Watching the ending of the final Raw before Wrestlemania made me feel embarrassed to be a fan of WWE’s product. It made me think about all of the viewers who may be new to their product. I imagined viewers who may have watched wrestling during the 90’s, or have never really viewed pro wrestling at all, tuning in for the first time to this current version of the company and witnessing a tug of war over the world heavyweight championship. And although WWE’s creative team should feel ashamed of themselves for churning out such a ridiculous ending, this was not the first time WWE has went down the path of giving fans the kind of content we wouldn’t dare show to a non viewer of their product.
WWE has a history of failed storylines, failed gimmicks, and awful moments. But this list is not about the The Gobbledy Gooker or even The Shock Master. This list is about a few cringe worthy moments that WWE fans would like to forget, and hope new fans will never discover. I’m talking about moments that you would never want the type of person who feels the need to remind you that it’s fake to ever see. Here are a few moments that have made people embarrassed to be WWE fans.
- The Original DX
When fans think of Degeneration X, they think of Triple H, The New Age Outlaws, and X-Pac. Shawn Michaels and Chyna usually feel like notable mentions to the group despite being there from the beginning. The reason for that is because the group didn’t really hit its highest level until after Michaels was out of the group. This was due to the right people coming together at the right time while the attitude era was taking off. But if you actually look back at the early days of the group, Michaels was single handily responsible for some of the most cringe worthy moments at the time.
Revisiting DX mooning the camera, pretending to give head to an invisible man while impressively tickling his invisible testicles at the same time, and a load of unfunny and cheesy sexual innuendo with no real drive for any sort of storytelling is definitely an awful way to kill your nostalgia. The attitude era truly did not kick off until Austin’s rise within the company. Degeneration X , at that time, was just one guy saying and doing whatever he wanted while his lower card friend followed his lead. I wouldn’t recommend for a younger fan who may have missed the attitude era to start with the original incarnation of the group, but at least Hunter has come a long way.
- Mark Henry and Mae Young
Sometimes WWE’s creative team stumbles upon something that is somewhat entertaining at first, but then they decide to milk it until it becomes a reminder of how incompetent and goofy their writing can be at times. Mark Henry was working a storyline as a sex addict for a while until Sexual Chocolate found himself in bed with the best sex he’s ever had, Mae Young. The segment started off with Henry exhausted from a great night of lovin’ before the camera panned back to reveal Mae laying right next to him. It was a great way to add on to his gimmick. But instead of the event being an hilarious one night stand, his working gimmick as a love machine turned in to a unwanted love story.
WWE milked the shock value of Mae and Henry making out until there was nowhere else to go with it other than down the path of extreme goofiness. Mae eventually became pregnant and gave birth to a hand. There was no explanation why it was only a hand, and I can’t imagine how someone was actually able to pitch that idea and keep their job, but it was definitely a moment I would never wish upon a new viewer to their product. Wrestling fans get enough crap from people telling us that pro wresting is fake and for kids. We didn’t need this sort of goofiness in our lives as well. In hindsight, WWE realized how dumb the storyline became and dropped it. However, they did reference it years later by making a grown man dress up as a hand in order to pretend he is Henry’s son, and having Mae Young give birth again to Hornswoggle. It’s okay to make mistakes the first time WWE. But trying to make fun of yourselves to get a laugh does no one any good in the end.
- Katie Vick
Another example of WWE’s creative team not know when to quit is the Katie Vick storyline. During a feud with Kane, Triple H looked in to The Big Red Machine’s past and discovered the dark secret about Vick’s death. Hunter’s threats to expose Kane’s secret went on for a few weeks before two sides of the story were eventually revealed. From Kane’s point of view, He loved Vick and her death was an accident that involved her having too much to drink. Triple H, however, accused Kane of murder and necrophilia. And just when you thought things couldn’t get any weirder, Triple H filmed a segment with him wearing Kane’s mask and simulated sex with a mannequin in a casket representing Vick’s dead body. Cringe worthy indeed.
The storyline went from interesting, to flat out over the top, to never being mentioned ever again by WWE. The feud between Kane and Triple H ended out of nowhere. And the two stars moved on with no resolve to the angle. I want to believe that someone would have stopped WWE’s creative team from going through with the segment, but some of the writers involved have stated that it was in fact Vince, Stephanie, and Hunter’s idea for it. The story was originally written with only the mystery of if Katie Vick was actually murdered or not. WWE’s top notch management ruined what could have been a great story. If I had to introduce a friend to WWE’s product, I’d make sure to steer them far away form the Katie Vick storyline. Because as a wrestling fan, I should never have to explain to someone why The Game is dry humping a mannequin inside a casket with a hand full of spaghetti.
- Kiss my ass club
After the Invasion angle, Vince McMahon started the “Kiss My Ass” club, in which he gave certain superstars a simple choice. Either literally kiss his ass, or be fired. The first member of the club was William Regal. After being given the ultimatum, he chose to get on his knees and willingly kiss McMahon’s ass on live television. The other members were forced to do it in one way or another. I’m not sure if other fans felt that a grown man forcing another grown man to kiss his ass was as embarrassing as I did at the time, but it sure as hell is now looking back at it. If I had to argue that WWE’s product isn’t as ridiculous as non wrestling fans assume it is, then I’d keep them as far away from the “Kiss My Ass” club segments as humanly possible. In fact, I’d probably steer them away from the early 2000’s completely.
When wrestling is good, it’s epic. It’s a feeling fans can’t express to someone who doesn’t already get it. Yeah, we know it’s not real. And you would have to be a complete idiot to believe that it is. But we love it just as much as any sport. So when our intelligence is insulted, our voice isn’t heard, or we have to endure awful segments that are clearly geared towards an audience not interested in their product, we become angry. We complain about the product while still tuning in every week. Like an abusive relationship, we refuse to leave and believe that things will eventually get better. But moments like the tug of war ending to Raw are embarrassing enough to make us want to keep our passion to ourselves. However, we can’t ignore the fact that there were worse decisions made by WWE’s creative team. As embarrassing as it was, we’ve survived darker times. Let’s just hope the main event at biggest show of the year isn’t as disappointing and embarrassing as the build up has been for it.