Extreme milestones: a history of hardcore

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April 25, 2013

June 25, 1937 — Steel Cage Match debuts
Jack Bloomfield defeats Count Petro Rossi in Atlanta in the first reported Steel Cage Match. Incidentally, the ring is surrounded by chicken wire.

April 1960 — Florida gold goes brass
Eddie Graham wins the Brass Knuckles Championship, a unique title newly commissioned by NWA’s Florida territory. The prize is defended in wild brawls, often with combatants’ fists taped. Other territories around the country follow suit and add their own Brass Knuckles titles.

Dec. 15, 1977 — Tag tourney turns gory
Brothers Dory Jr. and Terry Funk reign supreme against The Sheik & Abdullah the Butcher in the final of All-Japan Pro Wrestling’s inaugural “Real World” tag team tournament. The battle of Hall of Famers, which sees Terry’s arm get slashed open, makes waves for its unprecedented level of danger.

Aug. 28, 1978 — MSG hosts the ‘rodeo’
Thanks to the petitioning of WWE founder Vince J. McMahon, the New York State Commission approves a No-Disqualification Bull Rope Match to take place in Madison Square Garden. Dusty Rhodes gets the victory against “Superstar” Billy Graham via count-out.

Watch The Rhodes Family's legacy of hardcore | Who was ranked WWE's roughest brawler?

June 17, 1979 — A mess in Mississippi
Following a tag team match in Tupelo, Miss., Jerry “The King” Lawler & Bill Dundee slug it out with Larry Latham & Wayne Ferris in a sprawling fight that takes over the Tupelo Sports Arena concession stand. A glass jar of mustard finds its way into the mix affectionately dubbed the “Tupelo Concession Stand Brawl.”

October 17, 1983 — ‘Superfly’ soars
Jimmy Snuka performs the “Superfly” Splash from the top of a steel cage onto Intercontinental Champion Don Muraco. An impressionable Mick Foley is in the Madison Square Garden audience that day and witnesses the indelible sight in-person.

Nov. 24, 1983 — Primal rage at Starrcade
The third installment of NWA Starrcade is home to a grisly scene as Roddy Piper and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine quash their grudge in a Dog Collar Match. Wearing collars that are attached by a chain, Piper and Valentine duke it out for 16 minutes before The Rowdy One earns the pinfall.

June 25, 1984 — ‘He broke the table!’
With father Angelo and brother Lanny Poffo looking on, Randy Savage piledrives Ricky Morton through a table in Memphis, Tenn.'s Mid-South Coliseum. The incident occurs after the brothers are disqualified in a match against Morton and Robert Gibson.

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