Throughout the course of 2012, we've borne witness to some of the most memorable moments in WWE history, including Brock Lesnar's shocking return, CM Punk's epic heel turn on Raw 1,000 and Dolph Ziggler capturing the Money in the Bank briefcase.
All in all, I personally believe that the year of 2012 has overall been one of the better years in recent WWE history, despite much speculation from numerous members of the IWC.
However, 2012 has had its share of moments that most of us would like to instead forget, or rather have forgotten already, due to that moment's minimal significance or just the case of horrendous booking. Usually, backstage officials have the tendency to begin an angle that they eventually don't follow up on, causing confusion in the eyes of viewers in addition to insulting our intelligence.
Here, I've composed a list (in no specific order) of 25 moments, angles, Superstars and more that one would classify as the biggest epic failures to ever occur in the past year. If you can't recall some of the following things ever happening, I don't blame you whatsoever.
In the weeks leading up to WrestleMania 28, various vignettes aired teasing the pending debut of a Supestar named Lord Tensai. It was later revealed that the man portraying the character would be Matt Bloom, better known as A-Train or Albert during his last run with the company.
One night removed from the show of shows, Lord Tensai finally arrived on Raw, squashing Alex Riley in his first official match. He won the match via knockout after the referee deemed Riley was no longer able to continue.
Many fans were skeptical of the character at first, but personally, I was fine with it. Sure, he wasn't garnering much of a reaction just yet, but at least he was somewhat intriguing and was dominating in the ring.
After a few weeks, Tensai was able to score victories over the likes of John Cena and WWE Champion CM Punk respectively, so it was by that point that fans realized that management was serious about pushing this guy. Regardless, backstage officials deemed the gimmick a flop and dropped nearly every aspect of his character.
His undefeated singles streak was snapped at the hands of Cena in June, and he hasn't been the same since. His robe, manager Sakamoto, green mist and even his "Lord" prefix were removed after a while, signaling that all hope was lost for Tensai going forward.
After suffering an injury in the final few weeks of 2011, Randy Orton didn't kick off the new year on a very high note. Although he was able to make it back in time for the Royal Rumble pay-per-view (in his hometown, no less), he came up short up winning the annual bout.
A few short weeks later, Orton sustained another injury mere days before the Elimination Chamber event. This caused him to be removed from the World Heavyweight Championship match and forfeit an opportunity at reclaiming the golden prize.
Only a month before WrestleMania 28, he entered a lackluster feud with Kane, whom he lost to on his birthday at the show of shows. However, all of things paled in comparison for what was about to follow.
On May 30, it was announced via WWE.com that Randy Orton had been suspended for 60 days for violating the WWE Wellness Policy. With it being his second violation, he was suspended for two months, which meant he'd be missing Raw 1,000 in his hometown in July.
I guess that's the price you pay for making stupid decisions.
Even since Orton returned to the ring, he has yet to be used in a meaningful feud. He was injured for a third time in the last year at the Tribute to the Troops taping a number of weeks ago, so it's safe to say that 2012 has been the worst year in Orton's in-ring career to date.
Speaking of suspensions, Randy Orton wasn't the only one, as a handful of other Superstars saw themselves sitting on the sidelines at various points this year. Among those few, however, was Evan Bourne, who got suspended for the second time in January and hasn't been seen since.
Now, I realize Orton and Mysterio also received their second suspensions this year, but Bourne violated the WWE Wellness Policy for a second time after being suspended the first time a month prior. How you go back to making the same mistakes that cost you a month of your career just a short while later is beyond me.
Worst of all, he was still WWE Tag Team Champion at the time he was suspended for 60 days, so he and Kingston were forced to drop the straps at a house show in mid-January. It's bad enough he let himself down, but to drag Kingston down with him is purely selfish in my opinion.
Even once Bourne was ready to return, he was involved in an unfortunate car accident in March that saw his foot mangled in numerous places. The injury was so severe that he's been rehabilitating it since then and has yet to be heard from or seen on WWE television.
In early 2011, WWE returned Tough Enough to the USA Network in order to find their next breakout star. Among those competitors included Luke Robinson, Martin Casaus and AJ Kirsch, all guys who seemed deserving of a WWE contract.
Shockingly enough, none of them were able to win the competition, as Andy Leavine was deemed the victor on an episode of Raw that June. We should've known from the slap from Mr. McMahon and the Stunner from Stone Cole that his career would be going absolutely no where.
Despite the few video packages that aired in subsequent weeks promoting his "Silent Rage" persona, nothing ever came out of it. It was widely rumored he was suspended that summer for violating the WWE Wellness Policy before being inevitably released from the company this past April.
It's a true shame that the dreams of other aspiring pro wrestlers were crushed in favor of a guy who'd eventually be fired anyway.
Since the inception of guest hosts on Monday Night Raw in June 2009, we've witnessed quite a few clueless celebrities make their way onto the flagship show and take part in some horrendous segments. Thankfully, the concept has been tuned down a bit in the last two years, but that didn't stop the Three Stooges for guest starring on Raw this past April.
Promoting the re-release of the Three Stooges film, the trio appeared in one segment on the April 9 edition of Raw, much to the dismay of the live crowd. Although Curly Howard (Will Sasso) had a good impersonation of Hulk Hogan, hardly anyone in the arena understood the reference.
Thankfully, Kane interrupted the painfully bad segment and delivered a chokeslam to Curly, which was the only thing the live crowd seemed to pop for. If a guest host has absolutely no knowledge of wrestling at all and adds nothing to the show, what's the point of even bringing them in to begin with?
After holding the Divas Championship for a solid six months, it looked as if Beth Phoenix was on the verge of breaking Maryse's record-setting title reign from 2009. Although Phoenix was dominant as ever, she had one obstacle in her way in the form of Nikki Bella.
On the April 23 edition of Raw, Nikki scored a shocking upset victory over the Glamazon and won her first Divas Championship. However, she'd drop the strap to a returning Layla a mere six days later at Extreme Rules before being "fired" by Eve the following night on Raw.
In reality, the Bella Twins departed from the company, but what was the point in giving Nikki the belt for such a short period of time on her way out?
Upon his return to WWE on the first Raw of 2012, Chris Jericho adopted a whole new persona that literally saw him speechless during the entire month of January. After failing to steal the WWE Championship away from CM Punk on the road to WrestleMania 28, many fans ultimately deemed Jericho's comeback a flop.
However, it wasn't until May that Jericho met his strangest fate to date when he was suspended for 30 days after denigrating the Brazilian flag during a house show. Despite doing his best to garner heat from the live crowd, Y2J was instead punished for his actions by being sentenced to sit out for a month.
This untimely occurrence forced Jericho's feud with Randy Orton to put on the back burner indefinitely.
In June 2010, an anonymous authority was introduced to the WWE Universe as the newly named Raw General Manager. This mysterious figure would communicate to the WWE Superstars through obnoxious emails read by Michael Cole and iPhone-sounding alerts to make matches and whatnot, but would also dropped hints as to who could be behind the laptop.
Everyone figured the anonymous Raw General Manager would be revealed at some point that summer, but it never came to fruition. Rumors ran rampant as to who it could it be, with names such as Kevin Nash, Triple H and even Vince McMahon himself being discussed according to various dirt sheets.
By the end of the year, no one seemed to care anymore, and who can blame them?
The entire angle was scrapped in July 2011 once Triple H was named the new WWE COO without revealing who was actually behind it. This frustrated fans to no end, as it was yet another classic case of the Creative department assuming we're stupid and we'd forget all about it.
It wasn't until this past July that the laptop finally resurfaced as the acting Raw General Manager for one night only. By this point, not even Creative seemed to care who'd be the one behind the computer, as long as they could finally tie up the loose end and be done with it.
At the end of the episode, Santino Marella came to conclusion that the anonymous Raw General Manager was in fact Hornswoggle. As stupid as that decision was, it was nice to see Creative at least give us a blow-off to the angle after two long years.
Many story-lines nowadays don't seem to have a proper conclusion, but when in doubt, blame Hornswoggle.
As Raw 1000 quickly approached, WWE announced that Charlie Sheen would be the acting Social Media Ambassador of the show in an attempt to gain some mainstream media coverage. It was revealed that over the course of the extraordinary event, Sheen would be tweeting his thoughts on the show via Twitter.
However, a mere two weeks before Raw 1000, Sheen shut down his Twitter account for unknown reasons and basically quit on the WWE without prior notice. Although WWE had heavily hyped him up to to that point, they stopped doing so once the news regarding Sheen's Twitter was made public and refused to address the situation.
Regardless, Sheen shockingly appeared at Raw 1000 via Skype, where he offered his thoughts on Daniel Bryan and the event as a whole. Of course, it was all done to promote the pending debut of Sheen's show Anger Management, hence why Bryan entered anger management classes shortly thereafter.
His comments on Bryan seemingly a triggered a feud between the two that led nowhere, and Sheen's rumored SummerSlam appearance never ended up coming to fruition. With Sheen bailing out on two separate occasions, I think WWE should be a bit more hesitant with who they trust.
Following the introduction of his Z! True Long Island Story web-show on YouTube in February 2011, Zack Ryder's internet fame skyrocketed along with becoming an instant social networking sensation. He won his first singles match on Raw that July and his stock only rose from that point foward.
His feud with Dolph Ziggler for the remainder of that year was very well done, and his capturing of the United States Championship at last year's WWE TLC event was a truly unforgettable moment. Unfortunately, Ryder's career took a turn for the worst heading into 2013 once he got involved in John Cena's feud with Kane.
Week after week, Ryder would be dominantly decimated by Kane on Raw with no end in sight. He'd later lose his U.S. title to Jack Swagger after a measly month with the strap and would continue to be on the receiving end of brutal beatings at the hands of the Big Red Monster.
In February, his supposable girlfriend Eve would cheat on him for Cena, thus putting an end to any relationship Ryder had with either of them. He cost his team the match at WrestleMania 28 due to a distraction from Eve and has hardly been pushed since.
The Long Island Iced Z has loads of untapped potential, so maybe his victory over David Otunga on this past week's episode of Raw is a sign of things to come in 2013.
Once the Divas of Doom parted ways, Natalya hardly had any direction on SmackDown. For some random reason, the Creative department thought it would be humorous for Natalya to develop a flatulence problem.
Her (fake) farts were not only loud, but apparently horrendously smelling too, since anyone who smelled them instantly fainted. As you can probably imagine, it was a slap in the face of the legendary Hart family, but Natalya noted numerous times over Twitter that it didn't seem to bother her all that much.
Thankfully, the gimmick was soon dropped, but the Canadian Diva still wasn't being pushed by any means. To this day, she still flounders in the division, competing in meaningless matches that usually see her on the losing end.
Given the immense amount of talent she possesses and few Divas they have left, you'd think she'd be featured more prominently, but that's sadly not the case. However, I am thankful she's no longer being reduced to farting in order to get television time.
After a near-two year absence, A.W. (formerly known as Abraham Washington) returned to WWE television this past spring as an agent looking for talent to manage. Although he was initially representing Primo and Epico, he made the switch over to the Prime Time Players in June in an attempt to make them the next WWE Tag Team Champions.
On the July 30 edition of Raw, A.W. made a subliminal rape joke through his live headset when he said, "Titus O'Neil is like Kobe Bryant at a hotel in Colorado. He's unstoppable!" Of course, no malicious intent was meant by the joke, but it was a serious situation that WWE apologized for numerous times shortly thereafter.
In the subsequent week, A.W. wasn't penalized for his controversial comments, as he was still sporting his live headset on that week's Raw and SmackDown respectively. However, the infamous incident led to his inevitable release from WWE on August 10.
Of course, it was a simple mistake that wasn't worth firing anyone over, but it just goes to show just how serious WWE takes their PG programming these days. The fact he took numerous shots at his former employer that night on Twitter probably didn't help matters, but even still.
When it was first announced in late May that Raw would be three hours long on a permanent basis starting with their 1,000th episode, I was somewhat optimistic about the move to three hours at the time. I mean, it would allow for longer matches, more story development and Superstars on television, or so I hoped.
Boy, how naive was I?
Sure, Raw 1000 was amazingly awesome and it went by rather quick due to the specialness of the event, but every episode since then has drastically dragged. It's brought the entire product (not to mention the ratings) down to a point they haven't reached in years.
Don't get me wrong, though, as the three hour concept has had some benefits including longer matches and whatnot, but that's only occasionally. Most Raws nowadays have good content that would make for a solid two hour show, but certainly not for three hours.
WWE just reverts to too much filler in order to kill time and it does nothing but help put viewers to sleep. There's always a chance the three hour Raws will improve, but it's been five months, so you'd think they'd change something by now to make the show flow better.
For those hoping for WWE to go back to a two hour Raw format in the foreseeable future, don't get your hopes up. WWE makes too much money off the added commercials and revenue to go back now, so all we can do is just make the most of it going forward.
If there was one thing that gave me something to look forward to in the Divas division in recent years, it was the announcement that Awesome Kong was coming to WWE. It wasn't until April 2011 that my dreams became a reality, as vignettes aired promoting the pending debut of her new character named Kharma.
She debuted at that year's Extreme Rules event and decimated every Diva that stepped in her path in subsequent weeks, but took an untimely leave of absence a mere three weeks later once her pregnancy was made public. This put any plans on hold for her to feud with either Beth Phoenix and Natalya, but at least we had something to anticipate for when she returned.
At this year's Royal Rumble event, she made a shocking one-off appearance in the 30-man Royal Rumble match and eliminated Hunico and before being taken out by Dolph Ziggler. Despite that, she never resurfaced on WWE television again, as it was reported this past summer that her lack of training is what led to her unfortunate release from the company.
Now, I realize that it was a mutual agreement between the two parties for her to leave the company, but how can any blame be put on Kharma? It was reported the baby had passed away at birt, so that alone should be enough to keep her around after what she went through.
The Divas division has taken quite a hit this year, mostly due Kharma's release, but I'm sure the door is always open for her to return at some point.
Of all the epic failures on this list, this is one I expect hardly anyone to remember much less know about.
It's a well-known fact that Drew McIntyre has been vastly underutilized since losing the Intercontinental Championship in May 2010 to the point where he's hardly ever featured on WWE television. His move to SmackDown last November did him no favors, as he continued his losing ways until finally securing a contract in March.
Even then, he was sparingly used on the blue brand and was mostly relegated to WWE Superstars. On the September 20 edition of Superstars, McIntyre competed against Jinder Mahal, teasing an apparent face turn.
During the course of the contest, he embraced the crowd and adapted a whole new persona. However, WWE officials must not have liked what they saw since he aligned with Mahal and Heath Slater the following night on SmackDown to attack Brodus Clay.
The trio would later be known as 3MB, and the rest is history.
After being bumped from the WrestleMania 27 card, it seemed only fitting to have Sheamus challenge Daniel Bryan for the World Heavyweight Championship in one of the headlining matches at WrestleMania 28. The feud leading into the event was lackluster, but fans were assured that the amazing match they were bound to have at the event would make up for it.
Once the bell rang, Bryan took a second to retrieve a good luck kiss from his girlfriend AJ, who was standing at ringside. By the time he turned by, Sheamus was already coming at him at full force, connecting with a brutal Brogue Kick for the three count and the World Heavyweight Championship.
While Sheamus got his Mania moment and kicked off the show on an electric note, it didn't make up for the fact that fans were cheated out of an excellent bout between two of the greatest in-ring warriors in WWE today over the World title. Sure, they ended up finally having that highly anticipated match at Extreme Rules, but to pull such a stunt on the grandest stage of them all was insulting to fans who ordered the show to see an actual match and not a squash over one of the company's most prized possessions.
Only 24 hours removed from the spring spectacle that was WrestleMania 28, Brock Lesnar made his shocking return to the WWE when he decimated Cena with an F-5 at the conclusion of that night's Raw. The rave reaction he received that night was undoubtedly off the charts, leaving fans extremely excited for what was to come next.
Cena and Lesnar would engage in a feud in subsequent weeks on Raw, with an Extreme Rules match between the two being made official for Extreme Rules. After how dominantly Lesnar had looked since returning, there was absolutely no way he could possibly lose to Cena at the event.
Nonetheless, Cena still managed to pull out the surprising victory following an Attitude Adjustment to the Next Big Thing on the steel steps. Granted, it was an entertaining match and one of the best brawls we've seen all year, but sometimes the finish overshadows the entire bout.
Although Lesnar got his heat back the next night on Raw by breaking the arm of Triple H, it just didn't erase the loss he look at Extreme Rules. Thankfully, he defeated the Game cleanly at SummerSlam, so his return to the company didn't feel like a complete waste.
Since its inception in 2005, they Money in the Bank Ladder match has been known to create breakout stars and serve as the launching pad for historical careers. Prime examples include Edge, CM Punk and The Miz, among others.
That being said, I groaned at the announcement of a Money in the Bank Ladder match featuring only former WWE Champions. Why in the blazing blue hell would a former World title-holder need a briefcase to win a title they've already held numerous times?
Granted, CM Punk and Edge held the briefcase on two separate occasions, but at least the matches they competed in to win them were entertaining. A five-man Money in the Bank Ladder match is unheard of, and adding Kane and Big Show into the mix wasn't helping matters.
While the match itself proved to be entertaining, the winner was never in doubt, as Cena ascended the ladder and captured the opportunistic briefcase. Unlike most past winners, Cena announced when he'd be cashing in his guaranteed title shot, and he failed in winning the belt when he did.
Sure, he lost his match with CM Punk at Raw 1000 via disqualification due to interference from Big Show, but it doesn't take away from the fact that he was the first Superstar in history to not win the title upon cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase. It's disappointing to see the briefcase wasted on Cena when it easily could've been better used for someone else.
On a related note, it's hard to argue that 2012 has been one of (if not the) worst years ever for John Cena since joining WWE. His list of accomplishments from this year are slim, while his list of failures is bigger than the one you're reading right now.
In a nutshell, Cena lost The Rock at WrestleMania 28, failed to win the WWE Championship this year, and got betrayed by AJ in the final pay-per-view main event of the year. Sure, he won the Raw Money in the Bank briefcase at July's event, but he failed to cash it in successfully eight days later.
Despite all that, Cena was still named the 2012 Superstar of the Year at the Slammy Awards a few short weeks ago. Regardless of whether it was fan voting or if it was rigged, the fact that Cena won that honorable achievement over WWE Champion CM Punk is an absolute travesty.
However, I won't get too upset over it, as the Slammy Awards are nowhere near as prestigious as WWE makes them out to be.
In April 2011, R-Truth shocked the world when he betrayed his best friend John Morrison and turned heel for the first time since returning to the company. This dark turn for Truth would result in a rejuvenation of his career that would see him headlining pay-per-views against the likes of John Cena and The Rock.
Unfortunately, his pairing with The Miz came to abrupt end that November due to Truth violating the WWE Wellness Policy for the first time and getting suspended for 30 days. Due to this, Vince McMahon thought he'd be better off as a fan favorite with the idea in mind that his Lil' Jimmy merchandise would be a hot seller.
He did indeed return to television a month later as a face and resumed his feud with Miz, but his character just wasn't the same. His crazy persona would fade further and further away as time progressed until he became just a watered down version of his 2008 self.
His most recent feud with United States Champion Antonio Cesaro was painfully boring and I've lost all interest (and hope) in his character. If another heel turn isn't in the works, I don't see Truth as anything more than a stagnant mid-carder for the remainder of his career in WWE.
On the March 5 edition of Raw, Santino Marella defeated Jack Swagger to win his first United States Championship. The victory came as a major shock to most people, but after everything he's done for the company in the last five years, it was understandable as to why they'd give him the belt.
However, even following the mini-push he received on the road to WrestleMania 28, Marella was still U.S. Champion. Many speculated that he'd drop the belt by Extreme Rules, but that didn't end up being the case for one reason or another.
As good of a wrestler as Santino is, his in-ring skills are greatly hindered by the comedic gimmick he possesses. He was hardly featured on television when holding the title and rarely ever defended the star-spangled prize.
By the time summer rolled around, a majority of the WWE Universe were aching for Santino to drop the belt, as his reign seemed to have no end in sight. Thankfully, Antonio Cesaro beat him for the belt at SummerSlam and has held been the reigning champion ever since.
Even still, Santino's reign as United States Champion did some damage to the title after Superstars such as Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan attempted to restore its lost prestige in recent years.
Now, I did my best not to feature any botches on this list, but I felt this one was too big of a botch not to mention.
In their first ever meeting on the September 28 edition of SmackDown, Ryback was able to life Tensai up just fine in order to connect with his Shell Shocked finisher. However, Ryback must not know lightening doesn't strike twice, since their match three days later on Raw didn't go quite as smoothly.
Just as Ryback was about to pick up Tensai for his finishing manuever, he failed to do so. He tried a second time, but still no luck. Instead, Ryback hit a vicious clothesline to put an end to the disappointing matchup.
It's still unknown to still this day whether Tensai was sand bagging Ryback or Ryback just couldn't execute the maneuver or a combination of both, but whatever the case, it came off terribly on television. They righted their wrong a number of weeks later during their rematch on Raw, but I guess we'll never know whose fault it really was.
In the final few months of 2011, various vignettes aired on Raw hyping the eventual debut of Brodus Clay. Each week, then-Interim Raw General Manager would state that he was holding off on debuting Clay for a number of reasons when it eventually got the point where Clay's numerous hold-offs became a running gag on Monday nights.
On the second Raw of 2012, Clay finally arrived on Raw, but not in a fashion that anyone would've ever anticipated. Instead of the raging monster he once was, Clay was repackaged into the Funkasaurus, a dancing dinosaur with two lovely ladies by his side.
Initially, I absolutely hated the gimmick, but I grew to like once I realized there was an upside. However, his constant squash matches and lack of direction is what lead to his downfall a short while later.
Nowadays, Clay is lucky if he's even featured on television at all, much less in a winning role. Vince McMahon appears to be a huge supporter of the Funkasaurus gimmick, but I hope he comes to his senses sooner rather than later and realizes Clay is worth much more money as a monster heel.
Since WWE Creative dropped the ball on his character late last year, Alberto Del Rio has been more stale than ever. He hasn't scored a singles victory on pay-per-view in over a year, and absolutely no one seems to be interested in his character anymore.
That being said, his stagnant character was most definitely in desperate need of a change, and a face turn seemed to do the trick. I, personally, never imagined Del Rio as a babyface, but it was worth a shot in an attempt to reinvigorate his character.
At WWE TLC, Del Rio saved Ricardo Rodriguez and the Spanish commentators from an attack at the hands of 3MB, thus turning him face in the process. He'd later defeat the trio later in the night apart of a six-man tag team match alongside The Miz and Brooklyn Brawler.
The same scenario occurred at the Slammy Awards as well, but Del Rio seemed to be acting as a heel on this past week's Christmas Eve edition of Raw. I'm not exactly sure what they have in mind for his character, but whatever it is, it's an absolute mess right now.
I'm fine with the idea of turning Del Rio face, but it has to be a permanent move and not done in anticlimactic fashion by feuding with a bunch of lower mid-carders.
After the horrendous Claire Lynch story-line in TNA earlier in the year, I thought pro wrestling couldn't go any lower. Well, I couldn't be any more wrong.
In late October, AJ Lee was relieved of her duties as Raw General Manager after it was revealed she had an affair with another Superstar. That mystery man was later discovered to be John Cena, who had zero knowledge of said affair.
Regardless, Vickie Guerrero presented "evidence" each and every week on Raw that had absolutely no substance to it whatsoever for a solid month and a half. The evidence was obviously fake, and the only ones were didn't believe it were Vickie and Dolph Ziggler, so it made for some pain-inducing television while it lasted.
Not only that, but both AJ and Cena were both single in story-line, so how would it be considered an affair had they been seeing each other? It's commonly known that logic rarely ever applies to WWE story-lines, but this whole angle was a bit far-fetched.
Affair angles rarely work in pro wrestling nowadays, so it astounds me as to why WWE would steal a play out of TNA's book that wasn't even good to begin with.
This angle, in conjunction with the other 24 mentioned on this lengthy list, is just a prime example of why hot-shot booking by Creative just won't cut it anymore, causing for them to be named some of the biggest epic failures in 2012.
Don't agree with something on the list? Think another angle is worthy of being added?
Feel free to drop a comment below with your thoughts and overall criticism of the presentation, as your feedback is always greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading, and have a happy new year!
Visit my website at Next Era Wrestling, like me on Facebook and listen to my SAVE US GSM radio show every Wednesday night at 10 p.m. ET for more of my thoughts and writings, along with WWE/TNA news, reviews, recaps and more.