The world of pro-wrestling has gone through vast changes over the years, in terms of presentation and the art form in general. Never one to shy away from controversy, the wonderful world of men and women in tights doesn’t solely rely on the action seen in the ring, but more so the stories that unfold before the athletes duke it out against one another.
Over the course of a few decades, the entertainment business hasn’t only gotten bigger, but the goal to shock is apparent, and when it comes to wrestling, there are no boundaries. Since the “Monday Night Wars” spawned a new era in wrestling where backstage segments and an abundance of promos were necessary to enhance the product, it gave us more to laugh, cry, and cringe about.
But it’s not like racism, misogyny, sexuality, and extreme violence wasn’t a part of pro-wrestling before; it just wasn’t as obvious. In an era where wrestling promotions were at war for the hearts of fans across the globe, there were some truly unfortunate instances where the acting went too far, or the buildup for a feud left viewers with a terrible taste in their mouths. Even after WWE and WCW’s ratings battle, some segments were just so distasteful and downright avoidable.
On the other hand, some storylines were less offensive and just so hilarious that they can’t be denied as an integral moment in wrestling history, not to mention pro-wrestling culture. However, those are going to be left home, since the title for this specific offering recommends the storylines be insensitive and offensive.
Here are some of the most disgusting storylines that forced us to turn the other cheek:
20 Eric Bischoff’s Hot Lesbian Action
Eric Bischoff thought he would raise awareness for Unforgiven 2002 by giving fans “Hot Lesbian Action” (abbreviated to HLA), where two women would be subject to taking off their clothes and go even further. If that doesn’t do it for you, the former WCW man had “3-Minute Warning” pummel these two unfortunate souls quite harshly (in that particular instance, they were female wrestlers Looney Lane and Savvy Sasha.)
19 Referee Tim White’s Lunchtime Suicide
When WWE official Tim White grew depressed based on his injuries sustained in the ring while officiating, he was seen in The Friendly Tap bar attempting to kill himself with a shotgun. It turns out he shot himself in the foot, and tried multiple ways of wasting himself weeks later. Not only is flirting with a suicide angle incredibly offensive (and it’s not the last on our list), this came shortly after Eddie Guerrero’s death.
18 Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio Fight For Dominick’s Custody
You definitely don’t need a poor angle to build up matches between Guerrero and Rey Mysterio, yet WWE felt the need to insert Dominick, Mysterio’s son, claiming Guerrero was his biological father and gave the youngster to his friend after Rey and his wife couldn’t have children. It all came full circle in a Ladder Match at SummerSlam 2005 for the custody of Dominick, after members from both families would be involved in the plot.
Talk about putting a kid in a bad spot, while making Rey look like a bad father.
17 Boss Man Interrupts Big Show’s Father’s Funeral
While some may enjoyed seeing Big Show hop on his father’s casket while Big Boss Man dragged it farther and farther in a getaway vehicle, it was sort of unfortunate that WWE had to include someone’s father dying and a heel making fun of it. Call it a classic move from a bad guy, yet it was pretty sad and embarrassing when looking back at WWE history.
16 Piggy James
LayCool members Layla El and Michelle McCool thought it would be a good idea to make fun of Mickie James’ physique, labeling her “Piggy James” to insinuate a weight problem. Not only was the former five-time WWE Women’s Champion in amazing shape, it suggested a specific look women needed to have to be represented as a Diva, which is pretty disgusting. Clearly, this doesn’t fall on LayCool members more so than the ideology of WWE writers, who came up with this atrocious and sexist angle.
15 CM Punk Mocks Paul Bearer’s Death In Undertaker Feud
Based on his views and principles, we can safely say CM Punk is a realist, shying away from corporate ideologies and forcing himself into being a yes-man.
That said, whoever’s idea it was to pour Paul Bearer’s ashes over The Undertaker weeks after the legendary manager’s death was a poor one, besides mocking Bearer in promos, too. The Moody family had signed off on the angle, but does that make it justifiable?
14 Chuck & Billy’s Wedding
Looking back at Billy Gunn and Chuck Palumbo’s alliance and supposed romance, it wouldn’t have been bad if wrestling took gender seriously and didn’t make fun of the idea of two men falling in love.
To say wrestling is homoerotic would be an understatement, yet ironically, it has been a homophobic world for quite some time. When Billy & Chuck got married on an episode of SmackDown in 2002, it resulted in heavy backlash from GLAAD who were apparently lied to by the promotion (they were told Billy & Chuck were going to come out and wed on air, and gave its blessing).
13 Hawk's Troubles & Suicide Attempt
Long before White’s angle, The Legion of Doom’s Hawk had his fair share of troubles, and his demons were something many of his colleagues were aware of. Sometimes, a good wrestling storyline blurs the lines of the reality, but in certain instances, it’s best not to poke fun at serious matters.
Hawk had been showing up in bad shape to his matches, and on one episode of Monday Night Raw in 1998, he attempted suicide by jumping off the Titantron. Hawk didn’t live long, passing away at the age of 46 due to a heart attack. Looking back, it’s a difficult segment to watch, considering how it all unfolded for the Road Warrior legend.
12 Stephanie McMahon Abducted By The Undertaker
The Undertaker fronted The Ministry of Darkness for a while during his stay in the Attitude Era, and when he set his sights on the boss’ daughter, it turned out to be really creepy.
He left a burning Taker cross at the McMahon residence and showed up with Stephanie’s teddy bear before abducting the woman who would become the “Billionaire Princess.” The "Phenom” decided to crucify her on live television and before he could insert his long and slimy tongue inside of her mouth, Stone Cold Steve Austin made the save. McMahon thanked Austin, but revealed himself as the abductor shortly after.
11 Heidenreich Assaults Michael Cole
Despite being physically intimidating, WWE fans won’t have good memories of Heidenreich, who was a victim of bad booking.
On an episode of SmackDown in 2004, Heidenreich chased Michael Cole around the building, and eventually cornered him in order to share his written poem. The problem was Heideinrich stood behind a helpless Cole, thrusting while groaning his words. It obviously insinuated Cole was being sexually assaulted, which is the furthest thing from being comical whatsoever. The idea came from a dream Vince McMahon had.
10 Eugene's Gimmick
When Eric Bischoff’s nephew was introduced, fans grew to love him. Eugene, who was portrayed by promising wrestler Nick Dinsmore, acted as if he had special needs, and not only was he made fun of by his family member, he was also abused by the likes of Triple H, Ric Flair, and Jonathan Coachman. It’s pretty low that WWE would succumb to using a character who acted with disabilities to win over the fans, and consequentially, one who would generate laughter among the audience.
9 Lita's Pregnancy
When Lita was forced to be Kane’s partner (another unfortunate instance of where not to go), she would become pregnant with the “Big Red Machine’s” child, while never looking happy to be alongside him.
After a relatively unknown Gene Snitsky battled Kane on Monday Night Raw in late 2004, Snitsky blasted Kane with a chair, who fell right on Lita. The baby was lost, which resulted in Snitsky’s famous and corny line, “It wasn’t my fault.” To top it all off, Snitsky and Lita would appear on Jericho’s “Highlight Reel,” where the big man would punt a toy baby into the crowd.
8 Al Wilson Becomes Dawn Marie’s Boyfriend
Al Wilson, who wasn’t exactly Torrie Wilson’s real father but played him on TV, would become Dawn Marie’s new boyfriend, despite the age gap. As Torrie grew frustrated with her rival in bed with her old man (Dawn also wanted Torrie, by the way), WWE would outdo itself by killing off poor old Al, who died during sexual intercourse with the former ECW valet on their honeymoon.
Try telling someone it’s not a soap opera after watching something like this.
7 Kaientai Vow To Chop Off Val Venis’ Peepee
Val Venis, our favorite wrestler based off an adult entertainment star, aired a clip of himself having an affair with Yamaguchi San’s wife (he was Kaientai’s manager). After the clique began to humiliate the young woman, the Japanese faction declared they would chop off his privates, by demonstrating a similar act with a sword and salami. After Taka Michinoku turned on Venis in a tag match against Kaientai, it was revealed the woman was Taka’s sister, and they brought Val in the back for a penis removal. It turns out he was saved by John Bobbitt (google the story), who turned the lights out and appeared on Monday Night Raw later alongside Venis, while everyone sort of applauded but also laughed at his expense.
6 Vince Mocks Jim Ross' Bell's Palsy
Many hint at WWE’s involvement in the “be a STAR” campaign being directly associated with McMahon’s teasing of WWE Hall of Fame broadcaster Jim Ross.
McMahon was at odds and ends with Ross on several occasions, but on one episode of Monday Night Raw in 2012, viewers saw McMahon sitting backstage with a cowboy hat on and slanting his lips to one side of his mouth (making fun of Ross’ Bell's palsy).
Not only is this uncalled for anyone to live through, to do it to a legend like Ross who shaped the business was horrendous, even if these two didn’t see eye to eye in the past for whichever reason. To be fair, Ross endured more ridicule than he should have on several occasions.
5 Vince McMahon Embarrasses Trish Stratus
Boy, "Vinnie Mac" really liked putting himself into sexual situations with the Divas ...
When McMahon blasted Trish Stratus in the middle of the ring on an episode of Monday Night Raw in 2001 -- a week after William Regal assaulted her and Stephanie wiped her down with a dirty mop -- he ordered her to bark like a dog on all fours (he really liked to exploit Trish's sexuality) and went so far to ask her to remove the rest of her garments, too. But this wasn't the only instance where McMahon would include himself in erotic situations with arguably the most successful women's wrestler in company history. Don't forget they made out in front of a comatose Linda McMahon, too.
Considering the lawsuit Sable filed in 1999 against WWE for sexual harassment and for the sake of humanity, this pointless offering really shouldn’t have aired.
4 The Character of Muhammad Hassan
After the 9/11 attacks, you’d think pro-wrestling would shy away from anything related to the incident.
Muhammad Hasan would cut a bunch of promos, depicting himself as an Arab American, and confronted the prejudice in America. While it’s no secret discrimination and racism exists everywhere, WWE forced both Hassan and manager Daivari to base their heel personas on nationality and religion, and made matters worse when Daivari battled The Undertaker on an episode of SmackDown in 2005, before a group of men in ski masks attacked the legend while Hassan prayed on the entrance ramp. The London Bombings happened three days later, and WWE decided to un-edit SmackDown (a pre-taped show). UPN executives were pissed after mainstream news media covered the story, which resulted in Hasan’s removal in programming after The Great American Bash 2005. It was a pretty unfortunate event for someone who had potential to be something much better.
3 Vince McMahon’s Use of Racist Words
*This video is NSFW.
There’s no question McMahon is a genius, albeit an evil one. But some of his creative decisions were unacceptable, and because of his stature, it’s hard for someone to disallow it to happen.
McMahon, a white man who felt the need to portray more of an edgier and street-influenced moniker, would call John Cena a racist and derogatory term, and one he had absolutely no business saying. If that’s not bad enough, he said it in front of Booker T. And Sharmell, which was the point of the whole segment, and for Book to be angry about it.
Not only was it awkward for all parties involved and uncalled for, it suggested McMahon would stop at no barriers when he had an idea, which has resulted equally in success and failure in terms of creative work.
2 Mark Henry & Mae Young’s Sexual Escapades Produce A Child
Capping off the most ridiculous segment in Attitude Era history, “Sexual Chocolate” was a predator on the rise, falling for women like Chyna and Mae Young. When Henry was caught in bed with the much older (and maybe even out of his league) Young, news broke that she became pregnant with the “World’s Strongest Man’s” child. During live coverage of the birth, Young didn’t exactly have a baby, but a human hand instead.
WWE tried to poke fun it years later on Monday Night Raw’s 1000th Episode, where a young man in a hand suit introduced himself. Maybe it didn’t make matters worse, yet it definitely didn’t salvage the angle, either.
1 Katie Vick
Arguably the worst storyline in wrestling history happened during the Kane-Triple H feud of 2002 (where Kane was pretty over), where Triple H would hump a mannequin in a casket on live television.
Kane’s old girlfriend, Katie Vick, was killed in a car accident when they were younger. Apparently, the autopsy revealed Vick had Kane’s semen on her corpse, which hinted the “Big Red Machine” was guilty of necrophilia.
While wearing a Kane mask, Vince McMahon’s beloved son-in-law approached a lifeless body in a coffin while at Vick’s funeral, got inside, and reenacted his version of what he assumed happened. There was even some raunchy dialogue and pieces of brain, to cap it all off.
Just no. God no.