Has entertained some strange ideas in his time
Let's see: Katie Vick, Billy and Chuck, Judy Bagwell on a pole, a bird taking Eric Bischoff hostage, David Arquette's title run...Yes, innocent, unsuspecting wrestling fans have had a tremendous amount of atrocious and offensive storylines unleashed on them over the years. But the really scary thing is that this lot may not even be the bottom of the barrel. Oh, no. There have been even worse ideas that never made it past the writers' room. Let's have a look at some of the most ridiculous and mind-boggling ideas that were thrown about, and in some cases, seriously considered, but thankfully never came to fruition.
In April 2010, shortly after her release from WWE, former diva Maria Kanellis did an interview with women's wrestling website diva-dirt. Maria talked about feeling frustrated with WWE writers because they were reluctant to give her or any of the other divas good storylines to sink their teeth into. Sounds fair enough, right?
Well, Maria then proceeded to discuss some rather absurd angles she had strongly suggested to WWE management to get herself over as a top woman in the division.
Essentially, she would play two different characters at the same time. One would be her usual ditzy, innocent blonde character; the other would be a darker version of this: a dark-haired, aggressive rock chick with a no-nonsense attitude. Both these characters would be dating the same wrestler who, inexplicably, wouldn't realize they were one in the same. Then Maria claimed that she would ask for a title shot, and the whole doppelgänger storyline would culminate in her throwing a spray can into a mirror, in which case the mirror would then crack and both personalities would merge as one, leading to a new, highly motivated super-powered Maria. Then she would go out and win the women's title.
Yikes. Needless to say, the creative team never seriously considered her Hannah Montana rip-off gimmick, possibly feeling it was too convoluted, even by diva standards.
Vince McMahon's profile 2-Disc DVD (simply titled, McMahon) provided an in-depth look at the WWE owner in real life when it was released back in 2006. In fact, decent as the overall DVD was, we may have been given too much of a glimpse into the real life Vince and his legendary eccentricities over the course of the two-hour documentary that accompanied Vince's best matches and moments. Indeed, for what was essentially a vanity project that aimed at presenting Vince in the best light possible, most viewers would have come away from this thinking Vince was a very strange guy indeed.
So, what was the problem? Well, in between all the cute family stories, lavish praise from the wrestlers interviewed and the general crooning about how “Vince turned the business around,” a bomb is dropped when the subject of Stephanie McMahon's real-life pregnancy comes up.
In a sit down interview filmed exclusively for the DVD, Stephanie, who was at that point pregnant with her and husband HHH's first child, tells a story about how Vince called her into his office one day and told her he planned to write her condition into the storylines. Not so bad, you're thinking, right?
Well, the story Vince proposed involved revealing incest within the McMahon family, and ultimately claiming on screen that he was the father of Stephanie's child! Stephanie was understandably repulsed and turned the storyline down right there on the spot. “I don't know who would find entertainment in a storyline like that,” she notes on the DVD.
Did his daughter's firm rejection snap some sense into Vince? Er, no. Vince was undeterred, and quickly suggested Stephanie's brother, Shane, be revealed as the father instead. Stephanie wisely turned that one down, too.
This raises several troubling questions. Did Vince really think a demented storyline like that would be suitable for Raw? Did he not understand why the idea was so unacceptable to Stephanie? Besides the issues of taste, what about the teasing his granddaughter would surely get in school in a few years about such a high-profile angle? Stephanie has gotten her fair share of criticism for her role as head writer in WWE, but turning down this storyline is surely one of the smartest things she's ever done.
Interestingly, whoever was editing this DVD didn't realize how badly this whole thing made Vince look, and elected to keep it in the feature. Maybe the most puzzling thing of all.
In what may have been a play on their real-life fling, in 2006, Melina was seen seducing Batista in the Smackdown locker room, only to turn around and accuse him of “forcing himself” on her in a press conference the following week and threatening to take legal action against the main-event star. All things considered, it was a rather tasteless angle. But it could actually have been a lot worse. Indeed, Pro Wrestling Insider claimed at the time the proposed ending for the angle was for it to be revealed that Melina was actually a man. Yes, Melina was going to be revealed to be a dude in drag. Stephanie McMahon, the head writer, wisely turned this down, fearing such an angle would wreck Melina's career. Don't worry, Stephanie, Melina managed to do that all by herself.
Stacy Keibler's pregnancy angle in WCW was an awful storyline, even by the already low, low WCW 2000 standards. To help those readers who may have mentally blocked out this storyline and can't recall the full details: The former Nitro girl revealed to the world in late 2000 that she was pregnant and then dropped a bombshell on everyone by declaring on-screen boyfriend David Flair WASN'T the father. She declined to say who the father was, though, leaving a stunned and angered David to play detective and find out for himself (this led to an atrocious “DNA First Blood” match between Flair and Bagwell, as David sought to get Buff's DNA so he could conduct medical testing to find out if his opponent was the father of Stacy's child).
Sadly, WCW never brought in Maury Povich at any point for a cameo, which may have been the sole redeeming feature the angle could have had.
What happened? In true WCW tradition, the whole thing was quietly forgotten about after a month or so and never mentioned again. Stacy herself showed up on Nitro a few months later after her long absence, made a passing remark about making up the pregnancy for attention and quickly moved on to an angle with Shawn Stasiak.
Pretty bad, huh? Hey, it could have been worse: Ric Flair revealed in his 2005 biography To Be The Man that the original plan was for him to be revealed as the father of Stacy's child after fooling around with her behind David's back, presumably leading to yet another feud between the sly old dog and his son.
Worse still, Vince Russo, when later asked in a shoot interview about what his plans had been for the pregnancy angle, admitted one idea he threw around and seriously considered was for him, the super stud, to be revealed as the daddy.
In retrospect, maybe forgetting about this angle and moving on was the best thing WCW could have done.
Yes, David and Ric Flair pop up on this list again. In his biography, Ric Flair vented about Russo's carelessness about booking during his stint as head writer in WCW, using some incredibly dumb angles that Russo proposed as prime examples, writing: “Russo had David and Stacy play up their real-life romance. He wanted them to marry, only to discover that Stacy was my love child. He also considered doing a storyline in which David would find out he was Russo's son.”
Unsurprisingly, Flair wasn't happy with all this, and complains, “It was like whenever there was a hole in the show, he tried to plug it with something involving my family."
Upon buying rival organization WCW in Marich 2001, a triumphant and arrogant Vince McMahon memorably spent that entire night's Raw brazenly taking cheap shots at WCW and a few of his former employees.
In the midst of his venting, he also revealed the following gem to on-screen girlfriend Trish Stratus: In the mid-90s, Dustin Runnels, then at his peak in WWF as the highly controversial and demented Goldust character, went to Vince and told him he wanted to get breast implants (“Know what Goldust wanted to do one time? He wanted breast implants.”)
Was this just a deranged Vince sounding off? Eh, no. There was apparently more than a glimmer of truth to this wacky tale.
Story goes, Goldust actually was willing to get breast implants for his character—with WWE cameras on hand to film the operation. This happened mainly because Goldust heard that his character was on the endangered list and that this would help save his job.
The company's writer at the time, Vince Russo, would later elaborate on this notorious story in his biography Forgiven, claiming Runnels went to him after creative decided to end the Goldust character and said, “Tell Vince if he pays me $1 million dollars, I will get implants.”
Russo goes on to say that Goldust was just acting out of desperation and that, “I'm sure if he really thought about it, a man walking around with women's implants, he would have come to his senses...I think.” Worryingly, Russo also mentioned that Vince seriously considered the idea, before ultimately turning it down.
New WWE star?
In an interview for F4wonline in January of this year, former WWE writer Court Bauer told Bryan Alvarez that during his stint in the company from 2003-2005 he suggested an angle in which a newly returned Hardcore Holly would now be called Spacecore Holly. Viewers would be told that WWE were currently working with NASA and their space program, and that Bob had taken a trip to space as part of the deal.
The idea was that a stern-looking Bob would show up to the ring clad in astronaut gear, accompanied by a pet monkey who also took the trip to space.
Sadly, Spacecore Holly and the space monkey never took off (no pun intended). Bauer was quick to point out he wasn't that serious about the idea, just that in one rather frustrating creative meeting he threw out the idea without really thinking much about it.
In more science-fiction related angles: it was also noted by Court that, upon ECW's debut on Syfy, the plan for the first show was for a wrestler to badly beat up a Martian (or rather, someone dressed as a Martian). However, the idea was quickly dropped (in favour of the now infamous zombie) because WWE management feared ruffling feathers with the executives at the network, who presumably hold aliens in high esteem.
In 1993, WCW brought in manager Robert Fuller under the guise of the Col. Robert Parker—a spoof on Elvis Presley's manager, Col. Tom Parker. Shortly after, the company signed Texas indy workers The Ebony Experience (current WWE star Booker T and his brother Stevie Ray) and someone in power came up with an astounding idea for the two siblings: the two African-American wrestlers would presented on screen as jailed criminals (on work release, presumably) who would be led to the ring—in chains—by their manager, Parker. As noted, Parker was, at that point, being presented as a rich, white southerner. Yikes. To say this was racially insensitive is putting it mildly.
Even more amazingly, this gimmick (called “The Posse”) actually did début in August of that year at a WCW Saturday Night Taping at the Centre Stage Theater in Atlanta and was performed in front of thousands of (unhappy and extremely uncomfortable) fans. Thankfully, it never aired on television and the act was canned shortly after, likely due to cooler heads prevailing and the company realizing how offensive the gimmick was, as well as the increasing influence at the time of Hank Aaron (an African-American TNT executive who was very close with Ted Turner).
No one is quite sure who is to blame for this one. In Death of WCW, Bryan Alvarez pinned the blame on WCW's Executive Vice President at the time, Bill Watts, saying it caused Bill political problems and may even have contributed to him leaving his position shortly after. Others have claimed Watts had little or nothing to do with it and it was the brainchild of someone else. Either way, the fact that this was even suggested, never mind went all the way to being performed in the arena, is completely baffling and a shameful indictment of WCW management in the early 90s.
To the shock of, well, no one, WCW later found itself being sued for racial discrimination by ethnic wrestler Sonny Onoo and several others. One imagines a proposed angle like this certainly didn't help WCW's case in court.
Vince...not easily shocked
As I've shown, Vince McMahon has come up with some crude, distasteful angles in his time, and also given serious consideration to other people’s downright bizarre ideas that most sane people would throw out without a second thought. The man must be impossible to shock, right?
Well, WWE writer Dan Madigan (who also penned gross-out horror See No Evil for WWE Films) found a way. Speaking to Powerslam Magazine in 2008, Madigan spoke about his stint in the company and revealed that he pitched an idea in spring of 2004 that had stunned Vince into silence—and swiftly ended his promising WWE career.
In one creative meeting with Vince, Stephanie and the rest of the writers, Madigan revealed that he had excitedly stood up and explained to everyone what he thought was one of the best creative ideas he had ever came up with: Baron von Bava, a frozen Nazi storm trooper from 1940s Germany who thawed out in 2004 to spread terror and mayhem wherever he went.
Madigan explained that the panicked, desperate Nazi scientists, realizing they were losing the war, had frozen and preserved one of their best soldiers in order to ensure their legacy for a future generation. A freshly thawed out Bava would know little of the modern world and would not realize why his Nazi behaviour was seen as so wrong.
The concept of a Nazi cyborg on a pro-wrestling show couldn't get any more offensive, surely? Well, actually, yes, it could. Madigan then explained: “To make the story even more insane, I wanted Paul Heyman, a Jewish New Yorker, to be the one to revive the baron and bring him to Smackdown to be his manager. I thought it would be a scream to have Paul E. come down to the ring and introduce Baron von Bava, only to have the Baron come down to the ring goose-stepping and wearing the red Swastika around his biceps.”
At this point, Madigan admitted that he actually started goose-stepping in front of Vince and all the writers to show how the gimmick would work in practice.
When Madigan finished explaining the concept to everyone, he sat down and felt extremely proud, feeling he had just pitched the idea of his life (“In my mind, this idea worked out well,” he told Powerslam. “After the Katie Vick angle, I figured I could write anything for these guys.”)
Then he noticed that no one around him was saying anything—they had been stunned into silence. He looked over at a speechless Vince, who was possibly the most shocked out of everyone. After a long, depressed silence, the WWE owner, still not uttering a word and wearing the same stunned look, carefully picked up his jacket and briefcase and calmly walked out of the room, not to be seen again for the rest of the day. (“Well, that's a first,” Madigan recalled Ed Koskey saying shortly after Vince walked out.)
Another writer, speaking to the magazine for the piece, noted the severe damage this pitch had done to Madigan’s WWE career: “From that day forward, Dan was a marked man, his ideas were cast aside and not even judged.” Unsurprisingly, Madigan was gone from the company by November 2004.