SmackDown LIVE’s 10 most controversial moments of all time
As the title of Eric Bischoff’s book tells us, “controversy creates cash,” and when it comes to contentious occurrences in WWE history, SmackDown LIVE has simply been … money. Relive 10 shocking blue brand moments that left the WWE Universe talking all week long.
A Triple H and HBK carried out a SmackDown Screwjob in show's debut
From the beginning, The Rock always had a personal connection to SmackDown, but the main event of the very first episode saw The People’s Champion get screwed over on his own show.
In a showdown against then-WWE Champion Triple H on Aug. 26, 1999, The Great One found himself on the wrong end of some DX collusion when special guest referee Shawn Michaels blasted him with Sweet Chin Music as he was attempting the People’s Elbow. This allowed The King of Kings to steal the win. Hey, even on The Rock’s show, The Game is The Game.
Team LayCool executed a “Piggy James” psychological assault
From the blatant to the truly creative, controversy has come in many different shades on SmackDown. But then there are the visceral forms, the ones that make you go, “Dang, that just don’t feel right.”
Team LayCool created that precise environment on Nov. 20, 2009 when they began to lambast Mickie James with a smear campaign, bombarding her with insults about her appearance and branding her with the name “Piggy James.” Their verbal attacks were brutal, bringing the sexy, strong and powerful James to tears and causing her to heavily doubt herself.
However, James would get the last laugh when she defeated Michelle McCool for the Divas Championship at Royal Rumble 2010 in near-record time.
SmackDown General Manager Booker T banned the Brogue Kick
In late 2012, The Brogue Kick was among the most feared maneuvers in WWE … but SmackDown’s General Manager had something to say about that … sucka.
At the time, then-World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus’ earth-shattering finisher was being deemed “unsafe” to its competitors. And, under enormous pressure from the blue brand’s locker room (most notably Alberto Del Rio), Booker T made the highly-disputed call to temporarily ban Sheamus’ main offensive weapon on Sept. 7, 2012.
Del Rio was gleeful over the decision, eyeing Night of Champions 2012 as the perfect opportunity to seize the title from The Celtic Warrior. However, the party would only last for so long when Booker T reinstated the Brogue Kick after reviewing the situation, doing so just in time for Sheamus to kick The Essence of Excellence’s face to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
The Miz told off SmackDown LIVE General Manager Daniel Bryan
Where Team Blue controversy is concerned, sometimes it can come from something as simple as two Superstars talking, or, in this case, Talking Smack.
On Aug. 23, 2016, disgruntled SmackDown LIVE competitor The Miz joined the award-winning WWE Network’s WWE Talking Smack, hosted by Renee Young and SmackDown LIVE General Manager Daniel Bryan in the show’s infancy. Frustrated by how he was being treated, The A-Lister proceeded to go on an absolute tirade against his boss and longtime rival, Bryan. Bryan retorted and things got heated quick between the two adversaries until Miz and his wife Maryse ultimately stormed off the set.
Official couldn't determine WWE Title No. 1 Contender Battle Royal winner
From Bret Hart and Lex Luger at the 1994 Royal Rumble to AJ Styles and Luke Harper with the WrestleMania WWE Title main event on the line over 20 years later on SmackDown LIVE on Feb. 21, 2017, controversial conclusions to Battle Royals are not necessarily uncommon.
However, Styles and Harper’s photo finish was so utterly controversial because -- while certain camera angles seemed to suggest a winner -- officials were unable to reach a consensus and declare a victor from where they were positioned. Everyone has an opinion on who snagged the victory, but it was all resolved when The Phenomenal One and The Backwoods Brawler ran it back with a one-on-one contest a week later. Sadly and controversially, however, we’ll never know who royally battled the best.
Mr. McMahon brought back Vickie Guerrero as SmackDown’s GM
You never know what you’re going to get when it comes to WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon.
In 2013, the blue brand was in need of a permanent General Manager. While many were interested in the job, it seemed to have all come down to three men with former experience when it was time for a decision to be made on July 19, 2013 — Booker T, Theodore Long and last-minute entry Brad Maddox.
No stranger to controversy, however, Mr. McMahon threw a major curveball at the last second when he selected someone else who had a body of work as SmackDown’s top shot-caller … the infamous Vickie Guerrero! Excuse me!?!?!?!?!
Yes, Booker, Long and Maddox were visibly stunned when The Cougar reemerged to rule over SmackDown with the Reality Era coming into focus.
Edge got caught making out with the wedding planner
Long before Alicia Foooooooox found herself the object of the Cruiserweight division’s affections, the then-future Divas Champion was the other woman in SmackDown’s most infamous power couple.
While serving as the wedding planner for Edge and then-General Manager Vickie Guerrero, Miss Fox shared an illicit kiss with The Rated-R Superstar the night before the nuptials – an infraction revealed by none other than Triple H on the July 18, 2008 episode. Of course, the vows had already been given by that point, but the good news is we did get the infamous “I want a divorce” meltdown out of it and the return of The Undertaker, who Vickie reinstated to punish Edge. So much for a honeymoon period.
The Big Boss Man crashed Big Show’s father’s funeral and stole the coffin
If you ever take a trip down to Cobb County, Georgia … make sure you keep track of your caskets?
The Big Boss Man committed what was perhaps the most controversial act of his storied career on the Nov. 11, 1999 SmackDown when he crashed the funeral of Big Show’s father, which would have been bad enough if he hadn’t also chained the coffin to the back of his car and motored out of the cemetery with Show clinging to the top of it. Fortunately, Big Show managed to avenge said desecration by defeating Boss Man to retain the WWE Championship at Armageddon the next month. The ‘90s, man. Wild.
Kurt Angle feigned “Big” injury to cost Eddie Guerrero WWE Title
Before there was La Luchadora, there was Kurt Angle in a mask. Angle had been wheelchair-bound for months after Big Show had thrown The Olympic Hero – then SmackDown’s General Manager – off a ledge (!). Shockingly, however, Angle didn’t return from defenestration by targeting Show, but by costing Eddie Guerrero the WWE Championship on July 15, 2004.
At the conclusion of the first-ever Steel Cage WWE Title Match in SmackDown history, a masked figure crashed the cage and held Latino Heat down, allowing JBL to escape the enclosure and retain his title. A post-match scuffle revealed that – it’s true – Angle was the man in the mask with no wheelchair in sight.
John Cena replaced the WWE Title with a new Spinner Title
Everyone had a lot of, erm, feelings surrounding the “spinner” design of the WWE Championship, and as it turned out, those mixed emotions began on the day the title was introduced, April 14, 2005. That’s when John Cena celebrated his defeat of JBL at WrestleMania by unveiling his very own variation of the title.This, it should be mentioned, was much to the chagrin of The Wrestling God, who wore his championship to the stage in protest and attempted to destroy the box containing Cena’s title – only to find The Champ had hidden his prize in the rafters and the box was instead filled with honest-to-goodness guts, as it was the one thing JBL allegedly didn’t have. The commentators summed it up best when the title itself was unveiled: “Whoa.”