Eric Bischoff has famously stated his motto as “controversy creates cash,” and though Bischoff’s fame in wrestling mostly came by trying to take down WWE, there’s no doubt the most successful sports entertainment conglomerate in America has been applying that principle for decades. Indeed, controversy can draw fan intrigue and increase ratings in the short-term, but in the long-term there are often serious side effects to the most controversial ideas people have tried to broadcast on television. If the idea is controversial enough, it might not even earn that fan interest, and the whole affair will just blow up in WWE’s face.
More than a few times, WWE has shot for mildly controversial and ended up with downright offensive. Sometimes it was obvious from the word go, and other instances took a few years before people realized how truly offensive the ideas were, but thanks to the WWE Network, almost all of these moments can be viewed for a low price online. WWE have since apologized for some of these incidents in one form or another, and they certainly try to distance themselves from admitting any of them were an important part of company history. Keep reading if you’d like to find out 15 times WWE completely crossed the line.
15 The Melanie Pillman Interview
14 Stephanie McMahon Doesn't Understand 9/11
13 JBL Beats Up A Family of Immigrants
12 Muhammad Hassan Martyrs Daivari
11 Friar Ferguson Is God Awful
10 Val Venis...Just In General
9 The Dudley Boyz Hate Women
8 Triple H Humps A Mannequin In A Casket
7 Vince McMahon Goes Out In A Blaze Of Glory
6 Droz Murders Hawk
5 Michael Cole Fakes A Fatal Injury
4 Randy Orton Mocks Eddie Guerrero
3 Paige Mocks Reid Flair
2 CM Punk Mocks Paul Bearer
1 Vince McMahon Makes Trish Stratus Bark Like A Dog
While every other moment on this list was extremely controversial, there’s one segment in particular that stands out as unquestionably the lowest point in professional wrestling history. When ran for the United States Senate, clips from the decade old episode of Raw were brought to national attention, since even if you didn’t think her wrestling business precluded her from politics, her opposition correctly assumed nobody could possibly condone this. In early 2001, Linda’s husband Vince, CEO of WWE, forced a crying female wrestler to strip to her underwear and bark like a dog in front of a rapid, screaming audience.
It isn’t too hard for a wrestling fan to defend the segment, as Trish eventually got her revenge and became a bona fide legend in WWE. However, given Vince’s authority, Trish’s vulnerability, and the fact the crowd totally missed the point and cheered like they’ve never cheered before pushes this so far over the line it’s almost as though WWE didn’t even realize the line existed. Say what you will about the PG era, but at least nothing like this could ever happen again.
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