WWE introduced a new match type in 2008 that fans immediately were drawn to – the Championship Scramble. It featured unique rulesets, unpredictable title changes and the chance to see a number of your favourite wrestlers compete inside the squared circle at the same time. It was chaos, mayhem and everything that the WWE needs to be.
However, as soon as it came, it was gone. Cruelly snatched away by the WWE after only its first appearance and tucked away in the history books, never to be seen again. Luckily, current rumours indicate that the Championship Scramble could make a return to the company, with NXT under Shawn Michaels the most likely place for the stipulation to rear it’s beautiful head again.
But what is a Championship Scramble Match? While the rules may seem overly complicated and difficult to follow, we’ll talk you through just what goes into the match and the history of the nostalgic stipulation that fans of the the Ruthless Aggression era hold so dear.
What Is A Championship Scramble Match?
The Championship Scramble match is a match type that was used in WWE three times, with all three matches taking place at Unforgiven 2008. The match is always for a championship, with the matches all deciding who would be the WWE, Heavyweight and ECW Champions. The winner of the match would walk away wit the championship that was on the line at the time. It feature
The Championship Scramble match has a twenty minute time limit. It is a five man free-for-all match type, with an extreme difference to the regular “Five Way” Match. Two wrestlers enter first and start in the ring, wrestling for five minutes. Each subsequent five minutes, one more superstar entered the fray and joined the match. Once all the competitors had entered the ring, they wrestled for an additional five minutes before the bell rang to end the match after 20 minutes.
The way to win the Championship Scramble match is to make your opponent submit or be pinned for three seconds. However the rules were more akin to an Iron Man Match. The wrestler who secures a pin fall or submission is declared “interim” or “unofficial” champion. They are considered champion for the time being although the reign is not counted in the history of the championship.
The match continues even when a new unofficial champion is crowned. If a new wrestler secures a victory in the match, then he (or she) becomes the new champion. The last wrestler to secure a pin fall or submission by the time the clock ran out is declared the new official champion. This can lead to some suspenseful finishes to matches, where wrestlers try to frantically pick up the victory in the dying embers of the match.
History Of The Championship Scramble
Despite being remembered fondly by fans, WWE only used the Championship Scramble match during one event. It was introduced at Unforgiven 2008 for matches involving the WWE Championship, World Heavyweight Championship and ECW Championship. There has currently never been an all-female Championship Scramble match in WWE.
the first ever WWE Championship Scramble match was for the ECW Championship in the opening match of the show. Mark Henry defended his title against four of the brand’s top superstars – Matt Hardy, Chavo Guerrero, The Miz and Finlay. It saw Matt Hardy win his first ever World Championship in the WWE and he went on to have one of the best reigns in the history of the rebooted championship’s history. The match itself was a mixed big, with some dull spots (Mark Henry pulling out a bear hug with 5 minutes to go) but saw title potentially change hands five times – with Guerrero, Henry, Finlay and finally Matt Hardy each getting one over on their opponents.
The next Championship Scramble saw Triple H defending his WWE Championship against his four opponents. It was the most exciting of the three matches, and saw the most title changes in the history of the match. Jeff Hardy and Triple H each managed three pin falls each, trading the temporary title back and forth until the dying seconds of the match. It also gave us the last image of The Brian Kendrick as the WWE Champion, although his brief reign is not counted in the record books.
The last ever WWE Championship Scramble match ever was also the most controversial. CM Punk walked into the pay per view as the World Heavyweight Champion, having cashed in his Money in the Bank contract earlier that year. He had not had the best reign so far but hoped that a good performance in the scramble would put him in good stead with the company.
However, before the match he was attacked and punted in the head by Randy Orton. Due to the injuries from the devastating attack, he was taken out of the match and his world championship was vacated. Instead, Chris Jericho would replace him in the scramble match, despite losing to Shawn Michaels in a match earlier in the night. He joined Kane, Rey Mysterio, JBL and Batista in the fight (Mysterio replaced an injured John Cena in the match).
With the controversial inclusion of Chris Jericho into the match, the stakes somehow became higher. Each man had an equal chance at walking out champion and the amount of stars in the bout made it unpredictable. Kane and Batista both picked up pin falls (Kane pinning JBL and Batista pinning Kane) before Chris Jericho snuck his way to victory by pinning Kane to win the World Heavyweight Championship for the first time in his career.
That was the final ever Championship Scramble match. However, there are rumours Triple H could bring the stipulation back, likely in NXT before the main roster, in a welcome return for fans of the WWE circa 2008.
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.