Kayfabe is the heart and soul of professional wrestling. It's what separates fantasy from reality, but it's not so easy to maintain one hundred percent of the time. There have been many, many instances where on-screen characters have broken sports entertainment's sacred rule; some smaller than others, some much larger in comparison. This list will feature some of our favorite moments, some of the saddest moments, and some of the more important moments in wrestling history.
It's important to note that Vince Russo is famous for his contributions as head creative writer for WWE and WCW during the heart of the Monday Night Wars, often times trying to blur the line between reality and kayfabe. It was an extremely popular tactic and made for very interesting television at times, but everyone in the wrestling community felt that he played that card a little too often, not unlike M. Night Shyamalan's affinity for writing plot twists just for the sake of shock value. This practice became known as "Crash TV," where weekly chaos was heavily preferred over elongated storylines, so more than a few of these will involve the work of Vince Russo in one way or another. Over time fans grew tiresome of this mechanic and WCW was eventually bought out by rival WWE.
We know there are some obvious moments that have been omitted, like practically all of Scott Steiner's or Sid Vicious' promos, but we figure that this list is fairly well-rounded and covers a lot of bases. We tried to include a variety of different methods of breaking kayfabe, ranging from shoot interviews, usage of profanity on live television, on-screen mentions of backstage politics, comedy so good that it made both heels and faces laugh, all the way to one of the most unfortunately real situations to ever happen on television.
We hope you enjoy our top 15 moments of character breaks in sports entertainment!
16 The Shockmaster's Grand Entrance
15 Gene Okerlund Drops an F-Bomb
*Video is NSFW!
If ever there's a quintessential voice for announcing, it's the smooth tone of Mean Gene Okerlund. However, his voice couldn't save him from dropping the f-bomb during a live interview with Rick Rude when the SummerSlam sign behind them suddenly fell to the ground. "Gentlemen, as you know The Ultimate Warrior... (sign falls) F-it!" That's the entire length of the interview which had to be cut away from prematurely as a frustrated Mean Gene continued to complain into a muted microphone. What makes the situation even funnier is that Vince McMahon can be heard in the background, not in the above video, sarcastically saying "Nice glue..." immediately after his production set falls apart.
13 WCW's Failed Gimmick "Seven"
12 Drunk Scott Hall
11 Lex Luger Forgets... Everything
10 Jim Ross Informs PPV Audience of Owen Hart's Passing
9 Bobby Heenan Curses on Live TV
*Video is NSFW!
8 Sting Shoots on Jeff Hardy
7 Madusa Throws Away the WWW Women's Championship on WCW TV
6 The Rock Loses His Voice
5 Booker T Calls Hogan the N-Word
*Video is NSFW!
4 Bash at the Beach 2000
3 Triple H Consoles Crying Fan
2 The Montreal Screwjob
1 The Infamous Curtain Call
Also known as the Madison Square Garden Incident, members of The Kliq all decided to bid farewell to Scott Hall and Kevin Nash (who were leaving WWE for WCW) in the middle of the ring, despite the fact that at the time they were a mixture of heels and faces. It isn't uncommon for wrestlers to bounce from one company to another, but never before have any of them broken the mother of all kayfabe rules: never acknowledge that you're all friends outside of the ring. What happens in the ring is supposed to happen in real life as well, so when Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Diesel (Kevin Nash), and Razor Ramon (Scott Hall) all hugged each other and saluted the crowd together, wrestling history was made in the process. Sure, it was only a house show in 1996, but it marked one of the first times that the crowd was intentionally made aware that wrestling isn't real. In an interesting twist of fate, the push that was in line for Triple H was set aside because of this incident, which paved the way for a new era of professional wrestling to be kick-started by a wrestler named Stone Cold Steve Austin.
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