One of the major aims in professional wrestling, for any promoter, is to ensure that the audience doesn’t know what’s going on 100% of the time. Sometimes we want things to be predictable and other times we want to work for it, but either way, this is an extended form of entertainment and there are certain regulations that come with that.
Unfortunately, sometimes there’s no way in which you can hide that something has gone terribly wrong – which is what we’re going to delve into here. We all know that this industry is a dangerous one and we see bad things transpire every single day, and often the WWE and other companies like to play on our emotions with that.
If we’re invested in something to the point where we’re fooled into believing something else, then they’ve got us. Obviously given the nature of this piece we’re going to experience a mixed bag of old emotions resurfacing, but that shows just how unique this business is.
Sometimes, of course, that isn’t a good thing either.
15 Owen Hart’s Passing – GONE WRONG
We’re starting off on an extremely sour note, but at the end of the day, you can’t create a list like this without a few severely unfavourable moments. As we all know by this point, Owen Hart was the extremely talented and extremely funny younger brother of multi-time WWF champion Bret Hart back in the '80s and '90s.
Unfortunately, whilst performing as The Blue Blazer, Hart died after a stunt went wrong at Over The Edge 1999. Many fans watching at home were left confused as to what had happened, considering we didn’t see any of it transpire on television, but we all knew the severity of the situation, given the reaction of Jim Ross who was providing updates.
Owen, we’ll truly never stop missing you.
14 Brian Pillman Home Invasion – FOOLED
For one reason or another, the career of Brian Pillman never really took off as many would’ve hoped. After initially being thrust into the limelight alongside Stone Cold Steve Austin, a combination of injuries and bad timing left Pillman on the outside looking in. That was, of course, until he was involved in one of the most controversial angles in the history of Monday Night Raw.
During a bizarre segment in which Austin came to Pillman’s house during an "interview," Brian pulled a gun on Stone Cold – leaving many fans to wonder whether or not they’d just witnessed a murder on live TV. Obviously, that didn’t happen, but the uncertainty surrounding the whole situation certainly had everyone fooled for a while.
At least, it did during the commercial break.
13 Enzo’s Injury – GONE WRONG
The introduction of Enzo Amore & Big Cass to the main roster was a welcome relief for the WWE Universe, as many of them had seen the duo rise up through the ranks down in NXT. In the present day, we now know that things didn’t work out quite as well as many would’ve hoped, but both men are still set to have relatively successful careers – as singles stars.
But the incident which we’re referring to in this entry took place in the first few months of their run when Enzo was thrown into the ropes by Simon Gotch during a pay-per-view tag team match. Amore was knocked out cold with his head snapping back to the canvas, leaving many to wonder whether or not we’d just seen the end of a man’s career.
12 Seth’s Knee – FOOLED
Seth Rollins’ initial knee injury back in late 2015 was certainly damaging for the company, but his journey back to the top of the card was something that really helped in transforming him into a top level babyface in the months prior to WrestleMania 33. But it all seemed to disappear before our very eyes in the lead-up to 'Mania.
During a segment on Raw, Samoa Joe appeared to take Seth down which led to The Architect falling awkwardly on his knee. From that point on, any kind of damage or "fake-out" that took place prior to his match against Triple H had a lot of people cringing in case he was unable to compete on the grandest stage of them all.
Thankfully, WWE knew what they were doing.
11 Angle Vs. Shane At King Of The Ring – GONE WRONG
Given that Kurt Angle and Shane McMahon are waging war once again in 2017, it should come as no surprise to hear that these two men have always thrown caution to the wind when it comes to their careers. From high spots to death-defying stunts, Angle and Shane live for the adrenaline rush that comes with doing bonkers things inside of the squared circle.
So then, their match at King of the Ring all those years ago was always destined to contain some anarchy, but maybe not in the way that it actually happened. Angle attempted to throw Shane through what he believed to be sugar glass, only for Shane-o-Mac to fall head first onto the concrete. If that isn’t scary, then we don’t know what is.
10 Lesnar Breaks The Streak – FOOLED
On the topic of shocking moments, we come to one that really did upset the status quo in more ways than one. The stage was WrestleMania XXX, and the match was The Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar. The streak, as always, was on the line, but very few people in attendance that night could’ve predicted what would actually end up happening.
Following an early blow that left Taker concussed, the rest of the match was extremely clunky, but even then, we all still expected The Deadman to kick out after he was hit with a third F5. He didn’t. The referee counted the three fall, the music didn’t play, and we were all led to believe that something had just gone drastically wrong.
Damn you, WWE.
9 Stone Cold’s Neck – GONE WRONG
We’ve already spoken about Owen Hart to an extent in this piece, and unfortunately, he played another role in a "gone wrong" entry on this list. It happened over two decades ago now during a match between himself and Stone Cold Steve Austin, with Owen planting The Texas Rattlesnake with a devastating looking piledriver.
As it turns out the move was devastating in more ways than one, as it temporarily paralysed Austin and wound up breaking his neck. It was very clear to see that there had been some kind of a mistake, as Austin slowly crawled over to Owen and initiated the weakest roll-up known to man.
In a weird way, this incident led directly into Stone Cold being the baddest S.O.B in the business.
8 Mankind’s Fall – FOOLED
When we think of jaw-dropping moments from years gone by in professional wrestling, there are a few that come to mind. None of them, however, can quite compare to the shock value of seeing The Undertaker throw Mick Foley aka Mankind off the top of the Hell in a Cell structure.
It was a moment that few could’ve seen coming, even though they were both lingering towards the edge of the Cell for a few seconds prior. It looked as if there was no way in which they could’ve orchestrated this, and yet, it turns out that they were so secretive not even Vince McMahon knew it was going to happen.
Obviously, the chokeslam through the Cell wasn’t actually planned, but the less said about that, the better.
7 Shooting Star Brock – GONE WRONG
Back in the day, Brock Lesnar was quite literally a freak of nature. Despite clearly being a heavyweight he was able to do things that few men his size could even dream of doing, and he did it with ease. This athletic prowess combined with his freakish look led him all the way to the WWE Championship, and eventually, all the way to the main event of WrestleMania XIX.
It was at this event that things went a little bit pear-shaped for Brock, though, as he attempted a shooting star press that was inches away from ending his career. The poorly timed finisher quite clearly went wrong as Lesnar appeared to be knocked out cold for a few moments, and he was moving considerably slower for the remainder of the match.
6 HBK’s Back – FOOLED
Back in 1998, Shawn Michaels was one of the best in-ring performers in all of pro wrestling. As The Heartbreak Kid, he could seemingly do no wrong in the ring, as he put on great performance after great performance all in the name of becoming the greatest of all time. Unfortunately, that kind of reckless mentality can often land you in some sticky situations – both in and outside of the squared circle.
The incident in question took place at the Royal Rumble during a casket match, when The Undertaker lifted Shawn over the rope to the outside. HBK’s back clipped the edge of the casket, which was a move that wound up costing Michaels four years of his career. At the time, nobody could’ve guessed that there had even been that much contact.
5 Jerry Lawler's Heart Attack – GONE WRONG
When fans talk about scary moments during a live broadcast you often hear them speak of two things: the night Owen Hart passed away, and the night that Jerry Lawler had a heart attack. Why? Because the tone and delivery from both Jim Ross and Michael Cole on those two occasions struck fear into the hearts of every single member of the WWE Universe.
Cole was quick to ensure that fans knew things were going south in a hurry, doing his job with the utmost professionalism and dignity given the circumstances. For everyone watching at home, it was terrifying to see, not knowing whether one of the most beloved announcers of all time was going to make it through the night.
Thankfully, The King is a fighter through and through.
4 Lesnar Destroys Orton – FOOLED
When it was announced that Brock Lesnar would square off against Randy Orton at SummerSlam 2016, the reaction of many was "finally." It was billed as being a dream match and that’s exactly what it felt like, with two of the biggest icons in the last few decades going head to head in what was always going to be the main event of the show.
What we couldn’t have anticipated, however, was Brock Lesnar caving Orton’s skull in with a number of vicious elbows. The Viper was cut open the hard way, with the referee ending the match as a result of his injuries. It felt unscripted, it felt uncomfortable, and it was one of the most bizarre endings to a pay per view in WWE history.
3 Sid’s Leg – GONE WRONG
Look, he may not have been the Hulk Hogan of his generation, but Sid aka Sid Vicious is one of the most underrated performers that we can remember. His size and strength played a major role in turning him into a main event player, and whilst there were some problems along the way, nobody can deny that he gave it his all nine times out of ten.
Which, alas, is probably one of the reasons why he thought it’d be a good idea to go through with attempting a big boot off the top rope. Of course, most people could’ve told him that it wouldn’t end all that well for him, but that kind of talk is irrelevant now when you see the end product.
To call it a nasty leg break would be a dramatic, dramatic understatement.
2 The Pipebomb – FOOLED
CM Punk will forever be known as the voice of the voiceless, and that’s a great moniker to possess considering the length of his tenure with World Wrestling Entertainment. From ROH to ECW to WWE champion, his journey has been one that will likely never be replicated – especially considering that he’s now honing his craft as a mixed martial artist in the UFC.
The most memorable moment from his run, without a doubt, came in the summer of 2011 when he dropped the infamous pipebomb promo that changed the landscape of our business forever. Some of the things that he said were truly unbelievable at times, and when his mic was cut, we all thought that we’d witnessed something resembling a ‘shoot’ promo.
Please come back, Phil.
1 Mr. McMahon Returns – GONE WRONG
When you’re an evil genius like Vince McMahon is, you often have some crazy ideas that come into your head. We’ve heard many of them that never saw the light of day, but one that actually wound up getting the green light was the angle from 2007 which saw the character of "Mr McMahon" succumb to his on-screen death during a limo explosion.
Then, just a week later, Vince himself was the man to open Monday Night Raw in order to let the world know that Chris Benoit, his wife and his son had been found dead in their Georgia home. It was the most sobering and devastating moment in recent times, and it’s something that we’ll probably never be able to fathom or understand.