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Sunday, March 25, 2012

The 20 Worst WrestleMania Matches Ever

by Justin Henry


OTHER WRESTLEMANIA ARTICLES
Complete History of WrestleMania, I-XXVII
The 50 Greatest WrestleMania Matches


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(**All photo credits are to World Wrestling Entertainment. I own nothing except the logo above and the written words provided**)

With WrestleMania XXVIII just one week away, I thought it would be fun, in a morbid, car-crash sense, to look back at some of the worst matches ever put forth on wrestling's "grandest stage."

To make things interesting, I've left out much of the two to four minute random matches from the earlier years (your Koko-Reed's, your Bravo-Duggan's, etc), since WrestleMania was once booked to be a show of 6 or 7 big matches, and 6 or 7 filler matches just to get everyone involved. To penalize them for just providing quick filler would be pointless. I'm talking about matches that had some kind of significance. Those listed that were insignificant were so awful, that they HAD to be included.

Here, now, the twenty worst matches in WrestleMania history.

(KNOCKED OFF: Bret Hart vs. Bob Backlund, WrestleMania XI)


20. Chavo Guerrero vs. Kane (ECW Championship) - WrestleMania XXIV, March 30, 2008
RIP ECW Championship. Having Steve Corino as champion was atrocious enough. Having Vince McMahon as champion was worse. Seeing the title change hands in eight seconds at the biggest wrestling show of the year is enough to make Paul Heyman asphyxiate himself with a handful of bounced checks.






19. Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice - WrestleMania VIII, April 5, 1992
Was it really necessary to end a good WrestleMania with this abomination? Hogan's farewell match (BWAHAHAHAHAHA) was to have him beat the man who cost him a chance to become WWF Champion at the 1992 Rumble, the unreliable, scissor-wielding, softball king. How bad is it? Sid took a moment out of the BIGGEST MATCH OF HIS LIFE to trash talk a camera for 30 seconds. Sid kicked out of a Hogan legdrop (believed to be a "fuck you" from McMahon to Hogan), and Harvey Wippleman and Papa Shango ran in for a DQ. Yes, WrestleMania ended with a DQ. Fortunately, Ultimate Warrior made his grand return after seven months away and cleaned house.


18. Melina vs. Ashley (Women's Championship/Lumberjills Match) - WrestleMania XXIII, April 1, 2007
I realize this is just a 'filler' match, but the likes of Mickie James and Victoria, two respected women's wrestlers who have since gone on to TNA, where they're allowed to have matches longer than two minutes, were standing among the cheesecake at ringside, watching Ashley Massaro 'wrestle' with all the percision of Artie Lange having a seizure. Melina may have done better in this match had her opponent not smelled like the bathroom floor at The Viper Room.


17. Psycho Sid vs. The Undertaker (WWF Championship) - WrestleMania XIII, March 23, 1997
Sid's had two matches at WrestleMania, both were main events, and both sucked. Bret Hart interfered three times in this horrid hoss fight, which wasn't doing it any favors. Undertaker went to 6-0 here, but with a catch: Sid allegedly shit his tights during the match, which make the final Tombstone a rather trying one for the "Dead Man".


16. Yokozuna vs. Lex Luger (WWF Championship) - WrestleMania X, March 20, 1994
In between Bret and Owen Hart tearing the house down, and Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon making ladders a trendy in-ring accessory, you had Yoko and his three time-killing nerveholds, and Luger with his inability to have good matches with anyone not named Sting, Flair, and Steamboat. In the match ending angle (referee Mr. Perfect screwing Luger) went nowhere. This couldn't drag down one of the greatest Manias ever, but it certainly tried.


15. Bobby Lashley vs. Umaga (Battle of the Billionaires) - WrestleMania XXIII, April 1, 2007
Why bother showing either participant here? They were secondary to Vince McMahon and Donald Trump's Duke Brothers-inspired feud, and the match was certainly nothing special either. Lashley and Umaga are capable of great matches with more seasoned, experienced stars, but not with each other. One of the most hyped matches in recent memory was a complete clunker. Even Vince getting his head shaved afterward couldn't revive the silent crowd of 80,000 plus.



14. Rick Rude vs. Jake Roberts (First Round Tournament Match) - WrestleMania IV, March 27, 1988
Both men, to me, are among the ten greatest heels in wrestling history. Their feud in 1988, with Jake as a face, over Jake's wife Cheryl was "Attitude before Attitude." However, their match in the first round of the World Championship tournament was fifteen minutes of rest holds, lulling the Atlantic City crowd into a deathly coma. By the time it ended in a draw, the bell served as our collective alarm clock.


13. Macho Man Randy Savage vs. George Steele (Intercontinental Championship) - WrestleMania II, April 7, 1986
If you've seen one Steele match, you've seen them all: chase the heel around the ring, grunt a lot, tear the turnbuckle pad open, then bite the heel. Making matters worse was guest commentator Susan St. James (wife of the man who gave Eddie Murphy his biggest break, Dick Ebersol) cheering for Steele with such colorful imperatives ("ALRIGHT, GEORGE, EAT HIS LEG!"). Savage winning was the only saving grace.




12. Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole - WrestleMania XXVII, April 3, 2011
On the surface, I had no issues with this match going in. I do love the clusterfucks with a million run-ins and silly chicanery, because they're nice contrasts to the two or three great matches that WrestleMania offers. But when Cole spends an extended period on offense, with the match creeping to a halt (a $55 halt for home viewers), and the match ends with Cole winning on a reverse decision, thus not blowing off the feud, then it's a good way to help ruin the biggest night of the year. Remember, Sheamus and Daniel Bryan got bumped from this very same show. Life isn't fair.



11. The Boogeyman vs. Booker T/Sharmell - WrestleMania XXII - April 2, 2006
Nothing had a chance of topping Edge and Mick Foley's veritable death match in the preceding spot on the card, so WWE sacrificed this silly exhibition. Hard to say what Booker's WrestleMania low point was: getting buried by HHH at 19, working the pre-show battle royal at 21, or this. Sharmell ran screaming from the ring, and the human night crawler finished off her husband moments later with the Goodnight, though it was anything but.


10. Terri vs. The Kat (Out of the Ring Challenge) - WrestleMania 2000, April 2, 2000
To win, you just had to knock your opponent out of the ring in any capacity. You'd think the office had such little faith in these two that they didn't think either was capable of performing a credible pinfall. The lone highlight was Kat being such a sore loser that she ripped apart Terri's body stocking, providing us all with a delectable back shot. Small miracles, I suppose.


9. Sable vs. Tori (Women's Championship) - WrestleMania XV, March 28, 1999
Hard to say what was uglier: Tori's catsuit, or the fact that Nicole Bass showed up in the matches' waning moments. Tori may have been the most clueless women's wrestler in WWE history, shocking, since she was apparently a star in the ladies' indies years before as Terri Power. The crowd in Philly had no qualms about shitting on this one, as Tori botched everything she attempted.




8. Big Show vs. Akebono (Sumo Match) - WrestleMania XXI, April 3, 2005
The previous two matches could have been salvaged with some exposed breasts, to at least satiate the horny males (and selective open-minded females). Leave it to this match to fulfill the saggy tits quota for this list. Though if WWE wants to do a similar match this year with Naomi and Layla in those cloth mawashis, I'd abide by that. This match did nothing, except add to Show's legendary WrestleMania futility, and give Cody Rhodes fodder.


7. The Undertaker vs. Big Bossman (Hell in a Cell) - WrestleMania XV, March 28, 1999
Just gander at the picture on the left. Yes, not only was a man hanged, but Michael Cole on commentary expressed his shock and disgust about it. Then four seconds later, he changed tone and said, "Well folks, coming up next--", as if he had just forgotten that a man was vertically asphyxiated before his very eyes. See kids, Cole's been a dumbass for a loooong time. Oh, and the match was probably the worst Hell in a Cell ever, with about as much ultraviolence as a game of Parcheesi.




6. Jake Roberts vs. Rick Martel (Blindfold Match) - Wrestlemania VII, March 24, 1991
Has there ever been a good blindfold match in the annals of wrestling history? After Martel had blinded Roberts in one eye with his Arrogance atomizer, the grudge match would be decided with an even playing field. There's a certain novelty to seeing Jake use the crowd to help him find Martel by pointing randomly, and then listening for the crowd to cheer in affirmation when he pointed at the Model, but there was such little contact that it made things quite boring. Roberts won, so at it had a happy ending, at least.


5. The Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzalez - WrestleMania IX, April 4, 1993
I like The Dead Man, but his path to 19-0 at WrestleMania was filled with many a shitstorm once upon a time. In theory, pairing him with an opponent who's 7'7" would be a great story, as the Grim Reaper may finally meet his match. Sadly, Gonzalez, rest his soul, was so awful, nobody could get watchable matches out of him. The Giant's selling makes Eve Torres' acting look like Meryl Streep in comparison. Taker won on a DQ, as Gonzalez gagged him with an ether-soaked cloth. The real losers: those watching.


4. Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar - WrestleMania XX, March 14, 2004
Three of the top fourteen worst matches at WrestleMania have had Steve Austin as a referee. Coincidence? Goldberg and Lesnar were both out the door following this show, and the New York crowd rained down hard with caustic chants and general distaste. For their part, Goldberg and Lesnar put forth the least inspired match of their respective careers, wrestling at a speed only practiced by hobbyists who assemble ships inside wine bottles. Goldberg won, Austin beat both men up, and that was that.


3. Divas Battle Royal - WrestleMania XXV, April 5, 2009
Oh, where to begin this one. Despite the advertisement of past and present divas being involved, there were no formal introductions, as instead WWE paraded the women to the ring after an interminable performance by Kid Rock. After ten minutes of boring, non-descript action, Santino Marella, in drag, dumped out Beth Phoenix and Melina to win. Then he claimed to be Santino's twin sister Santina, and did a little dance to celebrate. Ever feel your brain cells commit a Jonestown-like mass suicide?

2. Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus (World Heavyweight Championship) - WrestleMania XXVIII, April 1, 2012
Brogue Kick. 18 seconds. Bryan treated like a goof. Sheamus having to endure residual backlash from fans over this farce. I'm convinced Vince McMahon either has a brain tumor, or back injuries from his stunt-show matches are slowing fluid to brain, because there wasn't a single person outside of him, his lackeys, or Sheamus marks that thought this was a good idea.


1. Hulk Hogan vs. Yokozuna (WWF Championship) - WrestleMania IX, April 4, 1993
And there you have it: the biggest bullshit ending of any PPV in wrestling history, and I'm guaranteeing that. Moments after cheating to beat Bret Hart to become champion, Yokozuna's manager Mr. Fuji challenges Hogan ON THE SPOT, as Hulk arrives to protest the injustice. Hogan accepts and, after Fuji accidentally blinds Yoko with the salt, wins the title in less than a minute, making both Hart and Yoko look like idiots. Hogan's ego ruined an already bad show, and it remains the worst match in WrestleMania history.

OTHER WRESTLEMANIA ARTICLES
Complete History of WrestleMania, I-XXVII
The 50 Greatest WrestleMania Matches


Follow Blue Bar Cage on Facebook
Follow Justin Henry on Twitter

13 comments:

  1. Great list except for one missing match: Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon at WrestleMania 26. Without a doubt, that was the biggest waste of time in WrestleMania history (outside of Dwayne Johnson running off at the mouth constantly at WrestleMania 27).

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  2. I'd argue that you've omitted Moolah versus Velvet McIntyre from WM2 which was a botch-o-rama from start to finish. One Man Gang against Savage at WM IV had an utterly non-sensical ending with Gang using a weapon for no good reason in full view of the ref. That would be bad enough, but this was in a semi final match for the World Title - y'know the sort of match no one would deliberately want to throw away. Its an entertaining list though and a reminder of just how many clunkers there's been at 'Mania.

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  3. Can we add Sheamus v. Bryan from WM28 to this list?

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    Replies
    1. When I repost the list in a year, that sounds good. Methinks 2 or 3 would be a good spot. Nothing can top Hogan's moment of greed, I don't believe.

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    2. So you decided not to wait a year. Good, something needed to get Hart/Backlund off this list. It wasn't a good match, but Bret's too hard on it. (His worst match ever? Really?)

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    3. To paraphrase Rick Pitino, I reserve the right to change my mind :)

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  4. You mistakenly have Hart-Backlund listed as WrestleMania IX. It should be WrestleMania XI.

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  5. "(KNOCKED OFF: Bret Hart vs. Bob Backlund, WrestleMania XI)"

    I almost stopped there because what the hell.

    "RIP ECW Championship. Having Steve Corino as champion was atrocious enough."

    I seriously considered stopping there. Corino was pure gold in ECW.

    Also, I'm a huge Daniel Bryan mark. His match with Lance Storm was one of the very best matches of the 2000s. I went to WrestleMania in person (ironically, with parking, costing me less than seeing it on PPV) to see him wrestle (well, that and it was WrestleMania in my backyard).

    I saw NOTHING wrong with it. Poetic justice. I mean, yes, it was a terrible way to make up for last year. It would have been great if they went 20+ minutes. But if you look at it from a storytelling standpoint, with the sneaky heel who took advantage of the slightest opening to steal a title defense getting a taste of his own medicine the very second he lets his guard down, and as clever foreshadowing to the surprise ending of the show, it worked perfectly.

    Yes, it wasn't what we expected, but people weren't expecting Apollo Creed to come out on top in the first Rocky movie. But it worked, because it was the journey that made it all worthwhile in the end.

    This probably won't make you change your mind, but consider this for a second: Bryan Danielson is a WWE main eventer, and had a feature match at a WrestleMania. And will probably be one for years to come. And, despite his loss, he didn't lose any momentum. In fact, I'd say he's even more important to WWE programming.

    Mark my words: When all is said and done, losing in 18 seconds at WrestleMania would be the best thing that WWE could have done for him.

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    Replies
    1. 1. Hart/Backlund shouldn't have been on this list. Bret's WAY too hard on that match; yeah, it's boring as hell, but his worst match ever? Really?

      2. Steve Corino was hot garbage on his best days. Only reason he was ever ECW champ was because everyone else that anyone actually cared about fled for greener pastures(and paychecks that cleared) by that point.

      3. Yeah, people hated Bryan, but they wanted to see him wrestle. The fact that the "YES!" backlash began immediately after that 18 second debacle shows just how cheated fans felt. Ignoring this and spouting that "THE HEEL GOT HIS!" bullshit is probably the dumbest thing I've read on this blog, and I just read the recap of this Bubba Ray/Abyss without his mask feud. (How fucking brainwashed does TNA have everyone that "Bubba Ray Dudley: Possible Main Eventer" is an acceptable idea?)

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    2. And the dumbest thing I've ever read ever in my life is your reply, so at least we have some common ground.

      How much of a jaded "lol I hate this but I still watch" smark are you that you rip on STEVE CORINO of all things?

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    3. Jaded? I do not think that means what you think it means.

      Corino was jobbing to Dusty "Absolute, undeniable proof that fat and ugly is no deterrent to being a wrestler" Rhodes before someone decided he should be ECW champ. He stunk. Period.

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  6. Man, even a year later I'm still pissed about the Bryan-Sheamus debacle. It'd be bad enough if they were only screwed out of one 'Mania match, but Vince effed them two years in a row, and in both cases Bryan-Sheamus was the match I was most excited about. Meanwhile Cole-Lawler got 13 excruciating minutes in 2011 and Maria Menounos got more time than the WHC match in 2012. I can say with 100% certainty that not one PPV buy in 2011 can be credited to the Cole-Lawler match, nor in 2012 to the Menounos match. By the way Vince, I'm still waiting (and I'm sure I'm not alone) for Daniel Bryan to get a WrestleMania spot worthy of him, so he can finally have his 'Mania moment.

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