Back to the future: What would Superstars change if they could?
WWE history is filled with iconic events that changed the tide of sports-entertainment forever. But what if one moment in time was different? What if a Superstar lost a career-defining match instead of won? What if someone said no when they should have said yes?
WWE.com asked eight WWE Superstars to name a time in their careers where a different outcome would have changed everything. From Daniel Bryan’s first decision as an aspiring Superstar to the biggest match of Dolph Ziggler’s career, these are the moments that made all the difference.
“One of my favorite matches of all-time is me against Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship at Royal Rumble 2011. No one expected me to win that match. Going into the bout, the crowd was cheering for Edge and booing me. Halfway through the match, the crowd changed. I think it was because of how great Edge was and because I could keep up. The crowd was pulling for me. I eventually won the match because of the Spear loophole (it was banned). The title was vacated, it was awarded to me and in the same night, there was a rematch and I lost in three minutes. If I could go back and change the match at Royal Rumble to have won fair and square, I think my career would have taken a different trajectory. If I could get just one more match with Edge, maybe it could have been my title on the line against his career.”
“I’m OK with ups and downs. They make you a better person overall. I’ve lived by the philosophy, ’Don’t regret anything, be accountable for your own decisions, your success and your failures and learn from every one of them.’ I wouldn’t change any matches or outcomes. I don’t take any opportunity lightly.”
“I never look back. I only look forward and the fact that this question has been asked demonstrates a lack of knowledge by everyone at WWE.com. It reinforces what I continually tell my client, BROCK LESNAR, that I am the last visionary left in this industry.”
“There are a million things in my career that could have been different. I was originally supposed to go to the Dean Malenko School of Wrestling, but it was closed and I decided to go to Shawn Michaels’ school. The Malenko School philosophy was different. They weren’t pushing for people to just go to WWE. But, because I went to Michaels’ school, I met and trained with William Regal — the biggest influence on my career. Because of Regal, I went and competed in Europe. If I had gone to Malenko’s school, I wouldn’t have trained with Regal and done those things.”
“ The Breakthrough Battle Roya l. It was a special episode of Raw with Jesse ’The Body’ Ventura as guest host. I won that match and faced John Cena for the WWE Championship. If I didn’t win that, I wouldn’t have had that opportunity for the title, which I won. It raised my profile, put me on a lot of radars, including one that led to a WrestleMania match with Triple H. If Kofi Kingston or Randy Orton won that match, things would have been very different. Who knows where my career would have gone? There was certainly a lot of pressure being a new Superstar, but you take an opportunity when you get it. Anyone else would have done the same thing.”
“A career turning point for me was my rivalry with Randy Orton. The highlight of that was when I destroyed his race car. I had the crowbar and I was told that the glass was shatterproof. Well, there I am on top of the car and I smashed the windshield and it broke. I was talking as I was smashing it, but my mind was still on being told the glass wasn’t breakable. So I jumped from the top to the hood and stepped on some of the glass. I could have easily fallen through — not to mention all the damage I could have done to my leg. It happened again with the paint. I slipped on the paint and if I had fallen, that would have been the end of Kofi Kingston.”
“After I graduated from college, I had a job lined up with a finance firm in Dallas. I was making plans to move there when I was approached by Gerald Brisco and Jim Ross to try out for WWE. I had known Gerry for a few years and he hounded me for months. ‘Graduate first,’ he’d say. So going back in time, if I had said, ‘No thanks,’ I’d probably be in an office somewhere in Texas, not traveling the world, not performing and not getting to do what I really love.”
Bad News Barrett
“What if I didn’t win WWE NXT Season One? That’s what jumps out to me. That would have changed everything. Winning WWE NXT allowed me to be the leader of The Nexus and really help establish a name for myself and the other members of the group. That was huge. I felt we were the biggest thing on TV at the time. The fact that I was the leader of The Nexus has helped me tremendously. If I hadn’t been the winner of WWE NXT and then the leader of The Nexus, I wouldn’t have been able to climb the ladder as quickly.”