A Mark’s Eye View is a weekly look at some of the things that made me a huge fan of professional wrestling.
This year’s WrestleMania saw one of the greatest spectacles in professional wrestling history. The Boneyard Match surprised everyone with its awesomeness and is easily the best Undertaker match of the past ten years — and would have been the greatest match ever if A.J. Styles was making the Too Sweet sign while buried.
The Boneyard Match wasn’t the first wacky match in wrestling, of course. It wasn’t even the wackiest. Wrestling history is filled with screwy matches that were supposed to be cheesy fun. Here is a list of the wackiest moments in wrestling history.
Death Island Match (October 4, 1987)
This is how to do a fun match wrong. Masa Saito (famous in America for attacking a McDonald’s and then going to jail) and Antonio Inoki had been bitter bitter rivals for years. They had been in a series of bloody matches throughout Japan but had never been able to settle the score. The idea of a feud having gone so far the only way to settle it is on an unnamed deserted island is awesome. Unfortunately, the Death Island Match was over two hours of rest holds and slapping. Inoki won (shocking!) and the match went on to live in infamy.
King Kong Bundy Slams a Beaver (March 29, 1987)
WrestleMania III is filled with iconic moments, and most of them will bring a smile to a wrestling fan’s face. One of them, however, will forever live in infamy.
King Kong Bundy probably has the greatest fall in Mania history. After main eventing Mania 2 against Hulk Hogan, he followed up by wrestling in a comedy match. The six man bout featured Bundy, a hillbilly, and four little people. It was obvious where things were headed. The almost 500 pound Bundy slamming a less than 100 pound Little Beaver may not seem like much — way more shocking things have happened in the sport over the many decades sense. But in 1987, Bundy threatening to splash a midget was downright frightening.
Go Shiozaki vs Kazuyuki Fujita (March 29, 2020)
In any other year, The Boneyard Match would easily be the best empty arena match of the year. In 2020, it is a distant second. Weeks before Mania, Pro Wrestling NOAH held an empty arena card. The night featured a grudge match between Shiozaki and Fujita that has been teased for months. You do not have to be the biggest puroresu fan to get this match. The two combatants had a stare-down that lasted for a half an hour. This moment would be impossible to pull off with a crowd. In an empty arena, it conveyed a sense of drama and emotion that even a non-fan could appreciate. Whatever style of wrestling you may prefer, the point of the sport is to get as much as possible out of as little as necessary. This is the perfect example.
Scott Steiner is Stung
Vince Russo-era WCW is remembered for many reasons. None of it was good, but like a painful bowel movement, it was unforgettable. Pretty much any episode of Nitro or Thunder will provide some sort of perverse entertainment. On an episode of Nitro, Scott Steiner was attacked by someone dressed like a bumblebee. (Kinda. It could have been a Bundy in duct tape and a hockey mask.) The next week the person came out and unmasked, revealing themselves to be…Scott Steiner.
Wrestling Bears (Then. Now. Forever.)
Wrestling has its roots in the carnival. The idea of taking money from marks and doing everything in a silly shroud of mystery still exists to this day, so it is no surprise the illustrious history of the sport is filled with men grappling with dangerous bears. Nothing makes fake sports better than the possibility of someone getting clawed — unless the bear is unmuzzled and the victim may get torn to shreds.
Next week: Maybe wins and losses don’t matter.
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