According to Wrebsters Dictionary, a squash is a one-sided wrestling match designed to showcase the monstrous dominance of one of the competitors and/or the inability of their opponent to withstand their beefy onslaught.
Squash matches were the backbone of WWE programming throughout much of the 80s and early 90s, with a steady parade of milquetoast quivering lads being fed to established superstars in order to build their credibility as one ruff tough billy goat buff, with superstar vs superstar matches saved for bigger cards.
Nowadays, with hardcore fans more invested in competitive matchups, squash matches have fallen out of favor, oft regarded as repetitive and an increasingly transparent booking strategy for less capable meatheads, but damn it, when used sparingly a good squash can create a bigger reaction and tell a better, more emotive story than a million moves of evenly-balanced offense.
These are the 10 Greatest Wrestling Squash Matches Ever.
A few honorable mentions first.
Diesel destroying Bob Backlund for the WWF Championship would have placed if WWE had filmed it on something better than a potato.
Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan at ‘Mania 28 had an unparalleled legacy in helping to create the Yes movement, but dammit the memories still hurt, and Kurt Angle vs. Roderick Strong on SmackDown, which didn’t do much from a story perspective but holy s**t Kurt slaps the undisputed piss out of him.
Right, onto the list proper
10. Zack Gowen vs. Brock Lesnar – SmackDown (August 21, 2003)
Oh no it’s a murder. And not just any murder, Bork killed One Leg Man in front of his one leg mam.
On the August 21 episode of Smackdown in 2003, Brick Lorenzo, bad man with bad plans, proved his dominance by squashing Zack Gowan, a one-legged wrestler.
After getting himself DQ’d by cracking him open with a chair, Lesnar repeatedly F5s Gowan into the ring post, throws him around and does all it whilst performing a tight five-set to Zack’s real-life actual mum, gloating, offering her to shake his hand, all while she stands there with an ‘oh no my boy’ expression.
Look we’ve all seen a look of concern from our mothers about our life choices, but thankfully not many of us have seen Brock Lesnar physically barge our mothers out the way in order to keelhaul us off a stretcher and continue the nightmare violence.
Few things have made Brock seem more of a heartless, unstoppable villain and it’s not exactly a comfortable watch, but it’s damn sure memorable.
9. Honky Tonk Man vs. Ultimate Warrior – SummerSlam ’88
The Honky Tonk Man’s Intercontinental title run of the late 80s is defined by two numbers: 454 and 31.
He held the belt for 454 days, a record which still stands to this day, and at Summerslam 88, the first-ever SummerSlam pay-per-view WWE ever produced, he lost it to the Ultimate Warrior in 31 seconds.
Warrior runs to the ring and before Honky can say “well this is quite the dilly of a pickle” he’s up over Warrior’s head. A running splash later and the year and quarter-long reign was over in the blink of an eye.
It’s the first great SummerSlam memory and one of the most enduring moments in the history of the IC title.
Squash matches aren’t just an effective tool in building the myth of a monster, they can also be a jolt of unexpected adrenaline on even the biggest of cards. Speaking of…
8. John Cena vs. The Undertaker – WrestleMania 34
Daft, this. Also, a lot of this match’s legacy has been reduced by Morbid George’s Last Ride documentary which revealed that Taker vs. Cena being an exhibition squash was a big disappointment to The Deadman.
Even though the newly hipped Taker and Cena could have, in taker’s words, gone full dream match length during their bout at WrestleMania 34, evidently WWE was gunshy after ‘Mania 33’s dodgy dogfight and had Taker drub Cena with mind games both spooky and ooky.
Considering that Taker vs. Cena was still a dream match to many, a 3-minute match is disappointing, but it’s still a monumental piece of entertainment.
The whole Cena in the crowd angle (with John utterly failing to convince as a regular person, with his regular shirt, regular jeans and regular beer), the fakeout with Elias, and then finally, the Phenom utterly triumphant, it’s all very silly, but suitably memorable for what may be the silliest and most memorable gimmick of all time.
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