The unpredictable nature of wrestling makes it an extremely fun form of entertainment. Fans mostly all know the show is scripted, but the live element can lead to things going awry. WWE puts a huge emphasis on the live experience for PPVs, Raw, Smackdown and now even NXT. That means anything that happens in the ring is going to play out that way for the audience to witness.
Wrestlers have been a part of both positive and negative unscripted moments. The better instances feature something unexpected that led to a fun aspect of the show benefiting from it. Unfortunately, the negative side of unplanned moments can see a match, show or entire storyline hurt from it. Find out just which shocking wrestling moments were never meant to happen in the first place. These are five of the best and five of the worst unscripted moments in WWE history.
10 Best: The Hell in a Cell breaking during Mankind vs Undertaker
The Hell in a Cell match between The Undertaker and Mankind is still one of the most infamous bouts in WWE history. Mick Foley put it all on the line during his performance as Mankind. The first bump off the cell through the commentary was planned and shocked the fans.
However, a second bump from on top of the cell through the ceiling was not planned. Undertaker hit the choke slam and Foley went falling through the cage into the ring. This would have been a negative moment if Foley was seriously hurt, but he was not injured from it. The dangerous moment added positively to the legacy of the match.
9 Worst: Ending of WrestleMania 23
Shawn Michaels and John Cena had a stellar match in the main event of WrestleMania 23, but everything did not go according to plan. Cena retaining the WWE Championship in a classic was the plan. However, the aftermath of the match was when the script was broken.
Cena did not sell the piledriver from Michaels on the stairs towards the end of the match. This led to Michaels being visibly upset and walking out of the ring in anger after the loss. Cena and Michaels were meant to shake hands, but the unscripted ending to the show left fans confused.
8 Best: Shawn Michaels overselling for Hulk Hogan
Shawn Michaels found his way into another infamous unscripted moment during his Summerslam 2005 main event against Hulk Hogan. The two legends had their first and only match against each other. Hogan won the match in a bloodbath with Michaels stealing the show in a different way than usual.
Reports indicated that Hogan refused to the previously agreed upon rematch a month later for Michaels to get his win back. The political game played by Hogan upset Michaels to the point where he oversold moves the entire match. Michaels comedically flopped all over the ring any time Hogan hit a move, but it did provide entertainment for the fans.
7 Worst: Chris Jericho's argument with referee
Injuries are among the most common unscripted moments in a WWE ring. Neville suffered a brutal injury during a match against Chris Jericho on Raw with an even bigger unscripted moment following it. Referee Charles Robinson did not stop the match since he didn’t realize Neville’s injury.
Jericho tried to get a fast count victory, but Robinson didn’t count the three which led to them getting in each other’s face. Swear words were exchanged with the clip of them arguing going on viral on social media. It was negative to see them get that heated. Jericho and Robinson did make peace on Jericho’s podcast shortly after.
6 Best: End of the 2005 Royal Rumble match
Batista and John Cena were both rising stars ready for the main event picture in 2005. WWE booked them to be the final two wrestlers in the Royal Rumble match with Batista expected to win and get a title shot against Triple H at WrestleMania 21.
The unscripted issue was that both Cena and Batista would eliminate each other at the same time leaving everyone confused. Vince McMahon sprinted to the ring and demanded the match restart, but he tripped and tore his quads along the way. Despite the pain of Vince, the entire wacky ending added to the moment for Batista’s big moment.
5 Worst: Hulk Hogan unmasking as Mr. America
Hulk Hogan’s feud with Vince McMahon in 2003 would see McMahon fire him when things got heated in the storyline. The genius plan of Hogan was to sign under the masked identity of Mr. America with everyone in on the joke that they knew it was him all along.
Hogan would do his signature moves and poses while McMahon struggled to reveal him. The run would come when Hogan demanded more money to continue performing and WWE shut him down. An unscripted moment of Hogan unmasking in a dark segment was used to fire him in the lamest end to the feud possible.
4 Best: Jake Roberts' snake biting Randy Savage
The feud between Jake Roberts and Randy Savage created compelling television in the '80s. Roberts was known for having his snake torment his opponents whether he was a face or heel. Savage would get bitten by a snake during the post-match attack from Roberts.
This snake was not dangerous in terms of impacting the life of Savage, so that makes the unscripted aftermath more of a positive. It bit into Savage harder and longer than expected. The visual was incredible, and Savage likely would have traded the pain for the storyline success in a heartbeat.
3 Worst: JBL attacking Blue Meanie
ECW One Night Stand 2005 was one of the most feel-good shows in wrestling history with fans of the product enjoying the nostalgia of their heroes returning. There was a single negative moment from the show with JBL breaking the script to get personal.
The Blue Meanie had called JBL a bully in past interviews due to their interactions which caused heat between both sides. JBL singled out Meanie during a huge brawl and brutally stiffed him with some punches. The two have since made peace since this horrible moment.
2 Best: The Kliq's Curtain Call
The curtain call of the Kliq saying farewell to each other in Madison Square Garden was quite polarizing in 1996. Many pundits despised that Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Triple H all broke character on the final night of Hall and Nash’s time in WWE before leaving for WCW.
Triple H was reportedly punished for it, but the moment would help WWE in the long run. Various shows and projects have referenced the curtain call since it’s become a fascinating tale. The friends having a special moment is remembered more fondly today.
1 Worst: Bart Gunn winning Brawl for All
The Brawl for All tournament was unscripted in general, but WWE clearly had plans and expectations from it. All the wrestlers with any fighting experience were involved in the shoot fights. Jim Ross’ protégé Dr. Death Steve Williams was expected to win and challenge Steve Austin for the WWE Championship.
No one could have predicted that Bart Gunn was going to be the one to win it all. Bart rarely received television time and was among the lower tier names on the entire roster. The moment of Bart knocking out Williams before eventually winning the Brawl for All was one unscripted finish WWE regretted.