WWE Superstars are incredible athletes who put their health and safety—and the safety of everyone else in the ring with them—on the line every time they step into that squared circle. Sure, the outcomes of the matches are pre-determined and the fights themselves are scripted and choreographed, at least partially, but things do not always go as planned.
Sometimes that means a match finish not going as planned, but other times that means a a move being botched. The history of the WWE is littered with examples of wrestlers botching moves. And while those botches can often go by without even causing a stir, there are some that are so cringeworthy they can make everyone watching, in the live audience or at home on the couch, hide their eyes. Here are five such cringeworthy wrestling botches:
5. BROCK LESNAR SHOOTING STAR PRESS
This absolutely cringeworthy botch is from one of the biggest stars in the WWE on the WWE’s biggest stage. It was WrestleMania 19 Brock Lesnar vs Kurt Angle and at one point in the match, Lesnar decided to go for the shooting star press.
Yes, Lesnar is an incredible athlete and yes, he had successfully done a shooting star press before. However, just watch the video and it doesn’t take a genius to see that Angle was way too far away. If he didn’t see that before, then when Lesnar got to the top rope he should have seen that it wasn’t set up properly and at least gone and worked Angle closer (or maybe Angle should have been better aware of his place in the ring and moved over – as we often see wrestlers do who are on the ground). But neither of those things happened.
The Beast just went for it, and as you can also see in the video, he landed short, on his head. Somehow, thankfully, he wasn’t seriously hurt and was able to continue the match, but when it happened the crowd audibly gasped with and the looks of shock and horror on many of their faces pretty much says it all.
4. OWEN HART PILEDRIVER
This botch took place at SummerSlam 1997. Owen Hart is part of one of the greatest wrestling families of all time and his opponent in this match was the hottest thing going in the WWE—Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin was at the beginning of his WWE run— a run that would see him become the king of the Attitude Era and one of the most popular Superstars of all time. But at SummerSlam 1997 it all could have ended early when Owen Hart botched the piledriver.
Watching the video it is obvious to everyone watching that Austin’s head is too low. Everything about this one will make you cringe. From seeing Stone Cold’s head to low and knowing what is about to happen to actually seeing his head slam into the mat when Hart sits down. This is a truly cringeworthy and scary botch.
Austin was able to get back up and finish the match, but he would also eventually need neck surgery. And, as we all know, he was able to come back strong following the surgery and fulfill his massive potential.
3. SPIKE DUDLEY HITS THE TABLE
Everyone knows Bubba Ray Dudley and D-Von Dudley. The Dudley Boyz were one of the most decorated tag teams in the history of the WWE. But some might not remember that there were other members of the “Dudley Brothers.” Most notably Spike Dudley.
Spike was a small guy and the “runt” of the family. during his tenure in the WWE, he was basically there to get beat up and keep coming back for more. Well, on Sept. 8, 2003, he took a bump no one planned for him to take and if watching the above video doesn’t make you cringe, then we are not sure what will.
The La Resistance tag team had Dudley in their arms, above their heads and were set to throw him over the top rope and onto a table outside the ring. However, they didn’t throw him far enough and instead of landing with his back on the table, Spike came up short and his head slammed the edge of the table.
2. JOEY MERCURY AND THE LADDER
Ladder matches are some of the most exciting and dangerous that take place in the WWE. They can lead to incredible moments of “WOW!” or moments of cringeworthy pain. Unfortunately, for Joey Mercury at the ladder match at WWE Armageddon on December 17, 2006, it was the latter.
During a tag team ladder match against the Hardy Boys, Mercury got his face smashed hard by one end of a ladder when Jeff Hardy jumped off the top rope onto the other end of the metal structure. If watching it happen doesn’t make you cringe, then seeing Mercury’s bloody face after he rolls out of the ring should.
RELATED: RANKING ALL MITB LADDER MATCHES
1. ENZO AMORE HITS THE ROPE
Enzo and Cass made their debuts in the WWE main roster in April 2016. They were over right away with the crowd, and the excitement to have them on the main roster was palpable. But just one month later at Payback, fans witnessed a cringeworthy botch that put Enzo out of commission for 22 days.
Simon Gotch was supposed to throw Amore along the ground and out of the ring under the bottom rope. But someone messed up and Amore wasn’t low enough when he reached the edge of the ring and his head smacked off against the middle rope as he slid out of the ring.
The Ref threw up the “X” call for medical staff, and the match ended shortly thereafter. Thankfully, he was able to make his return three weeks later.
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