WWE Weapons: Thumbtacks, Kendo Sticks, Ladders etc

Last updated on May 8th, 2022 at 11:45 am

The evolution of weapons in professional wrestling has seen wrestling promotions adopt the use of weapons to bring forth some of the most exhilarating matches. From big weapons such as chairs, ladders, and sledgehammers to smaller weapons such as thumbtacks and broken glasses, all these weapons have been used in most of the hardcore matches in the history of sports entertainment.

While WWE fans love this type of match, wrestlers not only endure physical pain but also put their lives on the line. 

Hardcore matches have become a staple for most promotions and be used during the climax of feuds between wrestlers. Nonetheless, in other promotions such as International Syndicate Wrestling, Big Japan Pro-Wrestling, and Game Changer Wrestling, hardcore matches are part of the day-to-day schedule, with most of these promotions scheduled matches taking place in this manner. 

The 15 Biggest Wrestlers of All Time x
The 15 Biggest Wrestlers of All Time

It’s important to note that the WWE is scripted, and thus all the matches are storyline driven and a predetermined winner is always selected prior to a match.

Thus, most of the weapons used in matches are normally selected before the match and all the wrestlers have to consent to the use of the weapon before it’s pulled out in real matches. 

In addition, professional wrestlers undergo intensive training to ensure that they know how to safely use these types of weapons in wrestling matches. While all matches follow a given script, wrestlers endure some type of pain when executing certain moves in the ring.

Weapons are widely used in pro-wrestling to not hurt wrestlers but to create an illusion of the wrestlers getting hurt. 

History of Hardcore Matches

With no count-outs, disqualification, and several other rules, hardcore matches have become the new norm in many wrestling promotions.

Since hardcore matches do not follow the day-to-day rules, these types of matches allow the use of a variety of weapons, including chairs, sledgehammers, barbed wires, tables, tongs, golf clubs, light tubes and so much more. 

Hardcore matches began in Japan, where they were acknowledged as a style of wrestling by various promotions, such as Wing and Frontier Martial Arts. Wrestling promotions such as Frontier Martial Wings was the first promotion in the world to be fully dedicated to a wild, brawling style.

Unlike other wrestling promotions that stood against the use of violence, FMW advocated violence in their matches to unexplainable levels. Using barbed wires instead of ring ropes, timed C4 explosive land mines, exploding wire ropes in FMW was nothing out of the ordinary.  

As time went by, hardcore wrestling style ultimately found its way in the US, with ECW being the first American wrestling promotion to embrace this unique and exciting style of wrestling that appeared to pull crowds. Two independent promotions, the National Wrestling Federation and Tri-State Wrestling, had brief stints, all serving as the proto-types to Extreme Championship Wrestling.

All these two promotions featured big names on their roster, such as The Sheikh, Jesse James and Abduallah the Butcher, who showcased extreme and wild main events. 

Later on, the two promotions ultimately came to an end and were replaced by NWA. NWA not only featured the same wrestlers but also took place in the same venues that the other two promotions used. During this period, Eddie Gilbert served as the booker and was later on replaced by Paul Heyman.

The company ultimately split off from NWA and changed its name to ECW, which became the leading hardcore promotion in the United States. 

During the 1990s, the WWF noted the success of hardcore matches and, in turn, created its own division dedicated to pure hardcore wrestling, the WWF Hardcore Championship. This new division was mainly centered around former ECW wrestlers Mick Foley, Raven, Terry Funk, and Raven.

Later on, the hardcore division was dropped and in its place, a new style of the match was introduced: the TLC (tables, ladders, and chairs) matches.

Are WWE Weapons Real? 

Although most WWE weapons are real, WWE usually takes all the necessary steps to ensure that the damage done to wrestlers is minimal. This can either be through the modification of weapons or the thorough training of wrestlers who will use these weapons in the squared circle.

From thumbtacks to steel chairs to tables, all weapons used within the squared circle are real and more than enough to cause physical pain.

Weapons like tables are normally rigged by setting the legs apart such that they easily break with minimal to no pressure and they cause an explosion sound to make everything look real. While all the weapons used within the squared are somewhat real, over 95% of these weapons are safe to use. 

Weapons such as garbage cans, kendo sticks, and guitars are some weapons used in the WWE that are not real. All the weapons are tampered with by either making them hollow, using lightweight materials or breakable to ensure that they appear realistic while causing minimal to no damage. 

Thumbtacks

For quite a long time, thumbtacks have been the go-to weapons for many wrestlers. While they might be small, the amount of damage that can be done to the opponent with thumbtacks is more than enough to leave the wrestler anguishing in pain.

Because of their size, thumbtacks tend to cause only short-term damage with no long-term effects or damage whatsoever.

In addition, most wrestlers are always reminded to spread the thumbtacks to ensure that they do not poke in consolidation, which can be quite dangerous to a wrestler.

The great thing about the use of weapons in the WWE is the fact that most wrestlers are in the heat of the moment, with adrenaline pumping through their veins, such that they do not really focus on the pain. 

How Bad Do Thumbtacks Hurt?

Thumbtacks hurt pretty badly as they tear directly into the flesh. According to many professional wrestlers, it’s not usually the going in that hurts, but rather it’s the process of taking them out.

During matches, most wrestlers are usually pumped up, with lots of adrenaline running in their veins, and thus, won’t feel much when they are dropped on thumbtacks. Removal of thumbtacks is a slow process that takes time.

How Does WWE Fake Thumbtacks?

Like most weapons in the WWE, the thumbtacks are not fake, however, they tend to be modified such that they do not cause any long-term injuries or pain. Although the WWE uses modified thumbtacks, the pain endured by wrestlers is real and not in any way less painful in comparison to real thumbtacks.

To ensure that the amount of damage done to a wrestler’s body is minimal, WWE thumbtacks are normally short. 

Kendo Sticks

One of the most common WWE weapons in recent years, kendo sticks have become the go-to weapons for many WWE wrestlers. First used in Singapore when an American citizen was beaten by authorities because of the crime he committed, kendo sticks ultimately became popular in the US when Paul Heyman first introduced the weapon in ECW.

This was after he felt that Tommy Dreamer needed to be hit because many ECW fans disliked him. 

For quite a long time, many ECW fans disliked Dreamer because of his dullness. However, after the match, he managed to win over many fans because they somehow felt sympathetic for him after being constantly hit by Sandman. Because of its origins in Singapore, Kendo Sticks are widely referred to as Singapore canes in pro wrestling. 

Ever since then, kendo sticks have become a staple for pro wrestling matches, with the weapon even finding its way into the women’s division.

Dreamer and the Sandman were just but a few of the many wrestlers who mastered the use of the kendo stick, even incorporating the weapon with some of his moves and gimmicks in the WWE. Other wrestlers who have used the kendo stick in the WWE frequently include Randy Orton, CM Punk, Randy Orton, and Daniel Bryan

Do Kendo Sticks Hurt?

Like most wrestling weapons, kendo sticks do not hurt that match. To ensure the safety of wrestlers, WWE designs this weapon in such a manner that it causes minimal to zero long-term damages to the wrestlers. Kendo sticks used in pro wrestling are hollow and light, which makes it easy for wrestlers to control them during matches.

In addition, kendo sticks tend to be masked by tape on both ends to ensure that, upon breaking, they do not cause any damage to both wrestlers. 

How Bad Do kendo Sticks Hurt?

Kendo sticks do cause a lot of pain, with the pain from the sticks lasting for a couple of days. Because of their hollowness and lightweight, they rarely cause any kind of permanent damage to the wrestlers. Nonetheless, when not used properly, kendo sticks can also lead to serious injuries, especially when they hit the fingers or pieces of the wood find its way into the eyes.

The great thing about kendo sticks is that many pro wrestlers are trained to withstand pain and hence, it’s nothing that none of them can’t handle. 

Ladders

For quite a long time, ladders have been an integral part of matches in the WWE with the first-ever ladder match in the WWE taking place in 1992 between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. Ladder matches are one of the most entertaining wrestling matches in history that follow a rather simple concept.

Unlike most matches in the WWE, ladder matches do not end via pinfall or submissions. Being a hardcore stipulations match, wrestlers can easily resort to using the ladders as weapons.

From cracking one’s ribs with the ladder to lifting the opponent and dropping them on their backs on the ladders, there are a plethora of ways that wrestlers can use ladders to their advantage. Wrestlers such as Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, Christian, Edge, and John Morrison perfected the art of using ladders as weapons.

It not only became a cult classic but also the go-to weapon for many wrestlers in the WWE. 

Like most weapons in the WWE, ladders are constructed using aluminum and not steel as previously thought. Because of this lightweight construction, most ladders tend to shake when a wrestler tries to get a top. While ladders may be hollow, they still can hurt when used as a weapon. 

Are Ladders in the WWE Real?

While the ladders in the WWE are real, they are usually improvised to ensure that they do not cause any serious damage during matches. WWE mainly does this by making the ladders hollow, which not only makes the ladders lighter but also safer to be used as weapons.

Issue of safety has always been the key concern for many WWE weapons and ladders are no exception. While most wrestlers in the WWE train extensively on how to use ladders either as weapons or during matches, ladders can still be lethal.

Participants of ladder matches have suffered different types of injuries, anywhere from broken noses to broken ribs. 

Steel Chairs

One of the most effective weapons in the WWE, steel chairs have always been a fan favorite ever since time immemorial. Unlike ladders, thumbtacks and kendo sticks, steel chairs have been used by a bigger percentage of wrestlers in the WWE.

Nonetheless, using steel as the major component of the steel chairs would not make sense from a safety perspective, as it would put the life of wrestlers in danger. Instead of steel, steel chairs comprise 92% aluminum, 6% steel, and 1% copper with small amounts of tungsten and steel.

In addition, steel chairs also feature some structural modifications to ensure that wrestlers on the receiving end are safe at all times. 

Apart from being 92% aluminum, steel chairs are also hollow and feature broken rivets, which makes them easy to fold into two. To ensure that the chair causes minimal damage, wrestlers use the flat part of the chair, which ensures that the chair absorbs a bigger part of the impact and reduces the risk of cutting a wrestler open.

Vince introduced the use of the flat part of the chair after being kicked with the wrong side of the chair by Zack Gowan. 

Are WWE chairs real?

Although the steel chairs in the WWE are real, they tend to have some structural changes which ensure that they are safe to use within the squared circle. Apart from being hollow, steel chairs also comprise 92% aluminum instead of steel.

Besides the safety of the wrestlers, aluminum chairs are also widely used in professional wrestling, mainly because of the sound they produce on impact. It’s quite hard to get a similar sound when using chairs with different materials. 

Does a chair shot to the head hurt?

Unlike what many people might believe, chair shots to the head do hurt. However, prior to matches, WWE tends to break the rivets to ensure that the metal collapses, in turn allowing the wrestler’s head to bend the chair and reduce impact. 

In a recent AEW match, a chair shot by Derby Allin left Cody Rhodes with 12 stitches on the head. While Rhodes was pretty lucky to escape the match without a concussion, there are other wrestlers who are simply not lucky as he was.

Garbage Cans

While their popularity has declined in recent years, garbage cans are still used in the WWE and other wrestling promotions. Like steel chairs, Garbage cans used in the WWE are made from 100% aluminum. On top of that, garbage cans are extremely thin and light in weight which ensures that they can bend easily on contact.

When wrestlers are covered in garbage cans during wrestling maneuvers, it tends to decrease the impact or effect of these maneuvers despite the fact it may sound or look brutal. Shane McMahon is one wrestler who loves to use garbage cans when delivering his coast to coast move. 

Do Garbage Cans Hurt?

Garbage cans are among the few weapons in the WWE that do not hurt whatsoever. Because of their lightweight aluminum construction, garbage cans or trash cans easily fold on the lightest of contact. As a matter of fact, garbage cans are the most non-lethal weapons in the WWE and technically any wrestler can use them in their match.

Tables

One of the most controversial weapons in sports entertainment, tables are among the many weapons that has seen WWE receive backlash and intense media scrutiny. Like the chairs, the tables used in the WWE are quite lightweight and flimsy.

The upper board mainly consists of thin chipboard that can barely hold together when presented with the weight of a fully grown man. With these tables being specifically constructed for wrestling purposes, they do not hurt that much.

As a matter of fact, it’s the impact from the jumping wrestler that tends to sting a little and not the table. 

In addition, tables used in the WWE do not feature a crossbar, which may hurt the wrestlers once the table breaks. The crossbar may also prevent the table from breaking into two during impact. Since WWE wrestlers are trained professionals, it’s their duty to ensure that the table breaks into two to prevent any form of injuries to the wrestlers.

This is mainly achieved by hitting the center of the table, since this tends to be the weakest area of the table and any slight weight causes the table to collapse instantly. 

What Type of Tables Does WWE Use?

 WWE and other wrestling promotions use a special kind of table similar to the cheap particle tables that you can find on home depot. There are instances when wrestling promotions will pre-cut the table to ensure that it breaks into two on impact.

However, many wrestlers prefer not to have the table pre-cut as it will help absorb the impact resulting from the fall. When a wrestler is thrown on a pre-cut table, they tend to go through the table and slam directly into the concrete floor without a break in the momentum. 

Sledge Hammers

Popularized by Triple H, sledge hammers, there are a number of wrestlers who have used the sledgehammer in the WWE including Seth Rollins. Unlike most of the weapons on this list, the Sledge Hammer has not been modified in any way.

As a matter of fact, the sledgehammer used in the WWE is the same one that you will find in a local hardware store. How exactly do wrestlers use sledgehammers as a weapon causing no harm to the opponent? 

Well, it’s a matter of technique as a blow to the head can be fatal. To reduce any impact from the exposed metallic surface, wrestlers are required to cover the exposed metallic surface.

This means that instead of getting hit with a sledgehammer, wrestlers get hit with the backhand of the wrestler wielding the sledgehammer.

On instances when the backhand is not used, then the wrestlers will often find a way of protecting the other wrestler, as it has been the case with Triple H over the years. 

While the sledgehammer has become Triple H’s trademark move, the weapon has been a subject of criticism, considering it can actually cause severe injury to a wrestler. Nonetheless, despite the backlash that the weapon has received, Triple H continues to use the weapon.

In recent years, we’ve seen different variations of the sledgehammer, with the most recent one being the burning sledgehammer used by Triple H during his street fight with Randy Orton. 

Does WWE Use Real Sledgehammers?

Wrestlers in the WWE do use real sledgehammers, whose structure or construction has not undergone any form of modification. The sledgehammer is among the few weapons in the WWE that’s not widely used in pro-wrestling, mainly because of the risk involved with the weapon. 

Barbed Wires

Although many wrestling promotions, including the WWE, banned the use of barbed wires in matches, barbed wires were an integral component of many hardcore matches. Wrestlers like Mick Foley thrived in matches that made use of barbed wires, which he incorporated as part of kayfabe and his deranged alter-ego, Cactus Jack.

On the squared circle, Cactus Jack was ruthless, mentally unstable, and would punish his opponents using various weapons just for his own amusement. Apart from WWF, barbed wires have also been quite popular in other franchises such as Extreme Championship Wrestling.

As a weapon, barbed wire can be used with plenty of other weapons, such as chairs, baseball bats,. 

Does WWE Use Real Barbed Wire?

Over the years, the WWE has always used real barbed wires during hardcore matches, with the most memorable. On the other hand, wrestling promotions like TNA used a mixture of both real and fake barbed wires.

The perfect example of the use of real barbed wire in the WWE was at the Batista vs Triple H match card at Vengeance  2005. A chair covered in real barbed wire was used in the match and Batista has been on record on many occasions stating that the barbed wire on the seat was real.