The 10 Best Loser Leaves Town Matches In Wrestling History

A great professional wrestling feud is often defined by the blow-off. A great blow-off match can do wonders for the stock of one or both wrestlers involved, even if the build-up left something to be desired along the way. There is perhaps no better way to end a feud than with a Loser Leaves Town match, a staple of the territory era. The stipulation is self-explanatory: the loser of the match must leave the territory, or in modern terms, brand or company.

The sole stipulation of a match's loser having to "leave town" opens up a world of options creatively. While some Loser Leaves Town matches are basic singles matches with a stipulation, others take the concept a step further with a variety of different match types. Some of these matches have taken place in a steel cage. Others have incorporated specific foreign objects, such as ladders, involved special guest referees and even taken place in empty arenas. While there may be rare examples of the stipulation not being properly followed through, the aftermath seldom takes away from the match itself, which is perhaps the most conclusive way to end a pro wrestling feud.

Here 10 of the greatest Loser Leaves Town matches in wrestling history.

Randy Savage vs. Ultimate Warrior – WWF WrestleMania VII 1991

"Macho Man" Randy Savage and the Ultimate Warrior stand the test of time as two of the most noteworthy stars from the WWF's Rock 'n' Wrestling Era. While Hogan made up one-half of the main event against Sgt. Slaughter at WrestleMania VII, Savage and the Warrior has arguably the most memorable match of the night and perhaps the best of Warrior's career. Savage, who turned heel in the build-up to WrestleMania V, had become known as "The Macho King" after winning the King of the Ring Tournament in 1987 and adopted "Queen Sherri" (Sensational Sherri Martel) as his manager. In doing so, he cemented his place as a top company heel for almost two years. Warrior, meanwhile, found himself a year removed from unifying the WWF World and Intercontinental titles at WrestleMania VI and maintained the large part of his popularity over the next year despite dropping the world championship to Slaughter at the 1991 Royal Rumble. Since Savage cost Warrior the match, the two went on to compete against one another at WrestleMania VII with the "Loser Leaves Town" stipulation in tow.

Both Savage and Warrior sought to rid the company of the other wrestler. In perhaps the most underrated performance of his career, Savage carried Warrior to a thrilling 20-minute spectacle at "The Granddaddy of Them All." It is also perhaps the only marquee Loser Leaves Town match to feature one of the wrestlers changing alignment at its conclusion. As Warrior beat down "The Macho King," Savage's ex, Miss Elizabeth, looked on from the crowd worried for her estranged lover's safety. While Savage would rebound to hit Warrior with five flying elbow drops, he would ultimately drop the match and be forced to leave the WWF. A dejected Queen Sherri attacked Savage after the match, prompting Elizabeth to make the save and reunite with her real-life husband before making him her television husband later that summer.

Dusty Rhodes vs. Kevin Sullivan – Championship Wrestling from Florida 1982

"The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes and Kevin Sullivan stand out as two of the very best babyface and heel character performers of the territory era, specifically down south in Dr. Eddie Graham's Championship Wrestling from Florida. Rhodes had the uncanny ability to make fans believe in the special connection he shared with them through his words and actions, while Sullivan happily steered into religion as the driving force behind his heel persona, namely the "Satanic Panic." Rhodes and Sullivan feuded for the better part of three years in the Florida territory over superiority with both men trading wins. When the tension reached the apparent point of no return in late 1982, the two would be booked in a Lights Out Steel Cage match with the loser having to leave the territory for 60 days.

The two delivered a predictably brutal, bloody match befitting of the stipulation, as it legitimately felt as though both men were fighting for their careers and willing to do whatever it took to keep their job. Wrestling fans would soon find just how far Sullivan was willing to go: As Rhodes made his comeback, "Santa Claus" pulled a foreign object out of his sack at ringside and passed it through the mesh of the cage to Sullivan. The villain used the unidentified object to suddenly subdue "The American Dream" for the three-count, sending Rhodes packing for 60 days. After the match, Sullivan revealed "Santa Claus" to be Jake Roberts, while Rhodes sought vengeance and a new way to feed his family for the next two months. 

The match served as the precursor to the "Midnight Rider" angle, which led to another Loser Leaves Town match between Sullivan and Rhodes in 1983. Years later, Sullivan credited Rhodes and babyfaces of the like in an interview for the sustained success of his occult character.

Mr. Perfect vs. Ric Flair – Monday Night Raw 1993

While the Loser Leaves Town stipulations evolved out of the territories, industry leader WWF has been known to deliver excellent Loser Leaves Town matches on occasion. Mr. Perfect vs. Ric Flair, which aired on an episode of "Monday Night Raw" in 1993, might be the best of the bunch. Flair discussed his rationale for leaving the WWF on a recent episode of the formerly titled "Ariel Helwani's MMA Show," Flair mentioned how former executive Vince McMahon had a desire to implement a youth movement in 1993. "Vince [McMahon] said to me 'We're going to go younger,' and he said 'if you want to go back, they've been calling me everyday so I'm sure they've been calling you, go in and go,'" Flair recalled. "The Nature Boy" held the WWF Championship for three months in 1992, but saw his level of influence at the top of the card begin to slowly decline from there.

The Curt Hennig match came about out of the blue, though Flair and Hennig had teased dissension with one another dating back to SummerSlam 1992 with Bobby "The Brain" Heenan serving as the go-between. After Hennig finally turned on Heenan in November 1992, he then turned his attention to Flair, who he eliminated from the 1993 Royal Rumble. Following an altercation between the two the very next night on "Monday Night Raw," the blonde rivals had a Loser Leaves Town match for the ages, dazzling the fans in a match taped six days earlier. 

While Flair ultimately lost, the match delivered in spades and served as a proper end to Flair's short and sweet WWF run. Though WCW Executive Vice President Bill Watts offered him his job back at a premium salary, Flair felt disappointed to hear the company had no immediate plans for his big return. "I went back, between the time I left there and got there, management had changed and Ole Anderson was now in charge," Flair told Helwani. "He looked at me and said "'You just got beat last night on TV in a loser leaves town match with Curt Hennig, what good are you to me?'" Flair went on to wrestle for another 16 years despite McMahon and Anderson's assertions, with Flair even returning to McMahon and the WWF in 2001.

Kevin Sullivan vs. Cactus Jack – WCW Fall Brawl 1994

Kevin Sullivan long had involvement with Mick Foley's "Cactus Jack" character with their first interaction in WCW coming back in 1989 when Sullivan formed "Sullivan's Slaughterhouse" with Cactus Jack and Buzz Sawyer. When Sullivan returned to WCW in 1994, he enlisted Cactus Jack's help once again, with the old friends taking the WCW World Tag Team Championships from The Nasty Boys later that year. The alliance would be short-lived, however, with Sullivan and Foley disbanding to set up the Loser Leaves Town stipulation at Fall Brawl on Sept. 18, 1994.

Foley's desire to leave WCW had been brewing for some time, with the company lacking plans to ever make him a featured member of the show. Foley ultimately opted not to renew his WCW contract and finished up against Sullivan at "Fall Brawl." Sullivan brawled with Foley for six action-packed minutes that saw Foley take four bumps on exposed concrete, literally going out on his back in WCW.

Jerry Lawler vs. Randy Savage – CWA 1985

Randy Savage, one of the hottest young talents coming up through the territories, signed with the WWF in June 1985. His exit from the Memphis territory happened at a timely point in his feud with Jerry "The King" Lawler. Savage initially turned face to aid Lawler in his battle against Jimmy Hart's First Family Alliance, but soon turned on "The King" in an attempt to regain the AWA Southern Heavyweight Championship from one of his biggest rivals in the territory. Special stipulations were nothing new to either man, who once faced one another in a title vs. title match the year prior where the loser also received 10 lashes for their troubles.

The match itself moves at a snail-like pace, albeit in a way that added significantly to the overall suspense as it sold the animosity the two men had for one another. One early-match moment even sees Savage and Lawler spit at one another before locking up. The match picks up at the mid-way point when Savage cuts his opponent open around the eye and begins to go to work opening the cut even further. Because of this, Savage pressed the referee, Jerry Calhoun to stop the match for Lawler's safety, prompting "The King" to proclaim over the house microphone that Savage would have to pin him 1-2-3 if he wanted to get rid of him. Lawler then unleashed one of his classic comebacks, sending Savage packing to the WWF with his patented piledriver technique. Lawler, for what it's worth, has called the match with Savage "one of the biggest matches ever at the Mid-South Coliseum."

Edge vs. Matt Hardy – Monday Night Raw 2005

For most wrestling fans, the infamous Edge vs. Matt Hardy feud throughout the summer of 2005 was a mixed bag. The feud between two former friends is one of many cases of art imitating life in wrestling, as Hardy's girlfriend Lita, real name Amy Dumas, cheated on him with Edge, real name Adam Copeland. By May 2005, Lita and Edge had begun appearing on TV together, with Lita's involvement being the catalyst behind Edge reinventing himself as the "Rated-R Superstar." Details surrounding Lita and Hardy's messy split began trickling in throughout the summer, with Hardy's initial reaction to the revelation of Lita and Edge being together as the primary reason behind his release. With the fans firmly behind him and Hardy seemingly ready to play ball, the WWE re-signed Hardy ahead of SummerSlam 2005 where he and Edge had their first of several late-summer encounters.

Hardy finally got the upper hand on his archnemesis in a Steel Cage match at Unforgiven 2005, one that saw Hardy hit Edge with the Mattitude Leg Drop off the top of the cage en route to picking up the victory. However, issues between the two parties persisted, and a Loser Leaves Raw match would soon be announced for the October 3 "Homecoming" edition of "Monday Night Raw." The match between Edge and Hardy also saw Edge's Money in the Bank briefcase suspended above the ring. The wrestler able to pull down the briefcase first would win the match, as well as the contract for a guaranteed world title shot. 

By this point in the feud, Edge and Hardy had finally begun to hit their stride in the ring, having somewhat overcome the personal and professional animosity that led to Hardy's initial exit from the company. Fittingly enough, the finish came when Lita tied her former boyfriend up in a crucifix between the ropes with Hardy being forced to look on and watch Edge pull down the briefcase, ending his "Raw" career right before his very eyes.

Tommy Dreamer vs. Raven – ECW Wrestlepalooza 1997

Few Loser Leaves Town matches packed the pure unadulterated heat of Tommy Dreamer vs. Raven at ECW Wrestlepalooza 1997. Raven and Tommy Dreamer had been feuding in ECW for the better part of three years, mostly based on the fact they were both polar opposite characters. Dreamer had babyface characteristics reminiscent of a Dusty Rhodes or Tommy Rich, while Raven brought a level of heelish ring psychology reminiscent of Kevin Sullivan. Much like the feud between Rhodes and Sullivan, the Dreamer-Raven feud became a focal point of ECW programming but had the twist of Dreamer and Raven being "kayfabe" childhood friends who fell for the same woman: Beulah McGillicutty. With Beulah between them, Raven and Dreamer feuded primarily with one another leading up to the Loser Leaves Town match at Wrestlepalooza 1997, which took place at the ECW Arena in South Philadelphia.

The match served as the ultimate ending to the definitive feud of ECW. Along the way, Beulah left Raven's side to become Dreamer's valet, and accompanied her future husband to the ring for perhaps the biggest match of his career. The fact that Dreamer had yet to defeat Raven at any point during the feud only added to the suspense. While the match may have left something to be desired from a technical standpoint, it provided fans the full ECW assortment of weapons, outside interference, and suspense. The finish came when Dreamer grabbed a faux sign from a fan that turned out to be a metal "stop sign," cracked his rival over the head with it and hit him with one final DDT, screaming "E-C-F****** W!" before planting Raven to the mat for a final time. 

In reality, Raven inked a deal to portray the same character in WCW. Dreamer, meanwhile, continued on as the heart and soul of ECW.

Abdullah the Butcher vs. Bruiser Brody – WCWA Christmas Star Wars 1986

Brawling rivals Abdullah and Brody feuded in promotions all over the world, but one of their most famous matches occurred in World Class Championship Wrestling in 1986 shortly after the company's merger with the United States Wrestling Association. Brody in particular made his presence felt in WCCW over the years and his time in the Dallas territory can be traced back as far as 1974, 12 years before his match with Abdullah the Butcher. Along the way, he became one of the most decorated superstars to come through Dallas not named "Von Erich," winning the NWA American Heavyweight Championship four times while winning six combined tag team championships along the way.

As Bruiser Brody was loved in the state of Texas despite being a heel, the fans backed him to put a stop to Abdullah the Butcher's march through the top babyfaces of the territory. As one of the most physically imposing wrestlers of his time, Brody meshed well with "Abby," a physically imposing wrestler in his own right known for spilling his and his opponents' blood in matches all around the world. The famed Loser Leaves Town match took place at Christmas Star Wars 1986, and true to the reputations of both men, each competitor left plenty of blood and sweat in the Reunion Arena in Dallas that night. In one of the few Brody-Abdullah matches to have a conclusive finish, Abdullah the Butcher defeated his nemesis following a back-and-forth physical affair. Brody would reappear in WCWA under the "Red River Jack" masked gimmick in 1987 before wrestling once again as Bruiser Brody for the promotion by May of that year.

Ted DiBiase and Matt Borne vs. JYD and Mr. Olympia – Mid-South 1982

The Loser Leaves Town match originally planned between partners Ted DiBiase and Jim Duggan and opponents Mr. Olympia and the Junkyard Dog in Mid-South Wrestling in 1982 took a path few expected, but paid off the stipulation in one of the most unique ways ever seen. DiBiase, a friend of the Junkyard Dog's inside and outside the ring at the time, had recently turned on his friend, giving way to one of the most promising heel careers of the '80s. The turn came in a June match on Mid-South television for the North American Championship after DiBiase knocked JYD out cold with a loaded glove. As the issues between the two former friends escalated into the fall, a Loser Leaves Town match would be made, albeit of the tag team variety with DiBiase teaming with Duggan against JYD and Mr. Olympia.

Prior to the match, Duggan went missing with nobody in the arena aware of his current whereabouts. All the while, the state fair had been going on outside the arena with fans noticing with a man in a gorilla costume making his way around the fairgrounds. With Duggan a no-show, lesser-known Matt Borne slotted in as his replacement with the loser of the fall agreeing to leave the territory. The four men went on to have an excellent tag team match, but the "gorilla" from the fair made an appearance at the end to cost JYD the match and his job in Mid-South. On his way to the ring, the "gorilla" revealed himself to be none other than Duggan, who had been laying in wait all along to help facilitate DiBiase's plan. The match concluded with DiBiase striking JYD with the loaded glove one last time to send his friend-turned-foe packing from the territory.

Jerry Lawler vs. Bill Dundee – CWA 1983

Jerry "The King" Lawler and Bill Dundee stood out as two of the biggest stars of the Memphis territory. Lawler could play an effective babyface and heel in his home territory and has plenty of moments to hang his hat on competing as both a hero and villain in Jerry Jarrett's Championship Wrestling Association (CWA). Dundee offered much of the same appeal as Lawler, having made his way over to America from his native Australia in 1974. In many ways, the two were the Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage of Memphis as they spent time on screen as friends and enemies while having mixed feelings for one another behind the scenes, according to Dundee. While much of Lawler's feud with Dundee saw "The King" portray the heel, Dundee turned heel in 1983, setting the stage for one final run with his arch-nemesis.

By the time of their 1983 feud, it had been three years since Lawler and Dundee last clashed in the CWA. The Loser Leaves Town angle made for a logical choice as the vehicle for the "final" Lawler and Dundee encounter. The match itself had the look and feel of a classic Jerry Lawler Memphis brawl, with both wrestlers using more than 15 minutes battering one another between the ropes. While Dundee's new heel character gained a reputation for cheating to win matches, he did nothing of the sort in his swan song against Lawler, eventually succumbing to Lawler's patented piledriver for the three-count.

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