We continue our series on wrestling’s craziest superstars by taking a look at some of wrestling’s ‘in-ring madmen. Some promoters and performers looked for ways to heighten audience excitement. Early no-holds barred matches and cage matches would be replaced by hardcore matches that involved lots of blood and foreign objects being used. Hardcore wrestling is often separated into distinct levels based on the graphic nature of the match. Promotions in Japan such as FMW escalated the violence to legitimately dangerous levels with gimmick matches that involved barbed wire, explosives and fire. These matches and gimmicks soon became popular in North America. Many of the wrestlers in these matches put their health and well-being on the line. It’s a weird dynamic to see that these guys are seriously injuring each other but everyone in the audience thinks that it’s fake. It’s completely moronic what these guys would do for virtually no money and no prospect of ever making any money from doing this. It’s sado-masochism at its finest. Some of the wrestlers on our list liked to dish out pain while others would put their bodies on the line and take extreme amounts of punishment in order to entertain the crowd and go home shocked at something that they’ve never witnessed as a wrestling fan before. One would argue that this isn’t a wrestling match. It’s simply two guys inflicting pain on each other more than anything else. Here’s a roundup of some of the wrestlers that we chose on our list…

Abdullah the Butcher

—I love me some chicken and waffles!—

-He is nicknamed the ‘Sudanese Madman’ and sometimes referred to by his most faithful fans as ‘Abby.’ His weapons of choice were sharpened pencils that he would rake over his opponents’ foreheads as well as a fork that he would use to stab his opponent in the head with. While he enjoyed seeing his opponents spill blood; he also enjoyed seeing his own blood and would sometimes taste his own blood to the shock and disgust of wrestling fans. Abdullah had some truly bloody battles with Carlos Colon in Puerto Rico as well as Cactus Jack in America. Many of his matches went away from the ring area and into the crowd. There wasn’t a weapon that Abdullah wouldn’t use in a match. If Abby could get his hands on something, he would use it and this included microphones, the ring bell and the fans own chairs they were sitting in. Not even the refs were spared. If a ref tried to take his trademark fork away from him, Abdullah would stab the ref with the fork as well. As if his carnage wasn’t bad enough, it turns out that Abdullah the Butcher was diagnosed with Hepatitis C and was sued by another wrestler who believed that he got the disease from Larry. If true, it just shows what a crazy person in the ring Larry truly was if he would risk giving someone a serious disease just to entertain the fans in the arena. While Abdullah was psychotic in the ring, he was a soft spoken, intelligent and friendly man outside of wrestling. A switch would go off in his head as soon as a match would start and he would change from a mild mannered restaurant owner to a complete madman in the ring.

New Jack

—Damn it feels good to be a gangster.—

-New Jack is a retired American professional wrestler who mainly competed for the ECW promotion in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He would come to the ring wearing shirts from rappers such as Tupac, Snoop, Eazy, and many others. He would often bring a shopping cart to the ring which included a variety of weapons such as staple guns, branding irons, blades, keyboards and many more. What made New Jack dangerous was his unpredictability in the ring. His opponents didn’t want to work with him for fear of what he might do on any given night and possibly give them a long term injury. His most famous incident was called the ‘Mass Transit Incident’. New Jack faced a rookie named Eric ‘Mass Transit Kulas. The kid lied about his age (wasn’t of legal age to wrestle on the card) and didn’t know how to blade himself. He allowed New Jack to cut him but New Jack cut him extra hard with his machete type weapon and the wound became a gusher. Blood was pouring out of the kid and he needed immediate medical attention. The incident caused ECW to lose PPV sponsorship until fans revolted and forced the networks to air ECW PPVs again. Another incident involved Vic Grimes. He and Grimes did a a spot which required diving off the top of a balcony. Vic took too long to do the spot and ended up falling on top of New Jack causing him brain damage, a cracked skull, and temporary blindness in his right eye for six months. In their 2nd match years later with XPW, Jack deliberately threw Grimes further than the tables he was supposed to land on and Jack said in related interviews that he was literally trying to kill Grimes as payback for what Grimes had did to him.

In another incident, Jack had a match with Gypsy Joe. Joe was much older but New Jack didn’t care and told the promoter that it would be a typical hardcore street fight. Jack inflicted too much damage to the old man and left fans wondering what the point was in having a hardcore match against such an older man who couldn’t keep up with Jack in the ring. In 2004, New Jack, wrestling for Thunder Wrestling Federation, was scheduled to fight fellow wrestler William Jason Lane. During the match, New Jack pulled out a metal blade from his camouflage wrestling attire, and stabbed Lane fourteen times. This action caused New Jack to receive various felony charges, including for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and aggravated assault to commit murder. New Jack has also been known to knock another wrestler out backstage and fight with a promoter that resulted in the police being called in to disrupt the altercation. New Jack plays his gangster persona not only inside the ring but outside of it just as much.


—I always buy superglue and duct tape at the hardware store.—

-Sabu (Terry Brunk) was trained by his uncle, Ed ‘The Sheik’ Farhat. Sabu’s philosophy was to wrestle every match like it was a big show because the fans paid money to be entertained. He started the early part of his career working gimmick matches in Japan. He worked several barbed wire matches and even tagged in a fire match with his uncle which gave his uncle heat burns. He would be brought into ECW and helped to develop the ‘Sabu’ character as a homicidal, genocidal, suicidal Arabic man with poofy pants who never spoke a word and would be chained up like a mental patient only to escape to fight his battles. Brunk soon gave up the chains but kept the gimmick going and became a huge hit with the fans for putting his body on the line. Sabu had developed a gimmick of throwing himself through a propped-up table in Japan in order to entertain the crowd and get his character over as a wild and possibly insane man. He then started to put opponents through tables. The table spot became a staple of ECW events, and has become so commonplace that it is now incorporated into otherwise non-hardcore matches in almost every promotion. One example of his refusal to give up involved his first match against Chris Benoit. A back body drop was botched and Sabu landed directly on his head which broke his neck. He would continue to wrestle two weeks later in Japan with a brace around his neck. His most famous moment came during the ‘Born to be Wired’ match against Terry Funk where he continued to wrestle after tearing open his bicep. Another famous incident involved Sabu wrapping tape around his head to keep his jaw in place after he broke it doing a botched move. Sabu was impressive with his usage of super glue that he would use to seal up wounds during his matches to prevent any further bleeding. Sabu wrestled many opponents over in Japan but none were as feared as the Japanese mafia. In an incident at a show, Sabu hit a Yakuza member in the crowd. The Yakuza were so upset that they held all of the wrestling roster hostage at a hotel until Sabu came and the two worked out their differences with each other. Sabu is a true testament to the phrase’ The Show Must Go On’ as he always put his body on the line and never stopped a match even though he was badly injured.

Atsushi Onita

—I do council meetings and death matches.—

-Atsushi Onita is a former Japanese professional wrestler best known for his work in Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling. He is credited with importing to Japan, as well as innovating, the deathmatch style of professional wrestling. The name of the matches that he was in was enough to gain your attention. One of Onita’s chief innovations was taking down the ring ropes and replacing them with barbed-wire. This led to the barbed-wire being attached to electrical charges and/or C4 explosives. These ‘garbage’ matches had names such as ‘No Rope Barbwire Electrified Exploding Cage Death Match’, ‘Barbed Wire Barricade Electric Landmine Double Hell death match’ and ‘Six Man Loser Eats Dog Food Ladder Scramble Match’. Onita’s matches weren’t very technical and often needed the gimmick to help and sell the match but he would often get bloodied up and require multiple stitches after each match. He actually wrestled a real life Alligator/Crocodile in a match! He never knew when to quit and would come out of retirement so much that the Japanese fans eventually got tired of Onita lying about retiring and lost honor for their former star. Onita would leave wrestling and pursue a job in politics as a member of the Japanese government.

Necro Butcher

—I light my clothes on fire and do Oscar award winning films!—

-The Butcher ’surname’ was a tribute to Abdullah the Butcher while Necro was a tribute to the ‘Evil Dead movie franchise’. Necro went on to become a key player in the IWA Mid-South Indy promotion. Necro Butcher became very popular as a Hardcore performer and would join CZW and win their annual ‘Tournament of Death’ event. His hardcore performance was viewed by many in the film ‘The Wrestler’ where he showed a mainstream audience just how brutal an independent wrestling match can be. Necro made his Juggalo Championship Wrestling debut in 2003. Both Necro and his opponent were nearly blinded by shards from the shattering light tubes. In other matches, Necro would set his leg on fire in order to deliver a move and bust open a light tube in his mouth to scare away his opponent. Necro would later join ROH briefly where he wrestled less ’spot filled’ matches and would allow his body to heal up slightly. He still tours Japan frequently and is still a prominent wrestler doing death matches across both the United States and Japan.

Masada and Jun Kasai

—We both love razor blades.—

-Jun ‘Crazy Monkey’ Kasai is a Japanese professional wrestler, primarily competing for Big Japan Pro Wrestling. Kasai’s body is covered in scars, from all the hardcore wrestling he has done. It’s some weird blood fetish thing. Each scar is almost a tribal tattoo or piece of art that is part of his craft. During a ‘Fans Bring the Weapons’ Match in CZW, Kasai took a bump onto a light tube board which ripped open his left elbow, exposing bone. Kasai has participated five times in an extremely bloody hardcore match where boards are fitted with many razor blades. The punishment he inflicted upon himself left one to assume he truly was out of his mind. Masada is an American professional wrestler. Masada trained at the Texas Wrestling Academy and was in ROH for a couple of years. These two men have had some of the best death matches in recent years. In 2008, Masada had an extremely bloody deathmatch involving razor blades against Jun Kasai in Apache Pro-Wrestling. In 2013, Masada and Kasai had another death match. Two walls of glass, fences with gusset plates on and bamboos skewers are what ultra-violence is really about. One could argue that this isn’t a wrestling match. It’s simply two guys inflicting pain on each other more than anything else. Also, it’s a bit disturbing to see an individual take so much punishment, be bloodied up, have scars all over their body, and smile as if they’re enjoying having pain inflicted upon them.

Mick Foley

—I’m a best-selling author.—

-It was hard to include Foley in this list and not Terry Funk. Both men are instrumental in helping each other grow as pro wrestlers and in putting together great psychological and hardcore matches with each other. We’ll discuss Foley more for the fact that he helped bring hardcore wrestling to a larger fanbase in America and for his decision to take crazy bumps and be thrown more than 15 feet off a hell in a cell. Foley would compete for WCCW, WCW, ECW, WWE, TNA as well as several wrestling tours of Japan. Foley was world-famous for his wild and crazy bloody stunts-filled weapons-swinging fire and explosions hardcore matches. Mick would never say no to a stunt. He took most bumps that other wrestlers refused to do. He’s been powerbombed on concrete,had a beer bottle broken over his head and thrown off the stage inside a dumpster. In a match with Vader in Germany, Foley got accidentally caught up in the ropes. The pressure of the ropes tangled around his head was so great, that it was enough to tear off his right ear and partially damage his left one. While wrestling in Japan, Foley received second degree burns on his shoulder and arms and needed over 54 stitches to heal a wound after participating in the ‘King of the Deathmatch’ tournament. In the Royal Rumble 1999 ‘I Quit’ match vs The Rock, Foley was handcuffed and received several brutal chairshots to the head from The Rock. It wasn’t viewed as brutal back then. Now, with all that we know about concussions and brain damage, the incident is seen as much more intolerable than it was previously. Of course, Undertaker tossing Foley’s Mankind persona off the top of the Hell in a Cell structure at King of the Ring back in 1998 is still viewed as one of the most extreme moments in wrestling history.

The Original Sheik

—This tastes like chicken. Yum!—

-The ‘Original Sheik’ is Sabu‘s uncle and was one of the first wrestlers to adopt the hardcore style of wrestling.There have been many wrestlers who have used foreign objects as their primary wrestling move but none have done it better than the Sheik. The Sheik has used just about everything from pencils to railroad spikes to inflict pain and punishment on his opponents but his favorite thing to use was the fireball. When fans would approach him on the street, the Sheik would often throw a fireball at them as well to protect his ring persona. Even outside of the ring, he would never abandon his wrestling persona and his relatives and friends all had to call him by his ring name ‘Sheik’ rather than his real name. While in the ring one night, Farhat noticed some black fans segregated away from the ring behind some chicken wire and he used his crazy gimmick to go into the crowd and tear the wire away against the wishes of the promoters who he felt were racists.During the 1990s, he mainly wrestled in Japan for Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling and had various dangerous death matches. In 1992, The Sheik had a ‘fire deathmatch’ with Sabu against Atsushi Onita and Tarzan Goto, where the ring ropes were replaced with flaming barbed wire and he got third-degree burns and went into a coma to which he would eventually come out of and continue to wrestle. While many considered him a mad man in the ring, he was well liked and respected by his peers. He once donated money once a month for a year to fellow wrestler Harley Race when he found out that his wife had died in an automobile accident.

Thanks for reading. In final article in this series, we’ll focus on some of the crazier things that professional wrestlers have done outside of the ring and how their wilder antics have hurt their personal lives.

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