Extreme milestones: a history of hardcore

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April 25, 2013

The word “extreme” may have firmly secured its place in the squared circle vernacular by the mid-1990s, when Extreme Championship Wrestling was on the rise and early elements of The Attitude Era were beginning to creep into WWE broadcasts. But make no mistake: The days of dressed-down slugfests and perilous, quasi-sanctioned stipulation matches by no means began in the ’90s.

Instead, it took decades for the roots of hardcore wrestling to take hold all over the world. To get a proper sense of the genre’s gloriously gory past, you must journey to places like a pre-Hulkamania Madison Square Garden, a bingo hall in Philadelphia or an unassuming concession stand in Tupelo, Miss. Some of the ring’s most brutal incidents happened under mainstream lights, while others broke new ground on the fringe. What ties these extreme milestones together is their undisputed influence on the mat game.

Which of these extreme milestones had the greatest influence?

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