Cesaro's Alliance with Paul Heyman and WWE's 25 Biggest Epic Failures of 2014

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistDecember 31, 2014

Cesaro's Alliance with Paul Heyman and WWE's 25 Biggest Epic Failures of 2014

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    Cesaro's alliance with Paul Heyman killed any momentum he had going.
    Cesaro's alliance with Paul Heyman killed any momentum he had going.Credit: WWE.com

    Throughout 2014, we've witnessed some of the most memorable moments in WWE history, including Daniel Bryan capturing the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, the breakup of the Shield and Brock Lesnar conquering the Undertaker's undefeated streak at WrestleMania.

    All in all, 2014 has been a solid year for WWE, especially from an in-ring standpoint.

    However, the year has had its share of moments most of us would like to forget or have forgotten already, due to their insignificance or horrendous booking. Occasionally, backstage officials begin an angle they eventually don't follow up on, which confuses viewers and insults our intelligence.

    I've composed a list (in no specific order) of 25 moments, angles, Superstars and more that qualify as the biggest epic failures of 2014. If you can't recall some of the following things happening, I don't blame you whatsoever.

Daniel Bryan Joins the Wyatt Family

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    Daniel Bryan's time with The Wyatt Family was short-lived.
    Daniel Bryan's time with The Wyatt Family was short-lived.Credit: WWE.com

    On the final Raw of 2013, Daniel Bryan did the unthinkable: He joined the Wyatt Family. This came months after being ambushed by the group and always falling short of victory.

    In storyline, it made complete sense. Bray Wyatt is a manipulative mastermind and Bryan was at his weakest mentally. Wyatt promised him that they could take over the WWE Universe together.

    Either way, it got plenty of people talking going into the new year.

    Bryan wasn't even a full-fledged heel. He teamed with Luke Harper and Erick Rowan and even sported similar attire to the Wyatts, but he didn't do anything that would have established him as a villain.

    Many thought this was leading to Bryan turning on Wyatt in the Royal Rumble match and winning it for himself. They could have had their one-on-one match at Elimination Chamber before Bryan contended for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania.

    But WWE thought otherwise.

    After spending all of two weeks with the Wyatt Family, Bryan broke free from the stable on the January 13 edition of Raw. He ended the night leading a massive "Yes!" chant with the live crowd.

    F4WOnline.com (h/t Wrestling News Source) reported the original plan was for Bryan to remain a member of the clan through Elimination Chamber at the very least. But the mainstream attention Bryan's signature "Yes!" chant was getting was too much to ignore.

    Who knows? Had Bryan not left the group so soon, he may not have gotten his world title shot at WrestleMania 30 after all.

Batista Wins the Royal Rumble

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    Batista wins the 2014 Royal Rumble match.
    Batista wins the 2014 Royal Rumble match.Credit: WWE.com

    After four years away from the company, Batista was set to make his long-awaited return to WWE on the January 20 edition of Raw. Vignettes aired for weeks hyping his comeback and there was excitement in the air when the date finally arrived.

    Batista's first night back wasn't anything too special, however. He received a less-than-stellar reaction from the live crowd that night, briefly confronted Randy Orton and laid out Alberto Del Rio. That was it.

    He also announced his intentions to take part in the 2014 Royal Rumble match. Of course, he was a heavy favorite to win, but not many people expected WWE to actually go through with it.

    Well, they did anyway.

    Batista was anything but a babyface to the people of Pittsburgh that night at the Rumble. When it became clear Daniel Bryan wasn't entering the match, the crowd turned on it.

    From Rey Mysterio to Sheamus to Batista, the crowd booed almost everyone who was in the ring. They took no prisoners.

    When Batista tossed Roman Reigns over the top rope to win the match, the crowd exploded in anger. Not even Batista's entrance music could cover the massive amount of boos he was receiving.

    To make matters worse, he flipped off the fans on his way out of the arena. His six days back with WWE apparently earned him the right to contend for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania.

    WWE ultimately fixed the mess they created by entering Bryan in the title picture, but only after the fans caused them to change their plans.

The Prime Time Players Split Up

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    For two years, Darren Young and Titus O'Neil graced the tag team division. Collectively known as the Prime Time Players, they were one of the most genuinely funny and entertaining tandems WWE had at its disposal.

    However, not at any point during their two years together did they reign as WWE Tag Team champions.

    At a time when the tag team division was flourishing, WWE opted to break up the duo for seemingly no apparent reason. O'Neil beat down Young on the January 31 edition of SmackDown with no prior build-up.

    They briefly feuded in the weeks that followed. Their rivalry culminated at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view in a match won by O'Neil, but neither guy went anywhere after that.

    Officials have been high on O'Neil's potential as a singles performer for years now, so there was the chance they were breaking them up so they could push him on his own. That proved to be false when he went on to headline WWE Superstars every week.

    Young has been out with an injury since April but is due back on TV anytime now. Hopefully, WWE rights this wrong by reuniting the team upon his return.

    The Prime Time Players never won any gold, broke up out of nowhere, had a meaningless feud and went on to become enhancement talent. That sure sounds like the modern-day version of Cryme Tyme to me.

#HijackRaw

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    The unofficial rules for the "Hijack Raw" movement.
    The unofficial rules for the "Hijack Raw" movement.Credit: WWE.com

    WWE's rocky road to WrestleMania began at the Royal Rumble when the Pittsburgh crowd chanted during the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match and booed Batista when he won the Rumble. It began a trend with crowds in the weeks that followed.

    After Elimination Chamber, the main event of WrestleMania 30 was seemingly set in stone: Randy Orton vs. Batista for the world title. Fans voiced their displeasure with the 'Mania card through social media, jump starting the hashtag "Hijack Raw" going into the March 3 Raw in Chicago.

    The unofficial rules of the revolution stated that fans in attendance only chant for Daniel Bryan, CM Punk and other "Internet darlings." They'd also "turn their backs" to the likes of the Authority, Batista and Randy Orton.

    What the Chicago crowd didn't know, however, was that WWE was one ahead. They did the wise thing by addressing the Punk situation at the start of the show via Paul Heyman.

    They also turned #HijackRaw into an angle. They had Bryan use it as a way to get Triple H to agree to a match at WrestleMania.

    In short, #HijackRaw was a complete and utter failure. There were no riots. WWE gave them a great show that night and the crowd had no choice but to comply.

Cesaro's Pairing with Paul Heyman

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    Cesaro's pairing with Paul Heyman proved to be a hindrance to his push.
    Cesaro's pairing with Paul Heyman proved to be a hindrance to his push.Credit: WWE.com

    Other than Daniel Bryan, there was no star on the road to WrestleMania hotter than Cesaro. He caught fire while teaming with Jack Swagger as part of the Real Americans and was ready to break off on his own.

    At WrestleMania 30, Cesaro's popularity peaked when he turned on Swagger and Zeb Colter after they were unsuccessful in their attempt to win the WWE Tag Team Championship. That same night, he entered the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and won it all.

    The crowd came unglued.

    On the next night's Raw, Cesaro shocked the world when he declared himself a "Paul Heyman Guy." Together, he and Heyman were a dream pairing. But why fight Cesaro's organic face turn instead of running with it?

    Cesaro's first few weeks under the tutelage of Heyman saw him win most of his matches, but success diminished as time passed. He failed to win the WWE World Heavyweight, Intercontinental and United States Championships and embarked on a lengthy losing streak by the summer.

    Prior to SummerSlam, Cesaro and Heyman officially parted ways.

    Instead of turning Cesaro babyface, WWE was steadfast on keeping him heel. He received countless shots at the Intercontinental and United States titles but lost on every occasion.

    Nowadays, Cesaro is rarely ever on Raw. He's currently involved in a fun tag team with Tyson Kidd, but if the reactions he was receiving earlier this year were any indication, he is capable of so much more in WWE.

    Was there any one else who fell further than Cesaro in 2014?

The Miz Rants on Raw

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    There was a long period of time from 2013 to 2014 when WWE was doing next to nothing with the Miz. He'd be heel one week and face the next. He was the most inconsistent character in all of WWE.

    Personally, I felt WWE wasted Miz as a babyface, but that's neither here nor there. He's since gone back to doing what's he best at: being a hated heel.

    But long before he was referring to himself as a Hollywood A-lister, Miz was voicing his grievances on Raw every week. He interrupted a match between Zack Ryder and Titus O'Neil on the February 3 edition by coming down to commentary, calling the match a joke and walking off.

    He was back to being a babyface days later on SmackDown.

    The following week, Miz once again stormed down to ringside and sounded off on commentary about how he shouldn't be overlooked. Ultimately, his ranting ways led absolutely nowhere.

    It was reported by F4WOnline (h/t Wrestling Inc) that there were plans to pair Miz up with a fellow "disgruntled" Superstar in Dolph Ziggler. Of course, those plans were later scrapped with no explanation offered whatsoever.

    They went on to feud over the Intercontinental Championship in the summer.

Ric Flair Returns to Confront Evolution

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    When the Shield turned against the Authority the night after WrestleMania 30, it was obvious what was coming next: an Evolution reunion involving Triple H, Randy Orton and Batista. And it was going to be glorious.

    But what's an Evolution reunion without Ric Flair?

    Flair was a cornerstone of the faction for its entire run between 2003 and 2005. He hadn't been on WWE TV much since January's Old School Raw show, but it was only a matter of time before he'd return to ride high with his former stablemates again.

    Six days before the Shield and Evolution were set to do battle at Extreme Rules, Ric Flair returned to Raw. However, it was only advertised by Triple H through his Twitter and not by WWE or its website.

    It wasn't until the very end of the show that Flair came out to the ring during the final confrontation between Evolution and the Shield. But instead of embracing Evolution, he instead showed respect to the Shield by siding with them.

    And that was it. Many expected it to lead to Flair turning on Shield that Sunday at Extreme Rules, but he wasn't even present at the event.

    Flair would also return to Raw in a fairly pointless segment in July, picking John Cena to win the Fatal 4-Way match at Battleground. Why bring back Flair to WWE TV if you don't have a meaningful role for him?

Paige's Face Run

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    Paige as Divas champion.
    Paige as Divas champion.Credit: WWE.com

    After spending close to three years down in WWE's developmental system, Paige was beyond ready for the main roster. She finally got her due the night after WrestleMania 30.

    In one of the more memorable Divas segments of 2014, Paige interrupted AJ Lee during her promo on the post-WrestleMania edition of Raw. Paige came to congratulate AJ on her victory at 'Mania, but AJ wanted none of it.

    As a "post-WrestleMania treat," AJ was willing to put her Divas Championship on the line in an impromptu match against Paige. She accepted.

    The fans in attendance that night were chanting "this is awesome" before the bell even rang, and rightfully so. It was a dream match finally coming to fruition.

    In a matter of a minute, Paige shockingly scored the upset to win her first Divas Championship. The crowd roared with excitement, and it was one of the biggest moments in Divas history.

    Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there for Paige.

    She wasn't a bad champion at all. If anything, she was a pretty decent champ with title defenses against Tamina, Alicia Fox and Naomi. But the fans had zero incentive to care about her.

    Sure, she's talented in the ring, but we essentially knew nothing about her. She'd enter to crickets every time she came down to the ring because she had become just another Diva on the roster.

    Paige was always over as a babyface down in NXT, but it's a completely different dynamic when you reach Raw and SmackDown. Thankfully, Paige turned heel after dropping the Divas title to AJ in June and has been flourishing in her new role ever since.

Adam Rose

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    Was there a bigger failure this year than Adam Rose?
    Was there a bigger failure this year than Adam Rose?Credit: WWE.com

    Compared to 2012 and 2013, 2014 was not the best year for NXT call-ups. For every Rusev and Paige, there were several other Superstars who flopped.

    Among those failures was Adam Rose.

    Rose, formerly known as Leo Kruger, spent years down in WWE developmental. But it wasn't until he adopted the Adam Rose persona he finally got a shot at the big time.

    The only issue is that the gimmick had been tried out on NXT only once or twice before being brought up to Raw.

    The many vignettes hyping his debut did nothing to make people care about him. He arrived to crickets on the May 5 edition of Raw in a segment with Jack Swagger.

    Truth be told, Rose isn't even a terrible wrestler. He's actually quite good. But there was nothing more to the character beyond the elaborate entrance.

    After a while, he became a regular on WWE Superstars. He went undefeated for months before finally suffering his first singles loss to Kane on the 15th anniversary of SmackDown show in October.

    Worse yet, they've been teasing a heel turn recently with Rose but have yet to pull the trigger. He and the Bunny have remained on decent terms for longer than they should have, leading to Rose aggressively attacking the man inside the costume on the December 22 Raw.

    Maybe Rose won't be as big of a bust in 2015 if they transition him back to his Leo Kruger persona. It's worth a shot, right?

Fandango's Love Triangle

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    Fandango serves as the special guest referee in a match between Layla and Summer Rae.
    Fandango serves as the special guest referee in a match between Layla and Summer Rae.Credit: WWE.com

    The act of "Fandangoing" earned a spot on this list last year due to how quickly Fandango's popularity plummeted. Unfortunately for the artist formerly known as Johnny Curtis, 2014 wasn't much kinder to him.

    He wasn't involved in anything meaningful for the few few months of 2014, but he "broke up" with Summer Rae following WrestleMania 30. In her absence, Fandango hooked up with Layla as his new dancing partner.

    As good of a dancer as Layla was, she just didn't have the same chemistry with Fandango as Summer did. Summer returned to Raw on the May 19 edition and immediately entered a feud with Layla over Fandango.

    The only issue? Everyone involved in the love triangle was a heel.

    Summer teased going babyface at times, but she was still unlikable. Layla was paired with Fandango, and Fandango cheated on both of them.

    So who was there to cheer for? 

    The worst part was how it dragged on for several months, wasting precious time on Raw and other WWE programming that could have been used for something more meaningful. The pay-off came when Summer and Layla befriended each other and ditched Fandango all together.

    Yes, the two ladies who spent months making the other's life miserable made up after they realized Fandango wasn't worth it. What a waste of time.

Emma Is Released and Reinstated

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    Emma's burglary
    Emma's burglaryCredit: TMZ

    Emma was another prime example of a tremendously talented NXT standout who started off the year on a high note only to end the year with a whimper.

    In January, Emma was called up the main roster and debuted in a series of segments with Santino Marella. The two became an on-screen couple from that point forward, which was the absolute kiss of death for Emma.

    The duo briefly feuded with Fandango and Layla, but once that feud ran its course, Emma sparingly appeared on Raw. Any momentum she received from her amazing match with Paige from NXT Arrival was null and void.

    But her biggest tragedy of 2014 came when she was arrested on July 1 for "stealing" an iPad case despite having a valid excuse. Everyone figured it'd blow over fairly quickly and would be old news within days.

    WWE released her the next day. And then proceeded to reinstate her after realizing how asinine it was to fire someone for something far less harmful than what they've suspended their employees for in the past.

    It was great Emma was brought back, but the whole situation made WWE look terrible. They acted without thinking and had to pay the consequences.

    Regardless, Emma (the character) was floundering before the incident, and she's still floundering today.

Bo Dallas' Undefeated Streak

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    As the then-longest reigning NXT champion in history, Bo Dallas head to the main roster with a head of steam. He had a brief run on Raw in early 2013 but was sent back down to NXT before anything could come of it.

    During his long reign as champ, he had successful title defenses against Big E, Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville. He transitioned from being a deplorable babyface to one of the most hated heels in the company, all by his own doing.

    When he was "banished" from NXT in May, Dallas made his way to Raw and SmackDown. He embarked on an undefeated streak, beating enhancement talent and touting his wins as major upsets.

    After a while, his winning streak really started to catch fire. Fans brought signs to the shows mocking it and Dallas was getting great heat.

    However, as we've seen over the years, there's no such thing as long-term booking in WWE. They had no plans for Dallas beyond his wins against Zack Ryder and Sin Cara.

    For one reason or another, WWE had Dallas lose his first singles match against R-Truth on a random episode of Raw in July. Dallas developed an extra edge to his character after that, but not for long before he was losing on the regular.

    WWE could have had Dallas win the Intercontinental Championship at Battleground if they so wished. He didn't need to put his streak on the line against John Cena or anything, but having any streak snapped by R-Truth is a true insult to them and the fans.

Alberto Del Rio

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    Alberto Del Rio's 2014 couldn't have been more lackluster.
    Alberto Del Rio's 2014 couldn't have been more lackluster.Credit: WWE.com

    As far as Cesaro fell from WrestleMania 30 to where he is now, his downfall was nothing compared to Alberto Del Rio's.

    Despite not being nominated for Superstar of the Year at last year's Slammy Awards, 2013 was a great year for Alberto Del Rio. He turned face and heel in addition to winning the World Heavyweight Championship on two different occasions, reigning as champion for a total of seven months.

    Shortly after dropping the strap to John Cena in October, Del Rio was out of the main event scene completely. He engaged in a small feud with Batista earlier in the year, but he had his butt handed to him by the Animal every time they clashed.

    He did absolutely nothing of note for the next several months. He was involved in forgettable Battle Royals, didn't win any gold and basically fought Dolph Ziggler and Sheamus every other week.

    Del Rio was fired from WWE in early August after getting into an altercation with a co-worker backstage.

    All in all, 2014 was a terrible year for Del Rio, and it's bizarre to think they didn't do more with him before he was let go. They wasted his talent, and you can't blame the guy for slapping someone for making a racist remark. He was on his way out of the company, anyway.

    Thankfully, Del Rio has since rebounded and will a part of several independent wrestling promotions in 2015.

WWE Cheap Pops Animated Series

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    In late August, WWE debuted a new show on their YouTube channel called WWE Cheap Pops. It poked fun at their own cast of characters (i.e. Corporate Kane and John Cena) and was very well-received among members of the WWE Universe on social media.

    Similar to anything else that's awesome in WWE, they took it away from us.

    The first and only episode of the series was taken down from YouTube and WWE.com a short time later. No explanation was given by WWE, but it was speculated by F4WOnline (h/t Wrestling Inc) that WWE felt it was funnier than Slam City (as seen on WWE Network) and didn't want to overshadow it.

    Yeah, I'm also still trying to figure that one out.

    The people who created the animation used in WWE Cheap Pops have also worked on projects with College Humor in the past, so it comes as no surprise the style of the video was different from what WWE is used to. But giving us one episode and removing it from existence was worse than not giving it to us at all.

John Cena No-Sells Injuries from SummerSlam

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    Brock Lesnar nails a devastating German Suplex on John Cena.
    Brock Lesnar nails a devastating German Suplex on John Cena.Credit: WWE.com

    Sometimes, it's the smallest things that make the biggest differences, especially in wrestling.

    At SummerSlam, John Cena was viciously annihilated by Brock Lesnar. Never before (and likely never again) had fans of WWE seen Cena emasculated in such fashion.

    After taking 16 German Suplexes, you would think Cena's neck would've been in some serious danger. Although he was kept off the next night's Raw, he was back the very next week showing no ill effects from SummerSlam.

    In other words, he didn't sell a single injury he suffered in that match. He walked down the ring like he always does, and had you not seen SummerSlam, you would've never known he got his butt handed to him by the Beast Incarnate.

    That said, I'd be remiss if I called out just Cena on this issue. It wasn't too long ago that Bray Wyatt took out Dean Ambrose on an episode of SmackDown, forcing him to be taken out of the arena on a stretcher.

    Yet, Ambrose returned on Raw three days later and somehow miraculously recovered. He brawled with Wyatt like nothing had ever happened.

    Also, Daniel Bryan took a beating of a lifetime at WrestleMania 30. He, too, was nearly taken out of the main event on a stretcher, but he battled back and won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

    So why was he on Raw the very next night acting as if his health was 100 percent?

    The blame should be put more on the Creative Team rather than the wrestlers themselves for not paying close attention to detail.

Michael Sam on Raw

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    Michael Sam is invited to Raw.
    Michael Sam is invited to Raw.Credit: WWE.com

    It isn't uncommon for WWE to do anything it takes to get eyes on the product going into the fall in order to rival Monday Night Football. Unfortunately, most of WWE's tactics are dumb ones.

    In a desperate attempt to pop a rating, WWE "invited" NFL star Michael Sam to the Sept. 8 edition of Raw to speak his mind. But there really wasn't anything for Sam to say since there wasn't much controversy surrounding his situation.

    Did anyone honestly expect Sam to show up on Raw? WWE had to be kidding themselves with this one.

    They advertised it twice during the Sept. 1 broadcast, only to remove any articles having to do with it on WWE.com less than 24 hours later. They probably realized he wasn't showing so did their best to make fans forget all about it to risk further embarrassment.

    Well, they failed.

    They also put out a congratulatory message for Sam on Sept. 3 when he signed with the Dallas Cowboys, offering him an invitation to "appear on any future Monday Night Raw he wishes." Yeah, good luck with that.

The Wyatt Family Splitting Up

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    Why was The Wyatt Family broken up so soon?
    Why was The Wyatt Family broken up so soon?Credit: WWE.com

    As shocking as the Shield's split was, it was done the right way. The Shield, as over as they were at the time of their breakup, had nothing left to accomplish and had no choice but to go their separate ways.

    Three stars were made that night. Seth Rollins became a heel on the rise, Dean Ambrose turned into the top babyface no one ever expected him to be and Roman Reigns was finally allowed to break out on his own.

    The Wyatt Family's split, on the other hand, was just plain lazy.

    Unlike the Shield, there was far more left to do with the Wyatts as a trio. It seemed like the only reason WWE chose to break them up was because they had been so damaged by the end of the summer.

    Even so, that was no reason to split them up. In retrospect, what purpose did it really serve?

    Luke Harper reigned as Intercontinental champion for all of one month and is now back to being a nobody. Erick Rowan got his 15 minutes of fame in a feud with Big Show and has also since been wasted.

    Wyatt has seemingly been doing well for himself on his own, but the addition of Harper and Rowan would only enhance it. Will WWE see the error of their ways and reunite them sooner rather than later?

Mark Henry's Heel Turn

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    Mark Henry simply hasn't been the same since his run as World Heavyweight champion in 2011. He's been injured constantly in the last three years and hasn't really added much to the product.

    He had a great one-off feud with John Cena over the WWE Championship last summer, but that was it for Henry as a main event player. He's been marginalized on the roster ever since.

    In his most recent run, he formed a tandem with Big Show and dominated the tag team ranks. He'd later turn on Show after growing jealous of him coming closer to beating Rusev than he ever did.

    Henry works much better as a heel than he does a face, but what more can you do with Henry at this stage in his career?

    He and Show faced off on the Nov. 3 edition of Raw in a match that ended in a double count-out. They were on opposing teams at Survivor Series and within seconds of the bell sounding, Henry was eliminated by the World's Largest Athlete.

    So what was the point of turning him heel to begin with?

    Henry has been off WWE TV for the last month, seemingly out with another injury, according to him. Not many people even noticed he was gone.

Jack Swagger on Team Cena

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    Seth Rollins and Jack Swagger do battle.
    Seth Rollins and Jack Swagger do battle.Credit: WWE.com

    Going into Survivor Series, John Cena struggled to find Superstars who would team with him against the Authority. The vindictive faction did everything in their power to ensure no one aligned with Cena in an effort to take them down.

    Among the first people recruited to Team Cena was Jack Swagger. Granted, it was a bit of a random pick, given he and Cena have no prior history, but it was still a nice boost for Swagger to be considered for the main event.

    On the Nov. 3 edition of Raw, Swagger went one-on-one with Seth Rollins. After coming up short against Mr. Money in the Bank, Swagger was viciously attacked to the point where he was deemed unable to compete at Survivor Series.

    Swagger's spot was later taken by Erick Rowan.

    However, only days before the pay-per-view, Swagger returned to action on the Nov. 18 Main Event in a match against Bray Wyatt. No explanation was offered as to why he recovered so quickly and if he was still being considered for Team Cena.

    Heck, Swagger was even at the event, defeating Cesaro in a match on the Kickoff show. If Swagger was healthy enough to compete earlier in the evening, why couldn't he take part in the main event?

    WWE can't think we're that stupid, right?

The New Day

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    The New Day would be much better suited as heels.
    The New Day would be much better suited as heels.Credit: WWE.com

    One night removed from the Battleground pay-per-view in July, Kofi Kingston and Big E lost to RybAxel in tag team action. Xavier Woods confronted them afterward, telling them it was time to take a stand.

    It was an intriguing start to what looked like a faction featuring the three Superstars. They appeared on WWE TV for the next two weeks before being removed from programming all together.

    No reason was ever given as to why this trio with so much potential was taken away so quickly. They continued to wrestle as a unit on house shows, but on WWE TV, it was as if it had never happened.

    In November, vignettes began to air hyping the arrival of the trio of Woods, Kingston and Big E. This time, however, it was in the setting of a choir while they were singing and dancing.

    You know, the old African-American stereotype WWE likes to use so much.

    Within weeks of their debut, they've already grown stale. Crowds refuse to get invested in the act because not only do we know nothing about them, their over-the-top enthusiasm is more annoying than it is appealing.

    The act has been a complete bust so far and WWE's handling of it dating back to July has been horrendous. A heel turn is the only thing that could salvage the New Day at this point.

Return of the Anonymous Raw General Manager

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    The infamous Raw General Manager laptop.
    The infamous Raw General Manager laptop.Credit: WWE.com

    After the Authority was ousted from power at Survivor Series, WWE brought back the infamous celebrity-guest-host gimmick. It saw the returns of Daniel Bryan, Chris Jericho and even Edge and Christian.

    Despite how cool it was to see all these familiar faces run Raw for a week, it also featured the return of the Anonymous Raw General Manager.

    The Anonymous Raw General Manager was given the power to run the flagship show back in 2010. He hid his identity to avoid being a target of the then-vindictive stable the Nexus.

    However, long after the Nexus was disbanded, the Anonymous Raw General Manager remained...well, anonymous. The angle was later scrapped without receiving a pay-off when Triple H was named the new COO of WWE in July 2011.

    One year later, the laptop resurfaced on Raw when WWE brought back former authority figures ahead of Raw 1000. It was finally revealed on the July 9 edition of Raw that it was Hornswoggle behind it all the entire time.

    The intelligence of the fans was insulted that night, but at least WWE tied up loose ends after almost two years. That was, however, until they brought back the laptop on the Dec. 1 Raw without ever acknowledging their own storyline.

    The laptop was involved in all of one segment on that show. The "Cyber Monday" theme that it was supposed to carry was also never mentioned.

    Here's hoping we never have to hear that obnoxious chime noise again on Raw, but this is WWE after all.

The Bella Twins Feud

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    Nikki Bella wishes Brie Bella died in the womb.
    Nikki Bella wishes Brie Bella died in the womb.Credit: WWE.com

    None of the aforementioned "epic failures" come close to being a bigger waste of time than this feud.

    Brie Bella and Stephanie McMahon, after months of feuding, met in a grudge match at SummerSlam. Stephanie emerged victorious after Brie's sister Nikki "shockingly" turned on her.

    Brie was faring well for herself in the months leading up to SummerSlam, but any fan support she garnered up to that point was ruined by her feud with Nikki.

    The two are already obnoxious as a duo, but as rivals, they were unbearable. The promos, including that one segment with Jerry Springer and the Bella family, were some of the worst we've seen on WWE TV in years.

    They wrestled a match against each other at Hell in a Cell that was won by Nikki. The stipulation being that the loser must become the winner's "servant" for 30 days.

    In the month Brie catered to her sister, the storyline was rather tame. WWE failed to make the most of the angle, which was nowhere near as important as it once was.

    When the 30 days were up, Brie helped Nikki capture the Divas Championship from AJ Lee at Survivor Series. Aside from saying "blood is thicker than water" in a forgettable backstage interview at TLC, Brie has yet to explain her actions.

    Basically, after all the abuse she took from her own sister, Brie is back to being on good terms with her. It beats the heck out of them spewing garbage toward each other each week, but it made all those weeks of them feuding worthless.

Luke Harper as Intercontinental Champion

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    Luke Harper as Intercontinental champion.
    Luke Harper as Intercontinental champion.Credit: WWE.com

    As previously noted, the Wyatt Family's split was premature. There was still a lot left in the tank for the act, and there was no need to break them up so soon.

    However, one of the positives of splitting them up, like the Shield, was that it made three singles stars in the process. Granted, Bray Wyatt was already a singles competitor, but Luke Harper and Erick Rowan were able to break off on their own.

    While Rowan embarked on a search for an unnamed woman (another storyline that has yet to be explained), Harper made an immediate impact by aligning with the Authority. Six days before Survivor Series, Harper beat Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Championship, his first singles title in WWE.

    By giving him the strap, WWE made a star out of Harper. But the follow-up was terrible. Harper didn't win a single match while he was champion. Not one.

    Whether he was getting himself disqualified, counted out or just getting pinned in a tag team match, Harper fell in line with all the Superstars who held that same title before him. He was being booked to look weak and it didn't do him or the belt any favors.

    Only one month removed from winning the gold, Harper dropped the title back to Ziggler in a brutal Ladder match at the TLC pay-per-view. He failed to regain the title the following week on Raw.

    What was the point of giving Harper a weak one-month reign as champion if he was going to drop it right back to the bleached-blonde Superstar?

Brock Lesnar as WWE World Heavyweight Champion

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    Brock Lesnar as WWE World Heavyweight champion.
    Brock Lesnar as WWE World Heavyweight champion.Credit: WWE.com

    I was tempted to put Brock Lesnar ending the Undertaker's undefeated streak at WrestleMania this past year on this list, but I believe the biggest "epic failure" when it comes to Lesnar in 2014 has been the handling of his WWE World Heavyweight Championship run.

    No one, not even Daniel Bryan, was hotter coming out of WrestleMania 30 than Brock Lesnar. There is arguably no bigger achievement in wrestling than breaking the streak of the Undertaker.

    Regardless of whether fans thought he deserved to be "the one" to put the one in 21-1, WWE had no choice but to put the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on him. He had so much momentum (despite not being on WWE TV for a solid three months) they couldn't risk him losing to John Cena at SummerSlam.

    At the biggest party of the summer, Lesnar unleashed a brutal beating on Cena and took the title from him. In that one match, Lesnar had a dominant aura no one in history has ever had.

    He was scheduled to go up against Cena in a championship rematch at Night of Champions. In the weeks leading up to the event, WWE aired vignettes of Lesnar talking about Cena and his strong SummerSlam showing.

    It was a great use of the Beast Incarnate in the time he wasn't on TV.

    After losing his match to Cena at the event by disqualification, Lesnar disappeared from programming. He wasn't shown let alone mentioned on WWE TV for close to three months before returning on the Dec. 15 edition of Raw.

    Lesnar is not to be blamed. Could WWE really not bring in Lesnar for an appearance or two over the fall?

    The whole point in keeping the belt on Lesnar is that it'll mean something when he ultimately drops it (hopefully to someone not named John Cena). But how much does it mean when Lesnar's only title defenses have been against Cena?

    Lesnar and Cena are set to do battle one last time at Royal Rumble, and the result is very much in question. Will WWE panic and put the belt back on Cena with Lesnar potentially returning to UFC when his current contract expires?

The Authority Returns

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    I had almost finished writing this list prior to the Dec. 29 edition of Raw. I didn't think there was any chance they'd do anything so stupid that would warrant a spot on the list before the end of the year.

    Once again, WWE proved me wrong.

    After an excellent episode of Raw, the show closed with Seth Rollins threatening to cripple Edge unless John Cena brought back the Authority. Fans awaited the return of Randy Orton to break it up before Cena could say the dreaded words. It never happened.

    Cena gave in to Rollins' demands and brought back the Authority. The night ended with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon returning to celebrate with Rollins and J&J Security.

    With one segment, WWE made the highly touted Survivor Series main event mean absolutely nothing.

    It hurt the biggest victory Ziggler scored in his entire career. It hurt the impact of Sting's long-awaited WWE debut. It hurt the credibility of the WWE Network for hosting an event that had no meaning.

    In no way did it do anything to benefit the current programming.

    Granted, it sets up the rumored Triple H versus Sting match for WrestleMania 31, but surely there were other ways of getting to that without bringing back the Authority, especially just one month after their demise.

    If the Authority promises to go away if Sting beats Triple H at 'Mania, why would fans have any reason to believe that they're for real this time?

    The Authority overstayed its welcome in 2013 and 2014, and for it to be back so soon (or at all) was, in a way, a fitting conclusion to the year. No matter how awesome something might be in WWE, in the end, it's unfortunately all about the Authority.

Conclusion

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    These 25 epic failures in 2014 demonstrate why hot-shot booking by Creative just won't cut it anymore.

    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!

    Be sure to check out the 2011, 2012 and 2013 installments.

    Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is a journalism major at Endicott College. Visit his website at Next Era Wrestling and like his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.