One of the most common beliefs in WWE is Vince McMahon not liking to push talent unless he feels they're his creation. Many talented wrestlers from other promotions have flopped in WWE. The two companies most specifically known to be on the hate list of McMahon are WCW and TNA. Both attempted to create competition for WWE. WCW actually took a lead over WWE for a short time period and wanted to put them out of business. TNA just looked like fools but they made it clear they wanted to take the war to WWE. Both mindsets caused former wrestlers of those companies to meet doom in WWE.
The theory is McMahon will quit on pushing a popular wrestler if he believes the fans are cheering the talent based off their work in the other companies. Vince much prefers having his own character or idea implemented in changing the way the audience views said talents. Unfortunately, many wrestlers have been left in the dark due to the way WWE goes about this topic. We'll take a look at talents that appeared to have their careers ruined with no rational reason why. These are eight former WCW stars and seven former TNA stars that may have been intentionally sabotaged by Vince McMahon and WWE.
15 WCW: Sting
Sting never signed with WWE during his prime years out of fear of WWE ruining his character. The legend finally made his WWE in-ring debut at WrestleMania 32 in an attraction match against Triple H. Everyone expected to see Sting get the big win over the hated heel and have a career defining moment on the biggest stage. Vince McMahon instead opted for Triple H to get the win over Sting.
The second and final match of Sting’s career featured him losing to then WWE World Champion Seth Rollins. Sting suffered an injury that would officially end his in-ring career. We sadly never got to see Sting have a memorable WWE match or even secure a notable win aside from a tag victory on Raw that was quite forgettable alongside John Cena.
14 TNA: Chris Harris
WWE very rarely took chances on former TNA talent until the past couple of years. Vince McMahon viewed them as damaged goods or talents not good enough for the big stage. One of the rare signings saw Chris Harris join WWE after years of success in the America’s Most Wanted tag team with James Storm. Harris looked like a future star but TNA never went all the way with him.
The move seemed good at the time until WWE actually used him worse than TNA did. Harris adopted the new name of Braden Walker and appeared on the ECW brand. It turned out to be a horrible fit. Harris gained weight to appear out of shape and WWE booked him poorly. The WWE career of the once promising talent ended as quickly as it started.
13 WCW: Ultimo Dragon
WWE actually gave opportunities to many of the former cruiserweight stars from WCW. Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio all went on to become legends for the company. Chavo Guerrero, Billy Kidman and Dean Malenko all had solid careers. The biggest disappointment came when Ultimo Dragon joined WWE. Mysterio’s success led to Vince McMahon giving a chance to another masked former WCW star.
WWE spent a lot of time and effort into the vignettes teasing Dragon’s debut. Following just two weeks of wins, McMahon apparently lost interest in Dragon and took him off television. Dragon would wrestle the majority of his matches on Velocity becoming an afterthought in the Cruiserweight Division. McMahon reportedly didn’t like that Dragon could not speak English or work the WWE style thus sinking his career.
12 TNA: Rob Van Dam
Rob Van Dam was a massively popular star for WWE during his best years. Fans loved RVD going back to his ECW days and made him a beloved WWE talent for many years. Van Dam went to TNA for a lighter schedule and good money. WWE brought him back shortly after his disappointing TNA tenure ended. RVD would not get the traditional legend treatment and instead worked forgettable feuds.
The role of Van Dam in WWE after leaving TNA was to put over new and young talent. While RVD definitely was no longer a great in-ring performer, he still had the popularity backing him up. Vince McMahon and WWE however had no interest in making him a main eventer again. You have to believe this was partly due to spending time in TNA.
11 WCW: Goldberg
The recent run of Goldberg made up for his horrible first stint in WWE. Goldberg signed with WWE in 2003 a few years after his dominant career in WCW. Fans loved Goldberg for winning matches in short fashion with intense moves. WWE signed him and changed that aspect of his character. Goldberg instantly started working long matches with The Rock, Chris Jericho and Triple H to learn the WWE style.
Vince McMahon specifically did it to make Goldberg adapt to the WWE way rather than his prior success in WCW. Fans didn’t connect with Goldberg the same way and it was clear it wouldn’t work out. Goldberg opted to leave after just one year holding a grudge until his 2016 return. McMahon made Goldberg Universal Champion in 2017 at the age of 50, but the prime run in WWE was sabotaged back in 2003.
10 TNA: Monty Brown
Monty Brown was arguably the first big star TNA dropped the ball with. The potential of Brown was obvious. Most of the early TNA stars were former WWE and WCW names. Brown was homegrown and started to stand out as someone special with a bright future. TNA however started to sign bigger names like Sting and Christian Cage relegating Brown to a smaller role.
The decision was made to leave TNA for a chance at the big league in WWE. Brown wrestled on the ECW brand under the name of Marcus Cor Von to little success. He made such little impact that it would be easy to forget he worked for WWE at all. A family issue caused Cor Von to take time off before getting released from his contract. Sadly, Brown never fulfilled his wrestling potential as WWE failed to do anything with him after jumping ship from TNA.
9 WCW: Eric Bischoff
One of the most shocking moments in wrestling history featured Eric Bischoff joining WWE and hugging Vince McMahon. Bischoff ran WCW during the Monday Night Wars with the intent to put WWE out of business. McMahon and Bischoff clearly hated each other for many years with public insults being exchanged. WWE hired Bischoff to play an on-air figure about a year after buying WCW.
Bischoff did well early on in the role before getting put in many embarrassing situations. It was obvious that McMahon wanted to punish Bischoff and humiliate him for the years of bad blood. McMahon at one point actually fired Bischoff by throwing him into the back of a garbage truck. Bischoff lost all credibility as a character thanks to McMahon wanting revenge.
8 TNA: Bully Ray
A rare case of TNA getting something right was the career change of Bully Ray. The legendary Dudleys tag team finally split with Bubba turning heel adopting the Bully moniker. It led to a huge singles career success as one of the top heels in the wrestling industry. Bubba tapped into his genuinely detestable side by playing an evil bully to great success.
Everyone expected the character to debut in WWE when the Dudleys re-signed and saw their team end. D-Von was retiring to start a new role as a WWE producer backstage. Bubba could have easily had a singles run with the bully persona. WWE instead opted to let him go to the free agent market. The long history of Vince McMahon not wanting characters made outside of WWE likely influenced this.
7 WCW: Diamond Dallas Page
The majority of top WCW stars opted to remain under contract and get their huge salaries paid out by Turner instead of signing a new deal with WWE. One star that went the opposite route was Diamond Dallas Page. The thought process of DDP wanted to make the most of the opportunity to become a star in WWE as one of the bigger names coming over for the Invasion storyline.
Page was introduced in the worst of ways as the stalker of Undertaker’s wife Sara. It only took a month for DDP to fall in the rankings from the second biggest star on the WCW roster to a guy fighting for any television time at all. WWE used him as a lower card act for the rest of his career despite being a beloved main eventer in WCW during the Monday Night Wars.
6 TNA: Awesome Kong
Awesome Kong was a huge signing for WWE at the time. This was before WWE started signing all of the top free agent names with successful histories in other promotions. Kong came to WWE with a mysterious character. Fans reacted positively to her interrupting matches and dominating the other women. A great moment saw her enter the Royal Rumble match and do some damage against the male wrestlers.
Unfortunately, the good moments were few and far in between. Kong did not have much depth to her character and WWE clearly didn’t have long term plans for success. The booking often came off confusing in a manner that made you question if she belonged in the WWE. Kong left after a pregnancy and never received another chance.
5 WCW: Scott Steiner
The ascension of Scott Steiner as a singles act was one of the last great things to happen in WCW. Steiner completely changed his appearance and adopted an unpredictable nature when it came to his character. WWE fans reacted with monster pops when Steiner returned to the company a little over a year after WCW ended.
Steiner’s popularity wasn’t enough to earn a sustainable push. The first feud back saw him lose to Triple H and fall into obscurity shortly after. Steiner blames Triple H for this, but Vince McMahon was the one calling the shots. Triple H likely did influence the sabotaging of Steiner. McMahon however had to be okay with it for it to take place. The missed opportunity of Steiner in 2002 shows just how little McMahon cares for WCW talent.
4 TNA: Low Ki
The talent of Low Ki will sadly be forgotten when we think about the great wrestlers from this era. Low Ki had the same path of Daniel Bryan, A.J. Styles and Samoa Joe working for independent promotions and changing the industry in the dark years following the deaths of WCW and ECW. TNA used Low Ki on numerous occasions through the years, primarily as one of the first standout stars in the X-Division to help establish it.
Low Ki signed with WWE under the name of Kaval and actually won the old NXT competition show. The prize was a main roster contract, but he had a horrible time making the jump. WWE rarely used him on television. It was rumored that Vince McMahon was the one down on his potential. Low Ki would get released faster than anyone expected.
3 WCW: Dusty Rhodes
The legendary career of Dusty Rhodes saw him have many great moments in WCW, especially during the NWA days. WWE signed him away from the competition in the mid-80s. We saw the first signs of how Vince McMahon viewed stars made in other promotions when he signed Rhodes. The new look of Dusty saw him wearing the polka dots and adopt a dancing gimmick in hopes of embarrassing him.
For whatever reason, McMahon wanted to make a fool out of Rhodes. It hurt his chances of moving into the main event picture and he eventually returned to WCW. The funny thing is everyone now has fond memories of Rhodes’ WWE career and many wrestlers have worn polka dots in tribute to him. Dusty made the most out of McMahon’s attempts to sabotage his career.
2 TNA: Gail Kim
WWE completely wasted the talent of Gail Kim on two occasions. In between her two stints, she went to TNA and became the face of the Knockouts Division. Kim had legendary matches with Awesome Kong and showed just how great of a wrestler she was. WWE signed her back but once again did absolutely nothing with her. Vince McMahon was the one that didn’t believe she was worthy of a top spot in the Women’s Division.
Jim Ross revealed on his Ross Report podcast that McMahon didn’t believe men could find Gail attractive due to her being Asian. Kim is adamant she will never return to WWE due to how McMahon treated her. It's a shame given the incredible talent of Gail being perfect for the current Women’s Division in WWE. We can thank Vince for sabotaging Kim’s career and our desire to see her.
1 WCW: Vader
The WCW career of Vader showed he could be a tremendous monster heel. Vince McMahon was known for loving to push the monster heel against the heroic babyface as his ideal storyline. Vader seemed like a perfect fit but McMahon absolutely hated him. Rumors circulated that McMahon thought Vader was a gross slob thus ending his push before it really ever took off.
Vader dropped from a WWE Championship contender to a lower card act. McMahon clearly detested Vader and the booking ended up showing it. Vader will go down in the books as one of the better wrestlers to never win the WWE Championship. McMahon’s sabotaging of his chances prevented Vader from truly showing his ability in a WWE ring. Vader is the one WCW star that was most sabotaged by WWE.