WWE is renowned for being the best wrestling promotion in the world. Ok, well, maybe not everyone thinks that. Fine, WWE is renowned for being at the forefront of wrestling innovation. No, that’s going to set the comments on fire. Umm, WWE is a champion of equality and sensitivity? Dammit! Alright, alright, let’s just go with this – WWE is the most famous wrestling company in the world and has given the wrestling world some of its greatest moments ever to take place inside a squared-circle. However, as Vince McMahon will tell you, entertainment is just as big a part of WWE as wrestling is (even more so if you go by percentage of letters) and, as a result, audiences have been, ahem, “treated” to a number of segments that took place outside of the ropes, in the many weird and wonderful places the WWE’s endless Universe expands to. As with all things, some of these segments have been great, whilst others have left you wishing you’d never even bothered to buy a TV, let alone watch WWE that night. So, allow me to be your guide as we take a look at some of the best and worst WWE moments to happen outside of the ring. Before we begin, I’d like to clarify that I’m only including segments, not official matches, so any Boiler Room Brawls, Hollywood Backlot Brawls and Gulf of Mexico matches do not count. Sorry, Chavo and Punk. Now, if we’re all clear on the matter, let’s begin. Here are the 8 best and 7 worst WWE moments to take place outside of the ring. Enjoy.
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29 BEST: Dr. Austin’s Bedside Manner
Vince McMahon and Stone Cold Steve Austin was a match made in heaven when it came to pro wrestling. The two men’s legendary feud made the WWE what it is today and many fans will remember Steve vs Vince as the rivalry that got them into wrestling in the first place. The two men mad each other’s lives a living hell during the late 90s/early 00s, often with hilarious results, and perhaps one of the best moments of revenge enacted by the Rattlesnake on his boss came in October of 1998. After one of Austin’s attacks, Vince was hospitalised with a broken leg and wasn’t too pleased about it. After a visit from Mankind (complete with balloons, clowns and Mr. Socko), all Vince wanted to do was to be left alone. Like that was gonna happen. After clearing the hospital room, a masked doctor approached the bedridden McMahon, only this man’s doctorate wasn’t in medicine; it was in mud-hole stomping. Austin pulled off the mask and started pummelling away on Vince, targeting the injured leg, assaulting Vince with a defibrillator and inserting a drip into Vince’s, umm, tender area, shall we say. A perfect example of Attitude Era over-the-top violence and the perfect metaphor for Vince and Austin’s entire feud; too big for any ring to hold. Safe to say Vince thought twice before trusting public healthcare again.
27 WORST: Al Snow’s Dog Days
Oh, Al Snow, you deserved so much better. Maybe. Whilst this segment probably wouldn’t have appeared here on its own, it’s what it leads to that earns it a spot on the negative side of this list. In 1999, Al Snow and the Big Bossman were embroiled in a rivalry over the Hardcore Championship. Bossman won the belt from Snow on 26th August on an episode of Smackdown and, after the match finished, stole Snow’s beloved dog, Pepper, to stick it to Snow. The next week on Smackdown, a segment aired that showed Snow in Bossman’s hotel room after being invited there on Raw to retrieve his stolen pooch. Whilst waiting got the dog to turn up, Bossman served Snow some food, saying he wanted to do the right thing. He then told Al not to “get any of those paws stuck in his teeth” and the penny – or rather, the puppy (I’m sorry) – dropped from the leader of the J.O.B Squad. After realising he had just eaten his beloved pet, Snow started to throw up, only to be beaten up by Bossman, who would shove Snow’s face into his dog’s cooked remains. If watching a man traumatised by eating his own dog wasn’t enough, over the next few weeks, Snow would regain the Hardcore title and then challenge Bossman to a match for the belt (even though he was the champion, because that makes sense) at Unforgiven, and not just any match, oh no, this would be a Kennel From Hell match. The set up for the match saw a steel cage placed around the ring, which was itself inside the Hell in a Cell, with the objective being to escape both structures whilst avoiding the “vicious” guard dogs that stood between the ring and Cell. The concept was interesting, but, as the old saying goes, never work with animals or children in show business. The dogs were more interested in, well, literally anything else than chasing down the participants, ruining the illusion of danger that had been created around this match. Also, they pooped, a lot. It was awful. Anyway, Snow retained the title and the match was never seen again (thank God). Snow eating Pepper might have made him pretty famous in wrestling, but it’s still an awful segment to watch and, since it let to the trainwreck of a match that was the Kennel From Hell, it’ll go down in wrestling infamy forever. Poor Pepper. Now he deserved better.
25 BEST: Jim Ross Does Not Have A Nice Day
Despite looking like that one guy in town who sleeps in the park every night (no one? Just my town? Alright then), Mick Foley is one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. Foley’s complete and utter fearlessness (or idiocy) when it came to putting his body on the line and his everyman look won him legions of fans in the 1980s and 1990s, whether it was in WCW, ECW or, eventually, the then-WWF. Debuting the night after WrestleMania 12, Mankind would establish himself as this new character, shedding his previous moniker – Cactus Jack – and entertaining fans with an entirely new gimmick in a way that only Foley could. One of Mankind’s defining moments came on the May 19 1997 edition of Raw, where he would be interviewed by Good Ol’ JR, Jim Ross. The interview is one of the best in WWE’s history, with the two men discussing Foley’s career in depth, all whilst Mick kept the Mankind persona up flawlessly. Mankind’s true colours became apparent when, at the end of the interview, he attacked Ross, applying the Mandible Claw and leaving the commentator laid out, all whilst seeming completely nonchalant about the whole thing. One of the first in-depth looks into Mankind’s twisted psyche and one of the moments that set Foley on his path to stardom, this great interview combines two of WWE’s most beloved figures and is still entertaining to this day. Although, if you asked JR I think he’d disagree.
23 WORST: Kelly Kelly Bares All
WWE’s version of ECW was like trying to build flat pack furniture without looking at the instructions; you know what the end product should look like, you think you know how to get there, but, after the initial confidence wears off, you realise you have no idea what you’re doing and Vince McMahon is your world champion. Ok, the furniture analogy got away from me there, but my point stands. One of the most uncomfortable things about WWE’s version of ECW was the ridiculous lengths the company would go to to draw in fans, particularly those of a male persuasion. Kelly Kelly debuted in ECW in 2006 and the fans took a shining to her for two reasons. I think we all know which two reasons I’m talking about. With the gimmick of an exhibitionist, Kelly would perform regular stripteases backstages, much to the chagrin of her on-screen boyfriend, Mike Knox, in what would become known as Kelly’s Expose. The segments were, well, horrible, to be honest, degrading and awkward to watch. All I wanted was to watch some good, ol’ fashion rasslin’ and there was this young lady being forced to perform a degrading act, clearly with the sole purpose of boosting the ratings for WWE’s new show. The only upside of this was that Kelly had quite a successful career after being forced to take her clothes off, although she did get beaten up by Mike Knox a lot on the way there, and I mean a lot. Thankfully this sort of thing doesn’t happen on WWE anymore, but you can rest assured Vince is doing his best to make Lana’s expose a thing. You think I’m joking...
21 BEST: GTV
The Attitude Era was one hell of a time to be a wrestling fan. The then-WWF was undergoing a radical change from its previous, clean-cut image, moulding the company into the edgy, more adult-centric brand that many fans remember with great fondness. One of the staples of the Attitude Era, apart from sex, offensiveness and violence towards women (you know, the good stuff), was GTV; a mysterious, hidden camera show that delved deep into the horrible underbelly of life behind the scenes in WWF (all within kayfabe, of course). The show’s many highlights include wrestlers cheating on their partners, backstage brawls and one memorable segment between Val Venis and the Big Show, where the World Largest Athlete’s, umm, manhood, was questioned. Originally intended to be a vehicle for Goldust (then going through his film critic stage), that angle was cancelled when Goldie was released from the company and the “real” perpetrator of GTV was never officially revealed. As a staple of one of wrestling’s biggest booms, GTV holds a special place in many a fan’s heart and has to be one of the most fondly remembered backstage segments in WWE history.
19 WORST: Goldust And Ahmed Sitting In A Tree...
WWE have been in plenty of trouble in the past when it comes to representing homosexuality within storylines. From John Cena insulting The Miz to Billy and Chuck, WWE’s treatment of gay people hasn’t exactly been the best and this moment is one of the worst. Ahmed Johnson is, by all accounts, a fine wrestler. The first African-American to win a singles title in WWE, Johnson’s legacy isn’t perhaps as big as it should be, but it’s moments like this that can be enough to tarnish any legacy. After a match with Vader on Raw in 1996, Johnson suffered a head injury (within kayfabe) and was rushed to the back, unconscious. After no one could bring Johnson around, Intercontinental Champion, Goldust, arrived and delivered mouth-to-mouth to Johnson, eventually waking him up. In one of the most blatant attempts at gay panic in WWE history, Johnson was furious with Goldust for daring to, you know, save his life, just because it had resulted in two men touching their mouths together. The two got into a feud that culminated in a match at King of the Ring, where Johnson defeated Goldust to become the new Intercontinental Champion. Johnson was playing a face at the time, Goldust was the de facto heel in this rivalry, despite his only crime being helping a man who was in trouble. It’s clear from this moment that WWE were attempting to villainise homosexuality in an attempt to either put Johnson over or, maybe worse, to get a few laughs from its macho audience. Either way, it’s bad and deserves a place on this list.
17 BEST: Bret Screwed Bret
It’s a moment that changed the landscape of pro wrestling forever. The Montreal Screwjob at Survivor Series 1997 saw Bret ‘The Hitman" Hart lose his WWE Championship to Shawn Michaels after Vince McMahon called for the bell against the planned finish. The fallout from this momentous occasion was huge; it lead to Bret Hart vanishing from WWE for over a decade, it outed Vince McMahon as the owner of WWE and is seen by many as the kickoff to the Attitude Era. One of the reasons why this moment is held in such regard by wrestling fans is because it was real; Hart really didn’t know he was going to be screwed and the whole thing was kept top secret before the fateful night. One of the things that made it real was the interview given by Mr. McMahon one week after Survivor Series addressing the controversy. Jim Ross conducted the whole thing (making his second appearance in an interviewing capacity, nice job JR) as Vince gave his side of the story, ultimately leading to the now-immortal line “Vince McMahon didn’t screw Bret Hart, Bret Hart screwed Bret Hart.” Blurring the lines between scripted and reality, this interview made wrestling feel edgy, controversial and, above all, exciting. One of the best backstage interviews in wrestling history, Bret may have been robbed off the belt, but at least the fans weren’t robbed of this must-watch segment.
15 WORST: The Father, The Son And The Holy McMahon
One downside of the previous entry is that it gave Vince more screen time and, with an ego the size of Vince’s, that is a potentially fatal move. One prime example of McMahon’s giant ego was his ill-fated feud with Shawn Michaels in 2006. The two men faced off in a Street Fight at WrestleMania 22, with Shawn pinning Vince to pick up the win. Now, this is really where the feud should have ended – it really, really should have ended here – but, Vince being Vince, he had to get the win somehow. Vince blamed his defeat to Michaels on HBK’s newfound Christianity (in real life, Michaels had actually become born again after years of drink and drug abuse) and decided that he would have to have a rematch with Michaels, because he had “cheated” the first time. Right. Anyway, the rematch was set was the following Pay-Per-View, Backlash, but this time, things would be a little different. The match would be Vince and Shane McMahon teaming up to face the duo of Shawn Michaels and... God. Yep. Actual, factual God. Oh no. In the build up to the match, in an attempt to trade verbal blows with the big man, Vince and Shane paid a visit to a local church and treated the holy place with as much dignity and respect as you would expect from anyone with the last name McMahon. Once in the church, Vince and Shane did numerous ‘hilarious things’, like recreate Triple H’s entrance with holy water, reading his own form of the commandments (including “thy shalt not the my disciples faces and shove it up my rectal cavity”) and, of course, comparing himself to the Lord Almighty and even implying that he had a “better work ethic”. I may not be religious, but even I know this ain’t right. It was an offensive segment that lead to a stupid match (Vince won by the way, meaning he is now 1-0 against God) and, perhaps worst of all, mocked Michaels’ Christian beliefs, those same beliefs that might have actually saved his life. Wrestling and religion do not mix. It’s just shame we had to go through this mess to find that out.
13 BEST: Marty Jannetty Has His Heart Broken
There are some moments in wrestling that mark the birth of a mega-star. John Cena’s debut against Kurt Angle on Smackdown, Austin 3:16, Paul Burchill debuting as a pirate. I could go on. This was one of the moments and we have Brutus Beefcake and his Barbershop to thank for it. On 2nd December 1991, Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty (collectively known as The Rockers) were being interviewed by Brutus amid allegations that the team was splitting up. After telling Brutus and the audience that the team would most definitely not be splitting, Michaels and Jannetty stood up and took their bows to an applauding crowd and nothing else happened. Of course not, this is WWE. Michaels shocked the world by superkicking Jannetty, turning heel and splitting up one of the most popular tag teams of the 1980s. Michaels made his point even clearer by throwing Jannetty through one of the glass windows of the Barbershop set. It was one of the most shocking moments in WWE history at the time; the rockers were so well-liked and no one fully expected them to split up, especially not in such a dramatic fashion. One thing that nobody saw coming was the incredible future that one half of the team would have. Marty Jannetty won the IC title once, and the tag team titles with X-Pac. That’s amazing, right? Oh yeah, and Shawn Michaels would go on to headline WrestleMania numerous times, win over a dozen titles and become a Hall of Famer. But that’s irrelevant.
11 WORST: The Snake Pit That Never Was
Jake The Snake Roberts is highly regarded for many things. He’s credited with the invention of the DDT, lorded as one of the greatest heels in wrestling history and his moustache would put a 17th Century Cavalier to shame. His name also comes around whenever the discussion of greatest wrestlers never to win the WWE Championship rears its head too, but, had things been different, that may not have been the case. On one edition of The Snake’s backstage interview segment, The Snake Pit, in 1986, Roberts was interviewing then-WWE Champion, Hulk Hogan. The intention was to have Roberts attack Hogan, setting up a feud between the two that may have led to Jake defeating the Hulkster for the belt. However, after Hogan received the DDT from Roberts, management was shocked to find that the crowd reacted positively to the attack, apparently favouring Jake over the supposed-face, Hulk. Hogan was apparently not pleased with this outcome and, either by direct order or strong persuasion, had the segment pulled from TV, abandoning the feud and any chances Jake had of being champion. Ultimately, Jake didn’t need the belt to become a mega-star, but this segment not airing might have just cost Jake the chance to become one of WWE’s greatest champions and (this is purely speculation, by the way) might just have spared Roberts from the downward spiral that would nearly cost him his life. Whilst technically this might not count as a segment, seeing as how it never aired, it still had pretty negative consequences of Roberts and maybe the company as a whole. Plus, I needed an extra item, so shut up.
9 BEST: DX Goes To War
It’s the moment that put the “war” into “Monday Night War”. The date was 27th April 1998. The place was Norfolk, Virginia. The consequences – legendary. WCW threw out the rulebook when it came to pro wrestling in the 90s. Whereas before rival promotions dare not mention one another in their programming in fear of viewers switching over, WCW made regular mentions of Vince McMahon and the WWF, tearing down the fourth wall and making things personal in the already-bitter business war that was raging. Rather than be taken aback by this brash move, however, Vince and co. decided to fight fire with fire and took the fight straight to WCW in true Attitude Era style. Lead by Triple H, D-Generation X, dressed in full military gear and driving an army jeep, were broadcast outside of the Norfolk Scope arena, home that night to WCW Nitro. D-X would attempt to gain entry to the building, but were halted by security, desperate not to allow rivalry performers on their programming. Despite not being allowed in, D-X made their presence felt; talking with fans, spreading the word of WWF with megaphones and causing a real stir. The Monday Night Wars changed the face of wrestling and this moment made the Wars feel real. WWF guys within spitting distance of WCW guys for the first time since their epic rivalry began made wrestling feel unpredictable, exciting and dangerous. For making kid wrestling fans everywhere the coolest in the playground, this moment earns it spot on the list. Now all kid fans have is Roman Reigns. Oh, to turn back time...
7 WORST: Give Mae Young A Hand
Told you we’d get to Mae Young. Mae Young made her name in the National Wrestling Alliance, winning various championships and elevating women’s wrestling to new heights. An incredible figure in wrestling history, Young started wrestling at the age of 15 on her high school’s boys’ wrestling team and set an example to female competitors everywhere. So, naturally, when Young appeared in the WWE for the first time in 1999, she was treated as comedy character who got beaten up by the likes of Jeff Jarrett and Bubba Ray Dudley. Yay? Anyway, one of the most famous (for all the wrong reasons) segments she would appear in was with her on-screen boyfriend, Mark Henry. Henry had gotten Young ‘pregnant’ and the two were awaiting the baby. And of course, WWE handles pregnancy storylines with the upmost respect; just ask Lita. After being attacked by The Dudley Boyz, Young’s ‘pregnancy’ went a little, umm, wrong, leading to this now-infamous moment. Young was ‘in labour’ (I will never stop using the inverted commas, never) and was rushed to a room backstage, with Henry and a handful of Doctors at her side. After some ‘hilarious’ cameos from the likes of the Fabulous Moolah, Young’s child was eventually born; well, some of it was at least. The doctors revealed that Young had given birth, not to a child, but to a hand. A rubber hand. So, so many questions. The storyline was pointless, the payoff was dumb and all it did was waste everyone’s time. It might be one of Young’s most memorable segments, but it was for all the wrong reasons. Thankfully, once this awful segment aired, it was never mentioned again. Wait a second, hold on, what’s that? You’re saying that it did come up again? When Young appeared on the 1000th episode of Raw? And a man in a giant hand costume was pretending he was Young’s son? Oh, for God’s sake.
5 BEST: Pillman’s Got A Gun
It’s one of the most controversial and talked-about segments in WWE history. Brian Pillman was one of WCW’s biggest talents in the 90s. A high-flyer who put on incredible matches with the likes of Brad Armstrong and Jushin Thunder Liger, winning titles and even teaming with the future Stone Cold Steve Austin as “The Hollywood Blonds” (dammit, not adding the “e” on the end makes my British skin crawl). Pillman switched to the WWE in 1996, feuding with Austin in the early days of the Rattlesnke’s rise to stardom. During their feud, Austin made a promise to come to Pillman’s house and sort things out there. This lead to a live broadcast from the Pillman home, where Brian and his wife Melanie were interviewed. Pillman would cut a promo on Austin before revealing his secret weapon; literally, Brian pulled a 9mm pistol out and threatened to shoot Austin if he showed up. Shortly after this, The Bionic Redneck did make an appearance and confronted Pillman. After a screaming match between the two men, Pillman pointed the gun at Austin and threatened to shoot. Then, they cut to commercial. Yep. Fans around the world were left on the edge of their seats for three to five gruelling minutes as they wondered what had happened to Austin. Obviously he hadn’t been shot (although WWE probably considered it) and the cameras cut back to see Austin being dragged out by Pillman’s friends. However, in that brief period of uncertainty, WWE was must-see TV; it was edgy, exciting, unpredictable and, God, did it feel real. Seen by many as a kick-off period to the Attitude Era, Pillman’s Got a Gun remains a top segment in WWE to this day and it’s highly likely that the closest we’ll see to a repeat of this was when Dean Ambrose sprayed Randy Orton and Kane with ketchup and mustard. Sigh.
3 WORST: Katie Vick
Now, let me begin this entry with a disclaimer. If you like Triple H, or Kane, if either of those two are your favourite wrestlers and you don’t know what this segment is already, then please, for the love of God, stop reading. Skip to the next entry, it’s great, it’s got Stone Cold in it, but for the love of all that is holy, please, don’t read ahead. We good? Yeah? Ok, right, let’s do this. Triple H and Kane were feuding over The Game’s World Heavyweight title and, to get one over on Kane, Triple H referenced Kane’s ex-girlfriend, Katie Vick. The Game accused Kane of being in a car crash with Katie and that his driving whilst drunk had cost Katie her life. Ok, so this is pretty uncomfortable already, right? Things got worse when Kane admitted to the whole thing, forcing the audience to accept that Kane, who was the face in this rivalry, by the way, ended someone’s life. Then, on Raw, Triple H was giving an interview backstage where he revealed he had some footage relating to Katie. What aired next was six minutes of pure awfulness. The video showed Triple H dressed as Kane entering a funeral home where a mannequin representing Katie was lying in a coffin. ‘Kane’ then approached the coffin and started blaming Katie for her own death, because she hadn’t given him what he wanted. Then, after looking around to check no one was watching, ‘Kane’ started telling us that Katie finally wanted him, before proceeding to touch the dummy (I mean Katie, not Hunter) in inappropriate ways. Then, because by this point the boat was about as far out as possible, so why not go further, ‘Kane’ stripped Katie’s panties off, sniffed them, then got naked himself. He then entered the coffin and, umm, how to put this, did the deed with Katie’s lifeless body. It was so bad. After the horrible action was over, ‘Kane’ then put his hands into Katie’s head, pulled out some goo and said “I really did it. I screwed your brains out.” I’d like to say I wish I was dead, but knowing Triple H was around, I don’t think I do. A truly horrible segment that had many fans switching off their TV sets, Katie Vick has been scrubbed from WWE canon faster than a window cleaner who turned up late for work. What’s more, Kane didn’t even win the feud, losing to Triple H and looking not only like a murderous necrophiliac, but a murderous necrophiliac loser. A truly horrible moment that, thankfully, has been retconned, this did years’ worth of damage to Kane’s career and maybe even ruined it completely. But, before you pity The Big Red Machine, remember the real victim here; Stephanie McMahon. She’s had three kids with Triple H. Bleugh.
1 BEST: Price Check On A Jackass
Hooray, Stone Cold is back! And about time too. Taking the top spot on this illustrious list is the moment that made wrestling fans everywhere scared to go to the supermarket, it was the ultimate act of revenge for Austin after Booker T injured him at King of the Ring 2001. After months of aggravation, Austin snapped and decided to enact some revenge on the five-time, five-time, fiveiti- yeah, you know what I mean. A segment aired on the December 13th edition of Smackdown and featured Booker T doing some shopping, minding his own business, with no idea of the horrors to come. After beating up a bald man with a goatee that he believed to be Austin, Booker T thought he was safe. Then he heard the menacing can of a beer can opening. The real Austin was right behind Booker and boy did he make his presence felt. He attacked Booker with everything; eggs, nuts, beans, condiments, flour, even diapers, battering him around the supermarket, through the aisles and even into the storerooms in the back. There’s a brilliant moment after Booker comes back and locks Austin in a room in the back, thinking he has saved himself. After stumbling back into the main store, Booker took a rest, recovering from the ass-whooping, but it wasn’t over yet as Austin appeared, coming out of one of the refrigerators, holding a bottle of milk. After downing the milk, Austin continued to attack Booker T, placing him on a trolley before dumping him at the checkout and asking for a “price check on a Jackass”. A great segment that saw two future WWE Hall of Famers perform at their best; Austin was a pure ass-kicker, looking like the Rattlesnake of old that fans had missed for so long during the Invasion angle. A brilliant, historic segment that any wrestling fan will remember with fondness, this skit is more than worthy of the top spot on this list. And that’s the bottom line... because I’ve run out of spots on the list.
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