Almost everything that is seen on WWE programming is scripted and exactly how Vince McMahon wants it. However, throughout the history of professional wrestling, mishaps occurred that definitely were not intended by WWE management or the wrestlers in some cases. Whether it’s an unscripted injury, a shoot promo that affects the storylines and backstage relationships or superstars going into business for themselves, the script goes out the window, which can frustrate Vince and upper management. Sometimes these ad-libs are noticeable, like Owen Hart improvising after Steve Austin was injured, and other times the fans don’t even realize that what was seen on TV wasn’t what was in the script, such as the Montreal Screwjob.
Wrestling is full of these unscripted moments, such as Vince McMahon tearing his quads, Mankind being thrown through the cage and the infamous “curtain call” involving The Kliq. These moments are definitely unwanted by Vince McMahon and the writers and normally heavily frowned upon whenever they happen. Because of the negative attitude towards them wrestlers try everything to avoid them or keep as unnoticeable as possible. These moments plagued much of the Attitude Era, but even the PG Era is full of unscripted moments that Vince McMahon would like to forget.
WWE Superstars try everything in their power not to break kayfabe and stay in character. However, fans are more acute than ever. Botches, shoots, injuries and improvising is under more scrutiny today than ever before. With social media, TiVo and YouTube, an unscripted moment rarely goes unseen, and when it happens, the moment doesn’t stay secret for long. This article is about these mishaps. Here are 15 of the biggest unscripted mishaps of the PG-Era.
15 AJ Styles And Luke Harper’s Battle Royal Botch
Before WrestleMania 33, Royal Rumble winner Randy Orton “declined” to face his Wyatt Family master at the Show of Shows. As a result, SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon decided to have a 10-man battle royal to decide who would face WWE Champion at the time, Bray Wyatt, on the grandest stage of them all. What followed was one of the biggest botches of the PG-Era.
The rules were just like the Royal Rumble: throw your opponent over the top rope. The last one standing wins. As the match progressed, the remaining superstars were AJ Styles and Luke Harper. The finish was supposed to be Styles and Harper landing at the same time, but during a Harper suplex spot that was supposed to take them both out simultaneously, Styles clearly hits the ground first with Harper landing noticeably second. Despite Styles clearly landing first, the refs awkwardly sold it like it was a double finish making the whole scene even more cringeworthy.
14 The Brock Lesnar Vs. Randy Orton Finish
Since returning to the WWE, fans have been treated to several dream matches with Brock Lesnar. John Cena, Triple H., Goldberg, Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman, AJ Styles are just some of the modern day dream opponents that fans were treated to since Lesnar’s return. Randy Orton was one of the few dream opponents left for Lesnar to face, and, naturally, in classic WWE fashion, WWE completely botched the finish.
Vince McMahon wanted to blur the line of reality and fiction, but instead crossed the line completely.
Vince wanted Orton to show some “color” and bleed during the match to show just how much of a wild card Lesnar was. Vince didn’t want Orton to use a razor to nick himself and cause the blood. Instead, he was convinced that Lesnar could bust Orton open “the hard way” without seriously hurting him. As Lesnar pounded him with elbows, Orton was hurt, receiving a legitimate concussion. At least Lesnar succeeded in crossing into the realm of reality and leaving Orton in a pool of crimson.
13 The Rock Interacts With “Rowdy” Fans
There’s a reason why The Rock is known as The People’s Champ; he cares far more about the fans than the desires and wishes of the WWE. The Rock is completely uncensored and unscripted, and that’s why his promos remain some the best in the business. While WWE loves The Rock and his drawing power, his unpredictability can make the company very nervous.
One particularly uncomfortable moment for WWE occurred when The Rock returned to hype WrestleMania and noticed a group of fans sitting at ringside dressed as legendary WWE Superstars. WWE had already ordered the group of fans to move because they were “distracting” from the show. Reportedly, officials backstage were freaking out because The Rock was giving them even more attention. The Rock even said, “And this is where we go off the script,” before cutting an unscripted interview with those fans.
12 Roman Reigns Forgets His Lines
In a match that could have been on a WrestleMania card, Roman Reigns was set to face off, for the first time ever, against John Cena. The match was unique as neither had ever had any interactions with each one another, and both Reigns and Cena were considered the golden boys of Vince McMahon. Rather than WrestleMania, the match occurred at the forgettable pay-per-view No Mercy, and the build was less than stellar thanks to Reigns’ cringeworthy promo botch.
As Reigns and Cena hyped the match and cut promos, Reigns completely forgot his lines and just stood there awkwardly with the mic to his face.
Unscripted, Cena called out Reigns’ awkward silence saying, “It’s called a promo, kid, if you wanna be the Big Dog you’re gonna have to learn how to do it.” Cena’s burn made “The Big Dog” look like a small pup. However, Vince McMahon was reportedly happy with the promo even though it assured the fans that Roman is still far from being “The Guy” in WWE. Believe dat!
11 Kalisto Talks About "Good Lucha Things"
To Kalisto’s credit, he’s not a maestro on the mic. Kalisto is an energetic, high flying cruiserweight who was attempting to cut a high energy babyface backstage promo. To say the promo was bad would be an understatement. Kalisto’s promo was one of the worst in history and certainly of the PG-Era. He fumbled through his promo early on and not only failed to recover but crashed and burned even harder by the promo’s end.
Kalisto’s bumbling promo went from bad to worse and ended with Kalisto, who was clearly lost for words, saying he’s here to make a good “lucha thing,” before letting out a minor, unscripted swear on camera and running off. Fans know Kalisto is one half of the Lucha Dragons, a gimmick that basically just has him saying “Lu-Cha! Lu-Cha! Lu-Cha!” repeatedly, he’s naturally an excellent luchador as the fans expect, but wanting to make himself a good “Lucha Thing” one of the few times a “What?” chant is appropriate.
10 Cesaro Neutralizes The Beach Ball
The rabid WWE fans are an uncontrollable and unpredictable kind, and WWE officials hate that. Vince McMahon likes to micromanage his product, especially with what is seen and heard on television. Because of this, things like crowd chants, “rowdy fans,” and unwanted signs tend to be frowned upon by WWE management. Fans focusing their attention anything other than the product is definitely not encouraged, making beach balls brought to the arena public enemy number one.
The fact that fans need to entertain themselves in the first place point to a bigger problem with the product, but WWE security still confiscates the beach balls whenever they are introduced to the arena. However, in one instance, it was Cesaro that intercepted the beach ball. In an unscripted moment, Cesaro darted into the crowd, stole the beach ball and ripped it apart. Cesaro may never be able to grab the brass ring, according to Vince, but he can snag beach ball with the best of them.
9 Cameron Orders The Ref To Count, But...
Cameron was one half of the Funkadactyls with Naomi, and needless to say, Naomi was the one that went on to succeed. Cameron made little impact in her WWE career and has moved on from the company since early 2016.
Despite her lackluster career, Cameron is still remembered in wrestling lore, but for all the wrong reasons.
Cameron got her start in wrestling as a contestant on Tough Enough. In what, unfortunately for her, was not a scripted moment, Cameron told Stone Cold Steve Austin that her favorite match was Melina vs. Alicia Fox, leaving Austin speechless. If that wasn’t bad enough, during a match against Naomi, Cameron decided to go for a pin attempt on Naomi, despite Naomi being on her belly instead of having her shoulders pinned to the mat. The ref can even be heard saying, “Count what?” during the hilarious unscripted pin botch.
8 Daniel Bryan Goes Beyond PG
The beloved Daniel Bryan has definitely had a career full of “Yes's” and “No's.” Bryan won the WWE World Heavyweight Title only to relinquish the title due to injury, only to come back to win the Intercontinental Title, before being forced to relinquish that title as well. However, the drama of Bryan’s career started well before the Yes Movement during an unscripted segment early in Bryan’s WWE career.
Bryan, along with his fellow NXT Season 1 rookies, attacked John Cena, Jerry Lawler and other WWE personnel on Raw. While the arrival of what would be known as The Nexus was scripted, the rookies were left to their own devices to attack whoever they wanted. This led to Bryan choking out Justin Roberts with his own tie and spitting in the face of Cena. These actions were deemed too violent for WWE PG programming, and the company decided to fire him. Luckily, the firing was only temporary, and Daniel Bryan would return and later become the most over superstar in recent history.
7 CM Punk's Pipebomb
When the “Best in the World” was in contract negotiations, the real life possibility of the popular and outspoken CM Punk leaving WWE was merged with his storyline feud against John Cena. Before their big match, Punk was given permission to cut an unscripted promo which undoubtedly made WWE officials backstage feel uncomfortable.
In the promo, Punk criticized the company for poorly marketing him, Vince McMahon, for surrounding himself with “glad-handing, nonsensical, ******-bag, Yes-Men, like John Laurinaitis, “doofus” son-in-law Triple H and “idiotic” daughter Stephanie. Despite tearing into the WWE hierarchy, Punk would stick with the company, much of his unscripted promo would be turned into storylines as damage control, and Johnny Ace would be thrown under the bus to deflect the heat. Punk’s promo helped create a huge buzz, but heading backstage to all the officials Punk just tore into from his unsanctioned promo must have been a little awkward.
6 AJ Lee's "Pipebombshell"
Like husband, like wife. AJ Lee, who would soon be married to CM Punk, cut her own version of the Pipebomb on Monday Night Raw, while becoming the longest reigning WWE Divas Champion at the time. AJ carried a Divas Division full of models and was the matriarch of the Women’s Revolution. During the peak of her title reign, AJ cut a promo that dug deep into the cast of Total Divas, namely The Bella Twins.
In an unscripted promo, AJ Lee dropped a “Pipebombshell” onto the Total Divas, and it hit a little too close to reality.
She tore into The Bellas, saying their careers were handed to them because they “sucked” up to the right people, referring to The Bellas’ relationship to top WWE stars John Cena and Daniel Bryan. The promo created a huge buzz but wasn’t so well received among her peers. Even worse was the shoot promo led to absolute nothing other than to sour AJ’s relationship to the other Divas and WWE management.
5 Jerry Lawler's Emergency
Vince McMahon controls a lot of what is seen on WWE programming, but that includes what the WWE Universe hears as well. This results in a lot of screaming into headset from Vince into the ears of those on commentary. What happened to Jerry Lawler on Raw, however, definitely wasn’t in the script during his health scare.
After competing in a match earlier on Raw, Jerry Lawler became short of breath and collapsed at the announce table. The King was suffering from a heart attack as the WWE medical staff performed CPR, saving his life. This was definitely not part of the show as Michael Cole reiterated during the live broadcast. The booking continued as planned but without commentary in a show of respect to The King. Jerry Lawler would luckily survive the health scare, but the whole unscripted emergency and the broadcast that followed brought back haunting memories of the Owen Hart’s accident in 1999.
4 Chris Jericho Ad-Libs The Finish
This unscripted moment involved Chris Jericho but was barely even noticeable because he is the best in the world at what he does, do you understand what I’m saying to you right now. During a match between Neville and Chris Jericho, Neville slid underneath Jericho, jamming his ankle and injuring himself.
The veteran Jericho changed the finish to the match by shoving the referee and taking a DQ to give Neville the win.
Jericho would then alter his promo to reflect the change but for the most part fans didn’t even know that what they were witnessing wasn’t the planned finish. In fact, referee Charles Robinson didn’t know Neville was injured and Jericho’s motivation were completely lost on Robinson at the time. Jericho and Robinson got into a heated argument after the DQ but eventually smoothed everything over backstage, once the injury became known and Jericho explained himself.
3 The Deadman Gets Burned
There aren’t many WWE superstars in professional wrestling history as iconic as The Undertaker. His gothic appearance and epic entrance are just a few of his trademarks that make The Undertaker a legend. WWE and The Phenom himself have been very careful about keeping his mystique alive. Therefore, whenever The Undertaker appears out of character that usually means fans have seen a rare unscripted moment involving the character.
For example, The Undertaker mock laughing at Brock Lesnar during their match at SummerSlam 2015 was a completely unscripted moment. While that was an awesome unscripted exchange, a not-so-awesome unscripted pyrotechnics accident occurred at Elimination Chamber in 2010. During The Undertaker’s entrance, mistimed pyro accidentally caught his jacket on fire and gave Taker first and second degree burns on his chest and neck. The unscripted mishap hastened Taker’s normally slow methodical walk to the ring and required The Deadman to douse himself with water throughout the match.
2 DX Can't See Cena
During a segment on Monday Night Raw in 2010 before the Royal Rumble, Triple H was confronting his D-Generation X partner, Shawn Michaels, about his destructive obsession with The Undertaker. The segment was supposed to have John Cena interrupt them, but DX literally couldn’t see him. Someway, somehow, John Cena missed his cue and wasn’t ready to come out to the ring to interrupt DX’s promo, leaving Triple H and HBK to stand around awkwardly waiting for him.
Eventually, Cena’s music hit, but Michaels was visibly annoyed by Cena’s late arrival.
Cena didn’t dare waste another second getting to the ring. Instead of the smiling, good-guy, pumping up the fans and running down to the ring during his entrance, Cena uncharacteristically power walked to the ring with a frown. The effects of this minor mishap were negligible, but surely Cena’s tardiness didn’t endear him to The Game or HBK.
1 3MB Becomes Invisible
The group known as The Three Man Band has come a long way since the collection of jobbers formed their stable. Drew McIntyre has become a NXT Champion, Heath Slater became a SmackDown Tag Team Champion and Jinder Mahal, amazingly, became the WWE Champion. 3MB members Mahal and McIntyre are treated seriously now (sorry Heath), but as the jobbers they were in 3MB, they weren’t taken seriously at all. Management didn’t seem to care what they did with their gimmick or during their promos.
With Hornswoggle as an honorary member, the stable conducted a promo on SmackDown via the WWE App. When Hornswoggle botches the promo and calls El Torito “El Toro,” all hell breaks loose. Unscripted, every member of 3MB freezes in place and doesn’t say a word. Drew and Heath try to hide before disappearing off camera and Jinder’s exit from the scene is even more epic. Unlike Kalisto’s promo botch, hilarity ensues in here and actually makes the botch pretty amazing. Who knows why this promo didn’t make it to TV, as it was highly entertaining.