Wrestling’s Most Shocking and Unusual Match Locations

Wrestling and Its Most Unique Match Locations

Photo Credit: WWE.

Many professional wrestling matches have occurred in arenas, Elks Lodges, VFWs, and even bingo halls. But it takes a mad genius to take wrestling to THESE locations!

One of the main reasons professional wrestling is so addicting and unique is because of the places the performers take the fans in a storyline- figuratively and physically.

Whether unwinding after a hard day at work or school or watching wrestling as an escape from reality, storylines are meant to take fans on emotional journeys. But whether it’s an aircraft carrier floating in the sea, or a fight on Wall Street, there has been no shortage of unique match locations.

Without further ado, here are some of the wildest places wrestling matches ever to take place!

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1 – Electric Pool

Photo Credit: FMW.

FMW was known for its wildly creative bloodbath brawls.

But they outdid themselves when they held multiple deathmatches with the ring floating in the middle of a pond.

Each match was just as crazy as it sounded: exploding barbed wire ropes, wrestlers being thrown into the water, and in particular, Atsushi Onita being infamously gutted by Mr. Pogo’s sickle.

This match is not for the faint of heart, but it’s worth the watch if you can handle it.

Despite his gruesome injury, Onita would win the match versus Pogo with a powerbomb onto the exploding barbed wire.

Sabu recalls the horror of wrestling in this match, claiming, “My uncle [The Sheik] tried wrestling Onita, and I was trying to throw water on my uncle [for his burns]. I threw a bucket of water on him, and his skin came off!”

The fact that the ring floated in water added a surreal layer to it, never again seen in wrestling history.

2 – Wade In The Water: Terry Funk and Stan Hansen in The Rumble in The River

Photo Credit: Pro Wrestling Stories.

Speaking of H2O, there was the legendary Terry Funk and Stan Hansen Rumble in The River.

You’ll see the name Terry Funk several times in this piece because while Tommy Dreamer holds the moniker, Funk is an even earlier “innovator of violence.”

And the Terry Funk vs. Stan Hansen Pennsauken, New Jersey 1990 Rumble in The River bout didn’t disappoint.

Promoted by the late Dennis Coraluzzo, they held a falls count anywhere bout, and after the expected wild and wooly brawling, they departed the ring and took the action to the river bank.

And, of course, right into that “old man river.”

Decades later, fans still talk about this unique match-up with awe and wonder.

3 – USS Intrepid

Photo Credit: WWE.

Although no actual match took place on the USS Intrepid, it remains on the list for being one of the most memorable places a wrestling-related event happened.

In 1982, a WWII aircraft carrier called The USS Intrepid was permanently retired and turned into a sea, air, and space museum. In 1993, however, it doubled as the venue for Yokozuna’s Bodyslam Challenge.

A Challenge For America

Photo Credit: WWE.

Billed at almost 600 pounds, Yokozuna swore that no American could pick him up and bodyslam him. It was a steep challenge, and various legendary superstars, including the Steiner Brothers and Randy Savage, failed to accomplish it.

Just When Things Seemed Impossible

Photo Credit: WWE.

Then, when it seemed like Yokozuna was correct in that no American could lift him, Lex Luger dropped out of the sky via helicopter and slammed the massive behemoth.

Picking up Yokozuna is one thing, but turning him upside down for a body slam is quite another, and Luger became the first man to do it.

Luger claimed the brand new truck offered as a prize for slamming the giant and left victorious that day.

Recommended read: Lex Luger and The Failed Lex Express Experiment

4 – Penn Station

Photo Credit: WWE.

When the WWF debuted their new show “Shotgun Saturday Night” in 1997, they held a few episodes in some very unorthodox places.

One of the wildest was when they decided to have an episode at Penn Station in Manhattan.

Penn Station is one of the busiest transit hubs in the United States, with more than 600,000 passengers passing through it daily. So when the then WWF set up a ring in the concourse area, commuters were surprised.

The show opened up with The Undertaker driving a train into the station before wrestling Triple H for the Intercontinental title.

Triple H and The Undertaker fought all around the station before The Undertaker delivered a devastating Tombstone Piledriver to Triple H on the top of an escalator.

“In those days, we didn’t deal with permits,” once admitted Vince McMahon.

It truly was one of the most unique and unusual locations a wrestling event ever occurred.

5 – Cruise Ship

Photo Credit: WWE.

Although not the same as FMW’s bloodbath, Chris Jericho’s Rock and Wrestling At Sea event also took place on the water.

In 2018, Jericho partnered with Ring of Honor and his fellow Fozzy band members to bring fans the unique experience of a wrestling-themed cruise.

Due to its success, the boat featured entertainment ranging from music to wrestling and would become the venue for the 2020 and 2021 AEW cruise ship shows.

The event is generally viewed as a success and will be back once more.

6 – Camp Victory, Baghdad, Iraq

Photo Credit: WWE.

WWE’s “Tribute to the Troops” is one of the classiest things they do as a company.

It’s a show reserved explicitly for military personnel and their families, who all attend for free. It is always a great time, with big stars like John Cena and Stone Cold Steve Austin making appearances. Particularly memorable was when WWE traveled to the capital city of Iraq at an undisclosed location called “Camp Victory.”

WWE set up a stage, entranceway, seats, and of course, a ring in the middle of the desert for the thousands of troops to watch. Camp Victory was makeshift, cold, and sandy.

Although Tribute to the Troops has taken place in the US recently, fans will never forget the original installments on the other side of the world.

Camp Victory remains one of the most unusual locations in which the WWE ever held a match, not just because it was in the Middle East.

It was a meaningful homage to the soldiers and a favorite for many WWE stars who claim it is “their favorite show behind WrestleMania.”

7 – Wall Street, New York

Photo Credit: WWE.

As a crowd of probably very confused spectators looked into the ring built in the middle of Wall Street in Manhattan, WWE’s stock opened to the public.

In 1999 when the then WWF’s product first hit the NASDAQ stock market, they thought it would only be fitting for a few matches to take place outside the famous New York Stock Exchange and the iconic bull statue on the street.

Although WWE’s biggest stars such as Steve Austin, Chyna, and The Rock were there to break the news of the stock opening, fans were attracted to the public matches in the street that featured legendary tag teams such as The Dudley Boyz and The Hardys as well as a battle royale.

This was one of WWE’s only shows for which they did not charge admission, as passersby were encouraged to stop by and watch a match or two!

8 – WWE Headquarters

Photo Credit: WWE.

Trying to hold wrestling matches in a large corporate headquarters is unique, but WWE has done it multiple times.

For most fans, Money in the Bank 2020 comes to mind. The men’s and women’s ladder matches were held inside the headquarters, with superstars beginning on the bottom floor of the building, eventually ascending to the ring and briefcase on the roof.

From Ladder Matches To Rooftop Matches

Photo Credit: WWE.

Other fans who have been watching for much longer may remember when Shawn Michaels and Owen Hart fought on top of the headquarters in 1995. Although WWE just held a few matches on the headquarters’ roof for some striking video footage they could use on RAW, this still went in the record books as an official match.

The four matches that have taken place at WWE headquarters have all been a sight to see.

9 – Mirage Nightclub

Photo Credit: WWE.

WWF’s Shotgun Saturday Night was unique because of the edgy product it pushed and also because it emanated from famous New York City nightclub locations.

The most famous of these instances was the Mirage Nightclub, a now-closed bar. Because of the nightclub location, WWE needed to make major changes, including using a smaller ring to fit on the dance floor and yellow ropes to help see in the dark.

Although short-lived at only six weeks, they will always be remembered as one of WWE’s most unusual locations.

10 – Panama City Beach

Photo Credit: WWE.

From 1997 to 1999, WCW aired an annual wrestling event at Club La Vela, a resort along Panama City Beach, Florida. The final episode of WCW also took place at the resort, resulting in one of the most visually stunning wrestling sets of all time.

While shows took place there, it was commonly billed as the largest nightclub and resort in the United States.

The venue was said to attract younger and casual fans before WCW was eventually bought in 2011.

11 – Empty Arena Matches

Photo Credit: WWE.

Finally, this list wouldn’t be complete without the wildly creative empty arena matches.

The brainchild of Terry Funk, he and Jerry Lawler had a legendary empty arena match at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, Tennessee, in April of ’81.

In September 1982, Funk defeated Bruce Walkup in a lesser-known empty-arena Bunkhouse Steel Cage match in Florida.

And while WCW and TNA both experimented with similar matches, The Rock and Mankind’s epic empty arena bout reached a vast audience.

Halftime Heat Infamous Match

Photo Credit: WWE.

During the halftime of Super Bowl XXXIII, The Rock and Foley successfully drew hundreds of thousands of viewers away from the Super Bowl and to WWF’s Halftime Heat.

The match also came on the heels of WWF’s famous attitude-era Super Bowl ad!

The match turned out to be one of WWE’s most memorable and unorthodox, with the two battling all over the arena in total silence. Fans had the opportunity to hear the bumps, heavy breathing, and strikes from the two performers with the crowd noise and announcers covering it up.

Whether on a boat, river, or empty arena, wrestling promoters always look to innovate. And with billionaires blasting themselves into space, maybe we’ll someday see our first wrestling match in space. “Headlocks in the Heavens” would be a unique hook, now wouldn’t it?

The Kick That Ruined Bret Hart

Bret Hart and Goldberg - The Kick That Ruined Bret's Career
Photo Credit: WWE.

BRET HART: "One of the last things I said to Goldberg before I walked out to the ring was, ‘Don’t hurt me. I wish he heard me a little better."
GOLDBERG: "This will forever go down in history as the biggest mistake that I have ever made in my entire life."

What was supposed to be a moment for the two former WCW tag team champions to shine turned into a match with dire consequences.

Read Bret Hart and Goldberg – The Kick That Ruined Bret’s Career

Secret Life and Tragic Passing of WWE Wrestler “Crush” Brian Adams

Wrestler Brian Adams as Kona Crush at ‎April 4th, 1993's WrestleMania 9 pay-per-view at ‎‎Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo Credit: WWE.

Hailing from Kona, Hawaii, “Crush” Brian Adams was a dominant force who underwent many striking transformations over his 17-year career.

After retiring from the ring, he worked as a bodyguard for “Macho Man” Randy Savage and was excited about opening a fitness spa alongside Marc Mero in Florida. Instead, sadly, tragedy struck.

Chief Jay Strongbow and His Notorious Backstage Reputation

Joe Scarpa, who gained wrestling fame as Chief Jay Strongbow.
‘MACHO MAN’ RANDY SAVAGE: “He killed more young wrestlers’ careers than [substance abuse]!”

THE HONKY TONK MAN: “If he were dying right now, I wouldn’t even [drop a dump] in his mouth."

Chief Jay Strongbow seemed a natural fit for a backstage role in WWE. However, it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing for the faux Native American!

Read: Chief Jay Strongbow and His Notorious Backstage Reputation

Doink The Clown – A Troubled Life For the Man Behind the Paint

The legacy of Matt Borne, who played the role of the first Doink the Clown in the WWF, is a little complicated.

Doink the Clown found fame in early 1990s WWE, but there was, unfortunately, trouble along the way for Matt Borne, the man behind the paint.

Read Doink The Clown – A Troubled Life For the Man Behind the Paint

Mr Perfect Curt Hennig – A Great Life with an Unfortunate End

On camera, Curt Hennig was arrogant, and he backed up his Mr. Perfect persona brilliantly. However, outside of the ring, it was a different story. Here is the story of an extraordinary life with an unfortunate end.

On camera, Curt Hennig was arrogant, and he backed up his Mr. Perfect persona brilliantly. However, outside of the ring, it was a different story.

Learn the story of an extraordinary life with an unfortunate end.

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Ethan Absler is a freelance writer covering professional wrestling for NBC Universal and The USA Network. He is an independent wrestler based out of Chicago with a degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Missouri.