10 Crippling Times WWE Worked Themselves Into A Shoot

It was all so easily avoidable.

Butterbean Knocks Out Bart Gunn

The death of kayfabe has stymied WWE's ability to spin yarns in the classic pro wrestling mould.

Because of this, they continue to blur the line between fiction and reality on occasion. They get some kind of kick out of people wondering if what they just saw was indeed legitimate. It's a bit strange; no other scripted TV show tries to convince their fans that the actors will sometimes go off script. Even the king of the modern wrestling world continues this practice.

Perhaps due to Vince McMahon’s ego, or his well-established eccentricity, or maybe just a general lack of planning, he sometimes ends up working his way into a shoot. Even though he's largely known to be a control freak, from time to time he'll let his frustrated performers speak their minds on air. The results are usually shocking. If nothing else, it's a hell of a way to break up WWE's tedium and get fans buzzing about what they just saw.

While these instances are rare, and are sometimes damaging to the product, they do make for compelling television...

10. The Montreal Screwjob

Montreal Screwjob Sharpshooter

Instead of ending with The Montreal Screwjob on this list, let's start with it. This is because quite a bit of good did come out of that night...eventually.

No other shoot drastically changed the course of the industry like the Screwjob. Without it, there may have never been a heel Vince McMahon, which meant no Steve Austin to battle him. However, the company also p*ssed off Hart on the way out, they lost Jim Neidhart and Davey Boy Smith to WCW, they angered a lot of fans in Canada - and Vince got a first-class face punch delivered by Bret.

The main event of Survivor Series '97 started as a work. Bret was on his way out of the company. He didn’t want to lose to his rival Shawn Michaels in his home country, so he agreed with his boss that he’d drop it shortly after. That was the working plan. It soon turned into one hell of a shoot.

Michaels had Hart locked in the Sharpshooter, and that crooked referee Earl Hebner called for the bell. The crowd was confused. The Hitman was at once furious and desolate. McMahon got spat on. It was insanity.

If the boss hadn’t booked himself into a corner, or if he had been an honest businessman and lived up to the terms of the contract he offered Bret, then it would all have been easily avoidable. Through this fallout, McMahon saw an opportunity. He transitioned into a villain and eventually took his business to new heights.

It was a screwy thing, the way it played out. We’ll never see anything like it again.


As Rust Cohle from True Detective said "Life's barely long enough to get good at one thing. So be careful what you're good at." Sadly, I can't solve a murder like Rust...or change a tire, or even tie a tie. But I do know all the lyrics to Hulk Hogan's "Real American" theme song and can easily name every Natural Born Thriller from the dying days of WCW. I was once ranked 21st in the United States in Tetris...on the Playstation 3 version...for about a week. Follow along @AndrewSoucek and check out my podcast at wrestlingwithfriends.com