What if Tom Brady walked away from the New England Patriots and suited up elsewhere in the NFL, for some long-suffering franchise in need of something drastic? The tone surrounding the beloved quarterback would alter greatly in the streets of Boston.
In most red-blooded, football-crazed cities around America, Tom Brady is a cheat, a liar, a no-good pretty-boy who cries too much, and is favoured by too many around the league. Of course, nobody would complain about the legendary QB coming to their team.
This is the way of the natural hypocrite sports fan: we hate for so long until the one we once despised could bring about sufficient change to our team and perhaps bring a championship to our city. There's no way around this, sports fans are Freaks and Fools.
The same can be said about professional wrestling fans. In this world, hatred may never fade as the feeling is all part of the process. Wrestling is one big, emotional ride without red lights or stop signs.
Back in the days of WCW, many WWE employees "jumped ship" for better or worse to the rival promotion; much to the chagrin of Vince McMahon. However, McMahon is a Business Brute with a willingness to forgive... provided with the proper circumstances.
This is a look at 15 wrestlers who Vince McMahon forgave for going to WCW.
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14 "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan
If you've watched The Monday Night War series on the WWE Network, then you may have come across an interview with "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan where the patriotic performer discusses his leaving WWE for WCW.
Jim Duggan would make reference to a number of WWE Superstars who decided to head over to Ted Turner's company for the guaranteed money. The strange aspect of Duggan's remarks was the tone in which he spoke.
When listening to Jim Duggan speak, it feels as though the strictly gimmick entertainer felt as though his WWE departure had some sort of impact on the Monday Night War; which it certainly did not.
However, Jim Duggan is a worthy footnote as the inaugural Royal Rumble winner would eventually find his way back to WWE. In recent years, Duggan would serve as a cast member on the WWE Network series Legend's House.
13 "Mean" Gene Okerlund
The modern generation of WWE fans will find their backstage interviewer more aesthetically pleasing than those of the past. Yes, the Northern Beauty, Renee Young is definitely not hard on the eyes.
For an older generation, one name will automatically come to mind: "Mean" Gene Okerlund. The balding, moustached, drunk-on-Hulkamania interviewer served the WWE well during a time when the backstage interview segment was a key component.
During the 1980s decade, Superstars sold their match through interview and not necessarily in-ring promo work. Mean Gene would aid this process. Okerlund's interviews with "Macho Man" Randy Savage are legendary.
In 1993, "Mean Gene" Okerlund would bring his voice and style over to WCW and remain with the company throughout the Monday Night War. However, with the War over, Okerlund would return to WWE where he remains employed.
12 Alundra Blayze
In one of the most controversial moments of the Monday Night War, WWE Women's Champion Alundra Blayze would arrive on Monday Nitro with the belt in hand only to toss the title down into the trash on live television.
Alundra Blayze would then reintroduce herself to the wrestling world as Madusa as she prepared for a prosperous career in WCW. Of course, Madusa would fizzle in WCW as the company did not place much focus on women's wrestling.
In the early 1990s - prior to Eric Bishoff's influence - Madusa served as a valet in the Paul E. Dangerously (Paul Heyman) run Dangerous Alliance. However, Madusa would not find much success until the transition to Alundra Blayze in WWE.
The trashing of the title is viewed as one of the most disrespectful moments in the history of professional wrestling and would take twenty years for Vince McMahon to forgive this incident. In 2015, Alundra Blayze was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
11 1-2-3 Kid
The 1-2-3 Kid would serve as one of the first beloved underdogs in WWE. Long before Daniel Bryan was the undersized hero of the WWE Universe, The 1-2-3 Kid was holding his own with the likes of Razor Ramon while earning the adulation of the fans.
However, the money came a-callin' and Sean Waltman (real name) was quick to jump at the Ted Turner-endorsed paycheck. In WCW, Waltman would perform under the moniker Syxx; the total sum of The 1-2-3 Kid.
In WCW, Syxx would align with the New World Order, a group which was operated a couple of real life friends. While Syxx would struggle to find a place within the new organization it would be his return to WWE that rattled the Monday Night War.
Following WrestleMania XIV, Shawn Michaels would retire for the first time. One night removed from the event and with Triple H at the helm of D-Generation X, the surprise return of The 1-2-3 Kid - now known as X-Pac - would shake-up the War.
10 Jeff Jarrett
There are many fans who will consider Jeff Jarrett to be one of the best the business has ever seen. Meanwhile, there are many more who consider Jarrett a wrestler lost within his own delusion. Either way, Jarrett had an interesting Monday Night War experience.
While employed by WWE during the first shots of the Monday Night War, Jeff Jarrett would switch sides shortly thereafter. However, when Jarrett's original contract with WCW expired, he would opt not to re-sign with the company.
Instead, Jeff Jarrett would return to WWE amid WCW's command of the ratings. And then the momentum would shift as WWE regained control of the wrestling ratings, so what did Jarrett do at this point? Leave once again.
Jeff Jarrett would head back to WCW during its steady decline. During this run, Jarrett would capture the WCW World Heavyweight Championship on four occasions, which did nothing for television ratings.
And no, Vince McMahon hasn't forgiven him for his second departure, though we wouldn't hold our breath.
9 Big Boss Man
There was once a time in WWE where the occupational gimmick became the popular trend of the day. Garbage men, plumbers, hockey players, clowns, dentists. The company was locked into this pattern.
Along with these gimmicks came a prison guard known as Big Boss Man. Equipped with a nightstick and blue shirt, Boss Man imposed his own brand of justice upon the WWE locker room while serving for a time as a top heel.
However, Big Boss Man would eventually try his luck over in WCW where he became known as The Boss, The Guardian Angel, and Big Bubba Rogers. It quickly became clear that the company had no direction for Ray Traylor (real name).
Then along came The Attitude Era and the reinvention of Big Boss Man in WWE. This time, Boss Man would dawn the gear of a SWAT Team member while unleashing a most vicious side to his character.
In the early 1990s in WCW, a young on-the-rise talent known as "The Natural" Dustin Rhodes would compete for the hopeful promotion and become one of the more underrated United States Champions in history.
In WWE, a never-before-seen character was introduced: the androgynous and sexually-proactive Goldust. This character fit perfectly into The Attitude Era and the company's new, bold, and aggressive approach to professional wrestling.
When the gimmick ran its course in WWE, a new and bizarre character known as Seven was introduced in WCW. Of course, nothing would come of this as concerns arose that Seven was portraying the role of a child abductor (it was super creepy).
Eventually following the demise of WCW, a more toned-down version of Goldust was presented to the audience. And while longevity in wrestling is often difficult, the character remains active to this day.
7 Scott Steiner
It is safe to assume that WWE will not be calling Scott Steiner for a return any time soon. Steiner has never been one to shy away from his opinion and in recent years has shared many harsh feelings towards the company and its personnel.
However, once long ago in WWE, Scott Steiner along with his brother Rick formed a dominant tag team known as The Steiner Brothers. The siblings would capture the WWE Tag Team Championship twice before parting ways with the company.
In WCW, Scott Steiner transformed from the All-American Boy to the raunchy "Big Poppa Pump." Steiner would find his greatest success in WCW by becoming World Heavyweight Champion, albeit during the downfall period.
In 2002, Scott Steiner was brought back into the WWE and would feud with the top star in Triple H. However, Steiner's run was less than spectacular and was in all likelihood his final run, unless Vince McMahon has a change of heart someday.
6 The Legion of Doom
When asked the question: "who is the greatest tag team in the history of professional wrestling?" a common answer among fans of raised on the 1990s surge will place The Dudley Boyz atop their list. However, this distinction belongs to The Road Warriors.
Known as The Legion of Doom in WWE, the legendary tag team came from humble beginnings in Georgia Championship Wrestling before taking over the AWA, Japan, and the NWA alike. There was seemingly no stopping this crazed pairing.
The Road Warriors were around when Jim Crocket Promotions transitioned into World Championship Wrestling but were soon heading North to the WWE where they were presented to a national audience and continued their righteous reign.
In early 1996, The Road Warriors were back in WCW. However, six months in and the tag team would part ways with the company thanks to a dispute with Eric Bischoff. In the wake of this lackluster stint, The Legion of Doom were welcomed back to WWE.
5 "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase
"The Million Dollar" Man remains one of the most smug heels in WWE history. While assuming the role, DiBiase would receive a tremendous amount of heat from the live crowd when flaunting his wealth in front of the wrestling world.
With the addition of Virgil - Ted DiBiase's manservant - more hatred was thrown the way of "The Million Dollar Man." In fact, Virgil in his own right was a controversial character choice made by the company.
In 1996, shortly after the formation of the New World Order, Ted DiBiase would appear on WCW television and was soon revealed as the financial force behind the rebellious group. DiBiase would become known as "Trillionaire Ted."
Of course, years down the line all was forgive and "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase was welcomed into the WWE Hall of Fame while also making sporadic appearances for the company along the way.
4 Dusty Rhodes
Throughout his tenure as booker of Jim Crocket Promotions, the WWE would often take subliminal shots at "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes. However, this would not phase the former NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
When Dusty Rhodes decides to finally make the jump to the WWE, Vince McMahon saw fit to place the wrestling icon in polka-dots and have him dance around the ring. Once again, Rhodes was not phased, doing his best with the gimmick.
Eventually, Dusty Rhodes would remove his dotted garb and head over to WCW where "The American Dream" would assume a number of roles, one of which included Rhodes siding with the New World Order.
In the later part of his life, Dusty Rhodes was back with the WWE as a member of the Creative Team. With the advent of NXT, Rhodes would serve as a driving force for the promotion while lending his expertise to the up-and-coming talent.
3 Rowdy Roddy Piper
There are many debates in professional wrestling but one distinction should be a unanimous one: "Rowdy" Roddy Piper is the best heel the business has ever seen. Piper made being the "bad guy" that much better.
With his own talk show titled Piper's Pit, Roddy Piper brought his maniacal heel persona to the interviewer role in WWE. In the Pit, many classic moments would occur, including the infamous coconut segment with Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka.
Roddy Piper left for WCW when the young guns of WWE had assumed all the top spots within the company. In WCW, Piper was once again in the main event picture but the feeling was never the same age was beginning to show throughout the promotion.
And how could Vince McMahon not forgive Roddy Piper? Following the death of WCW, Piper was a frequent contributor over the years that followed in WWE. Hot Rod may be gone but his legacy remains.
3. Scott Hall
Who ignited the Monday Night War? Well, in reality it was Ted Turner and Eric Bischoff but on-screen within the blurred world of fact and fiction, it was Scott Hall. The former Razor Ramon would "invade" Monday Nitro one night and kick-start it all.
In WWE, Razor Ramon was an accomplished Intercontinental Champion who helped lead the New Generation Era. However, Ramon was lured away from WWE with a guaranteed contract from WCW.
Performing under his real name of Scott Hall and serving as a founding member of the New World Order, the once "Bad Guy" of WWE helped change the perception of professional wrestling with one of its greatest storylines.
In 2002, one year following the purchase of WCW, Scott Hall was welcomed back to WWE and would even challenge "Stone Cold" Steve Austin at WrestleMania X8. In 2014, Scott Hall as Razor Ramon was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
"Big Daddy Cool" Diesel would leave his mark on the 1990s culture of WWE. Diesel was in fact the longest reigning WWE Champion of the decade. Deserving? Or simply a by-product of Kliq association? That's for you to decide.
Nevertheless, Diesel was an attraction throughout his WWE run but something was always more attractive than admiration to Kevin Nash: money. Much like his friend Scott Hall, Nash would jump at the opportunity to earn guaranteed money with WCW.
As the second "invader" of WCW, Kevin Nash - who would also perform under his real name - helped set the New World Order train into motion. Along the way, Nash would become a five-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion.
Kevin Nash would find himself back with the WWE in 2002 and make his way into the main event picture with Triple H. However, the days of Diesel were long gone and Nash was never quite the same Superstar.
1 Hulk Hogan
While discussing money-hungry Superstars, the conversation must include Hulk Hogan. Sure, Hulkamania generated millions of dollars for the WWE but Hogan was never one to care about the actual Wrestling aspect of the business.
When Hulk Hogan "retired" from WWE to pursue acting, nobody believed that Hogan would be gone for long. The only thing required for a Hogan comeback was a high-end payday which he would receive in WCW.
Of course, the most shocking heel turn of all time would occur at Bash at the Beach 1996 when Hulk Hogan helped form the New World Order. That night in Florida, Hollywood Hogan was born and Hulkamania was gone ... for the time being.
As we all know, Hulk Hogan has always had a back-and-forth relationship with WWE and has returned a number of times over the years. While Hogan is currently "erased" from WWE history, Vince McMahon will eventually change that fact.
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