WWE has had a strange and tumultuous journey ever since Vince McMahon took over his father's company. They have changed with the times, though they've also been accused of failing to change with the times just as often. Much like there are things we'll never see in professional sports again, the same situation exists in WWE and most of the professional wrestling world.
All businesses, industries, and sports need to adapt to the changing world around them, it's only human nature to follow with the trends. Advances in what we know about medicine, society, pop culture, and communication change rapidly and if WWE wasn't adept at changing right along with those things, they would be gone.
That WWE is still alive today is a testament to their adaptability. Most of the company's success is actually based on their ability to predict new media distribution platforms and get in there from the ground up. WWE was quick to try and take their program national through cable, they were quick to start selling their shows through PPV, and they were quick to make the jump from PPV to streaming when the time came. Many other companies would have hesitated to make such moves, but Vince never has.
As a result of Vince's adaptability, there are several things we used to see in WWE that we'll never see again. There are also a few which might come back some day.
15 Never Again: Blading
The days of wrestlers taking a small blade and slicing their head open to get blood are long gone and they aren't coming back. As a publicly traded company with sponsors, WWE can't have their performers actually cutting their heads open just to make matches feel more real and vicious. Even if they are testing for hepatitis and things of that nature, the risk-reward ratio isn't what the company would need to even consider bringing it back.
What we will see on occasion, however, is wrestlers trying to make each other bleed "accidentally", as was the case in the main event of SummerSlam 2016. Instead of blading, Lesnar just struck Orton several times in the head with his elbow so that blood would begin pouring out. It worked! Actually, it worked a little too well and the referee stopped the match.
14 Never Again: Chair Shots To The Head
With what we now know about the impact of concussions, it is safe to say we'll never see chair shots to the head in WWE again.
If you really are a sucker for chair shots to the head, just check out The Rock's match with Mankind at Royal Rumble '99, there are enough chair shots to the head to last you a lifetime in that match. In fact, it wouldn't be too much longer after that match that Mick Foley retired for the first time. Part of the reason Foley gave for retiring was the concern he had regarding how his wrestling injuries might impair him from enjoying his later life.
WWE has gone to great lengths to drastically reduce the amount of shots to the head their wrestlers take, and in fact, they acted faster on the issue of concussions than many sports leagues have.
13 Might Return: Piledrivers
While they'll never be a regularly used move among non-main event guys on the roster, there are signs that Vince may start to allow piledrivers to be used again. It was a tombstone like piledriver delivered to Stone Cold Steve Austin by Owen Hart in 1997 that resulted in a serious neck injury for Austin. Piledrivers became a banned move, even forcing veterans like the Undertaker to use moves such as the "Last Ride" as a finisher.
The move, when done correctly, isn’t that dangerous, however. Vince did allow CM Punk and John Cena to use a piledriver once during their rivalry, and he has allowed A.J. Styles to use a Styles Clash on occasion, which has a similar reputation. Should John Cena or another veteran ask to use a piledriver, there’s a good chance Vince would let them.
12 Never Again: Curb Stomp
Sorry Seth Rollins fans, but the Curb Stomp is not coming back. Rollins relayed the story of how it got banned during an appearance on Chris Jericho's podcast. Apparently, Vince decided against the move shortly after Rollins won the championship at WrestleMania 31. Vince all of a sudden got the idea that the move was something kids would imitate, which could be dangerous. Once that idea got in Vince's head he was adamant the move could never be used again.
Rollins moved on to using the Pedigree as a finisher for awhile, before switching to the knee to the face finisher he uses now. Many fans still miss the Curb Stomp though.
Right now, Rollins is one-half of the Tag Team Champions along with his former Shield stablemate, Dean Ambrose. It'll be interesting to see if Ambrose and Rollins' alliance leads to a full Shield reunion sometime in the near future. For now, we'll be seeing a lot more of that double powerbomb finish!
11 Never Again: "Not So PG" Women's Division
Love it or hate it, the Women's Divisions in WWE will not be all about Bra and Panties matches anymore. Women's athletics have come too far to not be taken seriously at any level now.
The main reason we won't see an Attitude Era style Women's Division again is that not only have the times changed but Stephanie McMahon won't allow it. Stephanie wants WWE to be seen as a leader for women's athletics, which is why she has attached herself to the Women's Revolution (and evolution) so closely. To be fair, Stephanie does deserve some credit for the change in WWE's approach to women, because without her pushing for it there's no way to tell if Vince would have gone that route.
If you like women's wrestling, this is a good thing. It's not as though there still aren't attractive women involved, it's just that they can also wrestle.
10 Might Return: Pyro
WWE decided to cut pyro from ring entrances earlier this year in what is being reported as a cost cutting move. When asked about it on Twitter, creative head for SmackDown, Road Dogg, said that it was unnecessary, which is true.
Pyro was just something WWE did to add to the spectacle that is WWE. Now they have gigantic screens everywhere that light up and change color based on whoever is on their way to the ring. As a result of advances in WWE's production in other areas, pyro became expendable, and eventually not even worth the money.
It's entirely possible we'll see pyro again in WWE someday, possibly at a moment so iconic that WWE will feel the need to put an exclamation mark on it.
9 Never Again: Dangerous Weaponry (Guns)
You'll never see a gun on WWE programming ever again. WWE would lose their PG rating and numerous sponsors as a result. Shareholders would be calling for Vince's head.
WWE used a gun during the Brian Pillman and Steve Austin feud. They filmed an angle where Austin was going to break into Pillman's house. Cameras were at Pillman's place and he was shown with a handgun waiting for Austin to break in. The camera feed cut out and fans were left not knowing if Pillman had actually shot Austin (spoiler: he hadn't).
The segment was great for ratings but WWE got a lot of backlash for it. The same trend occurred a few years later when a gun (which turned out to be a toy) was introduced into the McMahon versus Austin storyline. As a result, you'll never see one on WWE programming again.
8 Never Again: Hardcore Wrestling
During the Monday Night Wars both WCW and WWE regularly featured hardcore wrestlers hitting each other with trash cans, chairs and all sorts of objects. Then you had ECW which was mainly hardcore wrestling with some more traditional stuff mixed in. Those days are gone though, and they aren't coming back.
Hardcore wrestling still exists on the independents, but barely. Combat Zone Wrestling still has their Deathmatch Tournaments, but for the most part, fans aren't interested in that style anymore. Fans have seen the toll some wrestlers have paid for working that style and they aren't interested in pushing their favorite wrestlers into it. If the fans don't want it, what chance is there that WWE will decide to bring it back?
If you see hardcore matches on WWE nowadays, they're done with extreme caution and safety in mind, which was not what used to be the case.
7 Might Return: More Managers
In the 1980s, a plethora of the greatest heels were in fact none-wrestlers, aka managers. Hulk Hogan would feud with whoever Bobby Heenan, Jimmy Hart, Mr. Fuji or Slick put in the ring against him. Then when the 90s hit all of a sudden Vince McMahon became dead set against managers. There are signs however that this might be changing.
Paul Heyman has been Brock Lesnar's advocate/manager for years during a time when WWE did not have many managers. Now it appears Titus O'Neil is being transitioned into a manager's role as well. Perhaps Paul Heyman's performance with Brock Lesnar has taught WWE that managers can play a pivotal role in the company.
So long as the managers WWE hires can cut decent promos, adding more mouth-pieces to the roster should decrease the amount of bad segments on Raw and SmackDown, while legitimizing the Superstar working with their manager.
6 Never Again: The Brawl For All
1998's Brawl for All was dangerous, negatively received, and an entirely irresponsible mistake that will never happen again. Nothing good came out of this, and a lot of wrestlers got injured. For those unaware, this tournament WWE held was a real competition that took place on Raw. Matches pitted two Superstars against each other wearing gloves in contests where punches and takedowns were legal. The company was hoping that "Dr Death" Steve Williams would win the tournament but instead, Bart Gunn took the honors. Then they decided that Bart Gunn should have a real boxing fight with Butterbean that year at WrestleMania. Butterbean knocked him out in seconds.
How the Brawl for All was allowed in the first place is a bit of a mystery, then again, a lot of the content during that time was...
5 Never Again: Men Wrestling Women
You'll never see men wrestling women in WWE again. Not while they're a publicly traded company with sponsors who want them to maintain a PG rating. The worry is that a man and a woman having a wrestling match against one another could be perceived by the public as promoting domestic violence. On the other side of the argument are those who say pro wrestling is akin to comic books, where female heroes are able to compete on a physical level with males. This is how Lucha Underground fans explain how female wrestlers are able to defeat male wrestlers on the show. It has happened in WWE in the past, but that was a very different time.
Vince wants to protect his company from scrutiny, however, and being labeled as a product that promotes domestic violence is not something he'll risk doing, ever.
4 Might Return: Undisputed World Championship
Well, for the last year we've been back to having two World Champions. The WWE Championship currently held by Jinder Mahal had been WWE's World Heavyweight Championship, which was a belt that merged the WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship. With the addition of the Universal Championship to the Raw brand, we're back to having two titles on split brands.
Wrestling fans are used to this, of course, as during the Monday Night War era there was a champion in WWE and a champion in WCW, so having two belts is something we've seen. With Raw and SmackDown being separate shows again, having two World Cchampionships makes sense, but that doesn't mean an Undisputed Champion won't be crowned again some day?
WrestleMania seems a good time for WWE to pit Raw's Champion against Smackdown's at some point down the road.
3 Never Again: Another Montreal Screwjob Scenario
It simply would not make sense for WWE to pull off another legit "screwjob" scenario. Everyone knows these are fake titles that are not won or lost based on actual athletic ability but rather champions are chosen for various other reasons. Wrestling fans know too much about what goes on behind the scenes nowadays.
In fact, the "Screwjob" did not work as planned in 1997. WWE wanted to convince fans that Bret gave up, but since fans in 1997 were fully aware wrestling is fake, they knew something off script happened. That wasn't the case when the Fabulous Moolah dressed up as the Spider Lady and wrestled Wendi Richter to the mat in the 1980s. That time WWE really did convince people that Richter lost a wrestling match. If that situation happened today between Vince and Bret, there is no way it would have been handled the same way.
2 Never Again: Premature Wrestler Death Crisis
One thing WWE doesn't get enough credit for is how well they handled the epidemic of premature wrestling deaths that began in the late 90s. Wrestlers were dying from pain killer overdoses, enlarged hearts from steroid use, and sometimes even suicide all well before their time.
In response, WWE created the Wellness Policy and have also let some former employees know they'll aid in drug and alcohol rehab for any wrestler who feel they need the treatment. This was no minor expense, WWE has dished out millions of dollars for sending former wrestlers to rehab.
The results speak for themselves, however, as premature wrestler deaths have been drastically reduced. While WWE has surely benefited from a PR standpoint from this, it shouldn't take away from the fact they took effective action to address the problem.
1 Might Return: Kennel From Hell Match
When we first began putting this list together this entry was originally in the "never again" category, but the more we thought about it the less it seemed to belong there. Had we put together this article last year we may have said that a Punjabi Prison match would never happen again considering how poorly the first two were received. Guess what happened in 2017 though? We had a Punjabi Prison match! Not only that, The Great Khali was involved!
The original Kennel from Hell match was contested between Al Snow and the Big Bossman. It involved a Hell in a Cell structure over the top of a steel cage, with dogs (who mainly just peed on places) roaming around in between the two cages. It was terrible.
It's entirely possible we see the Kennel from Hell 2, sometime in the not too distant future. Should Reigns ever end up in a feud with Baron Corbin, it would only make sense that the "Big Dog" should take on "The Lone Wolf" inside such a structure.... You just never know with the WWE's "creative" team these days!