The sight of Mick McCarthy and Eric Black, Steve Bruce's assistant manager, hurling the most technicolour language at each other, before Bruce took up the cudgels himself, was an intriguing side-show as Sunderland had Jack Colback and Michael Turner sent off at Molineux.
Given the ill-feeling between the two dug-outs, McCarthy would have gained added satisfaction from defeating his former club, who had harboured hopes of finishing 10th before results went against them.
Sunderland had taken the lead through Kenwyne Jones before Wolves equalised through Kevin Doyle's penalty. That it was only Wolves' 12th home league goal of the season is some indictment on the Premier League, supposedly the most entertaining in the world.
At least the 13th was memorable, with Adlene Guedioura collecting Ronald Zubar's pass on the edge of the area before firing past Craig Gordon. The midfielder, who has been named in Algeria's preliminary World Cup squad,may hope his strike is sufficient to convince Wolves to make his loan from Charleroi permanent.
Sunderland's suffering was not complete, with Turner later dismissed for two bookings. He was then followed in stoppage time by the substitute, Colback, whose Premier League debut took in 10 minutes and two yellow cards.
Wolves (4-4-2): Hahnemann 6; Zubar 6, Craddock 6, Berra 7, Elokobi 6; Guedioura 8, Henry 7, D Jones 7 (Edwards 64, 6), Jarvis 7 (Foley 90,4); Doyle 7 (Iwelumo 82, 5), Ebanks-Blake 6. Substitutes not used: Ikeme (gk),Stearman, Milijas, Mancienne,
Sunderland (4-4-2): Gordon 7; Hutton 6, Turner 6, Kilgallon 6, Richardson 7; Campbell 7, Cana 7 (Benjani 75, 5), Henderson 6 (Zenden 46, 6), Malbranque 6 (Colback 80, 5); Bent 6, K Jones 7. Substitutes not used: Carson (gk), Bardsley, Da Silva, Ferdinand.
Referee: L Mason (Bolton).
Booked: Wolves Jarvis; Sunderland Turner, Colback. Sent off: Turner, Colback.
Man of the match: Guedioura