A few years ago I wrote an article called 4 Wrestlers Who Would Be Serving Life Prison If Wrestling Was Real, which detailed some of the most outlandish, intelligence-insulting storylines the WWE has ever put on television. It was pretty well received, with the biggest complaint being that I missed so many. With so much absolute insanity over the last 20 or so years, I was bound to pass over a few. Some of them, however, are so nuts they make The Big Bossman crashing a funeral and driving away with the coffin of the deceased chained to the back of his car seem like the Humanitarian Act of the Year.
WWE is a fickle business. Some days, they want professional wrestling to be recognized as, or at least viewed as a legitimate sport. Other times, however, it seems they’d rather their product be viewed as the lucid nightmare of a goddamned lobotomized mental patient. So, in addition to the incidents I chronicled in the first article, I present to you an addendum with six more of the most batshit-insane moments in WWE history.
6. Brian Pillman
OFFENSE(S): Pulling a gun on a fellow employee
We pretty much have Brian Pillman to thank for all of this. His “Pillman’s Got a Gun” storyline is the godfather of the extremely violent, off-the-walls insane, what-the-f--k-does-this-have-to-do-with-wrestling era. Brian Pillman came to the WWF in 1996 after developing a “Loose Cannon” gimmick in WCW and ECW. “Loose Cannon” in 1996 basically meant he occasionally swore and always had a wide-eyed scowl on his face. When he joined the WWF, he was put into a storyline with his former tag team partner, Stone Cold Steve Austin, which culminated in Austin breaking into Pillman’s house to get his hands on him. Ole’ Flyin’ Brian was ready for Stone Cold though, casually waiting on his couch with his girlfriend, WWF correspondent Kevin Kelly (who consistently erroneously stated they were in Cincinnati, despite the fact that the graphic on the bottom of the screen blatantly read “LIVE! Brian Pillman’s home: Walton, Kentucky”–seriously, being that punctually incorrect is almost more impressive than simply being right), and a 9mm pistol. Yeah, a f-----g gun. The zany wrestling promotion who just finished an angle where a clown and 4 of his midget sons all named Dink fought a man who thought he was a King suddenly got all COPS on us. When Brian Pillman pulled out a goddamn gun on Raw, s--t got real.
It may have ushered in the “Attitude Era”, basically the five year period where Vince McMahon purposely pushed the envelope to create some of the most vile, disturbing television of all time; it was the late 90s, after all. The Attitude Era is basically what makes this article and its predecessor possible, and by 2001 if someone pulled out a gun the average fan would likely let out a nonplussed yawn and question, “when is this going to pick up? I haven’t seen titties or someone suffering a concussion in over 45 seconds.” But in 1996, no one was ready for that. The USA network was a little less than pleased when its flagship program went from family-friendly programming to dedicating an entire episode to recreating a violent domestic disturbance, complete with Pillman shouting, “I’m gonna kill the son of a b---h! Get the f--k out of the way!”. The WWF apologized profusely for the angle, then quickly got to work creating its next abhorrent, deviant nightmare.
5. The Undertaker
OFFENSE(S): Hanging the Big Bossman, abducting Stephanie McMahon, attempting to crucify Stone Cold and others, setting Kane on fire, burying Paul Bearer in concrete
One of the biggest complaints about the first list was that I missed two horrifying offenders: Kane (who I will get to a bit later), and his brother The Undertaker. The Undertaker–and Kane, for that matter–are unique cases. In an era of gritty, unabashed realism, here are two undead, cartoon villains who live in the underworld and draw power from the souls of the damned. It’s almost difficult to reprimand them for their actions; if we’re to believe kayfabe (storyline)–and as I’ve pointed out in the past, sometimes WWE makes their storylines harder to believe than buying that Scarlett Johansson’s n00d pix were leaked “by accident”–The Undertaker and Kane are monsters in the most literal sense of the word. In the WWE world, ‘Taker would probably have already Tombstone Piledrove Lucifer himself and converted Hell into one big Inferno Match by now. But alas, these are unliving monsters inexplicably forced to live (somewhat) within Earth’s limits; so when The Undertaker does things like bury people alive, abduct a woman and attempt to make her his “Dark Bride” against her will, crucify wrestlers, set his own brother on fire on international television, et al, well, it’s just par for the course.
..No. No. I don’t care if his “thing” is that he’s evil. Those are all still really, really messed up. I could write psychological theses about each of things insane incidents that would make Sigmund Freud break down and weep like an orphan on Mother’s Day, but in the interest of brevity, I’ll choose one that I find the most bone-chilling:
Hey guys, remember the time The Undertaker buried his longtime mentor and best friend Paul Bearer in quickly coalescing concrete, leaving him to suffer a fate not unlike some twisted effigy of Han Solo encased in carbonite?
OFFENSE(S): Setting JR on fire, setting Undertaker on fire, burning down William Regals office, Tombstone Piledriving a 60 year old woman, forcefully impregnating Lita, electrocuting Shane McMahon’s balls
I only touched on Kane briefly above, but as you can see from this laundry list of accusations, he has certainly committed his fair share of jaw-droppingly dastardly deeds, most of them involving fire. Kane was introduced in 1997 by Paul Bearer as The Undertaker’s tortured-soul, burn victim of a brother. Like his brother, over his career he has run the perversion gamut. It’s almost like Kane wakes up every morning and spins a Price Is Right-style wheel which can land on one of many heinous horrors: He’s burned commentators alive, Tombstoned senior citizens, electrocuted executive’s testicles, and has basically run roughshod on the entire company. Also like his brother, one particular act sticks out in my mind as possibly mentally scarring:
A woman’s wedding day is normally the happiest day of her life (so I’m told). That’s why you don’t really hear vows such as Lita’s every day: “The only joy I have now in life is hoping and praying that you suffer a horrible accident, resulting in your painful and immediate death. I sincerely hope you rot in hell.” Alright! Kane, you may now kiss the bride!
Whatever. Lita’s just all mad that Kane, after learning his love for Lita was unrequited, forced himself upon her and impregnated her while she had a boyfriend, and beat him in a match for the right to marry her (how else do people resolve love triangles?). But of course, the jilted in this case was the clinically insane, toxic, ratings cancer Matt Hardy, so he didn’t get anything he didn’t deserve. Oh, I should mention that Matt and Lita really were dating at the time, until she legitimately had an affair with, and left Matt for, another wrestler. I should also mention that they turned this real-life heartbreak into one of the raunchiest angles in all of wrestling. Enter:
OFFENSE(S): The murder of Paul Bearer, indecent exposure, sex in public
Edge has always been a somewhat controversial character, but there was a point in his career where he was seemingly put on television solely to scare sponsors out of advertising on RAW. Edge stole Lita from right under Matt Hardy’s disfigured, cocaine-riddled nose, in storyline and in real life. Though, again, Matt Hardy sucks, so no one really felt bad for him.
Man, I hate this guy.
Okay, deciding to turn it into a storyline after it happened in real life sucks for Matt, but overall, whatever. Taking it to the lengths they did, though, is just a bit inhuman (we are talking about Vince McMahon, after all). The night after winning the WWE Championship, Edge and his new girlfriend decided to “celebrate” by having sex live in the ring.
I wasn’t exaggerating.
The whole event was pretty real, too. So real that one of Lita’s totally bare breasts was exposed on live television for a solid five seconds. It was pretty real, and pretty goddamned ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong; I got to hand it to Edge. Being gone down on in the middle of the ring by a girl you stole from your nemesis while holding the WWE Championship is just about every middle-high schooler’s dream (okay fine, it’s still my dream); it just doesn’t have a lot to do with…erm…wrestling.
I uhh…swear to god that never happens.
Did I mention this was the MAIN EVENT of the evening? Sadly, you’re not gonna find a video on YouTube that really does this segment justice, and I can’t really find a link for you right now, lest I lose my job. Find it on your own time, ya pervs (like I did).
There was also the time that Edge tricked Kane into literally murdering Paul Bearer. But Edge was the babyface (“good guy”) in the storyline, so it was for some reason treated like a funny “gotcha!” moment rather than the savage killing it actually was.
2. Randy Orton
OFFENSE(S): Attempted murder John Cena with pyrotechnics
Randy Orton’s nickname is the really, really stupid title “The Apex Predator”. Well, anybody can be a predator when you have access to a state-of-the-art pyrotechnics setup.
Man, Randy Orton plays a great mentally unstable, overly competitive a-----e with a superiority complex, doesn’t he? It’s almost like…he’s not acting at all.
It’s also worth noting here that this happened during WWE’s much lampooned “PG” era, where they attempted to make their programming more family-friendly. So, naturally, they exchanged the sex for fatal explosives used nonchalantly. Gotta teach kids the right lessons, after all.
Sex is wrong. Killing people you disagree with…well, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
1. Triple H
OFFENSE(S): Raping a dead body
All of these incidents, forever fondly remembered in the annals of WWE’s great history, all really just hors-d’oeuvres to this, the plat principal. There are just two words you need to say to a wrestling fan to make him or her supremely embarrassed that they are, in fact a wrestling fan. Two words, one name, three syllables: Katie Vick.
I covered Triple H quite a bit in my last WWE article. He was on top of the WWE for over 10 years, and he was kayfabe one of the most soulless, violent, emotionally devoid human beings ever to roam the earth. In late 2002, he had a beef with (who else?) Kane. At the end of RAW one night, Trips said he was going to reveal Kane’s darkest secret to the world, and asked him if the name “Katie Vick” meant anything to him. The next week, Kane came out and told the world how he accidentally killed his girlfriend Katie Vick in a drunk driving accident. This would have been pretty tasteless in its own right, but thanks to Triple H, it goes from tasteless to unnerving in about two seconds flat.
The next week, Triple H decided to show a little video to basically throw Kane off his game a little bit; give himself the upper hand. The scene: Katie Vick’s open-casket wake. I’ll, uhh…just let this video speak for itself:
It becomes even more disturbing once you hear the multiple people backstage claiming Vince McMahon himself was there for the taping of this horrific skit, panning Triple H because his simulated necrophiliac rape was “not realistic enough, dammit!”. I know you can’t hit a homerun on every storyline, but I’d like to meet the member(s) of the WWE Creative team who came up with this, and I’d like even more to meet the yes-men who decided a storyline about someone raping a dead drunk-driving victim would go over well.
Okay. After finishing this list I need a hot shower, a young priest, an old priest, and a nice, long sabbatical from WWE programming.
If I missed any glaringly obvious incidents, feel free to let me know in the comments section, and if I am ever self-loathing enough to compile another list of these horrors, I’ll be sure they make the list.