Professional wrestling is an art form meant to entertain fans around the world. While these athletes put their bodies on the line, they also trust that their opponents won’t try to knock them out or knock out a tooth or two. That might be the case, but there have still been hundreds of artists in major promotions like WWE and others, who took the sport too seriously or maybe just didn’t care and put their full force behind all their attacks.
These fighters have a reputation for being tough and leaving their opponents worse than when they entered the ring. Some fans have come to love these athletes for their particular style of performance, many wrestlers have recounted stories of getting beaten up in the ring and sometimes even hating working with them. Here are some fighters who are known for their hard hitting.
10 John Bradshaw Layfield
John Bradshaw Layfield fought in a style very similar to someone like Stan Hansen in his prime. Throwing hard ties and clotheslines that looked like they could and should have decapitated their opponents. Wrestlers have come out and talked about how hard JBL would hit them during matches during his WWE Championship reign.
His title victory over Eddie Guerrero just shows how tough of a JBL fighter he was. The party of him full of blood in Doomsday 2004 is still considered one of the most violent matches in WWE history.
9 “Doctor Death” Steve Williams
Two-time UWF World Heavyweight Champion Steve Williams would become known as one of the strongest gaijin during his time in All Japan Pro Wrestling. His and his partner Terry Gordy’s team name was The Miracle Violence Connection for a reason.
Williams would go on to many impressive feats during his tenure, including wins over Akira Taue, Jun Akiyama, and Kenta Kobashi, plus the final victory over Andre The Giant before his passing.
Goldberg is among these other fighters, but while most of them hit as hard on purpose as they did, Goldberg always came off as an accident or lack of experience. He was pushed around pretty quickly while working with WCW and would gradually improve over time, he has become known for botching it.
Some of his most shocking moments include Spearing Diamond Dallas Page and slamming his own head into the canvas so hard he gave himself a concussion and the infamous kick that contributed to the end of Bret Hart’s career.
7 Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar would not start his career being known for his hard punches, instead becoming that role after a career in the UFC. Upon his return, he began wrestling in a style that included more punching and elbowing than in his first WWE run.
Lesnar has now become synonymous with suplexes that seem to snap a person’s neck and throw a hard punch or two whenever he feels the moment calls for it. Even his typical fighting moves have a particular amount of force applied to really sell him as a monster.
6 Toshiaki Kawada
Toshiaki Kawada would become known as one of the “four pillars of heaven” in All Japan Pro Wrestling alongside Akira Taue, Mitsuharu Misawa, and Kenta Kobashi. The four of them were considered some of the greatest of all time, Kawada would stand out from the pack for his incredibly brutal kicks.
All of his kicks had a shotgun blast sound when his leg connected with his opponent’s chest, back, or even head. Multiple wrestlers have been inspired by the way Kawada kicked and tried to create the same effect.
5 kenta kobashi
To understand just how hard Kenta Kobashi could punch, watch his matches against the likes of Samoa Joe, KENTA, or Mitsuharu Misawa. KENTA in particular would fight in a similar style to Kobashi but with a bit more agility and speed as Kobashi trained the young fighter.
Kenta Kobashi might be one of the toughest men of all time as he would have cancer before beating it and deciding to return to professional wrestling. He would also have surgery on both arms and would be scheduled to miss a year of action, but would return in less than six months.
4 Mitsuharu Misawa
One of the greatest fighters of all time, Mitsuharu Misawa is the hardest hitter of the four pillars. Kawada had his kicks, Kobashi had his chops, and Misawa would have his elbows. Misawa’s rolling elbow finish would earn him multiple matches and titles during his career.
Fighters like Chris Hero and Bryan Danielson would be greatly inspired by the hard-hitting moves Misawa would pull off, such as his elbow strikes and Emerald Flowsion.
Vader was easily one of the scariest pro wrestlers of all time simply because of how hard he could hit someone. Countless accolades show how tough he was to go toe-to-toe with former UFC fighter Ken Shamrock, absorbing punch after punch before punching Shamrock to the ground.
Vader would also paralyze an opponent for a few hours due to a chokeslam and powerbomb he would throw. His matches against stars like Stan Hansen and Mitsuharu Misawa would showcase the punches Vader could pack.
2 stan hansen
Stan Hansen has become the face of fighters who can throw a devastating punch after his time working in Japan against Misawa and Vader. Countless wrestlers would admit that they hated working with Hansen because of how hard the man would hit them during a match.
Hansen would later admit that he threw such hard punches due to complications with his nearsightedness and that he would have to throw as hard as he did to make sure his punches didn’t miss or look like rubbish. Hansen is considered by most to be the toughest of the tough, only a fighter could compare to him.
1 bruiser brody
Bruiser Brody worked a wild style of fighting during his career. One of his biggest feuds was with hardcore legend Abdullah The Butcher. The two matches worked in which both left covered in blood and were often the craziest matches on the card, either ending in disqualification or countout.
An infamous match between Lex Luger and Brody would show just how hard the man worked, throwing punch after punch at Luger and taking sand out of any attempt Luger had on offense. That match would end with Luger needing to scale the cage and basically run from Brody.