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Playing with fire

Playing with fire

WWE.com's 10 Most Extreme Matches literally heats up at No. 3 with the Inferno Match. This fire fight might well have burned all the way to the top of our list, but it's so sick a contest that there have only been four occasions to hold this type of extreme match. Even WWE's constitutionally-strongest Superstars have little stomach for lighting an opponent on fire just to score a victory.

From the moment two Superstars step into this veritable ring of fire (apologies to Johnny Cash), flames burn, burn, burn around the apron and from every corner. By rule, either a competitor or the clothes on his body must be ignited for the match to end. Don't expect a referee to save your bacon, since they're not put at risk for this kind of battle; the ring only has room for WWE's most heated rivals.

Since its inception in 1999, the Inferno Match has been synonymous with Kane, who has taken part in all four contests. Fire often ignites our fans' thoughts of the Big Red Monster, who despite being burned alive as a child continues to surround himself with pyro every time he enters the ring. Though Kane has lost twice to his half-brother Undertaker and once to Triple H, he won his most recent Inferno Match at Armageddon 2006, during which he relished setting Montel Vontavious Porter's back up in flames. After that contest, it's understandable why most Superstars are somewhat lukewarm about meeting him in an Inferno Match.

When a Superstar gets burned in an Inferno Match, the pain doesn't stop once the flames are extinguished. Whether a back or limb has fallen casualty to the stipulation, the skin remains damaged for a long time afterward -- perhaps permanently -- raising a red flag of caution for future opponents.

Of all the cruel things that can be inflicted on people, it's hard to top turning them into human torches. And when Superstars play in an Inferno Match, someone is bound to get their ash burned.

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