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The 20 wildest table moments in sports-entertainment
Get the tables!
At some point during The Attitude Era, Superstars going through wooden tables became as much a part of mat culture as headlocks and collar and elbow tie-ups. And while the days of 24/7 Hardcore Title defenses and the no-rules world of ECW are long behind us, tables are still stored underneath WWE ring skirts for those special splintery moments. And there have been quite a few.
From Mick Foley's horrifying Hell in a Cell fall to a Dudley Boyz' powerbomb on an octogenarian, come along with WWE.com to the sports-entertainment lumber yard as we count down the 20 most historic and destructive table-smashing moments.
Rhyno tips Bubba Ray Dudley and Matt Hardy off a ladder: WrestleMania X-Seven
Sequels rarely live up to the original, but at WrestleMania X-Seven, The Hardys, The Dudley Boyz and Edge & Christian were determined to top the first Tables Ladders & Chairs Match waged at the previous year’s SummerSlam. In a bout that bent steel and shattered timber, these three teams put their careers on the line in pursuit of the World Tag Team Championships on The Grandest Stage of Them All. However, it was none of these men — but rather a Man Beast — that determined the fate of the titles that night.
As the battle-weary Bubba Ray Dudley and Matt Hardy traded punches atop a 20-foot ladder, the titles dangling above their heads, Rhyno charged at the base of the ladder and sent both Superstars crashing through three tables at ringside. This intervention allowed Edge & Christian to “reek of awesomeness” and championship gold at the 17th Show of Shows. — JAMES WORTMAN
Double Rock Bottom onto Triple H and Shane McMahon: Backlash 2000
Sometimes we just feel bad for the Spanish announce table. (Okay, let’s be serious. It’s all the time.) But some of the most memorable moments in sports-entertainment have come at Carlos Cabrera’s table-side, including The Rock’s famous double-Rock Bottom to both Triple H and Shane McMahon at Backlash 2000.
The Game had set up The People’s Champion for what should have been a devastating Pedigree on the table, but The Great One turned the tides on his longtime rival. A low-blow set up Triple H for a Rock Bottom, but special referee Shane McMahon attempted to block the maneuver by climbing up on the table. In true Brahma Bull fashion, The Rock wasn’t going to have any part of that. He also took advantage of The Boy Wonder’s interference, pulled him in and delivered an eye-popping double-Rock Bottom through the Spanish announce table. Thanks to Hercules himself, the WWE Universe had another memorable table moment. — TOM LIODICE
Rocco Rock somersaults onto Marcus Bagwell: WCW Nitro, Jan. 15, 1996
You can take The Public Enemy out of ECW, but you can’t take the ECW out of The Public Enemy. Heeding the adage that you only get one chance to make a first impression, extreme expats Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge made sure no one, least of all The American Males, forgot their introduction to WCW in January 1996. After stealing a win over the purportedly irresistible and unpredictable Marcus Bagwell & Scotty Riggs, P.E. decided to add some ECW flair to their WCW debut.
Stacking one table on top of another — an act of construction that just wasn’t done much in 1996 — Grunge held Bagwell in place on the top table while Rock ascended the turnbuckles. Rock then somersaulted over the ring post and onto Bagwell, smashing both tables. For WCW fans, it was only a sign of things to come, as Rock & Grunge would turn splintered tables into a calling card. — JOHN CLAPP
Natalya splashes onto Lay-Cool: TLC 2010
WWE’s Divas have shown that they can be just as tough as any Superstar in the ring. But the women rarely get the chance to battle each other in hardcore bouts.
Natalya found herself in that unfamiliar position against Team Lay-Cool in the first-ever Divas Tables Match at WWE TLC 2010. Pinned in the corner with her two foes ready to suplex her through a pink table, the third-generation Diva battled out of their grasps and shoved them both onto the furniture..
Unfortunately, Layla & Michelle McCool were too light to break it. Natalya had to improvise. Without wasting a second, she climbed to the top rope and dove off, landing on top of Lay-Cool, breaking the table and claiming victory for herself and Beth Phoenix. — BOBBY MELOK
Sabu DDTs Rey Mysterio through a table: ECW One Night Stand 2006
At ECW One Night Stand 2006, the first event of WWE’s re-launched ECW, two of sports entertainment's most daring aerialists collided at the Hammerstein Ballroom for the ultimate underdog’s World Championship. Rey Mysterio competed in the original ECW in 1995 and 1996 but had never crossed paths with The Human Highlight Reel.
At the end of the match, Mysterio was laid out on a table propped up between the guardrail and ring apron. Sabu set up for his infamous triple jump moonsault as Mysterio struggled to his feet. The Arabian daredevil made a midair adjustment and DDT’d Rey headfirst through the table to the floor. The moment was so unforgettably brutal that the match ended in a No Contest — something that never happened in the original ECW. — @JOEYSTYLES
Mike Awesome powerbombs Masato Tanaka: ECW One Night Stand 2005
If you spliced stock footage of tiny people fleeing cities into Mike Awesome vs. Masato Tanaka matches, they’d suddenly appear to be Japanese monster movies from the 1960s. Nobody besides Godzilla and King Ghidorah enjoyed beating the crap out of each other as much as these guys did. Only instead of smoldering skyscrapers and crushed tanks, they left busted steel chairs and tables smashed to smithereens in their wake.
Plenty of furniture was destroyed during their lengthy rivalry, but the crescendo of their conflict came at ECW One Night Stand 2005 when — following an expectedly grueling brawl — Awesome hoisted Tanaka over his head, ran the length of the ring and launched him over the top rope, through a table and to the beer stained concrete floor. The credits should’ve rolled after that, but Awesome elected to slingshot himself onto a fallen Tanaka and then beat up the referee. Come to think of it, Godzilla was a chump compared to that guy. — RYAN MURPHY
The Dudley Boyz powerbomb Spike Dudley through a flaming table: ECW Heat Wave 1999
There are plenty of sayings about playing with fire, but after losing the ECW World Tag Team Titles to Spike Dudley & Balls Mahoney at ECW Heat Wave 1999, The Dudley Boyz gleefully ignored those warnings. In a shocking move then-unseen on pay-per-view, Bubba Ray & D-Von — not known for their good sportsmanship — incapacitated the new champions in a post-match assault before setting up two tables in the ring and coating them with lighter fluid.
Then, as the Dudleys’ younger brother and Mahoney writhed in agony, Sign Guy Dudley set the tables ablaze, prompting D-Von to powerbomb Spike through the flaming furniture (Bubba Ray’s attack to Mahoney mercifully missed its mark). Moments later, the Dudleys faced the wrath of New Jack in a display of poetic justice, but the damage had been done.
The sickening act was hardcore even for ECW, and provided further proof that no one has “table manners” like the Dudleys. — JAMES WORTMAN
Diesel shoves Bret Hart off the apron: Survivor Series 1995
Compared to the high-wire antics of known daredevils, Diesel’s propelling of Bret Hart off the ring apron and through the Spanish announce table may look tame. But taken in the context of late-1995 WWE, it was among the most startling scenes ever witnessed. Consider the fact that ECW had not yet premiered nationally, and there hadn’t been as high-profile a table break in WWE since the 1980s — and never before on pay-per-view.
What truly set the Diesel-Hart exchange apart was its suddenness. There was zero telegraphing, and the ritual of yanking monitors off tables hadn’t yet taken hold. Nor did Diesel place Hart on a table and then search out and scale a tall object off which to leap. WWE fans, let alone the “Hit Man,” had no opportunity to brace for the crash. It just happened, and the Spanish announce desk would never be viewed the same way again. — JOHN CLAPP
Jeff Hardy Swanton Bombs onto CM Punk: SummerSlam 2009
At SummerSlam 2009, two Superstars battled for the World Heavyweight Championship in a brutal aerial battle of attrition. An innovator of the Tables, Ladder & Chairs Match, Jeff Hardy’s first one-on-one TLC contest was a title defense against the opportunistic, dangerous master of the Money in the Bank format, CM Punk.
Both Superstars displayed reckless abandon and incredible resilience throughout the grueling, back-and-forth battle. At the frenetic height of the match, The Charismatic Enigma left Punk downed on the ECW announce table, climbed the tallest ladder of all at ringside and went for, perhaps, the most high-risk Swanton Bomb of his entire career.
The incredible kamikaze dive was an instant-classic moment that decimated both Superstars and the announce table. WWE medical officials attempted to carry Hardy away on a stretcher, but the champion returned to the ring and met Punk at the top of another ladder, before finally succumbing to The Straight Edge Superstar and losing his World Heavyweight Title. — JAKE GRATE
Edge pushes The Undertaker off a ladder: One Night Stand 2008
At One Night Stand 2008, The Undertaker squared off against Edge in a TLC Match with the vacant World Heavyweight Title on the line.
Late in the contest, The Phenom found himself perched atop a 20-foot-tall ladder, ready to claim the title. But when members of La Familia attacked, The Ultimate Opportunist struck, shoving the ladder and sending The Deadman out of the ring and through a stack of tables.
The moment seemed to play out in slow-motion — The Undertaker frozen for a moment in time, stuck there in mid-air, tables looming on the ringside floor beneath him (so, so far beneath him).
The black-clad Demon from Death Valley continued on his path through the air, inevitably reaching his destination with the sickening CRACK of human flesh hitting unforgiving pine. It was more than enough to stop the WWE icon as Edge made a quick trip up a ladder to claim his championship. — ALEX GIANNINI
Shawn Michaels misses a moonsault onto Ric Flair: WrestleMania 24
Shawn Michaels famously ended Ric Flair’s career at WrestleMania XXIV, but it was HBK who nearly lost his livelihood partway through the match. With Slick Ric on the outside of the ring, Michaels attempted to take him out with a wildly reckless Asai moonsault. Unfortunately for HBK, The Dirtiest Player in the Game moved out of the way. Mr. WrestleMania landed stomach-first on the front edge of the announce table with a sickening impact that broke multiple ribs and elicited audible gasps from the 74,635 fans at The Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida.
How Michaels was able to continue the match — and defeat Flair — is impossible to figure, but that’s why they call him Mr. WrestleMania. — TOM LIODICE
Batista and Randy Orton put Daniel Bryan through a table: WrestleMania 30
It would have taken something extraordinary to keep Daniel Bryan from fulfilling his destiny and becoming WWE World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania 30. And extraordinary is what was delivered when reigning champ Randy Orton and presumptive heir apparent Batista teamed up for a brutal assault on The Beard that nearly shattered his dream along with — dios mio — the Spanish announce table.
The Animal hoisted Bryan up for a Batista Bomb and, as The Goat descended, Orton leapt up and wrapped Bryan’s head in the RKO for a double-finisher that brought the raucous New Orleans crowd to a near-standstill. And Bryan didn’t even get the worst of it: A grisly collision between one of the table monitor’s and Orton’s lower back left The Viper writhing and left the door wide open for Batista to take the title for himself. That he didn’t wasn’t so much a WrestleMania moment as a WrestleMania miracle … at least, if you’re a Daniel Bryan fan. — ANTHONY BENIGNO
Brian Lee falls from the scaffold: ECW High Incident 1996
At ECW High Incident on Oct. 26, 1996, Tommy Dreamer and Brian Lee waged war in a match with the most simple — and dangerous — premise imaginable: knock your nemesis off the scaffold and send him careening through the 12 tables stacked below.
The precarious perch was constructed by an inebriated Sandman the night before the event, so, to nobody’s surprise, it swayed as much as the man himself. Both men nearly lost their footing multiple times during the brawl, but it was the massive Lee who took the devastating fall. In a sight that evoked an “Oh my God!” from the depths of my soul — and replayed during every ECW Hardcore TV commercial break — Dreamer kicked his rival in the groin and then hit him with 10 right hands to send Lee hurdling into unconsciousness. — @JOEYSTYLES
Ryback pulls Seth Rollins off a ladder: WWE TLC 2012
As Ryback used to say when he was plowing through ham-and-eggers during his monstrous rise to prominence, “two is greater than one.” But three is greater than two, as Seth Rollins found out when “The Big Guy” sent him tumbling through a trifecta of tables at WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs 2012.
The aerialist of The Shield had attempted to take flight against Ryback during The Hounds of Justice’s debut bout versus The Human Wrecking Ball and Team Hell No. But Ryback’s unlimited energy spurred him into action and he sent the wild man plummeting through one, two, three tables (well, two and a half — Rollins caught the edge of the last table with his head) en route to an unceremonious landing on the Barclays Center floor. Oh, the humanity. — ANTHONY BENIGNO
Rob Van Dam & Sabu double legdrop onto Hayabusa & Jinsei Shinzaki: ECW Heat Wave 1998
Beautifully brutal … or, is that, brutally beautiful?
Either way, that’s about as well as one can describe the iconic sight of Rob Van Dam and Sabu, both taking flight from opposite ring posts, and crash-landing through Hayabusa and Jinsei Shinzaki — and a table — en route to retaining their ECW Tag Team Championships at Heat Wave 1998.
And, sure, this might be going down a really obvious road, but Extreme Announcer Joey Styles said it all at the end of the bout when he uttered his signature, “OH MY GOD!” at the sight of the splintered tables and broken bodies strewn about in the middle of the ring like some kind of wrestling car wreck, painted on a squared-circle canvas.
Capping off a brutal back-and-forth battle with that stunning double legdrop, the entering champions exited the ring amid familiar chants of, “E-C-W!” and an instant-classic table moment was born. — ALEX GIANNINI
New Jack leaps from the balcony: ECW Living Dangerously 1999
Much has been said of New Jack’s proclivity for maiming opponents (and sometimes innocent bystanders) with weapons, but what about his willingness to use his own body as a weapon? No brawlers besides Mick Foley and Sabu sacrificed their well-being with the recklessness of The Original Gangsta — something he exemplified every time he threw himself off a balcony (or a scaffold, or a basketball hoop) onto a prone opponent below.
New Jack jumped off towering platforms with scary regularity, but his most jarring dive came at ECW’s Living Dangerously pay-per-view on March 21, 1999. Looking to squash his long simmering beef with former Gangstas cohort Mustafa, the onetime bounty hunter beat his rival around the Asbury Park Convention Center before duct taping him to a table and making his way to a landing 20 feet above. It could have been the helplessness of Mustafa — who wriggled in vain to escape his trappings — that made this dive so disturbingly memorable. But it was probably the sight of a grown man dropping from the heavens just to crush the rib cage of a former friend that we can’t forget. — RYAN MURPHY
Edge spears Mick Foley through a flaming table: WrestleMania 22
While Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy was no stranger to The Grandest Stage of Them All, he had never experienced that one shining “WrestleMania moment” that has defined so many legendary careers. On this night, in a hardcore classic against Edge, he got it. And true to Mick’s essence, it came at his very own expense.
Steel chairs, thumbtacks, baseball bats and even barbed wire just weren’t enough for these two sadistic workhorses in the stomach-churning gorefest. No matter what The Rated-R Superstar pulled out of his bag of tricks, he simply could not score a pinfall over The Hardcore Legend. But with Foley dazed, Edge’s accomplice Lita set a ringside table ablaze. Seizing this ultimate opportunity, Edge Speared his opponent off the ring apron, driving both men into the fiery abyss below. And with that, the man in flannel had finally attained his elusive WrestleMania moment. — ZACH LINDER
Bubba Ray Dudley powerbombs Mae Young off the stage: Raw, March 13, 2000
During her unprecedented eight decades in sports-entertainment, Mae Young was a part of countless memorable and iconic moments.
The most shocking and unbelievable of all, however, occurred on Raw in March of 2000 when she was on the receiving end of the most notorious powerbomb in WWE history.
After being assaulted with a top rope powerbomb through a table by The Dudley Boyz the previous week, Mae came to Raw in a wheelchair. The nefarious Dudleyz again showed no regard for the wrestling pioneer’s health, as D-Von pulled her out of her seat and Bubba Ray powerbombed her off the stage through tables!
One of the most dastardly acts of The Attitude Era — or any era, for that matter — this iconic powerbomb will live on as not only an all-time classic table moment, but a testament to Mae Young’s legendary toughness. — JAKE GRATE
Terry Funk piledrives Ric Flair onto a table: WrestleWar 1989
Terry Funk may have taken some time away from the squared circle to pursue an acting career in the mid-80s, but that hardly made him any less dangerous. Ric Flair learned that the hard way at WrestleWar 1989. After Ric Flair captured the NWA World Title from Ricky Steamboat, Funk jumped into the ring to congratulate The Nature Boy and ask for a title shot. Flair refused, citing Funk’s lack of ring time.
That set Funk off. The man from The Double Cross Ranch slugged Flair and tossed him onto a ringside table. The crowd gasped as the madman drove The Nature Boy’s head into the wood with a piledriver, graphically compressing Flair’s neck against a table that refused to buckle.. Wrestling fans hadn’t seen anything like it. With one inconceivable move, Terry Funk introduced the world to hardcore wrestling. — BOBBY MELOK
The Undertaker throws Mankind from the top of Hell in a Cell: King of the Ring 1998
No one knew what was going to occur that night in Pittsburgh when Mankind and The Undertaker revived their longstanding conflict inside the steel confines of the Hell in a Cell. And certainly no one could have predicted the stunning fall that has endured as one of the most iconic and gut-wrenching images in the history of professional wrestling.
Nearly two decades have passed since that plunge, and still, Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy is asked each and every day, “Did it hurt going through that table?” For any that have witnessed it, the sight of Mick Foley’s body hurtling from the roof of the structure and crashing through the Spanish announce desk more than 15 feet below is nothing short of shocking. The moment has defined the peak of brutality in WWE, and still resonates today as much as it did that night.
And, of course, it hurt. — ZACH LINDER