Professional wrestlers don't always make the best decisions. Sometimes they're looking to make an extra buck here and there and sacrifice their dignity in the process by shooting ridiculous commercials, taking a role in a movie where they have to babysit children, or sometimes they pass up on blockbuster movie deals that would have made them an additional fortune on top of their already inflated back accounts. Either way, wrestlers don't always know what's best for them and their respective careers, and fortunately for us, hindsight is always 20/20.
We're going to be taking a look at some of those times when we can look back and say, "Yeah, maybe that wasn't such a good idea." Nobody's perfect and nobody makes the right call every single time, but that doesn't mean that we can't critique their judgment.
We also understand that many of these instances may have been beyond their own control, with Vince McMahon being heavily responsible for a lot of ridiculous moments in wrestling history. After all, who else would come up with the idea to have someone fall in love with a mop? Regardless, the damage has already been done, so here's our list of 20 times where wrestlers made some particularly dumb career decisions!
20 The Shockmaster Cometh
Fred Ottman went by many names in his professional wrestling career: Tugboat, Typhoon, and perhaps the most infamously awful and potential career-suicide role as "The Shockmaster." It's a moment in wrestling history that will absolutely never get old, but for Ottman the embarrassment is something that follows him around ever since the debacle took place.
19 Steven Regal vs. Bill Goldberg
Back in the heyday of the Monday Night Wars, Goldberg was the undisputed dominant force that tore through the entire WCW roster like he was shot out of a cannon. He was a rare home-grown talent that wasn't an already established WWE Superstar, so it was no surprise that WCW made the conscious effort to put a lot of stock into his success as a wrestler. This is where Steven Regal comes into play...
18 The Disco Inferno
We've discussed Disco Inferno on this site several times, but that doesn't take away from the fact that disco is officially dead and gone. Glenn Gilbertti's entire gimmick throughout his tenure in WCW was that of a disco dancing fool that would annoy the crowd with his antics before, during, and after matches, legitimately looking to get negative heat from the crowd based solely on an era of music that everyone hated. To a point it actually worked, but that's the problem with the entire gimmick: it never led to anyone ever taking him seriously as a talented wrestler.
17 Mike Awesome's Entire Run in WCW
Any wrestling fan of the mid-to-late '90s had to appreciate the hard fought battles between Masato Tanaka and Mike Awesome throughout their stints at FMW in Japan and ECW in the United States. Their matches were legendary and that's what makes Mike Awesome's decision to leave ECW and venture off into WCW so maddening. It's understandable that anyone in his position would have done the exact same thing: leave for much greener pastures (as in way, way more money), but how WCW chose to utilize Mike Awesome was downright appalling.
16 Bret Hart Leaves WWE
Even Bret Hart will tell you that the most miserable time of his entire career was during his stint with WCW. By now it should be common knowledge that Bret, along with many others at the time (see: Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash...), left WWE for Ted Turner's endless mountain of money in WCW, but the only problem was this: the entire company was so severely disorganized that they had no idea how to use a talent like The Hitman.
15 Raven a.k.a. "Johnny Polo"
Scott Levy is widely considered to be one of the best "talkers" in wrestling history, often cutting promos that really engaged the crowd and never seemed to be unnatural. His mic skills eventually got him a job as a commentator for WWE in the early '90s while also being a manager named "Johnny Polo," but it's what he did behind the scenes in the WWE that really got him into a bit of trouble with Vince McMahon.
14 Mr. Nanny
Blockbuster movie roles are nothing new to the stars from the world of professional wrestling, but there's one role that I think a particular wrestling icon may want back: Mr. Nanny. Yes, the immortal Hulk Hogan -- in all of his muscle-bound glory -- took a movie role where he was responsible for two small children, along with all the typical house chores and workout sessions. But wait, there's a catch: the family was also being chased down by a villain who was set out to obtain a highly sought-after microchip that was being hidden in the little girl's doll. Sounds absurd, right? Well, that's what movie-goers in 1993 thought as well, and the film only grossed $4.3 million before it was mercy-killed and pulled from theaters.
13 Shane, Or Should We Say "Dean," Douglas
In the early '90s, everyone dreamed of wrestling for the WWE. In fact, I think everyone would have done just about anything to be given the opportunity, nothing short of being a clown, a farmer, a dentist, a mountie, an undertaker… just about any occupation as long as it got you onto TV every week. Shane Douglas -- the one time "Franchise" of ECW -- falls into that long list of gimmicks that the WWE employed just before The Attitude Era, which might have been his worst possible idea at that point of his career.
12 Jake The Snake Quits WWE
Everyone knows the name Jake "the Snake" Roberts. Everyone knows how capable he was on the mic and how his second-to-none ring psychology made him one of the biggest Superstars of the late '80s and early '90s. He was at the peak of his career and that's when he decided to quit.
11 Hogan Pulls His "Creative Control"
What could possibly go wrong when you have Hulk Hogan, Vince Russo, and Jeff Jarrett all trying to negotiate a finish to a match? Well, Hogan is likely to pull his "creative control" card, as he was often prone to using throughout his career. If Hogan didn't want to job to someone, he simply wasn't going to do a job and there was nothing anyone could do about it. When push came to shove and WCW had their Bash at the Beach PPV, Hogan pulled that all too familiar card and refused to job to Jeff Jarrett (probably for good reason). What happened afterward is how he makes this list...
10 Joey Mercury Fired for Substance Abuse
WWE has had its fair share of substance abusers in the past (see: Roberts, Jake), and as a result they've taken a hard stance on trying to clean up their industry by suspending wrestlers for violating their new-found "Wellness Policy." Joey Mercury was one of those wrestlers that unfortunately had substance abuse issues get the best of him and he stated in CM Punk's Beyond the Ring documentary Best in the World that due to his drug and alcohol addiction, WWE had no choice but to fire him.
9 Jeff Hardy Hits Rock Bottom
The sky was the limit for Jeff Hardy's potential in the WWE throughout the 2000s, but he would derail his own career by letting his personal demons get the better of him.
It's an all too familiar tale of yet another wrestler struggling to stay sober, but Hardy's affliction became such a problem that it spilled over into his work in the rin, and that's a gigantic faux pas. The lowest point of his career came when he was set to wrestle the living legend Sting at a TNA Pay Per View event named "Victory Road."
8 Saturn Gets a Mop
Nobody will ever really know the exact reason why Perry Saturn decided to lose his mind during a televised match and shoot on Mike Bell, but it was a stupid thing to do nonetheless. Okay, yeah, everyone can see that Bell's arm drag was awful and caused Saturn to land directly on his head, but minor accidents like that happen all the time. Was it really necessary to take matters into his own hands and throw Bell out of the ring, so that he'd land directly on the top of his head?
7 Mankind Sells Chef Boyardee
Mick Foley will forever be regarded as a dedicated professional wrestler who consistently put his body on the line night after night just for the fans enjoyment. He's a hardcore icon and a true legend of the industry, and apparently he just can't get enough of Chef Boyardee's Overstuffed Ravioli.
6 Stone Cold Passes on The Marine
Stone Cold Steve Austin was the first in line to get pitched the role of John Triton for the movie The Marine, but he thought it over for a while and ended up turning down the role in favor of other opportunities that were potentially more lucrative. Randy Orton was then set to be the star of the film, but his bad conduct discharge from the United States Marine Corps prevented him from accepting the role, making John Cena the lead actor in the three film series.
5 Chainsaw Charlie
Terry Funk wasn't a household name for WWE fanboys who grew up during the late '80s and early '90s Hulkamania era, but for many wrestling fans outside of mainstream professional wrestling he's considered an icon and a living legend of the business. That's what makes his WWE Attitude Era character of Chainsaw Charlie so baffling.
4 Daniel Bryan Chokes Justin Roberts
Daniel Bryan was making a name for himself in the WWE after performing well in every independent promotion he wrestled for, most notably Ring of Honor. So when he was asked by management to do a segment with the entire Nexus crew to "go out and raise hell," that's exactly what they did. They tore up the ring, they broke the announcers' table, and Daniel Bryan made an unfortunate decision to choke Justin Roberts with his own tie.
3 Stone Cold No Shows Raw
If there's one thing that Stone Cold Steve Austin was known for during his run in WWE, it was that he always wanted to make sure that quality matches showcased each and every one of their events. This kind of idealistic (and inarguably correct) mentality is what eventually caused him to make a pretty severe and controversial decision to no-show a taping of Monday Night Raw in 2002, where he was scheduled to put over Brock Lesnar in a King of the Ring qualifying match.
2 Madusa Trashes The WWE Women's Title
Not exactly happy with her lack of competition -- on top of the fact that WWE was struggling financially at the time -- Alundra Blayze (a.k.a. Madusa) was released from WWE and immediately made the all too familiar jump to WCW in late 1995. It was here where her wrestling life would change dramatically, all from one little promo.
Eric Bischoff called Madusa and asked her if she still had the WWE Women's Championship belt in her possession and told her to bring it to Nitro so she could throw it in the trash on live television. Thinking it was harmless, Madusa carried out Eric's plan, not knowing it would send shockwaves throughout the wrestling world and essentially put her on a WWE blacklist for a full two decades. Thanks to this lone act two very important things happened as a result: the Monday Night Wars were officially underway between WWE and WCW, and Vince McMahon made sure to never let his champions leave the company with his belt ever again, which inevitably led to the infamous Montreal Screwjob.
1 Warrior Threatens McMahon
The Ultimate Warrior was an unstoppable force in the WWE and was at the top of the wrestling world after he beat Hulk Hogan for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania VI. What he chose to do next not only jeopardized his entire wrestling career, it severed the relationship that he would have with Vince McMahon and the WWE for well over two decades.
In the lead-up to SummerSlam in 1991, Warrior sent a detailed letter threatening Vince about no-showing the event unless he was given $550,000 in order to purchase a home, a guarantee that no one else would make more money for the show, a higher percentage of merchandise sales commissions... just to name a few of his demands. Vince agreed to the terms but would suspend Warrior directly after the show, stating that he was held at ransom and had no other choice but to agree in order for Warrior to appear at SummerSlam. Warrior wrestled sporadically for WWE and WCW afterward but the damage was already done: it would take until WrestleMania XXX before he would finally get the nod to enter the WWE Hall of Fame and make amends for past grievances. Sadly, Warrior died three days after his induction, but his spirit will run forever.
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