10 times wrestling matches got a little too real


Professional wrestling needs two or more wrestlers in the ring to lean on each other, otherwise things can go very badly. Even in the best of circumstances, with two wrestlers working perfectly together, wrestlers still run the risk of getting injured due to a mistake or misstep in the ring. The risk of injury becomes even greater when one or more wrestlers decide to “go into business for themselves”. This means that a wrestler will choose, instead of the agreed reservation, to start fighting for real. While wrestlers often have a background in other combat sports, when the pace suddenly changes people can get injured.

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Although these things are happening less and less as pro wrestling moves away from its shady history and comes closer to the levels of professionalism that we expect from top tier entertainment. However, even with all the progress made, it’s still unclear when someone with a bruised ego will step into the ring and look for a way to settle scores and go into business. Here are a few examples of times when wrestlers seemed to reject any pretense of entertainment and decided to legitimately hit their opponents.

Antonio Inoki vs. Le Grand Antonio

Antonio Inoki

Antonio Inoki is a legend of Japanese wrestling, who will enter Japanese politics after the end of his career in the ring. Inoki was coached by fellow Japanese wrestling legend Rikidozan and is said to have had top matches against world champions Muhammad Ali and Ric Flair throughout his career. Inoki was the very first IWGP World Champion and technically beat Bob Backlund for the WWE World Heavyweight Title in 1979.

In 1977, Inoki faced Antonio Barichievich, a Croatian strongman significantly taller than Inoki. During the match, The Great Antonio decided to fight with the Japanese wrestler and the unsold Inoki moves. Unfortunately for Barichievich, Inoki was an athlete who trained under Karl Gotch. Inoki would take down the taller Antonio before repeatedly kicking and stomping on Barichievich’s face.

JBL against the blue villain

Evil Blue

During ECW One night shot in 2006, a brawl took place in the middle of the ring between WWE-aligned Superstars, including JBL, and ECW-aligned Superstars, including Blue Meanie. During the chaos of the brawl, Bradshaw threw himself into the Blue Meanie with several legitimate strikes. The beatings left Meanie horrifying with blood spattered all over her face and suffering from an eye injury. After the show, Bradshaw reportedly apologized to Meanie and said the blood was largely the result of a cut Meanie suffered earlier in the event at the hands of The Sandman.

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Following the event, The Blue Meanie would sign a contract with WWE and face JBL in a singles match. During the match, Meanie’s real friend Stevie Richards interrupted the match and hit Bradshaw with a stiff ball in the head. The Blue Meanie will end up winning the match after JBL was hit with a Spinebuster by Batista who then dragged the Blue Meanie over JBL for the win.


Koko B Ware vs. Le Patriote

Koko B. Ware waving to the crowd with Frankie

Former mid-card wrestler Koko V Ware wrestled for WWE from 1986 to 1994 and was best known for his time as “The Birdman” where he carried a bird in the ring with him named Frankie. Although popular, Ware did not win a single title during his time in WWE, but was inducted into the Hall of Fame for the promotion in 2009. Ware was also a member of the 2015 class action lawsuit against the WWE. WWE which was dismissed by the court. in 2018.

In 1986, before joining WWE, Koko B Ware faced off against the Masked Patriot for the Continental Wrestling Association. At the start of the match, Ware landed a vicious clothesline that appeared to knock The Patriot out. Ware would then spend the next minute kicking and punching the masked wrestler. At the end of the match, Ware pins his opponent with a knee and gives him a stiff slap in the face for good measure.

Braun Strowman vs. Brock Lesnar vs. Kane

Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar

In 2018, Brock Lesnar defended the Universal Championship against Braun Strowman and Kane that year. Rumble Royal. Less than a minute into the start, Strowman hit Lesnar in the face with a stiff knee that knocked out the reigning Universal Champion for a second. Lesnar responded by hitting a one-two combination that staggered Strowman and yelled at him to “slow down”.

According to Strowman, he and Lesnar buried the hatchet right after the game and shook hands backstage. Strowman would admit that it was all an accident and that there was no problem between the two behind the scenes.

Ken Shamrock vs. Vader


While Ken Shamrock is well known for his professional wrestling career, he is also considered one of the early pioneers of the UFC, making his debut for the company at UFC 1, where he was beaten by Royce Gracie. For his part, Vader is also no slouch as a former NFL footballer.

In 1997, Ken Shamrock signed with WWE and made his pay-per-view debut at In your house 15. The match was billed as No Holds Barred between Shamrock and Vader. During the match, the two wrestlers unleashed furious strikes against each other in a hard-hitting match. During the fight, Shamrock would rightfully punch Vader, smashing the nose of the former WCW and IWGP World Champion.

Nia Jax vs. Charlotte Flair

nia jax vs charlotte flair

Charlotte Flair has certainly gained a lot of attention lately, apparently due to her behavior behind the scenes. One of the people Flair has had trouble with is Nia Jax, and the two clashed on an episode of Monday Night Raw.

While most of the match went smoothly, there was a tricky part of the match where there was a short segment where Charlotte and Nia started hitting each other legitimately when they weren’t selling the other offense. Shortly after the fight, Nia Jax was released from her WWE contract with speculation suggesting it was because she was not vaccinated against COVID-19, although Jax said the promotion was not had never told him about his vaccination status before his release.

Perry Saturn vs. Mike Bell

Perry saturn moppy

At one point, Perry Saturn was a popular figure in professional wrestling. Saturn had moved from WCW to WWE during the Monday Night Wars alongside Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko to form the Radicalz. Guerrero and Benoit would eventually become big stars in WWE, while Saturn is best known for carrying a mop named Moppy.

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It turns out that Saturn was given “moppy” as punishment for his match with an improvement talent named Mike Bell. In an episode of Jakked in 2001, Saturn faced Bell, who missed a hip throw. For the remainder of the match, Saturn would strike and throw Bell around the ring.

Ahmed Johnson vs. Ron Simmons

Ron Simmons WWE Cropped

The story of Ahmed Johnson and Ron Simmons is the story of two wrestlers who rightfully hated each other outside the ring. Johnson had frequent backstage issues with several superstars, including Simmons and The Rock during his run with WWE.

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According to Simmons, Johnson had injured Simmons in a previous game between the two and accused him of being stiff and reckless. On the other side of the coin, Johnson accused Simmons of being jealous of his WWE success.

sexy star v rosemary

Sexy star

Professional wrestling depends entirely on having those in the ring working together in a way that makes the action real while keeping everyone safe. The idea that a wrestler wouldn’t join it creates an incredibly dangerous environment.

This happened during a foursome at AAA TripleMania event In 2017. At the event, Mexican wrestler Sexy Star defended her title Reina de Reinas against Ayako Hamada, Lady Shani and Rosemary. Towards the end of the match, Sexy Star allegedly intentionally injured Rosemary by applying a shooting armband to her. Sexy Star was released by the promotion as the wrestling world turned on her.

Stan Hansen vs. Vader

Stan Hansen with his bell

Many wrestlers in the past have shown that they are not afraid to fight when things get real in the ring. While modern professional wrestling is sanitized from the unprofessional days of the past, wrestlers like Stan Hansen and Vader were legitimate tough guys in real life.

In 1990, Hansen and Vader faced off in the ring at NJPW’s Great fight in the Tokyo dome Event. During the match, Hansen punctured Vader in the eye, causing the latter’s eye to protrude slightly from orbit. At the time, Hansen was working for AJPW, which was NJPW’s biggest rival in Japan.

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