Wrestling storylines can be a tad…um…extra from time to time. The lines between realism and insanity are blurred and destroyed before our eyes. As a result, some storylines really expect us to believe that wrestlers can overcome sure death in order to get in the ring an legally arm bar the guy who tried to kill him on RAW the week before. These wrestlers were in scenarios that should have killed* them, but they survived. Because sports entertainment.
*I’m not talking about “should have died” in the “he landed on his head awkwardly” sense, but in the storyline sense. Got it?
Abdullah The Butcher – Death By Electrocution – Oh, yes, the Chamber of Horrors. This was during the WCW era when Robocop and the dinosaur from the Whoopi Goldberg movie and Bart Simpson and everyone from the 90s were hopping in WCW and it was the campiest sh*t ever. So, in order to win the match you had to put someone in the electric chair. No, not the wrestling move, an actual electric chair. Which I guess kills people usually…?
How long was he dead? He probably showed up the next week.
Stone Cold Steve Austin – Death By Drowning – After losing to Austin at WrestleMania 15, The Rock went on an incredible streak of being the best ever. Two weeks before their rematch, Rock lured Austin out to a bridge to get his title back. In the end, Rock tossed Austin off the side of a frickin’ bridge into the river.
How long was he dead? Austin showed up the next week and beat the hell out of The Rock.
The Rock – Death By Vehicular Homicide – The Rock and Hulk Hogan were going to wrestle at WrestleMania 18 in what everyone calls a main event but it wasn’t a main event because HHH wanted to have nobody care about his match but I digress. There was one problem: nobody would boo Hulk Hogan. They just loved him too much. So in order to paint Hulk Hogan as a villain, he beat up Rock and ran over his ambulance with an 18-wheeler. They even looked in the ambulance and saw what was maybe a carcass.
How long was he dead? He showed up the next week and called people bitches.
The Giant/Big Show – Death By Hulk Hogan – This is possibly my favorite and I could write 3,000 words dedicated solely to the Dungeon of Doom and Hulk Hogan. Too bad we don’t have a guy here doing that right now. Here’s the premise: The Giant is the son of Andre The Giant, who god body slammed to death by Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 3. Giant came back to destroy Hogan by breaking his neck twice and having a monster truck fight. At the end of that scene, Giant chased Hogan and fell off the side of a building to his death. Hogan watched him fall to his death. Way to build a monster by having him die in his first pay-per-view.
How long was he dead? He wrestled in the main event 15 minutes later.
The Undertaker – Death By..Like…A Ton Of Sh*t – Really, this could be a list of times Undertaker died. He got buried alive like five times. But this one actually lead to him going away for a while. After his casket match with Shawn Michaels Kane and Paul Bearer took him to the aisle and set his casket on fire. With him in it.
How long was he dead? He showed up to beat Kane at WrestleMania 14 two months later.
Sting – Death By Burning Alive – In the final days of WCW, Sting had an inferno match with juggalo pal Vampiro. It was horrible. But in the end, Sting crouched behind the big screen and was replaced by a stunt double. A STUNT DOUBLE. In the middle of a wrestling match, who caught fire and jumped off the screen onto the stage to his maybe death.
How long was he dead? He disappeared until the final episode of Nitro…then died again and never returned until 2014. Shut up!
Ric Flair – Buried Alive – Here’s another one from the end of the WCW era when everything was brilliant and Vince Russo was saving the sanctity of wrestling. Flair was feuding with the Filthy Animals and they kidnapped him and buried him in Las Vegas. Nobody heard from him or checked on him or anything. In fact, he didn’t show up again until WCW was back in Vegas months later. So we imagine he…walked…?
How long was he dead? Who the f*ck knows.
Paul Bearer – Death By Cement Truck – Paul Bearer is dead in real life, which is sad. But before then, Undertaker main evented a pay-per-view by beating both Dudleys with Paul Bearer’s life in the balance. If Taker lost, Paul Bearer would get buried alive and drown in a vat of cement. Taker won. Then still buried Paul alive because YOLO.
How long was he dead? Bearer would show back up from time to time and he died a few more times after that too.
Vince McMahon – Death By Exploding Limo – The big angle of 2007 was supposed to be a “who killed Vince McMahon” when his limo exploded at the end of RAW. The next week was full of the company recreating episodes of when people actually die by having personal testimonies and a ten-bell salute. What’s the worst that could happen?
How long was he dead? The worst happened. In the middle of the angle, Chris Benoit real-life murder-suicided his family and they abandoned the angle. So I guess Vince never actually fake died in real life fake stuff. Get it? Good.