5 WWE Stars who reluctantly agreed to participate in a storyline

WWE writers are tasked with the responsibility of creating hundreds of storylines per year. Those ideas eventually make their way to WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, who has the final say on which storyline developments appear on television.

With so many superstars waiting for opportunities on RAW and SmackDown, television time is often limited for some of WWE’s most talented performers.

As a result, turning down pitches from the company’s creative team is a risk that some superstars and non-wrestling personalities do not want to take. Others, however, have no problem telling WWE’s decision-makers about their reservations when a questionable storyline has been created for them.

In this article, let’s take a look at five WWE on-screen talent who reluctantly agreed to take part in a certain storyline.


#5 Seth Rollins reluctantly agreed to WWE splitting up The Shield

Although Seth Rollins’ on-screen character was responsible for The Shield’s demise in 2014, the man behind the villainous persona was strongly against WWE’s idea.

Rollins said on Notsam Wrestling in 2017 that he thought The Shield had a lengthy run ahead of them as babyfaces. However, WWE’s higher-ups had other ideas.

“It was thrust upon us very quickly. I don’t know if that story [has] been told or not, but we were not prepared so well for the break-up – ‘yeah, you’re going this way, you’re going this way, you’re going that way’ sort of thing. Well, no [they did not want to break up], we weren’t ready for it,” Rollins said. [H/T Wrestling Inc.]

After a 15-month run as a heel faction, The Shield became babyfaces in February 2014 in the build-up to WrestleMania 30. The Hounds of Justice defeated Evolution at back-to-back pay-per-views after WrestleMania before Rollins betrayed Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns on RAW.

While Ambrose and Reigns continued to work as babyfaces for several years, Rollins turned heel and aligned with Authority members Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.

All three men went on to become main-event singles stars and WWE Champions before reforming on three separate occasions between 2017 and 2019.

#4 The Miz was reluctant to participate in John Cena parody skits on WWE SmackDown

John Cena and Nikki Bella defeated The Miz and Maryse in a mixed tag team match at WWE WrestleMania 33 in 2017. Following the match, Cena proposed to his then-girlfriend in front of over 75,000 fans at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida.

The build-up to the match revolved around The Miz and Maryse making fun of Cena and Nikki’s lavish lifestyle. The Miz & Mrs. stars dressed as their opponents on WWE SmackDown and imitated them in several parody skits.

Speaking to Sports Illustrated in January 2018, The Miz said he initially rejected WWE’s comedy segment idea.

“I didn’t want to do it at first. I just didn’t know if it would be good. When I go out there, I set out to do something memorable. Something great. And when I first heard the pitch of, ‘Hey, do you want to imitate them?’ I was like, ‘I don’t know. I don’t know if it’ll be great. I don’t know if it’ll be good.’ I kinda turned it down,” The Miz said.

The Miz eventually agreed to take part in the parody skits after he began imitating John Cena’s voice during a car ride with Maryse. He said Maryse never laughs at anything, so he knew the segments would be good after his Cena impression made her laugh.

#3 Paul Heyman was reluctant to align with anyone else in WWE after Brock Lesnar

Paul Heyman revealed in an interview with Sports Illustrated in May 2021 that he was initially reluctant to align with Roman Reigns on WWE television.

The former ECW owner worked as Brock Lesnar’s on-screen ally in 2002 before representing The Beast Incarnate again between 2012 and 2020. When Lesnar’s WWE contract expired in 2020, Heyman began a new role as Reigns’ special counsel.

“I cannot begin to convey how reluctant I was to ever do anything in this industry after the eight years, let alone the 18 years, that I put together with Brock Lesnar,” Heyman said.

Heyman added that Reigns was the only person he seriously considered partnering with after his lengthy association with Lesnar.

“For me to pursue, in front of the camera, life after Brock Lesnar, the only lure that could seduce me to even attempting such an impossible goal was to do it with someone that would live their life in the pursuit of achieving that impossibility, and that’s Roman Reigns,” Heyman stated.

Reigns won the Universal Championship at WWE Payback 2020 just two days after his alliance with Heyman began. In the subsequent 12 months, Heyman watched from ringside as The Tribal Chief retained his title against superstars including Daniel Bryan, Edge, and John Cena.

#2 Chris Jericho reluctantly agreed to face Fandango at WWE WrestleMania 29

Chris Jericho famously had reservations about working with Fandango at WWE WrestleMania 29 in 2013.

The former WWE Champion recalled on Busted Open Radio in 2019 that he vented his frustrations to The Undertaker about Vince McMahon’s WrestleMania idea.

The iconic superstar advised Jericho that he would gain more respect from McMahon if he did what the WWE Chairman wanted.

“And Undertaker said, ‘Do it. What’s the problem? That’s who he wants you to work – work him!’ He said, ‘If you go and do your best and get this match over, and get this guy over, Vince will respect you more. And even if you don’t, this is your job,’” Jericho said, recalling his conversation with The Undertaker.

Jericho, a former contestant on American dance competition Dancing with the Stars, went on to lose a nine-minute match against the debuting Fandango.

Speaking on the Such Good Shoot podcast in 2021, Fandango said he had no issues with Jericho not wanting to face him. He added that Vince McMahon almost certainly created his villainous dancer gimmick because he thought Jericho’s Dancing with the Stars appearance was “stupid.”

“Chris did an amazing job at getting me over and I don’t blame him. It’s a ridiculous character. Look at it this way, guys, so Vince thought it was probably stupid that he went on Dancing with the Stars, right? Vince thought Bryan Danielson was crazy to be a vegan. So anything that Vince thinks is stupid, he’ll make a character out of it, right?” Fandango said.

Jericho’s storyline with Fandango continued after WrestleMania 29. A month later, Jericho defeated his rival at WWE Extreme Rules to bring an end to their two-month feud.

#1 Daniel Bryan reluctantly agreed to headline WWE WrestleMania 37

Roman Reigns was originally supposed to defend his WWE Universal Championship against Edge in a one-on-one match in the main event of WrestleMania 37. However, in the weeks leading up to the pay-per-view, WWE added Daniel Bryan to the match to turn it into a triple threat.

While most superstars would have no doubts about headlining WrestleMania, Bryan felt that Reigns vs. Edge was a strong enough match without his presence.

Speaking to BT Sport, the two-time WrestleMania main-eventer revealed that he even asked not to be added to the match.

“I kept trying to get out of it too. I was like, ‘This is a heck of a story, 10 years to the day that he [Edge] was forced to retire.’ Gosh, it was shortly after Elimination Chamber and in the build-up to the singles match I had with Roman at Fastlane. I was like, ‘This is going to be a stick Daniel Bryan in here thing.’ Not to say that I didn’t want to be a part of it, but I just thought it was such a strong main event just the two of them. Everybody has their thing,” Bryan said. [H/T Wrestling Inc.]

Bryan was previously added to another WrestleMania main event – Randy Orton vs. Batista – in 2014. On that occasion, his popularity grew to such an extent that fans left WWE’s decision-makers with little choice but to add him to the match.

The former WWE Champion felt that the WrestleMania 30 main event needed him due to his undeniable momentum at the time. However, he did not feel the same way about WrestleMania 37.


 

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