Throughout the years WWE has put together a number of intriguing storylines that have captivated diehard fans of the sport as well as have caught the attention of those who are casual viewers. A few notable storylines that the WWE has recently put together that have interested fans is Seth Rollins betrayal of his former fellow Shield brethren Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns, the return of Shane McMahon to take on The Undertaker at WrestleMania 32, the sudden uprise of the women's division as a result of the "Women's Revolution" and most recently, Kevin Owens and his conquest of taking over Smackdown and rebranding it "The Kevin Owens Show". Now, these are examples of storylines that at one point or another captivated audiences. However, this isn't to say the WWE is immune to its fair share of gaffes; on the contrary, they've made a slew of blunders throughout the years.
But, the WWE would rather its fans forget about these storylines. After all, why would they want their fans to remember a storyline that fell flat on its face? Here, we analyze the last ten years of WWE and 15 of the worst storylines that WWE put together, whether that was due to an improper push, a terrible payoff, picking the wrong person to be "the guy" and more!
15 Ryback's Push
This may be hard to fathom in 2017, but towards the second half on 2012 and the first half of 2013, Ryback was being pushed at the top of the card alongside the likes of John Cena and CM Punk. Ryback had the stereotypical look that Vince McMahon is instantaneously infatuated with; "The Big Guy" possessed a large and chiseled frame at 6'3'' and 291 pounds (easily meeting the "big sweaty man" criteria McMahon drools over). The problem was while Ryback may have looked the part in the eyes of McMahon, he clearly didn't possess anywhere near the ring acumen he needed to be placed at top of the card. By the end of 2013, Ryback's push had fizzled and he'd dropped to the mid-card. In 2016, he quit due to being dissatisfied with wrestlers not receiving equal pay. After all, who else doesn't agree with Ryback that The Colons should make as much as John Cena?
14 The Failed Push Of The Nexus
Debuting on June 7th, 2010 on an episode of Monday Night Raw, the original eight members of The Nexus, Wade Barrett, Daniel Bryan, Justin Gabriel, David Otunga, Skip Sheffield, Heath Slater, Michael Tarver and Darren Young took the wrestling world by storm when they absolutely decimated the likes of John Cena, CM Punk, announcers Jerry Lawler and Matt Striker and ring announcer Justin Roberts. In one night, the Nexus were officially the hottest thing in WWE (maybe all of wrestling at that time). In just over two months, at "the hottest show of the summer," SummerSlam, the wheels fell off as The Nexus lost to a team led by John Cena and six other WWE superstars, including the recently re-hired Bryan. The original Nexus just fell further downhill after this and by the end of the calendar year they'd disbanded. Cena has even gone on record stating that having the Nexus lose at SummerSlam was a mistake and that in retrospect it would've been better if he had listened to fellow teammates Edge and Chris Jericho who pulled to have The Nexus win.
13 The 2015 Royal Rumble
Taking place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (a city known for its vocal and raucous crowds), the WWE decided it was time to strap a rocket on the back of Roman Reigns and push him to the moon so he could headline WrestleMania. The only problem was that the fans were firmly behind one of last year's headliners of WrestleMania, Daniel Bryan. Bryan was eliminated early, as he was the eleventh entrant eliminated, and from that point forward fans were livid. The fans knew that the likelihood of anyone sans Bryan or Reigns winning the Royal Rumble match was slim and they'd now made the assumption the victor would indeed be Reigns. The fans weren't wrong. Reigns did win and it was so terrible that fans were firmly behind Rusev, a heel, to get the nod when he was the last competitor left against Reigns. To make matters worse, WWE tried to get the fans on the side of Reigns as they brought out The Rock to raise his hand once he claimed victory. This didn't help; Reigns and The Rock were both showered with boos from immediately. Furthermore, seeing The Rock get booed at this stage in his career is almost unfathomable, which speaks to the disgust of the Philly faithful.
12 The 2014 Royal Rumble
Batista made his return to the WWE on January 20th, 2014, after vignettes for him had aired in December 2013 declaring that "The Animal" would be returning to the WWE. Batista immediately announced that he'd be entering the 2014 Royal Rumble which would be taking place just six days later at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Despite having returned for less than a week, the WWE decided that Batista should win the Royal Rumble match, which unsurprisingly angered the fans in Pittsburgh as well as worldwide. As a result, the main event at WrestleMania was set to be Randy Orton versus Batista for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The fans scoffed at this notion vehemently to the point that WWE had to call an audible and insert Daniel Bryan into the main event matchup to make it a triple threat. The voice of the fans clearly powered past that of WWE's brass which is something that undoubtedly angered the powers that be in the 'E.
11 Abraham Washington's Kobe Bryant Joke
It may be a little difficult to fathom today, but at one time the boisterous and vocal Titus O'Neil had a mouthpiece behind him; that mouthpiece was former WWE talent Abraham Washington. Serving as the manager for the forenamed O'Neil and Darren Young, Washington was tasked with being the man behind the voice for the former duo known as the Prime Time Players. It isn't that Washington was necessarily bad in his role, but it's the decision on July 30th, 2012 that was extremely poor and distasteful. On a Monday Night Raw episode airing from Denver, Colorado, Washington said the following, "he's (O'Neil) like Kobe Bryant at a hotel in Colorado... he's unstoppable!". Referencing an alleged sexual assault that Bryant was eventually acquitted for, no one except for Washington found this joke comical. It ended up costing Washington his job and references to him on programming have unsurprisingly been extremely far and between since he was axed.
10 Mauro Ranallo Bullied By JBL
When news broke that the WWE had signed Mauro Ranallo to come on board to commentate on SmackDown, fans who were familiar with the Showtime Boxing and UFC commentator were absolutely delighted that they'd be hearing his signature catchphrases such as "mama mia" along with his animated and energetic personality. Unfortunately, Ranallo's tenure on the blue brand was short-lived as a result of alleged bullying at the hands of fellow SmackDown commentator, John "Bradshaw" Layfeld. WWE has largely swept the allegation under the rug with Ranallo having recently moved over to NXT and no punishment handed down for Layfeld (Layfeld has recently left his position to focus on helping at risk youth in Bermuda). To make matters worse, Ranallo struggles with bipolar disorder, which makes this allegation all the uglier.
9 LaMelo Ball Uses The N-Word On Raw...TWICE!
Airing from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, Monday Night Raw on June 26th, 2007 had the Ball family, patriarch and outspoken father, LaVar, the number two overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Lonzo, and 16-year-old basketball talent, LaMelo. Despite being the youngest of the trio, it was LaMelo that made the most noise, quite literally. As LaVar was going at it with The Miz on the mic, LaMelo made the poor decision to say "beat that n***a a**" on two occasions. The following day, WWE released the following statement, "the inappropriate language used by a guest during the ‘Miz TV’ segment was not scripted nor reflects WWE’s values". The WWE clearly wanted to distance itself from LaMelo's poor choice of words and while LaVar translates to ratings, it's unlikely WWE will ever ask LaMelo to return to a WWE ring.
8 Signing Eva Marie
An unnatural redhead with dazzling looks, Eva Marie was signed by the WWE in 2013 and before even stepping foot in a WWE ring (in regards to competing), Eva Marie was announced as a cast member of the E! network's reality tv show, Total Divas. Eva is a prime example of being "at the wrong place at the wrong time." If she had been in the WWE in the "Attitude Era" or even the "Ruthless Aggression Era" (to a lesser extent), she could've been quite the asset considering women coasted on their looks then as opposed to their wrestling talent. However, it's a new era and an era which features the "Women's Revolution" spearheaded by the like of Sasha Banks, Bayley, Charlotte and Becky Lynch. While these women are applauded for their wrestling skill, Eva Marie was bombarded with chants of "you can't wrestle" for the four years she spent in WWE. Eva Marie was essentially nothing more than deadweight for the company.
7 Hulk Hogan Doesn't Know Which Arena He's In
Kicking off WrestleMania XXX, from the New Orleans Superdome, the WWE had arguably its three biggest stars in the company's history in the ring simultaneously with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Hulk Hogan. The segment was largely an enjoyable one, but Hogan had an infamous botch to kickoff the segment. See, Hogan, who had participated in WrestleMania III from the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan referred to the New Orleans Superdome as the "Silverdome." The fans looked on in confusion and disbelief before Hogan corrected himself shortly thereafter. But, the damage had been done and when the word "Superdome" comes up, one of the thoughts that wrestling fans first think of is the infamous botch via Hogan on this fateful night.
6 Donald Trump Inducted Into The WWE Hall Of Fame
Regardless of what your political affiliation is, one thing that the masses can agree on is that Donald Trump is indeed one hell of a polarizing figure. In 2013, Trump was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and the New York faithful weren't exactly kind to the United States' current Commander in Chief as they showered him with boos. While the McMahon family have made it no secret that they support the Republican party and that Vince McMahon is friendly with Trump, not everyone is a fan of Trump. This was most evident when fans protested outside of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York during SummerSlam and vocalized that Trump should be removed from the WWE Hall of Fame due to controversies he's had attached to him since becoming President.
5 Hulk Hogan's N-Word Tirade
In July of 2015, an audio recording of Hulk Hogan from eight years past was heard around the world due to quite the controversial comments he had made. Hogan, expressing a clear disdain for blacks had a number of disparaging things to say. For instance, Hogan said the following, "I mean I'd rather if she (daughter Brooke Hogan) was going to f*** some n*****, I'd rather have her marry an 8-foot tall n***** worth a hundred million dollars! Like a basketball player". To no one's astonishment, Hogan was canned by the WWE once these comments had been made public knowledge. Hogan apologized almost immediately after the comments had come out but the damage was done. Hogan was fired and removed from the WWE Hall of Fame. It's been over two years since the incident and Hogan has not been back in the WWE and this is an event that fans are unlikely to forget any time soon, if ever.
4 Hornswoggle As The Last Cruiserweight Champion
The return of the Cruiserweight division and 205 Live has largely failed to live up to the hype as the majority, if not all characters (with the exception of Enzo Amore and Neville) have little to no character whatsoever. In addition, Amore may meet the 205-pound weight limit, but he isn't known for being a ring general, unlike the forenamed Neville and names such as Cedric Alexander, Tony Nese and TJ Perkins. But the return of the Cruiserweight division was simply needed to right the wrong that had taken place in 2007. Hornswoggle made a mockery of the belt when he had won it in a six-man Cruiserweight Open that featured the likes of Chavo Guerrero (Champion) Funaki, Shannon Moore, Jamie Noble and Jimmy Wang Yang. Two months later, Vickie Guerrero retired the title as she cited since Hornswoggle was Mr. McMahon's illegitimate son, the belt would be retired for his own safety. Fortunately, the Cruiserweight Championship is now back and remembering Hornswoggle as the final man to hold it is now in the distant past.
3 The Summer Of Punk
The "Summer of Punk" had the potential to be not just the hottest angle of 2011, but one of the hottest angles in the history of the WWE. In June 2011, Punk unleashed on the company by way of his "pipe bomb" promo. Punk let it be known that he'd be leaving the company the night of Money in the Bank and would be leaving with the WWE Championship. Punk prevailed at Money in the Bank and indeed departed. But he only departed for one week and was then back on screen. He then fought John Cena at SummerSlam, as Cena also held a version of the WWE Championship which he had won by way of a tournament to establish a WWE Champion for the company while Punk was out in storyline. Punk defeated Cena to become the "official" WWE Champion and was cashed in on by Alberto Del Rio on the same night. To make matters worse, interference came by way of Kevin Nash, who was unable to be placed in a feud with Punk due to being rendered not clear to compete. WWE had an exceptionally promising storyline on its hand and their booking was clearly not up to par.
2 WWE Anonymous Raw General Manager
Initially, the angle behind the WWE Anonymous Raw General Manager had potential as fans were interested in learning who was the actual person(s) behind the computer that was anonymously sending messages that Michael Cole would read weekly via a podium (to a chorus of boos, may I add). The angle lasted for just over a year as it began on June 21st, 2010 and concluded on July 18th, 2011. The problem was the reveal wasn't just bad but it was probably worse than anyone in their wildest dreams could've imagined; the reveal was the uninspiring Hornswoggle. By revealing Hornswoggle as the man behind the messages of the Anonymous Raw General Manager, WWE essentially made a mockery of the storyline despite it initially having steam when it first began. Sure, it was already losing traction, but by having Hornswoggle revealed as Anonymous GM, WWE did no one any favors.
1 The Great Khali As World Heavyweight Champion
From the minute The Great Khali stepped foot in the WWE he was established as a force. After all, how many individuals have you seen squash The Undertaker? In 2007, Edge had to vacate the WWE World Heavyweight Championship as he was deemed unable to compete due to injury. As a result, a 20-man over-the-top battle royal was announced in order to award the newly vacant championship to a SmackDown competitor. The winner of that battle royal was none other than the "Punjabi Playboy", The Great Khali. On the surface, Khali was an imposing individual with his 7'1'' height and 350 pounds. He had global appeal being from India, a nation with over 1 billion individuals. But, in the ring he was arguably the most limited person to not just hold the World Heavyweight Championship, but in the history of the company. It's one thing to have a limited wrestler on your roster; it's another thing to make him the champion of your company. Khali was absolutely unfit to be World Heavyweight Champion.
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