10 Wrestlers Who Saved Other Wrestlers From Getting Fired

When wrestling actually IS a brotherhood - featuring Bret Hart, Claudio Castagnoli and Triple H?!

Dave Trips

Wrestling is a cut-throat industry, or at least it was. It probably still is. The days of 2019, and a wholesome quest for change, feel beyond naive at this point.

Wrestling apocrypha has it that, when CM Punk was being scrutinised on a Sunday Night Heat trial, Triple H and Shawn Michaels - perhaps aware of the buzz that the scathing heel sensation had generated on the indie circuit - buried his performance. Punk apparently "didn't know how to work", and Trips and Shawn went in two-footed to everybody in ear-shot.

Wrestling is a fraught and complex political game. Burying a fellow professional's performance has sometimes achieved the opposite of the intended effect; when Steve Austin said aloud that raising his eyebrow and telling some nursery rhymes didn't mean the Rock was actually getting over, Bruce Prichard took note. Austin was getting defensive over his spot, and this indicated to management that the Rock might just have been worthy of taking it.

Even now, stories abound of wrestler taking a $10 bill and pretending it was a $5 just to make a tiny bit more cash - and yet, somehow, there are tales of genuine good brothering amid the sludge...

10. Bret Hart Saves Ken Shamrock

Dave Trips

Bret Hart always held "the boys" in near-sacred reverence.

He knew the chasm between the office and the locker room was obscene, and that the boys needed to look after themselves. Nobody else was going to do that for them. He believed that the talent should protect and flatter one another, which is why he was so tremendous at crafting a match around the strengths of his opponents (or their limitations).

Watch his match with Papa Shango on the October 27, 1992 Saturday Night's Main Event. Hart wrestled with an uncharacteristic urgency and viciousness because he knew there was no point trying to get a slow-burning bit of craft going with him. WrestleMania 13? King Of The Ring 1993?

The best illustration of Hart's genius is watching that match, and then anything the Godfather did in 1999.

Godfather himself credits Hart with prolonging the feud and not letting his character flounder, and it was consistent with Hart's moral code; speaking to the 81 podcast last year, he revealed that Vince McMahon wanted to fire Ken Shamrock because he wasn't well-liked amongst management.

Hard told him not to do that - there was money to be made - and there was; Shamrock's super-serious intensity was a fabulous contrast to get the Rock's animated selling and comedy game over early in his breakthrough run.


Michael Sidgwick is an editor, writer and podcaster for WhatCulture Wrestling. With over seven years of experience in wrestling analysis, Michael was published in the influential institution that was Power Slam magazine, and specialises in providing insights into All Elite Wrestling - so much so that he wrote a book about the subject. You can order Becoming All Elite: The Rise Of AEW on Amazon. Possessing a deep knowledge also of WWE, WCW, ECW and New Japan Pro Wrestling, Michael’s work has been publicly praised by former AEW World Champions Kenny Omega and MJF, and current Undisputed WWE Champion Cody Rhodes. When he isn’t putting your finger on why things are the way they are in the endlessly fascinating world of professional wrestling, Michael wraps his own around a hand grinder to explore the world of specialty coffee. Follow Michael on X (formerly known as Twitter) @MSidgwick for more!