The year is only halfway over, but we have quite a bit of idiocy going on in this strange world we call wrestling. Much of that idiocy from the first six months are likely nominees for WrestleCrap’s annual Gooker Award. In the past, we’ve had the botching of the most anticipated wrestling angle ever, the year-long exploitation of a legendary wrestler not long after his passing, and most recently, the tie of a frustrating women’s angle involving two “athletes”, and the revelation that the wrestling biggest promoter in the world is as out-of-touch as C.M. Burns about Don Mattingly’s sideburns. Well his year has no lack of stpidity. Whether we’re talking about not giving the fans what they want yet again, attempted murder in a storyline, or booking someone as a face without ever turning them such, 2015 certainly has brought many fans something to rage about, so we decided to go over the top contenders the year has brought us so far, and the likelihood of them making it to nomination.
For this, we must first lay down two rules. First, it has to be something that was presented in an on-screen wrestling program. This leaves out Seth Rollins’ “overexposure” months before he was in every other segment on WWE TV, nor our own Dixie allegedly proving that Gmail, let alone running a company, can be “quite difficult darlin’.” Therefore, it had to have been something on TV, a DVD set, an iPPV, or streaming on WWE Network. Second, it can’t be a gimmick or angle that got tremendously better in the timeframe of January-June. So The New Day can breathe a positive sigh of relief, at least before Brock Lesnar throws Kofi Kingston clear across Japan. With that out of the way, we bring you the list of victims on the figurative firing line.
The Booking of the 2015 Royal Rumble
RD Reynolds wrote in the description of last year’s Rumble “appointed golden boy Dave Batista was booed out of the building as fans chanted over and over for Daniel Bryan.” One would think WWE would do what it could to avoid this happening again. Well between the still as popular as ever Bryan being eliminated like a regular midcarder, and other favorites Dolph Ziggler, Bray Wyatt and Dean Ambrose being dumped out like garbage by two aging giants, the vision of Roman Reigns as the conquering WrestleMania hero was dead long before The Rock’s puzzled face became meme fodder of the year and #CancelWWENetwork became a worldwide trend. The real shock will be if 2016 sees a winner fans will approve of.
The likelihood: Quite strong. WWE learned the nothing from the previous year’s battle the internet waged after their mistake. This time instead of a legend that could, and did, rebound, it was the man they were desperately trying to make into the next big wrestling star. Because of both the Rumble, and their decision to have Reigns win over Bryan clean, WWE had to go with a mostly illogical method of having Seth Rollins use his Money in the Bank contract to be inserted into the match when WWE found fans were mixed on Reigns and cheering the match’s mega-heel Brock Lesnar, because the latter had re-signed. While Reigns is winning back fans, it is still a long way before his sadly tarnished image can shine once again. Will this make it to a nomination? You can believe that.
The Sting vs. Triple-H Feud
Some fans wanted to see Sting never sign with WWE, others wanted the man to sign if only to see him challenge The Undertaker’s streak at WrestleMania. Well with no streak match to speak of, it was decided to build-up to Sting facing Triple-H at the big one. This saw, among other things, Heath Slater being used as a stand-in for Sting accepting the challenge to appear at Fast Lane, and the eventual match that saw the aged D-Generation X and the nWo interfere. All topped off with what was framed as Triple-H winning a promotional war that was long dead. If one listens closely, after the match they can hear Vince burning cash before flushing it down a toilet in San Fran.
The likelihood: Up in the air. The anger fans have stems partly from the fact that Sting’s WWE debut saw him help to bring an end the Authority for all of a month and a half. Both this waste of a debut, and the fact that this match was framed as “The final ultimate decisive battle of the Invasion” by a promotion lead by a man that can’t sit his ego down to create a great WrestleMania moment, make this match a sore spot for fans that waited for Sting to make his appearance for over a decade. What may lessen this hit, and possibly keep it from that possible Gooker, is what could happen in the next few months. If Sting does something positive around Summerslam, then like Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt, most will be forgiven.
Chris Jericho “Interviews” Stephanie McMahon
After Stone Cold Steve Austin got Triple-H to say on Austin’s podcast that the main reason Chyna’s not in the Hall of Fame is because his kid can Google, WWE decided to give Chris Jericho’s show some time to shine on the network. After an innocent interview with John Cena, a big interview with the top female executive was planned. What followed was a series of questions too soft to be called softball. Easy questions about a company party, and a childhood crush on John “Bo Duke” Schneider, were only countered with one question about the #GiveDivasAChance trend. Thankfully Austin would return just in time to interview Paul Heyman. Though it robbed the World of knowing which Darren on Bewitched he preferred.
The Likelihood: Not too likely. While many fans wanted more than one question of substance, it was expected as a result of Jericho’s loyalty that we’d get an interview even most state-sponosored “journalists” in dictatorships would label soft. And while it may still get a nod just so we have another Network-based nomination, we feel that this feels more like Million Dollar Mania in the sense that as bad is it was, there was/will be far worse things in the year to knock it away.
“James Storm Murders Mickie James” Angle
While many fans in the possible dying days of TNA enjoy the show, there are still a few headscratchers that even aggravate them. Despite Magnus doing everything he could to show is bride-to-be that Storm was not being genuine with his intentions, she still went alone to see him. When she turned him down, Storm responded by throwing Mickie onto traintracks. The commentators barely acknowledged this, and fans were left waiting a week to find out someone pulled her off the tracks. Both this, and Storm winning the big revenge match, are big enough indications that maybe Billy Corgan was not the best person to hire.
The Likelihood: Quite strong. This feud started off great. Storm seemingly being a good friend to Mickie, while Magnus saw Storm only wanted to get into her pants (Or in this instance, have her join his stable). But once Storm got friendzoned, he tried to kill her. Magnus decided rather than go to the police, something a real life fan did, mind you, he decided he’d rather beat him in a wrestling match. When the match happened, Storm was able to win that match too. After both this and having MVP drop a precision N-bomb, we’re certain Corgan is trying to out-Russo Russo. We now worry about what his “Big progressive” angle was going to be.
All Things Nikki Bella
Once again, we have an instance where someone’s year is Gooker-worthy. This time #GiveDivasAChance becomes WWE's own corrupt a wish. Nikki’s year saw her first feud with Paige contain such lowlights as stealing Paige’s gear, which forced her to steal someone’s fairy dress, and giving her a forced spray tan. After losing to Paige and the departing AJ Lee at WrestleMania, Nikki was booked as a face, despite never actually turning, to face a heel Naomi. This feud saw Naomi recruit Tamina Snuka to prevent supposed face Brie Bella from interfering in any more matches. Next an ongoing feud with Paige that has seen several twin switches that make as much sense as a fever dream, and Nikki booked as the biggest Mary Sue this side of Milla Jovovich. We know talent is not sexually transmitted, but Cena hate seems to be.
The Likelihood: Good. Wrestling has seen reigns of terror that have angered fans for all the wrong reasons. This is possibly the worst of them all. Unlike the 2002-2005 reign of Triple-H, or even the 2009-2011 reign of Michelle McCool-Taker, this is centered around someone that is marginally improved as a wrestler. It doesn’t help that the booking often makes no sense. The April-June booking that saw no face turn for her, just showing up booked as having “Worked hard” to be Champion. Though she still needs help from her sister to win. This include Brie dressing up like her, despite the fact she has a noticeably different cup size and figure. Then WWE adds a nice cherry on the sundae that has fallen on the floor by having Nikki sell finishers like she’s Iron Man, and you see why the phrase “X-Pac Heat” is becoming “Bella Heat”. Now we are not sure if she’s going to break AJ Lee’s Championship record, but that’s like Taco Bell replacing Baja Blast with horse urine.
#AxelMania/Damien Mizdow/The Meta Powers
If there has been anyone lost in WWE’s descent into madness, it’s Damien Sandow. His breakup from The Miz was in a throwaway battle royal won by The Big Show. Rather than stand alone as Damien Sandow, he feuded with Miz over the name in a feud that was clearly a rib on Booker T (Well, WCW guys need to be reminded who then bestest, most handsomenest promoter of all time is). His next feud was one with Curtis Axel, who had been doing a Hulk Hogan parody spun from never actually being eliminated from the Royal Rumble. Copying everything Axel said wasn’t enough, as Sandow became Macho Mandow. They would briefly feud with The Ascension, who themselves are doing a gimmick mocking 1980’s tag teams. After this, they would do Superstars duty. Got all that? Good.
Likelihood: If you read all of that, and are either not angry, or laughing that someone thought this was a good idea, then you deserve a Gooker yourself.
The Intercontinental Championship Elimination Chamber Match
Usually, a match isn’t just bad, it is Jenna vs. Sharmell bad. And while this one follows in the tradition of Jeff vs. Sting or 18 Seconds, it is different in how it happened. When Mark Henry’s chamber opened up early, he had no better choice than to enter. Most of the wrestlers were as lost as the commentators that didn’t know Sheamus jammed his lock intentionally. This left Dolph Ziggler to salvage the match. He was calling shots louder than Cena, but in this instance, it was understandable.
Likelihood: Fair. This match fell apart by accident, so to put it with the other bad matches previously named. The reason this match is here is because of the lost concept of calling the match in the ring. It looks to be that only Ziggler could think quickly enough to make sure the match didn’t entirely fall apart. This reminds some of the 1996 Royal Rumble. Here, Steve Austin was supposed to be in the final four, but when he lost his grip on the rope, he was accidentally eliminated early. Leaving the other three, including Shawn Michaels, to figure out the best way to handle this. It may not win, but this match at least has a shot at being nominated.
That is out list of the first half of the WrestleCrap Gooker contenders. Now again, we have the next 6 months to look at, and hope we don’t have anything as insulting as most of what we named. Now enjoy Saturday.