Iron Man matches can be a problematic stipulation, but when they work out well, they provide some unbelievable matches.
All Elite Wrestling presents its annual pay-per-view event Revolution on March 5, 2023, with the main event featuring AEW World Champion MJF defending against ‘American Dragon‘ Bryan Danielson. The stipulation for the match is a 60-minute Iron Man match where the winner is the man who earns the most falls or submissions within the hour.
Iron Man matches are not usually used stipulations in wrestling, but there have been many successful bouts with the stipulation. They are difficult matches to perform and entertain because the fans know that the contest has a set time limit; in this case, the first fifty-five minutes don’t make or break the match in most cases. However, there have been Iron Man matches that keep viewers invested from beginning to end. These are eight worthwhile Iron Man matches to prepare for AEW Revolution.
WCW United States Champion Rick Rude vs. Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat – WCW Beach Blast 1992 – June 20, 1992
This Iron Man is a 30-minute version, but it is one of the more forgotten matches in WCW history. The feud between Rude and Steamboat was captivating and held interest for the first half of 1992. From Rude breaking Steamboat’s nose to Steamboat accidentally striking Madusa, there was plenty of intensity between the two. That intensity came to a head at Beach Blast 1992, where they put on a memorable bout. A grueling half-hour saw Steamboat come back from a 3-1 deficit and defeat Rude. The match was non-title, but Steamboat was able to walk away as the winner of the feud.
WWE World Champion The Rock vs. Triple H – WWE Judgment Day 2000 – May 21, 2000
The Rock and Triple H had been embroiled in an on-and-off feud for several years before their showdown at Judgment Day 2000. However, their feud had reached its peak by this time. Rock had finally won the World Championship the previous month at Backlash, but now he had to prove he was the best wrestler for an hour. Eleven falls were in total, providing a ton of action and great storytelling between the two rivals. The constant action with several falls allowed the match to fly by, and their chemistry made it one of the better WWE matches to use the stipulation. Late in the match, the Undertaker returned to the company after several months off, and is a memorable moment, too.
Low Ki vs. Spanky vs. Doug Williams vs. Christopher Daniels – ROH Crowning A Champion – July 27, 2002
Perhaps one of the lesser-known matches since it took place within the first six months of ROH’s existence, but it’s a classic bout. The match is to determine the first-ever ROH World Champion and feature four of the absolute best on the independent scene. They battled for an hour in the gym, where the temperature was 100 degrees. The match is a star-making effort by all four men, with Low Ki proudly winning the ROH World Championship.
TNA X-Division Champion AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels – TNA Against All Odds 2005 – February 12, 2005
A match based on respect and wanting the recognition that the other had. AJ Styles had been the poster boy for TNA Wrestling since its inception, and Christopher Daniels had been in the shadow. These two had incredible battles on the independent scene, trading wins, but in TNA, Styles presented as just a tad better than Daniels. Daniels made his mission of winning the X-Division championship known in early 2005 and earned a shot at AJ Styles in a 30-minute Iron Man match by February. They delivered a great match and had drama towards the end, where Daniels had Styles trapped in a submission, but they ended up going into sudden death. Styles prevailed in sudden death to conclude a memorable title defense. They would have another classic Iron Man match in October at Bound For Glory. The Daniels vs. Styles rivalry provided great television for TNA in the mid-2000s.
Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe – TNA Final Resolution 2007 – January 14, 2007
Upon Angle’s debut in TNA in late 2006, it took no time for Samoa Joe to step up and challenge the Olympic Hero. They ended 2006 splitting two pay-per-view matches against each other, and on television, their issues had gotten quite personal. In fact, at one point, Angle ‘broke’ the ankle of Samoa Joe’s ‘girlfriend.’ Angle and Joe would battle it out for a half-hour, and in the end, Angle would win the match three falls to two. Kurt managed to withstand the pain of an ankle lock in the final thirty seconds. These two brought great intensity and drama to this encounter.
WWE NXT Women’s Champion Bayley vs. Sasha Banks – NXT Takeover Respect – October 7, 2017
Bayley and Sasha squared off for a 30-minute Iron Man match to continue their rivalry on the NXT brand. Both women were hungry and determined to put the women on the map and had done so with their previous match in Brooklyn. They proved that an Iron Man match was not a stipulation they’d have difficulty working with and thrived under the time limit. Bayley won three falls to two in a match that provided the elusive ‘big match feel’ and cemented both women as future main roster mainstays for many years.
ROH World Champion Jay Lethal vs. Jonathan Gresham – ROH TV – September 8, 2018
A 30-minute battle between two of the best to ever compete in Ring of Honor and aired for free on ROH television. The match is one of the best to air on Ring of Honor television while Sinclair Broadcasting owned the company. It was a hard-hitting bout, with both men telling a fantastic story throughout the match, with Gresham proving that he could step up and bring the fight to a champion-level competitor. Lethal proved he was worthy of being the new champion and withstood a strong challenger early into his reign. The bout also goes into sudden death, with Lethal prevailing over Gresham two falls to one. They would show respect to one another and routinely team up in ROH following this great battle.
Kenny Omega vs. PAC – AEW Dynamite – February 26, 2020
While not a 60-minute Iron Man, Omega and PAC squared off for over a half-hour on Dynamite in early 2020. Their feud in the early stages of AEW was must-see television, and their Iron Man match was one of the first incredible AEW TV matches of 2020. Their chemistry is fantastic, and the crowd was constantly stunned at several near falls between the two AEW stars. Then, finally, a fast pace encounter to conclude their trilogy of matches in AEW—a rare instance of the crowd remaining invested and vocal throughout the entire match.
AEW Revolution is live on FITE TV on March 5, 2023, starting at 8 PM ET.