The last 12 months in wrestling has seen a dramatic change in how companies have been presenting their product. This has mainly been due to the rise of Cinematic matches in wrestling as companies have scrambled to deal with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic that have left arenas without fans.
Today we take a look at the top 5 cinematic matches that have occurred since the start of the pandemic:
5. JOHN CENA VS THE FIEND: WRESTLEMANIA 36
Wrestlemania 36 saw Bray Wyatt and John Cena bring their feud full circle in The Firefly Funhouse match. The image of John Cena in the colours of the NWO is something that will forever be cemented as one of the most iconic Wrestlemania images ever.
4. MATT HARDY VS SAMMY GUEVARA: AEW FULL GEAR 2020
Matt Hardy and Sammy Guevara brought their heated rivalry to an end at Full Gear during the Elite Deletion match set at the Hardy compound. It was just as well that this was their final match, as someone was bound to be seriously injured during the feud. The match also included cameos from Gangrel and The Hurricane which was cool to see both on PPV again.
3. STADIUM STAMPEDE THE ELITE VS INNER CIRCLE: AEW DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2020
In the most ambitious match in AEW’s young history, The Elite took on The Inner Circle in an empty TIAA Bank Field stadium, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars. In a match that was chaotic from the start, it delivered nothing but fun and drama as The Elite ran out eventual winners. In my opinion, this match alone was worth the price of the PPV.
2. MONEY IN THE BANK 2020
With WWE looking for new ways to innovate the cinematic match, they looked at the MITB match to do it. The match took place at WWE headquarters with both the women’s and men’s matches taking place simultaneously. All the competitors began on the ground floor having to fight their way to the roof where a ring had been constructed, and then climb the ladder to grab the briefcase. The eventual winners saw Asuka and Otis grab the briefcases. The match also saw cameos from the likes of Brother Love, Paul Heyman, Stephanie McMahon and Vince McMahon himself.
1. UNDERTAKER VS AJ STYLES: WRESTLEMANIA 36
In what was to be the Undertaker’s final match before retiring at Survivor Series last year, he faced AJ Styles in the much anticipated Bone Yard match at Wrestlemania 36. No one knew what to expect from the match, but as it began and we saw Taker ride into battle on his motorcycle with Metallica playing, we knew quickly we were in for something very special. With the match taking place in a location that reminded us of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the only way to win was by burying your opponent in the ground. Despite interference from fellow OC members Anderson and Gallows, The Undertaker was still able to come out on top – riding away into the night for one final time.
The ongoing pandemic has made it extremely difficult for wrestling companies around the world to continue as normal and provide entertainment as it once did. In using cinematic matches the likes of WWE and AEW have taken influences first seen in Impact Wrestling and used them to create a new form of entertainment for us.
Hopefully, as the world continues to move forward out of the pandemic and fans start to return to the arenas again, cinematic matches and story telling will continue to have a place in the world of wrestling.
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