Once upon a time in a land far away lived a monster named Kane whose anti-social, misanthropic behavior spread fear throughout the village known as WWE. Then one day Kane found friends and a way to communicate with those who once shunned the lonely monster, but that would only last for so long.
When the village was expanded, the gross monopoly would send Kane back to his state of rage as his long hidden face was revealed and the monster became more of a threat to those who inhabited the village.
Kane would unleash a fury unlike anything ever seen as innocent men were set on fire while others had their gentiles electrocuted at the hands of the monster. Kane certainly didn’t play well with all the others.
Now then, is there a moral to this story? No. This tale was simply used an example of what WWE once was; the crazy that once existed within the company.
Kane can be labelled a “demon” in the current product but he is definitely far gone from the monster. Seth Rollins would have been in for a lot more than just being dragged through a hole in the ring had he met that version of Kane.
Hellfire and brimstone has been replaced in WWE by sparklers and cobblestone but such are the times. All that remains are the haunting memories of the disturbing WWE years. Those memories that perhaps place twisted smiles on faces.
In this article, we decided to take a look back at WWE and all the contusions it has made on the professional wrestling industry. Specifically, the matches that shocked, awed, and even horrified the audience. Those bouts that we consider – in the words of Paul Simon: “still crazy after all these years.”
These are the top 15 craziest matches in WWE history:
15. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart
Event: WrestleMania 13
Date: March 23rd, 1997
Match Type: Submission
The rivalry that took place between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Bret Hart came during a different time in WWE; a time when the old and traditional concepts and characters were being replaced with new formats and personalities.
The idea of new school versus old school was exemplified with Stone Cold and Bret Hart who had been entangled in a feud for months. And where better to settle the score than WrestleMania?
This Submission match would see Ken Shamrock step in as special guest referee as Stone Cold and Bret Hart beat the hell out of each other in an effort to make the other man submit. In the end, Austin would pass out in pain as Hart was declared the winner.
14. Mick Foley vs. Randy Orton
Date: April 18th, 2004
Match Type: Hardcore
Back in 2004, a young Randy Orton represented Evolution as the WWE Intercontinental Champion. The brash young Superstar who referred to himself as the “Legend Killer” would one day pick a fight with the hardcore legend, Mick Foley.
The first quarter of the year would see Mick Foley and Randy Orton at odds, while Evolution (Ric Flair, Batista, Randy Orton) would challenge and defeat The Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection at WrestleMania XX.
However, the issues between Mick Foley and Randy Orton were far from over and the only way to settle them would be in the most hardcore of environments. Orton would even place the Intercontinental Championship on the line.
In a match that included a barbed wire baseball bat and a bag of thumbtacks, the pretty boy Randy Orton would feel his flesh torn apart at the hands of Mick Foley who had summoned his alter ego of Cactus Jack.
However, in the end, Randy Orton would land an RKO on the gnarly baseball bat and pick up the victory.
13. Triple H vs. Booker T. vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Kane vs. Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels
Event: Survivor Series
Date: November 17th, 2002
Match Type: Elimination Chamber
When Eric Bischoff assumed the role of Raw General Manger, the WCW mastermind was determined to make Raw stand apart from its sister show SmackDown. Thus, Bischoff would introduce the Elimination Chamber; a concept match that blended elements of the Royal Rumble, Survivor Series, and War Games.
The first ever Elimination Chamber match would fittingly take place at Madison Square Garden and would feature six top Raw talents while also placing the World Heavyweight Championship on the line. Then-champion Triple H would be forced to defend the title in the unknown structure against Shawn Michaels, Booker T, Rob Van Dam, Kane, and Chris Jericho.
Much like the first ever Iron Man and Hell in a Cell matches, Shawn Michaels would emerge the winner of the first ever Elimination Chamber match; capturing his first World Heavyweight Championship in the process.
While the Elimination Chamber continues to this day, the first ever viewing of this match would prove to be a new and crazy experience. In fact, the very first Chamber has not been matched in the thirteen years since its inception.
12. The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar
Event: No Mercy
Date: October 20th, 2002
Match Type: Hell in a Cell
It may be a forgotten fact or for some odd reason a fact WWE strictly wants fans to forget but The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar have stepped inside the Hell in a Cell structure once before in the fall of 2002.
Brock Lesnar was in the midst of perhaps the greatest rookie year in WWE history as he was not only the reigning WWE Champion but the youngest to have ever won the title. Meanwhile, The Undertaker had already developed legendary status.
The month prior would see The Undertaker challenge Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship in a match that ended in a no contest. Therefore, the evil cage was called upon to ensure a victor.
In what proved to be a bloody battle between two brute beings, it was “The Next Big Thing” who proved he was much more than just hype as Brock Lesnar retained the WWE Championship.
11. Kurt Angle vs. Shane McMahon
Event: King of the Ring
Date: June 24th, 2001
Match Type: Street Fight
In March of 2001, The Monday War was over but a new “owner” of WCW would emerge. This being Shane McMahon. That summer, Shane was ready to unleash his newly acquired WCW army upon the WWE but not without a quick scuffle with Kurt Angle.
In picking a feud with Kurt Angle, Shane McMahon would have his best match in WWE. While Shane’s total number of bouts is not excessive, the son of Vince was always willing to risk his own well being in the name of entertainment and this match with Angle was no different.
Kurt Angle had already competed twice that night in the King of the Ring tournament; defeating Christian in the semi-finals and losing to Edge in the finals thanks to interference by Shane McMahon.
This would set up a crazy Street Fight that involved a number of hard spots and hard plexiglass which was meant to break on contact. However, it would take Kurt Angle multiple attempts to actually throw Shane McMahon through the glass.
Despite the glass issues, the spots were exciting to watch and Kurt Angle would eventually pin Shane McMahon in the middle of the ring.
10. The Undertaker vs. Kane
Event: Unforgiven: In Your House
Date: April 26th, 1998
Match Type: Inferno
The story of The Undertaker and Kane is said to be a tragic tale of two young boys and an unfortunate fire. For years Kane was hidden away from society, only to grow vicious and vindictive as he wallowed away.
When Paul Bearer introduced The Undertaker to his long lost brother, The Deadman was set to feel the pain of his tormented sibling as a lengthy feud filled with passion and vengeance would ignite.
In the spring of 1998, the two brothers would meet in a brand new match; one that had never been seen before and one that no longer exists in the modern WWE. This bout would be known as an Inferno match.
The ring was surrounded by flames and the rules were simple: set your opponent on fire and you win. Of course, who can forget The Undertaker and the big boot that sent Kane into the flames.
Kane was literally set on fire and as The Undertaker stood victorious, Kane was left running out the arena while ablaze.
9. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels
Event: Bad Blood
Date: June 13th, 2004
Match Type: Hell in a Cell
Once best friends turned bitter enemies (turned best friend again), Triple H and Shawn Michaels would put on a show for WWE fans as their extensive rivalry would consistently hit on the entertainment level.
The Game and HBK would add a great amount of intensity and perceived animosity to a feud that has been one of the best of the new millennium. Certain wrestlers have that certain chemistry.
However, which such an epic rivalry there needed to be an epic ending; something concrete that would finally place an exclamation point on the storied feud. Therefore, the Hell in a Cell structure was needed once again.
In what turned out to be grueling match that lasted over three quarters of an hour, Triple H and Shawn Michaels finally put their rivalry to bed in a classic and crazy encounter that resonated throughout the entire WWE.
8. The New Brood vs. Edge and Christian
Event: No Mercy
Date: October 17th, 1999
Match Type: Ladder
In 1999, Terri Runnels would hold the first and only “Terri Invitational Tournament” where the winning tag team would not only gain $100,000 but also the managerial services of Terri.
The finals would come down to The New Brood (Matt and Jeff Hardy) and Edge and Christian. However, the final match was not to be decided in the traditional tag team fashion but rather in a Ladder match.
On that night in Cleveland, The Hardy Boyz and Edge and Christian brought the house down in match that would change the landscape of tag team wrestling forever. The standing ovation received was more than deserved.
The end result would see Jeff Hardy pull down the $100,000 bag of money that was hanging above the ring but really it didn’t matter who won or lost that night as the fans were the ultimate winners for having been able to witness this crazy and groundbreaking match.
7. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Triple H
Event: No Way Out
Date: February 25th, 2001
Match Type: Three Stages of Hell
When Stone Cold Steve Austin was run over by a car at Survivor Series 1999 (Austin required actual surgery), the “Texas Rattlesnake” would miss nearly a year of action. Upon his return it was revealed that Rikishi was the man behind the wheel that night.
Naturally, Stone Cold would seek his revenge on Rikishi. However, it was soon revealed that the true culprit – and the man behind the entire plan to take out Austin – was in fact Triple H.
The war between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Triple H had officially begun as the two Superstars were prepared to stop at nothing in order to inflict pain and punishment upon the other. This war would culminate in a Three Stages of Hell match.
In a bout that would come down to the wire, Triple H would win 2-1 H in a near forty minute crazy ass-kicking match that truly displayed the greatness of each performer.
6. Edge vs. Mick Foley
Event: WrestleMania 22
Date: April 2nd, 2006
Match Type: Hardcore
When Edge would challenge Mick Foley to a match at WrestleMania 22, the hardcore legend would only accept on the terms he knew so well. Foley and Edge were not to have a wrestling match but a Hardcore match.
In what can be considered the final great match in the career of Mick Foley, the live crowd in Chicago were in for a treat with this bout as both Foley and Edge were on top of their game that night.
The match was as rough as expected, as the usual hardcore elements involved in a Mick Foley match would make their way onto the scene in the build up to the unbelievable conclusion.
Lita, who was at ringside with Edge, would light a table on fire outside the ring. As Mick Foley stood on the ring apron, Edge would spear the multi-personality Superstar through the ropes and through the burning table for the victory in one of the craziest finishes ever seen in WWE.
5. Triple H vs. Cactus Jack
Event: No Way Out
Date: February 27th, 2000
Match Type: Hell in a Cell
In this Hell in a Cell encounter, Triple H would place the WWE Championship on the line while Cactus Jack would place his career on the line. The stage was set for something to give.
While the build to this match began as a feud between the McMahon-Helmsley regime and Mankind; necessity and circumstance would cause Mick Foley to put away the mask and bring back the man known as Cactus Jack.
This match was brutal from the start as The Cerebral Assassin and the long lost lunatic side of Mick Foley would cause much damage to themselves, each other, and the Hell in a Cell structure.
The finish would see both men atop the Cell where Cactus Jack would attempt to perform a piledriver on Triple H. The manoeuvre would be reversed and Cactus would fall through the Cell to the mat below, partially impaling the canvas.
With Triple H back in the ring, Cactus Jack would actually make it back to his feet only to receive a Pedigree and defeat.
4. Eddie Guerrero vs. John “Bradshaw” Layfield
Event: Judgement Day
Date: May 16, 2004
Match Type: Singles
One of the greatest underdog stories in WWE history would unfold in 2004 when Eddie Guerrero would achieve the highest level of excellence within the company by winning the WWE Championship.
When the fighting champion first placed his title on the line against John “Bradshaw” Layfield, the match would result in one of the bloodiest bouts in WWE history. This a direct result of blading (The act of cutting oneself).
When Eddie Guerrero received a chair shot from JBL he would blade his forehead and accidentally hit an artery which would cause a sufficient amount of bloodshed throughout the remainder of the match.
Eddie Guerrero would eventually lose his cool and get disqualified while wearing a mask of blood and looking significantly weakened from the ordeal.
3. Mankind vs. The Rock
Event: Royal Rumble
Date: January 24th, 1999
Match Type: “I Quit”
With Mankind representing the company as WWE Champion, Mr. McMahon was set on taking the title away from the beloved character and placing the gold back on The Rock, who at the time was aligned with McMahon.
In an ever-so-vicious “I Quit” match for the WWE Championship, The Rock would lay a ruthless beating upon Mankind that included handcuffing his hands behind his back and smashing a steel chair across his head eleven times.
The down-but-not-out Mankind was eventually heard screaming “I quit, I quit, I quit,” and The Rock was once again WWE Champion. However, Mankind never actually quit. Instead, a pre-recorded promo of Mankind was played by Shane McMahon that allowed the referee to call for the bell.
The sound of the chair shots in this match are cringe-worthy as Mick Foley withstood more punishment than the average man can handle.
2. The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge and Christian
Event: WrestleMania X-Seven
Date: April 1st, 2001
Match Type: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs
While his bout would be the second Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match in WWE history; it would set the precedent for all future Ladder matches in general as the three tag teams involved took the concept match to new heights.
With the WWE Tag Team Championship hanging high, The Dudley Boyz looked to retain while The Hardy Boyz and Edge and Christian looked to gain. Of course, Edge and Christian would prove successful.
However, this was once again a match where who won didn’t really mater as everybody watching was in awe from start to finish. There were no breaks in this match; no point of decelerated pace as the combatants brought tag team wrestling to a whole new level.
This match would produce one of the most reused pieces of footage in the WWE archives when Jeff Hardy – who was hanging from the tag titles – was Speared by Edge from a ladder.
1. The Undertaker vs. Mankind
Event: King of the Ring
Date: June 28th, 1998
Match Type: Hell in a Cell
When a match begins atop the Hell in a Cell structure you can be assured that carnage is soon to follow. Which is exactly what happened when The Undertaker threw Mankind from the top of the Cell and down through an announce table.
The match was over … or so we thought. Mankind would find the strength to climb back to the top of the Cell – forgoing any medical attention in the process – only to find himself Chokeslammed through the ceiling.
The match was over … or so we though. Mankind would again find a way to continue with a tooth through his nose and stars in his eyes. The match would roll on and Mankind was actually able to muster up some offence … but not much.
Soon the thumbtacks were brought into play and shortly after Mankind would find himself laying on a bed of tacks courtesy of another Chokeslam. The Undertaker would then administer a Tombstone Piledriver and end the misery for Mankind.
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