Hardcore matches in wrestling have always been an interesting way to increase the drama of storylines and rivalries. Whether it be the No Disqualification Submission match between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Bret Hart or the Hell in A Cell match between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker, hardcore matches are a well-known tool that can make a good feud great and a great feud amazing. And one of the important factors of these types of matches are the weapons that are used to punish each other. The weapons in some of these matches have not only helped to convey feelings of hate and anger, but have resulted in some of the most brutal and memorable spots in wrestling history. Who could forget at WrestleMania 22, when Edge speared Mick Foley through a flame-engulfed table or when Raven, Kane, and Big Show used every weapon they could find to win the Hardcore Championship. No matter how brutal it got, weapons in wrestling have helped to bring increased excitement to the WWE.
However, in recent years, the WWE has moved away from the brutality commonly associated with the Attitude and Ruthless Aggression Era and have become a much tamer product. You’ll be as hard pressed to find weapons aside from chairs, tables, ladders, and kendo sticks. In some ways, this has helped to provide a much safer work environment for the wrestlers, but it has also devalued a lot of matches that were almost expected for blood. For example, the Hell in a Cell cage which was often used to grind the body of the wrestlers in agonizing pain is barely used today and only serves to contain the violence and the kendo stick, which would occasionally bust a wrestler open is used no differently than a strap now, which is also not easy to find.
Many fans have spoken about their desire to see the product return to a more adult-oriented product and this can only be done properly if the promos are a bit less structured, the storylines aren’t as plain, and if the wrestling becomes a bit more hardcore when it needs to be and use different weapons to make new and interesting moments in matches. And that’s what this article will look back on.
15 Barbed Wire
At the top of the list of weapons that’ll probably never come back, as barbed wire of any kind is likely to never make a return. Barbed wire, though more closely associated with ECW, was used every once and a while during WWE matches. In fact, Mick Foley made any form of barbed wire his trademark whether it be a bat or a 2x4. Since Mick Foley left the company in 2008, barbed wire hasn’t been seen in WWE. Although it will be great to see Dean Ambrose use a barbed wire bat in his upcoming match against Brock Lesnar, it'll be little more than a prop and this weapon will more than likely never be seen again and especially just the wire itself.
14 Baseball Bat
Let’s be honest here, this weapon will probably fade into obscurity by the end of WrestleMania weekend when Sting is inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. No one else uses the weapon or has made use of the weapon in ages. Ambrose was given the barbed wire bat on this past Monday Night Raw and it will be interesting to see how that plays into the match and how he uses it. But unless he makes that his trademark weapon the way Triple H uses the sledgehammer, then this will probably only be used for their match at WrestleMania. And if that is true, then it will be a shame.
Although it would be great to see this weapon come back, it would only work if the buried alive match is brought back along with it. The shovel helped make the buried alive match more intense. It could be used as a tool to bury your opponent as well as a weapon for beating them into submission. In an age that is more kid friendly than ever before, this weapon is probably one of several that will never be seen again. And since the buried alive match is likely to never be seen again, the same can be said for the weapon as having a shovel under the ring wouldn’t make much sense.
Whether used by Hacksaw Jim Duggan or set on fire with some barbed wire and used by Mick Foley, a 2x4 is a weapon that looks and sounds intimidating. The weapon is simply a plank of wood, but seeing someone swing it around makes it looks deadly. It hasn’t been used recently at all and probably won’t be until Hacksaw Jim Duggan comes back for an Old School Raw or something, but when he comes back it would be nice to see him give it to someone else as a semi-passing of the torch moment. I could definitely see a guy with an old-school look like Cesaro swing the 2x4 in circles like he swings his opponents in the ring. That would be some entertaining stuff.
Speaking of weapons that will probably never be used again, thumbtacks were a staple of hardcore wrestling matches that were popularized by Mick Foley in WWE. A bag full of what can be best described as needles on their own seems pretty rough, but when a wrestler is dropped on a large amount of them at once definitely sounds like a botched acupuncture procedure. And the visual created with wrestlers having thumbtacks stuck in their backs was brutal. Sadly, these small punishment-inflicting tools will only be present in our memories.
10 Trash Can
Another versatile weapon that the WWE fails to use in their matches. Whether to put it on someone’s head and beat them with another object, place it on their head for a top rope maneuver, or just hitting someone in the head with the lid, a trash can is a classic wrestling weapon. WWE isn’t too restrictive on the weapon, as it only makes appearances here and there. We’ve seen it in the feud between Team ECW and The Wyatt Family and hopefully it makes a return in the Hell in a Cell match between Shane McMahon and The Undertaker. But the WWE could be using that weapon way more often and would be a nice change of pace from the constant kendo sticks we see.
It’s too bad that the Social Outcasts didn’t become the Four Man Band because seeing the return of the guitar as a weapon would’ve definitely helped them get over if they used them. This is a weapon that ultimately works with the character or gimmick given to a wrestler, but it certainly is fun to see a guitar make contact with the human body and shatter into pieces. Even if it’s just Heath Slater who uses it, the guitar makes for a great weapon provided that it’s used by someone with the right gimmick. After all, if The New Day can have a trombone, then what’s stopping Heath Slater from playing the guitar?
8 Fire Extinguisher
Aside from doctors and staff attempting to put the flames out on Kane as quickly as they showed up in his world title match against Daniel Bryan, it’s hard to recall the last time a fire extinguisher was used. Whether it can be used to blind an opponent or to knock a few screws lose in their head, the fire extinguisher can be used to make matches more intense. This weapon’s use should still remain a little sporadic in order to preserve its rarity, but this is a weapon we hope to see more of in the future. Maybe as earlier as WrestleMania 32 in the No Holds Barred Match between Dean Ambrose and Brock Lesnar.
7 TV Monitor
Now this one just doesn’t make any sense. TV monitors are so close to the ring and out in the open that it’s a shame that WWE doesn’t incorporate these into matches more. It’s small enough to use for head shots, body shots, or for targeting body parts like arms, legs, or ankles. It’s likely that WWE doesn’t want to use too many weapons because of how much it would cost to provide them, but then it’s even more of a reason to use what you typically bring to the ring anyway. So hopefully, the next time someone clears an announcement table for a big move, hopefully they incorporate a shot by a TV monitor.
6 Steel Chain
Due to the potential of wrestlers getting concussions and the PG aspect of the show, this is likely not to make a return anytime soon, but it would be great if it did. A weapon that is similar to brass knuckles in the fact that it’s easy to toss to a wrestler in the ring without the referee noticing. But unlike the brass knuckles, the steel chain can be used as a strap as well. You could use it to strike someone or you could also use it to aid your submission move. The last time this weapon was used was in John Cena faced Rusev in the Russian Chain Match, but hopefully the WWE will use this weapon in a better match.
5 Ring Bell
When Triple H attacked Roman Reigns the night after Fastlane, one of the more memorable moments in the segment, aside from the inverse crowd reaction, was The Game’s use of the ring bell. This is a weapon that hasn’t definitely not been used recently as even some of the more recent WWE video games don’t allow you to use the tool as a weapon to attack your opponents. It’s a simple weapon that can do a lot of damage and should definitely be used a lot more often in future matches. After all, if it’s that close to the ring and out in the open, why would they not use it?
4 The Hell in a Cell Cage
This technically already is “used” in the company today, but the degree to which the company uses the Hell in a Cell environment has been significantly reduced in recent years. The Hell in a Cell cage often was used to inflict further injury upon opponents in different ways. Sometimes it was simply to make them bleed and other times it was used to inflict pain on their flesh. The biggest problem with the Hell in a Cell matches today has ultimately come from the lack of involvement with the demonic structure. If WWE isn’t going to use this structure to its fullest potential, then they might as well just do away with the match entirely.
3 Ring Turnbuckle
A Good heel tactic is to get the referee distracted long enough to use a weapon and hid it, but another great heel tactic is to weaponize parts of the ring and do your dirty work. Now to be fair, wrestlers will typically use the turnbuckle in a match, but it will often be with the padding on. It would be great if we could see wrestlers use the un-padded turnbuckle more often in matches. It’s a simple, yet conniving way to help win the match because while it doesn’t necessarily need outside interference, it results in a wrestler winning with some form of help. A tactic like this would’ve been great to see Seth Rollins utilize instead of needing an entire stable’s help to win a match.
2 Title Belts
The last title belt shot that we can recall occurred in 2012 when Daniel Bryan attacked Randy Orton from behind and gave him a concussion that cost Orton his spot in the World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber Match. Other than that, we haven’t seen the belt used as a weapon in a long time. There have been several simple attacks with the belt that have helped to make for some big spots even outside of No DQ matches. After all, where it not for the F-5 counter into a DDT onto the championship, perhaps Eddie Guerrero might not have been able to beat Brock Lesnar for the Undisputed WWE Championship. All kayfabe aside, this weapon could present a problem in regards to concussion issues, but as long as wrestlers avoid hits to the back of the head it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
1 Brass Knuckles
This was one of the best weapons the WWE had because of how effective it was for heels. All superstars like William Regal and Randy Orton had to do is slip the brass knuckles into their gear or have them passed to them in secret, wait for the right moment, and quickly knockout opponents while concealing their dirty tricks from the referee. It was a great weapon that definitely helped portray both desperation and cunning sneak attacks. Whether it be a heel Dean Ambrose or the returning Shane McMahon, it would be awesome to see this weapon make a comeback. It's easy to hide, powerful, and an effective tool to get the win and hopefully makes a comeback soon.
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