Over the history of the WWE, there’s been some interesting storylines. This can be attributed to the carnival nature of the business (with the comparison frequently being thrown out that the modern day wrestlers are still very much old school ‘carnies’), and a big reason why I love professional wrestling – when it’s good, it’s really good, and you can’t tell what’s going to come next.
Unfortunately, boundaries in the WWE sometimes get overstepped. These can be in the storyline, due to the position of the wrestler’s status on the card (getting relegated to a curtain jerking match when you were once the main eventer, for example), or just due to politics behind the scenes. And as a result, the man in charge of WWE, Vince McMahon, has taken quite an interesting revisionist look back on the history of WWE.
Lots of wrestlers that contributed so much to the WWE can no longer be found present, whether it be on their website or just trying to talk to an official. Here’s a list of wrestlers, some of which you will hopefully know, and a reason why they were scrubbed from WWE’s history, or at the very least, never spoken of again.
Starting the list is the biggest and most recent name that WWE never wants you to acknowledge, despite the thundering “CM Punk! CM Punk!” chants during slow, or awful, segments of a match. CM Punk was an incredibly popular wrestler that started with WWE around 2005 or so, and always maintained his “straight-edge” gimmick which was grounded in reality. CM Punk has, allegedly, never done drugs or alcohol, and this gave his larger-than-life wrestling persona credit. CM Punk was never seen as a “top guy,” meaning he very rarely was the guy that received the efforts and focus of the company, and this aggravated him to the point of walking out of a Monday Night Raw show and subsequently being fired.
CM Punk tells all on Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling Podcast, as the two have been friends for a long time and really grew up learning to love wrestling and training in it together. In this, CM Punk tells his side of the story; ultimately, Punk was unhappy with his position on the card, and the lifestyle caught up with him. CM Punk wanted to work the main event of Wrestlemania, but Vince McMahon instead gave it to then-returning wrestler Dave ‘Batista’ Bautista, and Randy Orton. Punk inevitably grew frustrated and tired of his injuries, compounded with a dangerous MRSA infection on his lower back, and he made the decision to walk out of a Monday Night Raw.
This all happened in January of 2014, so this is fairly recent. While CM Punk’s achievements have not necessarily been scrubbed from history, his name will most likely NEVER be mentioned again on any WWE programming. The last time that CM Punk was mentioned was during a podcast with ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and Vince McMahon, where Austin brought up the infamous podcast that Punk did with Colt Cabana. Vince McMahon gave a canned answer of, “I’m very sorry Punk received his termination papers on his wedding day,” but amends were never made. You won’t find any mention of CM Punk on WWE’s website, as he has now gone to UFC and even ventured into the comic book world as the writer and author of some of the new Thor novels.
Chris Benoit, by far, is the saddest one on this list. To put it blatantly, it is believed that Chris Benoit was so concussed and mentally ill due to the nature of his wrestling (he had a special move called “The Flying Headbutt”) that he simply couldn’t hold back his demons anymore. Chris Benoit committed a double murder and homicide in late June of 2007. Unfortunately, Chris took his wife and son’s life before taking his own life.
I do not want to sound terrible, but the best part of this was how WWE reacted to this. It is commonly thought that the incident took place on Saturday or Sunday, as Chris was unable to make it to an ECW pay-per-view that had taken place on Sunday and had to be substituted from his match (then-wrestler Chavo Guerrero attests that he had been texting Chris Benoit and knew something was wrong). As a result, the Monday Night RAW on the following night was a tribute to Chris Benoit’s life and they aired back all the great matches they had. Actually, the WWE was waist-deep in a storyline where Vince McMahon had (in kayfabe, or in the “wrestling universe”) died in a limo explosion. Vince suddenly made a reappearance, informing the fans that Chris Benoit had passed away and tonight would be a tribute show to honor his life.
Less than 24 hours later, the news came out that Chris Benoit had committed an atrocious act. WWE had given a murderer a tribute. Vince McMahon appeared the following night, and claimed that WWE had made a big mistake in acting before they knew the full facts of the matter. As a result, Vince himself promised to never speak Chris Benoit’s name again moving forward, and the matter was closed.
Now, I personally hope that WWE learns a number of things from this misfortune. The first is obvious; life is precious, so treat your workers well. The safety protocol for concussions has become much stricter, with wrestlers even suspected of having a concussion being removed from appearing on the show for at least two or three weeks. The second thing is WWE has been much more careful with announcing details to the public; Titus O’Neil is a great example, as he made the mistake of “rough-playing” and grabbing Vince McMahon and was suspended for 90 days. An official statement was made on this, and nothing else was said. WWE has definitely tightened up some of the information they release to the press since this incident.
A quick intermission; Jeff Jarrett was a once-wrestler of WWE, now turned into a person of similar position to Vince McMahon. Jarrett only lasted a short time in the WWF during his last stint of 1997-1999, and he was
mostly forgettable during this time. After that, he jumped to a few other federations before finally deciding to start his own, aptly-named “Total Nonstop Action,” or TNA (great name for advertisers! not). TNA initially started out extremely popular, and since then, has been relegated to the T.V. guide channel due to terrible mismanagement.
Since then, Jeff Jarrett has left TNA and started yet another federation, this one named “Global Force Wrestling,” or GFW. We… don’t know how GFW is doing, or even if we’re ever going to see a televised event. Why? Because that picture to the side of this is very, very real.
Chyna was initially scrubbed from the history of the WWE, but has since been brought back into relevancy. Sadly, the main reason you will now find mentions of Chyna on WWE’s website is because she passed away after a long battle of personal demons, drug addiction, and who-knows-what-else. Chyna was initially removed from the WWE history due to her pornography career, first starring in a porno named “1 Night in China,” then its sequels and a number of other pornography films. During an interview with ‘Stone Cold Steve Austin’ and Triple H, Austin asked Triple H if Chyna would ever go into the hall of fame. Triple H replied that it would be highly unlikely since if his kids were to look up “Chyna” on the internet, they would eventually be exposed to the pornography films. Triple H simply wanted to play it smart, as WWE is still working on improving its image for younger fans and children.
Chyna was a legendary figure in the WWE, though, as she was the second woman to hold the intercontinental title. Chyna also participated in the stable “D-Generation X,” with Triple H and Shawn Michaels, and played the “straight man” extremely well. Chyna served as the butt of most of the jokes, but in mentions after this, was completely fine with this.
Chyna passed away on April 19, 2016. Developments are still occurring on how the WWE is reacting to this, as the sad reality is that Chyna was a horrible mess and needed as much help as she could get. WWE has sent several superstars to rehabilitation, including Scott Hall numerous times. This begs the question why WWE did not step in to help Chyna before she met her horrible fate.
Owen Hart, brother of Bret Hart, died an unnecessary death. Gee, doesn’t it seem like all these deaths are unnecessary but provoked by the misguided management of the WWE?
Owen Hart passed away during a live pay-per-view, unfortunately; during the 1999 Over the Edge event in Kansas City, Missouri, Hart was to enter the ring through a “superhero”-like entrance. He would float down from the rafters by the use of a harness attached to a grapple line, and this was a completely unnecessary move, as Owen Hart was forced to tag team with Jeff Jarrett. As a result, Owen Hart had taken on a gimmick he didn’t want, one of a buffoonish superhero. Hart fell 78 feet from the rafters, landed on his chest on the top rope, and then bounced into the ring. During this point, a vignette had been playing, and the fans would be shocked to see the stunt. It was obvious that something had gone wrong. However, WWE controversially chose to continue the show, simply saying “the show must go on.” I believe the match was canned, and the next match was then aptly started like nothing happened. Jim Ross announced to the fans the death of Owen Hart, also saying that the show must go on, but the fans did not have any idea on the condition of Owen.
While mentions of Owen Hart have begun to surface more recently (thanks to his brother Bret making amends with the WWE for all the mistreatment that they had directed towards the Hart family), the incident will be forgotten about; Owen’s brother, Bret “The Hitman” Hart, says he wishes that he had been employed with the WWE on that night. At the time, Bret had gone to the competitor WCW, and knew it was a stupid stunt. Unfortunately for Bret, him and Vince McMahon didn’t quite see eye-to-eye, and the death of Bret’s brother, Owen Hart, set in motion the events that would cause Bret to eventually leave the ring permanently.
Owen’s accomplishments included holding every major championship in the WWE/WWF, save for the World Heavyweight Championship. Owen Hart won 3 Slammy Awards, and the King of the Ring tournament.
Rounding out the list is Hulk Hogan, American Hero and Terrible Person. It’s no secret that Hulk Hogan recently brought a lawsuit against Gawker for the release of a public sex tape, so you can find out most of the juicy details of the story yourself. However, the important thing to know is that Hogan won his trial, while Gawker is preparing to file for an appeal. Included in this public sex tape is Hulk Hogan having sex with his best friend’s wife, and some very racy and provoking language towards African Americans. Bubba the Love Sponge was sued by Hulk Hogan, and the two “friends” reached a settlement.
However, it should be brought up that Hulk Hogan is a terrible person. Numerous superstars have bashed Hogan, calling him a terrible person and accusing him of only having his self-interests at mind, which I completely agree with. During his time with WCW, Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall formed a group as “The New World Order” (stylized nWo) and basically ran the show – however, this took part in the most important, and most-watched, moment of wrestling and helped fuel “The Monday Night Wars.” As a result, most of the stars from WCW were relegated to a lower position on the card, and even had to take pay cuts over time so WCW could continue to bankroll the three. Hogan also made an appearance in the afore-mentioned TNA wrestling brand, and was part of the group that was responsible for ‘booking’ the show. Of course, thanks to Hogan’s self-righteousness, this created a horrible lull in the TNA programming that caused ratings to drop and forced TNA to jump two networks before Hogan would eventually leave and return to WWE.
Hogan was last seen at Wrestlemania 31, where he made an appearance with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, reuniting nWo in the Wrestlemania match of Sting vs. Triple H. Triple H would be joined by D-Generation X members Road Dogg, Billy Gunn, X-Pac and Shawn Michaels. After this, Hogan was never seen on television again, and WWE has since scrubbed him from their website. You can go search for “Hulk Hogan” yourself; he won’t be there.
To put into perspective how badly Hulk Hogan needs to be forgotten about, WWE no longer carries his merchandise on their website (despite being a consistent mover of a lot of products), and even the more independent-focused Pro Wrestling Tees shop no longer carries Hulk Hogan merchandise. Only Hulk Hogan himself sells Hulk Hogan products, as anybody who knows the truth would not want to be associated with Hulk Hogan.