Top 10 Most Controversial Pro Wrestling MatchesThese are the most controversial wrestling matches in wrestling, either due to backstage politics, superstars using their backstage power to determine the outcome, a screwjob finish, a match's buildup, or massive backlash from the fans.
Everyone already knows the story here. Bret Hart was leaving the company to go work in WCW. Originally, Hart was supposed to drop the belt to Michaels, but Hart refused, as the match took place in Montreal. On the day of the match, Triple H stated that if Hart wasn't going to do business, then they would do business for him. Vince McMahon concocted a plan to screw Bret Hart out of the title. At the match's finish, Michaels applied the Sharpshooter. The referee called for the bell. Bret was not only upset with the end result, but he was also furious. He went backstage asking Shawn if he had known about it. Shawn lied and said he knew nothing about it, then Hart went to Vince and punched him.
This match and the word "controversial" go together like peanut butter and jelly.
This is why you never lie about your age, or claim that you're a trained wrestler. When Axl Rotten failed to make an ECW house show, Eric Kulas, who was actually 17 years old, told owner and booker Paul Heyman that he was 23 and trained by Killer Kowalski to fill in for Rotten. Unaware of his actual age, Heyman agreed. Kulas wrestled as Mass Transit, adopting a Ralph Kramden bus driver gimmick. Unaware of what he had gotten himself into, before the match he asked New Jack to blade him. During the match, he and Mustafa completely destroyed the kid, pummeling him with countless objects like a toaster and crutches. New Jack ended up cutting him open too deeply with a surgical scalpel, severing two arteries in his forehead and causing him to lose consciousness. The incident led to a series of legal troubles for ECW and New Jack, who was acquitted of all charges. As a result, ECW's first pay-per-view for that year was canceled.
Twelve years before the Montreal Screwjob, there was another screwjob involving Wendi Richter and The Fabulous Moolah under the "The Spider Lady" gimmick. The plan was apparently concocted by Vince McMahon himself after Richter refused to sign a new contract with the then-WWF. However, Richter claimed that she was still under her original 5-year contract, although she had a couple of disagreements with the company. During the match, Moolah went off script and pinned Wendi, while the referee, who was in on the plan, counted the 1-2-3 even though Wendi had kicked out.
Possibly the most hated Royal Rumble match in history. The year prior, fans complained about Daniel Bryan not being in the previous year's Rumble. WWE finally gave the fans what they wanted, only to disappoint them in the worst way possible by having Bryan eliminated 10 minutes into the match. This infuriated the fans, who booed relentlessly throughout the rest of the match, even chanting for refunds. Roman Reigns won the match, only to be booed out of the building.
The most infamous match in wrestling history occurred when it was clear that something was horribly wrong with Jeff Hardy, who was clearly high. Minutes later, Eric Bischoff came out and whispered something to Sting, most likely telling him to end the match as quickly as possible. He then announced that the match was now a No DQ match, as if they even needed it in the first place. Seconds later, Sting pinned Hardy. Jeff really tried to kick out, but Sting was like, No, we're ending it now. Sting must have been really disappointed with Jeff for ruining what could have been a really good match.
Using his backstage power, Hogan came out following the Hart vs. Yokozuna match and defeated Yokozuna for the title in mere seconds, which did not sit well with Hart or the fans.
Long story short, Andre pinned Hogan despite Hogan kicking out. Andre then surrendered the title and tried to give it to Ted DiBiase.
The controversial ending created a big backlash for Hulkamania fans. I know I remember watching that match on New York's WNBC 4, and fans, even to this day, still feel that Hogan was screwed out of the title.
Though the "on-stage" antics were entertaining, the real-life backstory regarding this match is heartbreaking.
Leading up to the match, CM Punk had cut a real promo, known as a pipe bomb, in which he expressed his grievances with the company. His contract was expiring that very day, and he planned on leaving the company with the WWE Championship. As the match went on, Mr. McMahon planned to screw CM Punk, only for Cena to stop those plans. Then, as Cena got back in the ring, Punk hit him with the GTS for the win, becoming the new WWE Champion. McMahon attempted to take back the title by ordering Alberto Del Rio, who had won the MITB ladder match earlier that night, to come out and cash in. However, Punk stopped him and left through the crowd, exiting the building with the WWE title intact.
John Cena beat CM Punk and said, You can't see me.
Sheik had Backlund in the Camel Clutch and Backlund refused to submit. A few minutes later, Backlund's manager, Arnold Skaaland, threw in the towel, allowing The Iron Sheik to claim the WWE Championship.
I feel like this was an underdog story for Booker T. Going into this match, he had the build-up from the story to become the champion. But of course, they booked HHH to win the match and completely botch all that build-up.
The match isn't controversial, but the angle had some racist undertones. HHH cut a promo stating that people like Booker T would never become World Champions. The promo came off as racist.
This was originally going to be a best-of-3 series with Shawn winning at least one of their matches. However, Hogan didn't want to job, saying that he couldn't work the other two matches due to a nagging back injury. Michaels was then informed that it would be a one-and-done at SummerSlam with Hogan winning. Michaels was pissed that Hogan would politic his way to a win, so he decided to oversell all of Hogan's offense to a comical degree in order to make a fool out of Hogan. Seriously, though, go watch this match on the Network to see Michaels flop around like a fish after a single Big Boot from Hogan.
Russo originally wanted Hogan to job to Jeff Jarrett, but Hogan refused thanks to his creative control over his character. The end result was that they worked a shoot angle in which Jeff Jarrett simply lay down in the middle of the ring so Hogan could pin him. This ultimately led to a real-life shoot with Russo bashing Hogan, telling the WCW fans that they would never see Hulk Hogan in WCW again. This led to Hogan not returning and suing Russo for defamation of his character.
I remember watching it for the first time and I thought Hercules won when he had Hogan in the backbreaker. Thirty-plus years later, with the audio of that match now improved with time, I can hear Hogan saying I quit, but the referee didn't listen. Now the biggest question is, did Hogan pay off the referee before the match? If it's true, oh oh, it's trouble in Hulkamania land.