Many times fans watch WWE and are left scratching their heads wondering how this particular idea made it onto television when surely there was a litany of better options floating around the writer's room. Most of the time we never get to find out what those other options might have yielded, forced to come up with our own theories and alternatives in place of actual, tangible word of a contrary course. However, in a few big cases the stories leak out and we get to see the alternate timeline spelled out for us after all. Sometimes they're even stupider and we give ourselves a concussion slapping our own foreheads wondering how this company stays in business, and other times we salivate over the potential awesomeness that we missed out on by the stroke of a pen.
From various sources like wrestler's podcasts, books, shoot interviews, ex-writers blogs, dirt sheets, and good old-fashioned rumors, we collect these literally untold tales and present them to you now. Some are classics we missed out on by a heartbeat, others are rare finds those reading won't believe, but the common thread is that somewhere along the way Vince McMahon or an equally decisive force curbed the destiny of these outcomes away from these eventualities. You'll be seeing a lot of Hulk Hogan throughout this as well as Brock Lesnar, but they are by no means the only other culprits alongside Vince to take a good meal out of the fans mouths. Strap in for WWE's very own fantasy booking.
20 Better - The Disappearance Of Dolph Ziggler
Right around the end of 2017 Dolph Ziggler was floundering like he never had before. He was directionless, fans couldn't muster support or animosity due to years of middling achievements and there were even reports he was on his way out. Then, out of nowhere, he won the United States Championship. It was so sudden that people expected that there must be an idea for this, and when Dolph the next week upped the intrigue be relinquishing the belt and leaving SmackDown completely, that intrigue only heightened.
Then he popped back at the Royal Rumble a month later, with no explanation or reason. We found out later that a lengthy absence including a plan was on the table, but WWE got bored or forgot and brought him back with zero fanfare.
19 Better - Y2J Replaces Shane To Tag With Daniel Bryan
This last WrestleMania when Daniel Bryan came out of retirement he was tentatively scheduled to tag with Shane against Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens, but real life injuries were in the way. Shane had a bout of diverticulitis, a hernia, an infection in a hand wound, and generally wasn't sure to make it. Thus, Vince got in contact with Y2J and sorted out a convoluted plan to whisk him away from a Fozzy concert so he could be the last minute replacement if need be.
Jericho himself confirmed the story, amusingly saying that the only problem with this plan was that Sami Zayn would be hugely nervous calling a WrestleMania match in the ring without planning.
18 Worse - Neville As Mighty Mouse
Vince McMahon may not seem like it, but at one point he was in fact a child, and during that childhood he had his heroes he aspired toward like most of us did too. That hero for him was the long forgotten Mighty Mouse, a superman-esque rodent who was filled with strength despite his size, and by all accounts Vince had been wanting to find a superstar to embody that archetype for a long while. And then, Neville came along. Small in the only metric Vince seems to notice, height, Neville was reportedly in line to become an Expy of the old superhero Vince pined for. Neville ended up with a cape and a spectacular entrance, but the actual name and mannerisms were avoided.
17 Better - Stone Cold Versus Brock Lesnar
The incident that infamously saw Austin 'take his ball and go home', Vince McMahon wanted the Rattlesnake to lose an unadvertised King Of The Ring qualifying match to The Next Big Thing on an episode of Raw. Austin balked at the idea, stating he was fine having to lose but doing so without working towards a marquee Pay-Per-View payday made no sense to him.
Austin has later said that he handled the situation entirely wrong, financially as well as creatively, citing exhaustion and paranoia compounding into an all-around bad time. It surely would have been a legendary moment when this fresh upstart defeated WWE's absolute premier star, but Austin couldn't see beyond it and it never got off the ground.
16 Better - Sasha Banks Betrays Bayley
The longest storyline WWE has teased us with, and they probably still are hinting at it if Corey Graves' commentary and Banks' bringing it up recently is any evidence. Sasha Banks graduated NXT as a respected heel who worked well with everyone and was truly the catalyst for the faith in women's wrestling going on now, but nevertheless, she's not turned heel since arriving on Raw. She's been glued to Bayley, her former rival, and as such is smiling away without ever getting the chance to shine in the ring where she could be invaluable. Hopefully, the Post-Wrestlemania season gets her the shot she deserves, and a trigger-pull for this perpetually simmering storyline.
15 Worse - Bray Wyatt Is Sister Abigail
Undoubtedly a bullet was dodged last year when a tepid Finn Balor feud led to Bray Wyatt finally 'revealing' Sister Abigail to the world. Of all the interesting theories and options among female wrestlers to portray the part, nobody envisioned it would be Bray himself in a tacky shawl with a cheesy voice modulator filling the role. One of the last intriguing aspects of his character was shot dead on arrival by weak production choices and a 'shake your head' reaction from anyone who saw it. Luckily the angle and the match got aborted due to Wyatt having some personal and health issues, and WWE wisely didn't bring it up again upon his return.
14 Better - Bret Hart Vs Hulk Hogan
WrestleMania IX is often cited as the worst ever WrestleMania, and while that may be a bit harsh it is commonly down to how the show ended with Hulk Hogan usurping Bret Hart and Yokozuna to become WWE Champion out of nowhere. Supposedly Hogan would then relinquish the championship back to Bret Hart in a battle at SummerSlam, but Hogan reneged on the proposal, citing Yokozuna as the one to put Hulkamania out of WWE for good. Bret getting that victory over The Hulkster would've cemented his ascent to the No.1 spot in WWE, and although the eventual program with Yoko was decent, this clash should've happened as well.
13 Better - Emmalina
Australia's favorite bubble-enthusiast once upon a time, Emma did herself zero favors when she had a gimmick that Vince McMahon was personally invested in and she didn't do everything in her power to make it work. At a time when WWE was gearing up for the true breakout presentation of their women's divisions, including Royal Rumbles and potentially WrestleMania main events, Emma let herself be seen as uncooperative and expendable. So even though we got a couple of months of her getting to show her skills on Raw before she was unceremoniously cut loose, it would've been better if she'd made this work.
12 Worse - Christian - Blue Dot
Perhaps the most underused talent of the last 20 years, Christian unfortunately got a low opinion from the one guy who mattered most, Vince McMahon. A glowing reputation among his peers, venerated matches against a litany of opponents, and more than one top guy, like Randy Orton, saying Christian is their favorite ever opponent couldn't break Vince's singular opinion that Christian was simply too 'ugly' to succeed. Thus, he referenced the Anita Hill trial where a 'blue dot' was superimposed over her face and figured they should do the same to Christian. A stupid idea, and fortunately one that didn't survive to see daylight.
11 Better - Cesaro SuperStar
Anyone who saw Cesaro win the inaugural Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal simply knew for a fact he was going to be huge. The moment he surprisingly hoisted the Big Show into a bodyslam position, walked him to the ropes and dumped him out was instantly legendary, and when WWE paired him with Paul Heyman the next night as a mouthpiece worthy of his physical prowess, it all seemed to be lining up. Then WWE had Paul essentially forget about Cesaro and only talk about Brock. And only Brock. All Brock, No Cesaro radio. It turned Cesaro's big moment into an afterthought, ruined his momentum, and led absolutely nowhere.
10 Better - Hulk Hogan Vs Ric Flair at WrestleMania VIII
Coming into this WrestleMania, WWE had lucked out with WCW mismanaging their perennial poster boy, The Nature Boy Ric Flair, right out of the company and into WWE's waiting clutches. There, everyone was salivating over the potential Hogan vs Flair matchup, the two biggest stars, from the two biggest rival companies, going head to head. It made sense and it would make money.
They even had several matches on the house-show circuit in preparation, when suddenly plans were changed. Macho Man got Ric Flair, and Hogan nonsensically main-evented the show against Sid instead. The specifics remain murky, but it certainly would have been better regardless.
9 Worse - Daniel Bryan Sacrificed To The Beast
Sometimes an injury can save you from something much worse, and in this case, Daniel Bryan's retirement had one single upside among the myriad downs. He was apparently scheduled to hold the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in 2014 through to SummerSlam, only to run into a rampant Brock Lesnar fresh off breaking The Undertaker's Streak, wherein Brock would destroy our diminutive champion as he eventually would to John Cena instead.
WWE seemingly had zero long-term faith in Bryan no matter how he continually outshone their over-protected poster boys, and this planned catastrophe is more evidence of that. Fortunately, Cena's loss also made up for Brock's dumb loss in 2012, so it had side benefits beyond the obvious as well.
8 Better - Nexus Wins At SummerSlam
John Cena gets all the credit for this bad call as he has not only been cited firsthand by guys like Edge and Jericho for this, but he's actually apologized after the fact about it. That doesn't excuse the major mess he caused for his own benefit though, where he essentially invalidated seven new superstars in one fell swoop. Reports vary on what the outcome was going to be before Cena's input, whether The Nexus would've won or Cena merely wouldn't have taken a DDT on the floor and risen to defeat them, but the point stands. The most exciting and fresh faction in WWE for that decade was hobbled by John Cena and never recovered.
7 Better - Hollywood Hulk Hogan Vs Stone Cold at WrestleMania X8
The one mega-match everyone on the planet would have sold their dog to see back around WrestleMania X8, and possibly the only match that could've outdone the classic Rock Vs Hogan matchup we eventually got. Word was that Austin still resented Hogan from their WCW animosity and Steve was also wary that Hogan wouldn't want to take the loss that Stone Cold would expect from him given their new dichotomy. Thus, Austin got shuffled sideways into a Scott Hall matchup while The Rock got to make history with Hogan. And as we now know, Hogan obviously was OK taking the big loss.
6 Worse - Randy Orton, WrestleMania 21
Randy Orton was the chosen one of the year 2004, dethroning Chris Benoit for the World Heavyweight Championship and slated for a WrestleMania 21 date with his Evolution enemy Triple H. There he'd repay the favor of being dethroned and ousted from the group amid an expected wash of adulation. What happened instead was Orton quickly soured in the eyes of fans, his natural heelish mannerisms meaning crowd support dwindled and he was a sort of proto-Roman Reigns except WWE had the foresight to abandon the plan and turn to the surprise developing character of Batista instead, with The Animal picking up the pieces and usurping Randy's top spot.
5 Better - CM Punk Vs Rock Vs Cena
Outside stories, his UFC debacles, and Cabana-based rumors have somewhat soured some fans on CM Punk the last few years, but at his peak, he most assuredly deserved and earned a spot in the main event of WrestleMania XXIX. CM Punk's record WWE Championship reign stood him in appropriate stead where he'd match up well with the Hollywood A-Lister and WWE's poster boy.
While he managed singles matches with both in the lead-up to the big event, he nevertheless got sidetracked into a feud with The Undertaker that, while entertainingly morbid with a good final matchup, can't hold a candle to that major accomplishment of the real main event. To top things off, it might've kept Punk in WWE a little longer as well, and certainly would've been a better in-ring encounter.
4 Worse - Mr. Kennedy Cashes In
Ken Kennedy appeared to be on the fast track to major success in WWE, winning multiple matches over former world champions and topping that by winning the Money In The Bank briefcase in the WrestleMania 23 ladder match. Then things went sideways. Kennedy suffered an apparent injury that would keep him out for most of a year, and so WWE quickly organized a transfer where he lost the briefcase to Edge. Problems compounded when it was discovered his diagnosis was wrong and he returned to action soon after, meaning his World Championship victory had been aborted for no decent reason at all. More on Mr. Kennedy later.
3 Better - The Invasion/Eric Bischoff
This one probably hurts the most alongside Hogan Vs Austin and Hogan Vs Flair. WWE once again missed out on the prime confrontation because somebody didn't come to the table and according to Bischoff himself, it was actually Jim Ross who made the misstep. He contacted Eric to see if he'd come in to helm the Invasion angle onscreen, but did so with such vagueness and lacking enthusiasm that Bischoff brushed off the offer due to family commitments.
He said that if Jim had been more forthcoming or even just seemed slightly excited over the possibility, Bischoff would've been there in a heartbeat, but as it stands this major missed chance represents another time WWE dropped the ball on one of their biggest potential paydays.
2 Worse - Mr. McMahon's Absence
This storyline wasn't aborted for the regular reasons of Vince McMahon losing interest, a superstar not panning out, or some other internal force requiring the change. No, this came about because the timing could not have been worse, with Vince's limo 'exploding' on the Monday Night Raw mere days before the Benoit family tragedy. Nothing WWE could do about this angle could be salvaged in the face of that tragedy and so Vince reappeared on WWE television and outright canceled the storyline. There's no real telling whether this would have been actively worse than what we got, but WWE's track record of dealing with intense subjects like this makes us skeptical.
1 Better - Mr. Kennedy McMahon?
Out of the ashes of the aborted Vince storyline, WWE committed to a mystery angle to create intrigue throughout the end of the year. To do that they had Vince receive news he had a long lost son and he was a WWE superstar. Mr. Kennedy had actually chosen that name because it was Vince's middle one, and he was indeed penciled to be the CEO's son. There could be no bigger push and in the wake of the failed Money In The Bank incident, they still had huge plans for Kennedy, and this was supposed to be it. Yet, somewhere along the way they soured on Mr. Kennedy, turned it into a joke by having it be Hornswoggle at the end, and then retconned it completely anyway.