The life of a professional wrestling superstar may be somewhat glamorous, but being a professional wrestler is ultimately a job. That means that – much like all other jobs – a professional wrestler is occasionally asked to do something they’d rather not do. While that includes nasty bumps and a frightening amount of travel, it also means having to participate in a ton of bad storylines. Imagine that you’re assigned a project at work that will take up month’s of your time even though you know it makes no sense and won’t actually accomplish anything. That’s what it’s like for a professional wrestler to be stuck in a bad storyline.
Even though they are professionals, there are times when a storyline is so bad that both – or all – the wrestlers involved in it can’t help but eventually let everyone know that they hated it just as much as you did. This is actually a rare thing. Most of the time, a wrestler will just laugh off the bad storylines. However, there are some stories which got under their skin so much they had to remove their true feelings like venom from their bodies. These are the 15 WWE storylines neither wrestler wanted to be in.
15. Brock Lesnar and Dean Ambrose’s ‘Hardcore’ WrestleMania Match
If you were one of the many who watched Dean Ambrose and Brock Lesnar’s WrestleMania match and felt that something must have gone horribly wrong, you weren’t alone. The two seemingly had zero chemistry together and wasted the opportunity to have a memorable modern hardcore match. Well, it seems like that might have something to do with the fact that neither man really wanted to have anything to do with the contest.
Ambrose may have initially been excited about the opportunity, but he soon discovered that Brock doesn’t like to work intricate matches. As he put it, “Brock’s gonna Brock.” As for Lesnar, he’s long stated that he really doesn’t care for working with smaller wrestlers as much as the big guys. This was the definition of a filler feud.
14. Chyna and Chris Jericho’s Rivalry
Chyna was a big deal during the Attitude Era. The reason we know this with certainty is because Chyna often wrestled the biggest male stars of her era and still drew a good number of the cheers. One of Chyna’s most memorable intergender storylines involved her long-standing rivalry with Chris Jericho. That lengthy storyline featured a number of memorable twists and turns and was generally beloved by everyone. Well, everyone except Chyna and Chris Jericho. Chris Jericho felt that Chyna was so bad of a worker that she bordered on being actually dangerous. Chyna felt that Chris Jericho wasn’t willing to work with her in or outside of the ring. Despite the pair’s obvious animosity towards each other, WWE had them work a prolonged storyline that made them both miserable.
13. The Piggy James Storyline
The infamous “Piggy James” storyline is one of those things that WWE has gone out of their way to bury. Even though it really didn’t happen all that long ago, it’s impossible to imagine the blowback they would suffer. If you’re not familiar with this storyline, it basically involved Michelle McCool and Layla calling Mickie James fat. That probably doesn’t sound too awful, but you also have to consider they spent weeks calling her fat. In fact, Mickie’s supposed weight gain – which didn’t exist – was the entire point of the feud. Obviously, Mickie James wasn’t too thrilled with the entire idea. It’s part of the reason she left the company. Michelle McCool has also come forward to say that the entire thing made her feel very uncomfortable.
12. The Shawn Michaels/Hulk Hogan 2005 Feud
A post-2000 feud between Shawn Michaels and Hulk Hogan was a bit of a dream match. The two were the biggest names in their respective companies around the time that the nWo exploded in popularity. Given that Hogan experienced a popularity resurgence in WWE and Shawn Michaels got a second win as a performer, their late showdown should have been special. The problem was that these two had absolutely no interest in sharing a ring. Hogan said that he should run over Shawn Michaels, and WWE management agreed with him.
In response to this, Shawn Michaels decided to viciously insult Hogan week after week on television before turning their showdown into a comedy match. WWE quickly abandoned the idea of ever having these two work together again.
11. Jeff Hardy and CM Punk Battle Over Hardy’s Habits
This is a reminder that not every storyline hated by the people who participated in it was necessarily bad. In fact, this is one of the best feuds of its particular era. Pitting the straight-edged Punk against Hardy – a man whose substance abuse issues had long dogged his career – seemed like the formula for a special rivalry. It was, but unfortunately neither Punk or Hardy really saw it that way. Punk truly felt that Hardy’s personal issues made him a liability who shouldn’t be cheered by the fans. Jeff…well, Jeff was not in the best of personal places at this time and wasn’t too fond of WWE drawing so much attention to that fact. The two had to endure their months working together.
10. CM Punk and Kevin Nash
We don’t want to leave you with the impression that people didn’t like working with CM Punk. If anything, it’s more like CM Punk didn’t like working with a lot of people. Of course, it’s hard to blame CM Punk on this particular point. See, after Punk delivered his famous pipe bomb promo, he positioned himself to be the kind of top guy that WWE hadn’t seen in a long time. WWE decided to capitalize on that popularity by eventually having him feud with Kevin Nash. Punk rightfully felt that this was the dumbest thing they could do with their hottest star. Nash had no interest in going out week after week and having Punk say how old he was. WWE actually decided to drop this angle shortly after it started.
9. Booker T and Edge’s Battle Over a Shampoo Commercial
WWE used to really struggle with allowing two great in-ring performers to build a feud based on the fact that they are great in-ring performers. The company felt that there always had to be a gimmick. For instance, when Booker T and Edge – two of the better in-ring wrestlers of their era – finally faced off at WrestleMania X8, WWE decided to have them battle over a role in a Japanese shampoo commercial. Yes, you read that correctly. The entire feud was based on a fictional part in a fictional commercial for fictional Japanese shampoo. Now, to be fair, they made the absolute most of it. To be even more fair, the pair’s post-match comments really emphasize how little they cared to take part in this awful idea.
8. Alberto Del Rio and Zeb Coulter as Mex-America
It’s easy – and fun – to forget that this storyline ever happened. If you were wise enough to put this entire plot out of your mind, let us remind you what it was all about. See, after Alberto Del Rio slapped around a backstage employee for being a racist, WWE kicked him out of the company. When he returned, WWE decided to pair him with Zeb Coulter. You may remember that Coulter was in the midst of the controversial angle that saw him babble about things like real Americans. In the midst of that thinly veiled racism angle, WWE paired Coulter with a Mexican wrestler and seemingly asked both of them to just roll with it without real explanation. Neither man actually wanted anything to do with this.
7. Canadian Bret Hart vs. Real American Vader
When Vader came to WWE, most wrestling fans figured that the company would immediately push him as their top heel. After all, that’s how Vader had been treated in Japan and WCW. However, Vader never really recaptured the magic he found elsewhere. While there were many, many low points of Vader’s WWE career, one of his least favorite storylines involved his battles with Bret Hart. It turns out that Vader doesn’t think Hart is actually that good of a worker. He criticized him for only being able to work one very specific style of match. Hart felt that working with Vader was like working with a bag of cement. It didn’t help that the storyline involving these two was an afterthought that tried to turn Vader into a real American hero.
6. Jeff and Matt Hardy’s Soap Opera Feud
Well, Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy did want to have a feud together. After all, they’d been wrestling each other since they were kids and never had a chance to do so in WWE. However, they figured that their eventual rivalry would be based on their history with each other and in-ring skills. WWE’s creative team had other plans. They decided to have the two engage in a feud that was so ridiculous that it immediately reminded fans of the worst of the Attitude Era. The lowlight of this entire encounter was when Jeff Hardy lost his dog in a real-life house fire and Matt claimed that he was the one who started the fire. Both brothers have expressed some regret over how this whole thing was handled.
5. Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio’s Custody Battle
Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio have engaged in some of the absolute best matches that the wrestling world has ever seen. Their bouts in WCW helped redefine what cruiserweights are capable of. More importantly, the two have a very real history together that doesn’t need to endure much embellishment to be turned into a world-class wrestling rivalry. Again, WWE’s creative didn’t quite see it that way. They thought that Eddie and Rey should feud over the custody of a kid named Dominic.
Right from the start, you could tell that Eddie and Rey wanted absolutely nothing to do with this ridiculous excuse for a rivalry. Still, they had to put their best foot forward through weeks of trivial storylines that culminated in a custody ladder match.
4. Goldberg and Triple H’s Battle For Dominance
Goldberg’s arrival in WWE was one of those moments that fans couldn’t believe was happening. Sure, he missed the invasion, but that didn’t stop people from dreaming of the possibilities of his WWE arrival. As it turns out, though, not everyone was thrilled about Goldberg’s debut. Goldberg has long stated that he got the feeling Triple H absolutely despised him. You have to remember that Triple H was in the midst of his comeback run at this time and wanted to be the top guy. Meanwhile, Goldberg felt he should be treated as the unstoppable monster he was in WCW. Triple H seemed to resent Goldberg for not treating WWE like a family and doing “what was best” for the family. Still, they had to endure this inevitable battle.
3. DDP/The Undertaker – Stalker Angle
As one of the few major stars to make the early jump to WCW, Diamond Dallas Page should have been the star of that entire awkward invasion angle. For some reason, though, WWE had no interest in making one of WCW’s biggest stars a member of the family. They did decide to book him against The Undertaker upon his debut, but the forced him to engage in an incredibly stupid “stalker” angle that saw DDP harass Undertaker’s wife. DDP only participated in the story because it was his job to do so. As for The Undertaker, he had no interest in working with DDP as he felt that DDP had no idea how to work a WWE style match. Their reluctance is evident when you watch their truly awful matches.
2. The Rusev/Ziggler/Summer Rae/Lana Love Storyline
You know, you really have to give WWE credit for cutting down on the number of truly awful storylines over the years. Seriously, they have. They’ll still put out some boring storylines, but they’ve trimmed down on the “what am I watching?” stuff. This feud, though, felt like a throwback to those glory days of WTF WWE. This love…err…square between Rusev, Ziggler, Summer Rae, and Lana managed to somehow get worse every single week. That’s pretty impressive considering that the feud was pretty much dead on arrival. While Rusev did his best to squeeze every inch of comedy out of this story, this was as bad as watching a particularly awful high school drama. Everyone involved felt it was unnecessary, as evidenced by the fact that it was ended when Rusev and Lana got married in real life.
1. The League of Nations
We’re not going to accuse WWE of being racist, but they do have a tendency to book their international wrestlers very poorly. Well, that’s not entirely true. After all, there have been some very successful international wrestlers in WWE history. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that WWE is obsessed with pointing out that any non-American born wrestler is indeed a foreigner and should be treated as such. The League of Nations storyline is a modern example of that particular bad habit. The wrestlers involved in the League of Nations were bound by their foreign heritage. Apparently, that was enough reason to treat them like heels in the modern age. It’s no coincidence that Wade Barrett and Alberto Del Rio left WWE shortly after the start of this storyline. As for Rusev and Sheamus…well, they’ve certainly gone on to better things.
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