Bloodiest WWE Matches – Hello and good day! Before we get to the main course, allow me to explain something first.
To appeal to a young audience and appease sponsors, WWE proclaimed the start of the PG Era on July 22, 2008. They made this decision to cut the access of the Attitude Era to provide fans with a more sophisticated way of storytelling. The company officially changed its name to “WWE” (not World Wrestling Entertainment) and shied away from the term “wrestling”. The TV product changed considerably to be more scripted, along with the toning down of profanity, sexual undertones and violence.
WWE tried moving away from the PG Era label some time between 2013 to 2014 by ushering in the “Reality Era”, but not much changed, so I can’t see it as anything more than a manufactured era to get fans past the pejorative term. A “New Era” was introduced after Payback in 2016, which continues to this day after the “ThunderDome Era” stood in for a while.
It has been almost fourteen years since the PG rating was introduced, and we’ve rarely seen WWE’s content pushing the envelope. There’s a new generation of fan who have grown up only watching WWE in its current form. Today, it is my goal to highlight how violent WWE could be. From its early days to 2008, the product didn’t heavily rely on the practice, but it was not an alien concept for its wrestlers to get a little “color”.
For those who have been following me for a long time, this is a grand remake of my Top 10 Bloodiest WWE Matches piece in 2015. This one promises to be more detailed and have much more content. And the crazy thing is I could have included more matches. A lot of research went in to this, and I only chose the matches based on their significance. It’s impossible to count the drops of blood, so I could only go off what I could see, but sometimes, how the added visual made the matches more memorable.
Before we blade like a stuffed pig, I have a couple of honorable mentions for you. Yes, I know one of them isn’t a match, but I come across it during my research and felt compelled to include it. From here on out, let’s go with the flow.
After being betrayed by his best friend Triple H, Ric Flair cut a promo on the October 17, 2005 episode of Raw. He talks about how getting hit with a sledgehammer is nothing compared to what he’s been through in his life. After telling us how he isn’t afraid of anything, he purposely punches where he had stitches taken out of his forehead, and the blood flows like no tomorrow. He smears it across his face and shirt, easily making it the bloodiest WWE promo of all time. Only Ric Flair is crazy enough to bleed so profusely before getting to the match.
I’m including the next mention because it shows how shocking it is to see anything like it in modern day WWE. During the main event of SummerSlam 2016, Brock Lesnar bust Randy Orton open to the point they had to stop the match. At the 12:30 mark, you see Orton kick out of the F5, so Lesnar takes off his gloves and lands repeated stiff blows on his opponent’s forehead.
Fans weren’t sure if this was done by accident or if it was part of the show. Last month, Jon Moxley (fka Dean Ambrose) revealed that he came up with the idea, and pitched it to happen during his match with Lesnar, but WWE instead did it with Orton. What this highlights is how bloody it has to get before officials call it in the current era. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t enjoy this.
Like said above, there is no way to measure if a match is bloodier than another, but I’ll do my best to tier this so the most graphic come at the end. Please don’t take the placings too literally.
#20. Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair at WrestleMania VIII.
This creeps on to the list because of the moment. One of the best WrestleMania matches of all time was exciting, not just for its action, but because Ric Flair added an unfounded level of intensity. The volume of blood isn’t excessive, but in those days when the company was family friendly on its biggest show of the year, seeing that much color was something to behold.
Not only that, but Flair cut an equally intense promo without washing off the dried blood, which only added to the crazy focused Nature Boy. He acknowledged Randy Savage as the new champion, but he got lucky this time. It wouldn’t happen again, and Flair rallies his team together to put this behind them. The match was exceptional and got a magnificent reaction because Savage was the ultimate hero overcoming the raged and bloodied villain.
#19. Cactus Jack vs. Triple H at Royal Rumble 2000.
I saw this match mentioned several times while researching, but I don’t feel it’s that bloody. Triple H gets some nice color, but Cactus doesn’t. I think it’s more remembered for how violent it is, along with the fact that Foley used a barbed wire bat to cut The Game open. It’s somewhat similar to other matches I didn’t include, like John Cena vs. Umaga. Including it because I always thought Cactus Jack was Foley’s best character.
#18. Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania 13.
One of my favorite wrestling videos ever is the one I am about to share with you. Not only does it give you the entire classic between Bret Hart & Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania 13, it has commentary provided by Austin. He explains everything they do, step by step, sharing considerate knowledge of how he goes about his matches. The psychology, timing, and storytelling in this encounter are stunning.
The image of Austin’s blood flowing down his face as he gradually passes out to Hart’s Sharpshooter will forever be one of WWE’s crowning moments. Not only that, but many fans say this was Stone Cold’s springboard to super stardom. If you’re a fan of Steve Austin, you need to know the backstory of this match, so grab a drink, put your feet up, and enjoy being guided through this masterpiece by a legend.
#17. Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels at Great American Bash 2008.
In 2008, Chris Jericho & Shawn Michaels had a heated rivalry which culminated with a ladder match for the World Heavyweight Championship. Before they got there, the two faced each other in a Last Man Standing, and in another match at the Great American Bash. Now, it’s important to remember that this PPV aired only two days before WWE changed to PG programming. This is the last time a superstar got this much color in a match, and many have claimed that it was too graphic enough for Vince McMahon’s liking.
Sadly, after scouring many videos, the only one I could find does not have any English commentary. A stiff elbow from Jericho to Michaels at the 18:55 mark was enough to bust him open. HBK probably bladed here, and it could be the last instance of it happening in WWE. By the 24-minute mark, HBK is selling the blood loss and Jericho is all over him. After a while of Michaels being unable to defend himself, the referee forces Jericho off him and calls it. The medics come down to help him. From this point on, if any superstars are bloodied the hard way, the match stops until they are cleaned up.
#16. Sgt. Slaughter vs. The Iron Sheik in a Boot Camp match at Madison Square Garden. (6/16/1984)
Regarded as one of the best WWE matches of the 80s, the feud between the American patriot against the villainous Iranian reached new heights at Madison Square Garden. It has a 4 1/2 star rating from WON and 8 out of 10 on Cagematch.
What this shows is that no matter what the era, if the feud calls for it, a bloody encounter can take it to another level. There’s some excellent selling here, and the crowd reaction is epic. You should consider yourself lucky to be sitting in the audience that night.
#15. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H in Last Man Standing at Royal Rumble ’04.
We know they are the closest friends in real-life, but 2004 was the time for them to battle each other in the main event scene. As two of Raw’s biggest names, they both wanted to go to WrestleMania as the champion, so they fought in this heated battle.
HBK was desperate to get to the main event, so he was willing to pull out all the stops. There’s no doubt both men would get color, and they didn’t disappoint. After 23 minutes of brutality, both men failed to reach their feet, and HBK would have to find another way to get to the main event of WrestleMania XX.
#14. The Undertaker vs. Mr. McMahon in a Buried Alive match at Survivor Series ’03.
Mr. McMahon threw a lot of mind games at The Deadman in the lead up to their Buried Alive match at Survivor Series, but it came back to bite him. McMahon was busted open from the first punch, and it flowed as swiftly as The Undertaker’s punishment.
He had help in the end, but not before going through a ton of suffering. This could be some kind of record for the quickest bloodshed in a WWE match? Please let me know if you think otherwise.
#13. The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar in Hell In A Cell at No Mercy 2002.
Long before anyone cared for ‘The Streak’, The Undertaker was already putting over Brock Lesnar in a glorious and bloody fashion. WWE often forgets this Hell in a Cell, as they prefer to show the encounter they had in 2015, and it’s probably because there’s more blood and the match isn’t that great.
I remember being seriously bummed out by the conclusion, because this was The Undertaker’s gimmick. To see Brock Lesnar defeat him in his own match for the title was disheartening, but little did I know it wouldn’t be the last time an Undertaker & Brock Lesnar match would leave me feeling disbelief. This was the beginning of Lesnar having Undertaker’s number, so his ending of The Streak shouldn’t have been as shocking as it was, especially when accounting for their history.
#12. Pat Patterson vs. Sgt. Slaughter in an Alley Fight match at MSG. (5/4/1981)
The oldest entry on this list was also named the match of the year by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Again, Slaughter proves he excels in bloody fights, as he & Pat Patterson lay the groundwork for what a match can be in the World Wrestling Federation. A young Vince McMahon lets us know that anything goes in this one.
It takes a while, but Slaughter hits his head on the metal turnbuckle and starts immediately gushing with blood. This looks like the hard way, but the blade was done so well I couldn’t see it. The crowd goes nuts as Slaughter sells it and Patterson makes a comeback. Slaughter shuts it down with a low blow. Patterson fights back, gets the win, and the crowd erupts. Love it!
#11. Bret Hart vs. The British Bulldog at In Your House ’95.
At the 14:20 mark, Bulldog hits Hart from behind and he falls in to the steel steps. You can clearly see Bret blading and it worked super in their favor, as it set them up for an epic comeback later. When Lawler sees how much blood is on the mat, he goes “ooh”, like he’s surprised at how much color Hart has. Because he has this much blood, Vince McMahon says they can’t have any closeups.
Bulldog really needs this win in the story, so there’s some serious jeopardy, and the fans go bonkers whenever The Hitman fires back. A big “Let’s Go Bret” chant starts, and he gets back in to it momentarily, until Bulldog power slams him on the outside. Still, Hart recovers and rolls him in the ring. The fans are delighted, but Diana is stoneface gutted.
#10. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H vs. Chris Benoit at WrestleMania XX.
Creeping in to the top 10 is the bloodiest main event in WrestleMania history, where both HBK & HHH continued their tradition of getting color. As seen earlier, they had a bloody Last Man Standing at the Royal Rumble, and Michaels weaseled his way in to the main event.
Chris Benoit did not get any color. As the underdog, this may have helped him to win the match and claim the World Heavyweight Championship to achieve his dream. Wait, no… this main event does not exist, and neither does the guy I just mentioned. Forget everything I just said. What actually happened was HBK & HHH fought in a singles match and the title was vacated immediately after. Eddie Guerrero ended WrestleMania celebrating by himself. Let’s not talk about this again.
#9. Edge, Mick Foley & Lita vs. Terry Funk, Tommy Dreamer & Beulah at ECW One Night Stand 2006.
This is a WWE produced show, so it counts! Yes, it has ECW in the name, but it wouldn’t have happened without WWE money and production. I wasn’t a big fan of the 2006 show, mostly because of guys like Randy Orton, John Cena and Edge being on the card, but at least the main event was fun. At the 18:40 mark, Foley throws the board of barbed wire at Funk and he suffers an eye injury.
Once he emerges, he yells “MY EYE!” repeatedly as the blood flows. Despite this, Foley continues to rub barbed wire around the wound. When he gets out of that, he rolls to the side of the ring and a medic helps him to the back. His eye was alright, but it needed a few stitches. Funk returned later to help his team, and you can find out who won this yourself.
#8. Mr. McMahon vs. Hulk Hogan in a Street Fight at WrestleMania.
I remember reviewing all the WrestleMania’s in an article series, and this match really surprised me with how good it was. Especially Vince, who went above and beyond to make this an entertaining spectacle. Also, that bloodied, evil look he gave Hogan halfway through still gives me chills.
It was a street fight, and the brutality matched that. Not sure what else to say, other than the fight had no right being this fun. If only the buildup hadn’t been so cringing. I could only find a highlights video, so you’d have to find it somewhere else if you really want to see the full match.
#7. Tommy Dreamer & The Sandman vs. The Dudley Boyz at ECW One Night Stand 2005.
The main event of my favorite PPV of all time is one to cherish. Not only has it got plenty of blood, it has the greatest entrance ever (but only if you can find the original recording of The Sandman coming out to Metallica), tons of carnage, tables, and a tiny bit of fire. By the way, Sandman busts himself open with a beer can long before he gets anywhere near the ring.
This is 11 minutes of what made ECW special, all rolled up in to a love letter courtesy of the faithful and loud fans. The moment when Beulah McGillicutty sees and embraces her husband Tommy Dreamer with the crimson mask? Pure gold. Nothing brings two people together like a man covered in his own blood.
#6. Edge vs. Mick Foley in a Hardcore match at WrestleMania 22.
Continuing the trend of flaming tables, we have Edge & Mick Foley’s heated rivalry culminating in style at WrestleMania. This had everything, as not only Foley & Edge had color, but Lita was bleeding from the mouth after she eat Mr. Barbed Wire Socko. You don’t see women bleeding at WrestleMania, but Lita can say she is an exception. This helped to take Edge to the next level of his career, so he has Foley to thank for that, although he had to endure this massacre to get there. We’ll probably never see anything like this at WrestleMania again.
#5. Brock Lesnar vs. Zach Gowen on SmackDown. (8/21/2003)
For a short while, WWE pushed a one-legged superstar called Zach Gowen. He was pretty athletic, considering his handicap, but it doesn’t matter who you are. Going up against Brock Lesnar will always be the toughest thing you ever do. With his Mother watching at ringside, Gowen got pulverized, maimed and butchered like one of Brock’s cows. Zach got so brutally destroyed it may disturb some viewers. Crazily enough, Gowen actually won this match by DQ because Lesnar (kayfabe) broke his leg.
WWE did this to show how merciless Brock could be, and it worked a treat, although Gowen’s WWE career didn’t last long after that. This is what Gowen is most remembered for, and he still relives it to this day with his Mother (he posted a video of their reaction to celebrate Mother’s Day). The carnage combined with the blood loss and his Mother’s reaction makes for an unsettling, one-sided beating which WWE will probably never want to bring up in any of their highlight reels.
#4. Ric Flair vs. Triple H in a Steel Cage at Taboo Tuesday 2005.
What do you get when you get the king of blading versus another king of blading? This match. Evolution had died. Triple H turned on Flair by hitting him with a sledgehammer. Flair had busted himself open wickedly in a promo (seen earlier), and now it was time to get down to business.
The gimmick of Taboo Tuesday was that fans could vote on the stipulation of the match, so the steel cage was decided. Did I forget to mention this was for the Intercontinental Championship? Yes, the Nature Boy and The Game went to war over a mid-card title, but boy was it a lot of fun. I’ll leave it to you to find out who got out of there alive.
#3. John Cena vs. JBL in an I Quit match at Judgment Day 2005.
Getting to the thick end of the list now, if you get my meaning. John Cena & JBL had a scorching hot rivalry in 2005, and they both needed it because WWE would look to rely on them for years to come. Yet, before John Cena could go into full PG, fruity pebbles mode, he had to earn his keep by going through matches like these.
At the 13:50 mark, you see John Cena celebrating with the assumption that his opponent is down and out. JBL picks up a chair and smashes him as hard as you can hit anyone with a steel chair. And… it’s time to gush. Cena flows like there’s no tomorrow, and it doesn’t seem to let up. If this happened today, they would have thrown the match out immediately. But nope! This is 2005, so we have a few years yet.
At the 21:20 mark, Cena escapes from being choked by a wire and sends JBL head first in to a box. JBL blades while he’s off camera and we’ve got ourselves a little blood bath. Time to soak it up guys, this one’s colorful. These are the kinds of I Quit matches I remember, when the level of brutality matches the stipulation. If Cena had more nights like this, maybe he wouldn’t have been as hated? Guess we’ll never know. What we know is that Cena won, because he always does, but none of his other matches took this much out of him.
#2. Joey Mercury & Johnny Nitro vs. Jeff & Matt Hardy vs. William Regal & Dave Taylor vs. Paul London & Brian Kendrick at Armageddon 2006.
I’ll never get over this. It is one of the worst wrestling incidents of all time, and I don’t care who you are, or how much you hate someone. You would never wish this on anyone unless you are a disgrace of a human being. I still can’t stand to watch it, and seriously, don’t watch it. Out of all the bloody matches, this hasn’t got the most blood, but it’s highly placed because a guy’s face is shattered in to pieces, which makes it the most horrific.
Luckily, Joey Mercury eventually recovered from this, although it took a long time. You could sit there and place blame, like I did all those years ago. I said it was The Hardys fault, but to be fair, everyone needs to know what they are doing or things like this happen. Communication, especially when you’re doing dangerous ladder spots, is absolutely vital. If you can’t figure out your spots beforehand, then don’t do them.
This is WWE back then, trying to innovate ways of bringing us exciting ladder matches. This crossed the line, and I’m so happy that no one has tried it again since that day. In this tag team title match, Joey Mercury had his life changed forever. This is a very real accident and I hope nothing like it ever happens again.
#1. Eddie Guerrero vs. JBL at Judgment Day 2004.
What is it about JBL and Judgment Day? Well, here we go. Often said that this is the bloodiest match in WWE history, and for one reason only. During this WWE Championship match in the main event, at the 24:35 mark, JBL grabs a chair and cracks Guerrero over the head with it. While he could, Eddie bladed, but he cut too deep and the blood flow was too much. It was so excessive that Michael Cole exclaims, “Eddie Guerrero is bleeding like a sieve here”.
If you ever want an example of why wrestlers shouldn’t blade, it’s this one. It was so bad Eddie had to go to the hospital afterward. He worked the rest of the match, but I imagine it was difficult and he could have fainted at any moment. Eddie got himself purposely disqualified by hitting JBL with the belt and busted him open. Guerrero would not let up, and it took dozens of referees and officials to get him off. It’s one of those things that can happen if you blade, and I’m surprised cutting too hard hasn’t happened more. For one time in WWE, it did, and this was the result. RIP Eddie Guerrero. Viva La Raza.
With that said, I hope you have enjoyed this list of the WWE’s bloodiest matches. Is it something you’d like to see again, when the time is right? Or do you think it’s a thing of the past? Should they leave it in the hands of professional wrestling promotions? Please let me know in the comments and thank you for reading!