"...I know nothing but Hardcore violence. I know nothing but beating on your ass, 'til I get tired..."
Often times, particularly in Hardcore Professional Wrestling
promotions, there are some wrestlers who really can't actually wrestle. Nor can they particularly do any high flying moves. Nor are they particularly good on the mic. But they can hit people pretty well, and they can hit people with things. So, they get a gimmick based around hitting people with foreign objects, and generally all-around brawling, and not particularly using any wrestling moves at all (or very few wrestling moves). Inversely, they're also known for amazingly dangerous "bumps" (professional wrestling stunts, particularly those that involve getting hit) such as Mick Foley
flying off the Hell in a Cell. Fans of their style tend to appreciate the fact that these wrestlers are willing to implement such a dangerous style simply to entertain.
The term Garbage Wrestler was inspired by Giant Baba, Japanese pro wrestler and owner of All Japan Pro Wrestling
, who once famously referred to rival promotion FMW
, which employed this style with alarming regularity, as "garbage". Despite this, it's not necessarily a derogatory term in today's fanbase.
Some related tropes could include:
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- The Sandman is a classic example of this trope. For the majority of his career, he used very few wrestling moves, relying on punching his opponent and hitting him with a variety of objects. Only later would he add some actual pro wrestling moves to his arsenal, such as the "Rolling Rock" (a moonsault onto a ladder laid atop a prone opponent), the "White Russian Legsweep" (a russian legsweep using a singapore cane), and the "Heineken-rana" (a hurricanrana).note And they usually looked like shit. Of note, when WCW hired The Sandman, they learned from their experiences with The Public Enemy (see below), and kept him exclusively in their hardcore division, so to downplay his weaknesses.
- The Public Enemy ("Flyboy" Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge), a tag team from ECW, also qualifies. They were famous for their garbage matches and their use of tables in ECW. They became so famous that they were hired by WCW... where the WCW bookers found out that without the garbage wrestling, the team didn't really bring anything unique to the table and came across as Pretty Fly for White Guys. Grunge wasn't even particularly good in the ring. Rock was decent, but no better than decent.
- New Jack, another wrestler from the old ECW, certainly qualifies here. His primary talents were hitting people with stuff, and diving off of high places. Although he worked a fairly "normal" style of wrestling (by comparison) in his pre-ECW days with promotions such as Smoky Mountain Wrestling.
- Abdullah the Butcher may have been one of the first garbage wrestlers, and managed to make a very long career out of it, with the fork being his Weapon of Choice.
- The Original Sheik was another innovator of this style.
- Other early examples were Dick The Bruiser and his "cousin", The Crusher, although they could definitely wrestle.
- Abdullah Kobayashi is a spiritual successor to the butcher in Big Japan Prowrestling, having been trained by him. BJW itself has been described as a garbage promotion.
- Pretty much the entire roster of ECW's upstart rival, Xtreme Pro Wrestling, are garbage wrestlers.
- Likewise, IWA-MS, founded by garbage wrestler Ian Rotten. Though this isn't really true of IWA-MS anymore and hasn't been for a good while; they still do deathmatch stuff, but their list of alumni also boasts the likes of CM Punk, Chris Hero, Colt Cabana, Ace Steel, Delirious, and Matt "Evan Bourne" Sydal.
- Likewise, much of the roster of CZW, though it shares several talents with Ring of Honor and CHIKARA. More, the garbage is usually limited to a couple times a show up until their big death match events. That said, CZW prides itself on garbage and when it goes there...they go pretty far.
- Justified Trope?: In his autobiography Have a Nice Day, Mick Foley (aka "Cactus Jack", "Dude Love" and "Mankind") described his "peanut butter scale"—insisting that while he did have a reasonable grounding in 'real' wrestling moves (indeed, his first trainer insisted on "no punch-kick"), he'd found that use of "garbage" wrestling meant more money, and fewer meals of peanut butter sandwiches he'd have to live on in the next month.
- It should also be noted that Mick Foley differs from many "garbage wrestlers" in that he's one of the best promo men in the business. Foley also demonstrates a more diverse moveset than most of the others on this list. In fact, one of his early signature moves was the "Cactus Jack Crack Smash" which was a run from the apron into a senton splash to a standing opponent.
- The above applies for Terry Funk as well, who despite being the grandad of all garbage wrestling, is a damn good wrestler and even held the NWA World Heavyweight Title in his heyday.
- As does it apply to Botchamania favorite, Sabu. In his own words, he believes that even garbage wrestlers like himself should have a good foundation in wrestling before implementing objects.
- Necro Butcher, who has been a mainstay at the aforementioned CZW and IWA Mid-South, had the privilege of representing the garbage wrestling style in the movie The Wrestler. His scene was filmed at a CZW event.
- Nick Mondo of CZW, IWA M-S and others, alternatively looks back at his decision to partake in garbage wrestling as a mistake or with pride. Well, he takes pride in his matches and helping get CZW on the map but thinks it was a mistake to do so many. He's actually a decent mat wrestler, striker and pretty good high flier but will forever be known for falling off buildings and getting cut with a weed whacker.
- Perennial All Japan Womens Pro Wrestling heel Kaoru "Dump" Matsumoto. Although she was a straight-up power wrestler early in her career, she only really took off by living up to the name and utilizing various weapons, starting with a pair of scissors that she would often convincingly jam into the arms of her opponents, until she evolved into a full-on Garbage Wrestler.
- Trope Namer (via the Baba quote above) Atsushi Onita, founder of FMW. Once a promising junior heavyweight in Baba's All Japan Pro Wrestling, a potentially career-ending knee injury forced him to take up a heavily brawling and gimmicks-based style in order to continue his career.
- The Nasty Boys were a stiff, garbage wrestling tag team that hospitalized Ken Shamrock, back in his pre-UFC days in the North Carolina-based South Atlantic Pro Wrestling promotion. They were thought to be genuinely tough but slightly dangerous to work with.
- Axl Rotten, known for his "This Is Gonna Hurt" painted chair. He would form a tag team with the aforementioned Ian Rotten called Bad Breed.
- LuFisto, CZW's first female Iron Man Champion, first woman to compete in their tournament of death and first female in their cage of death. Though she dropped the Iron Man Title after an injury that made her reconsider this path, she came back as hardcore as ever.
- "Sparkplug" Bob Holly, previously saddled with a wrestling race-car driver gimmick, briefly became a garbage wrestler during WWE's "Attitude Era". While the garbage period did not last, the Hardcore Holly moniker stuck.
- The entire purpose of the WWE Hardcore Title was to house garbage matches, though it became less so after the "24/7" rule was inducted. The rules of the Hardcore Title were matches were no-DQ, no-countout and falls count anywhere. The "24/7 rule" meant that the belt was ALWAYS on the line and title changes could happen anywhere at any time so long as the other guy (or girl) had a referee on hand. The most famous champion from this time period was Crash Holly, who earned the Red Baron "The Houdini of Hardcore" because of his ability to escape situations where he might lose the title.
- Ivory and Tori (Terri Poch) had the first-ever women's hardcore match in WWE when Tori challenged Ivory for the WWE Women's Title on the September 6, 1999 Raw. The match started in the bathroom and may have been even stiffer than the hardcore matches the men were having at the time, and featured a lot of screaming and some creative choices in weapons, such as Ivory using Soap Punishment as they fought through the showersnote Ivory won by pulling a mirror off of a wall and smashing it over Tori's head, with Jim Ross worrying about the barefoot Tori possibly getting glass in her feet. After the match, Ivory found a plugged-in iron and tried burning Tori with it. It took several referees to pull Ivory off of her and get her to calm down. On the 2000 VHS release WWF Divas: Postcard from the Caribbean, right before scenes from this match are shown during Ivory's segmentnote , Ivory compares wrestling to a dance and how the guys have all gotten around to each other a few times over their careers and how the women don't "dance very often with the same partners or the same opponents, and I guess that's why the hair-pulling happens."
- The Japanese promotion Dramatic Dream Team, which, in its sheer wackiness and creativity and originality, is like CHIKARA Up to Eleven, created their Ironman Heavymetalweight Title as a parody of the WWE Hardcore Title, with the title being defended ANYWHERE, even in non-title or tag matches, under 24/7 rules. Cameramen, people from the audience, the chief chef from the Yakeyama Springs Inn, a female newscaster, "three elementary school girls," "a Bolivian boy" and even a miniature dachsund have "won" the title. On January 31, 2003, a ladder fell on champion Yoshihiro Sakai during a match with Mikami, and the referee counted the fall. Sakai promptly pinned the ladder to regain the title.
- Later that year, a ladder fell on champion Sanshiro Takagi for the title. The title was declared VACANT on October 15 after the promotion's "president" "encouraged the ladder to 'forfeit' the title."
- On July 21, 2007, then-champion The Crazy SKB put the title up for auction, which was won by Naoshi Sano.
- Nowadays "Innovator of Violence" Tommy Dreamer has this reputation but during his early ECW days he was unpopular with the mutants because they felt he wasn't garbage enough. In WWE he was more famous for being hit with weapons rather than using them.
- Most of Rob Van Dam's finishing moves involve the use of folding chairs and he stated on WWE Byte this that his true talent would not be displayed until WWE gave him a hardcore title to compete for and defend every week.
- According to Carlito Colón, garbage wrestling, or at least blood n' guts, is what the majority of Puerto Rican fans want to see. He may have a point, though garbage matches have been rarer in WWC since the new millennium they have continued on with scaffold matches long after they had fallen out of favor nearly everywhere else and company founder, his father Carlos Colon, was about as brutal a garbage wrestler as they come. In fact, the trope naming promotion FMW got the idea to use barbed wire from WWC! WWC was also the first promotion to create hazards by lighting things on fire. That famous ECW scene where the fans bury the ring in thrown chairs? That had already happened in WWC to Ox Baker!
- Abyss during his run in TNA gradually became more known for thumbtacks, his signature weapon "Janice", a two by four with spikes protruding out of it and his specialty match the "monster's ball", which often adds barbed wire boards. His time as Joseph Park has not been a case of this trope, as it is in his opponents best interest not to make Chris bleed. Prince Justice was likewise not an example.
- Nikki Roxx went through several garbage promotions and participated in some of the most violent women's matches on record but did not have this gimmick until she became "the hardcore knockout" Roxxi Laveaux in TNA. Till then and immediately afterward she was a power-technical wrestler who just happened to blow off some feuds or be a target of the likes of LuFisto.
- Cleverly subverted at Pro Wrestling NOAH Navigation with Breeze, Day 4, May 17, 2005, during the Genichiro Tenryu/Go Shiozaki/Jun Akiyama vs. KENTA/Mohammed Yone/Takeshi Rikio. At one point, the action spilled out to the floor. Tenryu grabbed a table from behind the guard rail and threw it onto KENTA's head. After some more action on the floor, Tenryu picked up the table and put it back behind the guardrail, to applause.
Anime and Manga
- Pro Wrestling spoof Kinnikuman has a few of these. Including at least one guy, Junk Man, who is actually made of garbage; True enough, his style also revolves around bashing opponents with his spiked industrial press hands. Perennial Heel Neptuneman apparently hates garbage wrestlers so much that he once killed his tag partner for using foreign objects. It's a bit ironic, considering that Neptuneman wears a special vest with spikes that he frequently uses to impale opponents, which some would consider a form of "garbage".
- Of course, note that among his opponents in the Choujin Tag Tournament was Buffaloman, who had horns he would impale people with; it's likely Neptuneman figured he was just evening the score a little, and that by using something simply attached to his costume he wasn't betraying his love of "real" wrestling.
- Also, after being shot by Kinkotsuman before his match with Robin Mask, Terryman, desperate to win, fought dirty by throwing sand in Robin's eyes and wearing spiked knuckledusters. This was a marked contrast to his normally extremely easygoing attitude.
- And while he doesn't display this directly in the anime or manga, in at least one of the games Kinkotsuman will indeed just shoot you in the ring. Note that Kinkotsuman is physically feeble and cowardly, so this is clearly his idea of evening the odds.
- Subverted with Warsman who SEEMED to be relying entirely on a clawed weapon to beat their opponents. However, when Kinnikuman removed his claw; he proved that he was still very capable of kicking ass.
- Rip Saber from Ring of Destruction: Slam Masters II. Of course, in a wrestling federation where people generate electricity and turn into falling meteors (to name two examples), he needs to use more powerful weapons, including grenades.
- Leo Bradley from 3 Count Bout. In a game where any character can pick up a spiked cudgel or a broken bottle, he stands out by having huge chains as a major part of his moveset. His stated specialty is "hardcore matches", and while he can perform actual wrestling maneuvers he doesn't have a very impressive repertoire of them.
- While not a wrestling game, Eternal Champions features several fighters well versed in martial arts, and then it has the caveman Slash. His fighting style is listed simply as "Pain". The game further describes his style as using underhanded moves such as eye gouges, nose tweaks and ear smashes to inflict a great amount of pain, making it increasingly difficult for his opponent to properly focus on the fight.
- Frank's wrestling persona in the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode The Gang Wrestles for the Troops is "The Trashman", invoking this trope in a literal sense (by throwing trash around the ring and then eating it). He fits the trope pretty well besides that, he's certainly not as flashy as the personas of the rest of the guys and he ends up winning the entire bout by throwing a metal trash can at his opponent (the edge of which knicks the other wrestler's jugular and he passes out from blood loss).
- Homestar Runner parodied this during a Strong Bad email about wrestling. Strong Bad has had several gimmicks, but really made a name for himself in a tag team with Strong Mad... although there were some misfires, such as their "Foreign Object Bros." gimmick, where they apparently solely made use of the various foreign objects on their costumes, including a gun shoved down Strong Mad's singlet.
- The same episode had Strong Sad as Gardenboy, with a watering can that shoots fire.
- Mad Dog from Ong Bak. His fighting style consisted in using absolutely everything that came to hand as a weapon, even ripping out electrical wires to attack his opponent.
- Opening match in Monster Brawl is between two fighters of this type: Witch Bitch, who has a hidden cleaver and doesn't shy away from underhanded tactics and Cyclops, who uses his smithing hammer.
- One of the luchadores in Nacho Libre has a moveset largely dedicated to hitting opponents with a metal folding chair. As he does so, he shouts "¡Siéntate!", which means "Sit down!", or if you want to get cute, "Have a seat!"