With the next PPV being Extreme Rules I thought now a good time to revisit some of the most EXTREME encounters that we’ve seen in WWE. For the sake of this list I’ve chosen to discount anything from ECW or any of those crazy Japanese Death Matches I always here about, as I’ve also discounted any WCW or NXT matches (I’m thinking of the NXT War Games match in particular). Before I get into the top 10 I’d like to give some honourable mentions; The Undertaker v Mankind Hell In A Cell match for obvious reasons as we enter 20 YEARS since the all-time classic on June 28th (but this would be number 1 in any list it was on, it’s my favourite WWE match of all time), and also a shout out to all the Money In The Bank Ladder matches that we’ve had previously also (some more than others), and also this top 10 will see the matches ranked on extremity and not match quality, so whilst it may receive 5 stars for it’s extreme nature, it may or may not have been an equally good match (although most of these matches on this list where actually really good to watch). SOOOOOOO… let’s go!!!
10. Brock Lesnar (C) v The Undertaker, WWE Championship; Hell in a Cell match, No Mercy 2002 = 4*
In this bloodbath between the still relatively new to WWE Brock Lesnar and the certified Hall of Famer The Undertaker the story of the match began with Taker using the cast on his arm to attack Lesnar and causing him to bleed A LOT, in fact the main feature was the amount of blood that was on display, from Taker, Lesnar and even Paul Heyman at ringside wasn’t safe as he was pulled against the cell by The Undertaker after attempting to distract him, and Heyman was left bloodied too. Lesnar took advantage of this and would go on to drive Taker against the cell wall and began to work on the injured hand, eventually removing the cast and focusing his attack on Taker’s weakpoint. Lesnar would go on after more brutal back and forth offence exchanges to use nearby Steel Steps to hit the challenger causing him to bleed also… A LOT! Lesnar would eventually get the win after an F-5 to end a really physical match on top of all the blood. I’ve not really done the match justice with that review as it was a 4 1/4 star match but the blood was so overbearing at times it was tough to focus on the actual contest.
9. Brock Lesnar v John Cena, Extreme Rules match, Extreme Rules 2012 = 4*
You’ve all by now seen the absolute ungodly pop Brock Lesnar got upon his return to the WWE in confronting John Cena the Raw after Mania in 2012, well this was the match that came from that initial confrontation. This was before Brock Lesnar matches were: Suplex, Suplex, Suplex, Suplex, Suplex, Suplex, strikes, Suplex, Suplex, Suplex, opponent offence, Suplex, Suplex, Suplex, opponent offence, Suplex, Suplex, Suplex, F5, Suplex, Suplex, Suplex, Suplex, opponent offence, F5, Brock wins. When Brock Lesnar matches felt and looked so unlike anything on a WWE show they were always a must see event. Again the key feature of this match was blood, and a lot of it. Cena bled from some very early elbow strikes from former UFC Champion Lesnar, there were a few very hard looking strikes from Brock to Cena (who took an insane amount of physical punishment), the match only turning towards the end when Cena was able to power Lesnar up and slam him down onto steel steps whilst Lesnar had a Kimura locked in. Cena would go on to hit Lesnar with Cena’s chain that caused Lesnar to bleed too, and Cena would get the win with an AA onto steel steps. BLOODy hell!
8. Kurt Angle v Shane McMahon, Street Fight, King of the Ring 2001 = 4.5*
This rivalry was one of the early beginnings of Shane McMahon’s WCW led invasion, and it just so happened to be Angle’s 3rd match of the night having won his KOTR semi final before then losing the final to Edge the same night, so understandably Kurt was pissed. The majority of this match was very clearly presented as one of the best professional wrestlers we have ever seen, against a complete amateur… I’ll let you work out who is who… but the extremity in this match really turned to a whole new level when both men were at the top of the rampway, before Angle hit Shane with a pair of overhead belly to belly suplexes… the first one sent McMahon into the back-part of the entrance area, but the second one sent Shane THROUGH the glass shattering it everywhere. With both men bleeding extensively from the shards of glass everywhere Angle then hit the same move again from the other side, again shattering a glass panel. Eventually both men would end up back in the ring and Kurt would get the win via an Angle Slam from the top rope. But it has long since been known that on 3 separate occasions during this match, Vince McMahon was on the verge of stopping it after witnessing the punishment that particularity his son received. And had he done so, I don’t think anyone could’ve moaned about it.
7. The Rock v Mankind (C), WWE Championship, ‘I Quit’ match, Royal Rumble 1999 = 4.5*
Whilst many will rightfully argue that Hell in a Cell against Taker may have seriously hampered Mick Foley’s career but this match wont have helped his day to day life forever afterwards surely? The match itself was at the height of the attitude era, and saw 2 of the absolute biggest stars in WWE history fight all over the arena in a true battle of good vs evil. The Rock despite getting some great heel heat and chants of “Rocky SUCKS” from the crowd, he still even then absolute oozed megastar aura in everything he does and this faced against the eternally popular Mankind coming in as champion made for a tremendous story. The finish of this match was a bit irritating, as after receiving a beating (more on that shortly) from The Rock, it appeared Mick Foley indeed said ‘I quit’ but it would later appear (as if it wasn’t clear enough at the time) that a recording of ‘Foley’ saying that he quits was played instead! So The Rock was the new champion, but this was not the main story of this match… Mankind took ELEVEN chair shots to the head during this match, and The Rock was NOT holding back with any of them! Rock had handcuffed Foley before this so he had no defence to any of them, still now it’s really tough to watch… so I cannot imagine how it was for Mick’s wife Colette and his 2 eldest kids Dewey and Noelle (who were SIX and FIVE years old at the time) who were sat ringside. It would take around 10 more years until WWE outlawed Chair shots to the head, but really they should’ve done it immediately after this match.
6. JBL v John Cena (C), WWE Championship, ‘I Quit’ match, Judgement Day 2005 = 4.5*
Believe it or not this was the now 16 time world champion John Cena’s very first title reign, and this was the blow off match in the feud that saw him win that title at that year’s Wrestlemania. JBL came out with the older WWE Championship belt in contrast to the current champion who came out with his new ‘spinner’ belt during his extravagant entrance (he was on the back of a flat-back truck that had a DJ playing a live set to accompany Cena’s entrance music… yes this really happened…). This match when it finally got going went all over the arena, and it was… gruesome! The main spots in this match where when JBL smashed Cena over the head with a chair busting him open, JBL getting thrown into a TV monitor that smashed that and cut JBL open, JBL choking a blood drenched Cena with a cable, and then finally the finish occurred when JBL was sat at the top of the rampway with Cena threatening to hit a battered challenger in the head with an exhaust pipe from JBL’s nearby limo, and under threat and defenseless the former Bradshaw reluctantly says he quits. cena despite being by this point COVERED in blood then hit JBL with the exhaust pipe anyway, sending JBL through the glass panel of the stage area behind him. The PPV would end with Cena stood on the top rope, lifting both the old WWE title belt and his new spinner WWE customized belt, whilst he has blood covering his entire face… to be fair this is a pretty cool visual. This ppv is rated as “TV-MA” on the WWE Network (unsuitable for children under 14) due to the amount of blood in this match, and rightfully so. It’s also funny that this crowd were universally behind Cena throughout the match, ooooooooohhhhhhh how times would soon change!!!
5. “TLC 2” – The Hardy Boyz (Matt Hardy & Jeff Hardy) v Edge & Christian v The Dudley Boyz (D-Von Dudley & Bubba Ray Dudley) (C), WWE Tag Team Championship, Wrestlemania 17 = 4.75*
The Hardys and The Dudleys brawl to begin as Edge and Christian bring in and utilize the first ladder of the match… it would not be the last. Nobody would escape this gripping classic unscathed in the highlight of one of the most universally adored wrestling events in history. Not even Lita, Rhyno and Spike Dudley who each came in to help their respected allies would get out of this match the same and unhurt! I don’t even know where to begin to summarize this match, I’m sure you’ve heard all about it, and I would say if there were 10 WWE matches from history that you MUST see, this would be on that list. Tables smashed, chair shots, falls from ladders, ladders getting smashed… these performers in this match sealed their place in the hall of fame on this night alone in my opinion (to date, of the 6 participants and 3 further accomplices only Christian (a certainty in the future) and Spike Dudley (a MAYBE in the future) are yet to get a HOF ring as well as The Hardys and Rhyno who are still active performers but again are certain to be Hall of Famers upon retirement. To summarize this is the match where Edge spears Jeff from the belts off of a ladder, and for that spot alone you MUST see this match, because that’s only 1 of the extraordinary amount of crazy spots and mayhem in this classic. If you ever need cheering up, watch this match immediately, it’s the best.
4. Triple H v Rikishi v Kurt Angle (C) v The Undertaker v The Rock v Stone Cold Steve Austin, WWE Championship, Hell in a Cell match, Armageddon 2000 = 4.75*
You’ve just read who was in this match, you know it was Hell in a Cell and that it was for the title… so, can you honestly tell me you don’t want to see this match??? Unsurprisingly people got hurt in this one, so rather than analyse I’ll just list for you the injury sheet that each man sustained in this ungodly contest:
- Austin: thrown into the cell 3x by Taker, head put through a car window by HHH that busted him open
- Rock: choked with a wire by Rikishi, Pedigree’d onto a car roof by HHH that busted him open, head thrown into the cell wall by Rikishi
- Rikishi: choked with a wire by Rock, chokeslammed off the top of the cell by Taker onto the back of a truck below, onto a bed of wood clippings by Taker
- Taker: thrown head first into a car by HHH, smashed over the head with a chair by Kurt Angle to bust him open, hit over the back of the head with a chair and then choked with it by Rikishi
- Angle: head racked on the cell roof by Taker, hit on the head by Taker and Rikishi with a chair, strangled with part of the turnbuckle by Taker, head put through a car window to bust him open, powerslammed onto a car bonnet by Undertaker, hit on the head and then choked with a microphone by Taker
- Triple H: Face racked over the cell wall by Austin to cut him open, launched into the cell 6x by Taker, head twice smashed onto the car bonnet by Austin, catapulted onto a car by Austin, hit over the head with a camera by Austin, head smashed onto a barrel by Stone Cold
For the record Kurt Angle won after crawling over to cover The Rock as Austin and HHH had taken each other out. Austin stunned Angle after his win to close the show as all 6 men lay wasted and destroyed. This was exactly as bloody, chaotic and dramatic as you could expect. Beautiful stuff.
3. Cactus Jack v Triple H (C), WWE Championship, Street Fight, Royal Rumble 2000 = 5*
So after Triple H won his maiden WWE title he, with wife Stephanie and the rest of DX, proceeded to torment and mock Mick Foley eventually destroying him ahead of the street fight. This prompted Foley to morph into his darker alter-ego as he prepared for this war with The Game, and one hell of a war it was. For those of you who read my Hell in a Cell match blog you will know that I’m adamant that without Mick Foley in this feud then Triple H wouldn’t have got over here as a top guy, and the punishment both men endured in this and the HIAC match afterwards helped get him there. An awesome pre-match video package set up this classic in Madison Square Garden to a tone where only extreme violence would suffice, and indeed that’s what we got. The ring bell, steel chairs a plenty, a barbed wire bat, handcuffs, a brief interference from The Rock, and of course THUMBTACKS! And it was those dreaded thumbtacks that bought about the finish of this classic, as after Cactus had scattered them across the ring, and with Triple H’s wife Stephanie pleading for mercy, it was Jack who was backdropped onto and then Pedigree’d into the pile of tacks, but this was NOT enough to put him away, much to the disbelief of the champion. A second Pedigree onto the Thumbtacks was enough to end this absolute classic, but it was Triple H who collapsed of pain and exhaustion after the match and despite winning was stretchered to the back… or at least that was until Cactus Jack ran after him and dragged him back to the ring, before unleashing a vile shot with the barbed wire bat that sent Triple H to the ring floor in a heap. And it was Cactus who raised his hand in symbolic victory, despite having tacks sticking out of his arms and back. Astonishing stuff. Has to be seen to be believed… as does…
2. Randy Orton (C) v Cactus Jack, Intercontinental Championship, Hardcore Match, Backlash 2004 = 5*
In this match where Orton’s Evolution teammates were banned from ringside, this was the beginning of Randy’s ‘Legend Killer’ persona as it was another brutal attack beforehand that saw Foley come out for this match as Cactus Jack. Although Orton himself turned up prepared as he bought a trashcan full of weapons to the ring with him. I don’t think anyone was prepared for just how brutal this match would be. Both men used ‘Barbie’ (the poetic yet sadistic name for the barbed wire covered bat Foley was famed for using) with Cactus using it like a meat-cleaver to rip away at the face of Orton so that he bleed profusely, he then used barbie to attack Randy’s… ‘never-regions’ …, Jack would then light barbie with Gasoline but had to stop short of lighting it on fire after Eric Bischoff came out and threatened to stop the entire show immediately if he did so, Jack fortunately repented… and settled for getting a barbed wire covered wood board! Although it was Jack who took the pain from that as after getting flour from Orton in his eyes, and then Randy bodyslammed Cactus onto the board… but ONLY got a 2 count!!! Foley would later place the backboard in the corner of the ring, Orton went and got a bag of THUMBTACKS and spread them over the ring floor, and as Orton set up to RKO his opponent onto the tacks, Cactus reversed it and it was Orton who landed back first onto the pile of tacks to a thunderous noise from what was a pretty incredible crowd. Orton would go on to try and escape from his living nightmare by running to the back, only for Cactus to run after him before throwing Orton off the stage area to the floor below and then DIVING OFF THE STAGE WITH AN ELBOW DROP, THIS WAS INSANE! Jack would get a number of nearfalls shortly after before back in the ring Orton took charge with a number of shots with Barbie, before then running into Mr Socko from Cactus, Orton would escape with a punch and a low blow before getting out of another Socko with an RKO that got a nearfall, before FINALLY this battle ended with Orton hitting Cactus with an RKO ONTO BARBIE for the win! Once again though it was not Foley who suffered the most here as Evolution came down to ringside to drag away their battered youngster at the conclusion of this bloodbath. Do not watch this if your stomach is weak, but if you enjoy your blood and carnage in your wrestling like me then this is the one for you… Apart from…
1. Edge (w/Lita) v Mick Foley, Hardcore Match, Wrestlemania 22 = 5*
SHOCK; Mick Foley helps an upcoming star finally get to that main event level in what was a truly unforgettable hardcore epic, and he did the honours in the process… Mick Foley; Legend! I wouldn’t recommend watching this match with… say your Mum or your Gran unless they like to see blood, pain and FIRE… yes I said FIRE! This match was full of some pretty brutal stuff so I’ll just run through the main highlights… The first big spot in this match saw Edge hit Foley with a Spear, only for Edge to come away writhing in pain… it turned out Foley had wrapped barbed wire around his chest to counter his opponent’s finisher, and this subsequently left The Rated R Superstar with severe lacerations to his arm. After going on to rake Foley’s face with a barbed wire bat and then dropping him face first onto ‘Barbie’ Edge would take it up a notch by getting a bag of thumbtacks and scattering them on the floor of the ring. Edge went on to try and drop Foley onto the tacks but it was countered and instead it was Edge himself who went back-first onto them, selling his agony immediately whilst the tacks were all over his back! Foley would follow this up by getting his signature ‘Mr Socko’ and wrapping that in barbed wire, hitting Edge and then Lita too with it! After further damage and blood was coming from all involved Foley then grabbed some lighter fluid and covered a table that had been set up at ringside with it, Lita then crawled under the ringside area and hit Foley with Barbie, Foley hobbled on the apron on the outer-side of the ring, Lita then added more lighter fluid onto the covered table and then LIT THE TABLE ON FIRE, AND THEN EDGE CAME FLYING THROUGH THE MIDDLE ROPES, SPEARING FOLEY OFF THE APRON AND SENDING BOTH MEN CRASHING THROUGH THE TABLE THAT WAS ON FIRE!!!!! It was one of the most incredible spots I have ever seen and after Edge crawled over for the cover and the win, that spot alone may have been enough to claim the top spot on this list, but this match was about as Hardcore a Hardcore match as you could get.