As with any company producing over 10 hours of television on a weekly basis, WWE has a room full of extremely creative writers constantly attempting to create the best television show they possibly can. Just like every other writer’s room, the staff listens to a boss, in this case WWE CEO Vince McMahon. When Vince loves a writer’s idea, or he has a great one himself, it’s going to end up on WWE programming sooner or later…well, usually. Occasionally a storyline gets dropped before it even makes TV, but that hasn’t always prevented fans from hearing about them, thanks to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and later interviews with wrestlers and writers.
The stories can get dropped for any number of reasons. In most cases it’s probably because Vince and company realized it wasn’t the best idea, or maybe one of the performers involved refused to do it for whatever reason. Sometimes it doesn’t even have anything to do with wrestling, and was a change necessitated by a major global or business related news story. Regardless of why, countless wrestling storylines have been dropped over the years, and at least some of them sounded pretty awesome.
Read on to learn about the 10 most awesome rumored wrestling storylines that never happened, but we really wish did.
10. Jake Roberts vs. Hulk Hogan
In the mid 1980’s, Hulk Hogan was unquestionably the biggest babyface in the wrestling world. It isn’t quite as clear-cut who the most successful heel was, but few fans would disagree with the assessment that Jake “The Snake” Roberts was one of the best. So great was Jake as a heel, in fact, that when it came time for him to feud Hulk Hogan in the mid-1980’s, the fans, in Jake’s own words, “reacted wrong” and decided to cheer for the Snake over the Hulkster, going into an absolutel frenzy when Roberts nailed Hogan with the DDT.
Worried Jake’s popularity might start to overshadow Hogan’s, and worried this would diminish Hogan’s Earth-shattering ability to make money, the feud was dropped and Jake turned face a few months later in a feud with the Honky Tonk Man, keeping him far away from Hogan. The fascinating thing about this angle is how directly it mimics the issues WWE is having today. Fans revolted against the Superman babyface in favor of the violent, cool guy with possible mental issues. The difference is back then, WWE realized it and changed course immediately. Roman Reigns has been booed for the past two years, and they keep putting him next to the people who get cheered over him. Maybe if WWE learned their lesson the first time and adapted in a manner that gave the fans what they wanted instead of setting a precedent of WWE doing what they wanted anyway, we wouldn’t have problems like this persisting today.
9. Bob Holly – In Space!
Thurman “Sparky” Plugg debuted in WWE in 1993 as a part-time racecar driver who decided to moonlight as a wrestler. The name was rightly maligned, so he turned into “Sparkplug” Bob Holly. A few years later he ditched NASCAR for steel chairs and became Hardcore Holly, becoming a solid midcard success as a former WWE World Tag Team Champion and multiple time WWE Hardcore Champion. After several years of minor success he had a minor injury right around the time WWE was reviving ECW. In an attempt to relate to the Sci-Fi network, when Holly returned, former WWE writer Court Bauer suggested he become an astronaut.
The suggestion included Holly wearing a spacesuit and being accompanied by a pet monkey. Bauer acts as though the idea was a joke, but we absolutely love it. Bob Holly’s career is basically a joke to begin with, and this sounds hilarious. What we got instead was the ECW zombie, and though wrestling zombies have been successful in the past, that particular zombie was a pretty big failure most people try to forget today. Spacecore Holly would at least be worth a few laughs.
8. Baron von Bava
Okay, we’ll admit it—half the items on this list would just amuse the hell out of us, and might not actually have had a huge chance of becoming the biggest storylines in wrestling history, but this one probably would’ve made national news…for all the wrong reasons. Former WWE writer Dan Madigan explained his idea for the character of “Baron von Bava” to Powerslam magazine in 2008. Explaining that, “after the Katie Vick angle, I figured I could write anything,” Madigan pitched McMahon and company the idea of a cryogenically unfrozen Nazi super-soldier, managed by the actually Jewish Paul Heyman.
The idea is all levels of horrible in a manner that couldn’t possibly work, but sometimes its fun to watch a true train wreck unfold. The full pitch included goose-stepping and more swastikas than The Man in the High Castle, and left even Vince McMahon silenced and stunned. But as Madigan pointed out, this is the same company that broadcast a video of Triple H humping a mannequin, so it’s almost understandable he lost sight of where the line was. If only to see how the world would react, we almost wish Vince didn’t see the line, either.
7. Raven’s Seven Deadly Sins
Raven was one of the greatest creative minds in professional wrestling in the 1990’s. Though Paul Heyman ran the show, it was often Raven’s crazy ideas that formed the basis for the greatest ECW storylines, and he was the guy with all the hottest, most violent girls, so fans loved to hate the guy, too. He was moderately successful in WCW, but left due to creative differences. A similar situation would occur when he returned to WWE in 2000. After several years marked with 26 WWE Hardcore Championship reigns, Raven was again creatively bored. Instead of quitting, this time he came up with a brilliant, year-long storyline to occupy his time.
Raven’s plan was to use the Seven Deadly Sins to cause psychological damage to his opponents, on the true basis wrestlers get physically hurt every week and always get back up anyway, while psychological damage lasts forever. After manipulating Jonathan Coachman and no-name jobbers, he would enter a major feud with Matt Hardy. During the feud, Lita would cheat on Matt and join Raven. Stephanie McMahon’s reaction to the pitch was allegedly that she didn’t understand what would happen next.
6. Vince McMahon’s Grossest Idea
We admit this would pretty much have been WWE jumping the shark, but the world deserves to know what goes on in Vince McMahon’s head. Most people probably would be correct in the assumption it’s mostly gorgeous women and men with more muscles than Vince knows what to do with, but there’s definitely some dark and scary stuff going on in there, too. Vince didn’t have the perfect childhood, but that doesn’t quite excuse his craziest idea. When his daughter Stephanie was actually pregnant for the first time with her first child, he suggested they run an angle on television where Vince would ultimately be revealed as the father of his grandchild. Stephanie immediately refused, so Vince asked if she’d let Shane do it. She refused again.
There’s no way to deny this is the grossest and most horrifying thought Vince McMahon has ever had. It’s not the only time he’s considered incest as a gimmick, but in the other instance, it wasn’t with actual family members. This crosses a line even so clear and horrifying, the fact the “Genetic Jackhammer” thought it was a great idea to share with the family tells us an incredible amount about the man. There are certain things the investors have a right to know.
5. WWE World Champion, El Matador
In late 1992, Ric Flair was having minor health issues and needed to lose the WWE World Championship. The company knew Yokozuna would be their next long-term champion, but needed a face to hold the title for a few months until WrestleMania, since both Yoko and Flair were heels. They ultimately went with Bret Hart, who would use the first title win to gradually catapult himself into the WWE Hall of Fame. However, Hart wasn’t the only name on the list of potential interim champions. According to the man himself in various interviews, the second most talked about name to become champion at the time was “El Matador,” Tito Santana.
Santana was a two-time Intercontinental Champion and later Hall of Famer, but some malign the idea as he was nearing the end of his career and basically a mid card performer at the time. However, we feel he was always a solid worker, and it’s worth consideration he would have become only the second Latino to win the WWE World Championship.
4. Doink the Clown vs. Hulk Hogan
Matt Borne had a successful career under his real name in Mid-South Wrestling and was known in WCW as Big Josh before debuting in WWE as Doink the Clown. Doink is controversial amongst fans, with some seeing him as the final jump-the-shark moment of WWE’s child-friendly cartoon nature of the Hogan era. Others feel at least his first year with WWE as a truly evil clown was compelling, but even his biggest fans have trouble believing Borne’s claim that Doink was supposed to main event WrestleMania IX against Hulk Hogan.
It’s kind of hard to give any real credence to the Clown’s claims, but we want to believe it enough that we’re going to pretend we do at least for this list. It would have been a cartoon with real live people, but Hulk Hogan already was a real life cartoon. WrestleMania IX is considered the worst WrestleMania, and one of the worst wrestling shows ever produced, so this literally couldn’t make it worse.
3. Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan
Sometimes what seems like the most obvious “sure thing” imaginable just doesn’t pan out. In 1991, Ric Flair, the top star in the NWA, jumped ship to WWE. For the first time, the two biggest wrestling stars of the 1980’s were working for the same company. Immediately people began speculating Flair would face Hulk Hogan in the main event of WrestleMania VIII. The seeds of a feud were planted before Flair even showed his face on television, with Bobby Heenan challenging Hogan on behalf of the REAL World’s Champion. Flair unified his “real” title with the WWE World Championship by winning the Royal Rumble in 1992, and it seemed like Hogan would be the obvious choice for his opponent at WrestleMania.
Things didn’t quite turn out that way, though. Flair ended up losing his title to Randy Savage, while Hogan faced Sid in the main event. The rumors as to why the change was made surround two primary possibilities: neither of the man would agree to lose, or fan reaction to the two competing at house shows was deemed lackluster. The first one is unlikely, since WCW and the Hulkamania tour are proof Flair would willingly lose to Hogan every single night for the rest of his career if that’s what the situation called for. Flair himself recently posited a third theory: Vince knew Hogan wanted to star in films, and therefore might not stick around to enter a long-term feud with Flair. We’re going to chalk it up to Act-A-Mania, because the match remains near the top of most people’s lists of wrestling’s greatest missed opportunities.
2. Hulk Hogan vs. Sheik Tugboat
Fred Ottoman is best remembered for suffering perhaps the most embarrassing moment in wrestling history, for Fred Ottoman is the Shockmaster. Prior to the role that would eventually lead him to Internet infamy, Ottoman wrestled for the WWE as Tugboat. He was a huge part of WWE storylines in the early ‘90’s, teaming with Hulk Hogan against Earthquake and Dino Bravo. His status as Hulk Hogan’s best friend during this time made him enormously popular with fans, and according to longtime WWE writer Bruce Pritchard, Vince McMahon came up with a brilliant idea to turn him into a villain.
The plan was for Tugboat to turn on his best buddy Hulkster and align with the evil Adnan al-Kaissie, eventually winning the WWE World Championship under the new moniker of Sheik Tugboat. The idea was reworked with Sgt. Slaughter filling the role. Slaughter’s heel turn is considered one of the most offensive and terrible ideas in wrestling history, and Sheik Tugboat really couldn’t be that bad. His name almost brings the idea to cartoon territory, and that both puts him on the same level as Slaughter and lands him right in Hogan’s wheelhouse. There’s also a chance it’s a flop, but we see that as a good thing, too—maybe it convinces McMahon that an Iraqi sympathizer gimmick wasn’t the best idea in the first place.
1. Vince McMahon’s Hobo Army
In June of 2007, Vince McMahon’s limousine blew up on Monday Night Raw and he was declared missing, presumed dead. Two weeks later, Chris Benoit murdered his family and then hanged himself in his weight room, pretty much destroying the idea of a fake death ever occurring again in WWE. Benoit’s crimes are horrible, and in no way does it compare to the loss of two innocent lives, but one of the many things lost due to his actions was the potentially legendary saga of Hobo McMahon.
Robert Karpeles, a former WWE writer, explained the story to Bryan Alvarez of Figure 4 Wrestling Online. McMahon’s fake death would continue not for weeks, but months. Gradually Triple H and Stephanie McMahon would take over control of the company until Vince returned, in secret, with a “Hobo Army.” Vince would follow the Howard Hughes School of Business, growing out his hair, beard and fingernails during this time to appear more homeless. It has also been rumored that through this storyline, Vince’s real life brother Rod McMahon would make his WWE debut.
The Vince McMahon Hobo Army story is everything we love about wrestling. It is high-brow in the lowest-brow manner possible. It features social commentary in a truly warped, insane way. It has a big stable led by a huge star, and it turns the most powerful, hated heel in WWE into the underdog babyface everyone wants to cheer. And, like so many of professional wrestling’s greatest moments, it is virtually impossible to say whether it’s the greatest idea of all time, or one of the dumbest.