WWE has been around in various forms for multiple decades. Throughout that time, larger-than-life superstars graced their rings and eventually our TVs. With that said, sometimes WWE has been guilty of overlooking popular acts while giving us too much of another. It's hard to blame them, however. There are backstage antics, ratings, and personality clashes that slowed down some pushes while putting others into overdrive.
It makes for some fascinating trivia, or frustrating TV, depending on how you look at it. As a fan, it's easy to get excited about a new, fresh character, only to be met with disappointment when they're off TV or put in a story that ruins them. We're not saying it's fair, but it does happen. With that in mind, we want to highlight both sides of that coin. Here are 5 Wrestling Gimmicks WWE Gave Up On Too Soon (&5 That Lasted Too Long).
10 Too Soon: Paul Burchill
Inspired by the popular Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise, Paul Burchill literally swung onto our TVs every week decked out in vintage pirate clothing. Claiming to be a descendant of the mythical Blackbeard, the talented superstar was instantly injected with charisma — and the fans loved it.
Unfortunately, according to backstage reports, Vince McMahon didn't understand the Johhny Depp inspired character and quickly put the kibosh on something that was legitimately fun. The character only lasted for about a year, and eventually, Burchill was just a generic bad guy who thought his sister/manager was attractive.
9 Too Long: "Super" John Cena
John Cena will go down as one of, if not the, best top guys of all time. Unfortunately, during his decade long run as the franchise player, fans started to grow tired of "Super Cena". This wasn't always the case, however. Throughout Cena's rise to the top, fans went crazy when he'd arrive. Yet, after dethroning JBL as champion and moving to Raw, he slowly started dropping his Doctor of Thugganomics gimmick and began feuding with Chris Jericho— that's where the backlash started. It was quiet at first, but it was clear the WWE Universe could see where this was going.
Years later, Cena's clean-cut good-guy persona was popular with kids, but didn't make for captivating TV. In fact, fans began rooting for whoever he went up against just because they weren't him. It wasn't until 2015 — near the end of the star's run as a full-time star — during his open challenge that he was universally loved by the Universe again.
8 Too Soon: Mordecai
Mordecai debuted in 2004, his religious high-priest gimmick put him on the fast track to face The Undertaker down the line. Unfortunately, we never got that showdown, despite the character's popularity and potential big-money match.
This actually wasn't actually because of WWE getting cold feet, however. Kevin Fertig, the man behind the gimmick, was involved in a bar fight. The lawsuit that followed was a little too hot for the company to handle, so they sent him down to developmental, and eventually, he was released.
7 Too Long: Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan may be the most recognizable wrestler of all time. In fact, from 1983 until 1990, he was probably one of the biggest celebrities on the planet. However, as the 80s turned into the 1990s, fans were getting tired of eating their vitamins and saying their prayers. It wasn't just that, however. Yes, the gimmick wasn't what it used to be, but his position in the company never changed while stars like Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, and Undertaker were all vying to be the next main-event star.
Even when Hogan went to WCW, fans grew tired of his schtick, which prompted the most effective heel turn of all time as he joined the NWO. This proved Hogan still had something left to give, but he needed to shake things up for the first time in a decade.
6 Too Soon: Zack Ryder
At one point in time, Zach Ryder was one of the most popular superstars in WWE. His YouTube series, Z! True Hollywood Story got fans behind him in the most organic way since, well, probably John Cena. Unfortunately, WWE didn't see this as a good thing and after the popular up and comer won the United States Championship, they quickly took everything away from him.
So, he was put in a wheelchair, lost his girlfriend to John Cena, and Kane threw him off the stage. It was such a comedy of errors on WWE's part that fans could never take this star seriously again. Though, they do tease fans with his success every now and then.
5 Too Long: Triple H
Triple H always knew he was going to be a star and in an era featuring Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, and Undertaker, and once he got his ball, he never let it go. On his way up, that wasn't a problem. He fit in with those names, and fans went along with whatever alignment he was part of. With that said, however, during the brand split, Triple H's run as the World Heavyweight Champion ran a little long.
During that time, he took out names like Booker T (despite making some racially charged comments), Scott Steiner, Goldberg, and Randy Orton. This bothered a lot of fans, as his "reign of terror" held down some absolute mega-stars.
4 Too Soon: The Brian Kendrick
Brian Kendrick proved to be a fun, fast-paced, charismatic babyface as the tag team partner of Paul London. So, fans expected big things when the two were drafted to different shows. For London, that definitely wasn't the case, but for Kendrick, there were some plans.
The former babyface developed a bit of an attitude, got a bodyguard in Ezekiel Jackson, and even won the WWE Championship for a brief period of time in the Championship Scramble match. It seemed like there was a bright future for the star, but a year after going solo, he was no longer with the WWE.
3 Too Long: The Deadman Undertaker
Following a streak of fantastic yearly WrestleMania matches with the likes of Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and CM Punk, Undertaker got injured while losing to Brock Lesnar. Since that time, he's never really been the same. Now, in 2019, he still appears and has been part of some of the worst matches on any card he's on. We don't think that's really his fault, there's still a demand for the character, but he should probably be placed in matches with starts who could help him a little more than other legends would.
We think a transition to his biker gimmick would be perfect too. It would let the legend be himself a little more and let the fans get to relate to one of the best to step into the ring as his career winds down.
2 Too Soon: Neville
While in NXT, Neville dazzled crowds with his high-octane style and, despite his stature, he was built like an action-figure so he could pull off power moves unlike anyone of his size. Unfortunately, a poorly timed injury threw off the company's plans for him, and when he came back to WWE, he was placed on the newly formed 205 Live.
That move wasn't bad. In fact, his match with Austin Aries on the WrestleMania 33 pre-show was one of the best of the night — even though it was left off the DVD release. Eventually, his placement in the company drove him to leave WWE.
1 Too Long: The Beast Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar returning to WWE after dominating the UFC gave Vince McMahon's company a much-needed punch in the arm in 2012. Yet, upon his debut, he wasn't treated like a threat. In fact, it wasn't until he beat The Undertaker in 2013 that we got the monster we still have today in 2019.
Yet, with that, he's grown stale, holding onto the WWE or Universal Championships for far too long, putting on the same types of matches over and over again. Fans grew tired of it, and while he doesn't hold the belt now, there's always a fear he will come back and mess up whatever WWE is building.