3ECW Wrestlers vs. Their Fans
Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) was a professional wrestling organization that existed from 1992 until 2001. It was relatively small compared to heavy hitters like World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), but stuck around so long because of two factors: extreme violence and the psychotic bloodthirsty fan base it fostered.
Mr. Jonathan Ice
Who could have imagined that this would amp people up?
The wrestlers in the ECW would hit each other with spiked baseball bats and throw each other through burning tables, and the ropes around the ring were generally made of barbed wire. The fans were so homicidal that they started bringing weapons for the wrestlers once they became too desensitized to enjoy watching someone get hit in the face with a steel ladder anymore.
So in August 1994, Terry Funk and Cactus Jack faced each other in the main ECW event Hardcore Heaven, thus creating a match-up fans had been dreaming about, and also one of the most embarrassing sentences we've ever had to write. For some context, Terry Funk and Cactus Jack were two of the most famous hardcore wrestlers in the history of the organization, and they were bitter rivals. During the run of the ECW, these two spent more time with their heads in one another's crotches than most married couples ever will. But despite all the damage they did to one another and all the blood spilled between them, they both remained consummate professionals. This time, it was the fans who were trying to murder someone.
Because hey, watching people fall on piles of barbed wire gets old.
When It Got Real
During the match, the tag team Public Enemy interfered, forcing Funk and Cactus Jack to team up briefly. While fighting off the intruders, Funk turned to the ravenous crowd and asked someone to throw him a chair. Now, given the nature of the fan base, he may have been the only person there that night who didn't realize the invitation for violence he had just offered an arena full of unstable psychopaths.
It's possible that the first few steel chairs that were thrown into the ring were innocent enough. These people may have genuinely wanted to help Funk. But after the first couple of dozen, that ship had clearly sailed. They were just throwing the chairs because hey those other guys got to throw chairs, and I don't have a tangible way to deal with my emotions either. One of the seats actually whacked Funk himself, who used the opportunity to fall to the ground and roll the fuck out of the ring.
"Please, please, no more chairity!"
Meanwhile, Public Enemy were completely buried under a mound of pointy metal. An official started telling fans to stop throwing chairs into the ring over the arena speakers, but that was like asking a mob of rioters to turn the burning police car back over and go home; it was long past the point of no return. After all, the man who bleeds for a living had asked them to throw chairs in the first place, and that's the kind of authority you don't mess with.
Thankfully, nobody was seriously hurt in the incident, and it became one of the most memorable matches in the organization's history. The crowd was certainly on its feet for it. But then again, they had thrown away their chairs.
"Oh God, it smells like ass under here."
2Masahiko Kimura vs. Rikidozan
It was a match dubbed the Duel of the Century -- between Masahiko Kimura and the Japanese Professional Wrestling Heavyweight Champion, Rikidozan. Kimura earned his fame by being pretty talented at real fighting -- he had only lost four judo matches in his entire life, and even had an arm lock named after him that's still used consistently in modern MMA. Rikidozan, on the other hand, dabbled briefly in sumo wrestling before really building a career throwing himself around professional wrestling rings.
He loved sucking his gut in too much to go sumo.
But even though one of the fighters was the real thing, the Duel of the Century was staged as a series of fake matches that would have toured around Japan, highlighting the evenly matched skill set of each man. We say "would have" because they never got through more than one match; Rikidozan made it clear that the only thing more important to him than piles of money and attention was winning.
When It Got Real
The very first match was supposed to end in a draw, setting up all the future matches in the Duel of the Century, but Rikidozan went into business for himself just a few minutes into the fight.
The two wrestled for a while like they had rehearsed, exchanging fake holds and dodging painfully sluggish attacks, because apparently everything could be in slow motion in the '50s and still keep the entire audience absolutely enthralled.
"A 45-minute headlock ... how can he withstand such punishment?"
Then without warning, Rikidozan snapped. He unleashed a flurry of chops to Kimura's neck and face. The flustered judo champion backed into a corner, afraid to fight back in any real capacity, because he was concerned that breaking Rikidozan in half might sour the deal.
When he did try judo's deadliest move, the face smush, it was to no avail.
At one point, Kimura even turned to the referee, presumably to ask for some kind of help, only to be pummeled to the floor and kicked in the face while the ref just watched and nodded.
"This'll teach you to ... respectfully adhere to match plans."
Somehow Kimura mustered up enough strength to stand up, bewildered by the turn of events. After the referee checked him for injuries, Rikidozan raced back in and chopped Kimura so hard in the neck that he knocked him out cold.
"Are you OK to continue?"
Rikidozan celebrated his glorious victory while a swollen-faced and disoriented Kimura looked on from his corner, trying to understand what the hell had just happened. In the aftermath, Kimura still had the composure to shake the hand of Rikidozan and congratulate him on the win, even though he was well within his rights, as far as we're concerned, to forcefully rearrange his organs.