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the Story Behind the Most Violent WWE Match Ever

Professional wrestling can be a dangerous sport despite it being performative conflict. On some occasions, wrestlers can get hurt and injured, even though the moves aren’t necessarily “real”. Back in 2004, a match occurred in which there were real-life health repercussions for those involved, because at times, wrestling matches can become far too brutal and violent. WWE fans witnessed one of the most violent matches in the company’s history at the 2004 Judgment Day PPV, in a WWE Championship match between future WWE Hall of Famers... John Brad$haw Layfield and Eddie Guerrero, with it living on in infamy due to what occurred.

The Feud Between JBL And Guerrero Was Very Heated

By the time 2004 rolled around, JBL had gone through a resurgence under a new gimmick, dropping his character from the APA days and opting for an arrogant entrepreneur. It led to him being pushed to a main event status, with the WWE Champion at the time, Guerrero, very much in his sights. It was a very quick ascent for Layfield, but there is no denying how well he did in this unfamiliar role.

In the case of Latino Heat, he was on a fantastic run as WWE Champion, defeating the likes of Brock Lesnar & Kurt Angle in classic matches, finally getting the acclaim he deserved for a career full of great character work and in-ring performances. On the very first night in which the former Justin "Hawk" Bradshaw became John Brad$haw Layfield, he immediately posed a threat to Eddie’s title reign, being made the #1 contender in next to no time after attacking the champion.

Their rivalry became very personal, with the former Acolyte Protection Agency member causing Guerrero's mother to have a real heart attack at an event in El Paso, Texas, with the feud even causing some very real threat to JBL’s safety. In an interview with The Metro, the WWE Hall of Famer revealed that he needed a police escort in case of genuine backlash, making him one of the most authentic and real heels for perhaps over a decade. Their bad blood led to a match at Judgment Day. This match would raise the animosity in their feud, but it would also become an infamously violent and grotesque display.

One Of The Bloodiest Matches In History

During their match, which started in a heated manner with some back and forth heavy blows and brawling, the referee was taken out, meaning that shenanigans were sure to take place. It wasn’t long until Layfield decided to cheat, taking a steel chair and hitting Latino Heat over the head. Eddie would take a moment to blade {cutting himself open to sell the shot} but he cut too deep, causing one of the most distressing and horrifying bloody scenes in Federation history.

Guerrero legitimately bled in bucket loads, with it pouring out of his head, as JBL continued an attack. As the match went on, the ring apron was covered in blood to an extent which hadn't been seen in quite some time - perhaps not even ever to this extent under the World Wrestling Entertainment banner. Whilst the blood undoubtedly added some serious tension to this match, it was very uneasy to sit through. Even after the match had ended, with the champion getting himself disqualified with a title belt shot to the challenger, the pair continued fighting until the show went off air.

Guerrero Collapsed On The Following Episode Of SmackDown

When they got to the backstage area, Eddie Guerrero collapsed and was immediately rushed to hospital, due to the severity of his blood loss, with him needing to take some days off in order to recover. WWE decided to capitalize on what had happened by booking a scary angle on the next episode of SmackDown. During a tag team match, Latino Heat would collapse in the ring, selling the effects of his blood loss. At the time, the lines were blurred between fiction and reality, until it became clear that this was, in fact, a staged reaction to further capitalize on the drama of the previous title match.

Whether or not this angle was done in bad taste is up to the discretion of the viewer, but it was very effective nonetheless. It would lead to a Bullrope Match at the Great American Bash PPV, with this being one of the few decent things on what was an awful edition of The GAB, in which JBL would win, starting his record-breaking reign as WWE Champion. Thankfully, whilst their subsequent matches were physical, they didn’t reach the same level of bloodshed as their initial match did. That bout shows the dangers that blading can pose, and even though the Federation has firmly stopped the act from taking place, it still happens elsewhere in the professional wrestling world, and likely always will. However, fans can hope that no blade-job reaches the gruesome nature of Eddie Guerrero versus John Brad$haw Layfield.

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