All television shows run into some continuity problems, which can easily be overlooked by fans. Where as most programs have season finales and off seasons, professional wrestling and is in a unique position by premiering new episodic content every week of the year. Though the content is always new, glaring oversights in storylines can sometimes leave fans scratching their heads.
It is true that sometimes WWE has no control over changing directions in the middle of storylines, evident with the company's name change in 2002. Due to a licensing agreement with the World Wildlife Fund, WWF was forced to become WWE or face stiff legal penalties. WWE openly acknowledged the name change on air. Creative even went as far as to come up with slogans like “Get the F Out” to acclimate fans and to help fans forget about the former name.
WWE continues to frame their stories the way they want, omitting parts of the show that they deem to be unnecessary for us to think about. Small examples include name changes in the early stages of a performer's career. Recently Antonio Cesaro, Big E Langston, and Adrian Neville were all forced to either their first or last names for no given reason.
Because of the rapid expansion of digital content, WWE is going to be forced to come face to face with some of their past missteps. With that being said today we are going to look at the top 25 things that WWE wants us to forget. This list contains storylines, real life scandals, and some things that happened behind the scenes, but all of the entries on this list will continue to live on in infamy on the internet.
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25 'What?' chants
Remember… WHAT?! When we all had to sit through… WHAT?! Stone Cold… WHAT?! doing this every week in 2001 … WHAT?! Well the WWE universe still remembers, even though some of them weren’t even born yet. The WWE actually lists the chant as the number three greatest crowd chant of all time, but the on air talent have been visually frustrated by the constant jeering. Steve Austin has gone on record as saying that wrestlers can beat the chant if they "just keep talking, just like I'm doing, I don't give you a chance to say it."
24 Bra and Panties Matches
Even though women’s wrestling is currently in a rut, the WWE will never try to bring back a match that most of us remember; the Bra and Panties Match. The object of the match was simple, if you could strip your opponent down to their underwear, you were declared the winner. This type of match was pretty popular during the Attitude Era, but has since fizzled out with the move into the PG Era.
23 Mike Adamle
"Everyone in anticipation of tonight's Royal Rumble here, another man who has been waiting anxiously in anticipation, his name is Jeff Harvey."
WWE wants us all to forget about the time they hired Mike Adamle, and especially forget that they made him an on-air talent. Some of Adamle’s most infamous lowlights are pronouncing Jeff Hardy’s name wrong, getting the name of the company wrong, and commonly being listed as the worst commentator of all time.
22 The Use of the Words Belt or Strap
The WWE World Heavyweight Championship is a buckle that is on a leather strap, that you wear at your waist...but it is not a belt! WWE has discouraged on air talents from using any words but the approved verbiage to describe WWE titles. After the WrestleMania 31 Hall of Fame ceremony, it was reported that WWE officials were upset with Shawn Michaels for using the word strap while introducing Kevin Nash. Matt Striker shed some light on the subject in an interview with Temple News saying, "No words are banned. There are some phrases [that are] not part of the dialogue, but there are good reasons why. For example, a championship is not a belt. A belt holds up your pants.”
21 The Anonymous Raw General Manager
During the summer of 2010 Bret Hart was the interim General Manager of Raw, that is until Mr. McMahon removed him from power. Shortly after Hart’s firing, an anonymous GM was giving directives to WWE Superstars from the shadows. The Anonymous GM’s only connection to the WWE universe were messages sent to a laptop, which were then read by commentator Michael Cole. The storyline always seemed to suggest that the GM was some Superstar from the past, due to the constant use of WWE catchphrases. In the end it was revealed that Hornswoggle was the Anonymous GM, and WWE doesn't want us to remember the lackluster finish to a long drawn out story line.
20 Ric Flair Has Wrestled Since His Retirement
The Nature Boy was retired in one of the most storybook endings in WWE history. In the winter of 2008, Ric Flair was in the midst of a storyline where his career hinged on winning every match. Fast forward to WrestleMania XXIV, and Flair had gone on an impressive winning streak, only to be defeated by Shawn Michaels. WWE would have fans believe that this was the final time Flair laced his boots, but that is far from true. It was too hard for Flair to stay out of the squared circle, and he returned to action various times in TNA as well as The Hulkamania: Let the Battle Begin tour.
19 Blood in Matches
Juice, color, blading, whatever you want to call it, WWE has banned all intentional bleeding by their performers. This isn’t the first time WWE has banned blood, as the removal of blood in matches is influenced by the market that WWE is targeting. An example of catering to the audience demographics is the transition from the family friendly 1990s, to the Attitude Era; and once again from the Ruthless Aggression Era into the PG Era. The most recent ban is attributed to the 2008 feud between Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho. On a recent episode of Jericho’s podcast, Talk is Jericho, Michaels admits that he got “too bloody” in one of their matches, and that he ruined it for everyone.
18 Chair Shots to the Head
How do you fake a chair shot?... the short answer; you don’t. Before the days of concussion impact tests, most wrestlers would regularly take chair shots to the head. In most cases WWE performers would put their hands up and whip back their neck to limit the amount of contact being made. Some superstars however, did not protect their heads and leaned into chair shots to emphasize the brutality of their match. In 2010 WWE banned all chair shots to the head, citing the change as an amendment to the Concussion Management Program originally instituted in 2008.
17 Rey Mysterio Wrestled Without a Mask
WWE has had several matches and storylines where the stipulations were whether or not Rey Mysterio would remove his mask. What they don’t want us to remember is that he actually wrestled without his mask while employed by WCW from 1999 until the final episode of Nitro in March of 2001. The added emotional stakes that derive from a lucha removing their mask can be enough to drive a storyline, which it could have if we hadn't have already seen Mysterio’s face.
16 What NXT Was
In 2010 WWE launched a new brand on The Syfy Network called NXT, which took over the now defunct ECW show. The concept was to put developmental wrestlers on television with the added backing of a main roster coach to help them get over with the crowd. Fast forward to February of 2014, and NXT Arrival is a completely reinvented, version of a developmental television show. In fact the NXT shows on the WWE Network are often favored over the main roster shows by most fans. When looking at what NXT was, compared to what it is now, it is very certain that WWE wants to put the original experiment behind them.
15 The Walls of Jericho is the Boston Crab
The WWE doesn’t want you to know that the Walls of Jericho is just the Boston Crab. Back in WCW and early WWE days, Jericho would have such an incline on the hold that an opponent's sternum was pressed against the mat and the back of their heels were almost touching their head. For a little added torture Jericho would even dig his knee into the back of his opponents head , forcing them to tap out faster. At its best the Walls of Jericho is a legitimately painful move, but Y2J rarely does the move to its fullest extent anymore.
14 The AA Used to be Called the FU
With the gradual transition into the PG era WWE changed quite a few things, one being the use of suggestive language. The current face of the company, John Cena, went as far as to change the name of his finishing maneuver to appeal to the younger fan base. Cena claims that it was his choice to make the change in a 2009 interview with Sports Illustrated. The FU was a play on words towards Brock Lesnar’s F5 move, which also started in a fireman's carry position.
13 Muhammad Hassan's Career
Muhammad Hassan was the single biggest heel to enter the wrestling business in 2004. The United States still harbored unresolved feelings about Muslim culture. The 9/11 attacks were still fresh in the mind of many, and due to this Hassan was poised for a huge push and great career. Everything was going according to plan with the character, until the London Bombings in 2005. The terrorist attack, which killed 52 people, took place hours before a pre-taped airing of Smackdown. Smackdown featured a storyline where Hassan hired five masked men to attack The Undertaker. The network that carried Smackdown, UPN, demanded that the performer be removed from television.
12 Triple H and The Undertaker Have Wrestled Three Times at WrestleMania
Undertaker versus Triple H at WrestleMania XXVIII part two was slated to be one of the greatest rematches since WrestleMania XXVI, where we saw an epic conclusion to the Undertaker versus Shawn Michaels saga. The only problem was that in reality this was the third time that the two legends faced off at a Wrestlemania. All the way back at WrestleMania X-Seven, the Cerebral Assassin met the American Bad Ass version of The Undertaker in a singles match. WWE never mentioned their first match at WrestleMania X-Seven during the two year feud between the future Hall of Famers.
11 The Katie Vick Storyline
In one of the most infamously bad storylines in WWE History, Triple H accused Kane of murder, rape, and necrophilia. The short version of the story is that Kane accidentally caused the death of his former girlfriend whose name was Katie Vick. Triple H instigated this tragedy and mocked it by recreating Vick’s funeral, while pretending to be Kane. The worst visual the world saw was Triple H, in a Kane mask, simulating having sex with Vick’s corpse. The storyline was quickly dropped, and Ms. Vick has never been mentioned again.
10 Triple H Drugged Stephanie McMahon
Back when the Attitude Era was in full throttle, the lines between reality and fiction were starting to blur. Stephanie McMahon was embroiled in many storylines, which had portrayed her as a damsel in distress. After months of being involved in kidnapping storylines with The Undertaker, she finally found her soul mate in Andrew “Test” Martin. The on screen couple culminated their love in wedding on Raw in 1999, that was interrupted by Triple H. The Game showed fans a home movie of an unconscious Stephanie McMahon in his car, who unknowingly became Mrs. Hemsley in Las Vegas. The part that WWE probably doesn't want fans to remember is that Triple H supposedly drugged his future wife, kidnapped her, then finally consummated the marriage many times over while she was unconscious.
9 Wrestling Has A Higher Death Rate Than Any Sport
If fans wanted to recreate WrestleMania VI, we could only book five of the 14 matches that were on the card that night. Nine of the matches that the pay per view featured involved at least one superstar who has since passed away. WWE has never really addressed the issue of their performers having shorter life expectancies, but have instituted wellness policies to combat the scary statistics. Though it’s not considered a full fledged sport like the four major American leagues, the facts confirm that pro wrestlers have shorter lifespans than any other professional athletes.
8 Cesaro was a Paul Heyman Guy
Remember those three months when Cesaro was a client of Paul Heyman? Oh you don’t? Well that’s because WWE wants it that way. The Raw following WrestleMania XXX featured Cesaro proclaiming that he “was a Paul Heyman guy” and the announcement seemed to be a match made in heaven. The initial idea was that Heyman could serve as the mouthpiece to Cesaro, and eventually the duo could contend for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Unfortunately these ideas never came into fruition, and Cesaro floated around the middle of the card even despite Paul Heyman being by his side.
7 CM Punk
There are a few recent events on this list, but none received the same amount of mainstream exposure as a disgruntled CM Punk leaving the WWE. WWE wants the fans to completely forget about CM Punk, going as far as to edit out chants that reference the future UFC fighter. Although he is still featured on the WWE network, they have gone to great lengths to make sure he is not mentioned on any current WWE television...unless it’s by the fans.
6 Vince McMahon's Fake Death
WWE has a habit of not following through with storylines, but sometimes real life dictates the way that the story must go. In June of 2007 after “Mr. McMahon Appreciation Night” on Raw, the chairman of WWE entered his limo and was incinerated by a hellacious explosion. Although many fans knew that this was a storyline, some actually believed that Mr. McMahon had been killed. Unfortunately the storyline had no payoff, as Mr. McMahon was forced to appear from behind the curtain after the Chris Benoit tragedy less than two months later.
5 Seth Rollins Twitter Scandal
Not to get too salacious, but the Seth Rollins Twitter leaks have to make this list based on timing alone. The superstar was getting the biggest push of his life, and all of a sudden he is embroiled in a Twitter scandal, with his fiancee releasing nude pictures for the world to see. The scandal took place only two weeks after his show stealing triple threat match at the 2015 Royal Rumble against Brock Lesnar and John Cena. Rollins issued an apology on his social media accounts, and WWE made no mention of the scandal, expecting the fans to forget about it.
4 Roddy Piper's Blackface
In what might be one of the more forgotten controversial angles in WWE history, WrestleMania VI saw Roddy Piper take on Bad News Brown in a singles match. According to Piper, Vince McMahon had the makeup team create a special type of paint that would not rub off when Piper would sweat. The paint wasn’t colorful like the Ultimate Warrior, or Sting, no it was actually the opposite. Roddy Piper painted half of his body black, including his face... Roddy Piper wrestled in black face. It’s a wonder why the WWE has never included this on a WrestleMania highlight reel.
3 Jerry Lawler's Homophobic Promo
In May of 1997 before a match with Goldust, Jerry Lawler laid down what could only be described as an Attitude Era promo. He took personal shots at Dustin Runnels (Goldust’s real name), talking about his wife, father, and finishing it all off by calling him a “flaming fag”. WWE has come a long way since Lawler’s politically incorrect promo, contrasting such behavior with their Be A Star campaign. At the time edgy promos were common place, but WWE will most likely never use such homophobic slurs again.
2 The Word Wrestling
In perhaps the saddest ranking on this list, the term wrestling has been losing its place in the WWE. In fact the word wrestling was dropped completely from the company's name when World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. officially became WWE according to a 2011 LA Times article. Frequently on podcasts such as The Ross Report, and The Steve Austin Show (hosted by Jim Ross and Stone Cold Steve Austin respectively), the hosts mention the WWE’s aversion to using the word wrestling. Ross in particular has claimed that he was banned from using the words wrestling, and wrestlers during his time as a commentator.
1 Chris Benoit
WWE wants us to forget about Chris Benoit. Benoit committed unspeakable acts in June of 2007, which has caused WWE to omit him from history. This means that WWE wants us to forget about the episode of Raw that was dedicated to him, his 2004 Royal Rumble victory, and most importantly his main event title win at WrestleMania XX. Even though WWE has allowed footage of Chris Benoit to be shown on their Network, users are unable to search for him in the app.
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