There was a time in professional wrestling that you could turn on the television and know there was a chance at seeing some blood. Most of the time, it was pretty harmless as wrestlers bladed just a little bit to get color or even had a minor cut. A lot of the bloodiest matches were usually reserved for pay per views, house shows or international events.
Blading was commonplace in wrestling thanks to guys like Dusty Rhodes and Abdullah the Butcher, and was even prevalent in WWE matches during the early 2000s. Sometimes, though, blading can go horribly wrong and leave the wrestler in a river of blood. Even if you don’t blade, a bad accident can result in an injury that turns a performer into a bloody mess.
When looking back on the bloodiest wrestling matches that made you gag or feel physically ill, none of them have really been recent. As a matter of fact, looking at the list of these matches, none have happened in the past decade. So let’s take a trip back to when you could expect to see a wrestling ring turn into what looked like a crime scene. Here are 15 of the bloodiest, nastiest and hardest to watch wrestling matches in some of the major promotions around the world.
15 Edge vs. Mick Foley
Mick Foley could tell you all there is to know about getting bloody during a wrestling match and it was on display during his entire career. Once he started to get toward the end, he had one more classic in him at WrestleMania 22 when he took on Edge in a hardcore match. Edge didn’t quite have the reputation of being “hardcore” like Foley did, but the both of them put on an absolute show.
Over the course of the match, Edge would suffer some wounds that left both his shoulder and his head bloody, while Foley was covered in the red stuff himself. Edge would go on to win the match after spearing Foley through a flaming table and the aftermath had fans wondering if Edge would even be able to make it down the ramp since he looked like he was in shock.
14 Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels
One of the greatest feuds of the past decade had to be between Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels, as the two put on some clinical matches against one another. The one that left the biggest mess in the ring had us all fearing for Michaels’s safety, and that came at The Great American Bash in 2008.
During the match, Michaels would take an agreed elbow to the eye, leaving his face a bloody mess. The bleeding throughout the course was so bad that the match ended up being stopped by the referees, meaning Y2J won by technical knockout, and Vince McMahon banned blood in the WWE immediately after the match. Michaels told Jericho on his podcast that he just wanted a little bit of blood, but it kept coming.
13 Triple H vs. Ric Flair
Taboo Tuesday is one of those events that seemed like a good idea at the time, but never really carried much steam. If more matches were like the one between former Evolution members Triple H and Ric Flair, it might still be going. Triple H and Flair would go head to head inside of a steel cage for the Intercontinental Championship, with Triple H’s character adamant about ending the legendary career of Ric Flair, and the match made it looked like he had succeeded.
Inside of the cage, both men would be cut open (since both of them were very good at getting red the hard way). Triple H had his forehead ‘bitten’ by Flair while Triple H sent Flair head first into the cage, causing the two wrestlers to get bloody. Flair would eventually win the match and retain his title, but he certainly did not retain all of his blood on the way out of the cage.
12 John Cena vs. JBL
If you ask most wrestling fans that are just now getting old enough to drink legally what the hardest match for them to watch was, they would probably say it came at the 2005 Judgment Day pay per view. The main event featured up and coming John Cena going against legendary heel JBL in an “I Quit” match. Midway into the match, Cena took a chair shot to the head from JBL, busting him wide open.
Cena was cut open pretty badly, but it was the amount of blood that kept coming out that really made the young audience cower. Cena’s blood was all over the ring area and then JBL eventually joined in when his head was busted open. Cena looked like he was covered in so much blood that he wasn’t able to see when holding the two championships that he won as a result of the match.
11 Beulah McGillicutty vs. Bill Alfonso
While the matches that have been on the list so far have been on WWE pay per views, here’s one that not many people know about in the slightest. If you watched a little bit of ECW, you might remember referee and manager Bill Alfonso. Alright, so you don’t know the name, but you probably remember the guy going around with the whistle. That was him.
In 1997, Alfonso was put into a match against Beulah McGillicutty and the blood started almost right away when Alfonso was busted open with a tray. By the way, did we mention that McGillicutty is a woman? We can’t quite remember what the point of this match was in the first place, but Alfonso continued to bleed all over the ring and on McGillicutty. Paul Heyman would say later on that Alfonso is lucky to be alive, since he lost one third of his blood.
10 Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker
The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar have had some momentous matches against one another throughout their careers, especially in the past few years. If you recall, the two faced each other in 2015 at the Hell in a Cell pay per view. However, that’s not the Hell in a Cell match in question on the list, as we’re talking about all the way back in 2002 at No Mercy.
It took a little while for the blood to get pouring, but once it did, it was hard to watch. Lesnar was the first one to take blood after getting a cast to the head, then it was Paul Heyman after getting yanked into the cage by The Undertaker. Finally, The Undertaker would be cut open and took the worst of it after getting slammed by the steel steps. All three men looked rough, but The Undertaker appeared to be near death.
9 Vince McMahon vs. The Undertaker
There are sometimes where you want to see your boss beaten to a blood pulp, but if you actually saw it happen, you might think twice. That’s what happened back in 2003 when Vince McMahon (who was still adamant about having matches back then) went one on one with The Undertaker. There didn’t really need to be a stipulation to make it one sided, but they added a Buried Alive stipulation to make it interesting.
A punch busted McMahon open and it looked like the gash would need immediate stitches, but the show must go on. McMahon was able to get some shots in, but never made The Deadman bleed. The blood continued to pour for the boss as he would go on to win after interference from Kane, somehow being able to operate a front loader while his face was covered in blood.
8 The Great Muta vs. Hiroshi Hase
If you are introducing a new wrestling fan to bloody matches, this is usually the one where it starts. After all, the amount of blood in a match is measured on the “Muta Scale” because of this 1992 match-up between The Great Muta and Hiroshi Hase. The match took place in New Japan Pro Wrestling and it was around 15 minutes before Muta would blade himself, and his cut was incredibly deep.
Muta had his face covered in blood as it seemed to splatter across the ring, something that most audiences weren’t quite used to seeing until things started to get more hardcore. While more matches would become more extreme in terms of blood loss, this is always the original that people point to. The amount of blood Muta lost was a bit overblown, but some people were surprised he didn’t collapse.
7 Abdullah the Butcher vs. Bruiser Brody (NWF)
We could have probably just made a list of 15 matches with Abdullah the Butcher, but that just didn’t seem quite fair. The man was the most notorious blader in wrestling history and the scars on his forehead are deep enough to fit coins into. Between that and his nickname, that pretty much tells you all you need to know. If you had to pick one match, though, it would be against Bruiser Brody when the two were in NWF.
Both men were very familiar with each other, and would put on bloody clinics on a regular basis. The match in question came on February 28, 1987 in San Juan, Puerto Rico (at a baseball stadium). Not only were both men bleeding to the point of insanity and gouging eyes, but they took the match into the crowd. Let’s just say, Abdullah’s blood is something you don’t want on your body.
6 Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H vs. Chris Benoit
If it were up to the WWE, this match would only be known as the legendary one on one contest between friends and rivals Shawn Michaels and Triple H (like they made it in the video games). However, there was a third man there and it was Chris Benoit. This match took place at WrestleMania XX and was one of the most memorable WrestleMania matches ever.
In the triple threat match, the only one that didn’t draw blood was Benoit, who went on to win the title. Throughout the course of the match, both Michaels and Triple H would start bleeding profusely. Benoit got Michaels to draw blood and then Michaels would make Triple H bloody. Despite all of the blood, the three were able to put on this classic match with Triple H tapping out.
5 Cactus Jack vs. Triple H
If you thought that Mick Foley and Triple H were done on this list, think again. Triple H makes his final appearance thanks to one of his brutal matches against Foley, who was wrestling as Cactus Jack. While their match at the Royal Rumble was certainly a slugfest, their match inside of the Hell in the Cell at the 2000 No Way Out pay per view really stands out.
Not only did the blood in this match make it difficult to watch, but seeing Foley take a fall through the top of the cell just made it worse, especially after taking a table bump. There were also unprotected chair shots (which you don’t see anymore) and both men were cut open in multiple places. Triple H would end up taking the win, but Foley would still be The Hardcore Legend.
4 MNM vs. London/Kendrick vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. Regal/Taylor
While a lot of the matches on our list so far have included blading or taking big bumps through objects, this one was just unfortunate. Before he was a member of J&J Security, Joey Mercury was teamed up with Johnny Nitro in a four-team ladder match against Paul London and Brian Kendrick, William Regal and Dave Taylor and The Hardy Boyz.
During the match at Armageddon 2006, Mercury was legitimately injured after being struck in the face with a ladder thanks to Jeff Hardy landing on the ladder, thrusting it into Mercury’s face. Mercury immediately left the ring, bleeding all over the mat thanks to a broken nose. Mercury’s face almost immediately swelled up and it was clear to viewers that Mercury was in need of some medical help.
3 Mick Foley vs. Terry Funk
Mick Foley makes his final appearance on the list in his bloodiest match. It didn’t happen in the WWE, WCW or even ECW, but instead with International Wrestling Association of Japan. In 1995, Foley (as Cactus Jack) entered the King of the Deathmatch tournament, purring on some memorable shows. The best came in the finals against longtime friend Terry Funk, and the stipulation was insane.
That stipulation was “Barbed Wire Rope, Exploding Barbed Wire Boards & Exploding Ring Time Bomb Death Match.” Yeah, that was the real name. Foley would come out on top, but seeming to take years off of his life. Foley was so bloody that he literally looked like he was wearing a Kane mask. You’ll probably see another (sanctioned) one like it, but it went down as the best death match ever.
2 Eddie Guerrero vs. JBL
A lot of WWE fans will tell you that the hardest match to watch that they have ever seen was between Eddie Guerrero and JBL at the 2004 Judgment Day pay per view. There is usually a white mat inside of the ring, but this one was almost completely red by the end of the contest. With all of the blood in the ring, this one somehow ended by disqualification.
Guerrero bladed after being hit by a chair (not called for the DQ), but he gashed an artery in his head. Despite losing an incredible amount of blood, Guerrero continued the match it was actually one of the best of the year. The blood loss for Guerrero was so high that he went into shock and didn’t recover for weeks. As fans remember it, they were sick to their stomachs watching, but couldn’t look away.
1 Mass Transit Incident
Not only did this match completely shock people, but it’s also the most tragic and sad as it almost resulted in a youth’s death. Eric Kulas wanted to be a wrestler and told Paul Heyman that he was old enough to go, getting the nickname Mass Transit. Kulas was just 17 years old at the time, replacing Axl Rotten and was bladed by New Jack after the match after beating him senseless.
The scalpel used by New Jack to blade the teenager severed two of Kulas’s arteries and the immediate blood loss made him pass out. Kulas would get medical treatment as he survived the incident in the squash match and it was caught on video despite being a house show. New Jack had the charges of assault and battery dropped, but the lawsuit nearly crippled ECW. Sadly, Kulas passed away five years later during a gastric bypass surgery, though not related to the Mass Transit Incident.
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