Let’s face it, WWE is, at its core, a pretty silly company. This isn’t simply because pro wrestling is scripted or “fake,” but because plenty of other promotions have proven the medium can just as well be presented in a respectable manner. Even select WWE can occasionally manage to put on one hell of a wrestling show without any ironic laughs to be had. However, when company impresario Vince McMahon or one of his strange writers has a wacky idea and they decide to run with it, there’s no limit to how utterly ridiculous sports entertainment can get.
Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is entirely up to the viewer. Some of the silliest and most outrageous moments in WWE history are also the most memorable, no matter how literally unbelievable they were to witness. That said, when WWE takes the concept of crash TV to its extreme, they tend to make promises that are literally impossible to keep. For want of putting on the most spectacular, unforgettable show they possibly can, WWE often borders on telling fans to expect things that could absolutely never actually happen without the company facing a huge lawsuit or similar risk.
Most of the time, WWE finds a way to weasel out of these promises, either by having the wrestler who made them lose a big match or otherwise preventing them from following through. In rare instances, WWE actually delivers on their weirdest ideas, arguably creating even stranger television than when they simply find a way out of doing so. For all the details, keep reading to learn about the 15 most absurd promises WWE has ever made to fans.
15. Vince McMahon Promises To Give Away A Million Dollars
In the interest of fairness, we’ll point out that WWE came the closest to actually following through on this one. Still, the way Million Dollar Mania actually took place was nothing like how the company described it would. To recap, throughout June of 2008, McMahon promised to give away $1 million to lucky WWE fans. In actuality, what he did was give much smaller amounts to lucky audience members for all of three weeks, not quite reaching that million dollar mark. Shortly after Vince gave away his biggest prize yet with $500,000, the stage suddenly “collapsed,” giving WWE a cop out to stop giving away money and to momentarily write Vince off television. By the time he came back, everyone forgot about the whole thing. Even though Vince genuinely gave away more money than anyone expected him to, he never gave anyone the amount he promised he would.
14. WrestleMania Promises A “Once In A Lifetime” Match
Since the idea of athletics has existed, the only thing more exciting to fans of a given sport than the idea of two top performers squaring off for the first time is the same two athletes having a much anticipated rematch. In professional wrestling, specifically, it’s almost unthinkable to imagine WWE, or any other organization for that matter, making millions of dollars off of a single match and then move on entirely, never to mention it again. Obviously, they’re going to try and repeat themselves to make another million, which is why the idea of advertising The Rock making a comeback to wrestle John Cena at WrestleMania XXVIII as “Once in a Lifetime” was unbelievably absurd from day one. Proving everyone’s reservations correct, not only did WWE run the match again, they did so the very next year as the main event of WrestleMania 29, truly unable to stop themselves from immediately breaking their promise.
13. Edge And Lita Promise To Celebrate In Style
Every pro wrestler has their own way to celebrate, and given their lascivious characters, it made sense that Edge and Lita might commemorate the former winning the WWE Championship by getting between the sheets. However, the idea they would do so on Monday Night Raw with a “live sex celebration” in the middle of the ring was going a step too far, even for the rated-R superstar. Not only was it unlikely Edge or Lita were genuine exhibitionists, but it should go without saying the USA Network would never allow such a display to hit the air. That’s not even mentioning how the FCC and sponsors would react to the idea of two top wrestlers getting naked and having a good time in front of an audience that may well contain a few children. Unsurprisingly, when it came time for the two to deliver and do the deed, they actually just hid under the covers until Ric Flair “made the save,” as it were.
12. Bob Backlund Promises To Run For President
To Vince McMahon and his company’s credit, sometimes the whole point is for wrestlers to make promises they can’t possibly keep. It isn’t often, but that was definitely the case when former WWE Champion Bob Backlund pledged to fans he was leaving sports entertainment behind to campaign for the United States Presidency in the summer of 1995. Even as Backlund appeared to be taking the idea seriously, talking at length to wrestling fans about his political beliefs and appearing in a handful of election ads on WWE television, no one believed he could actually win the election, let alone make his way to an official ballot. The same was true some three years later when Hollywood Hulk Hogan claimed he was leaving WCW to run, as well. In both examples, the idea of a celebrity suddenly running for the presidency with the WWE Hall of Fame as their sole qualification was just silly.
11. Vince McMahon Promises He’ll Never Be On TV Again
Crazy as it was for Vince McMahon to suggest he’d fire half his roster, or any of his biggest stars, perhaps it was even less likely he could ever follow through on this promise. Per the stipulations of the main event of Fully Loaded 1999, if The Undertaker lost to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, the WWE owner could never again appear on his own programming. Breaking his promise immediately, Vince walked down the ramp into his ring on Raw the very next night, ostensibly to say goodbye. And then he made another return a month later, again promising to leave again. A month or so later, he came back once again, and so on. Truth be told, so many wrestlers have promised to retire or leave a company over the years, it’s not even worth naming them all. However, Vince promising to leave his own promotion for all time has got to be the least believable instance of this trope having happened.
10. Billy And Chuck Promise To Get Married
Before we even get into the specifics of the first, and presumably only gay wedding, in WWE history, let’s acknowledge the fact that weddings in wrestling almost never happen regardless of sexuality. Whenever one wrestler plans to marry another inside the ring, a third party inevitably interjects and chaos ensues, usually prior to the nuptials being made official. Everyone knew that was the case with Billy and Chuck going in, and the fact WWE would have actually been making a hugely progressive move by letting those two in particular get married merely cemented the fact it would never happen. Look, it’s not like the company is outwardly homophobic or anything, but they’ve never even had an openly gay character, let alone someone who seemed a bit effeminate without get mercilessly mocked and bullied for it. There was no way WWE would mature so much as to allow a gay marriage overnight, and true to expectations, rather than become husbands, Billy and Chuck both admitted they weren’t gay and just pretended to be as a publicity stunt.
9. Vince McMahon Promises To Fire His Biggest Stars
To start things off, we’re going to double up on this entry. In fact, there are way more than two examples of this, though two stand out in particular. On multiple occasions, Vince McMahon has intentionally created circumstances that could end in him firing his biggest star. The most famous instance was a repeat theme of the Attitude Era, as McMahon made it his goal to fire “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Later, in 2010, McMahon played a more passive role in the proceedings, but he nonetheless seemed to agree John Cena should get fired if Wade Barrett failed to win the WWE Championship at Survivor Series. Throw in any number of times Vince got into feuds with The Rock, Triple H, Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, or any other name that could be considered one of the company’s biggest cash cows. Obviously, there was no chance in hell Vince would ever actually fire these people, as he knew full well millions of dollars would be lost if he did.
8. WWE Promises To Kill WCW
The only thing less likely than Vince McMahon firing any of his top stars would be him firing the entire undercard in one fell swoop. That’s not quite what he implied would happen after Survivor Series 2001, but the idea every single wrestler working for the WCW/ECW brand would get let go wasn’t that far off. It was even more unlikely that, had the Invasion side won, Shane and Steph would make good on their counter promise to fire every single superstar contracted to WWE. Either way, the idea was that the company would release at least 30 wrestlers overnight because of who won or lost a match. In reality, not a single superstar was released, and almost every significant ECW/WCW superstar to appear on Survivor Series found a way back on to WWE TV by the very next night.
7. WWE Promises Rosie O’Donnell VS Donald Trump
On the very first episode of Monday Night Raw, Vince McMahon signed off the program by promising next week’s main event — Hollywood director Woody Allen and his ex-girlfriend Mia Farrow in a steel cage match. The only thing saving that from this list is the fact most people were able to immediately write it off as a joke. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case 14 years later when “Donald Trump” wrestled “Rosie O’Donnell.” From the second WWE announced the match, fans knew it would never happen, despite the future amateur politician’s connection with Vince McMahon and his company. Unsurprisingly, the real Trump didn’t show up, but rather an impersonator, alongside an O’Donnell impersonator. The two barely wrestled a “comedy” match that mostly consisted of the announcers making offensive fat and homophobic jokes about the real Rosie. Especially since the real celebrities were never going to be there, WWE shouldn’t have even considered putting on this awful farce.
6. Sunny Promises To Share A Private Video
About 10 full years before Edge and Lita promised to get busy live on Monday Night Raw, there was a little show called Shotgun Saturday Night where Sunny basically said she would do the same thing. The only difference is that instead of doing the deed inside the wrestling ring, Sunny promised fans she would show them a homemade video of her and an unnamed lover having a good time. Turns out, said lover was a giant Muppet she named “Fondle-Me-Elmo,” who she indeed had strange relations with on video. Nonetheless, the idea of Sunny getting it on with a giant Elmo is hardly what fans had in mind when she promised to reveal her “tape.” Of course, it isn’t like they expected WWE would allow her to air the real deal, either, as not even the “edgy” product Shotgun Saturday Night was known for could go that far.
5. Multiple Wresters Promise To Bury One Another Alive
WWE has created a good number of utterly bizarre match types in its day. Wrestlers have fought in rings of fire, hog pens, Punjabi Prisons, Kennels From Hell — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Ridiculous as some of these matches were, though, they didn’t promise things that were literally impossible, as is the case with the rarely seen “Buried Alive match.” At least five times, the company has promised one of their wrestlers would defeat the other by sending them to an early grave, each example involving The Undertaker in some way. Another running trend is that none of the matches ended with the loser actually getting “buried alive.” A more accurate way to describe what happened is they got covered in a small amount of dirt and/or a heavy amount of smoke and mirrors. Were a human being actually buried alive, they would almost certainly die, and it should go without saying WWE wasn’t going to intentionally kill any of their employees on the air.
4. Kelly Kelly Promises An Extreme Exposé
Especially during the diva era, female wrestlers, at least those working for WWE, were often cast aside as mere eye candy. Though there have always been talented women working in the industry, it’s definitely true that certain periods of WWE have focused solely on their looks. This was never more apparent than in the day of Kelly Kelly, a model who made her debut for the ECW brand by promising to get naked on television. When her onscreen boyfriend, Mike Knox, interrupted her attempt to strip, she promised to do it for real the next week, a process that would repeat itself for a full month. At no point did Kelly actually get naked on camera, nor did anyone actually expect she would. Even if ECW was supposed to be the “extreme” brand, the Syfy network wasn’t quite the Playboy Channel, meaning she could never follow through on her goal of baring it all.
3. Eric Bischoff Promises Hot Lesbian Action
In general, WWE has never been shy to admit when they were doing something almost exclusively for the ratings. The company can be ostentatiously bold about throwing out nonsense for no reason except Vince McMahon thinking people might stop and look at it, and never has this practice been more blatant than the fateful Raw when Eric Bischoff promised to give fans HLA. What’s HLA, you ask? Apparently, “hot lesbian action,” a phrase no human being had ever used before or since. Extremely blatant about what they were doing from the start, WWE began the evening by having Bischoff admit ratings were down and he had the answer — random women kissing each other. Even though the company technically delivered on this promise by indeed having two total strangers lock lips later on in the show, the fact they felt the need to even consider doing so is utterly ridiculous.
2. The Undertaker Promises To Kill Paul Bearer
Throughout his long and storied career, The Undertaker may well have been involved in more absurd angles than any other wrestler in history. That said, of the many insane things the Dead Man has done in WWE, the peak of his insanity was probably that time he murdered Paul Bearer on Pay-Per-View. In retrospect, it’s hard to comprehend the circumstances leading up to the big moment, but the general idea is that SmackDown General Manager told Undertaker he had to lose to The Dudley Boyz, or Bearer would get buried alive in cement. Undertaker defied the order and won the match, pulling the lever on the cement machine himself and killing his manager, as promised. Obviously, Bearer didn’t actually die that night, but the idea WWE would even suggest one of their biggest wrestlers would kill a man, let alone the fact they’d condone it, was the sort of insanity only Vince McMahon could contrive.
1. Kane Promises To Set Himself On Fire
When most wrestlers challenge for the WWE Championship, the only promise they need make to their fans is that they’ll win it. For some reason, Kane decided to up the ante to an extreme degree when he got a shot against “Stone Cold” Steve Austin at King of the Ring 1998. Speaking for the very first time, Kane promised, in his own words, “if I do not win the title, I will set myself on fire.” The eternal flame has always been a big part of Kane’s character, and it makes sense WWE would want to somehow incorporate it into his biggest match. But what the hellfire in brimstone were they thinking with this one? Granted, the match was already heavily in Kane’s favor as it was contested under first-blood rules, and with his mask and bodysuit, it was neigh impossible for Austin to make Kane bleed. Indeed, Kane won the gold, so he never had to follow through on his word. Of course, even if he lost, no company on Earth, not even WWE, would have allowed him to actually commit suicide on camera.
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