As they say in the biz, "two words, 5 letters" this is the review of the best of the I Quit matches, as heralded by WWE 24/7.
1) Terry Funk v. Jerry Lawler (AWA, 01/24/81 Empty Arena Match)- 4
This is worth seeking out just to see the oddity that this match is. We start in, obviously, an empty arena, the Mid-South Coliseum with Terry Funk coming out with an announcer and starts going on one of his famous belligerent rants about Lawler while the announcer makes up excuses for the "King" even citing, maybe he "is stuck in traffic." Well, after much cursing and swearing, Lawler shows up in a silver outfit with a silver cape and the tallest crown you've ever seen. This incites Funk to belittle him even more, telling him " you look like an idiot; have you seen what you're wearing?" in a moment that had me cracking up. They play this up as a legit fight, both men apprehensively circling each other and shouting out taunts. The first few times they lock up, it's quick and sloppy but finally they get to the action as it's apparent Funk came there to bump into ringside chairs and Lawler most certainly did not. The match really isn't even a match at all, nonetheless an I Quit match because it ends after Funk's homemade skewer ( a broken splinter from a ringside chair) is jammed into his eye, which bleeds like Dusty Rhodes whenever he squints his eyes. I see a lot of Foley's old mannerisms directly from Funk after watching this. It's entertaining but as far as wrestling action, there's little to none.
2) Ric Flair v. Mick Foley (Summerslam, Aug. 20, 2006)- 7
This was more of a spectacle than a match, but it had so much more going for it. Most fans know about the legit (at least at one time) heat between these two and it's basically all about repsect. Fans respect both guys, but they came about their fame in different ways and they have different philosophies about the business. It's beautiful to see them come together in this gorefest to prove their points. They both shred their flesh and pour buckets from their head during this somewhat short yet completely satisfying display of absolute barbarism. This is one of the nastiest matches that has been put on in sometime. Flair takes multiple shots from barbwire to the head and takes a back first thumbtack bump that absolutely makes him a human pin cushion. Foley gets tons of wire embedded in him with chops and back shots and arm shots. He looks like he put his arm in a turbine wheel by the end of this. There's that whole Foley-Melina angle going on at the time (which if you read Foley's 3rd autobiography, you know what I'm talking about) which gives him good incentive to quit but it's a cop out finish to me. Foley also takes a sick concrete bump and the ref calls the match off, to which Flair gets on the mic and tells him "this is an I Quit match, not a lay on your ass match!" Classic stuff.
3) Magnum TA v. Tully Blanchard (NWA Starrcade, 11/28/85 Steel Cage Match)- 7
I just reviewed this match not too long ago as part of Starrcade 85, a bloody and brutal affair and I hold true to my rating of this match. I'd say this was a turning point in both man's careers: Tully was one of the best technical guys at the time, but he wanted to have some puss-spewing fun in a dirty cage match and Magnum was uber-babyface at this point but wanted to show his sadistic side and cut a guy open. The cage match didn't hamper either man and they worked it well; but as I said in my past review, the finish is the best; a true homage to street fighting when it was still fun. This is worth seeking out.
4) Shane Douglas v. Pitbull #1 (ECW Hostile City Showdown 03/15/97)- 3
The premise of this match makes perfect sense: Douglas broke Pitbull#1's neck now he's healed and he wants revenge. Either the Pitbull is a genuis, or just a bumbling idiot: he tries to powerbomb Douglas and loses his grip, and drops him stiffly on his neck, which psychology wise would make perfect sense, but I'm guessing it's he's just dumb. At one point he tries to do a hurricanrana on Douglas through a table, but Franchise just bounces off like a rock skipping a pond in a unintentionally funny spot. Francine helps coordinate the submission by attacking the timekeeper with a belt then orchestrating the other Triple Threat members to hold his partner hostage by the neck until he gave up. This was a really sloppyily excecuted affair.
5) The Rock v. Mankind (WWF Royal Rumble, 01/24/99)- 6
The thing about this era of WWE is that emphasis on workrate was very low, so when you had a match like this, it sticks out in everybody's mind becuase it goes beyond the call of duty. Even saying that, the workrate in this wasn't very high but as a spectacle match, it was pretty fun. Foley kills himself in his first major ppv appearance as WWE Champion. This is also at the height of Rock's heel role, as he plays up a lot of comedy in this, such as stealing Michael Cole's headset and singing and stuff. There is a botched Rock Bottom through a table because it breaks right before Rock is about to do the move, but basically they just go to the next spot. This is also where, if memory fails you, Foley gets knocked off of a ledge onto the huge electrical circuit towers and blacks out the arena. The bump is legit, but the setup to it is so completely contrived, you could see it coming from a mile away. Rock's acting was still subpar here as Shane O Mac comes out and tells them to call it off. We pretty much go to the finish after that, which is also very infamous, as depicted in "Beyond the Mat" Barry Blaustein's homage to pro wrestling where Rock gives Foley way more unprotected chair shots to the head than planned. You can see Rock going off script and really taking liberties with Foley's cranium in a kind of disturbing image. Foley is bleeding very badly and then you have your very typical Russo finish. This is a mixed bag but I think overall, they've had better matches against each other.
6) The Rock v. Triple H (WWF Raw, 01/25/99)- 3
This was the following night on Raw, after Rock's win over Mankind- Joey Styles intro'd this match saying the Rock was the only man in Sports Entertainment history to do back to back I Quit matches- well, if fucking Karl Gotch could have had this little to do in the ring, I'm sure he could have pulled it off too. This started out in ring with both guys hitting all their setup spots, then it turned into a tame brawl around ringside. Helmsley's slime green tights were giving me flashbacks to the failed Sega Genesis release "Boogerman" and I think I would have rather played that than to have objectively grade this match. The end came when Chyna was held hostage and Trips had to quit to save his man-hoe. Then she turned on him immediately afterwards. It's sad when Stephanie McMahon is considered a hotter piece of ass than someone, but my god, she sure is compared to Chyna. I forgot how broad her cheekbones were.
7) Ric Flair v. Terry Funk (NWA Clash of Champions IX, 11/15/89)- 8
This was a rip roaring good time and shows Flair in his really, really stellar crazy ass brawling phase. He's all over Funk like he just gave his daughter AIDS, jumping on him from out of camera frame, chopping and blistering his chest and punching him right in the teeth at every available instant. Funk is just looney here, flipping over the guard rails at the slightest touch, taking bumps left and right including a scene right out of a wild west movie where Flair throws him across a table like he's being thrown down the top of a bar; i half expected a prostitute wearing a frilly black teddy to be there at the end and smash a beer bottle over his head. This was the culmination to their red hot supernova feud that took up most of Flair's time in 1989 and probably one of Funk's better runs, him being the desperado of pro wrestling and moving from one feud or promotion to the next. There's nothing boring or staged about this and it truly feels like a feud ending match. And there's a clean finish to this, which you can't say for much of anything else on this disc; Funk puts Flair over with the figure four and says the two words then shakes his hand after the match. Truly classic.
8) Tommy Dreamer v. The Sandman (ECW 10/03/94)- 6
This is set in the early days of the extreme hardcore fed, where a guy wearing green suspenders actually got over. Putting Tommy Dreamer's almost pitiful fashion sense aside, this is fairly hard hitting and enjoyable. Dreamer brings the body of a '79 Pontiac with him to the ring and proceeds to pound Sandman's somewhat sober head in with it. Of course there's sloppy brawling, but there are also well defined garbage spots that had sort of pre-match thought put into them instead of just grabbing a table and jumping through it for no reason. Fans contribute to the carnage via many sharped-edged implements and there is your token female interference. But, the finish of this pushes it over the recommendable line as it's a true I Quit finish where Dreamer finally gets control of Sandman's cane and errantly hits him in the eye with it as Sandman was about to take a drag off his fag (cigarette). The cancer inducting carcinogen burns his ocular appendage and a nice amount of red blood oozes from the wound. It's kind of gory and reminded me of Funk's eye injury earlier on the disc. There's some nice drama that ensues as Dreamer seems legitamately concerned about what he just did. Sandman definitley screams I Quit due to extreme pain, which is what the match is all about.
9) Justin Credible v. Jerry Lynn (ECW 06/15/98)- 5
This match was the other one that technically wasn't an I Quit match in the sense that everything else on the disc was. This was basically worked as a submission match that you had to say I quit to lose although no microphone was used to embarrass the guy that was going to say it. This was pretty fast paced with some good sequences that used going into a submission as the crux of each of them. Lynn trying to apply an anklelock was kind of laughable; looked like Captain Hook trying to unscrew the lid of a peanut butter jar. Credible, as always, pussed out on some bumps over the top rope and sold them by looking up at the ring apron. Lynn got the win with a pretty cool washboard stretch in kind of a quiet match in their feud.
10) John Cena v. JBL (Judgment Day 2005, May 22)- 8
Okay, now we bring out the big guns: Brian had heralded this match to me as an amazing spectacle which I've always taken his word on matches and such, but Cena v. JBL? The match starts out as most any WWE-style main event would with some in ring stuff that led outside where JBL took a backdrop on a table that he landed on ass first. I hadn't laughed that hard since my drunken cousin got pissed and charged into me where my awaiting foot went directly into his crotch. But, then Cena takes a legit chair shot to the head and pours out money making puddles of dark blood and the match takes a different turn. JBL gets really sickly violent and they start working some Japanese-style sequences in the ring with Cena just bleeding all his blood and guts out. Then, they go back to the entrance area where there's more plunder waiting for them than on the set of Extreme Elimination Challenge! They use TV's, car hoods, car doors, tables, chairs, tail pipes and most any other random object you could think of to bludgeon and bruise each other. Cena, in a seemingly improvised spot, uses JBL's prone body to break the passenger door off of his limo and use it to wobberleg JBL in a really cool creative spot. JBL bleeds buckets too but not like Cena who looked like he barely survived an evening with Leatherface. Just massive amounts of dried blood and gore rest on Cena's face at the end and it definitley upped the dramatic factor. JBL gives up due to not wanting to take any more punishment then takes a pussy prat fall through a wall of glass in an aftermatch activity that was pretty lame in execution, even though it was a good idea in general. I was hoping he would propel himself backwards through the limb cutting prop like Tomoaki Honma of Big Japan fame would, for my general enjoyment. But overall, you could see the flashes of brilliance in Cena's game because he's not the most technical guy for sure, but he knows how to work a main event match and he's quickly becoming a guy who delivers almost every time out. this was a awesome main event and they worked the gimmick well- go out of your way to find this!