Wrestlers, while opponents in the storyline of the show, are supposed to be performers working together for the common goal of entertaining the crowd and telling a story.
But in the world of wrestling, a mistake can have serious consequences. Major injuries can occur, and as such, tempers can sometimes flair, leading to wrestlers actually fighting each other in the ring.
Sometimes the crowd knows things have escalated, and sometimes the real fight (called a "shoot" in wrestling terms) happens so quickly that fans don't know the performers were really going at it until later. In fact, there have been many instances of performers throwing a couple of quick shots at each other and getting back into the flow of the match without anyone knowing!
In this article, we're going to look at times when things really went sideways in the wrestling ring. These are the most well-known cases where wrestlers went off script and really fought each other!
1. JBL Smashes The Blue Meanie
JBL (John Layfield) has a bit of a reputation for being a behind-the-scenes bully in the pro wrestling world, and one particular instance saw him throwing very real punches at The Blue Meanie (Brian Heffron). The camera didn't catch much of it, as it took place during a huge brawl during a 2005 ECW event. Still, you can see the damage to Meanie's face, and it looks quite unpleasant, to say the least.
2. Stan Hansen and Vader Pound It Out
This 1990 match kicked off with Stan Hansen (John Stanley Hansen II) hitting Vader (Leon White) in the face with his cowbell and breaking his nose. It doesn't seem like Hansen did it on purpose, but it certainly didn't make Vader happy. This led to the two of them pounding each other. Vader's eye pops out of his head at one point, which is downright disgusting. Eventually, the match got somewhat under control, but it definitely started off pretty brutal.
3. Sexy Star Armbars Rosemary for Real
Following some behind-the-scenes locker room drama in August 2017, Sexy Star (Dulce Maria García Rivas) applied an armbar, which is a move that can be made to look quite real without damaging the opponent, and she decided to tweak the move hard enough to dislocate Rosemary's (Holly Letkeman) arm.
4. Steve Williams Fights Steve Ray
Here we have the battle of Steves. Back in 1991, the world of wrestling was very different than it is today, and wrestlers shooting on each other for one reason or another was much more common. In this case, we have Herb Abrams, a wrestling promoter, who believed that wrestler Steve Ray had stolen money from him and slept with his wife. So he paid wrestler Steve Williams to actually fight Ray. The result is anything but pretty, but it's definitely real.
5. Perry Saturn Shoots on Mike Bell
As mentioned, when one wrestler makes a mistake, it can lead to serious injuries, and Perry Saturn (Perry Satullo) was well aware of this fact when he took on a jobber by the name of Mike Bell in 2001. Bell was supposed to execute a simple hip toss on Saturn, but he was unable to lift him all the way and he dropped Saturn on his head. Filled with rage, Saturn laid a few very real punches into Bell before tossing him out of the ring.
6. Daniel Puder Kimura Locks Kurt Angle
This one is more awkward than anything, but it definitely led to Kurt Angle getting mad at WWE reality show competitor Daniel Puder. Angle challenged any of the show's competitors to get in the ring with him, and Puder raised his hand quickly. Puder came from a legit MMA background, and when Kurt Angle tried to take him down, Puder locked up a Kimura that could have done serious damage to Angle had the ref not counted Puder's shoulders down. You can see when it's over that Angle is legitimately upset at the up-and-coming wrestler.