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"Why did this happen? How did this happen?"

"In the world of professional wrestling, it's still the only sport where its characters live in two different worlds... where fantasy bleeds into reality."
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Dark Side of the Ring is a television documentary series produced by Vice on TV that focuses on controversial subjects within the world of professional wrestling. It premiered in April 2019.

The series has covered individual wrestlers, wrestling shows, and the backstage nature of the professional wrestling industry. Namely, about how kayfabe is nothing compared to the backstage politics, drama, and tragedy among the world of professional wrestling.

Narrators for the series include Chris Jericho, Mick Foley, and "Dirty" Dutch Mantell (WWE's Zeb Colter).

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Episode List:

    Season 1 
  1. The Match Made in Heaven (Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth)
  2. The Montreal Screwjob
  3. The Killing of Bruiser Brody
  4. The Last of the Von Erichs
  5. The Mysterious Death of Gorgeous Gino
  6. The Fabulous Moolah

    Season 2 
  1. Benoit, Part 1 (Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero)
  2. Benoit, Part 2 (The murder-suicide of Chris Benoit and his family)
  3. The Life and Crimes of New Jack
  4. The Brawl For All
  5. Jimmy Snuka and The Death of Nancy Argentino
  6. The Assassination of Dino Bravo
  7. David Schultz & The Slap Heard Round the World
  8. Cocaine & Cowboy Boots: The Herb Abrams Story
  9. The Last Ride of The Road Warriors
  10. The Final Days of Owen Hart

    Season 3 
  1. Brian Pillman, Part 1
  2. Brian Pillman, Part 2
  3. Nick Gage
  4. Collusion in Korea
  5. Ultimate Warrior
  6. Grizzly Smith
  7. Dynamite Kid

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Dark Side of the Ring uses the following tropes:

  • Adult Fear: The death of a loved one, in varying causes, has been a constant topic in the episodes.
  • All for Nothing: David Schultz's attempt to protect kayfabe had eventually led to him being blackballed from wrestling, only for Vince McMahon to destroy kayfabe himself.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Jim Cornette and Vince Russo have no love lost for each other. This is touched upon in the Montreal Screwjob episode, where Cornette says that it's his life goal to outlive Russo so he can piss on Russo's grave. Part of this animosity comes from the fact that Russo came up with the Brawl for All, which caused major injuries to the competitors,note  ruined the integrity of wrestling,note  and sabotaged the WWF career of one competitor ("Dr. Death" Steve Williams) before it really began. All to get back at one wrestler (John "Bradshaw" Layfield) Russo didn't like. Cornette, who personifies Serious Business when it comes to wrestling, hates Russo for this (among many other reasons). In the Brawl for All episode, Cornette is introduced tearing a photo of Russo in half and throughout the episode he's wearing a shirt with a picture depicting him pissing on Russo's grave.
    • The Real Life animosity of Invader #1 (a.k.a. José Huerta González) towards Bruiser Brody ultimately leads to the former stabbing the latter.
    • Bret Hart's Real Life animosity with Shawn Michaels would lead to events that resulted in the Montreal Screwjob. Hart and Michaels had a notoriously rocky relationship backstage, and the Screwjob was the point where they both refused to lose to the other.
    • Brittany Pillman still holds anger towards her step-mother Melanie. Brian and Melanie used their wealth to get sole custody of Brittany from her mother Rochelle, more out of spite than any parenting issue. Melanie also had some harsh words to Rochelle about her parenting on the phone, the last straw that lead to her suicide. Melanie for her part admits she and Brian were wrong to take Brittany away from Rochelle and that she deeply regrets that final phone call. She understands Brittany's anger and knows there is nothing she can do to make it up to her.
    • Owen Hart's widow and children understandably feel this way about Vince McMahon.
  • Bash Brothers: The Road Warriors, at least before Hawk's hard-partying lifestyle got out of hand.
  • Bathos: Inverted, as Herb Abrams' best friend says "All I know for sure is Herb died doing what he loved... cocaine and hookers." It should be funny... but the fact that it's literally true, and that he's weeping as he says it, somehow still gets the moment across.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Kevin von Erich loses all his brothers and his father within ten years, but learns to accept and make peace with it. He now lives in Hawaii as the patriarch of his own family, with his two wrestler sons carrying the legacy of the Von Erich name with them.
    • Bart Gunn's WWF career was destroyed after being squashed by Butterbean in the Brawl for All, but he had a successful career in Japan afterwards.
    • Not too long after the Brawl for All, Darren Drozdov's wrestling career would end tragically via an in-ring accident during his match with D'Lo Brown that left him paralyzed. Today, he lives on with a positive outlook on life as he is still able to do the things he enjoyed such as hunting despite his handicap and holds no ill will towards D'Lo at all.
    • David Schultz's wrestling career was ruined by the slapping debacle, but he had a successful career as a Bounty Hunter afterwards.
    • Owen Hart's family never really got justice over his fatal accident, but despite that they continue to live their lives nobly to honor his memory. Owen's legacy is also remembered fondly by his colleagues.
  • Book-Ends: The first (two) and last episodes of Season 2 are about the high-profile controversial deaths of renowned Canadian wrestlers.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Discussed, due to the nature of the business.
    • Chris Benoit is Exiled from Continuity after the murder-suicide of his wife and child. He's mentioned in title reigns on the company's website, but that's all. Jim Ross is of the opinion that Benoit will "never, ever, ever" go into the WWE Hall of Fame, regardless of how good of a wrestler he was. Ross compares the situation with Benoit to Aaron Hernandez, a former player in the National Football League who was convicted of murder: it doesn't matter how good of an athlete he was, no one in their right mind is going to honor a murderer like that.invoked
    • The name of The Fabulous Moolah is erased from WWE's good graces after it's revealed how much she was manipulating things behind the scenes to remain on top and how terribly she was treating her wrestling students.
  • Cool Aunt:
    • Linda Pillman, Brian Pillman's sister, was a surrogate mother to her brother's children who made sure they had a stable roof over their heads and were still in contact with one another. Brittany even mentions that she's the closest thing she has to a mother.
    • Nancy Benoit's sister Sandra loves her nephews dearly and was heartbroken over being cut off from David after the murders. The episode ends with her reuniting with David for the first time in years and the two of them spending time together.
  • Darkest Hour: The first episode of Chris Benoit's story focuses partly on Benoit's longtime friend Eddie Guerrero. Eddie had his darkest hour after he'd been fired from WWE for drug use, which Eddie's wife Vickie saw as a good thing because it might convince him to clean up his act, seeing as how she was getting more and more frustrated with Eddie's constant drug use and bad behavior.note  It worked: Eddie got clean from drugs, got his job back with WWE, turned to God for comfort, restored his family's faith in him, and eventually became WWE Champion. However, this made Eddie's sudden death in 2005 from heart failure all the more tragic.
  • Death by Falling Over: Owen Hart's tragic fate at WWE's Over the Edge '99 on May 23, 1999. His colleagues are still disturbed by it.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: The children of the dead wrestlers covered speak fondly of them. The most notable being David Benoit, who still loves his father despite what the latter did. Dino Bravo's daughter Claudia happily recalls her dad purchasing a new car and promising it to her when she turned 16 and how he remains her hero over two decades after his death.
  • Determined Widow: Dr. Martha Hart, the late Owen Hart's widow, relentlessly fights for justice over his death to this very day. She and her children are also adamant on not allowing Owen be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, not wanting him to be celebrated by the same organization that had a huge role to his untimely death.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • The Montreal Screwjob has two examples:
      • After the Montreal Screwjob went down, Jim Cornette didn't think that Bret Hart would go on TV and state that he was screwed out of the title, as that would be exposing the business. But that was exactly what Hart did.
      • Vince McMahon thought he would be seen as someone who did what he had to do by doing a sit-down interview justifying what he did to Bret Hart, but it backfired. To his credit, McMahon used this as an opportunity to become the biggest heel in the WWF.
    • Eddy Mansfield decided to work with John Stossel's exposé on wrestling in order to target Ole Anderson (and by proxy NWA) out of revenge for being blacklisted from wrestling. Yet, the thought that Stossel would go after the biggest, most well-known wrestling company never came to his mind.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Chavo Guerrero Jr. reveals in "Benoit: Part One" that this happened to his uncle Eddie. According to Chavo, he found Eddie on his bathroom floor, alive but barely clinging to life. Though Chavo tried to get help, Eddie ultimately passed away in Chavo's arms. Chavo tears up upon recalling it, saying "I haven't been to this place in a long time."
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Butterbean, a dangerous professional boxer, was brought in to bury via brutal beating Bart Gunn as punishment for the latter beating "Dr. Death" Steve Williams and thus ruining the WWF's plan for a potential feud between "Dr. Death" and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. All the worse because it was hardly Bart's fault that he'd won a legit fight they'd themselves booked!
    • Jim Cornette views Vince Russo creating the Brawl for All simply to see Bradshaw get knocked out for him being a braggart and a bully as this, considering the injuries the competitors suffered.
    • David Schultz and his supporters believe his depushing and eventual release after slapping 20/20 reporter John Stossel was this compared to Hulk Hogan getting away scot-free with choking out Richard Belzer months later on the latter's show Hot Properties.
  • Downer Ending:
    • Bruiser Brody is murdered in the locker room by fellow wrestler Invader #1 during a WWC show in Puerto Rico, who is eventually acquitted of the murder in no small part due to the corruption of the police involved (Tony Atlas, the one wrestler who was willing to come forward and accuse Invader #1, was never contacted to appear in the trial and Dutch Mantell's subpoena to appear in court arrived to him after the verdict was reached), and has continued to live his life, a bitter pill that Brody's widow and son have had to swallow for years.
    • The deaths of both Gino Hernandez and Dino Bravo remain as cold cases to this day, leaving their families without any closure.
    • Chris Benoit kills his wife and son, then kills himself. It breaks Benoit and his wife's families apart, the WWE retroactively erases him from their programming, and sole-surviving family member David Benoit is left with very few people to turn to in his time of need.
    • Jimmy Snuka is deemed unfit to stand trial for the death of Nancy Argentino due to failing physical and mental health, and would be dead less than a year later. And any answers as to exactly what happened to Nancy died with Jimmy Snuka.
    • Herb Abrams dies alone, so far from anyone who loved or cared about him that no one even knows exactly what happened to him, destroyed by a lifetime of bad choices and substance abuse.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Brian Pillman's son Brian Jr., upon learning of his father's death, believed that it was all a work, especially while observing his family crying and hugging one another. This is justified due to him being four-years-old at the time and seeing his father on television while also doing segments in the home as well, this was all he knew.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin wasn't too excited in having to team up with Brian Pillman as the former had wanted to focus on his own singles career, but after their time together as the Hollywood Blondes tag team, they eventually became close friends.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Herb Abrams had the UWF Championship belt designed with the letters "UWF" placed on both sides of the gold plate so when the belt was focused on camera, the "F" on the left and "U" on the right would be shown. Three guesses what the letters meant and who it was towards.
  • Goodbye, Cruel World!: Chris Benoit apparently left something akin to a suicide note in a Bible before he killed himself, as recounted by Matthew Randazzo V (a journalist who covered Benoit's case).
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Vince McMahon is often portrayed as having a hand in a lot of the more shady practices of the WWE.
    • Going through with the Montreal Screwjob was Vince's call, even if Jim Cornette offhandedly suggested the idea in a booking meeting.
    • It's implied that the reason that Jimmy Snuka's rumors of killing Nancy Argentino went away was because of a meeting between Snuka, McMahon, and the Allentown police investigating the crime. There's also no transcript or recording of that meeting.
    • Butterbean states that Vince brought him in to squash Bart Gunn as punishment for the latter beating "Dr. Death" Steve Williams in the Brawl for All.
    • Vince tried to make David Schultz into a scapegoat as, once he was sent to Japan on Vince's suggestion, he was being talked into attacking a reporter in order to build up a reputation of being a loose cannon. All to absolve WWF of any wrongdoing in John Stossel's lawsuit. Not helping matters, Vince tried to make Schultz sign a document stating that he acted on his own accord, despite telling Schultz to attack the reporter. When Schultz didn't sign it, he ended up being blackballed from other promotions under the threat that WWF would not do business with them if they signed Schultz.
    • Owen Hart's family blames his death on Vince's negligence, as the harness that was being used to lower Owen from the rafters to the ring was not fit for that purpose.
    • After promising Melanie Pillman that he wouldn't bring up drug abuse in his interview with her, he proceeds to do just that. Not to mention the scumminess of having a grieving widow do a live interview on TV less than two days after Brian Pillman had been found dead.
  • He Knows Too Much: Tony Atlas was called by Savio Vega, who had gathered his belongings from the hotel and told him not go back there as "they're looking" for him, due to the fact that Atlas himself is the one who's speaking out about Bruiser Brody's death by Invader #1.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Chris Benoit is presented this way following Eddie Guerrero's death. As Chris Jericho puts it, Benoit essentially became a hermit after Eddie died, breaking into random bouts of crying and becoming very withdrawn. And since Benoit already had a reputation for being quiet and stoic, this was seen as particularly discomforting.
    • Owen Hart's colleagues who were present during his fatal accident all recounted the event with obvious traumatic looks (e.g. D'Lo Brown and Jim Ross). While he's not interviewed, you can also see Jerry Lawler have this reaction in the aftermath, looking like he'd seen a ghost.
  • Honorary Uncle: David Benoit describes both Chris Jericho and Chavo Guerrero as such, as the two are the only friends of his late father who looked after him following the 2007 tragedy.
  • Hookers and Blow: What Herb Abrams spent his free time on. His last moments of life were spent naked (or only in his underwear) with two prostitutes and a mountain of cocaine. He even used this trope as a recruiting tool for a manager he ended up hiring.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Jim Cornette states that if the David Schultz slapping John Stossel incident didn't occur, there would've been a conflict between Schultz and Vince McMahon in regards to the direction of the WWF, which would've led to Schultz's departure anyway.
  • Irony: The Godfather, a pimp wrestler, was portrayed by Charles Wright, who has stated that he hates pimps.
  • It's the Principle of the Thing: John Stossel's motivation for writing his exposé on professional wrestling was that, being a wrestler himself in high school, he couldn't stand seeing people being fooled into believing that pro wrestling was real. Stossel's motivation for the lawsuit against WWF was that he felt WWF needed to be taught a lesson in regards to having their wrestlers attack reporters.
  • Kayfabe: Discussed. Owing to the nature of pro wrestling as being predetermined, wrestlers are expected to keep storylines as consistent as possible, even in real life. However, Dark Side focuses on the real-life backstage politics and drama, which leads to some things spilling over into the ring anyways.
    • The Montreal Screwjob happened because Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels legitimately hated each other, resulting in both men refusing to lose at Survivor Series 1997. This put Vince McMahon between the proverbial rock and a hard place, resulting in McMahon actually screwing Hart out of the title to get the belt off of Hart, since Hart was about to leave for WCW and McMahon didn't want Hart to disrespect the WWF title. Hart even went on news shows after the incident to complain about how he actually got screwed.
    • The Brawl for All got out of control as it did because of backstage politics and motivations. Then, when the "wrong guy" won the whole thing, Bart Gunn got punished for it.
    • David Schultz was a firm believer in this. When Vince McMahon asked him to confront reporter John Stossel, he did so in character. When Stossel asked him point-blank if wrestling was fake, Schultz responded the way his alter-ego would; by slapping him in the face. Twice.
    • Brian Pillman spent much of his career taking advantage of people's growing awareness to Kayfabe by presenting himself as a loose cannon who was the one person not following the rules some fans had realized were there. This may have worked a little too well, as the second half of his episode has people admit they questioned whether things like him getting into an awful car wreck or even dying were a part of this strategy.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again:
    • Played for drama. After the murder-suicide of Chris Benoit in 2007, Benoit got almost completely erased from WWE history; the only thing of Benoit that remained is title reign records. However, there was an unspoken rule after his death that WWE personnel were not to talk about Benoit in any way, shape, or form. It certainly didn't help that WWE had aired a tribute to Benoit before learning the facts of how he had died, forcing Vince McMahon to effectively Un-person Benoit in a prepared statement the night after the tribute show.
    • Invoked by Bart Gunn at the end of the Brawl for All episode. He agreed with Bruce Prichard's statement that the Brawl for All was the absolute worst idea in the history of the business, before ultimately stating that it should never be done again and it was best left as a memory long forgotten.
  • Living Emotional Crutch:
    • Eddie Guerrero is painted this way for Chris Benoit. After Guerrero's untimely death in 2005, Benoit was never the same. It's generally agreed upon that Eddie's death is a big part of why Benoit committed the murder-suicide of his family in 2007, with Benoit's own journals confirming it. How much Eddie's death factors in when coupled with the multitude of Benoit's injuries, drug abuse, and deaths of other friends is something we'll never really know. However, Eddie's death certainly couldn't have helped.
    • Vickie Guerrero describes Nancy Benoit this way. After Eddie's death, Vickie was understandably an emotional wreck, with Nancy stepping up to take care of things for Vickie. After about a week of this, Vickie describes Nancy almost literally throwing her into a shower, getting Vickie's kids ready, and taking her to lunch in an attempt to get Vickie out of her funk. Vickie clearly appreciates the effort, saying Nancy was her "guardian angel" during that time.
  • Manly Tears: Considering the topics covered, expect to see male wrestlers, personalities and even relatives getting really emotional. Most notably is Jim Cornette in the Owen Hart episode, especially upon recalling hearing his last words were of trying to save anyone he may have fallen on. This was subverted in Jim Ross' case (he likely can't cry due to his advanced Bell's Palsy), but he confess that Owen's death is possibly the worst moment that ever happened in his life.note 
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Eddy Mansfield's reaction to seeing John Stossel's exposé on wrestling, believing that he was tricked by Stossel. Others such as Jim Cornette and David Schultz are far less than sympathetic towards Mansfield who believed that he did this out of revenge for being blackballed from the industry.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: The reason why supporters of The Fabulous Moolah speak up regarding the controversy, stating she's no longer here to defend herself. Even Moolah's critics apply this, as they went out of their way to contain their anger.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Had Shawn Michaels not told Bret Hart to his face that he would never put Bret over just as Bret was trying to make amends, Bret would probably not have had an issue putting over Shawn, and the Montreal Screwjob could probably have been avoided.
    • It's arguable that due to the mockery of the idea of him knocking out "Dr. Death" Steve Williams (even to his face) from people such as Bruce Prichard and Pat Patterson, Bart Gunn was extra motivated to defeat him. Gunn himself even described this as "poking the bear".
  • No OSHA Compliance: The biggest factor in the death of Owen Hart. When the regular, safe stunt harness took too long to unhook for his Fall-On-His-Face entrance in rehearsal, he was given a different harness, with no backup line. Even worse, the release clip was designed for sail boats, and only required five pounds of pressure to release. Owen's widow Martha demonstrates this by locking and releasing the clip with just her thumb.
  • Oblivious to His Own Description: Jim Cornette stated that Bret Hart took the wrestling business too seriously to the point of his own detriment. This coming from a man who threatened to kill Vince Russo over making terrible booking decisions (and vowed to piss on his grave), and who rages against any hint of comedy involved in wrestling.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: David Schultz recounts how his career suffered due to not living down the slapping incident, due to Vince McMahon essentially forcing Schultz to be blackballed from the wrestling industry.
  • Outliving One's Offspring:
    • The Von Erich Family episode discusses how Fritz dealt with losing five of his six sons.
    • Gino Hernandez's surviving mother is shown still grieving for him.
    • After Chris Benoit's Pater Familicide, his father Michael had his brain checked for CTE.
    • Nancy Argentino's parents are wry on the very shady circumstances surrounding her death.
    • Owen Hart is the youngest of the Hart family, and clips of his funeral shows his elderly parents attending.
  • Overcrank: Several interspersed segments with actors are deliberately played in slow motion. They're also very blurry, with heavy light/dark contrasts in them.
  • Precision F-Strike: When asked what he would say to David Schultz if he was in front of him, John Stossel responds: "Fuck you, David."
  • Present Absence: Many episodes are about the legacies of dead wrestlers.
    • Both Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit are no longer here to talk about their mentalities in the mid-2000s, with the latter especially leaving a lot of questions as to why he committed the Murder-Suicide of his family and himself.
    • The Fabulous Moolah is no longer here to defend her now-controversial legacy after her abuses were revealed. Even her critics seem hesitant to show their anger in interviews now that Moolah is dead.
  • Promoted Fanboy: invoked A supplemental video on wrestling manager Jim Cornette paints him this way, showing his attic which is chock full of wrestling memorabilia. Cornette says that "if it's happened since the pioneer days in professional wrestling, I have documentation of it here in this room". Cornette shows off a book of promoter Sam Muchnick's programs, with Cornette calling it his prized possession and saying he'd grab that book first and his wife second if their house was on fire.
  • Season Finale:
  • Sickening "Crunch!":
    • Jim Ross describes the impact of Owen Hart's fatal fall as having a disturbing thud.
    • Darren "Droz" Drozdov describes hearing two loud pops during the botched powerbomb that left him paralyzed.
  • Single-Issue Wonk: Downplayed with Jim Ross in regards to "Dr. Death" Steve Williams. He believes that everyone is blowing everything out of proportion in regards to the perceived favoritism Williams received in the Brawl for All and that everyone should just grow up, especially in regards to him being upset over Bart Gunn knocking out "his boy."
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending:
    • The two-part Chris Benoit episodes are overall grim, but it ends with Chris' eldest son David reconnecting with his aunt Sandra (Nancy's sister) thanks to Chris Jericho.
    • The Owen Hart episode episode shows that his family never got legit justice for his death, but they live their lives in a noble and fulfilling way to honor his memory.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Discussed in regards to the Bart Gunn/Butterbean fight at WrestleMania XV. While Gunn may be a talented boxer and Butterbean being Unskilled, but Strong, a professional will always beat an amateur. Butterbean even notes that Bart Gunn trying to box was his own undoing.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Dino Bravo died by multiple gunshots.
  • This Is Unforgivable!:
    • Several interviewees on Chris Benoit over his Pater Familicide. Even Chris Jericho and Chavo Guerrero, who are sympathetic of Benoit, openly condemn him as a murderer.
    • Many people such as Jim Cornette and David Schultz uphold and maintain this view towards Eddy Mansfield over his role in John Stossel's exposé on wrestling. No matter how much he claimed that he was doing it for the sake of the wrestlers, they were the ones who would've suffered the most as it would've directly affect their livelihood. And even then, they believed that it was more in retaliation for being blackballed from the industry than any care for "the boys."
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Vince McMahon thought he would gain sympathy in his interview with Jim Ross in regards to the Montreal Screwjob, but he came off to the audience as cold and calculating. McMahon instead pulled an Author's Saving Throw by having a larger on-screen presence as a Corrupt Corporate Executive as a result, paving the way for what's known as the Attitude Era.invoked
  • Unknown Rival: Herb Abrams to Vince McMahon. After being snubbed by Vince in regards to possibly working together, Herb vowed to run him out of business. Vince, aside from resigning André the Giant after his one-time appearance in UWF, doesn't seem to pay him any attention.
  • Un-person:
    • Besides erasing Chris Benoit from their programming, WWE basically tried to pretend that David Benoit didn't exist after the Murder-Suicide. David admits in an interview that he's still mad at WWE for it.
    • Subverted with Jimmy Snuka. He was removed from the WWE Hall of Fame after legal troubles began catching up to him, but after his death in 2017, he was quietly re-added to the Hall.
  • The Unsolved Mystery:
    • Who exactly killed (if so) "Gorgeous" Gino Hernandez is left up in the air. It's implied that Gino was Properly Paranoid and killed during a deal over money gone wrong, but there are a few unanswered questions.
    • Similarly, the murder of Dino Bravo is unlikely to be solved. Shot more than a dozen times, the case has plenty of questions and few answers. Bravo died in his recliner while watching a hockey game, with no forced entry found. Bravo seemed to know his killer(s) and either wasn't expecting to be killed or was resigned to his fate.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • Jim Cornette suggesting double-crossing Bret Hart was what led to the Montreal Screwjob. Cornette admits, years later, that he's responsible for the death of kayfabe (albeit entirely by accident), despite Cornette being one of its most passionate defenders. Once Cornette saw Shawn Michaels put Bret Hart in the sharpshooter submission hold, Cornette said "Screw This, I'm Outta Here!" and jumped into a car before he saw anything else go down.
    • Oddly, and by no means their fault in any way, Sting and WCW management. Owen Hart's descents from the rafters were designed as a comedic jab at Sting's heroic zip line entrances. This is why Owen would be humiliated when he did the stunt, such as being unmasked by Steve Blackman while simultaneously being unable to get his feet on the ground. The night he died, he was supposed to release himself about three feet above the ring and fall flat on his face. To WCW's credit, they always made sure Sting was rigged by professionals and that he was properly trained. As noted above, negligence by WWE management led to Owen's fatal fall.
    • Eddy Mansfield, in a way, unwittingly caused the end of David Schultz's wrestling career when he decided to work with John Stossel's exposé on wrestling. See Didn't Think This Through. Ironically, Mansfield even warned Stossel to avoid Schultz.
  • Vindicated by History: Invoked by Eddy Mansfield, who stated that Vince McMahon's decision to declare wrestling as Sports Entertainment rather than a sport prove that he was right all along.
  • Worth It: Subverted with Vince Russo in regards to the Brawl for All. At first, he was satisfied as he got what he (and unwillingly Cornette) wanted (Bradshaw being knocked out), but considering the injuries as well as the current knowledge about concussions, Russo stated that he would never do this again.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Chris Benoit suffocated his then-seven-year-old son by smothering him to death.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Though there are few confirmed details in the Dino Bravo case, police are convinced the killer(s) waited until his wife and young daughter were out of the house before going through with the murder.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Possibly in regards to John Stossel's lawsuit against WWF over the infamous "Slap heard around the world." It doesn't help that Stossel all but admits the pre-trial doctor's diagnosis that he may be faking his pain for the sake of the lawsuit is true.
    "I held onto my pain, but it gradually did go away when I got paid."
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: The saga of the Von Erich Family is presented as a constant game of "one step forward, two steps back" with success and tragedy. Just when it seems like the Von Erichs are starting to find success and put their tragedies behind them, something else will happen to cause even more heartache. It got to a point where Fritz Von Erich, the patriarch of the Von Erich family, started pulling a gun on his own kids because he'd become mentally unable to deal with all the heartbreak anymore.
  • You Killed My Father:
    • Owen Hart's widow and children openly resent WWE for their negligence that led to his death.
    • Brian Pillman's daughter Brittany openly resents her father's widow Melanie, who she holds responsible for her mother being Driven to Suicide, even calling her evil and the devil.

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