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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

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Blading In Wrestling

By Christopher Evans(@cool_calm_chris)

Blading, a long standing gimmick in wrestling that isn't as heavily prevalent in the sport nowadays. It's a technique in where a wrestler will, in kayfabe, be cut open from a something like a chair shot to the head. However in reality a wrestler will use a blade, often hidden in their wrist tape, to cut themselves open. Wrestlers never used to use this technique, in the 70's and early 80's they would use a well placed punch to the bone in their eyebrows. That techniques is so old that on of the only remaining wrestlers to be able to cut someone open that way is Hall of Famer and hardcore legend Terry Funk. Blading can be very dangerous, but when done helps deliver more to the story that is being told in the ring.

It helps bring realism to the match and can help bring heat to the wrestlers involved. A babyface who is cut open that is able to make it through the gruesome pain of being cut open will inevitably get over with the fans and a heel that cut open the babyface will look strong and dangerous. For example, at Wrestlemania 13 one of the most memorable babyface/heel turns came when Stone Cold Steve Austin and Bret Hart wrestled in a submission match, where Bret Hart made Stone Cold Steve Austin pass out to the sharpshooter. Austin had already been garnering a massive face reaction even though he was a heel, and Bret was the returning babyface who fans couldn't take anymore. So when Wrestlemania 13 came and Austin had been bloodied and battered to the point where he couldn't fight the pain, he would become one of the most over wrestlers in the company, whereas Bret Hart looked even more like a heel than before. The blood added to the narrative that the wrestlers were portraying, Austin was determined to beat the Hitman, and Bret was going to beat Austin by any means necessary. A bloodied Austin showed his will and determination to fight on and beat Bret Hart, and not tapping out showed how he refuses to lose.

Blading, when done correctly and seldom, can be a great way to get someone over with the audience. However, when done often it can become watered down and when done incorrectly can be life threatening. Take the Mass Transit incident for example, a young 17 year old going by the name of Mass Transit forged his documents and told Paul Heyman that he was trained by Triple H's trainer Killer Kowalski so that he could wrestle on an ECW show. Before the match took place he asked one of his opponents, New Jack, to blade him. So during the match New Jack cut him with a razor and cut open two arteries in his head. The young man bled uncontrollably on the mat and had to be rushed to the hospital where it took 50 stitches to close the wound. Often times you'll see wrestlers like the late great Dusty Rhodes, Mick Foley, or Abdullah the Butcher with rigid marks on their head from constantly blading in matches. Some companies do not have a policy against blading, however WWE has a policy in which a wrestler can be fined for it when caught on camera.

Nowadays it's rare in which you will find a wrestler in WWE blading (with the exception of Brock Lesnar), but back in the late 90's to early 2000's it was somewhat normal. Almost every pay-per-view main event match had blading in it, at a certain point it just got out of hand. One of the main boiling points came at Judgement Day 2004 when WWE Champion Eddie Guerrero wrestled John Bradshaw Layfield for the championship. Guerrero took a nasty chair shot to the head and bladed after, he cut too deep and ended up gushing out blood from his forehead. Things like nasty chair shots to the head or blading all lead to problems that wrestlers have to face well into old age, if they make it that far.

So having blading in professional wrestling is a problem, but when done correctly and seldom can help give a wrestler credibility. Take Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt for example, if they have a match at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view  (which is a foregone conclusion) blood could really help their match and the wrestlers themselves get over with the fans. Both wrestlers have pretty much been lukewarm with the fans and haven't really been able to gain a great reaction in their feud. If Bray Wyatt were to cut open Roman Reigns and have him sell the fact that he is at a disadvantage the fans could really sympathize with Reigns and finally he can gain that connection that he's been struggling to find.

So yes, blading is dangerous and should not be done often as it could lead to problems in the future. However, when done rarely, specifically at the right time, it can help wrestlers get over with the fans and can bring realism to a match.



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