7 Real Moments in the Fake World of Pro Wrestling
7. Perry Saturn Rings a Bell
Poor Mike Bell. The young man never made it as a full-fledged superstar in the World Wrestling Federation, but he was lucky enough to get booked in several enhancement matches. Enhancement matches are bouts where the WWF superstar wrestles smaller no-name talent in matches that accentuate the WWF star's character and moves. And as lucky as Bell was to receive many of these bouts, that's about where his luck runs out.
Bell entered the match against Perry Saturn as he would any other enhancement match. Ready to be the whipping boy for the superstar. But this time was different. After a botched maneuver that ended up with Perry on his head, Saturn quickly got up off the mat and went after Mike Bell. After kicking Bell in his mid-section, he threw him viciously to the outside, almost breaking the young man's neck. There, he grabbed Bell and yelled: "you dropped me on my head." Saturn continued his assault on Bell by picking him up and ramming his entire body into the steel steps at ringside. WWF officials were not happy with Perry Saturn, but at least he kept his job. Mike Bell on the other hand, never got the chance to rectify the situation. Unfortunately, Mike Bell passed away a couple of years after the bout.
6. The Scott Hall Incident
Scott Hall was one of the most famous wrestlers of the 1990s. He worked in the WWF as Razor Ramon, where he carried the Intercontinental Championship. In 1996, he was a part of one of the biggest angles in history, when he and his partner Kevin Nash "invaded" the rival World Championship Wrestling.
On TV, Scott Hall had it all. But in real life, Scott Hall had demons. Hall was a huge partier. He often indulged in alcohol, drugs, and pills. And whereas some wrestlers are able to keep their dependence on illegal substances hidden, Scott Hall was an infamous abuser.
In April 2011, Scott Hall, having completed a drug and alcohol rehab stint, took an independent wrestling booking with Top Rope Promotions in Fall River, Massachusetts. Unfortunately, the day before the event, Scott started drinking. He arrived for the event in the worst shape in his life. Barely able to speak and stand, Scott Hall was helped to the ring by friends where he talked on the mic for a couple of minutes.
However, when it was time to go, he refused to leave the ring. Hall verbally abused staff members and even threatened to kill the promoter. For 40 minutes, Scott Hall refused to get out of the ring. Eventually, the local security had to physically escort him out of the ring. Later that night he was admitted into Rhode Island hospital where he stayed for a couple of weeks.
5. The Puder Angle
Kurt Angle, the Olympic gold medalist turned professional wrestler, was on top of the WWE in 2004 when a young man named Daniel Puder entered a competition called Tough Enough. Tough Enough was a reality-based television show that showed WWE hopefuls competing in several wrestling related competitions, all for the shot of a million dollar contract with World Wrestling Entertainment.
On an episode of Smackdown, Kurt Angle challenged any of the Tough Enough contestants to get in the ring and take him down. Puder stepped up. It was well known that Daniel Puder was well versed in mixed martial arts. The fans instantly reacted. Although shorter than Angle, Puder was in great physical conditioning and had been in many cage fighting competitions. The fans in the arena reacted with incredible interest. The two grappled for position until Puder locked in a kimura, or a key lock.
This maneuver should have made Angle tap. But, Angle couldn't tap. His whole character was based on being the Olympic gold medalist. Puder took Angle to the ground and had him locked in tight. Thinking quick on their feet, the referees counted a weak looking three count on Puder and announced Kurt Angle, the winner. Kurt Angle was pissed. He was embarrassed on national TV by an unknown kid who was trying to get into the wrestling business. Daniel Puder did end up winning the Tough Enough competition. However, his pro wrestling career quickly faded. Although Kurt Angle was able to come back from the incident, it's a black mark on a seemingly great career.
4. Sid Vicious Snaps in Two
One of the most gruesome scenes in pro wrestling took place on January 14th, 2001 at the Sin pay per view event for the now-defunct World Championship Wrestling group. On this particular night, Sid Vicious was wrestling in the main event against his opponent for the evening "Big Poppa Pump" Scott Steiner.
Towards the end of the match, the wrestlers worked out a scenario into their match that would result in both competitors being knocked down so that a 3rd mystery person could enter the match and attack them. And that's where the fake wrestling went out the window. Sid mounted the second rope preparing to give his opponent a big boot to the face. A move he was adamant against doing. Sid leaped off the second rope and hit his opponent with his right leg. His left leg landed on the mat, absorbing all the weight from the 6'8 300 lb behemoth. Sid's fibula and tibia graphically split in two, much to the dismay to the people at home. The view of the incident was perfect. But, in the rare case you missed it, they replayed the injury several times the following night on Nitro. The once mighty giant needed a 17-inch steel rod put into his leg, and though Sid Vicious would go on to make a full recovery, his career never got back on track.
3. New Jack Takes Mass Transit
In the mid to late 90's, a small independent wrestling organization out of Philadelphia called Extreme Championship Wrestling was gaining a lot of attention. Their hardcore brand of wrestling exhibitions were getting wildly popular among teenagers, and young adults, who were tired of the PG-rated World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling.
ECW wrestlers such as Sabu, The Dudley Boys, and The Sandman were known to regularly use chairs, tables, and barbed wire. In 1996, ECW ran a show in Revere, Massachusetts just outside the state capital Boston. It was there that a young man named Eric Kulas convinced the owner of ECW, Paul Heyman, that he was a local wrestler trained by the legendary Killer Kowalski.
One of Heyman's regular guys did not show for the event, so Kulas convinced Heyman to give him the spot in the match. Kulas, going under the wrestling name Mass Transit, was in a tag team match with wrestler D-Von Dudley. Their opponents were a rough and tumble tag team named "The Gangstas." During the match, while D-Von was outside the ring with one half of the tag team Mustafa Saed, the untrained Eric Kulas was stuck in the ring with the very violent wrestler New Jack.
New Jack was well known as having a very bad temper, and had a rap sheet as large as his six-foot frame. The rap sheet included justifiable homicide. As New Jack hammered Kulas with fists, kicks, and weapons, he decided it was time for the kid to "get color." "Get color" is the term used in wrestling for when someone intentionally cuts themselves with a razor blade, or in this case, an Exacto knife, so they can bleed. On this night, New Jack would do the honors and cut Erik Kulas because Erik could not do it himself. And the result was simply horrifying. Blood immediately started jetting from the young man's head. Two arteries in Kulas's head were struck, causing a massive cut. Kulas laid in the middle of the ring with blood spurting from his open wound. In the crowd, the 17-year-old kid's father screamed for them to stop. Erik was transported to the hospital, and it took 50 stitches to close the wound. New Jack was later acquitted of all charges.
2. Bret Hart Screws Bret Hart
"Bret screwed Bret," Vince McMahon said on an episode of Monday Night Raw following the biggest shoot in wrestling history, The Montreal Screwjob. A "shoot" in modern day terms is when a wrestler or, in this case, Vince McMahon, alters the agreed upon structure of a match.
In 1997, the infamous Monday Night Wars between WWF and WCW were still raging. And the WWF was on the losing end. WCW made a very nice financial gesture that Vince McMahon could not top. So, with Vince's blessing, Bret signed with WCW. One problem remained. Bret "Hitman" Hart was still the reigning WWF heavyweight champion. Bret was to face his most bitter and real-life rival, Shawn Michaels. The two had a storied and controversial past because the two had jockeyed for the same position for the last several years. Bret refused to lose the WWF title to Shawn Michaels at the Survivor Series in Montreal. Bret Hart was a Canadian hero and felt it would be better to drop the belt in the States.
After much debate with Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels, it was decided the outcome of the Survivor Series main event would be a disqualification. That way, both wrestlers would save face. But, things didn't go according to plan. The match went according to plan until Shawn Michaels locked Bret Hart into the sharpshooter. The sharpshooter was Bret Hart's finishing maneuver almost his entire career. Once Michaels had it in, the referee called for the bell and immediately fled the ring. The bell rang, Shawn and Bret fell to the mat, and Vince McMahon grabbed the heavyweight belt.
The fans at home and in attendance knew the fix was in. Both wrestlers no longer pretended to be hurt. They both got up and asked, "what the hell just happened?" Shawn was ushered to the back and given the heavyweight title. Bret on the other hand, stayed in the ring and had a meltdown. He first spit in the face of Vince McMahon and then completely destroyed the ringside area. The Montreal fans showered the ring with trash. It was one of the biggest betrayals in wrestling history.
In 2010, 13 years after the infamous screw job, Bret Hart returned to World Wrestling Entertainment where he, Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels finally squashed the long-heralded rivalry.
1. The King of Harts
As unfortunate a situation it was for Bret Hart to lose the heavyweight title in controversial fashion, it could not compare to the way he lost his younger brother Owen. Owen Hart was the legit younger brother of Bret Hart. When Bret left for WCW, Owen stayed with Vince McMahon and honored his contract to the World Wrestling Federation.
In 1999, Owen was in an angle where he donned his old wrestling costume and became the alter-ego, The Blue Blazer. The Blue Blazer was the ultimate goofy good guy, and hearkened back to the 1980s wrestling scene. It was a tongue in cheek joke. Owen's entrance came high above the ring, as he was lowered from the rafters of arenas the WWF wrestled in.
However, on the fateful night of May 23rd, 1999, the quick release mechanism that Owen used had failed. On live pay per view, Owen Hart fell from approximately 90 feet above the ring. He landed chest first on the turnbuckle. At the time, the viewers at home were watching a pre-recorded interview from earlier in the day. However, the fans in attendance saw it all. Medics rushed the scene. Ringside commentator Jerry Lawler ran into the ring to try to help the fallen wrestler. Unfortunately, Owen Hart was later pronounced dead. Jim Ross, the senior commentator, had the displeasure of informing viewers at home. It was the biggest tragedy in professional wrestling.
From the drug and alcohol abuse of Scott Hall to the tragic death of the beloved Owen Hart, pro wrestling isn't always as fake as public opinion would have you believe. Regardless, the men and women of pro wrestling put their bodies on the line for the entertainment of millions of fans worldwide. Unfortunately, sometimes wrestling does go wrong.
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