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What Could Have Been: WWE
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.
    • According to J.J. Dillon, another idea for the Undertaker was to make him a Viking character.
    • 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.
    • The Undertaker and Kane were supposed to team up against The Shield for Summerslam 2013, but The Undertaker got hurt taking a triple powerbomb from The Shield. This killed the chances of the feud, and almost killed The Shield's push, as this caused them to fall out of favor with their superiors for a period (wrongly attributed to "Seth Rollins being disrespectful" on news sites).
  • 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.
      • Benoit had a wife and two kids before he took up with Nancy. But that's taking far too many assumptions as to what would/could have been.
  • Kane was supposed to remask in 2008 when he carried around a burlap sack asking "Is he alive or dead?" However once fans pointed out the shape of his old mask's likeness in the bag's surface, the idea was nixed and transformed into a feud between Kane and Rey Mysterio Jr. In December 2011, he finally did, turning this into a 'what became'.
  • 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 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 Guerrero Jr'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.
    • Other wrestlers mostly associated with TNA who had stints or worked dark matches in WWE include Alex Shelley, Kazarian, Eric Young, Bobby Roode, Samoa Joe and Christopher Daniels.
      • 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. By the time the Network actually came into existence two years later, NXT had evolved to fill the niche the planned cruiserweight program would have, and Shelley had moved on to become a fixture of New Japan Pro Wrestling.
  • Before becoming Brock Lesnar's manager, Paul Heyman was set to become Chris Benoit's.
  • 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.
  • Sting was approached to wrestle The Undertaker at ''Wrestlemania XXVII'', but turned it down because he disliked Vince McMahon's treatment of former WCW talent.
    • 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.
    • To add to the Undertaker's history with Wrestlemania XXVII's matches, the original plan was for Undertaker to fight Brock Lesnar as well. Paul Heyman ultimately revealed this to be true in an interview and that HE was the one that proposed the idea and that he wanted to show Undertaker and Brock Lesner's real-life confrontation at a UFC event to setup their match. However, Dana White (UFC President at the time) rejected the idea because he refused to let Lesnar fight and wrestle at the same time.
    • 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.
  • 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.
    • Mark Henry was briefly considered to break The Undertaker's streak.
    • 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. It was Goldberg's refusal that led to Joey Styles being recruited by the company.
  • 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 Punk choking out and eliminating The 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.
    • The ECW revival itself was supposed to have been just a Web Original produced by Shane Mc Mahon until interest from sponsors and Vince caused it to blow up into a full-on third television brand.
    • One Night Stand 2006 was never meant to launch into a revival, only to serve as Rob Van Dam's Awesome Moment of Crowning vs. John Cena... or Triple H.
  • Had Brian Pillman not died just before the In Your House: Badd blood PPV, 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 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 wrestle 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 and The 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.
  • In October 2004, WWE began grooming Stacy Keibler for a reign as WWE Women's Champion. Stacy was extremely popular but had very little talent as an in-ring performer so WWE had Molly Holly put her over three weeks in row to build up some buzz on her. Stacy was booked to win the Fulfill Your Fantasy Battle Royal at Taboo Tuesday 2004 and become champion. The day of the show, Stacy told WWE management that, as a non-wrestler, she didn't deserve to be champion and they should leave the belt on then-champ Trish Stratus.
  • In 1998, the WWF had planned to give Luna Vachon a reign as WWF Women's Champion. Just one little problem: the then-champion Sable repeatedly refused to drop the title to her.
  • Had Brock Lesnar not left in 2004, we would had reprised his feud with The Undertaker now back as the "Original Deadman".
  • If Evan Bourne and R-Truth had not gotten suspended, the team of Awesome Truth 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.
  • Jim Ross nearly booked Mankind vs. the Undertaker... on Alcatraz Island.
  • Had the "MSG Incident"note  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 that without Austin's win, the Attitude Era might not have happened, and WWE might very well have gone bankrupt. 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) 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. However, between Bret mending fences with WWE, and possibly because WWE came under fire from more than a few wrestling fans for the blatant hatchet job that was Self Destruction, it thankfully became much more positive.
  • 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 went nuts asking who it was. WWE never did anything with Hosaka though.
    • In early 2000, there were plans for Malia Hosaka to be Essa Rios' manager but, at the last minute, they switched and gave the job to Amy Dumas, who became Lita and went on to be one of the biggest female stars in wrestling history. Hosaka (and Rios for that matter) have long since faded into obscurity.
  • MVP once proposed to WWE what would essentially would have been their version of 3 Live Kru with John Cena and R-Truth.
  • Elijah Burke/D'Angelo Dinero almost ended up as a Spirit Squad member.
  • The Shield's Dean Ambrose was supposedly going to debut through a online feud with Mick Foley, which may or may not have been canned due to Ambrose bringing Foley's family into it.
    • This was used as an easy out. The reason it didn't happen is that Foley couldn't be medically cleared to wrestle.
  • When The Undertaker was to defend The Streak against CM Punk at Wrestlemania 29. WWE originally wanted to do something with Punk's manager Paul Heyman going up against Taker's longtime manager Paul Bearer. Sadly, Bearer passed away on March 5, 2013, just a few weeks before Taker and Punk's match at Mania.
  • 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 (as, at that time, he was one of the unremarkable lower mid-carders that tend to disappear during WWE's annual "spring cleaning.")
    • 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, later known as Festus and Luke Gallows) 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 Team, Jesse and Festus. Seven years later, Kane is still active, by the way.
  • The Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and Kurt Angle Just Friends Love 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.
  • In a 2013 WWE Magazine article, Fandango revealed that he was almost part of the Magic Mike inspired male stripper gimmick that Curt Hawkins & Tyler Reks used, which lasted maybe, all of two weeks before Reks decided he wanted to retire and spend more time with his infant daughter.
  • In an interview from January 2009, Drake Younger mentions optimistically that Jon Moxley had a tryout with TNA. Moxley instead signed to WWE, and a couple years later showed up on TV as the mouthpiece of The Shield, along the way scoring the US Championship. One wonders what would've become of him had he been hired by TNA instead.
    • Strangely enough, now (as of 2014), both Younger and Moxley are signed to WWE.
  • According to Hulk Hogan, his feud with Shawn Michaels that went into SummerSlam of 2005 was originally planned to last for at least 2 more Pay-Per-Views, with Shawn Michaels winning the 2nd one and a 3rd one building up for who the better wrestler was. One of them was going to be a Steel Cage Match. Hogan also hinted that this could be one of the major possibilities as to why Shawn Michaels oversold all of Hogan's moves in such an over-the-top fashion. However, multiple issues came up right afterwards and the feud abruptly ended the next night on RAW, with Michaels slowly but surely returning to his Face routes.
  • Los Matadores were gonna debut as heels, and without El Torito. But then it was decided to add El Torito to group, so they made their debut as faces.
  • Had CM Punk not walked out of the WWE after Royal Rumble, he would have faced Kane at Elimination Chamber and later Triple H at WrestleMania XXX. Punk would have also faced Triple H at WrestleMania 28 until the above delay with an interquel Kevin Nash feud.
    • Daniel Bryan would have faced a heel Sheamus for a third time if it wasn't for the backlash.
      • Batista was also orignally slated to have a rematch vs. Bryan for the title at Extreme Rules.
  • The question of whether or not Jim Ross or Joey Styles are each others Poor Man's Substitute might have been put to the test with Paul Heyman stating that JR would have called ECW One Night Stand had Joey declined or been unable to.
  • Daniel Bryan's injury after Extreme Rules wrote him out of the business end of a Curb-Stomp Battle by Brock Lesnar at Summerslam. The result, instead of Daniel Bryan's WWE World Heavyweight Championship reign being ended as the result of the Authority calling Brock Lesnar in as a hired gun after Kane proved to be ineffective, John Cena was inserted in the role of martyr which only in the smark's eyes was a Take That, Scrappy!.
  • Cena's injury in 2008 unfortunately put an end to a blossoming faction with Cryme Tyme called Cryme Tyme Cenation (or CTC) for short. Not only did Cryme Tyme level up in stature going from an Affectionate Parody of thug culture to Hip Hop Guile Heroes but also rerailed Cena's character by bringing back shades of Doctor of Thuganomics. Plus the idea of a mixed race Hip Hop group was so Crazy Awesome, it rescued Cena from the Scrappy heap without turning him heel.
  • On Steve Austin's podcast, Tommy Dreamer mentioned that he had worked out a deal for Abyss to come to WWE, and they were even considering him as an opponent for The Undertaker at Wrestlemania. Unfortunately, Abyss got cold feet about leaving TNA, and backed out of the deal at the last minute.
  • Chris Jericho's short feud with Mickey Rourke was supposed to lead into both of them actually wrestling each other at Wrestlemania 25. However, Rourke let the plans slip before they had even started playing it up on TV, and his handlers panicked and pulled him out of the match out of fears that associating with WWE would cost him his Best Actor nomination for The Wrestler. So the feud was changed up to have Jericho wrestle against Hall of Famers Ricky Steamboat, Jimmy Snuka, and Roddy Piper instead at the event.
    • Jerry Lawler was a name thrown around for one of the WWE Legends to wrestle Jericho, but Vince had the criteria that said Legends had to have appeared at the first Wrestlemania so he was quickly dropped. After Piper and Snuka were settled on, Vince wanted the third Legend in the match to be Greg Valentine. Concerned about the quality of the match, Jericho successfully pushed for Ricky Steamboat to be the third Legend instead.
  • An angle that, thankfully, never panned out: In 2006, after Stephanie McMahon gave birth to her child, there was planned to be an incest angle where Vince was revealed to be the father. This was scrapped after Stephanie refused to participate in such a storyline.
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