Over the years, many WWE story arcs and events have been dropped or altered due to injuries, disputes with and between the wrestlers, executive meddling and various other reasons.
The Undertaker was supposed to be an actual undertaker instead of a zombie/biker.
Technically he was, when he was managed (briefly) by Brother Love — then Paul Bearer became his manager, and with him came the mysterious urn that was the source of his supernatural powers.
The Undertaker was also supposed to debut as the infamous Gobbledy Gooker, as the Egg Man. However, this idea was seen as too ridiculous and was revised into the Undertaker persona on the same night the Gobbledy Gooker gimmick bombed.
There were plans to make Sable a love interest of The Undertaker around 1997. There was even an article in a WWF magazine that was going to lead into it. However, the Undertaker's real-life wife at the time did not approve of the storyline, so it never happened.
Chyna was briefly planned to win the WWE title at Summerslam 1999. This was cancelled because the bookers didn't believe she had adequate skill in the ring for it.
Mr. Kennedy was supposed to be Vince's illegitimate son. Then he got himself a Wellness Policy violation.
Don't forget, this was a substitute angle for the "Who Killed Vince McMahon?" thing. What if THAT angle got to play out properly, instead of being pulled due to the Chris Benoit situation?
Apparently, the night Benoit died the "murderer" was supposed to be revealed as Linda McMahon, who would be arrested at that show. Some weeks later, there was supposed to be an "aired Will reading" by Mr. McMahon himself wherein he would leave the entire WWE in the hands of his "illegitimate son" Mr. Kennedy. This was meant to turn Kennedy into a massive heel and give him a mega-push to the championship. At that point, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H were going to reveal their kayfabe-second, consensual marriage - based on their real one - that would entitle Triple H to combat Mr. Kennedy for the right to own the WWE, culminating in a feud that would push all the way to the Main Event of that year's Wrestlemania. After THAT was finished, in which Triple H would win back control of the company from Kennedy, Vince was meant to come back and reveal that he'd faked the whole thing and setup Linda to take the fall so that way he could give everything to his "true son."
Kennedy's career is full of these non-moments. When The Undertaker suffered a Game-Breaking Injury in 2007, Mr. Kennedy was going to use his Money in the Bank contract and capture the World Heavyweight title. However, Kennedy himself would have an injury of his own, so Edge would end up winning the contract from Kennedy in a match (after Edge attacked Kennedy on the ramp, thus not making Kennedy look weak, but doing a short match). What makes this situation really awful is that Kennedy's injury was not as serious as initially thought, as it was a giant hematoma as opposed to a torn triceps, so Kennedy ended up losing a World title run for something that didn't keep him out two months.
The curse didn't stop here as far as the World Heavyweight title was concerned, as Edge would suffer his own injury about a month into what was supposed to be Kennedy's run with the world title. The Smackdown Creative team was so desperate for a Heel champion that they put the title on the absolutely hated Great Khali.
As for Chris Benoit himself, he would have become the new focal point of ECW by winning the title at Vengeance and feuding with CM Punk, building Punk up similar to his feud with MVP.
Also, had Benoit's death not been part of a murder-suicide, would the WWE have milked it for what it's worth, like they did when Eddie Guerrero died?
How about the events leading up to the murder-suicide? If Kevin Sullivan never filed for divorce with Nancy, she would have never married Chris Benoit. And if that happened, they never would have had a son. Therefore, Chris Benoit wouldn't have been able to do a murder-suicide. Even if he still killed himself from severe brain damage, he could only have committed suicide, and neither his career nor the wrestling industry in general would have been tainted.
Christian was supposed to be the one behind Jeff Hardy's "accidents" in late 2008. When the news leaked to the Internet, he was switched with Matt Hardy. ECW likely would have floundered if Christian didn't carry the brand for one last year. And remember, ECW was the starting point for Sheamus and the solo career of Zack Ryder.
The disastrous one-year WWE Championship reign of Diesel (Kevin Nash) was originally intended to end at a house show in Montreal... to Montreal native and (kayfabe) Cajun pirate, Jean-Pierre LaFitte (formerly Pierre Carl Oulette of The Quebecers). Executive Meddling on behalf of The Kliq not only prevented this, but went out of their way to bury LaFitte on camera.
In 1999, then-WWF booker Vince Russo abruptly jumped to Wrestling.WCW; this left WWF's creative staff scrambling to come up with resolutions to approaching angles, one of them being the impending wedding of Stephanie McMahon and Test. Russo later admitted that his plan was to have Test turn heel, join DeGeneration X, and leave Stephanie at the altar.
In a rare case of actually acknowledging what could have been, WWE actually released promotional pictures of Owen Hart as WWF Champion from his aborted 1994 title run. Owen was originally supposed to beat older brother Bret for the title in a Lumberjack Match at a house show in July due to interference from Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, which would lead into their cage match at SummerSlam (a match which did happen, and was a Crowning Moment of Awesome for both men). For whatever reason, this was booked as a Dusty Finish so the WWF invented an instant replay rule that would keep the belt on him (hey, at least it was better than the "not an official ring" excuse he used to keep the Rockers from being the tag team champions).
Speaking of Owen, more than a few sources have stated Owen was supposed to get "The Game" gimmick instead of Triple H.
Similarly: Stephanie McMahon has hinted in interviews that, on the day he died, Eddie Guerrero was booked to win the World Heavyweight Championship in a Triple Threat Match involving an injured then-champion Batista.
Batista later stated in his book that Randy Orton was the one who was going to win the title, and most likely Stephanie's comments were sadness over Eddie never becoming a champion again like he hoped to be.
Chavo's comments after his departure from WWE about him and Eddie used more for building newer talent rather than being given their own pushes give some validity to Batista.
Eddie was set to lose the Triple Threat Match, but was eventually going to headline WrestleMania 22, in match built up similar to Y2J's XIX bout vs. Shawn Michaels.
The biggest "What Could Have Been" in wrestling history: the InVasion. After the buyout of WCW, WWE was planning to have WCW run as an entirely separate wrestling promotion (but still be a part of the WWE corporate structure; in essence, the plan was an early prototype of the Brand Extension). Unfortunately, WWE couldn't find a time slot for WCW, so instead, the InVasion angle began. This was intended to move WCW into a primetime slot, with Raw planned to become WCW's show while SmackDown would be WWE's show. However, fans solidly rejected this plan, threatened refunds for already-purchased Raw tickets, booed every "Special WCW Match" in a WWE ring, and in the end, the InVasion ended up being one giant bag of suck.
The InVasion only existed in the first place because of another "What Could Have Been". Former WCW executive Eric Bischoff had managed to get backing from a venture capital firm (Fusient Media Ventures) to buy WCW out, and relaunch it apart from Time Warner's corporate umbrella. Said backing got cold feet once they got a good look at the books (at the time, plans were to cancel the Wednesday night "Thunder" show, and move Monday Nitro to TBS, halving the new company's revenue), and Bischoff was scrambling to put something else together. Then TNT (and specifically, Jamie Kellner, the Time Warner exec who was also responsible for Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain) canceled WCW Monday Nitro, stripping WCW of its only remaining TV outlet and single most valuable asset. This was primarily to force a sale to the WWF, who had been in talks earlier but couldn't pull the trigger due to an exclusivity deal with Viacom.
Sting was tapped to become the third man in the nWo, if Hulk Hogan refused to turn heel. The shock value of the industry's biggest icon turning heel would have been nonexistent, and the nWo wouldn't have had the same impact it actually did.
The nWo itself was supposed to end at Starcade 1997. Who knows what could have happened? For starters, there would have been no Fingerpoke Of Doom.
Matt Hardy's feud with Drew McIntyre was supposed to have Matt use a Twitter campaign to rehire McIntyre so he could face him.
What if Daniel Bryan didn't get "fired" from the WWE and stayed in The Nexus? Well, at least that one generally worked out for the best. Otherwise, he probably would have been stuck in Wade Barrett's shadow, and there would have been no face push, no US title win, no Money in the Bank victory, no World Heavyweight Championship victory, no YES! chants, no NO! chants, no 18-second loss to Sheamus, no Team Hell No, no AJ Lee push, etc.
Although Mick Foley has had numerous crowning moments in his career, his first book Have a Nice Day notes that he did end up missing on one that would have been the highlight of his Dude Love persona. In Summerslam 1997, Mankind was wrestling Triple H in a cage match. Mankind was supposed to go through a personality change, rip off his shirt revealing a heart tattoo on his chest and do a dive off the top of the cage as per the fantasy of Dude Love. Unfortunately Mick forgot to get the tattoo done (and the substitute, done with body paint, had been sweated off), and he was too bruised up to do a proper dive resulting in many a confused fan.
Another for Foley: The main event for WrestleMania XV was originally going to be a three-way between Austin, Rock, and Mankind. Shawn Michaels apparently appealed that the main event of WrestleMania should be a one-on-one match. The bookers agreed, so Foley was relegated to being the guest referee (though, ironically enough, Michaels was actually lobbying for Austin to be left out of the match, leaving Rock and Mankind fighting one-on-one).
When WWE wrote off their annual Survivor Series PPV in 2010, THE top candidate for its replacement was a PPV based on WCW's War Games match.
If the writers hadn't pissed off Austin with a last-minute Raw booking in the King of the Ring tournament against Brock Lesnar that would have helped neither of them, he would have continued feuding with Eddie Guerrero.
Or what if Wrestlemania X8 main event was Austin vs. Hogan?
WWE almost signed New Jack. Although his tryout match with Val Venis was really short and lackluster, his promo skills impressed Vince McMahon and he was well-liked in the locker room. Due to the inevitable Bowdlerization and Vince's concern that New Jack would seriously hurt someone, it didn't happen.
Another almost-WWE signee would be Steve Corino. After leaving ECW for WCW, Corino was released after the WWF bought the latter. Six years later, he wrestled a couple tryout matches but was never offered a contract. He turned down a request from Dusty Rhodes since he felt he couldn't do the short five-minute matches that were standard in WWE compared to the 20+ minute bouts he had done in Japan and elsewhere.
A third would be AJ Styles who turned down a developmental contract to stay and support his future wife's college education.
Kazarian is a significant one, as he was actually in WWE and had a winning streak, before he was either a) fired because he wouldn't cut his hair (long standing rumours) or b) quit because they refused to reform the cruiserweight division (Word of Kaz)
Daniels in particular is the subject of several of these. He was originally set to become Vampiro's master, Syndrome, in WCW, but the storyline was scrapped. He also made appearances in ECW prior to its demise.
Alex Shelley recently had another brush with a WWE contract, as WWE reportedly planned to tap him to be the top face of a new Cruiserweight division to be showcased on the WWE Network. Unfortunately, the network ended up in Development Hell, and thus the Cruiserweight program never came to pass.
Mark "Marco Corleone" Jindrak was set to be the fourth member of Evolution.
Lex Luger's All American Face push was originally supposed to go to Kona Crush. When the time came to body slam Yokozuna in the Stars and Stripes Challenge, the big Hawaiian hurt his back trying to lift him, and the show's MC Randy Savage had to improvise while they flew Luger onto the ship to body slam him.
There was what appears to be a rather interesting side-effect to Sting turning the offer down; Triple H's entrance included an abbreviated version of the Metallica song For Whom The Bell Tolls. Considering that Sting's entrance music in WCW used to be Seek & Destroy, it's thought that WWE had secured the rights to a play a Metallica track at the event in advance specifically for Sting, and decided to use a different track when he declined the offer.
There were apparently plans to have Wade Barrett vs. Undertaker at WM XXVII quite early on, which appears to be evidenced by the rather sudden beatdown by The Nexus upon The Undertaker in at Bragging Rights 2010.
It is still heavily rumored/believed that the original plan was for Undertaker to fight Brock Lesnar at WM XXVII as well as that their confrontation at UFC was to be the setup for their match.
In late 1993, the WWF decided to revive the previously inactive Women's Championship by bringing in Madusa, under the new name Alundra Blayze, who would win the title in December of that year. A few months later, in 1994, the WWF brought in legendary AJW wrestler Bull Nakano to face off against Blayze, and the two would engage in a heated rivalry that lasted throughout the rest of the year and produced good matches. In 1995, the WWF signed Rhonda Singh, bringing her in as vicious yet comedic heel Bertha Faye, the trailer trash girlfriend of Dr. Harvey Wippleman. Since Blayze would be out for a few months getting plastic surgery after Faye broke her nose in her debut, the plan was for Faye to feud with Bull until Blayze returned and then build the division up from there. However, Bull was found in possession of cocaine and subsequently fired, leaving Faye without a feud, and by the end of the year, frustrated with her gimmick and being told she couldn't perform her signature powerbomb as Sycho Sid was using it as his Finishing Move, Singh had left. At Survivor Series 1995, WWF brought in more women from AJW (Sakie Hasegawa, Chaparita ASARI, Kyoko Inoue, Aja Kong, Tomoko Watanabe and Lioness Asuka) with the intention of building Aja Kong up as Blayze's next challenger, as she picked up wins over the next few weeks on Monday Night Raw and was scheduled to face Blayze for the belt at the 1996 Royal Rumble. However, Blayze did not like Kong, who was notoriously stiff, and refused to work with her, instead sitting out the last month of her contract and refusing to re-sign while she was still champion. The WWF abandoned its women's division before bringing it back three years later. It's a story full of what ifs: would the plan to build a solid division around Bull, Faye and Blayze have succeeded if Bull hadn't been fired? Would fan interest have continued if the Blayze/Kong feud had gone off as planned, and if so, would WWE keep the focus on bringing in actual women wrestlers (be it American girls, Japanese joshi or Mexican luchadoras)?
Of course, the kicker to all of this was the fact that the day her contract with WWF expired, she showed up on WCW Monday Nitro as Madusa with the WWF Women's Championship belt...which she then proceeded to toss in the trash.
The really painful part? The massive loss of face Vince suffered from Madusa's action (particularly, having a WWF title on WCW television), is believed to be part of why he pulled the Montreal Screwjob. This event, of course, also has so many "what could have been" moments as well: Bret Hart was supposed to drop the title at Survivor Series to Shawn Michaels the night before his contract expired, but refused to do so due to the pay-per-view being held in Canada. Desperate to make sure his top prize doesn't leave the company with Hart, Vince forced the referee to ring the bell and declare Michaels as the new champion. The massive amount of heat McMahon got from the event led to the development of his Corrupt Corporate Executive persona, which led to his classic feud with Steve Austin that helped launch the Attitude Era.
The Undertaker's original match at WrestleMania 21 was going to be for him to team up with Kane to face Gene Snitsky and Heidenreich, both of whom were feuding with Kane and Undertaker (respectively) at the time. However, Undertaker opted to face Randy Orton instead.
It is believed that Undertaker had originally approached Randy Orton in having him break the streak at WrestleMania 21, however Orton turned down the offer out of respect to Taker.
According to Kurt Angle, he was considered to end Undertaker's streak at WrestleMania 22 in a match for the World Heavyweight Championship instead of at No Way Out 2006. Undertaker was willing to take the loss because he hadn't had a 5 Star WrestleMania match and the writing team was willing to do it to keep Angle looking strong as champion. If this had happened, would Rey Mysterio Jr have gained the World Heavyweight Championship during the Eddiesploitation angle?
As for the Eddiesploitation angle, would Chavo's career be different if he hadn't turned it down as their original choice?
Scott Hall was supposed to beat "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in their Wrestlemania X8 match but Austin pretty much shot it down as hard as he could, not wanting to lose to the 'invading' force of the nWo. It pretty much killed the entire storyline dead.
The UFC's Mike Goldberg was WWE's original choice to replace Jim Ross in 2005. Goldberg declined because he would have to give up his announcing gig at Fox Sports Net.
Smackdown was pitched as an all-divas show.
Paul Heyman's original plans for the disastrous December to Dismember main event? Use UFC style vignettes to sell that match in the weeks leading up to it (they were filmed but never used, the concept was recycled for Wrestlemania 25's opening), then in the actual match itself, start it off with CM Punkchoking out and eliminatingThe Big Show in the first five minutes to ensure a new champion (an idea which Big Show liked and Vince hated). A lot better than the attempt to turn Bobby Lashley into the next Goldberg.
Had Brian Pillman not died of a overdose, his storyline with Goldust would have ended with him stealing Goldust's wife, Terri Runnels.
Vince McMahon, John Bradshaw Layfield or Triple H were all choices for revealing of the anonymous Raw GM in summer 2010, but because an identity could not have been decided, it was held off indefinitely until Hornswoggle was revealed as the GM.
Had Edge had not retired, one of the possibilities for Wrestlemania 27 would had been Christian turning on him.
The event happened before his retirement, though. They just decided not to go with it. Although, they may have just been pulling it back for a future eventů
Also, if Edge never retired, he would have retained the title, Christian wouldn't have won it at Extreme Rules, he wouldn't have lost it to Orton immediately afterwards, their wouldn't have been an Internet Backdraft, and Christian wouldn't have turned heel.
During his first year, Brock Lesnar was forced to work a watered down power wrestling style rather than the more technical style he was good at. Despite being an NCAA champion and a shoe-in for the Olympics (he declined so he could start his career in WWE), Brock was booked to wrestler a power/brawling style that he clearly didn't know how to work. While he showed some promise during his feud with The Rock, it wasn't until Lesnar's feud with Kurt Angle that he was finally allowed to show his technical skills.
Speaking of Lesnar, his original finish in developmental was a shooting star press. It's a shame he couldn't continue to use it.
He used it once at WrestleMania. And botched it. A non-botched finish would've elevated the match to one of the greatest ever.
The execrable Katie Vick angle was supposed to bring Scott Vick aka Sick Boy (a talented jobber-to-the-stars from Raven's Flock that WCW never utilized) into WWE. When the fans thoroughly rejected the angle, Scott Vick was kept in developmental and quit wrestling in frustration several months later.
John Cena might have been fired if Stephanie hadn't overheard him freestyling, leading to him dressing and rapping like Vanilla Ice two weeks later on the Halloween Episode of Smackdown. And if Cena was fired, he would have never won the US title, would have never gotten super-over with the fans, would have never been pushed to the WWE title, would have never beat JBL for the championship at WrestleMania 21, would have never took the title to RAW, would have never gotten the smarks to turn on him, and would have never had a 10 month reign that made Vince realize he could be the company's top face. And if Vince never made him the top face, he would have never realized how over he was with kids and wouldn't have turned WWE PG. Wow!
YMMV on the PG thing. One of the main theories (and arguably the real reason) why WWE went PG was for Linda McMahon's campaign for senate. One could argue that if she never made the decision to run for senate, WWE would have never turned PG in the first place.
Additionally, Cena lobbied to push Edge in their Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match at Unforgiven 2006, giving Edge the title and the feud. This was because Cena wanted to take a break, go back to Smackdown, and turn heel to refresh his character (restarting his feuds with Kurt Angle, from opposite roles, and Rey Mysterio Jr. while possibly aligning with Randy Orton and starting his feud with Batista years early). However, his feud with Edge ignited a phase of him Growing the Beard, so the idea was nixed as he ascended to megastar status. Interestingly, Cena was very disappointed with the outcome as, in stark contrast to his other title wins, he didn't celebrate and looked miserable, somewhat breaking kayfabe.
The Rock and Edge had custom WWF/WWE Championship belts designed but they were not used. The Rock's belt, which had been the successor to Austin's Smokin's Skull belt, had the Brahma Bull logo but was reportedly lost in the mail. Edge's belt was far different than the Rated R Spinner belt but was scrapped due to time constraints. One could only imagine that Cena Spinner could have been a one off instead of a seven year itch plus one. That is until the debut of the "Class/Super Bowl Ring" Belt in 2013.
If Triple H hadn't suffered his Game-Breaking Injury in 2001, he would have turned face and restarted his feud with a heel Austin. If that happened, he might have done so well that WWF may have decided "he's much better as a face than as a heel." He may have never turned heel, get pushed to the moon on RAW, bury every face on the brand, form Evolution and allow Randy Orton and Batista to gain credibility, and the two may never have had such great careers.
Even further - if Triple H didn't tear his quad, thus leaving the WWE without Triple H andThe Rock, who was shooting The Scorpion King at the time, then TLC III wouldn't have taken place at the following SmackDown tapings due the WWF having to scramble rewrite the show; Chris Benoit may not have broken his neck (TLC III was the match where the injury first happened), the WCW Invasion may not have occurred in the manner it did (The first WCW run-in happened the week after the injury), and Chris Jericho & Kurt Angle may not have been pushed to the main event due to the the three absences already mentioned.
The Juniors division of Smackdown was an attempt to relaunch the Cruiserweight Division (considered dark match/B-show material) until a mix up caused the WWE to pick up mostly midget wrestlers. This may have led to WWE signing Hornswoggle, who of course has been involved of some of WWE's most embarrassing moments.
More Executive Meddling than mixed up really, the one who had lobbied for it and fought tooth and nail to get it approved was hoping to get guys like Sonjay Dutt, Jack Evans, Mistico, and others. But John Laurinaitis who was in charge of hiring them disliked the idea and so instead he went and hired midget wrestlers killing it.
If Evan Bourne and R-Truth had not gotten suspended, the team of AwesomeTruth would have won the Tag Team Titles following Survivor Series. R-Truth's suspension, in particular, led to WWE having to break up Awesome Truth, and decided to do so by having the Miz stab R-Truth in the back. Because of this, it meant that WWE had to turn one of them face, and chose R-Truth. That was a problem, because the IWC loathed him as a face, and feared he would be given his old rapping gimmick back. R-Truth kept his Little Jimmy gimmick, but played a fan-friendly version of it before slowly evolving back to his first gimmick.
Ironically both guys ended up winning the titles with Kofi Kingston.
Mankind vs. the Undertaker... on Alcatraz Island.
Had the "MSG Incident"note :During Hall and Nash's last appearance in WWF before they left for WCW, they no-sold the finish of a match and celebrated together in the ring breaking kayfabe severely. Since Vince McMahon couldn't punish Hall and Nash for it and was afraid to punish HBK, who was his top draw at the time, the full punishment for the incident fell on Triple H not taken place in 1996, Triple H, not"Stone Cold" Steve Austin, would have won the King of the Ring tournament that year. Of course, Austin's KotR victory speech was where he coined "Austin 3:16" and is looked on as a pivotal moment in his ascent to the top of the wrestling industry, meaning WWE would have DIED otherwise. HHH has yet to accept the thanks he deserves for this.
William Regal was receiving a major push for the WWE title in 2008. By his own admission, he got self-conscious, started using steroids, got caught, and got suspended. Nowadays, he's barely on TV.
Lately there have been rumblings among the IWC that Regal may finally be getting that one main event push sometime in the near future. The IWC does have a tendency to read too deeply into things, but with the recent (as of November 2013) WWE.com article featuring a group of Superstars singing Regal's praises, his commentator role on NXT, and the recently revised Wellness Policy that introduced the "Redemption Program", you can begin to see why the IWC has been getting excited.
CM Punk's feud with Kevin Nash got derailed by, of all things, Plavix. Nash took the anti-artery blockage drug for hereditary reasons due to his father's early death by heart attack at 36. When it came time for Punk and Nash to have the match, the pre-match blood test detected the Plavix and the doctors refused to clear Nash to wrestle. The storyline would have revealed John Laurinaitis instead of Nash as the one to put the hit out on Punk, trying to drive out COO Triple H and take over the company.
Had Edge's body held up one more year, he would have ended his career at WrestleMania 28 against Christian.
Booker T was slated to win the World Heavyweight Championship from Triple H at WrestleMania XIX, but at the time, Booker T was contemplating retirement, and the WWE was in the process of signing Goldberg. Or if rumors are to be believed, Triple H lobbied to retain the championship.
Bret Hart's 2006 DVD documentary, Bret Hart: The Best There Is, The Best There Was, The Best There Ever Will Be, was to have been a Take That documentary called Screwed: The Bret Hart Story (named after the Montreal Screwjob), and would have been in line with The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior produced a year earlier.
The Mr. Perfect gimmick was originally planned to go to Terry Taylor. However, Curt Hennig signed with the company at around the same time as Taylor and sported a similar look and style. It was decided the two would wrestle dark matches throughout the summer and whoever impressed the writers more would get the gimmick. Poor Taylor ended up becoming a rooster.
Ted DiBiase was supposed to win the WWF title at Wrestlemania IV. The problem was that Randy Savage was supposed to win the Intercontinental Title from the Honky Tonk Man at an earlier Saturday Night's Main Event. Honky, however, refused to drop the title and threatened to quit the company and sign with the NWA. Honky was allowed to keep the title, so now Savage was upset, so Savage was given the WWF title at Wrestlemania. DiBiase was now upset, but apparently not enough since he was given the Million Dollar Belt as compensation.
Brodus Clay's Funkasaurus gimmick actually had a link between the monster heel promos and his current form. Clay would have debuted (OK, returned, but the WWE pretended that he never appeared on WWE television before) the monster heel gimmick but would turn on Laurinaitis (for stalling his debut for so long) and later debut the dancing gimmick.
During her time in developmental, Shantelle Taylor (aka former TNA Knockout Taylor Wilde) wrestled in dark matches for Smackdown under the name San-Eye while wearing a mask. The story goes that she would've been called up as the masked San-Eye character eventually winning the cruiserweight title before unmasking to reveal she was actually a woman. This was dropped after only a few matches and Taylor was sent back down to developmental before eventually being released.
Malia Hosaka was a very talented wrestling journeywoman during the days when women's wrestling was all but dead in the United States. She worked a match against WCW Women's Champion Akira Hokuto on Nitro, and later signed a WWF developmental contract in the late 90s, but she never got called up from developmental. She made one appearance with Taka Michinoku and Funaki while they were doing their "Evil / Indeed" gimmick - she shoved Funaki, stole his microphone, and said "indeed" instead of him - but very shortly after that the entire gimmick was canned because WWF had no plans to actually push Taka and Funaki, and the gimmick was making them too over to be effective jobbers. That was unfortunately the closest Malia ever came to making it in one of the big 3. And who knows how far the gimmick could have taken Taka and Funaki if it hadn't been canned?
She did a surprise anonymous run-in during WWE Women's Champion Ivory's promo on the June 28, 1999 Raw. The Usenet newsgroup rec.sport.pro-wrestling went nuts asking who it was. WWE never did anything with Hosaka though.
Bizarrely enough, had Eddie Guerrero not passed away, we might not have Dolph Ziggler as we currently know him. Before Eddie died, his nephew Chavo was wrestling as a goofy, white-bread golfer named Kerwin White, with Ziggler as his caddy. However, when Eddie died, Chavo decided he wanted to go back to his original gimmick and have a Guerrero on the roster. Had he continued as Kerwin White, Dolph wouldn't have been sent back to developmental, became part of the Spirit Squad, or anything else. Ziggler might not even still be in WWE had it not happened.
Eddie's death also had an effect on his wife Vickie. If he never died, Vickie wouldn't have needed a job, wouldn't have been put in the Rey Mysterio vs. Chavo Guerrero feud, would have never turned on Mysterio and align with her nephew, would have never been appointed as Teddy Long's Assistant GM, wouldn't have ever been named General Manager of Smack Down after Teddy Long's heart attack, wouldn't have delivered such bad promos, wouldn't have gotten so much X-Pac Heat (and, since people hated hearing her speak, the heat would be the loudest at the beginning of every promo, which was usually opened with "Excuse Me!" and WWE would never have noticed how much heat those two words got, and would have never turned it into a Catch Phrase.) The careers of Lay Cool and Dolph Ziggler may not have gone very far without her support, and, wow, it changed everything.
Jack Swagger almost came back as a babyface with Sgt. Slaughter as his manager. Unfortunately with the rash of injuries happening to Hispanic heroes Rey Mysterio Jr. and Sin Cara which necessitated turning the then-heel Alberto Del Rio face, WWE went in another direction bringing in Dutch Mantell as Zeb Colter and rebuilding Swagger into a Tea Party-style heel as a foil to the Mexico native.
However, WWE already had a similar character in Antonio Cesaro, and not wanting to have two similar characters, Cesaro was given a yodeling gimmick and his push came to a abrupt stop. This gimmick led to a feud with R-Truth that brought the latter back to his rapping gimmick after two years of being in Ensemble Darkhorse territory. Of course, then WWE solved the issue of having similar characters by aligning Cesaro with Colter and forming a mini-stable out of the situation
The "Imposter Kane" storyline. Sometime around 2006 there was a rumor going around that Kane was planning on retiring soon. To make up for his character, an Imposter Kane (played by Drew Hankinson) was brought in to make a storyline in which HE was the real Kane, having been locked away while the real Kane was the Imposter. However because the angle confused the fans too much, the storyline was quickly abandoned, and Imposter Kane was soon re-tuned into becoming Festus of the Tag Tagm, Jesse and Festus. Seven years later, Kane is still active, by the way.
The Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and Kurt AngleJust FriendsLove Triangle storyline around the middle of 2000 was apparently meant to end with Steph running off with Kurt, both turning Heel while H turned face. After that angle was nixed, it lead to Chris Kreski being fired/leaving his head writer role with WWF Creative, and being replaced with Steph herself, starting the period that many in the IWC believe began the decline of the company.
Speaking of which, The Jericho/Triple H Wrestlemania feud was originally going to be about Jericho having an affair with Stephanie to stick it to Triple H. Rock/Hogan was also going to be the original main event of Wrestlemania 18. Triple H vetoed both. Instead, Jericho was demoted to a weapon in a Triple H Stephanie feud and the match closed WrestleMania 18, before a crowd tired out from Rock vs. Hogan.
Vince McMahon once asked Dana White, president of UFC, to do some sort of fight on either a UFC pay per view or a Wrestlemania. Dana cited Vince's advanced age as the main reason he turned it down. It didn't stop former boxing champion Mike Tyson to predict a victory for Vince though.
The Public Enemy probably would have been as successful in WWF as The Dudleys later became if not for several factors later revealed by John "Bradshaw" Layfield, who participated in their infamous Sunday Night Heat beatdown: being hired by Terry Taylor, who most in the entire business don't like, showing up four hours late for the tapings, and the main one, attempting a last minute change in the finish (being driven through tables for a DQ win). Gerald Brisco's instructions to Bradshaw and Ron "Faarooq" Simmons was simply to ensure they went through the table.
Much like the Brock Lesnar situation mentioned above, Hulk Hogan of all people falls into this trope, as he was trained by Hiro Matsuda, who was not only a great scientific wrestler, he was a legit shoot fighter, and trained Hulk very much the same way. To show Hogan just how serious he would have to be to train with him? Hiro BROKE HOGAN'S LEG. Hulk came back and Hiro trained him. But then nobody outside of Japan would let him wrestle the way he was trained to, and instead wanted him to wrestle as a generic 'big man'. Many may scoff at this until they see Hogan's 1993 match in Japan with The Great Muta, in which Hogan pulls an enzuigiri on the man, something he never did in America. Hacksaw actually referenced the idea that Hogan was a 'great scientific wrestler' when Hogan went heel and formed the nWo, leaving many to either laugh or scratch their heads going WTF. But what if Hogan had been allowed to wrestle the way Hiro trained him to? How would that have affected his career and the way that American fans, his then largest viewerbase would come to perceive him? Hogan comments on this in his first autobiography which was, ironically, published by WWE while he was under contract with them at the time. He's also commented on it in a few interviews, including abbreviated versions of the story in Hulk Still Rules and The Unreal Story of Professional Wrestling, as well as elsewhere.
Had controversy not ended his career and storyline, the record for youngest World Heavyweight Champion might belong to Muhammad Hassan, who was 23 when he faced Undertaker for the #1 Contendership. Had it not been for the London Bombing incident, he would have won the match, and beaten Batista at Summerslam, beating Randy Orton's record by more than 8 months