Over the course of a few decades, pro-wrestling has been filled with grueling and bloody wars from promotions around the globe. The crimson masks worn by many added emphasis to a particular feud, used to tell a story rather than promote senseless and unprocessed acts of savagery.
There soon was a place for the latter as well and blood became a staple at wrestling shows, far and wide.
Wrestlers still get busted open all the time, but this happens less in American wrestling. Blading is not as vital as it used to be, nor has blood been a principle key of the product that mainstream wrestling is trying to sell. WWE hasn’t allowed blood on their program for a few years now (even though Brock Lesnar was busted open at WrestleMania, followed by Daniel Bryan's wounds shortly after), while it happens less in TNA Wrestling.
Before we begin to look at some of wrestling's bloodiest matches, note both CZW, BJW and every other extremely violent and hardcore promotion will be omitted, because in all honesty, there's just too much going on in every match for there to be frontrunners that stand above the rest ("Sick" Nick Mondo and the weed wacker would probably take the cake). That being said, there have been countless wars covered in red over the years, but this list is dedicated to some of the most notorious ones (Drinking vodka and pig's blood won't be supported, either.)
Now, let’s look at some of the most popular and notoriously bloody wars we’ve seen in the squared circle.
16 **Diclaimer: All the videos below will include plenty of blood. Be warned!!
15 Jerry Lynn vs. Steve Corino - ECW Heatwave 2000
Two of the most underrated wrestlers in ECW history, Jerry Lynn and Steve Corino, brought forth an incredible match at ECW Heatwave 2000, which was remembered mostly for the XPW invasion.
Corino, still competing from time to time for Ring of Honor, was a bloody mess by the end of the match, with his bleached blonde locks soaked in blood. The video doesn't do the match justice, so it's one you should definitely add to your watch list.
14 The Briscoe Brothers vs. Kevin Steen & El Generico - ROH Man Up 2007
The main event for the tag team titles at ROH Man Up 2007 isn’t the reason this match finds itself on the list, but rather the debut of Jimmy Jacobs’ Age of The Fall faction.
Alongside Necro Butcher and Tyler Black (now known as Seth Rollins), the group suspended a helpless Jay Briscoe upside down while the “Zombie Princess” cut a career-defining promo as Briscoe’s blood poured all over the former’s face and white suit. (Jay Briscoe also bled uncontrollably when facing Samoa Joe at At Our Best 2004, which could be one of ROH’s bloodiest matches ever, for what it’s worth.)
13 Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker - WWE Badd Blood 1997
Fresh off the Montreal Screwjob, D-Generation X were running wild all over WWE, until Michaels had seemed to meet his match in The Undertaker. The first ever Hell in a Cell contest proved to be a great one, earning praise from pundits all over the world. Apart from the anticipated arrival of Kane at the end of the match, this war will be remembered for how much red liquid poured out of the “Heartbreak Kid’s” face, who looked battered and broken towards the end.
12 Abdullah The Butcher vs. Bruiser Brody - NFW Main Event
It's incredibly difficult to pinpoint the bloodiest match between Abdullah The Butcher and Bruiser Brody, considering the amount of wars they've faced each other in. This particular contest from an NFW television taping is a pure brawl, with both men splitting the other open quite brutally, to say the least. These two have duked it out across the globe, with the involvement of steel cages and weapons, not to mention forming an unlikely tandem at times in tag matches, too.
11 Cactus Jack vs. Terry Funk - IWA King of the Deathmatch 1995
Both Mick Foley and Terry Funk grew accustomed to bleeding over the course of their careers, but their most notorious match took place in Japan at the IWA King of the Deathmatch finals, where C4 explosives and barbed wire were both part of the festivities. This is arguably one of the most notorious wrestling matches ever, shaping the future of hardcore wrestling.
10 Tommy Rich vs. Buzz Sawyer - GCW The Last Battle of Atlanta 1983
This bloodbath took place in 1983, and according to WWE officials, influenced the Hell In A Cell gimmick match. There were plenty of matches between Buzz Sawyer and Tommy Rich (much like Abdullah`s battles against Brody), yet this was billed as the final war to settle the score, hence being called The Last Battle of Atlanta, and the amount of bloodshed was a little too much for its time. It remains one of the bloodiest wars that ever took place in the South.
9 Triple H vs. Batista - WWE Vengeance 2005
"The Game" was one of WWE's big match players, heightening his status by always being open to shed some blood. In this Hell in a Cell contest, both Batista and Triple H bled quite a bit, and in terms of the latter, it became a normal sight in those times for Helmsley's face to be unrecognizable.
8 War Games - Great American Bash 1987
One could argue the War Games Match from Wrestle War 1992 was far bloodier, with all men busted open and bleeding from head to toe. However, this match features two premiere bladers, Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes, and the match itself featured blood within the first five minutes. The ending saw a bloodied J.J. Dillon surrendering to give the Super Powers a win over the Four Horsemen in this gimmick match's debut.
7 The Undertaker vs. Vince McMahon - Survivor Series 2003
Shockingly enough, Vince McMahon was one of WWE's most memorable bleeders, having suffered immensely against the likes of Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker.
Back at Survivor Series 2003, McMahon was forced to square off against Taker in a Buried Alive Match, where the chairman was battered from pillar to post and lost a significant amount of blood with his face looking like a complete mess.
6 Pat Patterson vs. Sgt. Slaughter - Live at Madison Square Garden, 1981
In this historical Alley Fight, WWE legends Pat Patterson and Sgt. Slaughter would be tied in a bitter quarrel at New York's famed Madison Square Garden Arena. The east coast fans were treated to one of the most infamous matches in the promotion's history, courtesy of the amount of blood that poured out of the American's face.
5 Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin - WrestleMania 13
Not known for his submission prowess, Steve Austin made headlines at WrestleMania 13 at Illinois’ Rosemont Horizon for performing an unexpected face turn as his entire head was covered in blood.
It’s regarded as one of the craziest images in WWE history; Bret Hart, a beloved Canadian babyface, had the “Rattlesnake” locked in a sharpshooter and refused to let up, while Austin screamed for his dear life as the blood poured down his face. That moment alone solidified Austin as the toughest wrestler WWE had to offer and it certainly showed.
4 D-Von Dudley & Mass Transit vs. The Gangstas (ECW House Show - 11/23/96)
We could have picked a bunch of New Jack incidents on list (like stabbing a wrestler multiple times, the ASW Crime Scene incident, the Gypsy Joe incident, etc.), but we may as well pick arguably the most notorious moment in ECW history.
Eric Kulas, who had no prior wrestling experience, convinced Paul Heyman to put him in a match alongside D-Von Dudley against The Gangstas. The stories pertaining to this incident vary, but there’s no denying how New Jack sliced Kulas’ forehead open, causing a deep gash and then proceeded to hit him with numerous weapons before jumping off the top rope and violently slamming a chair on the youngster’s head.
3 JBL vs. John Cena - WWE Judgment Day 2005
JBL was no stranger to blood in his matches, yet it was his counterparts who made the matches memorable with the amount of blood they lost.
John Cena took a chair shot from the champion and cut himself way too deep, with blood as thick as pulp rained down his chest. It was the bloodiest match Cena was ever involved in, and by the end of it, both main event stars were sporting a heavily concentrated version of the crimson mask.
2 Eddie Guerrero vs. JBL - WWE Judgment Day 2004
Ironically, one year prior to JBL’s duel against Cena, “Bradshaw” would take on Eddie Guerrero at the very same pay-per-view. Guerrero, who held the WWE Championship, received a chair shot (you guessed it) from his opponent and then mishandled a blade job. The amount of blood seemed to have shocked the broadcasters and the crowd as it smothered “Latino Heat’s” upper frame. Guerrero and JBL proceeded to soak the ring in their blood for the rest of their match, which JBL won by disqualification.
1 The Great Muta vs. Hiroshi Hase - NJPW Battle Final 1992
This match birthed The Muta Scale rating, which measures how much blood is lost in one match, based off how much The Great Muta bled in this NJPW contest.
With the Japanese faithful encouraging his every move, Muta was bleeding profusely and all over his opponent. Laid out on the ground during the match, blood started to drip down Muta’s forehead, which made for iconic photographs over the years. His entire face was covered in a darkish red, which transferred over to Hase’s body every time they came together. These two had a few bloody matches, yet this takes top honors and remains arguably the bloodiest match in wrestling history, even though some would argue we’ve seen way worse over the past few years.