The wrestling audience is the most unpredictable part of a show. WWE has reached a point where they can no longer easily control the crowd into reacting how they want. Recent years especially have seen the audience become wild with chants and loud ovations or jeers expressing how they feel when upset with the current product. In fact, the WWE must now work twice as hard to keep the viewers on their toes.
We will look back at the instances throughout the years of the fans rejecting what was given to him. WWE isn’t always going to convince the audience to react how they want to if the fans have a different opinion. Each instance is different with the same general result. Find out how things played out with 10 times fans flat out rejected what WWE gave to them.
10 Seth Rollins vs The Fiend
The recent Hell in a Cell main event between Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt as The Fiend was a huge disaster. Fans were upset at the difficulties of watching the match in the annoying red lighting effect and things grew worse with the finish.
Wyatt kicked out of all the curb stomp finishers and weapon shots at a 1-count. Rollins then piled all the weapons over his head before hitting him with a chair as the referee stopped the match. Fans reacted with massive boos at the non-finish of such a silly match.
9 Lex Luger getting pushed as the face of the company
WWE had high hopes for Lex Luger when giving him a patriotic gimmick in 1993. The plan was to see Luger unofficially replace Hulk Hogan as the face of the company shortly after Hogan left. Luger entered a lengthy feud with Yokozuna that felt forced.
Fans never reacted to Luger the way WWE expected, and plans started to slowly change. WrestleMania 10 would officially see the new plan of Bret Hart beating Yokozuna for the WWE Championship. Luger lost his title shot and never returned to the WWE main event scene.
8 Hulk Hogan playing heel vs The Rock
WWE booked a dream match of Hulk Hogan vs The Rock for WrestleMania 18. But despite being billed as a heel to the point of almost murdering The Rock by running into his ambulance with a semi-truck, Hogan received overwhelming cheers at the event.
Fans were just happy to see the Hulkster working his first major WWE match in almost a decade. The legacy of Hogan caused fans to turn against WWE’s plans, but it worked out for the best. Rock and Hogan reacted perfectly to the crowd and the aftermath saw Hogan ditch the New World Order for a face turn.
7 Alberto Del Rio as a face
The 2013 face run for Alberto Del Rio as the World Champion was a huge failure. WWE spent years making Del Rio one of the most hated heels on the roster. A quick face turn and a world title reign would not give fans enough time to truly accept him in the new role.
Del Rio received boos and the crowd supported his opponents like Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger. The entire Ziggler/Del Rio feud created a double turn with Alberto moving back into the heel role and Ziggler turning face. Del Rio was more natural as a heel again with the face run doing him no favors.
6 The start of X-Pac heat
The start of the term “X-Pac heat” arrived in 2001 with no real explanation. Fans started a phenomenon of reacting with massive boos every time X-Pac hit the ring. Chants of “X-Pac sucks” would catch on with fans wanting no part of his matches.
The audience apparently just grew tried of X-Pac wrestling long matches every week and tried to show it with heel heat that indicated they were bored by him. To his credit, X-Pac still tried working hard and would lose the heat over the years.
5 Roman Reigns' monster push
Fans started rejecting the push of Roman Reigns in a way that the WWE never could've predicted. Social media’s popularity and ubiquity played a huge role here, especially when CM Punk’s infamous podcast revealed that Vince McMahon was obsessed with “keeping Roman strong” as the main goal of The Shield.
The Royal Rumble 2015 win for Reigns featured the audience booing him from his entrance into the match until winning. Reigns would get booed for years as fans tried to reject the push. Recent years have seen it finally slow down with his strong performances winning over viewers.
4 Shawn Michaels as a face vs Sid
The idea of a “smart” audience cheering Sycho Sid over Shawn Michaels seems impossible today looking back at their level of in-ring skills. However, fans were sick of Michaels in the generic face role during his 1996 WWE Championship reign.
Following wins over Mankind and Vader, fans were strongly in favor of Sid at Madison Square Garden during the Survivor Series 1996 main event. The audience loved it when Sid used a camera to harm Michaels before stealing the WWE Championship.
3 Brock Lesnar vs Goldberg's first match
Brock Lesnar and Goldberg had a highly anticipated match for WrestleMania 20. Many viewed their first meeting as a dream match due to the nature of two unbeatable monsters facing off. That hype changed into apathy when it was revealed they both expected to leave WWE after the match.
Fans at Madison Square Garden heckled them from start to finish with no respect for the match. Lesnar and Goldberg didn’t win them over as they slowly trashed talked for minutes on end before actually fighting each other with slow and plodding wrestling moves. At the time, the match was viewed as an all-time disaster for WWE.
2 The Rock's early push
The look, athleticism and personality of The Rock made him the closest thing to a “can’t miss prospect” when joining WWE. An early push would hurt his standing with the audience as he played a generic face that won his matches and received an Intercontinental Championship reign.
Two things that will always hurt a face is having a generic character and being given huge accomplishments right away. Fans rejected the push with “Rocky Sucks” chants and boos every week. A heel turn joining the Nation of Domination thankfully allowed Rock to show his personality and become the iconic figure he is today.
1 Batista vs Randy Orton for WrestleMania 30
Batista coming back to WWE in 2014 and winning the Royal Rumble match right away caused the fan base to turn on the legend. The hope of a Batista vs Randy Orton main event at WrestleMania 30 was sidetracked by fans chanting for Daniel Bryan during their segments.
WWE wanted to move Bryan lower down the card following his WWE Championship match losses, but the audience refused to let it happen. The hand of WWE was forced with Bryan getting added to the match and winning the WrestleMania main event over both heels. Fans essentially changed the script for a significantly better ending.