We all think that our ideas are perfect. Sometimes, we’ve spent a lot of time and effort in creating something unique to present to our boss at the office. We might be disappointed when we are met with rejection. While there are a number of times when a good idea is lost in the shuffle of corporate America, it can oftentimes be for the best.
In the world of professional wrestling, there have been great characters developed for television. However, there are probably just as many bad concepts that have also made it to television. For example, Dustin Rhodes came to WCW as a creepy white-skinned character named Seven. While he might have had a good chance to succeed, his promotional vignette showed him staring into a child’s bedroom from outside – which makes us wonder how this terrible idea left the writer’s room.
For all of the times we’ve wondered how the powers that be thought something was a good idea, they should receive credit for not allowing some of the worst ideas ever developed to make it to television. Believe it or not, there is some common sense in that writers room. The following are the 20 most terrible wrestling ideas that thankfully never saw the light of day.
20 Braun Strowman Facing The Undertaker
Over the last few years, there has been some question about whether there is a point to having The Undertaker still compete at WrestleMania. The winning streak is over and the WWE probably isn’t going to put the championship belt on him at this point in his extremely long career. But if the WWE is going to keep having him wrestle once a year as a special treat for fans, he is still worthy of having the best possible opponent.
In early 2016, there were reports that he was going to be put up against Braun Strowman. The belief was that Bray Wyatt was going to send the biggest member of his family to get revenge. But fans could see how green Strowman was in the ring and still needed some development. Obviously, the plan was nixed and we would see Undertaker face Shane McMahon within Hell in a Cell. At least Shane-o-Mac had a history of diving off high places to make it an interesting match-up at WrestleMania 32.
19 A Hermaphrodite Character
While the world has seen some changes in acceptance with sexual orientation, there’s probably little chance that a transsexual character would have worked out on WWE television. Back in 2011, there was a story about how a former WWE superstar, Johnny Parisi, talked about that kind of character in a pitch he made to the top WWE officials. According to him, he wanted to be someone who would wrestle both the men and women.
In his mind, this would lead to him defeating Trish Stratus for the WWE Women’s Championship back then. No surprise that this one didn’t actually go very far. The only reason it got to Vince McMahon was because Parisi decided to skip pitching the idea to the creative team and went straight to the WWE chairman. He even said that he currently owns the patent to the character. He claimed that if the WWE ever wanted to use it, he would get paid. There’s a good chance that won’t be happening any time soon, or ever.
18 The Hunchbacks
World Championship Wrestling back in the late 1980s and early 1990s included a number of silly gimmicks that went as far as a groundball to the shortstop. Jim Herd was one of those creative minds who worked as an executive vice president and received plenty of criticism for coming up with some pretty bad ideas. Just remember Mr. Herd’s name as we continue down this journey of poor wrestling ideas.
When it came to tag teams, he was truly batting 1,000. After the failure of the Ding Dongs, he tried to pitch the idea of a tag team called the Hunchbacks. Both men would be impossible to pin because of the humps on their back. According to Jim Cornette, this was something he was serious about. The good news is that this never came to fruition and Herd would eventually lose his job in WCW, but not before he made some more poor decisions that will be brought up later.
17 Tank Abbott
Tank Abbott was someone who had quite the run in the Ultimate Fighting Championship during the older tournaments which were a lot more gruesome without all of the regulation that comprises today’s mixed martial arts. But in 1999, Abbott was brought to WCW to be someone who was considered a “legitimate fighter,” one who would have the capability of knocking out Goldberg with a single punch.
If that wasn’t bad enough, there were even some talks about him becoming the WCW World Champion. The man was mostly a mid-card talent in WCW, but Vince Russo had an idea of having him win the big gold belt for at least a brief moment. Thankfully, that also did not happen. While various athletes have found success in professional wrestling, Abbott was not one of them as he would return to MMA and finish his professional career with a very unimpressive 10-15 record.
16 Rejected Names For “Stone Cold”
No one ever said coming up with a unique name for a professional wrestler was an easy task. It can be tough trying to think of something catchy that can grab the attention of the fans without sounding too corny. But even some of the best wrestlers in history have nearly been victims of poor creative choices. Even “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, who could have originally had a very terrible nickname.
During several interviews Austin has said that he had an idea of having a "cold character," like on the TV show The Iceman, and the creative team apparently had a number of terrible, temperature-related nicknames like Fang McFrost, Chilly McFreeze and Ice Dagger. Austin states that he ultimately came up with the name “Stone Cold” after his wife told him to drink his tea before it would get 'stone cold'. First of all, think about the Texas Rattlesnake having a cup of tea. Now imagine that being the basis of the “Stone Cold” nickname. Still, it's certainly better than “Fang McFrost.”
15 G.I. Hall
For those who don’t know, Scott Hall actually grew up an army brat. His father made a career as an army operating officer while Hall was growing up. This actually came up when Hall made the move to the WWE back in the 1990s after spending some time with the early version of WCW. According to Hall, Vince McMahon thought of having that type of character in mind for Hall.
Sure, Hall admitted that he told McMahon that if the chairman wanted him to be like G.I. Joe, he was going to be the best G.I. Joe possible. The good news is that this was quickly followed up with Hall’s pitch of a character based off of the movie Scarface. This one obviously was sold with McMahon and thus Razor Ramon – the bad guy – was born. This was an instance of someone who was brave enough to speak up and show they have ideas of their own.
14 Neville As Mighty Mouse
There have been a lot of positive vibes around the WWE Universe with the various types of talents that were coming to WWE’s NXT development system. Back in 2014, one of the more popular superstars to make an impact in NXT was Adrian Neville – the former PAC, who was known for his gravity-defying flips and dives. It was only a matter of time before the WWE would bring him up to the main roster.
However, fans got concerned with the reports that the WWE was going to package him as somewhat of a Mighty Mouse character – based on a cartoon of a mouse who was like Superman and could beat up bigger villains. It was in the discussion stage before the WWE felt like just having him come out as Neville, rather than comparing him to a real-life comic book character. It likely would not have gone over well with the fans and thankfully, he’s been kept as a simply talented athlete.
13 Mick Foley As Mason The Mutilator
Mick Foley has been known under a number of different aliases during his professional wrestling career. In addition to having used his real name, he’s also been known as Mankind, Dude Love and Cactus Jack. But during his return to the WWE in the 1990s, he was almost given a questionable character that was called Mason The Mutilator. The original plans Vince McMahon had for Foley included a metal-based mask that was similar to something worn by Hannibal Lecter.
Fearing that his career would be ruined with a name like Mason The Mutilator, Foley was able to come up with a different name on the spot that was close enough to sell McMahon on the idea – Mankind. For the sake of all “mankind,” we’re thankful that McMahon and Foley came to this agreement. There’s a good chance that Mason The Mutilator would have gone over about as well as Fang McFrost would have for Steve Austin.
12 Ric Flair As A Roman Soldier
Remember when we said we weren’t done discussing Jim Herd and his terrible booking ideas in WCW? Ric Flair was not safe during Herd’s time with the company. Back in 1991, Herd had suggested that Flair would drop the entire “Nature Boy” character and then dress up as a Roman soldier that would be named Spartacus. Sounds silly, right? Well you aren’t alone because Flair must have thought so as well.
The idea probably would have been better suited for a wrestler who was debuting with company and didn’t have any previous gimmick. This felt more like something that would be on par with WWE’s Mantaur and WCW’s Yeti. But for a former World Heavyweight Champion? This would have been career suicide and would have pretty much sent him to mid-card purgatory from which not even the Nature Boy – who survived a plane crash – would have been able to return unscathed.
11 Kalisto As A Gay Hair Sylist
Back in 2015, there was a lot of speculation about Kalisto becoming a singles wrestler. This news became more rampant when he and his Lucha Dragons tag team partner, Sin Cara, dropped the NXT Tag Team Championships. But a WWE insider that had been known for breaking a number of different stories made the claim that the WWE wanted Kalisto to come onto the main roster as a gay hair stylist.
First, this had been done before with Rico during the original brand split era. But this would have been a terrible idea because Kalisto was showing the potential of filling the spot that Rey Mysterio left behind. The fans would have felt it was wasting a talented luchador with a short-sighted gimmick that probably would not have helped him become a United States Champion. Fans were relieved to see Kalisto come to the main roster with Sin Cara to help with the struggling tag team division at the time.
10 Goldust Stalking Booker T
Many fans from the early 2000s can recall a very entertaining gimmick that involved a tag team between Booker T and Goldust. The two had really great chemistry when Goldust was being the goofy and perverted comic relief that was paired with the normal-minded Booker T. It was a shame that the tag team was split up, but they each went on their normal paths. However, there was a belief that the two were about to have their paths cross in a not so pleasant way.
In 2003, Booker T would receive creepy messages that said “I remember.” The belief was that it would be Goldust, but the storyline ended up being dropped suddenly and was never brought up again as Goldust would be released from the WWE. Honestly, this would have just felt like an awkward gimmick that was recreating what Goldust had done in the past. It also wouldn’t have made much sense since they did split up on good terms in a failed attempt to win the tag team titles.
9 Muhammad Hassan As World Champion
The history of professional wrestling has always had a number of anti-American characters that were pushed to earning big wins and establishing themselves as legends in the industry – i.e. Iron Shiek and Nikolai Volkoff. The WWE made an attempt with this concept by debuting an Arab-American superstar in Muhammad Hassan that was naturally provoking a lot of hate for being Arabic, which was ironic because his comments and promos were true about how some Arab-Americans were being treated.
With all of the negative publicity around the character, it probably would have been a bad idea for him to win a world championship. But the WWE was working towards making him the youngest WWE World Heavyweight Champion in company history, which probably would have led to some bad press for the company. It also didn’t help that the company had Hassan attack The Undertaker with a group of masked men, which aired shortly after a terrorist attack in London.
8 Brother-Sister Love Interest
There was a time when the WWE was known for pushing the envelope with racy and controversial storylines. The WWE was very close to doing that in 2008 when they were about to bring in Paul Burchill and his on-screen sister, Katie Lea. While there wasn’t anything wrong with a sibling managing a wrestler on WWE television, the original concept was for something out of the film Cruel Intentions, which would have featured the two involved in an incest relationship.
Maybe it could have worked in the Attitude Era, while still being viewed as extremely gross. But the WWE was transitioning into a PG era and that sort of storyline wasn’t going to happen when the WWE was trying to bring in a younger audience. Thus, the storyline was scrapped, but it did hurt the direction for both moving forward. At least it was better than Burchill’s run as a pirate on SmackDown.
7 Booker T And Stevie Ray On Parole
Professional wrestling has had its share of negative marks when it comes to racism being found in storylines. There have been a number of characters that pushed the lines of what was acceptable. Hell, they turned One Man Gang into a jive-talking “African.” But one of the worst ideas that almost became a reality involved the legendary Harlem Heat tag team. Booker T and Stevie Ray were about to be brought into WCW in 1993 as two former convicts who were recently put on parole.
If that wasn’t enough, they were planned to be managed (supervised) by Col. Robert Parker – who would have looked a lot like a Southern plantation owner from the days of Mark Twain. While the 1990s were a different time in storylines getting through the cracks a little easier than today, it’s no surprise that this one didn’t make its way on television. Thus, Harlem Heat was born without Col. Parker and without any chains or prison garb.
6 The Shield With Actual Shields
In the last few years, the WWE creative team has been accredited with doing a better job with some of the influx of new talents coming into the main roster from NXT. While they might not have been 100 percent right on how all of the call-ups have been handled, the three most successful wrestlers in recent years were Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins – the Shield.
However, they almost made a huge mistake that involved the three carrying actual shields with them during their television debuts. This was mentioned by Ambrose during the Stone Cold's recent podcast on the WWE Network, with the WWE’s Archivist Twitter account posting a picture of the clear shields with the faction’s name written in orange font. That would have destroyed the faction’s credibility rather quickly. But the shields were dropped, which was good, not only for the faction, but for the sake of all three of their individual careers.
5 Melina's A Man
Back in 2006, Melina was the manager for the WWE Tag Team Champions in Johnny Nitro and Joey Mercury – all were part of the successful trio known as MNM. The team would lose the championships to the team of Batista and Rey Mysterio, despite Melina trying to seduce Batista into not going through with the match. The joke was on Melina as Batista would thank her for the “warm-up” and went out to win the tag championships.
That wasn’t necessarily the bad part as there were rumblings within the WWE creative team to have Melina reveal that she was actually a man. The problem is that it would have negatively affected Batista, for obvious reasons, and ruin Melina’s career. Stephanie McMahon came in to save the day for Melina and helped get the idea shot down, showing that she was a great voice of reason back during her time as the head writer.
4 Edge As A Deaf Mute
Edge had a long and hard road in becoming the successful world champion known best as the Rated-R Superstar during the Ruthless Aggression era. That didn’t mean that he didn’t have to deal with tough character choices during his earliest days in the WWE. One of those ideas involved putting him in a team with Sean Morley (a.k.a. Val Venis) to become the new Midnight Rockers. According to Edge, writer Vince Russo then came up with idea to have Edge debut as a deaf mute.
Luckily, Edge turned a deaf ear to Russo’s idea and was able to develop the Edge character that was able to get over with the fans pretty quickly. Sure, the WWE put him in different gimmicks like as a member of Gangrel’s Brood, but any of the above-mentioned ideas from Russo would have ruined any chances of Edge being the superstar he was when he retired in 2011 as an 11-time world champion in WWE.
3 Batista's Birth Story
When Batista debuted on WWE television as a deacon for the Reverend D-Von in 2002, he definitely looked mean and grumpy. Apparently, there was a story behind that, which the WWE never told. During an interview on Chris Jericho’s podcast in 2014, Batista revealed that the company was actually going to go with a storyline in which the reason Batista was mad at life was that he was conceived from rape. He would hate everyone around him because he grew up without a father and his mother was a victim.
While Batista debuted in the WWE during the PG-13 Ruthless Aggression and well before the company decided to make the shift to a PG rating, it probably would not have gone over well with the WWE fans. Despite the obvious reasons, it just would have been a lame storyline overall and wouldn’t have actually been a good long-term plan. It was just better to make him a ruthless animal that dominated the competition in WWE, no background story needed, particularly one as heavy as his mother being raped and his father nowhere to be found.
2 Stephanie McMahon Baby Drama
Earlier in this list, an incest story line was mentioned involving the brother-sister duo of Paul Burchill and Katie Lea. Sadly, that wasn’t the worst family love story that was pitched in the WWE creative meetings. In fact, the worst one was actually pitched by Vince McMahon and involved his daughter Stephanie. It was a time when the Billion Dollar Princess was actually pregnant with her first child with Triple H.
Mr. McMahon had the idea where there would be questions about who the father of Stephanie’s baby was going to be before eventually revealing that it was him all along. This just would have been awful and probably could have been the worst thing the WWE had done. Even typing the sentences about this being a possible storyline has caused this writer to shudder – even throw up a little bit. And yet, it wasn’t the worst idea that almost came to fruition.
1 Baron Von Bava
If you thought some of WWE’s past storylines were insensitive (like some of the ones mentioned earlier), then wait until you read about the story behind Baron von Bava. The WWE was trying to come up with a new gimmick for a new superstar in Jon Heidenreich and former WWE writer Dan Madigan spoke in the past about trying to have him debut as a Nazi Soldier who was frozen during World War II.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Madigan thought about having Paul Heyman act as the Nazi’s manager. By the way, he grew up in a Jewish family. This probably would have been one of the worst storylines/gimmicks ever created and was thankfully killed in the writers room. In fact, it was so disturbing that Vince McMahon had to excuse himself from the meeting, as it had visibly troubled him. Madigan was released shortly after.
However, Heidenreich did not exactly have the best alternative storylines either, since he was portrayed as a creepy poet that kidnapped Michael Cole and was part of a new Legion of Doom tag team. If only those would have been cut as well.