Passionate and diehard fans of World Wrestling Entertainment programming are notoriously patient as it pertains to what the promotion offers in storylines and feuds. Even when the company baffles viewers with decisions that seemingly make little sense, those who tune in to shows such as Raw and SmackDown and also pay monthly fees for the WWE Network nevertheless remain loyal to the product and even defend it to those who may turn to other organizations such as Ring of Honor or even Impact Wrestling. After all, the WWE is currently the king of the business and the largest pro wrestling organization in the world today, and there is little reason to believe the company is going to lose its hold over the industry at any point in the foreseeable future.
With that said, the WWE has angered pockets of fans who continue to spend both time and money on the product in multiple ways over the past several years. Most notably, certain individuals making important decisions for the WWE have been keen on pushing a talent vocal supporters of the product do not wish to see work main events and retire legendary performers such as the Undertaker. The WWE is facing an interesting dilemma in that the organization has to find a way to cater to casual viewers while at the same time engaging the most hardcore fans. Writers clearly cannot make everybody happy, but one has to wonder if driving off any amount of fans and viewers will forever change WWE business.
15 Roman Reigns Being No. 30 At 2017 Royal Rumble
WWE viewers and fans probably should have known better while watching the 2017 Royal Rumble. Loyal and dedicated followers of the product were hoping a name such as Finn Balor or Samoa Joe would emerge as a surprise entrant by the time the 30th and final participant of the Rumble was about to be introduced, but such customers were left feeling angry and even dumbfounded when none other than Roman Reigns walked down the aisle and entered the ring.
Fans inside of the arena and also people viewing the event at parties voiced their displeasure upon hearing Reigns’ entrance theme, but they were left helpless as the “Big Dog” made his slow walk to the ring. As you can probably guess, you’ll see Reigns mentioned in this piece multiple times.
14 Brock Lesnar Destroying Randy Orton
Pro wrestling fans enjoy the idea of seeing two athletes pummel each other inside of the ring while at the same time realizing, in the back of their minds, what they're viewing is a work and, in fact, not a real fight.
It’s for that reason so many followers of the product were legitimately turned off by the idea that Brock Lesnar actually bloodied Randy Orton at SummerSlam 2016. Even though that portion of the contest was scripted and part of the show, fans and observers of the product know, in the current era, how important it is for performers to protect each other during matches. The WWE could have gone about this match a different and better way without Orton requiring real medical attention following the match.
13 A.J. Styles Working With Shane McMahon At WrestleMania 33
A.J. Styles is, at absolute worst, one of the top five wrestlers in all of the world at the moment, and that was the case in the spring of 2017 when the WWE decided to have him feud with none other than Shane McMahon for a match at the biggest show of the year, WrestleMania 33.
To be fair to Shane-O-Mac, the match wasn’t all that bad, as McMahon did well to hold his own while working alongside the phenomenal one. Still, Styles could’ve participated in a match that involved the likes of Shinsuke Nakamura, Finn Balor or even Samoa Joe at such a massive event. Styles deserved better considering he was the best overall wrestler for the WWE throughout his first year working in the company.
12 Mick Foley Buried As General Manager
Mick Foley is an icon and a beloved figure among WWE fans because of all that he achieved during his legendary career and also because he sacrificed his body, and probably years off of his life, merely to entertain viewers.
Thus, it understandably struck a nerve when the WWE repeatedly buried Foley and made him look small and insignificant throughout his tenure as the Raw General Manager. Things got so awkward and uncomfortable, in fact, that it was almost a blessing when Foley was “fired” on air because he required hip surgery in real life. While we wish Foley all the best in his latest recovery, we are also glad that he and his character both aren’t being humiliated by the likes of Stephanie McMahon during weekly segments that didn’t do anybody any good.
11 Sasha Banks & Charlotte Trading the Women’s Title Back and Forth
The start of the so-called “Women’s Revolution” in the WWE had so much promise, mostly because talented female performers such as Sasha Banks and Charlotte were hopefully going to be pushed as main-event acts worthy of receiving more than a handful of minutes for matches.
While the two have proven themselves capable of creating entertaining contests, fans were left feeling fatigued because of the feud the two had throughout 2016 that featured the wrestlers trading the Raw Women’s Title back and forth as if it was nothing more than a meaningless ornament. Things became so mundane, in fact, that there are likely pockets of fans who do not want to see Banks and Charlotte have another match together for years to come. Too much of a good thing can be a negative, after all.
10 Roman Reigns “Retires” The Undertaker
So much about this one angered fans of the WWE. For starters, Roman Reigns may be the last person people wanted to see retire a living legend of the industry such as the Undertaker at WrestleMania 33. It also cannot be ignored that match never should have been in the main event of such a show, as it was clear to anybody watching Undertaker was not physically up to the task of working in such a high-profile match on that particular night.
Perhaps worst of all is that the WWE has, in the spring of 2017, teased that Undertaker could make another return to WWE programming, possibly to again feud with Reigns. While we’d obviously love to see the phenom back for one good match, we hope the WWE has learned a lesson and will keep him far away from the “Big Dog.”
9 Zack Ryder Loses the Intercontinental Championship After One Day
You almost have to wonder if Zack Ryder actually angered certain individuals within WWE. All Ryder did was get over among fans via an Internet show, but the company still treated him as a joke minus one meaningless run as United States champion.
Then, the WWE gave Ryder an incredible moment when the company awarded him with the right to win the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania 32, only to then have Ryder lose that title the following night. Yes, we should probably be used to the idea that the WWE is going to treat Ryder poorly for as long as he remains employed, but fans just cannot help but have a soft spot for him in our hearts and hope that he’ll one day get the push he rightfully deserves.
8 American Alpha Disappear
WWE fans struggled to contain their excitement when American Alpha, one of the best overall tag teams the company has produced during the current decade, was called up from NXT to the main roster in the summer of 2016. While the duo of Chad Gable and Jason Jordan were booked to win the SmackDown Tag Team Titles during its first year on the main roster, American Alpha quickly became afterthoughts and just random parts of an underwhelming roster.
Heading into the summer of 2017, one has to wonder if it's only a matter of time before the WWE splits Gable and Jordan up en route to giving Jordan a major push as a solo act because of his size and athleticism. That’d be a shame, because this team still has plenty left to do in WWE before it breaks up.
7 Length of WrestleMania 33
The WWE should consider this portion of the piece as somewhat of a public service announcement. WrestleMania 33 went nearly five hours in length, and that is only counting the main portion of an event that also included multiple aspects of a pregame show. While some would point out that UFC shows often go that long, they should remember that the first couple of hours of those events air for free on cable or national television and that Pay-Per-Views often end in under three hours depending on the lengths of the real fights.
No wonder some who attended WrestleMania 33 left early and before the Undertaker departed from the ring possibly for the last time. Five hours is just too long, and the company must realize this before the spring of 2018.
6 Randy Orton Vs. Bray Wyatt Feud
The best thing one could say about the horrible feud involving Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt is that it's over and hopefully forever buried miles beneath the earth. Who, among us, will ever forget their awful WrestleMania 33 match, during which images of bugs were shown on the surface of the ring because somebody, somewhere, had a terrible idea that was downright laughable?
If that wasn’t bad enough, the “House of Horrors” rematch between Orton and Wyatt was a cheap imitation of the television produced by Matt and Jeff Hardy when the two portrayed their “Broken Matt” and “Brother Nero” characters in Impact Wrestling. Orton and Wyatt should win awards by the end of 2017 for generating the worst match and worst feud of the year.
5 Jinder Mahal Wins WWE Championship
We'll willingly admit that at least some within the “Don’t Hinder Jinder” crowd are probably serious about giving Jinder Mahal a chance as WWE Champion after he won the title from Randy Orton in May of 2017. For the rest of us, however, Mahal carrying such a prestigious title is an absolute joke and a ploy for the WWE to try to make some money in the India market.
This is nothing personal towards Mahal or his character. WWE writers treated Mahal as a joke throughout his first stint with the company and during his return until a figurative switch was flipped, and, thus, there was no slow build until we were supposed to believe he could be the best wrestler on the SmackDown brand. Looking at ratings for that show, it appears more than a few fans were left angered by this decision.
4 2017 Women’s Money in the Bank Match
The women’s Money in the Bank match that occurred in June 2017 was the first of its kind underneath the WWE umbrella, and the hope among fans was that it would provide a jumpstart, of sorts, to the SmackDown Division that had been flat since even before WrestleMania.
Instead, the company had James Ellsworth retrieve the briefcase for Carmella during the pay-per-view show, a finish that was ultimately erased days later when it was ruled a second Money in the Bank would occur on a future edition of SmackDown. Such a finish may have been alright years down the road, but it’s offensive, and not in a good way, for what should have been a historic WWE moment. The women competing in that encounter deserved to be treated better.
3 Roman Reigns Wins 2015 Royal Rumble
If you ever find yourself wondering if WWE audiences actually dislike Roman Reigns or if they're just playing their own “gimmick,” go back and watch the final minutes of the 2015 Royal Rumble. Fans boisterously booed when Reigns was booked to win the Rumble ahead of a favorite such as Daniel Bryan, and they even refused to stop their jeers when The Rock came out to publicly endorse Reigns inside of the ring.
In a way, it’s amazing to think that occurred over two years ago, and yet the promotion is still trying to push Reigns as a popular babyface who will one day follow the path created by John Cena earlier in the 2000s. Those hoping the WWE will realize Reigns isn’t the guy shouldn’t hold their breaths.
2 Bayley On The Main Roster
The Bayley character remains one of the most popular in the history of the NXT brand, and fans wanted to believe she would get a similar positive push once she was called up to the main roster. While Bayley did receive a run as the Raw Women’s Champion, the promotion treated her almost as a heel who didn’t even deserve to carry that title because she won and later defended it with the help of Sasha Banks.
As of the start of the summer months, Bayley is, in storyline, a wrestler who is not physically or psychologically capable of hanging with Alexa Bliss, which is humorous for those of us who remember how those two were treated when they were working in NXT. The company has thoroughly wasted Bayley, and fans who fondly remember her in NXT are disappointed by all that’s transpired.
1 Tommaso Ciampa Turns on Johnny Gargano
Some working for the WWE and possibly even fans may point out that Tommaso Ciampa turning on Johnny Gargano and breaking up the team of D.I.Y. at the end of the NXT Takeover: Chicago show in May 2017 was meant to anger fans and draw heat.
What those people should realize is that fans knew how the storyline was going to play out but still wanted to see D.I.Y. called up to the main roster together before this feud occurred on either Raw or SmackDown. Worst of all is that Ciampa suffered a legitimate injury at the Takeover show and could be out of action for the remainder of 2017, meaning that any program between he and Gargano could very well become a forgotten piece of WWE history.