AEW's special Blood and Guts episode of Dynamite sits near the top of the list of things pro-wrestling fans have to look forward to once the current global situation blows over.
Tony Khan announced the pseudo-WarGames bout's postponement last weekend, claiming that "the time and circumstances aren't right" for what AEW had planned. He's got a point. A match like this demands a molten crowd. As entertaining as the first empty Dynamite was, no amount of ringside banter from a dozen wrestlers can substitute for a white-hot atmosphere. Put it on ice, see how the situation unfolds, and come back to it in due time.
With AEW's surefire bloodbath on the backburner, let's take some time to appreciate some of wrestling's old claret-soaked masterpieces, stretching from the early 1980s all the way through to the present day.
Though Vince McMahon's original "blood and guts and gory things" was meant as a putdown, the matches and moments within prove that when it's done right, few things generate more wrestling drama than a bloody visual. Like anything is, it can be (and has been) overdone, but a splash of colour, when carefully employed, can be the language of violence's most powerful message...
10. Cody Vs. Dustin (AEW Double Or Nothing)
An old-school territory-style bloodbath between two of the most old-school wrestlers in the game, Cody vs. Dustin Rhodes was taken to a different level by the elder sibling's gusher.
Buckets of sanguine washed the ring after a deep blade job. This made 'The Natural's' phenomenal selling performance all the more believable: when he borrowed a page from Jerry Lawler's book, flailing blind punches at an opponent he couldn't see, it was because he was woozy, lightheaded, and unable to see through his crimson mask. Reality enhanced the narrative.
Already a sympathetic figure walking into Double or Nothing, Dustin emerged the broken veteran hero for a new era of fans. That Cody was such a d*ckhead on offense helped too, as 'The American Nightmare' worked more like Ric Flair than his and Dustin's father, with Dustin peppering perfectly-timed comeback spots through a world-class heat spot. Again, though, the blood was key. Remove it and you still have the great story of the disintegrating veteran putting forth a noble failure against the younger, more athletic man, but keep it in and you have a man fighting for his life, struggling to survive.