Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H and 10 Great WWE Angles Enhanced by Blood
Brock Lesnar's recent bloodshed brings back memories of the WWE feuds and matches made more dramatic by the use of blood.
On the Feb. 25 episode of Raw, Triple H and Lesnar's brawl ended with Lesnar's head split open, blood splattered across his face. It was a startling sight since WWE has limited blood in recent years.
For fans feeling apathetic about a potential Lesnar vs. Triple H match at WrestleMania 29, the sight of blood may have gotten their adrenaline going. It suddenly makes Triple H and Lesnar's rivalry more personal and more intense.
Blood now seems to be a narrative device saved for the biggest of rivalries, one that was once far more common.
Let's look back at other great WWE angles that made full use of crimson paint on the canvas that is the wrestling ring.
Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart: WrestleMania 13
Photo credit: WWE
There may not be a more famous use of blood in WWE history than Steve Austin and Bret Hart's submission match at WrestleMania 13.
The image of Austin writhing in pain, blinded by his own blood served as the proof that he was impressively tough.
On this night, Hart went from good guy to despised and Austin went from heel to hero.
The action told the story well enough, but having Austin bleed so heavily, having him struggle to escape the Sharpshooter with his bald head painted red, accentuated the story of Austin refusing to give in.
Instead of tapping, Austin passed out in a pool of blood.
Sgt. Slaughter vs. Pat Patterson: 1981
Photo credit: Pro Wrestling Illustrated
Madison Square Garden hosted the climax of an intense feud between Sgt. Slaughter and Pat Patterson.
As much as Patterson beat down his enemy, this match and this rivalry wouldn't have ended so dramatically without blood.
A waterfall of blood poured down Slaughter's chest, staining his shirt and the ring. It smeared his entire face, helping to tell the story of the viciousness of the Alley Fight, of how desperately these two men hated each other.
Randy Orton vs. Cactus Jack: Backlash 2004
A bloody Orton missed the RKO.
Fighting Cactus Jack in a match filled with barbed wire and thumbtacks was a rite of passage for Randy Orton.
Surviving this brutal battle with Cactus made Orton look gutsy, hardened and a true star.
Their symphony of violence would have been entertaining powered by its frenzied energy alone, but blood made it better.
Barbed wire cut Orton's face open, leaving his mug a mess. Blood became Orton's badge of honor, liquid proof of his toughness.
Edge vs. Mick Foley: WrestleMania 22
Photo from WWE.com
Pitting the Hardcore Legend against the king of TLC predictably led to captivating carnage.
Before their famous moment in flames, Mick Foley and Edge used blood to tell their story.
This was a tale of two maniacs willing to put their bodies through anything to win, to endear themselves to fans. They took each other on a journey of pain and torture.
They whipped each other with the barbed wire and ground it into each other's faces until Foley was wearing his familiar red mask.
Foley lived up to his reputation of a man who does not fear pain, whose imagination often steers toward savagery. Edge had stepped into a python's pit thinking the snake had been tamed by age.
He was wrong and the crowd couldn't have been happier.
Billy Graham vs. Dusty Rhodes: 1977
Billy Graham vs. Dusty Rhodes (Texas Bullrope Match)
Billy Graham and Dusty Rhodes fought several times at Madison Square Garden in 1977, their hatred unable to be contained in a single match.
The most famous of their clashes was a Texas bullrope match where blood spilled out of them, symbolizing their overflowing hatred.
Rhodes danced and showboated a bit, but he was mostly business in this dogfight. They conked each other with a cowbell and strangled each other with rope.
It was blood that made this even more memorable, though. It gave the feud an added sense of savagery.
Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena: Extreme Rules 2012
Screenshot of Extreme Rules 2012
Brock Lesnar's first match back after his MMA stint saw him pound John Cena with stiff elbows.
The dominating monster used his elbows to tear open his Cena's head and fans were stunned to see blood flow in the normally squeaky-clean PG Era.
Blood helped make their hatred feel real, beginning with Lesnar's attack on Cena on Raw before this match. Their tussle led to Cena pulling away with a bloody mouth as he grinned through the pain.
The blood here and the blood at Extreme Rules gave their short feud momentum, making it more memorable and pull fans closer to the edge of their seats.
Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker: Badd Blood 1997
Photo from WWE.com
The novelty of the Hell in a Cell structure and Kane's unforgettable debut played a part in making this a five-star masterpiece, but it was blood that put it over the top.
Shawn Michaels tried to escape his confines, tried to weather the Undertaker's assault.
While he did manage to survive, the blood left on his face, across the links of the cell and on the broken announce tables served as evidence of Undertaker's wrath.
Bruno Sammartino vs. Larry Zbyszko: 1980
Larry Zbysko smashes Bruno Sammartino with a chair.
The story of the student turning on his teacher was aided by blood in the Bruno Sammartino vs. Larry Zbyszko feud.
Sammartino's protégé turned on him, cracking him in the head with a chair at the end of a match. Sammartino's head became drenched with blood, a symbol of Zbyszko's betrayal.
The two would go on to fight several times over including a famous showdown at Shea Stadium inside a steel cage.
A tale of good vs. evil, youth vs. experience, student vs. teacher was all kickstarted by gushing blood.
Eddie Guerrero vs. JBL: Judgment Day 2004
Photo credit: WWE
Eddie Guerrero and JBL wanted to destroy each other. No amount of wrestling moves could have made their hatred as palpable as the excessive bloodshed this match produced.
This was the story of two stubborn men willing to go though anything to achieve victory.
In the end, what most fans remember is Eddie showered in his own blood.
As exciting as their fight was, it was the aftermath of JBL's chair shot and Eddie's blade job that tattooed this match onto fans' minds.
The echoing crash of steel on flesh was shocking enough, but then the camera turned to Eddie leaning on the barricade, blood coming out of him like a fountain.
Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker: No Mercy 2002
Lesnar vs. Taker highlights
The blood started pouring early in this classic Hell in a Cell match.
The story of this match was Brock Lesnar being able to survive the best Undertaker could throw at him. Regardless of how much blood they both shed, they fought on.
Undertaker's cast and Paul Heyman's deviousness played a part in telling this story as well, but it's hard to imagine this match without its crimson element.
Lesnar and Undertaker smeared their blood on the canvas, a symbol of how much they were willing to give of themselves for the WWE championship and for pride.