World Wrestling Entertainment is the most successful professional wrestling company in the world, an organization that has been built on a storied history. It is, thus, not at all surprising that the WWE frequently references wrestlers and events from the past. “Then. Now. Forever.” is the slogan that appears at the start of WWE programs such as Raw and SmackDown. The WWE has a reputation for employing a talented staff that creates memorable and impressive highlight-reel packages that take diehard fans and casual viewers on trips down figurative memory lanes. One of the appealing things about the WWE network is that fans can watch shows from years and even decades ago.
Performers who would top a list of the greatest North American wrestlers in history have, at one point or another during their legendary careers, worked underneath the WWE umbrella. The company routinely offers shout-outs for those individuals because of all that they accomplished. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is, of course, welcomed back on WWE shows, and his podcast has been featured on WWE Network on multiple occasions. The Rock left the WWE to become a Hollywood megastar, but Rock has also been no stranger to the company where he made his name as a performer. There are all kinds of reasons why the WWE would be quick to point out that the company helped “make” Dwayne Johnson who he is today.
For every name such as Austin or Rock, however, exists a wrestler that the WWE pretends never existed as a performer for the company. The first example that comes to the mind of a passionate follower of the business may be a man who committed heinous acts that resulted in his demise and also in the deaths of his wife and his child. His name will probably never again be spoken on-air by anybody working for the WWE, and for good reason. Another wrestler who is currently not welcome at WWE events is a man who has had an up-and-down relationship with the company throughout the past couple of decades.
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15 Jeff Hardy
It was not even a decade ago when Jeff Hardy and not John Cena was the top babyface in the WWE worthy of being a world champion. You would not know that this happened, though, unless you went out of your way to read up on this portion of Hardy's career or if you watched older shows via the WWE Network. Hardy's well-documented battles with personal demons kept him from being a long-term massive draw and Superstar in the WWE, and he eventually made his way back to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. The legacies left by Jeff and Matt Hardy may one day be recognized by the WWE, but only years down the road, if ever.
14 New Jack
WWE has a long history of bringing back former Extreme Championship Wrestling stars, a history that dates back over a decade. New Jack has not been part of those ECW revivals, though, and it is not difficult to see why he and the company are not on great terms. One could spend hours listening to the hardcore icon criticize the WWE simply by searching “New Jack shoot WWE.” One of the all-time hits that you would probably stumble upon would include New Jack referring to Vince McMahon as “the biggest pimp on the planet.” A podcast featuring Steve Austin interviewing New Jack that aired on the WWE Network would be awesome.
13 Ole Anderson
Ole Anderson has a reputation among people in the wrestling industry for not liking much of anything these days. Vince McMahon and Hulk Hogan are just two individuals known by WWE fans who have been criticized by Anderson over the years. The WWE left little doubt that the company was going to pretend that Anderson did not exist when the company elected to induct a version of stable The Four Horsemen that included Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Barry Windham, Tully Blanchard and J.J. Dillon. Ole, per the WWE, was not worthy of a Hall of Fame spot despite the fact that he was in the original Horsemen. Ouch.
12 Stacy Carter
You may occasionally see a random picture of Stacy Carter, who went by “The Kat” during her time with the company, on the WWE website. That is about as far as the WWE will go in recognizing the former Diva. Carter and the WWE went through a negative falling out in 2001, one that resulted in Jerry “The King” Lawler, Carter's real-life husband, also leaving the company. Lawler would eventually return to the WWE to the delight of fans, in part because his relationship with Carter did not last. Who could have possibly guessed that those two crazy kids would not stay together forever?
11 Scott Steiner
One could write a short essay on why the WWE pretends that Scott Steiner does not exist. Steiner has a history of hitting out at the WWE, including Triple H, during shoot interviews that have been featured on websites such as YouTube. You may remember hearing or reading a stories about Steiner allegedly confronting the wife of Hulk Hogan over the weekend of WrestleMania 31. There were plenty of reasons to believe, once WCW shut down for good, that Steiner would never be a proper fit in the WWE. That relationship is now non-existent and Steiner is no longer mentioned during WWE shows.
The relationship that the WWE has had with Sunny over the years has been about as rocky as the real personal life of the former Diva. Sunny has been welcomed back with open arms by the WWE on multiple occasions and she is a member of the WWE Hall of Fame. Diehard fans of the business are likely well aware of Sunny's many run-ins with the law following her last appearance on WWE television. She even spent over 100 days in jail in 2013. While Sunny's career has not been erased from WWE history, the company probably is not going to go out of the way to put a spotlight on her during new programming that will air in 2016.
There are a plethora of reasons why the WWE would like to pretend that the wrestler known as Nailz never existed. For starters, Nailz was not, no disrespect meant, a ring general or a great performer. He was also allegedly involved in a financial dispute with Vince McMahon that got violent and ugly, a matter that resulted in the two sides filing lawsuits. The cherry on top of the sundae would probably have to be the fact that Nailz testified in the 1990s that McMahon had told him to take steroids. Even mocking the Nailz character would probably not be worth the WWE's time these days.
8 Original Sin Cara
2016 could be an exciting year for the WWE and for fans who love the NXT brand. Reports have emerged that the WWE has “raided” New Japan Pro Wrestling in order to sign, among other talents, A.J. Styles, which you can read about here. Before Styles, Finn Balor, Samoa Joe and others linked up with the WWE, the company first acquired Mistico. One of the biggest pro wrestling stars in Mexico failed to adapt once in the WWE, though, and he was responsible for some terrible matches in the WWE. While the Sin Cara character continues to exist, the man who was originally set to play that role has since parted ways with the WWE, never to be mentioned again.
7 Kurt Angle
Kurt Angle probably should have had a long-lasting legacy within the WWE. One of the greatest wrestlers in the history of the company, Angle and the WWE parted ways in 2006 in part because Angle was dealing with injuries. Angle was not, to the surprise of some fans and observers, close to being finished as an active performer. He signed with TNA Wrestling, where Angle became, for a time, a legitimate draw for that company. There have since been numerous rumors that Angle and the WWE could again do business with each other, although that has not yet occurred. Angle has since become only a memory for wrestling fans who have chosen to ignore TNA.
6 Jeff Jarrett
Who among us who tuned in to WWE programming on that fateful night in 2001 will forget Vince McMahon explaining that Jeff Jarrett was probably “Capital-G Double-O Double-N Double-E: Gone” after McMahon had purchased WCW. Jarrett, some fans may remember, (allegedly) held McMahon up for additional pay before dropping the Intercontinental Championship to, of all people, the person who is next on this list before Jarrett completed the switch over to WCW. If that was not enough to make Jarrett an enemy of the WWE, he then started up TNA Wrestling to compete with McMahon. That did not end well for Jarrett.
Oh, where to begin on why the WWE pretends that Chyna does not exist. Perhaps it could have something to do with her prior relationship with Triple H, one that did not end all that well and one that was followed by Triple H eventually marrying Stephanie McMahon. Chyna's past comments about certain WWE personnel probably did not help her cause, nor did her work in the adult film industry. In reality, Chyna probably does deserve recognition for the work that she did during her WWE career. Instead, however, the WWE will likely continue pretending that Chyna doesn't exist.
4 Jimmy Snuka
We hope that you enjoyed seeing that footage of Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka leaping off of a steal cage during a match that occurred at Madison Square Garden. You probably won't be catching it on WWE programming ever again. In September of 2015, Snuka was arrested and charged in connection with the mysterious death of his girlfriend, a tragedy that occurred in 1983, after new evidence came to light. Snuka has since become a distant memory in the WWE Universe, a figure who exists only in old footage that can be accessed via the WWE Network. Tamina Snuka, Jimmy's daughter, remains a part of the active WWE roster.
3 CM Punk
Any chances of the relationship involving the WWE and CM Punk being saved were dashed when Punk ripped the company apart during that infamous podcast episode that was released over Thanksgiving Weekend of 2014. Punk followed that up by announcing that he had signed a deal with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. While WWE has not completely erased Punk's legacy from the company's website and from the WWE Network, Punk is not going to be praised by commentators during segments of Raw and SmackDown. Odds are that Punk is not going to be in need of money to the point that he will fall on his sword and make a return to the WWE at some point in the near future.
2 Hulk Hogan
The famous adage teaches us to “never say never,” particularly as it pertains to the world of professional wrestling. Perhaps there will one day come a time when Hulk Hogan, one of the most successful performers in the history of the industry, will be welcomed back to the WWE with open arms. Do not hold your breath waiting for that to happen anytime soon. Hogan was fired from the company in 2015 after racist and homophobic comments that he made in the past were made public. The Hulkster's name was erased from portions of the official WWE website and the company has since pretended that he does not exist.
1 Chris Benoit
The top example of a wrestler the WWE pretends and/or wishes never existed will likely forever be Chris Benoit. Benoit, of course, will always be remembered for the despicable murders of his wife and young son that occurred before the former world champion wrestler took his own life. WWE has understandably done just about everything possible to distance itself from Benoit the wrestler and Benoit the person. While the WWE Network still shows older matches that featured Benoit, his name will probably never again be spoken out loud during a live WWE program. Even parts of Benoit's moveset have been eliminated from WWE matches.
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