cage when every member of the teams have entered the match. Multiple weapons are given and hung from the roof.
Lion's Den match change
A Lion's Den match takes place in a octagon cage similar to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). The wrestler must knockout or submit the other wrestler to win the match. The first Lion's Den match took place between Ken Shamrock and Owen Hart at SummerSlam.
Punjab Prison Match change
The Punjabi Prison is one of the unique structures in pro-wrestling. The goal of the match is to escape the two bamboo cages before your opponent does. The Punjabi Prison Match, is a relatively obscure match stipulation — there have only been three in WWE history, The first was The Undertaker vs The Big Show, The Great Khali was originally supposed to be involved in the Big Show’s place but he was forced out of the match after elevated levels of enzymes were found in his liver. The Big Show took Khali’s place and faced off against the Undertaker at the Great American Bash in 2006. Undertaker’s feet ended up hitting the floor first, which gave him the victory. The modern WWE Universe is probably only familiar with the bout as a curiosity coined by The Great Khali, but that doesn’t entirely do justice to the intricacies of the stipulation, or just how brutal the match itself really is.
For starters, while matches like a Steel Cage, Hell in a Cell or even the Elimination Chamber typically trap a Superstar within one enclave, the Punjabi Prison surrounds them with two: First, there are four walls of bamboo that immediately surround the ring in the fashion of a traditional cage. Outside of that stands another, larger, octagonal structure, topped with a series of razor-sharp bamboo spikes.
WarGames match change
A WarGame match is where there are two rings beside each other and a steel cage surrounding them. Depending on which promotion is doing the match, there is sometimes a roof on the cage. Two teams are locked in the cage and fight. The match starts as a one-on-one match and after five minutes, a new member enters. Every two minutes, a new member of each team enters. The version of WarGames in Jim Crockett Productions and All Elite Wrestling (AEW) have a roof and no pinfalls. AEW's version of WarGames is called Blood and Guts. Dusty Rhodes is credited as the creator of the match.
Inferno match change
An Inferno match is where the ring is completely surrounded by flames when both of the wrestler have entered the ring. The way to win the match is for a wrestler to set their opponent on fire. The match usually ends on the outside so that the paramedics can help the loser of the match. The first inferno match took place at Unforgiven in 1998 where The Undertaker defeated Kane.
Buried Alive match change
A Buried alive match is where there is a grave dug out of dirt found outside the ring. The way to win the match is for a wrestler to throw their opponent into the grave and bury them in dirt.
Casket match change
A casket match, also known as a Coffin match, is where there is a casket near the ring. To win the match, the wrestler has to throw their opponent in the casket and close the lid.
Last Ride match change
A Last Ride match is where a wrestler has to throw the other wrestler into the back of a hearse and close it to win. It is similar to an Ambulance match.
Stretcher match change
A Stretcher match is where a wrestler has to put the other wrestlers body on a stretcher and push them to the top of the entrance ramp to win.
Battle Royal match change
Battle Royal is a multi-competitor match type in which wrestlers are eliminated until only one is left. Typical battle royals begin with 20 or more participants in the ring all at the same time, who are then eliminated by being thrown over the top rope and having both feet touch the venue floor (this is sometimes referred to as the "Shawn Michaels rule", due to the 1995 Royal Rumble, in which he was thrown over the top rope, hung on to the top rope and only had one foot land on the floor). A variation known as the "Reverse battle royal" existed in TNA.
Stadium Stampede match change
A Stadium Stampede match is match held by All Elite Wrestling (AEW). In a Stadium Stampede match, teams of wrestlers fight around a sports stadium. A ring is set up in the middle of the stadium for wrestlers to use. There are no disqualifications and a wrestler has to pin or submit a wrestler of the other team to win the match.
Survivor Series Elimination match change
In WWE, these matches are primarily featured during its Survivor Series pay-per-views, where they are billed as a "Survivor Series match". Teams of four or five, though on some occasions as many as seven, compete under elimination rules. All other standard rules apply, and team members may tag in and out in any order. While some teams are already established stables, others may need to recruit members for their team.
Weapons match change
A Chairs match is where the only weapon that is allowed to be used is a steel chair. There are no disqualifications in the match. The wrestler can win by either pinfall or submission.
A Item on a Pole match is where a wrestler has to climb the turnbuckle and obtain the item in order to win. There are no pinfalls, no submissions, no disqualification, or no countouts.
In Impact Wrestling, they have a version called a Feast or Fired match. In the match, there are four briefcases hung on each turnbuckle and each contain a contract for a future championship match. One of them has a pink slip and the wrestler that gets it gets fired. What's in the case is revealed later. The wrestler that has the briefcase can either keep it or give it up to save themselves from a possible firing.
A Biker chain match is where a wrestler has to grab a biker chain that is hanging from a pole. The chain is the only weapon that is allowed in the match. The only biker chain match that has taken place was The Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar at No Mercy.
A Ladder match is where a prize is hung above the ring, usually a championship belt or a briefcase with a contract inside. To win you must climb a ladder and retrieve the prize. Weapons are legal in this match type.
A Casino Ladder match is held by All Elite Wrestling (AEW). A giant poker chip is hung above the ring. 2 wrestlers try to climb the ladder a get the chip. A new wrestler enters the match ever 2 minutes. The wrestler who gets the chip, gets a future shot at the AEW World Championship.
A King of the Mountain match is where five wrestlers fight and a hook is hung above the center of the ring. When a wrestler pins or submits another wrestler, they become "eligible" and are able to win the match. The wrestler that got either pinned or submitted has to sit in a penalty box at ringside for two minutes. To win the match, the wrestler has to hang an object (usually a championship) on the hook above the ring. The first Queen of the Mountain match took place at Slammiversary.
A tables, ladders and chairs match (abbreviated to TLC) is a match where tables, ladders and steel chairs can be used as weapons. The first TLC match took place at SummerSlam in 2000 between Edge and Christian, The Dudley Boyz, and The Hardy Boyz. To win you must climb a ladder and retrieve the prize. Weapons are legal in this match type.
Impact Wrestling has a version called a Full Metal Mayhem match where there are more weapons like thumbtacks added.
An Ultimate X match is where there is a steel pillar on four sides of the ring and a steel X connecting each pillar across the ring. There are two cables also connected across the ring. Either a red X or the X Division Championship hangs in the middle of the cables. The wrestler has to crawl across the cable, reach and take down the hanging object to win. This match is held in Impact Wrestling.
A Pillow Fight is a match where a wrestler has to pin or submit the other wrestler to win. Surrounding the ring a multiple pillows for the wrestlers to hit each other with and a bed is placed in the middle of the ring. There is a version called the Lingerie Pillow Fight where the wrestlers have to wear lingerie and the Pajama Pillow Fight where the wrestlers where pajamas.
Strap match change
A strap match is where the competitors are placed on the opposite ends of a restraint to keep them in close physical proximity. By definition the strap and anything tied to it are considered legal and in play weapons. The most common rule for victory is for one wrestler to have to go around the ring, touching all four corners in order without stopping but if a wrestler stops touching the corners then it will reset and have to start over again. There are no pinfalls, no submissions, no disqualifications, or countouts in this match.
A Dog collar match is a match where the competing wrestlers are bound together by the neck with dog collars and a chain.
Tables match change
A Tables match is where a wrestler must put their opponent through a table with an offensive move in order to win. The match can also be used in tag teams, under an elimination match and during a one "fall" rules match. There is also a hardcore version where the wrestler must put the opponent through a table that has been set on fire.
Winner Takes All match change
A Winner Takes All match is where the champion challenges another champion for his/her championship in a "champion vs. champion" stipulation.
- "Sunday Night Heat's 10 hottest moments". WWE. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
- "Inside the Elimination Chamber with Triple H". WWE. Retrieved 2014-05-02.
- "Go to "Hell"". WWE. Retrieved 2014-05-02.
- "TNA: The History of Lethal Lockdown, the Most Violent Match in Pro Wrestling". Bleacher Report. Retrieved October 25, 2023.
- WCW War Games: WCW’s Most Notorious Matches 2013. WWE.