Hearing about a backstage fight in wrestling is like opening up your first gift on Christmas morning. Usually you are super excited to discover what’s in store, and in most instances, you aren’t disappointed. Over the past few decades, there have been hundreds of backstage fights between wrestlers, many of which we will never hear about. Luckily for us, the internet has done a great job of preserving the stories that we do have on record so that they will live on forever. Today we will be taking a look at every backstage fight in the history of wrestling.
Well okay...so maybe not every single fight, but we are going to detail every single fight that we were able to find details about. I feel like I need to establish the definition of a fight that qualifies for this article. First, there has to have been some sort of physical contact besides a chest bump - this article would be at least double this size if we included guys who only barked at each other backstage. The second thing to keep in mind is that I disregarded fights that don’t have at least one participant who was a big name in wrestling. Sure there were some indie show fights that could have made the list, but do you really want to read about two guys you never heard about before going at it? Didn’t think so. Lastly, to be included on this list, the two participants had to have been part of the wrestling business. Sorry to all of you who want to read about Shawn Michaels getting beat up by Marines, that would be included here today.
With all that being said, I’d like to give credit to armpit-wrestling for providing the backstory for many of these fights. As always feel free to let me know which fights I missed, or which were your favorites in the comments section.
49 48. Jericho vs. Sin Cara II - 2016
Perhaps not learning his lesson after his near fatal experience at SummerSlam with Brock Lesnar (more on that later), Chris Jericho once again created front page news by getting into a scuffle with Sin Cara backstage. During a bus ride on the WWE’s European tour, Cara was making annoying fart noises, annoying everyone in the process. Being the veteran he is, Jericho shouted for Cara to stop, to which the Luchador replied “F*** off”. If Jericho is crazy enough to confront a former UFC Heavyweight Champion, you’d have to imagine that a cruiserweight wouldn’t be able to intimidate him away.
48 47. Sin Cara II vs. Simon Gotch - 2016
47 46. Brock Lesnar Vs. Chris Jericho - 2016
Chris Jericho is easily the bravest person to ever set foot inside the WWE. I don’t care what you say or how you feel about it, the fact that he was ready to fight a former UFC Heavyweight Champion who had 100+ pounds on him proves it. The legend goes that Jericho was legitimately upset that nobody would tell him the finish of the the Lesnar/Randy Orton match at SummerSlam. Right in the middle of his rant, Lesnar entered the gorilla position and told Jericho to mind his own business. Jericho, of course didn’t. He instead walked up to Lesnar and shouted in his face, to which The Beast responded with a finger push. Jericho immediately jumped into Lesnar’s face, pressing his forehead against the former UFC star’s forehead.
46 45. Sheamus vs. Sin Cara I- 2014
45 44. Big Show vs. Great Khali - 2009
44 43. Sheamus vs. Yoshi Tatsu - Late 2000s
There are many uncertainties that play into this altercation between former WWE Champion Sheamus and former WWE employee Yoshi Tatsu. The facts are that the two men once shared an apartment during their time in developmental, and many people thought that Sheamus behaved as a bully. The facts become a bit alternative from that point forward. Some people believe that the Tatsu utilized his background as a former boxer to beat the tar out of Sheamus, while others say Yoshi merely slapped the taste out of Sheamus’ mouth. In either case, the fight was apparently caused due to a blender that Sheamus refused to clean, and in an attempt to teach him some respect, Tatsu confronted his roommate.
43 42. JBL vs. Joey Styles - 2008
42 41. Batista Vs. Booker T - 2006
The Batista/Booker T fight is probably one of the most famous backstage brawls of all-time. Maybe it is so famous because it is the only fight that the WWE actually promoted on television and their website! The fight itself was caused by a number of factors. The driving factor in the scuffle was disrespect. Being a veteran of the business, Booker T demanded respect from younger talent, and when Batista refused to shake his hand in the locker room King Booker had enough. It’s also important to note that the two men had heat through their significant others (Sharmell and Melina), who may or may not have inadvertently accelerated the hostility between Booker and Batista.
41 40. JBL Vs. Blue Meanie - 2005
40 39. Santino Vs. Jim Cornette - 2005
Like most “fights” on this list, this one between Jim Cornette and Santino Marella is more of a one-sided physical confrontation. Back in 2005, Jim Cornette was still in the good graces of the WWE and was running OVW as a developmental territory for the company. One of the talents that Cornette was trying to develop was The Boogeyman, who was in the infant stages of developing his character. During one of Boogey’s early promos, Cornette had all of his students pretend to be scared as he left the ring. The only student who didn’t run away scared from Boogeyman was Santino, which infuriated Cornette. After the show, Cornette confronted Santino and slapped him in the face much to the surprise of everyone.
39 38. Ric Flair Vs. Eric Bischoff - 2003
Though this altercation happened while both men were signed to WWE, the heat between Ric Flair and Eric Bischoff actually stemmed from years of scorn while they were employed by WCW. Flair long-windedly wrote in his book about the incident, but all you need to know is the cliff notes version for this entry. Upon learning that Bischoff was alone in a room after his 2003 hire to WWE, Flair instructed Arn Anderson to watch the door so that he could confront his former boss. Bischoff was on a phone call, which quickly ended by the way of a slap across the face. After knocking the phone out of Bischoff's hand, Flair swung on him three times and mounted the back-pedalling Bischoff on the couch. Flair then stuck his finger into Bischoff's eye and told him that he could take his eye out, but would rather fight. Bischoff refused and Sgt. Slaughter rushed in the room to stop the fight.
38 37. Kurt Angle Vs. Eddie Guerrero - 2004
During the final years of Eddie Guerrero’s life, there is no doubt that he wasn’t the competitor he once was and though he could still put on good shows they were becoming far and few between. This type of streaky performance is what instigated a fight between Guerrero and Kurt Angle in 2004. Following a match, Angle began screaming at Eddie for not pulling his weight in the ring which led to a loud argument in gorilla. After being shoved twice, Eddie went for a single leg takedown of Angle but sadly forgot that Kurt was an Olympic Gold Medalist. Angle easily reversed the move into a headlock and held Guerrero in that position until The Big Show came over and broke up the fight.
37 36. CM Punk vs. Teddy Hart - 2004
36 35. Chavo Guerrero Vs. Big Show - 2004
35 34. Ric Flair vs. Mick Foley - 2004
34 33. Eddie Guerrero Vs. Charlie Haas - 2003
Respect for seniority is one of the most important qualities in the backstage wrestling culture, and usually that respect translates to the ring as well. When a veteran ring general instructs someone to do something between the ropes, younger talent should always listen. In the case of a 2003 match between Eddie Guerrero and Charlie Haas, the latter didn’t exactly follow the direction of the former. Guerrero was teaming with his nephew Chavo against Team Angle (Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas), and hyperextended his elbow during the match. Guerrero told Haas to ease up on his arm during the match, but felt that his opponent didn’t show any additional concern for his injury.
33 32. Chris Jericho vs. Bill Goldberg - 2003
Chris Jericho’s giant “grapefruits” make another appearance on this list, this time taking on Goldberg during a 2003 taping of RAW. When Goldberg eventually signed to the WWE in 2003, Jericho still had some resentment towards the WCW megastar for taking the spotlight away from smaller wrestlers. When Jericho found out that Goldberg was badmouthing him in the WWE - a company that Jericho was now established in - he confronted the former NFL linebacker head on. After a few harsh words, Goldberg grabbed the throat of Jericho but his hand was immediately slapped away.
32 31. New Jack Vs. Gypsy Joe - 2003
So technically this wouldn’t count as a “backstage” fight, but there is no way that I couldn’t mention the debacle of a match that took place in 2003 between New Jack and Gypsy Joe. Joe went into the bout upset at Jack for not having any respect for him backstage, and just minutes into the match the show turned into a real fight. Even though New Jack was legitimately hitting Joe with real weapons, Joe refused to sell any of his opponent’s offense.
31 30. Buff Bagwell vs. Hurricane Helms - 2001
After WCW was purchased by Vince McMahon, many of the WCW mainstays decided to sit out their contracts and get paid to wait it out. This left the WWE with few actual “stars” to pluck out of the WCW merger and scraping at the bottom of the barrel to fill spots in their invasion storyline. One of the people who got a chance to rise to main event status was Buff Bagwell. However, his actions behind the scenes quickly brought a screeching halt to his push, as an altercation with Hurricane Helms would lead to him being released from the company. Bagwell and Helms got into an argument after Bagwell told the future Tag Team Champion that he would never be a star in the company. Helms responded by accusing Bagwell of being on steroids in front of everyone present. Buff didn’t take kindly to this and slapped Helms in the back of the head, and was quickly busted open when Hurricane threw a bottle of water at Bagwell’s head.
30 29. Scott Steiner Vs. DDP - 2000
In wrestling there is crazy, and then there is Scott Steiner crazy. Unfortunately for DDP back in 2000 he dealt with crazy up close and personal. Following the adoption of the Big Poppa Pump gimmick, Steiner changed both physically and personally. When Steiner found out that DDP’s real life wife Kimberly told WCW management about finding drugs in the locker room, he chased her out of the building causing heat between him and Page. The following week Steiner went off script during a promo insulting DDP repeatedly. When he returned to gorilla, Page sucker punched Steiner and was immediately suplexed to the other side of the room.
29 28. Goldberg vs. Evan Karagias - 2000
28 27. Sandman Vs. Tommy Dreamer - 2000
You would think that a company like ECW would have countless stories about backstages fights given all the huge personalities that were featured there. One fight that we do know about however, is Sandman versus the world, but for the sake of name recognition, we will limit it to just Tommy Dreamer. In the year 2000 during a rare traveling show for ECW, Sandman cut a promo in the middle of the ring for the crowd. No big deal right? Well did I mention that he pulled out his “big cane and little cane” in the ring? Yup, that’s right, Sandman exposed his penis for the entire paying crowd to see.
27 26. Ernest Miller vs. Buff Bagwell - 1999
26 25. New Jack Vs. Junkyard Dog - 1998
By 1998 Junkyard Dog was past his wrestling prime, but was still very active on the independent scene. Knowing that JYD was available, Paul Heyman booked him to appear on the ECW pay-per-view Wrestlepalooza. During the day of the show, JYD got into a scuffle with ECW “wrestler” New Jack over $300 worth of marijuana that he owed him. New Jack apparently wanted his money back for the drugs he gave him, but Dog refused to pay Jack back. Though Heyman asked Jack not to start anything, he claimed that JYD was antagonizing him and he needed to retaliate. Jack claims that the two were bumping chests and that Dog charged at him trying to take him to the floor, but JYD maintained that he was hit from behind by Jack. Both stories involve them eventually throwing punches at each other until JYD was cut open underneath his eye.
25 24. New Jack Vs. Pitbull #2 - 1997
24 23. Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels - 1997
23 22. Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon - 1997
22 21. Roddy Piper Vs. Kevin Nash - 1997
21 20. Road Warrior Hawk Vs. Macho Man - 1996/1999
20 19. Steve Blackman vs. JBL - Late 1990s
All of the stories you hear about Bradshaw being a locker room bully makes this story about Steve Blackman humbling him sooooooo much better. After a night of excessive drinking, JBL was still drunk while waiting on a plane at an airport. With nothing else to do, Bradshaw started to look for people to pick on; Steve Blackman was in his cross hairs. After giving Bradshaw two warnings, Blackman finally backhanded the former WWE Champion and continued to jab/kick him until he accidentally slipped on someone’s luggage. After being pulled apart Blackman calmly told JBL that he was going to kill him.
19 18. Vader vs. Paul Orndorff - 1995
Vader has never been a guy who people would call a victim, especially when it comes to his hard hitting shoot style in the ring. Behind the scenes wasn’t any different, as Vader was rarely challenged and was feared among many of the boys for being a legitimate tough guy. One man who did challenge Vader however, was Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff. After Vader was late to a WCW taping Orndorff, who was a road agent at the time, got into Vader’s face and told him to take his best shot. Vader refused Orndorff’s advances, but that didn’t stop Mr. Wonderful from getting in 400 pounder’s face and calling him a “fat prima donna”. After about a minute of being berated Vader threw an open hand slap that sent Orndorff flying towards the wall. Feeling guilty about his actions, Vader refused to fight Orndorff after the slap, and claims he let Orndorff get the better of him over the next few minutes. Mr. Wonderful certainly seized the opportunity by punching Vader in the face a few times, throwing him on the ground and kicking the big man six or seven times.
18 17. Road Warrior Hawk Vs. Eddie Guerrero - Mid-‘90s
This fight between Road Warrior Hawk and Eddie Guerrero only became public knowledge due to it being written about in Eddie’s book in 2005. In the biography, Eddie took full responsibility for the “fight”, as he was drunk and looking to pick a fight with the future Hall of Famer. By all accounts, Guerrero was drunk out of his mind during a tour of Japan in the mid-'90s, and wanted to show how tough he was. Logically the future WWE Heavyweight Champion picked a fight with Hawk because he was the biggest guy around. After pushing Hawk a few times Eddie began to walk away, only to be punched in the back of the head multiple times.
17 16. RVD Vs. Taz - Mid-‘90s
Though most mainstream fans will remember his commentary in WWE, Taz was thought by many to be one of the toughest guys on the ECW roster during the 1990s. He may have talked tough, but RVD wasn’t buying the talk and confronted Taz backstage during an ECW taping. Apparently, Taz was caught red handed talking trash about RVD and Sabu’s match, and rather than arguing with his coworker RVD just had a simple request; “pick a hand.”
16 15. New Jack vs. Dances With Dudley - 1995
During a match between The Gangstas and The Dudley Boyz in 1995, an actual stiff fight began in the ring and was finished backstage. After New Jack (big surprise right) felt that Dances With Dudley was being too stiff in the ring, he stiffly broke Dances’ nose during the match. When Dudley made his way backstage, Jack rushed him and cracked him in the head with a nightstick. Dudley was dazed but stayed on his feet and immediately tackled New Jack near a broken window, which could have killed either man. It took the entire ECW locker room to break up the fight, with Dances needing 12 stitches following the altercation.
15 14. Road Warrior Hawk Vs. 2 Cold Scorpio - 1995
14 13. Arn Anderson vs. Sid Vicious - 1993
In what is probably the most infamous backstage brawl of all-time, the story ends with the near death of a top guy in WCW. I’m getting ahead of myself though, the story starts with a drunk Arn Anderson getting angry at Sid Vicious for bragging about a raise. The ire for Sid comes from the fact that Arn had to watch many in the company take pay cuts for Sid to receive his raise. Additionally, Sid had held the company up for money twice all while missing shows on purpose. Anyway, a drunk Arn was sick of hearing Sid talk so he threw a mug of beer at him with Sid following suit. The boys who were out with the two men kept them apart and escorted them to their respective rooms.
The story splits here between Arn’s version and Sid’s version. Arn claims that he heard someone banging at his door, and when he opened it up he was smacked by a chair leg and left passed out. When he woke up Sid was on top of him and Arn was able to get free and grab a pair of scissors to stab Sid with. Sid on the other hand, claims that he was at Arn’s door but calmed down and tried to hash things out because they were too drunk to fight. When Sid tried to leave, Arn came after him with the scissors and stabbed him in the stomach.
13 12. William Regal vs. Van Hammer - Early ‘90s
12 11. Vince McMahon vs. Nailz - 1992
11 10. Ric Flair vs. Brian Knobbs - 1991
10 9. DDP vs. FireBreaker Chip - 1991
The first half of the 1990s was radically different for WCW than the latter half of the decade, with the company hemorrhaging money until Eric Bischoff took over. Not yet established stars were just getting their start during the early ‘90s, like DDP who had transitioned from a manager into a full fledged wrestler. Though he was green in the ring, DDP knew he was being taken advantage of in his second match for WCW by eventual jobber Firebreaker Chip. Chip was working Page’s arm too hard, and as a receipt, DDP delivered stiff kicks to Chip’s body. When the two men came through the curtain they began to bump chests and Chip threw the first punch at DDP’s temple.
9 8. Ken Shamrock vs. The Nasty Boys - 1990
After partying at a club prior to their WWE days, The Nasty Boys made some inappropriate and harassing gestures towards a woman who was sitting with Ken Shamrock. Shamrock was going to let it go until the Nasties started grabbing the woman’s breasts repeatedly. After telling the duo to stop, Brian Knobbs gave Shamrock a pie face with his palm and was carried out by security. An enraged Shamrock went looking for Knobbs and found him passed out on his motel bed. Shamrock, who was trained in MMA at the time, jumped onto Knobbs and began beating his head in, until he was hit from behind by Jerry Sags. Sags claims that he actually pulled Shamrock off of Knobbs and was getting the better of him without any kind of sucker punch happening.
8 7. Shawn Michaels vs. Marty Jannetty - Early ‘90s
7 6. Rick Rude Vs. Ultimate Warrior - 1989
6 5. Brian Pillman vs. Brick Bronsky- 1988
You may not know who Brick Bronsky is, but for the sake of this story just remember that he was a friend of The Bulldogs who worked for Stampede Wrestling. If you are reading this article, then I am going to assume that you know who Brian Pillman is, and his reputation in the business. As for the two men’s confrontation, well it would seem that the entire thing was instigated by Dynamite Kid of The Bulldogs. Kid didn’t like Pillman and orchestrated for Bronsky to ambush Pillman during a Stampede show - all went to plan and Pillman was knocked out via sucker punch. While Bronsky was high fiving The Bulldogs, Pillman returned to his feet and tackled Bronsky into a set of lockers. What ensued is probably better described by Bruce Hart who was there that night:
“Pillman began raining punches and kicks on Beltzner (Bronsky) in one of the most one-sided utter s***-kickings I’ve ever seen. When the smoke had cleared, (Bronsky’s) face had been pounded into a bloody pulp, with his cheekbone protruding grotesquely through his skin and both eyes swollen shut.”
5 4. Haku vs. Jimmy Jack Funk - 1987
4 3. Scott Hall Vs. Marty Jannetty - 1985
3 2. Paul Orndorff Vs. Tony Atlas - 1982
Many fans know that Paul Orndorff was considered one of the toughest guys in wrestling during his prime, and with good reason too. Orndorff wasn’t scared to tangle with anyone back in the day, including a very intimidatingly looking Tony Atlas. Back when the two men were working for Mid-South Wrestling they often were riding partners, but as we know, tight quarters can cause people to turn on each other. Atlas and Orndorff weren't immune to this, and ended up pulling over to a truck stop to fight over legroom in the car.
2 1. Kamala vs. Andre the Giant - 1982
A story that has circulated among many wrestling fans throughout the years is about how Kamala once pulled a gun on Andre the Giant in the ‘80s. Many people don’t know that prior to Kamala pulling out a weapon on the Eighth Wonder of the World, the two men actually got into a fist fight. While on the Steve Austin Show podcast, Kamala stated that he “beat up” Andre after he called him a racial slur during a match.
It makes you wonder though, if Kamala (a giant in his own right) got the best of the seven footer, then why would he need to pull a gun out afterword? My own personal thought is that the two may have gotten into a fight, but there is no way that Kamala came out on top.
1 Honrable Mention: Bruiser Brody Stabbed In Altercation
We don't have this incident on our official list of backstage fights, as this incident was well beyond a fight. At a show in Puerto Rico in 1988, Bruiser Brody was found in the locker room bleeding to death after allegedly being stabbed by Jose Gonzalez. Following a match with Dan Spivey, Gonzalez asked Brody to go to the shower area where they could discuss business. A few minutes later, Tony Atlas claims he found Brody hunched over holding his stomach, while Gonzalez was wielding a knife.
Gonzalez was never convicted for the death of Brody, as he cited self defense. Brody was known to have made plenty of enemies in the wrestling business, but his death remains an unsolved mystery to this day.
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