Anything can happen in the WWE Universe, and there isn’t always a clear-cut explanation of why things happened once they do. Therefore, Vince McMahon’s unique form of sports entertainment is particularly prone to bizarre and outlandish conspiracy theories, fan attempts at making sense of some of the things they see on Raw, SmackDown, and other WWE programming. Given the nature of conspiracy theories, most of these ideas have very little basis in actual facts, instead relying on rampant guesswork and wild speculation, and yet somehow this hasn’t stopped people from believing them to be true.
Just about every wrestler out there is susceptible to fans making stuff up about them, although as one might expect, bigger stars are more likely to get directly accused of the weirdest, shadiest stuff. That said, any wrestlers involved in creating these cockamamie theories are typically on the other end of the spectrum, possibly explaining where they found the time to come up with such nonsense. However, being completely made up doesn’t stop any of these stories from being entertaining, which all of them are in one way or another.
The most interesting of these theories are probably the handful we wish were true, although the fact remains practically none of them are, or even could be. Only two of the following conspiracies is backed up with enough legitimate evidence it could be called true, and we’ll make sure to point it out when we get to it. The rest are merely to be taken as bizarre and hopefully amusing to fans of the involved wrestlers, although a few might serve the opposite effect in cases where it’s obvious who invented the made up stories. Keep reading to learn about 15 insane conspiracy theories related to pro wrestling.
15. The Tomspiracy
The Tomspiracy has the honor of appearing first on this list, as it’s the only one with significant photographic evidence. In the summer of 2015, Reddit users started noticing something strange about WWE interviewer and announcer, Tom Phillips. Phillips is billed at 6 feet tall, which seems close to a legitimate number. The only issue is that 6 feet is pretty much average for a WWE superstar, and the current trend is that the number is getting lower with time. Like many announcers, Phillips has never wrestled and is pretty much the polar opposite of an imposing figure, so to have him stand next to people who actually are athletes in a competitive arena only serves to make the wrestlers look smaller than an announcer. Because wrestlers are supposed to look big, tough, and mean, Phillips has been caught significantly widening his stance, bending over, and using a variety of other camera tricks to make himself look shorter than whoever he’s interviewing. This is nothing new, as Andre The Giant employed similar practices to achieve the exact opposite, standing on boxes and phone books next to Vince McMahon, so Andre would look even taller than he was.
14. Paul Heyman And The Death Of ECW
There is usually a kernel of truth that justifies the craziest theories out there, and this theory’s truth begins with the fact Vince McMahon admitted to financially helping out Paul Heyman and ECW on more than one occasion. This hardly tracks to mean Vince was secretly in charge of ECW, nor that Paul Heyman was intentionally ripping off his own employees for Vince’s benefit each time someone jumped shipped from ECW to WWE, although both of those rumors have been spread by misinformed fans. There’s also a theory that Heyman willingly shut down ECW in January of 2001, not because he ran out of money, but because he knew Vince was about to buy WCW, and figured it would be better for everybody involved if Vince simply controlled everything. The flaws in this theory are the fact Heyman and ECW were most certainly bankrupt, unable to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay owed to top stars, and the potential that WCW going out of business would have been the last straw that finally turned ECW into a profitable company. If Heyman really knew Vince was buying ECW, he probably would’ve tried extra hard to stay afloat a few months longer knowing a hole was about to open in the market, not simply give in.
13. Vince McMahon And Jimmy Snuka
In one of the first true WWE scandals, “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka was accused of murdering his girlfriend Nancy Argentino in 1983. That same year, Snuka was arguably the most popular star in WWE, thanks to his feuds with Ray Stevens and Captain Lou Albano. Later that year, he made history leaping off a steel cage onto Don Muraco, although the moment would never have happened if Snuka went to jail for the crime. Snuka was the only suspect in Argentino’s death for decades, but the investigators never found sufficient evidence to actually prove he killed her. They also didn’t find any signs of anyone tampering with the crime scene, and yet some fans have made the assumption that someone did, specifically Vince McMahon. Going further with the idea, some people believe McMahon assisted Snuka throughout the entire ordeal, talking to police for him and providing his legal defense. While McMahon probably found himself highly relieved when Snuka wasn’t arrested, he almost certainly had absolutely nothing to do with the crime regardless of who committed it.
12. Shawn Michaels And Fake Injuries
More than a simple kernel of truth, some conspiracy theories are based on the fact similar if not identical things to what’s being alleged actually did happen. Case in point, Shawn Michaels temporarily retired from 1998 to 2002 due to a severe back injury, but some fans assume he was faking the whole time, either to try and kick his drug habit or happily indulge himself into it. The idea comes from the fact Michaels legitimately did fake a career ending injury less than a year prior to the real one, when he claimed he lost his smile and vacated the WWE Championship due to a fake knee injury. Making matters worse, he also may have fabricated a story about getting beat up by a group of Marines in 1995, in order to get out of losing the Intercontinental Championship. Therefore, when Michaels herniated two discs in his spine and shattered a third completely during a casket match against The Undertaker, fans were a little bit hesitant to believe him when he said he was injured again. HBK definitely had a drug problem at this point, too, so it makes sense to assume the two had something to do with one another. Regardless, Shawn most certainly did destroy his spine in that match, and that he was able to recover four years later remains a medical anomaly.
11. The Montreal Work Job
WWE has never produced a Pay-Per-View as controversial as the 1997 Survivor Series, culminating in an infamous WWE Championship match between Shawn Michaels and the reigning champion, Bret Hart. After months of fighting on screen and off, Michaels conspired with Vince McMahon to screw Bret Hart out of the title, giving the impression that Hart submitted to a Sharpshooter that he was in the middle of reversing. That’s the official story, anyway, with countless fans and even a few wrestling insiders long believing Bret Hart was in on the whole thing, too. The theory posits Vince had no other way to pay Bret, so he willingly let The Hitman go to WCW, where he would be involved in a much larger conspiracy of Vince sending ex-employees to other companies in order to destroy them. This doesn’t make much business or logical sense, as Vince would obviously be better served to keep his top stars and not turn himself into an even bigger industry pariah than he already was. As for Bret, if for some reason The Montreal Screw Job was a work, there would have been no reason for him not to return to WWE much earlier than he finally did, in January 2010.
10. Randy Savage And Stephanie McMahon
Generally speaking, people don’t come out of conspiracy theories looking good, and yet Randy Savage is still particularly unlucky to have been accused of the terrible crimes this particularly theory contends he committed. Savage was always one of the top stars wherever he went, making his 1994 exit from WWE to WCW a huge loss to Vince McMahon’s company. Although he gave Savage a heartfelt send off on television, McMahon went on to blackball him and his family for the two full decades, holding the grudge four years past Savage’s 2011 death. Vince never spoke out about or against Savage, but he did repeatedly snub the Macho Man from the Hall of Fame, leading to rampant fan speculation on what Randy really did to earn McMahon’s wrath. The most damning theory is that Savage had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with Stephanie McMahon. At the time of Randy’s departure, Stephanie was only 17 years old, meaning she must have been even younger whenever the relationship started. However, Randy’s brother and dozens of other wrestlers have spoken out in his defense, usually citing the money Vince lost through Randy’s deal with Slim Jims going with him to WCW as the real reason for any bitterness between the two.
9. Kerry Von Erich, Modern Day Warrior
Certain pro wrestlers are truly one of a kind, possessing a manic energy or unique personality that simply can’t be matched no matter how hard others tried. Whether or not The Ultimate Warrior was one such performer is up for debate, although the large number of imitators who failed to live up to his success would suggest he just may be. This hasn’t stopped fans from believing the original/real Warrior died sometime in the early 1990s, only to be replaced by The Modern Day Warrior, Kerry Von Erich. Von Erich was more varied in the ring than Warrior, so fans cited an increased work rate as one of the main pieces of evidence the replacement took place. Warrior also had stopped using steroids, making him smaller then before. He had problems with other drugs, too, although through coincidence, Von Erich quite possibly had an even worse issue with substance abuse than Warrior ever did. Despite this one unfortunate hobby in common, Von Erich most certainly never replaced the Ultimate Warrior, as Jim Hellwig portrayed the role until the day before he died.
8. Vince Russo And The Death Of WCW
As the lead writer of Raw when WWE ushered in the Attitude Era, Vince Russo has been given lots of credit for helping the company turn the corner during the Monday Night Wars. He’s also been unequivocally blamed for the death of WCW, which kind of cancels out any accomplishments he may have made in wrestling. Unless, that is, the destruction of WCW was somehow on purpose, and Russo was sent there by Vince McMahon to destroy the company from the inside out. This would be a continuation of the earlier conspiracy theory involving McMahon doing the same thing with Bret Hart, and there’s still one more similar story to come. The Russo argument might be the strongest of all, considering how quickly things fell apart for WCW almost instantly upon Russo’s arrival. The flaw in this plan is that WCW sent Russo home in a mere three months, not welcoming him back for some time. Russo didn’t help anything by the time he returned, but those few months were integral in the downfall of WCW nonetheless, proving the company going out of business was bound to happen regardless of who was running the show.
7. The nWo And The Death Of WCW
Last but not least on the subject of McMahon sending his wrestlers to WCW to intentionally destroy the company from the inside, some fans out there believe that the storyline surrounding the new World order was completely legitimate. This means Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall were genuinely outside invaders from WWE who only joined WCW to go to war with the promotion internally, causing so much chaos the company would be out of business less than five years after the group’s historic formation. In order to believe this, one needs to ignore that Hogan went to WCW two years before Hall and Nash, or that The Outsiders have both been on record for years as simply doing whatever paid the most. Even harder to look past is the reality that the nWo was without question the most popular and enduring creation WCW ever made, setting the tone for the 83-week winning streak that Nitro achieved over Raw. Friendly fire is one thing, but there’s no friendly way to run someone out of business, which is what the nWo very nearly did to Vince.
6. Kamala Thinks Everyone Is Gay
Vince McMahon has presented himself on television for decades as a highly sexual being, calling himself a genetic jackhammer and boasting testicles the size of grapefruits while making out with practically every female to work with him for over a decade. This hasn’t stopped some people from alleging Vince engages in homosexual relationships with his top stars. High atop the list of accusers is former WWE superstar Kamala, who believes his own lack of success was due to his race and his refusal to give in to McMahon’s sexual demands. Kamala has also linked Pat Patterson to these activities, using the 1992 sex scandal Patterson and fellow WWE employees Terry Garvin and Mel Phillips faced as evidence of the whole ordeal. Patterson was never actually convicted of any wrongdoing, though, and neither was McMahon. Outside of Kamala, almost no one even implicated McMahon in this ordeal (though he has been accused of racism by several other superstars). However, this could be because generally speaking, theorists are a little more specific about who exactly Vince was getting these favors from…
5. Vince McMahon And Shawn Michaels
Conspiracy theories sometimes tie into nasty rumors, and the idea Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon had long engaged in a romantic relationship thus falls somewhere in between the two. The rumor was started by no less a source than Bret Hart, although he did so on an episode of The Howard Stern Show, and offered no evidence to support his claims other than the fact “it made sense.” Road Warrior Hawk made similar claims in an unrelated interview, with Animal nodding in agreement while he did so. That Bret and the Road Warriors would both make up with WWE years later likely points to them having been wrong about the whole thing. The only further evidence anyone seems to have on this are that Michaels often got what he wanted and that McMahon was highly appreciative of Michaels on commentary. However, both of these so-called proofs of a relationship can easily be explained away as a promoter doing just that, promoting his top star. While it may be true Michaels was and is closer to McMahon than the average wrestler, it’s a huge stretch to say that means the two were romantically involved.
4. Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, And Why Chyna Was Fired
Though it doesn’t come with the pictures to prove it like the Tomspiracy did, the saga of Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, and Chyna is well documented enough that this theory isn’t entirely without merit. Triple H dated Chyna for several years before cheating on her with Stephanie McMahon, after which it was only a matter of months before Chyna was taken off television and subsequently fired, never again to appear on WWE television until after her death. Chyna claimed she never received a logical explanation for her dismissal, thus assuming it was because Stephanie McMahon wanted to punish Chyna for dating the man Steph went on to marry. The story is a little bit questionable, though, because Chyna didn’t tell it until 2015, 14 years after it took place. Making matters worse, in 2002, Chyna claimed the exact opposite, stating her past relationship with Triple H had nothing to do with her leaving wrestling, and that her exit was mutually agreed upon so she could focus on acting. The full truth is probably somewhere in between, with Chyna having been let go for unrelated reasons, but Stephanie very happy about her departure nonetheless.
3. Kevin Sullivan And The Benoit Tragedy
Hopefully, the wrestling industry will never see another day as dark as when Chris Benoit was found dead after having murdered his wife Nancy and their young child in 2007. Benoit was soon found guilty of having committed the crimes, after which he hanged himself with his exercise equipment. As tragic and horrible as the affair was, it was a relatively easy day for the law officers on hand, since all evidence pointed to Benoit as the perpetrator, making it a very open-and-shut case. However, the whole point of a conspiracy theory is to dig deeper and look beyond the obvious, which is why some wrestling fans have taken to the belief Benoit, his wife, and their son were all in fact murdered by Kevin Sullivan. Sullivan was Nancy’s ex-husband, and he had feuded with Benoit during their days together in WCW, but he had absolutely nothing to do with the real life events that ended Benoit’s family. Sullivan spoke out about this theory to explain it deeply hurt and offended him, although he eventually found some peace when surviving members of Nancy’s family told him they could never believe it.
2. Brian Kendrick Needs A Tin Foil Hat
This list has been a testament to the fact conspiracy theories can be pretty insane, and with all due respect, the people who come up with them tend to be a bit unhinged. Brian Kendrick is a special case on this list, because there aren’t any particular conspiracy theories about him; rather, he most likely believes everything on this list, since he appears to support every single conspiracy theory in existence. Kendrick released a shoot interview appropriately titled “The Kendrick Theory,” in which he detailed his belief in bizarre conspiracies related to 9/11, the Sandy Hook tragedy, and the moon landing, amongst other verifiable national incidents. While Kendrick’s video mostly details non-wrestling related conspiracies, he did manage to bring up his profession by accusing The Rock of being a member of the Illuminati. Brian didn’t use The Rock’s incredible fame as proof, though, instead opting simply for the fact Rocky has long had a tattoo of a “Brahma Bull” on his shoulder and has long used the term as his nickname, showing you the kind of evidence that goes into these theories.
1. Billy Jack Haynes Is Insane
Brian Kendrick isn’t the only wrestler/conspiracy theorist out there, and one of his fellow imaginative minds has even confined his wild speculation entirely to the world of wrestling. Billy Jack Haynes was never a big star himself, only earning cups of coffee in WWE and regional territories throughout the mid 1980s. He ran his own promotion in the Portland area during the early ‘90s, only to almost instantly go out of business. In May of 2009, Haynes released a conspiracy theory shoot interview of his own, alleging he was going to reveal industry secrets that would get him killed. Said secret was that Chris and Nancy Benoit’s son Daniel was actually the illegitimate love child of Vince McMahon, and Benoit killed Nancy when he found out. Absolutely no one believed the story, and Haynes is still alive as of 2016. Elsewhere on the video, Haynes claimed he was the person to come up with the term “WrestleMania,” which while also a pretty questionable claim, might start to explain why he was so bitter against McMahon he had to invent such a salacious story to creatively slander him.