As WWE weather a storm of negative press and internal gripes, we take a look at the biggest scandals, tragedies and legal proceedings to rock the wrestling world.
Surrounded on all sides by negative press and internal disputes, no period of time in the past decade has been as tumultuous for World Wrestling Entertainment than right now. Regularly pilloried for their 10-year-deal with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and their history of human rights violations, the fallout from this month’s Super Showdown in Jeddah continues to rage on. Aside from the mural dubiety of the deal itself, fans and pundits were also left incensed by the disastrous main-event of the show which pitted two ailing legends against one another. Billed as a “dream match,” the resulting contest between 50+ year old icons The Undertaker and Goldberg was one that never should’ve happened as a couple of botched manoeuvres could’ve paralyzed either man for life.
On top of that, the meteoric rise of All Elite Wrestling-- a new company of independent superstars and former WWE mainstays financed by Shahid Khan’s son Tony-- has weakened WWE’s unfaltering grip over the industry’s purse strings and resulted in many of their under-utilized workers pining for pastures new. In fact, it’s rumoured that wrestlers ranging from Sasha Banks, Gallows & Anderson and a whole host of other undisclosed but high-profile names are simply running out their contracts before making their way to the fledgling alternative brand. Coupled with the continually spiralling ratings for Raw and Smackdown, it’s safe to say that things are likely less than harmonious at their Greenwich, CT base of operations.
The singularly-minded chairman Vince McMahon, who is often cited as the leading cause of acrimony in today’s WWE, is likely taking this groundswell of negative publicity and internal unrest better than most. After all, he-- and the wrestling industry at large-- are no strangers to chaos ensuing in ways that they cannot control. Prone to firefighting PR
storms, tragedies and legal proceedings with any and all weapons at their disposal, the highly chaotic world of sports entertainment has had its fair share of controversies that have shook the very fabric of the profession. Now that the WWE is on the backfoot in a way that it hasn’t been in many years, it seems like an ideal opportunity to look at some of the other furores that turned the industry on its head.
As a sidebar, this article will examine incidents that played out in the public domain as opposed to internal issues. If you’d like a rundown of those, feel free to check out this list from earlier in the year.
Stone Cold’s Domestic Abuse Charges