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.
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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.
The original NXT was designed like a mixture of Tough Enough and MTV’s The Real World. Hopeful wrestlers had to go through weekly challenges and win matches. But then it morphed into a terrible D-level WWE show where two of the “main eventers” were Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins from 2011 to 2012. NXT fans should be thankful the incoming superstars aren’t forced to earn points in silly segments. Overall, that final season of the NXT series felt like Whose Line Is It Anyway; where the points didn’t matter.
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.
They’ve mentioned Ring of Honor a few times in WWE.com content and had a global partnership to form the inaugural Cruiserweight Classic. But one promotion that has never been brought up by WWE is TNA Wrestling. Time spent their by their current superstars AJ Styles and Samoa Joe is almost blocked out of their bio information. The reason is likely the fears TNA would benefit from even the slightest mention of TNA Wrestling.
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.
Then things got weird after fans started pointing out the differences in both men. This eventually led to a storyline with two men as Sin Cara. The original Sin Cara would win and Hunico would continue with a different gimmick. But when Mistico left WWE due to a number of issues, Hunico returned to competing as Sin Cara. Nothing of the Sin Cara Azul vs Sin Cara Negro feud was ever mentioned again.
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.
Bryan was a heel champion at the time after gaining the upset win by taking the World Heavyweight Championship a few months prior. It had been a negative footnote surrounding Bryan’s otherwise illustrious career. However, that moment was designed to be forgotten when The Rock had a quicker win over Erick Rowan in just six seconds at WrestleMania 32.
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.
Little was said on WWE television because the WWE certainly didn’t want to mention that he was winning championships in TNA Wrestling. Not that being a four-time TNA World Heavyweight Champion is the most noteworthy accomplishment he has. Sting’s WCW resume alone spoke for itself. But as things stand now, Sting is the lone wrestler to be inducted into both the WWE and TNA Hall of Fame.
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.
It became a bigger issue when Triple H would ask Booker T to drive his limousine and carry his bag into the arena. While the match was decent, the entire storyline was mired with the racist character that Triple H portrayed. It’s the type of storyline that the WWE wouldn’t want people to be aware of. This is especially true when considering that Triple H is now seemingly the heir apparent for Vince McMahon.
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.
But officials chose to release Hardy in fear of issues between all three on the WWE roster. When the WWE decided to pair Lita and Edge on television, they attempted to ignore the Matt Hardy chants. While they brought him back for a feud with Edge, little was said about the love triangle after Hardy was eventually sent to the SmackDown brand. It was certainly a blemish on an otherwise stellar career for the Rated R Superstar.
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.
It got worse when it was revealed that Lita was pregnant with Kane’s child. The idea that a superstar raped a female member of the roster is not likely going to be brought up on television. However, the WWE is fine with their YouTube channel reminding fans about Gene Snitsky punting a baby doll, which has a questionable level of acceptance.
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.
It was essentially a handicap match where the McMahons earned the victory. However, fans would still criticize the storyline for multiple reasons. There were some who felt the gimmick was too over the top. Then there are those who felt it was in poor taste to make a mockery of any religion. It was mentioned in a 2007 HBK documentary, but not a lot since then.
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.
The segment climaxed when we saw Pillman being interviewed on his couch and pulling out a pistol. Austin would then break into Pillman’s house and the gun was pointed towards him. Shots were fired before the cameras went off the air. While there was no death or gunshot injury, it did get a lot of criticism. It would in today’s society, which is why Pillman is rarely noted in WWE today.
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.
His “death” storyline ended shortly after Chris Benoit was involved in a double murder and suicide, which brought out Mr. McMahon for the failed tribute show and the following episode of ECW. There was never any further mention of the exploding limousine. However, former writer Chris DeJoseph would later explain it was meant to create a power struggle storyline in the WWE.
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.
There was the time he sacrificed Dennis Knight in a ceremony that involved The Phenom cutting his wrist, bleeding into a goblet and having Knight drink it to become Mideon. Then there’s the time he tried to have an unholy marriage with Stephanie McMahon. He also put a noose around the neck of the Big Boss Man, who hung above the ring as Hell in a Cell was raised. Not very PG.
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.
Hassan would stage an attack against The Deadman that involved a group of masked men who certainly looked like terrorists. While it was edgy, the segment was taped before and aired the same day terrorist bombings took place in London, England. This led to a public demand of Hassan being taken off TV and he was written off. Undertaker essentially killed off the Hassan character by sending him through the stage and onto concrete at The Great American Bash.
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.
Stratus was forced to beg for her job during a 2001 episode of RAW where he forced her to be loyal, like a dog. McMahon’s character forced Stratus to get on her hands and knees like a dog, followed by barking like a dog would. This segment has gotten attention in 2012 when Linda McMahon was running for a U.S. Senate seat. Vince wife was asked about the WWE and stayed away from questions about the Stratus-Vince dog barking segment.
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.
He brought up Kane’s former girlfriend Katie Vick, who died in a car accident where Kane was a driver. But the real incident came from a taped segment where Triple H dressed as Kane walked into a funeral home re-enacting Vick’s funeral. The segment ended with the champion essentially having “romantic relations” with the “corpse.” Fans certainly felt a line was crossed.
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.
There was a special tribute episode of RAW the very next night. But since then, Hart has not been mentioned much, if at all, on WWE programming. Part of that was because Hart’s widow Martha sued the WWE and prevented them from using his likeness and name. That was settled in 2013. But there hasn’t been any talk of Hart being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, somewhere he truly deserves to be honored.
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.
The case itself was the legal equivalent of a botched match ridiculed on the internet. It ended with McMahon being acquitted. However, this wouldn’t be the last time steroids and the WWE were talked about. After the double murder-suicide involving Chris Benoit, allegations were thrown at WWE again. This did eventually lead to changes in the WWE Talent Wellness Policy.
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.
The next night just before ECW, Vince McMahon appeared to announce that from that point forward, Benoit would no longer be mentioned on WWE programming. While his name is still found on the official championship records, Benoit’s profile was removed from WWE.com. He’s also never mentioned in any news articles or videos on their website and social media accounts.
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.
The WWE would quickly remove Hogan from his judge position for Tough Enough and he became almost non-existent on WWE.com. It was a brutal blow to Hulkamania. If there was one consolation for Hogan, he did win a defamation of character lawsuit against the people who released the sex tape – Gawker Media – for a total of about $140 million.
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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