In 2002, Katie Vick was introduced to the WWE audience. Many consider what followed one of the most tasteless segments in television history.
The Shameful Katie Vick Storyline in WWE
The generally accepted definition of the term angle in professional wrestling is that it’s the driving force behind the storyline portrayed on television (similar to the plot of a novel). An angle may be as small as a single match or a vendetta that lasts for years.
Those who have been around for a while undoubtedly witnessed epic and impactful storylines in wrestling. The first one that immediately comes to mind is Larry Zbyszko turning on his mentor Bruno Sammartino.
I am also pretty darn sure that anyone watching Jimmy Snuka’s appearance on Piper’s Pit has that moment permanently etched in their psyche.
Both incidents led to prolonged feuds, which brought fans tremendous enjoyment and changed the standard ‘color’ of the day from red to green for the wrestlers (and promoters) involved.
There are countless other examples of wrestling angles that brought fans back week after week, month after month, and year after year.
A good storyline can make us devote a significant portion of our discretionary (and in our youth undoubtedly limited) income towards purchasing tickets, magazines, and even pay-per-views.
This story portrays none of the above.
Au contraire, this piece describes what is possibly the most distasteful angle in the annals of professional wrestling.
It was an angle that undoubtedly caused many parental hands to shield the eyes of their children.
It was a storyline that caused many to grab their remote and swiftly seek other sources of entertainment.
It was also so hideous that a thesaurus is required for all the synonyms of the word "ugly" (and they still fail to describe what you are about to read).
This, my friends, is the story of Katie Vick.
Origin of the Katie Vick Storyline
It all started on October 7, 2002’s episode of Monday Night RAW.
Helms was the co-holder of the WWE Tag Team Championship with "The Devil’s Favorite Demon" Kane. The duo was known as "Kane and Hurricane," and they held the titles for a mere 21 days, ironically losing them the following week to Christian and Chris Jericho.
Due to the temporary loss of his tag team partner, Kane was forced to defend the titles on his own, which he successfully did. However, once again, the villainous Triple H reared his ugly head.
At this point, Triple H accused Kane of being a murderer. No new news, as Kane had already been credited with setting the fire that burned down his childhood home, which caused the ‘death’ of his parents.
However, The Game was not referring to Mr. and Mrs. Kane; he mentioned someone named Katie Vick and how Kane murdered her ten years before.
The show closed with a close-up of the masked but unmistakably shaken Kane.
The following Monday night was quite courtroom-esque, featuring Kane, in the ring, pleading his case to the crowd.
"Katie Vick was a friend of mine," Kane began, "and Katie Vick is dead. But I didn’t kill her. It was an accident! And I am NOT a murderer!
"See, Katie and I were friends about ten years ago, back when I first started wrestling. In fact, she came to my first match, and she was probably the only one who cared when I was getting beat up. I cared about her, too."
Kane continued, "One night, Katie and I, we went to a party, and Katie had too much to drink, so I decided that I should drive her home. I wasn’t that familiar with a stick shift, but Katie insisted that we take her car.
"It was dark, the road was slick as it was raining, and an animal jumped right in front of us. I swerved to avoid it, and the car spun out of control and went off the road.
"I broke my arm, but Katie was killed instantly. But it was an accident! It’s something that I have to live with and something that I’ve thought about every day since. So, the only thing that I have left to say is what I said to Katie’s parents is ‘I’m sorry.’"
After Kane had concluded his impassioned plea to the sold-out arena, Triple H strolled out to give his rebuttal.
"Oh, boo-hoo, Kane! Boo-hoo! You got me all choked up with your touching story, Kane. But since you’re out here baring your soul, why don’t you tell the world the whole truth? Why don’t you tell the world that when the people from that party were questioned? They all said that you were drinking too, Kane.
"Why don’t you tell everybody how, when the police came to the accident scene, there were empty beer cans in the car and all around the crime scene? And, more importantly, Kane, why don’t you explain to the world how, when doctors did the autopsy on Katie Vick’s body, the doctors found your semen!"
Triple H paused for effect.
"That’s right, Kane! Katie Vick was a whole lot more to you than a friend, wasn’t she, Kane?
"The fact is you loved Katie Vick. You were madly in love with Katie Vick. The problem was, Katie Vick liked you. She didn’t love you, Kane! Katie didn’t share the special feelings you had. And c’mon, Kane, honestly. Who can blame her? Look at you! Who could realistically love a burnt-up freak like you!"
The Connecticut Blue Blood continued his reproach.
"Now, Kane, I know you weren’t charged with murder."
"A**hole" chants began emanating from the crowd in the background.
"I know you weren’t even charged with manslaughter. But Kane, facts are facts! And the fact is Kane; the fact is that all of this points to you! You know it… I know it… The whole world knows it. YOU killed Katie Vick!
"Kane, the question I have is, on that night, did you [force yourself on Katie Vick] while she was alive? Or did you wait and do it to her when she was dead?"
During Triple H’s fervid argument, the camera continually focused on the tortured, broken visage of the Big Red Machine. Triple H had reduced the once fearless and feared monster to a quivering mass.
The following week began with Triple H backstage with Jonathan Coachman. When asked by the Coach, "Why are you doing this?" Triple H replied, "Why am I doing this? ’Cause I want to show the world what kind of a man Kane is!"
Triple H continued, "I called him a murderer, but he’s a whole lot worse than that. He’s some kind of twisted psychopath, some kind of sick freak. Believe me, only a man like Kane could do the type of thing I’m gonna show you on this videotape. Now I’ve got to warn you; this is not for the squeamish. Roll the footage.’
The viewer is then shown the WWE disclaimer: WARNING: THE FOLLOWING SCENE CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT MAY OFFEND SOME VIEWERS. DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
What may have been more appropriate was a short clip of Dorothy pleading, "Run Toto Run!!
One of the Most Tasteless, Reprehensible, and Despicable Segments in Television History
What follows next is one of the most tasteless, reprehensible, and despicable segments in television history (let alone the WWE).
The viewer is taken to a funeral parlor, with the camera first showing a casket. The camera then pans to the entrance, where "Kane" (AKA Triple H) appears, complete with a red "Big Freak’n Machine" shirt.
"Kane" walked over to Katie Vick’s casket.
What started as an admonishment to Katie became a very animated two-way exchange.
The ‘conversation’ was at first confrontational but then quickly turned intimate. The viewer would then see "Kane" grab Katie Vick’s chest (the camera blurred at this point), and the action went all downhill from there.
The dialogue continued, with "Kane" uttering bon mots such as, "You know, Katie, you feel kind of stiff. And speaking of stiff…,’ and, "I love the smell of formaldehyde in the morning" (while sniffing the undergarments he had just removed).
Finally, when all was said and done, "Kane" (wearing nothing but his birthday suit) uttered the very forgettable "I screwed your brains out" while throwing a handful of gelatinous cranial matter directly at the camera.
The viewer is then taken back to Triple H, who is laughing so hard that he needs to lean on The Coach for support.
I have attached the video below, which I urge you to view at your own risk.
The angle thankfully concluded the following week.
While cutting an in-ring promo, Triple H walked over to a casket positioned at ringside and pulled out the ‘corpse’ of Katie Vick, sporting her blue cheerleader outfit. H times three, then brings Katie back in the ring and proceeds to perform a ventriloquist act.
Thankfully, this fiasco would be interrupted by Hurricane Helms, who directs everyone to the Titantron.
One can view a video of Triple H receiving a surgical enema, where items such as a sledgehammer are extricated from his rectum.
That’s right, a scene where someone was doing a ventriloquist act with a ‘corpse’ is followed by another where a construction tool is removed from that same someone’s hiney.
Wrestling Legends Give Their Take on the Katie Vick Segment
Certainly, many within the professional wrestling fraternity had an opinion after the Katie Vick storyline played out. Here are what a few had to say:
Wayne Ferris (AKA Honky Tonk Man):
"It was horrible, sick nonsense."
"Boy, whoever, whatever they were drinking or smoking when they thought of giving birth to the hand, it had to be on the same day, when they were on the same high, is the only explanation I can give. Again, I’m glad it wasn’t me."
"That got me to the point where I wasn’t sure if I was going to watch it anymore."
Joe Laurinaitis (AKA Road Warrior Animal):
"Hmmm, I must have missed that one. There’s a lot of stuff during that dark era that I missed."
Honky Tonk Man (encore):
"I’m surprised they were even able to be a publicly traded company after doing s*** like that."
"Everybody sat around and wrote that one and said, ‘Yeah, I think, you know, the Attitude Era is wearing down and what can we do to really push the envelope?’ I get it, we’ll f**k a dead person!"
Bill Eadie (AKA Masked Superstar and Demolition Ax):
"It was disgusting. I wouldn’t have done it. I wouldn’t have done it if they forced me to do it. I would have resigned quick, walked out. I don’t think there’s a place for it. It’s bulls***."
Years later, even Stephanie McMahon had something to add. Before Kane’s induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in March 2021, Stephanie McMahon apologized to Kane for the 2002 Katie Vick storyline with Triple H.
On Twitter, she wrote, "Congratulations to one of the most unique characters and individuals I have ever known, Kane. A man with unparalleled intellect, whose heart is as big as his body. Welcome to the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2021! You deserve it! (Don’t worry, we all know you had nothing to do with Katie Vick!"
Bruce Prichard Gives Details Behind the Creation of the Katie Vick Storyline
"You ever have those moments in your life where there are things that are so traumatic that you block them out entirely? [This] really and truly is one of them on so many different counts.
"The original idea behind Katie Vick was a way to introduce Scott Vick, who was a part of our developmental system. We were going to bring Scott in, and he was going to work with Kane or Triple H, I forget which at this point.
"Scott just had some really, really horrible dark matches at TV and on the road. When he got the nod to come up to the show, all of his matches from that point going forward just, the bottom fell out. Vince is like, ‘What the hell are we doing?’
"So, he changed, and we had already teased the name, Katie Vick. So it’s like, ‘Okay, let’s change this and move it over to Kane. It can be his girlfriend.’
"It was during a time, Vince was big into ‘We need more soap opera, we need more stories behind the characters.’ So we started creating stories, and it came to the story of what if Kane accidentally didn’t murder her but was driving and, oh my god, then the drinking and it just grew.
"It’s another glowing example of ‘Don’t suggest or say things in jest that you don’t want to have show up on the show.’
"It was literally a group effort. You can direct (hate tweets) towards me, Vince, Brian Gewirtz, Michael Hayes; we were all responsible. This was a group effort. There’s no finger-pointing here; we can turn the fingers back on ourselves.
“Like with everything, Vince was the ultimate decision-maker, the one that said ‘I love it,’ so this is where we’re going to go.
"We were in Nashville, I believe. That’s where we’re going to shoot this vignette.
"The idea behind the vignette was that Hunter was going to do a spoof, emphasis on the word spoof, of Katie Vick’s funeral. That Kane tried to get in and being the sick person that Triple H was portraying him to be was going to have perceived fornication with the corpse.
"Yet, when we laid it all out, you weren’t going to see all that crap. It was going to be tongue-in-cheek, it was going to be over the top, it was going to be ridiculous, but almost like Pink Panther ridiculous.
"We get to the funeral home where we’re going to shoot this. It’s myself, Vince, Triple H, Kane, and a crew. I lost a couple of crew members because of this shoot that were highly offended at the subject matter.
"After the shoot, they quit; I don’t think we ever saw them again. As we get there and we’re laying it out, I would like to point out that we’re in a real funeral home and that there was a real wake taking place.
"You know how they have those accordion dividers that divide rooms? There was an accordion divider dividing the rooms where we were doing our shoot, and they were having a wake for a gentleman in the next room.
"Hunter and I are talking, and we’re kind of laying this thing out. We’re laughing, and we’re trying to do way over the top, a goof, to where no one in their right mind could take this seriously, where no one in their right mind would say, ‘Oh, this is a tasteless necrophilia skit.’ This is a couple of guys having fun.
"Vince got real serious on us and said, ‘God, that’ll never work. You’ve got to do this straight. That’s where the humor is.’
"We’re thinking ‘Okay, but, if someone tunes into it, you always tell us to look at the television show as if, every single week, you are presenting this show to people who’ve never seen it before and you want everyone to understand it. If we do this straight, I just don’t know how to do that. I mean, how do you do a straight necrophilia scene on television?’
"So we got into a fairly heated argument. Triple H and I saw it one way, Vince saw it completely another way, and we decided on a compromise.
“Vince said, ‘We’ll shoot it both ways, and after we see both of them, we’ll decide which one we like best.’
"He says, ‘Let’s do it my way first, then we’ll do it your way.’
"That’s another important lesson to learn here, kids. So we do it, and Hunter does this thing about as straight as you can do it. Over-the-top straight, and serious. We shoot it, we’re done, and Vince is like ‘Godd***, I love it! That’s perfect!’
"Hunter and I are looking at each other like, ‘Okay, now let’s show him how the over-the-top one is going to be and how it’ll be so much better to do it tongue-in-cheek.’
"He says, ‘Alright, let’s go, guys.’
"I said, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, we’ve got to shoot the other one.’
"He says ‘G***amn, Bruce, we don’t have time. You’re not going to get better than that.’ Hunter just looks at me like, ‘Save me. We can’t air that. There’s no way we can air that.’
"Vince told the crew to wrap. ‘We’ve got to get back. G***amn, we’re going live.’ And we wrapped.
"We went back to the building, delivered the tape, and I remember going in and grabbing Kevin Dunn and saying, ‘Hey man, you need to take a look at this because I think we kind of crossed the line.’
"Hunter comes in the truck and says, ‘Man, you’ve got to look at this. I don’t know. Vince loves it. He wants to air it.’
"Kevin looks at it, makes that long walk down to Vince’s office, and goes in and says, ‘Vince, I don’t think we can air it.’
"Now Vince is pissed because I’ve told him it’s not good, Hunter’s told him it’s not good, now he feels we went and got Kevin and are all ganging up on him telling him that his idea is no good. He’s going to prove us wrong come hell or high water. And it aired.
"We felt a little betrayed because he said we could do both. We knew the other way was the only way to do it, in my opinion.
"Obviously, there are two ways to look at it. Not only that, but he was determined this was going to air. We’re going to do it.
"There was a live interview coming out of it to Hunter in the back. I’m standing there producing the interview. We’re looking at each other, and we’re watching it again. Our mouths are hanging open, he says, ‘What do I say?’
"I didn’t know. I really did not know what the hell to say to that.
"This was an attempt at ‘soap opera.’ This is coming from people that would constantly tell us, ‘You need more soap opera, you need more story.’
"And while yes, we probably did, I’m not sure this was the best way to do soap opera at the time. It was rough, man. It’s one of those moments I proudly stand up and say, ‘I did that,’ just because I did, I did produce it. At the same time, you kind of just shake your head and go, ‘Oh my god, I produced that.’
"We thought it would get people talking, but trust me it wasn’t done to get the reaction that it got."
And it certainly did get people talking!
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- Vince McMahon – 3 Times He Intimidated Wrestlers in WWE
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