Professional wrestling's history with the extreme is hardly recent, contrary to popular opinion. For generations, wrestlers have always taken matters into their own hands with whatever's lying around. Usually steel chairs or brass knuckles, competitors have used everything from garbage cans and kitchen sinks to barbed wire and fire to defeat the opposition.
In fact, extreme wrestling had become such a thing that by the end of the 1990s, entire PPVs and wrestling promotions were built around the concept. In fact, such a PPV is coming up tomorrow night. But with the move to safer and more family-friendly wrestling in recent years, let's be honest: Extreme Rules is an outdated concept, and chances are we won't see anything even remotely as extreme as these...
MOST EXTREME MOMENTS IN WRESTLING EVER.
Before we look at the most extreme moments ever, here are...
10 honorable mentions, or ten moments almost extreme enough to make the countdown.
1. We begin with what may actually pass for "extreme" in 2015. Except this moment happened in 2003: Scott Steiner and Triple H and their EXTREME BICEPS in an arm wrestling contest. Pretty sure the reaction Vince McMahon got while watching this was "extreme" too.
2. Pro Wrestling Guerilla is regarded as one of the premier indies on the west coast, and being independent means you can do a little more than what you can get away with on the mainstream programs, such as slam each other into Legos and hard candies as Joey Ryan and Drake Younger did. Mick Foley may be the hardest of the hardcore, but I'm pretty sure he drew the line at Legos.
3. Hey! Remember a time when Big Show mattered? And when Brock Lesnar was a beast of a man? One of these things is still true, and if you need to figure out which one it is, check out Brock superplexing Big Show so hard the ring shattered.
4. There were many doubts as to Triple H's viability as a main-eventer as the new century began. But his match at the 2000 Royal Rumble, capped off by Triple H pedigreeing Cactus into thumbtacks to win the match, quieted those doubts.
5. Remember when Edge speared Jeff Hardy from high above at Wrestlemania X-Seven, essentially taking him out of the TLC match? Of course you do. In a moment of continuity, Jeff Hardy finally got payback on Edge...six years later, as Jeff, with the encouragement of his brother Matt, killed him straight dead with a legdrop.
6. Jeff Hardy's had more than a few extreme moments in his wrestling career. Everybody remembers Jeff Hardy's swanton from Wrestlemania 2000, but he actually first did it more than two months earlier in Madison Square Garden.
7. Need someone to have a main-event cementing performance? Call Mick Foley. He did it again in 2006, six years after his retirement from full-time competition , when he and Edge put on a hardcore match for the ages.
8. Jimmy Jacobs and BJ Whitmer have had quite the relationship, dating back more than a decade. Friends, tag team champions, and rivals, their story is one of the most fascinating in ROH history. In June 2006 at In Your Face, Whitmer and Jacobs took the event's title a little too seriously when Whitmer superbombed Jacobs into the crowd. All things considered though, it could have been worse.
9. The TLC match at Wrestlemania X-Seven is often seen as one of the greatest ladder matches in wrestling history. The critical moment of the trilogy bout, dating back to the previous Wrestlemania and that August's Summerslam, saw Matt Hardy and Bubba Ray Dudley go through four tables...from the top of a ladder.
10. The ECW Arena crowd has always been among the most vocal in wrestling history. They've also been among the most helpful, always willing to lend a hand to their warriors. At Hardcore Heaven 1994, they were a little too helpful. Terry Funk and Cactus Jack were asking for chairs to finish off Public Enemy. They probably only wanted a couple of chairs; they got a couple hundred, and Public Enemy ended up buried in chairs. Even Funk and Jack said, fuck it, I'm out. Stop throwing chairs, you guys.
Not extreme enough for you? Well, prepare yourself for...
the 10 most extreme moments ever.
Hope your insurance is paid up. And remember, if your favorite didn't make it, you have no one to blame but you.
10. Steve Blackman knocks Shane McMahon off the Summerslam tron.
When Shane McMahon won the hardcore title from Steve Blackman in 2000, you knew payback would be coming. For weeks, McMahon ducked the martial artist...can't blame him, as he's now a bounty hunter, but eventually, Shane-O-Mac ran out of places to hide at Summerslam 2000. He thought he had a chance by climbing one of the support beams on the set. Well... he had a chance.
9. Kurt Angle's moonsault from the top of the cage.
Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit had quite the rivalry in 2001. The beef over who really was WWF's #1 technical wrestler eventually drove these two to a steel cage. A high stakes steel cage match, where the winner would challenge Stone Cold Steve Austin for the WWF title. And Angle was pulling no punches to get that shot. He took a huge chance when he climbed to the top of the cage and attempted a moonsault. He hardly hit the move from the top rope; what could possibly go wrong?
8. Terry Funk and Sabu have a barbed wire massacre.
When talking about the history of hardcore wrestling, Sabu and Terry Funk should be in the first paragraph. If you watched ECW Hardcore TV during late 1997 and 1998, you would hear of a match so barbaric, it would never air on television. Ever. That match, Sabu vs. Terry Funk in a barbed wire ropes match, was so gruesome (Sabu suffered a torn biceps and actually taped it up while the match was in progress), Paul Heyman decided never to book such a match again. Oh, and it was for the ECW world title. WARNING: THE VIDEO BELOW MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR ALL VIEWERS.
7. The Rock and Mankind take the I Quit match to uncomfortable levels.
In late 1998 and early 1999, the Rock and Mankind had one of the more physical rivalries in wrestling history. The two were polar opposites: Mankind, once the apple of McMahon's eye, was rugged, tough, willing to sacrifice his body to destroy yours. The Rock was polished, clean, corporate, and by the 1999 Royal Rumble event, the crown jewel of the Corporation. After Mankind won the WWF title a few weeks earlier, Mankind was in no hurry to give Rock a rematch... until Rock inadvertendly quits on giving suggestions. Next thing he knows, The Rock finds himself in an I Quit match, seemingly a no win situation for the challenger.
The match at the Royal Rumble would be one of the most controversial in wrestling history, first after being immortalized in Beyond the Mat when footage of the match came with footage of Mick Foley's wife and children watching in horror, and when in recent years information has come out on headshots and concussions.
WARNING: THE VIDEO BELOW MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR ALL VIEWERS.
6. Bubba Ray Dudley powerbombs Mae Young off the stage.
The Dudley Boyz made their name in ECW by putting people through tables, winning tag team championships, inciting near riots, and inciting actual riots. The Dudley Boyz made their name in the WWE by winning tag team championships, inciting near riots, inciting actual riots, and putting people through tables, particularly those of the fairer sex. No one was safe, not even senior citizens. In March 2000, Mae Young was a victim on consecutive Mondays. The second one lives in wrestling lore.
5. Mankind goes through the Hell in a Cell cage.
Mick Foley's always been one to put safety second when it comes to entertaining the fans. So he and the Undertaker have an idea to start their Hell in a Cell encounter in June 1998: start on top of the cell. It didn't end so well for Foley. He was thrown off the cage less than two minutes into the match. The match was stopped for ten minutes, and for all intents and purposes should have ended there. But Mankind was having none of that. So he got off the stretcher, climbed the cage again, and more or less dared Undertaker to do it again. It didn't go much better for Foley. In fact, it went worse. Because while the toss off the cage was planned, this was not.
4. Edge kills Jeff Hardy dead via a spear from a ladder.
There were many classic moments from Wrestlemania X-Seven. But perhaps there was no more defining moment than when during TLC 2: Electric Boogaloo, Edge speared a dangling Jeff Hardy from near the top of the ladder to the hard canvas below, practically killing him straight dead.
3. Kurt Angle suplexes Shane McMahon through the glass.
Remember that time from after Wrestlemania X-Seven to the beginning of the Invasion era? Chances are you don't, and I can't blame you. Granted, there were some classic moments (the tag title match on RAW where Triple H tore his quad comes to mind), but they've largely been lost to the dustbin of history. Well.. most of them. This one remained. Kurt Angle was not going to stand for Shane McMahon's parading of WCW on his lawn... or something, leading to a hellacious street fight at King of the Ring that included Shane McMahon's trip to Suplex City, Bitch... via plate glass.
2. Shane McMahon jumps off the Titantron.
Give the family McMahon credit: they've been more than willing to put their bodies on the line so the paying customer got their money's worth. No one exemplified that more than "mah son Shane". Shane-O-Mac could probably have made a decent transitional WWF champion like his father did, but he made out nicely with European and Hardcore Championship runs. He was neither of these at Backlash 2001 when he fought the Big Show in a Last Man Standing match. Shane made sure that Big Show would not be said last man standing by doing something quite drastic.
1. Mankind is thrown from the top of the cell.
I mentioned earlier Mick Foley's penchant for putting his body on the line for the fans. Perhaps the greatest example of that... if it were a few inches off... would have ended his career, or for that matter, his life. You picked this the most extreme moment in wrestling history, and it's hard to disagree. It's only one of the most watched moments in wrestling history, a moment immortalized not just in wrestling history, but in pop culture history.
That's the countdown. Did your favorite make the cut? What should have gotten in?