Good and bad booking decisions are a part of the wrestling industry. Everyone from Vince McMahon to every smart fan with an opinion makes a mistake in judgement of how to build a wrestling storyline. When WWE makes the right choices, the best of pro wrestling comes out. Often times, a bad booking decision doesn't even hurt anyone and can be fixed. However, there are times when WWE has made their booking choice and they've made the wrong one.
When WWE simply just gets it wrong, it's a rough pill to swallow because it's up to the performers to fix it, the crowd to acknowledge it, or WWE to actually admit they made a mistake. The latter rarely happens, but wrestling continues on despite bad decisions and everyone moves on eventually. The thought in the back of everyone's mind is, "What if?"
What if that booking mistake hadn't been made? What if the WWE powers that be had decided differently? What if WWE got it right? Those are always the questions that lead a lot of smart fans to question a lot of choices WWE creative make in their storylines. It's the source of a lot of fan's complaints.
A clear example of this is last year's Royal Rumble. Roman Reigns won to much chagrin from the smart Philadelphia crowd. On one hand, booing Reigns out of the building is their right, but on the other hand, a smart crowd that knew he was chosen for the victory months beforehand gave them ample time to come to terms with it and just enjoy the show.
The argument against Reigns winning is that he was forced down the collective throat of the fans, despite his lack of experience and injury prone 2014. Many thought it was a case of Reigns being the right guy, at the right place; at the wrong time. However, he would main event WrestleMania with Brock Lesnar and put on a physical battle, before Seth Rollins would cash in Money in the Bank for the WWE Championship that he still holds today.
Many would argue that Roman Reigns winning the 2015 Royal Rumble was a case of WWE getting it wrong. That's just one example. Here are another 25 cases where WWE could have gotten it wrong.
25 Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker - SummerSlam 2015
Paul Heyman will remind fans all the time about how his client, Brock Lesnar conquered The Undertaker's undefeated streak at WrestleMania XXX. No one else will ever be allowed to have that title, but the one who beat the one in 21-1 was something that many were willing to try to do. Brock Lesnar did not lose via pinfall, or submission since conquering The Undertaker's Streak until SummerSlam two months ago.
24 Damien Sandow vs. The Miz
The Andre Memorial Battle Royal is a booking nightmare. Winning it doesn't have much value, but it could have changed if Damien Mizdow had finally turned on The Miz and won the Battle Royal in front of over 70,000 people.
23 Orton Cashes in on Bryan - SummerSlam 2013
The first major swerve in the Daniel Bryan saga. Bryan beats Cena clean at Summerslam 2013 to become WWE Champion, but then Triple H turns heel and Orton cashes in to become the face of the WWE and its champion. WWE's booking gave fans what they wanted, but quickly took it away. It was a great long burn that culminated at WrestleMania XXX with him truly becoming champion.
22 Batista Wins the 2014 Royal Rumble
Speak of the devil, Batista was right in the middle of the Bryan saga. Batista returned believe it or not as a fan favorite in 2014. The difference was the fans didn't get what they wanted with Daniel Bryan in the Royal Rumble as the 30th entrant, so they complained very loudly and hated anyone that wasn't Bryan, including poor Rey Mysterio.
21 Sting Losing to Triple H at WrestleMania 31
Sting's debut at Survivor Series in 2014 was perfect. Team Cena versus The Authority was a great match and his involvement made Sting the perfect foil against The Authority. Their feud went all the way to WrestleMania where Sting would finally wrestle for WWE. However, the angle turned into WCW versus WWE with the nWo and DX being involved in the match.
20 Kevin Owens Loses Rubber Match to John Cena - Battleground 2015
John Cena built off Rusev's momentum and made the U.S. title arguably the most prestigious championship in WWE with the help of all men who participated in the Open Challenge, which includes Cesaro and most importantly, Kevin Owens. Owens was a mega heel in NXT and was really dominant. Owens came in to beat Cena clean, but then lost to him twice, lost the NXT Championship and failed to win the U.S. title.
Cena would go on to drop it to Rollins in a Jon Stewart interference angle and Cena won it back a month later. Meanwhile, Owens won the Intercontinental title. Wouldn't it have just been easier to keep Owens' momentum and give him the U.S. title?
19 Christian's World Title Reigns - 2011
This issue will come up again, but when something tragic happens in WWE, someone gets rewarded. For Edge's surprise retirement in 2011, that was Christian. At Extreme Rules, he defeated Alberto Del Rio in a ladder match (of course) to claim the World Championship Edge had vacated. That was a great moment.
18 Daniel Bryan Joining the Wyatt Family
17 The Miz headlining WrestleMania XXVII
16 John Cena goes over The Nexus - SummerSlam 2010
The Nexus was the hottest stable since Evolution. Their dominance over WWE was absolute and Wade Barrett was a new foe for John Cena. He was a star on the rapid rise. However, when Nexus needed the win far more, Cena and his team would unintentionally squash the team's momentum after winning an elimination match at SummerSlam.
15 Rey Mysterio's World Championship Reign
14 Releasing Muhammad Hassan - 2005
Muhammad Hassan could have been the greatest foreign heel of all time. The U.S. was so up in arms after 9/11 that a character directly attacking the issue head on was created in Muhammad Hassan. A man of Arab descent simply wanting relief from the increased prejudice of the current events.
13 Vince McMahon's Illegitimate Son Storyline - 2007
12 The Build to End The Streak - 2014
11 Failing to push Ziggler - post Survivor Series 2014
10 The Summer of Punk in 2011
The Summer of Punk was the hottest thing in wrestling in many years. Punk had trail blazed his momentum to the stratosphere of WWE's world and was telling a deeper story than WWE wanted to tell. Money in the Bank was the first true establishment of Cena versus Punk. Punk would win the WWE Championship and "leave" the company with it.
9 Rikishi's Heel Turn - 2000
Who hit Stone Cold with the car? Austin wasn't even on television for almost six months, but one of the biggest questions in WWE was, "Who ran over Stone Cold?" With unlimited possibilities to build a mega heel, Rikishi took the momentum because, "He did it... for The Rock."
8 Triple H Beating Booker T - WrestleMania XXIX
7 Stripping RVD of WWE Title - 2006
6 WrestleMania XXVIII: 18 Seconds
Daniel Bryan was heel in the beginning of getting the "Yes Chant" over. AJ Lee was by his side. Sheamus had won the Royal Rumble. They were set to lead off WrestleMania with a good physical match, except a "Good Luck" kiss between AJ and Bryan led to a Brogue Kick and a match that gave Sheamus the World Championship in 18 seconds.
5 The Return of the nWo - 2002
At No Way Out 2002, the WWE was injected with a lethal dose of poison. The nWo returned with the original three: Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan. Hogan would feud with The Rock and The Outsiders took on Stone Cold at Wrestlemania X8. However what WWE didn't anticipate was that a returning Hulk Hogan was going to be cheered by the WWE crowd no matter what he did. The nWo just couldn't generate heel momentum and the fact was, this 'invasion' came about six months too late. These guys should have been involved in the WWE's trainwreck of the "invasion" storyline. At least the WCW side would have been a credible threat to WWE.
4 Stone Cold Turns Heel - WrestleMania X-Seven
Austin could share the blame with the company on this one, as he's admitted it was his idea to turn heel. As for the company, they should have shot this down.
Stone Cold Steve Austin was originally a heel. His gimmick was designed to be a heel persona, so there was no reason to think Austin couldn't handle being a heel. What made this the wrong choice was it was the last things fans wanted to see. The lack of faces on the same level as Stone Cold for him to to face were slim at that time, so the Austin heel character was just a bully, often times comical, rather than the mega heel he deserved to be. The only top face that could have presented a legitimate challenge would have been The Rock, but he was off shooting The Scorpion King after WrestleMania.
3 WCW/ECW Invasion Angle
This is still the greatest idea for that time. WCW versus WWE was the biggest draw in the industry. If they could have done a crossover PPV, those numbers would have set company records. However, what we got due to contracts with Time Warner, was next to no major guys and a majority of the midcard wrestlers. The WWE wouldn't buy out the contracts due to the extremely high salaries, but they would have made all that money back in PPV buys and merchandise. This resulted in WWE mainstays Stone Cold and Kurt Angle having to join the Alliance to balance out power.
2 CM Punk Losing to The Rock - Royal Rumble 2013
For 434 days, CM Punk was WWE champion. When his title reign began, he was the biggest face in the company. By the last day, he was the biggest heel in company. Cena hadn't beaten Punk in over two years. Punk was the best wrestler in the world without question, but for some reason they wouldn't let Punk be in the main event of WrestleMania, even though it was the only thing he really wanted.
1 Booking Brock Lesnar over Stone Cold on RAW
Although this match didn't officially happen, the booking plans for it are still regrettable as it led to the departure of the WWE's biggest star.
The booking mistake that led to Austin leaving from 2002 till 2003. The infamous 'taking his ball and going home' exit because Austin wanted to build Lesnar to a PPV. This situation was a combination of Austin not being able to handle his diminishing value to the WWE product and his body is breaking down.
Lesnar was fresh new and need a big win over an established star, but WWE could have easily built this feud to a PPV match. Why on earth would they want to waste Austin versus Lesnar on RAW, in a King of the Ring qualifying match? Once Stone Cold says no, that's that. WWE could have figured something out, an eight month absence of the Texas Rattlesnake didn't need to be the punishment for the rest of us.
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