Our Favorite Matches Of The Pandemic Era

July 2021 is a big month for professional wrestling. WWE and AEW are returning to live touring. Impact Wrestling and Ring Of Honor are welcoming back live fans for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Somehow, professional wrestling survived more than a year of uncertainty, lockdowns and empty arenas.

The Wrestling Mayhem Show wanted to celebrate the wrestlers and the other creative minds who helped us get through the past year and a half. Here are some favorite matches of our hosts, guests and listeners from the “Pandemic Era” – the period of time that began in the middle of March 2020 and stretched into July 2021.

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.

Monday Mayhem Warriors: Funky Night RAW

We’re up after WWE RAW with first impressions, pro wrestling news, Lego updates, and the latest pop culture on our minds. Tonight we tackle the latest from WWE RAW including the idea of Charlotte as the WWE Champion to avenge Ric Flair from Randy Orton, RAW Underground with Shayna Baszler and milk toast Shane McMahon, Retribution has one of us pissed, and we talk about some nice television like Heroes, Harley Quinn, and Future Avengers.

Wrestling Mayhem Show 725: Fashion Insensitive

This week’s episode brought to you by Indy Wrestling USSlice on Broadway, and Sidekick Media Services.

This week we’re joined by the fashionable Tyler Klein of The Runway, Good Guy and Grizzled Vet Ronnie Starks, and Twitcher Rizz of RizzPlaysGames to talk Indy Wrestling, WWE, AEW, Impact Wrestling and more!

  • DDT and NOAH are combining for CyberFight
  • We talk about the Pat McAfee and Adam Cole incident
  • We talk with Tyler Klein about teaming with Super Hentai in the Prospect Pro Wrestling Quaranteam Challenge. Watch this latest match Saturday at 8 PM on 2PW Facebook and Instagram.
  • Sorg attended the Real Shoot Wrestling Facebook Live recording.
  • Big Question: Ronnie Starks tells me why I should look at Impact Wrestling after he watched Slammiversary
  • We discuss last week’s homework: William Regal vs Edge – January 20, 2002. We also may have all watched the wrong match.
  • HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT: Mr Perfect vs Bret Hart: Prime Time Wrestling November 6, 1989  Watch on WWE Network
  • Support Jakob Edwinn at https://www.prowrestlingtees.com/jakobedwinn
  • What did you learn from pro wrestling this week?

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 supporters Occupy Pro Wrestling (@power2thesmarks) and Farnsworth Investments (@jworth)**

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

Wrestiing Mayhem Show 724: Not in This Economy

This week’s episode brought to you by Indy Wrestling USSlice on Broadway, and Sidekick Media Services.

Our Podcast Crew includes returning Good Guy Ronnie Starks and Alex Kahrs of OccupyProWrestling.com to talk about WWE, AEW, Impact Wrestling, the state of the Indies and more!

  • We look back at The Horrorshow Extreme Rules PPV \
  • We talk about the state of indy wrestling and the inventive ways some companies are trying to still have shows.
  • Big Question: What does a wrestling company have to do to get you to drop $40 on a PPV again?
  • We discuss last week’s homework: The Usos vs. Bray Wyatt & Daniel Bryan – Tag Team Cage Match – WWE Raw January 13, 2014
  • HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT: William Regal vs Edge – January 20, 2002  Watch on WWE Network
  • Support Jakob Edwinn at https://www.prowrestlingtees.com/jakobedwinn
  • What did you learn from pro wrestling this week?

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 supporters Occupy Pro Wrestling (@power2thesmarks) and Farnsworth Investments (@jworth)**

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

Monday Mayhem Warriors 7/20/20: The One Where We Play Mad Libs

Mad Mike and Sorg are talking about WWE RAW, we look back on the coronavirus era of professional wrestling from the future, play WWE Cinematic Match Mad Libs (via @nugnahrgang on Twitter!), Batman Telltale Games gone wrong and more!

SUBSCRIBE to the Podcast at https://wmssuperfeed.fireside.fm/

Wrestling Mayhem Show 722: Eye Games

This week’s episode brought to you by Indy Wrestling USSlice on Broadway, and Sidekick Media Services.

The crew is talking the latest WWE, AEW and educational wrestling news!

  • We start to look at NXT Great American Bash and AEW Fyter Best Night 1 editions
  • Of course we vent about the COVID-19 reactions from wrestling companies
  • Rizz tells us how great Fight Underground is
  • We talk about the Hamilton cast member who once visited the studio
  • How has WWE and All Elite Wrestling dug into their rosters to fill in the gaps on weekly programming?
  • Big Question: Who would be the better pro wrestler going forward? Totally Blind Rey Mysterio or One-Eyed Seth Rollins?
  • We discuss last week’s homework: Triple H vs Dean Ambrose from WWE Road Block 2016
  • Professor Jakob Edwinn joins us to conduct class and weigh in on our responses!
  • HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT: The 2008 Royal Rumble Match  Watch on WWE Network
  • What did you learn from pro wrestling this week?

Follow our stable on Twitter: Mainstream Matt (@MainstreamMat) Sorg (@Sorgatron),  and Rizz (@Rizzplaysgames)

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 supporters Occupy Pro Wrestling (@power2thesmarks) and Farnsworth Investments (@jworth)**

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 721: A Catchy Tune

This week’s episode brought to you by Indy Wrestling USSlice on Broadway, and Sidekick Media Services.

Farnsworth joins us to talk about the latest news.

  • We debut the Matt Carlins/Bobbyfjtown Twitter Collaboration Music Video “Charlotte 40 Shows” live on the show!
  • We look at the current Covid-19 effect on WWE and AEW as well as whether you should attend an indy wrestling show.
  • Big Question: Who’s Twitter rant would you like put to what kind of music next?
  • We discuss last week’s homework: Rey Mysterio vs Psychosis – ECW One Night Stand
  • HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT: Triply H vs Dean Ambrose from WWE Road Block 2016  Watch on WWE Network
  • What did you learn from pro wrestling this week?

Follow our stable on Twitter: Farnsworth (@jworth) Sorg (@Sorgatron),  and Mad Mike (@MadMike4883)

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 supporters Occupy Pro Wrestling (@power2thesmarks) and Farnsworth Investments (@jworth)**
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

Monday Mayhem 6/22/20: Pillars of Goth

Mad Mike and Sorg are talking about a rather wrestling and women’s wrestling frriendly WWE RAW, including the BEAST Ray Row (Viking Experience’s Ivar), Sasha Banks, MVP, the problem with Bobby Lashley and much more.

We also, predictably, talk about something different like who we Stan in Arrowverse, The Craft and the pillars of goth with the help of our chatters and so much more nonsense to start off the week.

Indy Mayhem Show: Trademarks for Pro Wrestlers

“The Reaper” Matt Conard joins us to discuss his ordeal with trademarks after being taken by AEW wrestler Shawn Spears and the timing around a wrestling show that may have lead to it.  We also welcome “The Gavel” David LawlessAKA Max Petrunya PPC to help us walk through Trademarks, Copyrights, and how pro wrestlers can protect themselves and their characters.

*This Podcast is not legal advice.  Please consult your lawyer.

If you have legal questions please feel free to reach out to Max Petrunya at www.maxpetrunyapc.com.

Start your search for Trademarks including searching for “CM Punk” and “AJ Styles” at www.uspto.gov

Support Matt Conard via his Pro Wrestling Tees page at www.prowrestlingtees.com/mattconard and at www.IndyWrestling.us and get 10% off by using by using code 5985CONARD.

Support David Lawless at www.IndyWrestling.us and get 10% off by using by using code 9877GAVEL.