IT IS easy just to throw out the 'fake' accusation when it comes to discussing WWE and its many superstars.
The contests may not be legitimate with the action purely scripted entertainment-based theater, but the risks individuals take between the ropes are very much real.
Wrestlers are effectively putting their life and health in the hands of their opponent.
And sometimes when their opposite number jeopardises that, things can escalate and become very real.
Here are seven times things have taken a turn for the worst in WWE with the fighting being anything but fake:
SATURN GOES NUTS
FORMER WCW star Perry Saturn took on jobber Mike Bell on an episode of WWE’s Jakked in 2001 but famously ended up delivering a real-life beatdown on his opponent.
Bell botched an armdrag during the brief match forcing the veteran to land badly. Even though it was an accident, he proceeded to go bonkers.
Saturn sprung up to his feet and began punching and kicking Bell for real before angrily tossing him out of the ring and then violently smashing him into the steel steps.
The shell-shocked Bell fortunately escaped without serious injury, but WWE chiefs blasted Saturn for his unprofessionalism and dangerous behaviour and his career soon began to nosedive after a hugely forgettable Moppy angle.
GOLDBERG’S REGAL LESSON
GOLDBERG was well on his way to superstardom in February 1998 as he was booked to continue his undefeated streak with William Regal.
The powerhouse had been destroying opponents within seconds, but unusually on this episode of Nitro, he and the now NXT GM had a long and competitive bout.
Goldberg was still a novice at this point, and after numerous two-minute squash matches, it is claimed that was all he was prepared to do on this occasion.
However, veteran Regal had other ideas and some claim he did not appreciate his opponent’s thinking and instead went out to make a fool out of his inexperienced foe by exposing his wrestling limitations on live TV.
He claimed afterwards that he had been told to have a competitive six-minute match and that the future Hall of Famer was just not up to it – but he was fired instantly after the bout.
JOHN BRADSHAW LAYFIELD was allegedly one of the biggest bullies backstage during the late 90s and early 00s.
And it appeared this was the case on June 21st 2005 when WWE scripted an in-ring brawl between their talent and the ECW’s at the One Night Stand pay-per-view.
But JBL looked to go into business for himself as he targeted Blue Meanie, with rumours later emerging that he had taken diskindly to comments made by the ECW original online, and landed several real stiff blows.
Although it is hard to see it all clearly in the video, Meanie was left a bloody mess after several staples he had following a brutal cage match were dislodged.
He did get some revenge a few weeks later on SmackDown when his pal Steve Richards opened up JBL with a chair to help him get the win.
DON’T CROSS THE BOSS
ANDRE THE GIANT needs no introduction to wrestling fans as was undoubtedly the biggest star in the business during the 80s before Hulk Hogan’s emergence.
But one time during Japan things got very real as he faced one of the country’s stiffest competitors Akira Maeda.
Andre was allegedly drunk as he took to the ring and refused to sell any of his foe’s offense before viciously kicking him in the face.
He very loudly told Maeda to pin him as he wanted no part of the match as Inoki appeared from the back to bring the slugfest to an end.
BEFORE the days of NXT, WWE had reality competition Tough Enough to try and hone its future stars.
A million dollar contract was the prize, and Daniel Puder was one of those taking part and very keen to impress.
With a respectable MMA background behind him, he challenged Olympic gold medallist and huge WWE star Kurt Angle to a match.
It went back and forth before towards the climax the rookie locked on an arm-bar that could have legitimately broken Angle’s arm.
Fortunately, the former WWE champ rolled over him as the referee produced a fast three count to end the bout.
After surviving Angle backstage, Pruder went on to win the competition but WWE officials were furious he had gone off-script and he was soon gone.
BEATING UP THE ENEMY
THE ACOLYTES (Bradshaw and Faarooq) delivered one of the most-famous shoot beatdowns on an episode of WWE’s SUnday Night Heat on March 7, 1999.
The future APA were supposed to get the win by putting their opponents, Public Enemy, through a table but it appeared the new boys from ECW were not willing to play ball.
That led to APA going into business for themselves once they hit the ring as they proceeded to deliver a vicious and real-life beating on their opponents.
WWE chief Bruce Pritchard explained: “Well they had a finish for the match where the Acolytes were going to put Public Enemy through a table. Right before they went out to the ring, the Public Enemy were going out to the ring first and they told Ron and John, ‘Hey, we’re gonna take out that table spot at the end.’ Which was the finish!
“So they told them that and they went out. So John turned around to Ron and Ron was like, ‘What’d he say?’ And he says, ‘Take out the table spot at the end.’ ‘So they don’t want to do the table spot.’ ‘I guess not.’ ‘Well f***, we’ll just bring the tables to them!’
“And they made sure they got the table spot in.”
BRAUN STROWMAN learned the hard way not to cross Brock Lesnar as he was rocked by a real-life punch.
The two giants and the legendary Kane were battling it out for the Universal Championship in a triple threat match when the eye-watering moment occurred.
Strowman caught former UFC heavyweight title holder Lesnar with a knee to the face.
And the Beast Incarnate exploded with rage, immediately getting to his feet and landing a huge right to the temple of Strowman in front of millions watching around the world.
Strowman later claimed the pair laughed about the incident immediately once they got backstage.
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