Seth Rollins and Matt Riddle have been announced to be wrestling at Extreme Rules 2022 in a Fight Pit match. But what is a Fight Pit match? Who has previously wrestled in this stipulation and how is it similar to Ken Shamrock’s famous Lion’s Den match?
What Is A Fight Pit Match?
The Fight Pit match is a match stipulation created in NXT. It was inspired by Mixed Martial Arts fights like in UFC or Bellator. The match was created to be used by wrestlers who use the “shoot” style of wrestling and have a history in MMA, like Matt Riddle.
Fight Pit matches take place inside a WWE wrestling ring surrounded by a cage. It is a different cage to the regular cage or Hell in a Cell matches, in that it contains a walkway above the cage looking down into the cage.
The ring ropes are also removed from the ring, like in real fighting sports such as the UFC. The wrestlers can use the cage to inflict damage on each other, as well as using strikes and grapples to try and force their opponent to tap out or KO them.
In a Fight Pit match, there are two ways to win the match. To win, you must do one of two things to your opponent. They are;
- Force Your Opponent To Tap Out
- Knock Out Your Opponent
You cannot win the match by pin fall. This is because you cannot win by pin fall in MMA, which this match is trying to emulate. Unlike modern cage matches, you also cannot win by escaping the cage. There is no door to leave out of and if a wrestler climbs out of the cage, they will not be awarded the victory and will likely be disqualified.
Who Wrestled In The Fight Pit?
There have so far only been two Fight Pit matches in WWE history, with Seth Rollins vs Matt Riddle being the third one, taking place at Extreme Rules.
The first two matches took place in NXT. On May 27, 2020 the first ever Fight Pit match took place, airing on NXT TV. The fight was an MMA style grappling match between Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher. The match was won by Thatcher with WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle serving as the event’s special guest referee.
The second ever occurrence of the match also took place in NXT. In it, previous winner Timothy Thatcher defeated for NXT Champion Tomasso Ciampa inside the Fight Pit cage. This was on the January 20, 2021 episode of NXT.
Since Thatcher was released by WWE in January 2022, the match at Extreme Rules will be the first to take place without his involvement. Matt Riddle, who lost the first ever match under these rules, will look to get his first win in the match when he takes on former WWE Champion Seth Rollins.
Lion’s Den Match
The Fight Pit holds many similarities to the Lion’s Den match, which was made famous by former WWE star Ken Shamrock. Both inspired by Mixed Martial Arts, they take place inside a cage with no ropes and only submission or knockout to win.
While the former still takes place inside a heavily modified ring, the Lion’s Den took place inside a cage placed near the stage. It was entirely based upon MMA and was made to ride the wave of hype for MMA at the time and to put over The World’s Most Dangerous Man, who was called “The Father of MMA” in The Rock’s Hall of Fame induction speech for Shamrock.
While the two matches are similar in nature, WWE have not used to Lion’s Den for over 20 years so may just want to secure their own branding into the future and not step on Ken Shamrock’s toes.
What do you think of the WWE Fight Pit match? Tell us in the comments or click below to read about Ken Shamrock’s WWE return
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.