The Difficulty Of Booking Torch Passing Matches

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The Difficulty Of Booking Torch Passing Matches

Torch passing matches are some of the most difficult to pull off. They don’t have to come with a particular gimmick or even a stipulation. It’s one of those matches where it’s understood what’s going on based on the buildup going into it. You know this younger wrestler is on the rise and within reach of being the next ace of the promotion. Across the ring is a wrestler who was the ace or is an icon but this is their last hurrah. 

Where Torch Passing Matches Get Difficult 

On paper the match looks very simple—that is until you get into who’s going to be in the match. Promotions need to have built these two up to their respective statuses. Hell, one wrestler needs to be in the business long enough to have the kind of career and accolades that this successor will have to meet or exceed. You’re not going to have a torch-passing bout between Heath Slater and the Brooklyn Brawler.  

The Difficulty Of Booking Torch Passing Matches
The Rock vs. Steve Austin at WrestleMania XIX is considered one of the best torch-passing matches.

The veteran needs a legend’s aura about them. Your young wrestler needs to be on the rise. They probably had a few close brushes with the main title, some major tournament wins, a number of major wins over established stars in big bouts. 

A lot of things go into this particular kind of match. Sometimes a company will have something that could’ve been a torch-passing match but the veteran has more than one more match in them. Or maybe that young star isn’t ready to be taken off the stove yet. As fans, we’ve all seen matches touted as torch-passing matches. 

Also, everyone should get one torch to pass and one torch to take. 

Significant Matches 

Austin vs. The Rock is a big one. Their final match was as epic as you’d expect. The one major problem with this match was that while they entered the business five years apart, entered WWE within a year of each other, and retired within a year of each other. They were contemporaries of the Attitude Era. Their rises in WWE ran alongside each other—along with Triple H’s. The Rock wasn’t floating the company for years after Austin left. 

However, this is overlooked because the match itself was awesome. Ric Flair vs. Harley Race was a great torch-passing match that followed through with every intent. Of course, Flair vs. Sting in WCW had the blemish of Flair wrestling on a regular basis after Sting retired the first time. Jumbo Tsuruta passing the torch to Mitsuharu Misawa in All Japan Pro-Wrestling is a textbook, a well-booked torch-passing bout from June 1990. 

That match came after another almost well-booked torch-passing in Hogan vs. Warrior from WrestleMania VI. Hogan was still around in WWE and even took the belt twice in 1991 after losing it to Ultimate Warrior. Oh yeah, his in-ring career was also longer than the guy the torch was handed to. 

Do we even need to go into Impact Wrestling and how many torches AJ Styles has? I don’t even know where Kurt Angle found an extra torch to pass to Drew McIntyre. Did Styles give it back because he has one from Sting? 

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