Recent reports suggest that WWE is more scripted than the company has ever been. Some within the company state that Vince and the rest of the creative crew are cracking down more and more on those performers that try to abandon the script and do their own thing. As such, fans don’t often get to enjoy some of those wonderful unscripted moments that so often serve as the highlight of WWE programming. While we’re sad to hear that’s the case, you do have to appreciate the fact that some of the best unscripted moments in WWE history were ones you probably never noticed.
Yes, there are many WWE moments that went off the script in a major way that went unnoticed by all except the most observant of WWE fans. We’re not talking about some wrestlers improvising a move here and there or changing a couple of lines of a promo. We’re talking about moments that drastically changed the direction of WWE programming and - in some cases - put a performer’s life in jeopardy. The best part about these major unscripted moments is that few of you were even aware anything wrong was happening. These are 15 WWE moments that were not scripted...that we didn’t notice.
15 JBL’s Drunken One Night Stand Antics
JBL is one of the most polarizing figures in recent WWE history. Some like his off-the-wall antics and old-school style. Others see him as a bully or something much worse. One thing that’s clear is that JBL has gotten away with some pretty outrageous stuff over the years. For instance, JBL decided to get really, really intoxicated during the 2005 ECW One Night Stand event and proceeded to do some pretty shocking stuff. While JBL was supposed to be playing the heel during this time, he wasn’t supposed to be loudly shouting homophobic and racist comments into nearby microphones nor was he supposed to legitimately beat-up the Blue Meanie at the end of the night. For those interested, JBL’s “commentary” can be found in a special audio track on the One Night Stand DVD.
14 Brock Lesnar Busts John Cena Open With A Punch
It was a huge deal when Brock Lesnar returned to WWE in 2012. Lesnar had become UFC’s biggest draw and a multi-time Heavyweight Champion. Seeing him return to WWE was quite the sight. What was even more shocking is the night that John Cena and Brock Lesnar shared a ring before their Extreme Rules showdown. What was supposed to be a war of words broke down when Lesnar tackled Cena. That part was planned. What was unplanned was Brock’s wild MMA punches.
One of those punches happened to catch Cena right on the head and caused him to start bleeding from the mouth. While this moment perfectly fit the story that WWE was trying to tell, nobody planned on Brock’s punches being quite as devastating as they were.
13 Jake’s Snake Bites Macho Man and Refuses to Let Go
This is another violent on-screen incident that combines the planned and unplanned. Way back in the day, Jake the Snake Roberts and Macho Man Randy Savage were engaged in a very compelling feud. Their wars had escalated to a level of intensity that wasn’t really common for WWE storylines back then. The defining moment of this feud was when Jake had his snake attack Macho Man by biting him on the arm. WWE planned for this attack, but they didn’t plan on the snake biting Macho Man as hard as it did or for Macho Man’s arm to bleed quite so much. It became clear that officials were not able to safely remove the snake right away. This led to Macho Man enduring quite a bit of pain.
12 Triple H Tears His Quad Again and Shawn Michaels Has To Improvise A Match Ending
You may remember that time in 2001 when Triple H tore hi quad when trying to slide into the ring to break up a submission. That injury forced Triple H to miss much of the year and may have forever impacted his in-ring abilities. However, that’s not the only time that Triple H tore his quad. In 2007, Triple H suffered a similar injury during a tag match between Rated RKO and DX. This time, though, he was not able to soldier through the injury and finish the match.
Instead, Shawn Michaels, Edge, and Randy Orton were forced to just go nuts and produce an unscripted ending so outrageous that the referee was left with no choice but to call a DQ. The footage of this incident just shows you how brilliant Michaels is in the ring.
11 Sheamus Accidentally Beats John Cena For the WWE Championship
There’s a bit of debate surrounding this incident, but the most popular version of the story suggests that this was an unscripted occurrence. Back in 2009, Sheamus was being pushed as a pretty serious threat. Despite the push, few thought that WWE would ever let Sheamus beat John Cena in their scheduled tables match for the WWE Championship. Yet, that’s exactly what happened when Sheamus put Cena through a table in a somewhat awkward looking spot. It seems the reason that spot was so awkward looking is that it wasn’t supposed to happen. John Cena and Sheamus were supposed to land through tables at the same time. The problem was that Sheamus’s table didn’t break. WWE had no choice but to let Sheamus have a brief run with the belt.
10 The Rock Interviews Cosplay Fans/Calls CM Punk
It’s still amazing to think that The Rock went from being one of the most hated wrestlers on the WWE roster - in a bad way - to arguably the biggest movie star on the planet. Obviously, The Rock’s incredible accomplishments outside of the ring have afforded him a bit of creative leeway when he does return to WWE. Sometimes, though, it seems that WWE wasn’t quite prepared for The Rock’s antics. For instance, there was the time that The Rock decided to interview two fans who were dressed as Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. WWE intentionally moved these fans off camera so they wouldn’t distract the viewing audience.
Recently, The Rock also decided to call CM Punk in the middle of the ring. Thankfully - for WWE anyway - Punk did not answer.
9 Emma Accidentally Becomes The Number One Contender
It’s actually pretty funny how often unscripted wins happen in the grand scheme of things. Sometimes, these accidents can really upset ongoing booking plans. Consider, for instance, the women’s Fatal Four Way match at NXT Takeover Brooklyn. During that match, Emma hit a brutal looking cross body on Becky Lynch. Emma then covered Lynch and got a very awkward three count for her efforts.
Everyone from Emma to the announcers seemed shocked by this series of events. We later learned that Lynch had seemingly been legitimately knocked out by the cross body and was unable to kick out of the pin as scripted. To their credit, the NXT booking team rolled with this and Emma ended up getting quite a push out of the deal.
8 Jericho Legitimately Pushes a Referee to Protect Neville
Above all else, a wrestler needs to protect their opponent in the ring. They may be trying to convince viewers that they’re engaged in an epic battle, but wrestlers are really just trying to put on a choreographed show that can become dangerous if a few things don’t go well. Back in 2016, Jericho showed fans the importance of protecting your opponent when he went off-script to help Neville.
See, Neville had hurt his ankle, but referee Charles Robinson clearly didn’t notice that an injury had occurred. Jericho, however, did notice. In order to end the match, Jericho pushed Robinson down and scolded him for not ending the bout sooner. While Jericho probably could have pulled this off smoother, he still did a good job of protecting both the show and Neville.
7 The Acolytes Beat Up The Public Enemy and Make It Look Like A Wrestling Match
Generally speaking, you should always try to get along with your fellow employees. After all, you’ve got to spend a lot of time together, and there’s very little sense in being openly hostile. Former wrestling tag team The Public Enemy learned this lesson the hard way when they entered WWE and immediately made enemies. Apparently, their attitude rubbed some wrestlers the wrong way. Two of those wrestlers, Faarooq and Bradshaw, decided to settle their differences with Public Enemy in a very public manner. During a tag match between the two teams, Bradshaw and Faarooq began to tear into the Public Enemy with stiff punches and brutal moves. Fans just thought the two teams were having a particularly stiff match. In reality, Public Enemy were legitimately getting beaten up.
6 Mickie James’ Suggestive Maneuver Gets Under Vince’s Skin
The Mickie James/Trish Stratus feud is one of the best women’s division feuds in WWE history. It was a slow burn storyline that lasted about a year and culminated in a WrestleMania battle between the two. The crux of the storyline was James’ supposed romantic interest in Stratus which may have been part of an elaborate series of mind games. Nevertheless, James still played up her supposed interest in Stratus during their WrestleMania encounter when she licked between her two fingers after grabbing Stratus’ crotch. James message was quite clear to everyone watching, but WWE execs could barely process what they were seeing as James did not receive approval to do that. James was chewed out backstage and the footage was cut from all re-airings of WrestleMania.
5 Mark Henry Tears Through A Cage's Padlock
Mark Henry is a strong dude. You probably already know that. After all, he was legitimately one of the strongest men in the world. What you may not know, though, is just how strong Henry really is. In fact, he’s so strong that he’s sometimes able to tear right through the WWE script and produce television magic. For instance, there was a SmackDown script that called for Henry to open a cage door and interrupt a match. The problem was that the cage door in question was bolted too strongly and wouldn’t open. Henry, being Henry, decided to just yank at the cage until he was able to rip it off ita hinges and interfere. Audiences just thought that was all according to plan.
4 Mick Foley Is Accidentally Thrown Through the Top of Hell in a Cell
This is one of the most famous moments in WWE history, but many fans still don’t know just how real it was. You know doubt know about the infamous Hell in a Cell match between The Undertaker and Mankind which was highlighted by the moment that Undertaker tossed Mankind off the top of the cell. Even though that bump defines the match, it wasn’t the most painful moment of the bout. That came shortly thereafter when Mankind fell through the cage and hit the ring after a chokeslam went wrong. Nobody is quite sure how the cage gave way, but everyone was quite sure that Mick Foley was legitimately paralyzed. Numerous people rushed to his aide. The only reason people didn’t realize how serious this was is because WWE pulled off a scripted stunt shortly beforehand.
3 Kevin Owens and A.J. Styles Accidentally Trade the United States Championship
While the feud between AJ Styles and Kevin Owens wasn’t as memorable as it could have been, there’s no denying that the most compelling moments of their rivalry was the ones that happened off the script. It started when AJ Styles was called in to beat Owens for the United States Championship at a house show after Owens was injured. From there, the plan was to keep the belt on AJ. However, that plan changed at Battleground 2017 when Kevin Owens accidentally beat Styles with a roll-up. It’s still not clear what really happened here. We assume that Styles was supposed to kick-out, but the fact that this finish happened so slowly seems to suggest that something else was supposed to happen that simply didn’t. This mistake was corrected later that week on SmackDown.
2 Hardcore Holly’s Biggest Career Win Is a Huge Mistake
WWE’s hardcore division may have been a general mess, but it was still dictated by a script that said who was going to be champion when. That script must have been torn to shreds following the aftermath of the WrestleMania 2000 hardcore battle royal. That match was supposed to end with Crash Holly walking away with the Hardcore Championship following numerous title changes during the battle royal. It instead ended with Hardcore Holly getting a big WrestleMania win. So far as anyone can tell, the mistake was made as a result of the fans chanting the wrong time along with the official countdown time. The wrestlers were listening to the fans and someone got their timing wrong. Truth be told, the wrestlers did a pretty good job of covering this mistake up.
1 Shane McMahon and Kurt Angle Have a Hardcore Match the Hard Way
If you’ve never seen the match between Shane McMahon and Kurt Angle at King of the Ring 2001, we highly recommend that you go back and watch it. It’s one of the best hardcore matches that WWE has ever done and is probably Shane McMahon’s greatest match ever. This bout was highlighted by a spot that saw Kurt Angle throw Shane McMahon through a glass plane. Actually...that’s not entirely accurate. The match is more famous for Angle trying to throw Shane through glass. It seems that either Angle tried to throw Shane through the wrong spot or someone rigged the glass wrong. Even though Shane was in incredible danger during this spot, he and Angle played it so beautifully that most fans figured the sequence went according to plan.