The Divas Revolution and WWE's Top 25 Biggest Epic Failures of 2015
Throughout 2015, we've witnessed some of the most memorable moments in WWE history, including Seth Rollins cashing in Money in the Bank in the main event of WrestleMania, The Wyatt Family reuniting and The Undertaker returning to rekindle his rivalry with Brock Lesnar.
All in all, 2015 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—because of their insignificance or horrendous booking. Sheamus' deplorable WWE World Heavyweight Championship run comes to mind, but it was far from the worst thing to happen to WWE in 2015.
Occasionally, backstage officials begin an angle they eventually don't follow up on, which confuses viewers and insults our intelligence. It has been prominent in the past with WWE, and this year was no exception.
As has been done every year since 2011, I have composed a list (in no specific order) of 25 moments, angles, Superstars and more that qualify as the biggest epic failures of 2015. If you can't recall some of the following things happening, I don't blame you whatsoever.
Dolph Ziggler, Ryback and Erick Rowan Get Fired
It didn't take long at all for WWE to make their first major mistake of the new year. The premier Raw of 2015 was deemed John Cena Appreciation Night by The Authority, who returned to WWE TV one week earlier on Raw.
As if that wasn't bad enough, they promised there would be hell to pay at the end of the evening for Dolph Ziggler, Ryback and Erick Rowan. These are the same Superstars who helped put The Authority out of power at Survivor Series as part of a team captained by John Cena.
Unsurprisingly, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon fired the trio as Cena was forced to helplessly look on. As confetti fell from the ceiling, they sulked and walked out of the arena instead of going out with a bang.
The temporary departures of the three men couldn't have come at a worse time with all of them building momentum going into the new year. Ryback's hot feud with Rusev was abruptly cut short, Rowan was just finding his stride as a singles competitor and Ziggler dropped the Intercontinental Championship at the start of the show despite winning it less than three weeks earlier.
Ultimately, they were brought back to work three weeks later when Cena won a 3-on-1 Handicap match against The Authority, but they weren't nearly as hot they were before and weren't involved in anything of note at WrestleMania.
SmackDown Moves to Thursdays
SmackDown making the move back to Thursdays after almost a decade had been rumored for the latter half of 2014. In theory, it was a great idea as it meant WWE might start to take it seriously again.
It had been years since SmackDown felt like an equal to Raw, so it was refreshing for them to announce Daniel Bryan's first match back for their return to Thursday nights. The January 15 episode was a pleasant surprise in terms of quality, and the change in appearance gave viewers the impression that WWE was going to make the blue brand a top priority again.
Sadly, the renewed focus on SmackDown was short-lived.
WWE continued to announce blockbuster bouts for the program in the first few weeks of the year, but beyond that, it was back to being an afterthought. They have occasionally advertised matches for SmackDown only to not deliver without an explanation, and the ratings have remained stagnant.
With SmackDown headed to USA Network in 2016, there is a feeling among fans it will return to relevance. If the move to Thursday nights earlier this year was any indication, I wouldn't suggest getting your hopes up.
Roman Reigns Wins the Royal Rumble
The 2014 Royal Rumble match was so dull and badly booked it was almost impossible for them to not do any worse in 2015. Somehow, WWE managed to do just that.
The 2015 Rumble match was entertaining early on, but it all went downhill after Daniel Bryan, the fan favorite to win, was eliminated. It was no holds barred for the Philadelphia crowd from that point forward, because it became painfully apparent who was winning: Roman Reigns.
Reigns had been pegged to win the Rumble for months, and although fans didn't initially have a problem with The Big Dog advancing to WrestleMania 31 for a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, that was before Bryan returned from injury and announced himself as a participant in the Rumble match.
Not only that, but Reigns was far from ready to be pushed at a main event level (see: "Jack and the Beanstalk" promo). That didn't stop WWE from giving Reigns the win and even bringing in The Rock as damage control, which didn't at all please the vehement Philly crowd.
To WWE's credit, the company bounced back from the situation fairly well by having Seth Rollins cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase during the WrestleMania main event, and Reigns has worked his way back up the card. But they could have avoided the whole mess to begin with by booking the annual Battle Royal properly.
Ryback vs. Rusev
From the moment Rusev made his main roster debut the night after WrestleMania 30, it was clear WWE had big plans for him. He quickly ran through the roster, decimating the likes of Jack Swagger, Mark Henry, Big Show and Sheamus.
And then he met his match in Ryback. The NXT Season 1 alum was fresh off his return to the ring in December 2014 and was building steam as a babyface, but he needed that one feud to take him to the next level.
Fans were actually anticipating an eventual match between the two, but before the feud could get off the ground, Ryback was "fired" from WWE on the premier edition of Raw in 2015. As a result, the rivalry was put on hold and Rusev was directionless through the Royal Rumble.
Even after Ryback was brought back to programming, WWE failed to rekindle the rivalry on the Road to WrestleMania. Instead, Rusev was transitioned into a program with John Cena while Ryback took part in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
By the time they finally had a pay-per-view match in December at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs, next to nobody cared. Although Cena's United States Championship victory over Rusev led to the awesome U.S. Open Challenge, an argument can be made that Ryback should have been the one to end Rusev's undefeated streak because at least he could have benefited from it.
Stardust vs. Goldust
There have been four different occasions since 2012 that WWE could have done the long awaited Cody Rhodes vs. Goldust match at WrestleMania, but for whatever reason, they refused to pull the trigger.
The latest instance came earlier this year when tension was being teased between the two following the Royal Rumble. On the Feb. 16 edition of Raw, Stardust finally turned on his brother Goldust, setting the stage for their first one-on-one encounter. It took place at Fastlane.
Of course, WWE should have held off on having them face off until WrestleMania 31, even if it was the Kickoff show, as it would have meant significantly more. Because the build to the bout was rushed, their match didn't garner a strong fan reaction at the pay-per-view.
The feud was furthered on the next night's Raw, but it was dropped shortly thereafter for undisclosed reasons. It's not as if WWE had bigger things in mind for either of them at WrestleMania since Stardust was one of seven Superstars in the Intercontinental Championship Ladder match—which he didn't win—and Goldust was involved in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
Essentially, WWE wasted a golden (no pun intended) opportunity to do the brother vs. brother matchup on its grandest stage. There's always the off-chance they hold it at WrestleMania 32, but both men haven't been regulars on WWE TV for months, so it's a long shot.
The Intercontinental Championship losing its value isn't a new phenomenon, but WWE had several chances to make the title finally mean something in 2015. Needless to say, they dropped the ball on each occasion.
Having Bad News Barrett win the belt in his second match back from injury with interference from Kane instead of turning him babyface was the first mistake they made. For the three months he held the belt, and he won all of two or three matches by pinfall in that time.
When Daniel Bryan captured the strap at WrestleMania 31, he could've been the one to finally restore lost prestige in the prize, but he got injured before he could do anything of note with it. His successor, Ryback, was a fine champion, but he failed to take it to new heights as John Cena had done with the U.S. Championship.
Kevin Owens had a solid reign as champion from September to December, but the title isn't any more prestigious now than it was at the beginning of the year. It isn't completely worthless, but it isn't where it should be given its decorated history.
Is there anyone who can take that title in 2016 and make it as valuable as it once was?
Fandango's Face Turn
"Fandangoing" was all the craze in the spring of 2013. Granted, Fandango's signature song and dance were more over with the audience than he was, but he wasn't doing too badly for himself, feuding with Chris Jericho.
Long story short, he got hurt before he could capture the Intercontinental Championship at the Payback pay-per-view and hasn't been prominently featured on WWE TV since. In 2015, however, WWE had one last chance to make people care about him again.
The company teased turning him face on several occasions in the first few months of the year—but only did so on Main Event and WWE Superstars. It wasn't until April that WWE experimented with him as a fan favorite on Raw when he reverted to using his old entrance music on the Apr. 13 episode.
Obviously, the crowd in England went berserk for "Fandangoing," but it died a death the very next week when WWE had him lose to Adam Rose. It was WWE's last-ditch effort to make him a relevant character once more, but because of the haphazard booking, it failed.
Babyface or heel, Fandango has been and always will be an enhancement talent until WWE decides to drop his awfully outdated ballroom-dancer gimmick.
The Ascension had been due a main roster call-up for close to two years, and by the end of 2014, their time had arrived. They debuted on the December 29 edition of Raw and made an immediate impact by knocking off the former WWE tag team champions The Miz and Damien Sandow.
They continued to stack up victories in the weeks that followed, even beating The New Age Outlaws at the Royal Rumble, but they couldn't connect with the crowd. Their mediocre mic skills definitely played a factor, but it was their awful impersonation of The Legion of Doom that caused them to fall flat with fans.
Instead of tweaking their characters, WWE gave up on the act all together. They suffered their first defeat at the hands of The Prime Time Players in a throwaway match in February and never recovered.
Worse yet, the former NXT tag team champions were left out of the Fatal 4-Way WWE Tag Team Championship match at WrestleMania 31, yet Los Matadores were included. That pretty much spelled the end for The Ascension on the main roster.
They work well as cronies for Stardust, but the trio is rarely featured together on WWE TV. They received homecoming reactions the two times they returned to NXT, so perhaps heading back to Full Sail University as full-time NXT Superstars would resurrect their careers.
The Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt
I'll start off by saying The Undertaker and Bray Wyatt delivered a relatively solid match at WrestleMania 31. It didn't come close to matching The Deadman's past WrestleMania classics, but it was a vast improvement over his outing with Brock Lesnar from the year prior.
All that said, it served zero purpose other than giving Undertaker a win following his shocking loss to Lesnar. It did nothing to benefit Bray Wyatt in any way, shape or form.
Wyatt was forced to hype that matchup by himself with Undertaker off WWE TV until WrestleMania. It was an effective hook given it was Taker's first appearance since his legendary streak was broken, but the build to the match felt like it was missing that special something.
After falling short against John Cena at WrestleMania 30, Wyatt needed to bounce back in a big way in Santa Clara. Despite a strong showing, he couldn't overcome The Phenom and was left off Raw the next night.
In fact, he was absent from WWE programming for the next month until resurfacing in late April to target Ryback. The match with Undertaker, while an honor for the cult leader, didn't elevate Wyatt to the next level. Rather, it cut short any momentum he had going up to that point.
Sting Loses to Triple H at WrestleMania 31
Sting's shocking WWE debut at Survivor Series 2014 brought more buzz to the product than anything else had in years—see the next night's Raw rating for proof. His arrival on Raw in January also made for a monumental moment.
By and large, the feud between Triple H and Sting going into WrestleMania 31 was well done, but there was too much focus on the Monday Night War and WWE vs. WCW. That narrative may have worked during the Attitude Era, but it felt out of place in 2015.
Regardless, they did the best they could with the match, and while it wasn't a technical masterpiece, they managed to make it entertaining with interference from D-Generation X and nWo. But then Sting lost.
Yes, in his very WWE match, Sting came up short for seemingly no reason at all. Now, I'm well-aware Sting later stated in his WWE documentary he believed that was going to be his final bout and he wanted to do the honors, but it still made very little sense.
Had he won that night, his second pay-per-view loss, at Night of Champions to Seth Rollins, wouldn't have been as bad. It was commendable of the Stinger to put over the younger talent, but even if he refused to win at WrestleMania, he deserved to win at least one match during his WWE run.
Big Show Wins the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Ah, the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. After last year's winner, Cesaro, faded off into obscurity, WWE decided to bring back the bout as a WrestleMania staple at the latest installment.
Basically, it was filled with 30 men WWE had no plans for or simply didn't care about it, so it was fine for it to take place on the pre-show and not on the actual card. Very few stories were told, but it was an opportunity for an up-and-coming star to shine.
Hideo Itami, who qualified for the Battle Royal during WrestleMania Axxess, was a long-shot to win, but Big Show disposed of him in decisive fashion, which was mind-boggling. If nothing else, Damien Mizdow would get his WrestleMania moment by tossing Show out, as well as his mentor, The Miz.
Mizdow did get the chance to eliminate Miz, which scored a big pop, but he was subsequently thrown out by Big Show. The World's Largest Athlete may be this generation's Andre the Giant, but it was a wasted win for someone who didn't need the rub.
Show carried the trophy to ringside for a few weeks before disappearing from WWE TV altogether. He made sporadic appearances over the summer and only just recently returned, so what was the point?
Yes, Brock Lesnar broke The Streak and shows up a minimal amount of times each year, but Big Show is no Lesnar. He is the furthest thing from an attraction in 2015.
The Miz vs. Damien Mizdow
On the subject of Damien Mizdow, there wasn't anyone who fell further this year than him.
He was the hottest thing going in WWE coming into 2015, turning a throwaway stunt-double gimmick into comedy gold. WWE seemingly caught onto his surge in popularity and started planting the seeds of dissension between him and The Miz on the road to WrestleMania 31.
But the biggest question was how Sandow would fare on his own without the Mizdow persona. The Miz has proved to be a midcard mainstay no matter what, but Sandow's future was in doubt considering he wasn't doing anything before he was paired with the former WWE champion.
The angle culminated with Mizdow tossing Miz from the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, and although Mizdow didn't win, it was all about the aftermath. Unfortunately, the follow-up was absolutely atrocious.
Mizdow did nothing to establish his own identity, so the crowd couldn't connect with him. Furthermore, the feud was rushed so Miz could go and film Santa's Little Helper, but before leaving, he beat Mizdow on his way out. Save for the failed Macho Mandow persona, Sandow hasn't been on WWE TV since.
The Bella Twins' Face Turn
Wait, The Bella Twins turned face in 2015? Yeah, I had the exact same reaction when reviewing the year and realized they were in fact faces at one point early on.
WWE's self-professed "Divas Revolution" actually began around February when #GiveDivasAChance trended worldwide on Twitter, to which both Stephanie and Vince McMahon responded. The movement was short-lived, however, as the women's tag team match at WrestleMania wasn't anything out of the ordinary and AJ Lee left the company the following week.
With AJ gone and Paige filming Santa's Little Helper, WWE needed a new top face for the Divas division, and it was still too soon to call up Charlotte or any of the women from NXT. In the meantime, they turned The Bella Twins face without ever actually turning them.
This was done by feuding with Naomi, who was struggling to get over. The program was a total bust, and once Paige was ready to return, The Bella Twins became heels again without any explanation.
There is no denying The Bella Twins improved immensely in 2015 and have the biggest fanbase of any other current Divas, but their booking has done their character development, or lack thereof, no favors.
Neville may be WWE's Breakout Star of the Year, according to questionable fan voting, and coming off a win against Kevin Owens on Raw, but don't think for a second he had a phenomenal 2015.
He was one of WWE's most anticipated NXT call-ups following WrestleMania 31, and fans had high hope for his run on the main roster. It didn't take long for him to capture the attention of viewers with his memorable debut on the Mar. 30 edition of Raw and strong showings against John Cena and Seth Rollins.
Sadly, where WWE went wrong with Neville is that it never intended to push him beyond a certain level despite his incredible in-ring abilities. The company groomed him to take the spot Evan Bourne left behind as "that guy who can do a lot of fun flips but will never win a title."
He scored some mainstream attention through teaming with Arrow's Stephen Amell at SummerSlam, but he's been relegated to the undercard ever since. There is hope yet for The Man Gravity Forgot, but WWE has to start using him properly before it's too late (see: Adam Rose and Bo Dallas).
This is the same person who held the NXT Championship for a record 287 days. For shame.
Naomi's Heel Turn
The Divas division was in a state of disarray long before the Divas Revolution began in July. After AJ Lee retired from active competition following March's WrestleMania and Paige left to film a movie, WWE frantically did a double turn with The Bella Twins and Naomi.
In her defense, Naomi wasn't and still isn't an awful heel; if anything, she's much more comfortable in the role than she ever was as a babyface. The "Somebody Call My Momma" entrance music was almost insufferable toward the end.
Changing up her look, attitude and, most importantly, her theme song, Naomi had all the tools to thrive as a heel. But constant losses to The Bella Twins and others established her as a loser from the get-go.
The addition of Tamina Snuka to her act wasn't a bad one, but she didn't do anything to help Naomi clinch the Divas Championship. The NXT Season 3 alum has been with the company for over five years and has yet to taste gold.
Turning her back babyface isn't the answer. Instead, WWE needs to start building her up correctly and branch her off on her own so she isn't being overshadowed by Sasha Banks.
King of the Ring Returns
The return of the King of the Ring tournament had been a long time coming. The last few winners didn't amount to much, but it was a refreshing change of pace. Plus, it could serve as the launching pad to superstardom for a rookie on the rise.
From the moment the tournament was announced, WWE undermined its value by advertising it a mere day in advance. Putting Superstars such as R-Truth and Stardust in the bracket also didn't do anything to make it feel meaningful.
On paper, Bad News Barrett was the ideal winner. As someone who had floundered for the last five years, this could have been his big break as a main event-caliber competitor, but it became another excuse for WWE to make a joke out of him.
He lost, lost, and lost some more. He was quickly turning into WWE's resident court jester—and that's implying he wasn't already.
The king gimmick has been so played over the years that fans should have seen this coming from Day 1. He won't get to where he should and deserves to be in WWE as long as he's coming down to the ring with a low budget-looking crown.
Adam Rose was more prominently featured in my list of WWE's biggest epic failures in 2014 because of his flop of a main roster run, but a case could be made to say he was one in 2015 as well. He started and ended the year an enhancement talent, but it was what happened in the middle that really hurt his chances of ever being taken seriously.
Fans had zero incentive to care about Adam Rose, yet they did anyway when he was included in the ESPN special focusing on NXT talent, Behind the Curtain, back in May. Profiled as Ray Leppan, he was shown fighting for his family and attempting to reinvent himself with the Rose moniker.
If there was any time for WWE to revert him back to Leo Kruger or at the very least ditch the Rose persona, it was then. All the positive feedback Rose received from fans on social media regarding the special led to his pairing with Rosa Mendes, which is the ultimate kiss of death.
When that ran its course, WWE relegated him to Main Event and Superstars and experimented with him saying the word "poop" constantly, bringing back the evil bunny and even giving him his own talking segment. All of which were failures.
A complete character overhaul is necessary for Rose to find success in WWE, but so much damage has been done already it's difficult to say whether he can ever rebound.
After holding the Intercontinental Championship for a solid five months in 2013, Curtis Axel fell off the face of the earth the following year. Similar to Damien Sandow, however, he made something out of nothing at the start of 2015.
Axel was robbed of his chance to compete in the 2015 Royal Rumble match when Erick Rowan attacked him before he could even enter. He went on social media afterward and claimed he was never eliminated, making him the uncrowned 2015 Royal Rumble winner.
Over the next few weeks, Axel ran with this and turned it into his latest gimmick, declaring "Axelmania" was running wild. As silly and as stupid as it was, it actually got over with the audience, and slowly but surely, he began building traction.
By WrestleMania 31 time, the angle culminated with Hulk Hogan confronting Axel and later being the first man eliminated from the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. He continued on with the character through the spring and briefly aligned with Damien Sandow as Macho Mandow.
Any momentum he had left was squandered when Hulk Hogan was fired from WWE over the summer and all traces of him were erased, including Axelmania. WWE didn't bother to repackage him, leaving him to lobby to get back on WWE TV through cryptic social media posts.
Dolph Ziggler, Lana, Rusev and Summer Rae Storyline
Dolph Ziggler and Rusev were riding high going into 2015 as intercontinental champion and United States champion respectively. But by midway through the year, both competitors had cooled off significantly.
After Rusev lashed out at Lana following his embarrassing loss to John Cena at Payback, she left him for Ziggler. Summer Rae soon entered the fray as Rusev's new squeeze, but before the feud could amount to anything, a foot injury sidelined the Bulgarian Brute.
Ziggler and Rusev took part in terrible talking segments every week in which the acting was atrocious and something straight out of soap opera (which is what wrestling is, but you understand my point). Once Rusev was cleared to compete, Ziggler took time off to film a movie.
In his absence, Lana was bullied by her former flame, making for some of the worst television in years. Even the match between Ziggler and Rusev at SummerSlam was one of the low points of the August extravaganza.
Once Lana got hurt in September, any shred of hope that was left for this angle was gone. WWE attempted to salvage the storyline by having Summer propose to Rusev in early October, but once news leaked that Lana and Rusev got engaged in reality, it was scrapped entirely, making it one of the biggest blunders of the year.
As noted, WWE's self-proclaimed "Divas Revolution" was teased early on in 2015 with the #GiveDivasAChance movement, but it didn't start to take form until the summer. When Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch arrived on Raw in July, it was one of the most magical moments in recent Raw history—a sight fans never thought they would see.
However, instead of focusing the individual identities of the top NXT prospects, it was all about the faction wars. The increase in TV time for the women was a welcome change, but fans weren't going to care about any of the ladies until WWE gave them a reason to.
What WWE failed to realize that calling something a revolution doesn't necessarily make it a revolution. Take NXT for example. The women of WWE's developmental brand truly brought women's wrestling to new heights in 2015, not by way of a buzzword but with tremendous character development and amazing matches.
Meanwhile, on the main roster, each of the three groups dissolved and we're left with the remains. It's unknown whether Charlotte is supposed to be a babyface or a heel, Becky Lynch is trying to find her stride, Sasha Banks isn't involved in the title picture, Nikki Bella is hurt and Natalya is nowhere to be found.
Don't get me wrong, 2015 has been a landmark year for the women in WWE, but the company has plenty of work to do when it comes to making the division matter in 2016.
Kane as a WWE World Heavyweight Championship Contender
Similar to Big Show's victory in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, Kane simply isn't a compelling main event player in 2015.
At the very least, Seth Rollins vs. Kane had been building over several months. Rollins first planted the seeds after WrestleMania 31 by boasting about his grand title win and saying that Kane was, well, there. He also added insult to injury in late June when Brock Lesnar decimated Kane and Rollins chewed him out afterward.
Upon Kane's return to WWE TV at September's Night of Champions, he was sporting the mask again, but little did we know, Corporate Kane was back as well. This led to Kane going back and forth between playing the two characters in the weeks preceding Hell in a Cell, and it was the same shtick every week.
As if that wasn't bad enough, Rollins was made to look extremely weak by losing to John Cena, Ryback and even Kane ahead of their pay-per-view encounter. It was a terrible time for Raw as Kane was the de facto No. 1 babyface in the company.
To top it all off, their match at Hell in a Cell was less than stellar and easily one of Rollins' worst matches as champion. Thankfully, Kane's TV time has been scaled back since. Here's hoping he isn't as prominently featured in the new year.
Erick Rowan's Random Return
One of most questionable booking decisions WWE made in 2014 was breaking up The Wyatt Family. Halfway through 2015 they realized that was a mistake and started putting the pieces back together, starting with Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper at Battleground.
Erick Rowan was originally scheduled to join them, which explained why he reunited with Harper in the spring, but an injury set his return back a few months. In the meantime, they recruited NXT's Braun Strowman, who was dubbed the "black sheep" of the family.
With that in mind, it was a mystery as to whether Rowan would be back with them at all, but he eventually returned on the Oct. 19 edition of Raw. You would have never noticed given he randomly showed up at Bray Wyatt's side and was barely acknowledged by the commentators.
Despite being away for five months, Rowan was a complete afterthought. If he wasn't the weak link in The Wyatt Family before, he certainly was now.
This was made official when he proceeded to take the pinfall loss in all of their matches. For the record, he did score the win for his team on the Raw following TLC, but other than that, his return so far has been very underwhelming.
As attractive as Summer Rae is, she was damaged goods following her failed relationships with Fandango, Dolph Ziggler and Rusev. Thus, Tyler Breeze's pairing with her was doomed to fail from the start.
WWE had the right idea when he was immediately placed in a program with Dolph Ziggler upon his debut on the main roster, but Breeze was rarely made to look like Ziggler's equal. He picked up a nice win for himself over the former world champion at November's Survivor Series, but he has floundered since.
He went on to lose his next two matches with Ziggler in addition to getting beaten in tag team and Triple Threat matches. Ziggler has been in the mix for the Intercontinental Championship as of late while Breeze has been largely absent from WWE programming.
It seems he will be embroiled in a rivalry with Goldust for the foreseeable future, but coming off his feud with Ziggler, it will look like a demotion. If WWE doesn't do something meaningful with him soon, he will likely find himself in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 31.
Fans feared WWE wouldn't tread lightly with his gimmick, and so far, they haven't. He comes off no better than Fandango because of how he's been booked regardless of how great of a wrestler he is.
Alberto Del Rio and Zeb Colter
Technically, you could classify Alberto Del Rio's WWE return on the whole as a failure, but I wanted to focus specifically on his partnership with Zeb Colter and the little success they found together as a unit.
There wasn't a clamoring among fans for Del Rio to come back, mostly because he had already done it all during his previous run with the company, including winning four world titles and wins in the Money in the Bank and Royal Rumble matches. What is there left for one to achieve at that point?
Supposedly, WWE desperately needed a new Latino star, and it was too soon for Kalisto so they brought Del Rio back into the fold at Hell in a Cell, where he beat John Cena for the United States Championship. He was introduced by Zeb Colter, which was strange considering their checkered past.
Their pairing was almost as random as Ricardo Rodriguez and Rob Van Dam's in 2013. They had zero chemistry, Del Rio wasn't garnering genuine heat and the MexAmerica shtick was total garbage.
WWE came to its senses before TLC and had Del Rio part ways with his former rival. For what it's worth, Colter is a great talker and another role can be found for him, but he and Del Rio just didn't click as well as WWE would have probably liked.
Sheamus as Mr. Money in the Bank and WWE World Heavyweight Champion
It's difficult to think of someone who won Money in the Bank in the past who left fans scratching their heads. Damien Sandow in 2013 was talented and Jack Swagger had yet to peak in 2010. Even The Miz had a bright upside when he won it.
Sheamus was a strange choice to capture the briefcase back in June. He returned from injury as a heel, and he was seemingly back on the right track before he was given the contract. That was when he started losing on an almost weekly basis.
Feuding with Randy Orton for what felt like the millionth time didn't help matters, and he wasn't building momentum for himself. Officials had high hopes for him as a top heel, but apparently they never thought to book him like one.
His cash in at Survivor Series was one of the worst-received Money in the Bank moments in recent history, if not ever. People just didn't care. His reign flopped as a result, and the quality of Raw suffered drastically with him at the helm.
WWE wisely took the title off of him on the Dec. 14 edition of Raw, hopefully never to reclaim it. I guess we'll never know if that was always the plan, but what is known is Sheamus' championship reign was nothing short of an epic failure for WWE.
These 25 epic failures from 2015 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. Thanks for reading and have a Happy New Year!
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is a journalism major at Endicott College. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.