Because the WWE Universe never sleeps, one might expect that just about every wrestling match with the possibility of taking place inevitably would, maybe even two or three times. Surprisingly, this hasn’t quite been the case, with the company willfully passing up some of the greatest potential matches in history over and over again, until it eventually becomes too late for them to happen anymore. This isn’t always Vince McMahon or anyone else’s fault, as in many cases, the stars just don’t align in the proper way to make certain pairings happen.
That said, there have indeed been plenty of contests that were entirely possible, only for WWE to completely disregard the incredible possibility staring them in the face. Even in these scenarios, McMahon and his wrestlers generally have an explanation for why these would be dream matches never happened. Maybe the wrestlers involved were too busy with other programs, didn’t get along in real life, or Vince just didn’t think they would have any chemistry. Rational though these excuses may be, it doesn’t stop fans from retrospectively shaking their heads over the loss of what could have been.
Outside of video games and fan fiction, the majority of these matches can’t happen anymore, but that won’t stop fans from wishing they did. In fact, one or two of the matches we’re about to outline actually took place in one form or another, just not at a moment when WWE could have truly benefitted from them. Whatever the reason, keep reading to learn about 15 WWE dream matches that absolutely could have happened, but the company missed out on them.
15 Batista vs Brock Lesnar – The Animal Tries To Tame The Beast
When two similar wrestlers make their start in the same company at the same time, it’s almost a given they should eventually lock up to see which one is better. Surprisingly, this never happened to Brock Lesnar and Batista, two behemoths of men who both made their debuts in 2002. Granted, Brock rocketed to fame a little bit faster than Big Dave, winning his first WWE Championship mere months after hitting the scene. Batista, on the other hand, needed a couple years to assert himself, yet once he was ready to break through, he was just as dominant and destructive as Lesnar, if not more so.
The catch here is that Batista didn’t truly become a “main event name” until just after Lesnar’s initial exit from WWE. Prior to that point, Batista also happened to spend most of his time on Raw, while Lesnar was largely relegated to SmackDown. Despite all this, the potential for a match between them was so strong WWE should have tried to make it work at least once. While the bout never happened on a major stage, the two did wrestle an OVW house show match in 2000 that Batista later told Chris Jericho was “a total squash.” Of course, fans would have expected a whole lot more than that from the two of them on a Pay-Per-View.
14 Ric Flair VS Hulk Hogan – Somewhere It Actually Matters
Of all the matches WWE should have made at one point or another, the idea of Ric Flair locking up with Hulk Hogan seemed like the biggest no-brainer. Indeed, soon enough, WCW would end up running this match so many darn times it barely mattered anymore, and even Vince McMahon would get in on the action after both men were pushing 50. However, he choose not to let WWE make it happen first, 10 years earlier, when the two were still retaining the iconic status that saw them revered as the two biggest names in wrestling history.
The year was 1992, and Ric Flair had just left WCW as the reigning World Champion due to a contract dispute with booker Jim Herd. Hogan, while slightly waning in popularity since the '90s began, was still a massive superstar, and the only person left for him to conquer was The Nature Boy.
The perfect setting for such an occasion seemed to be WrestleMania VIII, with both company’s World Championship belts on the line. Flair did end up defending a title at that event, but against Randy Savage, and not until after he stopped carrying around the Big Gold Belt. Hogan was in another match entirely, and not until two years later in WCW would they actually cross paths.
13 Goldberg VS The Undertaker – The Two Streaks Collide
At this point, there are no great undefeated streaks left in wrestling. That’s not to say WWE or some other company won’t try to give a new superstar a huge head start with a bunch of wins at the onset of their career sometime soon, because it’s worked out pretty well for them a bunch of times in the past. The two greatest undefeated streaks in wrestling history in terms of mainstream attention were probably Goldberg’s 173-0 record in WCW and The Undertaker’s similarly impressive 21-0 run through WrestleMania. Overall, though, Goldberg’s path of destruction was arguably better, as he very rarely took a loss even after the Streak collapsed, while the Dead Man’s prospects instantly dwindled when his was over.
Nonetheless, in a world where potential dream matches are rapidly disappearing, pitting the two most unstoppable monsters in wrestling history together seems like a given.
WWE even hinted at the idea during the 2017 Royal Rumble, only for any talk about the pairing to immediately fade into nothingness. With Goldberg getting inducted to the WWE Hall of Fame the next year, it looks like his career is pretty much over, permanently closing the door on this conversation. Then again, the fact The Undertaker keeps getting in the ring after seemingly retiring means there could still be hope for this one yet.
12 Jeff Hardy VS Shane McMahon – A Spotfest For The Ages
Unlike most other pairings on this list, there was never all that much discussion about Shane McMahon and Jeff Hardy locking it up in the ring. Popular as he’s always been, Hardy was never the sort of character to challenge authority figures. Shane was similarly the most reserved and hands off McMahon, only actively challenging wrestlers who confront him directly. Despite these character issues, putting the two craziest and most willfully self-destructive performers in the company against one another seems like an obvious spectacle for all fans of wrestling mayhem to enjoy. Throw in a giant ladder or steel cage and it’s almost a guarantee one of them would do something fans talked about forever.
Another unique quality this match has over all others is that it could potentially still happen. Both Shane and Jeff are back in WWE today, maintaining their status as daredevil risk takers who pull off stunts no other athlete would dare attempt.
The problem is they’re both nearly 20 years removed from their peak, and the once-thrilling leaps of faith are now somewhat frightening to behold. Sure, a big match between them could still happen, and one of them would defy gravity during it, but they also might break a hip, or worse. For that reason, we’re willing to leave this one as a “what if.”
11 Steve Austin VS Brock Lesnar – The Crowning of the Next Big Thing
Never before in wrestling history was a wrestler passed so many torches as Brock Lesnar. In a matter of months, he plowed through the entire WWE roster, including decisive wins over Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Ric Flair, Booker T, and virtually every other name available. Each of these matches felt like the old guard agreeing Lesnar was indeed the Next Big Thing, but one notable wrestler is absent from the list in “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Of course, the Rattlesnake was supposed to have been there from the start as one of Lesnar’s first victims, but there were a few snags to the plan that prevented it from happening.
First and foremost, Austin didn’t want to lose to Lesnar on a completely random episode of Raw with no fanfare.
Had Vince McMahon suggested the match take place on Pay-Per-View or at least a highly-promoted Raw, things probably would have gone smoothly. Unfortunately, Austin walked out on the company in frustration after hearing the original plan. Since then, he’s admitted lots of regret over the situation, later telling Sam Roberts, “We all lost a lot of money and the crowd lost a part of the product that they loved to watch.” He still didn’t want the match to happen that night, but a small amount of negotiation could have easily led to this surefire classic.
10 Linda McMahon VS Stephanie McMahon – Because Why Not?
Okay, so in all reality, there was never really any chance of this one happening. On the other hand, though, why the heck not? The biggest roadblock stopping Linda McMahon from wrestling her daughter Stephanie is that unlike every other member of their family, Linda has never once actually stepped between the ropes for a match. This is pretty strange, though, considering Shane, Steph, and Vince have all gotten in the ring quite a lot in their day, including multiple matches against each other. In fact, every case of Shane or Stephanie standing against their father in the ring has been pretty great from a sports entertainment perspective.
There’s no reason WWE couldn’t hide Linda’s lack of training with smoke and mirrors the same way they hide everyone else in the family. It’s worth remembering Linda once got a huge reaction from the crowd during an infamous segment where she slapped her daughter, which easily could have transitioned to a match between them. Even easier, all four McMahon’s could get mixed into a tag team bout where the matriarch wouldn’t have to do any heavy lifting. However, that was well over a decade ago, and now that Linda has a long-term job in politics, it’s very unlikely she’ll be making a homecoming to WWE to get in the ring.
9 AJ Lee VS Charlotte Flair – The Revolution That Wasn’t Televised
Forced into an early retirement for personal and professional reasons, fans of the women’s revolution could probably make a whole list out of dream matches AJ Lee barely missed out on. AJ’s only true rival from the revolution era was Paige, and even that program didn’t lead to as many matches as it could have. Until then, AJ was forced to try her hardest against women like the Bellas and other Total Divas who often lacked the same commitment to in-ring excellence she seemed to possess. That would change in due order, but by the time it did, AJ had suffered the injuries that took her out of the ring for good.
It didn’t help that her husband CM Punk was also on the outs with WWE, leaving her in a tough situation between the two warring factions. Had AJ been able to stick it out for just a few more months and pass the torch of revolution, Charlotte Flair would have been the perfect person with whom she could do it.
Even when Charlotte was first called up to the main roster, she had honed her skills in NXT to the point where a match between the two could easily help further the state of women’s wrestling. Too bad Lee had to say goodbye when she did.
8 John Cena VS Hulk Hogan – Another Torch To Be Passed
For as long as Hulk Hogan continues to live, there will be wrestlers old school fans wish could challenge him in the ring. High among that list in today’s WWE Universe is John Cena, who has firmly overtaken the Hulkster’s role as the face of the company. Despite the considerable age difference between them, the mere fact the two have such similar characters is all the wrestling audience needed to fantasize about a match between them. In fairness, though, there’s no way Hogan could have competed in the same sort of match he did back in the '80s, let alone recapture the magic of his 2002 encounter with The Rock.
Of course, any excuse to get these two in the ring would probably work for most fans. The resultant match doesn’t necessarily need to be a classic, just a few body slams between them followed by a big move or two. In fact, that’s pretty much exactly what Hogan’s huge bout against André the Giant was, so there’s no reason WWE couldn’t make it work again with the role reversed. Well, there wasn’t a reason 10 or 15 years ago, anyway, back when the potential for such a match first existed. Now that Hogan’s very much on the outs with the company and even older, it’s hard to imagine him getting back between the ropes.
7 Eddie Guerrero VS Shawn Michaels – Viva La Heartbreak
Obvious as some of these lock ups may be, WWE would always need to find a way to justify them before actually allowing these wrestlers to meet in a match. That said, all a meeting between Eddie Guerrero and Shawn Michaels would need is spotlight, because there’s no way the two of them would create anything short of a classic. Even if they were only given 5 to 10 minutes on TV, the energy and athleticism they brought to every match would definitely be on display.
Unfortunately, while the two spent several years in WWE at the same time, Guerrero was typically on SmackDown, and HBK famously refused to work the show because it interfered with his Bible study group.
Given how great this match could be, though, there’s no logical reason why WWE couldn’t have cross promoted, or just brought Eddie over to Raw for a few weeks. In fact, rumor has it they were headed in that direction for WrestleMania 22, only for Guerrero to sadly pass away four months before it could happen. In this case, it’s hard to blame WWE for missing the opportunity, as absolutely no one could have predicted Guerrero’s passing when it happened. Nonetheless, there were three full years beforehand when they could have gone in this direction, making it a sorely missed opportunity.
6 The Rock VS “Macho Man” Randy Savage – It Was Madness To Deprive The People
Unless one happens to be a wrestling purist, pretty much the only downfall most can find in The Rock’s unforgettable match with Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania X8 is that neither man stuck around for long enough to recapture the magic with anyone else. There’s a reason both of them feature on this list more than once, and it’s that after that master class in how to get a crowd to react, fans will never stop picturing them doing the same thing with virtually anyone else in the business.
Rumor has it The Rock himself had been having similar thoughts, with the Great One allegedly pitching matches that would pit him against other legends in the sport only for WWE to deny him the chance.
Included among The Rock’s suggestions were apparently Sting, Goldberg, and even Bret Hart, but the most interesting to us would be a “Macho Man” Randy Savage making a comeback. Even outside of these rumors, Rock had always spoken very highly of Savage’s talent and charisma, citing him as an incredible innovative and energetic performer. Granted, Savage’s best days were well behind him by the early 2000s, but he at least could have created some very memorable interviews leading up to a grand smoke and mirrors display. Or, as the Macho Man might have put it, lots of hot dogging and grandstanding.
5 Steve Austin VS Hulk Hogan – Who Made WWE A Bigger Sensation?
Chances are the debate between fans of sports entertainment over who the biggest superstar in WWE history was will never end. That said, the same handful of names will always be near the top of the list, with Hulk Hogan and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in particular battling it out for the number one and two spots. There’s no denying Hogan was the most mainstream performer of the '80s and Austin the '90s, yet which one had the greater impact overall will forever be unclear. Of course, they could have had a match anyway, at least giving fans something to go by during these arguments.
In addition to many fans having these feelings on the subject, even “Stone Cold” himself mentioned on a recent episode of his podcast that Hogan was the one dream opponent he wished he wrestled the most.
His reasons were essentially the same as those listed above, with the Rattlesnake noting Hogan was one of very few superstars who could match his star power. There were even a few cases when it almost happened, including Hogan once challenging Austin to a match on Raw, only for things to get forgotten about almost instantly. Austin also copped up to causing the snag, saying he “wasn’t ready” for a level of performance that would leave fans satisfied.
4 Goldust VS Cody Rhodes – Brothers Square Off In A Literal Dream
No two wrestlers on this list tried harder to make their dream matches happen than Cody Rhodes and Goldust. This may be due to the fact they happen to be real-life brothers, and thus wanted to show one another what they could do in the ring pretty much from the day Cody was born. For that reason, this is another pairing that did indeed happen a handful of times inside a WWE ring, yet not in the way fans actually wanted to see it happen. While Goldust and Cody only locked up on camera once, it was an almost entirely forgettable affair that didn’t go as either man planned. The real dream was for them to engage in a long, drawn out feud that culminated at the Grandest Stage of Them All, WrestleMania.
Unfortunately, according to Cody, the match was never actually on the table from a creative standpoint, and was basically just a fantasy. This is a little bit surprising, considering WWE seemed to be headed in that direction after the Rhodes Brothers lost the Tag Team Championships, which was coincidentally the peak of either man’s popularity up to that point. This list proves WWE can pass up what’s right in front of them all the time, though, so maybe it really was just wishful thinking.
3 Vader VS Mankind – One More Time For The Good Of Mankind
Aside from Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan, it’s possible that Vader and Mick Foley wrestled one another more than anyone else on this list, making their placement here just a little bit suspect. The catch is that they only ever locked up when Mick was wrestling as Cactus Jack in WCW, leaving two entire personas and five years worth of experience for them to switch things up. During Vader and Cactus’s legendary feud, Foley was still a relative rookie, not yet having defined the style that turned him into a Hardcore Legend. Granted, Vader was arguably at his peak already, but it’s not like he lost everything that made him great in just a few short years.
Once the Mastodon and Mankind were both in the WWE Universe, it seemed like a given they would eventually cross paths again. Indeed, they did come into contact a few times, albeit as partners or allies under the shared management of Paul Bearer. Tensions often rose during these times whenever the two failed to win matches, and conventional wisdom suggested it would eventually lead to a revival of their feud. Now that Mankind had fully lost his mind, it could have been more violent, bloodier, and jam-packed with Attitude than ever before — and that goes double with the right gimmick attached.
2 Sting VS The Undertaker – The Icon and The Dead Man
Phenomenal wrestlers obviously get more attention than the plain or average, so it goes without saying the two with reputations as living, breathing Phenoms locking up would get all the spotlight in the world. Long before Sting even signed with WWE, the main match people wanted to see him in was a WrestleMania encounter against The Undertaker. Without a doubt, the two mysterious and charismatic macabre superstars could have put on quite the spectacle. Truth be told, there were definitely a few WrestleMania’s when the Dead Man had relatively weak opponents, and Sting would have been a much better alternative in every case.
Even after the Streak ended, Sting was highly interested in having this match take place. When he finally arrived in the WWE Universe, it looked like it might actually happen, and no one was happier than the Stinger.
Unfortunately, speaking with Al Arabiya, Sting explained he and The Undertaker, “had a brief conversation, and I just told him, I said, ‘Man, I’ve always wanted to have that match.’ It wasn’t necessarily reciprocated, so I’m not sure where he stands or if he had any interest at all.” The Undertaker has only further wound down his career since that statement was made, so chances are his desire to make the match happen is even smaller than before.
1 Shawn Michaels VS The Rock – Potential For A Show-Stopping Main Event
Both Shawn Michaels and The Rock appear on this list more than once for their charisma, ring skills, and general personalities. Great as it would be to see them lock up with other luminaries of their day, it could be argued the most obvious missed opportunity in WWE history would have simply been for the two of them to face one another. Unfortunately, unlike so many other items on the list, the timing was never quite right for such an occasion. Just as The Rock was rising up the card, Michaels suffered the injury that took him out of the ring for four whole years.
Then, right as Michaels was prepared to return, The Rock left WWE pretty much for good to pursue his career in Hollywood. Granted, there were still about two years remaining when The Rock would make increasingly rare in-ring returns for one major feud or two, and Michaels would have made for a perfect opponent during this time frame.
In the very least, it would have lead to better matches than his rehashes against Hulk Hogan and the weak debut of Goldberg. However, rumor always had it that the two just didn’t like one another, so even if the stars did align, they might have chosen to look the other way.