10 Times Wrestling Recklessly Abused Kayfabe On-Air

"It's Still Real To Me, Dammit!"

Goldberg Vince Russo
WWE Network

Though not an entirely lost art, the act of protecting kayfabe in 2017 is no longer considered the high priority it once was within the industry.

Amongst other things in the modern era, social media has had a particularly damaging impact on the suspension of disbelief required to aid enjoyment of a pretend fight between two foes.

During WWE's mid-2017 European tour, Titus O'Neil's Instagram showed then-rivals Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns soaking up some history together on a tour of Rome. Enzo Amore used the same medium to share a selfie with Ric Flair hours before he made a 'surprise' appearance on SmackDown Live! to celebrate his daughter Charlotte's maiden blue brand title victory.

Whilst not acceptable to ask work colleagues and friends not to spend time together during long, arduous tours within their long, arduous profession, it's is reasonable to request that jovial snaps are not shared through such a public medium.

The plaster was long ripped off for adults, but there's a magic in pro wrestling for younger fans that disappears with the same rapidity of a Santa Claus/Tooth Fairy revelation, and incidents such as these effectively render some of that sparkle all but moot.

Though these may be different times, this sort of thing has been going on for decades. In the 1990s, certain creative minds felt that a peer behind the curtain equalled a surge in ratings, forcing the dreaded 'worked shoot' into wrestling's big box of tropes for generations to come. Some were successful. Some were utterly inexcusable.

10. TakeOver Makeover

Goldberg Vince Russo

Triple H loves being the ultimate babyface on NXT.

At the point in which he sensed just how popular his pet project became, he did what every other promoter with similarly delicate self-esteem has done when times are good, and put himself right at the very front of it.

Regardless of who the big stars have been during any individual TakeOver special, or what history was being made as attendances soared and the brand grew, 'The Game' made sure to remind fans that he was the architect of it all.

And this is not an argument against that. Since stepping into his current role in 2012, 'The Game' has been a revelation in ploughing forward with his grand plan to revolutionise talent development in a company that looked determined to repeatedly fail at it, but his love of taking public credit for the fact did absolutely no good for the divisve talent he was allegedly trying to elevate over the top on the main roster.

Wracked with rage following a cheap TLC WWE Title pay-per-view loss to Sheamus in December 2015, Roman Reigns sought vengeance on his oppressor Triple H, brutalising him to rapturous cheers previously unheard by the 'Big Dog'. It was an explosive segment designed to build tension for The Game's return and their WrestleMania match.

Triple H stubbed that out just three days later by opening NXT TakeOver: London with his usualy hyperbolic spotlit introduction. It was a pointless and destructive ego-driven decision that completely undermined the gravitas of the violent assault.


Michael is a writer, editor, podcaster and presenter for WhatCulture Wrestling, and has been with the organisation over 7 years. He primarily produces written, audio and video content on WWE and AEW, but also provides knowledge and insights on all aspects of the wrestling industry thanks to a passion for it dating back almost 35 years. As one third of "The Dadley Boyz" Michael has contributed to the huge rise in popularity of the WhatCulture Wrestling Podcast and its accompanying YouTube channel, earning it top spot in the UK's wrestling podcast charts with well over 60,000,000 total downloads. He has been featured as a wrestling analyst for the Tampa Bay Times, GRAPPL and Sports Guys Talking Wrestling, and has covered milestone events in New York, Dallas, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, London and Cardiff. Michael's background in media stretches beyond wrestling coverage, with a degree in Journalism from the University Of Sunderland (2:1) and a series of published articles in sports, music and culture magazines The Crack, A Love Supreme and Pilot. When not offering his voice up for daily wrestling podcasts, he can be found losing it singing far too loud watching his favourite bands play live. Follow him on X/Twitter - @MichaelHamflett