Whether you happen to be a fan of sports entertainment or not, you have to give the members of the WWE Universe credit for their extreme creativity. Not only are wrestling fans able to suspend disbelief and accept the worst kept secret in the industry — that the whole thing is scripted — but fans also use this knowledge to speculate on what the real story is with regard to each and every major storyline. The more they know about pro wrestling, the more they can let their imagination run wild, and yet, at the same time, there’s a downside in that some wrestling fans are prone to inventing pure nonsense about the sport they allegedly love.
It’s hardly our intention to add fuel to this fire, and yet, it feels necessary to take a moment and separate some of the most outlandish WWE conspiracy theories from the ones that might actually hold some kind of water. While there’s no doubt that anyone telling you that Vince McMahon is a reptilian overlord is way off base on just about every level, someone saying Triple H secretly despises his audience and uses the industry to play jokes on them might be up to something.
The truth is, until the wrestlers this list is about to discuss release a shoot interview confirming or denying any of these theories, fans will never quite know which stories are real and which are total nonsense. The best anyone can do is examine what so-called rumor sites are saying and look for any kernels of real truth to gauge whether or not there’s any chance they’re more than just rumors. Keep reading to learn 15 modern-day wrestling conspiracy theories that make a shocking amount of sense.
15. Vince McMahon Is Responsible For JBL Being A Bully
For some time now, WWE has been sponsoring a program that tells wrestling fans to Be A Star and resist bullying in all forms. This would be a fantastic message if not for the promotion’s inability to live up to its own catchphrase, a fact that became public when JBL remained employed despite news of his hazing becoming public. Let’s be clear here and point out that JBL bullying some of his co-workers is not just theory but actually established fact — sweat the details if you must, but he’s admitted to some uncouth behavior, and that’s putting it lightly. The part that remains unconfirmed is whether or not JBL’s boss and number one sports entertainment impresario, Vince McMahon, has anything to do with it. According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Dave Meltzer, it’s almost guaranteed that McMahon is well aware of the problem, so it isn’t a stretch at all to think he approves of it. Either way, as far as the Be A Star campaign is concerned, JBL remaining employed at all is damning enough to destroy the whole campaign’s legitimacy.
14. Triple H Did It All For The Power
The McMahon family credo dictates they do whatever it takes to dominate the WWE Universe they own, and Triple H has wholeheartedly adapted this philosophy since marrying into the clan by getting betrothed to the Billion Dollar Princess, Stephanie McMahon. However, from the day their relationship began, people both in and out of the wrestling business have been wondering if he began his pursuit of Steph for the right reasons. Even HHH’s closest friends have been rumored to admit he harbored plans to take over the company long before they started dating, adding fuel to the fire it was all a ruse to one day become the true King of Kings in WWE. In defense of Triple H, the fact he and Stephanie seem to have an incredibly stable relationship with three happy children is some pretty strong evidence against this idea, and yet, at the same time, this is a man who has tried to rewrite history and claims he ended the Monday Night Wars with a tank. Obviously, Triple H’s one true priority is promoting himself, and there’s no reason that wouldn’t extend to his private life as well.
13. John Cena Keeps The Bellas On Top
As mentioned in the intro, the intention of this list isn’t necessarily to reveal deep WWE secrets but is rather an attempt at sussing out which heavily talked about rumors could actually have some truth to them. Thanks to the fact John Cena’s alleged political efforts at keeping his now fiancee Nikki and her sister Brie Bella as two of the most prominent females in WWE has now turned into a storyline, it’s arguably the most discussed rumor of the modern era. Even before The Miz and Maryse started publicly accusing Cena and the Bellas of holding them down backstage, exiled divas like Maria Kanellis, Kelly Kelly, and AJ Lee have been saying pretty much the same thing for years before Maryse took the situation public. Were these accusations to be true, it would hardly be the first time a top talent used his or her pull to benefit friends, family, or loved ones. Of course, the Bellas’ unique position as twins and multimedia sensations might mean they had all the pull they needed before Cena entered the picture.
12. Randy Orton Bleeds For His Art
From the moment it was announced to the point the bell rang, WWE fans had countless questions about the main event of SummerSlam 2016. Rather than present a main event for the WWE Championship, or at least two full-time performers, Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton headlined the show in a mostly meaningless encounter. Drilling the nail in the coffin of how pointless it was, the bout ended in a TKO when Lesnar repeatedly hit Orton in the head with elbow strikes and caused him to bleed all over the mat. Conventional wisdom has it that the finish was devised by Vince McMahon himself, a rather bizarre fact considering that he’s also responsible for his company going PG in recent years and that he freaks out at the mere idea of his employees breaking skin. Regardless of who came up with the match and its ending, the move stirred incredible controversy, largely due to just how graphic the match turned out. Since then, Orton has re-ascended to the peak of sports entertainment as the WWE Champion, and some people believe this is McMahon’s reward for the Viper doing the job. Given the political way WWE operates, it’s certainly possible.
11. CM Knows Vince McMahon Is No Punk
Almost three full years after he walked out on WWE after the Royal Rumble, fans of sports entertainment are chanting the name CM Punk louder than that of any other athlete. By and large, active superstars in the company try to either ignore the chants of get them to stop through whatever means necessary, and to the naked eye, this looks like a pretty clear cut sign the company doesn’t want him around anymore. On top of that, Vince McMahon officially firing Punk on his wedding day was as blatant a message one can send that Punk’s services are no longer needed. And yet, in the modern era, WWE edits crowd responses in just about every way imaginable, and they still do things like hold shows in Chicago with some of their most unpopular superstars in the main event. The chants are invited as often as they’re quelled, and McMahon has already claimed he would be willing to hire Punk back if the circumstances were right. Thinking about the crowd reaction if Punk were indeed to return, there’s a valid question as to whether or not this is exactly what McMahon wanted all along.
10. Why Brock Lesnar Went To The UFC
Anyone even vaguely familiar with the mere concept of sports entertainment is probably aware that John Cena is the modern-day face of WWE. Back when Cena started his career, though, it looked like there was someone else tailor made for the role in just about every way: Brock Lesnar. While Cena is far better than Lesnar on the microphone, that’s about his only advantage over the Beast Incarnate, who has the look and presence of a born fighter etched within his very core. The only problem with Lesnar was he didn’t have his heart entirely in the business, and so he left WWE at the peak of his powers, a multiple-time WWE Champion before he even hit 30. At the time, it would be easy to picture Vince McMahon as absolutely furious that his future star decided to walk out on him, and yet, less than 10 years later, Lesnar was welcomed back with open arms. Since his return, Lesnar has more or less resumed his throne as the top star in the business, and now, fans are wondering if that was the point all along. Becoming a huge UFC star legitimized Lesnar in a way McMahon never could, and while it would be risky to temporary lose his top star, the payoff may have ultimately been worth it.
9. The Mysterious Crowd Reactions Toward Roman Reigns
There’s a lot of speculation, of second guessing on this list, and yet no one could ever deny WWE has a problem in the way fans are responding to their alleged top star, Roman Reigns. The self-proclaimed top Guy is more or less universally hated by the company’s die-hard and casual fanbase, and all Vince McMahon has done in response is double down on pushing Reigns as the most heroic man in the business. If that wasn’t bad enough, McMahon is now using his own crowd against itself, editing reaction shots at random moments to make it look like fans are cheering Reigns when they’re actually booing, and vice versa with his opponents. This one is only a conspiracy theory in the loosest sense of the word as video evidence exists proving WWE has done this more than once. The only mysteries left are whether or not it will keep going on forever and if McMahon really thinks so little of his audience he believed they wouldn’t notice.
8. Chyna And The WWE Hall Of Fame
Less than 20 years ago, Chyna was revered as the 9th Wonder of the World and the most dominant female superstar in the history of World Wrestling Entertainment. To many fans, that reputation holds true more than a year after her unfortunate passing due to a drug overdose, but the company that made her a star has continued to treat her like persona non grata. Although there’s obviously no reason for Michael Cole to talk about her week in and week out, a WWE Hall of Fame induction would have been nice. Of course, it would have been even better were she still alive, but there’s nothing that can be done about that at this point — not that it matters either way as Chyna was never going to enter the Hall of Fame with her ex-boyfriend Triple H in the position of power he holds. Said power was only achieved when HHH cheated on her with Stephanie McMahon, leading to their present-day relationship. Given this information, fans believe Triple H doesn’t want to promote his ex in any way, including a Hall of Fame induction. There’s definitely a good chance this could be true as HHH has been known to change history to sate his ego on multiple occasions.
7. John Cena’s Love Changes WrestleMania Plans
Outside of The Undertaker’s presumed retirement, arguably the biggest story in the WWE Universe after WrestleMania 33, at least insofar as the mainstream media was concerned, is that John Cena finally proposed to his girlfriend, Nikki Bella, after years of a relationship made public by Total Divas. The attention Cena’s in-ring proposal has received may, in fact, justify the move, but die-hard traditionalists will argue the whole thing was a farce that made the sport look like a joke. Furthermore, modern fans feel Cena and Bella’s mixed tag team against The Miz and Maryse was a waste of their star power, not to mention the Face of WWE’s considerable technical skills. Making matters worse, a rumor soon cropped up that this was the company’s second or maybe even third choice for what to do with Cena. Names like Samoa Joe and The Undertaker were bandied about as potential alternate choices, practically jamming the knife in the back of any fans who didn’t care for the proposal. Vince McMahon’s love of mainstream attention makes the logic behind this one speak for itself to the extent that it’s totally believable.
6. WWE Is Trying To Destroy British Wrestling
Throughout January of 2017, WWE made a serious effort at expanding through Great Britain starting with their United Kingdom Championship Tournament. Local wrestling fans were quick to realize WWE’s plans have some pretty major pros and cons for their continued ability to watch the sport live. On the plus side, the chances of WWE or some satellite promotion they control touring throughout England goes up dramatically. The downside is what happened when Vince McMahon took over American wrestling — the more aggressive he decides to be, the faster local independent promotions are going to die a pathetic death. One UK promoter named Ricky Knight has already spotted this flaw and voiced his concerns about it regardless of the fact speaking up could have affected his daughter Paige’s career. Thus far, WWE hasn’t responded to Knight’s accusation in any way, and the truth is they haven’t been as forthcoming about taking over the UK as they were on the home front. That said, the McMahons have done this once before, so there’s really nothing to stop them from trying again across the pond.
5. The McMahon Family Secret Weapon
As the preeminent family in sports entertainment for more than a full century, it’s fair to say the McMahon family understands the genre better than just about anyone else. Included inside their gigantic bag of tricks seems to be a trend that takes place every year around WrestleMania season, which sees them use seasonal trends to make themselves look better than anyone else in the business. Once Triple H joined the family, he became guiltier of this than any other athlete, and with the trend already in high gear as this article is being written, it feels like the perfect time to explain it. Each year, after the Grandest Stage of Them All, the most prominent McMahons take a bow from the spotlight for a few weeks, months, or however long it takes before they’re absolutely certain nothing else on TV will hurt their ratings. The fact is, WWE always loses viewers around this time of year, and the McMahons apparently don’t want to be associated with their numbers going down. Of course, they do want to get the credit when ratings bounce back up, so they come back when there’s no more competition. Hulk Hogan was also guilty of this trend back in WCW, making it completely possible, if not likely, the McMahons all do the same thing.
4. The Tomspiracy
Considering how minor his role within the WWE Universe is, it would be easy to cast aside backstage interviewer Tom Phillips as not noteworthy enough to have any major conspiracy theories revolving around his place in sports entertainment. Truth be told, the so-called Tomspiracy Reddit users have essentially confirmed this isn’t entirely important, and yet it holds a special place on this list as one of the few theories that are entirely true. For decades now, Vince McMahon has held the belief his superstars should be literally larger than life, and he hired hulking giants to keep that idea going — until recently, that is, as the modern era allows shorter superstars to stand next to the monsters in main events on a weekly basis. McMahon is still set in his ways, though, so the fact that he has an interviewer over six feet tall and wrestlers in the 5’10 range bothered him enough that he needed a solution. No one is sure who came up with that solution, but photographic evidence made it clear they found one: whenever he interviews someone shorter than him, Phillips spreads his legs as far as possible to make them look bigger by comparison.
3. Triple H Set Roman Reigns Up To Fail
Despite all the talk about Vince McMahon wanting to make Roman Reigns the future of his empire by hook or by crook, there’s an interesting variable in The Guy’s rise that doesn’t get as much play. For as much as McMahon loves his designated future sensation, there’s a reasonable question about what McMahon’s son-law-in and heir apparent Triple H thinks about the whole situation. The political dealings of Triple H are as well known as his actual wrestling character, so for him to willingly share and perhaps even give up the spotlight to someone new seems rather unlike his usual MO — unless, of course, Triple H is somehow using the failure of Roman Reigns to his advantage. Think about HHH’s last run as WWE Champion — out of nowhere, he decided to end his retirement and won the belt in his return match after nearly a year of inactivity. Usually, this would reek of egoism, and yet fans loudly cheered the move. Why? Because he beat the much-hated Reigns to win the belt. Ultimately, HHH will need to clean up the Reigns mess if he takes over, but his personality may have caused him to manipulate the crowd into cheering him one last time anyway.
2. Could Jinder Mahal Be The Key To Eastern Expansion?
Jinder Mahal ascending from low-card status to being number one contender to the top title in the promotion has WWE fans everywhere wondering if Vince McMahon is losing his mind already. Despite Mahal’s physical transformation since his return in 2016, the self-proclaimed New American Dream has a win-loss record hardly befitting a championship challenger. His microphone skills and in-ring talents leave plenty to be desired on top of that, only further extending the confusion related to this bizarre promotion. All fans have found to justify this move is that WWE happened to open their first shop in India the same week Mahal suddenly became a top name. Some even believe Mahal might win the WWE Championship when he finally gets his shot, possibly giving WWE their highest profile Indian superstar in history. Quite frankly, this explanation is as good as any for how the hell Mahal turned into a superstar overnight, so it’s completely reasonable to believe it.
1. Brock Lesnar Ending The Streak Was An Audible
Three years after it happened, Brock Lesnar ending The Undertaker’s WrestleMania undefeated streak remains arguably the most shocking moment in recent WWE history. Many fans believed Undertaker would never lose at the Grandest Stage of Them All, and if he somehow did, it would be to a rising star that could somehow take his legendary place in the business. On top of all that, the storyline leading into Lesnar and Undertaker’s encounter was relatively low key, making it feel entirely out of nowhere when Lesnar actually made history. Because of all this, no less a source than Paul Heyman has floated the idea that Lesnar pinned Undertaker because the Dead Man genuinely couldn’t go on any further, and the two were able to realize this mid-match and let him bow out gracefully. Since the alternate theory is that Vince McMahon made the decision at the last minute, it’s obvious that the one thing for certain about the Streak ending is that not even the wrestlers involved saw it coming until just a few minutes before it happened.