WWE superstars have to be able to talk quite convincingly on the mic; it is one of the things that the company looks for when they are hiring new stars. In-ring promos have set up some of the biggest matches in the company’s history, but at the same time, there have been some memorable WWE promos over the past few years, for all the wrong reasons.
Heel superstars are often asked to push the boundaries when it comes to what they can say when they are outside in front of a live audience with a live mic, and this is why there have been so many offensive promos over the past few years because WWE knows how to attract heat from their fans.
There have been a number of promos that have been performed on live TV over the past few days where even the stars who are currently working for WWE have stated that WWE went too far on a number of occasions. It seems that when it comes to controversy, WWE is happy to allow some things to happen just so that the WWE Universe will be talking about the show afterwards.
The following list looks at just 15 of the times WWE allowed some of the most offensive promos to air on either SmackDown or Raw, and the WWE Universe has since decided to head over to social media to share their disgust at the levels WWE will allow themselves to stoop to just to create controversy.
15. Jinder Mahal’s Offensive Promo
It has become a well-known fact in recent months that the only reason Jinder Mahal was allowed to become WWE Champion back at Backlash was because WWE was doing everything they could to expand their reach with the fans of the company in India. Jinder is actually Canadian, but it seems that he filled the spot quite nicely for WWE.
Over the past few weeks, The Artist known as Shinsuke Nakamura has been a thorn in the side of Mahal and the Champion is well aware that his reign could be coming to an abrupt end. Shockingly, this past week on SmackDown WWE allowed Jinder to perform quite a racist promo where he mocked Nakamura’s facial expressions and then said he looked like Mr Miyagi from The Karate Kid. The WWE Universe chanted “That’s Too Far” as it became painfully clear that WWE really didn’t mind blurring lines to create controversy.
14. Paige Brings Reid Flair Into Her Feud With Charlotte
This was perhaps the worst use of controversy that WWE has ever allowed to air. Paige and Charlotte were former friends who were set to collide over the Divas Championship and it seemed that there wasn’t enough spark between the duo for them to be able to get over the fact that this was a deeply personal match.
WWE’s solution was for Paige to bring up the fact that Charlotte was just like her dead brother Reid because there was “no fight in him” either. Reid passed away following a drug overdose in 2013 and the use of his name made Charlotte livid and it was later revealed that the company didn’t even ask the family’s permission to use the youngest Flair family member’s name in the insult. WWE realized it was a step too far and quickly ended the feud between the women and it hasn’t been spoken of since. Ric Flair even went online to share his disgust, which showed that WWE has really messed up this time.
13. CM Punk Brings Up Jeff Hardy’s Substance Abuse Problems
There is a thing nowadays where fans get really excited if a promo goes out of the bounds of WWE’s kayfabe bubble and begins to touch on the facts that are happening in certain stars’ personal lives. CM Punk became the king of the Pipebomb and one of the best talkers on the mic during his time in WWE, but it seemed that his promo aimed towards Jeff Hardy back in 2009 may have gone a little bit too far.
This was Hardy’s final WWE feud before he was released from WWE and at this point in his career, it was relatively common knowledge that Jeff had a problem with drugs. He was released from WWE not long after this for failing another drug test, but having CM Punk air his dirty laundry to his adoring WWE fans who knew nothing about his personal battles wasn’t the way this should have been handled. It made the whole thing seem petty and unprofessional.
12. Kevin Owens Tells Shane McMahon He Should Have Died
On a recent episode of SmackDown Live, WWE continued the build-up to a Hell in a Cell match between Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens by having the duo take part in another incredible promo segment on the show.
It was reported that McMahon’s helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing a few weeks ago and Shane was uninjured, but Owens brought this into the entire face off and told McMahon that it would have been better for everyone including his children if he had died. Shane has a wife and three sons; to know that his children were probably sitting at home watching this and not understanding why Owens would say something like this is quite shocking. There are ways to make a feud personal without wishing death upon a person in WWE, or even without being disrespectful about death in general. The creative team should probably work on this.
11. Stephanie McMahon Compares Her Father’s Trial To 9/11
September 11th, 2001 is a date that will be etched in the history of America until the end of time. It was a terrorist attack that changed the lives of thousands of people and WWE decided to add their own spin on the events that happened that day.
America was hurting and Stephanie McMahon‘s response on the next episode of Monday Night Raw was to talk about how her father’s trial had attempted to rip her family apart and ruin her father’s reputation, but she had managed to hold it together and get through it, and America could do the same. Stephanie literally compared her father’s trial to one of the biggest tragedies in her country’s history. It was perhaps the worst thing she ever could have said and still something that that WWE Universe will not be forgetting in a hurry. What is the saying? If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all next time, Steph.
10. Vince McMahon Reaches New Levels Of Disgusting
Vince McMahon has been seen as something of a villain in WWE for a number of years, but never more so than when he was part of perhaps one of the most offensive promos that has ever been filmed in the backstage area of SmackDown.
When McMahon found out that Paul Heyman had given The Undertaker time off ahead of Survivor Series, McMahon then stated that “terrorists will burn down Undertaker’s house, his children will be kidnapped,” and then he went on to say the most repulsive thing we could possibly imagine. He told Heyman that this all needed to happen within 15 minutes otherwise he was going to take Heyman out to the ring and strangle him. WWE was a different era back then and obviously, they could perhaps get away with much more than they can right now, but there’s a feeling that a number of members of the WWE Universe were offended by this side of McMahon.
9. Paul Heyman And CM Punk Mock Paul Bearer Days After His Death
WWE really needed a match for The Undertaker at WrestleMania 29, as with most of his matches on The Grandest Stage of Them All over the past few years. WrestleMania was right around the corner and the match was still yet to be set up, so the company came up with a clever plan to ensure that this was one of his most personal matches ever.
Paul Bearer, the legendary manager of The Undertaker for many years, sadly passed away in the build-up to that year’s Showcase of the Immortals, and the company decided to exploit his death by having Paul Heyman dress up as Paul Bearer and mock the fact that he had died. It was in such bad taste that many of the WWE Universe were horrified that this was the level that the company had allowed themselves to stoop to. Undertaker looked awkward whenever he was in the ring with Punk and Heyman and the WWE Universe just felt uneasy watching the story unfold.
8. Nikki Bella Tells Her Sister She Should Have “Died In The Womb”
Sisters fight, siblings fight, and families fight. That’s just the way that it is, but when you’re both WWE superstars and you decide that you have a problem, you have to settle your differences in the middle of the WWE ring.
Sadly for Nikki and Brie Bella, neither twin was ready for the push that they were given in 2014 when their sibling rivalry was featured on both WWE TV and Total Divas. The turning point of the feud came when Jerry Springer visited WWE and tried to fix the rift between the sisters, but once again Nikki attacked her sister and shouted: “I wish you died in the womb.” It was one of the worst insults that have ever been used in a WWE ring, and one that has followed Nikki around ever since she said it. Most shocking of all, though, is that Brie forgave her a few weeks later and the women were able to work together again. Maybe this is something that only siblings can understand?
7. Dolph Brags About Giving Jerry Lawler A Heart Attack
Jerry “The King” Lawler is a legend in WWE as both a wrestler and commentator, and the WWE Universe was shocked and worried back in 2012 when Lawler suffered a heart attack as he commentated on a live episode of Monday Night Raw.
WWE decided to bring this into a storyline this year when Dolph Ziggler was trying to pick up cheap heat by attacking The King and claiming that he was responsible for something that could have killed him. If that wasn’t far enough, Ziggler then ended the segment by delivering a kick directly to Lawler’s chest, just to hit his point home. JBL was at ringside for this and he was so disgusted by the events that he tried to intervene but he fell over on his way to the ring. It seems that time and time again WWE has shown that they only have one way of creating heat for a superstar, and it always leaves someone offended.
6. Chris Jericho’s Promo On CM Punk
Chris Jericho was doing this before it was common; he decided to play CM Punk at his own game when he brought in the fact that Punk’s straight edge lifestyle was built upon the fact that Punks father was an alcoholic and he was never there for him when he was growing up. WWE basically glorified the fact that Jericho was pushing Punk towards alcohol because he wanted him to end up like his father. Punk didn’t look comfortable throughout the promo and perhaps suggested that WWE create something personal like this, but sadly, it just didn’t connect like many other Punk storylines have in the past. That means that Punk’s dirty laundry was aired for nothing.
5. Big Show Pulling Down The Russian Flag
Rusev has made a career out of mocking America. Ever since he came up to the main roster along with Lana, he has been put into a number of feuds with wrestlers who were considered to be American heroes as they tried to show The Bulgarian Brute that he shouldn’t mess with their great country.
Despite all of this, American’s weren’t offended by Rusev’s threats but The Big Show stepped up and pulled down the Russian flag on an episode of Monday Night Raw and suddenly he became public enemy number one. There were various complaints about the entire segment for weeks afterwards, as Russian people actually thought that this was a direct attack on them. It seems that regardless of what WWE does, there are still many people who see WWE as real life and obviously think that anything aimed towards their country is a personal attack directed at them.
4. Randy Orton Mocks Eddie Guerrero’s Death
Eddie Guerrero’s death back in November 2005 was one that came out of nowhere and affected the WWE Universe for a long time. The company did the right thing by pushing his best friend Rey Mysterio towards the World Championship following his death, but it seems that there always has to be a bad guy ready to exploit a death in the worst possible way.
Randy Orton can play face or heel quite convincingly, but back in 2006 when he was looking at a way to get back into the World Championship match at WrestleMania, he utters the words “Eddie ain’t in heaven, Eddie’s down there, in Hell” to Mysterio. It was clear that WWE had stepped over the line. Many fans were outraged that the company would say such a thing about one of their biggest stars, but thankfully Orton got his comeuppance when Mysterio defeated him and won the World Championship at WrestleMania 22.
3. Sgt Slaughter’s Gulf War Heat
WWE has been known to use real-life situations as part of their storylines on many different occasions. But it seems that one of the worst times that they decided to do this was back in 1990 when Sgt Slaughter returned to WWE after five years away.
Slaughter had decided to turn heel and was now using the current situation between America and Kuwait to his advantage, as he turned on the nation that once loved him to show that he had sided with Saddam Hussein’s country. American soldiers were dying as Slaughter mocked them on a regular basis with promos that made him a white-hot heel in the simplest possible way, but it was nothing short of disgusting. Thankfully, WWE realized that these kinds of situations shouldn’t be exploited anymore, but the proof can still be found online if you ever feel like WWE could drop any lower than where they currently are.
2. The Entire “Piggy James” Storyline
Being a female and growing up in a world that is dominated by pictures of how women should look and act is bad enough without WWE deciding to point out that anyone who had a different shape to all the other female wrestlers was classed as a “piggy.”
The entire storyline that centered around Laycool and Mickie James was one of the most offensive and sexist promos that WWE has ever decided to put on their show. Mickie was apparently told she needed to lose some weight by backstage officials and when she refused, WWE made a storyline centered around this. There are little girls who watch WWE who would have become much more body conscious because of this. WWE has no idea what kind of impact that has on the next generation and this was just a terrible idea from start to finish.
1. Vince McMahon And Brian Pillman’s Widow
Why was this aired? Why did WWE decide to exploit the death of one of their biggest stars just 24 hours after it was announced that he had passed away? It was considered to be one of wrestling’s darkest days when Vince McMahon decided to interview the widow of Brian Pillman the day after her husband had died.
McMahon talked about Pillman’s obvious problems throughout his life, including his problems with drugs before later poking into how Melanie would cope now that she would have to raise her children alone. Unsurprisingly, she was unable to maintain her composure and broke down in tears throughout as the WWE Universe was forced to watch in horror as McMahon tried to spin ratings out of a real-life tragedy. This is perhaps one of the worst things that WWE has ever tried to exploit, and it’s hopefully something that they will never try to do again.
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