Writing for a wrestling show is a careful plan, which often ends in stress and unhappy fans. Although most of WWE’s biggest stories are written months in advance, there are rare occasions where WWE writers will change their own plans just minutes before the culmination of a feud! Here are 10 times that WWE bookers changed or decided the finish to a match at the very last second.
10. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Scott Hall- Wrestlemania X8
Steve Austin was one of the industry’s biggest stars in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Despite that, he was scheduled to lose to Scott Hall at Wrestlemania 18, just before Hulk Hogan vs The Rock. Upon hearing the planned outcome, Austin allegedly refused to lose to Hall, and eventually the decision was overturned. Austin was able to hit two Stunners on Hall, one of which is regarded as one of the best looking Stunners ever.
9. Sasha Banks vs Charlotte- Hell In A Cell
The Main Event of Hell In A Cell 2016 was the first ever Women’s HIAC match. In this bout, Sasha Banks defended her Women’s Title in front of her hometown crowd. The original plan was to have Sasha retain the title, but Dave Meltzer reported that that decision was overruled last minute. Rumor has it, Vince McMahon doesn’t trust Sasha Banks holding the Women’s Title because he believes she’s injury prone.
8. Daniel Bryan- Money In The Bank Cash In- TLC 2011
The current Smackdown Live General Manager, Daniel Bryan, earned his first taste of WWE World Title gold thanks to the Money In The Bank briefcase and a last second change of plans. Bryan was never scheduled to lose the MITB Cash-in, however, Bryan wasn’t scheduled to be on the card at all until hours before the show. Bryan did an autograph signing in a nearby city that day, so WWE pounced on the opportunity to call him to the arena solely to pin The Big Show.
7. 2001 WWE Undisputed Championship Tournament
On any given night, any given thing can happen in the WWE. Following WWE’s purchase of WCW, WWE booked a tournament where the winner would be declared the Undisputed Champion. Both the WWE and WCW World Titles were going to merge together, but the original plan was for The Rock and Steve Austin to fight in the tournament final. In 2015, Chris Jericho revealed in an interview with WhatCulture WWE that he didn’t find out he was winning until the day of the show.
6. Seth Rollins Cash-In- Wrestlemania 31
The conclusion of Wrestlemania 31 was truly one of the most shocking and awe-inspiring moments in WWE’s recent history. Did you know though that Rollins found out he was cashing in literally minutes before the main event? After a loss to Randy Orton earlier on the card, fans were absolutely not expecting Rollins to appear again, but as history tells us, the MITB holder specializes in the unexpected.
5. 1990 Royal Rumble Match
Despite the fact that the Royal Rumble did not guarantee a Wrestlemania Main Event match in 1990, it was still a massive honor to win WWE’s version of “The floor is lava”. Undoubtedly one of the greatest performers to never hold a World Title is Mr. Perfect. He was originally scheduled to win the match, but plans were eventually reversed. Hulk Hogan, who held the WWE Title at the time anyways, won the match to build white-hot momentum for his match against The Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania 6, which he would ultimately and shockingly lose.
4. Wendi Richter- The Original Screwjob
Despite the fact that this is far lesser known, Wendi Richter was the victim of Vince McMahon’s original screwjob in the 80’s. After refusing to sign a contract extension with the WWE, Richter was put in a Championship match against a mystery opponent: Spider Lady. Although Spider Lady was later revealed as The Fabulous Moolah, Richter quit WWE and worked overseas after the referee counted to three despite her kicking out of a Small Package. The title changed hands, and Richter eventually made amends with WWE in 2009 during her HOF induction.
3. Wrestlemania IV Championship Tournament
The “Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase almost won the WWE Championship in 1988. The legendary heel was booked to win the tournament at Wrestlemania IV, but plans ultimately changed because The Honky Tonk Man refused to lose the Intercontinental Title to Randy Savage. Because of this, Savage was slated to win the Title tournament and defeated Dibiase in the finale.
2. Montreal Screwjob
Vince McMahon will screw you over if you refuse to sing contracts with the WWE. Bret Hart learned this the hard way in 1997 after refusing to drop the Title before jumping ship to WCW. In order to protect the WWE Championship from appearing on WCW TV at all costs, McMahon devised a plan in which referee Earl Hebner would call for the bell when Michaels slapped Hart with a sharpshooter. Hart was under the impression that the match would end in Disqualification later on in the bout, however Hebner ended the match prematurely. The infamous screwjob is known as the biggest double cross in pro wrestling history, with Hart still bitter over the whole thing.
1. The Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar- Wrestlemania 30
I still do not believe it happened. The Deadman vs The Beast Incarnate could forever be the most shocking moment in Professional Wrestling’s long and storied history. The truth of the matter is, WWE didn’t even have a finish for the match planned until an hour or so before the match actually happened. The Undertaker was actually the one who buried the hatchet for creative to go ahead with the angle. Undertaker has stated in interviews that it was just the right time and Lesnar was a better option than anyone else. Nobody else was ready and available to do the job.
Even the referee for the match was hesitant to count to three, worrying he messed up the finish to the streak! Unfortunately, he didn’t mess up and the seemingly impossible graphic of 21-1 flashed before our very eyes in New Orleans.