Almost any adult out there knows how sabotaging others co-workers can be motivated by looking better than them or taking them down a peg. Thoses kind of people exist just about everywhere, and it is no different in the wrestling business. Surprised? Probably not. The wrestling business has been the red-headed step child of show business, but it is still a viable and lucrative career choice if you can make it. You think the backstabbing is bad at your local little desk job? We’re talking about co-workers with testosterone filled egos, and thousands (if not millions) of dollars at stake here. These WWE Superstars might backstab their own mothers for some of the pushes and paydays they may get in the wrestling business.
Still, wouldn’t many of you out there? It’s no wonder why some of the biggest names in WWE (then and now) have always had a nice spot to make themselves look good. In many cases, they earned their spots. However, as the cliché goes, “It’s one thing to make it to the top, but it’s another to stay at the top.” Sure, this line is usually referred to when attempting to win a WWE Championship for these superstars. But television stories aside, I think we can all imagine the opportunities and paydays that come with holding that WWE Championship. If someone else was in the way of taking yourself, or may keeping yourself, at the top, wouldn’t you do it whatever it took to get them the hell out of your way!
Without further delay, here are 15 Messed Up Ways WWE Stars Have Sabotaged Each Other.
15 Shawn Michaels Helps “Screw” Bret Hart
Perhaps the most famous sabotaging the wrestling business has to come to know, the “Montreal Screwjob” has to start off this list for being the most famous sabotaging in the wrestling business. This is according to Bret, the WWE, and anyone else that has hyped, explored, and spotlighted this situation. It was a big deal, and Shawn Michaels had a hand in making sure all went according to “plan”, taking the WWE Championship, from Bret without his knowledge. Michaels and others have supported their decision with the “screwjob”, seeing as it was “best for business.” Many have assumed Shawn initially took great pleasure in “screwing” his fellow superstar. Michaels may claim that is untrue, however there are many reasons to believe why he would have been happy to go along and cost Bret the championship.
14 Randy Orton Sabotages Mr. Kennedy’s Career
If you thought Kofi got it bad, it was just a few months prior in mid-2009 that Randy Orton may have influenced the release of Mr. Kennedy. This only one day after he had returned on an episode of Monday Night RAW. Perhaps Kennedy put himself in this situation by reportedly being “smug” with other wrestlers, including important political players like John Cena, Triple H, Shawn Michaels. Kennedy dropped Orton harshly on a back suplex in the ring, which Orton was visibly angered by. I get it! It is his body, and he uses it to make money. But having your co-worker fired the very next day over it is harsh. I thought they’ve always said the wrestling business “ain’t ballet.” So why straight-up fire someone right after they’ve returned?
13 Bret Hart Talks Over Shawn Michaels
Here’s a reason why we might think Shawn was happy to “screw” Bret in Montreal. On the May 12, 1997 edition of Monday Night RAW, Bret Hart had a promo segment where he would verbally confront Shawn Michaels. The ending of the segment would have been with Shawn “superkicking” Bret out of his wheelchair. However, as detailed on an episode of Bruce Prichard’s “Something to Wrestle” podcast, Prichard spoke about all the cameramen (and Michaels himself) giving Bret his cue to stop talking for the superkick, but instead, Bret continued talking on the mic until RAW went off the air. Prichard would describe Bret backstage acting as if he didn’t make any mistake. This added to Michaels’ anger, after he thought Bret Hart kept talking through his featured spot of the promo on purpose.
12 Randy Orton Sabotages Kofi Kingston’s Push
Back in late 2009 and early 2010, Kofi Kingston had an onscreen rivalry with Randy Orton in his most prominent role up to that time. Unfortunately for Kofi, he suffered a miscue live on an episode of WWE RAW in 2010. Kofi was supposed to take Randy Orton’s “punt kick”, but instead continued to rise to his feet, resulting in Orton hitting an “RKO” instead. Orton angrily screamed at Kofi in the middle of the ring. After this incident, Kofi would not be pushed as strongly until his success with the “New Day” several years later. “The power of positivity” truly got him through the years of being stuck low on the card following his incident with Orton.
11 Triple H Doesn’t Follow The Script With The Rock
As his fellow “Evolution” mate Randy Orton would do, Triple H knows a little about sabotaging others for his own forward success. Triple H may have just done this as a sign of “friendly” competition, however, according to Bruce Prichard, The Rock was none-too-pleased backstage for an episode of RAW in the early 2000s when programmed with Triple H. His gripe? Triple H not following the script, while he strictly was, and blurted out lines to make himself look more clever. Triple H attempting to be more clever than The Rock may have just bit him in the behind and ignited Dwayne Johnson’s charisma and quick-wit to out shine him and everyone else in the business. It sure worked out well for Johnson despite all this!
10 Triple H Sabotages Booker T’s Push
To this day wrestling fans talk about how they wanted to see Booker T win the World Championship from Triple H back at WrestleMania 19. The fans clamoured for it then! And fans haven’t forgiven Triple H for it either, as that moment has been one of the many used against Triple H in his accusations of being a political player in the WWE. Perhaps he is! Perhaps he was that night. Perhaps he just “played the game” the right way backstage, and kept the World Title safely around his waist. What I do know is the fans wanted Booker T to win that title that night from Triple H, and it didn’t happen. It wouldn’t be the last time Triple H beat someone we didn’t want to see him beat.
9 Kevin Nash (And Shawn Michaels) Sabotage Carl Ouellet
Carl Ouellet (known as “Jean-Pierre LaFitte” during one of his runs with the then WWF) found himself against the political backstage group known as the “Kliq”. This was in 1995 when he refused to lose to member of said group, “Diesel”, who was the WWF Champion. As described by Shane Douglas on his interview with Kayfabe Commentaries, Carl Ouellet was told by Vince McMahon to not lose so they could come back to his home country of Canada and have a rematch that people would pay to see. Douglas would describe Shawn Michaels, who was not involved in the match, threatening to sabotage and “starve” Ouellet’s career with WWE management. “Diesel”, better known as Kevin Nash, in his interview with Kayfabe Commentaries would describe how Carl (along with several members of the locker room) began working against him and his “Kliq” of friends, looking to sabotage them in the process. Drama, drama, drama!
8 Shawn Michaels Wants NO Chokeslams From The Hurricane
On a candid interview posted on YouTube, Shane Helms (better known as the “Hurricane”) spoke openly about his disappointment towards Shawn Michaels, recalling an incident years prior where Michaels yelled at Helms for using the choke slam in the opening match while he was going to wrestle Kane (who used the same finisher in the main event). This was followed by “Blackjack” Lanza, an agent of the WWE’s at the time to yell at Helms about “no more chokeslams”, a reaction Helms said he never received from a WWE agent before. Helms would discuss how Vince McMahon, the owner of the whole company, told him to use the move, and furthermore, recalled another moment where Helms was angered by Shawn to the point of wanting to leave him “bloody.” Lucky for Shawn, Helms did not. Perhaps it was a reasonable reaction for someone just push their weight around while you’re doing your job.
7 Shawn Michaels “Sells” For Hulk Hogan
To no surprise, Shawn Michaels appears on the list again, but perhaps this time, with a more just reasoning behind it. As documented by Michaels and Hogan respectively on different interviews, Hulk Hogan was to return and be programmed with Shawn in 2005 with the agenda of working three matches together beginning at WWE’s 2005 “Summer Slam” pay per view. Once Michaels found out it was only to be one match, and that Hogan would be winning, he proceeded to make a mockery of the match, and bounce around the ring (literally) and mockingly sold all of Hulk Hogan’s offence in the ring. The back and forth politics in this situation left Shawn bitter and disappointed at the time. It still made for a hilarious moment, and for any younger fans who haven’t seen it, please do as it's ridiculous.
6 WWE (And Maybe John Cena) Sabotage Zack Ryder
This one might be more of a choice by Vince McMahon and the creative team at WWE. It was not a fair sight for many internet wrestling fans back in late 2011 and early 2012 when Zack Ryder fell victim to a John Cena-Kane storyline following his height in internet popularity. Ryder was beaten down by Kane in a more spectacular way every week, while Cena made out with Ryder’s onscreen love interest at the time, Eve Torres. The pay-off to all of this suffering for Ryder? Nothing. He just got beat on TV every week, and fans soon began to sour as Ryder never did anything but lose heavily following his involvement with John Cena’s storyline. Not to blame Cena or anything, but someone obviously decided that Ryder’s popularity with his fans was a non-factor. “Ouch, Bro.”
5 John Cena Sabotages The Nexus
This one might be obvious. Back in 2010, the Nexus debuted in one of the most interesting manners. They attacked John Cena and worked with him for most of the year. Where Cena’s “sabotaging” comes in is when the Nexus were beat at WWE’s 2010 Summer Slam pay per view after Cena was dumped on his head on solid concrete, then still managed to defeat the Nexus. As Chris Jericho discussed with WWE Hall of Famer Edge on his podcast, “Talk is Jericho”, he thought that Cena’s plan to win made the Nexus look weak, and that the Nexus should have been “put over.” Perhaps the decision of Cena winning wasn’t his choice, but the manner in which he plotted himself to win the match and make his opponents look so weak? Definitely a selfish move.
4 Austin Nixes Jarrett (But Jarrett Started It First?)
As Bruce Prichard described in his podcast “Something to Wrestle” covering Jeff Jarrett’s time in the WWF, Steve Austin did not like Jeff Jarrett. Once Jarrett returned to the WWF in 1997, he cut an in-ring promo calling Austin’s famous “Austin 3:16” line “blasphemous.” Prichard described Austin legitimately confronting Jarrett backstage about it, claiming he was jeopardizing his popularity by criticizing him that way. Two years later, when Austin was at the height of his popularity in the WWF, Austin refused to work with Jarrett (who he was programmed with) based on Austin being above him in popularity at the time. That was the case, but it was insinuated that Austin “never forgot” Jarrett’s attempt to create buzz around his return, at his expense.
3 The Original “Screwjob”: Moolah Sabotages Richter
Much overshadowed by the “Montreal Screwjob” in 1997, the “original screw job” happened on November 25, 1985. It occurred when Wendy Richter (then WWF Ladies Champion) reportedly refused to sign a new contract. This led to a plan (apparently created by Vince McMahon) to bring in the Fabulous Moolah and have her pin Richter with a quick three count from the referee. This would take the title off Richter in the process. Richter would legitimately assault Moolah following the match. Richter has detailed the incident through several interviews, describing how she quit the WWF that night, taking a cab in her wrestling gear. She never returned to compete in the WWF again.
2 Jim Duggan and The Iron Sheik Sabotage… Each Other?
This one is especially interesting. Back in 1987, Jim Duggan was driving alongside an unusual ride along partner in The Iron Sheik. The two were driving through the state of New Jersey when they were pulled over by police. They were also in possession of a variety of illegal substances; "A to the Z", as the Iron Sheik might put it. They were arrested, resulting in a serious halt to Duggan’s career. He was released, but brought back soon after, although never in the same high profile role as he had prior. Ironically enough, Duggan has gone on record in the past by talking about how he wasn’t even “close friends” with the Iron Sheik, and that he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Talk about sabotaging each other. They were arrested together, and weren't even that close as friends?
1 WWE (And Others) Sabotage CM Punk
Alright, this may just speak for itself. This may have not been anyone directly sabotaging Punk, but the WWE sure made a lot of decisions that made it look that way. They made a lot of superstars (like Triple H, John Cena, and Kevin Nash) look good at the expense of CM Punk. Many fans out there recall how popular CM punk was following his “pipebomb” and how disappointed they were following Punk’s positioning in several losses despite his popularity. Adding to the fire, was a rumour that ran for several years of Triple H not being a big fan of CM Punk. This exploded following Triple H’s seemingly untimely victory over Punk in 2011. Perhaps the fix was in to put a ceiling on Punk all along.