In the bizarre world of professional wrestling, intergender wrestling is usually looked at as somewhat of a “taboo” in the industry. It has existed since the 1980s, yet since that period, it feels largely outlawed in the mainstream sphere.
This by no means implies that intergender wrestling doesn’t have its more niche position in the industry, because it certainly does. However, it had a shocking resurgence in the late 2010s resulting in some of the most overlooked matches of the last few years and decades.
Today, we’ll be ranking the six best intergender matches to have taken place in a squared circle…
#6. Jeff Jarrett vs. Chyna, WWE No Mercy 1999
1999, in retrospect, was a mixed bag for the WWE at the height of the now infamous “Attitude Era”. A wrestling boom so large the industry has never seen anything quite like it culturally since and remains a time period wrestling fans consistently drag into conversations to compare today’s industry towards. Despite that lasting impact, 1999 is without question the weakest of that electric historical period.
A year of poor booking, weak television broadcasts, a number of middling PPV events, and a bizarre mid-to-lower card roster left much of the product feeling more chaotic than coherent. One of the more shocking positives of that year, however, was Chyna’s feud with then Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett over the latter’s championship. The rivalry was a simple one, naturally playing into the significance of having the boundary-breaking Chyna compete to be the first woman to hold a non-women’s belt within the company. It was a simple, yet effective hook for fans who wanted to see Jarrett finally dethroned, and more importantly, silenced.
The match, much like the feud, is a product of its time, but still highly entertaining. Both Chyna and Jarrett did very little “wrestling”, working this match more as an Attitude Era-style brawl with everyday household items at their disposal in order to claim victory. After wild weapon shots, some typical WWE shenanigans, and a dramatic conclusion, this match marked a key moment in the industry of seeing a woman hoist a men’s championship above their shoulders and cemented the career of Chyna in stone as one of the all-time greats.
#5. Sami Callihan vs. Tessa Blanchard, Impact Wrestling Unbreakable 2019
When we typically talk about the best intergender matches or feuds, it’s almost impossible not to mention the vicious feud between Sami Callihan and Tessa Blanchard in any capacity. This rivalry spurred at a time when intergender wrestling was rarely booked on a card, yet alone the main attraction to one a company’s flagship yearly events. Callihan and Blanchard blew the roof off of the 2019 Slammiversary event with a stellar main event (momentarily) capping off one of the year’s better feuds.
While the pair is usually cited for their Slammiversary outing which had more eyes on it at the time, their follow-up match is the one that has always stuck out to me. A main event that upped the stakes, heightened the intensity, played off of each other better, and proved to be the superior contest of the two. Unbreakable 2019 is sadly a show that was marred with sound mixing and audio issues throughout, which can interrupt your enjoyment of the match. But it doesn’t stop this from being on this list.
Tessa Blanchard displayed her superb storytelling, selling, and athleticism against the unbridled aggression of Sami Callihan in a truly excellent contest. A unique blend of styles resulted in a main event that helped elevate the card that it was on for being as good as it was.
#4. Chris Jericho vs. Chyna, WWE Armageddon 1999
Acting as a follow-up to her feud with Jeff Jarrett earlier that fall, Chyna quickly jumped from working with Jeff Jarrett to one of the best in-ring competitors to ever step foot in a ring; Chris Jericho. At the time, Jericho was a newcomer to the company, coming into his own as a ring leader but still showing everyone how special he was and was going to be one day. Much like Chyna’s feud with Jarrett, her altercations with Chris were equally as good due to the talent involved and investment from the audience.
To briefly note, WWE’s Armageddon event could very well be the worst of 1999. A show that was ultimately broken through poor booking, terrible match time, a sub-par in-ring product, and one of the most bizarre main events the company put on during that era. Chyna and Jericho, however, were arguably the only spark on a show that has never been fondly remembered.
Their match was tight, compact but always full of action to get into. Neither of them wasted any time, as Chyna’s brute force meshed beautifully with Jericho’s masterful wrestling storytelling and in-ring work, once again making a match that should have been “fine” into something great. It ranks up as arguably Chyna’s best singles outing in the WWE and an early example of Chris Jericho’s greatness shining on to make Chyna look like an absolute star.
#3. Tessa Blanchard vs. Brian Cage, Wrestle Circus 2019
Only two matches on this list are ones that the overwhelming majority of fans have likely never heard of, or seen before, this is the first of them. Wrestle Circus is an independent show that hinges its focus on chaos, high spots, weapons, and utter insanity, essentially a less bombastic version of old-school ECW.
In 2019, this event was host to an intergender main event between Tessa Blanchard and Brian Cage, with the events title on the line as well as the possibility of having Blanchard be the first female competitor to ever hold three championships simultaneously. The stakes were high, the talent was there, and a wild crowd accompanied what would soon become a cult classic.
Similar to many independent wrestling matches, this one was packed with big spots and general wrestling silliness, what made it special though was both the storytelling and overall psychology on display throughout. Blanchard was the smaller competitor and used her size to her advantage while Cage played the role of the powerhouse to constantly test the physical will of the babyface contender over the course of the bout. The match was built to a grand finale packed with near falls, fantastic selling, finishers, and a ton of physicality, once again not just highlighting the skill of Brian Cage, but more importantly, Tessa Blanchard.
While Tessa’s work in Impact Wrestling is what initially put her on the mainstream map, this match is the personification of what always made her special as a talent, being an all-rounded master of her craft once the bell rings.
#2. Orange Cassidy vs. Kylie Rae, Uncharted Territory Ep. 3
“Uncharted Territory” was an episodic show produced by Beyond Wrestling that aimed to act as a weekly online wrestling TV show. While it was likely a show that few outside the most hardcore wrestling fans have ever heard of, its third episode contains an unsung hero of the independent wrestling scene. Contested over the brand’s TV Championship, Cassidy and Rae competed in a match that established the former as the hottest act on the independent scene at the time, while the latter took part in her coming out party as a legit wrestling star.
As is the norm with any Orange Cassidy match, the comedy work is here in spades, but what truly made this special was its combination of not just comedy, but genuine professional wrestling storytelling combined with stellar in-ring work. Cassidy is mostly seen as a comedy act and usually is, but his ability to turn a light-hearted affair into a genuinely engrossing back-and-forth is almost untouchable. He and Rae are in a 20-minute wrestling clinic that contains better action than a solid portion of mainstream wrestling these days. A spectacle of everything that makes independent wrestling fun and engaging, while embracing its “campier” elements to drag out a star-making performance from Kylie Rae.
Due to its style, it may not be for everyone, yet it’s a genuinely phenomenal piece of wrestling that is well worth your time to go and find on YouTube.
#1. Kurt Angle & Ronda Rousey vs. Triple H & Stephanie McMahon, WrestleMania 34
When done right, WWE’s brand of “sports entertainment” could very well be the most entertaining, engrossing spectacle to witness whether in-person or through a television screen. It’s a large, loud spectacle of utter insanity that is able to tell stories on a scale almost no other form of media has been able to replicate successfully. This match may very well be one of my own personal favorite examples of that brand of entertainment.
Angle & Rousey vs. Triple H & Stephanie has everything a wrestling match needs for it to be a rousing success. High stakes, a major debut of one of the world’s most famous athletes, the inclusion of two of the industry’s most respected legends, the presence of one of the most hated on-screen characters ever, and plenty of time to turn this into a spectacle of all the things that makes this business so much fun to behold. It was all that and more, striking the perfect balance between telling an effective story while being absurd in all the best ways at the same time.
The match constantly one-ups itself with one big spot after another, plays off the past history of certain characters involved really well, and most importantly established Ronda Rousey as a legitimate superstar in her debut effort. Beyond being arguably the best intergender match of all time, it ranks up there as one of the best debuts we’ve seen in the squared circle. WWE produced the very best example of how to incorporate intergender wrestling effectively in all aspects. With tremendous actions and an engaging story to boot, resulting in a match that was miles superior compared to expectations on the night. A genuine sports entertainment masterpiece.
What are some of your favorite intergender matches? Let us know in the comments below…