While there are plenty of good things that happened in 2015 for the WWE to be happy about, there are just as many fails that the company will be happy to put to rest as we close out 2015.
Charlotte-Paige Reid Flair Angle – I don’t think anyone would argue that this angle was the biggest fail by a mile from the WWE in 2015. In hindsight, I don’t know what was worse, the angle or the cover up? The WWE claimed that the angle was all Charlotte’s idea while many close to the situation found that hard to believe. Nonetheless, the company hit rock bottom in 2015 with this dandy. Between shooting a tasteless angle, not informing the family ahead of time, and then blaming talent for such a pointless angle, it didn’t get any lower than this segment.
Daniel Bryan Royal Rumble – Everyone and I mean everyone knew that this was a bad idea…except of course, the people that are supposed to be smarter than us. It wasn’t as if the company didn’t experience this same fail a year earlier? Not only did the live Royal Rumble crowd in Philadelphia turn against Roman Reigns after Bryan’s quick exit, the entire WWE Universe put the blame on Reigns. It took Reigns almost a full year to remove the stink of that night. If Bryan wasn’t going to win the Rumble or, at least, make a valiant effort to remain until the end, he should have never been booked in the match. The company certainly paid a high price for its ignorance throughout the remainder of the year.
Sami Zayn gets his big “break” – Sami Zayn was a guy we had been hearing a lot about in regards to the next big breakout star from NXT. It wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when he’d get called up to take his spot on the main roster. Zayn got that big opportunity as part of John Cena’s U.S. Open Challenge and that is where the story ends. Zayn injured his shoulder in the match and while he continued, he was out of action until recently.
The Authority Identity Crisis – It is 2015 and yes the world of kayfabe has long passed us by but the identity crisis of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon is probably the most irritating things in pro wrestling today. They are the world’s worst dastardly villains for a few minutes and then they are magically saviors and heroes, sometimes all within the same show! Stephanie as the champion of the Divas Revolution (I’ll get to that) and Triple H as the champion of NXT were a conflict to the WWE’s main storyline. Young fans are confused and older fans just grow apathetic. The irony in a top executive who shows up scrape-free on NXT after getting the beating of his life is part of a management team that was reportedly upset over a low-card character breaking kayfabe on social media (I’ll also get to that later) has not been lost on anybody.
The Divas Revolution – Where do I begin? This thing was doomed from the second Stephanie McMahon came out as the champion of the movement. The revolution hit rock bottom in Brooklyn, NY the night after SummerSlam when the audience completely crapped all over the Divas match in an embarrassing low for everyone. Paige went on social media and threw a hissy fit, Brie Bella added her two-cents on social media and all of the sudden it became the fans’ fault. Yes, the fans booing and not the booking of the creative team were to blame for this mess! While Charlotte appears to be finally coming into her own as a heel, the division still has a long way to go. Maybe a new year brings new attitudes although I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Killing Kevin Owens Momentum – Oh what could have been? Here you have a guy that comes in with massive momentum on RAW, defeats John Cena and breathes fresh life into a talent roster that desperately needed it. So what do you do next? You beat him and beat him and beat him and beat him until he is just another guy. The creative behind Owens was nothing more than a self-fulfilling prophecy in my opinion of a guy who believes talent with physiques like Owens’ won’t get over today. Of course, they won’t when you beat them like a drum!
Booking of WWE champion Seth Rollins – The booking of Seth Rollins was criticized by several bloggers on the CCB throughout his reign. The voices grew so loud that Rollins even addressed a CCB article in a Rolling Stone interview. I can’t recall a WWE world champion booked worse than Rollins in my entire life and that includes the Miz! It’s okay to be booked as a cowardly heel but they went overboard on Rollins. He was “put in his place” weekly by the Authority making him look like anything but a champion. Yet the pinnacle of this disaster came from September-November where Rollins was losing matches on television and challenging for the U.S. championship! Never in my life have I seen a world champion booked to lose as much as Rollins. While it certainly wasn’t the only factor, Rollins’ inability to catch on as a world champion sent the RAW ratings into a downward spiral. No matter what you say about Rollins, that decline was on his watch and he was the top guy at the time. That said, Rollins was excellent in the ring but even his world-class ability wasn’t enough to compensate for the terrible creative.
The Undertaker and Kane killing the Wyatts on RAW two weeks before Survivor Series – I saw a lot of questionable booking in 2015 but this may have been the strangest. Two weeks before selling a pay-per-view on the Undertaker getting revenge on the Wyatts the Undertaker comes out on RAW and…gets his revenge on the Wyatts! The Undertaker and Kane completely destroyed the Wyatts, putting them all down with choke slams…two weeks before the PPV. Maybe I am being nitpicky here but I saw this as one of the biggest fails of the year.
Dropping the ball on Lana – Where do I begin with this one? Weeks before Lana left Rusev some were predicting that she could become one of the biggest stars in the company with her upcoming push. Lana had all of the momentum in the world when she separated from Rusev and yet in a couple of weeks it was completely destroyed. She was put with Dolph Ziggler in one of the strangest pairings, made even worse by the fact that the couple had about as much chemistry on camera as Maryse and Ted DiBiase Jr. In all fairness to the creative team, injuries to both Lana and Rusev threw a major curveball into whatever plans the company originally had. Unfortunately, Lana followed the examples set by the company’s COO and Chief Brand Officer, by blatantly ignoring her television storyline on social media in favor of her own self-interests. While it is well known that the WWE is scripted, it was certainly an embarrassing moment for the company when Lana announced her engagement to Rusev on social media at the same time the company had a storyline with Rusev engaged to Summer Rae. I don’t blame the company for that, but I will blame the company for dropping the ball on Lana following the split.
The return of Alberto Del Rio – It wasn’t the actual return of Del Rio that was the fail but the creative following the return that made the list. Del Rio came back hot, squashing John Cena to win the U.S. title. The company followed that up by turning Del Rio into just another guy, as if he hadn’t been away from the company for the last year. Del Rio was red hot in Triple A as a babyface and probably would have been a big babyface with the right push upon his return to the WWE. Instead, he drifted a bit until he was paired with…Jack Swagger. Yes, that Jack Swagger! We are now a few months into Del Rio’s return and while he could have been red hot at this point heading into WrestleMania season, he is no more important today than he was when he left the company in 2014.