It was once one of the worst kept secrets on TV, but it seems that it has now become a well-known fact that everything that is seen on WWE TV is scripted and the results are pre-determined by the creative team who work tirelessly without recognition. Some of the biggest moments in wrestling history have come from the minds of WWE’s creative team, but it seems that there are a number of times when WWE stars have actually refused to follow the script. This is something that is only acceptable if you are seen as a legend or a big star in the company. Otherwise, it can be seen as something that WWE will release you from your contract for.
It is hard for anything to remain a secret in WWE anymore, which could be why over the past decade there have been a number of reports of superstars who blatantly refused to follow the orders that were given to them before their match. There is a difference between accidents that sometimes happen when a superstar forgets to kick out and a Championship changes hands and when a superstar can be seen obviously going into business for himself. The following list looks at 15 of the most obvious times that WWE superstars refused to follow the script that they were given, either because they didn’t think the other star deserved to be put over, or because they didn’t believe that they deserved to be put in a match of that kind.
15. Randy Orton Buries Kofi Kingston
Randy Orton is known to be something of a hot head when it comes to his ego around other stars. Orton is also known to have been the reason that Mr Kennedy was fired from the company a few years ago.
Orton faced off against Kofi Kingston on an episode of Raw back in 2009 and it seems that the finish of the match should have seen Orton hit Kofi with an RKO but it seems that Kofi kept messing up the ending which led Orton to lose his temper and shout that Kofi was stupid. This led to Kofi being buried on Raw for a number of months afterwards, especially since it was Orton who he was up against. If it had been anyone else it wouldn’t have been such a big deal, but it seems that Orton has such a pull backstage that he could force anyone to be buried if he kicked up a fuss.
14. Chris Jericho And Neville
Chris Jericho is a veteran in the wrestling business, so you have to believe that it would have to be a serious incident that would lead to him breaking kayfabe. It seems that back in 2016 when Jericho was part of a match with former NXT Champion Neville, he was forced to go off script when Neville suffered an injury.
Jericho tried the obvious thing that many wrestlers do when there has been an injury, which is to pin a wrestler as quickly as possible but it seems that referee Charles Robinson refused to count the pin. This forced Jericho to get into the face of the referee and get himself disqualified because he knew that Neville was seriously hurt and couldn’t finish the match. This injury put Neville on the shelf for the better part of a year and saw him struggle to gain any momentum in WWE again after that.
13. Shawn Michaels And Hulk Hogan
Shawn Michaels may be seen as one of the best wrestlers of all time, but it seems that even Michaels had something of an ego and didn’t enjoy having to put over superstars that he didn’t feel deserved it. Michaels held a number of stars back in the 1990s and caused a number of problems.
When he returned for his second stint, the former WWE Champion returned with a much better attitude but he still ran into a number of issues. One of the most memorable was back at SummerSlam in 2005 when he was supposed to put over Hulk Hogan. Shawn wasn’t happy about having to put Hogan over and hadn’t been a fan of the star for a number of years so he decided that rather than shoot on the legend, he would make the match comical by over-exaggerating all of the bumps in the match. Instead of being seen as a serious main event, Michaels made it quite comical.
12. Scott Steiner Shoot Promo
Scott Steiner was never a star that was seen to be very good on the mic until he decided to stop following the script and shoot on WWE legend Ric Flair. WCW back in 2000 wasn’t the greatest of places. The company was losing to Raw in the ratings so the last thing they needed was for one of their stars to put the company over even further in his promo.
Sadly, that’s exactly what Scott Steiner did. At the time he wasn’t even feuding with Flair but he decided to centre his promo around his hatred of the star and even went as far as to say that when fans saw Flair wrestle, they switched over to Raw. It wasn’t that much of a shock considering what WCW had become at that point but the company had to punish Steiner for this so what did they do? Oh, they suspended him with pay. They basically sent him on vacation after he made their company look stupid on live TV. Smart.
11. Hulk Hogan And Bret Hart
Hulk Hogan was one of the hottest stars in WWE at one point, but it seems that following WrestleMania IX the landscape was changing and even though Hogan was the Champion at the time, there was a lot of pressure from the steroid scandal to have him pushed out of the company.
WWE planned to have Hogan drop the Championship to Bret Hart at SummerSlam in what would have been a dream match at the time since both men were huge stars. It would also be a chance for Hogan to pass the torch over to Hart but it seems that the Immortal One allegedly refused to lose to Bret at SummerSlam. Instead, he dropped the title to Yokozuna at King of the Ring and the WWE Universe was denied what could have been a fantastic match. When it finally did happen a few years later, it wasn’t the spectacle that it could have been, which is sad since Hogan denied the WWE Universe a classic match based on his ego.
10. The Montreal Screwjob
It’s one of the most well-known incidents in WWE history but it seems that The Montreal Screwjob actually stemmed from Bret Hart refusing to drop the WWE Championship to Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series. Hart didn’t technically have to drop his title due to the contract that he had signed, but Vince McMahon was worried that he would take the title with him to WCW.
Alundra Blayze had already left and dropped the Women’s Championship into the trash on WCW and Vince was worried that if Hart joined the company as Champion then he would do the same and WWE couldn’t afford to have another title disrespected in that way. It seems that Vince’s solution was to screw him out of the title and have Michaels win the match regardless. So this entire situation could have been easily avoided if Bret hadn’t refused to lose to Michaels in the first place.
9. John Cena And The Shield
The members of The Shield have been the biggest stars in the company ever since their debut. It seems that as part of their climb up through the ranks of the company The Shield was put up against John Cena, who was seen as the face of the company at the time. WWE had spent the last few months building the trio up into some of the biggest and most dominant stars in the company and it seems that the plan was to have The Shield lose the feud.
It is reported that The Shield disagreed with the creative team’s booking and thought that a loss to Cena would ruin everything that they had been building towards and would take away any momentum that they had at that point. Dean Ambrose, in particular, was quite vocal about this and it seems that after a rethink it was determined that instead, Cena should lose the match. The Shield has since gone on to become three of the biggest stars in the company, which means that they obviously made the right choice.
8. The Curtain Call
Following their show Madison Square Garden, the group embraced each other and broke the fourth wall, something that WWE didn’t take lightly at all. Shockingly, it was current WWE COO Triple H who took all of the punishment for going off script since Nash and Hall left the company and Shawn Michaels was the champion at the time so it was The Game who lost his main event push and it took him more than a year to regain the position he was in before he decided to bid farewell to his friends. It seems that breaking kayfabe was seen as a much bigger thing for WWE a few years ago.
7. Rey Mysterio And Dolph Ziggler
Rey Mysterio is still considered to be one of the most popular wrestlers to have ever worked for WWE, but it seems that even Mysterio had a problem with following the script sometimes. It seems that the original plan was for Rey to drop the Intercontinental Championship to Dolph Ziggler at SummerSlam back in 2009, but the master of the 619 decided that he didn’t want to be forced to drop his title so soon.
It seems that Mysterio wanted some more time to prove that he was worthy of the title so he wasn’t happy that the creative team had booked him this way. Needless to say, Mysterio retained his title at the SummerSlam event even though it was only a month later that he was forced to drop the title to John Morrison anyway. It seems that it would have been better for Mysterio to have just followed the script and dropped it to Ziggler.
6. Shawn Michaels And John Cena
Shawn Michaels took on John Cena at WrestleMania 23 and even though it seemed like a decent match from two of WWE’s top talents at that time, Michaels was visibly annoyed with Cena for refusing to sell his leg that had been worked throughout the match.
It seems that Michaels got in Cena’s face a number of times for his lack of selling and even though it was scripted that Michaels would then shake hands with Cena after the match, he flat out refused and just rolled out of the ring. Michaels headed up the ramp and Cena decided to follow him and remind him that he was supposed to shake his hand. Michaels hadn’t forgotten. He turned to Cena and told him, “Not this time,” before continuing to walk up the ramp. It seems that there were a number of agents who were also annoyed with Cena for his lack of selling in that match as well.
5. Matt Hardy And The Undertaker
Matt Hardy was seen as a singles star who was pushing his way up the ranks back in 2005 since his brother had already left the company. Hardy faced The Undertaker and it was reported that he was supposed to take some heat from The Deadman after their match as a way to make him look much stronger.
It seems that Matt decided that he wasn’t going to take either a Chokeslam or a Last Ride from the former World Champion so instead, he rolled out of the ring and walked out of the arena. It is a rumour that hasn’t been confirmed, but it is said that Undertaker headed backstage and gave Hardy a piece of his mind but it seems that Hardy took it in his stride he just wasn’t being buried by The Undertaker that night. This was before the Edge/Lita scandal, so it seems that Hardy just made the decision he thought was best for him.
4. Gail Kim Walks Away From The Company
Many members of the WWE Universe think that CM Punk‘s walkout back in 2014 was one of the best in WWE history. It could be argued that Gail Kim’s was so much better since she made sure she made a statement on live TV.
Back in August 2011, the former Women’s Champion was scheduled to take part in a battle royale and it seems that she was told to get eliminated as quickly as possible. Kim then decided to eliminate herself from the match and head backstage where she quit WWE. She was seen rolling out of the ring and walking to the back for the last time on that week’s episode of Raw before she went on to become a women’s wrestling legend in Impact Wrestling. It seems that Kim had a lot of problems throughout her WWE career and made her own decision that night to go off script.
3. Kevin Owens And Sami Zayn
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are two stars who were big names on the Independent Circuit before they made their way to WWE and have since had a number of show-stealing matches over the past few years on both NXT and the main roster.
Owens and Zayn were reunited back at Hell in a Cell when Zayn saved Owens from SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon. In the build-up to Survivor Series, Owens and Zayn were performing on SmackDown Live when The New Day invaded and they were supposed to take a beating from The New Day and The Shield but it seems that the two had a better idea and decided to roll out of the ring and walk away. Zayn and Owens were punished by being sent home from the tour for this but have since been able to continue being seen as the main stars on SmackDown Live following this punishment.
2. Steve Austin Refuses To Put Over Brock Lesnar
Perhaps the most famous instance of a WWE star going against something that they were booked to do was back in 2002 when Stone Cold Steve Austin decided that he wasn’t going to put over Brock Lesnar on Raw, so instead, he didn’t turn up for Raw that night and Vince McMahon was forced to go out and announce that Austin had “taken his ball and gone home.”
At that point, Austin had been working with an injured neck and was said to be quite annoyed that he was being pushed down the card as well as the fact that he didn’t feel that it made sense for him to lose to Lesnar at that point in his career. Austin didn’t return to Raw for a while after this but did return the following year and managed to patch it up with the boss so that he is still playing his part in the programming of the company to this day.
1. Daniel Puder Shoots On Kurt Angle
On an episode of SmackDown back in 2004, Kurt Angle forced the Tough Enough contestants to participate in a Squat Thrust competition before taking on the winner in a wrestling match that he quickly won. Angle then asked any other stars if they wanted to step up and Daniel Puder volunteered.
Angle thought it would be a simple task when in fact it seems that Puder had much bigger plans and managed to lock Angle in the Kimura. Angle was obviously in pain but refused to tap since it would become one of the most embarrassing moments of his career. Thankfully the referee counted a pinfall on Puder who had not realized that his shoulders were down and Puder went on to win the competition but for the rest of his career he had a huge amount of heat and the WWE locker room took it out on him at The Royal Rumble the following year.
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