Storylines in professional wrestling are one of the most important aspects of any promotion that has weekly programming. The actual wrestling match should be good as well, but sometimes a great storyline between two interesting characters can sometimes make up for it. Andre the Giant versus Hulk Hogan was no technical masterpiece, but the storyline of Andre getting jealous of Hogan’s attention and praise, coupled with the fact that both men had some form of winning streak and that it was for the WWE Championship, made the story that much better and the match as well. This has happened several times throughout the history of the WWE and it's why the company can claim to be the greatest professional wrestling company in the world.
Over the years, several storylines have been discussed and contemplated, but ultimately discarded in favor of alternative ideas. Some ideas should be discarded because they won’t really accomplish anything or would just make for bad television, but other storylines were great ideas that just didn’t work out do to mitigated circumstances, backstage politics, or an unfortunate passing.
So, to look back at just a few of them, this article will be looking at 15 great storylines that never happened in the WWE.
15 Brock Lesnar vs. Hulk Hogan - Survivor Series 2002
In 2002, Brock Lesnar made his debut in the WWE and was being built up as The Next Big Thing and a future World Champion. In the months that would lead to his rise to the top, he faced Hulk Hogan on an episode of SmackDown. The match was well-received and it ended with Hogan passing out to a monstrous bear hug from Lesnar that had him gushing blood. That match was one of the biggest indicators that Lesnar would be a star and to add on to his championship resume, the WWE wanted Hogan to fight Lesnar again.
The rumor was that Lesnar would fight Hogan again at Survivor Series 2002 and beat him for a second time. This match would mean a lot more considering Lesnar had the title and Hogan won plenty of feuds and defended multiple championships at Madison Square Garden. This wouldn’t come to pass as Hogan refused to do the job twice and didn’t return to the company until 2003 against The Rock at No Way Out. As for Brock, he would fight Big Show and be betrayed by Paul Heyman.
14 Dean Ambrose vs. Mick Foley
Mick Foley can easily be regarded as one of the greatest hardcore wrestlers of all-time and Dean Ambrose is a well-regarded hardcore wrestler in his own right. Seeing these two men go at it in a hardcore match would make for some great TV.
Before Dean Ambrose debuted as a part of The Shield, there was a plan for The Lunatic Fringe to battle The Hardcore Legend. It started as a Twitter war and led to a few confrontations at some signing events, but it never developed into anything. Unfortunately, Foley was informed by doctors that it would be detrimental to his health to step in the ring and the angle was later completely nixed. It would’ve been a great match if Foley was medically cleared and the WWE built it up enough for the fan to be invested in Dean Ambrose. Despite this, Ambrose would debut in epic fashion as a member of The Shield.
13 WCW Nitro vs. WWE SmackDown
When most fans look back at the failed invasion angle, they were hoping for a true war within the WWE between WCW and WWE. With two shows bringing in great ratings and viewership, the memory of WCW still fresh in wrestling fans minds, and wrestling still being highly popular, the WWE had the means to create a great storyline with WCW and WWE; and it almost happened.
For those who don’t know, the WWE was considering the possibility of turning Monday Night Raw into a WWE-created WCW Nitro with the WCW brand and have all the WWE guys on SmackDown. The idea was tested with Booker T and Buff Bagwell wrestling in the final minutes of Raw for the WCW Championship, but no one was invested in it. As a result, the WCW Nitro replacement was canned and the invasion proceeded as we know it today.
12 Muhammad Hassan Winning the World Title
The WWE has rarely booked foreign wrestlers, specifically Arab wrestlers, strongly. Aside from The Iron Sheik, most Arab wrestlers are made to be mid-carders who can never break the glass ceiling. However, Muhammad Hassan was very close to breaking that ceiling and becoming a World Champion in the WWE. Rumors indicated that the WWE was going to make Hassan the World Heavyweight Champion by defeating Batista at SummerSlam 2005. This would’ve been huge for Hassan’s career and could’ve made him a massive star.
After all, Hassan had all the momentum necessary to sustain a World Championship run. However, the timing with the London bombing incident made the WWE think twice about booking him to win. He instead lost to The Undertaker and was released from the company shortly thereafter.
11 Goldberg vs. Triple H at SummerSlam
When Goldberg debuted in the WWE the night after WrestleMania, the fans were excited to see one of WCW’s biggest stars on the Raw brand as the WWE Universe thought it would eventually lead to Goldberg winning the WWE’s World Heavyweight Championship. After months of various feuds with wrestlers like The Rock, Chris Jericho, and others, Goldberg turned his attention to Triple H and the World Heavyweight Championship.
At SummerSlam 2003, Goldberg was rumored to wrestle Triple H in a one-on-one match, but the match was changed to the Elimination Chamber instead. It could’ve been attributed to the injury Triple H sustained, but he continued to wrestle for several months with that very same injury, so that wouldn’t be the reason; nor would it explain the title not changing hands. That one-one-one encounter probably would’ve meant the end of Triple H’s World Heavyweight Championship reign, but “someone” managed to change it and derail Goldberg’s momentum.
10 Brock Lesnar Squashes Daniel Bryan
When Brock Lesnar ended the undefeated streak of The Undertaker, most fans felt a genuine hatred for The Beast Incarnate for ruining something that was viewed as sacred for so many years. At the same time, Daniel Bryan won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and had finally toppled The Authority. Both men were set to face off at SummerSlam of 2014 where Brock was supposed to destroy Bryan and win the title, but it never came to fruition.
Following Extreme Rules, Bryan would be out with an injury for the remainder of the year and John Cena would be his replacement for the main event of the show. The initial plan would’ve added even more hatred to Lesnar with him crushing the new crowd favorite, thus solidifying his heel turn. However, with the anti-Cena crowd still lively, the fans would cheer for Lesnar and boo Cena in their match, which slowly but surely put him on track to being more of a tweener than a heel.
9 Kevin Nash vs. CM Punk
When CM Punk was feuding with John Cena for the WWE Championship, they figured they’d try to make two stars at once by taking the title from Punk and putting it on Money in the Bank holder Alberto Del Rio, while simultaneously building up a feud between CM Punk and Kevin Nash, who attacked Punk prior to Del Rio’s cash-in.
This match would be ideal in a lot of ways. Both men are outspoken, both men are the opposite of each other on the weight and height spectrum, and both men have opposing views about those weight classes in wrestling. The few promo exchanges between the two wrestlers were always entertaining and everyone was wondering when the payoff would come. Unfortunately, Nash wasn’t medically cleared in time and the match was changed at Night of Champions to Triple H vs. CM Punk; which ended in Punk’s defeat.
8 Legend Killer Ending The Streak
There have been multiple instances when the WWE considered allowing The Undertaker’s undefeated streak to end, but the biggest opportunity for a wrestler ending The Streak was when The Undertaker fought The Legend Killer, Randy Orton.
The buildup to their match at WrestleMania 21 was executed brilliantly with cameos from legends like “Cowboy” Bob Orton and Jake “The Snake” Roberts, as well as the usual mythical powers The Deadman employs. The buildup saw Orton go from a scared opponent to an unafraid combatant and the stage was set for The Undertaker’s streak to end at the hands of the man who dubbed himself The Legend Killer. The Undertaker was willing to let it end at Orton’s hands and it would’ve made him a mega heel, but Orton declined out of respect and the match ended in favor of The Deadman.
Orton’s career would continue to advance and place him on the level of guys like John Cena, Edge, and Batista, so it all worked out fine for him. As for The Undertaker, The Beast Incarnate would bring The Streak to an end nine years later at WrestleMania XXX.
7 Hulk Hogan vs. Shawn Michaels - Best of Three
In another series of dream matches with Hulk Hogan, there was a plan for the WWE to book a series of matches between Hogan and The Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels. Two top stars and two great wrestlers in their own right coming together for three matches would’ve made for some great TV. Just the unexpected Sweet Chin Music from Michaels to Hogan on Raw was great television.
Unfortunately, the plans for three matches were knocked down to one with Hogan going over. Michaels was against the idea of Hogan winning the series due to him being much older and a part-timer, but politics ensued and Hogan got his wish. While this did lead to the match taking place, it also led to some of the most hilarious overselling in WWE history by Michaels. It may be a goof of a match, but at least one of them happened before both men hung up their boots.
6 Abyss vs. The Undertaker at WrestleMania
The WWE has never been short of monsters and giants, as they always tend to have at least one on their roster. Because of that, in 2006, the WWE were strongly considering bringing in TNA's monster, Abyss. Following an interview with Jim Ross on The Ross Report, Abyss revealed that the WWE offered him a contract back in 2006 with a debut at the Royal Rumble that would lead to a match with The Undertaker at WrestleMania 23.
This would’ve made for a great storyline by having two behemoths like The Weapon of Mass Destruction and The Phenom battle it out with each other; especially if it was a gimmick match. This didn’t come to fruition as Abyss declined the contract and chose to stay with TNA Wrestling and The Undertaker went on to battle Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship.
5 Streak vs. Title Reign/ Heyman vs. Bearer
At WrestleMania 29, The Undertaker faced CM Punk and the feud was based around the passing of Paul Bearer and the mind games that Punk was playing with The Deadman. This was regarded as one of the highlights for WrestleMania that year, but what was rumored to happen with that match could’ve made it one of the best Mania matches of all-time.
One of the rumors was that the WWE considered extending CM Punk’s title reign to WrestleMania, making his match against The Undertaker more interesting. Having the Undertaker’s Streak go against a championship reign that would’ve lasted 500 days by that point would’ve been great, but the other rumor would’ve made it even greater. Apparently, before he passed, the WWE wanted Paul Bearer in The Undertaker’s corner and Heyman in Punk's corner. Two great wrestlers, two great managers, and two important things on the line could’ve made WrestleMania 29 epic.
4 Shawn Michaels vs. Eddie Guerrero
Shawn Michaels is one of the best wrestlers in the history of the WWE and Eddie Guerrero was one of the best wrestlers in WCW history. When Guerrero came to the WWE and Michaels returned to the ring, fans were hoping that the two wrestlers would come together and put on a fantastic match. In 2005, the WWE were planning ahead to WrestleMania 22 and Bruce Prichard pitched the idea for Latino Heat and The Show-Stopper to wrestle on The Grandest Stage of Them All. Sadly, Guerrero would pass away before his potential Mania match could even develop on-screen. Michaels would instead fight Vince McMahon in a No Holds Barred Match.
The match between McMahon and Michaels was fine, but it wouldn’t have held a candle to the potential classic that Michaels and Guerrero could’ve put on.
3 Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair
Hulk Hogan was the biggest star in the WWE and Ric Flair was the biggest star of NWA and WCW. When Flair came to the WWE, wrestling fans were hoping that the company would book one of the biggest dream matches in the history of wrestling. Flair would win the 1992 Royal Rumble and, with it, the WWE Championship, as the title was vacant and the winner of the Rumble would win the WWE Championship. The stage seemed set for Flair and Hogan to clash at WrestleMania VIII in one of the biggest championship matches since the match two years prior between Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior.
There are a myriad of opinions as to why this match never took place when they had the chance in 1992. Hogan claimed that Vince just switched plans while Flair claims the match was never really set in stone. Instead of Hogan vs, Flair, both men competed in separate matches. The dream match would happen two years later in WCW at Bash at the Beach 1994 for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
2 Chyna Winning the WWE Championship
For months, fans have had to listen to Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks talk about the revolution occurring in women’s wrestling, how far they had come, and how they will be taking the center stage from now on.
Ironically enough, these speeches would probably be irrelevant had the WWE decided to put the WWE Championship on Chyna in 1999. It was a relatively brief thought, but it would’ve been the best time considering how low risk it was due to the WWE’s heightened popularity as well as Chyna being a standout in the woman’s division at the time where more women were scantily dressed than dominant competitors. The plan was eventually scrapped, but she would make history by becoming the first and only woman to ever hold the Intercontinental Championship.
Not bad for a consolation prize.
1 Hulk Hogan vs. Stone Cold
Of all the dream matches fans wished they could've witnessed, the biggest one was a battle between Hulk Hogan and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Heading into WrestleMania X8, Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall all made their returns to the WWE as the nWo. This provided a perfect opportunity for Austin and Hogan to finally have a match.
The most popular wrestler of the 80s and the most popular star of the 90s coming together for a match in the main event of WrestleMania would’ve been perfect, but plans changed. Austin was against the idea of facing Hogan, as he was concerned about match quality. Because of this, The Rock was given the spot instead and Stone Cold went on to fight Scott Hall.
A superb substitute, but Hulkamania vs. Austin 3:16 would’ve been even greater.
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