Over the years, WWE has carried out some of the most insane stunts you'll see in any promotion that's not named Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling (the crazy Japanese company specializing in deathmatch wrestling). During that time, we've seen everything from Vince McMahon's own son jumping off the Titantron, the wrestlers being thrown off a 16-foot cell, and most recently Rey Mysterio seemingly being thrown off a roof.
That's a lot to take in, I know, but sometimes wrestling promotions need a death-defying stunt to get eyes on the screen and let audiences know that just about anything can happen, even being pushed off a platform while inside a dumpster. It's gimmicky, but hey, it's professional wrestling and sometimes you need to see something that defies the laws of gravity and all logic. Here are seven death-defying stunts from WWE programming.
Rey Mysterio Gets Thrown Off The Roof Of Titan Towers
When the Coronavirus pandemic forced WWE to move the annual Money In The Bank pay-per-view from an arena to a closed set, the powers that be decided to turn the two ladder matches into a never-before-seen "Corporate Ladder Match" shot on location at WWE Headquarters, aka Titan Towers, in beautiful downtown Stamford, Connecticut, with the matches ending atop the building. From the outset, you knew someone was going to get thrown off the roof. You don't have a wrestling match on a roof without someone falling off.
And that moment couldn't come a moment sooner when King Corbin threw not one, but two competitors off the roof of Titan Towers. Vanishing into the dark of night went longtime WWE superstar Rey Mysterio and up-and-comer Aleister Black, who both seemingly vanished into the dark of night down below. If we're looking behind the curtain, Mysterio and Black both fell a few feet below onto another platform near the edge of the roof.
Edge Spears Jeff Hardy From Atop A Ladder
There were ladder matches long before Edge and Christian, The Dudley Boyz, and The Hardy Boyz ushered in TLC (Tables, Ladders, and Chairs) era at the peak of the Attitude Era, but these three teams put on a series of death-defying and highly entertaining spectacles that included the iconic TLC triple threat for the WWF Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania 17 in 2001.
The match is a spectacle from start to finish, but there's a moment in which Jeff Hardy is hanging onto the belts high above the ring while Edge climbs a nearby ladder. As Hardy swings like a pendulum, gaining momentum, Edge leaps from the ladder and spears his opponent to the mat down below. The abuse these wrestlers put their bodies through is evident as they hobble out of the ring at the conclusion of the match after Edge's partner, Christian, shortly after.
Mankind Gets Thrown Off The Hell In A Cell
The Hell In A Cell match between Mankind (one of the three faces of Mick Foley) and The Undertaker at the 1998 King Of The Ring pay-per-view is one of the touchstones of professional wresting. Only the second time the Hell In A Cell had been used, the match started not in the ring, but atop the 16-foot structure. As soon as Mankind goaded The Undertaker to the top, you knew that someone, most likely Mankind, was going to get thrown off. And boy did he.
Watching a grown man fall through the air like a sack of bricks before he hits the announce table down below is a visual that I'll never forget. Combine that with the commentary by the legendary Jim Ross and you have one of the most memorable stunts the promotion has pulled off. And remember, this wasn't the end of the match, no, this was just the beginning. The Undertaker would proceed to chokeslam Mankind through the structure later on in the match.
Shane McMahon Jumps From The Titantron
There's been a long-running joke amongst wrestling fans that Shane McMahon would do anything and everything to get his father to love him. Over the course of the past 20+ years, the son of Vince McMahon has done everything from allow himself to be suplexed through glass, thrown off the Hell In A Cell by The Undertaker, and jump from dizzying heights like time he leapt off the titantron onto Big Show at Backlash in 2001.
The match came in the middle of the Invasion angle in which Shane McMahon had bought WCW before his dad could (storyline wise) and tried to take over the then-WWF over the course of spring and summer 2001. One of the highlights of the angle was the Shane/Big Show last man standing match that ended with Shane performing his signature Leap of Faith onto his opponent several stories below.
Cactus Jack And Chainsaw Charlie Get Thrown Off The Stage In A Dumpster
Mick Foley is no stranger to putting his life on the line for professional wrestling as the WWE Hall of Famer has lost a chunk of his ear, had a tooth lodged in his nose, and been set on fire and hit with more barbed wire than anyone else in the company. Perhaps Foley's most brutal persona, Cactus Jack, would take things to the next level, which is what happened during his feud with the New Age Outlaws leading up to WrestleMania 14 in 1998.
On the February 2, 1998, edition of Monday Night Raw, Billy Gunn and Jesse James, aka the New Age Outlaws, threw Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie (the legendary Terry Funk) into a dumpster and pushed it off the entrance stage. The two wrestlers fell 12 feet to ground below and set up one of the strangest matches in WrestleMania history — a literal dumpster match.
Shawn Michaels' WrestleMania 12 Entrance
You might see wrestlers getting thrown off large structures or through burning tables, but you'll never see anything like Shawn Michaels' zipline entrance from the rafters of the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, California, for WrestleMania 12, especially after the death of Owen Hart during a similar stunt three years later. Although it made for a larger than life entrance for the Heartbreak Kid as he prepared to capture the WWF Championship for the first time, the stunt was extremely dangerous and could have cost the wrestler his life if something failed.
The ECW Chair Incident
And then finally there's the infamous chair incident from at the ECW Hardcore Heaven event in 1994 (before WWE bought the brand in 2001) involving none other than Mick Foley (under the Cactus Jack moniker) and Terry Funk. When the match ended in a no-contest after a run-in, Funk and Cactus Jack asked the crowd for a few chairs. A few seconds later, metal folding chairs from the ringside area were being thrown into the ring.
This is one of the wildest things you'll see in wrestling, especially after you hear the ring announcer yell for the fans to stop throwing their chairs. After a minute or so of chairs raining down from the sky, all of the competitors in the ring were covered in a mountain of metal.
Those are seven of the most death-defying stunts in WWE history. It's amazing that all of these wrestlers were able to escape (serious) injury after these feats of ridiculousness, even if some lost a tooth along the way.
Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.
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