All right, gang… Halloween is on Friday, and I hope you’re all in the holiday spirit. If you’re not really feeling it this year, allow me to try and help you get into the swing of things. Of all the ridiculous things that I take completely seriously, Halloween and professional wrestling are deadlocked at the top spot, so let’s take a look at some WWE mysteries! These are angles or events that… wait, hang on. Something’s missing here. Gotta set the mood.
There we go. Let that run for a while and read this in your best Robert Stack voice. Like I was saying, these are angles or events that happened and then just sort of vanished, free of any narrative consequence. If you’re like me, you wanted answers and satisfying conclusions, but you never got any. For each of these five paradoxes, I’ll give a summary of the angle and then whether or not any closure whatsoever was given in later years. And then, just for good measure, I’ll list how I would have ended each one. Ready? Let’s get speculative!
(Please stop the Unsolved Mysteries music, it gave me the creeps as a kid and still kind of freaks me out today.)
Kane Vs. Himself
What Happened: It was the summer of 2006, and the original See No Evil was just about to hit theaters. In order to promote this, Kane needed a big storyline – something that would highlight the deep psychological trauma his character experienced on an almost daily basis. And since subtlety doesn’t really work in wrestling, WWE decided to have Kane literally go to war with himself. An impostor (played by current IWGP tag team champion Doc Gallows) began ambushing Kane, culminating in a match at the Vengeance PPV that year. Now, you’re probably thinking that in order to properly tell a story in which a tortured soul battles the mistakes of his past, one needs time and nuance. You’d be right, but WWE saw fit to discard this angle after a month.
Did We Get Closure: Not really, unless the shoot identity of the impostor was a bigger mystery to you than WHY an impostor was on the loose in the first place. The real Kane chucked the fake one out of the arena during Monday Night Raw, and it was never mentioned again.
How I Would Have Ended It: This scenario should have been played as a schizophrenic episode that only Kane and the WWE audience could see, a la Fight Club. Vince McMahon plays the Vengeance 2006 DVD and wonders why there’s a 10-minute blank space in the middle. Kane defeats his demon once See No Evil finishes its run at the box office. Eight years later, See No Evil 2 is released. The visions start again, interfering with Kane’s ability to be an asset to The Authority. Maybe just for continuity’s sake, the impostor is now wearing a Bullet Club shirt.
Did The 2002 Royal Rumble Ever End?
What Happened: Maven Huffman won the inaugural season of WWE’s Tough Enough and was almost immediately thrown into the deep end of the pool. To prove that this rapid product of the WWE developmental system could succeed, Maven was given the underdog moment of the year when he eliminated The Undertaker from the 2002 Royal Rumble with a critical-hit dropkick. Undertaker, smack-dab in the middle of BIG EVIL MODE, quickly got back in the ring and ejected Maven from the ring… but not over the top rope, as per the Shawn Michaels Rule. Triple H was ultimately declared the winner of the match, but to this very day, there are TWO men who entered the 2002 Rumble and were never sent over the top rope.
Did We Get Closure: Not that I know of. There was a bit of a callback spot in the 2003 Rumble where Maven unsuccessfully tried to eliminate ‘Taker in the exact same fashion, but I think that’s the most attention WWE ever gave this.
How I Would Have Ended It: I like the idea of a pocket dimension existing where Triple H and Maven are still battling for the right to headline WrestleMania X8, but that’d be hard to film. Instead, I would have booked Maven as a surprise entrant in the 2011 Royal Rumble (remember, that was a forty-man rumble) where he would be eliminated almost instantly. Then, he gets back in the ring, claiming that he’s now “even,” only to get flung over the top rope again.
How Did Hornswoggle Seize Control of an International TV Broadcast?
What Happened: Break out the string and cork-board, this one’s a bit of a tangled web. In June of 2010, Monday Night Raw GM Bret Hart was attacked by The Nexus, effectively removing him from active duty. To replace Hart and protect future positions of authority from further attacks, the new Raw General Manager was kept anonymous and limited to communication via e-mail. The anonymous GM called the shots for over a year, until John Laurinaitis took the position. AJ Lee would be John’s successor, but during the weeks between their reigns, there was a power vacuum which the anonymous GM was called upon to fill on July 9, 2012. That was the night Santino Marella discovered that Hornswoggle had been sending the e-mails (FROM UNDER THE RING) all along. Yes, a leprechaun had been running WWE’s flagship TV show for over a year. Yes, they expected us to be okay with that explanation.
Did We Get Closure: Sort of. We finally knew who the anonymous GM was, but that opened up so many more questions. How does a novelty wrestler rise to a position of authority so quick? Did no one on the ring crew notice a leprechaun with a portable Wi-Fi hotspot every Monday night for over a year?
How I Would Have Ended It: Remember how Hornswoggle was revealed to be Mr. McMahon’s illegitimate son in 2008, but five months later Finlay admitted to being the real father? In my version of this, McMahon struck a deal out of shame. He was so embarrassed by the scandal that he offered both Finlay and Hornswoggle positions of power within WWE… all they had to do was lie. Vince is free of the burden of a bastard son, Finlay gets a cushy job as a road agent once he’s done wrestling, and Hornswoggle gets to anonymously run Monday Night Raw however he sees fit. Everyone wins! Speaking of Vince McMahon…
How Would The “Vince Is Dead” Angle Have Played Out?
What Happened: It’s June 2007, and Vince McMahon walks into a limousine that promptly explodes. WWE’s official website reports that he is “presumed dead.” If you could get past the unintentional comedy of a billionaire getting the Marvin The Martian treatment, you realized that this could turn Monday Night Raw into a murder mystery. It would be the summer of “Who Killed The Boss?”
And then, Chris Benoit went and made himself famous. The angle was immediately dropped. No one wants to watch a murder mystery when ACTUAL murder is in the news.
Did We Get Closure: More so than any other item on this list, I suppose. Vince came back later in the summer to reveal that it was all an “If I died, would anyone miss me?” social experiment. Maybe that was the original plan all along, maybe it wasn’t. Something tells me that the emergency brake was pulled on this story very early on, and we didn’t get to see the full thing.
How I Would Have Ended It: Obviously, I would have ended it WITHOUT one of the most prolific murder-suicides in American pop culture. But as far as the narrative elements go, let me direct your attention to the “final” clip of Vince.
There is SO MUCH to work with here. It’s the wrestling version of the final dance scene from Fellini’s 8 1/2. It introduces every possible suspect. I’m not sure who I would have be the actual culprit, but if I were Stephanie or Shane McMahon, I’d start the interrogation with Paul London here.
That is the biggest “Guess who just pooped in the punch bowl” grin I have ever seen. Dude is up to something.
The Strange Case of Hade Vansen
What Happened: For my money, this is the big one. In terms of how quickly this was dropped and how little context we were ever given, I feel like nothing comes close to this. This is Area 51, the Nazca Lines, and D.B. Cooper rolled into one. Eighty-three seconds of footage with not a damn answer in sight.
Here’s what we do know – Hade Vansen was in the WWE developmental system for a while before this clip aired. He eventually had some momentum behind him, and the plan was for him to debut on Smackdown in an angle with The Undertaker. On December 12, 2008, the audience saw this…
…and Hade Vansen was never heard from again.
Did We Get Closure: HELL NO WE DIDN’T. Vansen was released from WWE just a month after that clip debuted. There were no more vignettes, no cryptic warnings, nothing. He would soon quit wrestling altogether. Hade Vansen vanished after eighty-three seconds of fame. #2SPOOKY
How I Would Have Ended It: I’m about to make one hell of a leap here, so strap in. Does anything about Hade strike you as familiar? His speech patterns, his obsession with darkness, his tendency to distort the video feed? Think about it for a second. Search your feelings, you know it to be true.
The same demon that inhabits the body of Husky Harris and takes the name “Bray Wyatt” has been floating around the WWE for at least six years, and Hade Vansen was its prior host. Don’t ask me to book the end of this angle… I think it’s still in progress.
What unsolved mysteries from the world of wrestling have I neglected? Leave a comment if you think of any. Join us next time, when we find out who gives a sh*t about Bigfoot.