It’s incredibly difficult for a professional wrestler to make it look like they are trying to really beat up their opponent. While high-flying maneuvers and expert mat wrestling are always a thrill, there is nothing more challenging than making it look like you are simply trying to beat your opponent into submission. It’s no coincidence that guys who were really good at it – like Stone Cold Steve Austin and Terry Funk – tend to be regarded as some of the best wrestlers of all time.
Sometimes, though, a wrestler decides to just ignore that whole “not really supposed to hurt your opponent” part of the job and instead just try to hurt their opponent for real. While this is just about the worst thing one wrestler could ever do to another, you’d be surprised by how many of the industry’s greatest performers have gotten away with doing just that. Sometimes, a wrestler is beaten up as part of a lesson and sometimes it’s done as an act of revenge. Most of the time, though, it’s because one wrestler simply doesn’t like the person they’re in the ring with. Whatever the case, these are the top 15 times a wrestler intentionally hurt someone for real.
15 Bubba Ray Intentionally Targeted Rene Dupree’s Torn Hamstring
14 William Regal Used Stiff Shots to Teach Goldberg Some Humility
13 Stan Hansen's Hard Punches Knocked Vader's Eye out of Socket
Stan Hansen and Big Van Vader are two of the most successful American-born performers in the history of Japanese wrestling. Both came into Japan at a time when Japanese wrestling fans were obsessed with the idea of big men getting into the ring and just beating the hell out of each other. Since Hansen and Vader excelled at that particular style, they quickly developed a following. The problem was that neither man seemed to know when to hold back.
12 Steve Williams Beats Up Steve Ray for $100
While the match in question involved Dr. Death Steve Williams, the story behind the match is really about two people named Steve Ray and Herb Abrams. According to wrestling legend, Steve Ray either ripped Herb Abrams off during a drug deal, slept with Herb Abrams' wife, or both. Whatever the case was, Herb Abrams decided to offer Steve Williams an extra $100 if he broke Ray’s nose during a match. Williams must have gladly taken him up on the offer as he proceeded to destroy Ray during the course of their encounter.
11 Paul Roma Put Alex Wright in Danger by Refusing to Work With Him
As we saw with the Regal/Goldberg match, there are few things that veteran wrestlers hate more than a youngster getting pushed to the top of the card without having spent years working their way up through the lower ranks. This concept of “paying dues” used to be a big deal in the wrestling world. Just ask Paul Roma. While Roma was never a superstar, he was a veteran hand that could usually be relied on to show young wrestlers the ropes and make them look good.
10 The Dirt Bike Kid Gets Choked by The Great Sasuke For Not Wearing His Mask
9 Hulk Hogan Chokes Out Late Night Host Richard Belzer
8 The Public Enemy’s Bad Attitude Inspired The Acolytes to Beat Them Up and Call it a Wrestling Match
7 Harley Race Single Handedly Took Out Two of the Toughest Wrestlers Ever
6 Daniel Puder Tried to Make a Name for Himself by Breaking Kurt Angle’s Arm
5 New Jack Tried to Injure Pretty Much Everyone
4 Perry Saturn Pulverizes Jobber, Gets Punished
This one is infamous because it led to the Moppy gimmick, which is what Perry Saturn's WWE career is most remembered for. Saturn was in a match with jobber Mike Bell and after Bell delivered a botched suplex to Saturn, the veteran lost it and began wailing away on a green Bell, delivering stiff shots. He even laid a dangerous head-first bump on the young worker. Bell was badly hurt after the match and as a result of this display, Saturn was punished.
3 Akira Maeda Intentionally Broke Riki Choshu’s Nose…
2 …and then Went After Andre The Giant’s Legs
1 Antonio Inoki Turned the 465 pound Great Antonio Into A Bloody Mess
Just to show you that Antonio Inoki was no stranger to intentionally trying to hurt someone, we bring you his infamous match against Great Antonio. Now, if you’ve never heard of Great Antonio, don’t feel too bad. He was just a really fat guy who won some strongman contests and occasionally got booked as a professional wrestler. Perhaps in an effort to show just how tough he was, Antonio decided to not sell any of Antonio Inoki’s offense during their match. Inoki played along with this until Antonio starting laying in some really stiff shots on Inoki. Inoki could not let this stand. He immediately starting hitting Antonio with some vicious palm strikes before taking him down to the mat. While Antonio was down there, Inoki decided to start kicking his head in until the big man was a bloody mess. Forget intentionally injuring someone, Inoki looked like he was aiming to kill.
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