It’s sometimes hard to justify being a pro wrestling fan. Yes, we know that it’s fake (“scripted”), we know that it’s basically a ballet act, and we know that the whole thing is just kind of silly. We know all of that, but we watch anyway because wrestling’s best moments sometimes make up for the stuff that we’d rather forget about. Whenever you find yourself feeling a little ashamed of the stuff you’d like to forget about, remember that you are not alone. Not only are there millions of wrestling fans that feel the same way, but the world’s largest wrestling company – WWE- has gone out of their way to ensure there are certain moments that are lost to time.
Yes, while there is no shortage of offensive moments in WWE history, there is a select bunch of occurrences that WWE seem to be particularly ashamed of. They don’t talk about them on the WWE Network, and they certainly don’t feature them on the WWE YouTube page. In fact, WWE often tries to actively remove any footage of these moments wherever they may be. These moments aren’t just uncomfortable, they are the 20 offensive moments the WWE tries to bury.
20. Brian Pillman’s Wife is Interviewed Live the Night After Her Husband’s Death
Brian Pillman’s death may not be as infamous as Owen Hart’s, but it was no less devastating. WWE had to inform those watching the In Your House: Badd Blood PPV that Brian Pillman’s match would not occur because the legendary wrestler had passed away. It was an incident that left some fans wondering if WWE should have just cancelled the rest of the show. Well, WWE not only ran the rest of the PPV, but even did a live interview with Brian Pillman’s wife the very next night on Raw. What followed was an indescribably awkward piece of live television. Melanie Pillman was clearly still very distraught and was often unable to properly speak. Despite this, she was repeatedly pushed to answer personal questions in front of a live audience. This is believed to be one of those segments that Vince deeply regrets approving.
19. Jerry Lawler Calls Goldust A “Flaming ***”
Oh boy, this segment. So, as some of you may remember, Goldust’s controversial debut in WWE saw him participate in some strange promos and matches which called his sexual orientation into question. Goldust would make romantic advances to towards male wrestlers and use their discomfort to his advantage. At some point, it was suggested that he did all of this in order to get into the heads of his opponents. However, long after that reveal was made, Jerry Lawler cut a promo on Goldust which has since been buried and censored by WWE in every way possible.
In this promo, Lawler called Goldust a “Flaming F**” and made several awful accusations regarding Goldust’s on-screen girlfriend. The fact that he invoked the name of the now deceased Dusty Rhodes when explaining why Goldust’s father was so disappointed in him only makes this segment even harder to watch.
18. Triple H’s Racist Feud With Booker T
Triple H is going to appear a couple of times on this list which may inspire you to call into question what kind of person Triple H really is. While we can’t accurately comment on his beliefs, we will say that Triple H is a fan of old-school southern wrestling and in old-school southern wrestling, racism was often an effective way to establish heels and faces. So, when Triple H began his 2003 feud against Booker T, he probably thought that a little influx of racism would help get Booker over as a face. Instead, the racism aspects of this storyline completely overshadowed either man. In promos, Triple H stated that people like Booker T may be great athletes, but they’ll never be stars. Lines like that, along with a few “you people” references, really make this a hard-to-watch feud.
17. Piggie James/Molly Holly is Fat
These two storylines really deserve to be grouped together because they are awful for the same reason. Let’s start with the “Molly Holly is fat” storyline which ran in 2002 when Trish Stratus called Molly Holly fat despite the fact that Molly Holly wasn’t close to being overweight. Despite this, the jokes about Holly’s weight lasted weeks as even JR and Jerry Lawler got in on the act. Holly later admitted that these jokes deeply disturbed her. Mickie James suffered through a similar storyline when Michelle McCool and Layla began calling her “Piggie James.” This storyline was reportedly approved as a sort of punishment for Mickie James over some backstage heat she had garnered. This was also the last real storyline Mickie James participated in before she left WWE.
16. Paige Insults Charlotte Flair’s Deceased Brother
While most of WWE’s most offensive moments are thankfully in the past, this one only happened a couple of years ago. A few years before Charlotte Flair and Paige began feuding over the WWE Divas Championship, Charlotte’s brother Reid tragically committed suicide. WWE made no mention of this incident on-air at the time, which makes sense given the context of the situation. For some reason, though, WWE thought it would be ok to bring up this incident in the context of the Paige/Charlotte feud when Paige mentioned during a promo that Charlotte’s brother didn’t have much fight in him. Now, it was later suggested that the Flair family had given their blessing for the line to be used, but given that it did nothing to actually advance the feud, we have to question why it was ever even brought up in the first place.
15. Vince McMahon vs. God
So, this is one of those storylines that some people have mixed feelings about. Regardless, it’s clear that WWE has gone out of their way to ignore the fact it ever happened in the first place. This storyline started back in 2006 when Shawn Michaels began to feud with Vince and Shane McMahon. Early on, Vince made an off-hand remark about Shawn’s born again status. It was a quick quip that didn’t draw much attention. However, Vince decided to turn Shawn’s beliefs into the key component of the storyline. In the weeks that followed the start of the feud, Vince desecrated a church (or at least a church set), invited God to strike him down, and organized a match that between Shane/Vince and Shawn/God.
14. The Lita Miscarriage Storyline
It’s hard to know where to begin with this one. This storyline was a disaster from the very start. Well, actually, the start of this storyline was an announcement that Lita was “pregnant” followed by a segment in which it appeared that Hardy was going to propose to Lita. After that, Kane came out and seemingly suggested that he had molested Lita and was the real father of her child. Some time after, Kane forced Lita to marry him following the aftermath of a match against Matt Hardy. During the ceremony, Snitsky intervened and forced Lita to have a miscarriage. In the feud that followed, Snitsky punted a baby doll into the crowd. Wow. Somehow, WWE made a storyline about sexual assault even worse as the weeks went on.
13. The 2004 Diva Search “Diss the Diva” Contest
Historically speaking, WWE’s treatment of women wrestlers hasn’t always been the best. Whether you want to blame Vince McMahon, Kevin Dunn, or the rotating staff of WWE writers, women wrestlers in WWE have typically been portrayed as bitter, jealous, and loose. Years of that kind of writing eventually led to a memorable segment during the 2004 Diva search competition in which the ladies were allowed to cut a live promo. The content of most of these promos is just shocking. It’s not just that most of the participants ended up insulting each other – that’s pretty par for the course – it’s that most of them proceeded to use language that was even questionable during the attitude era to call each other out for sleeping their way to this point and for being fat. You can bet the “Women’s Revolution” WWE won’t be showing this anytime soon.
12. The Val Venis “Choppy Choppy” Story
WWE would certainly like everyone to forget about this storyline, but there’s no way anyone who witnessed it will ever be able to get it out of their minds. This whole storyline began when Val Venis began feuding with a stable led by a foreign heel named Yamaguchi-San. Somewhere along the way, Val Venis slept with Yamaguchi San’s wife. This is all pretty par for the course so far as feuds go, but things took a bit of a dark turn when Yamaguchi-San threatened to “Choppy-choppy” Val Venis’ “Pee-pee.”
Let’s ignore the blatant racism for a moment and jump right to the fact that WWE actually followed through on this angle by ending an episode of Raw by suggesting that Yamaguchi-San had followed through on the act. The next week, it was revealed that Venis was saved by “shrinkage” and the interference of a real-life “choppy choppy” victim. Unreal.
11. Tyson Tomko Spends An Entire Match Mock-Beating A Cross Dresser
You may be familiar with some of the moments on this list, but we’re willing to bet that you don’t remember this one at all. Well, that’s because WWE went well out of their way to bury the fact that this match ever happened. In 2004, perennial jobbers Tyson Tomko and Stevie Richards were involved in a feud. It wasn’t a feud over championships, money, or anything like that. They mostly fought over the fact that Stevie Richards was dressing up in drag. What followed was one of the most painful to watch matches in WWE history. Basically, the entire match consisted of Tyson Tomko beating and stripping Steven Richards while repeatedly calling him words that…well, it’s best that we don’t repeat them here. This was called the worst match of 2004 by many.
10. Kurt Angle Repeatedly Tries to Molest Booker T’s Wife
We’re going to kick off our mini-Kurt Angle block here with a look at two of Angle’s most unbelievably offensive storylines. Some of you may not remember that Kurt Angle actually participated in a few over-the-top offensive storylines in his prime. The man would do anything to get people to hate him. When he feuded with Booker T, that included threatening to molest Booker’s wife, Sharmell. Over the course of several weeks, Angle made several unwanted advances on Sharmell. When we say advances,we mean that Angle would strip down to his underwear and chase her around, pin her down on couches, and threaten to…well, the word “bestiality” was actually used to describe the act. It’s amazing to think that a man who won gold medals agreed to do this.
9. Kurt Angle Reveals He Doesn’t Like Black People or Jesus
This is another moment which isn’t quite as bad as it sounds once you understand the full situation but certainly does sound pretty bad out of context. Leading up to the 2006 Elimination Chamber match, Kurt Angle cut a promo that caught quite a few people off-guard. In it, he revealed that he hopes America loses the war in Iraq, that he doesn’t really like black people, and that he’s not really a big fan of Jesus. Kurt Angle’s point was that he could say whatever he wants and people will still cheer for him because they’re puppets. It was actually kind of a brilliant promo, but there is a viciousness to it that seemed intentionally implemented as to upset fans and garner some mainstream attention for WWE.
8. Hawk’s On-Air Suicide Attempt
Believe it or not, WWE has actually ran a few angles related to suicide over the years and none of them have been tasteful. While that time that Tim White repeatedly tried to kill himself over the course of several weeks is certainly worth a mention, WWE has always seemed to be particularly ashamed of that time when Road Warrior Hawk seemingly committed suicide on television. This whole story was based on Hawk’s real-life substance abuse issues. WWE decided to capitalize on Hawk’s problems by running an angle which featured Hawk showing up to the ring while drunk/high. Eventually, he tried to end it all by throwing himself off the Titantron. WWE shot the jump in a way that suggested it was very real.
7. Vince McMahon Casually Drops the N-Word During a Promo
Here’s a moment that has achieved infamy due partially to the fact that the internet wrestling community got a hold of it and refused to let WWE remove it from the internet no matter how hard they tried. This debacle of a segment began when Eric Bischoff was cutting a promo about John Cena backstage. Naturally, Cena shows up and cuts a promo on Bischoff in response to Bischoff’s unkind words. Then, almost literally out of nowhere, Vince McMahon shows up and starts acting like…you know, we’re not even sure if there’s a good way to describe it. Basically, Vince acts like the most stereotypical African American street thug you can imagine. Why? It’s not clear. It’s also not clear why Vince called John Cena his “N****” except for the fact that he thought Booker T’s reaction to the line was funny.
6. Vince McMahon Threatens to Have a Gang of Bikers Molest Undertaker’s Wife
Before we let Vince McMahon off the hook – at least directly – let’s talk about that time he cut a promo on The Undertaker that has only been forgotten about because WWE do so many crazy things on a regular basis that you can’t possibly be expected to keep up with everything that happens. Anyway, let’s take you back to the time that Paul Heyman was running SmackDown and Vince McMahon was feuding with The Undertaker. During an episode of SmackDown, Vince found out that Paul Heyman had sent Undertaker away for the evening, and proceeded to go on a rant that defies explanation. During this rant, Vince threatened to have Undertaker’s house burned down, have his children killed, and ensure that Undertaker’s wife was molested in front of him by a gang of bikers. We honestly can’t remember what Undertaker did, but we doubt it was quite that bad.
5. The Nearly Unwatchable Nation of Domination Racism Segment
There have been a lot of WWE segments over the years that have been described as train wrecks, but we’ve never seen one go off the rails as quickly as this one. On an otherwise fairly normal 1997 episode of Raw, The Nation of Domination took to the ring to accuse Vince McMahon and the WWE of being racist. Now, you might think that the worst thing that’s going to happen in this segment is the fans booing the Nation for speaking out against racism. It isn’t.
You might think that the worst thing that’s going to happen in this segment is the Hart Foundation coming out and calling the Nation “brother” while calling them lazy whiners. It isn’t.
No, the worst part is when Shawn Michaels comes on-screen and calls Bret Hart the “Grand Wizard” of WWE several times in order to instigate a race war. You have to see this segment to believe it.
4. DX, Goldust, and Roddy Piper All Wear Blackface
WWE’s fabled Attitude Era is one of those things that fans are never quite sure if they should remember fondly. For as many memorable moments as that era provided, it also featured some downright disturbing segments that were considered classic moments at the time, but haven’t stood the test of time. For instance, remember that time that DX came to the ring and parodied the Nation of Domination? That was funny, right? Well, remember how that entire segment featured nearly every DX member wearing blackface? Yeah, you can bet that idea got a chuckle out of Vince McMahon. Oddly enough, that’s far from the only time that WWE used blackface in a storyline. Goldust memorably wore it during a particularly bad match and Roddy Piper painted himself half-black because…we’re still not sure what that was about.
3. Terrorists Assault The Undertaker
Maybe there will come a day when someone is able to justify whatever it was that WWE was thinking when they approved this idea. Maybe that day will come, but it’s certainly not today. Let’s ignore the fact that WWE ran a terrorist angle just days before the London bombings. To be fair, they had no way of knowing that was going to happen. Instead, we need to talk about why on Earth it is that WWE felt that it was a good idea to air a segment in which The Undertaker is attacked and mock crucified by a group of terrorist working for a Middle Eastern wrestler. Our best guess is that this is a classic case of Vince McMahon overestimating the patriotism of WWE’s audience by thinking that it’s okay to run a storyline about WWE vs. foreigners whenever the country is at war.
2. Heidenreich Stalks and Abuses Michael Cole
At a certain point, it’s hard to justify why a particularly awful WWE segment is worse than another particularly awful WWE segment. Most of the time, however, the worst segments are those that are both incredibly offensive and devoid of entertainment. That’s why the Heidenreich/Michael Cole story was so particularly awful. There’s really no way around it; this story was entirely based on Heidenreich’s desire to sexually assault Michael Cole. Now, it’s important to note that as bad as that sounds, you have to actually see this story play out to appreciate how awful it truly was. WWE made no effort to hide Heidenreich’s intentions by describing them as something else. No, this entire indescribably bad sequence of events was portrayed like it was a perfectly normal wrestling storyline. Given some of the things we’ve seen thus far, by WWE standards, it kind of was.
1. DX Molests A College Girl to Prove They Can Do The Same Thing To Stephanie McMahon
Many of the segments on this list are infamous. Some were even celebrated by WWE at one point or another. This one is different. This was an idea so bad that WWE backed away from it as soon as possible in the hopes that everyone else would forget about it as well. Years later, though, those that remember are haunted by thoughts of that time that DX molested a college girl to prove that they could do whatever they wanted to Stephanie McMahon whenever they felt like it. Yes, near the end of an episode of Raw, DX was shown in the locker room with a woman that fans were led to believe might be Stephanie McMahon. DX descended upon her, and the camera cut to black. On SmackDown, it was revealed that the girl was just some college student and that they did what they did to prove a point.
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