10 Times WWE Couldn't Repeat Success

Rey's successor was so naff he needed his own.

Sin Cara Rey Mysterio

There are a great many idioms which don't make a whole lot of sense when you consider them for a few minutes - or even a few seconds, for that matter - but there's one as true as it is trite which goes: "you can never go home again".

This is not a literal comment on, say, a global health crisis restricting movement to the family home, nor a cautionary tale about a lost bus schedule, but a maxim which warns that the past is the past, and attempts to relive it will leave you feeling bereft.

It is, as you may already be acutely aware, not a phrase by which WWE lives. The company has spent the best part of two decades almost purposefully trying not to make new stars, to the point where it relies on selling nostalgia to a dangerous, unsustainable degree. The passage of time makes the past a better place in most of our memories; WWE continually remind their fans that the promotion's best days are behind them.

There's obviously a time limit on wheeling out the legends though, either through disinterest, infirmity, or death. So they do the next best thing: try to recreate the good times, with inferior ingredients.

It rarely works. Because you can never go Hogan again.

10. The Undertaker

Sin Cara Rey Mysterio

I think we can say with some assurance that, a year after debuting and with a catalogue of horrors eclipsing the Argos Halloween range, Bray Wyatt's Fiend is not the natural successor to The Undertaker (or at least, not a good one).

Sure, there's been the odd moment of creative sparkle, but the suggestion the stripey-trousered demon will prove an enduring, timeless gimmick whose appeal transcends generations for the next thirty years is clearly so far from the mark that mark's feeling lonely. Indeed, it's patently clear that The Phenom is simply irreplaceable - which explains why he's been annually trundled out despite being held together with sticky tape for the best part of the last decade.

That hasn't stopped WWE trying though, and The Fiend isn't their first attempt. Back in 2004, Kevin Fertig was being measured for The Undertaker's duster, as an all-white alternative 'Face of Fear' before even Husky Harris was a blip on Bray's radar. The elevator pitch proposed a sort of occult pope, the negative inverse of 'Taker very much in the mould of Hakushi. As with the 'White Angel', the seemingly inevitable Undertaker feud never materialised. Jinsei Shinzaki had been held back by the culture of the company; Fertig on the other hand, was simply crap. By comparison, The Fiend is the Fienom.

Editorial Team
Editorial Team

Benjamin was born in 1987, and is still not dead. He variously enjoys classical music, old-school adventure games (they're not dead), and walks on the beach (albeit short - asthma, you know). He's currently trying to compile a comprehensive history of video game music, yet denies accusations that he purposefully targets niche audiences. He's often wrong about these things.