Over the years, we’ve seen the WWE boast about some of its historic achievements where it ousted other sports at some records which elevated the status and prestige of the company. Right from WrestleMania III, where WWE broke the record for highest attendance of a live indoor event in North America with 93,173 people watching it inside the Silverdome, they boast about this fact till this day and will probably continue to do so forever. Other, more modern achievements like the success of the WWE Network and many a WrestleMania being more popular than the grandeur event of other sports in America have been touted over and over again by the WWE, who can’t help but show their beaming pride at their success.
But just like everything else, WWE has had its lows over the years and has had to go through some humiliating moments which damaged the image of the company. This includes failed storylines or dangerous gimmicks produced by the WWE itself and for which they’re completely at fault, but the WWE has always been quick to shove it under the rug and keep quiet about it forever. Be it controversies regarding their current and former superstars or any internal problems within the company, the WWE does not let it be remembered for very long and often just decides to straight up ignore the problems.
We’ve seen instances of some controversial superstars who’ve been completely forgotten by the WWE, who act almost like they don’t exist, as Vince McMahon tries to shove his failures out of our of memories and in a perfect world would like to keep it that way. Some important things which have happened over the years are ignored by the WWE completely, as the company has a bad history of running away from its failures.
20. Daniel Bryan's WrestleMania XXVIII Loss
So Daniel Bryan, one of the Indy darlings and a guy who was just gaining his momentum after winning the World Heavyweight Title some months back, had to job to Sheamus in his World Title match at WrestleMania XXVIII. Bryan (a heel at that time) would lose to Sheamus in 18 seconds, making it one of the shortest matches in WrestleMania history. This didn’t go over well with too many people who were extremely disappointed at Bryan’s treatment, but two years after he’d go on to win the WWE World Title in the main event. WWE covered this up recently as Erick Rowan was defeated by the Rock in six seconds which made it the shortest match in WrestleMania history.
18 Gene Snitsky Punts Lita’s baby
Snitsky had quite the debut when he faced Kane in a no DQ match, but things escalated into becoming disturbingly absurd when he knocked Kane onto Lita who was then pregnant (kayfabe) with Kane’s child and caused her to miscarriage. This started a fiery rivalry between the two, with Lita being shown as a victim; many disgusting things were on display, including Snitsky punting a baby (actually a doll) onto the crowd and saying "It wasn’t his fault" which would then go on to become his catchphrase. WWE obviously wouldn’t want itself remembered for showing live miscarriages and abuse against women, so they moved Snitsky onto newer things and have forgotten about this ordeal altogether.
17 Vince McMahon vs "God"
It’s no big secret that Vince McMahon holds himself in extremely high regard. Being the person who elevated the WWE to worldwide success, he has every right to be proud of building this global empire. However, at times, just in order to gain more fans, McMahon goes over the limit, like what he did at Backlash 2006 when he paired himself with son Shane to take on Shawn Michaels and God Himself. The McMahons were feuding with Michaels who had returned to the WWE as a religious, God-loving man and in order to mock him, Vince made this match and introduced "God"’ to the ring as a spotlight was used for the almighty Himself. It’s no surprise that the WWE wants to completely ignore this.
16 Miss Kitty flashes on Live TV
Stacy Carter is known for being a manager during the late Attitude Era as she had managed many a wrestler from Jeff Jarrett to Chyna to Right to Censor. However, she’ll forever be known for her deeds at the 1999 Armageddon PPV, where she won her first WWE women’s title in a four corners evening gown match. Obviously excited from the win, Miss Kitty would then go on to flash her breasts to the crowd marking the first case of intentional nudity in WWE. The company would apologize to fans for the mistake on their part, and Kitty would then go on to manage Right To Censor for ironic purposes. Being a PG show nowadays, this incident is removed from the Network and WWE records.
15 Muhammad Hassan's terrorist storyline
Muhammad Hassan’s gimmick was one of the most controversial ones of the past decades, as some of the actions of his characters got many people offended and brought him some serious heat. It all escalated in a SmackDown episode in 2005 where Hassan "summoned" five men covered in black clothing who beat on the Undertaker, giving Hassan the upper-hand going into their match at The Great American Bash PPV. However, three days later the London Bombings happened and an irate UPN network demanded Hassan’s character be taken off TV and in the months following he was removed from TV indefinitely. This storyline caused massive controversy and WWE tries to cover up their mistake to this day.
14 The Invasion Angle
This was what could’ve been one of the most productive storylines in the history of pro wrestling, but in the end just made us feel disappointed and wanting so much more. It started after Vince McMahon bought WCW and Shane (kayfabe) announced that he’d actually bought it as the two sets of competitors collided on RAW. In one episode, some ECW wrestlers came to the aid of WCW as Paul Heyman aligned with Shane and Stephanie McMahon to start the "Invasion". This angle had many title changes, focusing on Stone Cold and The Rock (two of the top stars at the time) but didn’t feel that good without the top stars of WCW or vibrancy of ECW being there. In the end WWE’s team won and Vince McMahon has since tried to bury it underground.
13 Edge and Matt Hardy’s Feud
So this feud wasn’t exactly "scripted" so to speak, as it started off because of some very real controversies. Matt Hardy and Lita were in a relationship and also good friends and travelling companions with Edge. However, after Hardy was injured and was on the sidelines for a couple of months, Lita and Edge grew close and had an affair behind Hardy’s back. When Hardy got wind of this, he went mad with rage, showing it on live TV and calling Edge by his real name, Adam. It all culminated into Hardy being fired but re-hired sometime later for an on-screen feud over this matter. Years after everyone had moved on, WWE probably realized its mistake on not handling this matter correctly and just disregards that fact now.
12 Triple H And Booker T’s Racist Storyline
The Triple H and Booker T feud going into their WrestleMania XIX match was a showcase of some absolutely racist, offensive booking by the WWE. Triple H acted like he was the superior of the two men (which is okay considering he’s a heel), but then he referred to Booker as a "boy" and someone "not in the same status" as himself. To make things worse, Ric Flair would tell Booker to "take care of his bags". Booker would go on to lose the match (which he was supposed to win until Triple H lobbied to have himself win) and then fall lower down the card. Vince probably thought of this as sticking it to WCW, but must’ve later realized his mistake by giving Booker T a World Title run some years later and trying to make us forget this injustice.
11 Stone Cold Leaves the Company Hanging
Tired of the way he was booked, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin no showed a RAW event in June 2002 and the WWE announced that he had left while under contract and had no plans to come back. "Stone Cold" himself publicly talked of his disgust at the way the creative team was booking him and was adamant about not coming back. Vince McMahon had to go on without his top star, making The Rock the alpha male of the company as the Brahma Bull would also vent his frustrations towards the Rattlesnake on RAW. Austin would return after some months and have a short stint before retiring from wrestling, and now hosts his own podcast on the WWE Network.
10 Goldberg’s Run in WWE
When Goldberg finally jumped into the WWE scene in 2003, many would’ve expected the beginning of some of the spectacular feuds and matches he could have with the array of talent in the WWE. He was introduced as a big-shot main eventer and went undefeated showing signs of his WCW persona. He also got a World Heavyweight Championship opportunity soon and after some tries won it from Triple H at Unforgiven, before losing it back to him some months later. He then had a lackluster battle against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XX, which he won but then left the company. Goldberg had his moments, but the WWE doesn’t really advertise his existence in the company.
9 Vince McMahon’s "Death"
It’s no secret that Vince McMahon views himself to be the "God" of Wrestling and he has over the years booked his own character, Mr. McMahon, extremely well to be one of the best heels of all time. After years of being a total jerk to all of his companions on-screen, Vinny Mac decided that it was time to stage the death of his on-screen character, allowing him to move on backstage. WWE staged it by showing McMahon get inside the limousine which exploded afterwards, and many media outlets also reported of his death (it was obviously kayfabe). However, the tragic Chris Benoit incident forced Vince to come back on-screen and deal with the situation and he has since tried to erase the memory of him "dying" on live TV.
8 Jimmy Snuka’s Murder Charge
The WWE is always pretty protective of its legends, and when it comes to someone like Jimmy Snuka who ushered a new trend of wrestling into the company, they’d always defend him in difficult situations. However, when the Hall of Famer was charged with third-degree murder, which was committed in 1983 of his then girlfriend Jose Estrada, WWE was caught in a difficult predicament as his daughter Tamina was also now a part of WWE TV storylines. They handled the situation quite well by not firing Tamina and kept her just as her character was, but they don’t mention her father much these days.
7 Katie Vick Angle
The Katie Vick angle is one of the most disgusting story-arcs in WWE history as they truly went overboard with this one. During the Triple H-Kane feud in 2002, Triple H announced that Kane had assaulted his dead girlfriend Katie Vick’s corpse. Then he would go on to show himself, disguised as Kane, mingling with Katie Vick’s "dead body" as this horrible story-line showing necrophilia disgusted fans all around. The WWE soon ended this feud and hasn’t brought it up since, as neither do they want to pretend like it existed nor do we want to remember it.
6 WWE’s Steroid Scandal
This is an incident which could’ve meant the end of Vince McMahon and proverbially the end of the WWE before the Monday Night Wars even began. In 1993, Vince McMahon was charged with supplying illegal steroids to his wrestlers to build up their physiques by the US Attorney of the Eastern District of New York. What could’ve been a quick ordeal dragged on because of some legal errors and sloppy testimonies, including one by Hulk Hogan who said that he had taken drugs but that Vince hadn't supplied them nor told him to take them. In the end, McMahon wasn’t charged.
5 Stone Cold and Brian Pillman Incident
Brian Pillman was a long-time friend and former tag team partner of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin when he arrived at the WWE and aligned himself with the Rattlesnake. However, they soon got into a heated rivalry where Austin would kayfabe break Pillman’s ankle, keeping him confined to his home. In a segment in November 1996, Austin would try to break into Pillman’s home with the agenda of "taking him out for good" and got to him only to have a 9 mm pistol pulled on him. The camera tried to back out after this happened, but sounds of "shots fired" were heard by commentator Vince McMahon and later when the feed was picked back up, the camera’s caught Pillman's friends dragging Austin and Pillman threatening to "kill that son of a b****". WWE would apologize for this whole angle but with PG being instilled in the system, they pretend like this never happened.
4 The Chyna Scandal
Nicknamed the "Ninth Wonder of the World" during her time at the WWE, Chyna was a wrestler who changed the landscape of Women’s wrestling and brought equality in the wrestling field. She is the first and only woman to win the IC Title, and her time with DX is renowned for its antics. She also had an off-screen relation with Triple H who later allegedly cheated on her with Stephanie McMahon and Chyna was soon fired for protesting this situation. She would go on for years trying to reach out to the WWE and Triple H who would disregard her, demeaning her very existence and wouldn’t even bat an eye before her recent death. Although Chyna is a controversial figure for her adult entertainment career, how the WWE ignored her was pretty cruel for an important star of the Attitude Era.
3 The Curtain Call Incident
The Kliq (consisting of Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall) was a backstage group of buddies in the 90s but were broken up when Nash and Hall decided to take up shop in the rising WCW. In their final matches in MSG, Nash (a heel at the time) wrestled a face Michaels while a face Hall was up against a heel Triple H. After the main event between Nash and Michaels, Hall came up to the ring to hug Michaels but things really got confusing when Triple H came in and the four men hugged it out in the ring. Breaking Kayfabe in this era was an absolute no-no, so Vince McMahon got really ticked off when footage was leaked of the incident happening and Triple H was the victim of it, losing out his King of the Ring winning moment. Because the internet wasn’t booming during that era, it didn’t deter WWE’s business that much, but the company really doesn’t want us to remember about this incident.
2 Hulk Hogan's Scandals
Hulk Hogan is the wrestler who put the WWE on the map. He was Vince McMahon’s "guy" in the 80s to usher WWE into the mainstream business, and is one of the top guys in the history of the company and an icon who can be remembered by even the most casual fans. Hogan separated from the WWE after the 80s, sometimes coming back for stints into the company and then promoting it later on, but his image was rocked when he was part of some disgusting scandals which destroyed the Hulkster's image in the eyes of his millions of fans. He would have a sex tape scandal (from which he would win a lot of cash suing Gawker Media) and he would confess to making extreme, racist comments in the past for which WWE would fire him. Not only did they fire him, but they also deleted all of his history and moments in the company from their records, but soon would bring it back after things cooled down.
2. Owen Hart’s Death
Owen Hart’s death was the only death to happen on live WWE TV and happened at the Over the Edge PPV in 1999. Hart, playing the gimmick of The Blue Blazer (a comical masked "superhero"), was supposed to do a stunt from the rafters and land with the help of a wire. However, everything went wrong when the early release mechanism let got and Hart fell 78 ft to his death. Commentator Jim Ross would announce it to the audience as the show did controversially go on after this, and a tribute was made the night after the incident on RAW being dedicated to him. His family got $18 million in 2000 for the tragedy and the WWE hasn’t mentioned the incident or even Owen himself since, nor has he been inducted to the Hall of Fame, which he very much deserves.
1 Chris Benoit
If you go to WWE headquarters and ask about someone named Chris Benoit today, the authorities are probably going to act oblivious as to who you’re referring to. This is a sad fact in the case of WWE who have decided to absolutely wipe out any trace of Benoit’s career in the WWE, which consisted of many championship wins, including one in the main event of WrestleMania XX. Benoit’s double murder/suicide in 2007 would rock the whole foundation of WWE and they would erase any memory of him being in the company, and are still adamant at keeping it that way. It's understandable, but also tragic as his amazing wrestling career is overshadowed by one terrifying incident.