When fans of professional wrestling talk to non wrestling fans about their love of the business, they're usually met with the same response: "You know it's fake, right?" Wrestling fans are quite aware that wrestling is "fake". We know that it isn’t realistic for grown men to continually punch each other in the head with their bare knuckles without drawing blood, leaving marks, or knocking each other out. We know that if you actually hit someone with a sledgehammer there is a good possibility that you will kill them. We know that the idea of someone the size of Rey Meysterio defeating someone as large as the Big Show in a real fight is quite laughable. We know that most people don't run around dressed in masks, put people through tables or repeatedly ask you to smell what they are cooking.
The truth of the matter is we watch professional wrestling for its entertainment value, just like many people watch scripted sitcoms, dramas, or reality shows for the same reason. The world of professional wrestling is highly entertaining and largely based on one's ability to suspend disbelief. There have been many ridiculous storylines and ludicrous characters across a variety of promotions over the years.
Having said that, it takes a special kind of person to be a professional wrestler and there have been countless stories of things that have happened in and around the business that have been passed down from generations of wrestlers and online through internet "dirt sheets". Many of those horrifying, despicable, or hilarious tales have turned out to be true. So when it comes to wrestling rumors, separating fact from fiction can be a daunting task and many people will believe just about anything. Let's take a look at 15 of the stupidest wrestling rumors that people believed to be true:
15 Rey Mysterio and Jennifer Aniston were in Love
I have no idea how this rumor started but the story that the WCW's high flying cruiserweight and one of the stars of the hit show Friends were dating was written about in a 1997 edition of the National Enquirer. Mysterio even addressed the rumor in his book saying, "I have no idea what that was about or where it came from. Maybe somebody wanted to get my name out there and started the rumor. Anyways, I thought it was funny. I even showed the story to my wife – best coming from me, no?"
"One thing I never let on about: I was the first guy to grab the magazine. And I still have a copy.”
14 Randy Orton defecated in a Diva's Bag
The Apex Predator's reputation backstage is spotty at best, so much so that many people believed a rumor that Orton had taken a number two in a diva's luggage. The diva in question, Rochelle Loewen, confirmed that Orton had poured self-tanning lotion and baby oil in her bag. That is still a dumb thing for someone to do, but not as bad as what was rumored. Loewen also added, "I wouldn't put it past him to s**t in my bag".
13 Vince McMahon's Presidential Candidacy
In a 2010 dream sequence promoting his wife Linda's real life bid to join the United States Senate on Monday Night Raw, Mr. McMahon proclaimed his intentions to run for President of the United States to a doctor played by Freddie Prinze, Jr. - after awakening from a coma no less. Although the segment was clearly not intended to be real, many people believed Vince McMahon really was planning a 2016 Presidential campaign. Truthfully, McMahon will not get a shot to a avenge his WrestleMania 23 loss to Donald Trump with the role of United States President on the line. Maybe he can take on Kanye West in 2020.
12 The Big Show is the Son of Andre the Giant
When Paul Wight, aka the Big Show, began wrestling for WCW in the early 1990s as The Giant he was first promoted as being the son of the legendary Andre the Giant. WCW dropped the idea after backlash from fans who saw it as disrespectful to the late French wrestler, but many people continued to believe it was true. Aside from their "Giant" names, large statures, and similar wrestling attires, the two pretty much share zero similarities.
11 Hulk Hogan and Brutus "the Barber" Beefcake are brothers
The origins of this rumor can quite easily be explained. Early in their careers, Terry Bollea and Ed Leslie will billed as brothers. They wrestled together as Terry and Ed Boulder and also as Hulk and Dizzy Hogan. They also sported similar golden locks of hair. Aside from that the two don't really look anything alike, but that didn't stop people from continue to believe the rumor, long after Leslie became Brutus Beefcake.
10 Multiple Kanes
Given that the WWE Superstar has worn a mask for much of his career, it hasn't been difficult for people to believe that there have been multiple people to portray the role of Kane.
Some people argue that Kane was taller in his early days which can easily be explained by the fact that he once wore lifts in his boots, but took them out to avoid foot injuries. Other people will tell you that they changed Kane when he took off his mask. Kane has always been portrayed by the same man though, Glenn Jacobs, well except for that one time when The Undertaker was Kane and the other time when there was an impostor Kane.
9 Jerry Lawler hates ECW
In a rarity for the WWF, they referenced their competitors on Monday Night Raw when commentator Jerry Lawler tore into ECW, referring to it as "Extremely Crappy Wrestling" and criticized the promotion for their lack of fans and "untalented" wrestlers. The whole thing led to a seemingly real confrontation with Paul Heyman. Many fans believed that Lawler's beef with ECW was legitimate.
Lawler eventually addressed the rumors in an interview with Club WWI:
“The appearance that I didn’t like ECW and everything is hopefully attributed to my ability to sell what we’re trying to do on the air. A lot of people think I really, absolutely hated ECW, which couldn’t have been further from the truth. If you look back, you’ll see that I was the only one who went and worked with ECW from the WWE. I went and worked their pay-per-views. You don’t work on someone’s pay-per-view and wrestle on their show if there’s genuine bad feelings between the two. I was always… I won’t say a big fan, because I was down in Memphis and I didn’t really get to see firsthand all they were doing. I heard about it. I knew. Because we were trying to keep the Memphis Territory afloat, I knew the struggles and hardships these guys were going through.”
8 Donald Trump bought Monday Night Raw
A 2009 WWE storyline involved billionaire Donald Trump "buying" Monday Night Raw from Vince McMahon. After purchasing the show, Trump promised to make the next episode of Raw commercial free and offered to give free refunds to paying customers. The USA Network even issued a phony press release announcing the "sale". Unfortunately for the WWE, many people thought the sale was real and the story was picked up by several news organizations. The company's stock priced dropped by nearly 7% and the USA Network issued an apology. On the Monday Night Raw that followed, Vince McMahon "bought" back the show from Trump for double the price.
7 Lex Luger Spoiled a Potential Title Win
Lex Luger's big WWE push in 1993 led many to believe he would win the title from Yokozuna at SummerSlam. That didn't happen, but when Luger and Bret Hart tied as the following year's Royal Rumble winners - setting up a three man tournament for the title - it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Luger would beat Yokozuna. Luger lost the match by disqualification for shoving special guest referee Mr. Perfect and fans began grasping at straws to rationalize why Luger wasn't given the title.
The rumor began that plans called for Luger to win the title, but those plans were changed after he was overheard telling people about it in a bar the night before. Luger has said that he was told he would not win the title several months in advance and spent the night before the bout at the home of a friend of his wife in Connecticut, not at a bar in New York City. Did people not just figure that Bret Hart was way more over, hence why he won the title?
6 Paul Orndorff's Death
Mr. Wonderful was one of wrestling's top heels in the 1980s and feuded with American hero Hulk Hogan. However, Orndorff left the WWE in 1988 and disappeared from wrestling for several years. Wondering what had happened to Orndorff, fans jumped to the logical conclusion that he must have died. Of course, Paul Orndorff didn't die and he eventually returned to wrestling. In 2005 he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and was very much alive when he gave his induction speech.
5 Hulk Hogan's Black Eye
Hogan showed up at WrestleMania IX to team with Brutus "the Barber" Beefcake to take on the Money Inc team of Ted DiBiase and Irwin R. Shyster and ended the night as WWE Champion. However, Hogan garnered much of his attention that night for the shiner above his left eye.
Rumors began to swirl about the cause of his black eye, with the most widespread belief being that he was punched by an angry Macho Man Randy Savage. The truth, according to Hogan and the WWE, is that he was in a jet-ski accident two days before WrestleMania.
4 Two Ultimate Warriors
The Ultimate Warrior made several changes to his appearance during his time in the WWE, most notably in 1992 when he returned after an absence with shorter, lighter hair and a smaller physique. Rumors ran rampant that the real Warrior had died and was replaced by someone else. Apparently that explanation made more sense than Warrior changing his hair style and losing muscle mass.
One rumor even suggested that the Warrior's death was caused by his tassled arm bands cutting off blood circulation. The idea of using a different wrestler to portray the same character isn't all that unfounded and has been done numerous times, just not in this case. The Ultimate Warrior was always portrayed by Jim Hellwig, who later legally changed his name to Warrior. Sadly, he passed away for real in 2014.
3 Vince Russo was sent to Destroy WCW
I'm not sure what it says about the man's career that this one is so widely believed. Russo was a big part of the writing team that launched the WWE's Attitude Era, but after failing to get the credit he deserved, Russo departed for WCW where he became the iceberg to the promotion's Titanic. Russo's work as WCW's head writer, which included putting the title on himself, led to the death of the company.
To this day there are people who still believe that it was all a setup by Vince McMahon to take down WCW from within. For that to be true, the two Vinces would have had to know beforehand that Russo would be given the autonomy to do whatever he wanted regardless of how badly it hurt WCW's product.
2 Randy Savage's feud with the WWE
The Macho Man Randy Savage is one of the most iconic characters in the WWE's history. Savage made his last in ring appearance for the WWE in 1994 and after years away from the company many believed that he was blacklisted from wrestling's top promotion. There were rumors that Savage's name had become a dirty word around Vince McMahon and there have been many different stories about why Savage never worked with the WWE again, some of them completely absurd. The biggest would be of Savage dating a teenaged Stephanie McMahon.
The truth yhe WWE continued to sell Macho Man action figures and DVDs for many years and in 2003 they even conducted an interview with Savage in Smackdown magazine in which it was made known that he simply chose to pursue other ventures away from wrestling after leaving WCW. As for Savage's delayed induction into the WWE Hall of Fame following his May 20, 2011 death, that can be chalked up to his family wanting to honor the Macho Man's wishes to have his father and brother inducted with him.
1 Bret Hart was in on the Montreal Screwjob
The Montreal Screwjob, in which Vince McMahon legitimately cost a departing Bret Hart the WWE Title at the 1997 Survivor Series, may be the most talked about incident in the promotion's history. It's common knowledge that Bret Hart didn't know he was going to be forced to lose the belt that night and only Vince McMahon, Hart's opponent - Shawn Michaels - and a select few were in on the plot, but that hasn't stop people from spreading the rumor that Bret was included.
The fact that the incident allowed Bret Hart to lose the title without being disgraced in his home country of Canada and helped develop the heel character of Mr. McMahon and the convenience of the incident being recorded for Hart's Wrestling with Shadows documentary make this one difficult to dispute. Still, besides the documentary getting a great ending, how did any of this benefit Hart? WCW screwed him far worse than Vince McMahon did and Hart's career dwindled from there. Hart has also said that had been in WWE in 1999, Owen would have never gone through with the stunt at Over The Edge.