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What Could Have Been: Professional Wrestling
A lot of these are just fan guesses because Wrestling storylines are constantly changing and original storylines rarely are acknowledged by the creative staff, but what the hell...

ECW

  • After watching a tape of Ultimo Dragon, Paul Heyman wanted to bring him into ECW. While he was unable to get Ultimo Dragon, he did look into bringing over Dragon's opponent from the tape, Lion Heart. Of course, Lion Heart would adopt the name Chris Jericho, and his performance in ECW eventually caught the eye of WCW, who was happy to sign him when he left ECW, and when he became even more credible as a WCW star, WWF took notice as well, and when he went to WWF, he became one of its biggest stars.
  • After Shane Douglas turned face in ECW in early 1999, Paul Heyman booked an angle to have Douglas form a face version of the Triple Threat. Tommy Dreamer's acceptance of Douglas's offer of alliance was the first part of the formation. The second part would've been Jerry Lynn allying with Dreamer and Douglas. But Shane ended up having a contract dispute with Paul Heyman, and ended up leaving ECW, thus stopping the angle cold.
  • EC-F'n-W. A new interview revealed that ECW would have taken the WWE's place on USA after the latter left for TNN/Spike TV in the year 2000 with on Vince's blessing and Universal Music as a minority owner. However, after losing WWE, the #1 brand in wrestling to Spike, USA head Barry Diller felt that ECW would be a step down and nixed the deal.

TNA

  • Spike TV briefly considered giving TNA a timeslot for an all-knockouts show. This was at a time when the Gail Kim vs. Awesome Kong feud was drawing the highest quarter-hour ratings on Impact, so who knows what might have happened with a weekly program dedicated completely to the knockouts?
  • With each passing interview, Paul Heyman makes TNA fans (and even WWE fans who want the company to have competition, feeling like its current monopoly has caused them to become complacent) more and more wistful every time an interviewer asks him what it would be like if he did sign and book for TNA back in 2010. His goal: take the company public in two years by cutting everyone over 40 save one for name value, book around the newer talent, plus outright STEAL Daniel Bryan after his firing and make him an unstoppable submission machine with an eventual showdown with Kurt Angle. Every time a plan is mentioned, thousands of wrestling fans weep.
  • Jim Ross was also rumored to run to TNA when his contract expired in April 2010.
  • Injuries kept Hogan from entering TNA in 2004, which would have had him feuding with Jeff Jarrett for the NWA Championship at the inaugural Victory Road.
  • Shortly before his death, Curt Hennig was considered as a possible contender for Jeff Jarrett's NWA World title.
  • "Macho Man" Randy Savage's surprise appearance at TNA's first Sunday pay-per-view was going to lead to a feud with Jeff Jarrett. However, Hulk Hogan (not knowing that Savage was scheduled to appear) decided to visit backstage since he lives nearby. As soon as Savage saw Hogan, he immediately cancelled all future appearances, save for a tag-team match at the next PPV, and TNA had to scramble to even salvage that.

WCW

  • In the early-mid 1990s, WCW signed Swedish amateur wrestler and Olympic bronze medalist Frank Andersson to a contract. Andersson was very good in the ring and got great reactions, but lasted less than a year. Had he stayed on, WCW might have had an amateur wrestler turned successful pro wrestler half a decade before Kurt Angle signed with WWF.
  • The excreable Black Scorpion angle, in which Sting was tormented by a masked and shrouded figure who kept making references to having known sting in the past, was originally planned with Ultimate Warrior as The Black Scorpion. However, WCW was unable to poach Warrior from WWF, and so the angle floundered around for several months with no end plan before booking decided to make Ric Flair the Black Scorpion.
  • WCW planned its "White Hummer" angle (a mystery person driving a white hummer drove into a limousine with Kevin Nash in it) around Sable being the driver. However, Sable wasn't able to get the no-compete clause in her WWF contract nullified. The angle bounced around with no resolution and repeated pointless callbacks while bookers tried to figure out an appropriately good finish but never did. It ended up being held as a triumphant example of WCW's awful booking, and the resolution was so anti-climactic that many fans don't remember that it was ever resolved. Eric Bischoff was revealed as the driver the same night the New Blood/Millionaire's Club angle started.
  • Scott Hall was going to be part of WCW's Dangerous Alliance in 1992.
  • During his days wrestling as Meng in WCW, Tonga Fifita (also known as Haku in WWF) was asked to join the UFC based on his reputation as the toughest man in wrestling. WCW supported his departure, but Tonga turned it down, believing his conditioning wasn't suited for legitimate competition. WCW did, however, have him wrestle Tank Abbot in Abbot's WCW debut match, believing that Meng was the one guy who could handle himself if Abbot decided to "take liberties" (i.e. start fighting for real).
  • The Rock was nearly poached by Billionaire Ted.
  • The Quebecers/The Amazing French-Canadians (Jacques Rougeau and Carl Oulette) were brought back to WCW to be part of Lance Storm's Team Canada. However, after his first night Rougeau refused to job to Ernest "The Cat" Miller and was fired, and shortly after that Oulette came down with Visa issues and had to quit.
  • When Psicosis finally won the WCW Cruiserweight Title, the initial plan was for him to have a multi-month reign. Then, Vince Russo decided that having lots of rapid title changes would be good for business and he dropped the title back to Rey Misterio Jr. a week later instead.
  • When Buff Bagwell suffered a devastating neck injury in the ring, the show was put on hold while he was tended to and the match that was to have followed the match Bagwell got injured in was cancelled. That match was going to be Chris Benoit vs Psychosis - both top quality wrestlers and smark favorites - and had been allotted 15 minutes. Had the match happened, it would have been the only time that Benoit and Psychosis ever wrestled each other.
  • In the year 2000, WCW considered building a proper women's division around Madusa and Mona. They brought in several female wrestlers based on talent, and had some good matches on WCW Saturday Night and even a few on Thunder. Then someone (probably Vince Russo) decided to try and compete with the WWF's eye candy based women's division and built the division around Miss Hancock, Major Gunns and some of the former Nitro Girls. Mona left for WWF, Madusa retired, and in early 2001 a decree from TBS resulted in almost every woman employed by WCW being fired.
  • According to his book, Shawn Michaels asked for his release from WWF shortly after the nWo started, and would have likely signed with WCW, since he missed travelling with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. Instead, Vince turned him heel and pitted him vs Bret Hart, ultimately causing the Montreal Screwjob. While WCW still got a top star in Bret Hart, it would be interesting to see how HBK would have done in WCW

US Indy

  • During the CHIKARA angle where the promotion was closed for a calendar year, a few of the wrestlers ended up leaving the promotion. The most notable of these was Tim Donst. Donst was last seen in one of the "Ashes Of" videos, where he was working at a Furnishing/Remodeling store and heavily implied to be either drugged, brainwashed, or both. Based on things he had said before the shutdown, fans were guessing that he'd somehow figured out, or at least gotten a lot of information on, the situation with Titor Conglomerate. Almost everything in Chikara builds up to something and Donst was a main eventer, so it's likely that Chikara had plans for Donst that will never come to fruition.
  • In CHIKARA, the angle involving the Bruderschaft de Kreuzes had to be rebooked when BDK leader Claudio Castagnoli was signed by WWE as Antonio Cesaro.
    • To a lesser extent, there was the abrupt removal of Lince Dorado and Daizee Haze from the BDK (Lince was fired, Daizee had an undisclosed health issue that caused her to quit), and whatever it was that caused Pinkie Sanchez to go from upper-midcarder to rarely-utilized jobber.

Other

  • WrestleCrap's "Rewriting the Book" is an entire section of Fan Fiction devoted to What Could Have Been. With the notable difference from Real Life that, in those stories, the booking is actually quite good, though stretching of credulity considering the egos and competence of many of the people involved.
  • Dwayne Johnson, better known as "The Rock", considered running for President as a Republican in the 2008 election.
  • What if Magnum T.A. (who was arguably the biggest babyface in Jim Crockett Promotions at the time of his career ending car accident) not had his career cut so short? Magnum was apparently booked to win the NWA World Title from Ric Flair at the 1986 Starrcade (NWA/WCW's WrestleMania). Would Sting still have gotten to where he got in the same time span with a healthy Magnum still around? Also, would Jim Crockett still had been forced to sell out to Ted Turner in the same time span despite Magnum still being a top draw?
    • At the time of his accident, Magnum was feuding with Nikita Koloff. Like Magnum, Koloff's career is an example of What Could Have Been. In 1988, he took a year off from the ring to care for his dying wife. In 1992, a neck injury would result in Nikita's premature retirement.
  • Hulk Hogan was trained by wrestler Hiro Matsuda, and was apparently possessed of actual skill in the ring if his matches in Japan are any indication, especially one 1993 match which saw Hogan pull an Enzugiri on the Great Muta of all people. Hogan states in his first autobiography Hollywood Hulk Hogan that in the US under Vince Sr. he was told to wrestle like a generic power wrestler, and this followed him throughout his in-ring career for the rest of his days in the US, to the point that when he got to WCW, it was so ingrained into wrestling fans to assume Hogan got by only on "mediocre" wrestling skills and an assload of charisma that he never bothered to show off what he could really do this side of the Pacific. One has to wonder how things would have been different if Hogan had been able to use his in ring skills AND the charisma he was so well known for in the US. Interestingly, shortly before his return to the WWF under Vince Jr. he came within a hair's breadth of becoming NWA world champion by going to a draw with Harley Race for the belt just a month, give or take, before the first Starrcade. More questions to haunt the fans on what could have been.
  • The Xcitement Wrestling Federation was a company founded to be the PG alternative to the WWF near the end of the Invasion. The fed would have predated TNA as the new challenger to the WWE's monopoly with a mix of WWF, WCW & ECW stars including Hulk Hogan and had Sable as the heel CEO, Roddy Piper as the babyface commissioner, Gene Okerlund as the interviewer and commentary by Tony Schiavone and Jerry Lawler. Networks were excited about the mix of the roster...that is until many of talents were poached by WWE, notably Lawler's return to commentary after the divorcing the wife who's firing caused him to leave the first time in Feburary 2001 and Hogan who returned for the first time since August 1993 as part of the short-lived revival of the nWo.

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