WWE has been PG for approximately four years now and since that time we have seen a rapid change in the way WWE superstars conduct themselves in the ring, in the backstage segments and out on the streets.
WWE programming has watered down its edgier content to appeal to the younger generation as it did in the late 80s and because of this, some gimmick matches have ended up on the scrap heap.
The five gimmick matches in this slideshow highlight the brutality, sexiness and pure audacity of the yesteryear of the WWE.
A simple hardcore match is now a total no go as hardcore in WWE has become obsolete.
Mick Foley, Al Snow, Hardcore Holly, The Big Bossman and Crash Holly were undoubtedly some of the biggest names in the hardcore division of the WWE.
The match type even warranted its own championship, held by pretty much the whole roster at the time.
Trash cans, kendo sticks, lead pipes, baking trays and even the kitchen sink were used in these high octane matches full of violence.
Blood was aplenty as superstars hit each other with anything they could get their hands on. They didn’t just stick to the ring either.
The backstage area usually saw more action than the ring in these sorts of matches and if you ask me this is something the WWE could incorporate into their matches more often but they choose not to.
The most inventive years of the hardcore division came when Crash Holly introduced the 24/7 rule in which the hardcore championship was on the line at all times.
Nowhere was off limits and not only did it lead to some brilliant skits but it also allowed for Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson to become former champions as well.
I guess the hardcore division wasn’t flawless...
I am so gutted they didn’t bring this match back before Beth Phoenix got her marching orders.
That is something that would have made for some hot television.
Nevertheless it is something that can’t be portrayed on television when they are trying to reach a younger demographic.
Sex does indeed sell, but children certainly aren’t interested in it.
What WWE has tried to do instead is show empowered women who can handle themselves and who aren’t bullied by men or intimidated by challenges.
By making two women strip on the middle of the ring all they were doing was proving to the audience that women are objects and they are just there for their bodies.
Bra and Panties matches were an excuse for the women to show off their bodies and for the men to get all excited and relax (I say relax) in between heavy main events.
By removing this match, WWE has done a good thing for women’s wrestling in my opinion.
But God I miss it.
The inferno match was one of the most intense matches in WWE history.
Originally devised during The Undertaker/Kane feud, the inferno match saw the squared circle surrounded by huge walls of fire, which ignited every time a power move was executed in the ring, furthering the belief that the two superstars truly were in hell.
It really was awe-inspiring as the two behemoths battled for the first time ever in an inferno match at Unforgiven 1998.
I can’t describe to you how fantastic the match was—seeing the Undertaker do his patented suicide dive over the flames was like something out of a movie.
Setting someone on fire to end the match is not the most PG thing to ever come out of the WWE.
There were only three others to come after the inaugural contest; Kane vs. The Undertaker, Kane vs. Triple H and Kane vs. MVP (I know, I know...)
All apart from the last one ended with Kane on fire for the umpteenth time.
Barbed wire matches were not commonplace in WWE, but I thought I would add it as they did incorporate barbed wire in quite a lot of their matches during the Attitude era and the years that followed.
The most heinous use of barbed wire would be when Cactus Jack introduced a 2x4 wrapped in the lethal wire and set it on fire at No Way Out 2000.
JBL competed in a cage match where the edge was wrapped in barbed wire so it was made extremely difficult to climb out.
No Way Out 2005 was the only and last time this was featured in the WWE and though it was underwhelming, the very real danger was there.
Barbed wire boards and more fire was used when Mick Foley took on Edge at WrestleMania 22 and the boards of barbed wire were also used when Orton took on the Hardcore Legend at Backlash 2004.
Though WWE never actually staged a ‘proper barbed wire match complete with ropes made out of the stuff, I think it was used enough for us to consider it a match/weapon we will never see in WWE as long as their shows are rated PG.
This gimmick match will never be seen in WWE for as long as blood is banned which is as long as it is PG. In fairness, I think it would be highly unlikely that this match would make a return even if it was going to increase the rating toTV-14.
A first blood match was usually the culmination of a feud and the vicious reality of this match meant that someone would be wearing a crimson mask by the end of it.
It resulted in unprotected chair shots to the head and an obsession with damaging your opponent so much that he spurts blood all over the ring.
It wasn’t pretty and not for the faint-hearted.