The WWE is still the undisputed champion when it comes to creating top-notch content, and Vince McMahon has pledged to produce intriguing storylines even if it means sex, blackmail, kidnapping or death should be involved. The WWE Universe has lately been disparaging WWE for producing childish content but somehow lose their minds when the product becomes as edgy as it was during the Attitude Era. However, WWE still incorporates death into its storylines despite being lambasted online for the same.
Through the years, The Undertaker has been involved in umpteen storylines involving death, and upon his arrival, WWE informed its fans that The Deadman's parents had been killed as well as his younger brother. Kane, after his Diesel and Isaac Yankem gimmicks failed miserably, debuted – with a burnt face – as The Phenom's younger brother, who had survived the fire, later revealed to have been set by his older brother. Accordingly, the Brothers of Destruction is a faction consisting of a double murderer and a giant, who almost kicked the bucket because of his teammate.
Besides these absurd made-up storylines involving death, WWE has also capitalized on the real death of its employees or family members of its employees to create a new storyline or build momentum to a boring storyline. WWE has been widely criticized for the same, but it looks as though WWE creative team is not going to go easy on deaths despite the world – not just WWE Universe – looking for the next opportunity to criticize WWE. The following article will take you through 16 instances or storylines in which WWE audaciously used death in order to sell their product.
16 16. Vincent James McMahon's Real Death
The McMahons have been accused of being insensitive to the sufferings of its employees. However, they proved they would even shame themselves to sell their product in an episode of Raw during the Invasion angle.
15 15. Storyline Death of Big Show's Father
14 14. The Undertaker's Storyline Murder Attempt
13 13. Road Warrior Hawk's Storyline Suicide Attempt
Unlike Hollywood, WWE's product often blurs the line between reality and storyline, which is often why true wrestling fans have been forced to answer why they watch wrestling despite knowing its predetermined nature. That is another issue, and people, who ask that question, have a special place in hell.
12 12. Steve Austin's Storyline Near Death
11 11. Superstar Billy Graham's Storyline Death
10 10. Utilizing the Death of Jerry Lawler's Mother
With Jerry Lawler's mother Hazel Lawler passing away halfway through the feud between the King and Michael Cole, WWE incorporated her death to get the crowd invested in the storyline.
Cole told Lawler that his mother died only after watching him lose his WWE Championship match against The Miz and managed to elicit the desired reaction from the WWE Universe; however, fans complained that Cole's comments were distasteful.
9 9. Sacrificing the lady McMahon
In another story involving the Ministry of Darkness, The Undertaker kidnapped Stephanie McMahon in an attempt to sacrifice her after marrying her in an Unholy Ceremony.
8 8. Ridiculous Tim White suicide angle
Lunchtime Suicide angle ranks amongst one of the most random and pointless angles WWE has ever come up with. If WWE creative's ambition was to be denigrated online, they have succeeded at it.
WWE aired referee Tim White's continual unsuccessful suicide attempts, with Josh Matthews interviewing him every time before he attempted suicide. With his first failed attempt being staged at his bar named The Friendly Tap in Cumberland, he would go on to try rat poison and other such items before shooting the interviewer.
7 7. The Bizarre Death of Al Wilson
This storyline had almost everything that fans would take only seconds to protest against – blackmail, sex and of course, death. However, there can never be a worse way to use death in any wrestling storyline.
Al Wilson, Torrie Wilson's father, would marry Dawn Marie – with the couple wearing only underwear – after Marie had tricked Torrie into sleeping with her. Al would die on his honeymoon because of having sex with no breaks in between.
6 6. Cheap Heat Involving Late Reid Flair
Reid Flair's drug addiction and eventual death is easily one of the most depressing stories to come out of the wrestling industry.
However, WWE unashamedly used his death to sell a rather subpar feud between Paige and Charlotte. WWE made Paige slam Reid by stating he did not have enough fight in him. Early into their respective careers, the divas could not turn down the idea, but it was later revealed that WWE did not seek the permission of Reid's parents - Reid's mother later called out WWE on Twitter, and Ric Flair voiced his frustration – before his name could be used on live television.
5 5. Vince being Vince
Vince's genius is undisputed, but this brainchild of his hugely backfired as WWE stock prices went down because of this.
4 4. Katie Vick
This storyline has been branded as the worst WWE creative team has ever come up with.
Triple H accused Kane of murder and necrophilia, stating Kane's semen was found in his girlfriend's corpse though Kane defended himself declaring that him being drunk was the reason why the accident took place. To substantiate his claims, Hunter – the current COO – would put Kane's mask on and bang a mannequin inside of a casket at a funeral.
3 3. Exploiting Brian Pillman's Death
WWE literally promoted an interview with the late Brian Pillman's widow merely hours after his untimely death, and reports suggest that their advertising tactics earned them great quarter hour rating.
The interview was rather distasteful, with McMahon – the interviewer – being insensitive to the widow. This incident splits opinion as a considerable number of fans shame his wife for tempting WWE into making this interview possible. Given the depressing life led by Pillman's children from his first marriage, it is safe to assume his second wife deserves as much blame as WWE.
2 2. Lying to Paul Bearer's family
With WWE branding its product as family-friendly, this storyline was totally uncalled for. With The Undertaker and CM Punk penciled in to lock horns at WrestleMania XXIX, Paul Bearer, The Undertaker's storyline father, died, and WWE creative used his death to make the storyline more engaging. They succeeded at it, but a considerable number of fans felt that it was in bad taste. WWE had CM Punk play with the urn, which had Bearer's ashes, according to the storyline, and it was regarded as a huge disrespect to a legend.
1 1. An Entire Storyline out of Eddie's Death
With Vickie Guerrero willing to be involved in the storyline, McMahon cashed in on the premature death of Eddie Guerrero. McMahon had Rey Mysterio use the sympathy of fans in light of his best friend's death to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Vickie was later embroiled in the storyline as she aligned with Chavo Guerrero to shame Mysterio for making a living out of Eddie's death. WWE even had Randy Orton infamously claim Eddie was in hell.
To this day, fans still talk about this storyline as the WWE Universe feels this angle should have never made it to WWE television. Mysterio 'winning the title for Eddie' tops the list because of the extent to which WWE utilized the death of its loyal employee.
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