Friday, July 19, 2024
EditorialTop 15 WWE Dream Matches Which Never Materialized

Top 15 WWE Dream Matches Which Never Materialized



Today, we are looking at 15 WWE Dream Matches which never materialized. Four of the choices still have a chance of happening, so never say never. Many of the interviews have been drawn from different sources, and I have done my best to provide all of them at the end. The entries are arranged in alphabetical order. If there are any other WWE dream matches you feel should get some spotlight, share your favorites in the comments below. Thank you!

AJ Styles vs. Edge

WWE Dream Matches

When Edge returned to WWE at Royal Rumble 2020, one of the first guys he got to work with was AJ Styles. However, they have still yet to face each other in a singles match. Here are their thoughts on their dream match becoming a reality:

[AJ Styles] “I’ve got to have a match with Edge before him and I both retire. I think that’s something that we both want, I know he tore his triceps, and hopefully it’s a speedy recovery for him. That’s one that I want badly, and I think he would like to have one as well. It would be great. I’m still looking forward to it, Edge.”

[Edge] “Like AJ Styles- So I started in ‘92, and I think AJ started in ‘96, and we’ve never wrestled, which is insane. We’ve both been in the industry that long. We were just always in separate places. He was TNA, or he was Japan and I was WWE my entire career, so that’s another aspect of it too. These are just guys that I should have wrestled, that I should have by now, so that’s really cool”

AJ Styles vs. Triple H

Along with pitching a match against The Undertaker, which he got, AJ Styles wants to face off against “The Game” Triple H. Unlike the possibility with Edge, this WWE dream match is much more improbable:

[AJ Styles] “Should I throw it out there and send it out there that I’d be his last match? I would love to do that. I’ll let him know I’d do that with him. Him and I have been in the same ring together but we were on the same team. It was when we were in Japan. It was basically The O.C. and Triple H; that was fun. – There’s a reason why he’s still doing what he’s doing. NXT is a brand because of Triple H. There’s no question of that. So I would love to see how that would work in a match with him. Will it ever happen? I don’t know, but I’m trying guys!”

[Triple H] “He pestered me with it every time I saw him. Yeah, he would ask me about it and asked me about my schedule… I’ve said this before. Getting ready for WrestleMania is a different thing, and the older you get, the harder it gets. Doing this once a year, once every couple of years, especially now, is not an easy task. You try to stay in the best shape you can, but that’s not WrestleMania shape, and it’s a different thing. So when he very first came to me, I said, man, AJ, I’m not gonna tell you no. To be honest with you, personally, I’d love to work with you, and at this point, you can carry me to something. So, I’d love it. And so the personal side of it, the athlete side of it, the performer side of it would love nothing more.

The reality of it is, I don’t have the bandwidth or the availability schedule-wise to be able to pull that off, and then he would come to me like every week or every other week when I would see him and say, ‘How’s that bandwidth coming? You gonna be able to make this happen?’ And I would say, ‘It’s not gonna happen.’ Of course, I’m flattered by that. And I really am and humbled by it. But I wish I had the bandwidth to do it, and I’m not saying I won’t do it in the coming year if it’s right and everybody believes that it’s what should be done. I’m at a point where to me, the in-ring stuff is bonus.”

Bret Hart vs. Hulk Hogan

WWE Dream Matches

Following the controversial end to WrestleMania IX, Bret Hart waited patiently for Hulk Hogan to return the favor in what would have been a classic WWE dream match. Magazines hyped a possible encounter between them in the lead up to SummerSlam. However, plans changed, and to this day, Bret Hart can’t stand Hulk Hogan for it:

[Bret Hart] “On April 2, 1993, I went to my room just in time to answer a call from Vince, who asked me to come to his suite to talk. I knocked on his door, and he answered it with that goofy grin. We sat down, and Vince said, ‘This is what I want to do. I want you to drop the belt to Yoko tomorrow.’ This was not what I had expected. I sat there dumbstruck as he went on to explain how Fuji would screw me by throwing salt in my face, blinding me. After Yoko was handed the belt, Hogan would rush to my aid and in some kind of roundabout way Hogan would end up winning the belt from Yoko right then and there! Like I was handing Vince my sword, I told him I appreciated everything he did for me and I’d do whatever he wanted.

Vince said, ’Don’t get bitter. I still have big plans for you.’ Sound bites flashed through my mind of Vince assuring me that I was the long-term champion, and not to worry about Hulk Hogan, who still hadn’t even spoken to me yet. As I stood up to leave, I asked, ‘Did you take the belt from me because I didn’t do a good enough job?’ ‘Of course not! I’m just going in a different direction. It’s still onwards and upwards for you. Nothing is going to change too much for you.’ By the time I got to the dressing room the following afternoon, word that I was losing the title had leaked out to the boys. Most of them were quiet, and some were angry. The Nasty Boys, Shawn [Michaels], ‘Taker and several others expressed their utter disappointment.

Knowing I was losing the belt didn’t stop me from planning on having a great match. I went over everything with Yoko and designed the match so that all the best moves were left for the final minute. Hulk Hogan arrived with his entourage: his wife, manager, Beefcake and Jimmy Hart. Clearly, he’d been in the know all along, probably from the first day he came back. Now he was suddenly acting like my long-lost old pal and wearing a big smile that rightfully belonged to me.”

After the WrestleMania main event: “A few minutes later, Hogan came up to me excited and happy and said, ‘Thank you, brother. I won’t forget it, I’ll be happy to return the favor.’ I looked my old friend in the eye and said, ‘I’m going to remember that, Terry.’”

Hulk Hogan recalls how he felt about the match with Bret Hart. He felt he wasn’t ready for it, and would benefit in the long run if Yokozuna “ended Hulkamania”. By doing so, Bret would have a more credible heel to defeat for the title:

[Hulk Hogan] “To the best of my recollection, I knew I was leaving. I couldn’t remember if I was going to do a movie, but I talked Vince McMahon into, ‘Hey man, what’s the finish in the main event?’ He told me what it was and I said, ‘Brother, if I go out and help Bret Hart. Hulk Hogan, Yokozuna, you can book us in the next pay-per-view.’ It was my hare-brained idea and it caused quite a controversy. It was one of those audible, wild wild west type situations. You know? I had some problems with putting the belt on the right person because if you put the belt on the wrong person when you come back, it’s hard to get the business going again.”

Hulk Hogan was meant to drop the title to Bret Hart at SummerSlam 1993. However, he didn’t like the finish, so instead, he dropped it to Yokozuna at King of the Ring. This decision has never been explained by WWE. Bret Hart says:

“On May 29, [1993], Vince called me at home to tell me the big news that I was getting the belt back. What I didn’t expect to hear was that he was getting ready to call Hogan and hated the thought of telling him that he was too old and tired for a company whose marketing strategy was now based around a “new generation” concept. Vince wanted to make Hogan into the Babe Ruth of the WWF and use him as more of a special attraction. He asked me not to say anything until he had spoken to Hogan.

“Ten days later, Vince called again. He warned me that he was about to tell me something that would make me really angry: Hogan was flat out refusing to put me over, saying I wasn’t in his league. Vince had decided that Yoko would be getting the belt instead. I couldn’t believe that Hogan would do this to me. I remembered him shaking my hand at WrestleMania 9, and telling me he’d be happy to return the favor. Vince said he’d have one more meeting with Hogan to try to sell him on it, but if he didn’t go for it, I’d work with Lawler at SummerSlam -instead.”

Bret Hart further comments on why he thinks Hulk Hogan turned down their dream match:

“I think Hulk Hogan knew that someone like me could embarrass him in the ring, or really take the edge off him from a fan perspective because he was so limited as a wrestler, and being so much bigger than me, like 6’8″, wrestling a guy that was six foot, he was always gonna be the overdog, I was always gonna be the underdog against Hulk Hogan, and that would have been too big a thing, it would have been, Hulk Hogan could never make another wrestler, and especially another wrestler that might end up being bigger than him. He couldn’t bear the thought of wrestling me and making me so he completely buried the knife in me and made sure that he never worked with me.” – “Do I like Hulk Hogan? No, I don’t. I think he’s a phony piece of shit.”

Bret Hart & Hulk Hogan faced each other in WCW, but Hart had already become a household name, so it was little too late for “The Hitman”.

Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair (on PPV)

When Ric Flair made it over to the WWF, it seemed like a foregone conclusion he & Hulk Hogan would square off on a PPV main event. A feud was teased in the leadup to WrestleMania VIII, but Vince McMahon changed the card to feature two main events. Instead, Hulk Hogan faced Sid Justice in the main event, while Flair challenged Randy Savage for the WWF Championship in the middle of the show. It never happened, because Flair left the company in 1993. There are differences of opinion on this subject:

[Hulk Hogan] “Vince just shut it down and switched gears on us. I don’t know, I was in my own world. I don’t mean to say, I didn’t have a clue on what was going on, but if I had anything to do with it not happening, it could have had a lot to do with what my personal relationship was like at that moment with Vince, what kind of personal relationship I was having at home — because that would screw me up sometimes. For some reason, it just seemed like we could have done a year and a half, two years worth of business, just putting Hogan and Flair together and flipping the belt back and forth four or five times.”

Ric Flair felt like it didn’t matter too much, it was never promised and Hogan was busy with Thunder in Paradise:

[Ric Flair] “I don’t know that was ever booked, and that was never promised. That’s an illusion that people have. When I got there, [McMahon] said that’s a possibility. But at the same time, I know Hulk wanted to go out and do the show Thunder in Paradise and they weren’t getting along and I guess they decided to go another way. To make sure, in case he left early, they put us in arenas all over the country several times. Some people said it was a cash flow problem. I’ve never heard an explanation, but it was never promised to me. It’s nothing that I lose sleep over.”

Bruce Prichard claims the reason for switching direction was because their matches at house shows weren’t clicking, and Flair wasn’t over enough with their audience:

“I do know that the house shows weren’t drawing with Hogan and Flair on top. From all reports, Hulk and Ric did not click in the ring, and it was something that people just weren’t that interested in. A lot of times when someone would come in from WCW and you think, ‘OK, this guy is really over in WCW.’ To the WWE audience, they weren’t over. They didn’t mean as much as they did where they come from, and they had to get over here. Ric came in right on top, and Ric came in kind of positioned as the equal. And the audience wasn’t buying it.”

Hulk Hogan & Ric Flair wrestled each other several times in WCW. They had one singles match together in WWE after returning to the company. Ten years after their PPV match at WrestleMania VIII was nixed, it happened on the episode of Raw following the “Plane Ride From Hell” in 2002.

Kurt Angle vs. John Cena (retirement)

WWE Dream Matches

As we know, Kurt Angle did not get his wish. Much to the behest of the audience, the Olympic Gold Medalist lost his final match to Baron Corbin, who was universally loathed at the time:

[Kurt Angle] “I never reached out to John. I decided to go to Vince and talk to him about it. When I had the meeting with him, I’m not even sure he even contacted John. I wasn’t expecting John to be at WrestleMania so I went to Vince a good month and a half before WrestleMania to tell him ‘I want John Cena at WrestleMania, I want it to be my retirement match. “I’d love to wrestle John because I started out his career and I wanted him to end mine.’ I was hoping that he would put me in that match but it just didn’t happen.” 

After seeing John Cena appear at WrestleMania with his old gimmick, Angle said: “That’s what made me go crazy was he’s the Thuganomics Cena and I’m the Olympic hero, this would’ve been perfect, I didn’t think he was going to do a throwback and ironically he did. I saw him at WrestleMania, I gave him a big hug and told him I wanted him to be his match. He said I know, it just couldn’t happen. I didn’t ask him why. Maybe Cena didn’t want to wrestle at WrestleMania? Maybe that’s the reason it didn’t occur, I don’t know.”

Kurt Angle vs. Ken Shamrock

design: JP Zarka /

Kurt Angle has never expressed an opinion on a match with Ken Shamrock, but the latter has:

[Ken Shamrock] “Well, that would be up to Kurt, right? I mean, like I have always entertained the idea for me and him to have a match, but again, I have the utmost respect for Kurt. I’m honored that he took that hold that I invented along with everyone else right, I’m honored that they have been able to make that hold even more famous. That’s never been an issue and I’ve expressed that to him when we’ve talked, but yeah, the opportunity for me to get into the ring. Give the fans what they want. I know the fans want to see. I know I want, I know Kurt wants it. It’s whether or not he’s physically capable of being able to put in the training to be able to come in and do that match”

Together, they later talked about the Ankle Lock submission in an interview:

[Kurt Angle] “Well, listen, I want to thank you for allowing me to use that move. I wanted something legitimate. There is nothing more legitimate than Ken Shamrock and the Ankle Lock.”

Ken Shamrock talks about the dangers of doing the Ankle Lock properly, and how dumb it is when fans say Angle “stole” his move:

[Ken Shamrock] “I give people a hard time whenever they ask me that question, and they say, ‘Oh, did you see Kurt put that Ankle lock on? Does it piss you off?’ I was like, ‘Man; it’s an honor.’ I’ve got to poke you a little bit. Saying, ‘Tell him to do it right at least.’ It’s like, ‘Honestly; he is doing it right, I’m just poking at him, man.’ That’s why when you said that and someone would ask, ‘Well, what’s the right way,’ and I can’t really say it because I know what you were going through, because I went through the same thing. It’s like you can’t do it right (laughs). If you put it on right, they get hurt.

I don’t understand when people come and they say, ‘Well, he took your Ankle Lock.’ You idiots, don’t you know that every single move has come from somebody first? Like, somebody took it from somebody. The idea is that, for the move to stick around, you do a move, and nobody copies it; that’s a problem (laughs).”

Mick Foley vs. Mr. McMahon

WWE Dream Matches

Mick Foley regrets his decision not to return for a match with Vince McMahon at WrestleMania X-Seven:

[Mick Foley] “Yeah, man, I was really a stickler for details. I didn’t like holes in the storylines and I thought the idea of coming back and demanding my job back was not realistic. I was like, ‘It’s his company, he’s allowed to fire me.’ We got 200 people here, right? Maybe one of you would have thought a tiny bit less of me if I had exercised my right to come back to that match. Like, it was over-thinking, you know, I could have easily come back and it would have been a big match, and it would have been a good money match, like a really good money match.

What it came down to was that I really, at that time, took that retirement stipulation seriously and I was hellbent on never wrestling again. Like, I just… If I’d known that I was going to come back another 14 times and make a mockery out of that stipulation, I certainly would have cashed in, in 2001, and wrestled Vince, you know, and it wouldn’t necessarily have been a great technical match, but we would have had a heck of a storyline, I think it would have been a tremendous payoff. 

And more importantly, I wouldn’t have become like the boy who cried wolf to Mr McMahon. And I don’t think my relationship with… I used to call him Vince. You know, I called him Vince and now I refer to him as Mr McMahon, even when I see him. ‘Hello, Mr. McMahon.’ So it hurt that relationship, cost me a lot of money and would have been a good match to have on a great WrestleMania.”

What happened instead? Shane McMahon filled in on behalf of his Mother Linda. Stephanie McMahon & Trish Stratus were in Mr. McMahon’s corner. Mick Foley served as the special guest referee for the Street Fight. It made sense for Foley to represent Linda, as they’d been close friends on TV for a long time.

Riddle vs. Brock Lesnar/Goldberg/Roman Reigns

Riddle has talked about a WWE dream match with Brock Lesnar or Goldberg for ages. Well before getting to the main roster. He just wouldn’t let it go. Riddle felt the only way to get noticed would be challenge the biggest guys in the game. He’s still doing this, however, he has moved his aim toward Roman Reigns. The only one who has started appreciating this approach is Goldberg:

[Riddle] “I’m trying not to talk too much trash anymore. I don’t want to upset the higher ups. I’m not going to mention exact names, but he’s a chief of tribes. I said something about him recently. I’m not saying specific names. It could be anybody. He wasn’t happy. I talked some trash about me moving the needle and selling merch. He didn’t like what I said. I thought it was hilarious, but not everybody thinks like me. Then Brock, I still want the match with Brock, but I promised him I wouldn’t call him out anymore. He asked me not to a couple years ago at a Royal Rumble, so I respect your wishes Mr. Beast. I won’t call you out. 

I will say this. Bill Goldberg. I’ll be honest. I think I’ve grown on the guy. I think he’s grown on me a little. I think that match could probably happen. We both went to Saudi, we were both on the same airplane, and we bumped into each other quite a few times on that airplane. I think we can get that match. I think we can pull that one off. No promises, but I’m hoping in 2022 we get Riddle vs Goldberg. It will sell tickets. Out of those matchups, I see that one happening the most.

Goldberg responded with some colorful language, admitting that they have similar mindsets:

[Goldberg] “Yeah. The cocky kid (Riddle) spouting off his mouth in the beginning, and I didn’t appreciate it very much by any stretch of the imagination. But the guy has put in a lot of frickin hard work and a lot of hard work, and he’s dedicated his life to this business. Whether I like him as a human being or not, I have to understand and appreciate his passion for the business and his work ethic. Because he works hard and that I appreciate as an athlete and as a human. Is he a prick sometimes? Absolutely. But that’s him. That’s his character, and so am I.”

Roman Reigns vs. The Rock

WWE Dream Matches

I think many are bored with hearing about this. It’s on, then it’s not on, then it’s on again. Apparently, this dream match has been moved to WrestleMania 39 in 2023 because it’s “Hollywood”, but only because Roman Reigns said it makes sense. The Rock vs. Roman Reigns has been pushed back so many times, I’ll only believe it when I see it. Personally, I doubt The Rock wants to come back, and Reigns doesn’t need the win:

[Roman Reigns] “Do we do it now or do we wait until we’re in his backyard of Hollywood? It just adds to the narrative. It adds another dynamic to speculate on. Obviously, AT&T Stadium, Dallas, home of the Cowboys, 100,000-plus fans can be in attendance, that’s obviously an awesome scenario, but SoFi Stadium, brand-new facility out there in L.A., hmm, that makes quite the argument in its own right.”

Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Brock Lesnar

I remember when it happened. Throwing away Steve Austin vs. Brock Lesnar on a regular episode of Raw was too much. Sure, Austin admits he didn’t handle it well, but his logic is just. WWE painted it as “taking his ball and going home”, burying the traitor Austin for walking out on them. Austin was not in a good place physically or mentally, and just wanted what was best for business:

[Steve Austin] “And the time they wanted me to fly down to Atlanta for Monday Night Raw and put over Brock Lesnar, the night before, I was working in Columbus, Georgia, working with Ric Flair in a cage, so I was like a kid in a candy store working with the GOAT, so of course I didn’t show up. Because it wasn’t time for me to do the favors yet for Brock in an unadvertised match in a tournament-style TV match, whereas hey, man, I love Brock Lesnar. I’d lose to him any day of the week, but build it up so we can all make money off of it and it’s going to mean something.

And when you get a guy red hot, and I just had Hogan on the podcast, and I’ll put myself there, but when you get guys who really, really draw stupid money, it’s a very delicate balance that you just don’t take stupid liberties with or you’ll kill it off and you can never recreate it. So I was very protective of myself, maybe too much so, but it took me seven and a half years to get there, so no-one was going to yank the carpet out from underneath my feet, not even Vince.”

On a recent Austin’s Broken Skull Session on the WWE Network, Brock Lesnar admitted he didn’t care about not being put over. He also felt the blame was not squarely on Austin’s shoulders:

[Brock Lesnar] “I didn’t care. Not at all. You haven’t got to explain it to me. I wasn’t offended. You may have handled it the wrong way, but maybe somebody on the other side could have handled it better, too. It’s a two-way street.”

Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Goldberg

WWE Dream Matches

On a 1999 episode of The Tonight Show, Jay Leno sat down with WCW star Goldberg. Leno brought up the subject of Steve Austin, with which Goldberg responded “Who’s that?”, before throwing out a challenge to him. He says, “Ever since I started, everyone’s called me a ripoff of Steve Austin, well you guys know, and I know that there’s only one Goldberg. I don’t know what he’s thinking, or if he’s even thinking…(audience laughs) but I’ll throw a hundred grand of my money at Austin any time, any place. We can even do it in the back alley of NBC Studio.” 

Many years later, Goldberg talked about timing being the biggest roadblock for them having a match together:

[Goldberg] “Oh my god, I wouldn’t be living and breathing if I didn’t make that statement. There was no other match for my sake that needed to happen more so than that one. It was a timing issue, it was just a timing issue, and an injury issue. I love him exponentially, man. He’s a great dude and to have graced the ring with him in a match would have been absolutely phenomenal. He was hurt. His neck was really screwed up, and WWE didn’t trust me. It was a huge opportunity that they never capitalized on, for one reason or another.”

Austin didn’t touch upon the WWE dream match with Goldberg, but talked about fans often mistaking them for one another:

[Steve Austin] “Well, when I was coming up and really starting to get hot in WWF back in the day, and Bill down in WCW, he started getting hot almost at the same time — boy, ‘Goldberg!’ chants. Bill is one of my best friends that I’ll call all the time. I’d be going through airports, and people would yell, ‘Goldberg!’ He would be going through an airport. ‘Stone Cold!’ People got us confused all the time. If you put us side by side, Bill is a bigger guy than I am, but if you just see a bald-headed dude with a goatee and some sunglasses on, it’s pretty easy to get fooled by who it is.”

Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Hulk Hogan

Two of the biggest stars in wrestling history never squared off one-on-one. There was a chance, but it didn’t happen because again, timing was the biggest issue. However, Hulk Hogan felt there was more to it than that:

[Hulk Hogan] “Was there some legitimate heat between Austin and I? There was. When me and Scott Hall and big Kev’ came into the WWE with the nWo, we had such an edge, and we were getting cheered. I guess the babyfaces weren’t used to it. They were complaining, ‘Those guys are turning us upside down, and we’re getting booed instead of cheered…’ So there was some legitimate heat there, you know, on a business level. I never got to work with him, but Stone Cold always said, ‘If there’s money to be made – let’s make it.’”

“I was working. I wanted to have that match. That was the one match I never had. I want to do good business, help the sport and give the fans what they want—and working with Steve would have done all three. I’ve got no idea why Steve didn’t want to have a match at WrestleMania. I don’t know if he has a problem with me personally. When we were in WCW, and he was Stunning Steve Austin, he talked to me a couple of times about different ideas he had to work with me. The ideas were okay. They weren’t home runs, but they were pretty good. I always put over anybody they asked me to put over. I think most of my WCW run was doing jobs. I wish I could’ve put over Steve Austin…”

While he hated Hogan during his rise to superstardom, Austin came to respect him for everything he had done, and wished they had locked up at some point:

[Steve Austin] “I gotta say, Hulk Hogan, because one of the biggest draws in the history of the business. Everybody thought that match between ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan should have happened a couple of years back, and it never did. Just for whatever reason, I didn’t feel like stepping back in the ring. It sounds like a good match on paper, but I didn’t think it would look so good once you got into the ring. I think Hogan was ready to go, but I wasn’t. And so, I never got a chance to wrestle that guy, and it would’ve been fun to be in the ring with him.

I was watching an old match on YouTube between Paul Orndorff and Hulk Hogan, and I watched how Hulk Hogan was down there on that mat, and he was selling his ass off. Paul Orndorff was kicking the snot out of him, and then finally, finally, finally, after all this heat, started making that trademark comeback. He started firing up that comeback; the people started going crazy, and I realized that guy wasn’t born on top. He worked his tail off to get to the top. So I’d say Hulk Hogan right off jump street.”

Bruce Prichard claims WWE always had plans to pit Austin against Hogan, but they wanted to build up to their program. The Rock would face him first, and Austin would get him at WrestleMania:

[Bruce Prichard] “I think everyone agreed that Austin and Hulk was the bigger match that we had to get to, the feeling was, why not give it to Rock and Hogan first and then build it some more. Rock and Hogan were interchangeable in their careers. Originally, it was planned for Rock and Hulk and then eventually get to Austin and Hulk at some point, whether that be at the next WrestleMania or not. There may have been discussions where one wasn’t going to put the other over, but that was just gesturing and positioning.

I think eventually the match probably could have happened had everybody stayed healthy, but you’ve gotta keep in mind at that time Steve was dealing with a lot of health issues, Steve was dealing with a lot of trust issues. So, to say that, that match never would have happened, that’s crazy to say. I think you just had to get over some of the issues that were basically rearing their head at the time, and that reality in and of itself was something that you had to take into consideration.”

The Rock vs. Shawn Michaels

WWE Dream Matches

While neither Shawn Michaels or The Rock have commented about their real-life tension, others have shared their thoughts. Bret Hart had the most to say:

[Bret Hart] “A lot of the wrestlers would give him a hard time in those days, a really hard time, enough to try to break him and get him to quit and they almost succeeded. And I can remember going to bat for Dwayne quite a few times and kind of looking out for him, Owen too. I think Owen and I had a lot to do with sort of looking out for him when he first came down. The Rock was kind of a marked guy. I don’t know why he had such a hard time being accepted by some of the more jerk-like wrestlers.

A lot of the same guys who had a problem with Rock were the same guys that were all involved in the Screwjob with me, so I had the same dislike for the same petty bulls–t that these guys were all about. I remember Shawn Michaels coming into the dressing room and dressing down poor Dwayne, and I believe he told Rock to never do a top rope dropkick ever again because that was his move. That’s what he was mad about. And then, he slammed the door, and he walked out.

The Rock was deflated because in those days, Shawn had a lot of weight. He was a pretty important guy for the company, a veteran guy kind of dressing him down like that. He was apologizing and said he didn’t know, and he thought it would be okay. I remember the door closed after Shawn left and I said, ‘that’s bulls–t. That’s total bulls–t, nobody owns the dropkick off the top. You can do that. Owen does it all the time! Why doesn’t he cut a promo on Owen?’ They’re just busting your chops and they’re trying to work on you.’”

Chris Jericho says The Rock personally told him the reason they never worked together:

[Chris Jericho] “As far as I know, it’s true, from what The Rock told me. It’s the reason why The Rock and Shawn Michaels never worked a match. I think Shawn might have insulted The Rock when he was a kid in Hawaii or something. The Rock’s got a long memory. But yeah, even when Shawn came back, I believe there was one match where it was Triple H vs The Rock in Louisville, Kentucky. Shawn was the special guest ref, and they were angling to try and do a storyline feud between Rock and Shawn and I don’t think The Rock wanted to do it.”

As part of management, Bruce Prichard could see what was going on. He agrees with other’s sentiments, but does not place the blame only on Michaels:

[Bruce Prichard] “They didn’t like each other. It was because of ego, especially back then. They were completely different people. I don’t think that Shawn saw a whole lot in Rock at the time. Rock didn’t really like Shawn, so it was oil and water at the time. They did not mesh.”

The Rock vs. Sting

The Rock has always respected Sting and wanted to face him around 2005. Jim Ross says WWE were trying to get Sting after WCW closed its doors, but he was unwilling:

[Jim Ross] “Look, we were trying to recruit Sting, Conrad, ever since WCW closed their doors. And then subsequently, when he finally got all his money from Time-Warner that he was owed. We knew he’d be healthy, he’d be refreshed, and he’d have a full bank account. He should be a happy guy. And we only wanted him for a part-time role at best to maximize the investment, and to not overuse an asset that had more matches in him than he had left. So yeah, we were always talking about bringing him in. Why not? But Rock and Sting would have been cool as hell. And Rock — look, the thing about this, and I may have mentioned this before.

It’s worth reiterating as far as bookers are concerned. Bookers find out that the top talents who are gonna draw the money and put an ass every 18 inches know exactly who they can and cannot work well with. Meaning that a great attraction like The Rock fighting another great attraction like Sting at the biggest event of the year like WrestleMania for the first time ever is money. Here’s the key, though. Rock knew in his heart that he could get a match out of Sting, who had been dormant for quite a while, without any problem. Full confidence. And I believe that too. So anyhow, yeah it was a topic we talked about.”

Sting talks about why he chose not to sign with WWE. I remember this segment, because Booker T came over from WCW with a lot of hype, seeing as he was the last World Champion. The Rock destroyed him on the mic, and it relegated him from possible main event star to another mid-carder. It took a long time for Booker T to win a World title in WWE. Instead, Sting signed with TNA Wrestling, where he was treated as a legendary figure:

[Sting] “I talked with Vince McMahon and he was really good to me, he was really good to me. But I just got this feeling that he didn’t… I’ll put it this way: all the guys from WCW that went to WWE when the acquisition happened by then. To me, there wasn’t a real WCW. Because WCW was for so many years, it was Hall and Nash. It was Hogan. It was Sting, it was Luger, it was the Steiner Brothers, it was a certain package of guys that were gone.

They come back-to-back and they turn around and they look at each other and The Rock looks at Booker T and he said, ‘who are you?’. And you know that one little comment was all it took to just bury somebody. In my opinion, bury somebody like Booker T and let’s let the world know that you’re a WCW guy and you’re a peon here. It was gonna require lots of work for Booker T to try and come back and he did because he’s a talented guy. And after all the years I’d put into wrestling at that point, it just seemed like a gamble to me.”

The Undertaker vs. Sting

WWE Dream Matches

Sting wanted this so badly. It was the one WWE dream match he repeatedly asked for. Through no fault of his own, the fans never got what they had hoped for since WCW closed its doors:

[Sting] “I wanted that dream match with The Undertaker to happen. I was very clear publicly, and I was very clear with WWE, as well. I wanted my last hurrah against ‘Taker. For whatever reason, it just never materialized. To this day, I don’t know why. Maybe ‘Taker never wanted to work with me. I have no idea. I mean, I’ve had good conversations with Taker and we’ve always got along. I don’t know why the match never happened, but it should have happened. Because it wasn’t going to happen, and I knew it, and that wasn’t the only reason why I left WWE, but it’s one of the reasons why I left.

I wanted that one last match. It wasn’t a goal of mine to get back in the ring. The only thing I thought I might do is have a cinematic match against Undertaker when I was with WWE. We weren’t able to come to an agreement. Tony Schiavone reached out to me and asked if I wanted to come play and let him know.

A year later and I thought WWE isn’t working out, and I didn’t want to disappear with my tail between my legs. I hate that. I had no idea what I could offer AEW, but I called Tony and he asked if I would be interested in doing cinematic matches. I said I would like to do that and now, Tony is talking about matches on Dynamite. We’ll see what happens there. To be back on TNT is a cool element to it. It’s great to have guys like Jim Ross, Tony, Dustin, Tully and Arn around.”

The Undertaker tells us he wishes Sting had come to WWE sooner. Also, the main reason they never had their match was because he wasn’t physically able, and felt it would tarnish his legacy. After the cinematic Boneyard match against AJ Styles, The Undertaker retired and hammered in the last nail:

[The Undertaker] “Yeah, I get that a lot. Sting stayed down in WCW for so long and then, you know, he went somewhere else and that window kind of closed and I know he kind of showed up at the end. The way people see that, it looks much better on paper than it actually would’ve been. It’s one of those matches that people will talk about forever.

“Yeah, there were never… we never called each other, ‘hey would you like to do this super match, mega match’ or whatever. My schedule was always full… there were always guys waiting. I mean, being completely honest, at this point, it would have been cool in the 90s. Even, it would have been cool in the early 2000s. But there’s a reason why the last ride came about and I’ve called it a day. Although I have it here, and I have it in my heart to do, my body just doesn’t cooperate with the other two factors in that. So it becomes really difficult. I just don’t want people to get a watered-down version of that character.”


Also Read: Women’s Revolution in Wrestling: Who Deserves the Utmost Credit? Vol. 3

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