The WWE Universe is perhaps the most forgiving fan base in the world. Often more vocal about their displeasures, and using the Internet, signs at events or cheers and boos throughout the arena to let their opinions be known, they seem to come back to the product no matter what the company, the industry or the talent do to alienate them. It's a good thing for the WWE that it has loyal followers because Vince McMahon and company have done some pretty heinous things to push them away.
Whether it be disrespecting the living or the deceased, covering topics that were taboo or taking away from the WWE Universe the sole reason they watched WWE programming, no decision was too far a stretch for the WWE. Only in hindsight did the company realize what a monumental mistake they'd made.
We've compiled a list of the 15 most despicable acts. These are the 15 most insane decisions the company ever made that angered the fans so badly, there was almost a chance of losing them forever. These are 15 times that the company hurt a talent so badly, they set the locker room into a frenzy. These are the 15 Unforgivable Times The WWE Effed Up.
Take a look through the list and comment. Do you agree with our take on the most unforgivable acts? Did we miss something you would have included? Share this post and let us know what you would have included that we didn't. Is our not adding them on the list unforgivable? We certainly hope not.
15 Botched the WCW Invasion
This could have been the biggest thing the WWE had ever done. For years, fans wondered what it would be like to see some of WCW's biggest stars square off with some of the WWE's best. Instead of forking over the big bucks to get guys like Goldberg, Sting, Kevin Nash, Hulk Hogan and the best WCW offered, Vince took only the Lance Storm's, Billy Kidman's and Kanyon's of the world and called it a WCW Invasion. It was a joke.
The WWE was only going to get one shot at doing this right and they completely blew it. Once the WCW entered, they could never "re-enter" and when WWE did the unthinkable and placed WWE stars in the WCW faction, it was doomed. Perhaps it wasn't financially feasible to get all of WCW's biggest stars to forgo their guaranteed cheques, but WWE would have made that money back hand-over-fist if they'd just paid the guys they needed to make the idea work.
14 Continued Pay-Per-View After Owen's Death
When Owen Hart fell from the top of the arena and passed away in the ring at a live pay-per-view it was a tragedy. Millions of fans were devasted and countless wrestlers were at a loss, unsure of how to react when everything went down. Whether it was really out of the belief that Owen would have wanted it, or a simple excuse not to have to refund the money of fans everywhere, the WWE kept on with the show, in spite of the fact the wrestlers wanted no part of it.
There are arguments on both side of this debate, but most felt it was a complete showing of disrespect to a talent who had given so much of his life to the business. A large contingent of fans believe the WWE should have stopped the show immediately and that they didn't is unforgivable.
13 Ending The Undertaker's WrestleMania Streak
Beating The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXX put Brock Lesnar over the top in terms of stardom in the WWE. It was a shocking moment that may go down as the most surprising in WWE history. It didn't make it the right thing to do.
The Undertaker was revered. He was the most respected wrestler in the history of the WWE and the one thing no one should have taken away from him was "The Streak." The WWE did so, not only after it knew no other wrestler would ever catch the record, but for a wrestler in Lesnar who was merely a part-time talent and didn't respect the business the way some believe he should have. It was too great an honor to throw it away. Lesnar was already a star. He didn't need the rub. The WWE ended The Undertaker's streak merely because they could and when Goldberg beat Lesnar in seconds a couple years later, it tarnished 'Taker's legacy even further.
12 Screwed Bret Hart
Some people will tell you that Bret Hart deserved what he had coming to him. Refusal to do the job you were hired to do is, to many, an unforgivable sin. That said, there is no denying that Vince McMahon and the WWE used a legend of the wrestling industry as a pawn in a much larger story and sent him packing to WCW in the most disrespectful of ways.
Instead of admitting right away what happened, the WWE turned the incident into one of the most over storylines in wrestling history. A good business decision for the WWE, but if you were a fan of Bret Hart (and millions of people were), you were devastated. To make matters worse, the company has lazily tried to reproduce the storyline in different forms over the years. It has never worked as well and it's a consistent kicking of Bret's legacy every time they try to recreate the Montreal Screwjob.
11 The XFL
In how many ways can one person describe the XFL as an unmitigated disaster? That's exactly what it was. The brainchild of Vince McMahon and his desire to reach outside wrestling into mainstream sports, the XFL was to be a more smash-mouth, entertaining alternative to the NFL. Instead, it was a joke.
With huge technical blunders and the desire to cram more wrestling into the product that was completely non-wrestling related, Vince went to the WWE well far too often and killed the product which was already so gimmicky it was tough to take it seriously. The XFL gave the WWE a bad name, it gave NBC a bad name. It gave Vince McMahon a bad name and it gave professional football a bad name. It also showed the NFL that no one could ever touch it in terms of popularity and that ego is still on display today.
10 Reviving The nWo
The nWo was one of the greatest storylines or factions in wrestling history. The idea ran its course in WCW and in an attempt to capitalize on the brand, Vince McMahon brought it back to the WWE when he hired Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan in 2002. If the WWE wasn't planning on seeing the idea through or rolling with the directional changes, why bring it back at all? It was like teasing the fans.
The returning nWo was meant to be a heel faction upon their arrival. Instead, the crowd went nuts with enthusiasm. The WWE didn't roll with it or turn them into tweeners, they tried to force the heel actions of the group down the WWE Universe's throat and it didn't fly. The angle was abandoned and WWE quickly split up the founding members, repeating exactly the same mistakes that killed it in WCW. The nWo still lives on as a great wrestling idea, but WWE almost butchered its legacy.
9 Exploiting Eddie Guerrero's Death
After the death of Eddie Guerrero, the WWE could have handled many things differently. Instead of exploiting his untimely passing they could have respected his legacy. On more than one occasion they chose not to.
Randy Orton feuded with Rey Mysterio (a very close friend of Eddie's) and said that Eddie was "in hell." Later, Mark Henry did an in-ring promo where he stated he would spit on the Guerrero name and that if Eddie were still alive, he would spit on him too. Yes, the WWE probably ran these ideas by the family first, but there needs to be a time when the WWE thinks about things on a personal level. The disrespect showed to Eddie and the Guerrero family was unforgivable. Is anything sacred in the WWE?
8 Katie Vick
There are some angles that in reality are kind of harmless (ideas so out there that it's tough to take them seriously), but also so bad you realize that the product you watch and the company that provides that product is not above doing anything for publicity. That's not a good thing. As a loyal follower, it can make you shy away from proudly being a wrestling fan.
The story of Katie Vick was one of those times. The necrophilia storyline was so awful that people still talk about how disgusting the WWE was for trying to promote it. The idea of Triple H and Kane centering their feud around "The Game" jumping on and screwing a corpse is the worst idea the WWE ever came up with. They should still be ashamed.
7 Muhammad Hassan Terrorism Angle
The anti-American gimmick is one that the WWE and wrestling, in general, will use until wrestling is no longer a form of entertainment. The Iron Shiek, Nikolai Volkoff, Sgt. Slaughter, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and others will have careers because the idea sells. So, when the WWE introduced Muhammed Hassan, they knew they were onto something.
But, there has to be a line that the WWE realizes it shouldn't cross. With Hassan, Vince McMahon and the writers crossed it in a big way. Right around the time of some America's greatest wars on terrorism, the WWE portrayed Hassan as a terrorist. The WWE was immediately threatened by their network and Hassan was dropped. To this day, there is a fear that the WWE will go too far with these types of characters and the WWE lost potentially one of it's greatest heels in the last twenty years.
On paper, the idea of the Eugene character was probably meant to be well-intentioned. The problem was, anytime you touch on the subject of special needs, you walk a fine line and are constantly walking up a slippery slope. The Eugene character wound up being one of the most offensive gimmicks in wrestling history because it took the subject of special needs and glorified the bullying of it.
The concept of Eugene was that he was supposed to be able to overcome the odds. Instead, it appeared like the WWE was intentionally mistreating his character because he was "different" and characters like Eric Bischoff bullied and berated him. The WWE poked fun at his movements, his speech and his look, all while never saying he was "special needs" but directly implying it.
5 Erasing Chris Benoit From Wrestling History
Let's preface this by saying, what Chris Benoit did was heinous. What we've learned, is that he was also not in his right mind. His actions are not excusable nor should they be promoted, but to erase him completely from the record books as a professional wrestler takes away all that he accomplished as an in-ring performer— and he accomplished a lot.
His skill set in the squared-circle was among the best in the business and that can and should be separated from his acts as a human being. The WWE of all companies should realize that mistakes get made. Removing any reference to his past matches, legacy as a WWE talent and contribution to the industry also takes away from the performers who worked with him. Fans are missing a large chunk of WWE history by not being able to view this content. Any who don't want to watch Benoit don't have to.
4 Scripting and Overwriting Everything
Long gone are the days a guy like Stone Cold Steve Austin or The Rock could come into the WWE and make a name for themselves by turning the volume up on their personality. They could be given a couple talking points, a timeline and then the freedom to say and do whatever would make the audience love or hate them.
Today, everything in wrestling is scripted. There are more than 30 writers who cover every inch of the product and wrestlers aren't free to be themselves. Every word, every nuance and every moment has been pre-planned and feels completely ingenuine. It's almost impossible to fall in love with a character knowing that what you see on television is not the real thing. Announcers can't use certain words, wrestlers can't say certain things and the freedom of expression by fans is often taken away too.
3 Buying WCW
There is a reason the idea of a business monopoly is almost always illegal. In the traditional sense, a monopoly will produce less of a good and charge a higher price for it than in a competitive market. The WWE is not technically a monopoly, but who are we kidding?
When they purchased WCW, it made financial sense. That said, TNA/Impact, GFW, Evolve, ROH, even New Japan (who is extremely profitable) do not compete with the WWE on a national level. Once WCW went away, the WWE had no competition in the wrestling arena and grew complacent. Their product and writing almost immediately suffered and in some cases, the shows became unwatchable.
If the WWE was going to buy WCW, it would have made better sense to let someone completely different run the company and legitimately compete with Vince. A lack of tv deals and an unwillingness to release control made that impossible.
2 Became a Publicly Traded Company
Perhaps the WWE's biggest business mistake (at least as far as the fans are concerned) was becoming a publicly traded company. Financially it earned Vince McMahon hundreds of millions of dollars, so it is understandable as to why he did it. But, it changed the direction of the company forever.
Shareholders are often very risked adverse people. They don't stand for changes and theories that may work, but may also cause them to lose their money. They infrequently promote the pushing of the envelope or the gamblers that took the WWE to where it is today. Instead, they support moves like taking Raw to three hours long because it is profitable.
The ratings are down because the product is stale. The only way to change this is to start taking some risks creatively. Shareholders make all of that far more difficult to justify.
1 WWE and Cena Goes PG
Part of the change in philosophy that happened when the WWE went public was a change in "Attitude." One of the most successful eras in wrestling went away, not only because it was time for a change, but because of the pressures associated with putting out a more family-friendly product.
The WWE went public well before the PG Era, but they often explain this shift in content by telling fans and shareholders it now goes after a young audience, thus turning them into fans for life This approach completely watered down the product. Look no further than a wrestler like John Cena. Adored by millions of children, he's virtually hated by everyone else. Why? Because he's PG and he panders to the crowd like a walking billboard who harkens back to the yesteryears of a character like Hulk Hogan. It's old and it's tired and it alienated the older demographic in a major way. The 30-year-old and up crowd may never forgive the WWE.