Not every idea is a good one. For the most part, wrestling matchmakers or bookers can come up with matchups and match ideas that are compelling, and that will appeal to the company’s overall audience. However, for every great idea, like the War Games or the Royal Rumble match, there are several very bad ideas that sometimes are more memorable to wrestling fans than the spectacular matches that companies produce. Many “experts” have said that one of the reasons that World Championship Wrestling went out of business when the company was a few years removed from besting WWE in terms of ratings and PPV buys is because of some forgettable matches.
It would be easy on a list like this to discuss situations like the TNA match between Sting and Jeff Hardy where wrestlers did not give their best efforts, or a match where the two wrestlers did not have good chemistry, but this is broader than that. This is a list of the 15 PPV matches where the idea was very bad, and the execution of the idea was very bad, which made the idea worse in retrospect. These are 15 really bad gimmick matches that WCW presented, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle with what seemed like a good idea at the time.
15 Chamber of Horrors Match – Halloween Havoc 1991
Just the idea that the match was called the Chamber of Horrors was cringe-worthy, but the execution of the match was far worse than the viewer could have imagined. It started off with Barry Windham getting injured before the match, and formerly giving Larry Zbyszko his “cruncher” nickname, as Larry crushed Barry’s hand in a car door. Barry was replaced by El Gigante, but more than his presence, the match featured masked men emerging from coffins inside of the cage that surrounded the ring, and white-clad druids bringing out a stretcher.
The idea was that teams of four fought in a steel cage with weapons, and with an electric chair, the “Chair of Torture”, in the center of the ring. The object was to get one wrestler into the chair while an opposing wrestler threw a switch and electrocuted the wrestler in the chair. The finish came when Abdullah and Rick Steiner were battling over the chair. Cactus, thinking that the Butcher had the upper hand, prepared to throw the switch, but at the last second, Steiner reversed Abdullah, put the Butcher into the chair and shackled his wrists to the chair, all before Cactus threw the switch.
The Butcher was “electrocuted” and rendered unconscious, but woke just in time to beat up all of the druids on his way to the locker room. Beyond wrestling with a huge electric chair in the middle of the ring, Sting, the US Champion, was a non-factor in the match and the fighting was difficult because the chair left no room for the wrestlers to work.
14 Hulk Hogan vs. The Giant – Monster Truck Match – Halloween Havoc 1995
The Giant entered WCW as the son of Andre the Giant, and he immediately began a feud with Hulk Hogan, because Hogan defeated Andre in WrestleMania III, though that match happened eight years prior to this one. The feud began with several attacks on Hogan by the Giant, and culminated with the Giant running over Hulk Hogan’s prized Harley Davidson with a monster truck. In his anger, Hogan challenged the Giant to a monster truck sumo match, and in return, Giant challenged Hogan to a WCW World Title match, both of which took place at Halloween Havoc 1995.
The two trucks were welded together at their front bumpers, and pushed each other around in a circle on top of Cobo Hall in Detroit, a building allegedly five stories high. One truck had to push the other truck out of the circle while trying to avoid two bombs that were strategically placed in the circle. The Giant pushed Hogan over one of the charges, but the explosion had no effect on Hogan’s truck or Hogan, as he no-sold the explosion. Hogan pushed Giant’s truck out of the circle, but an angry Giant left his truck and pursued Hogan.
The two men fought on the roof of Cobo Hall, and Giant slipped off of the roof and allegedly fell five stories into the Detroit River. Somehow, Giant was unharmed by his fall and arrived at the Joe Louis Arena in time for his title match, which he won by DQ, giving the Giant the title.
13 Johnny B. Badd vs. Arn Anderson – Boxer vs Wrestler Match – Uncensored 1995
Arn Anderson was the World Television Champion, and was defeating everyone put in front of him. Johnny was the number one contender for the title, and had faced Anderson in some very close matches. However, as WWE faces with Extreme Rules, Uncensored came around, and therefore, the Anderson/Badd feud was forced into a match befitting of the PPV theme. Since Badd was an ex-boxer, the boxer versus wrestler match was made, and this also allowed the announcers to reference the 1971 Muhammad Ali/Antonio Inoki contest.
There were 10 three-minute rounds with a one minute break between rounds. The stipulation of the match was that Johnny, the boxer, could only win by knockout and Arn, the wrestler, could only win by pinfall or submission. Arn was barehanded while Johnny had on boxing gloves. Johnny dominated the first two rounds until Arn hit a DDT during the break following the second round. Arn then threw Johnny over the top rope, at which point the announcers informed the fans that the match was No-DQ. Arn started using heel tactics and gained control until Johnny’s trainer cut one of Johnny’s gloves off. Johnny hit Arn with a taped-fist punch, knocked Arn out, and won the match.
12 Dustin Rhodes vs Barry Darsow – King of the Road Match – Uncensored 1995
This match opened Uncensored 1995, but the match itself was pre-taped several days prior to the actual show. Darsow, who was using the persona of “The Blacktop Bully”, was feuding with Dustin Rhodes, and it became necessary for the two men to have a match on the back of the Bully’s 18-wheeler. The “ring” for this match was a long flatbed pulled buy a diesel truck cab. The flatbed was surrounded by a 10-ft high wire mesh cage, and was filled with hay bales and a few weapons. The object of the match was for one man to climb the section of the cage right behind of the cab, and honk a horn that was attached to a long pole. This led to the men sitting on top of the cage while the truck was driving down the road.
Perhaps the main issue with the match is the fact that it was difficult to believe that these two men were hurting each other because they were being slammed into hay bales. So because the match didn’t look painful, Dustin and the Bully decided that they needed to bleed in the match, even though the company had instituted a no blood policy in an attempt to be more family friendly nearly 30 years before WWE went PG. With the assistance of agent Mike Graham, the men bladed in the match, and after the match, Rhodes, Darsow and Graham were all released from their contracts. Oh, and Darsow won the match, but the blood was edited out of the PPV broadcast.
11 Dave Sullivan vs. Dallas Page – Arm Wrestling Match – Great American Bash 1995
The story of this match is that Page had just become a millionaire due to a windfall, and as a result, he decided to compete in arm wrestling matches with the stipulation being that if anyone defeated him, they would win a date with Kimberly, the Diamond Doll. Dallas was undefeated in the matches, while Dave Sullivan began pursuing Kimberly. When Dave was injured, Kim gave him a pet rabbit, so Dave accepted Dallas’ arm wrestling challenge, with the stipulation of the match being that if Dave won, he got the date with Kim, but if Page won, he got Dave’s pet rabbit.
As Sullivan was booked as a strong but dumb wrestler, Sullivan was more than a match for Page, so Page’s bodyguard Maxx Muscle constantly attempted to help Page. The end of the match came when Kimberly “accidentally” pushed Maxx Muscle into Page, allowing Sullivan to win the match and the date. The feud continued for a few more weeks, and Page moved on, but within a few months, Sullivan was out of WCW and was finished with wrestling.
10 Kevin Sullivan vs. Brian Pillman - "I Respect You" Strap Match – SuperBrawl 1996
The Horsemen and the Dungeon of Doom were working on an alliance because both factions had a hatred for Hulk Hogan, so the groups agreed to work together to destroy Hogan. The only monkey wrench in this plan was Brian Pillman. Pillman was working on his “Loose Cannon” persona, and his antics seemed to rub Sullivan the wrong way. In addition, seemingly, the Horsemen were having trouble controlling him. In truth, Pillman and Eric Bischoff had hatched a plan where Pillman would get “fired” from WCW and sign with ECW, work on his character, and return to WCW.
The match was supposed to be a strap match where the two men were strapped together at the wrist, and the victory would come when one man said “I respect you” to the other. However, Pillman ran to the ring before he was introduced and jumpstarted the match by attacking Sullivan before the two men could be strapped together. Sullivan survived Pillman’s attack and hit Pillman with a solid punch to Pillman’s jaw. After a few more punches, Pillman broke away from Sullivan, ran to the ref, who had a microphone pinned to his shirt, and said “I respect you…booker man”. Afterwards, Pillman rolled from the ring and power walked to the back while Sullivan stood in the ring confused. Once Pillman was gone, Arn Anderson walked to the ring, strapped himself to Sullivan, and took Pillman’s place in the match.
Soon, Flair came to the ring, broke up the fight, and made peace between the two men, ultimately bringing the two factions together. As for Pillman, he went through with the rouse and signed with ECW, but when he was done in ECW, instead of going back to WCW, he signed with WWE.
9 Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage vs The Alliance to End Hulkamania – Doomsday Cage Match – Uncensored 1996
The Alliance to End Hulkamania was comprised of the Dungeon of Doom, the Horsemen and Jimmy Hart, who at the time was at odds with Hogan and was affiliated with the Dungeon. For this match, The Alliance was Lex Luger, Kevin Sullivan, Arn Anderson, Ric Flair, The Faces of Fear (Barbarian and Meng), Jeep Swenson, who was appearing as “The Ultimate Solution”; and actor Tom “Tiny” Lister, who appeared in the film No Holds Barred, and at a trio of WWE PPVs as “Zeus”. Aside from the fact that the match was eight against two, Hogan and Savage were forced to fight their way down a three-tiered cage instead of fight their way up, as things are normally done.
The layout of the match was that Hogan and Savage would start at the top of the cage facing Arn and Flair, and would fight their way through a trap door in the floor to the section in the second level where the Faces of Fear were housed. Then they would go through a door to Luger and Sullivan, and then out of the cage, down some stairs to the floor, through a door at the base of the cage, and into the ring where Lister and Swenson were to be waiting. If Hogan or Savage got pinned or submitted at any point, they lost, but all they had to do was escape to the next point to be able to continue.
Hogan and Savage escaped the first two levels, and locked the men that they had defeated in the cage. The Mega Powers fought Luger and Sullivan all over the arena while the others freed themselves, and by the time that the fight came back to the ring, Hogan and Savage were fighting eight men. However, the refs sent everyone to the back except Lister and Swenson. The others returned, and the Mega Powers needed help from Brutus Beefcake to gain a victory. The rules seemed pretty clear, but the execution was a disaster.
8 Madusa vs Bull Nakano – Battle of the Bikes – Hog Wild 1996
Because the card was Hog Wild, and was being held in conjunction with the annual Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, some of the matches had to have a motorcycle theme, and there had to be at least one match that centered on a dispute between Japanese-made bikes and American-made Harleys. Fortunately, or unfortunately, Madusa and Bull Nakano drew the short straw. At this point in WCW history, Madusa had just returned to WCW after a stint in WWE, and the company wanted to feature her as a wrestler, but really had nothing for her, as the company had no Women’s title yet. Therefore, a match was made just so that the women were included in the PPV. The stipulation of the match was that the winner got to destroy the loser’s bike after the match, which added to the nationalism angle of the match.
As for the match, there was not much action, and the wrestling was subpar. The two women, who both were talented performers, seemed to have far less chemistry than they did in WWE. The finish of the match was botched as Nakano hit her move, but had trouble holding Madusa, as both women’s shoulders were supposed to be on the mat. After a retake of the finisher, the match ended with a Madusa victory, but Sonny Onoo tried to destroy Madusa’s bike before she could get to Nakano’s. A couple of sledge hammer shots from Madusa ended up being all of the punishment that Nakano’s bike took. Thankfully, this was a short but pointless match.
7 Harlem Heat vs Public Enemy – Tornado Tag Team Match – Uncensored 1997
The story of this match was that there was no actual story to the match. The match was scheduled to be Public Enemy versus the Horsemen team of Jeff Jarrett and Steve McMichael, but the two Horsemen were placed into the main even match on Piper’s team because the company did not want to use Arn Anderson and Ric Flair in the match. As a result, the match became a top contender’s match, and had to have a stipulation due to the theme of the PPV. The match was also supposed to be a sequel to Harlem Heat’s Uncensored 1995 match with the Nasty Boys that destroyed the concession stand, which itself was a knockoff of the legendary Memphis Wrestling concession stand match with Jerry Lawler & Bill Dundee against the Blonde Bombers.
The match featured lots of weapons, and was a fun fight for what it was, but the highlight of the match was the commentary. Tony Schiavone tried to play it straight, but he was soon caught up in the comedy of Dusty Rhodes and Bobby Heenan. The two analysts made the match more enjoyable that it might have been on its own, but he ending ruined the match. Just as Public Enemy had the upper hand, Jarrett and Mongo, their original opponents, interfered and helped to secure the victory of Harlem Heat. Another meaningless brawl with an overbooked ending.
6 Ric Flair vs Hulk Hogan - Barbed Wire Steel Cage Match – Uncensored 1999
In what was billed as a Barbed Wire, Steel Cage Match, the match was actually just a cage match with razor wire on the top of cage. During the entrances, the match was announced as a First Blood Match, but once in the ring, Ric Flair, who at the time was the President of WCW, told referee Charles “Baby Naitch” Robinson to use his discretion in stopping the match. The stipulation of the match was that if Flair won, he would become the permanent President of WCW, but if he lost, he would be banned from WCW for life, so Hogan actually had nothing on the line except ridding WCW of Ric Flair.
Flair bled after a few minutes in the match, but Robinson ignored the blood. As such, Hogan dropped the leg and covered Flair for a pin. Robinson refused to count the pin and informed Hogan that the match was First Blood, so Hogan felt that he should be the winner because of Flair’s blood, but Robinson ordered Hogan to continue the match.
After a few minutes, Hogan was also bleeding, but Robinson ignored it as well. Arn Anderson, who used a tire iron to help the baby face Horsemen tag team of Benoit and Malenko defeat Curt Hennig and Barry Windham earlier in the night, used the same tire iron to help heel Flair in this match.
After Flair knocks out Hogan with Anderson’s tire iron, Flair locks in the figure four on Hogan, and Robinson counts the pin as Hogan was unconscious from being hit with the weapon. In short, a bleeding Flair defeated a bleeding Hogan with a pin in a First Blood Match.
5 Hardcore Junkyard Invitational – Bash at the Beach 1999
This match was one of those “get all the mid-carders a PPV paycheck” matches. The match was instigated because the Sandman (Hak in WCW) wanted to see who the toughest guy in WCW was. Instead of putting the match in a real junkyard, WCW sectioned off a portion of the parking lot, surrounded it with junk cars, added some graffiti and some flaming trashcans, and called it a junkyard. This was a glorified weapons match, highlighting WCW’s attempt to capitalize on ECW, but to win, a wrestler had to climb a fence that was encircling the “junkyard” and escape the area, like any other modern cage match.
The match, which featured a lot of wrestlers that the fans cared very little about, was shot mostly overhead from a helicopter, which showed many wrestlers standing around as if they had no idea what to do. The finish showed Fit Finley barely escaping from a car that was placed into a car crusher, and then, Finley running to and climbing the fence with no opposition. Since many of the low level tag teams and luchadors were in the match, WCW should have been able to come up with something much better for them than this.
4 Jeff Jarrett vs David Arquette and Diamond Dallas Page – Ready to Rumble Cage Match – Slamboree 2000
After participating in the creation of the motion picture Ready to Rumble, WCW decided to create a PPV main event based on the finale of the movie. David Arquette, who had tried to relinquish the World Title, was ordered to defend the title in the triple cage match against Jeff Jarrett and Dallas Page. The object was to climb through three stacked cages and retrieve the belt ladder match-style. The first cage surrounded the ring, the second cage featured weapons, and there were guitars in the third. While Jarrett and Page fought, Arquette managed to stay away from the action. When the two wrestlers reached the second and third cages, Arquette left the first and climbed to the top where the belt was, but did not retrieve the belt.
Prior to the match, while Page was defending Arquette and his right to be World Heavyweight Champion, Page’s wife Kimberly turned her back on Page and sided with Bischoff and Jarrett, and Arquette would follow suit. As Page was fighting his way to the belt, he handed Auquette a guitar, which Arquette promptly used on Page. Jarrett retrieved the belt and was the new Champion. This match seems excessive when a simple ladder match would have been sufficient.
3 Tank Abbott vs Big Al – Leather Jacket on a Pole Match – SuperBrawl 2000
If this list was ranking the most pointless matches, this one would be at number one. Al was used as Abbott’s bodyguard and best friend, but Al thought that Abbott had gone soft, so Al ordered Abbott to surrender his leather jacket, which led to a jacket on a pole match. What made this match so bad was the fact that the two men’s right hands were tethered together, which logically made it difficult to climb a pole and retrieve a jacket.
Al knocks Abbott out but does not retrieve the jacket. Abbott then comes to, throws Al out of the ring, retrieves the jacket, pulls a knife out of the jacket’s pocket, and threatens to kill Al with the knife. Nevertheless, Tank Abbott won this match, and neither man benefitted from this experience. What makes this worse is the fact that Vince Russo had designs on making Tank Abbott the WCW World Heavyweight Champion, despite his being a subpar wrestler and an even worse character.
2 Shane Douglas vs The Wall – Best of Five Tables Match – Great American Bash 2000
Leading up to this match, The Wall had been fighting almost exclusively in tables matches, so his challenge against Shane Douglas became a table match. However, since this was post-ECW Shane Douglas (The Franchise), Douglas wanted to show his toughness, so before the match, he changed the table match to a best-of-5 tables match. Unfortunately, during his pre-match promo, Douglas announced that the fans would see five tables broken, so the announcers were confused into thinking that the match would be a best-of-9 tables match.
The Wall had been kicked out of the New Blood, so he was fighting for himself in this match, while Shane Douglas was being presented as he was trying to repair his own relationship with Eric Bischoff. Douglas fell behind two tables to zero before throwing the Wall through a stack of three tables to win the match, despite the announcers not being sure whether or not the match was over.
1 Scott Steiner vs Rick Steiner and Tank Abbott – Handicap Asylum Match – Great American Bash 2000
At this PPV, Scott Steiner was supposed to be facing Booker T, but Booker was reverted to his G.I. Bro persona, and was placed in a match against Shawn Stasiak. Then the match was Scott Steiner against Tank Abbott, but Rick was added on the side of Abbott. The match was fought inside of a circular cage in the middle of the ring, but with barely enough room for the men to move around.
During the match, Rick and Tank had the advantage over Scott, but when Tank wanted to use a chain against Scott, Rick refused and then turned his back on Abbott, rejoining his brother. Without Rick’s help, Scott defeated Tank Abbott in a match that lasted less than four minutes. This match was indicative of the screwy booking that came from the New Blood’s feud with the Millionaires Club. Many of the matches were just thrown together with no long-term planning.