5 non-PG moments in WWE's PG Era
WWE went PG in 2008 after many years of edgy and mature content. Since then, the promotion's product has been suitable for all ages.
Even though WWE programming can now be watched without parental control, it doesn’t mean the company has completely shed its old ways. Every now and then, there is a storyline that ventures into edgy/suggestive/dark territory. This is done to raise eyebrows and deviate from the usual formula.
Most of these deviations, provided they are in good taste, are positively received by the audience. There is a large section of the fanbase that wants a return to the Attitude Era. However, given the company has never been more lucrative, these fans will have to settle for such moments.
Here are five non-PG WWE moments that took place in the PG Era.
#5 Chris Jericho and CM Punk talk substance abuse
Chris Jericho and CM Punk’s critically-acclaimed feud in 2012 was not all sunshine and rainbows. In fact, it turned personal the second Y2J decided to mention his rival’s family and their history with alcohol and drugs.
The wrestlers were allowed to dance on the edge of kayfabe, and that resulted in Jericho calling Punk a hypocrite for preaching straight-edge ideals. If there was a moment where the Voice of the Voiceless snapped, it was when he heard this line from the Fozzy frontman:
“Your father is an alcoholic, your sister is a drug addict, and you’re going to end up just like them – it’s inevitable.”
It was a completely non-PG moment that parents probably had a hard time explaining to their kids. However, the feud was widely praised for its excellent and personal promos and of course the matches it spawned.
#4 Brock Lesnar vs Randy Orton SummerSlam 2016
Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton crossed paths after more than a decade of staying away from each other. They clashed at SummerSlam 2016 in a blockbuster matchup, only for it to end in the most deflating way possible.
The finish saw Lesnar uncork his bare elbows on Orton’s face without stopping. This resulted in the Viper being busted open and getting knocked out. He drowned in a pool of blood flowing from his face as everyone watched on in confusion and horror.
Orton suffered a concussion and wasn’t medically cleared by WWE to wrestle his next pay-per-view match. The finish to their SummerSlam bout may have been anticlimactic, but it was most certainly not a PG moment.
#3 WWE lets Samoa Joe deliver personal insults towards Jeff Hardy
Jeff Hardy’s history with substances is well-documented. He went through a lot of trouble to overcome his troubles and deserves the utmost respect for succeeding.
Which is why eyebrows were raised when Samoa Joe brought up the demons of Hardy’s past at an event honoring his WWE career. As the Charismatic Enigma expressed his gratitude to the fans for believing in him through thick and thin, the Samoan Submission Machine decided to rain on his parade.
Joe started off in a congratulatory tone before dropping a brutal line that addressed Hardy’s dark past. He then proceeded to deliver one non-PG personal shot after another as the WWE Universe listened in disbelief.
#2 Seth Rollins removes Rey Mysterio’s eyeball
One of the most disturbing moments in WWE history occurred when Seth Rollins and Rey Mysterio wrestled an 'Eye for an Eye’ match in 2020. Victory would be achieved when a wrestler removed his opponent’s eyeball.
If that wasn’t non-PG enough, it would get worse. After several attempts at digging into each other’s eye sockets, Rollins beat Mysterio when he extracted his opponent’s eyeball. As everyone was still trying to digest what had happened, WWE showed the Master of the 619 holding it as a shaken Monday Night Messiah threw up.
The company did us all a favor and restored Mysterio’s eyeball after he wore an eye patch for several weeks. At least they got the unrealistic part rolling even after an absolute anti-PG disasterclass.
#1 Randy Orton kisses Stephanie McMahon
When WWE went PG in 2008, no one expected a moment so shocking and the complete antithesis of PG principles to happen within a year. However, that is exactly what we got when Randy Orton kissed Stephanie McMahon in front of her handcuffed husband.
The moment, which is now the most viewed video on the WWE's YouTube channel, sent shockwaves across the industry. Orton handcuffed Triple H to the ring and attacked his wife as he helplessly watched on.
The sadistic Viper then slowly proceeded to peck Stephanie on the lips as the entire world watched with their jaws dropped and their kids away from the screen.