WARNING: The following list contains graphic images that may contain blood.
The new PG era in the WWE has brought a high volume of criticism from fans all over the world. Many changes have taken place that fans have rebelled against. As recently as last Friday night, WWE decided to let go one of the brightest stars in wrestling, Bryan Danielson, because of a PG violation.
Apparently it is not okay to choke someone with his own tie.
But I digress. WWE is treading a thin line on the PG rule. It seems that every time there is a Pay-Per-View, someone gets busted wide open and a match is forced to be stopped. A cut man then enters the ring and works feverishly to stop the bleeding. Only then can the match be restarted.
This defies all the psychology that is needed to create a good professional wrestling match. Another new rule is blatant shots to the head of a wrestler with a chair are now banned. Now, I understand the dangers of a direct chair shot to the head. My problem with this rule is that I just recently witnessed Sheamus brutalize Triple H with repeated shots to the head with a lead pipe. A lead pipe is fine, but a chair is off limits.
Going into "Fatal 4-Way", it got me thinking about how the WWE has taken steps in reinventing their pay-per-views, but are bound to PG restrictions. Last month at "Over The Limit", numerous matches had to be stopped mid-match because of blood or injuries.
With that in mind, this list is going to dive into the Top 10 Most Brutal and Bloody Battles in WWE History. Each and every one of these matches would not fit under the current PG rules of WWE. There were a lot to choose from and it was extremely hard to narrow it down, but here we go!
The relationship between Mr. McMahon and The Undertaker has always been rocky. They have been good friends and better enemies.
In the summer of 2003, Vince McMahon and Brock Lesnar formed an unholy alliance that took the Smackdown Brand by storm. Then WWE Champion, Lesnar, went head to head with The Undertaker at “No Mercy” in 2003. The match was contested under “Biker Chain Rules” and was no disqualification. McMahon made his presence felt and helped Lesnar retain the WWE Championship.
In the weeks to follow, Smackdown General Manager Paul Heyman booked The Undertaker in a handicap match against both Lesnar and The Big Show on Smackdown. If The Undertaker could defeat the duo, he would be able to have any match with anyone on the Smackdown roster at the “Survivor Series.”
Although Heyman put many obstacles in the way of The Undertaker during the match, he was able to defeat Lesnar and The Big Show. To the chagrin of McMahon, The Undertaker chose to fight The Chairman in a “Buried Alive Match” at Survivor Series.
The weeks leading up to the match were intense and disturbing. McMahon went as far as to say that he would “burn down Undertaker's house and order Undertaker's wife to be gang raped."
On November 16, 2003 in Dallas, the WWE witnessed one of the most brutal and bloody matches in history. McMahon has always gone all out to please the WWE fans, but on this night he suffered one of the most disturbing head wounds in WWE history. The Undertaker beat McMahon from pillar to post. At one point, Taker broke a shovel over the head of The Chairman.
Although The Undertaker ended up being buried at the hands of his own brother, Kane, McMahon was never the same after this bloody scene.
One of the more unique feuds in WWE history took place in 1999 and the early part of the year 2000. At the peak of the “Attitude Era”, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley reigned supreme over the entire World Wrestling Federation. Using their power, Triple H became WWE Champion for the second time with a victory over The Big Show on Monday Night RAW.
Triple H had many of the top WWE superstars with their sights set on the top prize in the business. There was one man who pushed Triple H beyond his limit. That man was Mick Foley.
During the “McMahon-Helmsley Era”, Triple H fired Mankind. He was using his power to belittle and put down every wrestler on the roster. On January 10, 2000, the tide turned in the favor of the World Wrestling Federation Superstars. The Rock requested that Foley be reinstated or the entire roster would leave RAW. With his back against the way, Triple H was forced to reinstate Foley. Upon reinstatement, Foley requested a “Street Fight” with Triple H at “The Royal Rumble.”
Foley returned to the ring as Mankind, but surprised Triple H on Smackdown by shedding his Mankind attire and revealing to the world that Cactus Jack would be the one taking on Triple H for the World Wrestling Federation Championship.
On January 23, 2000, Cactus Jack and Triple H walked out in front of a jam-packed Madison Square Garden in New York City and waged war with each other in a brutal, bloody street fight. During the encounter, Cactus Jack famously pulled out a two-by-four covered in barbed wire. Foley repeatedly blasted Triple H in the face with the barbed wire two-by-four, bloodying the champion.
Triple H turned the tide by handcuffing Jack’s hands behind his back and beat Foley with a steel chair. Cactus Jack made a comeback with help from The Rock, but Triple H regained control by using the thumbtacks that Cactus brought into the ring. Triple H drove Foley’s face into the tacks with a Pedigree and retained his coveted WWE Championship.
Mick Foley and Triple H went on to have a brutal "Hell in a Cell" match the next month at “No Way Out”, but it paled in comparison to the bloody battle that took place at “The Royal Rumble.”
At “The Royal Rumble” in 1999, Mankind and The Rock went to battle for the World Wrestling Federation Championship in a famous “I Quit” match.
Unlike his “Street Fight” with Triple H, Mankind went into this battle with The Rock as the most unlikely WWE Champion in history. The feud between The Rock and Mankind officially took off at the 1998 “Survivor Series.” A one night tournament was ordered by Vince McMahon to determine a new World Wrestling Federation Champion after the title was vacated. During the build-up to the tournament, McMahon took a liking to Mankind and bred him to be his hand-picked WWE Champion at “Survivor Series.”
In a shocking turning of events, McMahon repeated history by infamously “screwing” Mankind while The Rock locked him in The Sharpshooter in the finals. McMahon called for the bell and The Rock became the World Wrestling Federation Champion for the first time.
The Corporation was born and McMahon did all he could to keep the belt on his own personal “Corporate Champion”, The Rock. Mankind earned a rematch at “Rock Bottom” in December, but was once again screwed by McMahon after he forced The Rock to pass out to The Mandible Claw.
On January 4, 1999, Mick Foley’s childhood dream came true as he defeated The Rock on the first Monday Night RAW of 1999 with the help of DX and Stone Cold Steve Austin. In one of the most emotional moments in WWE history, Mankind was paraded around the ring by Degeneration X holding the belt high.
A rematch was immediately ordered for “The Royal Rumble.” Mankind and The Rock went to battle on January 24, 1999 in an “I Quit” match. This match had one of the most horrific displays in WWE history when The Rock cuffed Mankind’s hands behind his back and repeatedly blasted him in the head with a steel chair. When The Rock asked Mankind if he quit, a recording of Foley’s voice was played over the speakers from a prior interview with Mankind screaming “I Quit” three times.
Although Mankind was screwed yet again, he went on to defeat The Rock for the WWE Championship once again. These two had many tremendous matches in early 1999, but none of them top the horrific nature of this “I Quit” match.
It is only natural that an article about the most brutal and bloody matches in history feature many matches from Mick Foley. Another Foley classic was the match that made Randy Orton a star.
At “Backlash” 2004, Orton defended the Intercontinental Championship in a “Hardcore Match” against Foley. This feud went on for nearly a year and involved many memorable moments.
In the summer of 2003, Stone Cold Steve Austin gave Foley an in-ring tribute on RAW in Madison Square Garden. Austin issued Foley with a lifetime Hardcore Championship Trophy while other “hardcore wrestlers” filled the ring. Even McMahon paid tribute to Foley on this night. The whole angle, however, was the groundwork for what would happen later in the night.
Backstage in Madison Square Garden, Evolution brutally attacked Foley and Orton punted Foley down a flight of stairs.
After Foley refused to wrestle Orton in December of that year, the feud was rekindled just months prior to Wrestlemania 20. Foley called to his old friend, The Rock, and they took on Orton, Ric Flair, and Batista in a 2-on-3 handicap match in Madison Square Garden.
Foley fell victim to the RKO and couldn’t achieve the “Wrestlemania Moment” that he so desperately wanted. Just two weeks later on RAW, Foley challenged Orton to a Hardcore Match at “Backlash” on April 18th. Orton accepted and the match was officially signed.
Foley went above and beyond the call of duty to make Orton look like a star on this night. Some major spots took place with Foley tossing Orton off the stage through a table. Foley then leapt off the stage drilling Orton in the chest with a huge elbow. Later in the match, thumbtacks came into play and Foley reversed an RKO attempt sending Orton back first into the tacks. Orton emerged with punctures all over his body.
Foley then attempted to light a barbed wire baseball bat on fire, but that plan was thwarted by Eric Bischoff and the arena fire code. The distraction helped Foley get RKO’d on the barbed wire bat and ultimately lose the match.
Like I stated earlier, this is the night when Orton truly became a superstar. Foley was the best ever at making other wrestlers look like a million bucks and Orton was no exception. This match was brutal, bloody, and a true highlight of 2004.
When Brock Lesnar became the WWE Undisputed Champion at Summerslam 2002, he had no idea that merely two months later he would be involved in the toughest match of his career.
At “No Mercy” 2002, The Undertaker challenged Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship. The feud started on Smackdown in September when Undertaker became the number one contender.
The two had a vicious encounter at “Unforgiven” 2002, but the match was ended in a double disqualification. To ensure this would not happen again, The Undertaker challenged the youngest WWE Champion of all time to a “Hell in a Cell” match at “No Mercy.” Although Lesnar’s agent Paul Heyman advised Lesnar not to accept this challenge, the future UFC Heavyweight Champion went against his better judgment and stepped into satan’s playground on October 20, 2002.
Prior to the contest, Brock Lesnar shattered Undertaker’s right arm in a brutal assault. The Undertaker went into the match with a cast on his arm which he used to his full advantage. The Undertaker busted Brock Lesnar wide open during the contest. Brock Lesnar achieved the same success against The Undertaker. The Undertaker shed an unreal amount of blood in this encounter. Even Paul Heyman got busted wide open at the hands of The Undertaker. The battle went on for nearly a half hour as the Brock showed off his unimaginable strength and Undertaker gave Brock everything that he had.
Brock Lesnar was victorious after countering the tombstone piledriver into a remarkable F-5 that has to be seen to be believed.
This may be one of the most personal feuds in WWE history. The late, great Eddie Guerrero defended his prized WWE Championship against John Bradshaw Layfield (JBL) in Los Angeles on May 16, 2004 at WWE “Judgment Day.”
The contest was the first of many historic battles between the two. This match stands out for the remarkable amount of blood that Guerrero spilled due to a chair shot to the head by JBL. The ugly scene showed blood pouring out of the forehead of Guerrero.
As the match went on, Guerrero spilled blood all over the ring and ringside. JBL threw everything at Guerrero, but he kept kicking out. Towards the end of the battle, JBL brought the WWE Championship into the ring. Guerrero reversed his attempt and drilled JBL in the head with the belt causing a disqualification.
JBL won the battle, but on that night, Guerrero won the war.
Guerrero got his payback on JBL by destroying a ringside chair over the head of JBL. When Bradshaw came to his feet, his face was also covered in blood. Guerrero beat the holy hell out of Bradshaw for about five minutes. He finished the assault with a Frog Splash from the top rope as the crowd went crazy for Guerrero.
At this time, Guerrero was by far the most popular wrestler in the WWE. This feud went on for another month and a half with JBL defeated Guerrero for the WWE Championship at the 2004 “Great American Bash.”
Prior to Wrestlemania 17, Shane McMahon famously purchased WCW. He vowed to bring his talent into the World Wrestling Federation and did so with the infamous “Invasion.” Just prior to the “Invasion” taking place, McMahon was caught in a feud with Kurt Angle.
The feud culminated at “King of the Ring” in 2001 on June 24th. The two engaged in a memorable “Street Fight” that saw McMahon take some of the most vicious spots in wrestling history.
The match became brutal and bloody when Angle decided to attempt an overhead belly-to-belly suplex on McMahon through the glass plated stage set, but McMahon didn’t break the glass and fell directly on his head. Angle tried again and successfully suplexed McMahon through the glass to the other side of the set.
Angle, however, was not finished.
He attempted the suplex two more times on McMahon with McMahon landing on his head both times. Angle then just tossed McMahon through the glass. McMahon was bloodied with glass all over his body. Earlier in the contest, McMahon scored with a suplex in the isle which cracked Angle’s tailbone.
The finish came when Angle nailed McMahon with a Super Angle Slam off of a table that was on the top rope.
This match was a true testament to the courage of McMahon and Angle. McMahon showed that he will go through anything for the WWE Universe.
ECW “One Night Stand” 2006 took place under the WWE banner. One of the most brutal matches in history came when Dreamer, Funk, and Beulah took on Foley, Edge, and Lita at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.
The build came with the re-launch of ECW. Foley and Edge desecrated the ECW name after they found a strange respect for each other following their Wrestlemania 22 battle. When Funk and Dreamer came to defend the ECW name, everyone knew that a historic match was going to take place.
These guys used everything and the kitchen sink at ECW “One Night Stand” 2006. Blood poured out of the head of all four men. Funk and Foley became entangled in a barbed wire board and Dreamer choked Edge with a strand of barbed wire. Funk lit a barbed wire baseball bat on fire and beat Foley with it, both women took a beating, and Edge proceeded to dry hump Beulah during the finish.
This match was hardcore in every sense of the word. We all know how the re-launch of ECW ended up, but with this starting point, the future only looked bright for the rise of ECW.
The first ever “Hell in a Cell” match paved the way for many classic battles in the structure for the future of the WWE. It was perfect that two of the greatest innovators in the history of wrestling were able to get the match over.
The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels hated each other long before their battles at Wrestlemania 25 and 26. This installation of the feud started at Summerslam 1997 when Michaels was the Special Guest Referee in a match where Undertaker defended the WWE Championship against Bret “Hitman” Hart.
During the contest, a chair came into play. Michaels got a hold of it and decided he was going to “screw” his arch nemesis, Hart, by hitting him with it. Bret moved out of the way and Undertaker received the blast. Michaels was forced to count three and Hart became WWE Champion once again.
The Undertaker then challenged Michaels to the first ever Hell in a Cell at “In Your House: Bad Blood” on October 5, 1997. The build to the match coincided with the debut of The Undertaker’s brother, Kane.
When the contest started, Undertaker put the beating on Michaels. He famously drove HBK’s head into the cell repeatedly, busting him wide open.
Michaels, however, also put his fair share of hurt onto The Deadman. He scored with a piledriver on the steel steps. Shawn also purposely struck a cameraman so the cell door could be opened for help. When trainers took the cameraman out, Shawn escaped the cage.
Both HBK and The Undertaker famously brawled on top of the cage. As Michaels attempted to crawl down, Taker stepped on his fingers and HBK fell off the cell crashing through the announce position.
Michaels was bloodied, bruised, and battered. The finish came when Kane made his debut and ripped the locked door off the cell. Kane tombstoned The Undertaker and allowed HBK to pick up the pin fall.
Dave Meltzer gave this match a five star rating and rightfully so. This match was a true testament to the talent and skill of both men.
The most famous and most brutal Hell in a Cell match came at the 1998 “King of the Ring” when The Undertaker took on Mankind.
If you have not witnessed this match, then you have no idea what Mick Foley will put his body through to entertain the fans. The feud between the two was reignited when Mankind joined forces with Kane. Mankind set out to destroy The Undertaker while Kane was taking care of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Mick Foley started the match by tossing a steel chair on top of the cell. He then proceeded to make a huge mistake and start the match on the cell.
When The Undertaker made his way to the ring, he joined Mankind at the top of the cell. Mankind scored with a couple of chair shots, but it wasn’t long before The Undertaker took control. Before you knew it, the entire landscape of the World Wrestling Federation would be changed forever. The Undertaker famously tossed Mankind off the top of the cell. Foley flew through the air and crashed through the Spanish announce table. This spot could have killed any man that attempted it and when it happened, I wasn’t quite sure that Foley was alive.
I knew the secret about pro wrestling, but this couldn’t have been something that was meant to happen. Anyway, Foley being a crazy you know what denied medical attention and once again climbed the cell. When Foley got to the top, he got the advantage on The Undertaker by locking him in the Mandible Claw.
Just seconds later, however, the match took a major turn for the worse. The Undertaker grasped the throat of Mankind and chokeslammed him through the cell to the mat. Chaos ensued in the building and medics rushed ringside. The Undertaker couldn’t have been sure if Foley was okay or not. He stood famously on top of the cell looking down at his opponent. In just a few short moments, The Undertaker made his way through the giant hole in the cell and into the ring.
He beat the hell out of Terry Funk, Pat Patterson, and others before turning his attention to a severely battered Mankind. Somehow, Mankind made a huge comeback and came within arm’s reach of defeated The Undertaker. He piledrove him on a chair and hooked him in The Mandible Claw. The turning point came when Foley decided that thumbtacks would be a good idea. This was another first in a WWE ring. Foley covered the mat in thumbtacks and attempted to piledrive The Undertaker on them, but Taker reversed it and backdropped Mankind on the thumbtacks. The Undertaker then finished Foley off by chokeslamming him one more time onto the thumbtacks and scoring with a Tombstone Piledriver.
After this brutal, bloody war, both men made their presence felt in the main event of the night featuring Kane and Stone Cold in a “First Blood” Match. There is no way to tell how Mick Foley made it to the ring later in the night. What a tremendous match this was that truly changed the face of the World Wrestling Federation. This created the kind of buzz that the WWE loves and provided huge ratings for Monday Night RAW.
This concludes the 10 Most Brutal and Bloody Battles in WWE History. With the PG era in full swing, there is no telling how long it will be until we see any of these types of matches featured again. Only time will tell and never say never in the WWE. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to let me know.
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