The relationship between the WWE and its fanbase is a unique one. Its fans spending much too time criticizing the product and moan over how they keep making mistakes on how to book their talent or manage storylines, In turn, the WWE seems to take delight in being the most stubborn entertainment company on the planet by promoting stars long past their due date and not relenting to fan demand no matter what.
Despite that, each one has faith in the other. For fans, they’ve seen enough tremendous moments from the pro wrestling juggernaut that they cross their fingers for McMahon’s empire to capture some of their glory one more time. WWE on the other hand has faith that its most devoted are going to come again and again to their shows no matter how bad things seemingly get. Hey I never said it was a healthy relationship!
There are some moments though which stress the patience that fans have with WWE. Most moments are forgotten about in a week or so as the next episode of RAW rolls around or a good PPV wipes the bad taste out of their mouths. Some moments though, leave scars on the fanbase which stick with us forever. They serve as reminders that no matter how good things may look at a fixed point in time, Vince McMahon and his crew of henchmen and type-writer monkeys are entirely capable of sending it all down the crapper. So here are the top 15 moments that made us lose faith in the WWE.
15. ECW Strip Poker
I fully admit that this one is complete adolescent sexual angst and frustration but eh what the hell, why not.
Back in ECW’s revival in 2006, the WWE looked to tone down ECW’s excessive violence and general filth with uhh… zombies. Anyway, because they seemed to be doing nothing with the Divas in 2007, somebody got the idea to have a game of strip poker with them.
Problem here is two fold. One, there’s no way in hell that the Divas are actually gonna strip so the teens are gonna be pissed and two, who the hell cares if they’re just gonna play cards? For giving us the promise of nudity and not giving us it, I lose faith in ye WWE!!!
P.S yes that was kind of a joke entry.
14. The Bungling of WrestleMania VIII
You had one job WWE… one job…
As the result of an awful relationship with WCW boss Jim Herd, Ric Flair did the unfathomable in 1991; he signed with Vince McMahon’s WWE. While it might have been a tad late, a Hulk Hogan/Ric Flair WrestleMania match seemed like a lock.
Through a combination of lackluster reception to the match at house shows (a claim which has been disputed) and each not wanting to job to the other, the match never happened and instead we got Sid Vicious in the WrestleMania main event. Ughhhh.
13. Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar – WrestleMania XX
This is one of the few entries on the list that mostly isn’t the direct fault of the WWE itself, but the performers in the ring.
On paper, Goldberg versus Brock Lesnar sounds like an amazing powerhouse match. In reality though, it was a complete disaster. Both men were leaving the company after the match and the fans knew it so they heckled them non-stop through the match. This led to both men not giving a single F and plodding through a dull as dishwater match.
It made us lose faith in the company that even if a match is promoted by them, the performers might not be willing to give people what they paid for.
12. The Summer of Punk
Following the botching of the Nexus storyline (we’ll get to that), WWE could have redeemed themselves for their previous summer debacle. And they did… kind of.
While the Summer of Punk storyline isn’t inherently bad, it’s severely disappointing. In a story that could have possibly lasted until WrestleMania but wrapped up around September, CM Punk won the WWE Title, left the company, returned after two weeks and unified his lineal title with interim title of John Cena only to lose to Alberto Del Rio.
While the promos from Punk, Cena and HHH were gold in this feud, the fact that so much more could have been done with this gold mine, the public’s fate in the company dropped off quite a bit.
11. All Those Possible Cena Heel Turns
Multiple choice on this entry. John Cena has had a longer run as the face of the WWE than anyone in history, including Hulk Hogan. During that time Cena had a few times where the WWE could have turned him heel and created a killer story.
So choose one: is it when John Cena was forced to choose between his career or fairness at Survivor Series 2010? Nope? How about at WrestleMania XXVIII or XXIX when he could have cheated to beat The Rock? Na? He could have turned into a corporate shill when feuding with CM Punk but none of this happened. And that makes me lose faith in WWE’s storytelling courage.
10. Batista Wins 2014 Royal Rumble
In the spirit of screwing over Daniel Bryan, the WWE somehow got the thought in their heads that their audience would embrace Batista (who was last seen crying like a baby in a wheelchair on WWE TV) to take on Randy Orton for the World Title at WM 30.
To get there Batista had to win the Royal Rumble of course, and what a disaster that was. Fans took a collective dump on the result and worst of all for me, booed REY MYSTERIO just because Daniel Bryan wasn’t number 30. This one would have been higher on the list if not for WWE’s redemption by grant D Bry the championship at Mania anyway. Good on you Vince.
9. Daniel Bryan Loses In 18 Seconds
Being live at this moment, I can attest to how upset the live crowd was about this moment. Spoiler: they were pretty damn pissed.
It was right around this time that Daniel Bryan’s over-celebratory YES! gimmick started getting over with the crowd and at WrestleMania XXVIII it exploded. Fans embraced Bryan and were positively going ‘meh’ on Sheamus. This was before the match.
One Brogue Kick and 18 seconds later Bryan lost his World Heavyweight Title and Sheamus was the new champ. Since Bryan ended up being fine after this and kind of actually helped his character, this one is lower on the list than it should be. But at the time, this sucked indeed.
8. ECW’s “Resurrection”
Some things are better off buried.
Just a couple of years before the WWE went PG, the company wanted to capitalize off the success from their ECW One Night Stand shows and as a result they revived ECW as a third brand. Risky move, but so far so good.
And it immediately went to the toilet when it was clear that there was no way the WWE was doing ECW half-assed. The gore, sexuality and everything that made ECW a rebel was toned down to fit the WWE mold. ECW fans felt ripped off and it was a C-list show for WWE fans. In short, everyone lost faith in them.
7. The Nexus Loses At Summerslam 2010
In what I only imagine are attempts to compete with summer blockbusters, WWE usually tries to throw their best shot in the summer, culminating at SummerSlam. With the debut of a ragtag group of WWE rookies called the Nexus, it seemed like the WWE had their great summer villain.
Instead of Joker though, the WWE got more of a Nuclear Man. While it started off good, the villains were defeated in what should have been their coming out party by a (mostly) all-star team of WWE superstars.
WWE turned a potentially long term storyline and short-tracked it for a boring happy ending. Sigh.
6. Eddie Guerrero Being Used In Storyline Posthumously
Of all the deaths in pro wrestling, the death of Eddie Guerrero is alongside Owen Hart as the most tragic. Just when it seemed like Guerrero had his life on the right track, it was too late; his body couldn’t handle his years of alcohol and drug use and he died of heart failure.
You know what you shouldn’t do as a company after this? Use his death as a way for a heel to get heat. Nobody told WWE that as Randy Orton uttered the infamous “Eddie is down there in hell!” line to Rey Mysterio in the build to WrestleMania 22.
Just when we thought WWE was going to do the right thing with the Eddie Guerrero tribute show and leave it at that, they go and do this. Poor taste on WWE’s part.
5. The Anonymous RAW GM Reveal
OHH GODD THE ANONYMOUS GENERAL MANAGER STORYLINE SUCKEDDD!!! What could be worse than having celebrities run the show? A GODDAMN COMPUTER.
While it could have been interesting for a couple of months, this thing dragged on way too long, for about a year. The GM’s list of crimes is too long to list but at least the identity of the GM could somewhat make this make at least a litle bit of sense. But nope, it was Hornswoggle. Confirming my theory that no matter how bad a storyline could be, it could always be worse by adding Hornswoggle.
4. The Greater Power Reveal
Another reveal for you and another head scratching bad one. While the Anonymous GM one may have been more infuriating, at least the storyline ended a year earlier and everyone drank enough liquor to forget about it. But this?
If the very idea of The Undertaker being a servant to someone isn’t bad enough, the identity of this “Greater Power” in 1999 was the same guy who Taker had been tormenting for months: Vince McMahon. This made Taker look like Vince’s b**** (and this was 17 years before WM32). It made McMahon look like a dummy and spat in the face of the entire WWE fanbase.
3. Stone Cold Turns Heel At Invasion 2001
Obviously something about the Invasion storyline was going to be on this list, but the question was just which moment? While I’m certainly all ears to hear the arguments about how the heel turn of Stone Cold at WrestleMania X-7 made one lose more faith than this, I personally think this is worse.
Why? Because this was the event that WWE could have salvaged the Invasion storyline. The main event of this show could have had WCW loyalists Ric Flair, Goldberg and/or Sting make their debuts and somehow make sense of this botched story. But instead, we have Stone Cold side with the guys who metaphorically spat in his face all those years ago in Atlanta.
2. The 2015 Royal Rumble
Ohhh boy… Never in WWE’s kayfabe history has a storyline provoked a harsher outcry from its eternally loyal fans than this legendary debacle all the way back… to last year.
It would be easy to write this off as simply the fanbase rejecting Roman Reigns as the new hero but it’s not just that (although to be fair that’s a big part of it). It’s the way it was done and how there was such a better alternative staring right in front of them.
Daniel Bryan had just announced his return to the ring from a career-threatening injury weeks before and had the entire fanbase on his side. But not only didn’t he win, he got tossed out like a Fandango by Bray Wyatt midway in the match. Strike one.
Then Roman Reigns enters the match and proceeds to (Stone Cold’s words, not mine) “take a nap”. Strike two.
Then after all this nonsense and having albatrosses Kane and Big Show eliminate anyone not named Daniel Bryan who fans would have wanted to see win… Roman Reigns wins and The Rock comes out to celebrate with his cousin. Piss off WWE. Strike three. I’m out.
1. The Montreal Screwjob
This moment made us lose faith in the WWE but not in the same way that others have on this list. This was WWE’s fourth wall break and unlike Deadpool, nobody liked this one.
This was the moment where the WWE shifted from escapist entertainment into something new. For many fans, the real life behind the scenes drama became more interesting than anything the company could put on our TV screens. This is the moment for better or worse, kayfabe died. And with it, our innocent faith with WWE.
In addition, they also showed just how little loyalty meant to them as they screwed over longtime employee Bret Hart on PPV. Spitting on the kayfabe grave there.
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