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Nat'l Something on a Stick Day - Pro-Wrestling & Pole Matches

posted Mar 28, 2021, 6:24 PM by Wrestling Scout
Wrestling Matches - Dutch Savage
March 28th is National "Something on a Stick" Day.  While that might be a food observation for many, in pro-wrestling it seems like an opportune time to reflect on the history of "pole" matches.  While this has become an often-mocked gimmick match, largely due to Vince Russo misusing it for years and WWE continuing to use it in questionable ways after him, it was a hot gimmick matches that promised blood, culminated feuds and drew money for many years across a number of territories.

The origins of the concept are lost to time, but the man who popularized one version is not.  Dutch Savage was a top star in the Pacific Northwest for many years and introduced the gimmick to Portland in 1972.  Billed from Scranton, Pennsylvania, Dutch Savage played up that coal mining tradition and introduced a "glove" with metal across the knuckles.  The idea was that two men would fight and the first to gain possession of the glove would use it to pummel their opponent into a bloody mess as coal miners apparently needed to do on occasion.  This blue collar narrative spoke to the loggers, truckers and farmers and it became Dutch's go-to match throughout the rest of his career and it was even used in the area after he retired.  While there were some variations, typically the glove was placed up on a pole and hence the "on a pole" concept became popularized.

Notable Coal Miner's Glove Matches of the 70s and 80s
Dutch Savage vs. Siegfried Stanke
Dutch Savage vs. John Anson (Karl Von Shotz)

Jim Duggan vs. Ted Dibiase ("Loser Leaves Town Coal Miner's Glove On A Pole Steel Cage Tuxedo Street Fight")
Davey Boy Smith vs. Larry Cameron


The concept was particularly popular in the South where items like belts, whips and straps were often substituted in.  The gimmick of the ladder match began in the early 1970s in Stampede Wrestling and emphasized a prize.  At some point those two goals became intertwined and prizes, flags and even titles were added to the pole.  These idea evolved into the "Money in the Bank" concept that is popular today.

Like the coal industry, the marketability of the coal miner's glove match has largely died out and by the 1990s, it was rarely used.  The notable exceptions being WCW using it as part of a "Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal" gimmick where Sting beat Jake "The Snake" Roberts and a match in East Tennessee's Smoky Mountain Wrestling where Tracey Smothers and Brian Lee battled in one at a big show.  Needless to say, this type of match just does not speak to modern fans as it once did, so it has been modified.  The weapons have been swapped out.  Vince Russo added all sorts of silly items and really harmed the credibility of the gimmick.  TNA later played around with multiple mystery boxes in their "Feast or Fired" matches.



Other Notable "On A Pole" Matches
Axe Handle
(NWA-TNA)
Curt Hennig vs. David Flair

Baseball Bat
(WCW) 

(FMW)
Megumi KudoCombat Toyoda vs. Shark TsuchiyaBad Nurse Nakamura

Black Glove
(UWF)

Bone
(USWA)

Brass Knuckles
(WWE)

Carson City Silver Dollars
(WCW)


Chain Headdress
(TNA)
Scott Steiner vs. Petey Williams

Chair
(WCW)
Meng vs. Crowbar

(NWA-TNA)
Kid Kash vs. Abyss (also "First Blood")

Champagne Bottle
(WCW)

Crowbar 
(WCW)
Diamond Dallas Page vs. David Flair


Ted DiBiase Jr. vs. Hunico (Sin Cara)


Guitar
(WWF)WWF vs WCW: Jeff Jarrett | WrestleZone Forums
Jeff Jarrett vs. Steve Blackman

(NWA-TNA)
3 Live Kru (BG James, Konnan & Ron Killings), Dusty Rhodes & Larry Zbyszko vs. Jeff Jarrett, Ken Shamrock & The Elite Guard (Collyer, Hernandez & Onyx) 

Jeff Jarrett vs. Joe E. Legend

(WWA)
Jeff Jarrett v. Nathan Jones

(WWE)
Jeff Hardy v. Elias


Judy Bagwell
(WCW)
Buff Bagwell vs. Kanyon


Key
(WCW)
Eddy Guerrero vs. Perry Saturn

(IWA)

(TNA)


Nightstick
(WWF)
Big Bossman v. Nailz
(NWA-TNA)
D'Lo Brown vs. Apolo


Paddle
(WWE)
Trish Stratus v. Torrie Wilson


Piñata10 Disturbing WCW Nitro Moments You Totally Don't Remember – Page 5
(WCW)


Rat
(TNA)
Black Reign (Dustin Rhodes) vs. Frankie Kazarian


Sledgehammer
(WWE)


Singapore Cane
(ECW)
The Sandman vs. Tommy Cairo

(NWA-TNA)
The Sandman vs. CM Punk & Julio Dinero

(WWE/ECW)
The Sandman vs. Carlito


Steel Chair & Baseball Bat
(IWA)
Apolo & Slash Venom vs. Ricky Banderas & Vampiro


Steel Pipe
(Impact)
Drew Galloway vs. Low-Ki


Strap
(Texas All-Star)
Iceman Parsons & Tiger Conway Jr. vs. Al Madril & Mike Golden


Turkey on a Pole
(AWA)
Col. DeBeers vs. Jake "The Milkman" Milliman


Viagra
(WCW)
Billy Kidman vs. Shane Douglas


Whip 
(Georgia)
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