The 15 freakiest falls in sports-entertainment history
February 18, 2014
Superstars have to be daring to make it inside the squared circle. They have to be willing to climb to new heights in order to succeed. Unfortunately, ascending higher and higher also means they run the risk of falling back down to earth.
The staff here at WWE.com recently got to discussing the scary spills that pulled us out of our seats — the type of dives that left us wondering how these Superstars were able to walk away from them, let alone continue wrestling.
These 15 extreme falls from WWE, WCW and ECW will have you cringing, screaming and maybe even doing your best Joey Styles impression — Oh my God!
You can see many of these falls, along with thousands of other classic moments from WWE, WCW and ECW on WWE Network!
Mick Foley and Terry Funk – Raw, Feb. 2, 1998
Mick Foley and Terry Funk have never been accused of failing to leave it all in the ring. But leaving it all in a dumpster? They did that, too, but by the bad graces of The New Age Outlaws.
On the Feb. 2, 1998, Raw, Foley and Funk competed under their alter-egos of Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie in a No Holds Barred match, and both brought out dumpsters that were filled to the brim with some hardcore tools of the trade for their usage. Eventually, their battle advanced to the stage, where Cactus’ dumpster was. Charlie set up a table, but was backdropped from it into the dumpster by Cactus. From there, Jack made his way up to the base of the TitanTron, where he delivered a flying elbow into the dumpster.
Then, out of nowhere came The Outlaws. They sealed the dumpster shut, and proceeded to blatantly push it off the side of the stage. The visual of this ghastly sight paled in comparison to the eventual opening of the dumpster, revealing both Cactus and Charlie barely conscious from their traumatic fall. — HOWARD FINKEL
Mr. McMahon – Raw, June 23, 2008
Perhaps the only fitting end to a man giving away a million dollars of his own money every week is abject disaster. On Raw in June 2008, Mr. McMahon launched Million Dollar Mania, a weekly cash-giveaway where The Chairman took out one million in cash from his own bank account to give to WWE fans selected at random.
However, just three weeks into Million Dollar Mania, an unexpected equipment malfunction meant the giveaway took a twisted turn. The metal scaffolding toppled onto WWE’s CEO, crushing him underneath. Fortunately, Mr. McMahon did not take the brunt of the impact as he slipped into an opening in the stage. Still, even after receiving immediate medical attention, The Chairman was not seen on WWE television for six months and the source of the catastrophe was never uncovered. — ANDY SEIFE
Ricardo Rodriguez – WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs 2011
Ay Dios mio!
During a pay-per-view in which Triple H smashed Kevin Nash with a sledgehammer, the most shocking and painful moment of WWE TLC 2011 occurred when Ricardo Rodriguez took one of the most ghastly spills in WWE history.
In the WWE Championship Triple Threat Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match between titleholder CM Punk, The Miz and Alberto Del Rio, the three competitors found themselves downed after wild free-for-all action. Seeing an opportunity to help The Mexican Aristocrat seize the WWE Championship, Rodriguez climbed the 20-foot ladder, reaching for the suspended title.
Unfortunately for Del Rio’s personal ring announcer, Punk and Miz recovered and used a bit of uncharacteristic teamwork to tip the ladder over, sending a helpless Rodriguez crashing through a table at ringside, where he lay disturbingly motionless.
When Mick Foley comments on your dive — “one heck of a [fall],” The Hardcore Legend called it — you know you’ve done something truly daunting, appalling and, yes, crazy. — JAKE GRATE
Jim Cornette – Starrcade 1986
Jim Cornette was about the last person you’d expect to see at the top of a scaffold. But when you have The Road Warriors hunting you down, scrambling for higher ground doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. Cornette found himself in the sticky situation at Starrcade 1986, after his Midnight Express crashed and burned off the towering structure during a Scaffold Match.
Road Warriors manager Paul Ellering couldn’t resist getting his hands on Cornette, so the racket-wielding loudmouth scaled up the side of the scaffold to escape “Precious” Paul. Unfortunately, he ran into Animal at the top. With nowhere to go, Cornette crawled underneath the platform, dangling precariously above the ring.
Eventually, Cornette’s grip on the scaffold slipped, sending the manager in a free-fall towards the ring. Cornette’s bodyguard, Big Bubba Rogers, tried to catch him below, but was a step or two short. Cornette crash-landed feet first. His leg gave out, almost folding in half. If the tremendous leg pain wasn’t enough, the manager’s head smashed into Bubba’s knee as he tumbled back towards the canvas, temporarily knocking him out.
After that infamous night, we’re pretty sure Jim Cornette likes keeping his feet firmly planted on the ground. — BOBBY MELOK
Mike Awesome and Masato Tanaka – ECW One Night Stand 2005
Mike Awesome and Masato Tanaka had the crowd on its feet during their match at ECW One Night Stand 2005. Even WWE Superstars in attendance watched in amazement as the former ECW Champions put on a classic hardcore performance, prompting chants of “ECW!” and “This match rules!” Still, it wasn’t until the end of the match that the WWE Universe witnessed one of wrestling’s most extreme falls.
Awesome executed a monstrous Awesome Bomb on Tanaka by throwing him over the ropes through a table located on the floor below. The 6-foot-7, nearly 300-pound Superstar then channeled his inner luchador by hurling himself over the ropes onto his dazed opponent. The extremely dangerous fall was performed flawlessly by the extreme grappler. Awesome’s leap set him up perfectly for the three-count, making this not only one of the most dangerous falls in wrestling history, but also one of the most effective. — SCOTT TAYLOR
Rikishi – Armageddon 2000
Most cinematic representations of Armageddon include some kind of debris falling from the sky. Those objects probably don’t include Samoan giants like Rikishi, but this is WWE. Our “End of Days” is a tad different than Michael Bay’s.
Here’s how it went down (so to speak): What began as a six-man brawl between Kurt Angle, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Undertaker, The Rock, Triple H and Rikishi inside Hell in a Cell for Angle’s WWE Championship soon spilled out into the arena when Mr. McMahon — inexplicably riding in the bed of a truck filled with sawdust — used his vehicle to yank the door off the Cell. Pandemonium followed and at one point, Angle and The Phenom found themselves brawling atop the cage.
Anyone who is familiar with The Deadman’s history atop Hell in a Cell can probably guess what happened next. What they may not expect is that it was Rikishi — all 300 pounds of him — who scaled the cage, joined the fight and suffered a “Godzilla”-sized chokeslam off the roof and into the truck bed in a spill that actually stopped the action inside the Cell itself. Even Austin sheathed his famous middle fingers long enough to take in the carnage with a “damn, son” look on his face. And when “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is too speechless to spew profanities, well, you got yourself a moment there. — ANTHONY BENIGNO
Kanyon – WCW Slamboree 2000
Slamboree 2000 is one of those events that emphasizes the chaos of late period WCW. For starters, David Arquette was the reigning WCW Champion going into the event, and the highlight of the evening was the ill-conceived Triple Cage Match. Sure, the three-tiered steel structurelookedcool, but it was a cheap way for WCW to market their ill-fated David Arquette comedy, “Ready to Rumble.”
The match itself pitted DDP vs. David Arquette vs. Jeff Jarret for the WCW World Title. The first competitor to ascend to the top of the third cage and recover the title would be declared the winner. As the chaos ensued, Mike Awesome scaled the structure to help Jarrett. His interference failed, but, before DDP could claim the title, Arquette turned on him, allowing Double J to claim victory.
If all this wasn’t insane enough, after the match, Awesome and Jarrett continued to assault DDP, prompting Kanyon to climb up to aid his friend. Quickly overpowered by Awesome, Kanyon’s attempted rescue was more costly than he could have anticipated. The big man grabbed Kanyon and unceremoniously tossed him from the top of the towering cage and through the entrance ramp.
After spending months in a hospital bed, Kanyon didn’t turn his attention to seeking retribution against Mike Awesome. Instead, he turned on DDP, aiding Awesome in victory during an Ambulance Match. — KEVIN POWERS
The Undertaker – One Night Stand 2008
What does it take to keep The Deadman down? How about a 20-foot fall off the top of a ladder.
At One Night Stand 2008, the legendary Undertaker squared off against WWE Hall of Famer Edge with the vacant World Heavyweight Title on the line in a TLC Match of career-threatening proportions. With both The Phenom’s World Title and career hanging in the balance, the two decorated grapplers traded chair blasts and tumbles off ladders throughout a contest that brought both competitors to the brink.
After The Deadman planted Edge through two stacked tables with The Last Ride from the top of the ladder, it looked as if the championship was well within The Phenom’s reach. But when members of La Familia attacked, The Undertaker’s climb was halted long enough for Edge to regain his wits. The Ultimate Opportunist struck a perched Undertaker atop a ladder set up in the middle of the ring, sending The Phenom out of the ring and through tables on the outside, clearing the path for Edge to claim his fifth World Title. — ALEX GIANNINI
Tommy Dreamer – ECW Buffalo Invasion
When I recalled this horrific fall, I didn’t remember the date. I didn’t remember the city. I didn’t even remember my friend, Tommy Dreamer’s, opponent. All I could remember was the sickening sight of Tommy being hurled from the top of the bleachers.
The ECW Original horrifically hit each step, continuously picking up speed on his seemingly endless trip to the arena floor. When I reached out to Tommy, he immediately remembered the date (May 17, 1997), city (Buffalo, NY) and his opponent (Louie Spicolli), as he does for all of his thousands of matches.
When I asked him for a comment that we could print, he said, “I remember seeing fans in front of me with each roll and hoping they could get out of my way so none of them got hurt.” When I asked him if he had any concerns for his own well-being, he incredulously and unemotionally replied, “No. Why would I?”
Oh my God! I couldn’t make these ECW stories up if I tried. — JOEY STYLES
Spike Dudley – Raw, Sept. 8, 2003
The smallest of the Dudley littler, Spike Dudley was known for picking fights with much bigger foes, most of whom had no concern for his well-being. Spike spent years being tossed around arenas by monsters like Mike Awesome, Bam Bam Bigelow and even his own brothers.
However, Spike’s most terrifying tumble came at the hands of La Resistance. After Spike, Bubba Ray & D-Von Dudley and The Hurricane & Rosey lost a 10-Man Tag Team Match to the Frenchmen, Rob Conway, Mark Henry & Rodney Mack, the smallest Dudley was cornered by Rene Dupree and Sylvan Grenier in the ring.
The Frenchmen took advantage of a table The Dudleys set up at ringside, hoisting Spike high in the air and hurling him over the ropes. Unfortunately for Spike, La Resistance’s judgment was a little off. Spike missed the table with his head smacking against its edge. An audible gasp spread throughout the arena as officials tended to Spike, who somehow walked away from this crazy fall. — BOBBY MELOK
Seth Rollins – WWE TLC 2012
Hotel-Oscar-Lima-Yankee-Charlie-Romeo-Alfa-Papa.The WWE Universe knew The Shield’s first-ever match — a TLC collision against Ryback & Team Hell No — would leave the brand-new Barclays Center strewn with debris when all was said and done. What nobody thought was that Seth Rollins would nearly be reduced to part of the wreckage in the process.
Towards the end of the match, Ryback found himself battered with chairs and laid out atop a table by all three Shield members near the entrance. Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns left Rollins to deal with The Human Wrecking Ball, and “the aerialist” of The Shield obliged by scaling the ladder for an airborne strike.
Would have worked fine, too, except “The Big Guy” recovered, pursued Rollins up the rungs and swatted him like a fly, sending the future WWE Tag Team Champion tumbling through three of four nearby stackedtables en route to the concrete floor. A nasty collision between Rollins’ head and the corner of a table stunned the WWE Universe into silence, but Rollins, eventually, popped up in one piece and went on to dominate anyone and everyone alongside his brethren in a run that continues to this day. All in a day’s work for The Hounds of Justice. — ANTHONY BENIGNO
Brian Lee – ECW High Incident
What made Brian Lee and Tommy Dreamer’s Scaffold Match extreme wasn’t just the fact that dozens of tables were stacked beneath the combatants as they battled high up in the ECW Arena, but, rather, the scaffold’s complete lack of structural integrity. As it turns out, the platform — a rickety looking device that swayed to and fro each time a punch or kick was thrown and whose corners were loosely tethered to pillars inside the arena — was constructed by ECW’s resident contractor: The Sandman.
“I was afraid of heights so it was quite a personal accomplishment for me do to the match,” Tommy Dreamer said. “It was even scarier because Sandman built the scaffold and it swayed all over the place. I wasn’t afraid of getting thrown off, just climbing up.”
To Dreamer’s good fortune, it was Lee who ended up taking the devastating spill off the scaffold. And, as both men found out after the fact, the fall wasn’t the most dangerous element involved: The building’s owner later informed the Superstars that a cord that Lee pulled out of a wall to attack Dreamer with was actually a live wire. They hadn’t just risked a steep tumble, but electrocution, too! — JOHN CLAPP
Shane McMahon – SummerSlam 2000
The Attitude Era boasted an impressive roster of brutally hardcore competitors, but the most unlikely daredevil of them all emerged from The Chairman’s shadow — Mr. McMahon’s very own son, Shane. During the dog days of summer 2000, the brash and entitled Boy Wonder instigated a rivalry against his antithesis: the cold and calculating Steve Blackman.
One week before that year’s SummerSlam, Shane slyly won the Hardcore Championship from the martial artist on Raw by taking advantage of the title’s 24/7 rule. But The Lethal Weapon gained a measure of retribution against Shane-O-Mac when the two faced off on pay-per-view in a career-defining encounter.
The McMahon offspring attempted to dodge his opponent’s dangerous kendo stick by running from the ring and dashing up the set’s enormous scaffolding. The Silent Assassin gave chase, climbing alongside his foe 40 feet in the air. The challenger nailed the prodigal son with his kendo stick and sent Shane plunging to the floor in a shocking fall. Blackman followed with a devastating elbow drop to regain the Hardcore Championship in daring fashion. — ZACH LINDER
New Jack and Vic Grimes – ECW Living Dangerously 2000
It’s come to be known as “The Danbury Fall,” but that name doesn’t quite capture the brutal imagery of New Jack leaping backwards off a towering scaffolding and pulling the 300-pound Vic Grimes down with him at ECW’s Living Dangerously 2000.
It took less than one second for their mass of humanity to artlessly drop 15 feet, ricochet off the stack of tables below and hit the cement floor — New Jack first, then Grimes with the bulk of his ample weight smashing Jack’s head into the concrete. The harrowing incident fractured The Original Gangsta’s skull and left him with permanent blindness in his right eye, but it didn’t stop him from battling Grimes in a Scaffold Match — with similarly horrible results — two years later. — RYAN MURPHY
Note: Video of The Danbury Fall is too graphic for WWE.com. To watch New Jack and Vic Grimes’ vicious brawl and the rest of ECW Living Dangerously 2000, get WWE Network now!
Mankind – King of the Ring 1998
MICK FOLEY:I think that I created a moment that was impossible to top and a moment that shouldn’t be topped. So many of the Superstars want to give people moments that they’ll never forget, but we don’t want to give them moments that could end Superstars’ careers. Mine easily could have ended that night in Pittsburgh.
REFEREE TIM WHITE:Hell in a Cell is the most brutal match in professional wrestling. I was excited to referee the match, but I was also apprehensive about what could happen. When [The Undertaker] tossed Mankind off the top of the cell through the table, my heart was racing. I was worried about the guy.
SGT. SLAUGHTER:My hands went up in the air and I said, “Oh, my God.” I heard this thunderous crush.
JIM ROSS:If that match happened today, I don’t see [it] continuing. It was a spectacle, it was an attraction, it was a train wreck, it was career-threatening, it was unpredictable. It was something I’d never seen before. — AS TOLD TO ZACH LINDER