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Karma Houdini / Professional Wrestling

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  • During the buildup to WrestleMania XIX, Triple H was moved into a quick feud with Booker T. Seeing as most WrestleMania feuds tend to have months, sometimes even years to develop, Triple H needed to get some quick heat. What he does is say some pretty racist things to get some cheap heat for their buildup. Come WrestleMania does Booker T take the title from him? No, he gets beaten.
  • This comes with the territory in the kayfabe world of wrestling, where There Are No Police (well, most of the time) and the most powerful heels are free to do practically whatever they want because everyone - including so-called authority figures - is terrified of their retribution.
  • Randy Orton:
    • He abused and tormented Ted DiBiase Jr. and Cody Rhodes for over a year, injured people placing them out of action, attacked HHH's wife Stephanie McMahon, stealing a kiss from her as well right in front of him and......Randy Orton is now treated like a face. Despite being the most anti-social person in WWE, Orton receives cheers now because of his leather pants. Worst yet when Edge even called him and fans on this and it was ignored as RKO chanted through the arena.
    • Granted there was an 'in between' point there, having to face repeated vicious matches against HHH (which he usually lost), having his mooks double cross him and of course, the Macmahon family taking every opportunity to place torturous stipulations onto him. He maybe got it swept under the rug rather easily, but he was made to squirm for a good while first.
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    • Orton punted then Heavyweight Champion, CM Punk in the head for no other reason than to prove a point to DiBiase and Rhodes, causing (kayfabe) injuries that forced him to forfeit the title. Years later when Punk actually calls him out on this, Punk had switched heel a while back, and Orton has turned face (without really being any less evil), so Punk gets booed for wanting rather justified revenge and Orton is cheered whenever he uses the same head-punting move on members of Punk's group. Orton actually said he wants to legitimately paralyze Punk and the crowd cheered him for this. Orton so far is not only a Karma Houdini, but the crowd actually supports him getting away with it.
      • What mitigates this is the fact that while Orton is putting the New Nexus members on the shelf and getting sick pleasure out of doing it, Punk hasn't done anything particularly villainous during their feud. The worst thing he did was lead Mason Ryan and David Otunga in a 3-on-1 beatdown of Orton backstage, but by this point, Orton had already injured two of the Nexus members, making it sort of a Kick the Son of a Bitch. Before that, the entire 5-man New Nexus attacked Orton, but this was the beginning of the feud, and Punk was still looking for revenge when it was partially justified.
      • However, this was eventually subverted somewhat when Punk used a pipe wrench to Knee Cap Orton in order to prevent him from using said kick — let alone wrestling at 100% — for the remainder of their feud.
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  • Kane got one in the summer of 2009. He kidnapped and tortured The Great Khali's "brother," Ranjin Singh, and launched some sneak attacks on Khali himself to boot. You'd think that Kane was definitely cruising for a comeuppance, but afterward he defeated Khali in pay-per-view matches twice, then Knee Capped him with the steel steps on SmackDown on top of it. And just to make things even more aggravating, Kane turned face soon afterward with no penance on his part. This could just be because WWE fans honestly like Kane more than they do Khali.
  • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin during his time in WWE, getting away with beating up all kinds of people just because he didn't like them or to get a cheap laugh.
  • The JBL-Finlay feud was a good example of this. JBL handcuffs Finlay to a cage so Vince and JBL can beat down Hornswoggle. Then a few weeks later he attacks Hornswoggle in the hospital. After that they had little contact until their match at WrestleMania 24, where JBL threw a garbage can into Hornswoggle and beat Finlay clean. Could be Hilarious in Hindsight considering how annoying the Hornswoggle character got eventually.
    • However, this was ultimately subverted a bit at WrestleMania 25 — exactly a year later, no less — where JBL lost to Rey Mysterio Jr. in such a humiliating fashion that JBL actually quit his wrestling career during his Villainous Breakdown.
  • Subverted with Paul Heyman at the end of the Invasion storyline where on the following Raw he appears at the color commentary booth with JR, bragging about getting away with being a part of the whole WCW/ECW alliance. Then, Vince McMahon calls him to the ring, fires him, and replaces him with the returning Jerry Lawler.
  • Normally, Vince McMahon can be counted on to be given huge portions of comeuppance whenever he's playing the heelish Bad Boss. Not so in 2003: Getting Hulk Hogan fired twice, bullying a cripple who wanted to enter the WWE named Zach Gowen, convincing Brock Lesnar to betray his former best friend Kurt Angle and subsequently costing Angle the WWE Championship, fighting and defeating his own daughter in an "I Quit" Match in order to get her removed as SmackDown! GM, and burying The Undertaker alive with the help of Kane. You'd think he's setting himself up for some major retribution at WrestleMania 20, but instead his only involvement during the show is to come out out-of-character midway through and thank the fans for their twenty years of support. note 
  • During the late 90s early 2000s, the Big Bossman had a bad heel run where being a karma houdini seemed to be his gimmick. He did all sorts of horrible things outside the ring, such as cook Al Snow's dog and feed it to him and disrupt the funeral of the Big Show's father. Inside the ring, most of his matches, win lose or draw, ended with him handcuffing his opponent to the ropes and beating him with a nightstick. The worst things that happened to him were Big Show (A) crushing his car note  and (B) ultimately winning the blowoff match in their feud in short order. He never did get anywhere near the main event scene again, though.
  • In her current state, Stephanie McMahon has been a tall order Bad Boss, sadistically abusing The Big Show before firing him, and trying desperately to destroy Daniel Bryan's run as World Champion (similarly with sadistic glee). Since no male wrestler can truly give her just desserts without crossing Moral Event Horizon, she has yet to get that smirk wiped off her face, most retaliations directed towards her husband Triple H instead. She does get the occasional moment of comeuppance, like being kayfabe arrested during her feud with Brie Bella or being dumped into a pool of pudding by Vickie Guerrero, all of these moments are either very minor or otherwise don't affect her for very long, as it'll always result in her being back the next week acting even worse.
  • Behind the scenes: Curt Hennig pranked Jacques Rougeau and blamed Tom Billington. It escalated to the point where Jacques punched Tom in the mouth with a loaded fist, knocking out four teeth. Curt never owned up and never got punished.
  • Chris Hero had been a general nuisance to Ring of Honor before he officially lead the CZW invaders against it and remained a general nuisance to Ring of Honor even after the invasion had ended. How did Ring Of Honor ultimately decided to deal with him? By signing him to a contract that stated he would give priority to their bookings before all other companies...that's right, they gave him a full time spot on their roster, where he would go on to cause even more trouble with Larry Sweeney.
  • Charlotte Flair has been the top heel in the Women's division for the whole of 2016 and first quarter of 2017. Among her actions included betraying both her best friend and father, being an absolute bitch towards Dana Brooke, whom always helped her in matches and cheating in matches using dirtier methods than normal heels (including reenacting the infamous Montreal Screwjob on Natalya Neidhart). Despite all of this, her only comeback was losing the Raw's Women's Championship in February 2017 and when she moved to SmackDown a few months later, she quietly turned face following an attack by a group of heel women and those who she wronged with over the last year easily accepted her without so much of a sorry.


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