Exposed! WWE's tabloid-worthy moments

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November 13, 2012

Money, fame and power

Brad Maddox claimed he saw his opportunity and took it — referencing his controversial involvement in the Hell in a Cell WWE Title Match between CM Punk and Ryback that brought him into the spotlight. Whether there were others involved in his plot, what drove his actions is something as old as the ring itself.

As one immortalized WWE Chairman once said, “It’s all about the money!” And in WWE, that has been completely true in the case of the head of WWE, Superstars, Divas and, yes, even officials.  Of all the scandalous actions Mr. McMahon perpetrated over the years, two may very well scream his monetary credo louder than the rest. First was the infamous incident in Montreal, in which Mr. McMahon cost Bret Hart the WWE Title at Survivor Series — one of the most shocking events in the history of the squared circle and a moment that many credit with helping to ignite the entire Attitude Era.

The second instance came on the very first episode of SmackDown, in the wake of the sudden merger between Shane McMahon’s Corporation with The Undertaker and The Ministry of Darkness. While perceived by many as being the new super-faction’s leader, The Deadman spoke of answering to a “Higher Power.” In the end, it would turn out to be Mr. McMahon himself, putting him into an alliance with a group that had, just recently, abducted his own daughter! When he showed the power of being WWE Chairman wasn’t enough — that he had to be something more — the power-hungry McMahon created a scandalous shockwave through all of WWE rarely seen before or since.

If there is one thing Maddox’s nefarious actions have reminded the WWE Universe, it’s that corruption is not reserved to ring warriors alone. Who could forget the moment when a respected referee, Dave Hebner’s twin brother Earl — delivered a false three-count on then–WWE Champion Hulk Hogan. His actions caused The Hulkster to lose the title to Andre The Giant, who immediately surrendered it to “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. DiBiase was stripped of the title by WWE President, Jack Tunney, who determined the vacant title would find an owner at a WrestleMania IV tournament. (Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant eliminated each other from the tournament and Hogan helped “Macho Man” Randy Savage defeat DiBiase in the final in case you were curious how this all played out.)  While no monetary figure was ever brought to light, the involvement of “The Million Dollar Man” certainly suggests Earl’s pay-off must have been substantial.   

Another referee scandal came in the form of ’80s referee Danny Davis. After numerous matches in which he would clearly favor one competitor over another, the controversial Davis cheated in the Hart Foundation’s favor, allowing the pink-and-black-donned duo to capture their first World Tag Team Titles from The British Bulldogs. While he was stripped of his job as referee over the affair, the questionable tactics set WWE officiating back several years — a scandal that was further muddled by Davis’ Six-Man Tag Team victory at WrestleMania III.

Occasionally, a move in the name of fame, money and power has allowed the perpetrator to not only emerge with their reputation untarnished, but actually also served as the catalyst that catapulted him into immortality. Some of the best examples of this include The Rock’s usurping control of the Nation of Domination from Faarooq before solidifying himself as The Great One, HBK executing Sweet Chin Music on his Rocker partner Marty Jannetty on the “Barber Shop” before setting off on a journey that would lead him to the iconic status as Mr. WrestleMania, or CM Punk making his exit from WWE with the WWE Title before revolutionizing the entire squared circle.

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