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Cageside Countdown: The 10 Worst Acts In Kayfabe

Professional wrestling can pretty strange with its fictional elements. But then again, it has to be. If professional wrestling was nothing more than just two gimmickless guys rolling around the mat, it wouldn't be nearly as popular as it is now. (Hey, don't look at me like that. You know I'm right on this.) The wacky stories and the people behind them are what brought us to the television on Saturday mornings when we were younger, and during prime time hours in the 21st century.

But if we can be honest with one another, there's been quite a bit of stuff done on wrestling shows that make us feel uncomfortable, cringe, make us sick, make us vomit, and just in general make us question life itself. Hell, some of the worst acts ever committed by fictional characters on television have happened on wrestling shows, and that's the basis of this countdown. From the despicable and disgusting to the tasteless and tawdry, here are the worst acts ever committed in kayfabe as determined by Cagesiders everywhere.

Before we get to the honorable mentions, here's a short list of acts that DIDN'T make the honorable mentions, just so you have an idea of what we're dealing with:

  • Triple H drugs and tricks Stephanie McMahon into marrying him
  • Undertaker's unholy wedding attempt to Stephanie McMahon
  • Kane buries the Undertaker alive. Twice.
  • Eddie Guerrero tries to steal the custody of Rey Mysterio's son Dominick.
  • Papa Shango curses The Ultimate Warrior
  • Vince McMahon makes out with Trish Stratus while Linda McMahon watches.
  • Hollywood Hogan tries to kill The Rock via big rig
  • Rikishi tries to kill Stone Cold Steve Austin via a car
  • Ric Flair gets locked up in a mental institution
  • Mike Mizanin, WWE Champion
  • Billy and Chuck's commitment ceremony
  • Rock throws Stone Cold off a bridge
  • Kane electrocutes Shane McMahon's testicles
  • Piñata on a pole
  • The Claire Lynch saga
  • The Jeff Jarrett-Karen Angle-Kurt Angle love triangle
  • The WCW Junkyard Invitational
  • Kurt Angle wants to have beastiality type sex with Sharmell
  • Undertaker hangs Big Boss Man
  • Hulk Hogan betrays WCW
  • Vince McMahon "dies" in a limo explosion
  • The fingerpoke of doom
  • Iraqi sympathizer Sgt. Slaugther
  • Big Boss Man feeds Al Snow his dog
  • Macho Man is bitten by a cobra handled by Jake Roberts

But wait, Eddie Mac, if that's what didn't make the countdown, what did? That answer will come shortly, but first, here are...

TEN (DIS)HONORABLE MENTIONS, or ten moments that almost made the countdown.

1.       Here's an uncomfortable truth: wrestling doesn't exactly have a stellar track record when it comes to race. In fact, over time, wrestling and race have gone together like oil and water. Case in point: March 2003. In the leadup to Wrestlemania XIX, Triple H, the privileged white champion with every advantage known to man, was taking on Booker T, a man who came from nothing—hell, less than nothing—to reach the top of his profession. Granted, it took Hulk Hogan to walk out of WCW for that to happen, but Booker T got there. Five times, meaning this dude had some credibility, even if WWE did their best in his first two years to wipe it. Anyway, Triple H's promos on Booker T were to say the least... a little uncomfortable. Hell, I'm gonna go ahead and say it. Triple H saying that "people like [Booker T] don't get to be champion" was racist, brah.

2.       I know there's a lot of love for Seth Rollins around these parts these days. It's hard not to see why: he's effective at this heeling thing. And being an effective heel means you gotta do scummy stuff, like blackmailing John Cena to bring back the deposed Authority or Edge was going to die.

3.       While Edge nearly became a victim to Seth Rollins' American History X Curbstomp, Dean Ambrose wasn't so lucky, as he was curbstomped to mediocrity.

4.       Okay, the Attitude Era was weird. I know, it's blasphemous to say, but if you ditch the rose-colored glasses for about five seconds, stories from this era were just as stupid and absurd as any other era. At the height of this absurdity was a May-December romance with sex addict Mark Henry and horny senior citizen Mae Young. Somehow, Mae got pregnant. Don't ask. And even more bizarre, Mae Young gave birth... to a hand. Fair play to WWE: they didn't just sweep this under the rug. CONTINUITY 12 YEARS LATER!

5.       Vince McMahon, while one of the great wrestling minds of all time, is if we can be honest for a minute, a reprehensible human being. In late 2000, Vince told Linda that he wanted a divorce. The news drove his estranged wife into a nervous breakdown and Vince sought courtship with Trish Stratus. Granted, this would be the angle that made Trish a big star, but holy shit there were bumps along the way, the worst of which was not when Vince and Trish making out while Linda watched (awkward!), but when Trish was made to bark like a dog with an audience of millions watching. Uncomfortable indeed.

6.       Just a few weeks before Wrestlemania 29, the Undertaker's longtime manager Paul Bearer died. Needless to say, The Undertaker's match with CM Punk took on a whole new meaning. The leadup got personal, and a little tasteless. Even with the approval of the brothers of the late William Moody, the pouring of "Paul Bearer's ashes" by CM Punk just days before the big event raised more than a few eyebrows.

7.       Halloween Havoc 1991 is looked as one of the worst events in professional wrestling history. The event that opened the show was the one and only Chamber of Horrors match in the history of the business. And even then, that's one too many. See, the idea of the match was to strap someone to an electric chair and pull what was called "the fatal lever", essentially killing the man via 50,000 volts to the head and body. In the end, it was Cactus Jack pulling said fatal lever not on Rick Steiner as originally intended, but Abdullah the Butcher.

8.       One of the most famous—or infamous—breakups in professional wrestling history was the split of The Rockers, Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty. Behind the scenes, Shawn wanted to go solo, but Marty did not. But Vince made the call to split up one of the most popular teams in wrestling history. In January 1992, Shawn Michaels decided he had enough of Marty and he would be a solo act from now on, and Shawn punctuated that by superkicking Janetty and putting him through the Barbershop window. But come on... Marty was just trying to duck a beating and decided that jumping through a window would be the best method of avoiding said beating. Nice try, Marty

9.       Speaking of weird storylines of the Attitude Era, Val Venis was quite the ladies' man. One of the ladies he seduced in his early run in the WWF was Mrs. Yamaguchi—who was the wife of the manager of Kaientai, Yamiguchi-san. When he found out, he was none too happy, and he was gonna get some justice on Val Venis'... penis. He threatened the next time he got his hands on Val, Kaientai and Yamiguchi-san were going to "choppy choppy his pee-pee". The next week, they nearly made good on their promise, only to be saved by an unlikely hero: John Wayne Bobbitt, who once had his pee-pee choppied.

10.   In 1996, it was clear that WCW was not messing around on their threat to surpass the WWF as the top wrestling company in the world. Thanks to the success of the New World Order, by the fall, they did just that, and they did it with two of the WWF's biggest cogs in the machine at the time: Diesel, played by Kevin Nash, and Razor Ramon, played by Scott Hall. WWF, in their infinite wisdom, thought they could replace the people playing them with two new people and fans would be none the wiser. After all, they owned the rights to the characters. In September, WWF introduced a new Razor Ramon and new Diesel. It went over like New Coke.

Think those acts were heinous? Prepare yourselves, boys and girls, because we're about to go deep in the rabbit hole of wrestling depravity. Here they are, as voted by you...

the 10 worst acts ever committed in kayfabe.

10. Vince McMahon is the "greater power".

In 1999, The Undertaker was gathering an army to overthrow Vince McMahon and seize the WWF for himself. That army was known as the Ministry of Darkness. That group ran up against McMahon's Corporation, a group that would do anything to protect Vince and his interest. But after Wrestlemania XV, when the Undertaker and his Ministry stalked Vince's daughter Stephanie, it hit a little too close to home for the boss, and the man who once beat the feds in court said fuck it, I'm out. That decision to look out for his daughter's well-being opened up the door for Vince's son (and Steph's brother) Shane to take over the stable. In one of his first acts, he actually got the two groups together as they had common enemies: Steve Austin and The Rock. But back up for a second: around the time of Wrestlemania XV, Undertaker said that none of this was his doing; he's just following orders from "a power that is greater than he". And during the Corporate Ministry era, he'd always turn his head so slightly towards Shane McMahon. That, as we say in poker, is a tell. We all assumed said "greater power" was Shane. But we were so wrong. So so wrong. Dateline June 7, 1999. The "greater power" is revealed in one of the greatest segments in professional wrestling history (don't fight me on this).

Ok, now that you've gotten your laughter out of your system, allow me to break down why this got voted in by you: when you get past the silliness of this reveal, that's when it hits you that Vince McMahon was the man behind the staking, abduction, near rape, and near forced marriage of his own daughter. To quote one Youtube comment, that's some straight up anime plot shit. It's also pretty fucking disgusting. No wonder Steph turned on him six months later.

9. Bubba Ray Dudley nearly kills Mae Young dead.

The Dudley Boyz have a LONG history of scumbaggery. They Dudley Death Dropped Beulah McGillicutty into retirement. They powerbombed their own storyline brother through a flaming table. Multiple times. They've berated crowds to the point of rioting. But perhaps the height of their depravity came in their early WWF days when they put people through tables left and right. No one was safe regardless of size, color, age, or gender. Case in point: a 77-year old Johnnie Mae Young. On consecutive weeks on RAW is WAR in March 2000, a then-"pregnant" Mae was put through a table. Yeah, you didn't know it happened two weeks in a row, did you? The first one put Mae in a wheelchair. But everyone remembers the second, the one that, under normal circumstances, would have sent her to the morgue.

Non-kayfabe speaking, it turned out Mae Young was all for it, even browbeating and slapping Bubba Ray behind the scenes. After the stunt, Mae Young berated him some more, saying it wasn't good enough. Ouch. But in all seriousness, if Bubba really tried, Mae would have left us long before January 2014. Mae could beat up your grandma. Or you for that matter.

8. Triple H forces Earl Hebner to overturn Chris Jericho's WWF Championship win.

It was 15 years to the day when Chris Jericho won the WWF Championship--only to lose it moments later. Here's how it happened: Chris Jericho comes out and just runs down Stephanie, calling her every negative name in the book (available at the time). Obviously, Triple H, ever the good husband, must come to Steph's defense and honor. And it is in that moment, Triple H makes a rash, emotional decision: he agrees to a WWF Championship match against Jericho. Jericho didn't come without a plan. Knowing D-Generation X would not be far behind, Chris Jericho spent some of DAT WWF MONEY on some protection, in the form of the Acolytes. Pretty decent TV match with usual WWF main event shenanigans. Eventually Earl Hebner has to play replacement referee. Triple H is none too happy about it, and the champ pushes Earl Hebner, opening the door for Jericho to hit a spinning heel kick and a lionsault. A quick three count later, and Chris Jericho is your new WWF Champion and the company lives happily ever after for all eternity.

OR DO THEY? (pic via imdb.com)

Triple H commandeers Earl Hebner, while Shane commandeers the original referee for the bout Mike Chioda. Trips demands Earl reverse the decision. He refuses, then replay is shown of the end of the match, where Earl Hebner clearly quick counted Triple H. But referee's decisions are final, Eddie Mac. Not in the minds of Trips. Chioda, the original ref, snitches on the senior ref, and Earl reverses the decision...but only on the condition that nobody lays a hand on him again as long as he's a WWF referee. Trips agrees, and Chris Jericho has to give the WWF title back. Not only that, the match is officially stricken from the WWF record book. Oh, and to top it off, Triple H fires Earl Hebner anyway. And to cap it off, Chris Jericho is pinned in the main event by Triple H in a six-man tag team match. What a fucking dick. As Cagesider South of Heaven pointed out, this may have been the beginning of Triple H's Reign of Terra.

7. Kevin Nash lawn darts Rey Mysterio.

Speaking of scumbaggery, Kevin Nash, seen by many as a charming man, was quite the politician behind the scenes. But this isn't about that. This is about on-camera scumbaggery, and when you think of Kevin Nash on-screen scumbaggery, you think of the New World Order. In 1996, the ex-WWF employees did what they wanted when they wanted to whomever they wanted in WCW. No one was safe from their wrath. On an outdoor episode of Monday Nitro in July 1996, the nWo threesome wrecked shop on everyone that was in their path, including the American Males, Arn Anderson, and in one memorable moment, a five-foot, six-inch cruiserweight from San Diego.

Unfortunately for the live crowd, no one saw it. Unfortunately for WCW, some nearby residents did and saw this as a shoot gang fight happening and cops were actually called to the scene. Non-kayfabe speaking, this was one of the defining moments of the early days of the nWo. Kayfabe speaking: Scott Hall and Kevin Nash did kinda commit four counts of assault at least.

6. David Arquette wins the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.

Look, professional wrestling is on its most basic level not real, meaning the championships aren't legit like the Stanley Cup or an Olympic gold medal or the Vince Lombardi trophy. Yet, championships in professional wrestling do mean something if for nothing else because it means that promotion has put their faith in you to be the forefront of the company, or at worst be a stopgap for the next guy. When you hot potato a championship, it sends a signal to fans saying, you know what? We don't have a plan. I submit to you as an example the year 2000. Know how many people held the WWF title in 2000? Four. (The Big Show, Triple H, The Rock, Kurt Angle). Know how many times that title changed hands? Five. WCW in that same year: 25 title changes by thirteen men. Bret Hart, Chris Benoit, Sid Vicious, Jeff Jarrett, Diamond Dallas Page, Kevin Nash, Ric Flair, Booker T, Vince Russo, Scott Steiner, Vacant, and...

Dewey from Scream.

Dewey from fucking Scream was the heavyweight champion of the second biggest wrestling company in the world. The same championship once held by Ric Flair, Sting, Hulk Hogan, Big Van Vader, Bill Goldberg, and Ron Simmons, the one WCW claimed their lineage went back nearly a full century, was in the hands of a Hollywood actor. I know what you're thinking: hey, Eddie Mac? Didn't the WWF put their world title on Vince McMahon, and did they not also put their world title on a Hollywood actor very recently? Yes, and yes. And they both had more in-ring time than David Arquette. Oh, and I forgot to mention this: David won the world title in a tag team match. By pinning Eric Bischoff. Who was not the WCW world champion at the time. This act of kayfabe was nothing more than a publicity stunt and a money grab, and it failed on all fronts: they were roundly mocked by the mainstream press, it did not bring people to WCW events, nor did it made their movie Ready to Rumble (which starred the aforementioned) any less of a flop, and it killed their television ratings. But taking the biggest hit was WCW's credibility. I mean, if they can put their world title on an actor, they can in theory put it on anybody.

vince russo wcw belt

Goddamnit. At least there's a silver lining: David, being a wrestling fan, knew people were going to hate this left, right and center (he was right). Despite trying to talk WCW off the ledge, they went ahead and pulled the trigger. To his credit, he donated all his earnings from his brief time their (which included a FUCKING PAY-PER-VIEW MAIN EVENT) to the families of Darren Drozdov, Brian Pillman, and Owen Hart. Even in the ugliest of moments, there is beauty.

5. Ric Flair pushes Sensational Sherri towards a planchaed Sting.

Ric Flair has always been a lover of the ladies. There was rarely a wrestling show where "The Nature Boy" wasn't escorted by two, three, four, five, ten women. Hell, away from the camera, the Nature Boy lived the gimmick. No wonder why he went bankrupt and got divorced more than once. But there were times when Ric Flair was looking out for Ric Flair, especially in the heat of battle. Though not officially nominated, it got so many recs, it had to make the countdown.

Wow. What a dick. Granted, that was Sensational Sherri Martel, former AWA and WWF Womens Champion, so she could take the bump safely better than most. But damn. On the surface, that's a dick move. Try that on the street and see what happens. (Actually, don't. Don't try that. Seriously, don't try that.)

Also, if you know the match this moment is from, let us know in the comments. Thanks.

4. Triple H screws the corpse of Katie Vick.

2002 was a weird time in professional wrestling. Gone were the glory days of the Attitude Era, and with it, fans by the thousands. With dwindling attendance, ratings, and revenue, WWE got desperate. And in that desperation came perhaps the most tasteless wrestling angle of the 21st century. Maybe ever.

God do I not want to explain this. Not even a little bit. Take it away, Historically Significant Disasters of Wrestling series writer Vectron44:

...after Kane defended the Tag Team Titles by himself (his partner the Hurricane had been taken out earlier) in a Ladder Match on October 7th 2002, Triple H came to the ring and cut a promo, essentially accusing Kane of murdering his girlfriend Katie Vick.

The next week on Raw Kane came out to tell his side of the story. Apparently ten years ago Katie and him went to a party and they had a bit too much to drink. Subsequently Kane lost control of the car when driving Katie and him home and they crashed. Kane broke his arm but Katie died. Then Triple H revealed that the autopsy (that he somehow got a hold of...why?) showed that there was Kane's semen inside Vick when she died, leading to the Game to ask Kane "Did you force Katie Vick to have sex with you while she was alive...or did you just wait and do it to her when she was dead?"

..

But if you thought that this was the end of it, you would be horribly, horribly wrong because the next week Triple H showed a video of himself in a Kane mask humping a manniquin of Katie Vick in a coffin.

Yes, you read that right. After which Triple H threw some pink gunk at the camera in order to show that he had screwed her brains out.

Even in kayfabe, this is disgusting and uncomfortable. Kane, the monster that tortured his older brother and set people on fire, was accused of rape and necrophilia. RAPE. AND NECROPHILIA. Side nugget: this was filmed in an actual funeral home, where next door there was a funeral in progress, and the funeral director told Vince and Triple H to keep it down while they were filming the segment. No, seriously. Triple H said so himself in a 2008 interview.

I... I no word. Next.

3. Big Bossman hijacks the coffin of the Big Show's father.

The fall of 1999 produced some of the worst storylines in WWE history. It was like they were throwing darts to see what stuck. After all, they were finally out of the Austin-McMahon business. But the fall of 1999 also saw the WWF lose two of its biggest contributors on their creative team to WCW: Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara, meaning creative was in flux. Their big story at the time, Stephanie McMahon being courted by Test, was put on hold. But that's not what this one is about. This is about another story they came up with during that period.

Around the same time, the Big Show wrestled with a heavy heart. His "father" had terminal cancer, meaning his death was imminent. Eventually, his dad did succumb to the disease and a funeral service had been planned. And here, boys and girls, is where the story goes off the rails. Literally.

The Big Boss Man, in a continuing effort to be as tasteless as possible (this came a few weeks after he dognapped Al Snow, then fed him the corpse), crashed the funeral, and... well, I'm pretty sure this hasn't been done since, not just in WWE, but ever... he hijacks the coffin where Show's father laid to rest. Big Show was having none of that, and proceeded to try and retrieve said coffin, even resorting to riding on it.

Look, death's a touchy subject and in wrestling, death should be handled with kid gloves (or mittens for that matter). But... really? Upon first viewing, yeah, it's disgusting. But after repeated views, it actually becomes quite humorous. Pretty sure that's not what WWE was going for there.

2. Snitsky punts a baby.

If you think death's a touchy subject, try pregnancy. To the best of my knowledge, there are fewer successful pregnancies in wrestling than weddings that go smoothly. If you know of a successful storyline pregnancy, I'd like to hear about it in the comments.

The year's 2004. Lita and Matt Hardy were dating. Very much in love and all that. Well, not exactly. Somewhere in the spring of 2004, Matt ditched Lita after teasing a proposal. That summer, Lita was stalked, kidnapped, and "impregnated" by that ladies' man of the 21st century, Kane. The rivalry would last through the summer, and somehow Kane won the right to marry Lita in a wrestling match. I'd explain it further, but you'll only suffer a concussion. A few weeks later, Kane was offered up a local athlete by the name of Gene Snitsky. Snitsky was fitting to be a sacrifice for the Big Red Machine, but Lita got in the way, Snitsky nails Kane, and down goes Lita. Down goes Lita. Down goes Lita. If you know a little bit about wrestling history, you know what happens next.

Lita, of course, "miscarries" and "loses her baby". As for Snitsky, he pricelessly reacted "it wasn't my fault". Just a freak accident with an unfortunate circumstance. Shit happens and so forth and so on. The next week on the Chris Jericho Highlight Reel, Snitsky continued to deny fault and basically rubbed Lita's tragedy right in his face in, well, a most disgusting manner. Snitsky played "Kick the Baby".

This is another one of those moments that turn humorous with repeated viewing. I mean, he punted a baby doll, not the real thing (thank goodness). Not a very effective punt, mind you, but look, if you need one of those pin-down punts, Gene Snitsky is your guy. Oh, and he can also hook you up with a pressure cooker.

1. Seth Rollins betrays The Shield, sending the WWE into a tailspin from which it may never recover.

Debuting in November 2012, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns were on a mission to right the injustices they saw in WWE. In reality, they basically came to WWE to fuck shit up and powerbomb and spear and curbstomp people. And no one was safe from their wrath. When you dealt with one member of the group, you dealt with all of them. And they happened to collect a few championships of their own along the way.

How dominant was The Shield? Nearly every three man unit put against them lost. Evolution was brought back together after Wrestlemania XXX, and they disbanded again after just two months. THE stable of the Ruthless Aggression Era was reduced to rubble at the hands of the Shield. They were swept out of the building 3-0 at Payback in an elimination match. The next night, Batista decided, ya know what? Screw you guys, I'm going back to Hollywood. With a hole to fill in the group, Triple H had to find someone to combat what was in his mind the biggest threat to his power. No one saw what followed coming. With a chairshot to the back of Roman Reigns, followed by one to Dean Ambrose and a curbstomp, Seth Rollins pulls a Hollywood Hulk Hogan in 1996 and betrays the group.

The impact of that moment is far-reaching. First and foremost, the most dominant group in recent WWE history broke up. Seth Rollins becomes a singles star and soon after, arguably the biggest heel in the company and WWE Champion. Roman Reigns begins his path to be the conquering hero, but it's put on hold after a hernia. His return exposes his many flaws, and now Roman is almost guaranteed not to be the future of the company. Dean Ambrose becomes the vengeful brother, but after he fails in his quest for revenge, drifts into the abyss of mediocrity. The breakup was the breaking point for many fans, what with Daniel Bryan out indefinitely at the time. The breakup also exposes the thinness of the roster, despite having the most diverse collection of talent ever assembled. And in the end, the man who broke up The Shield, may never get his true comeuppance. An act of betrayal that arguably sent the WWE into a creative and possible financial tailspin from which it may never recover; that's what you selected as the worst act of kayfabe ever.

There's your countdown. See any that didn't make the cut? What other acts of kayfabe you think could have made the list?