Broken bones, concussion, run over by a car and both men in hospital – is this the most brutal WrestleMania match of all time?

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If some WrestleMania matches stand the test of time as true masterpieces, some are remembered for entirely different reasons – like the WrestleMania 12 Hollywood Backlot Brawl.

While some fans reminisce with misty eyes the meeting of Macho Man Randy Savage and Ricky The Dragon Steamboat at WrestleMania 3, for instance, there are those that can’t watch the 1996 beatdown in California without wincing.

Piper and Goldust left each other in pieces

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Piper and Goldust left each other in piecesCredit: WWE

That’s for good reason, too. The legendary Hall of Famer Rowdy Roddy Piper and Goldust legitimately knocked ten bells out of another to present the match in the ‘street fight’ style it was intended.

A controversial figure, Goldust had taken an unhealthy liking to Piper in the storyline leading up to WrestleMania that year, with Piper threatening to ‘make a man’ out of his rival when they finally collided.

Though fans live in the arena in California witnessed the climax to the match live in real time, the hardest hitting sections of the encounter had actually been filmed weeks in advance and shown during the live pay per view as if it had all occurred as shown.

That, too, was a real stroke of luck in hindsight, as it was later revealed that both wrestlers were taken to hospital after the exploits, such was the damage they’d done to one another beforehand.

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In an interview with Inside the Ropes, Dustin Rhodes – who played the Goldust character – revealed the extent of the brutality involved, suggesting the entire match had descended into chaos, leaving bones broken, hands cut with glass, and Rhodes himself concussed.

The scene began with Rhodes driving a car towards what’s shown as the arena car park, where Piper stood in wait, yielding a baseball bat.

“He picks up the bat and bashes in the window,” Rhodes recalled. “Glass went everywhere and he cut his hand. 

“I climbed out the other side and he commenced kicking my a**. For real.

Goldust was sent flying into a dumpster and all but knocked out on the floor

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Goldust was sent flying into a dumpster and all but knocked out on the floorCredit: WWE
He was left with a concussion, but that wasn't the worst of it

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He was left with a concussion, but that wasn’t the worst of itCredit: WWE

“He hit me a couple of times with the bat. He threw me into this dumpster, and it did not budge. I banged my head so hard that I had a concussion. It was bad, it hurt so bad.

Rhodes, now a star with All Elite Wrestling, explained that Vince McMahon had warned that he didn’t want to see blood used in the match – effectively ruling out wrestlers using the generally accepted method of using a small blade on themselves to produce blood, typically to enhance a bout.

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Seemingly looking for a way around that, Rhodes asked for Piper to hit him hard enough to draw blood the only other way possible. 

He went on: “He hits me square in the forehead. There’s no blood, nothing. I’m like, ‘do it again!’

Both were covered in blood - not from intended cuts, but from destroying each other

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Both were covered in blood – not from intended cuts, but from destroying each otherCredit: WWE

“You can see on the second shot when he hit me in the same spot, he broke his hand.

“I got a concussion; he’s got a broken hand. I’m p***** that I don’t have any blood.”

Battered and dazed, the duo kept their heads enough to continue the flow of the match, which was set to continue with Goldust racing away from the scene in a car, staging a carefully planned ‘hit’ of Piper on the way.

Even that didn’t quite go to plan, and Piper ended up hurting his knee in trying to execute the planned spot.

“[We discussed] he’s going to move out of the way as I drive past him, and I clip his Bronco.

“I’m waiting for him to move, not driving too fast, maybe ten to fifteen miles per hour [and] he’s not moving, and I’m getting closer and closer.

Goldust flew straight into Piper's knees

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Goldust flew straight into Piper’s kneesCredit: WWE
And carried him down the street

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And carried him down the streetCredit: WWE

“I’m playing it out in my head thinking: ‘please f****** move!’

“He’s not moving, and his knee just buckles on the car. He grabs the hood and I’m looking at him and I’m like, ‘I just killed Roddy Piper!’”

That section of their match then effectively ended, and the wrestlers were able to gain medical attention, before returning to finish the match in the ring.

While weeks had actually passed, fans were presented the match as having just a 50-minute gap between the car park scenes and those in the area.

Piper went on to win the match in the end, having originally not even been Goldust’s intended opponent for WrestleMania.

That honour had been due to go to Scott ‘Razor’ Ramon Hall after the pair had wrestled at

Royal Rumble earlier that year, but Hall ended up leaving WWE in favour of WCW.

And looking at the damage done, he was lucky to get out when he did.

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