Throughout the illustrious history of professional wrestling, numerous match types have captivated audiences, pushing the boundaries of physicality and storytelling.
Among these thrilling encounters, one particular contest stands out for its unique symbolism and intense brutality: the Dog Collar Match.
This article delves into the annals of wrestling history, embarking on a journey to unearth the origins, evolution, and memorable moments of this visceral spectacle.
A Dog Collar Match is a stipulation where two competitors are connected by a chain or a steel collar, unleashing an unyielding battle of strength, resilience, and sheer determination.
This fierce contest demands a high tolerance for pain and a relentless pursuit of victory. As we trace its roots, we discover the deep-seated history that has solidified the Dog Collar Match as a revered and feared spectacle in the world of professional wrestling.
Drawing inspiration from various cultural and historical references, the Dog Collar Match first emerged as a spectacle to test the mettle of the toughest wrestlers.
From the early days of regional territories to the global stage of modern wrestling promotions, this match type has transcended time, captivating audiences and leaving an indelible mark on the industry.
Throughout this exploration, we will encounter legendary bouts that have defined eras and shaped the careers of iconic wrestlers.
From the bone-crushing encounters in the squared circle to the emotional storytelling that unfolds, the Dog Collar Match has provided a canvas for performers to push their limits and deliver unforgettable moments of drama and spectacle.
Join us as we revisit classic encounters like the legendary feud between Roddy Piper and Greg Valentine in the 1980s and the numerous battles in All Elite Wrestling, and the modern interpretations that continue to captivate audiences around the world.
The First Dog Collar Match
The first ever Dog Collar match in wrestling was not, as some believe, the match between Roddy Piper and Greg Valentine.
However, that 1983 encounter was not the first dog collar match – it was actually the fourth!.
The matches origins can be found in the Pacific Northwest. The first match of this type took place on the 16th of January, 1979, in the NWA-affiliated Pacific Northwest Wrestling.
This match was not televised, and was billed as the dog collar and chain match. Little is known about the match. It was contested between Johnny Boyd and Killer Brooks, and ended in a double knockout for both men.
There would be three more dog collar matches before the famous one previously mentioned. In August 1983, Dusty Rhodes & The Junkyard Dog vs. Kamala & Ted DiBiase faced off in Texas Tornado Dog Collar & Bull Rope, while later that year Butch Reed wrestled Junkyard Dog in a dog collar match.
The first televised Dog Collar match took place on the NWA Pacific Northwest’s Portland Wrestling territory on June 2nd, 1979, taking place between Buddy Rose and Tim Brooks.
Roddy Piper vs Greg Valentine
The first time a dog collar match would be take place on a big pay per view event was at Starrcade in 1983.
At Starrcade 1983, Greg Valentine took on Roddy Piper in the famous Dog Collar match, that brought a new level of brutality to professional wrestling.
The match came from the long-running feud between the two men. On April 30th that year, the pair wrestled in a match that saw Valentine attack Piper with the ring bell.
He hit Hot Dog in the left ear with the bell, which cost him both his NWA United States Heavyweight Championship, and 75% of hearing in his left ear.
It was an old-fashion tale of revenge, which the fan lapped up. Blood was spilled, and the dog collar and chain kept Valentine in arms reach for a beating from Piper.
Roddy Piper won the first televised Dog Collar match by punching Greg Valentine with the chain, before wrapping it around his legs and pinning his rival.
AEW Brought The Dog Collar Match Back To Mainstream Wrestling
The Dog Collar match had been used in the years since, but had never reached the mainstream appeal of yesteryear.
The match had been used sparingly in WCW, ROH and TNA, but outside of CM Punk‘s match with Raven in ROH, it had never been used in the best way.
This changed when Tony Khan resurrected the Dog Collar match fro AEW, as part of a brutal feud between Brodie Lee and Cody Rhodes.
Brodie Lee had squashed Rhodes weeks prior, winning the TNT Title for the first time in his career. It seemed to start a big push for Lee, although one that would ultimately remain unfulfilled.
After taking some time off, Cody returned to challenge Brodie Lee to the revived Dog Collar match, a first in AEW.
The match was fantastic, and saw Cody win back the title.
The Dog Collar match was actually Brodie Lee’s last match ever. He passed away some months later, leaving behind a wife and children.
AEW have used this match once more since. CM Punk took on MJF in a Dog Collar Match at AEW Revolution, which is the second-highest rated Dog Collar match on Cagematch (After FTR vs The Briscoes in ROH).
WWE had their first ever Dog Collar match in 2022, in an all-Welsh affair when Eddie Dennis took on Wild Boar.
What is your favourite Dog Collar Match? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.