Paul "Mr. Wonderful" Orndorff suffered a crisis of confidence during his WCW run in 1995. "What is this?" cried a teary, despondent Orndorff, tearing apart his dressing room following a crushing defeat. "I don't even know if I'm Mr. Wonderful anymore!"
Suddenly the door opened. In came a mustachioed little man in a feathered jacket and a white afro wig resembling a cross between a crash helmet and a Chia Pet. "Gary Spivey?" bellowed Orndorff, his eyes bugging out as he stumbled over his words. "Of the Psychic Companions Network?"
"I've got a vision," said Spivey, launching into an uninterrupted stream of solid madness. "There's something I need to tell you. You've got to listen to me. You're not okay, but you're Mr. Wonderful. And you're not feeling so wonderful, but these things are going to pass. I see great things for you. You have to be Mr. Wonderful. That's you! Listen to me: You are Mr. Wonderful. They call you Mr. Wonderful."
He then implored Orndorff to look in a mirror. "Who do you see?"
"I see... Mr. Wonderful!" Orndorff said, renewed confidence dawning in his eyes. "I am Mr. Wonderful!"
"And you know you're wonderful too," said Spivey. "See my vision? Bigger cars! Bigger houses! More money!"
"I am Mr. Wonderful!" Orndorff repeated while staring into the mirror. He kissed himself a few times on the forearm, then kissed his reflection on the lips.
"Now you see what I see," said Spivey, smiling.
By the mid-90s, most people were aware that wrestling was fake. But they expected wrestlers to keep up the ruse. That's why they were amazed by the I Respect You strap match SuperBrawl VI in 1996, which pitted Brian Pillman against Kevin Sullivan, who doubled behind the scenes as the booker in charge of scripting storylines, and which had the stipulation that the winner had to force the loser to utter those words into a microphone.
Less than a minute after the match began, though, Pillman grabbed the mike, shouted, "I respect you, bookerman," and walked off, laughing. This left the audience and most of the locker room to believe Pillman had melted down and exposed the business on live TV. However, the now-notorious incident was actually scripted and designed to further Pillman's loose cannon character.
However, a similar but comparatively overlooked moment came the next year during an in-ring interview by "Marvelous" Marc Mero, who was frustrated with the quality of his competition, perennial curtain-jerker Sal Sincere. "I can't believe Vince McMahon sent 'Marvelous's Marc Mero out to wrestle a jobber," said Mero.
This was mind-blowing stuff. Sure, internet-savvy fans knew that enhancement talent had the job of losing all their matches, and that these wrestlers were called "jobbers," but no one had ever actually used the phrase. Mero then clarified, for the audience's benefit, that jobbers were enhancement talent who had the job of losing all their matches.
"Your name isn't even Sal Sincere at all!" accused Mero. "Your name is Tom Brandi."
Oh my god! thought internet-savvy fans everywhere. He... he just told him what his name was!
WCW blew its credibility badly in 2000 by hotshotting its world championship title around the waist of actor David Arquette as a cross-promotional stunt tied to the release of his wrestling-themed movie, Ready to Rumble.
But for all the legitimate criticisms one can make about Arquette-one being that he doesn't even make a credible champion of the David Arquette/Courtney Cox household-at least he's an actual human being.
At Capital Combat 1990, as was his habit, Sting was attacked and beaten by the Four Horsemen, who shoved him into a cage. Fortunately, Robocop appeared in the nick of time to save the day and promote his upcoming sequel. The cyborg cop lumbered through the curtain and down to the ring, chasing off the terrified Horsemen and bending the bars of the cage to free the Stinger, while the announcers treated the situation as genuine.
It could have been worse, though. And eventually it was. To promote his upcoming sequel in 1998, killer doll Chucky appeared on the arena's giant viewscreen and verbally bitch-slapped wrestler Rick Steiner. Again, all parties concerned treated the confrontation as real, except the crowd, who booed lustily.