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Aborted Arc / Pro Wrestling

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Years ago, before the advent of live cable television on Monday nights and the Internet, feuds were planned out months in advance rather than week-by-week, meaning that even if an angle were not living up to expectations (e.g., apathetic fan response), it would continue until the earliest opportunity to quietly end the feud. But even in the pre-Attitude/pre-Monday Night Raw era, unplanned events – a wrestler's unexpected death or departure, or a major legit injury, for instance – would often force major changes to a carefully planned angle, and often force promoters to hastily edit explanations into the already-completed films that were to be distributed to local TV stations.


  • In 1957 there was a "dispute" among members of the National Wrestling Alliance over whether Édouard Carpentier had defeated World Heavyweight Champion Lou Thesz or not. This was going to lead up to a big match to determine who the "true" NWA World Heavyweight Champion was once and for all but then Montreal promoter Eddie Quinn pulled out of the alliance and NWA president Sam Muchnick made it official that Carpentier had never beaten Thesz.
  • The 1988 "blackmail" angle involving Dusty Rhodes and Baby Doll was dropped after only two weeks. We never found out what was in the envelope Doll gave him, leading to quite possibly the only time Dusty was ever rendered speechless.
  • WCW used to invoke this trope all the time.
    • While much of this was due to the various 'creative control' clauses in contracts held by big names such as Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash, who would refuse to do anything they didn't feel like doing or just rewrite it on the spot, just as much blame has to go to the various bookers and writers themselves. One infamous example were the ridiculous 'Search for Cactus Jack' vignettes, where Paul Heyman scoured North America, searching for Mick Foley, who had "sustained amnesia" after being injured. As the skits got worse and worse, WCW decided to drop the whole thing and have Foley just reappear on television with his memory intact, after which the entire thing was swept under the rug.
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    • Halloween Havoc 1995, in which The Giant challenged Hulk Hogan to a Monster Truck Showdown atop the Cobo Hall Arena. It ended in a scuffle, during which Hogan accidentally threw The Giant off the roof of the building, ostensibly to his death. Hogan sold the incident as if he was horrified and apologized profusely...And then The Giant showed up at the end of the Event for his scheduled title match with Hogan and no mention was made of the incident at all. That's right, WCW managed to begin and then abort a storyline within the space of a single Pay-Per-View.
  • In 1997 the World Wrestling Federation had the privilege to showcase some of AAA's Los Cadetes del Espacio vs Los Rudos de la Galaxia feud under its own banner on Sunday Night Heat, going so far as to announce Abismo Negro joining Cibernético's Los Vipers after the latter group was defeated to continue his vendetta against Los Cadetes. Then WWF released Negro and never mentioned it again (though it continued to play out to a logical conclusion in AAA).
  • In 1999, WWE ran a reoccurring vignette featuring short Caught in the Act videos of Superstars doing rather embarrassing things under the title of "GTV." The plan was originally for Goldust to be revealed as the culprit (as per writer Vince Russo, the very first vignette actually called it "GDTV"), but his sudden departure from the company meant it never came to be. The WWE continued to run the vignettes afterwards, though with much less regularity, before quietly retiring them. The arc actually did get something of a send-off on Sunday Night Heat, when Glen Ruth (formerly Headbanger Thrasher) displayed GTV footage to acquit Chaz (formerly Headbanger Mosh) in his own domestic violence angle.
    • Actually, as this video reveals, it wasn't Goldust who was supposed to be behind "GTV", but MTV's Tom Green, whom Russo had a friendly working relationship with off-camera.
  • In WCW, 2000's "Stacy Keibler is pregnant" arc was halted following Vince Russo's departure from WCW. This is Vince Russo we're talking about. She gave birth to a stack of Shawn Stasiak photos. Sadly, it's only the second strangest thing a woman has given birth to in a wrestling storyline.
  • WCW never did reveal who Diamond Dallas Page's mystery benefactor in the white gloves was.
  • WCW had a notorious angle involving the unknown driver of a White Hummer that deliberately drove into a limousine that Kevin Nash was in. The unknown driver of the White Hummer would be brought up and speculated about, and the incident kept getting callbacks for months, all without going anywhere. They actually did finally reveal the driver, a few months after they'd quit constantly bringing it up, but so anticlimactically that a lot of fans weren't aware. The driver was Eric Bischoff. The driver of the White Hummer was allegedly supposed to be Rena "Sable" Mero, but that plan fell through when Mero wasn't able to get the no-compete clause of her WWF contract annulled. The stretching out of the angle was caused by WCW not knowing where to go with it after the Sable plan fell through.
  • In February of 2001, The Kat entered an angle where Jerry Lawler lost a match on her behalf and she was forced to join the Right to Censor group. The next episode of Raw had them forcing her to wear a burlap sack to the ring and it was implied the storyline would continue. However The Kat was released the very next day and the excuse was apparently that Val Venis had slept with her and she escaped out the window. Apparently she ran out into the night and got lost, never to be seen again.
  • The Katie Vick angle of 2002, involving Triple H and Kane, was more-or-less hastily ended after near-universally negative reviews. The angle was innocuous enough: the heel Triple H – hoping to play mind games with Kane (in the midst of his tortured soul/sympathetic face persona) – claimed that he had evidence that Kane had killed a young woman named Katie Vick, with whom he had an unrequited crush; said accident happened as Kane was driving Katie home. The angle began going south after Triple H showed video footage of "Kane" having sex with Katie's corpse. Actually, Triple H was dressed as Kane, and making out with a mannequin.
  • Anyone remember the Fake Kane? Started out as Kane being confronted by someone dressed as his old masked persona, but the whole thing was dropped after about a month of build-up and never mentioned again. This one actually ended; had a kayfabe page on this and similar arcs. Smarks know the man was Drew Hankinson.
  • Not a big aborted arc, but when John Heidenreich debuted on RAW in 2003, he always told people his actions were all done for someone named "Little Johnny". Heidenreich was taken off TV before the identity of Little Johnny could be revealed, but said later in an interview that it would've turned out to be a doll that represented his younger self when he was overweight. He also claimed he could have made the angle work (as people know what it is like to be picked on) but the writers messed it up by making every discussion about "Little Johnny" seem like a Double Entendre.
  • Before a Pay-Per-View match, Booker T and John Heidenreich were in a locker room when a manila folder was slipped under the door which was addressed to Booker. Inside it was just a piece of paper that said "I still remember". It was never mentioned again. Allegedly, this was going to be a note from Goldust that would facilitate his return, but it ended up never happening.
  • One of the first major feuds planned in SHIMMER was Sara Del Rey vs Mercedes Martinez. They had already wrestled to a stalemate and unsuccessfully tagged together against the Minnesota Home Wrecking Crew. Then Del Rey beat Martinez. After Mercedes finally defeated Del Rey she was to turn on the promotion and its fan base but got injured, so Del Rey did it instead. Mercedes would become WSU's problem, biding her recovery time by attacking its wrestlers while under a mask.
  • In the WWE, 2007's "Who Killed Vince McMahon?" was abruptly halted when two to three weeks after the storyline began, Chris Benoit killed his family, and then himself. It was later explained that "Vince" had faked his death. It would've eventually been revealed that Mr. Kennedy was involved. A year later, the Raw set was sabotaged, with equipment falling on Vince McMahon. The perpetrator was never revealed, and it wasn't mentioned again after a week or so.
  • One 2007 episode of Smackdown featured Krissy Vaine debuting after a match with Torrie Wilson and Victoria and beating the crap out of Torrie. She had one backstage segment next week and was never seen again. Behind the scenes she decided WWE wasn't the right place for her and promptly left for smaller promotions. She also injured Torrie's back while training and that resulted in Torrie having to retire from wrestling completely.
  • WWE's ECW On Syfy had an angle where Balls Mahoney began a relationship with Kelly Kelly, who's contract was owned by The Miz. The story was generating quite a buzz before it was quietly dropped. Word of God says that management didn't like how popular the plot was making Mahoney, so they quietly aborted the arc.
  • TNA examples would be Samoa Joe's abduction ( ninjas) and the mystery Ace of Spades assailant. Both seem to have been dropped in favor of another mystery angle. Again, Vince Russo.
  • At one point, Jackie Gayda arrived in TNA, promising that she had a juicy secret about Jeff Jarrett that TNA executives would "love to hear". This went on for a few weeks, with Gayda dropping vague hints about this "something", but it was never revealed, and Jackie was eventually forced to join Jarrett when he revealed blackmail information of his own. It was an...odd angle.
  • David Otunga threatened Wade Barrett that he was going to reveal the reason The Nexus attacked The Undertaker and cost him his "Buried Alive" match with Kane. That was never followed up on; it was allegedly supposed to push Barrett vs Taker at WrestleMania 27 but it was aborted when Triple H came back.
  • The Anonymous Raw General Manager storyline. For months on end, an anonymous General Manager was making matches on Raw through a laptop at the side of the ring, next to the commentary tables. The storyline has apparently been ditched without the audience ever discovering the GM's identity. John Cena did make reference to this mystery person (whom he called "The Computer") the night after 2012's Over the Limit, declaring that whoever it was, it would be preferable to John Laurinaitis.The Anonymous Raw GM was finally revealed to be Hornswoggle.
  • The "GM-less" era. Back in December 05, Eric Bischoff was leaving the company (being fired in kayfabe) leaving the position of Raw GM vacant. For the first few weeks, this was treated as a huge deal; Raw was in a state of anarchy with no one to keep things under control. Various people were teased as the next GM, such as Shane'o'Mac and Dusty Rhodes, and various wrestlers schemed to convince Vince to give them the job. Eventually the storyline was dropped with Vince more or less running the show but with the GM's office remaining vacant. The issue wasn't addressed for a year and a half, when Vince decided it was time for him to get off TV.
  • A couple of things got killed as a direct result of Jerry "The King" Lawler's (real) heart attack in Sep. 2012.
    • The CM Punk\Lawler feud ended after that, but not without a final sendoff of Paul Heyman mocking the actual event. After that, the feud was never alluded to again.
    • Michael Cole's heel persona seemed to have been dropped completely due to the heart attack. His ability to hold things together on commentary while the heart attack happened was the difference maker for many fans who had hated him for various reasons. His heel persona had been calmed somewhat before then, but Cole seems to be a full time face. Many feel he's better off by doing so, as his commentary seems to have improved greatly as a result of the abortion of the arc.
  • A feud between Eve Torres and AJ Lee was teased for several months in 2012, even as late as TLC that December, when Divas Champion Eve appeared to be dismayed that AJ won Diva of the Year. Signs pointed to a Divas Championship match between Eve and AJ at WrestleMania 29, but Eve announced her plans to leave WWE in December 2012. Instead, AJ was turned heel at TLC, spend the next several months as a valet to Dolph Ziggler, and Eve dropped the Divas Championship to Kaitlyn on January 14, 2013.
  • Kaitlyn was later part of her own aborted arc with Layla after winning the title, with the angle seeing Layla show signs of turning heel against Kaitlyn. The angle began after the Elimination Chamber PPV, which saw Layla display jealousy of Kaitlyn and attempting to upstage her in the hopes that she could get a title opportunity. The angle was supposed to result in Kaitlyn defending the Divas Championship against the villainous Layla at WrestleMania 29, but it was dropped by mid-March. Ironically, Layla actually did turn heel against Kaitlyn after the latter lost the Divas Championship to AJ.
  • Bo Dallas was scheduled to feud with Wade Barrett, even eliminating him from the 2013 Royal Rumble and causing Barrett to return the favor later in the match. After a match on Raw, and a few backstage confrontations, and deeply negative reception from fans, Dallas was sent back to NXT.
  • Around July 2014, after Big E & Kofi Kingston lose a match on RAW to Rybaxel, Xavier Woods, wearing a suit, comes out and tells them they need to start taking what's theirs. This seems to set them up as a tag team to oppose The Usos, with Woods as their manager, even scouting the Usos at one point, but it lasted maybe two weeks, with Kingston & Big E both going back to job duty, with no mention of them being a team or having Woods manage them. This ended up being subverted, as the trio resurfaced in November, although with a totally different gimmick. While they were originally teased as having a Malcolm Xerox gimmick, WWE backed out of it for fear that it would spark the wrong kind of controversy (the race-related riots and protests in Ferguson, Missouri over the killing of a black teenager by a white policeman around the same time likely had something to do with it as well) and they instead re-debuted as the blue wearing, positivity spreading stable The New Day. They got tons of X Pac Heat for being so cloyingly optimistic at first, but following a Face–Heel Turn it's since become the best thing to happen to all three men in the stable.
  • Pro Wrestling Zero 1 had planned out a feud between two debuting wrestlers, famous kick boxer Yuichihiro and Daichi Hashimoto, son of Shinya Hashimoto and nephew to the already legendary Masahiro Chono and The Great Muta. In a twist, the rivalry may still be played out for pro wrestling the Inoki Genome Federation, which both neophytes jumped over to...ouch.
  • WWE had an inverted case going into WrestleMania 30. Batista returned and won the Royal Rumble, setting up a match for the unified titles between him and Randy Orton. However, the fans did not like this idea at all, and desperately wanted to see Daniel Bryan in that spot after he'd been hit with a straight case of this, where he received an enormous push and won the WWE title from John Cena at Summerslam, but was quickly screwed out of the title multiple times, relegated back to the midcard with no actual conclusion to the angle, and completely omitted from that year's Royal Rumble. The other major component in this was CM Punk's sudden departure from WWE the day after the Royal Rumble, which forced WWE to rewrite their plans. It's been confirmed by Word of God that the original plan was Randy Orton vs Batista for the WWE Title, Daniel Bryan vs Sheamus, and CM Punk vs Triple H. With Punk's departure and the mounting backlash from fans, they dropped the concept of Bryan vs Sheamus before the angle was even teased, opened the show with Bryan taking Punk's place in a match with Triple H, and then winning the title in a triple threat match with Orton and Batista. In the process of having this come about, WWE also caused another instance of this related to Daniel Bryan. Bryan had been manipulated into joining The Wyatt Family and remained as part of their stable...for about two weeks before Bryan turned face again.
  • NXT had Marcus Louis going ax-crazy after a humiliating defeat and losing all of his hair to a match stipulation, causing him to wander off outside the arena in his wrestling gear. His return was teased a couple of times but ultimately the angle was dropped and many months passed with no sign of him. He resurfaced in 2015 at house shows and on TV, though primarily as a jobber, still bald & crazy and looking like an ersatz Kane, before being released in early 2016, ensuring nothing ever came of it. Due to offscreen inertia one could assume he spent the whole period just wandering the streets of Florida in his trunks.
  • In mid-2015 time was dedicated to showing Fandango dropping his salsa dancer gimmick and turning face, going back to his old ballroom dancer character. This pissed off his girlfriend/valet, Rosa Mendes who turned on him for Adam Rose, becoming his muse/girlfriend and the two shown many times as Sickeningly Sweethearts. Eventually, Rosa stopped appearing with Rose and no explanation was given. It was later revealed on Total Divas that Rosa was pregnant and had gone on maternity leave at the time, so that's probably why it was dropped.
  • The Wyatt Family and the League of Nations were supposed to get into a feud that would have, presumably, destroyed the League for good, but Bray Wyatt was injured at a house show and the feud was dropped. It didn't save the League, however, as they fell apart and disbanded a few weeks later.


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