In 2003, Scott Steiner and Triple H engaged in a war of words. At the time, Triple H was World Heavyweight Champion and Scott Steiner decided to pick a fight with him by flinging verbal barbs during the Monday night WWE RAW program. This led to strength and muscle conditioning contests. At one point they sat down and arm wrestled each other.
Later, at the PPV Royal Rumble, Triple H attacked Steiner with a sledgehammer, which disqualified the match and handed Steiner the win. The next PPV match, No Way Out, went to Triple H. According to fans, the matches were pathetic. Both men’s careers tapered out from there.
Steven Regal vs. Bill Goldberg
In 1998, Bill Goldberg ruled the ring and summarily took opponents down in under a minute. It became his gig. He was a former NFL player and he showcased an indomitable beast inside the ring. This match was meant to upend that story line, however, no one told him. In fact, Steven Regal was scheduled to get speared, slammed and thrown to the mat on his back in less than a minute, as per usual. Maybe he was bored with Bill Goldberg’s act, or maybe he wanted to singe his ego, because this showdown forced Goldberg to fight for a full six minutes before the final slam to the mat.
Steve Regal was an experienced wrestler, and he showed Goldberg a few moves that night. He later claimed that his agent told him to take it to a six-minute fight. Nevertheless, WCW fired him for his effort, and he moved on to the WWF.
Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart
This unscripted WWF episode went down at the 1997 Survivor Series pay-per-view (PPV) broadcast, inside the Molson Centre in Montreal, only, it was actually scripted, in secret, like a covert plot to dethrone Bret Hart. It’s one of the most controversial WWF moments ever, specially designated within the wrestling world as the “Montreal Screwjob.” It started because Bret Hart rejected the script that would have him lose his title to his long-time adversary, the cocky Shawn Michaels. What happened was so controversial, details are still trickling out 20 years on.
The betrayal occurred at the close of the match, when Shawn Michaels put Bret Hart into a submission hold. Following his script, Bret Hart thought his next move was to escape the hold and retain his belt and title. Instead, the ref called the match for Shawn Michaels, and, as it turned out, Vince McMahon had been the one who intentionally deceived him by switching up the script. Shawn Michaels, who was in-the-know about the switch up, told ESPN recently, “…that was certainly the worst day I can recall in the entire 25 years I was in the wrestling business.” The betrayal infuriated Bret Hart. Backstage in the locker room he kept it real, clocking Vince McMahon with a clean uppercut punch, knocking him out cold for his treachery.
Stan “The Lariat” Hansen vs. Big Van Vader
Some stories are so unbelievable they will never leave the canons of pro wrestling lore. When a fight gets real and one wrestler pops the opponent’s eyeball right out of its socket, like balling a melon, it's gonna be forever immortalized. And that’s exactly what Stan “The Lariat” Hansen did. But first, he broke Big Van Vader’s nose. The deadly Texan cowboy swung his massive cowbell rope at poor Vader as he approached the ring of the 1990 Tokyo Dome.
The blow sucked his eyeball straight from its socket. As legend has it, and according to Vader’s own testimony, he tore off his mask and clutched his loose orb, cramming it back into his head. After that, his battered eye swelled shut. But at least the ocular organ was properly situated. The match was ruled no contest and Vader required a surgically fitted metal plate to secure his eyeball. Yikes!
Rosemary vs. Sexy Star
Rosemary and Sexy Star faced off at the 2017 TripleMania XXV in Mexico City in 2017. Even before they entered the ring, some off-script locker room sparring was kindling some heat. Sexy Star, a Mexican wrestler and MMA fighter whose real name is Dulce Maria Garcia Rivas, violated the rules at the close of the match. Holly Letkeman, who goes by Rosemary, is a Canadian wrestler and actress said she suffered a triceps tear from the move. She commented on Sexy Star’s cheap shot in a statement saying that "pulling foul moves doesn’t make you tougher, instead, “you are an a**hole. And you don’t belong in this business.”
Sexy Star received no penalty or suspensions, but she lost one booking when WrestleCade canceled her gig. Around the wrestling community, Rosemary received support, like this tweet from WWE star Paige: No room for bullies in this business. The disputed move by Sexy Star won the match. She pinned Rosemary with a controversial cross armbar. When Rosemary tapped out, Sexy Star continued to hold her down. It was an illegal action that was mediated by the referee. The ref intervened, pulled Sexy Star off, and declared her the winner.