29 HUGE Mistakes Made By WWE in the 21st Century
What's going on, Bleachers?
On the B/R Wrestling forum, many of us differ on a lot of things; "Who the greatest wrestler is?", "What the greatest match of all-time is?" and even silly things like "What the best WWE T-shirt of all time is?"
Differences in opinions help spark healthy debates amongst the writers and commentators on this site.
But, if there is one thing that EVERY writer on on this forum of Bleacher Report can agree on it is our overwhelming love for Pro Wrestling and WWE.
But, just because we love WWE doesn't necessarily mean we agree with any of their decisions or opinions.
More often than not, we the fans feel like we could run "Creative/WWE Headquarters" better then them.
This slideshow basically focuses on a few of the 'blunder-headed' moves and decisions the WWE made in the 21st Century to make us feel this way.
29 slides, so it's a pretty hefty list.
I might be leaving something obvious out and then again I might have hit "the nails on the head."
Only you can correct me, go ahead and express your opinions and thoughts when the slideshow is over.
I will be focusing on the bad now, but I will also be ranking some of the good things WWE has done in the 21st Century,
29. Cryme Tyme Not Being Taken Seriously
Cryme Tyme was a tag team that simply wasn't given a push. They had in-ring ability and were WAY over with the crowd.
Shad Gaspard was the powerhouse of the team and never gave up much size to any of the big men on Raw or SmackDown!.
He had charisma and talent to have led Cryme Tyme to multiple tag team titles.
JTG was a smaller man of the two and in some ways would be Shad's "sidekick." He was small, yes, but very agile and had good ring awareness.
These guys could have given the tag team division some life.
With The Hart Dynasty and The Usos a permanent fixture in WWE's tag team wrestling for years to come, Cryme Tyme could have been a nice additional piece.
Unfortunately, these two fine competitors were relegated to marketing WWE merchandise. They would have 'goofy' segments where they would often try to make that money.
JTG seems to be lost in the low cards of the SmackDown! roster. Shad Gaspard has turned heel and is working on his new gimmick down in FCW, WWE's training promotion.
28. Divas Division Is About Beauty, Not Real Talent
At the start of the 21st century, womens' wrestling in the WWE was laden with talent, names like; Trish Stratus, Chyna, Lita, Gail Kim and others were more than enough to provide both strength and sex appeal.
We even saw the divas competing in "Hardcore Matches" in the early part of the century.
Now in days with the exception of a couple of females, the divas division is in disarray.
The thing that made womens' wrestling fun to watch before was because they had the "face" of the divas in Trish Stratus.
WWE has tried to find the "next" Trish Stratus but, it hasn't worked out. They have given; Melina, Candice Michelle, Maryse, Michelle McCool, Beth Phoenix and others shots to be the top diva.
They just haven't been able to stick with that diva, either due to an injury or to free agency.
Most diva matches are "Squash Matches" now and days, they aren't very long and that is a good thing. Do we really need to see 10 minutes of the Bella Twins wrestling?
27. Too Many 1-3 Month WWE Championship Reigns
WWE can change the appearance of the WWE title as many times as they want, facts are the facts and WWE has hurt the prestige of the WWE Title and World Heavyweight Championship in the 21st Century.
From 2000-2002, the WWE was still in the mind-set that they had actual competition in the ratings and they took the "train of thought", that we will just do what we did in the "Attitude Era" and get away with it. And that was to change the title holder every couple of months or so.
With this thought process, the longest WWE Championship reign from 2000-2002 was; Stone Cold Steve Austin's final reign of WWE Champion which lasted six months.
This time period would show a total of nine different WWE title changes which lasted three months or less.
The WWE got the formula right when the World Heavyweight Championship was created and the WWE Championship was moved to SmackDown!.
From 2003-2005 when the title was on SmackDown!, the championship's longest reign was the in the hand of JBL, a 10-month reign. SmackDown had one reign that lasted less than two months and that was Big Show's.
But, the WWE has somewhat went back to the old ways since the have "competition" with TNA (yeah right), with 18 WWE Title reigns that have lasted three months or less since John Cena was drafted to Monday Night Raw.
Again, my recommendation to the WWE would have to be; establish champions.
Some people still don't take Sheamus seriously, give the guys who are new time Heavyweight Champions good reign, four or five months.
That way when they do lose the title, the fan base will know that they aren't some "paper champion."
26. Bringing Back Goldberg
From my days as a little kid watching WCW, I was always a Goldberg fan. He was the definition of what a MONSTER was and he was very hard to not root for.
That being said, I do feel like signing Goldberg was just a panic move to make up for the loss of The Rock.
Back in the big man's glory days he was basically a level below Stone Cold, The Rock, and Shawn Michaels from a popularity basis.
Very quickly, WWE over-estimated what Bill could do and his matches were ridiculed by the members of the IWC.
WCW was smart enough to limit the time on his matches and have him dominate, that way he got over with the fans very easily.
In some respects, you can't ultimately blame the WWE for bringing Goldberg back in, they needed somebody big for Triple H to feud against for the World Heavyweight Championship.
Sure, Bill was rusty at times in the ring but, he still had the BIG NAME.
25. Tag Team Division Crumbles/Unifying Tag Titles
The late 90's and the early part of the new millennium was considered the "Golden Age" for tag team wrestling from an entertainment stand-point.
WWE was set for at least three or four years with teams like the; The Dudley Boyz, The Hardyz, E&C and the WWE roster was so stacked, the WWE could just pair two high profile mid-carders up into a team.
Around 2007 is when the problems with the tag team division started to unfold. The WWE tried to give teams like; Murdoch and Cade, Rhodes and Hardcore Holly, The Colon's and other teams serious credibility.
Many times they tried to make up for the lack of tag team depth by simply pairing two main-eventers up into a team, perfect examples are; Rated RKO, HBK and John Cena, Jeri-Show, and D-Generation X.
As of right now, the only team in the WWE with any respectability is The Hart Dynasty and they are running out of teams to feud with fast.
My suggestion to WWE would be to; stop acting like they are actually in war with TNA. WWE will ALWAYS have higher ratings then TNA, simply put some of the teams you have right now on the card and build up the team's credibility.
They shouldn't need to book a singles match with two mid-carders in every match, just let a team like The Dudebusters beat on some local kids and help them get over with fans.
De-unifying the tag titles would only help in getting some SmackDown! teams over with fans. The idea of unifying the titles was okay for a while, but when lesser teams like; The Colons and, Miz and The Big Show started to hold them, the time to separate the titles came.
24. Raw's Guest Hosts
This is another idea out of the brain of Vince McMahon, the Raw "Special Guest Hosts."
I think its safe to assume that the guest hosts do about two or three segments in the two-hour show, they will take out probably 10-20 minutes on all their segments combined.
So, your telling me, instead of using those 10-20 minutes to try and give Yoshi Tatsu or a young tag team some action, you wanna go ahead and give some celebrities that have little to no knowledge of the WWE product some time to promote their product?
Every minute on RAW is valuable, because of these guest hosts, a lot of talented guys on the RAW roster don't even have to change into their tights.
Now, I did enjoy the shows when guys who actually had knowledge of the WWE product were hosting; Freddie Prinze Jr, Stone Cold, Shaq, Ashton Kutcher and a couple of other guys.
But, overall this concept has been a flop.
23. The Punjabi Prison Match
Okay, does anyone even know the concept of this match?
There have been only two in the history of the WWE; Big Show vs. The Undertaker and The Great Khali vs. Batista, both times these matches were incredibly boring.
There were two cages, an inner cage and an outer one. To win the match you would need to; get out of the first cage within sixty seconds and then try to climb in and out of the second one.
The match could have been entertaining if two high-flying type wrestlers like Rey Mysterio and Kofi Kingston competed in it but, the name of the match limited it so much. "Punjabi Prison Match", doesn't make much sense for two American wrestlers to compete in it.
They should try to rename it and then have the match exclusively to light-weight competitors.
22. John Bradshaw Layfield's 10 Month "Dirty" Reign As Champion
I just want to start off by saying that I was a JBL supporter, his move-set wasn't filled with jaw-breaking maneuvers but he could work a match and put a good performance pretty much every time out.
When he won the WWE Championship, I didn't mind it, he was way over with the crowd and had a good gimmick. The WWE could have made him a true champion.
But, they didn't, instead of letting him defend the title fairly every time out, they needed him to create "JBL's Cabinet" and they interfered in almost all of his matches. He never was able to get a "clean" win.
This was a big mistake, they finally gave a wrestler a great reign but, it had no prestige to it.
21. Making Respected Performers Stuck Jobbing
This method of getting guys over came into real existence in the 21st century. Forcing good respected performers into the jobbing role.
The old way used to be to just get some local kids and have your up and coming star look like "superman" against them. This way, the companies young superstar would grab the fans attention and the wrestler who you would get from the area your show was at would also get T.V. time.
Again, for some reason they need to make guys that have been with the company for years look like they have NO ring awareness and skill.
Immediate names that have been victim to this method are; Chavo Guerrero, Mark Henry, Jamie Noble, Kane and many others.
20. Reviving The nWo
Where to I start and end with these guys ?
Oh yeah, THEY NEVER END !
Vince McMahon decided to bring these three viruses in, to try and "kill the WWF". After making their debut in the 2002 No Way Out, they would go after some of the companies biggest stars; Stone Cold and The Rock. Hogan would eventually challenge Rock at Wrestlemainia X8 and lost, Hogan was then kicked out of the nWo.
You would think that the nWo wouldn't continue after Hogan was kicked out, you would be wrong. Nash and Hall would recruit; Syxx Pac, Big Show, Booker T and Shawn Michaels.
The group would be a shadow of it's former self, Nash was sidelined with a injury and Hall was fired after getting drunk in a airplane.
These guys would try to come back in TNA, only to have Hall get arrested and break it up again.
19. Destroying The Prestige Of The United States Title
The US Titles' sister belt, the IC belt, seems to have gotten a lot of it's prestige back, with guys like; Kofi Kingston, Chris Jericho, John Morrison, Drew Mcintyre and others having held the belt over the past couple of years.
The United States Title hasn't been so lucky, things have started to go down hill for the title at the start of 2009 when Shelton Benjamin dropped it to Montel Vontavious Porter, MVP wouldn't have a very good reign. Kingston would get it next, but was also getting pushed for the main-event so he rarely could defend it. The Miz would destroy the title's prestige by almost never defending it, Bret Hart only had it for a day, R-Truth had it for less then a month and then Miz won it again but, still doesn't defend it.
Its a shame, legends have held the belt and now wrestlers with little to no credibility are holding it.
18. Death Of The Cruiserweight Division
Cruiserweights always brought a different style of wrestling to the ring, they were small, agile guys who could go on to steal the show. The Cruiserweight Title has often launched the careers for many high profile competitors; Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, Matt Hardy and Eddie Guerrero have all held the title and went on to have good careers.
The last couple of years of the cruiserweight division existence, the WWE was obviously not trying to do much with it. Gregory Helms was basically given the title to run with and had no real competition.
The title's prestige reached an all time low when a little man won it and actually had a successful run with it.
I would recommend to bring this division back, the WWE has talent to help revamp the title, guys like; Evan Bourne, Yoshi Tatsu, Tyson Kidd, JTG and a few others would be fine champions.
17. Hornswoggle Wins The Cruiserweight Title
I'll let your imagination fill this slide out.
16. The Great Khali IS The World Champion
The Great Khali made a huge impact in his debut, he took out The undertaker and left the WWE Universe shocked.
With his immense size and power, he looked like he was going to be a huge threat in the Heavyweight Title picture for a while. Well, then we saw the wrestling ability of this guy, he basically is the prototypical 3 move guy, he has a chop, kick and a slam.
He was actually running around with the title for a decent 3 months but, he never had a great match. I'm not sure he has ever had a 3 star match, actually.
He is a face now and is over with the crowd. Just keep him out of the title picture and we have a WWE superstar.
15. Making John Cena The Only Star
One of the reasons that the early part of the 21st century was so big was that there wasn't one guy carrying the company. You had 3 or 4 true "Mega-Stars"; Stone Cold, The Rock, Triple H, Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle were all marketed outside just the WWE ring.
When the torch was passed from Triple H to John Cena, the WWE got it in their head that Cena had to be the only face of the company, they had the guy on; movies, commercials, magazines and all that good stuff. Making him the only star doesn't help your ratings.
When he got drafted to RAW the ratings dropped on SmackDown! because there was no star that replaced him.
The WWE could market Randy Orton or Jack Swagger a little more and get the pressure of Cena to have to carry the company.
14. Exploiting The Death Of Eddie Guerrero
On November.13,2005, shockwaves were sent throughout the WWE when Eddie Guerrero passed away. The WWE did the right thing and paid a proper tribute to the legendary wrestler.
You'd think that after the respect Vince paid Eddie that his writers wouldn't involve Guerrero's name into any storylines. That's not exactly what happened. Guerrero passed away in November but, the WWE was still using his name month by month and it all came to ahead when Randy Orton challenged and beat Eddie's long time friend Rey Mysterio.
Rey won the Royal Rumble and Orton wanted a shot at main-eventing Wrestlemainia, leading up to that match, Randy would give disgusting promos on how Eddie isn't up in heaven but, down in hell.
At Judgment Day, JBL would take his swings at Guerrero's name.
And then Rey and Chavo got into a ridiculous feud on over who was respected more by Eddie.
Even after Mysterio won the title, they wouldn't allow people to move on from Eddie. Mysterio gave a little tributes to Eddie week by week and at a point it got a little silly.
13. Booking WWE Stars On Team Alliance
This storyline had all the makings to sell out on PPV, the match had big names and a huge stipulation as we all know.
But, the only way this match would have worked was if "Team Alliance" had guys that were actually past WCW and or ECW stars. The only two guys that had any business of being on the team were Rob Van Dam and Booker T. Honestly, if this team had some of the old time WCW guys like Kevin Nash, Scott Hall or Diamond Dallas Page then it would have been fine.
Instead, the decided to go with; Shane McMahon, Kurt Angle and Stone Cold. Three guys that didn't do a lick for WCW or ECW.
12. Forcing Kane To Remove His Mask
Kane broke into the business and was a bona fide MONSTER, he was truly one scary dude. We saw this monster destroy Pete Rose and bloody Stone Cold.
When the WWF was renamed the WWE, Kane changed his look a little and ditched the scary out-fit but, one thing remained and that was the mysterious mask. That mask might have actually prevented Kane from falling into the "jobber" category.
Kane put the mask on the line against Triple H's Heavyweight Title, Kane lost due to help from Evolution.
The monster was psychotic for a little while after losing the mask but fans never saw him the same again. He was no longer a monster, he was just a man , the mystery was gone.
Kane became a jobber and had to lose to guys like; The Spirit Squad, Dolph Ziggler, Chavo Guerrero, Big Daddy V, The Great Khali and other low card wrestlers.
Kane has become the World Heavyweight Champion recently but he still doesn't have the feel of the old Kane.
11. Underrating Booker T His Entire WWE Career
When Booker T came from WCW to WWE, I was ecstatic. Booker T was one of the top athletes his entire time in the WWE and was so entertaining as a heel or as a face.
The WWE was often criticized for not giving many non-white performers a shot at the big title and Booker T would have been the perfect guy to shut the critics up.
He went from main-eventing WCW and putting up 5 star matches with; Scott Steiner, Jeff Jarrett, Sting, DDP and others to teaming up with ........Goldust.
He would end up winning the World Heavyweight Championship once, but he won it when he got a cheesy "King" gimmick.
He could have done so much more.
10. Stripping RVD Of WWE Title Due To Marijuana Possesion
Rob Van Dam was FINALLY given a shot at the spotlight at "ECW's One Night Stand" when he beat John Cena for the WWE Championship. At the time, you can argue Van dam was the best athlete on the WWE roster.
RVD would be given the ECW Championship, thus making him double crowned. Van Dam would have a successful defense against Edge and appeared to have been on course for a nice long reign.
But, one night RVD was busted for marijuana possession and had to drop the WWE and ECW title on consecutive nights.
I really think this was a mistake, first off, in NO way does marijuana help you from a performance enhancing stand-point and its not like RVD was taking steroids. A fine would have been okay but, a suspension, really?
9. Monday Night Raw- Live Sex Segment
Segments like these make me glad WWE is PG now, what was the point of having this as your main-event let alone actually putting it on your show.
Edge was trying to celebrate his first ever WWE Championship ? I would have liked if they just came out and bad mouthed the fans.
The WWE got their highest rating in a while with this garbage, they scored 7.2 million viewers.
Just tacky and glad it will never come back out.
8. Never Giving Edge A Decent Heavyweight Reign
Four time WWE Champion, a 5 time World Heavyweight Champion. You'd think that somewhere along the line Edge would have had a decent title reign.
The truth is, the WWE has made Edge into one of the biggest "paper champions" of all time, he has 9 reigns at the top, but his longest title reign was just 3 months.
This man has put his body on the line and I would rather him have five 4 month reigns as the champion then nine, 1-3 month reigns as the champion.
He has had his runs but he is on the A-Show and I just can't see him becoming a 10 time champion. He has hinted he wants to retire after a couple more years, so maybe, the WWE rewards him for all he did with the company with a nice long title reign.
7. Not Letting ECW Die
When the WWE resurrected ECW in One Night Stand, I liked the idea and I thought it would be something that would help carry on ECW's legacy on a year by year basis.
But, they completely took this whole ECWWE thing over the limit when they started a brand. The brand was a must watch for the first couple of months because of talent like; Kurt Angle, RVD, Big Show, Sabu and other, but ECW wasn't the same.
After the show was losing ratings, the WWE would just take the main talent off that show and just use it as a developmental brand for their youngsters.
They never let ECW R.I.P, instead hey needed to reep the benefits of the ECW name.
6. Hulk Hogan Wins The WWE Title
I want to let you finish this slide with your imagination, but then I would lose the chance to do it myself !
Triple H beat Chris Jericho and became the WWE Champion, instead of going on to actually defend it, he would drop the title to this guy one month after winning it.
Vince McMahon wanted to attract an older audience back with Hulk as the champion, but instead, he would be the subject to critics. Hogan's reign was a flop and he would lose it to The Undertaker one month later.
Undertaker was a full blown heel going into that match, yet I don't think anyone was rooting for Hogan to win.
5. Jeff Hardy Never Gets A Respectable Reign As Champion
When Jeff Hardy finally got the World Championship, it was like a child had grown up. We had all seen him start his career in the tag team division, then became a good IC Champion and now FINALLY a Heavyweight Champion. Well, his 3 reigns were good for the 2 months they lasted, right ?
Hardy would win the WWE Championship but, would drop it a month later back to Edge.
Hardy would win the World Heavyweight Title on a couple of occasions, but dropped them both times to CM Punk, those two reigns lasted five minutes and one month respectively.
Jeff could have been a good champion but it was like the WWE only gave him a push so he could fill a spot for an injured main-eventer.
4. Muhammed Hassan Gets Dropped
This topic has been talked about for years now, Muhammed Hassan and him getting released prematurely from the WWE.
The man had the best gimmick of the decade by far and was pretty good in the ring, his gimmick represented a; Arab-American who felt like he had been wronged by the people of America. To be honest, much of the stuff he was saying was the truth.
He was in a feud with The Undertaker and even took the "Deadman" out of commission at the "Great American Bash" PPV. With the London bombings, the media immediately started pointing fingers at the WWE, more specifically Muhammed Hassan.
Hassan was way over with the crowd and there's no telling what kind of story-lines could have occurred if he was the World Heavyweight Champion.
I don't think this character could ever be recreated, you would need to have a big guy that can wrestle to make it work.
3. WWE Let Kurt Angle Leave
Kurt Angle, probably the best mat wrestler the pro wrestling industry has ever had. The man was a machine who would work day in and day out for the WWE. He was the most valuable wrestler the WWE had and his ability to make anyone look good in the ring is sorely missed in the WWE.
Like most of you guys, I have heard and read Angle's shoot interviews on why he left the WWE. The man's neck was about to break off his body, so can you really blame him for wanting to leave the WWE ? Vince didn't want to give the guy a lighter schedule. Which I find a extreme double-standard, seeing as how The Undertaker works half the year.
The bottom line is that Angle's presence in the WWE has been missed.
But, in no way think that Angle needed the WWE, the WWE needed Angle.
2. WWE Erase Chris Benoit From Their History
The most controversial figure in the history of the WWE, Chris Benoit and his non-existence from the WWE should be included on this list.
In NO way do I care for Chris Benoit the man at this point, but for some reason, I feel like Chris Benoit the performer shouldn't be forgotten. He was a tremendous performer and did give it his all in every match.
Look, I'm not saying to talk about Benoit on air but, at least acknowledge that the guy was apart of your company and was one of your top performers.
Benoit will go down as one of the best wrestlers of all time whether we like it or not.
I just wish we could all know what was going threw Chris's head those final days.
1. WWE Goes PG
So it finally happened, the first major promotion in pro wrestling history to go..... PG. Does that even sound right ? A PRO WRESTLING show goes PG ?
This rating has killed all the expectations from intense matches like; The Hell In The Cell, TLC, Elimination Chamber, Street Fights and I Quit matches. This rating just puts so many limitations on the performers who are in the ring, there is more pressure for them not to botch a move in the ring and bloody the guy.
Now, don't get me wrong, I do like some aspects of PG. I do like there is no more excessive blood use and the sexual slang is down a little. The audience was building up on kids and women, so you don't want some protests going against you.
A lot of superstars have suffered from PG; John cena has been tabbed the poster boy, Edge isn't so "Rated R" and Triple H can't do direct hits with the sledgehammer.
Where do you stand on PG?
Other Slideshows You Might Like
In the next few days I will be working on a list of things the WWE got right in the 21st Century.
Be sure to check that out.
Let me know if you "Liked" the article and go ahead and name some of your picks.