Pro-wrestling is a truly bizarre spectacle; a multimillion dollar industry in which grown men portray far-fetched characters, capable of impossible feats, pretending to fight in front of an audience (often comprised of grown men).
It’s one of the most entertaining things you can watch on a Monday night — whether you love it or hate it — but it’s still hard to explain why.
To try to encapsulate some of the insanity which pervades throughout the pro wrestling universe, we’ve put together this list of 10 truly bizarre moments.
Some of them were scripted, some of them weren’t, but together they provide a pretty comprehensive picture of why so-called “sports entertainment” is a bizarre and cherished anomaly in popular culture.
1 Kane is a necrophiliac
While the writers of pro-wrestling storylines are rarely going to be lauded for their tact, they are expected to maintain a certain standard of decency.
Unfortunately, it was non-existent when the guys over at WWF/E pondered whether or not a storyline which involved Kane — the disfigured and masked villain — making love to the corpse of Katie Vick (Vick was the high-school sweetheart of Kane’s then-rival Triple H).
The storyline was promptly dropped by the WWF, who went back to producing high-quality programming involving women wrestling in their underwear, and men clocking each other repeatedly with steel folding chairs.
(Sidenote: Kane is a Necrophiliac is probably the greatest subtitle I’ll ever get paid to pen as a freelance writer.)
2 Mae Young gives birth to a hand
WWE superstar Mark Henry is a legit strongman. At one point, he was actually the strongest guy in the world; at another, he was involved in a storyline-relationship with the 77-year-old pro wrestling veteran, Mae Young.
As part of the storyline, Henry eventually impregnated Young, which resulted in her giving birth to a hand. Yup, a hand.
This may have been because she was thrown through two tables by the Dudley Boyz during her pregnancy; unfortunately, the current state of science means that we will never know.
3 Vince McMahon’s limousine is blown to smithereens
In June 2007, WWE CEO Vince McMahon was involved in yet another storyline – this time one where his limousine was blown up soon after he entered it.
The angle (wrestling lingo for storyline) was soon cut short, though, when it transpired that a current wrestler for the company (Chris Benoit) had actually committed a murder-suicide.
When the facts of the incident became apparent, all traces of Benoit’s legacy were removed from WWE products.
Despite the storyline’s short lifespan, it maintains a certain significance in the memories of all fans with a penchant for the absurd.
4 Perry Saturn is friends with a mop
Perry Saturn was a somewhat-popular wrestler in WWF in 2001. However, his role within the company soon became much more significant thanks to his on-screen relationship with a mop called…Moppy.
The storyline was a punishment for legitimately attacking another wrestler during a match.
However, it unexpectedly made Saturn a fan favourite, and this continued until his new partner was fed into a woodchipper by a rival wrestler. Hey, it’s pro wrestling.
On a sidenote, Saturn admitted during one interview that the Mop was used to penetrate several women during drug-fuelled sex parties. Again: hey, it’s pro wrestling. Kind of.
5 David Arquette is the WCW World Champion
David Arquette is the movie star perhaps best known for his role in the late 90s horror hit, Scream.
However, he also became one of the most successful — and infamous — cameo wrestlers of all time in 2000 when he won the World Heavyweight Championship in World Championship Wrestling.
For those of you who don’t know, carrying any title in wrestling is considered an honour which one generally has to earn.
With WCW on its last legs, though, the writing was becoming increasingly more ridiculous and unpredictable (not included in this list was their infamous Graveyard Match, which took place in an actual graveyard).
Arquette’s role within the company was mainly comic relief, and his tenure as champion only lasted 12 days. Likewise, the company barely lasted another year before going broke. However, we doubt this was Arquette’s fault.
6 Stone Cold Steve Austin kills Vince McMahon
Steve Austin, the so-called Texas Rattlesnake, is one of the most successful pro-wrestlers the world has ever seen.
And, in true pro-wrestling fashion, some of his most prosperous runs involved him trying to annihilate his boss.
One of the most interesting moments in their rivalry was when Austin lured Vince to his limousine, only to then lift it into the air with a crane and drop it from thirty odd-feet.
However, Vince McMahon is indeed built like a s*** brickhouse, and it will take more than being crushed in the wreckage of an automobile to get rid of him.
7 Montreal Screwjob
If you ask any serious wrestling fan what the most insane moment in the sport’s history was, there’s a good chance they’ll point at this one.
In 1997, WWF champion Bret Hart was set to leave the WWF for their then-rival WCW. However, he did not want to lose the title to his on — and off — screen rival, Shawn Michaels.
He also did not want to lose it in the main event at Survivor Series, which was taking place in his native Canada.
During their match, Bret was told by his boss (Vince McMahon) that he would not lose, and Michaels — allegedly — was told something to that effect, too.
However, the referee stopped the match when Michaels had Hart in a submission hold and awarded him the belt. Hart never tapped, and Michaels looked extremely confused.
The event has since become affectionately known as “The Montreal Screwjob”, and watching the referee run to the backstage area immediately after the fight is quite humorous indeed.
Still in shock, Hart proceeded to wreck the ringside area, spit in the face of his boss and — so the story goes — knock him out backstage with a single punch.
8 Raven on crucifix
Extreme Championship Wrestling was particularly popular among older wrestling fans in the late 90s.
This was mainly due to their adult-oriented style, which involved lots of blood, weapons, scandily-clad women, cussing, and so on.
However, the fans did not react so favourably when one storyline saw the popular star Raven crucified by his rival, the Sandman. On an actual cross, with barbed wire.
Raven made his way out to the ring again later in the evening, but only to apologize to fans for offending them.
An interesting tidbit about this event was that future WWF/E superstar, Kurt Angle, was also in attendance during the show.
Apparently, he was so offended by the mock-crucifiction that he told ECW’s staff that he would sue them if they showed any footage of him during their broadcast.
9 The aftermath of Eddie Guerrero’s death
Eddie Guerrero is considered by the vast majority of wrestling fans to have been one of the greatest to ever set foot in the ring.
Following his unexpected death in 2005, the WWE appropriately paid tribute to the legend. Then, they continued to make reference to him, often using him as a prop for their storylines.
Both Guerror’s nephew, Chavo, and best friend, Rey Mysterio Jr, were involved in numerous tributes to Eddie.
At times, these were touching mementos of the world they had lost when he died. At others, they were overplayed and quite obviously token gestures which made many fans uneasy.
10 Muhammad Hassan
If you’re a pro wrestling promoter, and are told that you need to provide a backstory for a fresh-faced Italian athlete making his way into the business, there’s really only one thing to do: tell everyone he’s an Arab, and make him a bad guy.
Far from one of WWE’s prouder moments, Muhammad Hassan’s (real name Marc Copani) character was an ignorance-fuelled stereotype of Islamic culture.
A “terrorism” storyline involving him which coincided with the 2005 London bombings didn’t put him in a good spot, and his ability to summon a balaclava-clad entourage by praying was arguably the defining factor in the rapid failure of his career.
Copani has since retired from the wrestling business.