The Scaffold Match: Going High Just To Fall Down

Here’ s an image from a scaffold match between the Rock ‘N’ Roll RPMs with Eric Embry taking on The Fantastics and Steve Simpson from World Class Championship Wrestling on May 3rd, 1987.  As you may notice from the picture, there’s a serious lacking of the trademarked squared-circle, i.e. the wrestling ring. In case the guy in the image hanging off the scaffold has you raising your eyebrows, let’s talk about this type of match, and watch a clip from that match as well.  

The scaffold match takes place, well, on a scaffold (of course) set above the ring. There are usually two ways to win the match, as you can either push your opponent off of the scaffold so that they hit the mat, or can grab the flag from the opponent’s side of the scaffold and return it to your side (a’la capture-the-flag).  Other variants to win a scaffold match exist as well, such as placing weapons or other objects into the ring for when the opponent lands (i.e. tables). The scaffold used typically are not very wide, resulting in the rarity of actual wrestling moves being performed as this style of match is more of a punch and kick affair.  This is often a criticism of the match style as the wrestlers are high up in the air, forcing them to move very slowly and cautiously, plus with the absence of ring ropes, most (if all) running moves are essentially eliminated.

Another variation of the scaffold match is a Scaffold Cage Match, where the objective is that the wrestlers beat each other up until one is knocked off of the scaffold and into the ring. The ring is surrounded by a high steel cage and the only way to finish the match and win is to successfully pin your opponent.  Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling has their own variant of the scaffold match called Elevation X, which has two scaffolds placed above the ring intersecting each other to form an “X”, and the goal is the climb up the scaffold to retrieve an “X”, a briefcase or title belt suspended above the center of the ring.

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