Over time in the wrestling industry, the talent will inevitably decide that they know what is best on certain occasions, taking the reigns and going against whatever has been scripted for them in favour of their own ideas for a good show. Sometimes it works to perfection and the talent are correct. They had a better idea and are normally thanked for thinking outside the box or grabbing the brass ring. However, on the flip side to that, there are times when it goes incredibly wrong. This is usually met with a great degree of punishment, and a stars career sometimes never recovers.
When wrestlers do decide to go off script it is always a risk. After all, the people who have given them the script or told them how a specific match is going to end are actually their bosses, something that often gets forgotten. While the writers come up with the ideas, it is those at the top who have the final say. Of course in WCW, there were some truly horrendous ideas, but that still doesn’t mean you should go against the bosses orders. That didn’t stop these people from trying to go their own way, but some of them had to hit the highway because of it.
This list will look at 15 times when a WCW superstar decided to go off script and for right or wrong were punished and paid the price for their decisions.
15. We Coming For You
The N-word is one that has never been seen as appropriate by anyone, yet sadly, is one that is still thrown around on a daily basis. It is incredibly shocking to hear that as part of a live scripted show, the last place you would expect to hear it.
However, that is exactly what happened during a passionate WCW promo from now WWE Hall of Famer, Booker T. One half of Harlem Heat went wild during a promo about Hulk Hogan claiming, “We want the gold, sucka! Hulk Hogan, we comin’ for you” before dropping the N-word. Everyone in the interview immediately looks awkward and while Booker seemingly got away with major action against his name, it is a moment that has haunted his career ever since.
14. Scott Hall Takes A Swim
Scott Hall might be one of the all-time greats, but his reputation as an alcoholic is something that stuck with him for a long time until he was saved by DDP, with his addiction almost costing him his life. Due to his backstage power, Hall was seemingly untouchable in WCW, despite how obvious his issues became. During one live TV show Hall clearly had a few too many and ran his mouth about The Giant, before running away.
Due to his altered state, Hall managed to slip outside the ring attempting to run away from him, making the entire segment look terrible. Hall was quickly punished when he got launched into the pool, which also potentially helped to clean him up at the time which may have also worked in his favour in this instance.
13. The Mystery Of Seven
Currently we see Goldust wrestle and cannot picture Dustin Runnels in any other situation than being draped in the famous black and gold paint, but WCW once attempted something very different with the character, calling him Seven.
Running several vignettes to build the mysterious man, the character was set to be a creepy figure, but when he entered the ring it was a total mess and looked ridiculous. When the lights came on, Runnels decided to blast WCW for the terrible idea and dropped a shoot promo on the company. This is certainly not what creative had in mind and immediately extinguished any hope for the character, so WCW punished Runnels and took away the gimmick, something that actually turned out to be a positive in the long run.
12. Fingerpoke Of Doom
This one didn’t see anyone, in particular, be punished, but the entire company instead took the flack for one of the worst decisions in WCW history. With Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash using their backstage politics to its fullest, most dangerous effect.
With Kevin Nash originally set to defend his title against Goldberg, a returning Hogan took precedence and saw the reincarnation of nWo instead. Instead of a competitive match, Hogan simply poked his finger into Nash, which proved to be enough to pin the champion. This happened to be the same broadcast the company spoiled Mick Foley’s WWE Championship victory and is often considered as the start of WCW’s downfall, with WWE starting to turn the tides from here on out.
11. Bobby Heenan Drops An F-Bomb
Arguably one of the greatest commentators in the history of wrestling, Bobby Heenan was a heel commentator who always added some colour to the matches he called. However, during a match between Brian Pillman and Kevin Sullivan things did not go to plan for Heenan.
Pillman often went off script, taking his lunatic persona very seriously (which helped him stand out) and there was clear animosity between him and Sullivan. During this time, Pillman decided to grab Heenan to avoid Sullivan as a unique way of staying out of the action. The Brain didn’t take too kindly to this, not understanding what was happening and quickly broke character shouting “What the f*** are you doing?” live on air. Thankfully, WCW didn’t take its punishment much further than chewing Heenan out for the situation.
10. The Rattlesnake Is Bitten
Stone Cold Steve Austin is now seen as one of, if not the greatest wrestler of all time. But for him to become the Rattlesnake he had to be let go from WCW and his departure from the company was not a pretty one.
Recovering from a tricep injury, Austin received a call from WCW to go and do some promos in order to keep him working. But it was a well-known fact that Eric Bischoff didn’t see Austin as a main event level star at that time, something that didn’t sit well with Steve. When the call came, Austin had his wife answer and he could be heard in the background, using the colourful language that helped create his legendary character to claim he wasn’t in. Bischoff found out about the situation and when Austin was called back, he was fired.
9. Caught Sleeping On The Job
Being caught asleep while at the commentary desk is something that is never in the script of a wrestling show, regardless of if it’s WCW in the height of its powers or a small independent show at your local gym.
However, that happened to Jesse Ventura in WCW, and it didn’t go down well. Ventura wasn’t pleased with Hulk Hogan’s arrival in the company after the Hulkster had ratted Jesse out to Vince McMahon when he was attempting to get a union sorted for the wrestlers. During a taping, Ventura was caught napping instead of working and Eric Bischoff quickly decided that he didn’t want to work with him anymore. Ventura would sit out his contract at home, being paid in full. There are worse punishments.
8. Breaking The Rules
In the current WWE the thought of anybody blading would lead to obvious problems, but during the Monday Night Wars that was not the case. However, WCW did have a rule at one time that blood was banned.
However, when Dustin Runnels was placed into an odd pre-taped fight on board the trailer of a truck, the layout of the bout required both competitors to blade, even though Dustin had checked whether it was okay to add some colour to the match, he still felt the backlash of it. With the company rules stating no blood, both Runnels and his opponent, Blacktop Bully was let go from WCW for violating the rules, along with the match agent, Mike Graham with the company really making a stand.
7. Honky Tonk Man Refuses To Job
Honky Tonk Man managed to become a very unpopular figure in professional wrestling and Eric Bischoff was one of those people who did not like him. WCW had booked a match between Honky Tonk and Johnny B. Badd (yes that was his actual name).
The plan was for Honky Tonk to put Johnny over at Starrcade, however, he refused to be beaten by him, claiming that he had been told he would not lose on television while he was working without a contract. Bischoff then decided to cut Honky Tonk and promptly fired him. Bischoff has since claimed that he attempted to hold him up for a guaranteed deal if he would lose the match, but Bischoff has stated it was the single most enjoyable firing he ever carried out.
6. Bash At The Beach
Heading into Bash at the Beach 2000 there was very obvious tension between Vince Russo and Hulk Hogan. Hogan wanted to be the champion and Jeff Jarrett didn’t want to job to Hogan, so the Hulkster pulled out his politic card and took it to creative.
The following segment saw Russo produce a promo that has divided people, with him claiming it was a work and Hogan stating it was a real shoot. WCW attempted to blur the lines between fiction and reality here, but instead, it was just a total mess. While nobody was officially punished here, this moment seriously damaged the reputation of everyone involved, including the company in general. All three people involved looked terrible and it made WCW look incredible unorganized.
5. Commentators Call Out Goldberg
This was a confusing situation, with a triple threat scheduled between Kevin Nash, Scott Steiner, and Goldberg at New Blood Rising, for some reason, Goldberg didn’t show up until five minutes into the match and then left after refusing to take a Jackknife Powerbomb.
The situation was a work, but the commentary team either didn’t get the memo or simply chose to ignore it, spending the entire time calling out Goldberg for refusing to do business, ripping him apart for the match. Tony Schiavone himself offered the following: “Let’s see what’s gonna happen now. If in fact, the Jackknife Powerbomb was part of the design, what are they gonna do now? Improvise?”
4. William Regal Makes A Stand
William Regal is someone who doesn’t take any nonsense and when he was placed into a match with an inexperienced Bill Goldberg, Regal wasn’t pleased about potentially being squashed in a quick match against WCW’s pet project.
Regal didn’t want to simply job and despite the original plan being for Goldberg to squash him, the NXT general manager created a totally different plan, working a technical clinic, delivering stiff strikes and very real shots that rocked Goldberg. Regal showcased his in-ring prowess and embarrassed WCW’s top rising star, going against the plans. He was quickly chewed out when he got backstage and was eventually fired by WCW for his behavior.
3. Hulk Hogan Steals The Spotlight
Hulk Hogan is now known for how much he rates his ego and wanted to ensure he got his way, but at the time it was a shocking situation that unfolded in front of peoples eyes as fans quickly became smart to the problem.
At WCW’s World War 3, the time was right to move on to someone new as the top star and it seemed like it was happening with Randy Savage winning the 6-man-battle royal, winning the WCW Championship. However, Hogan protected himself in the booking, ensuring he wasn’t properly eliminated, with his over-the-top protestations after the matchmaking Savage, the new top babyface, look totally ridiculous, again with WCW, in general, paying the price.
2. Shockmaster’s Shocking Debut
This might now be seen as one of the most comedic moments in wrestling history, but the fact remains that The Shockmaser’s WCW debut is one of the worst botches in the history of wrestling.
Sting had promised a tag team partner that would ‘shock the world’ and he certainly lived up to his end of the bargain, but not in the way WCW had hoped. Instead of making a grand entrance, The Shockmaster hilariously fell through a wall, landing on his face with his helmet falling off. Instead of becoming any form of a star, The Shockmaster’s character was finished there and then, never able to recover from the moment that had Ole Anderson laughing instead of doing a voice-over and Booker T questioning who he was off-screen.
1. Scott Steiner’s Wild Promo
People often forget how good Scott Steiner used to be, but it is moments like this that is why many wrestling fans think of Steiner in a different light, with this being one of many bizarre promos that went way off script.
Steiner hit the ring to cut a promo that should have continued the angle he was involved with as a new member of the New Blood stable. Instead, Steiner ran his mouth about Ric Flair who he had no feud with at the time, even telling fans that when they saw Flair on TV they switched to Raw. So not only was he running his mouth about one of the most popular stars in the company, but he was also promoting the rival company. It wasn’t his wisest move and Steiner was promptly suspended by the company.
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