Breaking the fourth wall in professional wrestling refers to a couple of things. One is a wrestler who acknowledges during a promo, match or backstage segment that he knows the audience is watching and lets them behind the curtain somewhat. This reveals information that most wrestling companies want to remain hidden as it often takes fans out of the storylines themselves.
Other cases of breaking the fourth wall involve using the fact that wrestling is pre-determined entertainment and using it as part of the storyline -- and many times this is seen as dangerous because it destroys the suspension of disbelief necessary in most wrestling matches. Here are the good, the bad and the Russo-rific cases of breaking the fourth wall in WWE history.
10 CM PUNK - BEST
Easily, the most famous case of breaking the fourth wall in WWE, and the one that worked the best, was the CM Punk pipebomb promo. In this case, Punk came out after John Cena lost to R-Truth, thanks to Punk's interference and then went up and sat on the stage with a microphone in his hand.
Punk then called out Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, and Triple H for their work behind-the-scenes. He talked about wrestlers that they misused over the years. He talked about building a star like John Cena over a great wrestler like himself. He even mentioned not being on posters or ice cream bars. He even looked into the camera and said hi to Colt Cabana. This promo made Punk the biggest star in the company.
9 RONDA ROUSEY - WORST
Ronda Rousey seemed to be channeling CM Punk in her recent feud with Becky Lynch. However, the way that Rousey did it had the exact opposite effect of Punk's pipebomb. This all started with Becky Lynch completely owning Rousey on Twitter, roasting her and watching as Rousey responded in almost embarrassing ways.
Now, Rousey is taking a new direction. She has called wrestling "fake" on Twitter and made comments on Monday Night Raw about being able to snap Lynch and Charlotte Flair in half if she "really" wanted to. The problem is that calling wrestling fake not only disrespects the wrestlers but it makes it sound like none of the matches matter at all.
8 BRET SCREWED BRET - BEST
While most people agree that the Montreal Screw Job was real, it set up something that changed the wrestling industry. The match was Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart and it was supposed to end with Hart winning and then giving up the title later. However, McMahon called for the bell and screwed Hart out of the title.
Hart went nuts, attacked McMahon and left the WWE on very bad terms. McMahon then broke the fourth wall in an interview where he called out Hart's attitude and let fans know that "Bret screwed Bret." This was the start of the evil Mr. McMahon and it all started with the owner of WWE breaking that fourth wall.
7 BASH AT THE BEACH 2000 - WORST
Vince Russo believed that breaking the fourth wall and making fans wonder if something is real or fake was the best way to sell tickets. It helped WCW lose the Monday Night Wars and put them out of business in the end. The worst case of Russo breaking the fourth wall came at Bash at the Beach 2000.
Hulk Hogan was booked to wrestle Jeff Jarrett for the world title. However, when Jarrett went out, he laid down for Hogan and let Hulk pin him. Hogan looked confused and angry and left. Then, Vince Russo came out and said that Hogan was supposed to lose and refused so this would be the end of his career in WCW, and created a match to determine a new world champion.
6 THE CURTAIN CALL - BEST
The Curtain Call was interesting. It took place at a non-televised house show at Madison Square Garden but it was recorded by fans in the audience and did more at that time to break kayfabe and tear down the fourth wall than anything up to that point. It also cost Triple H his push for a short time and created bad feelings in WWE.
Diesel (Kevin Nash) battled Shawn Michaels in the main event. When their match ended, Razor Ramon (Scott Hall) and Triple H, who fought each other earlier on the show, came to the ring. All four men -- enemies in storylines -- hugged it out in the ring and raised each other's arms. Hall and Nash were on their way to WCW and this moment of breaking the fourth wall was a way for them to say goodbye.
5 SEVEN - WORST
In another WCW event booked by Vince Russo, the company signed Dustin Rhodes away from WWE. After years of working as Goldust, WCW wanted to keep him as a strange figure and started to run vignettes that were quite scary, showing a man with a white face staring in the windows of children's bedrooms. He was supposed to be scary, but it came across as creepy.
Finally, after weeks of promos, Seven finally showed up. He lasted for a matter of minutes when he said that he was "Seven" and then ripped into WCW for the terrible angle, mocking the gimmick and telling fans that he thought it was stupid and he wasn't going to do it, shattering the fourth wall.
4 JOEY STYLES - BEST
The CM Punk pipebomb was something that made him a star but it wasn't completely original. In 2006, the voice of ECW Joey Styles did the same thing on Monday Night Raw when he walked out and quit, but not before using a live mic to tear WWE down.
Styles said that he was "unscripted," "uncensored" and a "loose cannon" on ECW. He said that WWE called him because they humiliated and fired Jim Ross. He then talked about how much he hates sports entertainment and hated insulting wrestlers by ignoring their moves and telling stories, before quitting the company and walking out.
3 NEW BLOOD RISING 2000 - WORST
Another Vince Russo moment happened in 2000 at the PPV called New Blood Rising. This was supposed to be the WCW PPV that showed the young stars that were ready to take over and lead WCW into the next era. This followed Bash at the Beach, which included the Hulk Hogan and Jeff Jarrett angle that broke the fourth wall.
RELATED: Top 15 Worst Ideas of Vince Russo
Not learning from that moment, Vince Russo did it again. This time, Kevin Nash, Bill Goldberg, and Scott Steiner fought in a triple-threat match on the card. Goldberg didn't show up until the middle of the match and then refused to let Kevin Nash powerbomb him. He then walked out. The announcers then said that Goldberg was supposed to go up for the Jackknife but refused to do it, breaking the fourth wall.
2 JOHN CENA PUTS OVER DANIEL BRYAN - BEST
In 2013, Triple H had all former world champions come to the ring to discuss the upcoming Randy Orton vs. John Cena match. There was one problem -- they were in Seattle, Washington, which was Daniel Bryan territory and this was the middle of the "Yes Movement." While Triple H tried to talk, the fans kept chanting "Daniel Bryan."
RELATED: John Cena's Top 10 WWE Rivalries
The fans wouldn't stop and even The Miz had to smile about it. Nothing Triple H or Randy Orton could do stopped the crowd but John Cena is smart. He got the mic and then started talking to Bryan, putting him over as a huge star. That was the beginning and by the time all was said and done, Bryan had moved to the top and won the world title at WrestleMania the next year.
1 SUNNY DAYS - WORST
Shawn Michaels has turned into one of the good guys in professional wrestling. However, there was a time where he was not only self-destructive but also did anything he could to drag others down with him. One of his most damaging behind-the-scenes feuds came with the man he put on the best matches against -- Bret Hart.
The moment that really pushed things too far was when Michaels cut a promo about Bret Hart and talked smack to Hart about an upcoming match. He then made a comment about Hart not being able to go 10 minutes and then said that Hart had some "sunny days" but still couldn't get things done. This referred to the rumors that Hart cheated on his wife with Sunny, but saying this on national television where Hart's wife and kids could hear it was a jerk move.