Professional wrestling has always been a spectacle, but it’s not without its fair share of controversies. Join us as we peel back the curtain and shine a spotlight on the most infamous and controversial moments in the storied history of professional wrestling.
Montreal Screwjob: Betrayal in the Ring
Event: Survivor Series 1997
Description: The Montreal Screwjob remains one of the most controversial moments in wrestling history. During the main event at Survivor Series 1997, Vince McMahon orchestrated a plan to ensure that Bret Hart dropped the WWE Championship to Shawn Michaels without his knowledge. This betrayal shattered the trust between wrestlers and management.
“Curtain Call” at Madison Square Garden
Event: May 19, 1996
Description: The “Curtain Call” incident at Madison Square Garden saw faces and heels breaking character in front of a live audience. Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall embraced in the ring after a match, disregarding their on-screen rivalries. This departure from kayfabe shocked fans and challenged the traditional boundaries of storytelling.
Owen Hart’s Tragic Fall
Event: Over the Edge 1999
Description: The tragic death of Owen Hart during the Over the Edge pay-per-view in 1999 shocked the wrestling world. Hart, who was set to make a dramatic entrance from the rafters, fell to his death when a harness malfunctioned. The incident led to increased scrutiny of safety measures in professional wrestling.
The Steroid Trial of Vince McMahon
Description: Vince McMahon faced federal charges in the mid-1990s related to the distribution of steroids to wrestlers. The trial exposed the behind-the-scenes world of performance-enhancing drugs in wrestling and led to changes in WWE’s drug testing policies.
Mass Transit Incident: Unsanctioned Match Turns Violent
Event: November 23, 1996
Description: The Mass Transit Incident involved an unsanctioned match where a young wrestler, Eric Kulas (Mass Transit), suffered severe injuries after lying about his age and experience. The incident highlighted issues of safety and responsibility in the wrestling industry.
“The Fingerpoke of Doom”
Event: January 4, 1999
Description: In a highly criticized moment, WCW staged a controversial title change on an episode of Monday Nitro known as “The Fingerpoke of Doom.” Kevin Nash poked Hulk Hogan, leading to a quick and anticlimactic title change. This decision was widely regarded as a poor creative choice.
Conclusion: Navigating the Ropes of Controversy
In conclusion, the history of professional wrestling is not without its darker chapters. From backstage betrayals to real-life tragedies, these controversial moments have left an indelible mark on the industry. Wrestling continues to grapple with the consequences of these incidents, reminding fans and participants alike that the squared circle is not immune to the complexities and controversies that come with the world of entertainment and competition.