Professional wrestling is obviously one of the more violent forms of entertainment in the world today. At its most basic essence, wrestling is about two people physically fighting to determine who is the stronger, better performer of the two. When wrestlers start adding tables and ladders and chairs, oh my, does it start getting exponentially more violent.
The vast majority of the female wrestlers, or Divas, ever to work for WWE have been extremely beautiful. Though many have been tough competitors in their own right, beautiful women aren’t typically known for being physically violent killing machines. WWE divas routinely prove that they can wrestle just as well as the men, but given their looks, it can be hard to imagine some of them swinging lead pipes, going for broke and trying to make their opponents bleed. The female athletes on this list show that’s just as crazy as telling them they can’t wrestle, beating the hell out of men and women alike for their art, weapons and all.
11. Beth Phoenix & Natalya vs. Laycool – TLC 2010
A rarity for the divas, this match is not only a tag match, it’s also a tables match. With the only means of victory throwing your opponent through a table and causing it to shatter, its obvious matches of this ilk have a tendency towards the violent. While in your traditional tag tables match, it’s not unusual for at least two or even three tables to get broken, but the team of Phoenix and Natalya only needed one to take care of both divas of Laycool. They even brought their own custom pink table, adorned with goofy caricatures of Layla and Michelle. Natalya, WWE Diva’s Champion at the time, locked both of Laycool into a double sharpshooter while Beth set up the table. Laycool were slammed onto the table, and Natalya flew off the top ropes crashing through them to victory with a splash.
10. Bull Nakano vs. Alundra Blayze – Summerslam 1994
While most of the other matches on this list are either hardcore or at least involve the use of weapons, this is simply a knockdown, drag-out fight. The Japanese style of pro wrestling is far harder hitting than the American style, and Nakano didn’t hold back when she challenged Blayze for the WWE Women’s Championship. In fact, she beats the hell out of her. Blayze fights back, too, hitting stiff kicks and chops throughout the match. Nakano’s unique offense contorts Blayze’s body in ways most of the men couldn’t handle, but Blayze manages to fight back and retain the title with a German suplex. Despite being considered one of the best women’s matches in WWE history at the time, both women would be fired in under a year, and the women’s division made inactive until 1998.
9. Mickie James vs. Melina – Raw, March 5, 2007
The WWE Women’s Championship was defended in a Falls Count Anywhere match for the first time when Mickie James challenged Melina for the title on Raw in 2007. Mickie immediately brought the match to the backstage area, driving her directly into the diva’s locker room, where Maria Kanellis, Victoria, Torrie Wilson and Candice Michelle, wearing only a towel, are waiting. All six divas end up battling each other, Torrie spraying hairspray into Victoria’s eyes, and Candace somehow winds up naked, while the camera “experiences technical problems.” Mickie drags Melina back to the ring, and it’s actually in the confines of the squared circle where the match gets ultra-violent, with Melina very nearly breaking Mickie James’ neck by pushing her off the turnbuckle, causing Mickie to land at a really horrible angle. Obviously, potential internal decapitation was more than enough for Melina to retain her title.
8. Melina vs. Beth Phoenix – One Night Stand, 2008
The rise of MMA has shown that violence isn’t all about blood, guts and gore. Serious submission style grappling can hurt just as much as a kendo stick to the head if the hold is applied by a talented enough wrestler, and as it would turn out Melina and Beth Phoenix are talented wrestlers. The match was posed to be violent from the start, as it was the first ever divas “I Quit” match. The two eschewed the usual cadre of weaponry past I Quit matches had been known for, instead focusing on contorting each others bodies in ways even their gymnastic frames couldn’t handle. “The Glamazon” Phoenix won the match after stretching Melina’s head back into her feet.
7. Lita vs. Victoria – Raw, November 24, 2003
In November of 2003, Eric Bischoff introduced Raw Roulette, a Las Vegas-style roulette wheel adding special stipulations to each match on that night’s card. The Divas opened the show, and fans were treated to just how serious the wheel can be when the ladies landed on a cage match. Any match contested within a steel cage is bound to be violent, and the first ever women’s steel cage match in WWE history was no different. Lita seemed to have Victoria beat after a Moonsault, but Lita’s ex-boyfriend Matt Hardy ran down to slam the cage door in her face, allowing Victoria to take the victory.
6. Tori vs. Ivory – Raw, September 6, 1999
WWE Women’s Champion Ivory told interviewer Terry Taylor she was excited to be the first diva to defend the women’s title in a hardcore match, and before she could even explain her strategy, the match began, with Tori attacking her. Hardcore matches went all throughout the arena during the Attitude Era, and when Raw returned from commercial, the divas were going at it in the women’s locker room. Tori gives Ivory a swirlie, after which she throws bars of soap and tampons at her. Ivory retaliates by throwing Tori into the showers, where Jacqueline randomly appears wearing only a towel. They fight into the men’s locker room, where Droz, Albert and Viscera cheer Ivory on. Ivory eventually retained her title after breaking a glass mirror over Tori’s head.
5. Edge, Mick Foley and Lita vs. Terry Funk, Tommy Dreamer and Beulah – One Night Stand, 2006
In the interest of fairness, it feels right we point out this is the only match on the list to feature barbed wire tables and 2×4’s lit on fire, so you might think it deserves the number one spot by default. Granted, it’s mostly the men getting hardcore in this match, but it starts with Beulah challenging Lita to join the match, and the crowd approvingly chanting “F*ck her up, Beulah, f*ck her up!” The divas started the match by diving at each other and rolling out of the ring, harkening back to the classic “catfights” of ECW while the men get into the more hardcore antics mentioned above. Though neither ladies have any barbed wire scars, Beulah did play a role in the ending to the match, which saw Edge pin her in an extremely sexual manner following a Spear. There’s more than one way to be hardcore.
4. Victoria vs. Trish Stratus – Survivor Series, 2003
The WWE Women’s’ Championship existed for over 50 years, and to our knowledge, it was only once ever defended in a hardcore match. At Survivor Series 2002, Victoria challenged WWE Hall of Famer Trish Stratus for the title. Trish tosses Victoria into a trash can, throws her into an ironing board, and then proves she’s hardcore by beating the hell out of Victoria with a kendo stick. Somewhere in the onslaught Victoria gets a bloody nose, making her one of very few women to actually bleed during a match. Potentially broken nose be damned, Victoria managed to fight back and spray Trish in the face with a fire extinguisher, allowing her to win the title.
3. Lita vs. Ivory – Survivor Series, 2000
As everybody knows, things go wrong in professional wrestling, and the women aren’t immune to that any more than the men. A member of Right to Censor at the time, the ring gear of WWE Women’s Champion Ivory included conservative dress wear and steel toe boots. The match itself isn’t any more violent than most women’s matches, but early on, Ivory kicks Lita in the face and the steel catches Lita stiffly enough to take out a small piece of her face. Ivory punches Lita near the cut causing it to really break open, and before long, half of Lita’s face was as red as her hair. Lita tries to fight back, but misses a moonsault, allowing Ivory to retain her title, although her white shirt was ruined by Lita’s blood. The match marked the first time a female wrestler bled from her face during a WWE match.
2. Vince McMahon vs. Stephanie McMahon – No Mercy, 2003
No Mercy 2003 wasn’t the first time Vince McMahon wrestled one of his children. He wrestled his son Shane on several occasions, most famously in a street fight at WrestleMania X7. Shane typically held his own, but the first and probably only ever “Father-Daughter I Quit Match” in WWE history was just a paycheck away from legalized child abuse. Vince beats the hell out of his daughter during the match, and though Stephanie gets Vince good with a few shots to the head holding a lead pipe, she only has about a minute long comeback during her father’s 10-minute onslaught. Vince eventually won the match after his wife and Stephanie’s mother, Linda McMahon, threw in the towel at ringside while Vince choked Stephanie unconscious with that same lead pipe.
1. Beulah McGillicutty vs. Bill Alfonso – ECW, As Good As It Gets 1997
Beulah McGillicutty is one of the most beautiful divas in professional wrestling history, but there’s a reason ECW fans remember her as the true queen of hardcore. While earlier in this list we discussed her tag team efforts, it was her ECW solo debut against referee Bill Alfonso which goes down in history as the bloodiest match ever to involve a diva—and Fonzie barely even touches Beulah.
McGillicutty starts the match by hitting Alfonso with a baking sheet, immediately causing the wayward referee to bleed. She later lands Fonzie with a sliding dropkick to the face, assisted by a steel chair. According to ECW Owner Paul Heyman, Alfonso would lose one-third of the blood in his body during the match. That may be an exaggeration, but Alfonso bleeds so heavily it’s clear he really can’t see out of both eyes, and it’s hard to tell how much of it is acting and how much is real, but he looks generally woozy even attempting to stand. Beulah doesn’t get busted open, but ends up covered in Alfonso’s blood, too, just by way of continuing to hit the guy. The crowd went wild for McGillicutty, chanting, “She’s hardcore! She’s hardcore!” for the real life Mrs. Tommy Dreamer, until she finally took away the win after a Beulahcanrana.