The wrestling industry is not perfect. Mistakes have been made over-and-over again by wrestling promotions, and it’s human nature for us fans to look back at the silly and negative things instead of the great things. Just remember what they say: If 99 people give you positive feedback and one person says something negative, you’ll focus on the one negative comment.
It’s not fair to the wrestling world that we always look back on their failures, but sometimes it’s justified for us to do so. Some of the worst decisions in wrestling history come from very controversial decisions when it comes to duplications. Be it rematches, reunions, knock-offs of wrestlers and/or groups, there were some things that were classic examples of “it seemed like a good idea at the time.”
There have been many times where wrestling promotions weren’t happy to quit while they were ahead. They didn’t learn to leave something when it’s great as is. They had to get greedy and try re-doing something that failed.
Here are the 15 worst duplications in wrestling history.
15. D-Generation X’s Third Formation
To understand how important DX was to the WWE, you need to know nothing more than the fact they toppled the nWo’s impact when it came to wrestling. As such, they helped put an end to the Monday Night War. Their immature and vulgar style was a huge success for fans, and launched the careers of Triple H, X-Pac, Stephanie McMahon and others.
Triple H and Shawn Michaels reformed it in 2006, and it was another success because the Ruthless Aggression Era was still around. Michaels and Triple H added more memorable moments and further cemented the legacy of their group. They broke off in 2007, and would later reunite in 2009.
Though the fans seemed to love it, it should be considered a bit of a letdown. Triple H and Shawn Michaels were entering the PG Era slowly, so they couldn’t play up to their old antics. DX’s third formation was fun for a month then drew boring real quick.
14. The League of Nations
The League of Nations had plenty of promise with Sheamus as WWE World Heavyweight Champion. With a rising star in Rusev and two other established talents in Alberto Del Rio and Wade Barrett, the sky was the limit for them.
This group was simply a knock-off of The Un-Americans–Christian, Tes,t and Lance Storm, and eventually William Regal. Chris Jericho was also with the group periodically. Hence the title, the former three were a group of Canadian wrestlers that portrayed people who…hated Americans. They had a good run where they won multiple Tag Team Championships and lasted nine months.
This League of Nations group never had a chance. After Sheamus’ title run ended quickly, the group quickly became irrelevant. None of them ever received a push and were all stuck at the mid-card, and disbanded within months of forming.
13. The Second Hart to be Screwed
The Montreal Screwjob undoubtedly remains the most controversial moment in WWE history. For those of you who may not be familiar, Bret Hart was supposed to win his title match against Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series in Montreal, 1997. However, Vince McMahon had the bell rang while Hart was in the Sharpshooter despite never tapping. Hart wouldn’t return to the company for another 13 years.
WWE found a great way to ruin another great match. Natalya and Charlotte were set to fight for the WWE Women’s Championship at Payback. Charlotte would be accompanied by Ric Flair while Bret Hart made an epic return ringside to support Natalya.
To the shock of no one, Charlotte put Natalya in the Sharpshooter and the bell rung, giving the former the win…even though the latter never tapped out. A hyped-up Women’s match ended in stupid fashion. And it involved someone from the iconic Hart family. No way!
12. Fake Kane
Luke Gallows made a big name for himself as CM Punk’s right hand man in The Straight Edge Society. He returned to WWE this year as part of The Club, making him one of the more recognizable wrestlers in recent memory.
But Gallows’ earned his first reputation in a way we would all love to forget. In a May, 2006 episode of Raw, Gallows came out as the fake Kane–wearing his old in-ring gear with the mask. At the time, Kane simply wore black pants with red stripes without a shirt or mask. Gallows (or the fake Kane) would come out and assault the real Kane and would use his Chokeslam move.
This was just a silly decision all along. Nobody was fooled with the real Kane facing his impostor to begin with. All this angle proved to be was an attempt at duplicating the old UnderFaker storyline.
11. The Rockers Reunion
Shawn Michaels, one of the greatest names in WWE history, made a name for himself, along with Marty Jannetty. The two formed The Rockers tag-team, one that was active from 1985-1992 and won seven titles together, though none of them came with the WWE.
The two would break up, and Michaels immediately launched himself as one of the top singles wrestlers ever. There is no doubt that he wouldn’t be the same without The Rockers.
Michaels and Jannetty were on-again off-again, and the two would have matches together in 2005 and 2006. Of course, this was fun for nostalgic sake if you were an old-timer fan, but Michaels’ Heartbreak Kid character didn’t make their last reunions work out that well. It was a nice idea to give them one more run together, but it would have worked out better five years earlier.
10. The Dudley Boyz Return to WWE
The boys from Dudleyville undoubtedly need to be considered one of, if not the greatest, tag-teams in professional wrestling history. They were the guys that put ECW on the wrestling map and helped define the Attitude Era when it was at its peak in the WWE.
D-Von and Bubba Ray left, spent years in TNA, went to Japan, and returned to WWE in 2015, where they’ve been nothing more than a waste of time. It was once again a plan of McMahon’s to bring back the nostalgic feeling. The only problem is the silly PG Era doesn’t allow blood, much violence or weapons to be used any more. Everyone loved The Dudley Boyz when they were smashing people through tables and putting on hardcore matches.
Instead, they’re forced to fight against tag-teams that probably won’t ever be half as good as they are, and the matches are dull. Asking The Dudley Boyz to fight without tables is like asking a vegetarian to join a hot dog eating contest. It makes no sense whatsoever.
9. Heidenreich and Animal Reform The Road Warriors
Hawk and Animal formed The Road Warriors, also known as The Legion of Doom. They formed one of the most iconic and historic tag-teams ever, winning two titles together in the WWE.
After spending a few years away from the WWE, they returned to the company in 2003. Tragically, Hawk would die in 2003, leaving the future of the tag team in serious doubt. However, Heidenreich (remember him?) asked Animal to help him take down MNM (Joey Mercury, Johnny Nitro, and Melina.) The two won the tag team titles, and would be accompanied by Christy Hemme.
Though it was a nice tribute to Hawk, the feel was never really there to begin with. Asking Heidenreich to replace Hawk would be like asking Seth Rollins replacing Shawn Michaels to help Triple H reform DX.
8. Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant’s 1988 Rematch
Ask any wrestling fan who saw Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant face off at WrestleMania III and they will happily tell you that this was the moment that put the WWE right on the map of sporting entertainment. You had The Hulkster, who played the All American Hero, against a 7-feet-4, 520 pound immovable person.
When Hogan picked up and slammed Giant, it became the most memorable moment in WWE history and easily remains so today. However, the company thought a rematch would have been even better, so they set up Hogan and Giant to headline The Main Event in 1998 for the WWE Championship.
7. Second Coming of Y2J
Chris Jericho was one of the most underused wrestlers in WCW. As a result, he jumped to WWE and his historic debut where he came out with the Y2J gimmick is regarded as one of the greatest moments in WWE history. He and The Rock went at it on the mic, and the rest was history.
The Y2J movement was one of the best during the Attitude Era, but once it got into the Ruthless Aggression Era, there was essentially no way it was going to last again. As Randy Orton was cutting a promo about his greatness (after defeating Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series) Jericho came back in November of 2007 to gloat about how the second coming of Y2J.
6. Evolution Reunites
Evolution was one of the reasons I watched WWE at a young age. I grew up loving Chris Jericho and Edge, being a Canadian and all but seeing them clash with Triple H and his group of Randy Orton, Batista and Ric Flair was one of the greatest childhood moments for me.
The storyline was great: Triple H and Flair were mentoring Orton and Batista to be the stars of the future. But for the time being, The World Heavyweight Title belonged to Triple H and his men were to make sure it stayed that way. Orton won it, and Triple H kicked him out. Months later, Batista would turn on Triple H after winning the Royal Rumble–where he wound up beating him at WrestleMania 21. That essentially ended the group.
Then came 2014. Batista returned after winning the Royal Rumble, but the fans turned their backs on him so he had to turn heel. He, along with Triple H and Orton, reformed Evolution in order to take down The Shield. They lost all three bouts and the group’s reunion never made sense. The point of Evolution wasn’t even taken into consideration, and they lasted weeks before breaking up.
5. John Cena and The Rock’s Rematch
Dear Mr. McMahon,
I have a question.
When you hype up WrestleMania 28 as “Once in a Lifetime,” due to The Rock facing John Cena, why did you have a rematch the following year?
As you all know, Rock would defeat Cena at WrestleMania, putting on a heckuva clinic. But that wasn’t enough for the WWE, as Vinny Mac and the company decided a rematch was necessary at WrestleMania XXIX. Cena would win the rematch. It wasn’t all that bad of a bout, but the problem was how WWE lied to us fans and got greedy.
The original Rock-Cena clash isn’t as memorable as their rematch, because it wasn’t “Once in a Lifetime,” like it was supposed to be. It was just another classic example of this company not knowing when to quit while they were ahead. The WHOLE POINT was for them to fight once, not twice.
4. nWo in WWE
When Vince McMahon bought out WCW, his arch rival competition, it was almost inevitable that he would reunite the nWo. The main problem was how they were once great but had died out years ago. That’s not McMahons fault. We’ll get more onto that later.
The nWo in WCW was all about taking over and destroying the company by building up their empire. So how does bringing in these three to destroy the WWE give more creativity? It didn’t. It was being way too original again. But a reminder that money does help McMahon.
The nWo made their WWE debut at No Way Out in 2002, and were together for a couple months before Scott Hall and Kevin Nash turned on Hogan. Maybe if the group was given more time together, something special could have happened. Furthermore, it didn’t help that the fans made Hulk Hogan a face, even though he was always battling Steve Austin and The Rock, WWE’s top faces at the time.
3. Fake Razor Ramon and Fake Diesel
Scott Hall, who went by Razor Ramon in the WWE, enjoyed a great run with the company, along with Kevin Nash, who went by Diesel. The two took more money and jumped ship to WCW, but not before they got a great sendoff via the infamous MSG Curtain Call.
It was obviously a big blow for McMahon and the WWE, as his biggest competition stole two of the biggest moneymakers in the business. Instead of finding some new stars to bring to the top right away, the boss man thought it’d be a great idea to find a pair of wrestlers to dress up and act exactly like Ramon and Diesel.
Fun fact: Kane was the guy who played Fake Diesel, while Canadian Rick Bognar portrayed the fake Ramon.
Could you imagine if, say, Dean Ambrose and John Cena went to TNA and McMahon found two guys, had them dress up and look exactly like them? It’d be nothing more than embarrassing and unfair to the fans’ intelligence.
2. nWo’s Reunions in WCW
As we were talking about earlier, Vince McMahon brought back the nWo that BOTH put WCW on the map and led to its downfall. Here’s how it all happened.
When Hulk Hogan turned heel on the fans and formed the New World Order with Nash and Hall, the villainous stable was instantly well-accepted by fans, who loved cheering against their hero who backstabbed them. However, as Vince found ways to bring in new stars (Rock, Austin, Mick Foley, Triple H, Undertaker, etc,) Eric Bischoff kept finding ways to break up and reunite the nWo.
The original nWo broke up in 1998 and was divided between “nWo Hollywood,” and “nWo Wolfpac,” and the sides would feud against one another. Hollywood was led by Hulk Hogan, while Nash and Randy Savage led the Wolfpac.
When that storyline FINALLY ended, the infamous Fingerpoke of Doom once again showed how the entire nWo was reunited, as Nash led Hogan pin him for the WCW Championship. Fans got sick of it and WWE began to run away with the ratings battle, because WCW didn’t realize when it was time to move on.
1. ECW’s Relaunch
Though WWE and WCW dominated the Monday Night War ratings, ECW was quietly experiencing incredible success behind terrific management from Paul Heyman. The Dudley Boyz, Tommy Dreamer and others made it a huge hit in the late ’90s before it ended in 2001.
In 2006, WWE brought it back as a brand, to go along with Raw and SmackDown. The main problem was how ECW lacked the “extreme” element to go along with the original inception. There weren’t many hardcore matches with weapons, there weren’t enough big stars and everybody was still watching Raw and even SmackDown far more often.
The whole thing was cancelled in 2010, much to the dismay of very few fans. The WWE Universe wanted the brand brought back, but they came to realize how it was gone for a reason. It was nice of WWE to meet the fans’ wishes, but this was just a mess from the beginning.
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