As a child who grew up cheering the likes of Hulk Hogan, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, The Ultimate Warrior, and Bret Hart, I had no idea that, many years later, I would find out the following things: Hogan was a jerk backstage, Savage was a jerk to his wife Miss Elizabeth, Warrior was also a backstage jerk who would espouse homophobic views, and Hart was a serial womanizer. Suffice to say, those realizations were childhood-ruining moments for this writer, and I have online dirt sheets and various books to thank for all that.
Rumors posted on dirt sheets and forums and wrestler autobiographies may tell the long story of how so-and-so wrestler wasn't whom you thought they were back when you were a kid. But if you want the short and sweet version, you might as well search the internet for memes that remind us of such facts. But memes don't just ruin our childhoods that way when it comes to our wrestling heroes growing up – they could also remind us of how certain wrestlers have evolved, or depict them in rather awkward positions that are fodder for fans of "caption this" photo challenges.
So are you ready to check out 15 memes that aren't just savage AF, but also capable of ruining your childhood?
17 15. Kurt Angle Cannot Unsee Sunny's Tape
As we here at TheSportster have often explained, Tammy Lynn "Sunny" Sytch has truly let herself go these days. Not only is she at least 40 to 50 pounds heavier than she was in her days as WWE's ultimate sex symbol, she's also taken to some desperate means to earn cash, such as hosting nude Skype chats. She's got an adult film resume as well, thanks to the film Sunny Side Up: In Through The Backdoor. Um, okay.
Honestly, we'd prefer to ruin your childhoods spent adoringly looking at Sunny on the television screen by directing you to any list we have that has her name on it. But for the purposes of this article, we'd like to show you Kurt Angle's facial expression as he reads a text message on a recent RAW episode. Judging by the sour look on his face, it does indeed seem like he'd just caught a clip from of Sunny Side Up. Consider yourself lucky then, Corey Graves.
16 14. 5 Inches, Brother!
What you see above is a photo of Hulk Hogan, all in a days' work for the Hulkster as he cuts another promo that presumably starts out with "let me tell you something, dude/brother/jack/Mean Gene" and ends with "what 'ya gonna do when Hulkamania runs wild on you?" But as he's holding out his hand and pointing to it, that's where the fun begins, as he could very well be referring to the size of his little Hulkamaniac. (In any case, we're not judging, okay?)
Of course, this is a reference to the infamous leaked sex tape that featured Hogan and Heather Clem, the wife of his onetime good friend, Todd "Bubba the Love Sponge" Clem. And the thought of Hulkamania running wild on a woman not named Linda (whom Hulk was then married to) should be enough to ruin the childhood of anyone who looked up to the man as a kid.
As Hulk Hogan was such an iconic part of so many '80s and '90s kids' childhoods, we'll be seeing him quite a lot on this list, so there's plenty more where that came from.
14 13. Not Sure If Hart Foundation Or 3 Count +2
If you grew up during that era when boy bands were threatening to make grunge, alternative, and most other forms of rock passe, you probably watched The Hart Foundation reform as one of the WWE’s top heel factions of 1997. With Bret Hart cutting by far the best promos of his career and reunited onscreen with his real-life family and friends, the new Foundation was truly a force to be reckoned with.
On the other hand, if you take a look at the above meme, it does seem as if WWE wants The Hart Foundation to exude a boy band kind of vibe. And in this case, it looks like everyone in the Foundation wants to be Donny Wahlberg of New Kids on the Block, i.e. the designated bad boy. They simply don’t look as threatening as they should be, and we can’t blame you for cringing at how WWE had them pose in what happens to be one of their clearest, and most complete photos as a stable.
13 12. My Planet Needs Me
This one's a personal choice because a) like many of my peers, I thought Max Moon was the drizzling you-know-whats, and b) I was, and still am a huge fan of The Simpsons. In an era notorious for its bad gimmicks, Max Moon was one of the worst, and I'm sure there are a few of you who think he was, as WrestleCrap once suggested, really billed from Uranus. No wonder Konnan wanted to get the hell out of Dodge when WWE asked him to play the gimmick. (It eventually went to perennial lower-carder Paul Diamond.)
This meme's caption is a reference to the Simpsons episode where Homer voices the grating, massively-unpopular Poochie, a new character introduced to boost Itchy and Scratchy's sucky ratings. And as Poochie is, against Homer's will, fired off into space because his planet needs him, Springfield's kids (Bart and Lisa included) let out a rousing cheer. The WWE Universe probably felt the same way when Max Moon blasted off in 1993 after Diamond's WWE contract expired.
12 11. If You Wanna Hang Out, You've Got To Take Her Out...
Technically, this is neither an Ultimate Warrior or Hulk Hogan meme in the truest sense. Both of these big, sweaty men whom Vince McMahon once loved had another drug of choice, and it rhymes with the words "paranoid" and "android." But their hepped-up in-ring personas and wild, frantic promos, as well as the meme's caption, are a reminder to any Rock 'n' Wrestling Era fan that many pro wrestlers of that time were snorting lines in the hotel room just as often as they pumped iron in the gym.
Sadly, the list of wrestling obituaries is filled with men who suffered heart attacks or died from other health problems as a consequence of their past or present cocaine use. As we mentioned, coke most likely didn't play a part in Warrior and Hogan's crazy spiels, but we're sure a lot of their contemporaries relied on blow to cut their similarly-raving promos on their onscreen rivals.
11 10. Say No To Drugs! Ooooh, Yeah!
Hey, we can't do a list of savage AF memes without including Mr. Savage himself, The Macho Man.
Likewise, Randy Savage is not the first wrestler you think of when it comes to hard drug use in the Rock 'n' Wrestling Era. Then again, those promos may force you to think otherwise, and rumors and speculation have gone back and forth as to whether he got 'roided up too. Regardless, it does look rather curious that he's holding up a miniaturized cup (you know, a smaller version of what you pee in for drug tests) as he speaks to Mean Gene Okerlund. And it looks like a good time as well to warn all of you out there about the dangers of drug use.
Nowadays, most of today's pro wrestlers take great care of their bodies, and in some cases (see: Punk, CM), they take pride in living a straight-edge lifestyle with no drinking, smoking, or drugging. But the above meme again reminds us that back in the '80s, it wasn't just rock stars and Hollywood actors who were taking a piss on First Lady Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" initiatives.
10 9. Jake Did It For The Rock
Although The Rock does have himself an entry in this list, he is obviously not the "Rock" being pertained to in this above meme, which references Rikishi's motivation for running over "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and making one of the most head-scratching heel turns in Attitude Era history. The "Rock" being pertained to, as you may expect, is crack cocaine, which Jake "The Snake" Roberts definitely had a lot of during his heyday as a pro wrestler.
While he's since cleaned up and made it to the WWE Hall of Fame, Roberts' battle with substance abuse has been tragic to watch at times, as seen in the documentary Beyond the Mat. His Heroes of Wrestling blackjack promo, on the other hand, can be seen as hilarious, as Jake is so obviously wasted on booze and/or drugs. And the meme you see above is a reminder that like so many others in his era, the oftentimes-babyface Jake wasn't such a good guy behind the scenes.
9 8. John Cena In WWE 2K13
One reason why John Cena was the most polarizing babyface in WWE history before Roman Reigns came along is the perception that his current gimmick is essentially Hulk Hogan with less "brothers" dropped, and various colored t-shirts and jorts replacing the yellow, rip-apart tank top and red bandanna. It's a watered-down version of Cena's days as the Doctor of Thuganomics, where he was definitely non-PG during many a time he'd diss his rivals through battle raps.
As such, it's easy to see why the above meme isn't just savage, but also potentially childhood-ruining. It reminds those who were kids in the Ruthless Aggression Era, especially those who have stopped watching wrestling, that the badass, risque-rapping Doctor of Thuganomics they once knew now panders to today's young children and toes the line when it comes to WWE's PG requirements.
8 7. The Show-Off Is No Fan Of Trainwreck
Well, what do we have here? A rare example of a childhood-ruining meme for today's kiddie set.
Anyone who watched the 2015 film Trainwreck is aware of that one scene where you truly wish you can't see John Cena. That's why you'd easily be ruining the childhood of any of Cena's many kid fans if they asked you what this meme refers to – that part in Trainwreck where Mr. Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect's bare butt is visible while he gets it on with lead star Amy Schumer in one of the most awkward (in context) sex scenes in recent history.
What makes this meme truly savage AF, however is Dolph Ziggler appearing in the second half as the one person who'd be upset with a fake sex scene with Amy Schumer. Dolph did date the comedian in real life, after all. Making things doubly savage is the rumor that Ziggler had also previously dated Cena's current fiancee, Nikki Bella. That all adds up to one unhappy Show-Off, knowing that Big Match John sleeps with one ex as part of a movie, and sleeps with another ex as part of real life. We feel for you, man.
7 6. Hulkamania Runnin' Wild
In 2015, many wrestling fans were shocked to find out that the hero a lot of them had grown up with, Hulk Hogan, had been caught on (sex) tape making a barrage of disgusting racist comments about his daughter Brooke's then-boyfriend, who was African-American. As a result, WWE almost virtually scrubbed him from their website, also firing him from his job as ambassador and Tough Enough judge. Yes, a lot of us found out as adults (or teens) that the Hulkster we grew up idolizing was a toxic presence backstage. But a racist? That was quite a surprise to many.
The above meme shows a Ku Klux Klan rally, presumably from the 1950s, with the descriptive text "Hulkamania Runnin' Wild." As you should know, the Klan is an ugly reminder of America's distant racist past, and the aforementioned ugly reminder of the Hulkster's recent racist past did get him canned by the WWE. And while this meme is truly savage, it's not the only Hulk Hogan/racist leak meme we've got in this list.
6 5. They're Saying Boo-Tista
When Batista gave Evolution a thumbs-down on RAW and formalized his match against Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship, he instantly became a hero to throngs of Ruthless Aggression fans. Years later, WWE’s shift to PG would drive him, as well as a lot of fans from that last era, away from the company. So imagine yourself as a lapsed fan in early-2014, checking out RAW and realizing that everybody now hates your childhood hero.
Our seconds Simpsons-inspired meme focuses on the “Boo-Tista” phenomenon that occurred when WWE fans took a flaming hot dump on the company’s decision to have the Animal win the 2014 Royal Rumble. But while Smithers may have, albeit briefly, convinced his boss/love interest Mr. Burns that the fans were not booing his movie, but saying “Boo-urns,” there was no consolation for Big Dave, as “Boo-Tista” happened to be the derisive nickname given to him by the WWE Universe. Needless to say, it didn’t just suck to be Dave back then, but also to be a Batista fan in general.
4 4. I Can Explain, Brothers!
As promised, here's another savage AF dig at Hulk Hogan and his racist tirade on his daughter's African-American boyfriend from several years back, as leaked by Gawker. And we've got to give it up to the dude behind this meme, because that's a sweet WWE action figure collection he's got right there. And we're assuming he's got tons more where that came from.
As you can see, we've got the Hulkster on bended knees, trying to explain himself to a throng of black wrestlers – The Rock, Mark Henry, R-Truth, Shelton Benjamin, MVP, The New Day, etc. And unlike Booker T, who goofed big-time when he dropped the N-word on Hogan on Nitro in 1997, Hulk stops himself at the last second, addressing his colleagues as "brothers" like a good Hulkster should.
In real life, Hogan might not have had to explain himself too much, as several black wrestlers, including Kamala, did assert that he wasn't, and isn't racist by nature.
3 3. You Go, Girl! Rest In Peace, Girl!
Any wrestling fan, may they be past, present, or lapsed, below the age of 45 can say they grew up watching The Undertaker. Even when the Deadman was in his American Badass biker phase, you knew he meant business, and that he was one of the most intimidating figures to ever cast his shadow in a WWE ring. But "intimidating" isn't the right word to describe 'Taker in here, as the cameraman (presumably not Sim Snuka) caught him in one of the most awkward angles ever caught in WWE history.
Logically speaking, it does appear as if an angry 'Taker is preparing to grab referee Scott Armstrong by the neck and chokeslam him onto the mat – business as usual for the Phenom. But no thanks to that camera angle, it looks like he's telling Armstrong that he's doing a good job in the zebra stripes, albeit while doing so in the sassiest way possible. Nope, doesn't look like the Undertaker we grew up watching.
2 2. Perspective
Poor Hulk Hogan. He's gotten roasted on memes for his sex tape, the racist insults he said on that sex tape, and God knows what other reasons. And in another example of a candid wrestling shot gone wrong, we've got the Hulkster and The Ultimate Warrior in a scene from that classic match they had at WrestleMania VI. That's still a precious childhood memory from my past, but after seeing the above meme as an adult, even I had to wonder whether I should consider removing Hogan vs. Warrior at 'Mania VI from my list of all-time favorites.
The meme clearly shows Warrior in the worst possible spot, as it appears he's trying to, well, satisfy the Hulkster instead of overpower him from his kneeling position. It's a classic example of photography fail, and it's even made more savage in hindsight if you consider Warrior's infamously bigoted statement about "queering" not making the world work.
1 1. You Can Die A Hero...
And here it is, one more time with feeling for that childhood hero of a lot of younger Gen-Xers and older millennials, the one, the only, Mr. Terry Gene Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan. Like a lot of you in that age range, I grew up a Hulkamaniac, thinking he was just as virtuous as his pro-kid "demandments" suggested. But this meme underscores not only the fact that Hulk got busted by Gawker for those previously-mentioned racist remarks, but also the numerous allegations of being difficult to work with, aloof, roided-up, and a political bully behind the camera – the complete opposite of his wholesome, heroic facade pre-Hollywood/nWo days.
This meme also features three other Hulkamania-era legends – "Macho Man" Randy Savage, The Ultimate Warrior, and Roddy Piper – who were far more beloved by fans of all ages, yet died untimely deaths earlier this decade, while the oftentimes villainous-in-real-life Hogan is still alive and kicking. And while Warrior was quite the jackass back in the day, he did look like a changed, humbled man in the days leading up to his death in 2014 – a real-life face turn in the truest sense.
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