WWE Royal Rumble 2014: Most Controversial Moments in PPV's History
The new year has begun.
This can only mean one thing in WWE: WrestleMania season is right around the corner and pretty soon it will be time for the massive 30 Superstars Royal Rumble.
The classic pay per view event has served to help catapult stars into main events for many years and has seen many glorious moments.
There have been some rare cases however, that a curve ball was thrown and what people got was far less than what was expected.
Whether scripted or not, controversy and even misfortune struck from time to time, which made an impact on the landscape of the WWE.
In looking at the rich history of this epic event, there aren't that many of these instances, but the few gathered here today definitely came out of nowhere.
Let's take a look.
The Ultimate Treachery
In 1990, there were two massive icons in the WWE: Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior.
One was the Immortal and the other the WWE Champion.
There was also war in the world, in the Persian Gulf more accurately, and the company decided to use that as part of a storyline.
Sgt. Slaughter, the longtime American hero, arrived on the scene and turned to villainous ways.
Not long after, he shocked the entire world by switching sides to stand with Iraq and its infamous leader, Saddam Hussein.
Unbelievable as it may have seemed back then, some of it was real. People, outraged, began threatening Slaughter in real life.
In storyline, the sarge decided to go after the WWE championship and at the 1991 Royal Rumble he would have his chance.
In the meantime, then-champion the Warrior was having his hands full with the late legends "Macho Man" Randy Savage and valet Sensational Sherri.
These two devils wanted the title at any cost and would have stooped to any level to get it, even if it meant for Sherri to flirt with the unpredictable champion.
That night, at the Rumble, Sherri pleaded with the Warrior to grant Savage his title shot but he wouldn't budge.
Sgt. Slaughter secretly promised the Macho Man his match should he win the gold and at that moment, the Warrior's fate was sealed.
The champion had the match won until both Randy and Sherri attacked him, smashing a sceptre upon his head.
Hightailing it soon after, the two culprits didn't stay around to see what would happen as Slaughter quickly pinned the Ultimate Warrior and stole the championship thus sending the entire WWE to hell.
This moment was one of the worst moments ever at the time because not only had America been screwed but also, there were three traitors.
It was also tragic in a way because Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage for the championship never came to be (until SummerSlam 1992) and it led to a far less impressive main event for the forthcoming WrestleMania VII.
Darkness had fallen unto WWE and Sgt. Slaughter's reign of terror would officially begin.
Broken Back, Career over
Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker are living legends, period!
Both have mastered their craft to the point of delivering five-star matches every single time they meet.
In 1998, the WWE landscape was very different than it is today. HBK and DX ruled the world and a brand new attitude was spreading wildly like the plague.
The World championship belt never looked better too.
HBK had won the title from Bret Hart amid controversy in Montreal a few months earlier and, through his actions, claimed he was the greatest thing since sliced bread when it came to professional wrestling.
Undertaker, having been screwed out of his championship by Shawn at that year' SummerSlam, decided it was finally time to end it, once and for all.
Insert a Casket match and there you have it. Only one would come out alive, so to speak.
The actual match started out alright and both performers continued to deliver a note-worthy performance.
Unfortunately, at the 11:50 mark, a back body drop changed everything.
The Phenom hurled his opponent up and HBK slammed his back onto the side of the casket. It seemed as if nothing was out of the usual but in reality, there were now two herniated disks and a completely crushed one in his lower back.
Plain and simple: career O. V. E. R.
This man was a mega star, the man of the hour and in his prime. There was no way of knowing what would happen next. Stone Cold and The Rock were only on their way up back then and Triple H was but a novice so what would WWE do?
Lucky for everyone, fate had a different plan. Stone Cold was going to win the Rumble match and on his way to the main event of WrestleMania XIV.
No one even realized the severity of this accident, not even Shawn Michaels himself, who came out of this match the victor thanks to some much-needed assistance from Heels, Inc.
Back then, a WWE minus HBK seemed unthinkable especially since Bret Hart had flown the coop.
He continued to exert his dominance as champion for the time being and plagued his nemesis, Steve Austin, until his fate was sealed shut for the next four years.
That body drop must have hurt like hell.
A Brother's Betrayal
Jeff Hardy was one of the most enigmatic and spectacular characters to ever grace the squared circle.
Though his personal life was often met with mistakes and controversy, people loved him.
His contributions to the tag team division are never to be forgotten, but this high-flying Superstar also made his mark as a singles performer.
In 2008, he actually managed to capture the WWE championship by defeating two legendary characters in their own right, Triple H and Edge.
Fans everywhere went crazy as the underdog took home the gold.
There was one person however, that this didn't sit well with: His own brother, Matt.
They had ruled as Tag Team Champions many times and he himself did well enough as United States Champion.
But, Matt did not possess the same charisma unfortunately and it somewhat held him back from making history himself.
The controversy here is simple: Jeff Hardy was well-loved by the people and should have been allowed to remain champion for longer than he was. A chair shot to the head ruined everything.
At the Royal Rumble in 2009, Edge got his rematch in a No Disqualification contest which meant anything could happen.
Who expected his real-life nemesis Matt Hardy coming to the ring and betraying his younger brother, costing him the prize he fought so long to win?
The worst part is, Edge took the title home for a month until dropping it to Triple H at the Elimination Chamber.
All that for nothing.
Well, it did spark a short feud between the Hardy Boys but it was nothing really notable.
Afterwards, Jeff rose again briefly as the World Heavyweight Champion and left WWE after SummerSlam while Matt faded into obscurity, never to rise again.
What Lies Ahead...
WWE is quite often associated with drama and controversy.
The Royal Rumble marks the start of the road to WrestleMania and is therefore guaranteed to have its defining moments.
This year will be no different.
Randy Orton will defend his WWE World Heavyweight championship against John Cena.
Will the Authority screw one or both of these participants? Can CM Punk or Daniel Bryan rise above all others and win the big match to ensure their name is written in the history books forever?
Since it is going to be WrestleMania XXX this year, everyone should expect something huge in a couple of weeks.
How huge depends of the McMahons and Triple H.
Controversy oozes out of that legendary family, so as Stone Cold says: "DTA!"
Don't trust anybody!