The Best Bladers in the Business, pt2: The 90s

Last month, I took a look at the greatest bladers – and bleeders – in the business, with a focus on the old school. You can read that here. This month I’m moving forward into the 90s, with some of the greatest blade jobs in wrestling history…

Mick Foley

Under every gimmick he’s ever used, he’s bled with pride. He is the epitome of hardcore, and is what every single wrestler looks at – and tries to emulate – when put into that environment. Whether he’s wrapping himself with barbed wire, or getting smacked in the face with a steel chair, he bleeds better than (almost) everyone. Here is the Foley vs Terry Funk King of the Death Match 1995 match – a No Rope, Barbed Wire, Explosive Barbed Wire Board, Time Bomb Death Match, which is a hardcore fans dream due to the rivalry and chemistry between the two hardcore legends. According to Foley he suffered many injuries in the match that resulted in “seven stitches in my hand, nine in my eyebrow, eleven in my head, and fourteen behind my ear.” Ouch.

 

Terry Funk

Practically invented the hardcore style of wrestling which was so popular a decade ago. “The Hardcore Legend” title doesn’t come easily and to get such a moniker there was a lot of blood shed. Terry Funk has sweat, bled, and breathed wrestling for nearly 45 years, and for that he will always be the greatest legend of wrestling. Below we have a Japanese match from 1981 where Funk faced off with another of wrestling’s heavy bladers, Bruiser Brody.

 

Brett Sawyer

Now I don’t know much about this guy or this match but I found it during my research for the article and upon watching it I had to include it.

 

The Great Muta

The Great Muta is the man who, in 1992 in NJPW against Hiroshi Hase, performed the single most infamous blade-job in wrestling history. The Great Muta shed an almighty amount of blood that set a high standard when it came to bleeding. It became so legendary that “The Muta Scale” is a term that is still used some twenty years later when gauging that the amount of blood shed by a wrestler.

 

Sabu

The homicidal, suicidal, genocidal maniac has thick scars all over his body from the many many extreme matches he experienced in FMW, but he to many western wrestling fans Sabu became known to them through the medium of ECW. The promotion was hardcore to the max and in 1997 Sabu faced Terry Funk in barded-wire match that results in the two wrapped and entangled in the barbed wire and bleeding buckets, but what do you expect when two genuine hardcore legends meet in a ring where the ropes have been replaced with barbed wire?

 

HHH

Hunter versus Cactus Jack, at the Royal Rumble in 2000, was a hardcore masterpiece that featured barbed wire in the WWE, which was not only shocking but also exciting. The sight of Jack scraping the spiked 2×4 across the head of HHH and the juice that flowed from his head was thick, vast and gruesome.

Their second bout at No Way Out 2000 Hunter was just as gory and even featured fire!

HHH would continue to blade on numerous occasions throughout his career but these two occasions are the most memorable.

 

Bill Alfonso

Although not a wrestler nor a blader, Bill’s match versus Beulah McGuillicutty at Barely Legal 1998 is more of a blood letting. The match is only five minutes long and resulted in Alfonso losing a hellacious amount of blood it looked as if Alfonso’s head had burst judging by the amount of the claret that literally covered his face and the majority of the ring in what is regarded as a major juice job that will remain in pro-wrestling infamy.

 

Stone Cold Steve Austin

At Wrestlemania 13, Bret “The Hitman” Hart took on Stone Cold Steve Austin in a bloody, no disqualification submission match. The match was nothing short of intense. A number of foreign objects were used as weapons throughout, including the ring-side bell but the blood did not spill until Bret put Austin’s head through the timekeeper’s table followed by the infamous sharpshooter and the sight of blood trickling down Austin’s anguished face and dripping off his front teeth is now a symbolic and historical image in WWE. Not only did launch Stone Cold as the unrelenting bad ass he will forever be, but also lay the foundations of the Attitude Era.

 

 Steve Corino

The ECW Heavyweight Champion had a hardcore feud with ‘The Dream’ himself which in their gory Bullrope match against Dusty left its fair share of scars as rivers of blood where spilled.

Corino bled early, badly and like Flair, had the bleach blonde hair to really help it “glow”. He wore the crimson mask man times in ECW, and always wore it as a badge of honor.

 

Vincent Kennedy McMahon

Vince was never afraid of pushing the boundaries of his product and his body and when he fully embraced the Mr. McMahon character he threw himself in the deep end with the epic Austin V McMahon feud where he regularly sacrificed his well being for the cause. Just check out these gems; at St Valentine’s Massacre in 1999 he squared of against the Rattlesnake inside a steel cage and after various attempts of escape Vince was bounced of every side resulting in the proverbial crimson mask and the best double one fingered salute ever.

WrestleMania 22 versus HBK saw the boss mega-juice again after he was hit in the head with the Ladder, there blood poured out of Vince’s skull, to the point where even JR had to stop in mid-rant to comment on how brutal a shot that was.

 

Shawn Michaels

HBK is arguably the greatest seller of all time, so good in fact that even as a heel the crowd are behind him. He was dramatic, over the top and often exaggerated but he was entertaining, enthralling and exciting and when the time called for it he bladed like a champion. He bleeds better and more than most people in the history of professional wrestling. Shawn is just good at everything, isn’t he? J.R. used the phrase, “bleeding like a stuck pig,” in reference to Shawn Michaels’s Hell in a Cell match at Bad Blood 1997 which is a fantastic match check it out below.

Michaels’s feud with Chris Jericho was a controversial because of many things the Jeritron incident, Mrs Michaels getting punched out and the infamous Great American Bash 2008 match where HBK did a tremendous juice job to point where Y2J is covered in blood splatter as he continued to wade in on Michaels’s head. Nice.

 

That concludes my foray into the weird world of purposely cutting one’s forehead open to induce excitement, drama and emotion in a match. I have attempted to include all those that do it and do it well, but I know that I have left out many deserving names, so please feel free to add them on the comments below.

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