The talk of the town on the internet for the past week has been Daniel Bryan and The Miz's fiery exchange from Talking Smack last week. The back and forth between Bryan and Miz blurred the lines between what was real and what was planned and scripted. Miz's criticism of Daniel Bryan being injury-prone after being called a coward for his style of wrestling was a savage, unexpected onslaught and contained very real and personal information that looked to legitimately take Bryan aback. Rather than respond to Miz's verbal barbs, the flustered Bryan merely walked off set, making for a rather uncomfortable scene.
In WWE’s heavily scripted environment, it was definitely an escape from the new norm, which is why it’s created so much buzz. Fans took to social media wondering if the exchange was a shoot since there was a lot of insider information that was spouted between the two men. Whatever the case may be, Miz’s ad-libbed comments were a low blow to Bryan and to fans of Bryan who are sympathetic to his injuries and his premature retirement.
In this list we look back at other instances in WWE history when wrestlers delivered verbal jabs to their opponents that may or may not have been approved by producers or the involved wrestlers before being played out on live television. Some of these comments are so vile that they visibly rattled the recipient and may have resulted in hurt feelings backstage and arguments with management.
16 Brock Lesnar To Hulk Hogan: “Party's Over Grandpa"
Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan was nicknamed “Immortal” because of his 24 inch pythons and his almost superhuman ability to overcome all the giants and monsters thrown his way during his run on top. Even though he’s retired and has needed several hip and back surgeries from years of wear and tear, compared to most former stars his age, Hulk still looks pretty great. Hulk firmly believes he has one last major WrestleMania match in his arsenal if given the opportunity, so reminding him and the world of his age didn’t sit too well with the Hulkster on a 2014 Episode of RAW.
Hogan was celebrating his birthday on an August 11th 2014 episode of RAW and was enjoying the festivities with his old buddies from the NWO, Ric Flair, Roddy Piper and others when Lesnar crashed the party along with Paul Heyman. Brock would take the mic and firmly declare in Hogan’s face, “Party’s over, Grandpa”. Reportedly this line was unscripted and Hogan was none too pleased afterwards and it showed. Well he is old, though, so for Hogan to be so butt-hurt over it may just be an ego thing.
15 Stone Cold Jabs Tazz’s Height And Weight
Stone Cold Steve Austin is a master of ad-libbing on the microphone and a big advocate these days of wrestlers being less scripted and going out there and speaking from the heart without lines. There is one instance on an episode of Smackdown that Austin put his trash talking talents on display, at the expense of Tazz.
Tazz was ECW’s franchise player for some time in the 90’s and was a mean submission and suplex machine. However his move to the big leagues in WWE was underwhelming and he settled into a job as a color commentator on Smackdown. On an episode of Smackdown in 2001, Austin was doing a promo ripping into Booker T and challenging him to come out and confront him, when instead Tazz got up from his commentary booth to get face to face with Austin.
This proved to be unwise as Tazz was now in Austin’s crosshairs. Austin would unleash a savage insult which had to have struck a nerve with Tazz, “Unless Booker T got real short, and real fat, real fast, you ain't no Booker T!”
14 Daniel Bryan To John Cena: “You Are A Parody Of Wrestling”
In 2013, WWE Champion John Cena was set to face fan favorite Daniel Bryan in the main event at Summerslam. This would be a clash of two different styles, philosophies and fanbases. While Cena was the golden child of WWE and its kid-friendly brand of sports entertainment, Daniel Bryan was a seasoned technical wrestler with years of international expertise under his belt.
To hype up the Summerslam match, the two would get into various verbal battles and one particularly memorable one was their exchange on the set of Miz TV on RAW.
Bryan would come out donning a t-shirt similar to the one Cena was wearing at the time, a white shirt with 'The Champ Is Here' emblazoned on the front and a drawing of the WWE Championship around the waist area. Bryan’s shirt said “The Beard Is Here” and he went on to explain his reasoning behind the shirt, telling Cena what many hardcore fans had long believed:
“This shirt is a parody of you, because I think you are a parody of wrestling”. Scripted or not, this was a harsh criticism of Cena and the champ responded by nodding and smirking contemptuously.
13 John Cena Alludes To Rock’s Crib Notes
The Rock has always been a verbal sparring champion on the microphone that very few could go toe-to-toe with. When The Rock returned to have a “once in a lifetime” showdown with John Cena, the trash talking was on as both men would try to one up the other on the mic before their in-ring contest.
On one of those occasions the Rock may have been a little rusty when it came to addressing crowds live and during a promo it was captured on television that the Rock had notes written across his list so he wouldn’t forget much of his talking points. John Cena would take this observation and use it as ammunition to embarrass the Rock on an episode of RAW.
“I’ll tell you something, Jack. I don’t need words like “respect” and “loyalty” to trend worldwide. Just like I don’t need notes for my promo on my wrist”
This unscripted line visually took the Rock aback as it was uttered and was seen by insiders as Cena trying to humiliate the Rock and make him look bad.
12 Edge Humiliates Billy Gunn
Billy Gunn had the tools to be a successful Superstar. After breaking out in Degeneration X, management thought he’d be best as a top singles star and began investing in him. However he just did not have the mic skills to make him worth the gamble so WWE dialed back on Gunn.
This was hilariously encapsulated in a promo battle between Billy Gunn--a former King Of The Ring winner in 1999--and Edge, who in 2001 had just won the KOTR Tournament. The tourney was usually a stepping stone for up and coming stars (See: Stone Cold Steve Austin, HHH) but when Billy Gunn won it, he failed to capitalize and build momentum for himself to be a mega star.
During Edge’s coronation ceremony, Billy Gunn would interrupt and cut an underwhelming promo insulting Edge’s win and that’s when Edge would ruthlessly go in on Billy:
“Wow Billy! You sound like a human vacuum cleaner, managing to both suck and blow at the same time”
Edge would then go on promising not to “Billy Gunn” his run, adding insult to injury.
11 CM Punk Teases HBK Over His Past Vices
The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels is a beloved Hall of Famer, a father, a loving husband and a humble born-again Christian. HBK today is a far cry from his checkered past as a hothead, hard partying member of the Kliq.
CM Punk gave a snarky reminder to HBK’s younger days when on an episode of RAW, HBK mentioned that they have some similarities even though the two are very different:
Shawn: "You know Punk, you and I are a lot alike. We don't smoke, we don't drink, we don't do drugs - "
CM Punk’s jab tripped Shawn up for a second and he could only say “Fair enough” before continuing.
10 CM Punk Mocks Triple H’s Movie Career
When WWE decided to get in the movie business, they hoped to make their WWE Superstars into blockbuster movie stars like how The Rock became when he left for Hollywood. However, none of the WWE’s feature films have done big business and are usually just home video ventures.
During the infamous Summer of Punk in 2011, CM Punk was WWE champion and calling a lot of shots with WWE management and made a quip about wanting to make movies that were not like Triple H’s performance in the low budget kids flick, The Chaperone.
Triple H took a bit of offense to this and would try to make a comeback, “How’d your movie do by the way”, alluding to the fact that Punk hadn’t starred in any movies.
Punk’s response would cut deep. “Mine went straight to DVD just like yours.” Triple H smiled sheepishly but you can tell that he hated the fact that Punk one upped him.
9 The Miz Gets A “Yo Mama” Joke Over CM Punk
CM Punk is an expert of shooting from the hip, but on this occasion he opened himself up to a verbal low blow by the Miz of all people, albeit it was in immature schoolyard fashion.
CM Punk hasn’t ever taken too kindly to the Miz being in the WWE and never gave Miz the proper respect to the reality TV star turned wrestler. Call it sour grapes but Punk wouldn’t waste any opportunity to throw Miz under the bus.
On an episode of RAW, CM Punk was on Miz TV when he took some time out to insult the Miz, stating that he didn’t pay attention in wrestling school and then stated the Miz sucks.
Miz responded to the barb that he doesn’t suck, but “your mom does” followed by a long drawn out “OH!” celebrating his own clever retort. As childish as it was, it was a quick witty comeback to one of the masters of the mic who was looking to trip up the Miz and make him look like a fool on live TV.
8 Ric Flair Shuts Down Xpac
In WCW, when Xpac was known as Syxx he was pretty vocal about his displeasure with the direction of the company, particularly his spot compared to those in the company he felt needed to move on, like the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. However when he tried to get into a war of words with Flair on Monday Nitro, Flair put Syxx in his place with a savage one liner.
In a 1997 promo Flair called the nWo out for a fight and would say, "Hall and Nash, I don't know about you two, but Syxx, I know I can whip your ass! I've been World Champion more times than you've had pieces of ass!"
This exchange resulted in major heat between the two men that even spilled into a fight behind the scenes.
7 Edge Roasts X-Pac For Being Old News
X-Pac is the recipient of another vicious barb, this time by Edge.
Degeneration X was red hot in the Attitude Era years between 1997 and 1999 but in 2001 they were yesterday’s news. The New Age Outlaws had broken up, Triple H had gotten more serious as a top contender, leaving X-pac in the midcard struggling to remain relevant. Edge was a young up and comer who was rapidly gaining popularity with the crowd.
Edge would lay into X-pac hard with this one liner, “Hey X-Pac, 1998 called and they're sick and tired of you so feel free to join us in the year 2001 any time you'd like.”
The facial reaction from X-pac says it all, it was a low blow that he really didn’t have a comeback for.
6 Paul Heyman Trashes JBL’s Championship Run With Brutal Honesty
John Bradshaw Layfield is a WWE company guy through and through, so when ECW was looking to make a return, JBL used his business background and newfound clout in the company to trash the business practices of Paul Heyman and ECW.
When WWE held a ECW One Night Stand PPV In 2005, Paul Heyman would hold a live mic to address the rapid pro-ECW crowd as well as address JBL’s remarks with a biting rebuttal.
“The only reason you were WWE Champion for a year is because Triple H didn't want to work Tuesdays!”
Heyman was referring to JBL’s lengthy World Title run on Smackdown and the fact that Triple H had been a long time RAW brand superstar. JBL would laugh off the comment, but such a barb had to have left a scar on the Texan.
5 The Rock Calls Kevin Nash “Big Daddy B****”
The NWO may have ruled WCW during the peak of the Monday Night Wars, but when they made their debut in the WWE in 2002, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall didn’t carry the same weight as they did when they were part of the clique in the early 90’s. The WWE locker room had changed and stars like the Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin were on top so they needed to recognize that they weren’t going to run the place like they had in the past. The Rock would make that quite clear verball in a promo the night after WrestleMania X8.
The NWO had kicked out Hogan from the NWO the night before for losing to the Rock and on RAW the next night they wanted answers. The Rock would stick up for Hogan with a few choice words for the Outsiders, mocking them both and then calling Nash “big daddy b****”.
The promo apparently had Nash legitimately ticked off for the unscripted line that he wasn’t informed about beforehand and he would have heat with the Rock backstage for some time.
4 The Diva Search Contestant Trash Talk Segment
This entry didn’t really take any particular WWE star by surprise, but basically humiliated the entire WWE roster and staff for what would transpire on live TV.
In 2004, the WWE decided to hold a talent contest known as the Diva Search where 7,000 women competed to try and win a WWE contract. It would be an absolute debacle as over several weeks contests would be held on RAW between the finalists which made for some trashy television.
One of the biggest cringeworthy moments was the “Diss the Diva” segment which took place on the August 30th, 2004 RAW. All four women would take turns on the microphone to try to show their promo skills and insult the other finalists. Things would get ugly really quick as the Divas would have to be censored for the foul language and obscenities they hurled toward one another.
Here were some of the censored gems spilled amongst the divas that made it on television: “having a c*** in your mouth has nothing to do with wrestling”, “c*** guzzling gutter s***”, and “have a gap so wide you could drive a truck through it”.
3 Paul Heyman Hits Jerry Lawler Where It Hurts
In 1997, The ECW and WWE had a working relationship where WWE would allow Paul Heyman and various ECW talent to showcase their product on episodes of RAW and gain mainstream exposure. This didn’t sit well with various WWE talent at the time, and the most vocal amongst them was Jerry “The King” Lawler who repeatedly stated that ECW was “Extremely Crappy Wrestling”
On the March 10th 1997 edition of RAW, a debate would be held between Heyman and Lawler regarding the two companies and it quickly turned into a heated and very legitimate verbal showdown.
After both men were asked for some decorum by moderator Jim Ross, Heyman asked Lawler, "You wanna shoot?" to which Jerry agreed. Heyman then asked, "How you doing at the see-saws in Louisville, Jerry?"
This low-blow alluded to allegations made of sexual abuse made against Lawler which Lawler was exonerated for and perhaps Lawler’s fondness of women much younger than him. The comment would visibly rattle Lawler who stumbled and chuckled sheepishly while trying to change the subject. It was a comment that may have went over viewer’s heads at the time but it was certainly a sore subject for Lawler.
2 AJ Lee Insults The Bella Twins
CM Punk may have popularized the term “Pipebomb” when it comes to spitting brutal barabs over the microphone, but his wife AJ Lee had a “pipebomb” of her own in the Divas division in 2014 when she laid into the Bella Twins.
Nikki and Brie Bella weren’t great in the ring but they were a cash cow for WWE through being the centerpiece of the Total Divas reality show which documented their real-life relationships with WWE powerhouses John Cena and Daniel Bryan respectively.
AJ Lee was a Divas Champion and was not too fond of all the TV time and attention two inexperienced talents were getting over her and she let it be known in a very biting promo during a feud between her and the Bellas on a November 2014 RAW.
“It’s about time somebody breaks it to the Bellas: Talent is not sexually transmitted”
This remark left the Bellas quite unsettled since it insinuated that the Bellas were only where they were because of their relationships with Main Eventers Cena and Bryan.
1 Shawn Michaels's Sunny Days Comment to Bret Hart
It’s no secret that in the mid to late 90’s, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels did not like each other. In their quests to become the company’s franchise player, they had made enemies out of one another and would have both an on-camera and off-camera feud in 1997.
Things would come to a head when in a promo on RAW between the two, Shawn Michaels would make things even more personal by delivering the lowest of low-blows: accusing Hart, who was married with children at the time, of having an affair on national television with WWE female personality, Tammy “Sunny” Sytch.
Shawn Michaels would state, “Bret, believe me, you couldn’t go 10 minutes in any situation, if you know what I mean…Even though lately you’ve had some “Sunny days” my friend, you still can’t get the job done”
The phrase took Bret Hart completely by surprise and escalated the feud between the two men behind the scenes. This may have led the two to have an infamous fight backstage where a Hart would pull of chunk of hair out of Shawn’s scalp.