Summerslam 2016 has come and gone and people are still buzzing over the controversial ending to Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton’s long anticipated showdown. The brutal ending saw Lesnar win by TKO after legitimately busting Orton up with a sharp elbow strike to the head. Orton began bleeding profusely, making for an uneasy situation that not only shocked and riveted fans, but also shook up the locker room, who were not in the know as to the intended finish. When blood is involved—especially now in an era where blading is frowned upon and matches are halted if a wrestler is bleeding—it’s a really big deal.
In the past, blood and wrestling went hand in hand. This was especially prevalent in the old territory days when grudge matches between rivals became bloody, or in the Attitude Era, where hardcore, no-holds-barred weapons matches reigned supreme. During those times, blading was used to add drama to a match and give it a heightened sense of violence and brutality. Wrestlers would use razors to cut themselves or use blood capsules to “get color” in an attempt to make the match seem more believable.
Other times wrestlers would bleed “hardway.” This is a situation where a wrestler bleeds by accident, usually from a botched move or sometimes intentionally from a move or strike in the match. At SummerSlam, Brock Lesnar made Orton bleed hardway with a planned elbow strike. However, it wasn't the first time that this had happened in a WWE ring.
The following list covers the most notable times a wrestler has been bloodied without the use of a planned blading, either intentionally or by accident. The entries will be going from the least to the most gruesome occurrences. WARNING: This list is not for the faint of heart.
15 15. John Cena Gets Hit With A Microphone At Bragging Rights 2009
At Bragging Rights in 2009, John Cena was pitted against Randy Orton in one of their many (many, many) PPV main event matches. This time around it was a 60 Minute iron man match for the WWE Championship. Fifteen minutes into the bout, Cena would start bleeding unintentionally from a shot to the head with a WWE microphone. Orton would bring a mic into the ring, presumably to talk some trash and ended up bopping Cena on the top of the head with it.
Almost immediately blood would come pouring down Cena’s face and medics would try to intervene and close up the wound, stopping the clock. Cena would refuse medical attention and go on fighting, using the unplanned moment to improvise and light a fire under himself and go after Orton furiously in what was one of their more memorable contests.
14 Samoa Joe Gets Cut At NXT Takeover: Dallas And The Match Stops Repeatedly
At NXT Takeover Dallas in 2016 during WrestleMania 32 Weekend, NXT Champion Finn Balor was defending his title against Samoa Joe. Both men were having a very physical contest and in the opening minutes, Samoa Joe would receive a legitimate cut above his eye from an elbow which prompted WWE’s medical team to interrupt the match to tend to Joe’s wound, messing with the flow of the contest. Joe would continue to battle Balor and several more times his bleeding would cause another break in the action as the medics would try to stop Joe’s bleeding, much to Samoa Joe’s and the crowds frustration.
The vocal crowd would grow increasingly irritated with all the pauses and begin chanting phrases like “F*** PG”, “Let Joe bleed”, “Bulls***” and more. In the end it made for a memorable physical matchup and the blood stoppage added to the realism and the story of two men who really wanted to hurt each other.
13 Christian Bleeds In A Ladder Match vs. Shelton Benjamin At TLC 2009
Ladder matches may be predetermined but it’s not like the ladders are made out of rubber or foam. That’s cold hard steel there and if it comes into contact with the human anatomy, particularly the head, there will be blood.
At TLC 2009 Christian was defending his ECW Title against Shelton Benjamin in such a ladder match and when Christian would grab a ladder and hold it over his head, Shelton would trip Christian up and the steel would come crashing down on Christian’s face. Christian would start bleeding and because of the new rules of matches having to be stopped to close up wounds, the match would be halted. Due to the new policy causing a break in the action, the restless crowd would boo— having long been used to seeing blood baths in the WWE without interruption in the past.
12 William Regal’s Bloody Match With Chris Benoit On Velocity
It’s a gem that you won’t be able to catch on the WWE Network and relive anytime soon well, because of…you know—but William Regal would square off against Chris Benoit in a physical, scrappy contest between two veterans that resulted in blood, on a 2005 episode of the syndicated C show WWE Velocity no less.
Regal’s physical style has led to him being bloodied on numerous occasions during his great career and this was no exception. After getting hit with a headbutt to the face by Benoit, Regal would began bleeding from the top of his head. This wouldn’t slow down the crafty veteran as he would go on to have an impressive technical masterpiece with Benoit for nearly 15 minutes. It’s a shame that it can’t be looked back on and appreciated unless you bootleg it off the internet.
11 Terry Funk Bloodies Mick Foley On RAW
Mick Foley is a wrestler that doesn’t take to blading. Most of his matches where he is bloodied is usually because of his physical style and his preference for bleeding hard way. A particularly memorable instance was in 2006 when Mick Foley was bloodied by Terry Funk while standing at ringside watching a hardcore match between Edge and ECW Alum Tommy Dreamer on an episode of Raw emanating from Dayton, Ohio. Foley was aligned with Edge at the time and his long-time friend Terry Funk was furious with him for doing so. At the time ECW was in a revival period that Foley was against.
This incident was documented in detail in Foley’s third Autobiography “The Hardcore Diaries”. He discussed with Funk his desire to be busted up hardway with a few stiff punches by Terry Funk, wanting to add realism to a passionate promo after the match which he would dub “The Dayton Hardway Promo”.
10 Brock Lesnar Busts Up John Cena On RAW In 2012
In 2012, Brock Lesnar would shock the world by making a surprise return to the WWE after nearly 8 years away by going after the WWE’s poster boy John Cena. Brock was the same monster but now with a scary addition, a successful MMA run where he captured the UFC Championship during his time away. This gave legitimacy to Brock as an unstoppable fighting machine and Cena would find that out first hand.
A week after being attacked and given an F-5 during Brock Lesnar’s return, Cena would call out Brock and boldly slapped him across the face on an episode of RAW in April 2012. Lesnar would respond by immediately tackling Cena and delivering stiff and VERY REAL blows to Cena, one which would catch Cena right in the mouth. WWE officials and wrestlers would swarm the ring to pull the two men apart and the cameras would capture a glimpse of the damage done to Cena--his mouth bleeding and bruised, just absolutely mangled by Lesnar. Cena would defiantly smile and show his blood stained teeth, further adding to the amazing moment and build to their eventual showdown on PPV.
9 Paul Heyman Busts Open CM Punk At MITB 2013
You wouldn’t expect a manager to be the deliverer of a stiff shot to a wrestler that caused blood to flow but that’s exactly what happened in 2013 at the Money In The Bank PPV when Paul Heyman would turn on his own client, CM Punk. Punk would be competing in a Money In The Bank Ladder match against Kane, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Sheamus, Christian and Rob Van Dam and was on his way to victory with the ring cleared and him inching closer and closer to the Money In The Bank Briefcase.
It is then that Paul Heyman comes into the ring and shoves a ladder into Punk, knocking him off the ladder he was climbing, before shoving the ladder another time which walloped Punk in the head. While the bloody outcome was captured only briefly on camera, the gruesome gash on the top of CM Punk’s head required 13 staples to seal.
8 Brock Lesnar Meets The Ringpost and Is Busted Open at WrestleMania 31
Brock Lesnar doesn’t just dish out hardways, he takes them as well. At WrestleMania 31, The Beast Incarnate was the WWE Champion heading into the big event and was defending his title against 2015 Royal Rumble Winner Roman Reigns. The match would start out one-sided as Brock Lesnar would rip into Roman Reigns with his rough and no-nonsense offense. Roman would get the upper hand on the outside when he would shove Lesnar with full force into the steel post, bloodying Brock legitimately.
Lesnar would wear a crimson mask the rest of the match which only added to the intensity of the battle. In the end Seth Rollins would be the victor by cashing in his MITB briefcase and making the match a triple threat.
7 Daniel Bryan Bleeds From A Headbutt At Smackdown 2015
This entry is particularly noteworthy not only because there was a hardway bleeding incident, but because the same incident resulted in a concussion to Daniel Bryan which would prematurely end his career and cause the beloved Bryan to retire.
Daniel Bryan had only been back a few month in the WWE after nearly a year away because of a career-threatening nerve injury in his neck when he was put back on the shelf again after a match with Sheamus on the April 2nd edition of Smackdown. Daniel Bryan would deliver stiff headbutts to Sheamus which left Bryan dazed and with a gash on his forehead as blood began to stream down his face. Those headbutts would also result in a concussion that would put him out of action for a year and ultimately put an end to his career.
6 Lita Bleeds In A Match Versus Ivory At Survivor Series 2000
While it is typical to have males get busted open during fierce competition in the squared circle, it’s exceptionally rare for a woman wrestler to suffer the same fate. But it surprisingly did happen to WWE Hall of Famer Lita in a Women’s Championship match in November 2000 at the WWE Survivor Series PPV.
While video footage doesn’t make it clear enough to pinpoint the exact spot or action that resulted in the hardway bleeding, Lita would come up off the mat at one point in the match against challenger Ivory bleeding profusely. Lita would surprisingly continue competing and finish up the match, eventually winning it and showing the world what a consummate professional she is in the ring. It’s tough girl moments like this that make Lita more than worthy of being in the Hall of Fame.
5 John Cena Busted Up By Brock Lesnar At Extreme Rules 2012
John Cena is back on this list again and once again its due to the hands of Brock Lesnar. After being beaten bloody in their pull-apart brawl on RAW in the weeks leading up to their Extreme Rules main event, Cena would be bleeding again as a result of Brock Lesnars mammoth punches to the head.
The WWE would divert from the normal PPV main event style in this memorable match as Brock Lesnar would ruthlessly lay into Cena is a way that’s more customary in the octagon than in the squared circle. In the opening minute of the contest, Cena would be tackled once again by Brock and mounted. It is then that Lesnar would go into MMA ground and pound mode and land some very real punches to Cena’s head, bloodying him with ease much like Lesnar did to Randy Orton recently at Summerslam 2016.
This match however would continue and Cena would squeeze out a victory just barely but this match will mostly be remembered as a dangerous contest that put Cena at risk of serious injury.
4 Randy Orton Bloodied By A Ladder At Money In The Bank 2014
Before Orton was getting busted open by Lesnar’s powerful elbow, it was an inanimate object which bloodied Orton at the 2014 Money In The Bank PPV, an unforgiving steel ladder. The carnage would occur near the end of the cluster mess as Orton competed for the vacated WWE Undisputed Championship along with Roman Reigns, John Cena, Alberto Del Rio, Kane, Cesaro and Bray Wyatt.
Orton would be climbing up the ladder and would be cut off by Roman Reigns. Roman would slam Orton’s head against the rung of the ladder and almost immediately blood would start to pour down on the face of the Viper. It’s a gruesome scene that required Orton to get 12 stitches to close up his cut.
3 Brock Lesnar Bloodied By A Ringpost on RAW in February 2013
Brock Lesnar’s biggest challenge may be against his nemesis, the ring post. This is not a duplicate of a previous entry, Lesnar was indeed bloodied by running his face and smacking it into a ring post AGAIN during a brawl with Triple H on a February 25th edition of Monday Night Raw in 2013.
Triple H would launch Brock Lesnar towards the ring post outside and almost immediately blood would begin rushing from Brock’s head like a river in a truly gruesome display. The as the brawl continued, the blood would go everywhere, landing all over Lesnar’s chest and all over Triple H’s hands.
While not necessarily planned, the blood flow truly added to the intensity of their feud and upcoming matchup.
2 Ric Flair's Bloody Promo On RAW In 2005
The Nature Boy Ric Flair is a nutty guy but Ric Flair was at his nuttiest on an episode of RAW in 2005 when he let loose a fiery promo against his once friend turned enemy Triple H and then proceeded to bust himself open with self-inflicted punches to the face.
Triple H had recently broken ties with Ric Flair turning on him and blasting him in the head with a sledgehammer, which Flair bladed for. Triple H would explain that Flair had become mediocre and need to retire. This promo was Flair’s response. Still sporting a gash from the sledgehammer shot blade job. Flair came out with a bandage on his head and in his angry promo toward HHH he would tear off the bandage and begin hitting himself right where the gash was, instantly bloodying himself. Flair would wipe the blood all over his face and clothes in his crazed state while demanding Triple H to come out and fight.
It was one of Flair’s most memorable promos because of the blood he let flow and also one of his most disturbing.
1 Joey Mercury Suffers A Nasty Blow At 2006 Armageddon
Before he was one of the cronies of the Authority as a part of J&J Security, Joey Mercury was a multi-time tag team champion with Johnny Nitro as part of the team MNM. Although he was a solid tag wrestler, Mercury is unfortunately most known for receiving a horrific injury to his face that left him severely bloodied.
The incident occurred at the December 2006 PPV Armageddon as a part of a four team ladder match featuring MNM, The Hardy Boys, Paul London & Brian Kendrick, and the team of William Regal and Dave Taylor.
In the middle of the Match Jeff Hardy would perform a spot where he would jump onto a ladder and a second ladder was launched up by the momentum into the face of MNM. The steel ladder would legitimately smash into Mercury’s face, breaking his nose and making his face open up like a faucet with blood.
The injury was so severe that Mercury could not continue the match and had to be rushed to the back to receive stitches. The footage of the injury was captured on video and it is definitely not a pretty sight and one of the greatest freak accidents in WWE history.