Top 10 Biggest WWE Controversies of All Time
Since the beginning of The Golden Era of World Wrestling Entertainment in the early 80s, the WWE Universe and Superstars together witnessed a lot of ups & downs in the industry. Whether it is about any Superstar or related to business, WWE has always given what you have never expected and taken also in a way you have never imagined.WWE has successfully managed to gravitate global attention for almost 40 years, however, it holds some controversial elements listed in its history as you must be aware of the fact that controversial bee always lands on a popular flower in one way or the other.
WWE Chairman Vince Mc Mahon has managed to build the industry into a global phenomenon with a visionary mind. From legends like Hulk Hogan to The Big Dog of current generation Roman Reigns, WWE has played a very significant role in developing wrestling careers, hence Mc Mahon became successful to put his business on unimaginable heights and even sold some of the most controversial happenings occurred in the WWE.
#1. WWF to WWE Controversy ( 1994- 2002)
Vince Mc Mahon Controversy –
WWE is currently indeed one of the largest professional wrestling company in sports entertainment that includes several high-profile wrestling TV shows such as Raw and SmackDown running in more than 150 countries, hosts 12 pay-per-view events a year including WrestleMania. However, WWE today once called as WWF was a matter of concern between two completely different leagues of organization in which one was named as World Wildlife Fund and the other one with the World Wrestling Federation. Vince Mc Mahon got into an agreement with World Wildlife Fund for using WWF concerning wrestling and was only allowed to use it as spoken word as World Wrestling Federation on live wrestling shows. However, the agreement had been breached in 2000. As a result, Vince Mc Mahon lost his rights to the use of WWF and on May 6, 2002, the company changed its business name to World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.
The legacy of pro-wrestling was changed drastically after that, however many people are in today still believe that this controversy also led to an end of Attitude Era in the WWE where wrestling legends like Stone Cold Steve Austin, Kane, The Undertaker, Triple H were the names behind this legendary era in the WWE.
This WWF Controversy is indeed one of the biggest controversies, the pro-wrestling platform has ever witnessed in the history of sports entertainment. It has changed the entire course of pro wrestling platform from 2002 that includes. titles, pay-per-views as well as video game series fitted with WWF.
#2. WWE Controversy 2007
Chris Benoit Controversy- Chris Benoit Suicide & Double Murder Incident
WWE witnessed one of the most shocking controversies when the news of WWE popular wrestler Chris Benoit double murder and suicide case, broke. Chris Benoit, who was at the peak of his career in 2007, killed his wife Nancy Benoit and later suffocated his seven-year-old son, Daniel to death. Several stories were made post the incident that includes chronic traumatic encephalopathy steroid abuse, and a failing marriage. The incident spread like a rocket all over with federal investigation suspected the use of steroid abuse in professional wrestling platform. Benoit had high levels of testosterone in his toxicology report which is an indication of the steroid use.
In the year 2003, Chris Benoit’s wife Nancy Benoit filed a divorce against him over domestic abuse however she later had withdrawn the case in August 2003. This led to the theory that Nancy had some issues with Benoit forced him to commit this heinous crime. Sources revealed that Nancy may have suspected Benoit of having an affair with a female wrestler and even had a verbal over the life insurance policy.
After learning about the full details of Chris Benoit and his family’s deaths, WWE quickly distanced itself from Chris Benoit: WWE removed Benoit’s name from his previous theme song “Rabid” and even was separated from the WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 video game, after Benoit was originally included in the game as a playable character.
Following the death of Benoit and his family, Police investigated the case with several theories however Benoit’s case is still remembered as the leading controversial and mysterious chapter in WWE history.
#3. WWE Controversy 2014
Undertaker’s streak controversy –
Known as ‘The Grandest Stage of them all, Wrestlemania’s 30th edition came in as one of the most shocking and controversial pay-per-view events in WWE history when The Beast Incarnate Brock Lesnar did the impossible by conquering The Phenom’s undefeated Streak. Reports suggested that The Undertaker was forced by Vince Mc Mahon to end his streak making it the biggest box-office attraction in the company’s history. His idea of ending Taker’s streak blasted social media with a flood of reactions over Taker’s streak end. Vince Mc Mahon was aware of the downfall of WWE’s TRP graph during that time, hence he did what was ‘best for the business’.
The shocking end to the Undertaker’s Wrestlemania streak wasn’t only a shocker for WWE Universe but also generated tons of controversies over this decision from WWE Board of Directors. WWE Management chose Brock Lesnar as a streak breaker as The Phenom’s aging body would not allow him to compete much in the future, hence Vince Mc Mahon took the final call on that night to make the headlines for tomorrow. According to the reports, the streak could have ended in 2011, but Lesnar was on the UFC contract at that time, hence the much-awaited clash took place at Wrestlemania 30 where Lesnar ended Undertaker’s winning streak.
The decision to break Undertaker’s streak has been probably one of the most shocking and controversial story ever witnessed in the history of World Wrestling Entertainment.
#4. WWE Controversy 2015
Hulk Hogan Controversy- Hulk Hogan racist remark controversy
WWE legend Hulk Hogan has been known as the beginner of Golden Era in professional wrestling platform. In the year 2005, he was awarded as the Hall of Famer, however, the prestigious award was taken back by the WWE in the year 2015 when he unleashed a hateful racist remark over his 2012 sex tape leak, showing the wrestler making racist comments about his daughter Brooke’s boyfriend saying that ‘a black billionaire guy’ tried to help Brooke in boosting her music career, followed by a slew of racist remarks. WWE fired Hogan straight after, to get away from the controversy. Hulk tried to return to the company, but they’re still keeping their distance. Vince McMahon does not want to risk any negative coverage as they try to expand a global brand all over the world.
After a long gap of 3 years, WWE reunited with Hulk Hogan once again and made his return at Crown Jewel. He has been reinstated into the Hall of Fame class in 2018. The WWE Hall of Fame features over one hundred wrestling legends, as well as people associated with World Wrestling Entertainment.
Putting a light on his career in WWE, Hulk Hogan’s has been wrestling since the 80s and is widely regarded as one of the greatest wrestlers in WWE history.
He is a six-time WWF/E world heavyweight champion and a six-time WCW world heavyweight champion. Hogan also won the Royal Rumble in 1990 and 1991, making him the first man to win two consecutively.
#5. WWE Controversy 1993
Vince Mc Mahon Controversy- Vince Mc Mahon steroid trial controversy
WWE Chairman Vince Mc Mahon is the Chairman of World Wrestling Entertainment, and without putting him in the list of biggest WWE controversies wouldn’t complete the record. The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York had charged McMahon for violating federal laws regulating steroids in 1993. Reports claimed that Vince McMahon was accused of distributing and encouraging steroid use for his performers to improve the muscles.
Vince McMahon was put on trial with numerous wrestlers called to testify, including Hulk Hogan and Vince himself. During the trial, Hogan admitted that he had never seen Vince give wrestlers any steroids. Reportedly, one witness named as was Kevin Wacholz, who had wrestled for the company in 1992 as “Nailz” testified that McMahon had ordered him to use steroids, however Vince was later acquitted of similar charges but the damage was done and the WWE went in a slump for the next few years WWE, however, overcame the negative perception of the company.
#6. WWE Controversy 1994
Macho Man Stephanie Controversy- Macho Man- Stephanie Mc Mahon love affair controversy
WWE has been popularly known as one of the most controversial television shows of all time. The WWE Universe witnessed some most unexpected controversies in the past also listed an alleged love affair controversy of Randy Savage with underage Stephanie McMahon during his final years in WWE.
Vince Mc Mahon refused to acknowledge his career’s accomplishments after the news of Rany Savage- Stephanie love affair popped up. The rumor is that Savage was involved in a sexual relationship with Stephanie during his final year in WWE (1994), and Vince didn’t come to know about it until years later. Some of the people working closely with Vince McMahon stated Savage was the one wrestler that Vince claimed he’d never do business with again.
Macho Man released a video on the “members only” portion of his website where he dissed Triple H and said he was going to steal his girl, Stephanie McMahon.
However, there is no confirmation about Randy-Stephanie allegations till date, but the sidelining of Macho Man from WWE despite having a huge name in the business is still a question to be answered by Mc Mahons.
Known as the million-dollar princess in the WWE, Stephanie Mc Mahon had a history in developing storylines about her link-ups with WWE superstars that includes Kurt Angle, Eric Bischoff, Chris Jericho and many more.
#7. WWE Controversy 2014
CM Punk controversy- CM Punk’s WWE exit controversy
Known as ‘The Best in the World’ WWE superstar CM Punk dominated the WWE Industry from 2011 to 2013 when he held the record for the longest WWE Championship reign in the modern era for 434 days. His battle with the greatest WWE legends like John Cena, Triple H, The Rock, and Brock Lesnar will be remembered as top-rated WWE matches of all time. However, the story of Punk walking out of WWE remains a matter of curiosity among the WWE Universe.
Punk walked out in 2014 dramatically and controversially no one was expecting. The controversy blasted over Punk’s exit from WWE despite his outstanding contribution in the last few years. After his exit from WWE, Punk broke his silence in an interview by saying that he was suspended for two months after walking out on the WWE in January. After the suspension ended, nobody from WWE contacted him. Punk also told that when he reached out to them for unpaid royalties, he was handed his termination papers and was fired by WWE on his wedding day in June 2014.
Reports revealed that on June 11, Punk received a call from Triple H vowing him for a conversation once he is back from his marriage but that didn’t happen. Later, Punk received an email of his termination from WWE.
After receiving a termination letter from the WWE Board of Directors, CM Punk decided not to return to WWE ever. Punk also demanded WWE to sell his remaining merchandise.
#8. WWE Controversy 2001-2002
WWE Diva Chyna controversy –
When we talk about the most destructive force in WWE history then one cannot wait to name D-Generation X with a team of Triple H, Shawn Michales, Road Dogg, X-Pac, Billy Gunn, and Chyna. In all these superstars from the past, WWE had a long controversial story with Chyna, who was undoubtedly one of the top women’s wrestling stars ever pushed in WWE.
No other woman except Chyna emerged out that much successful as she was during the Attitude Era. Chyna helped Vince Mc Mahon a lot to make a huge sum of money by wrestling against the male wrestlers and taking part in many noteworthy storylines. However, things went imperfect for her when ex-boyfriend Triple H cheated on her with Vince Mc Mahon only daughter Stephanie McMahon. In an interview, Chyna’s sister said that Triple H and Chyna disagreed about having children (Levesque wanted children while Chyna did not), and her addictions and mental health problems also contributed to their breakup
Chyna tried to confront Vince McMahon on the matter, however, he turned his heels and told Chyna to stay away to spark any controversy. Vince McMahon decided to not renegotiate Chyna’s contract due to the controversy regarding his daughter stealing her boyfriend.
Apart from her triangular love affair controversy, Chyna had a big-time career in WWE. She was the first woman to participate in the Royal Rumble match and King of the Ring tournament, as well as to become number one contender to the WWF Championship.
#9. WWE Controversy 1997
Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart Controversy- Montreal Screwjob
The history of professional wrestling holds some biggest controversies in its booklist, however, it’s been 17 years now but Montreal Screwjob still holding the place of one of the most controversial fights in WWE history. Montreal Screwjob controversy occurred at the 1997 edition of Survivor Series at Montreal. The main event was headlined by Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart battling for the WWE championship with Bret being the champion.
Now, the plan was to let Bret win against Michaels and retain the title in his home ground. However, as the match was coming near to the conclusion, Michaels put Bret into a sharpshooter and McMahon ordered to ring the bell even though Bret didn’t tap out.
The Montreal Screwjob has been holding an infamous legacy both on-screen and off. This notorious moment was also recorded in the documentary film Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows (1998). The far-reaching impact of the incident led to its promotion as a theme in matches and storylines of the WWF’s “Attitude Era” and the creation of the character of “Mr. McMahon,” the evil boss.
On November 8, 1997, a day before Survivor Series, McMahon met with Pat Patterson and Michaels in a hotel room in Montreal to execute the plan of screwjob. It was reported that McMahon’s close aides Gerald Brisco and Sgt. Slaughter had been involved in the planning.
The Montreal Screwjob will live in the minds of WWE fans for as long as they can remember. It will remain as one of the most high-profile double-crosses in the history of professional wrestling.
#10. WWE Controversy 2018
WWE Greatest Royal Rumble controversy- Greatest Royal Rumble- WWE pauses Women’s Evolution controversy
World Wrestling Entertainment has always been known to set the best for the business. However, sometimes the best for the business changes into best for the controversy. WWE organized a mega pay-per-view event in Saudi Arabia named as Greatest Royal Rumble, but before being able to promote the event globally, it landed into a controversy of not allowing any women wrestlers to participate in the event.
The event received huge criticism from all around after it was revealed that WWE and the Saudi government signed a 10- year deal with the WWE i,e, no women will be allowed to participate in Saudi Arabia event for 10 years.
The partnership emerged out with a controversial reason that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia isn’t permitting women to compete despite WWE’s ongoing Women’s Evolution.
Female Superstars like Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Alexa Bliss were not present at Saudi Arabia events. Not only the female wrestlers, presenters like Renne Young was also found absent during the event.
Sources revealed that Stephanie McMahon and Michelle Wilson were also not present at a meal before the event started.
From the last 5-6 years, WWE has shown the brighter side of women’s evolution in the pro-wrestling platform. WWE management has been trying to hold at least one female match soon.
Let’s see if female competitors are confident enough to break that barrier.