The WWE doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to scripting its characters’ promos. There have been many times when someone was in the ring or part of a non-wrestling segment, and they said or did something so shocking, so stupid, so intolerably bad that it made fans cringe. These were the segments that actually ticked off long-time wrestling fans because they weren’t connected to actual wrestling and more in-tune with a desperate attempt to cross over into actual ‘entertainment.’
When people discuss the darker side of wrestling, these are the things they’re usually referring to: the desperate need for ratings superiority, and the lengths to which promoters will go to in order to increase those ratings and garner a greater response from their own audience and from society at large.
Some of these segments were so cringe-worthy because they were too cheesy to be taken seriously and were comedy attempts gone bad. Other segments made people uncomfortable because of mature content or otherwise inappropriate creative directions for what’s supposed to be a wrestling program. Other cases still were cringe-worthy because they came off as ‘desperate’ and the fans saw through the charade and rejected what they were being presented.
With WWE’s ratings currently in the toilet, they must avoid the temptation to return to these sorts of skits and segments. If they were to try and recycle these old ideas, the backlash they’d receive now could be far worse than anything they have ever experienced before.
10. ‘Donald Trump’ & ‘Rosie O’Donnell’ On RAW
In 2007, the WWE wanted to show that they cared about ‘pop culture’ events, which might explain why impersonators of Donald Trump and Rosie O’Donnell appeared on RAW…and had a ‘wrestling’ match.
These two impersonators (which included O’Donnell being obsessed with eating cake and Trump having a much larger hairpiece than in real life), made some people laugh (albeit at the absurdity of the segment), while the rest of the audience chanting ‘boring’ so loudly that it was impossible to drown them out. This ‘contest’ dragged on for far too long, and was mercifully brought to an end when ‘Trump’ won.
This moment was so bad because it was clear that WWE was ‘scraping the bottom of the barrel’ for any sort of hook that would show the world that they’re relevant. But instead of bringing in new viewers, this segment turned many away instead.
9. The Boogeyman Eats Jillian Hall’s ‘Facial Blemish’
There are some things that simply do not belong in a wrestling ring. A person with an obvious facial blemish (which becomes the defining feature of her character) and a man who eats worms are two prime examples.
Hall’s facial blemish made people recoil in disgust or disappointment every time she was on TV (seriously, how is someone with a facial ‘mole’ on their face supposed to get over?), while the Boogeyman was downright disturbing. So when these two met in the ring, it got really disgusting.
To prove that he really was as crazy as possible, Boogeyman licked, ripped off and ate Jillian’s mole. Even though it looked obviously fake and was probably made of dried macaroni, the idea of eating someone’s facial blemish was extremely disgusting. Even the children watching must’ve thought either that this was incredibly gross, or incredibly stupid.
Either way, WWE loses.
8. “Melina Vs. Alicia Fox”
When grilled by Tough Enough judge Steve Austin, Arianne, a.k.a. Cameron, said that Melina vs. Alicia Fox was her favorite wrestling match of all time.
Melina….vs….Alicia Fox. Steve Austin’s reaction to hearing such nonsense was absolutely perfect. It actually looked like he was so shocked over Arianne’s lack of wrestling knowledge that he was trying to restrain himself from reacting in a far worse manner.
What made this segment even worse was that Cameron was dead serious in her statement. She looked up at Austin and repeated the same wrestling match after Austin’s initial shock. She had the guile to think that she could actually win a wrestling-based competition. Then again, it’s also ironic because Arianne actually got hired by WWE and became, for a time, a regular fixture on WWE programming.
7. Roman Reigns: ‘Sufferin Succotash’
This is one of the main reasons Roman Reigns isn’t believable in his current role. Reigns, who, bear in mind, is supposed to be a tough bad-ass in this segment, says that Rollins is ‘full of suffering succotash, son!’
For anyone who might not know what that means (which is very likely given WWE’s target demographic and Reigns’ core audience), that was the catchphrase of Sylvester the Pussycat from Looney Tunes, a character that hasn’t been prominent in children’s cartoons for many years. ‘Succotash’ is also a food dish composed of sweet corn, so basically Reigns called Rollins a New England Thanksgiving dish.
If you want to kill someone’s push as a tough guy, make him speak the catchphrase of an antiquated children’s cartoon character. It was so cringe-inducing to hear a supposed tough guy say those lines, and tarnished his image in the eyes of many.
6. Kathie Lee & Hoda Kotb On RAW
In 2014, WWE thought it would still be a good idea to bring in guest hosts onto RAW, even if they had little to nothing to do with the actual program. Such was the case on October 6th, 2014, when Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb appeared, and proceeded to take part in the single-worst RAW moment of that year.
Their discussions and interactions were downright abysmal. They chatted about nonsense and didn’t contribute anything to the actual show, yet were given plenty of time to keep agitating the audience. The fan reaction was so overwhelmingly negative that WWE played Adam Rose’s theme to drown it out. The segment was undeniably stupid, and hopefully served as a reminder to the WWE to make sure to bring in guest hosts that actually know something about the WWE next time.
5. Brie Bella Vs. Nikki Bella
As much as they have improved over the years, Brie and Nikki Bella have never been the greatest of actresses. Their promos have always sounded wooden and forced, which made this rivalry and its many segments incredibly difficult to sit through. Hearing the twins insult each other and claim, among other things, that ‘I wish you had died in the womb’, was painful to watch, especially with Jerry Springer standing next to them.
The entire feud had an inherent phoniness to it that made it impossible for anyone to take them seriously, especially since some people watched Total Divas at the same time, and knew that these were just stupid storylines. By further revealing the feud’s scripted nature, even fewer people invested in it, turning it into an even bigger waste of time.
4. J.R.’s ‘Colon Surgery’
This segment, composed of cheap puns and corny names (Dr. Hiney & Nurse Slobberknockers), soon transformed into a glorified mockery and humiliation of JR, who had been ‘fired’ the week prior. It consisted of Vince McMahon pulling various objects out of ‘JR’s butt’, including a bust of J.R.’s own head, while recordings of J.R.’s commentary were heard in the background.
While Vince himself must’ve found this segment hilarious, no one else did. It was nothing more than Vince taking even more shots at a passionate wrestling fan who did all he could to make the audience love wrestling as much as he did. The jokes were bad, the puns were lame, and the entire segment made many people uncomfortable. Why Vince thought that people would find mocking J.R. so funny is anyone’s guess, especially since the ‘Oklahoma’ character in WCW failed big time years earlier.
3. J.R. & Michael Cole’s ‘Battle Rap’
During the pinnacle of the Cole/Lawler feud, someone decided it would be a good idea for Cole and J.R. to have a rap battle (because WWE loves to reference rap/hip-hop culture).
What we ended up with was J.R. having a brain fart (according to his Twitter), failing to say anything funny, and by attempting a Spinarooni. But instead of actually spinning properly like Booker T, JR ended up flopping on the canvas like a fish out of water.
It was bad enough that the WWE’s Michael Cole and Jim Ross – the latter being an Oklahoman with no connection to rap music whatsoever – trying to pull this kind of thing on a wrestling show. What really made it worse was the overall cheesiness of the segment. It was almost as if they knew this was going to be bad, and went ahead with it anyway.
2. Vince McMahon Making Trish Stratus Bark Like A Dog
Arguably the blackest mark against WWE’s public perception, Vince’s ego was on full display during this segment. He wanted to demonstrate his power over everyone, and somehow he found that making Trish Stratus, easily one of the most popular women in WWE, undress and bark like a dog on live TV, to be a good idea.
Even in the most heavily-edited of clips, you can hear the audience groan in disgust at this sight. Trish didn’t deserve this treatment, and many felt that WWE had gone too far with this one. This segment has haunted the WWE since it first aired, as the company’s opponents have used it to further criticize the company and hinder the McMahons attempts at success outside of wrestling.
Perhaps that backlash is deserved, since it was absolutely painful to watch Trish be humiliated in such a way in front of millions of people.
1. Katie Vick
There has never been a single segment so disturbing, so unnecessary, so inappropriate that it would bring shame to virtually everyone within the wrestling industry who saw it. It was so bad that for many years, people like Paul Bearer and Jim Cornette, who had absolutely nothing to do with the segment, hung their heads in embarrassment over it.
To this day, the name ‘Katie Vick’ is met with either shame or cringes. Why Vince McMahon thought that implied necrophilia would be a good idea on a wrestling show is anyone’s guess. The fans must’ve felt both disgust at the actual skit, and disgust towards the professional wrestling promotion that would put such garbage on primetime television. If the PTC and other prominent critics ever needed fuel for their campaigns, this was perfect. There simply was nothing justifiable or positive in this segment whatsoever.