In the 1990s, World Championship Wrestling was viewed as the No. 2 wrestling promotion behind World Wrestling Entertainment. The Monday Night War featured a creative sports-entertainment battle between billionaires Vince McMahon and Ted Turner. Things heated up with the rise of the Monday Night Wars with both companies pushing the envelope as much as possible.
The WWE’s Attitude Era featured a number of moments that had to later be edited out or censored for the launch of the WWE Network. At the same time, WCW was also trying to get viewer interest by blurring the lines between script and reality – although the aftermath was sometimes not what the higher-ups in WCW headquarters were hoping for.
With the purchase of WCW in 2001 and the acquisition of their promotion’s entire video library, there had to be some changes for the WWE Network. It’s understandable for the WWE to do that since there will be younger fans who want to see matches from a previous era.
But WWE officials aren’t the only ones who made edits to WCW programming. In fact, WCW also made changes to their own video library. Something controversial that was seen during a live pay-per-view were often taken out of for the home video edition.
Between both WWE and WCW, memorable moments – either good or bad – sometimes had to be altered for non-live audience members. The following are 15 moments in WCW television history that had to be cut from the broadcast – either live or for future replays.
15 King of the Road Match edits for blood
“The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes wasn’t the only one in the family to get fired from WCW after an issue involving blood. His son Dustin Rhodes was a part of one of the most unique matches in WCW history for their King of the Road match at the 1995 Uncensored pay-per-view. The match was previously taped and aired during the PPV broadcast, but not without some edits to the footage.
Both Rhodes and his opponent, the Blacktop Bully, were fired after the match for blading, which is due to the aforementioned no-bleeding policy. One interesting thing to point out is that blood has been featured in a number of memorable WCW matches around this time as well. But not everyone who shed blood was terminated from the promotion.
14 When a women’s triple threat ends awkwardly
In a triple threat match that involved Major Gunns, Paisley and Tygress during a 2000 episode of Nitro, fans witnessed probably the weirdest ending to a match. It even made the Fingerpoke of Doom look more like Hulk Hogan giving Andre the Giant a body slam. Only a few seconds into the match, Paisley delivered a hesitant kick to Gunns, followed by an elbow from Tygress. This was quickly followed by Tygress pinning Gunns for the sudden pinfall.
The announcers sounded confused and unsure if it was an official three-count. An awkward “brawl” ensued as the announcers made an attempt to move on. It got worse when Paisley and Tygress then made their way to the backstage. The cameras would quickly cut away and that was the end of that.
13 Ric Flair Sheds Clothes on Nitro
One thing that is true about the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair is that when he gets riled up doing a promo, he really goes the full 100 yards. But during a 1999 episode of Nitro where he was cutting a promo for his feud with Eric Bischoff, he went from zero to crazy in a matter of seconds. As he was demanding a rematch, he then started to take off his clothes as he went on about the custom made suits.
Then he got down to his boxers as he continued to push for a rematch, giving Bischoff everything to get that one more match. And then he went and handcuffed himself to the ring ropes threatening to get naked. Luckily for the viewers and the WCW officials, this was right around the time they were scheduled to go to commercial break.
12 Bobby Heenan Drops an F-Bomb
This one is a moment that took place on a pay-per-view that you can’t fully blame on Bobby Heenan. During the Clash of Champions XXXII pay-per-view in 1996, Heenan was at his normal spot at color commentary during a match between Brian Pillman and Eddie Guerrero. Pillman was outside the ring behind the announcers when he suddenly grabbed Heenan by the neck. Heenan certainly wasn’t expecting it at all.
The unwarranted contact actually freaked Heenan out, who later admitted that he thought it was a fan who jumped the barricade. Heenan clearly said with his headset still on “What the f*** are you doing?” as he walks away from the announce table. The f-bomb was edited out of all WCW tapes, although it was heard in a 2006 DVD about Pillman’s wrestling career.
11 Dennis Rodman and Randy Savage Have Verbal War
In the fall of 1999, “Macho Man” Randy Savage would enter a feud with NBA star Dennis Rodman for a singles match at Road Wild that year. The two had a segment on the Aug. 2, 1999, episode of Nitro where the mute button had to be used a few times between both Savage and Rodman. Both men were cursing at each other a lot, followed by Rodman making an comment hinting that he had sex with Savage’s former valet in Miss Madness, Mona.
The WWE would show the segment on their website, but certainly made cuts to look as if Rodman was quiet the entire time before going down to the ring to beat up on Savage – thanks to an assist from Mona delivering the low-blow on the Macho Man. This is likely the same edit made for the WWE Network replay of this Nitro episode.
10 Tank Abbott Pulls Out a Knife
Just like many highly recruited college football players end up struggling in the National Football League, Tank Abbott was a bust when he came to the WCW in 2000. The former mixed martial artist earned a decent paycheck for joining the promotion near the end of the company’s life. Abbott was never that great in the ring and it showed in his matches. In addition to all of that, Abbott apparently had quite a temper.
After a match with another wrestler named Big Al, Abbott apparently brought the fight to the outside of the ring. Abbott would pull a knife out of his jacket worn to the ring and put it up against Al’s throat. Abbott also yelled that he could kill him right there at ringside. The cameras would then quickly cut away, with commentator Tony Schiavone claiming that Abbott had scissors and was going to cut Al’s beard. That's just as honest as saying Abbott was a great addition to WCW.
9 Vader Breaks Cactus Jack’s Face
One of the most vicious feuds in WCW in 1993 was between Vader and Cactus Jack. Now this was early in Mick Foley’s career – long before he became a legend with the infamous Hell in a Cell fall against The Undertaker. But even in his matches with Vader, Cactus Jack started to show signs of a never-say-die attitude as he continued to wrestle through very visible injuries.
During a match on April 17, 1993, Vader actually broke Jack’s nose with a cut that required nearly 30 stiches to close up. The match itself had to be heavily edited for the broadcast because the WCW still had issues with showing blood on television. Unlike the earlier mentioned King of the Road match, Foley’s cut was not a planned moment that fired the likes of Blacktop Bully and Dustin Rhodes.
8 Round Two of Vader vs. Cactus Jack
The feud between Vader and Cactus Jack would continue one week later during another April 1993 episode of WCW Saturday Night. Their first encounter was mentioned earlier with the broken nose that Cactus Jack suffered after stiff shots from Vader. In their second match, Jack was scheduled to be out of action for a few months. Therefore, their second match saw a number of brutal spots – including Vader delivering a powerbomb to Jack onto the concrete floor.
According to Stuart Carapola’s “We Wrestle: The Best of WCW,” the match had to be heavily edited by WCW at the request of TBS. Many of the brutal spots were considered inappropriate to be shown on television. The full match would only be seen a decade later, by the request of Mick Foley himself, on a WWE DVD.
7 Brian Pillman: “I Respect You, Booker Man”
There were a number of times in pro wrestling where the wrestlers took legitimate verbal shots during live television. Brian Pillman, who has been billed perfectly as a “Loose Cannon,” was scheduled to go reinvent himself in ECW after losing an “I Respect You” strap match. Taking place at 1996 SuperBrawl, it worked similar to an “I Quit” match where Pillman was in the ring with Kevin Sullivan – the head booker for WCW at the time.
Pillman would quickly grab the microphone and tell Sullivan “I respect you, booker man” before leaving the arena. Pillman would be fired for ousting Sullivan on WCW television and the two words “booker man” were removed from the event’s VHS. Things would work out for Pillman in the end as he found himself going to WWE and have memorable feuds with the promotion.
6 The Road Warriors’ Attack on Dusty Rhodes
In the earliest days of WCW in the 1980s, which was under Jim Crockett Promotions, there was a policy against having blood in matches. Dusty Rhodes, who was a booker for the promotion at the time, was involved in a violent segment on WCW television shortly after Starrcade ‘88 that involved the Road Warriors. What followed was one of the most violent segments in WCW television.
Road Warrior Animal actually removed one of the spikes from his shoulder pads, which apparently were detachable, and stabbed Rhodes’s eye. This led to Rhodes being fired. WWE.com showed the segment online, but their edit was, peculiar. Instead of doing the “black and white” edit they usually do or remove the eye-stabbing, they pixelated the video. The WWE was likely hoping younger fans wouldn’t know it was going into Rhodes’s eye.
5 Scott Steiner Gets Some Things Off of His Chest
In February 2000, Scott Steiner certainly let his personal issues about Ric Flair loose on live television. Then again, Big Poppa Pump often let his personal feelings about different people throughout his time in WCW. Flair was just another example on a long list of people he publicly insulted in a way that wasn’t planned or appreciated. During an episode of Nitro, Steiner started with pointing out Flair isn’t the first Nature Boy.
Then he went on to say that Flair was a**-k******, butt-f****** b******, which was partly censored around the term involving the rear end. The live feed had to mute him twice during his tirade, which seemed like they were barely trying to censor him. It’s almost like Steiner had a limit on what words he could say before he was eventually “suspended,” with full pay.
4 Davey Boy Smith Curses About The Shockmaster
Fred Ottman wrestled under a couple of different names. But the one that probably haunts him in retirement is “The Shockmaster.” The character was set to debut in 1993 to team with Sting, Dusty Rhodes and Davey Boy Smith in a match at the Fall Brawl pay-per-view that year. It was during a live television segment with Ric Flair as the host, Ottman would be announced as the mystery partner on the babyface side.
But as Ottman broke through the wall, he tripped in one of the most infamous incidents involving a wrestler’s debut. During the broadcast, Smith could be heard saying “He fell on his f***ing arse” multiple times. It was bleeped out for obvious reasons as it would be shown during the “Legends of Wrestling” show for WWE 24/7.
3 Scott Hall and Kevin Nash Stomping Out Fan
Hulk Hogan was always viewed as one of the best role models in professional wrestling. Hulkamania was running wild through the 1980s and early 1990s as children viewed him as a hero. Parents thought he was the right kind of wrestler the kids should be looking up to. And then the 1996 Bash at the Beach pay-per-view happened. Hogan joining Scott Hall and Kevin Nash to form the New World Order is an iconic moment in wrestling history.
However, the WWE Network edited out one part that showed how much of an impact Hogan’s turn had on the fans. One fan tried to climb into the ring, but was met by Hall and Nash. Both of The Outsiders got a few shots in at the fan before security escorted him out of the arena. It makes sense that the WWE wouldn’t want to show wrestlers attacking fans on their network; even if the fan sort of deserved it.
2 Sid Vicious’ Broken Leg
It’s certainly one of the most viral videos for sites like YouTube. In fact, a number of people still talk about Sid Vicious’ broken leg as one of the most grueling injuries to watch. Fans watching live never caught it when it actually happened during the WCW Sin pay-per-view in 2001. Sid attempted a big boot after jumping off the middle rope, only to land awkwardly as his leg snapped.
It was shown in a replay the next night on WCW Nitro. However, it was subsequently removed in future replays. The WWE Network has since removed the entire clip from their library. It makes sense. Besides, people who can handle watching the clip can easily find it on several websites by doing a simple search online.
1 Booker T Calls Hogan the N-Word
It can be understandable to get lost in the moment when delivering a promo live on television for millions of viewers at home. Especially when getting riled up like Booker T did for a promo against Hulk Hogan during Spring Stampede in 1997. Booker T would say “Hulk Hogan, we’re coming for you, n****!” Yes, he said that word starting with the letter “n.” Immediately, he realized his mistake and was kicking himself on live television.
The funniest thing about the moment is that it was shown as part of Booker T’s special video to announce his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013. The infamous line was played up until he said that dreaded n-word. Well, it’s not like you would expect they were going to replay that entire segment without some kind of edit.