15 times WWE went too far
WWE is known for its merger of creative storytelling along with power-packed action to engage fans. The ideation that goes behind creating a gimmick and telling their story in the effervescent industry makes it all the more intriguing.
The unlimited creative freedom enabled Vince McMahon to push through with some absurd ideas that left fans perplexed wondering what was to come next. While some well-penned storylines captivated the wrestling fraternity, at the same time a few did not sit well with them, even to the extent of making them sick to their stomachs.
Recently, WWE was called out in lawsuits for inexplicable pitches pertaining to stars nationalities among other things. The leniency in ideations of the early WWE years did not pan out well except in McMahon's mind wherein they were a success.
Let's take a look at a few of the most controversial gimmicks and storylines WWE got away with, which would probably have them canceled today:
#15. Torrie Wilson's father gets romantically involved with Dawn Marie
Affairs were not a foreign concept to Vince McMahon and WWE. The former boss was involved in many on-screen romances with the likes of Trish Stratus, Stacy Keibler, Sable, Torrie Wilson and Candice Michelle.
In early 2000s, Dawn Marie and Torrie Wilson were engaged in a feud which did not only pertain to the two women. Wilson's father was added to the equation, with wilfull thinking by Vince McMahon. Marie would flirt with Al Wilson backstage in a bid to spite Torrie Wilson. Things escalated in their love life and the two got into a relationship for the storyline. This led to a proposal by the senior Wilson and a wedding was set to take place in the ring. With their massive age difference not being the only source of scorn by fans, Marie was willing to call off the wedding if her soon-to-be daughter-in-law would sleep with her for one night.
That's not all, to write off her fiance, it was announced that Al Wilson suffered a heart attack and died while doing the deed with Dawn Marie.
#14. Hornswoggle was Vince McMahon's illegitimate child
Vince McMahon never held anything back when it came to him having on-screen relationships with the female talent. Thus, making it no surprise that he would father a kayfabe child from his many promiscuous relationships.
In 2007, Vince was informed that he had fathered a son whose identity was unknown. Many stars came forward claiming to be his illegitimate child, including Mr. Kennedy, before Hornswoggle was announced the true heir.
The mocking of a little person which WWE's creative team considered to be 'comedy' backfired. This was owing to the former Chairman calling him names including 'his 'b*****d son'. He initially showcased his disgust before accepting the 36-year old as his child. The story's cringy humor would definitely not hold in today's times.
#13. Kurt Angle stalked Booker T's wife Sharmell
The mid-2000s witnessed some of the most inhumane, controversial, and sexual harassment-based storylines. During Booker T's feud with Kurt Angle, his opponent crossed all limits when he became 'obsessed' with Sharmell and would stalk her. At one point, he even expressed his desire to sleep with her.
Vince McMahon pitched that Angle pin Sharmell in an awkward manner during one of his matches with Booker T. Many fans called out Vince McMahon and the segment for the narrative and videos displayed featuring Angle claiming his 'desire' for Sharmell in an unhealthy way.
#12. Mark Henry impregnated Mae Young who gives birth to a hand on WWE television
Mae Young was one of the first few female stars associated with WWE in its early years. Despite not competing in the 90s, she made sporadic appearances in multiple backstage segments.
When Mark Henry was kickstarting his career with the company, they had to approach his gimmick from multiple angles to create a sense of relativity with fans. Soon dubbed as 'sexual chocolate', Henry became a ladies man which culminated from a s*x addiction.
He soon started a relationship with Mae Young, who was well in her 70s, and the two engaged in explicit bedroom acts. Young was then impregnated by Henry, but that did not stop her from being power bombed by The Dudley Boyz on a couple of occasions. During Mark Henry's match against Crash Holly, Young attempted a splash on him resulting in her going into labor. She was taken backstage where she gave birth to a bloody hand. While that was bad enough, the events leading to the birth also included uncomfortable sound effects.
#11. The Godfather's gimmick and the h* train
The Attitude Era of WWE stunned the wrestling fraternity, leaving them aghast with certain events that unfolded. They were officially introduced to The Godfather, a womanizer who was surrounded by ladies and made many trips to str*p clubs.
While making his entrance, he was accompanied by women who would dance and at times, disrupt matches in his favor. Gradually over time, he nicknamed them the h*train. The extent of his gimmick did not end with his love for women, he would also entice his opponents with the ability to 'use' any of the girls in any capacity in a bid for him to win.
#10. Vince McMahon's 'Kiss My A** club' forcing stars to embarrass themselves on live WWE television
Vince McMahon took employee and employer relationships to another level with the introduction of 'Kiss my A** club'. He would force disgruntled stars to literally kiss his behind on live television.
Many stars fell prey to the evil boss's ways, including Mick Foley, Hornswoggle, William Regal, and Shawn Michaels. With McMahon overlooking the administration and creative teams, he had total control over decisions on what pitches could be fulfilled. Being the boss, McMahon's ideation of embarrassment and pitches witnessed him baring his bottom with someone's face in it on WWE television.
#9. T******** storyline with The Undertaker
In their quest to elevate the hype and reality of their segments, WWE found itself in hot water again in 2005. The Undertaker was feuding with Muhammad Hassan. The Connecticut-based company reportedly had huge plans for the young star, with him going up against Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship in the future.
Everything came crashing down when Vince McMahon ideated that Hassan and a few other masked men attack The Phenom on the pretext of being t*********. The pre-taped segment aired a few days prior to the London bombings that year, which took the lives of over 56 people. The segment was and continues to be heavily criticized. Even their broadcast partner United Paramount Network (UPN) ordered WWE to take down the video.
#8. Eugene's gimmick seemingly mocking autism
Diversity and inclusion are two characteristics WWE has picked up along the way, with drastic transformations over time. They attempted to target varied real-life associations and television characters. They experimented with a plethora of gimmicks and professions, including garbage men, bullfighters, and teachers, to name a few. The mystifying persona of The Undertaker to Razor Ramon's Scarface-inspired gimmick are a few that stuck.
One character that garnered mixed reactions was Eugene (real name Nick Dinsmore). He was introduced as Eric Bischoff's nephew, a wrestling enthusiast who was mentally disabled. Portrayed and pushed as a babyface, a confused wrestling world felt sorry for him, while at the same time, the company was called out for the offensive gimmick given their stereotypical mocking of mentally challenged people.
#7. Referee Tim White's self-harming storyline
It seemed that not only stars, but WWE referees and officials were also susceptible to inappropriate storylines. Referee Tim White suffered the consquential fate of one such pitch. Following a shoulder injury in 2002, White returned a couple of years later to WWE. While he was not actively officiating matches, he participated in a series aired during the weekly episodes. The plot of the series was to reflect on his journey as a referee post his injury.
Titled as 'Lunchtime Su***** Skits', Tim White would be interviewed by Josh Mathews as he seemed fed up of life. During one episode, the referee ducked under the bar and pulled out a shotgun. Everyone else ran out, including the cameraperson, when a gunshot was heard in a bid to demonstrate that White had killed himself.
On every episode of the show, White would be spotted with some way to put an end to his depressed life, including electrocution, hanging and consuming rat poison. The inconsiderable nature of the skits enraged fans, which led to WWE finally pulling the plug on the series.
#6. CJ Perry( fka Lana) romantically involved with Bobby Lashley while being married to Miro (fka Rusev) in real life
In real-life, CJ Perry has been married to Miro since 2016. In 2019, Bobby Lashley and Miro (fka Rusev in WWE) ignited a rivalry. The storyline saw The All Mighty get involved with Lana in front of Miro.
Their on-screen chemistry did not stop at them holding hands or hugging but also the extent of them kissing, sharing romantic moments in bed together, and even tying the knot in the middle of the ring.
This appalled fans who were haunted by Miro's inability to do anything while another star locked lips with his wife right in front of his eyes. All the members involved talked about the awkwardness of the segment but did what they were instructed to do by the administration.
#5. Billy Gunn and Chuck Palumbo's gay wedding
In 2001, Billy Gunn formed an alliance with Chuck Palumbo. A year later, they won their first run as WWE Tag Team Champions. They continued to enhance their looks with ostentatious efforts, and hired a stylist named Rico.
Gunn and Palumbo's friendship grew over time as any tag team would, but the latter took things one step further when he proposed to the former. His tag team partner expressed his interest in wanting to be his 'partner for life' to which the DX member agreed. The following week, a wedding ceremony took place with Eric Bischoff as the minister.
The wedding was halted when the two men claimed it was just to get the public's attention. At a time when the LGBTQ+ community were struggling to get rid of the troubles they faced in everyday life, the segment added fuel to fire with their mockery and disregard.
#4. Edge and Lita's live s*x celebration
Lita is considered one of the most influential female talents. When her relationship with Matt Hardy came to light on WWE television, the fan-favorite couple embarked on a journey that elevated both of their careers. She trained and soon became one of them, and soon became the only female to take high-flying risks in the ring.
In 2004, Matt Hardy suffered an injury and was in recovery. Lita actively competed on the roster and, unbeknownst to anyone, was involved in a real-life relationship with Edge. Their whirlwind romance was written into a WWE storyline upon Hardy's return. Lita, who was once considered a babyface, suffered the wrath of fans who were seething at her alliance with The Rated-R Superstar, another hated heel during that time.
To celebrate his win of the WWE Championship at New Year's Resolution in 2006, the couple decided to have a live s*x celebration on the edition of RAW that followed. Backstage, there were a lot of disagreements when the company's administration gave the green light for such a segment. Later, the multi-time women's champion recalled the unpleasantness that took place when the celebration was initially pitched by a largely male-dominated administration. She cited that they threatened to fire her if she did not proceed with it.
A segment of such magnitude and nature would be prohibited in today's times with access to social media and talents being able to be vocal about the turbulent environment. With her job on the line, Lita and Edge woefully complied. Majority of the fanbase cringed at the segment that Vince McMahon thought was a success.
#3. Heidenreich's s*xual assault of Michael Cole
The Attitude and Ruthless Aggression Era in WWE revolved around sexual content. Heidenreich was associated with WWE in 2004. He portrayed an angry man taking his anger out on anyone who got in his way. Additionally, he would also interrupt matches and take out his frustration on the competitors.
During an edition of SmackDown, he attacked commentator Michael Cole and took him backstage in a bid to continue his assault. The difference in the manner of the assault from others was that it came across very r***y. He read poetry before slamming the commentator against the wall and seemingly humping him from behind. Later, Heidenreich claimed Stephanie McMahon was the instigator in the ideation of the segment, reminding him of the movie Pulp Fiction.
#2. Vince McMahon making Trish Stratus bark like a dog among other humiliating events
Vince McMahon took the liberty of having on-screen relationships with the female talents during the late 90s and early 2000s. His wife Linda McMahon also partook in a few storylines. In 2001, Vince was involved with Trish Stratus as part of his storyline. They would take to displaying their PDA in front of McMahon's family much to their disdain.
A few weeks before WrestleMania 17, the couple were set to face William Regal and Stephanie McMahon in a mixed tag team match. Prior to their bout, Vince was spotted with a bucket filled with what seemed to be contents of sewage waste and convinced Stratus it was to be used in their match. Things took a nasty turn when the former WWE Chairman double-crossed the multi-time women's champion by dousing her with the contents of the bucket. In the following week, Vince McMahon confronted Stratus and ordered her to crawl around the ring on all fours before making her bark like a dog.
His sense of humiliation garnered much disgust and mixed reactions from the wrestling world. However, his ability and ideation for embarrassing the talents knew no bounds of what was to come later in the form of the 'Kiss My A** Club'.
#1. Necrophilic Katie Vick storyline
One of the most atrocious storylines that creeps fans out to this day is the one featuring Katie Vick and Triple H. It transpired in 2002 when Kane was set to compete against Hunter at the now-retired No Mercy PPV. In their back and forth, Triple H took a few nasty shots at the then Intercontinental Champion, calling out Katie Vick (a character who never physically made an appearance on WWE) who showcased immense support and faith in the Big Red Machine's wrestling career.
In the storyline, Vick got into a car crash that resulted in her passing. In typical Triple H style, he disparaged Kane's friend in a bid to enrage him. However, he took things a bit too far when he claimed that Kane and Katie Vick had done the deed when details of the autopsy were made public.
Triple H even dressed up as Kane and behaved unfathomably with the corpse (portrayed by a mannequin) performing explicit acts. The necrophilic segment did not make it to television but caused quite an uproar and continues to haunt fans.
While some of these made it to television, some did not get the permit to proceed and rightfully so. McMahon never even left his own daughter out of a few pitches, one specific idea involved him having an incestuous relationship with her resulting in her becoming pregnant. However, this thankfully never saw the light of day.