History of the “I Quit” Match Ahead of Cody Rhodes vs. AJ Styles at WWE Clash at the Castle: Scotland

A match graphic hyping up the WWE "I Quit" Match between Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey.

Cody Rhodes and AJ Styles will go to war in a rare WWE Championship “I Quit” match at Clash at the Castle.

It will be just the eighth “I Quit” match for the WWE’s top prize.

AJ Styles is undefeated in “I Quit” matches, having won three in three years in TNA. Cody Rhodes has never wrestled an “I Quit” match, but his brother Dustin Rhodes defeated I Quit match king Terry Funk in one in WCW.

Styles has the first-hand experience to make him a favorite at Clash at the Castle. But Rhodes has insider knowledge from his brother. 

Here, we take a look at the history of one of pro wrestling’s rarest match types the “I Quit” match.

“I Quit”: The First Matches

In 1970, Paul Jones and Nelson Royal defeated Ole and Gene Anderson in an “I Quit” match for the NWA Atlantic Coast Tag Team Championship.

The “I Quit” stipulation was common in 70s NWA. Everyone from Dusty Rhodes and Terry Funk to Kevin von Erich, Barry Windham, and Terry Gordy competed in them.

But it was Tully Blanchard vs. Magnum TA that put the match on the map.

In 1985, Tully Blanchard and Magnum TA were embroiled in such a heated rivalry that a cage match was set for Starrcade 85. But it was deemed an extra stipulation was needed.

The “I Quit” stipulation was assigned to the match for the NWA US Championship. Earl Hebner was the referee. With no pinfalls or submissions, Hebnar’s sole job was to recoil the microphone cable and blow into the mic to test it still worked after Blanchard had pounded it into Magnum’s bloody forehead.

The key learning from this early “I Quit” match was not to hold the microphone at crotch level before forcing it down your opponent’s throat and demanding he quits.

Magnum won the match when he forced remnants from a broken wooden chair into Blanchard’s gapping head wound. Obviously, Blanchard screamed yes when asked if he wanted to quit. 

Terry Funk Becomes Synonymous With “I Quit” Match

Terry Funk – who first wrestled an “I Quit” match in 1975 – would take part in the next two “I Quit” matches.

In 1989 Funk and Ric Flair  clashed at Clash of Champions for the World Heavyweight Championship. This match is worth watching just to see the Coors Light ring post advertising. Booze ads aside, the match is hard-hitting and very fun.

Funk at one point is knocked so silly he swings for punters in the front row and knocks out a cameraman.

This match is also the first to feature a wireless microphone.

ECW added the stipulation to Funk’s Texas Death match against Eddie Gilbert in 1993.

Funk would lose his final two “I Quit” matches in WCW against Dustin Rhodes and David Flair in 2000. He competed in two of the five “I Quit” matches in WCW history.

Funk is the only person to compete in “I Quit” matches for three different companies – the NWA, ECW, and WCW.


“I Quit” WWE  

In late 1994, Bret Hart and Bob Backlund had feuded over the WWE Championship. By the time WrestleMania XI came around in April 95, neither man was champion but their rivalry hadn’t lost any steam.

So much so that the first-ever WWE “I Quit” match was booked. Hart defeated Backlund in under 10 minutes when the special guest referee Roddy Piper determined that Backlund’s unaudable growns counted as the words ‘I quit’. It was Backlund’s penultimate match in the WWE.

Things got more controversial in the second WWE I Quit match when Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated Ken Shamrock despite Shamrock not saying the essential words. Instead, Austin tapped Shamrock’s hand to the canvas.

But nothing would beat the controversy surrounding the third – and arguably the greatest ever – WWE “I Quit” match.

I Will Not, Will Not Say I Quit

At the Royal Rumble 1999, Mankind was 26 days into his only WWE Championship run. He faced The Rock in an “I Quit” match that has become infamous for its brutality and controversial ending.

The extreme nature of the match – which climaxed with The Rock hitting Mankind with multiple unprotected chair shots to the head – was heightened by being featured in the Beyond the Mat documentary. Mankind’s children were carried out of the arena in tears.

The Rock won when Mankind was heard saying ‘I Quit’. But it was later revealed that Mankind had never said the words. Instead The Rock had arranged a recording of Mankind saying ‘I quit’ in a promo to be broadcast in the arena.

As heel tactics go, nothing has rivaled The Rock winning the WWE Championship in this way. Watch the full match below.

Cena In WWE And Styles in TNA

WWE began a lust for John Cena to hold the record for most “I Quit” matches in the mid-noughties. Between 2005 and 2011, Cena beat John Bradshaw Layfield, Batista, Randy Orton and The Miz in WWE Championship I Quit matches.

The JBL vs. Cena match is insanely bloody and certainly adheres to the extreme nature synonymous with “I Quit” matches.

In 2015, he controversially beat Rusev when Lana said ‘I quit’ on his behalf.

Meanwhile, AJ Styles won three I Quit matches in TNA between 2009 and 2011. He forced Booker T, Tommy Dreamer and Christopher Daniels to verbally admit defeat.

Women Say “I Quit”

WWE also gave us the first-ever women’s “I Quit” match during this era. Beth Pheonix and Melina were the revolutionary women involved at One Night Stand in 2008.

Before Toni Storm was Timeless and before Kay Lee Ray was Alba Fire the two met in an NXT UK Women’s Championship “I Quit” match. Storm was forced to quit after KLR threatened a second stomp on a chair around her neck.

Sexy Star and Mariposa participated in a “No mas” match in Lucha Underground.

The match for an Ancient Aztec Medallion is the most extreme women’s “I Quit” in history. The women battled throughout the Temple including on scaffolding and beat each other with trash cans and chairs. It’s also the only women’s “I Quit” match to feature a lot of blood.

In 2022, Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey had an “I Quit” match at WrestleMania Backlash. They warmed up for this with an “I Quit” beat the clock challenge. Rousey forced Shotzi to quit in 01:41. Flair failed to beat this time in her “I Quit” match with Aliyah.


Modern “I Quit” Classics

2020 is a difficult time to look back on wrestling due to the lack of crowds. But the year of the global pandemic also gave us two fantastic “I Quit” matches.

Roman Reigns and Jey Uso provided the most emotionally charged “I Quit” match. This was the only “I Quit” match ever to take place inside Hell in a Cell and marked the beginning of The Bloodline.

Reigns demanded if he beat Jey in the match that he and Jimmy Uso acknowledge him as the “Tribal Chief”. Jimmy interfered in the match but when Reigns locked him in a guillotine, Jey quit the match to force Reigns to release the hold on his twin brother.

AEW also gave us perhaps the most extreme “I Quit” match between John Moxley and Eddie Kingston in 2020. At Full Gear for the AEW World Heavyweight Championship, the two used barbwire, thumb tacks and rubbing alcohol to punish each other.

Funk, Foley, Flair and many other of the earlier pioneers inspiration was evident in this bloody match from a Daly’s Place with just a handful of wrestlers as fans.  

More From LWOS Pro Wrestling

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