It’s been 11 years since WWE banned steel chair shots to the head. It’s difficult to believe that once upon a time, taking a full force shot to the head with a chair and getting a concussion was seen as ‘no big deal’. My how times have changed. The sickening thud of the steel chair would inspire a generation of kids to hit each other over the head with wet floor signs in schools all around the world, I know… because I was one of those kids! In the Attitude and Ruthless Aggression Eras of WWE, the steel chair shot was the great equaliser, whether it was cheating to win or defending yourself against a monster like Brock Lesnar, we saw them almost on a weekly basis. Let’s take a look at some of the most famous chair shots from days past.
Bret Hart vs. Undertaker - Summerslam, 1997
One of the most famous main events in Summerslam history would see Undertaker defend his title against Bret Hart with Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee. Tensions between Bret and Shawn were at an all-time high and a disagreement in the ring would end with Bret spitting in Shawn’s face. Shawn retaliated with a chair shot which missed and hit Undertaker square in the face, costing him the title. This ending would go on to give us the first-ever Hell in a Cell match two months later and the debut of Kane. Good times!
Mankind vs. The Rock – "I Quit" Match: Royal Rumble, 1999
We all know Dwayne Johnson is the highest-paid actor in the world right now and one of the nicest guys in entertainment. But skip back 22 years to Royal Rumble 1999 and The Rock was riding high as WWF’s top heel and the jewel in the crown of Vince McMahon’s Corporation, running roughshod over the roster every week on Monday Night Raw. Mankind went into the match as champion after beating The Rock on an episode of Raw that saw the then WWF overtake WCW in the Monday Night War ratings. This "I Quit" match remains to this day as one of the most infamous matches in WWE history after Mankind took 11 unprotected chair shots to the head with his hands handcuffed behind his back. It was no shock then that he was forced to retire just one year later at the age of 34 as a result of brain trauma.
Eddie Guerrero vs. JBL - Judgement Day, 2004
It doesn’t get any bloodier than this match. Eddie Guerrero was on top of the world at the time as WWE champion, a beloved babyface who had a palpable connection with the live crowd. After the match spilled to the outside JBL hit him with a monstrous chair shot to the head. Blood was literally pouring out of his face, it’s a wonder the match wasn’t stopped. Although he finished the match, Eddie lost so much blood he was still feeling the effects for weeks later.
Knowing what we know now about concussions it’s unlikely we will ever go back to a time of regular chair shots but there is no doubt from an entertainment perspective the sickening thud of the chair shot helped to elevate a match or a feud to much greater heights.