Ending a Pro Wrestling Feud 101: The “I Quit” Matchby Alex Al-Kazzaz January 25, 2021 0 comments
The world of professional wrestling has more than its fair share of unique styles of matches. From steel cages to hardcore, fans really get their money’s worth in that form of sports entertainment. However, there is a certain kind of match that takes the entertainment to the next level.
An “I Quit” match is notorious for its often brutal nature. It is a situation where anything goes and the match can’t end on a pinfall or submission. The only way the battle ends is when one of the competitors utters the words, “I quit.”
While the competitors fight, the referee supervises the action while also holding a microphone. From time to time, he will ask one of the nearly incapacitated competitors if they want to quit. Occasionally, one of the fighters will grab the mic and attempt to coerce the other to say those two words and give up.
It is the kind of match that is frequently used to put a certain rivalry to an end, and the build-ups to the match usually play an important role in how it goes and ultimately finishes.
The first “I Quit” match took place at the 1985 Starrcade event for The National Wrestling Alliance/Jim Crockett Promotions. It was between Tully Blanchard and Magnum TA. Four years later, Ric Flair would defeat Terry Funk in an “I Quit” match in what was regarded by many to be one of the greatest rivalries in professional wrestling history. A nice trivia fact: Funk is the only wrestler to compete in this type of match for three different promotions.
John Cena holds a perfect 5-0 record in “I Quit” matches, defeating the likes of John “Bradshaw” Layfield (JBL), Randy Orton, Batista, The Miz, and Rusev. A.J. Styles is also undefeated and holds a 3-0 record, although his matches all took place during his time with TNA/Impact Wrestling.
The 1999 Royal Rumble event lays claim to one of the most infamous “I Quit” matches in pro wrestling history. Mick Foley (who was wrestling as Mankind at the time) squared off against The Rock. Foley took nearly a dozen unprotected chair shots to the head in the match, and there was nothing fake about the blows. That match occurred precisely 22 years ago Sunday.
22 YEARS AGO TODAY!
— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) January 24, 2021
A few more other well-known “I Quit” matches in WWE include Ric Flair versus Mick Foley in 2006 as the two had a rivalry based on legitimate heat in real life. Cena’s encounter with JBL at the Judgement Day event in 2005 is one of the best “I Quit” matches in history. All of Cena’s “I Quit” matches have had memorable endings, not surprising given Cena’s aptitude as a live entertainer.
Last October, WWE featured a Hell in a Cell “I Quit” match. From time to time, these brawls will have another feature. The very first “I Quit” took place in a steel cage. Terry Funk’s match at Extreme Championship Wrestling in 1993 was an “I Quit” Texas Death Match. Funk also had an “I Quit” match in World Championship Wrestling against Dustin Runnels, which was a Bullrope Match. From time to time, the feature of the showdown is based on the gimmick of one of the competitors.
It’s the finish of the match that is most remembered. While the entire fight will have its moments that will go down in history, it is the finish that always defines the brutality. The whole point is for a competitor to go so far that he or she cannot take it anymore. There is no better match to settle a feud once and for all.
Eventually, one opponent has to just give up by uttering those two words for the whole audience to hear and see.