When the WWE presents a wrestler to you onscreen, they want you to think of that wrestler in a certain way. They also . Did this wrestler make the headlines for getting into a public bar fight with some truckers or frat boys who had the audacity to call wrestling "fake"? Did this wrestler have a particularly bad gimmick, storyline, or segment that didn't go down too well with the WWE Universe? Or maybe this wrestler has been seeing someone behind his back who isn't his wife or girlfriend. Either way, these take away from what WWE wants you to see in the company's talents, and they want you to forget about these things.
Recently, we here at TheSportster had taken a look at WWE's entire female roster and enumerated the number one thing the company wants you to forget about each woman. We shall now be doing something similar for the Monday Night RAW brand, and since the red brand has more than 30 male wrestlers, we shall be looking at 20 of these men and reminding you of one thing (or maybe two things) about each of them the WWE prefers that you don't remember.
20 SETH ROLLINS AND THE ZAHRA INCIDENT(S)
In all fairness, the man himself would rather forget it as well. But fans are still having a hard time unseeing the clear, uncensored look at the little Architect. In February 2016, a messy, ugly love triangle was revealed, as nude photos of both Seth Rollins and his other woman, NXT wrestler Zahra Schreiber, were posted on social media, allegedly by Rollins' now-ex-fiancee, Leighla Schultz. Rollins would apologize for the embarrassing incident, moved on to an official relationship with Schreiber, and that would have been the end of that sordid chapter, right?
Wrong. Months later, it was revealed that Schreiber had posted seemingly pro-Nazi photos on Instagram years before she signed a WWE deal, and WWE, not willing to take any chances, quickly fired her. Although she and Rollins would break up soon after, it's fair to say WWE doesn't want you to remember that one of RAW's top stars once fooled around with an alleged Nazi memorabilia buff.
19 BO DALLAS IS BRAY WYATT’S BROTHER
Now this is something almost every WWE fan knows – Bo Dallas is younger brother to Bray Wyatt. Back in their FCW days, Dallas and Wyatt teamed up as Bo and Duke Rotundo, but in the years since then, WWE has preferred to give them separate characters and separate story arcs, even if one can say that the only thing that can save Dallas’ career at this point is a trade to SmackDown Live and a stint with The Wyatt Family.
So you’ve got one brother who’s a WWE Champion, and another who’s mainly there to tell Vince McMahon how many lights there are in the arena when he’s not drunkenly singing “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” to his wife. Yes, we almost included the time when Bo was kicked out of a flight for such drunk and disorderly behavior, but that still pales to the fact he’s related to an Eater of Worlds.
18 THE GENESIS OF MCGILLICUTTY
Last time we checked, Curtis Axel was still employed by WWE, so why not go back to the time when he wasn't paying tribute to his dad Mr. Perfect and grandpa Larry "The Axe" Hennig? That's right — we're going back to the "genesis" of Michael McGillicutty on the second season of the NXT rookie search, with that promo of his being the only thing worse than the McGillicutty ring name.
“Starting from now… from this moment on… this will be the moment… starting now… of the genesis of McGillicutty.”
That promo immediately leapfrogged many others to rank among one of WWE's all-time worst, and we can't blame you if you were still thinking of it when the real-life Joe Hennig screamed "I HAVE ARRIVED!" to mark his repackaging as newly-minted Paul Heyman Guy Curtis Axel.
17 DARREN YOUNG’S BOYFRIEND
It took a lot of courage for Darren Young to admit his homosexuality during a TMZ interview in 2013, and WWE and its wrestlers seemed extremely supportive of his decision. And before him, there were also the likes of WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson, whose sexual orientation was an open secret until he formally came out in 2014 on Legends’ House, and the late Chris Kanyon, who came out long after leaving WWE. So what was the big deal when they blurred Young’s boyfriend’s face on Swerved?
Actions like this suggest that WWE is still coming to terms with the fact that male pro wrestlers can be gay, and how there really shouldn’t be anything wrong with it. Young was naturally offended by what happened, and WWE didn't quite explain themselves or offer an apology to "Mr. No Days Off."
16 PRESENT-DAY SIN CARA = HUNICO
WWE had high hopes for Sin Cara when he joined the company in 2011 after a successful run in his home country of Mexico. However, the wrestler formerly known as Mistico ran into myriad problems in his time in America – he became meme fodder with his notorious tendency to botch, he supposedly refused to learn English, and he got suspended for a Wellness Policy violation. And when time came to cut him loose, the Sin Cara character would live on, with lower-carder Hunico (a.k.a. the impostor Sin Cara Negro in an earlier feud) taking over the role.
Even though the new Sin Cara is bulkier, speaks better English, and has a very visible tattoo where OG Sin Cara didn’t, WWE would still like you to believe that both Sin Caras are one and the same. Heck, even Undertaker and Underfaker (see below) were more similar!
15 TITUS O'NEIL KISSED HIS SON ON THE LIPS
Now we don't think WWE would want you to forget Titus O'Neil was the guy whose horseplay during Daniel Bryan's retirement speech nearly caused ol' Vince to fire him. On a positive note, we don't think they'd want you to forget his reputation as a charitable family man either. But Titus excitedly kissing his son on the lips at last year's Money in the Bank pay-per-view?
We get that O'Neil loves his two sons and isn't shy to admit it, but that was certainly a strange way of showing one's love to his teenage son. Then again, Titus appears to be doing whatever he could to get over, and WWE doesn't appear to be willing to help him do that, especially after that time he gave his boss a great big hug on live TV and nearly lost his job over it.
14 BIG CASS AND CARMELLA ARE DATING IN REAL LIFE
It shouldn't really be a big deal. Bill Morrissey is 30, Leah Van Dale is 29. They are both responsible adults making a good living as professional wrestlers Big Cass and Carmella respectively, and the fact that they've been dating for more than a year should be all fine and dandy. Not for WWE, though, as the company seems to have an aversion to any unmarried couple not named John Cena and Nicole Garcia-Colace (a.k.a. Nikki Bella, of course) being on the same brand.
The 2016 brand split also forced Paige and Alberto Del Rio to end up on different brands, and when Emma returned from injury after the draft, she was assigned to RAW, while real-life beau Zack Ryder remained on SmackDown Live. We don't know why WWE does it, but for this writer, it's a rather asinine practice that makes little to no sense.
13 THE ENDING OF RUSEV'S WORST STORYLINE EVER
For many of us in the WWE Universe, having to watch Dolph Ziggler and Lana feud with Rusev and Summer Rae was the equivalent of our parents forcing us to eat our vegetables when we were younger. And that last thing, at the very least, is good for you. Dolph/Lana vs. Rusev/Summer, on the other hand, was the perfect blend of bad chemistry, bad acting, and pointless feuding, and it was a relief when Lana announced on TMZ that she and Rusev were engaged in real life, thereby ending the feud.
Unfortunately, that got Lana and Rusev in trouble with WWE higher-ups, as that forced them to hotshot their ongoing storyline. That suggests they liked the feud more than most of us did, and to this day, we aren't quite sure if the couple has been freed from WWE's doghouse.
12 THE CLUB CAN'T DO COMEDY
If you've got two ass-kickers joining the WWE after a terrific run in New Japan as part of the company's top stable, you've got to make them act the part. That's why it still boggles the mind as to why WWE Creative tried to make Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson do comedy during their feud with The New Day, transforming them into "retirement specialists" after their ignominious send-off to the kayfabe-retiring Dudley Boyz in August 2016.
Although their vignette with "nurse" Dana Brooke was pretty bad, epic levels of bad comedy were reached when The Club trotted out three decrepit-looking guys meant to symbolize The New Day as old men. These were "The Old Day," and fans were left scratching their heads as to a) how bad Gallows and Anderson were in adding comedy to their current feud, and b) what was the point of the whole "Old Day" skit to begin with. To answer the latter question, there was none.
11 GOLDUST’S TWEETS OF INTOLERANCE
You'd think that a longtime ring veteran and the son of a WWE Hall of Famer would know better, but Goldust once had a reputation for saying some of the most intolerant things a WWE Superstar could say on social media. In 2010, he had repeatedly referred to Middle Eastern fans on Twitter as "terrorists," and a year later, he threatened to block anyone who didn't share his Christian beliefs or celebrate Christmas like he does.
It's also ironic that such comments came from a man who had taken on such a campy, risky gimmick more than a decade prior, and continued to use it through most of his WWE runs, albeit in a more toned-down form. He hasn't been involved in any such incidents since, though that may be because WWE is now more vigilant than ever when it comes to social media conduct.
Sheamus is currently doing well enough as a tweener, and his last heel run wasn’t too shabby, except for that oh-so-unfortunate detour with The League of Nations. Prior to that, however, he was fast losing relevancy as a babyface, with his wisecracking Irishman shtick looking like a poor take on John Cena’s usual character. In short, he was looking riper and riper for a heel turn with each passing day.
One of the worst moments of Sheamus’ last full-fledged babyface run was a series of commercials asking viewers to call “1-800-FELLA” and adding that “help is just a Brogue Kick away.” In one of the clips, he got an old lady’s cat down from a tree, and in another, he cured a man’s bad case of the hiccups, both with the help of his trusty Brogue Kick. It was bad, pointless comedy that we hope never to see again if Creative runs out of things to do with WWE's upper-midcard talents.
9 CESARO HAS FANS, AND LOTS OF THEM
The average smart fan knows that before he debuted in WWE as Antonio Cesaro, Swiss wrestler Claudio Castagnoli was a big star in the indies under his real name. It's also very easy to see how talented he is in the ring, boasting of impressive strength for a man who goes around at "only" 6'5" and 230 pounds. Cesaro is massively over with the fans, but there's one person whom he can't get over with, and that's a certain Vincent Kennedy McMahon.
Vince has suggested it on repeated occasions — Cesaro isn't over, is boring, can't grab that imaginary brass ring. That's the reason the Swiss Superman can't escape WWE's midcard, and as he has just recently turned 36, time is running out for that big-time push many "Cesaro Section" members believe he rightfully deserves.
8 "THE NEW GAY"
We've already covered an unfortunate New Day parody, so let's move on to the record-breaking tag team champs themselves. Months before The Club's poor attempts at comedy introduced the WWE Universe to "The Old Day," Kevin Von Erich was onstage during WWE's Hall of Fame ceremonies to help induct The Fabulous Freebirds. And while he was talking about brotherhood in pro wrestling, he accidentally referred to The New Day as "The New Gay guys." Suddenly, it was Hulk Hogan's catastrophic "right gay guy" promo on Vince McMahon all over again.
Fortunately, Fritz Von Erich's last surviving son quickly took to Twitter to clarify that it was all an honest mistake, and not a diss at a popular tag team/stable. Still, a big bowl of Booty-O's on the morning of the Hall of Fame ceremonies would have definitely helped Kevin make sure he wasn't booty on the mic.
7 THE MANY, MANY TURNS OF THE BIG SHOW
Even Big Show himself admits it – he’s made “more turns than NASCAR,” and he’s got a good reason for it. If young babyfaces need someone to help them get over, he’s a trusty veteran WWE can turn to, no pun intended. And if several faces are hurt and WWE needs a good guy to sell for the heels and interact with the kids in the audience, Big Show can help out as well. All in all, he’s turned close to (if not exactly, or more than) 30 times in his combined WCW and WWE career, and WWE would probably prefer it if you stopped counting turns, enjoyed Big Show’s matches, and stopped telling him to “please retire.”
Although it is fun to count all those Big Show face and heel turns and look back at how he turned, this is one of the times WWE may be right in asking you to forget about things – the man gives his all to the company, does whatever is asked of him creatively, and often does it quite well.
6 BRAUN STROWMAN, MONSTER AMONG ROSEBUDS
In the months since many people (this writer included) were criticizing WWE for giving a then-raw Braun Strowman a huge push on Monday Night RAW, the Monster Among Men has improved by leaps and bounds. He’s no longer relegated to jobber-squashing duties, but rather a key part of RAW storylines as a virtually-unstoppable (except by WWE-anointed superhero Roman Reigns) force of nature. And he can cut effective promos too, albeit in an old-fashioned, pre-1990s sort of way. All told, a lot of us were wrong about Braun.
But we also remember those cameo appearances Strowman made as an unnamed member of Adam Rose’s Exotic Express. And while he wasn’t the only then-NXT talent included in this ragtag bunch of goofs, WWE would rather you remember Braun as a nasty piece of work who can wreck your party one clothesline after the other, and not as an oversized, smiling man-child partying with a Russell Brand knockoff.
5 CHRIS JERICHO'S ADVENTURES ON SOCIAL MEDIA
It's not uncommon to see Chris Jericho posting photos of him hanging out and shooting the breeze with his fellow workers. May it be a night out at a bar, watching a concert, or simply goofing around in the locker room, Y2J's adventures with his WWE friends are often documented on social media. And we think WWE might not be too happy with it at times.
They say kayfabe is long dead and buried, but WWE, in its weird way, still wants to preserve it in one way or another. And as we related in our list of Instagram "regrets," Jericho did receive some flak for two recent IG posts — the "Luke Harper Fan Club" which consists of a mix of heels and faces, and a photo where he and on-air rival Seth Rollins were making goofy faces while on a flight.
4 UNDERTAKER VS. UNDERFAKER
The young Undertaker had the misfortune of carrying several inept giants (Giant Gonzalez, Mabel, etc.) back in the early-mid-‘90s, but those feuds weren’t as memorable for the wrong reasons as The Undertaker’s rivalry with…The Underfaker, a.k.a. Ted DiBiase’s Undertaker. As ‘Taker was on hiatus for seven months in 1994 due to a back injury, WWE decided to have someone else play the character. This would be a heel Undertaker who had “sold out” to Ted DiBiase, though many had claimed to have seen the real deal in several parts of the United States. You know, just like Elvis sightings.
Over time, WWE would bring in Leslie Nielsen to reprise his Frank Drebin character from The Naked Gun to investigate into these sightings, and the real Undertaker would come back at SummerSlam 1994 to beat the Underfaker. It was a long, drawn-out feud that didn't help any of its participants, though it does bear mentioning that both Undertakers went on to become bikers — the real 'Taker became the "American Badass" in 2000, while Underfaker, a.k.a. Brian Lee, became Chainz of the Disciples of Apocalypse in 1997.
3 BROCK LESNAR, PTERODACTYL-SHRIEKING HOMOPHOBE
Now we all know that Brock doesn’t like a lot of people, but more than a decade ago, he openly told ESPN about how disgusted he was when told by a young female fan that her male friend had a crush on him. Lesnar then told ESPN very matter-of-factly that he “doesn’t like gays.” We aren’t sure if he’s softened his views since then (we’re willing to bet he hasn’t), but with Darren Young having come out of the closet in 2013, those comments make for one big elephant in the RAW locker room.
On a lighter note, there’s also the belief that the Beast doesn’t sound too beastly for a man of his great size. That’s the reason Lesnar has Paul Heyman as his mouthpiece, but when Brock does get to speak (or scream), hilarity often ensues. For one, you’ve got numerous instances of post-beatdown pterodactyl shrieks, but what probably takes the cake is Lesnar’s attempt to make a menacing threat to The Undertaker ahead of WrestleMania XXX:
“You’re here, I’m here. LET’S…DO…THIS!!!???”
Lesnar had the last laugh when he broke 'Taker's streak, but not before the WWE Universe had an even bigger collective laugh at his cracking voice.
2 PRESENT-DAY GOLDBERG CAN'T WORK LONGER THAN A MINUTE
The WWE Universe wasn't born yesterday — at 50 years old with 12 years of ring rust prior to his return, Bill Goldberg's stamina isn't what it used to be. It's FAR from what it used to be, and even a two-minute match seems out of the question for him. But WWE will always let you know first and foremost that he's still got it with that spear/Jackhammer combo, and that it was good enough to vanquish both Brock Lesnar (in 86 seconds) and Kevin Owens (in 22 seconds).
With Goldberg set to defend his Universal Championship at WrestleMania 33 against Lesnar, the question doesn't appear to be one of who's winning, but rather how many seconds it will take for the Beast to send bald Bill back to the comforts of retirement.
1 ROMAN REIGNS CAN'T GET OVER AS A BABYFACE
Was there ever any doubt that this would rank first-overall in terms of things WWE wants you to forget about the Monday Night RAW men? They've tried everything to make Roman Reigns look like "The Guy" in the WWE — they've made him do superheroic feats in the ring, they've had The Rock endorse his Royal Rumble victory in 2015, they even let him hold the midcard United States Championship for a while after his 2016 Wellness Policy suspension, only for Reigns to treat the belt like an afterthought. He's the man Vince McMahon wants as the next face of WWE, and thousands of booing fans at arenas all over the world will tell you they don't want the Kool-Aid Vince is serving up. It's painfully obvious, but WWE loves featuring Reigns front-and-center in an effort to cover that fan hatred up.
With Reigns and The Undertaker crossing paths and heading to a match at WrestleMania 33, it would take a man with brass cojones and zero (as in none whatsoever) you-know-whats given for what the fans think to book Roman as the good guy. And you know what? Vince McMahon just might be that man. Believe that.