Due to the long-respected idea of “Kayfabe” in wrestling, you can never be sure what is true and what is false. It is a business shrouded in secrecy, and usually the strangest story is the one that will be peddled out by wrestlers are promoters alike.
This has led to a litany of conspiracy theories being discussed by wrestling fans all over the world – with some wrestlers even getting in on the act and giving their own take on these conspiracy theories.
There are an untold number of professional wrestling conspiracy theories from the world of the WWE, WCW, AEW and many other promotions. In this article, we’ve put together ten of the craziest wrestling conspiracy theories that you won’t believe are true, but just might be.
10. WWE Made Daniel Bryan Retire To Stop People Booing Roman Reigns
The first conspiracy theory went round a lot in 2016, during the height of the Roman Reigns hate in the WWE. Reigns was going into a WrestleMania main event against Triple H, but the fans had thoroughly turned on him and booed him at every avenue.
This actually came to a head the year prior, when Daniel Bryan was thrown out fo the 2015 Royal Rumble by Bray Wyatt. The crowd then began to boo every man in the rest of the match, with Roman Reigns taking the brunt of the hate (they even booed The Rock, who made a shock return to help Reigns win the match).
One year later, Daniel Bryan was forced to retire due to concussion issues. While doctors outside the WWE cleared him to wrestle, the theory states that WWE falsified his results and forced him to retire. This was to stop fans cheering for Bryan, hoping to displace hid popularity onto Roman Reigns.
Another Roman Reigns conspiracy theory stated that he faked his Leukemia to garner sympathy from the crowd, and finally get them to cheer for the former Shield member. Obviously, this is a ridiculous theory, and the WWE would never go as far as to fake cancer to get somebody cheered on a TV show.
9. The Montreal Screwjob Was A Work
One of the most controversial matches in wrestling history was the Montreal Screwjob at Survivor Series 1997 (not to be confused with the first Montreal Screwjob, over 60-years earlier). Bret Hart was on his way out of the WWE, but refused to drop the WWE Championship to his long-term rival Shawn Michaels. He was set to sign for WCW, but his creative control meant he could go out on his own terms
The match was agreed to end in a draw, with Hart scheduled to vacate the championship on Monday Night Raw the next night. However, once Michaels locked him in Hart’s own finisher – The Sharpshooter – Vince McMahon ran to ringside and forced the timekeeper to ring the bell, awarded Shawn Michaels the championship.
What followed was Bret Hart spitting on McMahon and wrote the letters “WCW” in the air with his finger. Backstage, a film crew (filming the documentary “Wrestling with Shadows” about Hart) caught Vince McMahon and Bret Hart in the aftermath of a fight, where Hart punched McMahon in the face.
However, some conspiracy theorist think that the whole thing was a work. WWE could not afford to pay Bret’s 20-year contract he signed one year earlier, and this gave Bret an out to WCW while keeping him sympathetic in the eyes of the fans, while allowing him to collect $3 million a year from WCW.
The angle also helped launch the evil “Mr McMahon” character in the WWE, turning Vince into an on-screen character for the first time. All the pieces landed too perfectly for this to all be a coincidence, despite Bret Hart denying the Montreal Screwjob was a work to this day.
8. Ultimate Warrior Died and Was Replaced By Kerry Von Erich
There is a conspiracy theory in wrestling that The Ultimate Warrior died in 1991, and was replaced by Kerry Von Erich after his untimely passing. This was due to the pair’s uncanny resemblance, and their near superhuman size with their bodybuilder’s physique.
Warrior was pushed as the next Hulk Hogan in the WWE, especially when he defeated The Hulkster in the main event of WrestleMania VI. However, one year later he was out of the company, after refusing to wrestle at Summerslam 1991 and blackmailing the company for a $550,000 payday.
When he returned at WrestleMania VII, The Ultimate Warrior returned to the company to save Hulk Hogan from a beat down. However, he was much smaller than before, with a much less-impressive physique than he was known for in his prime.
It could have been that the original Ultimate Warrior died and was silently replaced by The Texas Tornado, continuing the legacy of the character. However, it is more likely that he was forced to slim down after the WWE banned steroids, following the steroid trial in the WWE that nearly sent Vince McMahon to prison.
7. Vince Russo Was Sent As An Undercover Agent To Destroy WCW
In 1999, WWE writers Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara left the company to join WCW. The pair were said to have been instrumental to the success of the Attitude Era in the WWE, and TBS were hoping they could turn around the bad spell of form WCW were in at the time.
Russo was famed for his terrible, nonsensical decisions as boss. Stories made no sense, with matches having their rules changed and ignored mid-match, as well as champions stripped and belts given seemingly on a whim. He even put the World Heavyweight Championship on some very questionable people, including actor David Arquette, and even himself.
Ratings did not go up – if anything, Russo helped tank the ratings even more. He left after three months, returning a year later to do even more damage to the company. Everything that could have gone wrong, did, and Vince Russo’s antics cost the company literal millions of dollars.
However, some people have claimed that Vince Russo was merely showcasing his undying loyalty to Vince McMahon by going into WCW as an undercover agent, taking the company down from the inside with a series of ridiculous, nonsensible creative decisions.
Vince Russo himself has debunked the claim, but as a known liar, you cannot take anything he says seriously.
6. Kevin Sullivan Killed Chris Benoit and His Family
The most infamous wrestler in history has to be Chris Benoit. In June 2007, Benoit no-showed a WWE PPV before being found dead in his house, hanged in his home gym. The bodies of his wife and son were then discovered, leading to the conclusion that he killed his family, and then himself.
With his brain, battered from years of wrestling, having the make-up of an aged dementia victim, it made total sense that he simply snapped one day, killing his family before turning on himself. For most, this was a satisfactory conclusion, and nobody was ever prosecuted for his murder.
However, some people have blamed former WCW booker Kevin Sullivan for his death. Benoit had married Sullivan’s ex-wife Nancy, after being booked together as a couple in WCW by Sullivan. As a known Satanist, conspiracy theories have accused Kevin Sullivan of killing Chris Benoit and his family, before framing Benoit for the murders.
5. Randy Savage Punched Hulk Hogan Before WrestleMania 9
Hulk Hogan infamously spoiled Bret Hart’s big moment at WrestleMania 9. Instead of Bret Hart beating Yokozuna in the main event, he convinced Vince McMahon to have the Samoan win the WWE Championship, before dropping it to Hogan in an impromptu match that makes no sense.
However, when Hulk Hogan came out at the end of the show, he was sporting a gnarly looking black eye on his left eye. The conspiracy theory in wrestling claims that it was Randy Savage, angry at Hogan’s booking at the event, attacked him backstage and gave him a huge black eye.
However, Jim Cornette has claimed that Miss Elizabeth (Randy Savage’s wife and manager) had left him that, running off to Hogan’s house in Florida and was living with Hogan’s wife Linda. This was due to Savage’s paranoia leading him to be abusive to Elizabeth, although he blamed Hogan for her leaving.
That is why the Macho Man punched Hulk Hogan backstage at WrestleMania IX, leading to Hogan’s black eye in the main event of the show. Jim Cornette gave this side of the story on an episode of Jim Cornette’s Drive Thru.
“Savage found out that Elizabeth had run off to Hogan’s house and was staying with Linda [Hulk Hogan’s ex-wife] because Linda and Elizabeth were friends, and Hogan didn’t tell Savage that she was there, which is why when Savage confronted him with that, he confronted him by punching him in the f***ing eye. And that’s why Hogan had a black eye at WrestleMania 9.”
4. Triple H Tried To Bury John Cena During His WWE Championship Reign
WrestleMania 22 saw John Cena beat Triple H to retain the WWE Championship. Dave Meltzer reported that the rematch would take place at WrestleMania 23, in WWE’s first stadium show in half a decade, getting his win back over The Champ in a massive rematch.
This was all part of The Game’s plan to undermine the next big star in WWE. Cena had taken over the top spot in the WWE, relegating Triple H to a spot lower down the card, no longer in the main event of pay per views. However, he spent the next year reuniting with DX, politicking for matches against Vince McMahon and his cronies, getting put in the top spots above John Cena.
Vince McMahon allegedly wanted to retire after losing to Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 22, but Triple H convinced him to continuing wrestling in the infamous feud against DX (along with Shane McMahon and Big Show). This kept HHH in the main event of pay per views, above matches like John Cena vs Edge for the WWE Championships.
However, before Triple H could enact his master plan, he tore his quad in a bout against Rated-RKO and missed WrestleMania 23 entirely. He was replaced by Shawn Michaels in the match, but due to HBK’s refusal to work house shows, he was not given the WWE Championship as Triple H would have been.
3. Shawn Michaels Didn’t Retire Due To A Back Injury, But To Get Clean From Drugs
In 1998, Shawn Michaels injured his back after a disturbing bump on the back of a coffin, during a casket match against The Undertaker at the Royal Rumble event. He went on to drop the WWE Championship to Steve Austin at WrestleMania 13, in a “passing-of-the-torch” moment, before he retired from wrestling.
However, Michaels went on to open his own training school (training wrestlers like Daniel Bryan and Brian Kendrick) in Texas, even wrestling in matches for his own promotion during this time. Despite his horrendous back injury, he was said to be bumping around like a prime-HBK, leading to speculation that a wrestling conspiracy theory could be in the works.
Everyone knows how bad Shawn Michaels was with drugs back in the day. It is theorized that Shawn Michaels was actually fit to wrestle months after his last match against Stone Cold, but he was paid to stay at home by the WWE – both to stop him going to WCW, and to give him time to kick his drug habit before a WWE return in 2002.
While this makes total sense, Daniel Bryan wrote in his book that Shawn Michaels mother was continuously scold him for taking back bumps during training, indicating that the lingering back injury was the truth during this time. However, Michaels returned to WWE in 2002 to wrestle at the top level for eight more years, so the truth is likely somewhere in the middle.
2. CM Punk Had Backstage Fights In AEW So He Could Get Fired And Return To WWE
After being fired by AEW in September 2023, new information leaked about the situation surrounding the “Brawl Out” incident after All Out 2022.
Following his win over Jon Moxley for the AEW Championship, CM Punk took to the microphone at he post show media scrum to tear down Colt Cabana and The Elite, accusing them of leaking information about him and trying to ruin his pay per view match against Adam Page (at Double or Nothing that year).
This lead to a backstage fight between Punk, his friend Ace Steel and The Elite, which saw CM Punk punch Nick Jackson, while Steel bite Kenny Omega and threw a chair at the Young Bucks. All the men involved were suspended (and eventually brought back), while CM Punk stayed away from AEW until June the next year, due to injury.
However, it emerged that Punk was hoping to sign for the WWE, if he was to be fired for his actions. He had plans to enter the Royal Rumble match in 2023, being eliminated by Kevin Owens to set up a match at WrestleMania 39.
This didn’t happen obviously, but a backstage fight with Jack Perry and Tony at Wembley Stadium a year later signalled the end of his AEW career, and he was promptly fired from the company just two years after making his debut.
1. Ultimate Warrior Knew He Was Going To Die Before His Hall of Fame Induction
The Ultimate Warrior was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on the night before WrestleMania XXX. At WrestleMania XXX, he appeared on the stage alongside the rest of the WWE Hall of Famers, getting a huge pop from the crowd. On Raw, he gave an eerie speech that seemed to eulogize himself, almost prophesizing his own death. One day later, The Ultimate Warrior was found dead of a heart attack.
It was a bizarre turn of events. Warrior had not been in with the WWE since the mid-1990s, when he was fired for a third time following a WrestleMania victory over Triple H. He was fired and blackballed by the company, wrestling a handful of matches for WCW before retiring (except for one last match in Spain in 2008).
However, 2014 saw the return of The Ultimate Warrior to the WWE to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Famer. He was rumored to be wrestling Ryback at WrestleMania XXX, but in the end did not wrestle at all. His death just days later seemed very sudden, given that nobody knew of any problems he was having at the time.
The conspiracy theory states that Warrior was actually given a terminal diagnosis months prior. He was clearly having heart issues, given how long he had abused steroid for in his wrestling career. The conspiracy claims that he reached out to the WWE after learning about his declining health, agreeing to rejoin the company to help his widow and children get one last payday before he died.
Given the fact that he rejected a Hall of Fame induction just four years prior, there is a good chance this was te reason The Ultimate Warrior finally returned to the WWE after all those years away.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.