WWE is currently experiencing a baby boom, with both Maryse Mizanin and Maria Kanellis expecting little ones next year. Over the years, WWE has earned a reputation as a supportive environment for new families. In fact, when one female on-screen talent wanted to return to TV after her pregnancy but was self-conscious about her weight, Chief Brand Officer and former head of Creative Stephanie McMahon tastefully instructed the camera crew to shoot only from the neck up.
Sure, the woman in question was Stephanie herself, but I’m sure Maryse and Maria will be afforded the same support and courtesy a year from now.
But as for storyline pregnancies? WWE, and wrestling in general, do not have the best track record with those. Whether it be the difficulty of committing to a story arc for an entire nine months, or the fact that they can’t draw money in and of themselves, kayfabe pregnancies always end up in one of three ways:
1. The woman was lying.
2. The woman miscarries.
3. The woman gives birth to a rubber hand.
In truth, today’s angle featured two of the above outcomes. Go ahead and guess which ones.
This induction starts where a previous induction left off: Goldust had just returned to fulfill his master plan of getting Val Venis to cuckold him and then kicking Val in the groin.
With Goldust continuing to cause trouble for Val, Terri Runnels had some apparently good news for the man with whom she was committing adultery.
On Heat the following Sunday, Terri, speaking for Val, announced that “we’re pregnant”, which Venis, six days after first hearing the news, suddenly took umbrage with. “We are not pregnant,” said Val. “You are pregnant.” While this was of course literally true, the implication was that Venis had no intention of taking responsibility for his pregnant lover’s child.
This started Val on his way back to being a full-fledged babyface again.
It turns out that Val was right to deny paternity, as the adult film star had gotten a vasectomy years earlier. Val Venis was thus nixed as a possible father, but there was a difference between him and Goldust, the other man in Terri Runnels’s life. A vas deferens, in fact.
Terri tried to get back in her estranged (but fertile) husband’s good graces, even dressing up in her old Marlena outfit and, like any responsible mom-to-be, sporting a big ol’ cigar.
Goldust wasn’t buying that he was the father of Terri’s kid, though, thanks to the widely accepted view that pregnancy was caused by sex, which he and Terri hadn’t had for months.
Spurned by two men just because they didn’t want to provide for a child who wasn’t theirs, Terri formed an alliance with Jacqueline.
Their first act was for each woman took revenge on the men who had wronged the other.
Think Strangers on a Train, but with crotch strikes.
They eventually dubbed their faction, “Pretty Mean Sisters”, or PMS, although, ironically, one of their founding members would not experience PMS for the foreseeable future.
Terri’s pregnancy didn’t slow down her sexual escapades (or “sexcapades” for short), as she and Jacqueline soon rendezvoused backstage with “Sexual Chocolate” Mark Henry.
As Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole discussed whether pregnant ladies could be sexy (Unanimous verdict: yes), PMS got hot and heavy with Mark.
What started out as kinky fun soon devolved into abuse as Terri and Jacqueline punished a helpless Mark Henry non-consensually.
To make matters worse, this caused Henry to miss his tag match with D’Lo Brown, who had to take on the Headbangers alone.
D’Lo had had just about enough of Terri and Jacqueline and told them what-for.
The tensions continued into the famous January 4th, 1999 episode of Raw, which, according to WWE lore, single-handedly won the Monday Night Wars when, upon hearing that Mick Foley would win the title that night, hundreds of thousands of people watching WCW Nitro immediately switched over to Raw.
All I can say is, if Nitro viewers really did switch over to Raw en masse as soon as Schiavone made his “butts in seats” comments, they would have been met with the agonized screams of Terri Runnels suffering a miscarriage.
Who says wrestling can’t be relatable to women!?
See, as Terri Runnels stood on the ring apron to argue with D’Lo Brown during a match, an indignant Brown approached her aggressively, causing her to lose her balance and fall to the arena floor.
A distraught Terri was stretchered out as she wailed, “My baby, my baby!”
D’Lo felt bad. Not nearly as bad as anyone watching who had suffered a miscarriage in real life, but bad nonetheless.
Note that the accident was accompanied by a butt shot because, if the WWF was going to do a miscarriage angle in 1999, it might as well be a sexy miscarriage.
The grief continued backstage as she was joined by a remorseful D’Lo Brown, teammate Jacqueline, and the WWF doctor, Francois Petit, whom she repeatedly asked whether her baby was alright.
It wasn’t, as we would find out later, and suddenly the Fingerpoke of Doom that closed out WCW Nitro that night didn’t look like such a bad angle.
Terri placed the blame for the loss of her child squarely on D’Lo, who, out of guilt, now agreed to do whatever she told him.
Unfortunately, Terri’s first order was for Brown to wrestle his best friend Mark Henry, which Brown refused. He would do anything for forgiveness for causing a miscarriage, but he wouldn’t do that.
Regardless, Jacqueline pushed D’Lo into Mark, sparking a fight between the two that ended abruptly when Terri punched Henry in the crotch.
Fortunately, Chyna was on the scene to push Jacqueline out of the ring and her top.
Later, Terri had D’Lo wrestle the Big Bossman after the former corrections officer insulted her, only for her to intentionally cost Brown the match.
And whenever D’Lo wrestled, he would enter to this graphic:
As if all that weren’t bad enough, Terri even sent Brown on embarrassing non-sexual sexcapades (or “escapades” for short), such as taking a trip to the drug store to buy her tampons.
D’Lo finally found a way out of his bind when, by chance, Mark Henry brought up his Terri-related woes in front of the doc.
A bewildered Francois didn’t know what in the world Mark Henry was talking about when it came to Terri Runnels being pregnant, as if this were the first time the Frenchman had heard of such a thing. For a guy who was at every WWF event, he really was out of the loop…
…especially since he had helped stretcher Terri out after her miscarriage and listened to her scream incessantly about losing her baby. I guess it had just slipped the good doctor’s mind.
But no, Terri was not and had never been pregnant, he claimed. Of course, as revealed back in ’97, she and Goldust had a daughter named Dakota, so if the doc was telling the truth…
…who was Dakota’s real mother? Did Dustin cheat on her? And did she even know the kid wasn’t hers?
Whatever the case, Francois said he had examined Terri Runnels and she wasn’t pregnant, which meant two things:
1. He was in serious breach of doctor-patient confidentiality.
2. Terri was faking it.
D’Lo didn’t care why Terri had lied about being pregnant in the first place, and neither did Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara. All he cared about was finally being free after such an emotional ordeal.
After the reveal, the angle quickly fizzled, as D’Lo obviously couldn’t wrestle Terri, and Terri obviously couldn’t wrestle, period, even with the introduction of D’Lo and Mark’s female valet, Ivory as a potential opponent.
The story arc may not have elevated any wrestlers, led to any notable matches, or (as Tony Schiavone might say) put butts in the seats, but it at least shook a lot of viewers out of their comfort zone.
You know, the comfort zone where wrestling shows had wrestling matches instead of on-screen miscarriages.