For the last 65 years, the WWE has captured our hearts with the love of stories, imagination, camaraderie, and of course, fighting!
Smackdown, Raw, NXT, WWWF, WWF, MCW, AWA, NWA, ECW, or TNA whichever one you watched, you had a favorite wrestler and your least favorite wrestler. Why would this be? Could it be their wrestling skills, attitude or promos? Sure, but don’t forget without the storylines and the gimmicks, it’s just wrestling.
Now, the successful gimmicks and storylines are not the only ones we see on TV. The WWE will test out different gimmicks and storylines at House Shows, which are live events that are not televised. These events test fans' reactions to wrestlers, matches, and gimmicks prior to being televised.
Just because it passed the House Show, does not mean it will do well on the Pay-Per-Views or weekly episodes. Some gimmicks and storylines leave fans confused. I am sure you can name a handful off the top of your head. Some favorites of mine are: What if WrestleMania had flopped? What if the stock that belonged to Vince McMahon Sr was never bought by his son? What if the lawsuit was not taking place for concussions? What if WCW had won the Monday Night Wars? Did they think we wouldn’t get who Juan Cena really was?
This list is for anyone that wants to walk down memory lane and for the newbies or fans that were not alive the last 65 years of WWE.
20 Mr. Kennedy- Illegitimate Son Of Vince McMahon: A What If Story
Vince McMahon “died” in his limo when it exploded. That night, the storyline was supposed to play out that Linda McMahon was arrested as being his killer. A Will Reading was going to air a few weeks later revealing Mr. Kennedy as the illegitimate son of Vince McMahon. Stephanie McMahon and Triple H would then announce their second marriage. Triple H would fight for ownership of the WWE. This feud would last until WrestleMania of that year.
Originally, Triple H would have won and Vince would then reveal that he was faking his death so his “true son” would gain ownership of the WWE with Linda being framed for the murder.
The WWE started this storyline with McMahon’s limo blowing up, however, Chris Benoit's death that night caused the WWE to cancel the original idea and bring McMahon back the next night. Later down the road, they announced Hornswoggle as his illegitimate son.
19 Alundra Blayze Vs Kong Vs Trash Can
The WWF decided that they would bring back the Woman’s Championship in 1993. They brought back Madusa under the new name of Alundra Blayze.
AJW Wrestler Bull Nakano was brought in 1994 to go against Blayze. The rivalry lasted throughout the year. Rhonda Singh was signed in 1995 as Bertha Faye. Her gimmick included being the girlfriend of Dr. Harvey Wippleman. Blayze needed to be out for surgery on her nose after Faye broke it, so WWF planned to have Bull fight with Faye. Sadly that was scrapped when Bull was fired for possession of cocaine.
Singh had no competition for the rest of the year and was upset that she could not use her finishing move due to Sycho Sid using it. This caused Singh to quit.
When Blayze returned, the WWF started to build up Aja Kong, but Blayze sat out the rest of her contract since she did not like working with Kong. The day Blayze’s WWF Contract went up, she returned to WCW Monday Nitro as Medusa. She then threw her WWF Championship Belt in the trash.
18 Lord Tensai- What Were They Thinking?
In 1997, Matt Bloom was introduced as Prince Albert, later to also be known as A Train. He became a one-time Intercontinental Champion. In 2004, Bloom was dropped from the WWE and he went to Japan and wrestled under the name Giant Bernard. He won the New Japan Pro Wrestling’s IWGP Tag Team Championship two times and the Pro Wrestling Noah’s GHC Tag Team Championship.
In 2012, embracing Japanese customs, Lord Tensai was born. Returning to the WWE in a traditional Japanese Robe and headgear, Tensai teamed up with Brodus Clay to become Tons of Funk.
There were many reasons that Lord Tensai did not go over well with the fans. Some examples are how the green mist that he would spit on his opponents would temporarily blind them and not a lot of fans understood the reasoning behind his robe.
His final match was against Adam Rose on January 18th, 2014 on NXT. He lost. Matt Bloom then announced on a Video Blog that he was a WWE Trainer (Under the name of Jason Albert) in the Orlando Bloom training center.
17 King Of The Ring: Briefcase Raised Mystery
King of the Ring in 1999 was a Pay Per View Live showing at Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro North Carolina. It included 15 professional wrestling matches like The Undertaker defeating The Rock and a Tag Team Match between The Hardy Boyz and The Brood.
However, Stone Cold Steve Austin Versus Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon in a 1999 Ladder Match is one mystery no one has yet to address. A briefcase with the control of the company dangled high above the Wrestling Ring. When Austin was at the top of the ladder, about to grab the briefcase, it suddenly moved out of his reach! Seconds later, the briefcase was lowered back as Shane McMahon grabbed it, winning the company back.
WWE has never officially revealed who moved the briefcase. When Jim Ross was asked back in 2011 he replied, “Sorry... I don’t remember what I had for lunch last Tuesday much less what occurred in ’99.”
16 Irish Lynch To Steampunk Heel
Born Rebecca Quinn, she wrestled in Ireland under Fergal Devitt and Paul Tracy in 2002. She changed her name to Rebecca Knox when she wrestled on the Independent Circuit in Europe. She won the World Queens of Chaos Championship in 2006. In September 2006 she suffered a major head injury that kept her out of wrestling. She returned to Shimmer in 2011 as a manager.
In 2013, Rebecca Quinn signed on with NXT, being renamed as Becky Lynch. She was given a babyface introduction in Irish Emerald Green colors while dancing silly jigs. At one point they gave her a headbanger gimmick until her current steampunk heel gimmick showed how much of a boss she was. Her reign in NXT led to a Main Roster spot. In October 2014 she joined forces with Sasha Banks against Bayley, where she turned into a heel. Sasha and Banks became known as Team B.A.E (Best At Everything). She was then on RAW from 2015-2016 and then in 2016 joined Smackdown where she then became the SmackDown Women’s Champion.
15 Raw Guest Host: Cool Ideas Still Fail
The thought of Celebrity Guests hosting Raw sounded cool, and some actually were. However, not all of them were.
Some cool moments included Mark Cuban being thrown through a table by Sheamus, Hugh Jackman climbing the apron and punching Ziggler in the jaw after he was distracted by Vickie, Pee Wee Herman using the secret word Ring to make the audience yell real loud and taking out The Miz and Alex Riley! And then Bob Barker’s argument with Chris Jericho.
One of the old wrestlers that returned included Bret Hart.
Some bad moments included Al Sharpton, Verne Troyer dancing with Mark Henry and a handful of ladies, Buzz Aldrin’s confused state, Cheech and Chong enjoying a box of Lucky Charms from Hornswoggle, and Nicole Snooki Polizzi being in the middle of everything. It even led to her coming back to WrestleMania, teaming up with John Morrison and Trish Stratus going against Michelle McCool, Layla, and Dolph Ziggler. In 2011, the WWE even presented her with a Slammy Award.
14 Hornswoggle- The King Of Bad Storylines!
Born Dylan Mark Post, he started his career in Fox Valley Wrestling Alliance in 2005 as Hardcore Wonder. He debuted in WWE Smackdown as the Little Bastard. He partnered with Irish Wrestler Finlay. In February 2007, his character name was changed to Hornswoggle.
Hornswoggle’s character had many bad storylines. One of his new gimmicks he reveals in an interview was going to be a mob-boss style character, Lou Manfredini, W.C. While running RAW he would throw his power around getting revenge on the superstars that made him feel like a mascot. Due to Hornswoggle not being able to pull of this character, the gimmick disappeared after he was revealed the illegitimate son of Vince McMahon Sr. After some WWE Lawyers were put on the case, they revealed Hornswoggle to be the son of Finlay. Shane McMahon revealed he was trying to swindle money from his father and made the whole story up.
13 Lana- Beauty But Not The Full Package.
Born Catherine Joy Perry, in 2013 she signed up with the WWE developmental branch NXT. Her character background included a college degree in Foreign Affairs, Business and Social Media. She became Rusev’s Social Ambassador under the name of Lana in January 2014.
During WrestleMania 31, Rusev lost his United States Championship after he knocked Lana off the apron by accident. He lost it to John Cena. May 17th at Payback, John Cena and Rusev were having a match when Rusev said “I Quit” in Bulgarian and Lana quit in Rusev’s behalf. Later that night she kissed Dolph Ziggler where she left Rusev and joined Dolph Ziggler. This turned into a quadrangular love story with Ziggler, Rusev, Summer Rae, and Lana.
Lana turned heel again, due to her not having any training in the ring. She joined with Rusev (her husband) again while the WWE made her ring ready. Then SmackDown revealed the Vignettes. Lana started to dance sexually with a chair. Lana performed her gimmick at house shows. However, once she debuted on TV, the WWE took away the chair and dancing due to wanting to keep it family-friendly. Lana became Tamina’s sidekick due to her not being the full package.
12 Nexus Buries The Undertaker For No Reason
Nexus shook up the WWE for months in 2010. The group consisted of Wade Barrett, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, Michael Tarver, David Otunga, Darren Young, and Skip Sheffield.
For four months in 2010, Kane Vs The Undertaker had amazing showdowns that lead to a Buried Alive Match. The Undertaker and Kane battled like the two legends always did. They fought in and off the ring, leading up to fighting next to an open grave. The Undertaker looked like he was about to win when Nexus showed up swarming around him. They held up the Undertaker as Kane took the knock out hit, sending him into the grave. Kane and Nexus seemed to be working together and the WWE Universe expected an explanation at the next SmackDown. Shockingly, there was barely any talk of it again. David Otunga threatened to tell the whole world why Nexus attacked, but he never did say why.
11 Raw General Manager: Robot Or Hornswoggle?!
The Raw General Manager had the reputation of having an attitude and none of the talent liked them, however, the WWE never had anyone to play the part. A laptop on a podium would come out once an episode to announce an obvious match.
On “The Cutting Edge”, Edge and the voice of the GM, who sounded like a chipmunk and C-3P0 mated, started to argue. The GM announced that the Edge and John Cena would have a match that night. Edge lost the match causing him to be so upset that he attacked the laptop with head-butts and smashing it with a chair.
The Anonymous RAW GM changed the winner from the Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler match after Booker T interfered. Santino Marella came out to the ring wearing a detective hat and a huge magnifying glass in his hand, stating he figured out that the GM had to be hiding under the Ring. It was then revealed that Hornswoggle (yes another bad gimmick for him!) was the GM. The WWE Universe, disappointed, wish this would have stayed as a mystery and not Hornswoggle.
10 The Female Shield Defeated By A Broken Arm!
There are a lot of good and bad factions in the history of the WWE. nWo and Evolution are just two examples of factions that have worked. One bad faction would be the Corre. The best faction in history so far has to be The Shield. It consists of Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins. They debuted on the Pay Per view Survivor Series in 2012. They held an undefeated televised streak from December 2012 to May 2013. Their last match as the Shield was in the Payback Pay Per View in 2014.
The Woman’s Division in NXT wanted to try their own Female version. The Female Shield was born and a promo was cut in 2013. It consisted of three rookies from NXT Paige, Summer Rae, and developmental talent Anya. Summer Rae at that time was Fandango’s dance partner and manager. Paige has been wrestling since she was 13. Since joining the WWE in 2012, Paige has become a two-time Divas Champion and inaugural NXT Woman’s Champion.
Sadly this is as far as it went due to Anya breaking her arm in training.
9 Southern Couple- Alexa Bliss And Dawson?
Born Alexis Kaufman, she started her WWE NXT reign in May 2013 under the name of Alexa Bliss. While fighting for the NXT Woman’s Championship, she defeated Divas Champion Alicia Fox but lost to Charlotte Flair during the second round. She joined Smackdown in July 2016. While on Smackdown she became the woman’s champion two times. She showed off her new “Harley Quinn” sassy heel persona at Backlash in September 2016. In April of 2017, she joined RAW where she won RAW Woman’s Championship.
During a Podcast Interview on Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia, Alexa stated she become more comfortable on the microphone playing Scott Dawson’s girlfriend in NXT Promo Classes. The plan was to have them repeat the Southern Couple gimmick from 2003 like Jamie Noble and Nidia. Had they gone on with this storyline we never would have known Alexa Bliss as the “Harley Quinn” sassy heel persona that we know and love.
8 Bad News Barrett Beloved Heel?
Born Stuart Alexander Bennett, he trained with Jon Ritchie and Al Snow in 2004 under the Ring Name Stu Sanders. In an episode of RAW in 2006, he appeared to be part of a security team. He signed a contract with the WWE in 2007 as developmental under the Ohio Valley Wrestling as Stu Sanders. He formed a tag team with Paul Burchill and faced the Major Brothers in matches. They also defeated Colt Cabana and Charles Evans in the final tournament for OVW Southern Tag Team Championship.
He became part of the Empire with Drew McIntyre with the Florida Championship Wrestling where they defeated the Puerto Rica Nightmares for the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship. In 2009, he became Wade Barrett.
During an interview with SportBible, Barett reported that in 2013 he had become the Bad News Barrett. He was meant to be a heel character, however, the WWE Universe was so entertained by the character that they would cheer for him as though he was a babyface. Even while insulting the WWE Universe, they would still cheer. In 2015, King Barrett was born after he became the 20th King of the Ring winner.
In May 2016 he left the WWE after a brief break while he was trying to focus on his acting career.
7 “Face Of America” Kevin Owens Change
Kevin Yanick Steen was born and raised in Canada, where he became a professional wrestler at the age of sixteen. In 2007 he wrestled for Ring of Honor where he won ROH World Championship and ROH World Tag Team Championship. In August of 2014, WWE NXT started to air promos of now Kevin Owens, where he was signed to be part of the NXT Developmental System.
On a Monday Night RAW episode filmed in Madison Square Garden, Kevin Owens was dethroned by two SmackDown Live stars. There were a few speculations on why his gimmick was starting to change:
1) Kevin Owens was injured, this turned out not to be true. 2) AJ Styles had a DVD in the works and this would help push him higher in the rankings. 3) Billi Bhatti (Dirty Sheets Podcast) reports Owen’s character had to change because there were already two other characters that have anti-American gimmicks: WWE Champion Jinder Mahal and Rusev. Owens would be the only one who would benefit from the character change since Mahal was having a lot more success in his character and Rusev is just coming back starting his old heel ways (like interrupting John Cena in July 2017).
6 New Jack Stabs John Cena, Nope, Jesus Did It!
Although New Jack impressed Vince McMahon with his promo skills, WWE decided not to hire him because they were worried he would seriously hurt someone. However, had New Jack been hired, rumor has it that he would have been Carlito’s bodyguard after he defeated John Cena for the U.S. title. To make sure John Cena was not able to have a rematch; Carlito was going to order New Jack to “stab” John Cena in a Boston Night Club.
The Smackdown General Manager stated that Cena was struggling to save his kidney. Heels and Faces were shocked, except for Carlito, who told Teddy Long that Cena had it coming.
This made some fans unsettled remembering the 1988 stabbing of Bruiser Brody. He was a former wrestler that had his murder covered up by wrestler Carlos Colon. Due to this, WWE made sure they did not have Carlito be the one who stabbed Cena but announced Aaron Aguilera (Jesus) did the stabbing instead.
John Cena was never actually stabbed, but was out so he could film, “The Marine.”
5 Hulk Hogan Vs Sammartino: Hogan A No Show
Born Terry Gene Bollea, he was introduced to McMahon in 1979. McMahon wanted to change his name to an Irish name (Now Hogan) and to dye his hair red. Bollea did not dye his hair red due to it already starting to fall out. He had his first WWF Match in November 1979 defeating Harry Valdez.
Over the years, Hulk Hogan had many story changes. As a babyface, he was going to battle Sammartino in 1980; however, rumor has it that McMahon Sr had canceled the matches and told Hogan not to show up. McMahon Sr. never informed Sammartino. The reasoning behind this change would save Hogan from losing to Sammartino costing him his credibility as a threat to Andre the Giant and Bob Backlund.
In 2005, Shawn Michaels and Hulk Hogan’s feud was going to last two more Pay-Per-Views. The second Pay Per View Shawn Michaels was slated to win and the third was possibly a Steel Cage Match to determine the best wrestler. Due to Michaels returning to Face, the feud ended in the next RAW.
4 Finn Balor “Demon” Vs Bray Wyatt’s “Sister Abigail” A Big Disappointment!
Everyone knows that Bray Wyatt has not had a great turn on gimmicks, but Sister Abigail had some of the WWE Universe excited. Wyatt talked of a powerful spirit and guiding force when he spoke of her, leaving many to feel she would be a new female wrestler. Wyatt started calling out Finn Balor when he joined NXT. Wyatt would say he was Balor’s worst nightmare.
On an episode of Monday Night RAW, Sister Abigail possessed Bray Wyatt instantly confusing and saddening the fans.
Finn Balor’s “Demon” was scheduled to fight Bray Wyatt’s “Sister Abigail”. Then Summerslam 2016 Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins match happened. Seth Rollins threw Finn into a barricade that made Balor suffer from a labrum tear and forced to have surgery. Fast-forward to a year later, TLC 2017. A Balor Vs Wyatt match was finally going to happen! However, the WWE had to replace Wyatt with AJ Styles due to illness. This ended up being a very electrifying match, where Finn Balor won.
3 Mark Henry And Young Had A Baby Hand...
In 1992, Mark Henry competed in the Super-heavyweight division for the Summer Olympics. In 1995 he won Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals at the Pan American Games. This also helped catch the WWE’s attention, signing Henry in 1996.
Mark “Sexual Chocolate” Henry received that name due to him making a pass at anything that moved. One match Chyna even tricked Henry into kissing a man in drag live on a RAW episode. It wasn’t long before Henry found the only woman who could match his sexual appetite, Octogenarian Mae Young. Not too long into the relationship, Young soon became pregnant. Young was Power-Bombed by the Dudley Boys which caused her to deliver the baby, or well, a bloody rubber hand. Many fans were disgusted with this gimmick.
Luckily for Henry, he was talented enough to rebound from this character and became a World Title Contender. He was even one of many considered to break the Undertaker’s streak at WrestleMania 22.
Another quickly canceled gimmick was having Mark Henry rap. The WWE Universe found it weird and felt embarrassed for Henry.
2 Booker T’s Stalker Was Released From The WWE
Stevie Ray and Booker T signed onto WCW in 1993 as the Tag Team Harlem Heat. They held the WCW Tag Team Championship in 1994. Booker T switched to Singles Action during a 1997 episode of Nitro, winning the WCW World Television Championship.
From 2002-2003 Booker T and Goldust joined forces battling the Un-Americans at Summerslam (The Un-Americans won) and battled Chris Jericho and Christian for Tag Titles at No Mercy.
In 2003, Booker T and Goldust went their own ways with Booker T focusing on the Intercontinental Championship. This started his feud with Christian.
While Booker T was in the locker room preparing for his match against Jericho, Booker T received a note stating ‘I still remember.’ The storyline was supposed to follow with Booker T receiving multiple cryptic messages from an obvious stalker that would lead to the revealing of his old tag team partner, Goldust. The WWE had to cancel this due to Goldust being released from the WWE due to his contract not being resigned.
1 Drew McIntyre And Kelly Kelly: A Love Story... Well, More Of A Denial Of One
Born Andrew McLean Galloway IV, he signed onto the WWE under the name Drew McIntyre for the Development Territory NXT from 2007-2009. When he transferred over to SmackDown as a heel in 2009, he attacked R-Truth with his new finishing move double underhook DDT.
In 2011, The Chosen One had a storyline with Kelly Kelly. He would attempt to show her he was not a bad guy. He even saved Kelly Kelly from Laycool, making the WWE Universe think the fling would succeed.
However, his anger would show during matches, like when he would fight with Trent Barretta, keeping Kelly Kelly to deny him. After being turned down so much from Kelly Kelly, McIntyre teamed with Vickie Guerrero during Smackdown in 2011. They lost to Edge and Kelly Kelly. In April 2011, McIntyre switched over to RAW where he lost to Kofi Kingston. He earned a contract with Smackdown when he won a match against Justin Gabriel.
In 2012 McIntyre, Jinder Mahal, and Heath Slater became the trio Three Man Band (3MB) until 2014 when he went back to ICW under his birth name.