Not everyone can occupy a top spot in WWE. When you read it in black and white it seems a little like stating the obvious. That doesn’t stop fans from losing their minds when certain Superstars that they love aren’t pushed or in the World Title picture. The WWE roster is currently more packed with world class talent than it ever has been before so naturally there will be some performers wrestling below their capacity. With all of that being said a packed roster isn’t the only reason that certain wrestlers simply don’t live up to their potential in WWE. If certain big wigs behind the scenes aren’t your biggest fan then they will make sure that you’re set up to fail.
The biggest of those big wigs are of course Vince McMahon and Triple H. Nine times out of ten it doesn’t matter how much the fans love or hate a Superstar, if the boss and his son-in-law aren’t on board then they’re not going to make it. While Vince can pull the strings back stage and obviously has the final say on what makes it onto his product, The Game often takes a more hands on approach. As will become apparent while you peruse this list, The King Of Kings has set certain stars up to fail by pinning them clean in the middle of the ring. Here are eight wrestlers who were destined to fail thanks to Triple H and seven who can pin the blame on Vince McMahon.
15. Triple H: Paul London And Brian Kendrick
Brian Kendrick is currently enjoying his time with WWE as a part of 205 Live and the cruiserweight division. It’s actually quite surprising that Kendrick got the call for the Cruiserweight Classic last year considering it was Triple H putting the bracket together for the tournament. Brian didn’t leave WWE on the best of terms the last time around. He and Paul London were a pretty successful tag team while on SmackDown. Then once they were drafted to Raw things began to unravel. A particular low point was when the two came to the ring to rescue the aforementioned King of Kings and as repayment he Pedigreed them both and laughed as he left the ring. Talk about turning a terrific team into a joke in the blink of an eye.
14. Vince: Cesaro
There are plenty of Superstars in WWE right now who fans are left scratching their heads trying to figure out why they aren’t sitting atop the card. Cesaro is very much one of those Superstars, an incredible wrestler with all the tools to be a WWE Champion. Well Vince McMahon doesn’t think so, and the chairman even went as far as to tell us why The Swiss Cyborg hasn’t managed to ascend any higher than his current spot. Vince said that many Superstars are too scared to grab WWE’s proverbial brass rings, and Mr McMahon even suggested that Cesaro isn’t at a World Champion level because he’s Swiss. Backwards thinking from the boss, and in Cesaro’s defense being from Switzerland isn’t exactly something he could change even if he wanted to.
13. Triple H: Booker T
Booker T’s career in WWE can hardly be considered a failure at this point. The six time World Champion is a WWE Hall of Famer and still has a job with the company to this day, currently occupying the third spot behind the announce desk on Raw. Things looked good when he first joined WWE all the way back in 2001 too. With stars like Kevin Nash and Goldberg not arriving from WCW until later, Booker was one of the biggest stars included in WWE’s buy out of the company. Almost immediately after the invasion angle was over though, Triple H went about putting Booker in his place. The two of them worked a program that culminated at WrestleMania X-8. Not only did The Game win the match (obviously) but he even made some questionable comments in the build that were seemingly shots at Booker’s race.
12. Vince: Diamond Dallas Page
Sticking with the WCW theme, swiftly moving on to another Vince McMahon entry, Diamond Dallas Page. DDP was another former WCW Champion that came across to WWE after they bought out his former employers. Even though Page’s first rivalry on WWE television was against The Undertaker he certainly wasn’t treated like the former World Champion that he was. DDP found himself in an angle that revolved around him stalking The Deadman’s now ex-wife Sara. There was an awful lot of build that led to very little pay off. At SummerSlam 2001 The Undertaker finally got his hands on Dallas and to say he destroyed him would be an understatement. If Vince hadn’t made it clear before that he thought very little of former WCW guys in comparison to his own, then he did with this story line.
11. Triple H: Rob Van Dam
Moving on from former WCW stars now and on to a man who made a name for himself performing for another of WWE’s 1990s rivals, Rob Van Dam. Vince McMahon clearly didn’t get RVD when he arrived in WWE in 2001, but unfortunately for him the fans did. The former ECW Champion brought a style to Vince’s company that the majority of his fans had never seen before. Rob quickly became a fan favourite to the point that he could no longer be ignored. Enter Triple H. As The Game had proved during his rivalry with Booker T and Kane – a story for another time – there was no line he wouldn’t cross. That became evident again when he poked fun at RVD for the fact that he smoked a banned substance. That didn’t go down well with Van Dam and was a blatant attempt by Triple H to have RVD’s personal life affect his professional one.
10. Vince: Dean Ambrose
All of the members of The Shield managed to become World Champions at one point or another during the three years that they were apart. Title wins for Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins undoubtedly made them bigger stars, but for some reason having the biggest prize in the company only hindered Dean Ambrose. The way Vince McMahon booked The Lunatic Fringe certainly didn’t help. The night Ambrose won the WWE Championship at Money In The Bank 2016 was huge, as was his successful defence of said title against both Reigns and Rollins at the following PPV. Then at SummerSlam a month later Dean defended his title against Dolph Ziggler. Meanwhile Rollins was competing against Finn Balor for the Universal Championship on the same card. On top of that a spotlight was shone on Dean’s real life personality via The Stone Cold Podcast and that all but killed his legitimacy as a WWE Champion.
9. Triple H: Goldberg
Even though WWE bought out and thus brought an end to WCW almost 17 years ago, Vince McMahon and Triple H still take great pleasure in making sure that everybody knows WWE is the better company. As mentioned previously above, at WrestleMania 31 they still felt they had to hammer that home by having The Game defeat Sting in his first match in WWE. Well imagine their delight when Goldberg turned up on their doorstep in 2003. Triple H probably couldn’t wait to get his hands on WCW’s greatest creation and have him lose. That happened during an Elimination Chamber match for the exact same championship that Goldberg had held in WCW. The Icon went through the entire field of competitors only to come up short against The King of Kings and his sledgehammer.
8. Vince: Bayley
Since NXT really took off and truly became the main route for Superstars to make it onto Raw and SmackDown Live the brand has produced some of WWE’s biggest and best performers. Roman Reigns, Charlotte Flair and Kevin Owens all came through Full Sail University. One of the stars with the most potential was Bayley. While NXT Women’s Champion Bayley won the hearts of everybody in the NXT Universe, it seemed a given that she would be a huge deal when she eventually arrived on the main roster. Thanks to the booking of Bayley, that has simply not been the case. Vince McMahon seemed to realize that things weren’t going to plan, panicked, and made The Huggable One Raw Women’s Champion far too soon thinking it would be a quick fix. It wasn’t, and the booking of Bayley has only gotten worse since then.
7. Triple H: Umaga
Umaga is currently at the forefront of many wrestlers and fans’ minds at the moment since we recently passed the eighth anniversary of the former WWE Superstar’s untimely passing. Umaga was a bigger deal in WWE than many people may recall. For the first few months of his run he went unbeaten and was being built to be something of an unstoppable power house. A rivalry with John Cena put him on the map and he also won the Intercontinental Championship. It seemed a given that Umaga was on his way to becoming a World Champion, that was until he came up against Triple H. The pair had a rivalry during which The Game beat Umaga in every single match up. Any credibility WWE had built up was instantly erased thanks to The Cerebral Assassin.
6. Vince: Jinder Mahal
For the majority of 2017 Jinder Mahal has been WWE Champion, that was until he lost the title in Manchester, England to AJ Styles. Most people would look at the immediate rise of The Modern Day Maharajah and wonder how on earth Vince McMahon set him up to fail. Well the way in which Mahal ascended to the WWE Title wasn’t exactly well thought out. It’s as if someone whispered in Vince’s ear that over a billion people live in India and he grabbed the first guy he could think of with even the slightest bit of Indian heritage.While Jinder has been around for a while, to go from something of a joke who loses most weeks to winning the company’s top prize in the space of a few weeks, fans were always going to resent him. Plus what is there for Mahal beyond his obligatory rematch? Probably back to what he was doing before his title win.
5. Triple H: Sheamus
Jinder Mahal and Roman Reigns are Vince McMahon’s current pet projects, but he has had many, many more that haven’t really worked out. There was a time when the boss wanted Sheamus to be the company’s crown jewel. That’s why The Celtic Warrior is a five time World Champion. It may have worked out too had it not been for, you guessed it, Triple H. The Game seems to be of the belief that new stars need to compete with him at WrestleMania if they want to make a name for themselves. Reigns and Seth Rollins have been in that position for the past two years and even Sting had to do it when he arrived in WWE. At WrestleMania XXVI Sheamus occupied that role. For some reason Triple H saw fit to beat the Irishman, thus squashing any momentum he had gained up until that point.
4. Vince: Zack Ryder
Zack Ryder has been on the main roster in WWE for over ten years, and has been an employee of the company for even longer. Time and time again it looked like Ryder was about to break through the glass ceiling only for Vince McMahon to do something to push him back down. Initially Zack built up his own popularity outside of WWE via his own YouTube show. WWE doesn’t like when wrestlers ‘get over’ without their say so and Vince managed to cancel out the buzz that Ryder had generated. Then at WrestleMania 32 Ryder won the Intercontinental Championship. It felt like his crowning moment, but The Miz won the title from him just 24 hours later. Ryder is the best example on the roster that if Vince McMahon wants fans to like someone he can make that happen, but he can also do the opposite if he so chooses.
3. Triple H: Kurt Angle
Since Kurt Angle returned earlier this year to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and become Raw General Manager. There had been question marks as to whether he would be making an in ring return for the company. Well wonder no more as at TLC a couple of months ago he did exactly that and it went well. Then Kurt wrestled again at Survivor Series, captaining Team Raw in the main event. Triple H just couldn’t resist getting involved though. Six days before the event The Game inserted himself into the match and naturally come Survivor Series it was all about him. Triple H Pedigreed Angle and helped Shane McMahon eliminate him from the match. That’s bad enough, but since then Angle hasn’t had the opportunity to get any revenge. The Cerebral Assassin does what he likes without paying the consequences.
2. Vince: Buff Bagwell
The story of Buff Bagwell in WWE is a fascinating, curious, and extremely short one. When WWE acquired WCW in 2001 not many of their rival’s big stars jumped ship straight away. Two of the biggest stars that did were Booker T and Buff Bagwell. Apparently Vince was toying with the idea of relaunching Nitro under his own banner. Those plans were quickly nixed after Bagwell and Booker had a terrible match against one another on Monday Night Raw. When someone dislikes WCW as much as Vince McMahon does, it only takes one match to forever alter his opinion of you. That clearly happened with Buff and just a week later he was released by the company. There are various rumours surrounding what allegedly happened that week including Bagwell faking an injury and his mom calling WWE in order to complain about it.
1. Triple H: Scott Steiner
The tale of Triple H and Scott Steiner is one that has been told over and over again. It’s infamously known as one of the most lacklustre rivalries in WWE history. Steiner arrived in WWE and was basically shot straight to the top, being inserted into a World Championship angle with the man who had the title at the time, Triple H. For starters any time they met in the ring, the matches were pretty terrible. On top of that Steiner apparently talked smack about not only The Game, but also Triple H’s wife and the boss’s daughter Stephanie McMahon. If true, not a very smart thing to do. After his program with The Cerebral Assassin he just continued to descend down the card until he eventually parted ways with WWE.
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