The success or failure of a storyline or gimmick is often based on what happens next. Fans want new, fresh and diverse ideas that will keep them interested and capture their attention. This has been the course of action for WWE for many years. But for as many good ideas that fly by, there are a number of awful ones that do as well. In this article, we have a collection of proposed gimmicks, storylines and angles that were considered, planned out and even had vignettes filmed, but ultimately didn’t see the light of day.
A number of them were actually quite interesting. However, for all the ideas that were interesting, there were a number that were lacking in a number of different ways. When we explore them, we can see that wrestler X may have had a difficult time convincing the fans of who they were supposed to be, or what they were supposed to do. The ideas tossed around range from the bizarre to the sublime to pretty cool if they had ever come to pass. We are only left to wonder what exactly would have happened had some of these actually come to fruition.
Don’t hesitate to let us know what you think.
16. Kalisto – The Miz’s Gay Hairdresser?
The combination of Kalisto and Sin Cara were former a NXT tag team, a fantastic high flying combination that entertained the masses with their arsenal of aerial moves. What is interesting is that, despite all their success, there were other plans for them, plans that didn’t keep them together, but rather separated them. While it isn’t known what the role of Sin Cara would have been, the idea that was thrown out for Kalisto would have baffled fans.
The next character for Kalisto would have seen him unmasked, and then become a gay hairdresser for The Miz. He had even gone as far as to film vignettes during his time in NXT, and while they were apparently very amusing, they’ve never seen the light of day.
15. The SHEild
Fans all remember this faction; they were incredibly successful, from their debut to their continued impact on WWE. The combination of Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns had something special going for them. Each had a special quality about him, and the group itself was cutting-edge. That concept wasn’t simply something the WWE dumped onto the main roster, but something they worked on, in their NXT developmental system.
At one time, there was an idea to not only recreate a Shield faction in NXT, but to create an all-female group. The belief was that Paige, Summer Rae and former NXT developmental talent Anna Bogomazova, who was known as Anya, would comprise the group. If we were trying to make bets as to who would fit each role, it appears Anya would have been the ‘Reigns’ of the faction and Paige the ‘Ambrose.’ Despite filming vignettes, the group never materialized.
14. Mason Ryan – The Newest Member of The Shield
A few years ago fans will recall that WWE had a brash new faction of young and talented wrestlers that were collectively called The Nexus. It consisted of seven men that stood behind Wade Barrett, and later CM Punk. Years later, the Shield was created, and to this day is remembered for their work both on the mic and in the ring. The group was considered the most dominant collection of talent the company had seen in a long time.
A concept tossed around at one time was that someone would turn on the rest of the group, but rather than dissolving the group they would simply replace the traitor with a different member. One guy that was highly discussed to be the replacement was former Nexus member Mason Ryan. It didn’t materialize, but one wonders who he would have replaced.
13. Layla as Lady Gaga
While she is no longer around, wrestling fans will recall that former WWE Diva Search contestant and Women’s Champion Layla truly stood out during her run with the company. She was part of tag teams with Michelle McCool, playing the part of the supportive friend that would ultimately turn on said friend, carefully twisting the knife in their back. She was also a valet, among a number of different roles.
One idea that never saw the light of day was a completely reinvented Layla. A concept that was talked about was having her undergo a gimmick change that would see her wear outlandish and unique attire to fit with her new persona, in the vein of pop singer Lady Gaga. We don’t know if there would have been a dress made of meat or not, as it appears the gimmick never did take off.
12. The Usos – Twins of a Different Feather
When they first debuted, Jimmy and Jey Uso were led to the ring by their cousin Tamina. After some time away and a little reinvention, the Usos that began as heels underwent some changes and became faces. With half of their faces painted, and embracing the Samoan roots, they were able to bring enthusiasm and youthful excitement, along with respecting the tradition family member like their father brought to the ring.
However, when the Usos first came into the WWE, another idea was tossed around to help distinguish the twins from one another. The idea was for each sibling to have a distinct personality that fans could discuss. Jimmy would be portrayed as brilliant, a genius. Jey on the other hand, was supposed to come across as an idiot. The idea never flew, thankfully, as the Usos would reinvent themselves.
11. Orlando Jordan – Bi Sexual Gimmick
The most successful personas are often said to be a wrestler’s actual personality turned up to 100. In the case of former WWE wrestler Orlando Jordan, there was nothing about him onscreen that stood out. He was part of JBL’s cabinet, and simply appeared as a rather generic wrestler. About ten years ago, since Jordan’s character had no unique persona to it, Jordan wanted to make a change and be portrayed as he actually was, a bi-sexual male.
WWE creative initially teased the idea that he was bi-sexual, but never followed through with the execution. It really would have pushed the boundaries of the PG era that WWE was moving into. However, recognizing various sexual identities is less of a ‘mature’ topic today. As it turned out, when Jordan joined TNA, the concept he wanted to deliver in WWE was embraced by his new promotion.
10. Raven’s Seven
One of the most cutting-edge characters during the 90s was Raven. The dark and brooding character that achieved success in both ECW and WCW also popped up in WWE after the turn of the century. But his role was nothing more than enhancement talent, despite capturing the Hardcore championship on several occasions. The character needed some revitalizing and freshening up, so a concept was pitched that was reminiscent of the film Se7en.
Raven’s seven deadly sins were no different from that of the film. Wrath, greed, pride, sloth, envy, gluttony and lust were intended to be invoked over the course of a number of months, with an eventual feud with Matt Hardy being the culmination, revolving around lust and envy over Lita. The storyline was a really well thought out, and even sent to Vince McMahon. Unfortunately, it was ultimately rejected, which didn’t bode well for the duration of Raven’s tenure with the company.
9. Tyson Kidd – The Rock N Roll Kidds
Heath Slater has been reinvented multiple times. When he first joined WWE, he was a part of The Nexus, and then The Corre. After that, he was part of 3MB, followed by Slater Gator with Titus O’Neal, and then the Social Outcasts with Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel and Adam Rose. Recently, he captured the SmackDown Live tag team championship with Rhyno, or as they are often referred to, Beauty and the Man Beast.
Although Tyson Kidd won a Tag Team Championship, he was on track to team with someone else. There was talk a number of years ago of having Tyson Kidd and Health Slater align to form a team. One has to wonder how well that dynamic would have worked, as they are so different from one another. Their suggested team name was The Rock N Roll Kidds.
8. Cody Rhodes – C.R. Industries
There have been a number of different characters that have come and gone in WWE. While some have been outrageous, some have been executed incredibly well. When Cody Rhodes adopted the Stardust character as a means of teaming with his brother, it was the right fit. Although the character had a limited shelf life, it was initially successful. However, the Stardust character wasn’t the initial plan.
The concept being thrown around was that Cody would have an alter ego, much like how Tony Stark is the alter ego of Iron Man. He had wealth, and would play on his family lineage. It would even go as far as to have his real wife, who was ring announcer Eden Stiles, be his manager/valet. Rhodes Industries was to have become a real thing, with vignettes filmed to introduce his character. However, the character ended up on the cutting room floor.
7. Hardcore Holly: A Space Odyssey
A number of years ago, when there was a brand split between Raw, SmackDown and the ECW brand, the company also branched out to different television stations. This was so they could reach different audiences and demographics. ECW was aired on the SyFy network in the United States, a station that focuses on all things science fiction related. Former WWE creative writer Court Bauer had a number of different ideas to appeal to the core SyFy audience, but unfortunately his concepts were repeatedly turned down.
One concept he came up with was to reinvent Hardcore Holly as Spacecore Holly. He would wear an astronaut outfit and even have a monkey as a mascot. The idea was meant to be a joke, but though Vince McMahon liked the idea initially it didn’t ultimately work out. The goofiness of the idea wasn’t that far out of the realm of possibility.
6. Sable’s Sister
A number of years ago, the WWE had a fairly successful women’s division. Names such as Lita, Trish Stratus and Victoria were at the top, and the company was bringing in other women to help build up the division. One such woman was Terri Poch who became known as Torrie in WWE. She had onscreen relationships with the likes of X-Pac and Kane, but that wasn’t the initial plan for her character.
As many fans will recall, when Torrie debuted it was as that of an obsessed fan that was fixated on Sable. That wasn’t the initial concept that floated around for her, however; the initial concept was to have her debut as Sable’s long lost sister. It didn’t seem like much of a stretch, as the women appeared similar to one another. The company eventually decided against it, as they felt it was much too similar to the introduction of Kane.
5. Adam Rose – The Party Is Over
Former WWE superstar Adam Rose saw his share of ups and downs while with the WWE. During his time in NXT, he was initially a much darker character that went by the name of Leo Kruger. The character resembled that of a wild game hunter who hailed from South Africa.
It wasn’t until he was transformed into Adam Rose that he took off down in developmental. The problem was it didn’t take off when he was brought up to the main roster. At that point, the creative team wanted to introduce a much darker side to Adam Rose, in fact a character in some ways similar to that of Leo Kruger. It didn’t go very far, and the creative team didn’t fully invest the time to develop the “dark side” of Rose. Instead, the character moved from being a party pooper to part of the Social Outcasts.
4. The Illegitimate Batista
Former WWE Heavyweight and World Champion Batista had one nickname given to him during his career: The Animal, suggesting he struck fear into his opposition. While he was competing in Ohio Valley Wrestling, he wrestled under the name Leviathan, the mythical sea creature that would also strike fear in the hearts of all it came into contact with. Of course, when he was brought up to the main roster, he debuted as Deacon Batista, a merchant of God aligned with the Reverend Devon that was more muscle than he was goodwill. But that didn’t last long.
However, his debut in the WWE could have been very different. Batista shared a story that WWE creative once pitched the idea that he was a child conceived out of rape. The character was very hateful, as he would have daddy issues. The idea never went farther, thankfully, as Batista’s niche was carved under the Animal nickname.
3. G.I. Ramon?
As mentioned previously, some of the best characters out there were ones that are based in reality. That was the case for Scott Hall. While competing in the AWA, Hall was the guy with the bushy mustache and short curly hair that teamed with Curt Hennig. But upon joining WCW, Hall became the Diamond Studd, a macho character that had long slicked-back hair, a precursor to the Razor Ramon character fans grew to know and admire in the 90s.
However, Razor Ramon almost never saw the light of day. Before he was “the bad guy,” he nearly became “the army guy.” When Vince McMahon met Hall, he was aware that he had a military background and wanted to capitalize on the reality of it. That never went very far, as Hall’s success with the Diamond Studd gimmick won out, leading to Razor Ramon.
2. Cruel Intentions
A few years ago, the WWE had a brother-sister combination that was built on storylines rather than fact. Fans may recall WWE superstar Paul Burchill, and a female WWE superstar portrayed his sister, Katie Lea Burchill. Katie Lea, who competed in TNA as Winter, was a formidable competitor in her own right, and certainly added to the women’s division. Their debut as brother and sister simply had them aligned with one another without anything that pushed the envelope. That wasn’t the initial plan for the duo, however.
The concept that was first laid out for them was to have them not only care for one another, but to have them “really” love one another. The concept of having them romantically involved certainly seemed taboo, and incest likely wouldn’t have gone over well with sponsors. The idea was apparently inspired by the film Cruel Intentions, but any suggestions of a relationship was ultimately stopped.
1. A Love Triangle
One of the most underrated wrestlers in WWE was Owen Hart. The late son of Stu and Helen was arguably one of the most talented in ring performers of his time, and he was as beloved for his character outside the ring as he was for his work inside it. He was a loved family man that had morals and standards, and wouldn’t do something simply because he was asked to do it.
This was no different from one suggestion of having Hart be involved in a relationship with Debra McMichael. The belief was that the relationship was to be kept a secret and lead to a split of his tag team with Jeff Jarrett. Hart didn’t like even the suggestion of being a part of that storyline, as he didn’t want his children and wife to see him play that part on television.