WWE WrestleMania 2014: Most Controversial Moments in PPV's History
WrestleMania is a show that has traditionally had it all. Shocks, classic matches and huge, huge moments in the history of the company.
One other thing it has in abundance is controversy. Moments that make the crowd go crazy—or simply make them gasp in astonishment.
With the 30th edition of WWE's flagship show upcoming, it seems an appropriate time to take a look at the most controversial moments of the previous 29 shows.
They range across the full spectrum of WrestleMania shows, not just the modern ones. This is a list that features plenty of WrestleMania stars.
Let's take a look at the 10 most controversial moments in the history of this unbelievable show.
10. Lesnar Botches the Main Event (WM XIX)
We start with WrestleMania XIX and the main event between Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle.
Angle was the defending champion, and a stipulation was in place to determine that Angle would be stripped of the belt if he was counted out or disqualified.
Lesnar was booked to win the match and pick up the championship. However, he came desperately close to messing it all up.
Brock was on the top rope and about to attempt the unthinkable for a guy of his size, a shooting star press. Instead of landing it cleanly though, he landed almost totally on his head.
He suffered a concussion, but somehow managed to go on and complete the match—and win. It was pretty shocking stuff.
9. 18 Seconds (WM XXVIII)
No. No. No. This just should not have happened—on any level whatsoever.
It could have killed Daniel Bryan's career with the WWE, in all actuality. The "YES!" chants were pretty big back at WrestleMania XXVIII—although not on the level they are on now, of course.
The bell rang for Bryan's match with Sheamus, but he wanted one last embrace with AJ Lee before it all began. He then turned around and was confronted by Sheamus kicking his head off.
The Irishman got the cover and won the match in just 18 seconds. The reaction was mixed, with some cheering for the face Sheamus, but others incensed by what had just happened.
Some wrestling outlets went as far as even refusing to rate the match—claiming it shouldn't even count as a match.
However, instead of killing his career, it made him a huge, huge star. He hasn't really looked back since then and has now emerged to be perhaps the biggest star of the WWE heading into WrestleMania 30.
8. Floyd Mayweather Actually Wrestles (WM XXIV)
Even though Mike Tyson broke the mold with a WrestleMania appearance—more on him later—it came as a huge surprise when Floyd Mayweather, Jr. turned up to fight at the event.
He was booked in a no disqualification match against the Big Show—there surely had to be only one outcome.
Mayweather actually put in a pretty good showing and played a good part in the match. He and his associates threatened to walk out of the match at one point, before Big Show hauled him back.
It ended in typically controversial fashion though, when Mayweather—equipped with brass knuckles—knocked the Big Show out to gain the win.
You would be surprised if you ever saw a boxer compete at WrestleMania ever again. Mayweather and Tyson are the two who probably only really merit it.
7. Yokozuna Pins Bret Hart Before Hogan Wins (WM IX)
We go way back in time for this one, but it was a hugely controversial moment—or pair of moments.
Bret Hart had put his championship on the line against the giant Yokozuna—and it was all going to plan for Hart, who had Yokozuna locked in the sharpshooter.
However, Mr. Fuji had other ideas, and amazingly threw salt in the eyes of Bret Hart. It served as enough of a distraction, as Yokozuna capitalized and managed to pin Hart to win the WWF Championship. The crowd were shocked.
Enter Hulk Hogan. He desperately tried to get the referee to overturn the decision, but to no avail. However, Fuji said if Hogan wanted to, he could try wrestling the belt from Yokozuna. Naturally, he accepted.
During the impromptu match, Fuji tried to do the same again and toss salt into Hogan's eyes. However, he had other ideas and dodged it, as the salt hit the champion. That left Hogan with the opportunity to pounce, and he won the championship in under a minute.
6. Hogan Does the Unthinkable (WM III)
Many will have deemed this as the one that should have headed this list. However, in terms of controversy, there were some far greater moments.
Despite that, this was a supremely significant moment in the history of WrestleMania. Andre the Giant was undefeated up to this point—and had amazingly turned heel for the first time in his career.
He was fighting Hulk Hogan, who was very much a babyface. After some serious back and forth, Hogan finally managed to put Andre down for the first time in the match, before getting himself pumped up. What followed next was unbelievable.
Hogan picked up the massive Andre and slammed him like he was a child. He then backed that up with a leg drop before inflicting Andre's first defeat of his career on him.
5. The Disaster of Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar (WM XX)
Controversial doesn't even cover this one. Even though it was entrenched in the middle of the card at WrestleMania XX, it was supposed to be a titanic bout.
Brock Lesnar and Goldberg were both tying up their careers with the company following this match. However, that wasn't the biggest problem. There was a distinct lack of effort from both men—it took nearly three minutes for them to lock up for the first time following the bell.
It drew huge reactions from the crowd, with both men drawing large heat from the people in attendance. Clearly they weren't particularly interested in what both men had to offer.
The fact that it was Stone Cold Steve Austin as special guest referee made things even worse for Lesnar and Goldberg—the bulk of the positive chants were headed in Austin's direction.
It was a disastrous match and was definitely a controversial moment due to the reaction of the crowd.
4. Vince Turns Heel to Aid Triple H (WM 2000)
The first WrestleMania of the new millennium saw a fatal four-way elimination match for the WWF Championship. Triple H was the defending champion—but all men involved had a McMahon with them at ringside.
The champion was with Stephanie McMahon—who he had aligned with some time back. The Big Show had Shane McMahon in his corner, Mick Foley was with Linda, whilst The Rock was with his longtime ally, Vince McMahon.
After the match came down to Triple H and The Rock, controversy struck when Vince turned heel. He hit The Rock with a steel chair on two occasions, enabling the champion to retain his belt in controversial fashion.
The Rock had the last laugh when he took out the entirety of the McMahon family—with the exception of Linda—after the match, but Triple H had won a hugely controversial match.
3. Mike Tyson Turns on DX (WM XIV)
We've had Floyd Mayweather on the list—but Mike Tyson's WrestleMania moment was much more controversial.
Tyson was billed as the ring enforcer for Shawn Michaels vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin for the WWF Championship. He was aligned with Michaels and Triple H at the time, as he and Austin had gone at it on Raw in the buildup to the match.
The match was an absolute classic, but it was the ending that is arguably the most memorable moment of the clash. Austin hit Michaels with the stunner—but referee Mike Chioda was unconscious at ringside. Cue Tyson sliding into the ring and nailing a very quick three count.
Michaels was livid, but all he got for his reaction to Tyson was a punch to the face—laying him out in the middle of the ring. It was a turn that few saw coming.
2. Stone Cold Turns Heel in Texas (WM X-Seven)
More WrestleMania, more Stone Cold Steve Austin.
WrestleMania X-Seven was in Texas, Austin's own back yard. He was taking on The Rock for the WWF Championship, arguably the most classic rivalry of any era in pro wrestling.
After a pretty good match, Vince McMahon's inevitable involvement in the contest arrived. The Rock attacked McMahon before unbelievably kicking out of a stunner to keep the match alive. What happened next shocked the world.
McMahon passed Austin a steel chair, thus aligning him with his longtime archenemy. Austin turned heel in his own territory—which is perhaps why he wasn't getting booed out of the building. However, 16 chair shots to The Rock confirmed that Austin was indeed now a heel.
He managed to pin The Rock following that barrage of shots, before celebrating in the ring with McMahon. Of the 29 previous editions of WrestleMania, there is only one moment that tops this one in terms of controversy.
1. Bret Hart Turns Heel (WM 13)
Whilst Stone Cold Steve Austin's turn at WrestleMania X-Seven was pretty controversial, this double turn tops it all.
Bret Hart was a face at the time—but he was so much more than a face. He was the biggest guy in the company and had the support of everyone. His opponent was Austin—who is a regular on this list, featuring in all of the top three matches.
It was a submission match with Ken Shamrock as the special guest referee. After a brutal, gruesome match, Shamrock had to award the match to Hart following Austin passing out due to loss of blood.
That didn't initiate the turn—Hart's actions after the match did. He kept attacking Austin following the bell, leading to the crowd booing Hart and cheering for Austin. The double turn was done brilliantly, and was an unthinkable moment.
Nobody could ever have seen Bret Hart turning heel at any point throughout his career. The fact it came at WrestleMania made it a hugely controversial moment.