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Top 10 Controversial Moments In WWE

5 hours ago By Jhon Woug

For years, WWE has proven itself as an entertainment machine that never hesitates to go the extra mile to come up with surprises that make fans entertain themselves. Nevertheless, these moments can be questionable because they can provoke controversy and hurt a company’s reputation. In this article, we decided to make you acquainted with ten of the most discussed scandals that shocked the wrestling world and left WWE with a head in a spin.

Matt Striker approved statements about Steve Irwin.

In 2006, weeks after the very sudden and sad passing of Steve Irwin, the stunt coordinator for ECW, Matt Striker, filmed a segment that made a joke about not swimming with stingrays. This crude humour made by the actor elicited a lot of anger from the fans and the public because they found this statement to be a sign of disrespect to women. The show garnered a lot of heat, and fans took time to lodge complaints with WWE through social media platforms. Striker continued to mean-mouth and disrespect the memory of a great player in the person of Irwin, not forgetting they hurt the feelings of the fan and family of a dearly beloved person.

WWE, in a short while, dismissed the comment as being in terrible humour and extended their sympathy to Irwin’s kin and lovers. This highlighted the importance of sensitivity and awareness in the creative process, especially in WWE, regarding the scripts they put out, particularly in cases of tragedy. It also became a lesson for the company on the consequences that can be brought by an offending comment by the talent.

Paul Heyman’s Unexplained Firing

The professional wrestling industry has quite a number of fans and legends, and one of them is Paul Heyman, who was fired as the head writer of RAW in 2020. Such a decision taken by Vince McMahon again enraged fans and insiders of the wrestling business. During his time, Heyman played a key role in improving the RAW by introducing new, interesting stories and changing the course of the program. This event caused many people to wonder about the cause of his departure, and various groups, like the fans and the analysts, were taken aback.

Reports suggested that the USA Network, which airs RAW, was not happy with the decision, creating more speculation about WWE’s internal environment. The controversy surrounding Heyman’s firing portrays WWE management as somewhat enigmatic and capricious. It also brought to light the role that network partners may play in mapping the creative course and staffing of WWE.

Lars Sullivan’s Racist and Homophobic Remarks

Lars Sullivan’s wrestling journey in WWE was tainted by some of the remarks that he had made online, which included racist, homophobic, and offensive statements. When such comments came to light, the fans were outraged and demanded the wrestler and WWE take accountability. Some went to WWE sponsors, including Mars Wrigley, sharing information about the issue and demanding that they do something about it.

This elicited a lot of concern from the sponsors, which made WWE fine Sullivan and oblige him to take an apprenticeship on sensitivity. This controversy revealed the issue of responsibility and the significance of social media in a wrestler’s life. It also highlighted the point that WWE needs to conduct background checks and regulate their talents before they become world-renowned legends.

Abraham Washington’s Scandalous Kobe Bryant Joke

The former wrestler and manager Abraham Washington once, during a live event, made a stupid joke about the rape charge against Kobe Bryant in 2003. The comment was made in front of a live audience, and this met with an immediate negative response from the fans. The joke was considered vulgar, terrifying, and completely insensitive considering the nature of the allegations made against Bryant and the adoration that the fans used to have for the late basketball legend.

To this end, WWE fired Washington and released a statement condemning what he had said. This action caused a debate among the fans regarding whether he deserved to be fired or not. However, it raised awareness of WWE’s stand against such remarks and emphasised that they aim to ensure a respectful environment geared towards a friendly and safe atmosphere during the live feeds.

Al Snow’s Action Figure Controversy

WWE released an Al Snow action figure in the late 1990s; the figure came with what is known as a mannequin head. However, the figure raised concern from parents and other groups who perceived it as a decapitated head and thus contrary to the children’s welfare. The protest was significant, and Walmart had to remove the figure, prompting a much broader discussion of the appropriateness of WWE merchandise for kids and younger audiences.

This incident also showed the industry’s dilemma that WWE would have to deal with while trying to host a show that would draw adult audiences and at the same time appeal to children via merchandise. It also made people aware of the need to recommend a new policy with reference to how Superstars’ ring personas and gimmicks are marketed to turn into consumer products, especially those that target children. Becoming the world entertainment giant, WWE had to navigate a thin legal line between creative expression and social responsibility.

Jinder Mahal’s Racist Promo

In 2017, wrestler Jinder Mahal said on SmackDown Live that Shinsuke Nakamura looks and speaks like a cartoonish Japanese mimicked by Americans. The promo was widely considered racist, which provoked a rather critical reaction from the viewers and media. The negative reaction that followed was not long-awaited, and it was angry, demanding that the wrestler apologise and that someone take a look at how the WWE portrays characters of foreign origin.

WWE made it clear that they don’t support racism and that they work to bring out positive images and great material. This encouraged WWE to review their policy concerning the type of content that is culturally sensitive and the characters that need to be portrayed with consideration for a worldwide audience. It also stirred up discussions within the company about diversity and the correct treatment of people with diverse cultural backgrounds.

The Fabulous Moolah Battle Royal Backlash

WWE decided to have the Fabulous Moolah Memorial Battle Royal during WrestleMania 34, and this was followed by controversy given the accusations that were made against Moolah regarding her behaviour towards female wrestlers. Snickers, one of the federation sponsors, clearly stated that they did not want to support a woman with such a past and wanted something to be done about it. Fans and the entire media jumped onto this bandwagon and branded such a person as unfit for any honour.

Due to pressure, WWE had to change the name of the match and remove the name of Moolah. This controversy highlighted that the WWE administration needs to take into account more than just logical aspects such as history and fans’ preferences. It also unveiled the fact that the fans and the sponsors are the most effective force capable of imposing their decisions and changing the company for the better by guiding WWE towards the right path and choosing more appropriate kinds of ambassadors for its brand.

Muhammad Hassan’s Scandalous Segment

Another decision made by the WWE’s creative team in 2005 involved performing a segment with the Arab American wrestler Muhammad Hassan and a group of masked men, which was implicated in terrorism. The episode was broadcast shortly after the 7/7 London bombings, which had been the cause of major public outcry. The timing and contents of the segment were believed to be rather provocative, especially with the implication made about the very recent real-world incidents of terrorism and violent acts.

This marked some controversy, and the reaction was quite severe, to the point that WWE had to take Hassan off television. The contentiousness of this topic highlighted the dangers of including touchy subjects in streaming or plot events with taboo elements, as they were met with viewer outrage, particularly if such incidents were recently witnessed by society. It remains a good lesson for entertainers about how entertainment aspects affect the perception of the audience and their feelings.

WrestleMania 39: Auschwitz Imagery

WWE used an image of Auschwitz, the ill-famed Nazi concentration camp, in a promo package for a match at WrestleMania 39 in a shocking oversight. The decision to include an image of such nature was considered quite provoking and vulgar and was severely criticised by fans, historians, and organisations such as advocacy groups. The public response was immediate, and exasperation was voiced due to the lack of moderation in the production process.

WWE eventually offered its apology and withdrew the image from all the advertisement products. This scene revealed the relevance of critical evaluation and considerations while manufacturing consumer goods and was an indication of the necessity to honour historical events and not forget the past tragedies. They also drew attention to the possibility of large public relations problems stemming from what might appear to be minor errors.

Vince McMahon’s Use of the N-Word

In 2005, Vince McMahon, the head of WWE, was the centre of controversy for using the n-word in a backstage bit during a pay-per-view event. The satire of the skit was seen as tasteless and provocative, and it was met with widespread criticism from both fans and critics. Although the above segment was defended by WWE at the time, the problem resurfaced several years later when WWE fired Hulk Hogan over racism.

This led to many people questioning the company’s stand and what they perceived as racism. WWE claimed that it was a part of a satire on a certain topic, but this incident remains a black mark on the history and reputation of both McMahon and the WWE organization. It emphasised the need to be consistent when individuals offend norms of behaviour, especially taking into account that racism and many other forms of discrimination need a more or less unequivocal message to be combatted effectively.

Takeaways

These ten moments show how the WWE is in an industry that may infringe on the boundaries of controversy but still manages to tread on a very thin line. Such actions have prompted apologies, cancellation or alteration of such programmes, and a general review, thus endorsing suitable and proper content and characterization. WWE’s international footprint and fans are a diverse group, which makes it important for the company to be cautious and aware of inclusion when conducting business with its followers. The show’s history is filled with moments of innovation and boundary-pushing storytelling, but these controversial episodes highlight the potential pitfalls of going too far. The company has learned, sometimes painfully, the gravity of balancing creative freedom with social responsibility. The involvement of corporate sponsors in these controversies has also been significant. Sponsors have considerable influence, as seen in the cases involving Lars Sullivan and the Fabulous Moolah Battle Royal. Their responses to fan complaints and public outcry can prompt swift action from WWE, underscoring the importance of maintaining good relationships with these partners. The financial and reputational stakes are high, and sponsors often serve as a barometer for broader public sentiment.

As WWE continues to evolve, it must remain vigilant in its efforts to create compelling content that entertains without offending or alienating its audience.

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