Follow TV Tropes


What An Idiot / Pro Wrestling

Go To

The world of Professional Wrestling exists as an acting simulation of a stunt combat sport that tells stories of good, evil, and in-between. Naturally, these men and women for the most part all know what they're doing, and they're all willing to do and/or endure whatever it takes to reach the top.

But sometimes, they'll do blatantly genre blind things that almost make you forget that's the case.

    open/close all folders 

  • A heel stable or alliance comes out and cuts a promo or has a match, and suddenly the music of their main face rival comes on.
    You'd Expect: The stable to stick together and wait for the face to arrive so they can all attack him together—especially if this is what they usually do anyway.
    Instead: The leader of the team sends out his stablemates to meet the face on the ramp as if they were some sort of gatekeepers.
    The Result: Naturally, every single time this happens the babyface comes from the crowd and freely gets his hands on the heel leader.
  • Similarly, a heel stable or alliance has collected various singles and tag team titles, but a lower ranking member is given a shot at a higher members title.
    You'd Expect: The stable to stick together, with the two members who face each other to compete strongly but fairly until the championship is decided, at which point they go back to being a complete stable, knowing that it's better to dominate a division together than be divided.
    Instead: The leader of the team gets the other members to attack the challenger to secure his dominance.
    The Result: Of course, a Heel–Face Turn results and the leader loses his title and a powerful ally.
  • A heel champion has two or more strong contenders for his/her championship, all fighting in a match for a title shot and none of them being distracted with other issues or looking like the clear favorite.
    You'd Expect: The champion to let the match play out, take the opportunity to scout the competition, and deal with the one challenger that emerges on top.
    Instead: The champion attacks all the challengers before a #1 contender can be decided.
    Even Worse: The champion will then declare that since none of the contenders won, none of them are worthy of, nor will be receiving, a title shot. Outright implying the champion's belief to have ensured him/herself a night off for the next pay-per-view or special event.
    The Result: Naturally, the general manager overrules the decision and says that none of them lost, therefore the champ has to defend the strap against everyone involved.
  • A wrestler cashes in the Money in the Bank contract on a downed superstar when another superstar (often the current rival of the contract holder) comes in to stop them.
    You'd Expect: The attacking wrestler to wait for the match to start and the bell to ring, then go in and cause a disqualification. Not only does the title stay on the current champion, but with the cash-in match having already taken place, the MITB holder loses the contract forever.
    Instead: The attacking wrestler goes after the briefcase holder immediately. Thus, the match never starts and the contract is still valid.
  • A wrestler is on top of the steel cage with an opponent lying down in the middle of the ring.
    You'd Expect: The wrestler to climb down the cage and win the match.
    Instead: The wrestler chooses to go for a high-risk diving attack on the opponent.
    The Result: The opponent will often roll out of the way at the last minute, leaving the wrestler vulnerable from the impact of hitting the ring. The opponent often then pins the wrestler for the victory.
  • A wrestler (usually the face but occasionally the heel) is in a match with an opponent who is accompanied by a manager, fellow stable members, or ally. The opponent is down on the canvas.
    You'd Expect: The wrestler to realize that the others are going to try to aid their friend and if he/she is going to use a top rope maneuver he/she try it away from the outside enemies.
    Instead: The wrestler will choose the exact corner of the ring where the rivals are.
    The Result: The outside help easily interferes and likely costs him/her the match.
  • A group of heels are beating down a friend of the face. The face can't bear to watch and heads to the ring.
    You'd Expect: The face to bring allies or a weapon with them to even the odds.
    Instead: The wrestler runs to the ring alone.
    The Result: The wrestler becomes a victim of the numbers game.

    World Wrestling Entertainment 
  • On an episode of Superstars in 1990, the Big Boss Man appears under Slick's directive and attacks Jake "The Snake" Roberts, handcuffs him to the ropes, and takes the canvas sack containing both Roberts' pet snake Damien and Ted DiBiase's custom-made Million Dollar Championshipnote , then turns it over to DiBiase. Boss Man, Slick, and DiBiase are then interviewed by Brother Love about this.
    You'd Expect: Slick and DiBiase to have discussed Big Boss Man's sense of honor and dedication to law and order and noted that any discussion about their partnership around him needed to emphasize the retrieval of DiBiase's stolen property—as well as either been honest with him from the jump about Ted's "generous donations" or promptly agreed to "forget" that money ever changed hands, depending on his tolerance for such arrangements.
    Instead: DiBiase openly brags that he "bought the best police protection money can buy." Boss Man looks pissed and immediately starts confronting Slick.
    You'd then expect: Slick and DiBiase to maintain some sense of cool over the situation, with Slick reminding Boss Man that there was stolen property involved and DiBiase covering for the payoff by calling it a favor he's owed Slick for awhile.
    Instead: Slick meekly tries to downplay the transaction through language, only for Million Dollar Ted begins to start berating Boss Man about how he paid for their services and Boss Man needed to finish the job and get the belt out of the bag and give it to him.
    The result: Boss Man takes the belt out of the bag…only to tell DiBiase to earn it back, put it back in the bag, and return said bag to Jake along with the key to the cuffs, completing a Heel–Face Turn which could've been avoided.
  • On the 09/28/98 episode of Raw, Vince McMahon is going to award the WWF title to either The Undertaker or Kane as payment for keeping "Stone Cold" Steve Austin away from Vince. However, after an attack by Stone Cold, Vince decides that Undertaker and Kane did not live up to the deal of keeping Stone Cold away from Vince. Vince decides to make Kane and Undertaker fight for the title at the next PPV with Stone Cold as the referee and that night on Raw they would have to participate in a handicap match.
    You'd Expect: For Vince to immediately leave the ring after making this announcement, as Undertaker and Kane aren't in the best of moods at the moment.
    Instead: Vince insults them by calling them mentally and physically handicapped. He insults Kane and the freaking Undertaker.
    The result: Undertaker threatens Vince that if he ever pulls a stunt like this again, then Vince will be the one handicapped. Kane and Undertaker turn their backs to Vince.
    You'd then expect: For Vince to get out of the damn ring. Two monsters just threatened to cripple you, LEAVE.
    Instead: For God knows what reason, Vince takes this opportunity to flip them both the double bird! Undertaker turns around and sees this.
    The result: A massive beatdown on Vince by Kane and the Undertaker. They end the beatdown by breaking Vince's leg on the metal ring steps.
  • At Unforgiven 2005 there was some idiocy on both sides, as Ric Flair was battling Carlito for the Intercontinental Championship. At one point, Flair – despite Carlito attempting to knock him off the turnbuckle – successfully performs an aerial wrestling move, which is somewhat rare even for him that decade.
    You'd Expect: The Nature Boy to capitalise on his momentum against Carlito.
    Instead: He actually does, although Flair decides to go up the top rope again since it worked well last time.
    Even Worse: He yells out his WOOOOOOOOOOO before performing the move as if to paint a huge bullseye on himself, which Carlito hits by performing a catching dropkick in retaliation after coming to.
    You'd Then Expect: Carlito to take advantage of a downed Naitch with the Back Stabber, or anything else than what he went on to do.
    Instead: Carlito decides to waste time and grab his apple waiting outside the ring, intending to spit in the face of the 16-Time World Champion after mocking him.
    The Result: Flair punches Carlito just as he was about to spit at him. And when The Nature Boy locked in his Figure Four, all Carlito could do, with chunks of apple caught in his throat, was tap out, allowing Flair to win the Intercontinental Championship.
  • Michelle McCool's heel-turn angle with Maria Kanellis and Eve Torres on Smackdown in 2008/2009.
    You'd Expect: After McCool losing two matches and taking it out on Maria both times, Maria would show some caution around McCool, and so would Eve after Maria gets the snot kicked out of her when McCool finally loses the title.
    Instead: Apparently girlfriends do this all the time in wrestling land? That's what she told them, and that was enough to gain their forgiveness. And they totally didn't see the asskicking they would get coming.
  • On the August 28, 2009 edition of Raw, John Cena is in a gauntlet match against Chris Jericho, Big Show, and his Arch-Enemy Randy Orton. Cena is utterly punished by both Jericho and Big Show for about 20 minutes, only getting past them thanks to their willingness to get themselves/each other disqualified in order to deal more damage against him. By the time they're done with him, he's been victim to both the Walls of Jericho and the Colossal Clutch, and is left lying a mess in the middle of the ring.
    You'd Expect: Orton to quickly sprint to the ring, take advantage of the situation, beat the hell out of Cena and finish him off with an RKO, either to get the pin or to simply hurt Cena more heading into Hell in a Cell. Especially since the Cell itself is above the ring tonight to foreshadow the pay-per-view, so he could've even used it to add to either the physical or symbolic value of the beating.
    Instead: He does his same old methodical Viper entrance even slower than usual in a subtle yet counterproductive display of Evil Gloating.
    The Result: John Cena recovers by the time he gets in the ring, gets the Cell lowered around them, beats down Orton, and gets to stand tall at the end of the show.
  • Kaval lasts five minutes in a grueling match against Big Show to earn a spot on Team Smackdown at the 2010 Bragging Rights. Then Tyler Reks comes out to challenge him for his spot. Teddy Long comes out to stop him.
    You'd Expect: Kaval, obviously in no condition to compete after his match, to request it be postponed in order to give time for his body to heal.
    Instead: Being the Determinator that he is, Kaval throws out all logic and accepts Reks' challenge. Only for him to be beaten quickly, thus losing his spot.
  • Following the successful completion of his Evil Plan against The Undertaker, Kane has the World Heavyweight Championship and his brother is buried alive for the fifth time. His next challenger, is one-time rival Edge. Who, in a move full of Moral Dissonance in and of itself, promptly decides to kidnap his father to try to get in his head, and after one title shot failed, to get another one.
    You'd Expect: Kane to immediately go straight to General Manager Teddy Long and threaten to walk out with the belt if Teddy doesn't force Edge to give Paul Bearer back, especially since kidnapping non-wrestlers isn't something Long is supposed to condone anyway and Teddy's had history with Edge giving him trouble since back when Edge was a heel. If Teddy refused or couldn't make Edge return Paul, Kane could easily make good on his threat until Teddy or Edge finally caves or someone else with some sense takes over to make sure the right thing gets done. In other words, what CM Punk would do just 8-9 months later in 2011, except more specific to a brand (Smackdown), less "Voice of the Voiceless", and more "GIVE ME BACK MY DAD!".
    Instead: Kane keeps scrambling around and running after wherever Edge showed his face last like a blubbering idiot, and is driven to the point of pleading humanity in desperation. He ends up with Teddy right in front of him at least twice, yet can only ask "Where's Paul!?" or "Where's Edge!?".
    The result: Daddy Paul gets Put on a Bus again, Kane gets trapped in a four-way TLC match at the end of the year and loses the World Heavyweight Title to Edge, promptly becoming a midcard human-like face AGAIN shortly thereafter.
  • Toward the end of 2010, Wade Barrett and The Nexus have to deal with recently fired John Cena picking them apart one by one with impunity and being treated exactly like if he was still a Superstar, primarily because security won't help them after the NXT Riot.
    You'd Expect: Well, number one, for not every security team in the country to take the NXT Riot so personally they refuse to do their jobs when it involves the Nexus. Barring that, for the Anonymous General Manager to start ordering security to do something about Cena. Barring both of those, you'd think the cunning clan of angry rookies who practically took over WWE would have a plan to respond to this after the first couple of attacks. As he technically isn't under contract, they could easily have police arrest Cena for assault and criminal trespassing. At the very least, they could employ basic defensive strategy and make sure to always walk in groups of at least two whenever they're inside an arena or hotel during Monday Night Raw.
    Instead: Nobody does anything, Cena's treated like he's still a Superstar, and Nexus continue to act like sitting ducks as John Cena attacks them one at a time. By the time they finally try to get back on the offensive with Cena, he's managed to get the entire locker room in on the plan for revenge against them and their attack backfires horribly.
    • Furthermore: This eventually leads to a confrontation in the ring when Barrett calls out Cena to tell him his plan won't work because Wade will never rehire him. Cena points out that as long as he's "fired" he can do whatever he wants to Nexus, trying to stir the pot and make Barrett out to not care at all about the other members' well being.
      You'd Expect: Barrett to immediately see through Cena stirring the shit, and cut that off at the pass by reminding everyone that he spearheaded the Nexus's rise to prominence and upheld their pledge to get every member a main roster contract, even including Harris and McGillicutty from NXT season 2. Then, either bring out cops to arrest Cena now that he's finally been drawn out, or have Nexus destroy Cena and take back the upper hand yet.
      Instead: He allows Cena to play him into showing off his true Machiavellian colors, leading to the group being so upset with him that instead of destroying Cena, they walk out on Barrett and force him to rehire Cena in order to remain a member, and then turn to CM Punk for leadership.
  • As a result of the above, Wade Barrett ends up in a triple threat cage match that he has to win or else he's kicked out of Nexus. Even now, he has two of these moments, both within the same match:
    • Wade's on top of the cage with both Randy Orton and Sheamus on the floor.
      You'd Expect: Barrett to exit the cage, knowing that his place (let alone leadership) in The Nexus is on the line.
      Instead: He goes for an elbow drop on Sheamus, which he counters with his knees. But that's nothing note  compared to...
    • Wade's climbing up the cage with both of his opponents down. CM Punk runs out and climbs the cage, seemingly to help him.
      You'd Expect: Barrett to either drop down and walk out the door, or at least knock Punk away, knowing that he's been the one who has been trying to usurp control of Nexus from him.
      Instead: He takes Punk's hand, which he uses as an opportunity to strip him of his Nexus armband before knocking him back down the cage.
      The end result: Nexus becomes a cult under Punk and ends in gradual Badass Decay, with Punk leaving them behind to become the Best Wrestler in the World.
  • On the 12/5/11 airing of Monday Night Raw, Randy Orton is in a match with the Miz. They're both out of the ring and Randy slams Miz. Wade Barrett comes out and watches the match and both the Miz and Randy are close to being counted out. Randy pushes the Miz into the ring.
    You'd Expect: Randy to ignore Wade and continue the match.
    Instead: Randy chases Wade and gets counted out as a result.
  • John Laurinaitis just fired Big Show for mocking his voice. Even though he apologized and was forced to be on his knees crying, Laurinaitis refused to accept his apology and fired him. Laurinaitis is scheduled to be in a match with John Cena at Over the Limit that Sunday. The catch is, if Cena won, Laurinaitis would be permanently fired, and if anyone interfered on Laurinaitis’s behalf, they too would also lose their jobs. The match is mostly a comedy squash with Cena humiliating Laurinaitis. Eventually, though, Laurinaitis chickens out and runs to the back. But suddenly, Big Show comes dragging him back out for Cena to beat.
    You'd Expect: Big Show would help Cena destroy Laurinaitis, leading to Cena getting the win. The eventual replacement for Laurinaitis would almost certainly rehire Show immediately after being appointed.
    Instead: Big Show knocks Cena out cold as he is about to give an Attitude Adjustment to Laurinaitis. This allows Laurinaitis to get the pin and keep his job.
    But wait!: Later developments explained that Big Show turned heel because he claimed neither Cena nor any other face on the roster nor any of the fans showed any sympathy for him following his firing or any urgency to get him his job back. It was also mentioned that Laurinaitis offered Show another chance a day before the match. Based on this evidence, it can be concluded that the aging, out-of-shape Laurinaitis, desperate to find a way to save his job, saw Big Show as his ticket to victory, since he no longer had a job to be fired from. Thus, Laurinaitis likely contacted Show to apologize to him about overstepping his boundaries, offer him his job back if he helps him beat Cena, and finally, to manipulate him onto his side, convince him that the other faces and the fans abandoned him — that, plus the promise of the "iron-clad contract". Pure genius.
    The result: Laurinaitis was fired for good once Cena beat Big Show in a steel cage match at the next PPV, No Way Out, while Big Show still had his new "iron-clad contract".
  • Alberto Del Rio is cheated at Summerslam 2012 by Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship when the referee misses his foot being on the rope, then the next night on Raw when Sheamus stops Del Rio from beating Randy Orton the same way. On Smackdown, General Manager Booker T is speaking to Orton and Sheamus about the #1 contendership to Sheamus's title, and his tone towards Orton has just shifted from being excited about the match to more serious and somber.
    You'd expect: Del Rio to wait for Booker, the same Reasonable Authority Figure who forced Sheamus to apologize for stealing and trashing his car a few weeks back, to finish saying what he was going to say.
    Instead: He comes out flapping his gums in a justified-but-overblown angry tirade about being a conspiracy victim, claiming everyone else is against him and even calling Booker a peasant (King Booker?) and a criminal (Booker once spent 19 months in jail for armed robbery before his wrestling career).
    The result: He was going to be named the #1 contender, but because of his rant, he and Orton are instead booked to have it out again in the main event. Luckily for Del Rio, he's able to get the job done.
  • Raw General Manager AJ Lee has been as horribly biased and erratic a Face General Manager as there has ever been. Former love interests who are sympathetic villains can expect to be pulled into defending the WWE Championship in matches that work against them or being humiliated and put into anger management classes. Anyone who says the word "crazy" around her can expect to be put into a match designed for them to get squashed. At least one backstage interview has ended in her flinching as a result of some question about her actions catching her off guard. The site even has an article up asking if she's just a Cloudcuckoolander or Drunk with Power. And as a result of booking a match where Dolph Ziggler's hard-earned contract for a shot at a title that she claims she has no jurisdiction over (not to mention Chris Jericho's job) was put on the line on a whim, Dolph's manager Vickie Guerrero is in the ring on the 8/27/12 episode of Raw announcing her intent to go to the Board of Directors to get AJ fired as GM and outright calling her a mentally deranged child.
    You'd expect: Something, anything, of a more measured response than what she actually did. Even putting Vickie in another one of her "don't call me crazy" dick move matches would've been a better idea.
    Instead: She comes out and violently beats on Vickie Guerrero herself, practically ensuring that the Board of Directors would have to grab their own Idiot Ball not to at least order her to take the same anger management classes she's got Daniel Bryan on.
    The result: Remember that "you can't hit anyone" edict Linda McMahon put on "Stone Cold" Steve Austin back when he was co-GMs with Eric Bischoff in 2003? Yeah, the board imposed that on her, and didn't even give her the caveat Austin got about being physically provoked, either.
  • After Sheamus hits Alberto Del Rio's sidekick Ricardo Rodriguez with the Brogue Kick, Del Rio and David Otunga have returned to the lawsuit aisle, providing evidence of the Brogue Kick's barbarism and brutal hazardousness to other wrestlers' health. This has led to General Manager Booker T conceding to rule a temporary ban on the Brogue Kick, and the following Monday, a court-ordered deposition at WWE Headquarters which would be aired on Raw.
    You'd expect: Sheamus to treat the case and his defense attorney with a modicum of seriousness, provide counterpoints including other lethal finishers that have been used at least as liberally and caused at least as much mayhem as the Brogue, have face Brogue victims testify about the move being mostly safe, suggest that Otunga may have submitted falsified evidence about the damage, and make the argument that what Otunga's asking for could escalate into a deep censorship-style crackdown of wrestling moves (and/or at the very least that it's hypocritical because Del Rio broke Rey Mysterio Jr.'s arm in his debut with the cross armbreaker).
    Instead: He takes the whole thing as a joke, starting off with a mouthy gag about how his "last name" is "Lipshitz", mocking Rodriguez with "Si, Senor", and Daniel Bryan with a constant "YES!" when Otunga brings up their incidents with the Brogue Kick. He stops his brief "but Del Rio" argument when Otunga says ADR's not the one being deposed without even mentioning the cross armbreaker. Finally, in a move that completely defies logic, he even closes out by Brogue Kicking the camcorder at the scene.
    Furthermore: Sheamus and Otunga have a match on the actual show. Where Sheamus proceeds to hit Otunga with the Brogue Kick.
    The result: A.J. Lee goes out there to presumably make another out-of-bounds imposition on the World Heavyweight title. Booker T has to swiftly come out to tell her he'll handle it, and he does so…by ruling that any use of the Brogue Kick by Sheamus before his investigation is complete means Sheamus is stripped of the title, thus putting a proverbial trap card in front of his kill shot maneuver right before his title defense at Night of Champions.
  • The night after the widely-panned-as-godawful WrestleMania 29, a Rawactive poll is sent to see if Randy Orton or Sheamus would face Big Show.
    You'd Expect: The winner of the poll to face Show.
    Instead: Booker T comes out revealing that he and Vickie Guerrero decided to invalidate the poll and let Sheamus and Orton duke it out amongst themselves.
    The Result: The crowd doesn't give any shits about the match, blatantly ignoring it. They even chant names like JBL, RVD, Randy Savage, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole and Mike Chioda! When Show comes out to attack the wrestlers and gets the match called off, the crowd chants, "Thank you, Big Show!"
  • Having stolen Seth Rollins' Money In The Bank briefcase seemingly for shits and giggles, and having successfully evaded every attempt to get the briefcase back or find him, Dean Ambrose suddenly announces that if Seth wants the briefcase back, then he can have it back unconditionally.
    You'd Expect: That Seth would be very wary of this offer, even when Ambrose leaves the case in the ring and leaves the ring without even taking a token shot at him, and thus get someone else to make sure that there's nothing wrong with the case, like, for instance, a member of the security team he's got backing him up.
    Instead: Seth throws all caution to the wind and opens the case without even trying to check it for booby-traps.
    The Result: He gets sprayed with green slime. True, it's basically harmless, but thanks to Ambrose, he now looks like an even bigger idiot in front of the Authority and the fans, and Ambrose has just given Seth yet another reason to want him dead—which comes back to bite him at the end of the show.
  • Fandango randomly dumps his long-time girlfriend and dance partner, Summer Rae, replacing her almost instantly with Layla. Things are going perfectly well for the new couple until Summer returns from her absence and immediately begins to feud with Layla. As the feud progresses, it becomes obvious that Fandango still has some feelings for Summer, even if they aren't as strong as his feelings for Layla.
    You'd Expect: That he'd realize that not trying to resolve the situation is a bad idea, especially given that both Summer and Layla have been in Alpha Bitch teams in the past and have a history of spiteful, petty responses.
    Instead: He lets it continue, doing virtually nothing to defuse the situation, in fact he seems to be purposely inflating the situation due to getting off on having two girls constantly fight over him.
    The result: Layla and Summer realize that he's a complete waste of their time and turn on him, beating him down and forming a new team. They then proceed to interfere in every one of his matches they possibly can and make him lose, to the point that they'll even go off with the winner just to rub it in his face.
  • In late 2015, Charlotte is in the middle of an intense feud with former PCB teammate Paige, who has taken to spitting on her family legacy and accusing her of being handed success as a Xerox copy of her father. Becky Lynch, the third wheel who's loyally sided with Charlotte, challenges her to a match on the 11/30/2015 edition of RAW in order to simply have a match with the intent of tearing the house down. The fans, who are 100% behind Becky, have started to grow cold on Charlotte's run as champion to the point that Paige has frequently gotten bigger pops than Charlotte despite her antics, with some having agreed with all the "she's just Ric Flair's charity case" stuff since Sasha Banks was saying it back in NXT during their title feud.
    You'd Expect: Charlotte to compete with honor, beat Becky straight-up in a good match like the champ she is, and give her a nod post-match to reaffirm their friendship and refortify some of the shaken respect from the audience.
    Instead: She plays Becky with a Wounded Gazelle Gambit. With Daddy Naitch himself being in on it from ringside. Playing right into the accusations of her being daddy's clone as well as all but giving away that she sweats Becky as a competitor more than she values her as a friend.
    What's worse: When Becky questions her backstage following the match, she brushes off her complaints by talking about how what she did was tough love because they're not in NXT, they're in the big leagues, they have to step up now—a statement that while technically true is woefully out of place in context of the "Divas Revolution"—and crediting herself as well as Paige—the woman who ruined her Divas Title celebration, viciously turned on them after weeks of head games, and publicly insulted her dead brother—as examples of doing so. Unless she wanted to make her problems worse, giving clear tells that she's becoming "corporate" to the one fellow Diva that's loyally stood with her and had her back since July was the worst move she could make here.
  • August 14, 2017. Former archenemies Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins have spent the past month-plus aligning by coincidence against The Miztourage (The Miz, Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel) and Raw Tag Team Champions The Bar (Cesaro and Sheamus), all while going back and forth on whether they wanted to patch up their issues and get back on the same page for the first time since Rollins broke The Shield. Rollins calls Ambrose to the ring, and they each proceed to continue the back and forth sticking their fist out for three seconds only for the other to hesitate and question them, resulting in the two men coming to blows and brawling all over the ring.
    You'd Expect: Every single heel in the arena to stay completely absent from the scene and give Ambrose and Rollins the absolute widest berth possible to destroy themselves, preempting the entire possibility of a reunion.
    Instead: Cesaro and Sheamus, the Raw Tag Team Champions who were recently beaten by these two guys, rush out to the ring to pick the bones and beat them up. This forces Ambrose and Rollins to work together to fend them off. Cue both fists extending at the same time to a thunderous pop.
    The Result: Ambrose and Rollins hit on all cylinders and beat Cesaro and Sheamus for the tag straps at SummerSlam, guaranteeing that they will be working together for awhile.
    • Continuing off this one, the third member of The Shield, Roman Reigns, comes off his Worked Shoot mini-feud with "free agent" John Cena after No Mercy and is promptly needled for weeks by the same Miz about how his crew would beat up The Shield. Reigns obviously brushes it off, given Ambrose and Rollins by themselves have beaten all three of The Miztourage, and insists that he and his Shield brothers are each doing their own thing. Also, Rollins and Ambrose both take to challenging Braun Strowman and are essentially palmed into the mat each time. Most notably, on the October 2 episode of Raw, they both get dropped by Strowman at the same time and then The Bar come out and jump them as well, yet Reigns, who's spent most of 2017 in a heated feud with Braun, is nowhere to be seen.
      You'd Expect: Cesaro and Sheamus call it a night and spend the foreseeable future taking advantage of opportunities to pick apart Ambrose and Rollins to take back their tag team titles with full confidence that Reigns is in fact focused on his own endeavors.
      Instead: The Bar proceed to stop Roman Reigns from beating The Miz for the Intercontinental title that same night, resulting in not only getting Reigns' attention, but also giving Rollins and Ambrose reason to go reconvene with him.
      The Result: The Shield is back, and every heel in WWE is about to become chopped liver.
  • July 25, 2018. Aleister Black defends the NXT Championship against Tommaso Ciampa. Johnny Gargano, who has been suffering from a Heroic BSoD since his loss to his Evil Former Friend at NXT TakeOver: Chicago II, does not want Ciampa to win the championship.
    You'd Expect: For him to stay out of the match. Aleister Black is undefeated in singles competition so he has a good chance of beating Ciampa. Even Aleister himself told Johnny to mind his own business.
    Instead: He gets involved in the match, causing him to inadvertently take out Aleister. Paving the way for Ciampa to both end his undefeated streak and win the championship.
    • Johnny admits that he screwed up and caused Ciampa to become champion and vows to make it right. In the following week, Ciampa brags about his victory, which causes Aleister to come out.
      You'd Expect: Johnny to stay out of it. Seeing that he's already caused enough damage already, he wouldn't want to risk making things worse.
      Instead: He runs out past Aleister to attack Ciampa, even taunting his Evil Former Friend that the only reason he was champion was because of his screw up.
      The Result: Aleister takes out Johnny with a Black Mass in retaliation for his recklessness as even some of the fans turn against him, chanting "YOU DESERVE IT" at him.
  • Wrestlers aren't the only ones that have these types of moments. On the April 1, 2019 episode of Raw, a brawl between Ronda Rousey, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair got so out of hand that the police had to arrest them and send them to the local station.
    You'd Expect: Given how the wrestlers were still fighting each other even when handcuffed, that the cops would have three separate cars to transport each of them individually.
    Instead: The cops only brought two cars, with them trying to put Becky and Ronda in the same car.
    The Result: Becky and Ronda end up fighting in the car, with Ronda eventually destroying a side window in the chaos.
    You'd Then Expect: Once the cops got Becky Lynch out of the car, that they'd send the two cars to the station and ask for a third one to pick up Becky.
    Instead: The cops attempt to put Becky in the same cop car as Charlotte while leaving the one containing Ronda unattended to.
    The Result: Once the door to the second cop car opens, Charlotte proceeds to escape from it and attack Becky, while back in the first car, Ronda gets into the driver's seat and rams it into the second car.
  • On the July 29, 2019, episode of Raw, Mike Kanellis has just won the 24/7 Championship, a WWE title which purportedly can be up for grabs at any time, at any place so long as a referee is present. Shortly after the match, he meets with his wife, Maria in the locker room and, after a conversation she asks him to lie on his back on the floor, even calling a referee into the room.
    You'd Expect: Mike to immediately realize what his wife was up to and decline.
    Instead: He lies down anyway, and three seconds later, Maria is the new champion.
  • Money in the Bank 2020. The women's and men's MITB matches are happening simultaneously. King Corbin is the first man to make it to the roof of WWE Headquarters where the Money in the Bank briefcases are hanging over the ring. Asuka is already there on the ladder trying to grab the women's briefcase.
    You'd Expect: Corbin to ignore her and grab the men's briefcase.
    Instead: He tries to stop her. This leads to an altercation between the two, which ends with Asuka knocking him off the ladder.
    The Result: This allows the other men to catch up, culminating in Corbin and AJ Styles fighting over the briefcase on the ladder... until Elias suddenly appears and hits Corbin from behind with his guitar, leading to both Corbin and Styles losing control of the briefcase, which literally falls into Otis' hands. All which could've been avoided had Corbin not antagonized Asuka. Oh, for the record, Asuka got the women's briefcase anyway.

    Total Nonstop Action 
  • The Christian's Coalition/Angle Alliance split storyline in late 2007-early 2008 is filled with absolutely inane decisions that ended up killing one man's career and allowing another to gain tyrannical prominence over the company for about two years:
    • AJ Styles is seduced by Kurt Angle's wife Karen into trying to merge Christian's Coalition together with Angle's new group, the Angle Alliance. Predictably, Christian and Kurt can't get along, Christian becomes the top challenger to Kurt's World Heavyweight Title, and Styles and Tomko are forced to choose between Christian and Kurt—until Tomko decides to wash his hands of the whole situation and pick his own side instead.
      You'd expect: For Styles to either stick with Christian, the guy who helped him get back on his feet, brought Tomko to TNA, and put the two of them together in the first place, or follow Tomko's example and become an independent actor to gain more of the audience's respect than he already has.
      Instead: He falls for Karen's charms once again and stabs Christian in the back, costing him the title shot at Final Resolution and hitching his wagon to the same Olympic Gold Medalist who, in his short time as a member of the Alliance, has watched as he was forced to wear reindeer and turkey suits as a result of losing holiday matches and proceeded to hurl insults at him for it.
    • The very next month, Christian earns yet another title shot against Kurt, who tries again to recruit Tomko. Kurt tries to seduce Tomko with Karen's charms like he did AJ, which Tomko rebuffs immediately, as unlike AJ he actually remembers the existence of his wife and child. Kurt resorts to insulting said wife, which Tomko takes violent offense to, fighting him then and there and then beating him in a match the following week with help from Christian. Christian, along with damn near every TNA fan, makes it all too clear they're behind Tomko on this one, and Tomko even appears to have Christian's back against AJ and Angle heading into the next title match at Against All Odds.
      You'd expect: Tomko to defend the now-babyface Christian against AJ's interference and Angle's underhanded tactics, presumably allowing Christian to become the champion, then to declare his independence again the following Impact, part ways amicably with Christian, make good on the world title shot that Christian has owed him for over a year, and, seeing how badly Angle treats AJ, convince AJ to do the same.
      Instead: He stabs Christian in the back like AJ did the month before and proceeds to join the Angle Alliance.
      Furthermore: Tomko's reasoning for this. He claims that Christian promised him he'd become a big star only for that to never happen. This sounds reasonable enough at first—until one considers that throughout this storyline he's been one half of both the TNA and IWGP (New Japan Pro-Wrestling) Tag Team Champions, with both companies' crowds loving him even back when he was a full-fledged heel. Suddenly his character goes from having potential to be the biggest star in TNA to becoming the stupid one between him and AJ.
    • Eventually, AJ finally does the sensible thing and quits the Angle Alliance due to being sick and tired of all the Karen drama in addition to being Kurt's second banana.
      You'd expect: Seeing AJ finally ready to stand up and be a man, Tomko would remember that he doesn't like Kurt all that much either and turn against Kurt as well, then patch up all issues with AJ and Christian so they can act as independent allies, allowing fans to finally embrace him as he continues on the path to the star that he wants to be.
      Instead: Tomko turns against AJ and continues to serve Kurt as a Sociopathic Soldier despite clearly getting nothing out of it anymore.
      The result: He becomes little more than an elite mook before being Put on a Bus, comes back over a year later and turns on AJ again to get a shot at his recently-won World Heavyweight Title only to be shoved into the background and released again when Hulk Hogan comes to TNA, and then…ouch.
  • During Slammiversary 2009's King of the Mountain match (which is basically a reverse ladder match in the sense that you're trying to hoist the object of victory up rather than take it down), in which Mick Foley, is defending the TNA World Heavyweight Championship against AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Jeff Jarrett, and Kurt Angle. For backstory, Angle's Main Event Mafia stable has drawn the ire of all four of his opponents, who are each members of the aptly-named Frontline defending TNA from the Mafia's Hostile Show Takeover. Bear with us, this one's gonna be pretty long.
    You'd expect: That the four Frontline members would immediately resolve to work together to eliminate Angle, giving him a piece of his own medicine for everything he's done, then fight amongst themselves to see who represents them and TNA as champion.
    Instead: Due to Joe's months-long and uncharacteristically Wild Samoan-esque obsession with revenge against Angle and the Mafia for breaking his arm, as well as Foley's erratic ego and greed over the title which he just won from Sting two months prior, this plan is barely even implied and never comes into play during the match. In fact, Joe pretty much ensures that Angle is the first to be eligible to grab the title by attacking him before the opening bell and getting himself disqualified.
    • About 15-20 minutes in, after all the Frontline members have picked up the necessary pinfalls to make themselves eligible to win the match as well, Styles and Joe find themselves to be the only ones standing, and AJ's got the title in hand in the middle of the ring.
      You'd expect: Joe, realizing that having the heart and soul of TNA (and the man he cut an interview with earlier in the night) as champion would really stick in the Mafia's craw, would allow AJ to climb the ladder and hoist up the title to become champion.
      Instead: Joe powerbombs AJ off the ladder, grabs the belt and climbs the ladder for himself, implying that he has greater competitive ambitions than just keeping the World Heavyweight Championship in the TNA Frontline.
      You'd then expect: Samoa Joe to then climb the ladder, use the title belt to fight off anyone who comes up the other side of the ladder against him, and take the opportunity to become World Heavyweight Champion. ESPECIALLY if said "anyone" was Kurt Angle, whose Mafia have been the targets of Joe's revenge.
      Instead: Angle climbs the ladder on the side opposite, and Joe proceeds to not only literally hand Kurt the World Heavyweight Title and allow him to win the match, but to hug him in celebration afterwards, turning coat and affirming his allegiance with the Main Event Mafia.
      Furthermore: This is revealed to be because the Mafia decided that Sting's mission as the new Godfather to play their cause of respect straight in light of the fact that Joe was hunting their heads was not working, so they paid Joe off with Jenna Morasca's millions and hatched a scheme to throw everybody off which would culminate in what happened at Slammiversary. Said scheme consisting of every single violent receipt Joe had given members of the Mafia over the past couple of months, as well as attacking Angle to give him eligibility before the bell.
    • Looking back at the world title match again in light of the above information, it actually manages to look even worse on Joe. See, the thugs in suits who broke his arm literally came to him out of fear, offered up both their money and their physical well-being to him, as well a chance to main event Slammiversary in the reverse ladder match for the World Heavyweight Title, to get him to let bygones be bygones and join their side as well as ensure that Angle wins back the very title that Joe beat him for over a year ago (and that Kevin Nash screwed Joe out of against Sting ten months ago). The finishing sequence of the match, remember, sees Joe on a ladder with the world title in hand when Kurt Angle gets up and climbs the ladder opposite Joe for the handoff.
      You'd expect: Joe, having already been handed both the physical revenge and the money that come with his secret deal with the Mafia, and now having the opportunity before him to become World Heavyweight Champion, would realize all this, clock Angle with the belt to make him fall back off the ladder, hoist the title up above for himself, and ultimately complete his revenge by screwing the Mafia over with their own plans so that he could, say, become the World Heavyweight Champion.
      Instead: He destroys his own credibility as a championship contender and stabs his friends and co-workers in the back by dealing earnestly with a bunch of crooks who've already screwed him over repeatedly in order to literally hand his sworn enemy the WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE, in a move almost comparable to the Trope Namer for Finger Poke of Doom.
  • The last show before 10.10.10. has Dixie Carter, finally fed up with Abyss' actions after he basically tried to "abduct" her, order Eric Bischoff to fire him. Bischoff then brings her the legal documents to make said firing official.
    You'd Expect: Dixie to read the contract thoroughly and carefully before signing it.
    Instead: She immediately signs it without even looking at it, letting her anger with Abyss' actions earlier note  overcome her common sense.
    • The contract she signed really was to turn over the majority of shares to Hulk Hogan, thus screwing herself out of the company.
      You'd Expect: Her to then fight the contract somehow, having been defrauded with a clear trail of what happened—on national TV no less.
      Instead: She just disappears, only coming back to fight the case months later.
  • Picture the scene. You are Eric Bischoff, and it's TNA's Genesis pay-per-view. You've recently received news that AJ Styles is injured and can't compete, meaning Immortal's quest to get all the men's belts in one night isn't possible. You do get Abyss to replace him, though. You have AJ in your office, and you recall you haven't treated him right recently, a pattern which has led to, among others, Matt Morgan and Doug Williams defecting from you.
    You'd Expect: Yourself not to be too harsh with AJ, seeing as the injury was unforeseeable (and legitimate!), and you don't want this powerful asset to stray away from you. Morgan was bad enough.
    Instead: You chew him out and treat him like a failure.
    Even Worse: When AJ comes out and helps Abyss to win the TV Title, putting the Immortal belt quest back on the menu, you treat it like it was all Abyss's victory.
    The Result: AJ defects from Immortal the next month, taking the rest of Fortune with him, and all of a sudden, every bit of the youth and dynamism is gone from your movement. Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!
    • Then: The night has gone exactly as you planned, with Immortal capturing the X Division, TV, and Tag Team titles, and not a single babyface victory aside from the face vs. face battle between Mr. Anderson and Matt Morgan for a future World Title shot, which Anderson wins.
      You'd Expect: To put your feet up and call it a job well done, after you get some of the Immortal guys who weren't wrestling tonight (Rob Terry, etc.) to beat up Anderson, maybe go for that concussion, because he's had concussion problems recently.
      Instead: You go out and announce Anderson's title shot will take place immediately, in a completely regular match with no stipulations that would allow you to screw him over.
      The Result: Anderson wins the title, and your attempt to claim all the belts was meaningless, and it's all your fault.
  • With Ric Flair out in Europe for the time being, AJ Styles leads his and Flair's faction, Fortune, in defecting from their alliance with Immortal on February 3, 2011.
    You'd expect: That Fortune would've made sure to tell Ric Flair about it ahead of time, and convince him that this was the right time defect from Immortal and take their next step to fulfilling their stated purpose of reclaiming their spots and taking the company they helped build back to its roots. Not only had they just handled their beef with EV2.0 which necessitated their alliance with Immortal in the first place, they now had both the X-Division (Frankie Kazarian) and Tag Team (Beer Money) championships as well as the primary measure of Immortal's trust as go-to guys.
    Instead: They do it behind his back, which gets lampshaded with AJ's discussion with Mike Tenay about Flair's impending return at the announce table at Against All Odds pretty much giving away that it's not a given Flair's in on this with Fortune.
  • Flair comes back two weeks later, and Eric Bischoff instantly calls him out to make a decision. Flair responds indignantly to being talked down to by Bischoff, and while he hints that he can "bring the family (Immortal and Fortune) back together", it's clear he's gonna have to make a choice.
    You'd expect: Flair to actually think about it for more than a cup of coffee, remember that he's hated Hulk and Eric for as long as he's known them (with Bischoff's ultimatum reminding him exactly why that is), realize that Fortune have pretty much crippled Immortal, and ultimately decide to stick it out with Fortune and help AJ take back the Television Championshipnote , thus completing Fortune's domination over Immortal.
    Instead: He betrays AJ the same night by costing him a match against Matt Hardy after getting Beer Money drunk in the locker room, hitching his wagon to the increasingly directionless sinking ship that is Immortal.
    Furthermore: This is not to play the role of The Mole for either Fortune or Sting. His membership in Immortal, despite being less and less effective as time goes on, is played straight the whole way through, and it's Hogan who ends up making a Heel–Face Turn at Bound for Glory 2011 to rekindle their feud. Flair effectively suffered Motive Decay from which his character would never recover—at least, not in TNA, and not for a few years until his daughter would hit the wrestling scene.
  • The night of AJ Styles and Magnus's title unification match, Dixie Carter (who by now has been a heel for four months due to a falling out with AJ) announces that it'll be a no-disqualification match, and makes it perfectly clear she's doing it because she wants him bodied at the end of the night. AJ gets the message and warns her that he's got friends in the back that'll make sure her cronies don't get to have their way with him. Also, as seen in an #IMPACT365 video clearly taken and set before the match but posted days later, AJ talks about how guys have each other's back in this company because otherwise management will chew you up and spit you out any chance they get.
    You'd Expect: Him and/or Sting to warn, or better yet to have warned, some of the guys that Dixie could have something planned for them to make sure they can't even the odds in his favor. At the very least the guys (and girls in ODB's case) will be on guard and won't be so easily taken by surprise, and in fact maybe they could come up with a counter-plan.
    Instead: Poor Communication Kills all around. No outreach is made to bring the guys together or even to put them on alert. AJ makes no known effort to talk with any of his fellow faces nor vice versa *coughStingcough*, even after Team Dixie has started wiping some of them out. In fact it's not certain he ever knows about the carnage unfolding before the match.
    What's worse: The X-Division guys, yes, the same X-Division AJ first made his name in, is nowhere to be found all night. What?
    The result: AJ Styles vs. Magnus quickly turns into AJ Styles and Sting vs. the Carter Kingdom, the Bro-Mans, and the Extraordinary Gentlemen's Organization. For the record, folks, that's 9-on-2. Needless to say, AJ lost.
    Furthermore: AJ and Sting lasted ten minutes, complete with a couple of hope spots. If the heels are actually this incompetent, had they managed to keep three of their allies intact before the finish, they could've fended off the assault and had AJ win the match. If not, then at least it would force Magnus to actually work for his victory, even if just to the basic extent of actually hitting a single wrestling move.
  • On an IMPACT episode in 2014, Team 3D, Tommy Dreamer, and Al Snow, after having beat Team Dixie (Ethan Carter III and big enforcers Snitsky, Rycklon [the former Ezekiel Jackson], and Rhino, with Rockstar Spud at ringside) in a eight-man tag team match, guarantee that this is the night Bully Ray makes good on his promise to pay Dixie Carter back for putting him through a table by doing it to her.
    You'd expect: Dixie and her people, which also include Bellator MMA star King Mo as her friend and acting bodyguard, leave the arena immediately.
    Instead: They not only don't leave the arena, they go out to the ring during the show's closing time.
    You'd then expect: That Dixie would make sure to keep all hands on deck to protect her from going through that table, and at the very least motivate them to protect her so they can prove Bully Ray a liar and still have a shot at implementing their vision for TNA. Even with what happens in the end, Dixie would actually stand a chance at escaping if she has six guys protecting her.
    Instead: Dixie completely flips her shit, starts berating everyone, and fires the two biggest guys in that ring with her in Rycklon and Snitsky, accusing them of having failed her because they lost an eight-man tag team match which had no stipulation to dictate whether she goes through a table or not.
    The result: ECIII, Rhino, and King Mo get quickly overwhelmed by 3D and Dreamer, while Spud and Dixie are blocked from leaving by the entire TNA roster. Spud faints, and Dixie is all alone in a sea of fans and wrestlers cheering the Dudleys on as Bully superbombs her through a table and mercifully ends her time egotistically hogging the spotlight.

Alternative Title(s): Professional Wrestling


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: