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The time it would take for a normal person to read this entry is about six times as long as the match Hulk Hogan had with Yokozuna for the title at Wrestlemania IX. This is what is called a Squash Match.
The squash match is an extremely quick match, where one guy completely wrecks the other. These matches rarely last longer than a minute. Squash matches are usually used to portray the squasher as an unstoppable force. Therefore, The Giant is the most common squasher.
There are two main tactics behind a squash match: first, it's a quick and simple way to get monster heels over (i.e. make them popular). By having them mercilessly destroy innocent and weak Face wrestlers, you create a formidable and threatening opponent for your star player to eventually defeat. But on the other side of the spectrum, squash matches can be used to create a monster Face akin to a superhero who overcomes any and all odds set against him. Several of the most famous Face wrestlers have been created with this method: the most notable of which being Hulk Hogan (who was unstoppable once he Hulked Up, and the fans knew it) and Bill Goldberg, who accumulated a 173 match win streak; a number which was slightly inflated by WCW and consisted mostly of squash matches against low-card performers.
Another reason for squash matches is simply to establish fans' familiarity with newer wrestlers and their maneuvers, particularly their Finishing Move. This almost entirely disappeared during the Monday Night Wars era. Since then, it has made a very slight comeback.
WWE later attempted to use the "Squash everything, lose nothing" method on Brock Lesnar. Due to his sheer intensity, unexpectedly sound mat skills and the managerial skills of Paul Heyman, he was one of the most over stars of the decade in a matter of months.
It's worth pointing out that squash matches alone are usually a very poor way of getting a wrestler over. While it is true that if a wrestler never loses, he will inevitably get over with the fans, it usually takes either incredible charisma or superior ring ability to make your mark on the average wrestling fan. Contrast Bill Goldberg - whose sheer intensity during his matches was something truly special to behold - with Chris "The Masterpiece" Masters, who boasted a submission hold that was booked to be unbreakable yet was utterly unremarkable in every other area.
Squashes are also part of the reason why WWF lost their lead in the ratings battle with WCW leaving them in a virtual tie. At the time, a typical 2 hour, WWF Monday Night Raw program would consist of 90 minutes of interviews, promos, and hype for the next PPV, about 3-15 minutes worth of 4-5 squash matches, and a 10-15 minute "main event" which was often a squash match or DQ anyway. WCW actually offered quality matches with stars like the Giant (Paul Wight), Rey Mysterio, Jr., the Cruiserweight Division, Sting, Lex Luger, and the Four Horsemen. They also included the TV championship, which would be a 10 minute, time-limit match, that was usually very intense. By the time the WWF figured out what the audience wanted, they were virtually deadlocked in ratings. (Ironically, the match that many fans believed was the downfall of WCW--the Nash-Hogan "Fingerpoke of Doom"--was a Squash Match itself, though an explicitly worked one)
Professional Wrestling Examples
- The first big squash match was at the first Wrestlemania. King Kong Bundy defeated S. D. Jones in an announced 9 seconds (though the match was actually 23 seconds from bell to bell).
- Many of the matches in Bill Goldberg's WCW undefeated streak were squash matches.
- Kevin Nash, as Diesel, needed only eight seconds to relieve Bob Backlund of the WWE championship at a house show in 1994. This is an anomaly, because it was one of the few times a title changed hands at a non-televised event (though there were cameras rolling, and thus the WWF's weekend recap shows were able to show highlights... which in this case consisted of the entire 8-second match)
- Takeshi Morishima's ROH debut both plays it straight and averts this, as his in-ring debut consisted of him running into the ring, slugging an unprepared Pelle Primeau (who'd issued an open challenge to start the show), and then dropping him with the Backdrop Driver (a high angle belly-to-back suplex) for the pin in less than ten seconds; this is however the exception, making him nowhere near certain other wrestlers in terms of squashing others, and in the semi-main event of the same show Morishima would be choked out by the outgoing Samoa Joe.
- Ironically, his first match after winning the ROH World Championship in an extended squash (Homicide got some offense) was against B.J. Whitmer for a bit under fifteen minutes... the under-3-minutes squash rematch at the company's first PPV was more entertaining.
- The Ultimate Warrior has had some high-profile squashes. At Summerslam in 1988, he beat the Honky-Tonk Man in 30 seconds to end Honky's 454-day reign as Intercontinental Champion. Then, at Wrestlemania XII, he defeated a young Triple H in less than 2 minutes after being hit with a Pedigree and no-selling it.
- Although in the Warrior's case, squashes were necessary as he was in such poor condition from steroid abuse that his ring entrance (a sprint to the ring) would leave him breathless and exhausted.
- He also had a very, VERY limited moveset (mostly clotheslines, tackles, and simple slams) and often didn't execute them properly. Thus, matches were short to not "stink up the joint" (as Ted DiBiase stated) and probably to limit the potentiality that he would injure his opponent through a poorly made slam.
- A similar bit occurs in the Royal Rumble, where you 'lose' by being tossed over the top rope. Some fans have fond memories of humorous 'runs' lasting under 10 seconds. The shortest of these ever was by The Warlord, at the Royal Rumble 1989, in which he lasted all of 2 seconds before being clotheslined over the top by Hulk Hogan. He stepped in the ring, and got knocked right back out again.
- Santino Marella currently holds the prestigious record of quickest Royal Rumble elimination, as he was not done stepping through the ropes before somehow being clotheslined promptly right back over them. The group of fans in the front row who spelled out "SANTINO" as he entered were, likely, unamused.
- The funniest example had to be when Bushwhacker Luke came to the ring doing the Bushwhackers signature Silly Walk. He was still doing it as he entered the ring, was immediately eliminated, and then walked right back up the ramp, never interrupting his stride.
- At Wrestlemania XXIV, Kane defeated ECW Champion Chavo Guerrero for the title in ten seconds. Ouch.
- Colin Delaney's purpose in life on WWE's ECW brand was being on the wrong end of squash matches, having been squashed by the likes of Kane, Great Khali, Big Daddy V, Mark Henry and The Big Show. The squashes started being lampshaded with Delaney wearing progressively more bandages going into the next squash, but comeuppance came for his tormentor, the General Manager, when the guy was relieved of his post and his contract, squashed by the Smack Down! brand's U.S. Champion... and then immediately booked against a fresh Colin Delaney, who before long rolled him up for a pin. Delaney then had a meaningless Face Heel Turn & was released from the company without fanfare.
- Mikey Whipwreck was Old-School ECW's King of the Squashes. His theme was Beck's "Loser". Joey Styles lost it when Whipwreck got in an offensive move. When he lucked into getting a title, he constantly begged ECW to take the belt off him, even getting a note from his mother about it. He 'won' his title defenses through a combination of run-ins, dumb luck and the occasional disqualification.
- Chris Benoit and Orlando Jordan had a hilarious storyline in 2005 where the former routinely embarrassed the latter in a series of squash matches, making him tap out progressively faster with every match. Benoit would frequently mock Jordan in backstage segments by indulging in mundane activities (like making a cup of coffee or taking a piss) just to show how much he can do in the same amount of time it took him to beat Jordan.
- That storyline was basically a Writers' Saving Throw. See, Benoit and Jordan had feuded over the US Title, and Jordan beat Benoit clean on PPV to the immense displeasure of fans who just weren't buying Jordan as being on Benoit's level.
- Beth Phoenix seems to have been relegated to these in the past several weeks since her transfer to Smack Down, with her being put into squash matches with tiny, nondescript girls - who get little to no offence in as she bitchslaps them from pillar to post. How this is supposed to get her over as anything other than a vicious bully is beyond comprehension...
- It's just how WWE gets debuting (or re-debuting) giants over. It's happened with Ezekiel Jackson, Vladimir Kozlov and Sheamus recently. She'll be built up to goddess-like status, and then have some real matches.
- Annoyingly, this is how Melina won the divas championship from Jillian, cementing the latter's status as a joke as it happened in seconds after Jillian pulled an upset over Mickie James.
- When Big Daddy V (a.k.a. Mabel, King Mabel and Viscera) was being pushed on ECW he once won a Three-on-One Squash Match. Said one reviewer, "Winner -- Big Daddy V, via murder".
- Andre the Giant used to do this routinely in the 70s and early 80s, as did some of the men the then-WWF brought in to feud with him.
- Bruiser Brody, though not a member of the WWE, was also an old hand at destroying jobbers that got thrown at him back in his day.
- The most satisfying squash in recent memory was Michelle McCool versus Mickie James for the Women's Championship at the 2010 Royal Rumble. Resident Bitch in Sheep's Clothing McCool had been taunting poor Mickie for weeks about being "fat" (calling her "Piggie James") and even had her henchwomen douse Mickie with punch and smash her face into a heavily frosted cake, causing Mickie to burst into tears and run out of the arena. McCool kept ranting about how she had embarrassed James right out of WWE, and even had her best friend Layla mock her by wearing a fat suit and a pig snout. At the Royal Rumble, McCool came out first and flat-out announced to the crowd that her opponent was too scared to show up. She and Layla were still gloating when a familiar musical theme hit and....MICKIE JAMES made an appearance on WWE programming for the first time in weeks! McCool's jaw was still on the floor from shock when James knocked her out and pinned her to win the title in less than half a minute. Michelle and Layla then were humiliated by Mickie and her friends with a big messy cake to the face in a splendid little Pay Evil Unto Evil moment (although some fans did not like it).
- Chyna vs. Ivory at Wrestlemania XVII. Chyna just utterly destroyed Ivory, smiling the entire time like she was throwing around a doll, and then she finished her with a powerbomb. Chyna went for the pin, pulled Ivory up at the count of two, and then opted to gorilla press a defenseless Ivory to a cheering crowd. Then, without turning around to face her again, Chyna sat down and "pinned" Ivory simply by leaning back on her like Ivory was the back of a reclining chair, as the ref counted to 3.
- On an August 2010 episode of Monday Night RAW, Sheamus used a loophole in the rules to avoid the risk of losing his title at an upcoming pay-per-view event. All he had to do was defend his title once, no matter who it was against. His opponent? Zack Ryder. It took ten seconds.
- At Survivor Series 1998, The Rock's first round opponent was supposed to be Triple H (a no-show because of a knee injury), but he instead got Big Boss Man by surprise. The moment Big Boss Man entered the ring, the bell rang, and The Rock put him in an inside cradle. The referee counted 1, 2, 3 and the match was over. It lasted three seconds. This would turn out to all be part of the plan, as The Rock would turn heel after winning the championship against Mankind later that night with Vince McMahon's help in a parody of the Montreal Screwjob; in a reference to how much The Rock was loathed early in his career, the people screwed the people. Needless to say, no one really saw that coming.
- TNA, Victory Road 2011, Sting defending the World Heavyweight Title against Jeff Hardy. The introductions and announcements last seven or eight minutes. The match lasts one minute thirty seconds. Apparently Hardy was too stoned to wrestle properly, and Sting was righteously pissed about it. You can see it here, but it's not pretty.
- But then Hardy managed to redeem himself eight months later, at "Turning Point", by winning against Jeff Jarrett THREE TIMES IN A ROW. The first being from a single Twist of Fate. Total length: 5 seconds. Really.
- In mid-2011, Brodus Clay has had several matches like this on B-show Superstars. He even pulls their heads up from his first attempt at a pinfall to beat on them some more. The jobbers could count themselves lucky if they managed to get a single offensive move (or even a dodge) in against him.
- A particularly disgusting one occurred at Wrestlemania 28, where World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan was squashed in 18 seconds by Sheamus, as the WWE were trying to break a record for the shortest title match at a Wrestlemania. They even failed to beat the record, making the entire thing a waste, and burying Bryan, Sheamus AND the World title in the process.
- Comics/Film example: Immediately after discovering he has super-powers, Peter Parker goes up against a pro wrestler (Bonesaw in the movie, "Crusher" Hogan in the comics), whose promoter is offering a cash prize to anyone who can stay in the ring with him for five minutes. Until Parker makes a fool of him, naturally no one can, and in the film his competitors appear to be genuinely badly injured. Because everyone knows that stuff is for real....
- Professional wrestling is real in the Marvel Universe... well it was. Besides, Hogan/Bone Crusher was part of a hooking scam. Not a professional wrestling organization but people make that mistake since hooking has largely vanished.
- In a "Twisted Web of Spider-Man" comic (written by ECW's Raven no less), it was a Worked Shoot by Crusher Hogan to help the struggling company attract more fans.
- In Celebrity Deathmatch, the Loch Ness Monster kills Bigfoot in six seconds, before the bell rang. The audience members hated the ending of the match, and commentator Stone Cold Steve Austin called that match "a six-second suckfest".