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Old Shame / Professional Wrestling

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  • Chances are if you go up to Billy Gunn and mention the words "Rock-a-Billy", you're going to make him very angry. He has said that the gimmick had potential, but they used the wrong outfit and music. Mercifully it was ended after a few weeks and he quickly enjoyed more success as part of the New Age Outlaws.
  • Former WWE Diva Stacy Carter - better known as Miss Kitty or The Kat - was reportedly very ashamed of her time in the WWF and even had her real name removed from various wrestling websites. However, she has since embraced this and started making several indie appearances, selling her merchandise on eBay and sharing personal photos from her time there. She later clarified that it came from bad memories surrounding her divorce with Jerry Lawler (which happened only a few months after her release) and advice from her real estate colleagues.
  • Trish Stratus
    • Subverted in regards to the segment where she had to crawl around the ring and bark like a dog, pointing out the fact that it was part of a storyline and that her character ultimately got revenge against Vince McMahon for humiliating her like that. WWE, however, is quite ashamed of said "Bark Like a Dog" moment along with the infamous Katie Vick angle and other tasteless bits of the Attitude Era; when Linda McMahon ran for the U.S. Senate, an attempt to scrub these clips from YouTube was launched to eliminate all traces of these moments so that they could not be used against her, which failed miserably when her opponents kept reminding the people about them, even without video footage of them.
    • Trish does have one case of Old Shame played straight: the infamous moment known simply as "THAT Jackie Gayda Match". A match between her and Bradshaw against Christopher Nowinski and Jackie Gayda, the latter two were members of Tough Enough and both were still very green in the ring. The match was a disaster from beginning to end, and when Trish finally pins Jackie for the victory (even Jim Ross called it a Mercy Kill by that point), she was visibly pissed off. JBL himself said that this was the worst match he had ever participated in.
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    • Inverted with a singles match she had against Stephanie McMahon in 2001. On her DVD she was surprised that so many people compliment her on it even after having much better matches during her rise to the top.
  • Gail Kim
    • She debuted as 'La Felina' wrestling under a mask. She wasn't keen on the idea, saying the mask was difficult to wrestle in. She views it as her paying her dues, and was happy when she lost it in a Hair vs Mask match.
    • She has no love for her second run in WWE from 2008-2011 - due to the horrible way the women were treated with regards to match times, booking and storylines. Even when WWE's attitude to women's wrestling has improved in The New '10s, she has said point black that she would never return.
  • Similarly, Hania the Howling Huntress isn't too fond of her days in CHIKARA as Saturyne, the Galactic Luchadora.
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  • During the early days of the nWo, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall cut a promo with The Giant. During the promo, Hall made an unscripted reference to how The Giant had initially been promoted as the son of André the Giant. The Giant immediately shot him a look that screamed "Don't friggin' go there ever again."
  • Kevin Nash had his own moment when in 2011, CM Punk brought up his alter ego "Oz", one of the most embarrassing moments of WCW history from the early '90s. Same with John Laurinaitis (a.k.a. "Johnny Ace"); as Punk made references to his failed career as a wrestler in the U.S. by bringing up his past with Shane Douglas as part of the much reviled "Dynamic Dudes".
  • Terry Taylor does not fondly remember his time in the WWF, when he was known as "The Red Rooster".
  • Do not mention Isaac Yankem to Kane. Seriously, don't. He actually cancelled a radio interview on-air because the host mentioned it.
  • Do not mention Leviathannote  or Deacon Bautista to Batista.
  • Kamala regards his short WCW run as this. To make a short story shorter, he was in the Dungeon of Doom.
  • The entire Katie Vick angle left an incredibly bad taste in Triple H's mouth. This is understandable, as Triple H has said it was the only time he ever questioned Vince McMahon about a storyline.note 
  • Speaking of Vince McMahon, don't mention his "Stand Back" music video or the XFL. Although the last one has changed as he announced a reboot in 2018 planned for 2020. That said, he is willing to let people bring the video up as a source of humiliation for the Heel Mr. McMahon character on occasion, as exemplified with the impersonation promo D-Generation X did in 2006.
  • John Zandig of CZW is famous for a particularly angry promo to the point that it was immortalized in Botchamania, but according to a story from Maffew, DJ Hyde learned the hard way during a lunch with Zandig that he's none too proud of it. Fortunately for Maffew, he learned of this before going to a CZW show and trying to get an intro out of Zandig.
  • In 1993, Mick Foley, under his Cactus Jack gimmick, did a storyline where after a particularly brutal match with Vader, he suffered amnesia and was living in the streets as a destitute bum who thought he was an ex-sailor. Foley urged fans to destroy any footage of the storyline in his first book, and it is never brought up in any DVDs devoted to Foley.
  • Michelle McCool hated the Sexy Teacher gimmick she was repackaged with in 2006. She has said in interviews that she was terrified of her former co-workers seeing it in case she wanted her old job back.note 
  • Up to Eleven: Al Madril, best known for his work in the NWA Pacific Northwest Wrestling territory in Portland, apparently considers his entire career to be this and refuses to even acknowledge that he ever even was a pro wrestler at all.
  • Former World Class Championship Wrestling star Brian Adias feels the same way about his old career.
  • Never, ever bring up Mean Mark Callous to The Undertaker.
  • Don't ever ask Mark Henry about his days as "Sexual Chocolate."note  Also, his "silver back" gimmick.
  • The "New Generation" era, the period from 1993 to 1997, when Hulk Hogan left and Steve Austin rose to prominence, is generally considered this for WWE as a whole. Unlike many examples, it is actually mentioned fairly frequently, and on WWE television no less, but always in a mocking or derogatory tone (unless speaking of specific standout wrestlers from the period, like Shawn Michaels or Bret Hart). The Monday Night War documentary that airs on the WWE Network often chides the WWE during this period for presenting "Saturday Morning characters to a Prime Time audience".
  • Bret Hart is ashamed of an old cowboy gimmick he did early in his career, and of the "I Quit" match he had against Bob Backlund. While he deeply respected Backlund's skills, not only did Bret feel the frequent submission holds "stunk the building out," Roddy Piper, as guest referee, kept sticking a live microphone in their faces and yelling "Whaddya say?" in an over-the-top voice that came off goofy, making the match impossible to take seriously. According to Bret, "nobody laughs during my matches unless I want them to!"
  • Dementia D'Rose absolutely HATES her old "Aisha Sunshine" gimmick.
  • Karlee Perez, who portrayed Maxine in the WWE, describes NXT (where she got her start, keep in mind that this was back when NXT is a competition series and not the developmental talent system that most WWE fans know today):
    "My thought of the original concept? Shit! Can I say that? They could have used us in so many other ways."
  • Bella Twins:
    • The sisters poke fun at the outfits they wore when they first debuted. WWE had just gone PG and they were warned to preserve it, so they went overboard - "we were like the G girls". Diva Dirt columnists regularly tore them apart for their gear too.
    • Brie's lacklustre run as the Divas' Champion is this for her. Fit Finlay, who was a real fighter for getting the women more time, was released just as she won the title. She ended up missing TV for weeks, defended the title only once and didn't have a single win while she was champion.
    • Nikki was audibly complaining about the feud they had with each other in 2014 while it was still going on. She claims she pitched loads of ideas that didn't get used, and the resulting segments were embarrassing for her.
    "At the end of the day I don't write the show."
    • They also weren't subtle about their dislike of the early 2015 feud they had with Paige - which involved them acting like high school Alpha Bitches towards her and mocking her for her pale skin. They especially criticised the childish segment where they ambushed her in the ring to spray tanner on her.
  • Kelly Kelly hated the Extreme Expose gimmick. She had no dance training and told Paul Heyman that repeatedly when he asked her to be part of it. Further exacerbating matters was that they never knew how much time they'd have for a segment or what music they'd be using. She describes Layla (the only trained dancer in the troupe) trying to haphazardly put together a routine four hours before the tapings.
  • Stacy Keibler considers her entire time in the wrestling business to be this. When she left WWE in 2006 (she was a granted "a leave of absence" to appear on Dancing with the Stars, then got an offer from ABC and never went back), she erased all references to her time in WWE and WCW from her bio on her website and reportedly won't sign pictures from that time. She did at least make a surprise guest appearance on the 2011 WWE Tough Enough revival.
  • Subverted with "The Fallen Flower" Kikyo-although she will be taken aback if you bring up her former gimmick as Kurai Hime (with more heavy Japanese attire and Kumadori face paint), it's more out of surprise that somebody actually remembers it. Basically, she willingly acknowledges that as part of her history, seeing it more as an Early Installment Weirdness than an old shame, but is happy she's moved on from it now. Trademark issues with that former gimmick led her to retool it in early 2014 by dropping the face-paint, dying her hair blue and adopting that color as key to her gimmick (even dubbing her fanbase the "Buru Nation") and she has been rising up the independent women's wrestling ranks ever since.
  • John Cena pokes fun at the bleach blond haircut he sported in developmental as The Protoype.
    "It was a transitional time. I was young and confused."
  • Lita:
    • She hated the live sex celebration she had with Edge. She didn't want to do it but was forced into it. She later called it the worst thing she ever did in wrestling.
    • Subverted with her work as Miss Congeniality in ECW. She's surprised that fans compliment her on it, saying she had no clue what she was doing.
  • Ivory:
    • She hated being a trainer on WWE Tough Enough and says there would always be bad luck for her backstage whenever she got back from it.
    • Was not a fan of the part of the Right to Censor storyline involving The Kat - because she didn't like to have to pretend to be afraid of her.
    • Played with when it comes to her match with Chyna at WrestleMania. It was a Squash Match - but she didn't mind that, feeling it was necessary for the character's comeuppance - but she was furious that Chyna covered her disrespectfully. She regrets not kicking out of the pin and forcing Chyna to cover her properly.
    • Averted with GLOW - the campy wrestling show she got her start in. She's happy to have done it and participates in many reunions and documentaries about it.
  • Alexa Bliss
    • She pokes fun at the times she was a ring announcer on NXT - claiming she was so bad she needed sticky notes on the microphone to remember all the hometowns.
    • Her first gimmick on NXT was that of a fairy princess who loved glitter - something that came about because they needed to fill a tournament spot and that was what she had done in class the week before. While the gimmick was received better than most examples, she found her feet more as a heel.
  • Torrie Wilson:
    • Generally she regrets some of the more sexual things she did during her time in wrestling.
      "I can't believe I was in a thong bikini out there in front of all those kids."
    • She did a puppy love storyline with Carlito in 2007 that she found incredibly awkward since they were good friends.
    • She doesn't look back too fondly on her time in WCW due to how horribly the Nitro Girls were treated. She has especially bad memories of a scaffold match against Madusa - where the latter threatened to throw her off the scaffold if she got anything wrong.
  • Velvet Sky says she tried out for the Diva Search and has been embarrassed about it for years.
  • Chris Jericho doesn't have fond memories of the feud he had with Chyna in late 1999/early 2000 - finding her very difficult to work with.
  • Terri Poch (best known as 'Tori') has this attitude towards her outfit at WrestleMania XV. She had envisioned a bodysuit that looked as if it were painted on - but she knew she had bombed when she caught The Rock gawking at her in gorilla position. Averted with the match itself however - as she still enjoyed having a Women's Championship bout at 'Mania.
  • Ashley Massaro was in tears after her match at WrestleMania 23, knowing how awful it was. She had broken her foot the week before and spent the whole night not knowing if she'd have a match at all. According to Melina (her opponent) the girls were told at the last minute "yeah we can squeeze you guys in".
  • Naomi views her 2015 heel run as a mistake, Total Divas even showing how hard she found it to adjust to a heel role. She later said she only agreed to it because it involved a championship push.
  • The Rock doesn't like to talk about his Rocky Maivia gimmick in any positive way.
  • Ditto for "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's days as "Stunning" Steve Austin, especially his WCW years, which he frequently pounded as a running joke during his time at ECW.