Blading (professional wrestling)

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Ric Flair, a regular practitioner of blading as demonstrated at WrestleMania X8.

In professional wrestling, blading is the practice of intentionally cutting oneself to provoke bleeding.[1] It is also known as juicing, gigging, or getting color.[1] Similarly, a blade is an object used for blading, and a bladejob is a specific act of blading. The act is usually done a good length into the match as the blood will mix with the flowing sweat to make the wound look like much more blood is flowing from it than there actually is.[2] The preferred area for blading is usually the forehead, as scalp wounds bleed profusely and heal easily. Legitimate, unplanned bleeding which occurs outside the storyline is called juicing the hard way.[3]

History[edit]

Prior to the advent of blading, most storyline blood in wrestling came from one wrestler deliberately splitting the flesh over their opponent's eyebrow bone with a well placed and forceful punch.[4] In his third autobiography The Hardcore Diaries, Mick Foley cites Terry Funk as one of the few remaining active wrestlers who knows how to "bust an eyebrow open" in this way. The forehead has always been the preferred blading surface, due to the abundance of blood vessels. A cut in this area will bleed freely for quite some time and will heal quickly.[5] A cut in this location will allow the blood to mix in with the sweat on the wrestler's face, giving them the proverbial "crimson mask" effect.

In modern North American pro wrestling, blading is almost exclusively performed by and on male performers; blading of women is extremely rare due to the risk of adverse publicity and the increasing use of female performers as "eye candy."

Typically, a wrestler will use a razor or other blade hidden in the tape covering his fingers or part of his hand(s) or somewhere else on his person.[5][6] The wrestler, however, always runs the risk of cutting too deeply and slicing an artery in the forehead.[1] In 2004, Eddie Guerrero accidentally did this during his match with JBL at Judgment Day, resulting in a rush of blood pouring from the bladed area. Guerrero lost so much blood because of the cut that he felt the effects from it for two weeks.

Some wrestlers like Abdullah the Butcher,[7] Dusty Rhodes, New Jack, and Devon Hughes (Brother Devon / D-Von Dudley) have massive, disfiguring scars on their heads from frequently blading throughout their careers. According to Mick Foley, the scars in Abdullah's forehead are so deep that he enjoys holding coins or gambling chips in them as a macabre party trick.[7]

Today, blading is a lot less popular than in the past, due to the prevalence of AIDS and hepatitis.[1][5] In the 1980s, the willingness to blade was seen as an advantage of new wrestlers.[8] From July 2008 onward, due to its TV-PG rating, WWE has not allowed wrestlers to blade themselves. In most cases, any blood coming from the wrestlers are out of storyline and legit. To maintain their TV-PG rating, WWE television programs shift to black-and-white if a wrestler bleeds in front of the camera.[9] However, more recently, WWE has allowed colored viewing of bleeding superstars, for an unknown reason.

Examples[edit]

Perhaps the most famous such incident was a bladejob performed by Japanese wrestler The Great Muta in a 1992 match with Hiroshi Hase; the amount of blood Muta lost was so great that many smarks to this day judge the severity of bladejobs on the Muta Scale.[10]

Another such incident was during an ECW house show when a young wrestler known as Mass Transit forged documents and lied to ECW Owner/Promoter Paul Heyman about his age and amount of training. He then asked his opponent, New Jack, to blade him. Jack cut through two arteries in Mass Transit's head when he bladed the young man, and fifty stitches were required to close the wound. A wrestler allowing someone else to blade him is extremely rare.

In Bret Hart's autobiography Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling, Hart stated that he bladed Steve Austin during the infamous No Disqualification Submission Match at Wrestlemania 13, at a time when blading was forbidden, and Austin had never bladed during a match before. Contrary to Hart's biography, Austin actually had bled during matches many times before. His own autobiography states that he often 'got color' during matches with earlier opponents including Dustin Runnels during his run in WCW. Video footage of the event shows Austin's wrist tape unravelling after he began to bleed, as if he had removed a blade from about his person, to use willingly on himself.

During an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Mickey Rourke spoke about his experience with gigging himself for a scene in the 2008 movie The Wrestler. Rourke agreed to gig at the initial request of director Darren Aronofsky in hopes that he would revoke the demand come production time. Indeed, later during filming, Aronofsky admitted that Rourke needn't actually gig; however, by his own will, Rourke decided to go through with it anyway.[11] In the film itself, Rourke's character is seen preparing for a match by wrapping a razor blade inside his wrist tape.

There is one notable incident of blading in association football or soccer. In 1989, Chilean national team goalkeeper Roberto Rojas bladed himself to prevent a loss, by blaming the injury on fireworks thrown by opposing fans. FIFA saw through the ruse and ended up banning Rojas for life and banning Chile from the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Rojas' ban was lifted in 2001.[12]

Canadian wrestler Devon Nicholson pressed charges against Abdullah the Butcher, claiming that he contracted hepatitis C after Abdullah bladed him without consent.[13] An Ontario court ruled in favor of Nicholson and ordered Abdullah to pay 2.3 million dollars in damages.[14]

Regular bladers[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Harley Race, Ricky Steamboat, Les Thatcher. The Professional Wrestlers' Workout & Instructional Guide (p.106)
  2. ^ a b Scott E. Williams. Hardcore History: The Extremely Unauthorized Story of ECW (p.107-108)
  3. ^ Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Stone Cold Truth (p.90)
  4. ^ The History of Blading
  5. ^ a b c Jerry Lawler and Doug Asheville. It's Good to Be the King...Sometimes (p.83)
  6. ^ Matt and Jeff Hardy. The Hardy Boyz: Exist 2 Inspire (p.48-49)
  7. ^ a b Foley, Mick. Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks (p.201)
  8. ^ a b Mick Foley. Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks (p.123)
  9. ^ Gray, Richard (2013-02-26). "WWE’s Anti-Blood Policy, Swagger To Be Suspended?, Android App, Piledriver Banned". Wrestling News World. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  10. ^ Mancuso, Ryan (2006-09-11). "Complete Playbook: The Great Muta Vol. 2 Revenge of Muta Commercial Tape". 411mania.com. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  11. ^ Jimmy Kimmel Live!, January 15, 2009
  12. ^ Edwards, Piers (18 June 2014). "World Cup scandal! The unbelievable plot to eliminate Brazil". CNN. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  13. ^ "Ottawa wrestler claims WWE legend gave him hep C". CBC. July 29, 2011. Retrieved 2014-09-03. 
  14. ^ "Ottawa wrestler 'Hannibal' wins $2.3M hepatitis C lawsuit". CBC. June 3, 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-03. 
  15. ^ Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Stone Cold Truth (p.63)
  16. ^ Hulk Hogan. Hulk Hogan (p. 163)

References[edit]