Despite the of chaos in the ring, the WWE actually runs quite a tight ship overall. Its performers aren’t allowed to do or say whatever they want, and need to adhere to the rules put before them. These rules do change over time, though, and sometimes have a lot to do with Vince McMahon’s mood on the day.
Much like a typical company’s rules and regulations, however, you have to oblige – no matter how stupid they might seem – or you’ll be forced to seek new employment. That said, there’s always a rebel in the pack who refuses to follow suit and raises his/her middle finger in defiance.
In the WWE, they’ve been blessed with many wolves in sheep’s clothing who’ve broken the rules on live TV and lived to tell the tale. Some of them did suffer lash back for their actions, while others got away with it unscathed (most likely because they made a lot of money for the company in merchandise sales).
We’ve gone through the ages and identified some critical moments when WWE superstars stuck it to the management team in front of the world.
So, give us a “hell yeah” because here are the 15 Times WWE Superstars Broke Company Rules On Air.
15. The Rock’s F-Bomb
Look, the WWE has pushed the boundaries of decency on more than one occasion. That said, it still tries to keep the language within the realms of PG. This means that f-bombs are strictly forbidden and the on-air talent needs to be more creative with their disses and promos.
On one Raw show in Chicago, The Rock was meant to have some verbal sparring with Stephanie McMahon and Booker T. As expected, the crowd lapped up every word and the People’s Champ was set to end off the battle with the final line “a punk-a** sucka and a silver-spoon mother—.”
McMahon was supposed to cut off the Great One before he could finish his sentence, but she missed her cue.
14. The Kliq’s Curtain Call
Back in the ’90s, no person working for the WWE liked Shawn Michaels and his band of pals known as the Kliq. They pretty much did whatever they wanted without repercussions and buried anyone who dared speak out against them.
One of their greatest moments of defiance was the infamous Curtain Call incident at Madison Square Garden in 1996. At that stage, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall were set to leave the company for WCW, and this was to be their final show before jumping ship.
In the main event, Michaels wrestled Nash in a steel catch match. After the match ended, Hall and Triple H made their way down to the ring and all four men hugged, breaking the long-held tradition of kayfabe and incensing WWE management. Since Michaels was the top dog in the company, he suffered no punishment, but Triple H did.
13. “Mean” Gene’s Swearing Incident
“Mean” Gene Okerlund is a reminder of a simpler time in wrestling. The legendary announcer and interviewer remains one of the best in the business, and he never seemed frazzled even when those around him were.
However, there was one time when Okerlund lost it on live television.
During SummerSlam in 1989, Okerlund was waiting to conduct a backstage interview with “Ravishing” Rick Rude and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. As he was about to start, the placard behind him fell to the floor.
The distraught Okerlund shouted “f**k it” and refused to continue with the segment. Going back to commentary, Jessie “The Body” Ventura made light of the situation and said that finally someone had interrupted Okerlund. As expected, the interviewer’s faux pas was removed from the home video version of the pay-per-view.
12. Randy Orton Calls Kofi Kingston Stupid
In 2010, WWE decided to give Kofi Kingston a bit of a push. It made sense since he displayed a great deal of athleticism and was getting over with the crowd in a big way. However, things took a turn for the worse in a triple-threat match with Randy Orton and Ted DiBiase Jr.
During the match, there was a miscommunication between Orton and Kingston, which resulted in the latter not selling a move and correctly positioning himself for the finish. Orton lost his cool and called Kofi “stupid” – something that was picked up by the ring mics for the world to hear.
Sadly, the incident had a negative effect on Kingston who lost the momentum of his push almost immediately.
11. Daniel Puder Chokes Out Kurt Angle
The WWE veterans like giving the younger guys a hard time. Often, they’ll hit the newcomers with stiff shots or tighten a hold to welcome them to the big time. In the case of Kurt Angle, he took down Tough Enough contestant Chris Nawrocki in a shoot match on Smackdown! and broke his ribs.
Angle challenged the other finalists to another bout, with Daniel Puder accepting – little did the pro know that rookie was a mixed martial artist.
When Angle took Puder to the ground, Puder locked Angle in a kimura lock and nearly broke his arm.
10. Shawn Michaels Walks Out After Being Hit With A Battery
In 1998, Shawn Michaels was getting on everyone’s nerves. From wrestlers to the fans, he was the villain he portrayed on TV every week. At an open workout in Boston before his WrestleMania XIV bout with Steve Austin, Michaels was smacked in the head by a battery flung from an audience member.
As someone who played football in high school, you’d think that Michaels would’ve appreciated the throw… but he didn’t. He stormed off and had to be coaxed to go back to the ring by Vince McMahon.
Steve Austin confirmed that neither he nor Mike Tyson, who was also present at the event, knew if Michaels would come back to the ring after the incident. After all, the WWE expects its superstars to be able to shrug off audience chants and the occasional foreign object.
9. JBL Bloodies The Blue Meanie
Beating up your co-worker is generally frowned upon, regardless of how many times the idiot forgot to reply to your e-mail but has all the time in the world to watch cat videos on YouTube. In the WWE, however, it’s cool – as long as there’s no real damage done to the other person. You see, folks, wrestling isn’t real.
In the case of the Blue Meanie and JBL, things got a little out of hand.
JBL is renowned for not being the nicest guy in the ring and often likes to tighten his fist a little harder when striking an opponent.
As a result, he bloodied Da Blue Guy in a brutal manner.
8. CM Punk Hits A Fan
Oh, how we miss CM Punk. This guy was one of the ultimate rulebreakers in his tenure and fired us all up with his pipe-bomb promos. There was an incident, though, where his fiery temper got the best of him.
While in the crowd with the fans, someone decided to flick Punk’s ear. At first he ignored it. However, when it happened again and an arm touched the back of his head, Punk swung a backhand into a fan’s face, breaking the guy’s glasses in process.
The fan who was hit claimed that he didn’t do anything to antagonize Punk and was a victim of mistaken identity. The WWE and Punk apologized for the incident, saying that the Best in the World acted in the heat of the moment. Fortunately, the fan decided not to press charges.
7. Bret Hart’s WCW Sign After The Montreal Screwjob
The Montreal Screwjob is one of the most infamous incidents in pro wrestling history. On the night, you can’t really blame Bret “The Hitman” Hart for any of his reactions because the WWE really did humiliate Bret in front of his home fans.
After the dodgy finish of his bout with Shawn Michaels, Canada’s favorite son lost his cool.
He spat at Mr. McMahon and proceeded to write “WCW” in the air. At the time, it was forbidden to mention the WWE’s main competitor on air but Hart didn’t care, sticking it to McMahon.
Obviously, those in the know would have had knowledge that Hart had signed with WCW, but this was confirmation for the average fan. It was an ugly evening that we’re sure everyone wishes could’ve panned out differently.
6. Sycho Sid Asks To Start The Interview Over
While Sycho Sid had the look and monstrous physique to be a massive superstar, his mic skills often tripped him up. There are tons of interviews online where Sid tongue-tied himself or went off on some incoherent rant.
The best of the lot was a backstage promo that he did with Jim Ross at In Your House in May 1995. After Ross asked him a question about his match against Diesel, Sid fumbled over his own words, apologized, and requested to do it again. Ross responded, “No, it’s live, pal.”
Sid came back strong, though, quickly going into his angry, heel rant and finishing off the promo without blushing. Although, Ross did take a potshot at him afterwards, as he dubbed him “the man of few words.”
5. Brock Lesnar Stiffs Braun Strowman
Would you pick a fight with Brock Lesnar? Personally, we wouldn’t dream of it. If you’re the size of Braun Strowman, however, you probably stand a chance in a one-on-one fight with the Beast Incarnate.
During their Royal Rumble clash this year, which also featured Kane, Strowman hit Lesnar with a hard knee to the head.
The move didn’t go down well, as Lesnar shot to his feet and legitimately punched Strowman in the face.
The blow rocked the Monster Among Men as Lesnar told him to “slow the f***k down,” which was quickly bleeped out by the production team. After the bout, a swollen-faced Strowman reportedly apologized to Lesnar backstage for the stiff knee and all seems to be good between the two big men now.
4. Brad Maddox Swears At The Audience And Gets Fired
Brad Maddox had a relatively memorable run in the WWE, even if he’s better known for his private home video with Paige and Xavier Woods right now. His time with the promotion came to an end, as he went a little overboard with his character during a dark match.
In November 2015, Maddox went off at the crowd and referred to them as “c**ky p****y.” In the grand scheme of things, this doesn’t sound like such a big deal. After all, the likes of The Rock and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin have used worse language on air.
3. Daniel Bryan’s Tie-Strangling Incident
In the WWE, it’s perfectly acceptable to hit someone with a chair, sledgehammer, or even throw them through a table. However, Section 3.8.2 of the Superstar Manual (we’re making this up, by the way) says, “Thou shall not strangle another competitor with a tie.”
Daniel Bryan missed the memo and got into a world of trouble after he strangled announcer Justin Roberts with his own tie.
Unfortunately, this led to him being controversially fired from the company.
Speaking in his autobiography, Best Seat in the House: Your Backstage Pass Through My WWE Journey, Roberts confirmed that he thought the firing was a work as well.
“That Thursday night I was out in Scottsdale, and I got a message that Daniel Bryan was fired,” he said. “‘Wow,’ I thought to myself. ‘I wonder where they’re going with this storyline.’ The next day, word was going around that this wasn’t a storyline.”
2. Finlay’s Interruption Of The National Anthem
Who could ever forget Finlay? The Irish wrestler was a no-frills kind of guy and let his in-ring work do the talking for him. Eventually, he took up a producer role in the WWE and helped to develop the younger performers.
Unfortunately, Finlay miscalculated a situation that resulted in his immediate dismissal. At a March 2011 house show, he instructed The Miz to interrupt the national anthem in an attempt to gain more heat before his WrestleMania XXVII bout against John Cena.
What Finlay failed to realize was that there were members of the National Guard in the audience and this act came across as highly disrespectful (but the fact that Shawn Michaels had blown his nose on the Canadian flag years before was okay). Finlay accepted his punishment and accepted full responsibility for what happened.
1. Juventud Guerrera Performs Banned Move
Juventud Guerrera built up a reputation as a risk-taking, high-flying wrestler. Unfortunately, his coordination let him down at the best of times and he botched moves more often than he wanted.
His low point came when he attempted a 450° splash but ended up fracturing bones in Paul London’s face due to his blunder.
As a result, the WWE banned the move, deciding it was too risky and dangerous for its performers.
Guerrera, though, didn’t care what the suits told him and went ahead with the move in a Cruiserweight Title match against Kid Kash.
This defiant act, coupled with other backstage issues, led to the WWE parting ways with Guerrera. He left in 2006 and we haven’t seen Guerrera back with the promotion since then.
Do you know of any other instances where WWE superstars have broken rules on air? Let us know in the comments section.
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