10 Wrestling Matches So Brutal They Hurt To Watch

Try watching these bouts without wincing...

Guerrero JBL

Extreme violence is not common in today's World Wrestling Entertainment, mainly because certain nuances which constitute a brutal match have been outlawed by those calling the shots. Since going PG in June/July, 2008, things like unprotected chair shots and blood have rarely been seen on WWE television. This hasn't exactly helped matches like Hell In A Cell or Street Fight-style bouts come across as edgy, but it's perhaps understandable that the company would like to protect performers.

There's a common misconception that matches are only 'hardcore', 'extreme' or even brutal if they're accompanied by the sight of blood. In truth, seeing claret spill from the foreheads of pro wrestlers does add an element of excitement, but it's not the only aspect of a match that makes those watching wince from the other side of the TV screen. 

In all of the matches listed here, there are some seriously stiff strikes and moves. The wrestlers involved held absolutely nothing back, seemingly willing to put their bodies through unimaginable hell in order to entertain. That's admirable, and shows a dedication to providing excitement, but it's also difficult for some grappling fans to watch.

There's an emphasis on selling in these bouts, although - telling the truth - much of the pain is visibly real. It's been said that fans shouldn't try pro wrestling at home, and these matches prove the sanity of that idea!

10. Cactus Jack Vs. Big Van Vader (WCW Saturday Night, 1993)

Guerrero JBL

April 17, 1993 is likely an evening that Mick Foley can't really remember. Naturally when analysing brutal wrestling matches, the 'Hardcore Legend' features a fair few times. He may pepper the list, but only some of his more choice (violent as all hell) encounters have been featured.

Some have referred to Foley in the past as someone who would often take things too far. If the violence presented in many of Mick's matches seemed real, that's because it most definitely was. When facing Big Van Vader in WCW, it was far from uncommon to see strikes so stiff that they would seem more at home in the UFC's Octagon.

During one edition of WCW Saturday Night in 1993, Foley was on the receiving end of some shots that almost instantly split open his eyebrow. Hearing Foley document the horror on his WWE-produced 'Greatest Hits & Misses' DVD is a painful experience. 

Making things even more shocking, Foley is then staring blankly at the venue's ceiling, following a brutal Powerbomb on solid concrete. The whole occasion is simply one which dodges the idea of wrestling pretending to stage real violence. It is real violence.


Lifelong wrestling, video game, music and sports obsessive who has been writing about his passions since childhood.