Wrestling is, if nothing else, entertainment. Of course, although kayfabe in the year 2022 is as dead as a doornail to the bedroom of a dodo, professional wrestling is still treated as if real – as much so as any other sport. A surprisingly common tactic wresters attempt however is murder, often in front of millions of viewers. If wrestling is really legitimate as billed, why has Tiger Woods never bludgeoned Phil Mickelson with a five iron or AP McCoy never tried some mafia-style leg braking of opposition jockey’s horses? Well, without trying to get too far from the point, wrestling is very silly and its scripted nature means the industry is always in need of unique and radical ideas, so attempted murder storylines are startlingly present to keep the investment of fans; here are 10 of them who committed attempted murder (and for the large part got away with it).
The Undertaker was an active competitor in the WWF across four decades in the WWE with a 30-year career, in which time he has committed bloody loads of attempted murder.
On top of killing his own parents in a house fire as a child, that rascal Callaway also tried to up his kill count, the moody sod. Let us take a look at some of his best bits of literal killing attempts.
Probably the most infamous is The Big Boss Man. After the two wrapped up a dull and uninspiring Hell In A Cell match at WrestleMania XV, The Undertaker attempted to murder Boss Man, which is a bit of a stroppy overreaction. Ministry Of Darkness members The Blood ascended and noosed up Bossman, who was then pulled up with the cage. After a few seconds of flailing, the man from Cobb County stopped moving as Michael Cole threw to a hype package about the Rage Party. A hanging on your biggest show of the year which millions of fans may see? Well, I say fans, I mean witnesses.
The Undertaker beat Mankind in a Buried Alive match at In Your House 11, continuing to pile dirt onto Foley even after the bell had rung, definitely showing some intent to actually be driven to kill.
In one of the most terrifying moments of the “Golden Era”, The Undertaker attempted to suffocate The Ultimate Warrior when locking UW in a shallow, claustrophobic coffin. For minutes, panic ensued as road agents such as Jack Lanza, Rene Goulet, and Tony Garea struggled to open the dense coffin. With each failed use of a crowbar or chisel to prize open the tomb and save the Warrior, it seemed more and more likely it would be too late to save him. We look back at a lot of moments we saw scary as children today as passé or traumatic only for infants but this is still genuinely chilling and unnerving today.
Great American Bash 2004 saw The Undertaker fight The Dudley Boyz in a handicap match with Dudley’s manager Paul Heyman holding ‘Taker’s protégé Bearer hostage. When ‘Taker did not do as told, Heyman pulled a switch which filled the box with cement. As we never got a distant shot of Bearer or if we did it was from behind, it was clear a stunt man was in the box and the Bearer reactions were filled earlier but that is not the point. ‘Taker eventually saved Bearer until, for some ungodly reason, pulling the leaver to likely kill his father, proving ‘Taker’s lengthy battles with his daddy issues.
‘Taker also tried to stab “Stone Cold”. When unconscious after an attack, ‘Taker, in his Ministry phase, took Austin backstage and attempted to impale him with a knife. Kane interrupted so Undertaker instead tried to crucify Austin, placing him on a cross with his logo; the same cross he tried to marry Stephanie McMahon on. Wrestling seemed a lot more intense back in the 1990s, Ho Train’s aside. The Undertaker was not arrested but given some WWF world title matches.
These are just a few examples of The Undertaker attempting murder, I’m sure there are many more still that have not been mentioned here, which says it all really.
It should be quite clear now that “Middle-Aged & Crazy” Terry Funk lost his rag quite a while ago. His lunacy even predated his days in the King Of The Deathmatch tournament and ECW run.
Although an ex-NWA World Heavyweight champion from the period 1975-1977, Funk’s most memorable run was in 1989. Initially a judge to the final Ric Flair/Ricky Steamboat contest, Funk challenged Flair to a title match which “The Nature Boy” rejected. The Texan from the Double-Cross Ranch snapped and hit a piledriver on a table, a rarity for the era.
To further the storyline a clash between The J-Tex Corporation under Gary Hart (The Great Muta and Dick Slater) and Ric Flair and Sting ended in near-murder. After the DQ finish, a rabid Funk rushed the ring and tried to suffocate the NWA champion Flair in a plastic bag, with Funk using the straps to tighten the bag’s grip and make it harder to breathe.
Unbelievably, Flair claimed on his Wooooo Nation Uncensored podcast: “It was ad-libbed [by] Terry Funk. I didn’t even know it was coming.”
Although it immensely aided the storyline, Funk was not safe from backstage punishment, with the company having just signed a big-time deal with the toy-maker Galoob. Jim Ross stated: “It got corporate heat…It was a major deal for a while….on the corporate side…they were pissed…It wasn’t a good day at the office on that deal.”
On the subject, suffocation via plastic bag statistics are sadly more common than you may think. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports an average of 25 deaths per year due to suffocation due to plastic bags. Almost 90 percent of them are under one year of age.