Despite more than 30 years on top of the wrestling universe, not even Vince McMahon gets it right every single time. For every brilliant, game-changing idea Vince has promoted on WWE television, there’s some baffling, bizarre, or downright awful angle to counteract its glory and remind us he’s far from perfect as a writer.
The worst part is that Vince himself doesn’t seem to realize or accept this, pushing some of his worst ideas more aggressively than any of his great ones. Largely because he doesn’t like being told he’s wrong in any way, Vince has been known to keep shoving bad ideas down his fan’s throats no matter how loudly they boo them. At times, it’s felt like the boos only emboldened his desire to make horrible wrestlers superstars, and in the modern era, this has virtually become the norm.
Now in his early 70s, it’s unlikely Vince is going to change this trend any time soon, so at a very core level, bad wrestling in general might just be something WWE fans need to get used to. Not that this is really anything new, as fans of the industry are well aware Vince has occasionally been prone to litter his own ring with garbage since the day he took over. Keep reading to learn about 15 horrible storylines Vince McMahon bizarrely refused to give up on.
15 15. The Battle For Dominic’s Soul
Just about every fan of pro wrestling agrees Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero’s matches in WCW were some of the best in wrestling history, especially their classic from Halloween Havoc 1997. Capitalizing on this reputation less than ten years later, the two would engage in a second feud while working for WWE, only for Vince McMahon’s creative intervention to rip away the magic they once had. Rather than focusing on Mysterio and Guerrero’s long histories in the ring, Vince decided they needed something more personal to fight over, so he had Eddie start pretending he was the real father of Rey’s son Dominic. In order to prove it, he demanded Rey face him in a ladder match for the poor boy’s custody. It was dumb enough that things went that far, and believe it or not, Rey winning that match and getting to keep his son wasn’t even the end of things, as they basically kept fighting until Eddie’s untimely death five months into the angle.
14 14. Kurt Angle’s Baby Boy
Of all the angles on this list, none failed so quickly as the reveal that former NXT Tag Team Champion Jason Jordan was secretly Kurt Angle’s illegitimate son. The second Angle tearfully admitted such in the middle of the ring, most fans of the WWE Universe responded with a loud, emphatic, “…oh.” This is to say they didn’t care at all, and Jordan’s consistently bland, charisma-free performances have only been solidifying the idea was a total bomb from the start. Unfortunately, this angle was such a big, absurd lie that it’s kinda hard for Jordan, Angle, or WWE to come back from it. They can’t well have everyone forget about it, especially if Angle is going to be sticking around in a major role and wrestling again. They’re going to have to give up on it eventually, though, because there’s just no way for them to get it to work.
13 13. The Invasion
When it was first announced WWE had purchased the remnants of WCW, the collective imaginations of wrestling fans everywhere exploded. The possibilities, it seemed, were literally endless: Austin vs. Goldberg, Undertaker vs. Sting, “Diamond” Dallas Page vs. The Rock, some form of nWo vs. the degenerates from DX, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, absolutely none of those matches actually happened, and in fact, DDP was the only listed WCW legend to get involved. Aside from Page and Booker T, only a handful of WCW midcarders were able to make the jump, leaving the brand looking horribly weak in comparison from the very beginning. Right away, fans realized they weren’t getting what they wanted with this angle, and yet WWE kept it going for four full months after the initial Invasion Pay-Per-View was a total bomb. No matter how hard they tried, it never got any better, either.
12 12. Goldust Wants The Whole Truth
The moment Goldust first approached R-Truth while standing on a toilet and begged him to form a tag team, learned WWE fans knew the next few months were going to be pretty horrible for both of them. Granted, Truth hasn’t had that great a career with WWE in general, but the extremely lowbrow comedy team he and Goldust formed throughout the first half of this year was truly the bottom of the barrel. Although its true children make up a large portion of the WWE audience, catering to them exclusively is rarely a good idea, as adults typically don’t find literal potty humor all that amusing. Not that their breakup and subsequent feud was any better, as fans had no emotional connection to them as a team, and most were simply happy the stupid jokes were over. Therefore, all Goldust and R-Truth’s feud did was remind people of how dumb (and how old) they were together, wasting our time all over again.
11 11. J-E-Double F Wants To S-I-N-G
It’s been over 20 years since Vince McMahon introduced a wrestler who thought being WWE Champion was the logical first step to country music superstardom, and to this day, we have no idea how he believed that could happen. Nonetheless, that’s exactly how future TNA/Impact Wrestling owner Jeff Jarrett made his mainstream debut, and the gimmick went on to define his next three years in the WWE Universe. Jarrett never did become a country sensation, let alone WWE Champion, but he sure did talk about country music a bunch. Nearly a full year after his debut, Jarrett released his first song, followed by a video, and then a whole angle about how he wasn’t really the singer, and his manager The Roadie was. At no point in any of this did the average wrestling fan care about Jarrett’s side career in country music whatsoever, and by the time Jarrett finally came to his senses and stopped mentioning it, WWE immediately acted like it never happened.
10 10. Hornswoggle Turns Chavo Guerrero Into A Joke
Truth be told, it was tempting to simply include the entire career of Hornswoggle on this list in and of itself. Going even further than that, perhaps we should have just mentioned Vince McMahon’s apparent obsession with dwarf-based humor, as it’s never once been funny to people with good taste. Zeroing in on a specific, however, we settled on Hornswoggle’s feud with Chavo Guerrero, primarily because it flat-out destroyed poor Chavo’s spirit and chances of being a star in WWE all at once. Week after week, the nephew of WWE Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero was treated like a ridiculous joke in gimmick matches where the diminutive kayfabe-Irish wrestler always got the advantage. Eventually, Chavo got so fed up with the angle that he quit WWE and made a statement about feeling he deserved better, something any fan of his would definitely agree with.
9 9. Michael Cole The Angry Jerk
From the day Michael Cole made his debut, two things have been clear about the eventual “Voice of WWE.” One, fans would never accept him as a replacement to names like Jim Ross or Gorilla Monsoon, feeling he had neither the passion nor knowledge to earn the role he inevitably achieved. Two, Vince McMahon loves the guy anyway, thus explaining how that success came to pass despite a complete rejection by his audience. The anti-Michael Cole speech reached its all time high when Cole went from a merely mediocre announcer to an outwardly obnoxious personality, digging in to the fact fans didn’t like him to become the most annoying heel in modern wrestling history. Because he was WWE’s lead announcer, fans needed to sit through this atrocious character for three hours at a time, something that caused many of them to change the channel right away. Not getting the picture, Vince kept instructing Cole to be a jerk for at least two full years, and some might even argue he occasionally still plays the awful character to this day.
8 8. The Guest Host Era
Look, we understand that Vince McMahon will never get over his desire to boost the ratings a little bit with a special guest star. Truth be told, when done correctly, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this practice, as there have been dozens of fantastic celebrity appearances in wrestling over the year. It just so happens that none of them occurred during the far too long “Guest Host” era of Monday Night Raw, when random celebrities would show up literally every week and serve as a one-night-only GM. Only a very select few hosts knew the first thing about wrestling, rambling on in embarrassing promos and mispronouncing a variety of wrestler and event names. Others barely even bothered showing up at all, appearing exclusively in pre-taped videos or blink-and-you’ll-miss-it backstage segments. For every Bob Barker or Muppet, there were six Kathie Lee Giffords and Hoda Kotbs, and these odds add up to a full year where Raw was absolutely unwatchable almost 90% of the time.
7 7. Santino Marella And His Identical Sister
In many respects, the wrestling career of Santino Marella was one giant joke from beginning to end, and despite how that may sound, it wasn’t really that bad a situation for the man to find himself in. Nine times out of ten, Santino’s humor was genuinely funny and greatly entertained fans, making him a highly popular figure at his peak. That other 10% of the time, however, he was dressing up as a woman and pretending to be his identical twin sister, Santina. Had this been a one of joke, or a recurring character that only appeared in backstage segments, maybe it would have been easier for fans to simply laugh and move on like they usually did with Santino’s comedic antics. Unfortunately, WWE shined a huge spotlight on Santina’s absurdity, allowing her to win the title of Miss WrestleMania in her debut appearance. From there, Santina spent two full months defending that honor, against actual women like Beth Phoenix and Vickie Guerrero. The longer it went on, the less funny Santina was and the more it just looked stupid.
6 6. Gang Wars ’97
Terrible though every angle on this list was, at least most of them involved bombastic, memorable personalities and top name superstars, so fans had a little bit to get excited about on face value alone. Not so with the never ending “gang wars” of 1997, when Los Boricuas, the Disciples of Apocalypse, and the Rock-less version of the Nation of Domination. Nothing against Faarooq, Savio Vega, or even Crush, who were all decently talented and popular in their day, but WWE had long since stopped taking any of them seriously by the time they became the leaders of their stables. Aside from the forgettable people on top, these groups also contained such forgettable faces like Miguel Perez, Jr., Skull & 8-Ball, and a pre-pimping Godfather, then called Kama Mustafa. None of it was interesting in the slightest, and yet the three-way feud lasted for practically the entire existence of DOA or Los Boricuas, which was over a full year.
5 5. Randy Orton Leaves Bray Wyatt’s Family
Putting it bluntly, the fact Bray Wyatt still has a career after wrestling two of the all-time worst WWE matches in history against Randy Orton on major stages is hard to explain. Well, aside from the fact he was only doing what Vince McMahon told him to do, of course. One can hardly blame Bray for the fact his (most likely) only reign as WWE Champion ended in a horrific failure against Randy Orton at WrestleMania 33, where amateurish tricks of light were treated as more important than wrestling. Mere months later, they followed it up with the worst match of the year (so far), the “House of Horrors” debacle, which made no sense from beginning to end. Worse than the matches themselves was the fact fans already hated the whole angle with Orton leaving the Wyatt Family from day one, feeling that, too, was completely inexplicable and uninteresting.
4 4. The Anonymous Raw GM
Amazingly, WWE managed to follow up the atrocious guest host era of Monday Night Raw with something even worse, replacing the B- and C-list celebrities with an irritatingly terse computer. In the very beginning, the Anonymous Raw General Manager was actually a somewhat intriguing idea, as fans desperately wanted to know who this villainous mind destroying Raw really was. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t find out for nearly two full years, by which point they went from curious to furious that the debacle wasn’t over yet. What was once intriguing was by then just annoying, as the evil heel authority figure literally couldn’t ever get their comeuppance, not existing in corporeal form. When WWE finally decided to end things, it was as if they just gave up, something fans wished they did a solid year and five months earlier.
3 3. Roman Reigns, Number One Babyface
Twice in a row, Roman Reigns has earned the loudest boos of the year by winning the main event of WrestleMania against bona fide WWE legends. Even before that, fans were open about the fact they just didn’t like The Guy, never quite seeing him as a star on the level of wrestlers they wanted to see more, like Daniel Bryan, nor did they think Roman was worthy of hanging out with his Shield buddies Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. Nonetheless, Vince McMahon anointed Roman as the number one star of his company from the moment he laid eyes on him, and no amount of negative fan response can get him to change his mind. The louder fans boo Roman, the harder Vince tries to make him a hero, treating The Big Dog like Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, and John Cena all rolled into one despite the fact he lacks any of the qualities that made them so popular.
2 2. Tim White Wants To Take His Own Life
Few wrestling fans have stopped to think about it, but those that have understand the life of a WWE referee can’t be all that easy. It’s been said the best refs in history are the ones who viewers barely notice are there, making it almost impossible for them to ever get the credit they deserve for putting their bodies on the line every week just like the wrestlers. For this reason, it’s totally understandable former WWE zebra Tim White would be depressed after an injury forced him to retire, with fans not even realizing he was gone. However, WWE took things way too far by using this possibility and writing a long-term angle wherein White repeatedly tried to commit suicide. He shot himself in the foot with a shotgun, tried to hang himself, and gleefully ate rat poison (pictured above), all to no avail. Apparently, it was supposed to be funny, but fans weren’t laughing, just getting more offended with each passing video.
1 1. The Sudden Rise of Jinder Mahal
Roman Reigns not have anywhere near the charisma or star power Vince McMahon thinks he does, but at least the guy basically understands how to wrestle and has been treated like a big deal from day one. Jinder Mahal, on the other hand, has all of Roman’s faults and none of his upsides, and yet he’s thus far held the WWE Championship for over five months. Before Mahal even won the gold, fans were utterly confounded with the fact he was even challenging for it on Pay-Per-View. Quite frankly, Mahal has no in-ring talent of note and has even less of an idea what he’s doing on the microphone, two facts WWE seemed aware of when treating him like a total jobber for several years. Then, he suddenly won the top prize in wrestling, still devoid of any talent. Because fans were quick to point out this was a really stupid, pointless move, McMahon decided Mahal was going to hold onto it until they realized he was right all along. Knowing that will never happen, we worry that this might be one terrible angle that never, ever ends.
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