In professional wrestling, Vince McMahon is undoubtedly the king of the world. When you’re the WWE, the conqueror of sports entertainment, buying out multiple promotions, beating WCW in the famed Monday Night Wars, poaching various ECW talent from Paul Heyman and basically, holding a monopoly over professional wrestling (as has been the case for 15 years now), you can change history any way you see fit. It’s like in Game of Thrones when Cersei told Joffrey that when he sits on the throne, “the truth will be what you make it.”
In the same vein, that is exactly what Vince McMahon has been doing for decades. From changing the perception and portrayals of superstars, to downplaying rival companies, to painting superstars as villains, to doing just about everything to make WWE look perfect, there is a lot of revisionist history that today’s fans may not even realize unless they’re told about it. You can’t even use the WWE Network for verification as WWE made sure to have loads of “network specials” and documentaries that tell a different story to what actually happened.
Luckily for those fans, we’ll be dissecting various moments from the past in which Vince McMahon has seen fit to change for his and his company’s benefits. Here are 15 times WWE conveniently lied to the fans to make themselves look good.
15. The Original Sin Cara
The WWE was probably pretty embarrassed as to just how big of a disappointment Mistico was in WWE. Mistico was a big star in Mexico and took the name of Sin Cara when coming to WWE. Known for botches and injury issues, as well as attitude problems, Mistico was phased out and Hunico was given the Sin Cara gimmick. While fans were willing to accept that, WWE still felt the need to lie about who the original Sin Cara was. When Hunico was part of a media conference in Mexico City back in 2014, WWE told the Mexican media that Hunico was Sin Cara all along. Sure, because Mexico would just forget about one of their big stars.
14. Title Reigns
Before the age of the internet, wrestling promotions were able to get away with lying about certain statistics and events to their fans. One that WWE used was lying about the length of title reigns. While WWE has claimed Fabulous Moolah held the Women’s Championship for 28 consecutive years, the truth is, she lost the title several times throughout that run. The first time WWE recognized a title change though, was her loss to Wendi Richter in 1984.
13. Attendance Figures
While this is a lie perhaps not too many fans care about greatly, it bears mentioning. Promoters throughout history have lied about attendance figures and WWE is no different. They’ve inflated attendance numbers countless times, with one being WrestleMania III in the Pontiac Silverdome. While WWE constantly boasts about the 93,000 fans they fit in there, the actual figure was closer to 78,000. That number is impressive enough, considering WrestleMania wasn’t anywhere near the phenomenon it is today. Perhaps the inflated number was just to make WrestleMania seem like a big deal. Looks like it worked.
12. Roman Reigns
This is actually happening right now (so it kind of counts) but in the future, we’ll all know how revisionist the perception of Roman Reigns will be. Think about it, he is regularly booed week in, week out. WWE goes to extreme lengths to protect him and make him look good, and they’ve even altered fan signs that make Roman look bad or in one case, boring.
His WrestleMania entrance this year was clearly muted due to the amount of boos which will only confuse future viewers as to why the face of the company is getting no reaction whatsoever during his entrance. What they will see down the years though, is that Reigns has repeatedly overcome the odds and did it to standing ovations as a popular babyface.
In the end, no matter how it actually went down, WWE will make Roman look strong whether we like it or not.
11. WrestleMania 7 Being Moved Due To Bomb Threats
WrestleMania 7 was supposed to be a huge clash between Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior, with WWE booking the venue for the event at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which could hold over 100,000 fans.
However, Warrior failed to get over as a babyface and was soon moved into a program with Randy Savage. Hogan was now set to feud with a heel Sgt. Slaughter (who was an Iraqi sympathizer at a time when the Gulf War broke out) which wasn’t what the fans were coming to expect. As a result, ticket sales for the event were extremely poor as the WWE eventually moved the venue to the smaller Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, where the official attendance was just 16,158.
How does the WWE explain the change in venue? Bomb threats due to Sgt. Slaughter’s gimmick.
10. The Ultimate Warrior’s WCW Debut
When The Ultimate Warrior debuted on WCW, it was one of Vince’s formerly top guys joining a rival company which led to a long (and slightly boring) promo by the Warrior. It was a huge moment in professional wrestling nonetheless but WWE had something to say about it as usual.
In WWE’s revisionist history, especially in the DVD “The Self-Destruction of The Ultimate Warrior”, they claim The Warrior’s WCW debut was a ratings disaster. You guessed it. It was anything but, as WCW beat WWE on the night with a superior 4.9 rating compared to WWE’s 4.2 rating.
The Warrior’s segment itself drew a 6.4 rating, one of the highest ever in wrestling history, blitzing RAW’s 3.1 rating for their Brawl for All semi-final which took place at the same time.
9. Hulk Hogan’s Elimination in the 1992 Royal Rumble
Hulk Hogan was WWE’s poster child for a long time. However, like most good guys today (John Cena or Roman Reigns), he became stale and fans became tired of him overcoming the odds and always winning. So in the 1992 Royal Rumble when Sid Vicious eliminated him, the video releases of the event showed that Sid was booed because he eliminated a crowd favorite.
In reality, Sid was actually cheered for eliminating Hogan and this can even be seen if you watch the Royal Rumble on the WWE Network. WWE still went to extreme lengths to protect Hogan and portray him as the good guy nonetheless.
Sounds extremely familiar, doesn’t it?
8. Bret Hart in the Montreal Screwjob
The Montreal Screwjob will always go down as one of the most surreal (as well as real) moments in professional wrestling. What WWE will tell you is that Bret Hart’s contract was up the night following the 1997 Survivor Series but because the Canadian didn’t want to drop the title in Canada to his bitter rival, Shawn Michaels, Vince McMahon had no choice but to screw Bret in order to protect his championship from a lurking WCW.
What’s revisionist about this is that Hart’s contract wasn’t expiring the night after Survivor Series. In fact, his contract wasn’t up for another few weeks and he even maintained he’d drop the title after Survivor Series to anyone but Michaels. He was even ready to surrender the title to Vince the next night on RAW. But in the end, WWE have led you to believe that “Bret screwed Bret.”
7. The Portrayal of Triple H
Triple H has been a main eventer for about 17 years now; he’s undoubtedly one of the best superstars the business has seen, a future Hall of Famer and is likely to succeed Vince McMahon when the time is right. However, there is a bewildering portrayal of The Game as being a “top guy” in the WWE, especially if you look at the past.
The Cerebral Assassin has always been one of the top guys, of course, but he was never the top guy (or THE GUY like Roman calls himself). When he was rising to prominence, he wasn’t as popular as Stone Cold or later on, as popular as The Rock. When the duo left wrestling, he was in the shadow of rising stars like John Cena, Batista, Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton.
He did have a brief run as the top guy maybe, in 2002 when he returned from his quad injury but that only lasted a few months before he was back to being a B+ player. The simple truth is that as good as he was, he was never WWE’s face of the company.
6. 3:16 Sparked The Beginning of Stone Cold’s Rise
There are many moments that define the beginning of WWE’s famed Attitude Era. The Montreal Screwjob which led to the birth of “Mr. McMahon” could be labeled as one or Stone Cold beating Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 14 could also be seen as what ushered in the era. However, some point to Austin’s 3:16 promo after he won the 1996 King of the Ring as the defining moment. There is a good case for that, but what is very misinterpreted is the 3:16 promo being the beginning of Stone Cold’s rise.
While it did put him on the map as he slowly but organically got over, it took a while for Vince McMahon to realize the star that he possessed. There were no immediate Austin 3:16 merchandise nor was Austin suddenly seen as “the guy” as one would have you believe. Austin wasn’t even in any meaningful feuds following King of the Ring as it was only until Survivor Series, about five months later that culminated in Austin becoming a star during his feud with Bret Hart.
5. DX Being A Main Reason WWE Won The Monday Night Wars
A classic case of WWE revisionism is the perception of the two defining stables of the Monday Night Wars — The nWo and D-Generation X. DX was created as a response to the nWo and while they were a pretty over group, they are constantly portrayed as more successful than the nWo especially under the Triple H era.
The fact is, while DX were popular, they were nowhere near as popular or “better” than the nWo. The nWo changed professional wrestling. They were the bad guys everyone hated but also loved to cheer. Their core group was full of main eventers while DX’s group at their prime had Triple H leading X-Pac, Road Dogg, Billy Gunn and Chyna – upper midcarders at best.
The nWo may have lost WCW the Monday Night Wars but it was because of the likes of Mike Tyson, Vince McMahon, Stone Cold and The Rock among other things — not because of DX solely.
4. Jeff Jarrett Contract Dispute
Jeff Jarrett’s time at WWE is infamously known for the way he exited the promotion. According to revisionist history, Jarrett held out for a lot of money to put over Chyna in a match for the Intercontinental title at No Mercy. Because his contract expired a day before the pay-per-view, the tale says Jarrett extorted Vince McMahon for $300,000 just to be able to wrestle one match without a contract.
However, in reality, Jarrett was just paid what he was owed by the company up front. WWE aren’t too keen on letting that side of the story be known though, as Jarrett has been painted as the villain ever since, with Vince getting his revenge by firing Jarrett on live TV when he acquired WCW.
If WWE had avoided this situation in 1999, the wrestling future may have been very different, the biggest instance being with TNA not coming into existence.
3. Daniel Bryan’s WrestleMania Moment
Daniel Bryan had a heck of a few months dating from SummerSlam 2013 to WrestleMania 30. Bryan won the title at WrestleMania, much to the approval of the IWC in what was a genuinely amazing WrestleMania moment. However, many people seem to think this was WWE’s plan all along for Bryan when it was barely the case.
One just needs to see the lack of capitalization on Bryan’s rise, especially when he turned on the Wyatts during a Cage match on RAW. To make matters worse, he didn’t even feature in the 2014 Royal Rumble, causing fans to boo one of the best babyfaces in the number 30 entrant, Rey Mysterio. In fact, the original plans for WrestleMania called or Batista vs. Orton, CM Punk vs. Triple H and Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus. CM Punk’s departure likely played a big part in plans being changed.
WWE eventually caved in to the “YES Movement” rather than this special moment being planned long term, which is what it will look like when people look back at Bryan’s career in the future.
2. Andre The Giant
When you think of Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, you think of the time Hogan bodyslammed Andre at WrestleMania 3 — one of the most iconic moments in professional wrestling. It only further propelled an already popular Hogan who was the poster child of the organization.
What WWE won’t tell you is that it wasn’t the first time Andre The Giant had been slammed. He had been slammed before by other superstars, let alone by Hulk Hogan who had already done it a couple of times before the event.
Wonder how WWE would respond to that now?
1. Monday Night Wars
The biggest revision of history that the WWE have constantly insisted on is that WCW wasn’t very good at its peak. For one, they rarely mention how WCW beat WWE 84 weeks in a row in the ratings. If they ever do mention WCW as being superior, it’s because they “stole” wrestlers from Vince McMahon, who coincidentally, stole lots of talent as well with a prime example being none other than Hulk Hogan.
One would think that the fact that WWE triumphed despite being below WCW in the ratings for over a year is a testament to how they adapted and can only be seen as a good thing right? Not for Vince who seems hellbent on putting WCW down even to this day.
See: Sting’s WrestleMania debut.
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