The industry of professional wrestling has always hinged on hit or miss signings. Some main event stars have come through the unparalleled vision of Vince McMahon and more recently, the foresight of Triple H. Vince McMahon has spotted and abstractly made stars out of Hulk Hogan, John Cena, Stone Cold & The Rock while Triple H has proved in his own right that he can spot talents. Since taking sole control of NXT, the Game has bred a new generation of high calibre sports entertainers. Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Seth Rollins and Finn Balor have all become major players because of Hunter and his ability to find talent.
However, just as we said at the start, the industry of professional wrestling is hit & miss. Some wrestlers are signed with the hope that they’ll be the next John Cena and instead turn out to be the current Curt Hawkins. On several occasions, the WWE have put all their eggs in one basket to no avail. Of course, not every signing can be a success and there are several wrestlers the boss and the COO regret hiring to this day.
Here are 8 wrestlers Vince regrets hiring and 7 wrestlers Triple H regrets hiring.
15 VINCE REGRETS: ALBERTO DEL RIO
The Mexican-bred wrestler came into the WWE with much pedigree and promise. As a former MMA fighter, Del Rio was as legit as it gets, thus allowing his reputation to go before him. From day one he was pushed as a main event level heel entering feuds with John Cena, Edge and CM Punk. He even won the 2011 Royal Rumble, perhaps the highlight of his career.
So, for such a decorated sports entertainer, where did it all go wrong for the Mexican star? It seems as though Del Rio got too big for his boots and started to cause trouble backstage. This all coincided with a shocking wellness policy violation, in the midst of that violation, Del Rio decided he couldn’t be bothered to return to work, notifying the company he wanted to quit. Why? Because he wasn’t happy with his booking or his relationship with Vince McMahon.
14 TRIPLE H REGRETS: THE ASCENSION
Dominant in NXT, complete flops on the main roster. Anyone else noticing a pattern here? Connor and Viktor were the most dominant tag team in NXT history, completely obliterating all those in their path.
Even in their first few weeks on the main roster, they laid waste to Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan on an episode of SmackDown. So, what happened? Vince ruined Hunter’s creation, turning them into a failure.
From that potential main event status to barely appearing on TV, The Ascension has hit rock bottom in the WWE. Now they basically inhabit spots on the roster that could be utilized by more worthy talents. Every time the duo is seen it’s a reminder of another failed NXT product on the main roster.
13 VINCE REGRETS: MUHAMMAD HASSAN
When Muhammad Hassan made his WWE debut, he debuted in a high-profile fashion with Mick Foley. That set the precedent for his subsequent career as it was clear Vince McMahon had found his new mega-heel to pit against all his American babyfaces. Vince McMahon used Hassan in line with an uncomfortable 9/11 narrative, designed to draw heat from the American audience.
The infamous five masked men segment on SmackDown with the Undertaker would be the beginning of the end for Hassan. The segment incited attention from the major media outlets in the USA as it coincided with the London bombings a few days later. From that day on, the UPN forced the WWE to keep Hassan off WWE programming. Hassan drew heat, but he also gave Vince a lot of headaches in the real world.
12 TRIPLE H REGRETS: SIMON GOTCH
The Vaudevillians were meant to be a unique tag team on TV that would bring proper etiquette and class to the WWE. At first, they were garnering quite a reaction from the live audiences as fans took a shine to them because they were different. They were on fire as babyfaces but when asked to turn heel, they became a redundant force down in NXT.
When their call-up to the main roster came, the fanbase they once had in NXT had abandoned them, thus giving them cricket-like reactions on TV. The reason Aiden English is over today, and Simon Gotch was released, is due to the difference in attitude. It’s said Gotch was an annoyance backstage, often causing fights to start and that’s a testament to his position today.
11 VINCE REGRETS: MISTICO
Being the businessman, he is, Vince McMahon is always looking to broaden the cultural horizons of his company. If he can sign a talent from another corner of the world, he’ll do it just for the marketing and international dividends it could pay. So, when he signed Mistico, he felt he could break the Mexican market that Rey Mysterio had initially opened. The original Sin Cara aka Mistico was hyped to the moon by the company as his signing even received its own press conference.
It’s clear that Vince McMahon invested a huge sum of money into the original Sin Cara, but the Mexican superstar couldn’t repay that faith with his performances. On top of that, Mistico’s lack of charisma hurt his ability to connect with the WWE’s TV audience.
10 TRIPLE H REGRETS: SUMMER RAE
When the WWE made a conscious decision to turn females into wrestlers and not pieces of eye candy, wrestling changed. This started with the women’s revolution and the four horsewomen were the ones who spearheaded that movement down in NXT. It was almost as if any female wrestler who came up through NXT was a bonafide star on the main roster.
However, there’s always one exception to the rule. Despite being in the company since 2011, Summer Rae was unable to follow that trend and become a prominent female WRESTLER. Summer Rae took women’s wrestling back to the dark ages on the main roster as her main asset was her looks, not her in-ring ability. As a result, she was out of the door quicker than she knew it.
9 VINCE REGRETS HIRING: RYBACK
Vince McMahon’s obsession with bodybuilder type wrestlers can be seen through his loyalty to talents like Hulk Hogan, John Cena and Triple H. The boss has always wanted a man with a great physique to be near the top of the card. He had these same hopes for Ryback, a man with a chiselled physique that beggared belief.
After steadily making his way through NXT to a memorable time with Nexus and then a prosperous solo career. Ryback’s time in the WWE peaked with a three-month-long feud with golden boy, John Cena. However, after that, he lost all relevancy and all the promises Vince made him, the boss didn’t feel like he needed to deliver them.
He did this because he didn’t see Ryback as profitable enough to reciprocate. Vince didn’t screw Ryback, Ryback screwed Ryback. His attitude backstage didn’t help matters either and his bitterness towards the company since leaving has tethered all possible relations.
8 TRIPLE H REGRETS: EVA MARIE
Hired solely for her beauty & physique, Eva Marie’s wrestling career was never going to culminate to anything great. Her wrestling ability was awful and it’s not as though the Redhead made any great attempt to correct that flaw. In essence, Eva Marie was a supporting character on Total Divas as she was a point of interest for the casual audience, not the wrestling market.
Vince trusted Hunter with the management of a prime-time talent (or at least, that's what Vince thought she was) like Eva Marie and he eventually failed. Even with full creative control in NXT, Triple H couldn’t transform Eva Marie into a competent wrestler. The WWE invested ample amounts of time & money in the red bombshell and what did they get on their investment? Zilch.
7 VINCE REGRETS: TED DIBIASE JR.
Having a legendary wrestler father paved the way to greatness for Randy Orton, but it didn’t do the same for Ted DiBiase Jr. Signing a developmental contract in 2007 was a good start, forming Legacy with Cody Rhodes was even better. However, things would never really excel for Ted Jr. in the WWE and as he couldn’t mimic his father’s unprecedented success.
It’s not that Ted DiBiase Jr. failed in the WWE, it’s that he couldn’t become the star Vince McMahon wanted him to be. The WWE gave him every opportunity to excel; several tag team partners, new gimmicks and ample amounts of TV time. It’s not his fault he’s not his father and ultimately, Vince McMahon tried to force that legacy on him to not much avail.
6 TRIPLE H REGRETS: ENZO AMORE
It’s a shame what happened with Enzo Amore as the 31-year-old had all the attributes to become a star. His mic skills were awesome, his wrestling was adequate, and his charisma was off the charts. Down in NXT, he and Big Cass were a big hit with the Full Sail crowd, regularly getting the biggest pop of the evening. That’s why they were also voted tag team of the year in 2015.
When they debuted on RAW a day after WrestleMania, their popularity translated to the mainstream. When the duo went their separate ways, Enzo landed on his feet and became the sole attraction of the Cruiserweight division. However, sexual assault allegations would steal his thunder and place a dark cloud over the American’s career, forcing the company to release him. What’s worse is that former cruiserweight champion Neville walked out from the company because of the booking of Enzo Amore. That’s what you call a double whammy.
5 VINCE REGRETS: KHARMA
Despite having the physical dominance of Braun Strowman combined with Nia Jax, Kharma never really fulfilled her potential in the WWE. American Kong was hyped to the moon before arriving in the WWE from TNA. In fact, she was billed as a destroyer that would run roughshod over the women’s division.
It wasn’t that Kharma’s wrestling ability wasn’t up to standard, it was the fact that she got pregnant right in the middle of her mega-push. The timing of this stopped everything in its tracks as the WWE had to put to a halt their investment in her. I guess Vince McMahon would have loved to have had a bit of notice from the former TNA Knockout. If the future permits, I’m sure Vince McMahon wouldn’t mind bringing Kharma into the women’s evolution.
4 TRIPLE H REGRETS: ADAM ROSE
From Lex Luger to Adam Rose…I don’t think there’s been a bigger downgrade in wrestling history. Triple H signed Adam Rose for his exceptional athletic ability, lean physique and unique look. Down in NXT, those attributes were used to his advantage as he made great headway with the Lex Luger character, a heel persona that connected with the Full Sail crowd.
So, instead of the WWE capitalizing on that popularity they re-branded him upon main roster into a fun-loving Adam Rose. A character that made close to no impact on TV, thus establishing himself as a lower card jobber. One of Triple H’s first major signings was branded a failure and Vince McMahon will forever be able to use this as an example of why his method works best.
3 VINCE REGRETS: SCOTT STEINER
Scott Steiner was one of the most difficult and controversial talents Vince McMahon ever had the displeasure of managing. From an aesthetics point of view, Scott Steiner was an impeccable athlete that had the best physique in the business at the time. However, for what he brought in athleticism, he brought equal amounts of controversy and stress.
His steroid use grew out of control and when given a main event spot, he blew his big chance with Triple H. He embarrassed the art of wrestling in a few matches with Hunter, leaving egg on Mr McMahon’s face.
Before too long, Steiner was out the door and Vince McMahon regretted the day he brought Steiner in from WCW for stupid money. If he could go back in time, Vince would definitely avoid the day he signed Scott Steiner.
2 TRIPLE H REGRETS: JAMES STORM
Triple H went through hell and high water to secure the services of James Storm. It’s said that the COO engaged in weeks of negotiation with the TNA man as the Game wanted to make him one of the key selling points of the ever-growing NXT brand. So, when he made his debut in October 2015, excitement spread through the WWE Universe like wildfire.
After that, the next time we saw him was on the December 2nd episode of NXT where he defeated another NXT flop, Adam Rose. So, after all the promotion, time and money invested into Storm, the 40-year-old decided that the WWE wasn’t for him, opting to return to TNA instead. The shocking turn of events left Triple H with egg on his face and deep regret.
1 VINCE REGRETS: CHRIS BENOIT
As one of the most technically gifted wrestlers in WWE history, many seem to remember Chris Benoit through tinted glasses. Benoit debuted in the WWE alongside legendary icons like Eddie Guerrero, Perry Saturn & Dean Malenko. Shortly after aligning themselves with Triple H, Benoit would individually go onto win his first title in the WWE at Wrestlemania 16. From then on, the rest is history.
The Canadian would go onto win 11 more titles in his seven years at the company. However, for all his glory and wrestling ability, Vince McMahon will ultimately look back at this acquisition in regret. In 2007, the bodies of Chris, his wife and his son were found in their family home. Upon investigation, it was concluded that the wrestler took their lives before taking his own. The controversy lives on till today with accusations of substance abuse and brain damage haunting the WWE ever since.