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10 explosive instances when Superstars snapped
AJ is not the first competitor to lose control
On the April 20 edition of SmackDown, Daniel Bryan's cruel treatment of AJ caused the normally easygoing Diva to become completely unhinged ( WATCH | PHOTOS). On the heels of her attack on Natalya, WWE.com showcases 10 moments in WWE history when a sudden and complete lost control led to catastrophic results. This list begins with the ferocious rage of The Animal, Batista.
No. 10: Blinded by gold, The Animal turns red hot
Championship ambition and close friendships do not always mix, as Rey Mysterio found out the hard way at WWE’s Bragging Rights 2009. On that evening, The Ultimate Underdog wound up on the wrong end of a merciless attack perpetrated by his “best friend” Batista.
In a Fatal 4-Way showdown, Batista and Mysterio – along with CM Punk – challenged The Undertaker for the World Heavyweight Championship. As the action unfolded, it quickly grew apparent that the former WWE Tag Team Champions' long-standing allegiance would be tested like never before, not only by the allure of championship glory, but also by the match’s every-Superstar-for-himself structure.
In a critical moment, Batista planted The Phenom into the canvas with a vertebrae-jarring Batista Bomb. It appeared as if The Animal was on the verge of recapturing the World Title, until The Master of the 619 – fully aware that his own hopes and dreams were about to be squashed – opted to break up the pin attempt.
Amid the mayhem, the legendary Deadman ultimately went on to retain the title that evening. However, nothing during the punishing bout would compare to what ensued in the post-match interview.
Despite the intense action only minutes earlier, the WWE Universe’s faith in friendship was momentarily reassured at the sight of Batista resting his hand – in a familiar, fraternal way – on Mysterio’s shoulder, while announcer Josh Mathews asked the pair about the championship contest.
Whatever warm feelings that image may have inspired, however, quickly vanished. Although The Master of the 619 explained that he and Batista had each given his all, The Animal’s callous intentions became all too clear once the mic was turned his way.
Expressing dismay over falling short in his championship pursuits, an eerily calm Batista put the blame for his loss on his brother-in-arms.
“I think I’m tired of my best friend stabbing me in me in my back,” Batista said, staring a hole into Mysterio.
Then, he bluntly informed Mysterio, “I'm going to rip your head off.”
As the gravity of the situation gripped Mysterio, Batista dropped the microphone and released his rage with a vicious clothesline. Booting The Ultimate Underdog to the floor with unrelenting force, Batista continued his onslaught outside the ring. With Mysterio pressed against the ring apron, The Animal throttled his overmatched victim and screamed, “You’re supposed to be my friend!”
Still addressing Batista as a compadre, the shocked and overwhelmed Mysterio begged “Dave” to ease up, but it was too late. By that point, the transformation from man to beast was too far gone, and no amount of pleading could reverse course. Instead, Batista put an exclamation point on his beatdown, hurling Mysterio into the protective barriers. Then, just as Batista looked like he was finished, he charged Mysterio and kicked him squarely in the face, turning irreparable the fissure in their bond.
With the unconscionable actions he took against Mysterio that night, Batista cemented his place as one of the most explosive Superstars in history. Above all, The Animal confirmed that his nickname is well deserved.
No. 9: Big Show breaks Swagger's swag
Jack Swagger may be a man of many accomplishments, but when The All-American American opted to hammer that point home to the WWE Universe – with a literal truck-load of his trophies, awards and prized possessions – he would end up inciting the rage of Big Show.
On the May 14, 2010 edition of SmackDown, Swagger filled the ring with his prized collection of awarded memorabilia — his “life’s work,” as he called it. This included blown-up photos, uniforms and even “The Swaggie,” a sandwich apparently named for the accomplished Superstar.
But, perhaps Jack should have focused less on the glories of his past and more on the looming near-future. For Swagger’s display occurred just nine days before he was scheduled to put his World Heavyweight Championship on the line against WWE’s resident giant.
Just as The All-American American was launching into a massive diatribe about his exceptional chess-playing abilities, Big Show’s music hit and tens of thousands of fans let out a collective sigh of relief. At first, The World's Largest Athlete feigned interest in Swagger’s things. However, when the champion told him to keep his “fat, Vienna sausage-fingers off of my stuff,” the tone quickly took a turn for the worst.
In a voice dripping with condescension, Swagger uttered into the mic, “Please, kindly leave.” But, he might as well have been talking to a bull in a china shop.
Moments later, when Show “accidentally” broke Swagger’s National Scrabble Championship Award and his ballroom dancing trophy, the flabbergasted All-American grappler was left with an expression of absolute shock.
His disbelief quickly turned to anger, however and it wasn't long before the two competitors threw down in the middle of the ring. This ultimately spelled tragedy for Swagger, who didn't realize he’d awoken the wrath of the gentle giant. Big Show quickly grabbed hold of his outspoken adversary, ripping the World Champion’s jacket and sending him scurrying through the ropes. Standing alone in the ring, the gigantic Superstar now had the champion’s most prized possessions at his mercy.
Red-faced and exasperated, Swagger could only look on from ringside, pleading desperately with Big Show as the giant prepared to show him what he thought of his “life’s work.”
With fury in his eyes, Big Show proceeded to crack trophies in half over his knee and snap them with his bare hands. He then went on to obliterate Swagger’s tables full of accomplishments, going so far as to punt one of his game footballs up into the rafters. The World’s Largest Athlete then proceeded to put Swagger’s prized baseball bat out of retirement, hitting home runs of his own as he annihilated personal photos of The All-American American.
The approval of the WWE Universe grew louder and louder with each precious item destroyed by Big Show, who capped off his tirade by snapping Swagger’s baseball bat like a toothpick and using his size enormous boot to crush the last remaining trophy, driving Swagger to near tears.
Finally, when Show had laid waste to all of foe's most prized possessions, he picked up the one item left untouched — Swagger’s World Heavyweight Championship. Amidst the wreckage left in Big Show’s wake, it was clear that the giant had his eye on the only prize in the ring that mattered.
No. 8: Edge puts a Star Spangled beat down on Festus
WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2012 inductee Edge made his mark against some of the most elite Superstars in WWE history. But, on the 2008 Independence Day edition of SmackDown, The Rated-R Superstar decided to take on “Uncle Sam” himself.
With his fun-loving cohort Jesse at his side, Festus looked to celebrate America’s birthday by dressing up as Uncle Sam for their tag team match against “Edgeheads” Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder. Then, following their hard-fought victory, the sound of the bell brought The Corn-Fed Colossus from his present incarnation as a ruthless competitor to a near-catatonic state.
This opened the door for The Ultimate Opportunist to create his own brand of fireworks. Marching to the ring in a manic trance, Edge distracted the victors, allowing his minions to sneak attack Jesse from behind.
Sliding into the ring without missing a step, Edge delivered a vicious Spear to his oblivious prey, continuing his assault with a barrage of brutal blows to Festus.
In a fit of rage, The Rated-R Superstar ripped the white beard from Festus’ face, as Ryder and Hawkins held Jesse in the corner, forcing him to watch as his friend and partner was cruelly assaulted by the future WWE Hall of Famer.
With fevered fury, The Master Manipulator rained down on the catatonic Corn-Fed Colossus with a barrage of boots and fists, removing the belt from around his waist and whipping him as his helpless partner screamed for Edge’s mercy.
Edge was far from finished. Still in a furious daze, he rolled out of the ring and grabbed a steel chair. As Festus got back to his feet, Edge reared back with the dangerous steel and prepared to strike. The thud of the metal furniture connecting with Festus echoed throughout the arena, leaving the WWE Universe in an absolute state of shock.
Having done more than enough damage for one night, Edge and his cronies exited the ring as Jesse tended to his fallen friend, laid out on the mat in a heap of red, white and blue. This heated assault reminded the WWE Universe just how ruthless The Rated-R Superstar could be and left a lasting impression of his latest victim.
No. 7: Diesel hammers the "Hit Man"
After losing the WWE Championship in 1994, future WWE Hall of Famer Bret “Hit Man” Hart spent the next year and a half obsessively trying to get it back. In order to finally reclaim the supreme prize, however, he would have to go through the towering roadblock of Kevin Nash, aka Diesel.
Following their brutal No Disqualification Match at Survivor Series 1995, The “Hit Man” ultimately achieved his goal. But, his triumph came with a price, as the victorious Hart would experience the full force of the dethroned big man’s wrath.
The WWE Title match between Hart and Diesel was a grueling one from the start. Diesel unleashed an earth-shattering power attack, complete with vicious steel chair strikes, trying to demolish his challenger quickly. Hart, utilizing a prowess-over-power strategy, relied on his supreme technical skills and ground-based submission holds.
The Excellence of Execution withstood Diesel’s assault and slowly picked away at the behemoth Superstar’s mobility. But, despite Hart's proficiency in the ground game, “Big Daddy Cool” eventually pummeled the unsuspecting Superstar through the announce table, leaving the No. 1 Contender a heap amidst the splinters and wires of the ruined ringside area.
In that moment, The “Hit Man’s” fate seemed all but sealed as Diesel hauled him into the ring to finish the job. However, just as Nash went to deliver the final blow, Hart turned the tide out of nowhere, calling on his last bit of energy to roll the towering champion into a small package and reclaim his championship gold in an incredible, herculean display!
For Diesel, the combination of the intense match and the shocking defeat boiled over inside him. An uncontrollable fury consumed the behemoth Superstar, and in that instant, Big Daddy would promptly lose his “Cool.”
In a fit of rage, the deposed WWE Champion slammed Hart into the canvas with a bone-shattering Jackknife Powerbomb. A crew of referees rushed to the ring to try and regain order. However, they may as well have been trying to stop a locomotive, as their presence only added to the chaos and, within seconds, they too were also taken down by the out of control Superstar. After laid waste to every one of the interlopers, Diesel turning back to the initial subject of his scorn. In a final show of raw power and fuming anger, Nash hit another Jackknife on Hart, leaving the new champion and officiating crew strewn about the canvas.
The moral of the story, we suppose, is that with Diesel, win at your own risk.
No. 6: R-Truth gets even and Miz "gets got"
The notorious tag team “Awesome Truth” officially ended on Raw SuperShow in November 2011 when The Miz drove R-Truth onto a steel ramp with a searing Skull Crushing Finale. Although the WWE Universe knew that the volatile Truth might be out of action for a while, it was clear that when he returned, he would be looking for payback.
That retribution would begin a month later, the day after Christmas, when Miz received a belated yuletide gift: a vicious beating from his former partner.
Dec. 26, 2011 was a rough night for The Awesome One from the start. After losing his match against John Cena by count-out in Chicago, the faux-hawked Superstar maliciously taunted the Windy City crowd. However, his offensive outburst was cut short by R-Truth’s music. Clashing outside the ring, the two exchanged powerful blows. But, Truth’s intensity won out, and before long, he had gained the upper hand.
The irate Truth proceeded to batter Miz all around the ring, tossing him over the announce table and smashing him into the steel steps. But the ruthless Superstar wasn’t satisfied with simply physically thumping his former friend. Still driven by his rage, he grabbed a microphone and informed Miz and the WWE Universe that this was just the beginning of his reprisal, saying, “This New Year, old acquaintances be forgot? No! They’re going to get got!”
And with that, he callously bashed the former WWE Champion in the skull with a water bottle. After such an explosive eruption, Truth definitely could have benefited from some cooling water on his own cranium. It was an intense altercation that reminded all WWE fans that wherever a temperamental R-Truth went, devastation was sure to follow.
No. 5: Sheamus give a WWE referee the boot
On April 6, 2012 World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus battled Alberto Del Rio. If The Mexican Aristocrat emerged victorious, Permanent Raw and SmackDown General Manager John Laurinaitis had stated that he would award him a World Title opportunity in the future.
In such a high-stakes situation, the SmackDown main event proved explosive from start to finish. However, despite an absolutely explosive challenge from his intense competitor, The Great White eventually looked ready to overcome his foe. That was until Ricardo Rodriguez suddenly jumped up on the ring apron. Sheamus turned his attention to Del Rio’s personal ring announcer, leaving the devious employer free to grab a chair.
The Celtic Warrior would ultimately stop his opponent from using the implement of destruction, as the referee got Rodriguez out of the ring. However, when the official spotted the weapon in Sheamus’ hand, Del Rio made out like he had been hit with it. This left the ref no choice but to call for the bell and disqualify the World Heavyweight Champion, giving his adversary the huge victory.
In the heat of the moment, The Great White’s blood began to boil. With both his opponent and his man already heading up the ramp, the frustrated Great White snapped, lashing out at the closest target he could find – referee Chad Patton. Without thinking, the Irish Superstar Brogue- Kicked the defenseless official into next week, provoking instant controversy throughout the WWE Universe, Patton’s fellow officials and in Laurinaitis himself.
It was moment so explosive that “Mr. Excitement” fined The Celtic Warrior $500, 000 – the largest fine in WWE history – placed him on “permanent probation” and once again reminded the fans why Sheamus remains one of WWE’s top hot heads.
No. 4: Henry's anger breaks the sound barrier
By the time the July 1, 2011 edition of SmackDown roared into Phoenix, Arizona, Big Show was already “The World’s Largest Thorn” in Mark Henry’s side. But the mere idea of WWE’s resident giant was about to send the rage of the massive Superstar past the sound barrier - namely Henry’s furious reaction to a curious miscue by a sound technician.
The chaos began during Henry’s World Heavyweight Title Qualifying Match against Randy Orton, a contest that carried with it a spot in the upcoming SmackDown Money in the Bank Ladder Match at the pay-per-view of the same name. In a critical moment of that high stakes showdown, the sound of Show’s entrance music suddenly blared through the arena, distracting Henry long enough for WWE’s Apex Predator to plant him with an RKO and cost The World’s Strongest Man a golden opportunity.
When he finally shook off the effects of The Viper’s finisher, a furious Henry immediately began to tear through the arena, trying to locate the cause for the strands of music that mysteriously played moments before.
WWE officials and employees, wanting no part of the seething Superstar, eventually pointed in the direction of a WWE audio technician. The incensed Henry charged to the sound area and, after unleashing destruction on everything in his way, zeroed in on a helpless SmackDown employee.
“Did you play the music?!” Henry demanded as he pounded on the table. “I could have won that!” The irate grappler began to toss expensive pieces of sound equipment around, sending them shattering to the floor. Then, tired of decimating the setup one piece at a time, Henry uprooted the sound table, laying waste to every remaining piece of equipment.
The massive Superstar then grabbed the terrified technician and snatched him right out of his seat. Holding him inches from his face, a crazed Henry screamed, “You ain’t going nowhere, boy! You understand that?!” The World’s Strongest Man then shocked the WWE Universe as he launched his latest victim like a rag doll, displaying — as Michael Cole would later point out — a “fury and anger like we’ve never seen before.”
The WWE Universe soon learned the sobering severity of the assault. The audio technician was still out of it when an ambulance arrived to take him to a local medical facility, where it was determined that he suffered a concussion and cervical strain — another reminder of just how dangerous an enraged Mark Henry actually is.
Before that night, it was hard to even imagine what it might be like for a normal-size human being to go toe-to-toe with The World’s Strongest Man. Unfortunately for one SmackDown sound specialist, he now knew exactly what that feels like.
No. 3: “Stone Cold” puts Mr. McMahon’s championship ceremony on ice
The bitter rivalry between “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Mr. McMahon stands as perhaps the biggest in WWE history. The WWE Chairman couldn’t stand Austin’s foul-mouthed, beer-swilling ways, while The Texas Rattlesnake did everything he could to be a constant thorn in the his boss’s side.
But, in Sept., 1998, Mr. McMahon thought he had finally got one up on then-WWE Champion Austin, after The Undertaker and Kane simultaneously pinned him at in a Triple Threat Title Match at Breakdown: In Your House. The following night on Raw, the elated head of WWE was preparing to crown a new champion in a lavish, red-carpet ceremony, sparing no expense at the prospect of finally being rid of his rebellious adversary. The WWE Chairman also took every last precaution he could think of to ensure the title presentation went off without a hitch, including extra security around the ring and in the back. A furious Texas Rattlesnake, however, had plans to put the ceremony on ice.
“Stone Cold,” enraged after losing his WWE Title, commandeered a Zamboni – a vehicle normally used to resurface ice rinks – and burst onto the scene, sending cops scattering. The Texas Rattlesnake angrily raced through the backstage area, running over tables, stage lights and whatever else was in his way, leaving a trail of destruction in his path as Mr. McMahon screamed for his security to “keep Austin away from ringside.”
Despite their numbers, the cops could do little to keep “Stone Cold” from entering the arena on such an unusual form of transportation. An incensed Austin and his Zamboni emerged from under the TitanTron, making a bee-line for McMahon. Seconds later, he rammed into the ring with such force that it sent everyone stumbling back.
The WWE Chairman quickly changed gears, ordering the police to form a wall blocking his rival from entering the ring. However, the hood of the hockey game staple put “Stone Cold” at the perfect height to leap over the top rope, clear the wall of guards and take Mr. McMahon down with a diving tackle. As the furious Superstar rained blows down on his boss, he found himself surrounded by dozens of police officers, who struggled to restrain him as he pounded away on his nemesis.
After several minutes, the officers finally cuffed Austin, but the out-of-control Texas Rattlesnake could not be tamed. As Mr. McMahon was helped back to his feet by his cronies, “Stone Cold” broke free from the mass of police and launched himself at the WWE Chairman. The two crashed into the ring mat, trying to get whatever hits they could land on each other before they were finally pulled apart.
As the police led Austin out of the arena in restraints, a smile came across “Stone Cold’s” face. Yes, he was probably on the way to the slammer, but he could go there with the satisfaction of having ruined Mr. McMahon’s schemes once again.
No. 2: Kane sets the Undertaker ablaze
The relationship between The Undertaker and Kane has always been uneasy, even on the best of days. The feared Brothers of Destruction’s dominance as a tag team is only matched by the tumultuous nature of their sibling rivalry, with the duo prone to chaotic collisions that stretch each man to his brink. Their conflict was never “more heated” than during the 1998 Royal Rumble, when The Devil’s Favorite Demon trapped The Phenom in a burning casket.
In the main event of the Rumble, The Deadman squared off against future Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels in a Casket Match for HBK’s WWE Championship. Prior to the match, The Showstopper had attempted to recruit Kane to his and DX’s cause against The Phenom, but The Big Red Machine seemed to have thrown his lot in with his brother going into the pay-per-view main event.
The Deadman and HBK collided intensely from the opening bell, and after a long-fought battle, The Undertaker managed to trap his enemy in the casket situated at the edge of the ring. Before he could lock it, however, multiple Superstars emerged, ganging up on an overmatched Phenom.
Enter Kane, who stalked to the ring and quickly dispatched the interlopers, seemingly having saved his brother from doom. The sentiment was short-lived, however, as Kane quickly turned on The Demon of Death Valley and chokeslammed him into the casket, locking The Phenom inside with the help of Paul Bearer. The Big Red Monster then commandeered the casket, wheeling it up the aisle and taking a axe to the pinewood, hacking a small opening in the lid of the casket.
Kane then did the unthinkable, producing a canister of gasoline and dousing The Phenom’s “resting place” with the flammable substance, and Bearer quickly supplied his son with a pack of lit matches with which to finish his diabolical plan. Pausing briefly to savor the moment, the demon in red mercilessly set fire to the casket with his brother trapped inside, kneeling before the blaze in a mockery of Undertaker’s victory pose.
After a few minutes the inferno was extinguished, but when officials pried open what remained of the casket, The Undertaker was nowhere to be found. The Deadman’s voice then echoed over the loudspeakers in a warning to his younger brother: “Until our paths cross again, I will never rest in peace.”
Hell hath no fury like a big brother scorched.
No. 1: The Game makes a house call on The Viper
Superstars harming one another inside the squared circle is an inescapable part of competition in WWE. Sometimes battles spill over into ringside and even to the back. However, taking the fight directly to a Superstar’s house is the act of a truly infuriated Superstar.
When Randy Orton went after Triple H’s wife Stephanie McMahon, he drew the uncontrollable rage of The Game. But, he could not have known just how ferocious the retribution would prove to be.
On the March 9, 2009 episode of Raw SuperShow, WWE Champion Triple H did not come to the ring for his Handicap Match against Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase, giving the then-Legacy teammates the victory by forfeit. Appearing live via satellite from his residence in St. Louis, Mo., Randy Orton angrily addressed the absent King of Kings, calling the champion’s actions “cowardly.”
As WWE’s Apex Predator warned from his home that he might skip his upcoming WrestleMania title match against Triple H, the doorbell rang. But before Orton’s wife could answer it, The Game ferociously battered down the front door with a sledgehammer. Seeing the menacing fury in the face of his unwelcome visitor, Orton made a break for it and Triple H began to stalk The Viper throughout his own house.
Hunting from room to room, the irate King of Kings stopped at nothing to find his prey in a nerve-racking contest of hide and seek. The WWE Universe watched with bated breath as the enraged title holder crept throughout Orton’s domicile.
In an attempt to thwart his pursuer’s aggression, The Viper sprung out of nowhere and tackled him. His plan backfired, however, as his infuriated attacker turned the tables. The Game savagely attacked his prey. Then – in a moment of pure fury – he hurled him through a glass window onto the front lawn.
Not only had the glass been shattered, but also WWE fans’ expectations about just how far Superstars would go for vengeance. Outside, Triple H continued the assault, raining down on Orton with wild punches and kicks, before the police arrived and detained The Cerebral Assassin.
The term “breaking and entering” has rarely been so apropos. Randy Orton’s home and body were damaged by the unrelenting and frightening attack of The King of Kings, leaving no doubt that this colossal outburst stands as the most astonishing “Hot Head Moment in WWE History” of all.
Flair’s antics fuel Macho Madness
Randy Savage’s reputation as one of the most volatile Superstars in the squared circle was solidified long before he unseated Ric Flair as WWE Champion at WrestleMania VIII. Yet, when the Macho Man defended his wife, Elizabeth, against the unwanted advances of The Nature Boy in a wild post-match melee, the madness he dialed up was fueled by a much more personal aggression than he had ever displayed before.
Leading into their legendary championship encounter, Flair taunted Savage with salacious claims that he had been carrying on a romantic relationship with Elizabeth behind Savage’s back. Publishing what were eventually revealed to be doctored photos of him with Elizabeth in “WWE Magazine,” Flair promised to unveil a scandalous centerfold of “The First Lady of Wrestling” after successfully defending his title on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
Savage had other plans. Battling against the odds during the title duel – with Flair’s corner man, Mr. Perfect, interfered repeatedly in the bout – the tenacious competitor braved The Nature Boy’s surgical assault on his knee and scored a thrilling win, igniting the Hoosier Dome’s capacity crowd.
With his waist no longer adorned with gold, an irate Flair appeared unable to comprehend his loss. Refusing to leave Indianapolis that night empty handed, he turned his sights to the lovely Elizabeth while a war-torn Savage recovered from the hellacious beating he had endured. The self-described “kiss-stealin’” Nature Boy mooched a smooch from Savage’s wife, prompting an enraged Elizabeth to slap and shove Flair away.
Elizabeth’s open-palm display, however, paled in comparison to Macho Man’s reaction to Flair’s incendiary actions. Like a spring-loaded action figure come to life, Savage launched himself across the ring and tackled his adversary before pummeling him relentlessly. He had already dethroned Flair. Now it was time for the new champion to defend his wife’s honor, following weeks of psychological torment from his outspoken foe.
Calling the action from the announce booth, an exuberant Gorilla Monsoon declared that “pandemonium” had broken out in the Hoosier Dome. A swarm of referees and WWE officials inside the ring struggled mightily to pry Savage off of Flair. When they finally succeeded, the momentary break gave Perfect and Flair just enough of an opening to insert some parting shots before fleeing the scene.
Considering how unhinged Savage became, Flair was lucky to have escaped WrestleMania VIII at all, let alone under his own power. As “Macho Man” reminded everyone that night, when left untempered, the fury of a Savage can be a very dangerous thing.