Once upon a time, it was a rare occurrence for WWE Superstars to break kayfabe. As the industry valued it much more back then, it meant that Superstars would protect the company's storylines and characters to a T. Things started changing following the infamous Kliq incident and the aftermath of the Monday Night War.
Kayfabe has been broken multiple times from matches to promos, but fans aren't always quick to notice. They may believe that it was simply a part of the show, and little do they know, that wasn't the case. Here are 10 times WWE broke kayfabe and you didn't notice!
10 Randy Orton Goes Off On Kofi Kingston
Randy Orton has never been stranger to controversy as one of the most polarizing figures of the 2000s. Having clashed with a number of Superstars in the past, it's a good thing that this incident didn't lead to any further trouble.
During a match on Raw between Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton, the latter appeared to lose his cool all of a sudden and started shouting at the top of his lungs. Orton was repeatedly referring to Kingston as stupid before putting the contest to rest. Given Orton's Viper persona back then, fans believed it was just a part of his usual shenanigans.
9 Daniel Puder Almost Injures Kurt Angle
One way out of the door is to follow your own script instead of listening to WWE officials. The winner of 2004 Tough Enough Challenge Daniel Puder had the world at his feet for a brief moment before he wasted it all away. During a segment on SmackDown, Kurt Angle was scheduled to teach each contestant a lesson by either getting the pin or making them tap out.
Puder claims that Angle had been overly aggressive and somewhat disrespectful with some of his peers, so when it was his time to get in the ring, Puder gave Angle a challenge. Not only did he lock him in a submission hold, but he almost seriously injured him as a result. The referee did a quick pin in Angle's favor to de-escalate the situation.
8 Scott Steiner In His WWE Promos
To filter Scott Steiner is an unrealistic task that is guaranteed to end in disappointment. The outspoken star has never shied away from speaking his mind, and that didn't stop during his WWE stint. Having spent several months feuding with Evolution, Steiner used the opportunity to go off on a rant against longtime nemesis Ric Flair.
He went off the script in many promos to throw personal jabs towards The Nature Boy, gaining Steiner some heat with WWE officials. But that wouldn't be the last of it, as Steiner went ahead with some more subliminal shots towards his real-life foes.
7 Mankind Unimpressed With The People's Elbow
Mankind and The Rock shared one of the most memorable friendships that led to some classic moments throughout the years. They would eventually form a tag team, but the two World Champions have also clashed for a brief period that led to this kayfabe breaking promo.
The People's Elbow may have been the most electrifying move in sports entertainment, but it was far away from being the most impactful. And that's exactly why Mankind told The Rock that he wouldn't be able to pin him with such a weak move during a promo, a mention that went unnoticed by most of the audience.
6 Randy Orton Consoling Shane McMahon's Son Following A Beatdown
Team SmackDown was involved in a gruesome match against Team Raw at Survivor Series 2017, but none of the participants had it as bad as Shane McMahon. By now, fans are well familiar with the concept of McMahon taking a memorable bump to steal the show.
This match was no exception as his coast-to-coast was caught mid-air with a brutal spear, leaving fans to ponder whether it was intended to play out this way. Randy Orton, who was part of Team SmackDown, spotted McMahon's son looking visibly concerned, so he dove outside of the ring to console him for a moment.
5 Ken Shamrock Calls The Undertaker By His Real Name
There has never been a character as protected as The Undertaker when it comes to kayfabe. With his background story and appeal, it made sense for the WWE to protect his image for as long as possible. Now that kayfabe has been long gone, and with most fans being aware that he isn't a Deadman, things are starting to change with The Undertaker creating an Instagram account.
Long before then, he was engaged in a feud with Ken Shamrock on WWE television. The latter broke kayfabe once by referring to him as Mark—his real name. Needless to say, it was a big deal behind-the-scenes, as fans knew very little about Taker beyond his gimmick.
4 Eddie Guerrero Gets Mad At Vickie Guerrero For Missing Her Cue
Following months of build-up for the outcome of the SummerSlam 2005 match, the finish didn't go as intended. With Eddie Guerrero on top of the ladder to unhook the briefcase, Vickie Guerrero was scheduled to interfere at the last second to stop him from reaching the top. Once Guerrero climbed up, Vickie was nowhere to be seen, so Rey Mysterio had to improvise by brutally kicking him off the ladder.
This led to the now infamous shot of Guerrero screaming expletives in the middle of the ring while also asking where Vickie was. At the time, fans thought he was simply selling the move rather than having a kayfabe breaking moment.
3 JBL Assaults Blue Meanie
During his WWE stay, JBL had issues with plenty of Superstars, whether inside the ring or behind the scenes. With his known hatred towards ECW, WWE took the opportunity to use him at ECW One Night Stand to rile up the crowd. What followed JBL's interference was completely unscripted as he assaulted The Blue Meanie out of nowhere.
Fans in attendance believed that The Blue Meanie was just taking bumps from JBL as scheduled, but little did they know that JBL had taken the liberty to act out on his own. He delivered some brutal punches and chair shots for no real reason before the segment finally wrapped up.
2 Hulk Hogan Won't Sell The Undertaker's Chokeslam
Hulk Hogan has never been one to put over fellow Superstars. And when he finally agrees to do a job, rarely does it go smoothly. Such was the case at Judgment Day 2002 when he squared off versus The Undertaker for the WWE Undisputed Title.
After a sluggish battle back and forth between the two, The Undertaker went for a chokeslam that remains the worst he has performed over the years. He was barely able to get Hogan off the ground with minimal impact once it connected. As it turned out, it was Hogan who was resisting the move, thus forcing Taker to do all the work.
1 The Infamous Finish To Royal Rumble 2005
The 2005 Royal Rumble match ended in a way even Vince McMahon couldn't have booked. Batista was scheduled to win the big match by hanging on to the rope, but that didn't go as planned since he fell on the canvas at the same moment as John Cena did.
This led to some more kayfabe breaking when Vince McMahon came in to settle the score, but he tore both of his quads in the process just as he was sliding inside the ring. Everything that played out throughout those 5 minutes was shredding kayfabe to small pieces, and yet most fans didn't suspect a thing.