WWE prides itself on providing huge moments that their fans will always remember. Even decades later, wrestling diehards can reach back to the recesses of their mind and recall that occasion, like it just happened. Whenever WrestleMania and Royal Rumble come around, WWE always brings out the biggest and best highlights that show off exactly why every fan should tune in that year.
The only issue with bringing out these historic moments is sometimes the people involved change over time, people like Hulk Hogan and Chris Benoit have said or done some terrible things that have basically gotten them blacklisted from the company for a very long time. So with that, all of their moments are suddenly put in the vault, rarely seen again, unless fans go to the WWE Network and search them out.
Celebrations, titles, annoying chants, and body paint bikini tops, this collection will go over a variety of moments that were sometimes planned and sometimes a total surprise to the WWE. Whatever the case, these were iconic instances that still have wrestling fans talking, whereas the WWE would probably just prefer you forget about them altogether.
29 WrestleMania XX Embrace
When it comes to amazing moments that are now banned, this usually comes in at number one due to the awful crimes Chris Benoit committed against his family. At WrestleMania XX when Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit (both considered underdogs) each won a world title, it was a great time to be a wrestling fan and WWE decided to make it a huge deal by letting both guys celebrate to end the show.
As confetti flew down from the rafters, Benoit cried tears of joy for finally achieving a dream. Unfortunately, this is a clip that is no longer included when WrestleMania rolls around and it’s a shame, because there was so much joy between Benoit and Guerrero that gets buried away.
27 Sable’s Hand Print Bikini Top
Early on, Sable worked with then real-life husband, Marc Mero, as his manager. As time went on, Sable became more popular and the spotlight slowly shifted to her. Of course, Marc got jealous, the two fought and Sable eventually broke away.
Mero ended up bringing in Jacqueline as his new manager and they challenged Sable to a bikini contest at 1998 Fully Loaded. Sable came out with a very conservative top at first, but after Jacqueline did her thing, Sable took off the top to reveal a hand print body paint bikini top. Jerry Lawler nearly lost his mind at the sight of it, many pictures were taken, and fun was had by all. Unfortunately, in a PG world, this kind of clip just can’t be shown anymore these days.
25 The Body Slam
In what was promoted as the “Biggest main event in sports entertainment” Hulk Hogan took on Andre the Giant at WrestleMania III. The biggest question was could Hogan take down the massive 520 pound giant, and initially, he couldn’t, failing to body slam Andre on his first attempt. Later in the match, Hogan did his usual “hulk up” thing and got the strength to pick up the big man and slam him to the mat.
For years, that’s a clip WWE has run over and over again, until Hogan’s racist rant came to light, forcing WWE to not only immediately release Hogan, but scrub him clean off their website. Somehow, the man who helped build WWE was no longer there and still to this day WWE has kept their distance from the WWE Hall of Famer.
22 The Kliq Embrace
During a show at MSG, four members of the Kliq (sans X-Pac, who was in drug rehab at the time) joined together for a hug and celebration in front of the fans right before Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were heading off to WCW. This was in 1996, when keeping it kayfabe (or staying within their characters) was still important, you can’t have good and bad guys celebrating right after a match!
Known as the “Curtain Call” punishment eventually had to be doled out to someone, and that someone was Triple H. He went from mid-card champion to working the lower card for the next few months before rising back up the ranks. One interesting footnote to this is Triple H was supposed to win the 1996 King of the Ring, instead, that honor went to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. While the footage of the embrace has been used on multiple occasions, it’s not something WWE would like to see other wrestlers make a habit out of at live events.
20 Chyna: The Intercontinental Champion
Going back to 1999, Chyna was easily one of the WWE’s most popular wrestlers, in part because she would wrestle against the men, which put her in a class of her own. She got a chance at the Intercontinental title against Jeff Jarrett and was able to win it, becoming the first woman to ever win the title.
Thanks to Triple H cheating on her with Stephanie McMahon, Chyna had a rough ending with the WWE, eventually parting ways with the company. For years, WWE treated her like a pariah, never giving her the proper accolades she deserved. With her untimely passing, it’s possible (and very probable) WWE will do a total reverse with her in regards to the Hall of Fame and actually celebrate her trailblazing achievements with the WWE.
18 The “Yes” Movement
This one is a bit of a cheat since it wasn’t an exact moment, but rather a movement that WWE didn’t fully support. A lot of the ways Daniel Bryan was treated was just meant for the storyline of an underdog trying to usurp the powers that be, although some moves fans really questioned.
Not only was Bryan bumped off WrestleMania, but the next year he only got 18 seconds before losing his title to Sheamus; for a guy that was moving up the ladder, this was highly suspect on the WWE’s part. When Bryan was really picking up steam, he was suddenly turned heel (joining the Wyatt Family) for no apparent reason, other than to quell the fans. Then a Michigan State college crowd did a massive “Yes!” chant that made national news and WWE immediately turned him back to a good guy. Did Bryan ultimately get his WrestleMania moment? Yes, but it took a massive surge from the fans to get it done.
14 Rock Hits Mankind In The Head... A Lot
Considered one of WWE’s more vicious matches, The Rock took on Mankind in an “I Quit” match at the Royal Rumble in 1999. In short, Rock beat the heck out of Mankind for a majority of this match, most notably hitting him with a chair 11 times, most of which were to the head.
In an era of CTE and concussion protocols, this is not a match we’ll ever see again in the WWE, in fact, the WWE banned chair shots to the head back around 2010. These types of brutal matches can have long-lasting effects on the wrestlers and it’s better to just leave these kinds of matches in the past.
12 Three Legends
What better way to start a WrestleMania than by bringing out some of the biggest stars in Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, and The Rock? Each guy got their turn on the microphone, Hogan stumbling a bit over his lines, Austin was a little rusty, and Rock was, well, The Rock. Overall, it was a fantastic moment that had fans buzzing for days.
Unfortunately, it’s another moment that gets hidden away due to Hogan’s involvement; WWE was serious when they decide to wipe him from their history. Not to say it was always be this way, but Hogan’s personal life has made it too difficult for WWE to stay connected to him.
10 Katie Vick
Okay, maybe not every moment is “iconic” for a good reason, rather, say the name Katie Vick to any wrestling fan and they will just roll their eyes at the stupidity of that storyline. Basically, Triple H accused Kane of raping a dead woman and had “footage” to prove this.
It ended up being Triple H in a Kane mask having “sex” with a mannequin in a casket; they seriously showed this on TV in 2002. Fans hated it then (and still now) so WWE quickly toned down the story and ended the feud not long after.
8 Changed Crowd Reactions
Not everything is what it seems, especially when it’s not live. In this particular case, at the 1992 Royal Rumble it was down to Ric Flair, Sid Vicious, and Hulk Hogan with Sid tossing Hogan out of the Rumble. When the elimination originally occurred, the crowd cheered heavily as Hogan was sent packing.
When the VHS (and any later versions) came out, the crowd was suddenly booing when Hogan got eliminated. WWE obviously piped in those boos, because we just can’t have the face of the company getting that kind of treatment, who do they think this is, John Cena? This isn’t the first or last time WWE has done some revisionist history, but they would just prefer you not remember how things originally went down.
6 The “What?” Chant
During the 2001 Invasion angle, Austin started saying “what” during his promos both to the fans and to other wrestlers (mostly to annoy them). He continued using the phrase as it gained popularity among fans, and that popularity remained the same even after Austin was long gone, like, fifteen years gone!
Yes, still today fans will says “What?” in response to most heels or people that they are bored by, unfortunately it’s ruined too many promos. The look on many wrestlers’ faces show they would just rather all of them simply forget that awful chant. Seriously, it needs to be banned; maybe a petition to the White House is in order here?
4 Pipe Bomb Promo
Wearing his “Stone Cold” t-shirt, Punk came out on Raw and laid out one of the finest promos ever in WWE history. Even though Punk got a lot off his chest, it was given the “okay” by those in WWE, for the sake of the storyline at the time. Punk wasn’t going to re-sign with the company after he fought John Cena at Money in the Bank, and instead, run off with the title.
Years later, Punk actually did feel like a “spoke in the wheel” and ended up leaving the company due to not receiving enough time to heal up some pretty serious injuries. Due to the ugly separation (legal issues, Punk receiving his termination papers on his wedding day) on both sides, this fantastic promo is not celebrated by the WWE, partly because some of Punk’s harsh words still ring true today.
1 Big Gold Belt
This last one is cheating a bit, but this is pro wrestling, so cheating only makes things more interesting, right? Previously NWA and WCW’s World Heavyweight Championship, after WWE purchased WCW they renamed it the World Heavyweight Championship. Typically, the title was known as the secondary world title (although, Triple H made it quite important for a period of time). It was unified when WWE decided to go with the current WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
With the upcoming brand split, there is a possibility this title could make a return, but because it didn’t originate in the WWE, the “Big Gold Belt” will always be treated as second class. If wrestling fans forgot about this beautifully designed title, WWE wouldn’t be bothered one bit, just like everything else on this forsaken list.