If the WWE does anything better than all else, it is crafting a message to support the company's brand and image. Sure they do that whole sports entertainment thing too, but when it really counts WWE understands how to make a situation look different when it is necessary, and roll with the punches.
From a storyline perspective, if something goes wrong in the middle of a show, WWE can spin that message to make it look as if it was part of their plan all along. This is evident during the #hijackraw movement that spawned as a result of the 2014 Royal Rumble along with the departure of a certain Straight Edged Superstar. WWE embraced the fact that they were trending on Twitter, and actually were praised for how they handled the situation, despite completely mishandling the night before.
From a real life perspective, the WWE is very aware of how to construct media packages and write television that pushes their positive branding. For example, every year before the Royal Rumble the WWE plays a package called “By The Numbers”, where they detail interesting statistics related to the match. Following the Chris Benoit incident, WWE made sure to change that promo to still give accurate stats, without highlighting Benoit at all.
Instead of using a phrase like "two entrants have started at number one and won the match", they replaced it with “the same number of people have won from the number 30 spot, as the number one spot”. The change is subtle, yet framed in a way to make you forget that Benoit was one of those winners who started at number one.
For whatever reason, WWE has gone out of their way to make sure that the casual fan has no reason to remember certain former talents. That is why today we are bringing you the top 10 wrestlers that WWE wants us to forget about. As always leave your thoughts and comments below.
10 Chris Benoit
Let’s get the most obvious entry out of the way first. Chris Benoit murdered his family in June of 2007, and then proceeded to take his own life a few days later. However prior to knowing the details of his death, WWE dedicated a three hour raw to his career. This would prove to be Benoit’s last time being featured on WWE television, serving as a swan song for his professional career.
Benoit has been erased from the main event of WrestleMania, as a Royal Rumble winner, and no results spawn if you search his name on the WWE network or website.
Given all of the work that WWE has done with various charities that support individuals with developmental disabilities, it’s a wonder why they chose to debut the character of Eugene. Sure at times Eugene was an underdog who was able to prevail, but most of the time he was the butt of jokes, which runs contrary to their "Be A Star" campaign.
Besides potentially offending people who could sympathize with Eugene's unnamed condition, his very existence violated their “don’t try this at home” policy, as the former Tag Team Champion only performed moves that he saw his heroes perform on television. Though he was signed for another deal a few years ago, he never appeared on television, and WWE hasn't called him back since.
8 New Jack
As always, when New Jack is mentioned a disclaimer is needed: New Jack if you are reading this I am not disrespecting you, I am stating facts.
It’s no secret that ECW Original New Jack is, has been, always will be a little off of his rocker. For this entry we will highlight the fact that he was actually charged for a felony after a match for stabbing his opponent 14 times during a match.
Despite owning all of his ECW matches, and having a subset of fans that would love to see him on WWE programming, his antics will surely bury him in the archives of the WWE network. As a side note, there is barely any of New Jack on the network, because WWE can’t find a way to edit out his theme music, which played throughout his entire match. For all of these reasons, it is in the best interest of WWE for fans to forget about Jack.
7 Kai En Tai
While the team of Taka Michinoku and Funaki were very entertaining during their run in WWE, especially as a heel comedy duo, what they represented could be construed as offensive. The two Japanese wrestlers were parodies of evil Asian stereotypes from older kung fu movies.
They would have their voices dubbed by an American, while they moved their lips, and waved Japaneses flags. Given the political correct culture that we live in today, the WWE could never get away with having such stereotypical images on their programming, and likely don’t want to remind fans of Kai En Tai’s time in the company.
The people in charge of WWE really don’t like former Intercontinental Champion Chyna. It would seem that her leap into adult film world was the nail in the coffin that would keep her out of the WWE for the rest of its existence. Then came Triple H’s live interview with Steve Austin, which confirmed that the WWE had no plans of contacting her to reconcile their differences.
Chyna immediately shot back, claiming that the Triple H (the COO of the company) physically abused her and took to the road to create a documentary detailing her past. Needless to say, this has made Chyna persona non grata in Stamford, and her documentary will never have a WWE logo in the bottom corner.
5 Hulk Hogan
Has a star ever fallen so fast, and so hard as the Immortal Hulk Hogan did in July of 2015? The Hulkster made racially insensitive comments regarding his daughter's choice of men in an audio file released from his 2012 sex tape scandal.
The leaked transcript caused WWE to react swiftly, effectively terminating Hogan’s legends deal signed in 2014. Hogan’s profile has been removed from the website, along with any remnants of him in the search feature of WWE.com.
4 Jimmy Snuka
After a long career in the good graces of WWE, Jimmy Snuka was unceremoniously wiped from the history books of the company. The 72-year-old was charged with third degree murder in September, stemming from the death of his then mistress Nancy Argentino over 30 years ago.
Though he was a suspect in the intial investigation in 1983, Sunka was never convicted due to a lack of evidence. Snuka, who was recently diagnosed with stomach cancer, may never see his day in court to clear his name if his health doesn’t hold up. If that is the case he may be forever erased from history, as WWE surely won't reintroduce a wrestler who is deceased with baggage to newer audiences.
3 Chris Kanyon
Chris Kanyon arrived in the WWE after being apart of the Invasion storyline in 2001, only to be gone from the company less than four years later. Soon after, Kanyon committed suicide in 2010, which some believed to be due to a combination of mental disorders, and mental anguish due to his homosexuality.
Kanyon actually claimed that WWE released him specifically for being gay, despite not coming out publicly until he left the company. After the way that the media has praised WWE for their handling of Darren Young coming out as gay, it’s safe to say that they want to bury the accusations that Kanyon made about them, along with any trace of him in fans' memories.
2 CM Punk
Is an explanation for this entry even needed?
The WWE and CM Punk currently have no relationship, and have no plans of rekindling that anytime soon. After Punk was fired from WWE in 2014, he participated in a tell all podcast with wrestler and friend Colt Cabana detailing all of the things that WWE did wrong and the misconduct he experienced.
The two parties are still involved in a legal battle, in regards to a defamation charge that stems from the podcast interview. The recent 434-day title reign is the only thing that is still tying the current UFC star to the company, and WWE wants you to forget that.
1 Muhammad Hassan
Perhaps the greatest heel who never was, Muhammad Hassan was the hottest new talent to hit WWE in 2004. Hassan attacked the established WWE veterans verbally and physically, claiming there to be a bias against Arab Americans, and calling out the hypocrisy of the system.
Though his character was created as a result of American fear rooting from the tragic September 11th attacks in 2001, Hassan’s persona became too much for WWE to defend following another attack in London in 2005; Hassan was written off television, and has never been spoken of on air again since.
It’s safe to say that WWE will never try to bring back Hassan or any character of that ilk, back.