With the advent of the WWE Network, WWE has seemingly taken charge in preserving and curating the history of professional wrestling for generations to come. In fact, they should probably be credited for simply acquiring as much footage as possible, and allowing it to air on the Network largely unedited, even if it somehow painted WWE itself in a less-than-heroic light. History is written by the winners, after all. But that’s not to say that WWE hasn’t occasionally omitted some of their history over the years. In some cases, entire careers have been wiped out if WWE has deemed it a good idea (although some of them have managed to work their way back into WWE’s good graces over time). Some have been for obvious PR reasons, some have been out of sheer pettiness, and a few are for reasons that nobody outside of Vince McMahon himself even knows, but whatever the case, these are just several of the wrestlers who, at one time or another, were completely erased from WWE.
14. Chris Benoit
We’ll do this one first so we can get it out of the way quickly. In 2007, on the same weekend that he was supposed to be wrestling at a WWE Pay Per View, Chris Benoit murdered his wife and child, then killed himself. It was a terrible tragedy and its after-effects continue to be felt in professional wrestling to this day. While there are potentially good arguments on both sides of this issue, it’s hard to fault WWE for immediately making Benoit a non-existent person in pro wrestling. While they do still maintain content containing Benoit in the Pay Per View and television archives of the WWE Network, his name will never be uttered on WWE TV again, and will never be a part of promotional material for any historical DVD release or nostalgic compilations (for example, while the match he participated in is on the Elimination Chamber DVD set, unlike every other entry, the participants in that specific match are not listed). Of course, this has led to one ridiculous situation, which WWE continues to perpetuate every year at the Royal Rumble with their “By The Numbers” promotional video. Despite the fact it would be easy just to not mention this fact, only two men have entered the Royal Rumble at #1 and won it, and one of them is Chris Benoit. WWE continues to include this trivia every year, but only shows footage of Shawn Michaels, who also performed that feat, which you would imagine has led to less-informed fans and younger viewers asking “Wait, who was the second guy?” Again, it’s impossible to blame WWE for removing Benoit from their history, but at the same time, they probably shouldn’t be releasing videos that only serve to bring him back to the attention of fans.