Storylines Wrestlers Seriously Regret Doing

Many wrestlers do what they think is best for their careers, whether that's pitching storylines they think could propel them to the main event of WrestleMania or whether it's a whole new character direction to refresh their gimmicks. Wrestling can be a fickle business, some of these bright ideas end up catching lightning in a bottle, deifying a wrestler's career in the middle of the ring for all to see. But not all of the storylines can be winners...


There have been many storylines that wrestlers are less than proud of. Whether that is because the crowd didn't go for it in the moment, whether it's because the idea wasn't really thought through, or whether it was something else entirely, there are a multitude of reasons why a storyline can become something a person can seriously regrets. Some of these regretful storylines can be laughed off quickly with no harm done, but some can have darker consequence. Some storylines can change the way a wrestler views their entire career. Here are some of those storylines.

Cody Rhodes solves racism

In the build up to Double Or Nothing 2021, Cody Rhodes started a feud with Anthony Ogogo. In a bizarre creative direction, this was built as a clash of nations between USA and the UK, with Rhodes using the feud to become "The American Dream" like his father. In doing so, Cody Rhodes cut a heartfelt promo on "Dynamite." Speaking of his patriotic view of America, he got emotional as he talked about his biracial daughter and his love for the United States.


The promo was panned by fans and critics alike, with many calling it tone-deaf and ill advised. Rhodes' intentions were seemingly innocent, but the nationalistic vibes of the promo came off as very antiquated. In an interview with "Barstool Rasslin'," Cody Rhodes has since admitted he regrets "almost everything" about the feud, Rhodes said, "I can, on record, just go ahead and say I regret almost everything about the Anthony Ogogo angle. Almost everything about it."

While Cody Rhodes still stands by what he said in the promo, he sees that it probably wasn't the best of ideas. "I stood by it because I thought the content was good and I thought the intentions were good. However, a white guy talking about race relations, who has an American flag tattoo on his neck, I can see why people would use the terms 'tone-deaf' when it came to that."


Shawn Michaels comes out of retirement

Shawn Michaels had one of the best retirements in wrestling history. Coming off a legendary feud with The Undertaker, Michaels hung up his boots in the main event of WrestleMania XXVI. It was a perfect send off and the culmination of a flawless character journey. In the years since, when questioned if he would ever come out of retirement, Michaels mocked the very idea of ever wrestling again, often saying in interviews he would never do it.


However, in the build up to Crown Jewel 2018, it was announced that Shawn Michaels would indeed come out of retirement, teaming with Triple H to take on The Brothers of Destruction. The match itself was a disaster on all fronts, Triple H was injured very early into the match, leading to the whole thing breaking down.

In a Zoom interview with the New York Post, Shawn Michaels was asked if he regrets coming out of retirement for the match at Crown Jewel, essentially ruining his perfect send-off at WrestleMania XXVI. Michaels said, "I do. I had no idea that from Mark's standpoint he was looking at it as that might be one he could walk away on." In the Undertaker's Last Ride documentary series, Undertaker admitted he would have ended his career with that match had it been good enough. In response, Michaels said, "That's something that I think to myself now, 'oh my goodness I wish that I'd have known that.'"


Lita, Edge and Matt Hardy's love triangle

One of WWE's most personal and controversial storylines of all time happened in 2005. It was one of the most uncomfortable instances of real life drama transitioning into a wrestling storylines when it was revealed that Lita, who had been dating Matt Hardy for a number of years at that point, had been having a real life affair with Edge. WWE would subsequently use this real life drama to begin a long term feud between Edge and Matt Hardy, with Lita stuck in the middle. The chemistry between Edge and Lita was electric and the storyline undoubtedly made Edge a main event superstar.


Lita has admitted the love triangle storyline was not easy on her and she was even considering quitting WWE altogether just a month into the feud. Speaking on the podcast "Oral Sessions With Renee Paquette," Lita said, "I'll tell you it was not easy. I almost quit a month into the whole love triangle. At that point, not only was it so hard, it was also out of shame. I was just like, I deserve all of these terrible things that everybody is saying to me. I deserve not wanting to wake up every morning. It was also difficult, as time passed, to let myself off the hook. I felt very alone and isolated and just in a really bad place."

The Undertaker's match with Goldberg

At Super Showdown 2019 in Saudi Arabia, The Undertaker faced Goldberg in what was billed as a dream match. The match itself was far from a dream however, as Goldberg was knocked out early into the match and the entire nine minute contest was a plethora of mistimed spots and ugly botches. Undertaker was visibly annoyed after he got the pinfall victory and the promised dream match has gone on to be considered as one of the worst main event matches of recent history.


Speaking on Episode 4 of his "The Last Ride" documentary series, The Undertaker said the match with Goldberg was "really close to being catastrophic," as both men seemed to come very close to injuring themselves while trying to do spots, Undertaker even admitted his back was "jacked up" after the match. On "The Last Ride," Undertaker's wife Michelle McCool admitted the match was not what The Undertaker wanted, she said, "It was a train wreck. It was not anything he wanted, it was not anything I'm sure Goldberg wanted or the fans wanted."

Once In A Lifetime – John Cena vs. The Rock

John Cena vs. The Rock was a feud built on the two men's real life animosity. In the build up to WrestleMania XXVIII, Cena would constantly insult The Rock for leaving WWE for Hollywood, implying The Rock didn't love WWE as much as he did. Cena repeatedly said he would never do what The Rock did, he would never leave WWE for Hollywood and he would stay with WWE forever.


Years later, John Cena would leave WWE for Hollywood.

In a Q&A with newspaper The Sun, Cena expressed regret for the things he said to The Rock. Cena said, "I said some things that were less than nice, he said some things that were less than nice. I can assure you, in our line of work there is a grey area where imagination becomes very real. We were right in the sweet spot of that grey area, each watching the other's every move and not too happy with the other party."

Cena admitted he was wrong to call the Rock a sell-out of leaving WWE for Hollywood, something he himself would do years after the feud. "It was stupid of me. It genuinely was. That was my perspective at the time. For me to not be able to see Dwayne's vision on what he wanted to do personally, and how his personal success could affect a growing global brand, that was just ignorant on my part."


Hulk Hogan's last match

Hulk Hogan's legendary in-ring career came to an end at TNA Bound For Glory 2011, where he squared off against long-time rival Sting in a match that was very well received. Hogan's face turn at the end of the match was a genuinely great moment, receiving a huge reaction from the fans. Hogan showed that after all these years, he still had the crowd in the palm of his hand. It probably wasn't the retirement match he envisioned, but it certainly wasn't bad by any means.


Nevertheless, Hogan seems displeased with the idea of this being his last ever match. In a 2019 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Hogan was asked if he would ever wrestle again and responded that he certainly wants to have another match. Hogan said, "I talked to Vince, and I said I really don't know if I could live with myself knowing my last match was with TNA. If I can get fixed, I pray I can have one more match."

Matt Hardy kills Jeff Hardy's dog

In the build up to WrestleMania 25, Matt Hardy turned on his brother Jeff to instigate a very intense and personal rivalry. In the feud, Matt Hardy implied that he was responsible for a number of misfortunes in Jeff Hardy's life, including backstage attacks, a car accident, and a pyro malfunction. Around this time, Jeff Hardy faced a real life tragedy: there was a fire at his house, where the family home burned down and he lost everything inside. Most heartbreakingly, Jeff's dog Jack died in the fire.


WWE used this real life tragedy to put heat on the Hardys' blood feud. In a promo on "SmackDown," Matt implied he was the one who burned down Jeff's house and killed his dog. Matt Hardy has since revealed on his podcast "The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy" that he was very uncomfortable with this story direction. Matt said, "That was an event that was so tragic and so sad. Literally, his house burned down. All the old tights and all his old gear were lost in the fire. His dog died. It was a really traumatic event for him. Just for them to put that in our storyline was almost like it was in bad taste. I'll never forget them burning a dog collar, and then I held the dog collar."

Mick Foley's This Is Your Life, John Cena

One of the highest rated segments in "Raw" history came during a promo with Mick Foley and The Rock. Mick Foley celebrated The Rock with "This Is Your Life," bringing out a number of people from The Rock's past to honor The Great One himself. The segment was incredible and became known as one of the greatest ever "Raw" moments.


Years later, when Mick Foley was making his return to WWE after a three year absence, WWE tried to recreate that magic. In 2011, during the Cena vs. Rock feud, Mick Foley presented "This Is Your Life, John Cena" and brought out faces from John Cena's past. The segment was panned and even John Cena could be seen visibly cringing through the whole promo.

On Facebook, Mick Foley said the segment was one of the biggest regrets he had in his entire career. Foley said, "I ABSOLUTELY knew that there was NO WAY, in my first appearance on WWE TV in three years, that I should have agreed to be part of 'This is Your Life, John Cena' Every bone in my body told me that being part of it was a bad idea –- but, after three years away, I didn't want to rock the boat."


Ric Flair's entire TNA career

It seems Hulk Hogan wasn't the only one who regretted working for TNA. On "The Ric Flair Show," the 16 Time World Champion would echo similar sentiments. Ric Flair worked in TNA for over 3 years, signing with the company on the infamous January 4, 2010 episode of "Impact." Despite having a grand and emotional retirement with WWE in 2008, Ric Flair would go on to wrestling 11 more matches in TNA, with some fans saying Flair tarnished his perfect goodbye by wrestling in TNA.


Flair would have some interesting storylines in TNA, his partnership with AJ Styles, his part in the factions Fortune and Immortal and his feuds with Mick Foley, Sting and Hulk Hogan. However speaking with guest Shawn Michaels on "The Ric Flair Show," Flair said he regrets ever going to TNA. Flair said, "There's a couple of things I regret. Number one was ever going to work for TNA. That's my own fault. It was just a lot of money to wrestle 65 days a year, right? 65 days and make a lot of money. Do you know what I mean? Not WWE money, but pretty good money to do nothing."

Kurt Angle's retirement match with Baron Corbin

Kurt Angle's latest run in WWE was not the epic return many fans were hoping for, and it seems like it wasn't the return Kurt Angle was hoping for either. Angle admitted he wasn't in the in-ring shape he wanted to be at that time and he wasn't happy with his performances during this run. Because of this, Kurt Angle chose to retire at WrestleMania 35.


In an interview with Denise Salcedo of "Instinct Culture," Kurt Angle said he wanted a good way to retire, however he was less than thrilled when Vince McMahon offered Baron Corbin. Angle said, "I told him that I wanted to retire at WrestleMania, and Vince said, 'Well, you're going to wrestle Baron Corbin because you had a program with him for the last seven months.'"

This was far from the epic retirement match Kurt Angle was hoping for. When Angle suggested John Cena for his last match, Vince McMahon turned him down. "I said, 'Vince, I want to retire, Baron is a great talent, but he's an upcoming talent, how about John Cena?' He said, 'If you want John Cena, next year you got him, but this year you get Baron.' I said, 'Vince, I am not going next year. I am done. This is it.' He said, 'Well, you're stuck with this.'"


Zack Ryder ending Z True Long Island Story

Zack Ryder's "Z! True Long Island Story" revolutionized the way social media was used in WWE storylines. Before the YouTube show, social media was almost never brought up on WWE TV. When WWE saw how well "Z! True Long Island Story" was doing with engaging an online fan base, however, WWE went all in on integrating social media into their storylines — something they still do to this day.


Zack Ryder, however, regrets that he didn't end "Z! True Long Island Story" sooner. The show ran for 100 episodes though Ryder wishes he ended it after episode 50, claiming WWE took over the show and started making changes. Speaking on "Busted Open Radio" (via Bleacher Report), Ryder said, "After I became the U.S. Champion, WWE came to me and said 'we want to move this to our YouTube channel.' I was really hesitant to do it and I should have said no. That was the end of the 'Z! True Long Island Story' in my opinion right there, when I made that switch to the WWE YouTube channel at around episode 51. Then WWE was editing it and taking things out, even though they said they weren't going to touch it. Then it just became a job and not fun. For the most part the last 50 were horrible, but the first 50 changed the business."


Booker T's We Coming For You... promo

In a backstage promo against Hulk Hogan at Spring Stampede '97, Booker T infamously used a racial slur live on TV. The instant remorse was clear on Booker T's face and everybody could see that he immediately regretted the slip up. Booker T has since said he never uses that word in everyday life and he hates that the moment was captured on live TV, believing it sets a bad example. Booker T has always seen himself as a role model and now uses the promo as an "educational moment" when talking to young fans.


Speaking on his own podcast "The Hall of Fame," Booker T said, "I had always thought about everything before I would do it. And that one moment, that one moment in time, I don't know. I can't tell you what happened or anything like that. But I slipped. But, none of my peers had ever heard me use that word before, and none of them have ever heard me use it after. You know, so I just felt like it was definitely a moment for me that I wish I could take back. But every time I have the chance to talk about it, I try to use it as an educational moment."