We are well and truly on the road to WrestleMania. In fact, truth be told, we're almost coming to the end of it. As Bayley put it, it's the beginning and end of every true pro wrestling fan's calendar. So many of the WWE's most memorable moments across the company's entire history are made at WrestleMania. However, as many of us know "The Grandest Stage of Them All" has also created some moments that both ourselves and WWE wish we could not just forget, but completely erase from the show's history. Plus, I'm sure knowing WWE's track record, this coming WrestleMania in Orlando will be no different.
Not every idea can be a home run, not even at WrestleMania. There are matches that just didn't work out, and maybe some that should really have never happened at all. Ideas that may have seemed great backstage, but when brought to life in front of millions of people, filled its creators with regret. When you've been putting on an annual extravaganza for over thirty years, there's going to be the odd howler and the occasional moment where you completely miss the mark. Here's a rundown of the fifteen moments we think WWE would most like to erase from the history books of The Showcase of the Immortals.
15 15. Fandango Defeats Chris Jericho: WrestleMania 29
I don't mean to sound horrible, but Fandango is far from being a big deal in WWE. His debut match would have had you believing the future was a lot brighter for the dancing Superstar than it turned out. Fandango made his in-ring debut, after an awful lot of teasing, back at WrestleMania 29 against Chris Jericho. A six-time World Champion and guaranteed future Hall of Famer. A win over Y2J is a big deal, let alone a win over him on the biggest night in WWE's calendar.
Even though not many wanted to see the eventual win, WWE should have followed through with it and generated some momentum for the victor. Instead, Fandango has gone on to achieve nothing as that remains the biggest night of his career thus far. His current gig as half of Breezango is a far cry from winning in a marquee match at Mania.
14 14. John Cena Against The Rock 'Once In A lifetime': WrestleMania XXVVIII
WrestleMania is all about staging the biggest matches of the year, and sometimes matches even bigger than that. A prime example of this is when it was announced a full year ahead of time that John Cena and The Rock would face off at WrestleMania XXVVIII. Two top Superstars from two different generations colliding. All year long, the match was promoted as 'once in a lifetime'. A fair statement, it really was that big. The match took place and The Rock won.
However, the match happened again. WWE didn't event wait a few years so that the 'once in a lifetime' mantra could be at least partially forgotten. Exactly one year later at WrestleMania 29, Rock and Cena fought again, this time with John getting his revenge. A match big enough that it could of course headline WrestleMania twice, but WWE would like you to forget that they marketed it for an entire year as a match that could only possibly happen once.
13 13. Big Show Against Akebono: WrestleMania 21
Big Show has had a long and decorated career, in both WWE and WCW. Decorated as it may be, it's also littered with pretty embarrassing moments. Although Show attributes those moments to being the reason his career has been so lengthy. He's always willing to do what the office asks of him. Unfortunately, a fair few of those moments have come at WrestleMania.
Perhaps the one he and WWE wishes we would forget most is his sumo match with famous sumo wrestler, Akebono. Big Show is of course not a sumo wrestler, and Akebono is not a professional wrestler. So, effectively what we were 'treated' to was two very large men in nappies hugging each other for a while. At WrestleMania. The Showcase of the Immortals. I'm with you on this one WWE, if I could forget it I really, really would.
12 12. The Undertaker Hangs Big Boss Man: WrestleMania XV
No one has had more WrestleMania moments than The Undertaker. So naturally, by law of averages, not all of them are going to be hits. In fact, some of them have been down right stinkers. At WrestleMania XV, Undertaker faced off against the late, great Big Boss Man inside Hell in a Cell. Of course, The Deadman won and added a notch to his unbeaten streak, but it was not the match itself that's the problem, it's what came next.
Upon Taker's victory, The Brood, made up of Gangrel, Edge and Christian and a part of Undertaker's Ministry at the time, descended from the ceiling. The three men broke the top of the cell and attached a noose to it so that it was hanging in the ring. The Phenom used said noose to hang Bossman from the cell as it was raised from the ring, a very creepy and non-PG image indeed.
11 11. Sheamus Beats Daniel Bryan: WrestleMania XXVVIII
Daniel Bryan quite rightfully had his WrestleMania moment, winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXX. It will forever go down as one of the greatest moments in the event's history. What many don't remember however, and WWE thank you for that, is just two years prior, Daniel Bryan was in the event's opening match.
Not only that, but he lost the bout in an embarrassing eighteen seconds. The now SmackDown Live general manager had to defend his World Heavyweight Title, a belt much less prestigious than when he won it back two years later, against Sheamus. The Celtic Warrior arrived, delivered a Brogue Kick to Bryan and covered him to win the title. And you thought the treatment of Bryan at the 2015 Royal Rumble was bad!
10 10. Roddy Piper With Half Black Face: WrestleMania VI
At WrestleMania VI, 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper faced off against Bad News Brown. The match was an uneventful and forgettable one, but that's not why WWE wants you to forget about it. Before the match, Piper thought, for reasons still unknown to us all, that it would be a good idea to cut a promo about his upcoming black opponent with half of his face painted black. That's not all.
During the promo, that you can still find on the WWE network, Roddy made snark comments about Brown's 'wide nose' and 'bugging eyes'. Not a good look at all for someone who is beloved throughout the wrestling business. In the build up to the match, Bad News had accused Piper of being a racist as part of the storyline. Roddy certainly didn't help quash that accusation by his actions before the two stepped in to the ring.
9 9. Triple H Against Ultimate Warrior: WrestleMania XII
You look at the phenomenal shape Triple H is in now and you'd be forgiven for forgetting how old the man is and how long he's been around. All the way back at WrestleMania XII, The Game took on Ultimate Warrior. Considering the path HHH would take not long after that night, it's understandable why WWE don't air out this match very often.
Warrior beat Triple H resoundingly. The Cerebral Assassin did manage to hit his finisher the pedigree, but Warrior being Warrior, acted as if it didn't effect him whatsoever. Footage of it shown since would not be a good look for The Game, especially since Hunter has made that move legendary. Even to the extent that he has passed it on to his ex protege Seth Rollins.
8 8. Lawrence Taylor Against Bam Bam Bigelow: WrestleMania XI
Almost every single WrestleMania is remembered fondly for one reason or another. You may struggle to find that reason among the celebrity filled WrestleMania XI. The cherry on top of this forgettable Mania? The main event was Bam Bam Bigelow up against former NFL linebacker, Lawrence Taylor. The match was a lumberjack one that featured a multitude of NFL teammates and wrestlers from the locker room surrounding the ring, in support of their respective participants.
Even to this day, a lot of fuss is made of celebrities taking wrestlers' places on the WrestleMania card, but this example really takes the cake. Not only that, but after a terrible, terrible match, Taylor actually defeated Bigelow. A good example to show anyone that complains about the placement of celebrities in today's product and reassure them that it really could be worse.
7 7. Bret Hart Against Vince McMahon: WrestleMania XXVI
On the road to WrestleMania XXVI, we saw the return of Bret Hart to WWE. The Hitman finally forgave Vince McMahon for The Montreal Screwjob that had taken place twelve years prior. It was a sight many of us never thought we'd see. And more importantly, of course, a golden opportunity for a WrestleMania storyline.
A storyline that led to a match at 'The Show of Shows', between Bret and Vince. A match that really shouldn't have happened. Hart was in no shape to compete in the ring, even in a no holds barred gimmick type match with Vince. On paper, it was about twelve years in the making, but in reality it was as disappointing as you'd have expected.
6 6. Eddie Guerrero And Chris Benoit Closing Celebration: WrestleMania XX
At WrestleMania XX, good friends Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero both had separate career defining moments. In the night's main event, Chris Benoit defeated Triple H and Shawn Michaels to become the World Heavyweight Champion. Amidst his celebration, Eddie joined him after he had successfully retained his WWE Title earlier in the night. While Guerrero has not been deleted from the annuls of WWE history, Benoit obviously has.
It was the 20th anniversary of WrestleMania in the return to Madison Square Garden where it all began, so it clearly pains WWE to erase it, and must be awfully difficult to edit when it comes to rewriting history. It was a historic moment that arguably changed wrestling but it will never be celebrated again.
5 5. Mickie James Inappropriately Touching Trish Stratus: WrestleMania 22
Recent fans may not know how far back the recently returned Mickie James's history goes with WWE. So far back in fact that her first WrestleMania and inaugural Women's Title was won at WrestleMania 22. James faced off against Hall of Famer, Trish Stratus, and unfortunately, the match is remembered for all the wrong reasons. Instead of it being the moment that kick started Mickie's career, it actually got her in a lot of trouble.
The storyline was that James effectively lusted after her opponent Trish. Because of this she ad-libbed a crotch grab on Stratus, then followed it with a very crude gesture to the camera. Don't go looking for the footage now, though. WWE wants you to forget it so much that it's been deleted from their DVD's and the Network.
4 4. Roman Reigns Closing The Show: WrestleMania 32
Fans of today's product will know that Vince McMahon is really digging his heels in when it comes to trying to make us like Roman Reigns. Well, that push peaked at the main event of WrestleMania 32. WWE semi-successfully got the belt off of Reigns at the Royal Rumble two months previous. However, Roman got his chance to gain back his title from the newly crowned Triple H in the final match of that year's WrestleMania.
Having the title at the back end of 2015 and start of 2016 didn't work, so why WWE thought things would have changed in the space of two months is anyone's guess. The Big Dog won back his title after a marathon length show and lifted the belt to resounding boos. 100,000+ fans were always going to make an awful lot of noise.
3 3. Randy Orton Against Triple H: WrestleMania XXV
In show business and professional wrestling, performers are often required to 'follow that'. Well, there has been no bigger 'follow that' moment than what Triple H and Randy Orton had to do back at WrestleMania XXV. The two had to follow up a match that is widely regarded by many as maybe the best match of all time, the first WrestleMania instalment of Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker.
It was going to take an awful lot to live up to that match and the night's main event simply didn't. It was a decent match, as of course it would be between two Superstars as talented as Orton and HHH. On any other night, it may not have received as bad a reaction as it did. We'll never know. Instead, fans look back with very little fondness on WrestleMania XXV closing bout and regard it as one of the worst in the show's history.
2 2. The Undertaker Against Giant Gonzalez: WrestleMania IX
The Undertaker's WrestleMania streak, despite now being over, will forever be known as one of the greatest accomplishments in pro wrestling history. 21 WrestleMania matches without defeat. What WWE doesn't want to remind you of, however, is that one of those famous victories was actually via disqualification. Back at WrestleMania IX, The Deadman faced his biggest opponent of all his 21 victims in the form of the colossal Giant Gonzalez.
An odd character who for some reason wore an all in one skin colored spandex suit with hair covering certain parts—if you get my drift. Despite his unreal size, even Gonzalez couldn't defeat The Undertaker clean. Instead, The Giant used chloroform to knock Taker out. That's of course not okay and the behemoth was disqualified for his efforts.
1 1. Brock Lesnar Against Goldberg: WrestleMania XX
The WWE Universe is buzzing about Brock Lesnar vs Goldberg. They've been the focal point of the product since the build to their match back at Survivor Series. What WWE would rather you not remember is the first time they met. Nearly thirteen years ago, the two squared off at WrestleMania XX in a match, where both competitors knew, as did the fans, would be their last with the company, at that time anyway.
It was clear that neither man really cared. That coupled with the fact that Goldberg isn't the most profound in-ring worker made for a stinker of a match. The rekindling of their rivalry over the past few months has helped repair some of that damage, and WWE will be hoping that fans will forget the first match, as well as the crowd's reaction to it.
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