Every wrestler dreams to have their WrestleMania moment, with some willing to do whatever it takes to go down in the history books. These superstars in particular showed that they wanted to be remembered above all else, including their own physical well being and the longevity of their careers. There are high spots, there are beatdowns, and there's even an accident thrown in but there's one thing everything on here has in common, they were extremely brutal.
There are a lot of different definitions for brutal, since you can look at it as just being a cringe worthy moment, you can see brutal as someone just getting their asses kicked, or it can be considered something that looked like it could end either guy's career. Looking throughout the history of WrestleMania, there are numerous altercations that could be considered brutal but this is the best of the best, the moments that left all of with our jaws on the floor or our hands covering our eyes. All these situations draw a reaction out of the viewer which is exactly what they were going for, it's just crazy that they were even willing to try some of these.
It's also interesting to see how the brutal moments evolved with the rest of the wrestling world, with not a single entry coming before WrestleMania X as the WWE went away from the big, burly types that could barely move towards younger, faster, more aggressive stars who needed to move out behind the shadows of the stars of the past. They needed to be different in order to keep up with the changing minds of the audience, they needed to be willing to take the bigger risks in order to keep all eyes on them. That's where guys like Shawn Michaels, Jeff Hardy, and Edge all came from, guys that were going to go above and beyond whatever came before them so they'd be the one's we're talking about today. The brutality these guys inflicted upon themselves and their opponents is truly unreal, and something worth looking back and marveling at today.
20 RKO to Rollins
We'll get the list started with the most recent entry on the list, the absolutely devastating RKO Randy Orton delivered to Seth Rollins at last years Mania. As the match was drawing towards its end both men were pulling out all the stops to put the other man away, but no matter what finishing move one did to the other it was never enough. Finally it all came down to Rollins going for one more curb stomp to put The Viper out of his misery, only for Orton to be awaiting his prey popping up at the last second sending Rollins sky high and down into Randy's waiting arms for the emphatic RKO.
19 Michaels Rides Ladder Onto Razor
From the most recent entry to the oldest, we go to the original brutal spot in WrestleMania history. WrestleMania X is still talked about to this day for two main reasons, Bret vs. Owen to open the show and Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels in a ladder match to determine the Intercontinental Champion. The spots in the ladder match may not look as rough today as they did 22 years ago but make no mistake about it, these two performed some very dangerous moves in order to put on a classic. The most brutal of which was when Michaels leaned a ladder up in the corner with Razor laying prone in the middle of the ring, Shawn climbed the turnbuckle and rode the ladder down crushing his opponent's chest in the process.
18 Matt Hardy Goes Through Table
Go figure that when you throw Edge and Christian, The Dudleyz, and The Hardy Boys into a triple threat ladder match for the tag gold that some absolutely brutal spots would come up. While it wasn't quite the career shortening match that they would put on the following year (which we'll get to later), their contest at WrestleMania 2000 pushed the bar in terms of what wrestling fans were comfortable watching. Bubba Ray and D-Von were doing their thing putting opponents through tables, while Jeff was throwing himself at everything that moved to try and get the advantage. It all came down to Edge and Christian and Matt Hardy climbing towards the ladders until the numbers game became too much for Hardy, as he was pushed off the ladder and through a table in a breath taking stunt.
17 Punk Drops Taker Through Table
The story and build to this match set up the moment perfectly, with CM Punk being the most dastardly heel seen on television in years sinking to depths that others didn't even think were possible to try and become the one in twenty and one. With his constant sneak attacks and desecrating the "remains" of Paul Bearer, it was clear that Punk was doing whatever it took to get into the head of The Deadman and gain an advantage in their monumental match up at WrestleMania 29. Punk left any doubt behind when he pulled off this moment, managing to get The Undertaker down on the announce table on the outside of the ring before climbing to the top turnbuckle to deliver a huge macho man esque elbow drop down on the Undertaker.
16 HBK Crushes Vince McMahon
In what turned out to be more like Shawn Michaels vs. McMahon and Friends, The Showstopper did what he did best and what earned him the moniker Mr. WrestleMania. After fending off The Spirit Squad and Shane McMahon, Shawn finally had the boss right where he wanted him. Instead of finishing the match off with some Sweet Chin Music, Michaels saw an opportunity and decided to make the most of it. After grabbing some weapons out from under the ring and brutalizing Vince with them, Shawn went for the killing blow. Placing a trash can over a helpless Vince, then putting him onto a table, Shawn climbed to the top of a ladder to nail McMahon with a massive elbow drop squashing Vince in the garbage can and through the table.
15 Cena Takes a Piledriver on Stairs
Back at WrestleMania 23 John Cena was still trying to prove himself to be the top dog and the man to lead the WWE into the future, so what better opponent for him to defend the title against the Mr. WrestleMania himself, Shawn Michaels. With both men trading the advantage back and forth early in the contest, all it took to bring out the savagery in Shawn was accidentally clocking the ref with a superkick. When the ref was down a battered and bloody, HBK saw his chance to try and put away the young gun with some help from the ringside environment. Shawn tried to take the title back for the old guard when he delivered an absolutely crushing piledriver to Cena on top of the ring steps set out on the outside.
14 Dean Ambrose Gets Powerbombed Through Ladder
As we'll see throughout this list, if you put multiple wrestlers into a ladder match at the grandest stage of them all, you're guaranteed to see something extremely brutal. The opening contest of WrestleMania 31 did not disappoint in that regard with The Lunatic Fringe being the unlucky recipient of this years big spot. As if being powerbombed by Luke Harper in the first place isn't bad enough, Ambrose took it from the inside of the ring over the top rope to outside, and if that wasn't bad enough there was a ladder there for Dean to snap in half with his back, yikes.
13 Taker Gets Spinebustered Through Announce Table
There's something extra rough about watching two guys older than just about anyone on the roster going to the extreme to try and put on a show, but that's exactly what Triple H and The Undertaker did at WrestleMania XXVII. The match went to the outside straight away while both men took turns using various weapons to try and deal the most amount of damage you could imagine to the other. The most brutal spot in the match up, however, came when they decided to utilize everyone's favorite ringside weapon, the Spanish announce table! With Hunter standing against the table trying to catch his breath, Taker came screaming at him with a full head of steam only to get caught with a thunderous spinebuster off the steel stairs and through the table.
12 Shane Hits Coast 2 Coast with Garbage Can Assist
It's fair to say that no one was expecting a technical masterpiece when Shane McMahon went one on one against his father with Mick Foley as the special guest referee back at WrestleMania X-Seven. With the two gentleman that were competing, brutal spots were to be expected and they certainly didn't let us down in that regard. There were weapons galore and even a spot where Shane went for a top rope elbow drop through the announce table but missed, sending himself through the table instead. The most brutal spot came at the conclusion of the match though, after Vince was low blowed by his wife Linda, then beat down by the ref Foley, he was set up in the corner for Shane's patented Coast 2 Coast move but with the added benefit of having a garbage can placed in front him first.
11 Shelton Benjamin Crashes Through Ladder
John Morrison, CM Punk, Carlito, Mr. Kennedy, MVP, Chris Jericho, and Shelton Benjamin. Can you picture a better field for a money in the bank ladder match than that? Obviously there was crazy spot after crazy spot with those guys including Morrison doing a moonsault off the top rope while holding a ladder but the roughest one without a doubt is the moment that took The Gold Standard, Shelton Benjamin, out of commission. With Shelton climbing a ladder looking to grab the brass ring that avoided him for so long, Carlito and Mr. Kennedy came up from behind with a different idea. Instead of reaching the top of the ladder he was on, Benjamin was tipped over the top rope going through a ladder that was set up on the outside.
10 Matt Hardy Delivers Chair Assisted Twist of Fate
It's hard to generate a rivalry with as much heat between it than a brother versus brother one and the feud between Matt and Jeff Hardy did not let us down. The two have shown up on this list already during their run as a tag team (and may show up again, keep reading to find out!) but their one on one contest at WrestleMania XXV shows exactly why they are on here multiple times. With Jeff crashing two two tables on the outside and then missing a leg drop after hurdling a gigantic ladder in the middle of the ring, this contest had multiple moments that could've qualified it for this list. The one that passed them both by was the finishing spot of the contest however, when Matt had Jeff's head locked up in a chair before delivering a twist of fate that sent his brothers head and neck straight into the steel. So much for brotherly love.
9 Batista Bomb and RKO to Daniel Bryan
The road to glory for Daniel Bryan was a very long and turbulent one that was met with constant challenges from The Authority. After finally getting a shot against head goon Triple H to earn a shot in the main event of WrestleMania XXX, Bryan wasn't about to let his fans down. After knocking off The Game, Daniel found himself in a triple threat match for the WWE Title against two of Hunter's buddies, Randy Orton and Batista. It seemed as if the two were working together to make sure the "B+" Player wasn't the one walking out with the gold as they delivered a Batista Bomb combined with a reverse RKO sending Bryan through the announce table.
8 Jeff Hardy Swanton Bomb
Another moment from WrestleMania X-Seven finds its way onto this list (and it won't be the last) with the usual suspects of Edge and Christian, The Dudleyz, and The Hardy Boyz in a triple threat TLC match for the tag titles. With Rhyno and little Spike Dudley on the outside making their presence felt for their teams, Jeff Hardy took it upon himself to neutralize the playing field. While Rhyno and Spike were taken out at ringside and laid upon two tables on the floor, Jeff started to ascend a twenty foot ladder with evil intentions on his mind. Hardy flew from the top with a Swanton Bomb crashing himself through Rhyno and Spike, through the tables, and onto the arena floor.
7 Michaels Misses Moonsault on Flair
Mr. WrestleMania finds himself on the list yet again, but this time for something that wasn't entirely planned. It was The Showstopper going one on one against Ric Flair with The Nature Boy's career on the line, so of course both men wanted to do everything they could to ensure they were what was being talked about the day after. Shawn finally gained an advantage by sending The Nature Boy to the outside where Ric tried to catch his breath leaning up against the announce table. Michaels tried to take advantage of the situation by launching himself with a moonsault off the second rope. The brutal part came next though when Flair dodged the assault making Shawn land chest first straight on the edge of the table, breaking his ribs in the process.
6 Austin Passes Out
Another one of the most iconic moments in the history of WrestleMania also doubles as one of the most brutal. It was WrestleMania 13 where Steve Austin really launched into superstardom but he couldn't have done so without having a partner at the level of Bret Hart. When the two met in a match clearly suited to Hart's strengths, a submission match, it seemed like the odds were stacked heavily against Stone Cold but thanks to some brilliant storytelling and ring work from both men, Austin came out looking better than ever. Watching Austin suffer through the beating he was given by Hart then being locked into the sharpshooter with no hope to escape, but refusing to just give up instead passing out from the pain that he was suffering, is truly brutal.
5 Jeff Takes Out Edge and Himself
The Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania 23 goes down as one of the best examples of that match type, thanks to the lengths the combatants were willing to go do try and take down the all powerful briefcase. Edge got off to a hot start in the contest delivering spear after spear after spear to every other wrestler in the match, but when Matt and Jeff Hardy teamed up against him, it proved to be too much for the Rated R Superstar. After Matt took out Edge outside the ring, he would proceed to prop his body up on a ladder bridged between the ring apron and the barrier, setting him up for Jeff Hardy to climb a ladder set up in the ring, sending himself down through Edge breaking the ladder in half, effectively taking both men out of the action for the rest of the night.
4 Edge Spears Jeff Hardy
Easily the most iconic brutal spot in WrestleMania history occurred back at WrestleMania X-Seven in a triple threat tag match between Edge and Christian, The Hardy Boyz, and The Dudleyz (yes these guys again). The fact that we're fifteen years removed from the spot proves just how much it means in the lore of WrestleMania and it's a moment that every wrestling fan lucky enough to watch at the time will never forget. With Jeff Hardy going up to grab the belts, his ladder was unexpectedly taken away from him leaving Hardy with nothing to do but grab onto the ring that was keeping the belts suspended in the air. While dangling roughly 15 feet above the center of the ring, Edge got himself into position on another ladder and delivered an unbelievable spear that planted Jeff straight on his back. There's a reason this is the lasting memory of what is widely regarded as the greatest WrestleMania to date.
3 Butterbean KO's Bart Gunn
It's easy to say now with the benefit of hindsight that the Brawl for All tournament was a terrible idea from the start. What happens when you take a bunch of guys who pretend to fight and make them really fight is a question that no fan above the age of ten had really wanted answered, yet it happened and it wasn't pretty. After knocking off backstage favorite Dr. Death Steve Williams, Bart Gunn went on to win the tournament and got the "privilege" to be put into a boxing match against legendary butter ball, Butterbean. It wasn't pretty, as knocked him out early in the first round.
2 Mick Foley Goes Through Flaming Table
One of the most memorable spots in WrestleMania history certainly deserves to be remembered to this day as it proved beyond a shadow of a doubt just how far Edge and Mick Foley were willing to go to live on in infamy. The vicious hardcore match between the two was nearing its conclusion when Foley found himself standing on the ring apron, dangerously close to a table set up on the outside. Leave it to Edge's sultry seductress, Lita, to take advantage of the situation by not only low blowing Mrs. Foley's baby boy, but taking the opportunity to bust out the lighter fluid and set the table ablaze. Edge came charging at Foley, diving through the ropes to deliver a spear that sent both men crashing down through the flaming table.
1 Big Boss Man Gets Hanged
By far the most brutal and frankly disturbing thing throughout the history of WrestleMania came at the fifteenth edition of the event after the Hell in a Cell match between The Undertaker and The Big Boss Man. Following The Undertaker's victory, The Brood descended from the heavens to the top of the cell cutting open the roof and passing a noose down to The Deadman. With one end around Boss Man's neck and the other securely tied to the roof of the cell, the structure started to rise up towards the ceiling bringing the Hall of Famer up towards heaven with it.