What Is Hardcore Wrestling?

What Is Hardcore Wrestling?

by January 18, 2021 2 comments

In professional wrestling, there are matches that certain rules do or do not apply. However, there’s a form of wrestling where rules don’t exist, period. That would be hardcore wrestling. Hardcore wrestling is regarded as a unique but extremely violent form of sports entertainment.

How is it Different?

The first thing to know about the genre is that anything goes. There are no disqualifications, no count-outs, and pinfalls and submissions can take place anywhere. Participants of these matches can fight all over arenas and even take the fight outside to the streets. Hardcore matches feature intense bloodshed and tend to be extremely violent.

 

Hardcore matches utilize a vast variety of weapons. Steel chairs, metal trash cans and lids, tables, barbed wire baseball bats and crowbars, golf clubs, lead pipes, ladders, kendo sticks and two-by-fours, even staple guns. Additionally, hardcore matches will often feature competitors being slammed through tables that have been set on fire, thrown off ladders, and tossed onto piles of thumbtacks.

It is no exaggeration that “anything goes” in a hardcore match. Sometimes they get so violent that the match transitions from a hardcore match to a “deathmatch” due to the bloodshed and severe brutality. Of course, this is the sports entertainment world; no one actually fights to the death. The likes of Mick Foley, Terry Funk, Carlos Colon, Bruiser Brody, and Abdullah The Butcher are pioneers of the style.

The Greatest Deathmatch

Foley absorbed a tremendous amount of punishment in his career. From being thrown off of a cage to having his ear ripped off to second-degree burns and numerous cuts from barbed wire. His most famous hardcore encounter is debatable, but most wrestling fans/critics consider one match in Japan to be his greatest. 

On April 20th, 1995, a Japanese wrestling promotion called the International Wrestling Association featured a “King of the Deathmatch” Tournament. The final of that tournament was a “No Rope, Barbed Wire, Explosive Barbed Wire Board, Time Bomb Death Match”. The match’s exploding boards used real C4, elevating the danger aspect. It was between Funk (who has wrestled for 50 years) and Foley, who was wrestling as Cactus Jack at the time. Critics consider it to be the greatest deathmatch of all. 

 

Hardcore Influence

Hardcore wrestling is believed to have originated in Japan, though many American wrestlers participated there. The Japanese matches were notoriously violent. Throughout the 20th century, hardcore would expand to Puerto Rico and eventually the United States.

The WWF (now WWE) at one point had a hardcore division during its Attitude Era. Because WWE is PG-style now (aka family-friendly), hardcore wrestling is extinct at that promotion. Any of the danger and violence now is only intimated, and bloodshed is typically accidental.

In the 1990s, a wrestling promotion known as Extreme Championship Wrestling really took hardcore wrestling, well, to the extreme. Under the ownership and leadership of Paul Heyman, ECW strongly utilized the style. ECW would aim its content at an adult audience and took it to a whole new level.

The history of hardcore wrestling still has a major impact today and lives on in many circuits. It continually influences the world of professional wrestling.

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