As the year 2014 comes to a close, let’s look back at some of the best (and worst) moments in the WWE from the year 2014.
Batista returns to the WWE and wins the 2014 Royal Rumble.
On the January 20th, 2014 episode of Monday Night RAW, Batista returned to the WWE after a four-year absence and was officially entered in the 30-Man Royal Rumble match. Six days later, he eliminated Roman Reigns to win the Rumble and go on to challenge for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
However, the reaction was mainly brutal, as most WWE fans (including Mick Foley) wanted Daniel Bryan to win (he didn’t enter the match). Batista eventually left the WWE altogether after the June 2nd, 2014 episode of RAW, but would have a successful career as an actor as evidence of the success of the film, Guardians of the Galaxy.
CM Punk leaves WWE.
It was the day after the Royal Rumble pay-per-view that one of WWE’s top Superstars, CM Punk, left the WWE altogether after feeling that he has been overshadowed by the likes of John Cena, Brock Lesnar, The Rock, and The Undertaker in recent years. He would later recount his experiences in the WWE last month when he was a guest on Colt Cabana’s podcast.
WWE Network makes its debut.
On Monday, February 24th, 2014, the WWE Network debuted after three years of planning. For $9.99 per month, you can watch shows like WWE Main Event, WWE Superstars, WWE NXT, Legends House, and its monthly pay-per-views.
Hulk Hogan returns to the WWE.
The man known as the Hulkster, Hulk Hogan, returned to WWE TV after a seven-year absence where it was announced that the WWE Hall of Famer would be hosting WrestleMania XXX at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana on Sunday, April 6th, 2014.
Daniel Bryan challenges Triple H to a match at WrestleMania XXX, The Game accepts.
After several months of being ripped off by Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Kane, and the rest of The Authority, Daniel Bryan had had enough of their shenanigans. And so on the March 10th, 2014 episode of RAW, Bryan challenged The Game to a match at WrestleMania XXX where the winner would face Randy Orton and Batista in a triple threat match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
WrestleMania XXX invades the Big Easy.
At the Louisiana Superdome on Sunday, April 6th, 2014, the “Show of Shows” took place to a sellout crowd that saw Daniel Bryan winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Brock Lesnar finally ending The Undertaker’s unbeaten WrestleMania streak and John Cena beginning his feud with The Wyatt Family.
The Ultimate Warrior dies at 54.
One of the most charismatic Superstars in WWE history, The Ultimate Warrior, passed away on Tuesday, April 8th, 2014, just days after he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and just one day after he appeared on RAW. The WWE roster paid tribute to him the following week on RAW. There will never be another Superstar like Jim “The Ultimate Warrior” Helliwig.
Daniel Bryan undergoes neck surgery, to miss the rest of 2014.
A little more than a month after he defeated Randy Orton and Batista to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXX, Daniel Bryan announced on the May 12th, 2014 episode of RAW that he would undergo surgery on his neck, causing him to miss the rest of 2014. As a result, The Authority decided to strip Bryan of his title and put it on the line at the Money In The Bank pay-per-view on Sunday, June 29th, 2014.
The Shield implodes.
It all began in Indianapolis and ended in Indianapolis. It all began at the 2012 Survivor Series pay-per-view, where three young men from NXT (Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns, AKA The Shield) interfered in the triple threat match for the WWE Championship which allowed CM Punk to retain the title over John Cena and Ryback.
Flash forward to the June 2nd, 2014 episode of RAW, where a dejected Batista decided to quit the WWE altogether and in the process, leave the newly-reunited Evolution. Before Reigns was scheduled to face Randy Orton in the main event, Rollins out of nowhere attacked his Shield teammates to align with Triple H and Orton.
As a result, it would began the most personal and intense rivalry between Rollins and the “Lunatic Fridge” himself, Ambrose.
WWE releases eleven Superstars.
Not since August of 2011 that the WWE has ever released so many Superstars considering that Triple H instituted a new rule that the WWE can only allow a Superstar’s contract to expire as opposed to releasing him/her, feeling that releasing people would be “bad for business.”
Then on June 12th, 2014, the winds of change had turned the tide: the WWE shockingly released eleven (count ’em) Superstars. They were Aksana (pictured), Brodus Clay, Evan Bourne, JTG, Yoshi Tatsu, Teddy Long, Jinder Mahal, Drew McIntyre, Curt Hawkins, Camacho, and referee Marc Harris. Weeks and months later, several others (including Ricardo Rodriguez, Josh Mathews, Alberto Del Rio, Justin Roberts, and Mark Yeaton) were also let go. The reason for these mass releases were due to the WWE losing millions of dollars following the WWE Network underperforming as well as the lackluster TV deal with NBC Universal.
I will have part two of the “2014: WWE Year In Review” article on Tuesday, December 16th, 2014.