In WWE Battle Royals, Beware The “Hidden Opponent”

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

A battle royal has come down to two competitors. The crowd buzzes as they stare at one another for a few moments. The intensity swells. Then, they go at it. Near-eliminations are teased as the drama builds. Finally, one competitor is able to send the other over the top rope and down the floor.

The crowd roars as the apparent winner stands tall. But wait! There’s another battle royal entrant you completely forgot about. He/she reappears and steals the victory for him/herself.

It happened again during the Survivor Series 2020 Kickoff show.

If you’re starting to feel like you’ve seen this sort of thing before, you’re not alone. I saw some fans on Twitter saying exactly that.

First I Rant, Then I Research

What makes this more bizarre for me is that I had just unleashed my own rant over WWE’s tendency to run the “hidden opponent” finish in its battle royals just over a month ago.

Here’s what set me off, in case you’d already forgotten.

The morning after my rant, I wondered if I was the one who’s crazy. Is it all in my head? Are there really that many “hidden opponent” battle royal finishes in WWE? 

I combed through the results of every WWE-sanctioned battle royal I could find dating back to the beginning of 2015. It turns out, I’m not crazy. But the situation may not be as bad as you and some other fans think. Before we begin I should point out that I’m excluding Royal Rumble matches from this exercise.

WWE Keeps It Clean…For A Bit

Up until The Miz and Lana got their battle royal wins, WWE had a clean slate in 2020, running five straight with NO “hidden opponent” ending. In fact, WWE had been on a pretty good run dating back to June 2019.

That battle royal on June 19, 2019 was TEXTBOOK “hidden opponent” booking. It was the NXT UK Women’s Title #1 Contendership Battle Royal. Kay Lee Ray quietly disappears early in the match with an apparent knee injury, only to reemerge at the very end to ambush Xia Brookside.

At WrestleMania, on April 7, 2019, we had a pair of “hidden opponent” attempts in BOTH battle royals! Neither worked out as intended. Carmella successfully surprised, and eventually eliminated, Sarah Logan. Later, Colin Jost and Michael Che tried to sneak up on Braun Strowman. It didn’t work out for them.

We also can’t overlook a 15-man battle royal at the Worlds Collide event that aired in February 2019. You may consider this a borderline entry under the “hidden opponent” criteria, but hear me out.

Jordan Devlin is in the final three, but he ends up down and nearly motionless in the corner for nearly 45 seconds while Velveteen Dream and Tony Nese do battle. Devlin only springs back to life after Dream eliminates Nese and a well-timed dropkick eliminates Dream. In my eyes, this is a “hidden opponent” finish. The key evidence is Dream raising his arms in victory after eliminating Nese. Not great awareness of his surroundings by Dream, but I’m counting this one.

For the next “hidden opponent” finish, you head back to Monday Night Raw on October 8, 2018. It’s the Global Battle Royal. It’s Kurt Angle disguised as The Conquistador getting the drop on Baron Corbin. It is TEXTBOOK “hidden opponent”!

Our next stop is April 8, 2018 for the first-ever WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal and another TEXTBOOK “hidden opponent” finish as Naomi surprised Bayley.

Defining “Peak Hidden Opponent”

Bookending Naomi’s “hidden opponent” victory at WrestleMania and Kay Lee Ray’s on NXT UK in June 2019 allowed me to frame a period in WWE history as “Peak Hidden Opponent”. Between Naomi’s win on April 8, 2018 and KLR’s on June 19, 2019, WWE held 15 battle royals. Six of them featured “hidden opponent” endings. And if my math is correct, that’s 40%. I believe this is where my frustration with more recent battle royal finishes was rooted.

As I mentioned, I dug through battle royal results from WWE dating back to 2015. Here’s how things stacked up for each of those years.

  • 2020: 2 “Hidden Opponent” Finishes, 5 Clean Finishes (29%)
  • 2019: 4 “Hidden Opponent” Finishes, 6 Clean Finishes (40%)
  • 2018: 2 “Hidden Opponent” Finishes, 7 Clean Finishes (22%)
  • 2017: 1 “Hidden Opponent” Finishes, 5 Clean Finishes (17%) (*There were also 2 “No Contests” that I did not count for either column)
  • 2016: 3 “Hidden Opponent” Finishes, 4 Clean Finishes (43%)
  • 2015: 0 “Hidden Opponent” Finishes, 3 Clean Finishes (0%)

Since 2015, WWE has been running the “hidden opponent” ending in about 29% of its battle royals overall. Those peaks in 2019 and back in 2016 really stick out.

So, while it may feel to you like it’s been happening a lot, WWE’s recent battle royal booking is not out of line with how the company has been operating since 2015. In fact, the past or month or so has been a course correction for the company.

Wrestling Mayhem Show 692: The Great CM Punk’kin


This week’s episode brought to you by Indy Wrestling US, Slice on Broadway, Sidekick Media Services, and Pittsburgh Wrestling

We get thankful on Thanksgiving Week.

  • We talk about Survivor Series and NXT Takeover Wargames and the showing for WWE NXT.
  • Disney + challenges are laid out.
  • Mean Tweets
  • Mad Mike may come around temporarily on Impact Provincial Wrestling Federation
  • Big Question: What are you thankful for in wrestling?
  • Are AEW rankings going to get them in trouble?
  • What did YOU learn in wrestling this week?

Follow our stable on Twitter: Mad Mike (@MadMike4883), Ronnie Starks (@starkswrestling), and Sorg (@Sorgatron).

If you are in Pittsburgh, you’ve got to go to Slice on Broadway (@Pgh_Slice) and get their food! (sliceonbroadway.com)
**A special shout out to our Manager Level Patreon supporter Occupy Pro Wrestling (@Power2TheSmarks)**
You can support the show at Patreon.com/wrestlingmayhemshow! Go to wrestlingmayhemshow.com for more entertainment!
Check out the Indy Wrestling US Network at www.indywrestling.network.  For a short time, get a 7-day FREE trial to access a growing collection of content.
Thanks to Basick Sickness (@basicksickness) for the awesome intro for the show.
Remember to LIKE and FOLLOW us on Facebook for updates and video

Wrestling Mayhem Show 643: RAWpaganda

This week’s episode brought to you by Indy Wrestling USSlice on BroadwayOccupy Pro Wrestling, and Lucha Fiesta!

The big crew tonight is here in the pre-Thanksgiving episode that doesn’t involve a food fight.

  • David Arquette has his first, and last, foray into death match wrestling at GCW
  • NXT Takeover War Games delivers.  Who are we rooting for from their indy wrestling days, and who hasn’t gained steam yet?
  • Survivor Series delivers a RAW (sort of) sweep.  But who were the real winners?
  • Dean Ambros and Charlotte are doing something new and badass.
  • What are we thankful for in pro wrestling?
  • Enzo Amore does something stupid
  • We talk about Magnum CK’s retirement from Pro Wrestling
  • What did we learn from pro wrestling this week?

Follow our stable on Twitter: Rizz (@theerizz), Larry, Mainstream Matt (@mainstreammat), Mad Mike (@MadMike4883), and Sorg (@Sorgatron).

If you are in Pittsburgh, you’ve got to go to Slice on Broadway (@Pgh_Slice) and get their food! (sliceonbroadway.com)

You can support the show at Patreon.com/wrestlingmayhemshow!

Go to wrestlingmayhemshow.com for more entertainment!

Check out the Indy Wrestling US Network at www.indywrestling.network.  For a short time, get a 7-day FREE trial to access a growing collection of content.

Thanks to Basick Sickness (@basicksickness) for the awesome intro for the show.

Remember to LIKE and FOLLOW us on Facebook for updates and video.

Wrestling Mayhem Show 642: Shark Themed Dog Party

This week’s episode brought to you by Indy Wrestling USSlice on BroadwayOccupy Pro Wrestling, and Lucha Fiesta!

We’re back with special guest Lucha Underground Co-Executive Producer Chris DeJoseph as we discuss:

  • We talk with Chris DeJoseph about the storytelling, secrets, and possibilities of Lucha Underground Season 4 and Ultima Lucha 4
  • We get the breaking news about new WWE Champion Daniel Bryan and Survivor Series thoughts from Bodiggity fan mail
  • Big Question: What WWE roster members could play Marvel Characters
  • Mad Mike and Sorg got to see Ready to Rumble star David Arquette in NEW and IWC over the weekend
  • We learn how David Arquette almost appeared on Lucha Underground

Follow our stable on Twitter: Chris DeJoseph (@ChrisDeJoseph),  Mad Mike (@MadMike4883), and Sorg (@Sorgatron).

If you are in Pittsburgh, you’ve got to go to Slice on Broadway (@Pgh_Slice) and get their food! (sliceonbroadway.com)

You can support the show at Patreon.com/wrestlingmayhemshow!

Go to wrestlingmayhemshow.com for more entertainment!

Check out the Indy Wrestling US Network at www.indywrestling.network.  For a short time, get a 7-day FREE trial to access a growing collection of content.

Thanks to Basick Sickness (@basicksickness) for the awesome intro for the show.

Remember to LIKE and FOLLOW us on Facebook for updates and video.

 

Wrestling Mayhem Show 597: Paul Heyman is an Evil Genius


He’s no Paul Heyman, but we can afford his booking fees!  That’s right, Church makes the drive to the new studio to join us on the big purple couch.  He joins Larry, Chad, and Sorg to talk this week in wrestling, including:

  • Larry is ready to jump right in with some War Games discussion!
  • So wait – NO ROOF for War Games?
  • Larry was impressed with Velveteen Dream during War Games.
  • Of course Sorg is talking about the video implications involved with War Games.
  • As crazy as War Games is – remember that Arn Anderson has been involved in 18 of them.
  • Wondering what we’re talking about? WWE has a War Games section on the WWE Network.
  • Check out some of the NXT talent you’re seeing on WWE – quite a few of them have some great content on the Indy Wrestling scene.
  • We enjoy watching Booker T because it reminds us of Drunk Uncle Booker.
  • We’re talking some Survivor Series!
  • Survivor Series became Bragging Rights.
  • Shield v New Day match made us feel pretty good.
  • Shinsuke having a chance to lock up with HHH was pretty awesome.
  • We got some opportunities to see some great matches that we normally haven’t seen at Survivor Series.
  • Paul Heyman is an Evil Genius.
  • Has the UK Championship become the new European Title?
  • This week’s Big Question is in the spirit of Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for in wrestling?
  • There’s been a bit of an invasion happening with NXT talent showing up on RAW and Smackdown. We’re sharing some thoughts.
  • What did YOU learn in wrestling this week?

Fan of the show, Brandon Mynatt, will be a participant in the 2018 Special Olympics as part of the Team Missouri Bowling Team. (Donate at: http://give.somo.org/site/TR?px=1073149&fr_id=1190&pg=persona)

Follow our stable on Twitter: Church (@RingRevChurch), Larry (@MutilatorLarry), Sorg (@Sorgatron), and Bobby F J-Town (@Bobbyfjtown).

If you are in Pittsburgh, you got to go to Slice on Broadway (@Pgh_Slice) and get their food! (sliceonbroadway.com)

You can support the show at Patreon.com/wrestlingmayhemshow!

Go to wrestlingmayhemshow.com for more entertainment!

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Wrestling Mayhem Show 596: Parallelogram of Doom


BC Steele is in studio with us this week!  He is joined by our usual cast of characters – Sorg and Larry.  And, hot off his video game weekend for Extra Life, Bobby F J-Town is live via the internets as we talk this week in wrestling, including:

  • Survivor Series – something we always seem to forget about until it’s upon us.
  • WWE is stepping up their game with Survivor Series by calling in some big names to be in-ring with the brand split.
  • There is buzz around this year’s Survivor Series – some good; some bad; but, legit buzz.
  • We’re breaking down some AJ Styles v Brock Lesnar.
  • What talent does WWE have in the pipeline to sustain them 5 years from now?
  • This may be the oldest Survivor Series talent line-up.
  • The Shield vs The New Day – We’re looking at a potentially good tag match.
  • We’re calling a Kurt Angle singles match by Wrestlemania.
  • Anyone else notice that WWE uses their own terminology – like “local medical facility” and “title held in abeyance?”
  • The Charlotte v Alexa Bliss match has the potential to steal the show.
  • War Games is coming. We’re sharing some thoughts.
  • The many faces of Alicia Fox.
    It’s time for this week’s Big Question: What is your favorite Broadway (long time limit) match? (Thanks Tina.)
  • The Ric Flair 30-for-30. We watched it. We’re talking about it.
  • What did YOU learn in wrestling this week?

Fan of the show, Brandon Mynatt, will be a participant in the 2018 Special Olympics as part of the Team Missouri Bowling Team. (Donate at: http://give.somo.org/site/TR?px=1073149&fr_id=1190&pg=persona)

Follow our stable on Twitter: BC Steele (@1SFpodcast), Larry (@MutilatorLarry), Sorg (@Sorgatron), and Bobby F J-Town (@Bobbyfjtown).

If you are in Pittsburgh, you got to go to Slice on Broadway (@Pgh_Slice) and get their food! (sliceonbroadway.com)

You can support the show at Patreon.com/wrestlingmayhemshow!

Go to wrestlingmayhemshow.com for more entertainment!

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Wrestling Mayhem Show 595: Six Star Matches


It’s a full show this week as we’ve got Old School Burt LeGrand in studio with Sorg and Larry.  As a special treat, we’ve got Tonio Garza joining us online, and Mad Mike makes a stop by in the second half.  They’re talking this week in wrestling, including:

  • AJ Styles v Brock Lesnar? Thank you WWE.
  • Does this mean we’ll see AJ Styles v Shinsuke Nakamura for Starrcade?
  • Survivor Series 2017 – we’re talking some of our predictions and speculations.
  • Burt is calling for an in-ring return of Daniel Bryan?
  • Garza is talking some New Japan and Chris Jericho v Kenny Omega.
  • So – we’re getting something we normally don’t get on the show. That’s right, we’re talking some Impact Wrestling.
  • Apparently Alberto El Patron’s promo was just weird.
  • Impact Wrestling has a casting call for paid background actors?
  • We go from Impact Wrestling to booking nostalgia matches (The Rock v Triple H or Triple H v Kevin Owens?).
  • Triple H with The Shield = Perfect
  • It’s time for this week’s Big Question: What would your Wrestle Kingdom dream match be?
  • We have e-mail! (Kinda.)
  • Stephen Amell is going to ROH?
  • There was an intergender match tonight?
  • Pete Dunne v Enzo Amore? Larry is confused, but okay with it.
  • What did YOU learn in wrestling this week?

Fan of the show, Brandon Mynatt, will be a participant in the 2018 Special Olympics as part of the Team Missouri Bowling Team. (Donate at: http://give.somo.org/site/TR?px=1073149&fr_id=1190&pg=persona)

Follow our stable on Twitter: Old School Burt LeGrand (@realOSBL), Larry (@MutilatorLarry), Sorg (@Sorgatron), Tonio Garza (@TheWRevolution), and Mad Mike (@MadMike4883).

If you are in Pittsburgh, you got to go to Slice on Broadway (@Pgh_Slice) and get their food! (sliceonbroadway.com)

You can support the show at Patreon.com/wrestlingmayhemshow!

Go to wrestlingmayhemshow.com for more entertainment!

Remember to LIKE and FOLLOW us on Facebook for updates and video.

Wrestling Mayhem Show 593: Fergal S. Pumpkin


Marshall “The Bull” Gambino made his triumphant return to the show.  He has a special treat for us with the recently reinstated High Stakes Championship belt.  Otherwise, we’ve got Chad “the Enzo” with him on the sofa, Matt Carlins, Mutilator Larry, and Sorg.  They’re bringing you this week’s wrestling news and insights, including:

  • The champion of champions is back – and Chad the Shad is starting the top of the show – as Chad the Enzo.
  • Sorg has unearthed Larry’s hatred for Kalisto.
  • Enzo brings Chad the most joy each week. The rest of us are Power Point enthusiasts thanks to Drew Gulak.
  • We’re talking some TLC changes – and there’s a difference of opinions.
  • So, Braun Strowman got murdered at TLC – and the fans are the ones that called it out?
  • Survivor Series is coming up, and Mad Mike has some speculations as to who we could see.
  • AJ Styles and Finn Balor made the TLC changes amazing!
  • Thank you William Regal for telling us about storytelling in the ring.
  • Marshall is talking about how nice it is to remember where you came from especially on a big stage like WWE.
  • Marshall is in studio – and he brought something shiny. It’s a first look at the High Stakes belt.
  • This week’s Big Question: With Smackdown Live on Halloween, what would you book as a special event match for the night?
  • Want to see Jerry “The King” Lawler LIVE this Friday at IWC Wrestling High Stakes 2? http://www.iwcwrestling.com/liveevents/highstakes2.html
  • We’re talking some #UnderSeige heading into the last segment.
  • What did YOU learn in wrestling this week?

Fan of the show, Brandon Mynatt, will be a participant in the 2018 Special Olympics as part of the Team Missouri Bowling Team. (Donate at: http://give.somo.org/site/TR?px=1073149&fr_id=1190&pg=persona)

Alex Kahrs is donating sales to #SaveTheTatas this month. https://whatamaneuver.net/collections/occupy-pro-wrestling

Follow our stable on Twitter: Marshall Gambino (@MarshallGambino), Sorg (@Sorgatron), Mainstream Mat (@MainstreamMat), Mutilator Larry (@MutilatorLarry) and Mad Mike (@MadMike4883)!

If you are in Pittsburgh, you got to go to Slice on Broadway (@Pgh_Slice) and get their food! (sliceonbroadway.com)

Speaking of Slice on Broadway, make sure you vote for them in the Incline’s pizza bracket.

You can support the show at Patreon.com/wrestlingmayhemshow!

Go to wrestlingmayhemshow.com for more entertainment!

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WWE RAW Wrap Up 10/23/17

LIVE from Sorgatron Media Studio in Pittsburgh, PA! Mad Mike and Sorg talk about WWE RAW! We talk the Team WWE SmackDownUnder Seige, the 10 man Cruiserweight tag match and our first steps

 

Subscribe!

Wrestling Mayhem Show SUPER FEED 

Join us LIVE Monday shortly after WWE RAW!  Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for the link

Wrestling Mayhem Show 573: A Rightful Sacrifice

We’ve got Sorg, Larry, Madmike, and Wheelz for Wrestling Mayhem Show 573, and they’re talking about what’s happening, including:

WMS1

  • We’re continuing our sad Enzo series on tonight’s show.
  • The Revival is working on their album.
  • We’ve got Sorg and Mad Mike doing Enzo and Cass impressions live on air.
  • Is Enzo violating the wellness policy – by not being well?
  • Kurt Angle needs the Fashion Police to crack his mystery.
  • Sorg turned the tables on Mad Mike with Two Truths and A Lie.
  • Our first Womens Money In The Bank? We have some thoughts.
  • We’ve got an over/under going on whether or not Natalya is legit hurt.
  • Wait…Renee Young wears a wig?
  • The Fashion Police went a new direction tonight.
  • Speaking of Fashion Police, Tyler Breeze in a dress. We’re thanking Southpaw Regional Wrestling for character dev.
  • Dear WWE, give us a Halloween special where you give us a Southpaw Wrestling holiday show for a night.
  • Southpaw characters come from the past into the present and do a Survivor Series match against some new gimmicks.
  • Who caught the R-Truth and Goldust segment?
  • We’re pitching Golden Summer with Summer as the new Marlena.
  • Is this Goldust’s retirement push?
  • We’re calling a Hollywood feud – Miz v Goldust.
  • Randy Orton apparently RKOd his kid this week.
  • How many RKOs can you get into a match? Someone tried testing that theory.
  • We’re talking about some Money In The Bank, because that’s still a thing.
  • Cody Rhodes defending Goldust on twitter made our day!
  • This week’s Big Question – inspired by Southpaw Wrestling – which previous gimmick would you revert someone to?
  • Do yourselves a favor – watch Luchasaurus. Sorg just derailed the show for it.
  • Sorg and the guys are breaking down Table of Three.
  • Extreme Rules is happening this weekend. We’re talking about some of our expectations.
  • Will we finally get Broken Hardys this weekend?
  • What did YOU learn from wrestling this week?

Follow our stable on Twitter: Sorg (@Sorgatron), Mad Mike (@madmike4883),  Larry (@MutilatorLarry), and Wheelz (@HotwheelzRWA) !

If you are in Pittsburgh, you got to go to Slice on Broadway (@Pgh_Slice) and get their food! (sliceonbroadway.com)

You can support the show at Patreon.com/wrestlingmayhemshow!

Go to wrestlingmayhemshow.com for more entertainment!

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