Are you a fan of happy endings? Or are you the kind of person who roots for the Big Bad Wolf over Little Red Riding Hood? Living happily ever after is pleasant but the sadistic ending is much more thought provoking.
Storytelling is an art form: in books, in songs, in movies … in wrestling. The whole concept of wrestling is based around telling the oldest story of all: Good vs. Bad. The formula – despite scattered fan reactions – has always been the same only told from different points of view.
However, the good guy or the hero is not always a fan favorite. The nWo were supposed to be the “bad guys” who were trying to take over WCW; yet flocks of fans gravitated towards the wayward faction and cheered for the outlaws.
In WWE, much of the same has gone down over the years. The original D-Generation X were not meant to be a face faction but the people loved their juvenile antics so much that they got over with the crowd. In 1997, Bret Hart was Little Red Riding Hood and Shawn Michaels was the Not-So-Big Bad Wolf; and we all know how that story ended.
It’s all about the “angle” and how it plays out on WWE programming. Some angles provide massive levels or success, some hang out with mediocrity, and some are fall flat. In certain cases, an angle that could have been a hit storyline is simply ruined by someone or something; left behind and forgotten about by the company … but certainly not the fans.
The following article will take a look at a select few angles that fit this description. Those that could have been much more than they ended up being. Angles that started strong but finished weak.
These are the top 15 blown WWE angles:
15. The Invasion
Let’s flip the script a little to begin this list and place The Invasion angle at #15. This particular angle has already seen its share of #1 spots on blown/bad angle lists. However, it still merits a spot on this countdown.
We all know what happened in March of 2001. The Monday Night War was finally over and the WWE came out on top, defeating WCW by seizing all its assets and bringing what was left of the promotion over to WWE.
The WCW talent that arrived for the initial “invasion” have been described as the “B-Team” as many top-name performers sat home milking their guaranteed contracts. Thus, the “invaders” didn’t really pose much of a threat.
14. Most Money in the Bank Cash-Ins
The blown angles involving the cashing-in of the Money in the Bank briefcase can make up an entire list of their own. Therefore, we will lump them in together as one entry for the purposes of this piece.
Seth Rollins cashing-in at WrestleMania this year was great but has also set the bar as high as it can possibly go for a cash-in moment. Rollins’ transition from “Mr. Money in the Bank” to WWE World Heavyweight Champion has been flawless.
With the exception of John Cena and Rob Van Dam (the only MITB winners that have scheduled their match) the cash-in always provides that surprise element to the fans. However, most title runs following the cash-in have proved lackluster.
13. The Bella Beef
In recent months, Brie Bella has basically become Nikki’s lapdog. What happened to her fighting spirit? Her desire to be Divas Champion? What happened to the Bella beef that was never actually settled.
One night on Raw, Nikki Bella would state that she wanted to be referred to as “The Nikki Bella.” There was a feeling behind that statement that Nikki and Brie would do battle over the Bella name with Nikki coming out on top.
Subsequently, Brie would have to change her ring name. Brie Bryan perhaps? This could have changed the dynamic of the Bella twins as the company pushed towards the “Divas Revolution.”
12. The WrestleMania XXVII Main Event Picture
Heading into WrestleMania XXVII, the WWE Championship was held by The Miz who was set to face John Cena in the main event following an Elimination Chamber match victory that secured Cena the #1 Contender’s spot.
However, in February of that year, the WWE would welcome home one of its most beloved Superstars in The Rock; immediately shifting focus from The Miz and John Cena to the potential feud between The Rock and John Cena.
The return of The Rock was a joyous occasion and the dream match would soon unfold. However, lost in the mix of mega stars was a man who could have gone down as the most annoying (in a good way) WWE Champion of all time.
11. The Nexus
The first rumblings of The Nexus in WWE would eventually lead to loud noise within the company to which the volume was quickly adjusted. The idea of young, hungry rookies coming in to claim their spot made for a good storyline.
The Nexus would feud with the biggest star in WWE and go to war with John Cena. The feud would even lead to Cena being forced to join the uprising faction… but things would soon fall apart.
The New Nexus would emerge from the original group with a new leader in CM Punk but once again didn’t go anywhere. Soon enough, the group would quietly disband and fade away.
10. Triple H Relieving Vince McMahon
There they stood in the middle of the ring: Triple H and Vince McMahon. Infuriated in-laws with very different agendas. Triple H – with tears in his eyes – would have the uncomfortable task of relieving Vince of his day-to-day duties with WWE.
This had all the makings of a on-screen power shift. The Mr. McMahon character could have taken off his suit and slipped into bed but of course, McMahon would soon return to relieve Tripe H of his duties operating Monday Night Raw.
The whole angle came around in some weird and unnecessary circle. While Triple H and Stephanie now run things as The Authority, the initial seed for this current direction was left without water.
9. 434 Days Ended by The Rock
CM Punk’s 434 day WWE Championship reign was impressive; the longest in modern history. The need for John Cena to eventually take that title back after all that time with somebody else was understandable.
Which is why CM Punk should have held the WWE Championship until WrestleMania XXIX where John Cena could have ended the lengthy reign in the main event on the biggest night of the year.
Instead, WWE gave the WWE Championship to The Rock at Royal Rumble, setting up a Rock/Cena rematch from the year prior. Perhaps this was a way of thanking Rock for helping make WrestleMania XXVIII buyrate what it was while sticking it to Punk in the process.
8. The Legacy Split
The Legacy were a multi-generational faction made up of Randy Orton (leader), Ted DiBiase, and Cody Rhodes. Three strong individual talents who came together and lasted a decent amount of time as a group by today’s standards.
When the faction finally parted ways, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase would remained aligned. The three men would eventually meet in a Triple Threat match at WrestleMania XXVI which saw Randy Orton emerge victorious.
The need for Randy Orton coming out on top was nonexistent. Cody Rhodes or Ted DiBiase should have won that match; a win that may have helped their push. Look where they are now? Acting like a lunatic from another galaxy and no longer with the company.
7. Daniel Bryan: The Overlooked Hero
While Roman Reigns winning the Royal Rumble match this past January was foreseen months in advance, there is no question that Daniel Bryan should have won the 2014 Royal Rumble.
Instead, the WWE went with Batista while Daniel Bryan was left out of the match completely. Randy Orton defending the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania XXX should have been made clear that night.
It didn’t matter who was stepping into the ring with Daniel Bryan in New Orleans, there was going to be a massive reaction regardless. The double match night for Bryan and Triple Threat finale was not the way it should have gone down.
6. AJ Lee: Maneater
Perhaps if AJ Lee had been around during the Attitude Era, her angle as a perceived maneater would have flourished into something much more. However, we all know the limits of the current product.
Daniel Bryan, Kane, CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler, John Cena … AJ was doing her thing and working at getting ahead in WWE and eventually finding herself in a position of power as Raw General Manger.
Eventually, this concept fizzled out and AJ Lee was back in a full-time wrestling capacity (which was more suited). However, we must not overlook the provocative and powerful nature this angle could have produced.
5. Jeff Hardy as WWE Champion
Armageddon 2008: everybody popped when Jeff Hardy finally became WWE Champion. Hardy was the hottest commodity in wrestling that year and to cap it all off with a championship victory that December was the ultimate highlight.
Then along came the Royal Rumble where Matt Hardy would screw over his brother Jeff and cost him the WWE Championship; setting up a match between the brothers at the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania.
Jeff Hardy was red hot and should have defended he gold at WrestleMania. Instead, the WWE Championship was left with yet another recycled between Triple H and Randy Orton.
4. New World Order in WWE
The nWo once ruled WCW, causing as much havoc as they wanted while kicking ass and taking names along the way. The faction became the “it” group in professional wrestling for quite some time.
In 2002, the nWo were brought into WWE with its original three members: Hollywood Hogan, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash … but something was off putting about the rebels of WCW showing up in WWE.
The fans love for Hulk Hogan would eventually turn him back into the red and yellow superhero, Scott Hall was released, and Kevin Nash was subject to injury. The nWo angle was now doomed; not even Shawn Michaels could save it from its fate.
3. The Summer of Punk
“The Summer of Punk” was something that had already existed in Ring of Honor Wrestling with a different concept by the same starring player: CM Punk. In 2011, WWE would produce their own version of this angle.
The “Pipebomb” was dropped, CM Punk defeated John Cena for the WWE Championship at Money in the Bank in Chicago, and then left with the title … only to return eight days later and kill the idea of reality.
This was supposed to be an angle that wasn’t supposed to seem like an angle. “The Summer of Punk 2011” should have taken place outside WWE while still operating under the WWE banner and maintaining to illusion.
2. The Unification
TLC 2013: Randy Orton (WWE Champion) and John Cena (World Heavyweight Champion) would hang their respective titles above the ring and compete in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match; winner takes all.
Unifying the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships should have been made into a massive deal. Instead, the angle was announced a few weeks prior on Raw by Triple H and Stephanie and seemed completely rushed.
Also, the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion should not have been Randy Orton but someone who could have used that win to enhance their career; much like Chris Jericho becoming the first ever Undisputed WWE Champion in 2001.
1. ECW Done Wrong
For many wrestling fans, no three letters hold more value and meaning than E-C-W. The alternative brand of the ’90s and home of hardcore wrestling. ECW was something special which can never be duplicated.
When ECW was launched as a spate brand in WWE – despite optimism by many – most fans knew the disaster that lie ahead. This was going to be Vince McMahon’s vison of ECW, a clouded view of the promotion’s core.
The WWE version of ECW was a shell of its former self. Suddenly there were rules which defied all ECW logic. Extreme Championship Wrestling was not a place for rules and structure but a place for anarchy.
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