WWE: The 6 Most Insane and Ridiculous Death-Related Storylines
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There's nothing funny about death.
The wrestling world seems particularly prone to tragic and premature deaths.
However, for an industry that seems cursed at times, pro wrestling seems to laugh in the face of fate and often incorporates death-related storylines into its programming.
As this article seeks to demonstrate, the results are almost always offensive and ridiculous.
Let's begin with the most benign of the bunch...
6. Paul Bearer "Cements" His Legacy
Concrete evidence of Undertaker's Evil Prowess
At the 2004 Great American Bash, the Undertaker faced a unique stipulation in his match—lose or see his long-time manager, Paul Bearer, encased in cement.
The Undertaker won the match, but then proceeded to pull a lever controlling the flow of cement into the glass crypt in which Bearer was partially submerged.
The resulting imagery was that of Bearer "suffocating" to death on cement. Disregarding the fact that this would, medically speaking, be a gruesome and horrific way for anyone to die, it also served to be the first and only time a WWE pay-per-view would end in a simulated act of homicide.
(The WWE would later further the storyline by announcing that Bearer had survived.)
5. Big Boss Man Crashes Big Show's Father's Funeral
Big Boss Man was part of a few angles that involved death. During his feud with Al Snow, he was alleged to have killed Snow's dog and fed it to Snow. Boss Man was also hanged by The Undertaker. However, for sheer insanity and jaw-dropping stupidity, nothing compares to his feud with The Big Show.
The 1999 feud between Big Show and Big Boss Man captivated audiences with an effective and lengthy buildup to the culmination of their feud. It also featured some of the crassest and most insane booking imaginable.
At one point, Big Show dropped a garbage dumpster onto Big Boss Man's automobile, a move which Big Show himself acknowledged could have killed Boss Man. You might think that was the most insane death-themed aspect of this feud.
Not a chance. In a vignette that seems almost too horrific to imagine, Big Boss Man surprises the Big Show and his grieving family at the cemetery. First he delivers a broadcasted eulogy that states, among other things: "soon [Show's father] will be eaten by worms" and "if I had a son as stupid as you, I'd have wished for cancer so I could die, too."
Then, Boss Man connects the casket of Big Show's father to his police cruiser and drives away with it. At one point, Big Show jumps onto the casket and is dragged along with it.
As if this simulated act of desecration isn't already too cruel to fathom, the fact that Big Show was required to go along with this plot line despite having to recently bear his father's actual passing makes it unimaginably tasteless.
It appears that death was not amused with being poked fun of, as Big Boss Man died in 2004 at the untimely age of 41.
4. The Kane and Undertaker Feud
The 1998 feud between The Undertaker and Kane featured so many references to death it became almost laughable. Consider the following death-themed plot lines:
- Kane was revealed to have suffocated a large dog to death as a child.
- The storyline featured a plot line where The Undertaker allegedly killed his parents by setting fire to their place of business (not surprisingly, a funeral home).
- At one point, Kane and Paul Bearer exhumed The Undertaker's parents and brought them (in the casket) to the arena. I am not making that up.
Finally, as the above video shows, at one point Kane and Bearer violate countless municipal and federal ordinances by breaking into a cemetery and desecrating the grave of The Undertaker's parents. Not content to simply vandalize the tombstones, the grave is covered in gasoline and lit ablaze, much to The Undertaker's horror and countless viewers' chagrin.
3. Mr. McMahon "Dies"
This incident is as creepy as it is offensive.
On June 11, 2007, following a storyline in which Mr. McMahon (Vince McMahon's on-screen character) displayed progressively stranger and uncharacteristic mental tendencies, the McMahon character was seen entering his limousine, which promptly exploded. The explosion allegedly killed Mr. McMahon. His tragic demise was announced via the WWE's website and a memorial episode was scheduled for June 25, 2007.
As scripted, the explosion only killed the Mr. McMahon character, and not the real Mr. McMahon. Apparently, this minor technicality did not sit well with the real Grim Reaper. A series of horrific and tragic events transpired in which Chris Benoit and his family died via murder-suicide. The tribute to Mr. McMahon was shelved in favor of a tribute to Benoit as the details surrounding his death had not been made publicly known. This tribute would subsequently be regretted by WWE once it was revealed that Benoit had killed his wife and son before committing suicide.
Not surprisingly, this was the last time in this author's memory that the WWE has used death in a scripted storyline.
2. Al Wilson Leaves This World with a Smile
It is hard to believe this does not top my list.
In 2002-03, Torrie Wilson was featured in a prominent feud with Dawn Marie. In an elaborate plot line, Dawn Marie married Torrie's father Al. Their subsequent sexual encounters during their honeymoon were alleged to have killed Al, who supposedly died of a heart attack from the frequency of his consummation of his marital vows with Dawn Marie.
At Al's funeral wake, which incredibly was open casket, Torrie and Dawn Marie come to vicious blows mere inches away from Al's surprisingly alive-looking corpse.
Again, you would think there could be no more ridiculous use of a funeral home and casket in a pro wrestling storyline. But then comes this...
1. What Else? Katie Vick
There are no words to describe this.
Watch if you dare.
I added this photo because Mr. Cole is known for "burying" talent. (Courtesy wwe.com)
There you have it.
These are six instances where human mortality has been integrated into scripted WWE programming.
Most of these were from the "Attitude Era," and it is unlikely viewers will ever see such outlandish and offensive storylines again, though, I was tempted to use this year's use of Jerry Lawler's mother's passing in this list, but it was utilized in a factual manner and deviated from the rest of the inclusions.
If you have any other examples of morbid plot lines, or wish to share your thoughts, your comments are welcome. Thank you for reading!