Oh, it should be absolutely no surprise that World Wrestling Entertainment has been a haven for the overwhelmingly ridiculous for decades now. With such sad and sordid story lines that include such things as: abduction, genital mutilation, burying people alive, necrophilia, abuse of all illegal kinds, and an ongoing list of catastrophe, it is a wonder that the WWE has managed to land a somewhat more PG rating these days.
Back in the so-called 'Attitude' era, there was little, to no discretion on the part of the company, and its performers. Even working under the shadow of many wrestling deaths, bad taste, and ill will won the day back then.
One of the biggest steps forward for the WWE is the way in which it uses ('use' being the key term here) its female performers. Gone are the days of the evening gown matches, and stripteases (for the most part). There are still leaps and bounds to be made to actually make the 'Diva' division something more than just some T and A between watching the guys roll around with each other the rest of the show...but below are fifteen examples of Diva story lines the WWE just wouldn't get away with today.
15 Stephanie McMahon Abducted And Married
Once upon a time, there was a young girl named Stephanie McMahon. At this point in her life, she was not yet the vindictive, and conniving hussy, running the show. No, at this point, she was a naive, young, and impressionable girl. During a feud with the Undertaker, Vince McMahon made the mistake of leaving his daughter with nothing more than a police escort (which of course was no match for Taker's Ministry). Having been abducted, as leverage against Mr. McMahon, things did not end there. Poor Stephanie was bound to a sacrificial rack (in the likeness of Taker's symbol), and forced to wed the prince of darkness himself. That wasn't enough though, for the WWE. Not enough to abduct a defenceless girl, restrain her against her will, and force her into wedlock. No, it also had to transpire that daddy McMahon was actually behind the whole thing the entire time, as part of the Ministry. Something about the whole real-life illegality of something so heinous makes on think the new, PG WWE, just could not hack a story arc like this anymore.
14 Mae Young Gives Birth To... A Hand
Ok, so first off, Mae Young had been in the wrestling industry for about three quarters of a century! While she died in 2014, having lived a very good life, there are parts of her wrestling career that are much more than questionable. During the infamous 'Attitude' era, Mark Henry took on the moniker of 'Sexual Chocolate', and began trying to sleep with every woman near the industry. This included a love affair of bizarre proportions. Young (ironically in her eighties), began a tryst with Henry, and they began to fall in love. Having supposedly impregnated the very senior wrestler, Henry was overjoyed. When it came time to deliver though...Mae Young was far from overjoyed. Not only that, she hardly looked pregnant, and simply writhed on the gurney, clutching her stomach in very clearly pretend pain. And even beyond that, she begins smoking a cigar part way through the delivery, and seemingly forgets the incredible pain she was supposedly in. If it seems like all of this might still make it on air (though the smoking while pregnant would certainly not), the cheesy quality of the climax to this bizarre story...strains credulity. What does Mae Young give birth to? Is it a boy? Is it a girl? No, it's a severed, human hand. With no explanation as to just why the hell this is...Young gives birth to a severed human hand. Maybe not any sexism involved in why this would not air today, but there definitely is something too bizarre, and politically incorrect about this one.
13 Lita Is... Coerced And Loses Her Baby
There is so much wrong with this story line that one has to pause before really getting into it... so one of the best female wrestlers to have graced the business, Lita, happens to attract the attention of an unmasked, and no longer cool Kane. Still clearly messed in the head though, Kane falls in love with Lita, abducts her, rapes her, and impregnates her. This was all apparently just a normal day at the office for Kane. Having knocked her up, the clear next step, having forced Lita into all of this already, was to also force her to marry the big red machine (though at this point just much bigger, and not very red). Doing nothing but pissing Kane off during the ceremony, Lita really shows how much she doesn't want anything to do with the guy. Almost saved by Matt Hardy, Lita is ultimately wed to Kane, who talks a little too much about his possession of Lita, and how she is nothing more than an object of his. Now, in a match later on in this ridiculous story arc, Lita does a bit of interference, which ends up with Kane being hit by a chair, and falling onto the supposedly pregnant diva. Writhing in pain, Lita is carried out, and it transpires that she has indeed lost the demon spawn that was, in the first place, a child of rape from Kane.
12 Sable's Potato Sack
There was a time when all Sable was good for was showing off as much of her body as possible. Yeah, she had some good matches against the likes of Luna Vachon, and she did Sable Bomb her once-upon-a-time boyfriend Marvellous Marc Mero, but she was only ever made exhilarating because of how much skin she showed. Given this fact, almost every aspect of her story lines had to do with feeling up and making out with Torrie Wilson, or showing off skin, and getting covered up by her abusive, and possessive boyfriend. Beauty, and bikini contests being such a huge part of her character arc, Sable was once summoned to the ring by Mero, in what he called her new and improved attire. Having had enough of her showing everyone else her body (that clearly belonged to Marc), Mero forced her to don an Idaho potato sack.
One has a feeling the state from which the potatoes came was more a reference to how Mero felt about Sable at the time. Regardless, reaching the ring, all covered up, Mero then stands by for Sable to disrobe him (as was custom for their dom/sub character shtick), but she instead disrobes herself. To great cheers from the audience (who only ever wanted to see everything Sable had to offer), Sable defied her boy toy, and gave the crowd what they wanted (though not as much as when she had only two painted hand prints on her breasts to win a bikini contest). This sort of exploitation has mostly gone from the WWE, at least in its 14A rated way, but it was basically the only reason Sable was part of the WWE.
11 Eric Bischoff's HLA...
Some readers may be wondering just what HLA stands for. Well, keeping in line with the sexploitation of female wrestlers in days gone by in World Wrestling Entertainment, HLA stands for nothing more than 'Hot Lesbian Action'. And who better to implement such action into the world of "professional" wrestling than one of the biggest scum bags to have ever disgraced the business: Eric Bischoff. Having brought into the ring a couple of female jobbers who were largely unknown, and by no means really cared for by the big wigs, or the audience, Bischoff began his proceedings. This above clip is by no means the only segment of HLA, but is the most significant one. Creepily, and scummily directing the girls to strip themselves and each other, to feel each other up, and to make out for the awe-struck crowd, Bischoff came across more as a porn director than a wrestling manager.
After a bit of making out, and very nearly some bra-removal, Eric steps in to put an end to the action. Why? Because he wanted to give the audience both sex and violence. In a sudden turn, the two girls, having just been turning on at least half of the audience, are subsequently beat the sh*t out of by two brutes. Being pulled by their hair, stacked up in a 69 position, and jumped on, these ladies were doubly humiliated. On the one hand, it's nice to see some coed wrestling, but on the other...it would be nice to see it taken seriously (like Chyna winning belts in the men's division).
10 Trish Barks Like A Dog And Strips
Speaking of the atrocities of one Vince McMahon. There was once a time where even one of the most phenomenal women's champions, Trish Stratus, was brought low by the big man. Of course, at this time, Stratus was nothing more than Vince's personal assistant (and many wonder in exactly what regard), so it made sense that Vince show he's a big man by degrading her. Having upset McMahon, Trish made to beg for forgiveness, but that wasn't enough. He decided she should get on all fours, and bark like a dog (after saying that he had a female dog at home — calling his wife Linda a b*tch). After telling Vince that she was sorry "In dog language", Trish was then made to strip. Having just undone her bra, Vince decided to throw his coat over her (at least stopping before she showed off her breasts — like Sable had done years before). It is interesting to see that while women have rights, and even the vote in every day life, the women of the WWE are simply at the mercy of a man who loves nothing more than to degrade, feel up, or snog each and every diva who enters the ring. At least that has changed these (or at least it has on screen...who knows what happens backstage). At least Trish did get a chance for some revenge by smacking McMahon in the face (but he probably liked it), and giving Vince a face full of Rakishi's ass, thanks to The Rock.
9 PMS... And Meat
Well, this specific video above speaks in several ways about the status of women in the WWE back in the day. First off, the Godfather struts in with his "hoe train", and does refer to the women as hoes; his famous line of course being "Pimpin' ain't easy", which the audience loves to shout with him.
On the flip side of the video, there is the team PMS (Pretty Mean Sisters), with their sex slave, Meat. That's right, he was just called meat, because that's all he was to the ladies. The story goes that Terri Runnels would forcefully have sex with Meat, for hours and hours before he had to go and fight matches, which he would then lose because of his fatigue.
At least, in this respect, the women have the power in the story line. But of course, there is still no way such a silly story would play these days, regardless. And of course the team fell to in-fighting after Terri forced Meat on his knees, to kiss her feet, but at least the women had the strength in this case (and apparently a lot of endurance for hours and hours of fun with their sex slave).
8 Mark Henry's Threesome With Chyna
This story arc really helped to win over the LGBTQ community that was not too interested in wrestling beforehand...and realistically not interested afterward either. During the Sexual Chocolate phase of Mark Henry's career (apart from impregnating Mae Young with a severed human hand), Henry made a romantic connection with Chyna (though it did take much coaxing, and determination on his part).
After a certain amount of time in their relationship, Chyna decided to add another partner for some added fun. Bringing another woman into the fold, Chyna actually made Henry pass out for all of his joy at the thought of nailing two women at the same time. Unfortunately for him, after a bit of feeling around, and some promised fun in a hotel room, it is revealed to Henry, by the pulling of a wig, that the proposed fun he was going to have was to be with Chyna and another man, dressed as a woman. This makes Henry flee in terror, and also makes him physically ill. The WWE may not have come along as much as it should, but at least it doesn't poke fun at gender bending or homophobia anymore...or at least nowhere near as much.
7 Sunny's Fondle-Me-Elmo
Everyone loved Sunny, and wished for nothing more than for her to have a sex tape of some sort (which she now does have, having become talented in adult entertainment since her departure from World Wrestling Entertainment). But while she was still with the WWE, she did make a promise to show give the WWE universe exactly what they wanted. Though what she ended up producing in terms of a sex video was not quite what everyone expected.
Playing off of the popularity of the Tickle Me Elmo, Sunny had a life-sized "Fondle Me Elmo" in a hotel room with her. He arrives, and instantly begins with the ridiculous high-pitched voice, and shenanigans typical of Elmo...but in a far more sexual way. Of course, not being properly equipped to handle a human woman (given that Elmo is traditionally a piece of cloth with a hand up its ass), Elmo can't really get down with Sunny after all.
The segment even goes so far as to have the life-sized Elmo asking of Sunny where he finds his penis. This elicits a cheesy, eye roll to the camera on Sunny's part, and the "sex tape" is complete. Given the WWE's PG rating these days, there's no way that sexualizing Elmo could happen again...it is flabbergasting that it ever happened in the first place.
6 Piggy James? ...Wow
So this was partially a segment, and partially Vince McMahon's personal feelings about one Mickie James, who was once one of the greats of her time (and has since returned only just this year to the industry). For some reason, Vince McMahon had got the idea that Mickie James was putting on a bit of weight, and instead of confronting her about it directly, he decided why not have the story reflect his opinions on her body.
Conscripting other talent to begin poking fun at her and berating her supposed weight gain (though her body was by no means out of shape in any way), Mickie was absolutely being bullied into getting more fit than she already was. It even came down to her being called Piggy James. And if that wasn't enough, she came to the ring to defend women around the world, talking about how real women are short, tall, fat, skinny, and curvy...but in spite of this talk of body positivity, James still loses out, and is force-fed on stage, and has punch dumped all over. Dejected, and humiliated, James becomes the WWE's poster girl for just how real, and unavoidable bullying is (and one better be in perfect shape, or else). What a great message they used to push out there for the world to take in.
5 Al Wilson's Honeymoon Death
There was a time where Torrie Wilson, and Dawn Marie were having a feud. How did Marie step up her game in order to lay low her enemy? By sleeping with Torrie Wilson's father, Al. Yes, Al Wilson is actually Torrie's father, and no, none of this ridiculous story line was actually real. As it played out, the stupid story was originally all about Marie shaming Torrie, by using her father, but somehow, Marie "fell in love" with Al Wilson. The WWE even went to so far as to marry the two. This marriage was not long for the "professional" wrestling world though.
At the honeymoon, it turns out that Dawn Marie caused Al Wilson to suffer a heart attack because of their sweet and sexy times. That still was not enough. Faking the emergency services coming to the scene, and pronouncing Wilson dead, they even go so far as to hold a wake for the dead man. And not just any wake. Both Dawn Marie and Torrie Wilson are present, of course, and they have an altercation at the casket, causing it to collapse as they have a bit of a feisty scrap-fest. Besides the whole thing being sorrowfully silly, it is also in pretty poor taste, and given its lack of success, like most of the diva story lines of the time, it is not likely to appear again.
4 Sl*t Shaming And Body Positivity
Almost in the same vein as Mickie James' little sob story of body positivity, Molly Holly was consistently berated for being different. James wasn't even different looking from any other female wrestler at the time (but Vince is clearly an ass, so there that is). Holly was at least genuinely different, but that made for far more exciting wrestling, and story...or it could at least. Instead, what happens, at least in the above video, when the smoking Stacy Keibler goes off on a rant, is Trish Stratus comes to the announcer's table to talk about how most of the divas are all sluts.
The more important part about this story arc for Molly Holly, though not featured in the above video, is Holly's wholesome image. Stating that the rest of the women's division relied too heavily on their sex appeal (almost wholly on it, realistically, thanks mainly to Vince McMahon), Holly shortened and dyed her hair, and tried to make a go at making the women's division a bit more serious in the realm of World Wrestling Entertainment.
Two things that would no longer play these days in the WWE from this story arc? The gratuitous use of the word 'slut', and the bullying of a woman for trying to fight for something greater than sex appeal (as now most of the "divas" do work to have something more than that to offer).
3 Terri Runnels' Faux Miscarriage
So Terri Runnels...at the command of Vinnie Mac, and the writers of World Wrestling Entertainment, appeared under her real name as a girlfriend of the womanizing Val Venus (which must have been torture enough). During this faux relationship, it comes out that Runnels is apparently pregnant. At which point, not one to stick around with a kid in tow, Venus dumps Runnels, leaving her to join up with PMS (and the ridiculous 'Meat' story arc). Claiming to have had a miscarriage then, because of an accidental collision with D'Lo Brown (sound familiar to an earlier story?), Runnels acquires Brown as a fighting slave because of the guilt he feels for having caused her such grief.
However, the whole thing turns out to be a sham, and everyone quickly moved on to forget the story line. Which makes total sense, because why would someone fake any of that right from the start? That is a good question that some readers might think this article may provide the answer to, but the unfortunate truth is...there is no good reason, and no actual explanation as to why she bothered to make any of this up (other than of course the writers having obviously been hit in the head one too many times). Perhaps the miscarriage thing is a bit overdone, and thankfully not likely to appear again.
2 Triple H Screws Katie Vick's Brains Out...
Alright, so to be fair, this isn't actually a diva story line, but this absolutely atrocious arc of this story simply has to appear here, especially given Kane's whole abduction, rape, pregnancy, marriage, and miscarriage story line with Lita. It is discovered by Triple H that Kane was once in love, a long time ago, in his youth. Tragically, the girl he loved died in a car crash that Kane happened to cause. Using this as some sort of emotional leverage to infuriate, humiliate, or depress the Big Red Machine, Triple H makes a bit of a film, posing as Kane at the wake of his darling beloved.
Already in poor taste as it is, Triple H, in Kane's mask, proceeds to feel up, strip, and ravage the mannequin corpse that is representative of Kane's late lover. Even having a line at the end of the segment about "banging [her] brains out", this arc goes way too far, and will thankfully never be dug up again for another bit of lovin'. Again, though not directly associated with a female wrestler, this story arc still shows the unfortunate truth that women in the WWE have historically been looked at as nothing more than objects (in this case a mannequin).
1 Natalya's Flatulence
For some ungodly reason, World Wrestling Entertainment saw it fit to take one of the very best female performers in the industry, and make an absolute fool of her (something they are unfortunately still doing). Natalya Neidhart (not just because of her family legacy of the Hart Foundation) is one of the top performers in the WWE, and not just in the so-called "Divas" division. Regardless of this fact, Natalya was relegated to a noxious story line that revolved around her flatulence, as if she was unable to have actual character, and therefore needed to be bolstered by a ridiculous arc of arse humour.
This went on for some time, but thankfully the WWE has since moved past fart funnies (though it is clearly still in some form of adolescent stasis). The saddening part of Natalya's story now in the WWE is she is simply made to be a jealous, attention-seeking wannabe, as opposed to just taking the power and prowess she already has. So ultimately, World Wrestling Entertainment has come a long way in its treatment of its female performers, but it has yet a long, long way to go.