10 Wrestling Matches That Started Riots

Roddy Piper, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, the Dudleyz and those other legendary heat generators!

Little Rock, Arkansas WWE December 1997

When looking across the pro wrestling landscape of recent years, it's hard to pinpoint a genuine heat-inducing villain.

A certain Maxwell Jacob Friedman is somebody who instantly jumps out from the pack on this front, 'Switchblade' Jay White and the current heel incarnation of Roman Reigns are great at playing bad, and Jacob Fatu has been killing it as the dominant World Champion over in MLW, but it's hard to find many other legitimate heels in the classic sense.

These days, the awareness of fans means that there's a tendency to applaud a bad guy or girl for how good they are at being bad, with the level of respect for those performers meaning they're not exactly getting booed out of the building. Likewise, many within the industry themselves have a habit of veering more towards the 'cool heel' concept that fully came to prominence with the nWo in the '90s.

In years prior, so hated were particular wrestlers, their behaviour - and the sympathy generated by their opponents - caused all-out riots, with impassioned, enraged fans desperate to get their hands on those rogues of the day.

With that in mind, then, here are ten times when wrestling matches ultimately ended up causing a legitimate riot.

10. The Outsiders & A Mystery Partner Vs. Sting, Lex Luger & Randy Savage - Bash At The Beach 1996

Little Rock, Arkansas WWE December 1997

Ah, Bash at the Beach '96; the sight of one of the most shocking, impactful, game-changing heel turns in wrestling history.

Having seen his famed red 'n' yellow, vitamin-taking, prayer-saying, hard-training, uber-tanned, skullet-adorned ways become very much 'old hat' for a solid year or more, the Hulkster needed a way to refresh his character, brother. And with the Outsiders duo of Kevin Nash and Scott Hall in need of a mystery third man, the ever-opportunistic Hogan spotted just the opportunity he needed to once more keep himself relevant.

As it went, the sight of the Hulkster heading to the ring was taken by many as a sure sign that he was coming to assist the Team WCW trio who were facing these intruders at Bash at the Beach. Of course, a swift Leg Drop on Randy Savage made it clear that Hogan was indeed the Outsiders' third wheel - and thus, the New World Order was born.

After the best part of the prior 15 years as the constant main event babyface of the wrestling industry, the Daytona Beach crowd reacted to Hogan's turn with utter disdain. Sure, this wasn't the ferocious, legitimate scary reaction of the riots of the '70s and '80s, but the heel turn of Hulk Hogan saw a riot that was intense by modern-day standards.

A rare sight for the time, trash began to rain down on the ring as Hogan, Nash and Hall proudly revelled in what they'd done, and a fan even tried to rush the ring - only to be met by the stiff boots of Big Sexy and the Bad Guy.

Senior Writer
Senior Writer

Chatterer of stuff, writer of this, host of that, Wrexham AFC fan.