Live television can be unpredictable at times, and that has been proven true during some instances that have aired on World Wrestling Entertainment television. Some of the live WWE TV fails, which are commonly referred to as “botches” among those in the wrestling community, were humorous moments that did little to no harm. The Miz forgetting an important line during a competition made for an uncomfortable moment for the superstar. Lilian Garcia literally tripping on her way to the ring was probably embarrassing for her. Neither of those occurrences were, however, significant negatives on that WWE TV show.
Other moments, however, live on in the memories of WWE fans for years to come. “The show must go on” claims the famous saying, and that was the case during multiple WWE events that were impacted by power outages. It turns out that an event in the dark is, in the eyes of some, better than no show at all. A different live WWE TV “fail” involved Mankind and the Undertaker battling it out in a Hell in a Cell match that has lived on for years, largely because of one moment that supposedly was not planned. That one crash helped turn Mankind from a midcard performer to a wrestler who was worthy of winning the World Wrestling Federation Championship.
15. WWF In Your House: Beware of Dog
The old In Your House pay-per-view WWF events were, for the most part, forgettable shows that served as fill-ins to make the company some money at different times of the year. Beware of Dog was a different occasion, but not because of anything that was planned by those running the company. A thunderstorm caused a power outage, one that resulted in the lights inside of the arena going out and one that cut the pay-per-view TV feed. The problem lasted so long that the company presented an “encore” show two days after the original pay-per-view, one that went off without any major miscues.
14. Goldberg Falls
Part of what made the Goldberg character so popular among wrestling fans was his entrances to the ring. He walked through fire, he exhaled smoke, and he threw punches and kicks as he “warmed up” for a match. Things did not go as Goldberg planned ahead of his match at SummerSlam 2003 when he launched a kick that was a little too powerful. He lost his footing and went to the ground, but he showed that he was a true professional in immediately picking himself up and resuming his way to the ring. It was almost as if Goldberg planned it all along; almost.
13. Scott Steiner Slips
“Big Poppa Pump” Scott Steiner has had his fair share of live TV fails during his career. You can search for Scott Steiner promos and Scott Steiner interviews to find numerous examples. Perhaps his most famous fail during his WWE run occurred when he was on the ring apron while Test and Stacy Keibler were on the floor. Steiner was supposed to attack Test from behind, but the former World Championship Wrestling champion lost his footing before completing the move. The two men began to brawl after Steiner’s screw-up, but fans watching could not help but have a laugh over Steiner’s fail.
Actor Jeremy Piven was serving as a host of an edition of WWE Raw when he was meant to mention the upcoming SummerSlam event. There was just one problem: Piven got the name of the show wrong. He mistakenly referred to the show as “SummerFest,” a fail that was corrected by John Cena during the segment. It has since become somewhat of a running joke among pockets of WWE fans to refer to the annual August show as SummerFest. There was no long-term harm done by Piven’s fail, and the WWE could even go as far as to sell some SummerFest merchandise if the company wanted to make money off of the mistake.
11. That Jackie Gayda Match
Any performer can have an off night, particularly one who is not truly ready to have a match in front of a live audience. The tag-team match involving Tough Enough winner Jackie Gayda and tag-team partner Christopher Nowinski taking on Trish Stratus and Bradshaw is remembered over a decade after it occurred because of how horrible Gayda was during the encounter. It is a contest that is humorous to watch after the fact knowing that everybody walked away healthy and intact, but it is also a tiny miracle that neither Gayda nor Stratus were injured on that night.
10. Randy Orton Loses It
Randy Orton has not always been the most pleasant of WWE employees. One such instance when Orton was less than a joy to work with occurred during a live WWE Raw when Orton was involved in a match against Kofi Kingston. The former “Legend Killer” was not pleased with Kingston near the planned finish of the match, and he let the world know of his frustrations after he hit his “RKO” finisher. Orton repeatedly yelled “Stupid!” toward Kingston, who, to his credit, continued to sell the RKO. That is probably for the best considering Orton’s initial reaction.
9. Hulk Hogan Confuses Superdome for Silverdome
We now know that Hulk Hogan has a history of making regrettable comments. Some of those resulted in the WWE cutting ties with the legendary wrestler for the foreseeable future. While it was not at all offensive when Hogan referred to the Superdome as the Silverdome in the opening segment of WrestleMania XXX, it was a live WWE TV fail that was noticed by those attending the show. It also became a running gag during the show, and it was mentioned during Raw the following night. One thing is for sure: Hogan knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was in front of cameras at that WrestleMania.
8. Jerry Lawler Falls
Before he was a commentator for shows such as Raw and SmackDown, Jerry “The King” Lawler was a classic pro wrestling heel who did well to draw heat from WWF audiences. His heel character was the biggest reason why pockets of fans took so much joy in watching Lawler take a spill off of his throne during a show. Regardless of whether or not this spot was planned ahead of time, it is a WWE fail that is worthy of being mentioned in this piece. Along with witnessing Lawler take a fall to the ground, see if you recognize any of the wrestlers who scramble to assist him afterward.
7. Raw Loses Power
The WWE was seconds away from beginning a broadcast of Raw back in September of 2006 when the arena went dark following the opening pryo. What was probably hoped to be nothing more than a minor problem that would only last a few seconds continued on through the start of the show’s first match, an encounter that took place in the dark and with cameras rolling. You sometimes have to make the best of a bad situation, and that is what occurred on that night. At least, in this instance, fans watching at home did not miss any of the action that took place during the show.
6. Vince McMahon Injures Himself
Vince McMahon was playing the “Mr. McMahon” character on the night of the 2005 Royal Rumble when he astonishingly injured himself as he strutted to the ring. McMahon, on the verge of making a massive storyline decision, tore both of his quads by the time that he made his way into the ring, but he continued with the act as if nothing had gone wrong. There are plenty of negative things that one could say about McMahon. You certainly could not question his toughness on that evening, even if you cannot help but laugh at the thought of anybody tearing quad muscles while walking.
5. Lilian Garcia Fails
There had to be a time when WWE ring announcer Lilian Garcia felt as if there was some sort of curse hovering over her. Garcia has been the subject of multiple fails during her time with the company, none of which fortunately resulting in her injuring herself. She was once betrayed by her shoe as she made her way to the ring. The setup for pyro took Garcia out at a show. Any such moment could be disastrous with one false step, but Garcia has been able to walk away from these fails without suffering damage to anything other than her pride. You have to be able to laugh at yourself at times.
4. Miz Forgets His Line
Long before it was a thought in anybody’s mind that he would headline a WrestleMania alongside John Cena and The Rock, The Miz was but a host for WWE segments such as the “Diva’s Search.” Miz had but one job during such a segment: Remember a phone number. He was unable to do so, however, and he was left scrambling and looking for any available help as he was stranded on the stage. Don’t worry, younger version of The Miz. Your WWE career eventually gets better, even though it then gets worse after that. Miz was a WWE Champion, though, and nobody can take that away from him.
3. Gene Okerlund Versus SummerSlam Sign
Interviewer and announcer “Mean” Gene Okerlund was preparing for a segment with “Ravishing” Rick Rude when he was startled by a falling SummerSlam sign. Anybody believing that this was all some joke prepared by WWE writers quickly learned differently when a visibly shaken Okerlund dropped an F-bomb on live television. This live WWE TV fail was made even better when heel announcer Jesse “The Body” Ventura hit out at Okerlund after cameras cut back to the arena. It was probably not a favorite moment for Okerlund at the time, but Ventura helped make it great.
2. The Rock Loses His Voice
Even a talented performer such as The Rock, who has successfully made the transition from the WWE to a Hollywood career, can have a rough moment on live TV. Rock and Mankind were involved in a segment during an edition of Raw when “The People’s Champ” lost his voice as he was speaking. It was nothing that a sip of water could not fix, and Rock made a recovery and continued on. You have probably had your voice cut out in a similar manner while speaking with somebody. Just remember, though, that at least it didn’t happen to you when millions of people were watching you via TV.
1. Mankind Versus Undertaker: Hell in a Cell
Pro wrestling is, of course, a work, so those of us on the outside looking in may never know exactly what Mankind and Undertaker had planned when they climbed to the top of the structure during their famous “Hell in a Cell” match. Mick Foley, playing the Mankind character, probably did not envision himself taking a bump through the cage ceiling and to the ring while at the same time having his mouth smashed by a falling chair. This painful live WWE TV fail has been replayed on shows time and time again, and it cemented Mankind’s status as a legend among fans.