Regardless of one’s personal preference, if a person watches professional wrestling, they’re aware of World Wrestling Entertainment. With no comparison, Vince McMahon’s sports entertainment empire is the most visible such organization in the world, with multiple special events per month in addition to at least four weekly television shows. Producing nearly a dozen hours of television on such a regular basis is no easy task, something fans of WWE are bound to figure out the longer they watch.
No matter how intricately WWE plans out their TV schedule, the very nature of pro wrestling makes it almost impossible for every story to end the way they intend it to from the start. In addition to the constant threat of wrestlers getting hurt, there’s the issue Vince McMahon is notorious about getting bored with a storyline and abandoning it for almost no reason. These two factors combined means countless plotlines WWE once considered a pretty big deal were inevitably forgotten without a conclusion, announcers simply brushing it under the rug and hoping no one brings it up again.
The funny thing about this practice is that by and large, fans don’t seem to mind. Most of the angles WWE drop were pretty horrible, and that includes the ones that bordered on the main event level. All things considered, it makes sense McMahon and company would simply cut their losses and move on to the next awful idea, unless/until someone breaks a bone and ruins that plan, too. Keep reading to discover 15 major storylines WWE clearly just gave up on.
15 Weren’t There Two Undertakers For A While?
It was a story so big WWE hired two celebrity detectives to cover it, and this was years before special guest stars were a regular part of sports entertainment. Granted, neither Leslie Nielsen nor George Kennedy stirred up any interest in SummerSlam 1994, slightly outdated in their reference and far too old to get involved in the action. In any event, the story the Naked Gun stars were covering was nonetheless a big one: after about seven months away due to losing a casket match against Yokozuna, The Undertaker was finally making his return.
There was a catch, however, in that he had realigned with his original manager Ted DiBiase…or so it seemed. Soon enough, Paul Bearer claimed that Undertaker was an Underfaker, and that he was the only one who knew the whereabouts of the real deal. Naturally, the real Dead Man was furious someone would mimic him, and was ready for righteous revenge. Said retribution was achieved at the Pay-Per-View, albeit in horribly maligned fashion, as most fans hated the match the two Undertakers produced. Because of this, the fake version was almost instantly fired, and the whole debacle never mentioned again.
14 Oh, And Two Kanes?
Following in his fake brother’s footsteps like he has through much of his career, Kane went through almost the exact same imposter situation as The Undertaker almost a decade and a half after the original, in 2006. Around the time Kane starred in his first film, See No Evil, vignettes began airing that the truth would come out on “May 19th,” coincidentally that movie’s release date. Apparently, that was the anniversary of the fire that killed his parents, and for some reason this also meant an imposter Kane appeared out of the cosmos to attack the original. The two had a match at Vengeance and the imposter actually won, only for the original to beat him up something fierce the very next night on Raw. After this second beatdown, the imposter was never seen nor heard from again...until he resurfaced later on as Festus. It was even more confusing than The Undertaker ordeal, in that it almost looked like there could be a point when the fake Kane won, only for WWE to instantly change their minds and drop the idea les than 24 hours later.
13 The 1999 King Of The Ring Briefcase Mystery
In all fairness to WWE, sometimes an idea doesn’t need to be spelled out for fans to understand what happened. That said, there’s also a pretty infamous instance of subtlety going over about two thirds of the WWE audiences head, and with good reason, so we figured there was enough confusion it belonged on this list anyway. Back in 1999, the biggest thing in wrestling was still Austin vs. McMahon, and one of the most blatant battles between the two sides occurred at the 1999 King of the Ring.
Austin had recently been named WWE CEO by Linda McMahon, so Vince and Shane McMahon challenged him to a ladder match with his power in the company on the line, which Austin agreed to on the stipulation that if any Corporation members interfered, he would win by default. Coincidentally, the Big Boss Man was fired from the group right before this match happened. Then, at the Pay-Per-View, a mysterious outsider raised the briefcase just out of Austin’s grasp when it looked like he could win. Bamboozled, he soon fell victim to McMahon trickery and lost. The next night, Bossman was back in the Corporation, and the whole thing never spoken about again…but did it really need to be?
12 Gross/Grotesque/Gold(?) TV
For decades now, a big criticism against WWE is that the company’s owner Vince McMahon is severely out of touch with popular culture. Because of this, when his writers suggest something based on what the kids these days find entertaining, McMahon may reject the idea outright, without making any effort of understanding it. According to Chris Jericho, this was the case with GTV, a confusing series of black and white vignettes revealing the “truth” behind WWE. Typically, the videos revealed heel trickery or embarrassed babyfaces for sympathetic reasons, and often there was an element of very lowbrow humor attached, as well. While most people assumed this had something to do with a wrestler, Goldust in particular leading the speculation, Y2J claims the whole thing was meant to introduce comedian Tom Green to the WWE Universe. However, McMahon had somehow greenlit the idea before understanding who Green was, and after watching some of his material and finding it unfunny, the whole thing was forgotten about in minutes.
11 McMahon’s Million Dollar Giveaway
Despite all his faults, there is actually a side to Vince McMahon that can be extremely generous, both to his employees, fans, and the public at large. McMahon and his family are involved with a great number of charity organizations, especially those benefitting sick and otherwise disadvantaged children and members of the United States military. On top of that, throughout the summer of 2008, he announced that WWE would randomly be giving away $1,000,000 of his money to some lucky fan. Most people thought it was a ruse or publicity stunt, yet it seemed legitimate enough for the first few weeks.
McMahon didn’t give away a million immediately, but he did give people smaller amounts, making some believe this was more than mere kayfabe. It all came crashing down however, and literally so, when part of the Raw stage collapsed on top of McMahon right after he gave away the grand prize. Obviously, he was sent to the hospital and the other McMahons were heavily distressed, and then…nothing. Vince was forgotten about for a while until he was ready for his next comeback six months later, when they acted like nothing in particular happened to make him leave.
10 What Ever Happened To That Zach Gowen Kid?
All right, so not everything Vince McMahon does for the differently abled is entirely on the up and up. Sometimes, it’s downright vicious, like the treatment he forced upon Zach Gowen, previously known as Tenacious Z on the independent scene. On the positive side, there is a way to look at Gowen’s short stint in WWE as McMahon giving the one-legged wrestler an opportunity to shine despite his disability. That said, pretty much all McMahon had Gowen do was get his ass kicked by various heels, focusing on the fact the poor kid only had one leg and could barely defend himself. Amazingly, this led to some main event spotlight when Gowen feuded with McMahon himself, followed by a program with Brock Lesnar. Setting up that second angle, Lesnar threw Gowen down a flight of stairs, and he disappeared for months. By the time he came back, Lesnar was too big a star to deal with the kid, so he was resigned to the cruiserweight division for a couple months before getting fired outright.
9 That’s One Angry Bunny
From the very beginning, it made absolutely no sense that there was a giant Bunny making regular appearances in a WWE ring. This is before it was even established that the Bunny could fight—even as part of Adam Rose’s bizarre entourage of Rosebuds, the Bunny seemed extremely out of place. It was as if the company learned nothing from the Gobbedly Gooker, a notoriously bad angle involving a wrestling turkey sparred from this list simply due to the topic being exhausted by now. All that said, were it some sort of one-off joke about Rose needing a tag team partner, maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad. The fact the Bunny kept making appearances and then started making trouble for Rose was going way too far with an already unfunny punch line. Thankfully, WWE finally dropped the whole thing, but not until after Rose attacked the Bunny (who was actually played by the soon-to-depart Justin Gabriel) for pretty much no reason, thus giving up the second they added intrigue to the stupid story.
8 Kharma’s Path of Destruction
Women’s wrestling revolution be damned, the WWE Universe has still yet to see another female superstar quite like Kharma. Gigantic and destructive in ways that terrified most male wrestlers, Kharma weaved an incredible path of destruction without ever actually wrestling in an official one on one match. For weeks if not months, she would appear and destroy every female wrestler in sight, until one random episode of Raw, this same practice made her burst into tears. Later, she explained to the crowd she was pregnant, which meant she needed time away from wrestling and wouldn’t be able to achieve her dream of dominating the other women in the company. In most cases, this would merely mean a 9-month delay or so, plus a little extra time to get into wrestling condition. For Kharma, it meant disappearing almost forever, only returning to wrestle in her lone WWE match, the 2012 Royal Rumble. After that, Kharma disappeared for the second time, and was never mentioned again.
7 Renee Young And Maryse Can’t Get Along
In rare instances, the sole reason WWE doesn’t follow through on what looks like a pretty big angle is that the company realizes they could be doing something even better. Quite recently, there was an incredibly high profile instance of such an occurrence, when one half of what looked like a major feud suddenly changed overnight. Initially, it looked like Maryse and Renee Young were going to get in on the longstanding feud between their respective husbands, The Miz and Dean Ambrose. The ladies started getting involved on an episode of SmackDown Live when Maryse slapped the hell out of Young, not long after The Miz outed Young's real-life relationship with Ambrose on live TV, prompting Renee to slap Miz in shock and anger.
Rather than seek revenge of any kind, Ambrose pretty much forgot about it right away. Why? Because hero to the millions, John Cena, swooped in to take care of Miz for it. Backing up a bit, when WWE producers learned Cena wanted to propose to Nikki Bella at WrestleMania 33, they decided he should do so as part of a match. The only other couple who could fill the role were Miz and Maryse, and it would have seemed redundant if they had just finished another feud with a different couple. To ensure the Cena/Bella feud felt special, Ambrose/Young were iced out without a second’s hesitation.
6 Raven’s Seven Deadly Sins
Being a petty man who demands total control over his WWE Universe, occasionally Vince McMahon will intentionally squash what looks like a good idea simply because he doesn’t like the person who came up with it. That was certainly the case in 2002, when former ECW Champion and WCW United States Champion Raven attempted to begin an angle that he believed could finally make him a name in WWE, as well. The idea was for Raven to manipulate lower level wrestlers into committing the Seven Deadly Sins, beginning with greed and wrath on various episodes of Sunday Night Heat. The idea was supposed to end with lust and involve the Hardy Boyz, but McMahon never much cared for Raven, and once the boss heard what the Heat producers were letting the hardcore wrestler do, he wasted no time in hitting the kill switch.
5 Booker T Can’t Quite Remember
Having survived the political waters of WCW for some eight years, Booker T was more than prepared to navigate his way through the WWE Universe when he finally arrived. Dropped angles being forgotten about overnight was pretty much WCW’s forte, so when the same thing happened to Booker in WWE, few people even noticed it was out of the ordinary for the five time, five time, five time, five time, five time WCW Champion. Ironically, Booker T’s dropped angle featured repeat usage of the phrase “I still remember,” through notes addressed to the man in question. Rumors heavily suggested the mysterious person leaving these words was Goldust, in reference to the pair’s short-lived tag team from 2002. However, Goldust never arrived and explained what it was he remembered, nor did anyone else. Apparently, it was only a matter of time before they forgot.
4 Why Did Shane vs. Undertaker Happen?
Don’t get us wrong—in many respects, the sudden 2016 return to WWE by Shane McMahon remains the most shocking and exciting moment the company has pulled off since. There’s a massive, glaring downside however, in that those who followed Shane’s comeback from the very beginning have got to be extremely confused about what the point was, and that’s over a year and a half into the ordeal. Okay, so it started off with Shane upset that Stephanie was taking credit for WWE’s success when in fact the company was failing. So far so good. Almost immediately, however, things started falling apart, when Vince first seemed to acquiesce what his son said was true, and then made him fight The Undertaker at WrestleMania 32 for control of Raw. Why exactly The Undertaker would help Vince out after years of animosity was never explained, nor did WWE offer any suggestion for why Shane remained in power after losing in decisive fashion.
3 The Anonymous Raw General Manager
Let’s face it, folks. The current situation with Shane McMahon’s confusing power despite losing the match that was supposed to decide if he had any sway in WWE is hardly the first time this company confused it’s fans over who was in charge. Arguably the peak of this problem was the year long stretch from 2010 to 2011, when an Anonymous General Manager governed Raw. This GM would chime in at random intervals to infuriate fans with random suggestions always benefitting the heels, and after a year of this behavior, viewers were expecting a major payoff in terms of who the person hiding behind Michael Cole’s laptop had been all along. Unfortunately, that revelation came not with a bang but a massive whimper, when it was revealed the mischievous, mostly mute Hornswoggle had been in charge the whole time. To say fans didn’t care was an understatement, and not even disappointment quite covers it. The one positive is that WWE recognized what a bomb it was and never mentioned the nonsense again.
2 The Illegitimate McMahon Child
Speaking of Hornswoggle, the idea behind him being the Anonymous Raw General Manager wasn’t even the first time the former WWE Cruiserweight Champion was in a high profile angle that fell flat the second his involvement was announced. Roughly two years prior to getting named the General Manager of Raw, Hornswoggle also became an illegitimate McMahon, although this time around, it wasn’t just bad writing that landed him in the role. The idea of Vince have a mysterious son out of wedlock was hardly a new one, as writers were floating it from the moment they dubbed newcomer Ken Anderson as Mr. Kennedy (…Kennedy). The brash loudmouth who was once Mr. Money in the Bank had originally been nabbed for the role as McMahon’s fake kid, only to find himself repeatedly in the doghouse and thus out of the high profile gig. Desperately for a replacement, Hornswoggle was basically suggested as a joke, one McMahon surprisingly found hilarious. As per usual, however, no one else was laughing, and the idea was forgotten about pretty quick.
1 That Time Vince McMahon’s Limo Exploded
You gotta give WWE credit sometimes: when Vince McMahon does something huge, the whole world genuinely does watch. For example, if he were to stage his own death on national television via a fireworks like explosion, people might question whether or not the pro wrestling CEO got out of the situation alive. This might sound like hyperbole, but plenty of high profile WWE fans genuinely didn’t know what happened, with several news outlets reporting that McMahon was actually dead. Obviously, this wasn’t the case, but the publicity was more than worth the confusion, as everyone who watched wrestling wanted to know where the heck WWE was going with this explosive idea. Unfortunately, mere weeks after McMahon staged his fake death, Chris Benoit’s real one took place via suicide, and he took his wife and son along with him before that. Suddenly feeling death was no laughing matter, McMahon appeared on TV again with his tail between his legs, basically promising never to mock mortality ever again.