Wrestling might be scripted, but no one can deny that hardcore wrestling is quite polarizing in WWE. WWE Chairman Vincent McMahon didn’t give the permit for insane hardcore wrestling until the Attitude Era. The hardcore wrestling success in ECW influenced WWE as well as WCW to start with their hardcore divisions so that the talented hardcore wrestlers can climb their way to success.
Generally, any wrestler who uses the hardcore title with their name is famous for his unique way of assaulting the opponent with weapons. However, in WWE, a wrestler has to create a balance between hardcore wrestling and other styles. This is because WWE forbids players to assault each other mercilessly.
Nevertheless, the era of hardcore wrestling might be a past for the WWE, but the following 10 wrestlers were synonymous with their style.
#10. Dusty Rhodes
Virgil Riley Runnels Jr., nicknamed “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, was a professional WWE wrestler and arguably one of the most famous talkers in WWE history. But despite his speeches, he was an extreme wrestler. In the first stage of his career, The Midnight Rider teamed up with Dick Murdoch.
Rhodes proved his ability in hardcore wrestling when he used to play in NWA. On the national stage of NWA, Rhodes showed his aggressiveness which placed him in the list of most extreme wrestlers. He also brutally punished The Four Horsemen. He also fought against Tully Blanchard, where Rhodes forced him to experience the cold steel pipe ripping in his flesh.
However, Rhodes didn’t have a great physique like any other professional wrestler, but he was famous for his charisma, personality, and interviews. In 1974, Rhodes became people’s favorite after Pak Song, and manager Gary Hart tried to assault him during his match against Eddie and Mike Graham. Rhodes counter assaulted all of them, which gave him the title of “American Dream.” After teaming up with Dick Murdoch, they wrestled in many events, including NWF, NWA Detroit, Championship Wrestling (Australia), Tri-State wrestling, the American Wrestling Association, and the International Wrestling Enterprise. Rhodes also won his first match against Superstar Billy Graham for the WWF Heavyweight Championship.
#09. Shane McMahon
Shane Vincent McMahon, son of the famous Vincent McMahon, might be considered as one of the most iconic extreme wrestlers in the WWE industry. You might be surprised to see Shane in the top 10 list. Even though he did not compete for a lengthy time in the ring like other hardcore wrestlers, his tenacity and greatness make him worthy. Additionally, we should not forget his two finishing moves, “Coast to Coast” and “The Leap of Faith,” which make him one of the most violent wrestlers of all time.
At the time of his debut, The Boy Wonder showed no sign of greatness or attitude, which made him unworthy of his family name. He also somehow survived a violent beating from Kurt Angle, where Kurt threw him to multiple glass windows. He even defeated his own father, Vincent McMahon, in a street fight in WrestleMania.
Despite his unsuccessful years, Shane will always be remembered for his extreme leaps over the opponent from the top of WWE’s towers. Whether he landed or his opponent or not, this is a finisher move you witness very rarely. Shane was expelled from the company after losing a match in 2019 against Kevin Owens. As a professional wrestler, Shane won one SmackDown Tag Team Championship, one European Championship, and the 2018 WWE World Cup.
#08. Bruiser Brody
Frank Donald Goodish, nicknamed “Bruiser Brody” or “The Masked Marauder,” was a man with one purpose in mind, Punishment. Bruiser Brody quickly became one of the most feared wrestlers of all time due to his brutality. The Masked Marauder traveled from one territory to another, where he greatly assaulted his opponents.
Brody used to swing chains wildly while screaming, which was a deadly combination of lethal and aggressiveness. Those who were unlucky enough to go against Brody were always crushed with new scars on their body.
He was even compared with Abdullah the Butcher. These two legendary wrestlers brutalized each other around the world. Abdullah used to fight with a trusty fork, where Brody brought his own chain to counter Abdullah. The collision of these two titans in World Class Championship Wrestling will always be remembered. In 1976, he challenged WWF Champion Bruno Sammartino for a fight. However, he could not defeat Bruno but ended up injuring himself.
#07. New Jack
Jerome Young is a Professional wrestler, famous for his stage name “New Jack.” Wrestlers tend to grab anything during a hardcore fight. However, New Jack always comes prepared with a shopping cart or trash can with dangerous assaulting instruments. There’s no question that New Jack must be placed in the best hardcore wrestlers ever lists.
You won’t have any idea what New Jack can pull out from his weapon cart. New Jack loves to punish his opponents through unique and extraordinary ways from pizza cutters to street signs and video game controls. He is also the only wrestler to play his theme song (“Natural Born Killaz” by Dr. Dre) throughout the entire match in ECW.
If you’re interested to know the best weapon of New Jack, it is New Jack himself. He fought through rabid ECW crowds with Da Baldies and The Dudely Boys with an attitude of no mercy. In 1993, Jack won his first-ever championship, the USWA World Tag Team Championship.
Terry Michael Brunk, ring name “Sabu,” is a professional wrestler who currently wrestles on the independent circuit. He is famous for his hardcore wrestling techniques and certainly one of the greatest hardcore wrestlers of all time.
Sabu has shown his absolute aggressiveness in ECW, but he did manage to perform brilliantly in WWE for just one time. Sabu then again joined the ECW re-launch and quickly became famous due to his legendary hardcore persona.
In his time in ECW, Sabu won championships, including one-time the ECW World Television Championship, Two-time World Heavyweight Championships. He also won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
WWE permitted Sabu to use any additional weapons, including chairs, tables. This helped WWE to set his persona. Sabu even engaged in a feud with John Cena, where he forced Cena to wrestle in a hardcore style. Sabu could’ve been more famous only if WWE wasn’t too late to approach him.
#05. Terry Funk
Terry Funk is an actor and retired professional wrestler. In his 50 years long wrestling career, Terry Funk may be the greatest overall wrestler on our list, but his hardcore and aggressive fighting style is the main factor that made him famous. However, Funk started his career as a technical wrestler, but later in his career, he turned himself into one of the best hardcore wrestlers you can ever imagine.
Terry Funk won multiple major championships, including NWA World Heavyweight Championship, WWF World Tag Team Championship, ECW World Television Championship, USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship, and ECW World Heavyweight Championship.
WWE signed Terry Funk after his humongous success in the ECW World Championship. He was even inducted in WWE, WCW, NWA and, Hardcore Hall of Fame. Overall, he won three World Championships at major professional wrestling promotions. Few wrestlers can match the brutality level of Terry Funk.
#04. Rob Van Dam
Rob Van Dam, often abbreviated as RVD, is the only wrestler in history who won WWE Championship as well as the ECW World Heavyweight Championship and TNA World Heavyweight Championship. He won the vote of “most popular wrestler” in both 2001 and 2002. Additionally, WWE crowned him as the ECW’s greatest star in 2014.
Rob Van dam was so talented that he used to give his best hardcore performance even in average matches. That’s why he must be known as a hardcore legend.
After leaving ECW, Van Dam joined WWE, where he won the Intercontinental, European, Hardcore, and World Tag Team Championships. At WrestleMania 22, he won the Money in the Bank ladder match. Van dam became so motivated that he challenged John Cena for the one-night stand title match. Unsurprisingly, Van Dam won that World Championship after assaulting and defeating John Cena.
WWE even permitted Van Dam to use chairs for his finishing moves, such as the Van Terminator and the Van Dominator.
Scott Levy, better known as Raven, is an American professional wrestler. Raven is considered as one of the best deathmatch wrestlers in ECW, where he had an outstanding performance. WWE signed Raven for his hardcore matches in 2000.
Despite his success, Raven was a manager in WWF. However, he became the manager of The Quebecers in 1994, where he led them to win the WWF Tag Team Championship. Aside from managing, Raven appeared in tag team or single matches where he faced many legendary wrestlers such as Virgil, Marty Jannetty, JimPowers, Doink the Clown, and Owen Hart.
After leaving WWF, he joined ECW. However, he joined WWE again in 2000, where he defeated Steve Blackman for the Hardcore Championship title. He also wrestled in the hardcore division with the “24/7” rule.
#02. Jeff Hardy
Coming 2nd in our list of hardcore wrestlers is none other than legendary Jeff Hardy. The ladder Jeff Hardy uses has become the most terrifying and signature weapon in WWE. Additionally, Hardy loves to showcase his lethal flying moves and daredevil stunts. Even if you think that Matt is famous for his ladder matches, don’t forget that Hardy uses the ladder to jump on his opponents.
With his brother Matt on the side, Hardy won 21 World Tag Team Championships throughout WWE, TNA, and ROH, which makes him one of the most extreme wrestlers. Hardy also won 6 World Championships as well as WWE Intercontinental Championship 5 times, WWE Hardcore Championship 3 times, and one WWE Championship in 2008. He’s on his way to winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship for the 2nd time.
Jeff Hardy is considered as one of the top WWE wrestlers who use massive hardcore techniques on the wrestling ring.
#01. Mick Foley
Without a doubt, Mick Foley is the toughest wrestler and a hardcore legend. From WWE to WCW, Mick has shown his extreme hardcore abilities everywhere. The Hell in a Cell match against The Undertake is considered the best match in his total wrestling career.
The Cactus Jack is 4 times World Champion, 11 times World Tag Team Champion, including 8 WWF Tag Team Championships. He is also one time TNA World Heavyweight Champion and, last but not least, the WWF Hardcore Champion.
Mick’s Dangerous matches against The Rock, The Undertaker, and many other legendary figures made him the toughest wrestler of all time.
So, these are the top 10 hardcore wrestlers in WWE history. Who do you admire or fear the most? Share your thoughts below.
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