When you look back over the course of WWE's history, it can actually come as quite a surprise that the company has survived as long as it has. From Vince McMahon risking it all with the first WrestleMania to the steroid trial and beyond, the company seems to be invincible.
Money issues and court cases aren't the only things that WWE has managed to survive though. There are also a multitude of controversial moments scattered throughout the company's history.
Some of them were unavoidable while many of them were brought on by WWE themselves. Regardless of how or why they happened, here are five of the most controversial moments in WWE history.
#5 Austin gets crucified
Using something that resembles a religious symbol is always going to be a risky avenue to go down. WWE during the Attitude Era didn't particularly care about whom they offended, so they went ahead with the public crucifixion of Stone Cold Steve Austin
The Undertaker was the leader of The Ministry at the time and was embroiled in a rivalry with The Texas Rattlesnake. The nature of The Deadman meant that attaching someone to a cross was just another day at the office.
WWE had a sneaky way of battling people who complained about it though. The announcers were very careful to never refer to the cross as a cross. Instead, it was only described as The Undertaker's 'symbol' and they simply denied that the use of it was blasphemous in any way.
#4 The Muhammad Hassan Incident
The use of the Muhammad Hassan character on WWE television during the mid-2000s was always going to be risky business. A Middle Eastern Superstar complaining that American fans didn't like him because they were xenophobic.
Then WWE took it to the next level. On an edition of SmackDown, Hassan had men in ski masks rush the ring and beat up his rival, The Undertaker. What makes it so much worse is that the airing of the episode coincided with the terrorist attacks in London on July 7th, 2005.
WWE cut the segment from the European version of the show but kept it in when it was shown in the US. The company received a lot of backlash from the media, some of which WWE published on their own site in an attempt to show recognition of what they had done.
#3 The Curtain Call
One of the most infamous moments in pro wrestling history was a moment known as The Curtain Call. It involved a group of Superstars known as The Kliq and it took place at Madison Square Garden.
Despite being enemies on screen, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash went to the ring to say farewell to the latter two of those names who were about to leave for WCW. In the eyes of most of their peers, that was an absolute no-no and they had broken a sacred bond by revealing the truth about the business to the fans.
Someone had to be punished for the event, and that someone wound up being The Game. Hall and Nash had gone; Shawn was one of the top guys in WWE; Triple H was the only real option when it came to someone taking the wrap. Obviously, he managed to overcome that eventually.
#2 Hanging Big Boss Man
The Undertaker's WrestleMania streak will go down as one of the greatest achievements in pro wrestling history. 21 straight wins at The Showcase Of The Immortals without a single loss.
There's the odd match out of those 21 that WWE would rather you forget, however, and one of them is The Deadman's Hell In A Cell match at WrestleMania XV against Big Boss Man. The match itself was fine, but it's what happened after that was pretty distasteful.
The Brood descended from the arena ceiling and slipped a noose through the top of the cell. The Undertaker proceeded to place the rope around the neck of Big Boss Man, and once it was secure, he signalled for the cell to be raised, thus hanging his defeated opponent live on pay-per-view.
#1 The Montreal Screwjob
One of the most infamous nights in WWE's history came at Survivor Series in 1997. The night that Shawn Michaels 'beat' Bret Hart for the WWE Championship in an act dubbed as The Montreal Screwjob.
The Hitman was set to leave the company for WCW but couldn't agree on a way to drop the WWE Championship. With no compromise agreed upon, Vince McMahon felt the need to take matters into his own hands and make sure that Bret lost the match no matter what.
McMahon came to the ring when Shawn had the Sharpshooter locked in and waved for the bell, making it seem like Hart had tapped out. He hadn't of course and it would take Hart well over a decade to forgive WWE for what they did to him that night.
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