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5 real backstage brawls where the favorites lost

Mike Chin
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
8.28K   //    Timeless


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sometimes the lines blur between a pro wrestling match and a real fight behind the scenes

Professional wrestling is built on the concept of men and women working together to put on a dramatic representation of a fight. Yes, a lot of the hits and falls are real, but by and large, the intention isn’t for anyone to get hurt. The objective is entertainment, as opposed to injury.

However, with so many athletes who take pride in what they do, it makes sense enough that there would be some real-life confrontations that escalate into fights. Sometimes it’s a matter of a long-simmering beef boiling over into fisticuffs.

Sometimes it’s a misunderstanding a single incident at the wrong time that blows up into a full-blown fight. Whatever the case may be, backstage brawls are a part of wrestling history.

Sometimes, the brawls go down just the way you’d expect, like when Bret Hart got his hands on Vince McMahon backstage after Survivor Series 1997. There are, however, those occasions when things take a surprise turn.

Maybe it’s because one guy is a much bigger star, or because he has the size advantage, or real life credentials that make us think he’d be a good fighter. Whatever the case, there are times when an underdog ends up getting the better of the favourite in these real brawl situations. This article looks back at five of those cases.


#5 JBL vs. Joey Styles

Joey Styles was an unlikely man to stand up to JBL.
Joey Styles was an unlikely man to stand up to JBL.

JBL is well known as a bit of a bully. During his in-ring career, rumours abounded that he was a Vince McMahon’s hired gun to rough up people who needed to be taught a lesson, toughened up, or made an example of. This led to infamous instances of him being stiff with Public Enemy, The Blue Meanie, and DH Smith on different occasions.

It’s also rumoured that he’s either been instructed or chosen to take liberties in verbally digging at guys on commentary, such as pressing Cody Rhodes during a guest commentary spot during his feud with The Shield and The Authority.

When JBL got in broadcaster Joey Styles’s face backstage, you’d have to assume Styles would either just take it, or, if he stood up for himself, he wouldn’t stand a chance against the much bigger athlete. However, Styles infamously not only stood up for himself, but punched out JBL.

It was a classic example of a bully taking a rough hit, and backing down based on it. Maybe JBL recognised he’d only look bad if he came back and really tried to fight the much smaller Styles—win or lose. Or maybe Styles’s punch really did put the Big Texan in his place.

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Mike Chin
ANALYST
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