Sports entertainment is a type of spectacle, which presents an ostensibly competitive event using a high level of theatrical flourish and extravagant presentation, with the purpose of entertaining an audience. Unlike typical athletics and games, which are conducted for competition, sportsmanship, exercise, or personal reflection, the primary product of sports entertainment is performance for an audience's benefit, thus they are never practiced privately. Commonly, but not in all cases, the outcomes are predetermined; as this is an open secret, it is not considered to be match fixing. In 1989, the company used the phrase in a case it made to the New Jersey Senate for classifying professional wrestling as "sports entertainment" and thus not subjecting it to regulation like a directly competitive sport.
In this aspect, we as spectators are meant to suspend our disbelief while watching the product and simply enjoy it for what it is, sports entertainment. However, sometimes this form of entertainment can toe the line a bit too closely, coming across more controversial or tasteless than something one would call enjoyable. When this happens it results in one of two ways. First, if it is an angle or storyline that is simply controversial, most fans are able to separate themselves from this and still enjoy the entertainment value without having a negative reaction. On the other hand, when an angle or storyline is tasteless it almost always results in some form of backlash. This can occur in the form of online bashing, letters, protesting, etc... The bottom line is, professional wrestling is meant to be a form of entertainment but when you like to push the envelope, every once in a while you may push it a little too far and not in a good way. Risks have to be taken to put out a good product, but these entries were just plain tasteless and common sense should have been exercised in nixing these ideas.
10 10. Pepper
In the WWE's Hardcore division, Big Boss Man's major feud was with Al Snow, a feud that eventually involved Snow's pet chihuahua, Pepper. At SummerSlam, the two competed in a Falls Count Anywhere match that spilled into the backstage area, the street and, finally, into a nearby bar. Just prior to the match, Snow had set Pepper's pet carrier near the entranceway, so minutes into the match, Boss Man picked it up, taunted Pepper, and struck Snow with the carrier (carelessly tossed it behind him). Jim Ross immediately apologized to viewers for the act, and stated that Pepper had actually been removed from the box prior to the match.
On the April 5, 2004 episode of RAW, Nick Dinsmore made his WWE debut as Eugene. He was portrayed as the “special” and overly excited nephew of RAW general manager Eric Bischoff.
8 Matt Hardy Did It
At the 2009 Royal Rumble, after losing an ECW Championship rematch to Swagger, Matt Hardy attacked his brother Jeff with a steel chair, allowing Edge to win the WWE Championship. On the January 27, 2009 episode of ECW, it was announced by General Manager Teddy Long that Hardy had requested, and been granted, his release from ECW, and had re-signed with the SmackDown brand. On the January 30 edition of SmackDown, Hardy explained that his actions at the Royal Rumble were due to him being fed up with "sharing the spotlight" with Jeff and taking care of Jeff when he was nothing more than a "self-destructive screw-up" and a "constant mistake", and that, from that point onward, he no longer considered Jeff as a partner or sibling.
7 Jeff Hardy vs. Sting – TNA Victory Road 2011
On March 23, 2011, Sting defended his TNA Heavyweight Title against Jeff Hardy at Victory Road in the main event. The match was contested under no disqualification rules but ended up being over in only 90 seconds when Sting pinned Jeff Hardy after hitting the Scorpion Death Drop (the one and only move in the entire match). After the match, the fans were visibly upset voicing their displeasure while Sting walked back up the ramp, Sting – who had a sour look on his face during most of this – said, “I agree, I agree.”
6 Vince and Trish
In early 2001, Trish Stratus became involved in an angle with WWE chairman Vince McMahon, during a time when Vince's wife Linda was institutionalized following a demand Vince had made for a divorce during an episode of SmackDown on December 7, 2000. Vince and Stratus's relationship increasingly angered the boss' daughter, Stephanie McMahon.
5 Katie Vick
In October 2002, Kane began feuding with Triple H, leading to a match at No Mercy on October 20 in which both Kane's Intercontinental Championship and Triple H's World Heavyweight Championship were at stake. In the weeks preceding the match, Triple H claimed that several years earlier, Kane had an unrequited relationship with a woman named Katie Vick. He claimed that after Vick was killed in a car crash, Kane had sex with her.
4 Piggy James
Mickie James made her SmackDown debut in October 2009 with a win over Layla. On the October 30 episode of SmackDown, a controversial angle began that saw WWE Women's Champion Michelle McCool and Layla (collectively known as LayCool) bully James.
3 Constant Humiliation of Jim Ross
In WCW during the late 90s, Ed Ferrara took the on screen name of Oklahoma and began copying WWE announcer Jim Ross, also mimicking his Bell’s Palsy. He had previously done an impersonation of Ross in the WWE during an angle with Tiger Ali Singh where he was called from the audience as a fan and did his Ross impression. The character was considered by most as distasteful and nothing more than a means for Russo and Ferrara to put their own grievances on the air.
2 New Jack
In October 2004, New Jack, wrestling for Thunder Wrestling Federation, was scheduled to fight fellow wrestler William Jason Lane. During the match, New Jack pulled out a metal blade from his camouflage wrestling attire, and stabbed Lane 14 times; this action caused New Jack to receive various felony charges, including for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and aggravated assault to commit murder.
1 Exploiting Eddie Guerrero's Death
On November 13, 2005, Guerrero was found unconscious in his hotel room (The Marriott City Center) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, by his nephew, Chavo Guerrero. Chavo attempted CPR, but Guerrero was pronounced dead when paramedics arrived at the scene. He was 38 years old. An autopsy revealed that Guerrero died as a result of acute heart failure due to underlying atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. That same day at a WWE "Super Show" where SmackDown and RAW were both taped, Mysterio gave an emotional speech about Guerrero, and in a show of respect removed his mask (though he put his head down, so no one could see his face). Mysterio went on to defeat Shawn Michaels in an interpromotional match later that night. After the match, Michaels and Mysterio hugged in the ring and Mysterio pointed up to the sky, crying, in memory of Guerrero.
Fast-forward two months; Mysterio was the second entrant in the 2006 Royal Rumble match. He won the match and earned a world title shot, last eliminating Randy Orton. He lasted 62 minutes, a Royal Rumble record. Orton urged him to put the title shot at stake in a match at No Way Out. In the weeks preceding No Way Out, Orton made extremely disparaging and disrespectful remarks about Eddie Guerrero. Many fans felt the comments were unwarranted and distasteful in the wake of Guerrero's death. The WWE’s choice to utilize Eddie Guerrero’s death as a promotional tactic was not only tasteless it was by far the most disgusting moment in the history of professional wrestling. It "won" the Wrestling Observer's annual "award" for the Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic, and for good reason.
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