5 controversial backstage stories behind the biggest WrestleMania matches
With a history spanning 35 long years, WrestleMania has a lot to offer not only in terms of in-ring action but behind the scenes as well. The storied history of this spectacular event has seen several wrestlers turn into legends, and in-ring greats having their last hurrah in front of a live audience.
Oftentimes, fans reminisce about the biggest WrestleMania bouts and the storylines that led to those matches. Most of the time, fans aren’t aware of what actually happened behind the scenes while these matches were being built up, or what happened when the wrestlers went behind the curtain following these matches. In this slideshow, we’ll take a look at five controversial backstage stories behind some of the biggest WrestleMania encounters, that you probably aren’t aware of.
5. Brock Lesnar and Goldberg’s controversial WWE exits
By the time WrestleMania 20 rolled around, it was public knowledge that Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg were on their way out of the promotion following their dream match at the event. The fans at the show let the two Superstars know what they thought of them and showered the match with a loud chorus of boos, and a bunch of negative chants.
Lesnar was done with WWE’s grueling schedule at this point, and couldn’t wait to leave the company and try his hand in the NFL. In his book, ‘Death Clutch’, Lesnar detailed his last days in WWE and how he was miserable beyond belief. Vince McMahon himself wasn’t too keen on wanting to engage with the two stars after the match and simply moved on to focus on the next bout of the night, as per Bruce Prichard.
Vince’s reaction was a non-reaction. He sat there and the next match going in, and just thanked them, and said next. He didn’t sit and have a conversation with them. It was over, and was moving on to the next match.
Before moving on to the next slide, gear up by listening to our exclusive interview with The Anti-Diva!
4. Seth Rollins’ WrestleMania 31 cash-in
The main event of WrestleMania 31 was a WWE World title match between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns. The two behemoths went back and forth for a while and the fans weren’t sure as to who would come out on the top when it was all said and done. No one had expected what was about to happen though. Seth Rollins came out to a huge pop and cashed in his MITB contract. Seconds later, Rollins had become the new WWE World Champion in one of the most shocking endings to a WrestleMania.
The decision to make Rollins Champion was made during the event, and he was told about the same following his loss to Randy Orton. Reportedly, Roman Reigns’ family wasn’t thrilled with the sudden change in plans. Reigns’ father Sika almost caused a scene, knowing that WWE had canceled the original plans to make Reigns the new WWE World Champion. Reigns met Lesnar again at a WrestleMania three years later but failed to win the top title this time around as well.
3. Chris Jericho’s disappointment with his WrestleMania 33 match against Kevin Owens
At WrestleMania 33, Chris Jericho lost his US title to Kevin Owens in what was the culmination of an incredibly devised, months-long storyline. Jericho had helped Goldberg defeat Owens for the Universal title a few weeks ago at WWE Fastlane. Goldberg lost the title to Brock Lesnar later in the night.
Jericho was not happy at all over the fact that his match got the second spot, and took it as an insult. Additionally, Vince McMahon had previously told Jericho that he and Owens would fight at ‘Mania for the Universal title, with Jericho winning it in the end. The plans changed soon after, and Vince didn’t bother to inform Jericho about the same.
We had the best storyline of the year but it doesn’t matter, it’s still not going to get me higher on the card to be second on the card at WrestleMania. I need to leave; that is how you know. When the time comes when you are put in that spot as an insularity guy?
2. Hulk Hogan leaving WrestleMania 9 as WWE Champion
Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart had become a top star by the time WrestleMania 9 came around. He defended the WWE title in the main event of WrestleMania 9 against the Royal Rumble winner, Yokozuna. Hart lost the match and out came Hogan soon after. One thing led to another and Hogan was given a match for Yokozuna’s newly-won title on the spot. Seconds later, Hogan was holding the WWE title in a finish that no one had seen coming.
Although it looked like the biggest feel-good moment there could possibly be to end a WrestleMania, things weren’t so simple behind the scenes. Bret Hart was absolutely crushed at what had happened. Vince McMahon had assured him that he was a long-term Champion, but things went awry faster than he could process everything.
Vince said, “Don’t get bitter. I still have big plans for you.” Sound bites flashed through my mind of Vince assuring me that I was the long-term champion, and not to worry about Hulk Hogan, who still hadn’t even spoken to me yet.
1. The Undertaker threatening Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 14
Shawn Michaels’ second WWE stint portrayed him as one of the biggest babyfaces in the history of this business, but things were completely different back during the Attitude Era. Michaels, a heel on TV, was as unruly and hard to work with in real life as well. His issues with fellow WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart are not exactly a secret. At WrestleMania 14, Michaels was slated to drop the WWE title to the white-hot Stone Cold. The Undertaker, knowing what Michaels was capable of doing, had approached several people backstage and told them that he would confront Michaels if he didn’t “do the job”.
Mark went to everybody and told them, ‘If this doesn’t go down the way it should, I’m going to have a big problem and Shawn is going to have a big problem. I’ll go over there and beat the heck out of him.’ But he never had to say anything to me