10 Times Wrestlers Weren’t Acting

4/29/2024 10:13 AM

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10 Times Wrestlers Weren’t Acting

10 Times Wrestlers Weren’t Acting

April 29, 2024 10:13 AM
10 Times Wrestlers Weren’t Acting

Not every action is scripted.

10: Paul Heyman’s Shoot Promo In 2001

Paul Heyman is regarded by many as one of the greatest talkers in wrestling history, and in late 2001, Heyman delivered a masterful shoot promo, that according to Heyman was completely unscripted.

Heyman cut a promo on Vince McMahon leading up to the Survivor Series event, and the promo had intensity, it had passion, and it was Heyman at his very best.

The promo laid into McMahon, and everything McMahon stood for, and whilst it once again reminded the world just how incredible Heyman was, the promo did its job, as it led to a surge of interest in the upcoming Survivor Series PPV event.

Speaking about the legendary shoot promo in an appearance with Inside The Ropes, the WWE Hall of Famer stated:

“To his credit, I’ll give him a ton of credit, I went up to Vince halfway through the day and said, ‘Do you even know some of the shots I’m going to say to you?’ And he goes, ‘Nope. Draw me money.’ OK. ‘Are you going to say anything back to me?’ ‘Nope. Just draw me money.'”

Heyman continued:

“So we were in gorilla, and I was about to go out to cut the promo and I looked over at Vince who is eating a protein bar and I said, ‘You sure you don’t want to know any of the shit I’m gonna say here? Some of this sh*t is real heavy.’ ‘Will it draw me money?’ ‘It’ll get a lot of attention, Vince, that I promise you.’ ‘It’s the go home show, goddamnit, bring it!’ ‘Yessir, captain! I’m on my way!'”

9: A Precursor To The Attitude Era

In late 1995, WWE were still very much struggling as a promotion. They had yet to find their groove, despite having names such as Bret Hart, The Undertaker, and Shawn Michaels on their roster.

In an often forgotten promo following the 1995 Survivor Series event, Diesel cut arguably the greatest promo of his career, and although the WWE product wasn’t ready for this type of promo, it was a precursor to themes of the Attitude Era.

Diesel had just lost the WWE Title to Bret Hart, and Diesel appeared in street clothes on RAW, and delivered a shoot promo that allowed Diesel to incorporate his real-life feelings into his words.

Diesel would discuss how the WWE Title loss impacted him, and he would discuss how he was a corporate puppet created by Vince McMahon. This was one of the first times that McMahon being the owner of the company was directly mentioned on TV.

It was superb work from Diesel, and it’s without question one of the more underrated shoot promos that a WWE talent has ever delivered. 

8: Hulk Hogan Is Legitimately Seething

In the summer of 2014, WWE aired a segment which saw Brock Lesnar gate-crash Hulk Hogan’s birthday celebration.

In typical Lesnar fashion, Lesnar decided to go off script, and inform Hogan that the party was over, and Lesnar would refer to Hogan as Grandpa.

On TV, Hogan looked legitimately seething, and this was far too convincing to be an example of Hogan acting, and this was confirmed, when it was reported that Hogan was legitimately angry that Lesnar had called him Grandpa.

This report then received mainstream coverage, and this is what Hogan had to say regarding the matter during an interview with TMZ:

“All I gotta say is Brock, I haven't done anything to get in your way but if you keep throwing my name around I'm gonna get in your way. You can't say that stuff like you said Brock, in front of my wife and kids. It's not cool brother. I know this is all entertainment. You know we're supposed to have fun with it but when he starts throwing my name around, with my wife and my kids, it's crossing the line…”

This was another example of Hogan massively over-reacting, and whilst Lesnar going off script was indeed a questionable move, the line in question received a great reaction, and made the segment even more memorable. 

7: Macho Man Is In Real Pain

One of the most memorable segments of the 1990s saw Jake Roberts set his dastardly snake on Macho Man Randy Savage. Whilst this was a scripted segment, the snake causing Savage immense pain certainly wasn’t, and when Savage is seen in utter anguish on screen, that isn’t a case of Savage selling.

When Roberts attempted to get the snake off Savage, things went from bad to worse, as the snake refused to let go, and the more Roberts pulled, the more pain that was inflicted on Savage.

On a 2024 edition of the “Dark Side of the Ring: Unheard” podcast, Roberts recalled Savage getting ill not long after the snake bite, and Savage incorrectly blamed the snake:

“Randy convinced himself that he was getting sick. Then he wounds up getting a staph infection, so his arm blows up. [He’s] like, ‘God damn that f**king snake, look at this f**king sh*t man,’ so in his own mind convinced himself that, ‘That f**king snake had done that,’ wasn’t the f**king snake that did that Randy. You don’t get staph from a snake, you get staph from dirt…”

6: Seth Rollins’ Anguish At WrestleMania XL

It was revealed in the middle of April 2024, that former World Champion Seth Rollins had undergone surgery on a torn meniscus. This meant that Rollins competed in multiple matches at WrestleMania XL in excruciating pain, and it’s unbelievable to think that Rollins delivered top-tier performances, basically on one leg.

Upon re-watching WrestleMania XL, it is indeed apparent that Rollins is hurt. For instance, Rollins takes the bump for his Curb Stomp completely differently, and when he made a cameo during night two’s main event, Rollins could barely walk, and this unfortunately wasn’t a case of selling. 

5: Bret Hart’s Shoot Promo

Whilst Bret Hart has always been praised for his ability inside the squared circle, when the time came for Hart to deliver a shoot-style promo that incorporated his real-emotions, Hart was able to deliver some of the best work of his entire WWE tenure.

Take for instance when Hart cut a shoot promo on Vince McMahon on RAW in 1997, Hart expressed his true feelings, and it was a case of Hart blurring the lines of reality, as a lot of what Hart stated was how he was actually feeling during this specific time period.

A lot of fans and wrestling historians class the aforementioned promo from March of 1997, as the unofficial start of the Attitude Era, and Hart deserves a ton of credit for doing such a great job with a style of promo that would become commonplace over the next few years. 

4: The Undertaker’s Genuine Annoyance

At one stage The Undertaker vs. Goldberg was a certified dream match, yet when the match took place in 2019, the match resulted in one of the most shambolic PPV matches in WWE history.

The match was filled with dangerous botches, and it was a miracle that both men were able to walk following the match.

After The Deadman called an audible to end the match early following a Chokeslam, The Deadman broke character as he looked disgusted and ashamed of the match.

It was presented as if The Undertaker was exhausted after battling Goldberg, but that clearly wasn’t the case. The Undertaker would then distance himself from the match with the legendary wrestler even stating that the match was really close to being catastrophic. 

3: Joey Styles Shoots On WWE

Upon leaving RAW in favour of the revamped ECW brand, Joey Styles was given permission to deliver a shoot promo on RAW. This promo would see Styles express his inner feelings towards WWE and their wrestling product.

Styles would take aim at WWE, and in particular called out their hypocrisy with lines such as:

"Because I'm not a sports entertainment storyteller I get pulled from WrestleMania, and the reason I'm given is because I don't sound like Jim Ross, who's the guy they fired in the first place. That makes sense, right?"

This was one of the most memorable shoot promos of the Ruthless Aggression Era, and whilst it was scripted, it did bring some issues to the surface regarding WWE, and the way they run their company. 

2: The Miz Snaps On Talking Smack

Talking Smack was a show that allowed WWE talent to push the boundaries of what was allowed on a PG product. Some talents were given loose guidelines for their promo material, and this was a stark contrast to the typical micro-managed promo style that WWE wrestlers were used to.

The most infamous episode of the show saw The Miz absolutely snap on Daniel Bryan with a shoot style promo. The Miz was legitimately angry that he wasn’t being presented on the show as Intercontinental Champion, and real-life animosity towards Bryan took a hold of Miz, and Miz delivered the most iconic promo of his entire career.

It was perfection, as it helped further The Miz’s character, it helped the status of the Intercontinental Title, and it made Talking Smack seem like a must-see show. 

1: Paul Heyman Goes The Extra Mile

To build towards the 2018 SummerSlam event, WWE booked a storyline that saw Brock Lesnar seemingly turn on his real-life friend, Paul Heyman. 

In order to make this seem legitimate, Heyman decided to legitimately stay up without any sleep the night before an interview with Renee Young, so it looked like he was in turmoil, and the issues with Lesnar were impacting his life to such an extremity.

When fans got to see Heyman’s aforementioned interview, it was apparent that his eyes were bloodshot red, and fans assumed this was some type of make-up or contact lenses, yet it was legitimate, and Heyman was just showing his total dedication to his character and the storyline.