Monday, July 15, 2024
EditorialWrestling Legacies That Took a Hit in 2015

Wrestling Legacies That Took a Hit in 2015

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2015 hasn’t been particularly forgiving to the legends who have paved the way for professional wrestling to be where it is today. In various different fashions, the stars from previous eras took some big hits this year and we still have a couple of months left to go. Hopefully, the trend won’t continue for quite some time, as enough has already happened to put a dent in the industry.

With the recent news about Jimmy Snuka, this topic was on my mind, so I started reflecting on some of the things that have happened over the past few months both literally and metaphorically.

Releases

After over a decade of being a major part of WWE programming (despite not actively wrestling for large stints due to injuries), the top Hispanic star in the business, Rey Mysterio, parted ways with the company. His absence may not have been felt as far as Monday Night Raw and the like were concerned, but he left a big hole in the marketing department that has yet to be filled. Mysterio was unfortunately involved in the death of Perro Aguayo Jr. on March 21, 2015, which obviously is a tragedy that we all wish would have been avoided.

AJ Lee’s retirement from pro wrestling and her release from WWE on April 3rd is something that we’re still seeing the consequences of. Since then, she’s been out of the spotlight, which is of course disappointing to her fans. At best, she’s enjoying her time away from the squared circle, relaxing and having fun busying herself with other projects. At worst, she’s caught in the middle or a spectator on the sidelines as CM Punk and WWE still bicker with one another. Her biggest legacy in the company is potentially going to be taken away from her by the end of the month as Nikki Bella could potentially surpass her Divas Championship title reign length.

Hulk Hogan’s situation needs no reminder, does it? After years of floundering in TNA, he was able to come back to WWE and start working toward the true twilight of his career as an ambassador for the company, but now he’s in the shadows, cast aside with his legacy tarnished possibly forever. Your mileage may vary on whether or not he should be allowed back into good graces, but there’s no argument that erasing Hulkamania is a significant loss for the sports entertainment industry no matter how you cut it.

Most recently, Jimmy Snuka has found himself in similar murky waters and is now being charged with involuntary manslaughter and third-degree murder in relation to the death of Nancy Argentino in 1983. Supposedly, he’s in such poor health that he can’t even be called upon to testify at trial. WWE has removed him from the record books and distanced themselves from the situation and they’re justified in doing so. The last thing they need right now is more bad publicity and for their name to be dragged through the mud.

Kayfabe Booking

Although The Undertaker technically has 2 wins and no losses under his belt in 2015, it’s easy to see that he’s been booked in a less than favorable light compared to years before. In 2014, he lost the streak and then spent the rest of the year completely missing in action. His return was facilitated by Bray Wyatt literally talking about how The Undertaker was washed up and no longer the mythical warrior he once was. After defeating Wyatt, the next we saw of The Undertaker was his storyline with Brock Lesnar, where he acted like a cowardly heel that had to resort to low blows to barely pull off a tainted victory, if you can call it that. Just a few years ago, The Undertaker was this immortal unstoppable force and in 2014/2015, the man behind the curtain isn’t looking so hot.

Then, there’s Sting. Finally, after decades, the one holdout from WCW made his way to WWE and wrestled his first match at WrestleMania against one of the biggest names in the company…and lost. Womp womp. Now, he’s being booked for Night of Champions against Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but it doesn’t take a fortune teller to see that this probably won’t end well for The Icon, as he’s unlikely to win the title and even less likely to win it and hold it for a decent time, what with Rollins having The Authority’s support and Sheamus lurking with the Money in the Bank briefcase. It’s tough to imagine Sting wrestling a Hell in a Cell match next month defending the title, so he’s either going to lose outright or still come up short through some sort of jackassery. There’s a good chance Sting will end 2015 with a record of 0-2, which is crazy to think about.

Legends Who Passed On

None of the above compares to the biggest losses of all, and unfortunately, there were several instances this year of a wrestling legend passing away for one reason or another.

Verne Gagne was the first to go, passing away on April 27 after suffering from Alzheimer’s. WWE then lost Dusty Rhodes on June 11 and too soon after, Roddy Piper on July 31. There were of course more names from the wrestling world who have crossed over to the great beyond, but those are the biggest names that sent the largest shockwaves through the world of sports entertainment.

Losing anyone from the business is always tough for those who were close to them and with Rhodes and Piper in particular, it seems to have struck a chord with a lot of the performers who are still with us. They were well loved and will be greatly missed, and with things like the current Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament going on in NXT, aren’t going to be forgotten any time soon.

Here’s hoping the rest of 2015 sees no more tragedies, conflicts, diminished careers or anything of the like from the people who have helped make this industry what it is today.

What are your thoughts on these topics? Sound off in the comments below!

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