I was once told that if you were to receive positive feedback from 99 people and negative feedback from one person, you will almost always care and worry about the one negative person.
Well, we WWE fans tend to think that way. Instead of looking back on the great storylines, matches, and characters, it seems we’re caught up on asking ourselves “What if,” while also complaining about the many boring stars/feuds we must watch today.
Let’s be honest: We’re all guilty of this. We’re not enjoying the rise of Kevin Owens, Paul Heyman screaming BRROOOCK LESSSSNAR or Cesaro’s James Bond entrance as much as we should. We’re all just complaining about Roman Reigns’ boring microphone skills. We also may forget the greatness of The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin at times, while complaining about how we missed out on a great Invasion storyline.
It’s natural for us fans to be negative. After all, we’ve watched the product for years and it’s easy for everyone to know that most WWE storylines and characters fail to live up to the hype that we got to watch in the Attitude and Ruthless Aggression Eras. However, there’s plenty the WWE has done right over the years. They made some great booking decisions that Eric Bischoff and WCW never capitalized on, hence why Vince McMahon’s powerhouse is still in business while WCW is now an afterthought.
Here are 15 of the greatest booking decisions that the WWE got right. Without these decisions, who knows where the product would be today?
15. The Way They Introduced Chris Jericho
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
WCW made a terrible decision to ignore the talents of mid-card wrestlers like Chris Jericho. He was always underneath the boys in the nWo. So he took his talents to the WWE.
Suddenly, fans were given one of the biggest surprises in sports entertainment. During a Raw is War segment, The Rock (one of the biggest stars at the time) was in the middle of a top-notch promo.
That’s when the countdown came up on the titantron and Jericho came out to cut one of the greatest segments ever with the WWE’s top star. From there on, Jericho was a legend in WWE lore.
14. Breaking Up The Shield
Yes, many fans are still upset over this alliance breaking up. Here is why it was the right move:
The Shield had nothing left to prove. After sweeping Evolution in a series of matches, there wasn’t much of a future for Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins to compete together. There was a shakeup needed.
Rollins’ betrayal of them has paved a better future for all three of them: Rollins is now the top heel of the company. Reigns (love him or hate him) is being groomed to be the company’s top star.
Meanwhile, Ambrose is embracing more of a mid-card role, but will surely be one of their top faces sooner rather than later.
13. Making Randy Orton World Champion at 24
Have a look at the best wrestlers ever. Most of them weren’t a big deal until they reached their late 20s or mid 30s. That was life with Jericho, Batista, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
But for Orton, he was an exception, not the rule. He became one of the youngest World Champions ever when he defeated Chris Benoit at SummerSlam 2004, at the young age of 24. Even though some thought it was too early to put him on the main stage, Orton embraced it immediately.
He became the WWE’s top face for a period of time when he left Evolution and had a feud with Triple H. He would turn heel after their rivalry, but he’s been one of the company’s top stars ever since. It would not be the same if he stayed in Evolution while living in Triple H’s shadow.
The company knew when it was his time.
12. Rey Mysterio Capturing World Title at WrestleMania 22
During his run with the WWE, Rey Mysterio was one of the most popular Superstars around the world. His Lucha Libre style and appeal to the fans (especially the younger audience) made him increasingly lovable.
That being said, Cruiserweight wrestlers never got a big push…until WrestleMania 22. When Mysterio won the World Heavyweight Championship over Kurt Angle and Randy Orton, it was a historic moment for the fans to endure. Even though WWE is scripted (as we know) it felt like a true underdog story. We were so accustomed to guys twice his size winning the World title.
11. Giving Triple H the Big Push
Triple H has done a lot of great things in the WWE. He has no shame being the person he is. But even he would probably tell you that his tenure in WCW was rather embarrassing and something we’d love to forget.
It’s not his fault by any means. The company didn’t use him properly. But when he went to the WWE, he became one of their most influential wrestlers, and still is today.
His alliance with The Kliq was a starting point, but his formation of D-Generation X is really what started his greatness. DX gave WWE fans what the nWo gave to WCW fans. DX became a top part of The Attitude Era and it helped Triple H rise to the top.
He’s since been one of their top performers and is working with the McMahon family, as they continue to build the dominant empire that Vince created.
10. Having Chris Jericho Win the Undisputed WWE Championship
After his aforementioned epic segment with The Rock in his WWE debut, Jericho still had a long way to go. Austin, Rock, Triple H, The Undertaker, and others were occupying the top of the card.
That was until Vengeance, when a tournament took place for the WWE and WCW World Heavyweight Championships. The night would see the two titles form into one, becoming the Undisputed Championship.
Everyone was positive it would be Rock or Austin, but Jericho beat both of them in separate matches to become the first-ever Undisputed WWE Champion. This was huge for his legacy, giving him the push he needed to instantly become one of the company’s top stars.
9. CM Punk Beating John Cena at MITB 2011
CM Punk and John Cena went into this match with the fans expecting to see Cena win. Because, well, Cena just had to win virtually every big match he was booked in. Throw in the fact that Cena would be “fired” by Vince McMahon if he lost and all signs pointed to a win for Cenation. Or so it seemed.
Punk defeated Cena to capture the WWE Championship, “leaving” the company in the process. This was an example that the smaller guys were really capable and well-suited for main event status. It wasn’t all about Cena, Triple H or The Undertaker. Punk was beginning a new wave of main event stars after this win.
8. Giving Us Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker Part II At WrestleMania
Plenty of rematches in WWE history failed to live up to the hype: There was no reason to have John Cena and The Rock headline consecutive WrestleManias, because the latter one wasn’t all that exciting.
But when Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker agreed to fight at WrestleMania XXVI after a thrilling match at XXV, fans knew they were in for a treat: Either The Undertaker’s streak ended or Shawn Michaels’ career ended.
These two put on arguably their greatest performances ever, as it was one of the most incredible moments in WWE: One excellent run would end. Ultimately, ‘Taker would put away Michaels and end his career. The Heartbreak Kid closed his career in grand fashion, while The Undertaker kept alive his undefeated streak with a remarkable performance.
7. Having Batista Turn On Evolution
Evolution was without a doubt one of the most thrilling factions of The Ruthless Aggression Era. It helped Triple H and Ric Flair add more chapters to their remarkable careers, while Randy Orton and Batista became main event Superstars following their departures from the group.
When Batista won the 2005 Royal Rumble, it became an iconic moment when he powerbombed Triple H through the contract signing table, indicating he was done with Evolution and would challenge him for his World Heavyweight Championship.
Batista would capture the title and began to build his Hall of Fame-calibre career. If WWE had chosen to keep him in Evolution longer, we’ll never really know if he would have still become a top star.
6. Giving The Rock a Huge Push
The Rock was a huge reason the WWE won the Monday Night War. After the company lost top-notch stars to WCW, like Hulk Hogan, Lex Luger, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Bret Hart, Vince McMahon needed some new guys to become the next big ones.
Enter The Rock.
He started getting his push when he beat Triple H for the Intercontinental Championship on a 1997 edition of Raw. From then on, he started feuding with other top stars like the D-Generation X faction and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Given how he became a top star and helped put away WCW, the company got it right by taking this hated character in his mid-20s and turning him into one of the biggest stars in history.
5. Edge Winning The First MITB
Before winning the very first Money in the Bank match in 2005, Edge was becoming nothing more than an underused mid-card heel. He was definitely one of the better guys on the mic and his skills in the ring were obvious, but he was stuck in no man’s land (much like Dean Ambrose is today).
So when he won his first MITB and used it to beat John Cena at New Year’s Revolution, it began one of the most epic heel runs in WWE history. Edge would have an awesome rivalry with Cena, and would feud with other stars like The Undertaker, Triple H, and Chris Jericho. His MITB victory was the start of an incredible run for the WWE Hall of Famer.
4. Making Stone Cold Steve Austin THE Guy
After being one of the many Superstars dumped by WCW, Steve Austin took his revenge on them in ECW where Austin let loose on Eric Bischoff. Austin eventually joined WWE and really made Bischoff regret his decision.
Austin won the 1996 King of the Ring tournament and would start a reign of becoming one of the greatest stars in WWE history. His infamous catchphrases, rivalries with Mr. McMahon and The Rock instantly made him the top star in the company. He helped them shift towards The Attitude Era and his entire gimmick appealed to the fans.
McMahon himself has called Austin the greatest wrestler in the company’s history. That’s all you need to know in understanding why it was critical for them to make him the guy.
3. Brock Lesnar Ending The Streak
There was huge controversy about the WWE’s decision to have Brock Lesnar end The Undertaker’s streak at WrestleMania XXX for two reasons: 1) The Streak, in some eyes, should have never ended. 2) It should have been someone else to end The Streak.
Well, the truth hurts to some, but having The Streak end, especially by Lesnar, was the right call. Here’s why:
The Undertaker was nearing the end of his career. If he retired with an undefeated streak, he’d never be able to walk away in peace. The fans, and surely Vince, would keep pressuring him to come back one more time. It’d be going on over and over again.
Why did it make sense for Lesnar to end it, other than the fact The Undertaker was reportedly fine with it? Lesnar himself destroys people outside of pro wrestling. We’ve seen him dominate in UFC. Also, Lesnar needed this win for his legacy and it’s well-cemented now. He needed this win to rise more in his career, but ‘Taker had nothing more to prove. Having Lesnar win the match made sense for all parties involved.
2. Daniel Bryan Winning at WrestleMania XXX
When Batista returned and won the 2014 Royal Rumble, it was supposed to be an iconic moment for The Animal, but the fans refused to accept him as a face and actually booed him on his way out.
One reason for that was because they were all hoping for a Daniel Bryan victory, but he wasn’t even included in the match, setting the tone for a rather boring event. But the WWE would make up for it.
Bryan defeated Triple H before moving on to defeat Batista and Randy Orton in a Triple Threat match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, giving him an incredible WrestleMania moment, while also giving the fans exactly what they wanted.
1. Mick Foley Beating The Rock for WWE Championship
Having Mick Foley booked to win the WWE Championship from The Rock was huge in three ways: First off, it was a huge underdog story, as nobody thought The Rock was losing that title on the January 4th, 1999 edition of Raw.
Second, it cemented the legacy of Foley as one of the top Superstars to ever live. That win put him over the top and showed that other guys (besides Rock, Austin, Triple H, and others) were capable of winning the title.
Third, and most importantly, this win basically put an end to WCW. Their announcer, Tony Schiavone, got the pre-taped results and announced it on air during a WCW show. Instead of keeping the remote away from fans, about 600,000 viewers switched over to WWE to watch Foley win.
And so it was the beginning of the end for WCW and the beginning of a rise for the WWE in the Monday Night War.
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