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Perhaps the only thing worse than a poorly-booked storyline in wrestling is a good storyline that had the potential to be huge but ended prematurely for whatever reason. There have been countless storylines over the years that many fans have found to be entertaining and captivating, but ended up either being scrapped or brought to an early conclusion before going as far as they could have.
The following are some storylines that I personally would have liked to have seen go on longer. These will be in no particular order.
1. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper Takes Sean O'Haire Under His Wing
Roddy Piper made a shocking return to WWE at WrestleMania 19 in 2003 during the match between Hulk Hogan and WWE Chairman Mr. Vince McMahon. Shortly after his return, Piper was paired with an intriguing young Superstar by the name of Sean O'Haire. O'Haire had worked for World Championship Wrestling near the tail end of that company's existence and was a former WCW World Tag Team Champion. He spent some time in WWE developmental after WWE purchased WCW in 2001 and was called back to WWE programming in the spring of 2003 on the SmackDown brand.
WWE aired a series of rather interesting vignettes for O'Haire prior to his SmackDown debut. O'Haire would essentially share his own personal views on religion, politics, and taboo subjects. Basically a rather twisted form of social commentary.
During an edition of Piper's Pit on SmackDown, O'Haire saved Roddy Piper from an attack by Rikishi, a member of the legendary Samoan Dynasty and nephew of WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka. As many longtime wrestling fans are well aware, Piper once broke a coconut over the head of Snuka on an edition of Piper's Pit back in the day. O'Haire would face Rikishi at the 2003 Backlash pay-per-view and picked up an impressive victory over the former WWE World Tag Team Champion and Intercontinental Champion.
Piper and O'Haire seemed to have real chemistry on camera. They both appeared to be motivated and happy to be working with each other. O'Haire was under the learning tree of one of the greatest heels (bad guy) personalities in wrestling history. Piper could mouth off to seemingly anybody and feel safe knowing that he had a well-trained and highly skilled fighter in O'Haire to watch his back.
However, in June of 2003, Piper was released from his WWE contract after making disparaging remarks about the wrestling business during an interview with HBO. O'Haire then became lost in the shuffle on SmackDown and became a regular fixture on SmackDown's Saturday night B-show, Velocity.
To this day, many fans who remember O'Haire would agree that he had the potential to be a major star for WWE. He had an impressive physique, a unique appearance, and at 6'6" and 280 pounds, he was a talented in-ring performer for a big man.
In a sad turn of events, Sean O'Haire and Roddy Piper would pass away within about a year of each other. O'Haire passed away in September of 2014 at the young age of 43, and Piper passed away in July of 2015 at the age of 61.
2. Samuel Shaw and Santana "Brittany" Garrett as TNA Impact Wrestling's Psycho Couple
Regardless of how you may feel about Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, it's hard to deny that Samuel Shaw was one of the most intriguing characters in TNA history. In a company where the majority of the performers are not necessarily the best actors in the world, Samuel Shaw portrayed his "Creepy Bastard" persona exceptionally well.
The Samuel Shaw "Creepy Bastard" character, in a nutshell, was a "Momma's Boy" with psychotic tendencies and an unhealthy obsession with TNA Knockout Christy Hemme. It was a classic story of a mentally unstable man initially being friendly to a nice girl, only to become a danger to her. Christy eventually received help from Ken Anderson and they were able to get Shaw institutionalized.
While in the mental asylum, Shaw received visits from fellow TNA wrestler Gunner, who thought that maybe Shaw was a good person on the inside and just needed someone who he could talk to and trust. Gunner was able to convince the hospital staff to release Shaw from the asylum, telling them that he would look after Shaw and make sure he was okay. It appeared as though Shaw and Gunner were going to attempt to form a successful tag team in TNA, until TNA Knockout Brittany (known as Santana Garrett outside of TNA) got in Shaw's ear and convinced him that he didn't need Gunner as a friend. Shaw would betray Gunner for Brittany and it looked as though Samuel Shaw and Brittany were going to be an entertaining psycho couple on TNA programming.
Shaw and Brittany only worked together on television for a little while in late 2014 before Brittany parted ways from TNA in December. Shaw remained on the TNA roster until June of 2015 when he too parted ways from the promotion.
3. The Undertaker Leads The Ministry of Darkness as The Lord of Darkness
Although The Undertaker once stated that he felt as though his run as the Lord of Darkness in 1999 was actually the low point of his career, many fans look back that that storyline with fond memories. As the Lord of Darkness, Undertaker became the most evil and Satanic character in wrestling history. He and his longtime manager Paul Bearer formed the Ministry of Darkness, which included The Acolytes (John "Bradshaw" Layfield and Ron "Faarooq" Simmons), Mideon, Viscera, and The Brood (Gangrel, Edge and Christian). The Ministry of Darkness performed dark rituals that included human sacrifice. The Undertaker was portrayed as being a cult leader with supernatural powers. His physical appearance was downright terrifying. The overall presentation; his look, his entrance, his theme music, his morbid promos, everything about The Undertaker in 1999 was incredibly fascinating to the wrestling fans.
The Ministry of Darkness eventually joined forces with Vince and Shane McMahon's Corporation faction to form the Corporate Ministry. Their goal: to destroy "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. It was revealed that Vince McMahon was the Higher Power that Undertaker's Ministry had been serving all along. The Corporate Ministry didn't last very long though, and by the end of the summer of 1999, they had all gone their separate ways.
To this day, many fans still look back at The Undertaker's Lord of Darkness phase as being the best period of time in his career. There are countless fan-made videos on YouTube that feature Undertaker during his time as the Lord of Darkness. Although Undertaker was essentially subservient to Vince McMahon, it still didn't take away from the sheer awesomeness of his Lord of Darkness persona. There have been a lot of dark characters and macabre storylines in wrestling, but nothing will ever top The Undertaker's run as the cult leader of the Ministry of Darkness.
4. Kevin Fertig as "The Pale Rider" Mordecai: The Self-Proclaimed "Right Hand of the Father"
Kevin Fertig's extremely short run as the Mordecai character on WWE SmackDown in 2004 is still one of the most talked-about angles in WWE history, both because of how interesting it was and how quickly it was scrapped.
The Mordecai character seemed to be fairly similar to the character of Silas from The Da Vinci Code, although whether or not Mordecai was directly based on that character has never been revealed. But Mordecai was a man who believed that he was on a holy mission from "The Father" to cleanse WWE of sinners. His debut vignettes showed him in prayer and worship, vowing to unleash vengeance from "The Father" on the WWE Universe.
It was heavily rumored that Mordecai was being groomed to be an opponent for The Undertaker, and he almost seemed to be the exact opposite of The Undertaker in every way. Undertaker has always worn all black and has stated that he is from "The Dark Side". He has made countless references to having dealt with The Devil himself. In sharp contrast, Mordecai wore all white, had bleached his hair blonde, and quite obviously considered himself to be a servant of God.
Mordecai was impressive against a handful of Superstars on the SmackDown roster. He defeated Scotty 2 Hotty and "Hardcore" Bob Holly in one-on-one matches, and also destroyed Cruiserweights Billy Kidman and Akio before their match could get started. Suddenly, Mordecai lost a match to Rey Mysterio on SmackDown and the Mordecai character was never seen or mentioned on WWE programming again.
Kevin Fertig was released from WWE in the summer of 2005 after returning to developmental for a while, but was then brought back to be a part of WWE's relaunched ECW brand in the summer of 2006. Fertig debuted as the vampire character Kevin Thorn and was given Shelly "Ariel" Martinez as his valet. They worked together for about a year before Martinez was released from WWE in May of 2007. Thorn wasn't featured on ECW too much longer after that. He returned to WWE developmental once again and remained under contract until early 2009.
5. C.M. Punk Leads His Straight-Edge Society (S.E.S.) on SmackDown
Arguably the greatest period of time in C.M. Punk's WWE career was in 2009 when he was the leader of the drug-free Straight-Edge Society along with Luke Gallows, Joseph Mercury, and Serena. As "The Straight-Edge Savior", C.M. Punk's heel promos were pure gold. His feud against Jeff Hardy was one of the best in WWE history. It's been well-documented that Jeff Hardy has had his issues with substance abuse in real life. Hardy's issues were exploited to the max during his feud with Punk. Punk hated the fact that most of the fans loved Jeff Hardy. Punk hated Hardy for even having issues with substance abuse. Punk hated everything about Hardy.
On top of everything else, the prestigious World Heavyweight Championship was up for grabs during the Punk-Hardy rivalry. Punk would eventually defeat Hardy in a "Loser Leaves WWE" Steel Cage Match to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. Punk's feud against Hardy was just before the formation of the S.E.S.
Behind the scenes, Punk himself actually selected who he wanted to work with in the S.E.S., hence the reason why they all had such good chemistry on television. Punk and the S.E.S. had memorable feuds against Rey Mysterio and The Big Show. Part of the initiation process to get into the S.E.S. involved Punk shaving the heads of his recruits as part of their "cleansing", while Punk himself kept his hair as a sign of his purity. In one of the highlights of the S.E.S. storyline, Punk ended up getting his head shaved by Rey Mysterio after losing to him at Over the Limit 2010.
S.E.S. then went on to feud with Big Show, which would turn out to be their downfall. Their frustrations in trying to topple the giant caused problems within the S.E.S. and they eventually disbanded in September of 2010.
6. The Original Main Event Mafia in TNA
From October of 2008 to October of 2009, the Main Event Mafia faction absolutely dominated TNA. Kurt Angle, Sting, Kevin Nash, Booker T, and Scott Steiner formed what many consider to be the greatest stable in TNA history, which says a lot considering the ridiculous amount of stables that TNA has seen in their 14 years of existence. TNA has always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS been dominated by some sort of a heel faction. Whether it was Vince Russo's Sports Entertainment Extreme, Father James Mitchell's Disciples of the New Church, Jeff Jarrett's Planet Jarrett, Scott D'Amore's Team Canada, Eric Young's World Elite, Hulk Hogan's Immortal, Bully Ray's Aces & Eights, Dixie Carter's Team Dixie, or whatever other stables that have been prominently featured in TNA.
The Main Event Mafia almost seemed like a mixture of the Four Horsemen and the New World Order. They carried themselves with a certain degree of class and dignity like the Horsemen, but also orchestrated gang-like attacks on the TNA roster and would often take over the program, much like the nWo. Their war against TNA's young talents proved to be fairly successful in the ratings for TNA at that time, as Impact would often draw a 1.1 or 1.2 in the television ratings during the time of the M.E.M., which were some of the best ratings that TNA ever drew on Spike TV on a weekly basis.
While Nash, Booker and Steiner seemed to be fully dedicated to the group as a whole, there always seemed to be tension between Kurt Angle and Sting over who should be considered "The Godfather" of the Main Event Mafia. But when all the members of the Mafia were working together as a cohesive unit, they appeared to be nearly unstoppable. M.E.M. eventually added Samoa Joe and his new manager Taz to the group, as well as joining forces with Eric Young's World Elite faction. But in late 2009, everybody had gone their separate ways and the Main Event Mafia was no more.
7. Shawn Daivari as "The Middle Eastern Nightmare" Sheik Abdul Bashir in TNA
Shawn Daivari, formerly known as Khosrow Daivari in WWE, joined TNA Wrestling in 2008 as the captain of Team International for the 2008 World X-Cup Tournament. He impressed TNA officials with his work and was soon signed to a full-time contract. It was announced that he now wished to be known by his "royal Middle Eastern name" of Sheik Abdul Bashir. A classic Middle Eastern wrestling heel, Sheik Abdul Bashir drew considerable heat from the wrestling fans with his anti-American tirades. He became a successful competitor in TNA's X Division, winning the prestigious X Division Championship at the No Surrender pay-per-view in September of 2008 and holding the title until Final Resolution in December of 2008.
Near the end of his time in TNA, Bashir joined the international faction known as World Elite. World Elite became somewhat of a force in TNA, but seemed to be more or less in the shadow of the Main Event Mafia. Bashir left TNA in December of 2009.
Although WWE never seemed to view Daivari as anything more than a good mouthpiece, TNA booked him to be a fairly major threat on the roster, especially within the X Division. He always had good microphone skills, but his time in TNA really showcased how much of a solid in-ring worker he could be as well.
8. A.J. Lee as General Manager of WWE Monday Night Raw
Back in 2012, the WWE Universe fell in love with A.J. Lee as the little psycho girl who had somehow gotten herself involved with WWE's top Superstars and biggest storylines. A.J. originally made her WWE debut in 2010 on the all-Divas season of NXT. She appeared to be just a cute and lovable, classic babyface WWE Diva. Little did we know that she had the potential to become one of the most entertaining and captivating performers that WWE has ever seen.
A.J. became Daniel Bryan's on-screen girlfriend after he won the World Heavyweight Championship in late 2011. Daniel started to act abusive towards A.J. until she eventually turned her attention to C.M. Punk and even "The Big Red Monster" Kane. It was throughout 2012 that A.J. started to show her mental instability, much to the surprise of the WWE Universe.
In July of 2012 on the 1,000th episode of Monday Night Raw, it was revealed that WWE Chairman Mr. Vince McMahon had offered A.J. a job as the General Manager of Monday Night Raw. A.J. was booked to be a fairly entertaining and unique General Manager, creating interesting match-ups and scenarios for various members of the Raw roster. However, A.J. would step down as General Manager of Raw in October of 2012.
9. The Nexus Brings The Winds of Change to WWE
The debut of The Nexus in June of 2010 was one of the biggest, most memorable, and most shocking debuts in WWE history. For a good part of 2010, the former NXT rookies led a crusade against the entire WWE roster and ushered in an era of intensity that WWE had really been lacking for several years. The Nexus consisted of Daniel Bryan (who was released from WWE after the debut of The Nexus), Skip "Ryback" Sheffield, Darren Young, David Otunga, Michael Tarver, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, and winner of the first season of NXT, Wade Barrett. It was clear from the very beginning that Barrett was the leader of the group and it appeared as though WWE was grooming Barrett to be a future World Champion.
At one point, Nexus was even able to force John Cena to join their ranks against his will. Working with Cena and other top WWE Superstars really drew attention to The Nexus and turned every one of them into household names, at least during their peak in 2010.
Like all factions though, Nexus eventually began to dwindle down. Heading into early 2011, The Nexus had been split into two different groups: C.M. Punk's New Nexus on Raw and Wade Barrett's group The Corre on SmackDown. Neither group would last beyond the summer of 2011.
The original Nexus definitely could have gone on longer and accomplished a lot more. They could have won championships and decimated the Raw roster. It was never really explained why they attacked The Undertaker either. It always seemed as though WWE was planning to reveal a mastermind behind The Nexus, but nobody was ever revealed. Wade Barrett never did become a World Champion, but he is a five-time Intercontinental Champion.
2010 was a year of change in WWE, and Nexus was unquestionably a huge part of that. It's a shame that they didn't do more as a group. They could have been one of the greatest stables in wrestling history.
10. Vladimir Kozlov, "The Moscow Mauler", Dominates SmackDown
Many people only remember Vladimir Kozlov as being part of a comedy tag team with Santino Marella back in 2010 and 2011. At that time, Kozlov was portrayed as being a friendly, dancing Russian, who was only somewhat of a threat inside of the ring. But back in 2008, "The Moscow Mauler" unleashed a reign of terror on WWE's Friday Night SmackDown brand and was a top contender for the WWE Championship. Kozlov went undefeated in WWE for nearly a year, and even picked up a clean victory over the legendary Undertaker on an episode of SmackDown in February of 2009.
Kozlov's in-ring style was downright ruthless. He demolished his opponents using his Martial Arts background, which consisted of Russian Sambo, Judo, kickboxing, amateur wrestling, and mixed martial arts fighting. He was presented as being a cold-hearted Soviet destroyer, similar to the Ivan Drago character from Rocky IV.
Due to his physical stature and brutal in-ring style, Kozlov sometimes drew comparisons to the likes of Brock Lesnar, Bill Goldberg, and Bobby Lashley. It appeared as though WWE was indeed grooming Kozlov to possibly be a World Champion at one point, and they were even putting him in championship main events against top Superstars like Triple H and Jeff Hardy. But suddenly, the word got out the WWE officials had gone sour on Kozlov and would no longer be giving him such a strong push on television. He finally suffered his first loss in a one-on-one match against WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels on an episode of Raw in March of 2009. A few months later, he was moved to WWE's ECW brand, where he remained until WWE closed ECW in February of 2010.
Kozlov's run in ECW was rather uneventful. He became a member of The Ruthless Roundtable with William Regal and Ezekiel Jackson, but eventually split away from the two of them. He was then drafted to Raw after ECW was discontinued and was quickly put into a storyline with Santino Marella. Kozlov was initially hesitant to team with Marella, but they eventually did form a rather successful team, even capturing the Tag Team Titles and holding them for about two-and-a-half months.
Kozlov was released from his WWE contract in the summer of 2011. He did some work in Japan for a little while, specifically for Antonio Inoki's shoot-style wrestling promotion, the Inoki Genome Federation. But the former WWE Tag Team Champion has been mostly dormant in wrestling since being released from WWE in 2011.