In the scripted world of pro wrestling, there are times when real life seeps in and enhances or even takes over the entirety a feud or storyline. Vince McMahon has never been one to stray away from any drama that could be utilized to get more eyes on his product and has on a few occasions let the lines blur a bit on WWE TV. Let's take a look at a couple of the wilder real moments in WWE's history.
Alundra Blayze Trashes Women's Title
Alundra was one of the most popular women's wrestlers in the mid 80s to early 90s, working her way up to the WWE in 1993. While there, she was able to win the Women's title on three occasions, and was one of the biggest reasons for the short lived revival in the Women's Division going against legends like Bull Nakano.
In 1995, due to financial issues, the WWE had to start chopping contracts, and Blayze ended up being one of those cuts, even though she was still the Women's champion. She instantly switched over to WCW and cut a promo where she literally threw the WWE Women's title in the trash, causing her to be blacklisted from the company for decades until she was inducted in WWE's Hall of Fame in 2015, where she pulled the title out of the trash.
That Thing That Happened in Montreal
Bret Hart's days with the WWE were coming to a close when he decided to jump ship to rival WCW, the larger issue was him being the WWE champion and Vince McMahon was deathly afraid of Bret showing up on WCW with the title, thanks, in-part, to what Alundra did two years prior. The 1996 Survivor Series was held in Canada, a location where Bret refused to drop the title at, from here the stories tend to vary, but Vince gave Bret some assurance that he could leave with the title at the PPV and they could figure things out from there. Instead, Vince had referee Earl Hebner call for the bell during a submission attempt, giving Shawn Michaels the win and the title.
Bret was obviously not happy about this whole situation, he spat on Vince (who was at ringside) during the PPV and later punched him in the face when the two were backstage. This was one of the biggest real life stories in wrestling history that fans talked about for years (and years…and years…) afterwards. In a 2014 interview with Sports Illustrated, Hart spoke on the incident:
"Vince, Triple H, and Shawn were the three who planned it, and they got Jerry Brisco to come up with a plan when to execute the finish. I was getting ready to go through the curtain when they circled Earl and basically told him this was how the match was going down. They also reminded him he was mic'd, with a microphone behind his ear, so they could hear everything he said. If he did anything to tip me off, they'd fire him."
Had Bret been tipped off about the plan:
"I would have choked Shawn out in the middle of the ring. I would have front-face locked him and ended the match. Before I went in the ring, I told myself I'd never let them put a submission hold on me. But because I had Earl as the referee, and I trusted that he wouldn't screw me, I wasn't too worried about that any more. That was my big mistake."
Along Came a Spider
Most wrestling fans are aware of the "Montreal Screwjob," but few still talk about the one that happened to then Women's champion, Wendi Richter, 12 years prior in 1985. Thanks to the "Rock N' Wrestling" era, Wendi suddenly became one of WWE's brightest stars, but due to some contractual issues with Vince McMahon, the Fabulous Moolah was brought in as the masked "The Spider Lady" to take the title away. The referee was in the plan by performing a swift three-count, ignoring that Wendi kicked out at one.
Wendi decided to not acknowledge the match outcome and continued to attack The Spider Lady; eventually pulling off her mask to reveal it was Moolah. Vince and Wendi had many disagreements about compensation and this was said to be Vince's way of strong-arming the wrestler into signing a new contract with the company. Instead, Wendi walked out of the arena in her wrestling gear (wrestling sporadically on the indies and overseas until 2005), she never talked to Moolah again, and never returned to the WWE until she was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010.
Bradshaw Makes Blue Bleed Red
If we learned anything from this story, it's JBL doesn't like to be talked about on the internet in a negative way, those who are Twitter know he's quick to block the naysayers. Well, that's exactly what the Blue Meanie did when he first released from the WWE. This beef eventually led to a legit fight during the 2005 One Night Stand PPV, that left Meanie bloodied and with a black eye. Let's back up a bit though and hear how things got started. In early 2016, Blue Meanie spoke with Chris Jericho on his podcast about this story:
"During my whole tenure there [in WWE] from '98 to 2000, it was like, I don't want to say, like, hazing, but bullying. Whether it would be shots in a match or we'd be on a plane and you know he's telling a story about some "fat f---" and you know he's referencing you."
Once Blue Meanie was released in 2000, he did an interview and brought up JBL's bullying, which eventually got back to JBL. Once One Night Stand rolled around, JBL took the opportunity during a massive brawl to lay into him. Here's how Meanie described it:
"I feel this punch right on my scar [a recent injury from wrestling] and I go, 'what the hell?' I turned around and there's JBL. He starts throwing shots. He does the hockey thing, he pulls my shirt over my face [and] starts throwing live rounds. He [has] got a fistful of rings, so I was like, 'I ain't going to take this!', so I snatched a headlock as much as I could on a 6'6" man and I start throwing punches back. We kind of get pulled apart."
After the show, he continued:
"I go to the back and Johnny Ace meets me at the curtain and he goes, 'what the hell was that?' I was like, 'what? JBL shot on me!' No, no, he was like, 'who told you [that] you could blade?' I was like, 'I didn't!' He was like, 'what?' I gave him the elevator pitch of the heat that we had. I was like, 'hey, this, this, this' and he was like, 'that's unacceptable. We don't do that here. Blah, blah, blah.' And I walked further into the 'Gorilla' position, and there's JBL. And [he said] 'you were talking about me on the internet.' I was like, 'crap, dude, was I wrong? You're having a hard time proving me wrong!' So long story short, WWE did the right thing. They stitched me up. They doubled my pay for that night."
To capitalize on the fight, WWE brought Blue Meanie back for a short period of time to feud with JBL, winning a "No DQ" match, thanks to some assistance from Batista. Today, he maintains him and JBL are cool ("Twitter buddies") and JBL even tried to get him a surprise spot in the 2015 Royal Rumble match.
Check back next Friday, when we'll take a look at some of the crazier moments to happen in the Elimination Chamber!