With the emergence of the WWE Network, there are countless hours of WWE television and pay per views. If you are a fan of professional wrestling, you can pretty much look up any moment that has ever happened in WWE, along with WCW, ECW and various promotions with WWE legends. However, not all moments in wrestling history are happy memories for the WWE.
In fact, there are a number of moments that WWE would like their fans to forget even happened. It would be nearly impossible to hear wrestlers or commentators make a reference to the following 20 events. The WWE would rather their fans forgot they even happened. Therefore, they try to act as if they never happened at all.
The reasons are different. Part of it has to do with the changing landscape of the professional wrestling industry. What may have been considered “acceptable” during the Attitude Era, or even the Ruthless Aggression Era, would not fly with today’s WWE audience. The views of violence and sexual innuendos have changed drastically in the last 15 years; definitely for the better.
While these events can still be found online through sites like YouTube by any wrestling fan, the WWE continues to mask certain wrestlers, matches and moments in an effort to save face. Many of these moments could possibly be brought into the public eye soon. Especially with Linda McMahon in mainstream news for being picked as the head of President-elect Donald Trump’s Small Business Administration. Either way, the following are the top 20 things that the WWE pretends didn’t happen.
20 The Origins of NXT
NXT has become one of the most popular entities of professional wrestling in the last few years. There was a point where the roster in WWE’s developmental promotion actually rivaled the WWE main roster. Fans were often talking about the rivalries booked between Kevin Owens and Finn Balor, or the latter facing Samoa Joe. Shinsuke Nakamura as the current NXT Champion has fans talking still. However, NXT had a different origin.
19 TNA Wrestling
During the Monday Night War, it was hard for the WWE to ignore the presence of WCW. They were the main rivals that had a realistic chance of winning the war in professional wrestling. But for the longest time, the WWE rarely mentioned any other promotion outside of the WWE Universe. That has changed slightly with partnerships with independent promotions around the world in recent years.
18 Two Men Portrayed Sin Cara
The Sin Cara character was originally meant to be one a case of an international superstar being catapulted into the main event picture. However, nothing ever went right. There was pretty much some kind of mistake in every match on television. It didn’t even matter who wore the mask. Mexican wrestling superstar Mistico was the first to compete as Sin Cara. An injury to him forced Hunico to take over the character.
17 Daniel Bryan’s WrestleMania XXVIII Loss
In the last few years before his unfortunate retirement, Daniel Bryan had a number of iconic moments that included the “Yes Movement” that propelled him to being in the main event of WrestleMania XXX. However, one WrestleMania moment that is not likely going to be mentioned anytime soon was an embarrassing loss at WrestleMania XXVIII to Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship. That’s because the match lasted only 18 seconds.
16 Sting’s TNA Run Before WWE
Sting was considered the last holdout to go to WWE after the closure of WCW. So when he made a surprise debut during Survivor Series 2014, it sent shockwaves on social media. Here was the icon of WCW who had never competed in the WWE, unlike other WCW stars like Booker T, Chris Benoit, Goldberg and Scott Steiner. When he was with the WWE, very little was said about what Sting was doing for the 13 years between WCW’s closure and his WWE debut.
15 Triple H Acts Racist Towards Booker T
In the month or so leading up to WrestleMania XIX, Booker T was poised to challenge Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship on RAW. It was a feud where Triple H and Ric Flair made comments about how someone like Booker T being the kind of person that can be a world champion. One phrase that was used was “people like you don’t deserve it.” It was a subtle stab at his race.
14 Edge, Hardy and Lita Love Triangle
Edge became one of the most dependable wrestlers that rose from mid-card and tag team competitor to one of the most decorated world champions in the modern era. However, he has some past demons that the WWE would rather their fans forgot ever happened. In late 2004, Edge was found to be in a real life affair with Lita, who was still dating Matt Hardy at the time. Hardy was recovering from an injury and was wanting to return.
13 Kane-Lita Storyline
When Kane was forced to remove his mask, he had become a much more disturbed WWE superstar. One of the more disturbing moments he had was the feud with Matt Hardy over his then-girlfriend Lita. In early 2004, Kane had kidnapped Lita and forced her to tell Hardy in the ring that she was moving on to another man. It had a lot of creepy vibes that were hovering around “Heidenreich and Michael Cole reading poetry” territory.
12 Vince McMahon Challenged God
Vince McMahon was part of a feud in 2006 with Shawn Michaels that put both men in a No Holds Barred match during WrestleMania 22. In the weeks that followed, the WWE Chairman was hoping to get under the skin of the Heartbreak Kid by mocking his religion. This would lead to McMahon challenging Michaels to a tag team match at Backlash. Mr. McMahon would team with his son and Michaels was paired with the Holy Father.
11 Steve Austin Goes to Brian Pillman’s Home
In the early years of WWE’s Attitude Era, one of the more interesting feuds was between “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Brian Pillman. The two had plenty of history between them that was very well documented in the feud they had in 1996. The two were former friends who became bitter rivals. Bitter enough where Austin “broke” Pillman’s ankle in the ring during a brawl. Austin then claimed he was going to finish the job at Pillman’s home.
10 Vince McMahon’s “Death”
Fake deaths have never really gone over well with WWE fans; whether it was the Attitude Era or the current PG Era. But in the final moments of a 2007 episode of Monday Night RAW, Vince McMahon took a very weird stroll to his limousine after the show was over. Once he closed the door, his limo exploded and the flames looked as if anyone inside had no chance of survival.
9 Attitude Era’s Version of The Undertaker
The Undertaker certainly has established himself as one of the best characters in professional wrestling, not just in the WWE. Not many names beyond the Deadman are more recognizable (i.e. Hulk Hogan and “Macho Man” Randy Savage). However, the WWE doesn’t always reference everything in the past. In the PG version of the WWE, a lot of Undertaker’s past actions in the highly controversial Attitude Era would never be accepted by most of the audience.
8 Muhammad Hassan’s Group Attacks The Undertaker
The WWE has often created characters who are anti-American and real-life events around the world. When Muhammad Hassan debuted on SmackDown, it was a few years after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and the United States’ war against terrorism was in full swing. Hassan was meant to be a top heel eventually with the focus on how he was against America's view on Muslim Americans. However, a feud with The Undertaker ended his WWE career.
7 Vince McMahon Demoralizes Trish Stratus
Today’s WWE has certainly put a lot of focus on empowering women in the industry. The Divas Revolution has brought us the first ever women’s Hell in a Cell match earlier this year. But there was a time when women weren’t held to the same standard that they are now. Look no further to the Attitude Era when women were often promoted in a sexual light. Among those moments was a scene when Vince McMahon embarrassed Trish Stratus in the ring.
6 Katie Vick Incident
The Ruthless Aggression Era had its share of moments that were almost as controversial as the Attitude Era before it. Sometimes, those Ruthless Aggression Era moments were a little darker or controversial than they had planned. When Kane was challenging Triple H for RAW’s World Heavyweight Championship in 2002, Triple H’s character pulled something from Kane’s past to play mind games with the challenger.
5 Owen Hart’s Tragic Death
One of the saddest moments in WWE history took place during the 1999 Over the Limit pay per view in Kansas City, Mo. Owen Hart, who was working a gimmick as the Blue Blazer in the WWE, was to be repelled down to the ring from the catwalk area. However, there was an issue involving a release clip that sent him falling into the ring and suffering an injury that killed him in front of thousands of fans in the arena.
4 WWE Faced a Major Steroid Scandal
No matter how powerful many view Vince McMahon in the world of professional wrestling, his empire nearly fell before it reached its true potential. There were many questions about the use of steroids in wrestling and McMahon’s WWE was at the center of the attention. McMahon even faced charges in 1993 that revolved around the company allegedly getting talents performance-enhancing substances to help them look bigger and stronger in the ring.
3 Chris Benoit, In General
When the first reports of the tragic deaths involving Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy and their son Daniel, there was still an investigation going on. The WWE decided to make an entire episode of RAW as a tribute to the three. However, full details about Benoit murdering his son and wife were revealed. The WWE received plenty of criticism for their tribute, even though their intentions meant well. The WWE would then make the decision to further distance themselves from Benoit.
2 Hulk Hogan Removed From WWE
It turns out that there are multiple ways a WWE superstar can be removed from WWE’s history. It doesn’t matter if you were a low-tier enhancement talent or a legend, the WWE will not tolerate controversies outside of the ring. Hulk Hogan learned that in 2015 when the company ended his contract with the promotion. It all stemmed from the sex tape that was released where he made racial slurs about African Americans.
1 Their Original Name
The WWE was not always known by that acronym. They were originally a Northeast territory promotion that formed into World Wide Wrestling Federation, before spending more than 20 years as World Wrestling Federation. Over the years, they went by that name until there were issues with another “WWF” – the World Wildlife Fund. The two groups had an agreement in 1994 that the conservation group would have exclusive rights to “WWF” outside of the United States.
But the wrestling promotion kept it through the Attitude Era, essentially ignoring the agreement. In 2002, Vince McMahon’s promotion was found to have breached the agreement by the U.K. Court of Appeals. This forced the WWE to rebrand and try to blur out any images of their former initials. But in 2012, the two sides came to an agreement that previously archived footage didn’t have to censor the original initials. Still, the WWE prefers to call themselves World Wrestling Entertainment and tries to ignore the WWF if possible.
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