You have two wrestling legends squaring off for the first time in front of thousands in the audience and millions more watching at home. Naturally, it's bound to be a classic, right?
Sometimes, things come together so wonderfully in wrestling. Feuds can develop as amazing as a Hollywood blockbuster but if the finale can't deliver, fans aren't going to be happy. We all know how critical wrestling fans can be, as do I. Because I'm one of them.
Believe it or not, Shawn Michaels, Hulk Hogan, John Cena, Triple H, The Undertaker, all individuals who have become legends due to their top-notch performances in and out of the ring, all have succumbed to a terrible match at one point or another throughout their career. And that's fine. Everybody has an off day. Not every wrestler can deliver gold every single time. Just like every actor has a few stinkers under their resumes.
Sometimes, yes, we can blame the performer. A lot of the time however, the performer isn't the one to blame. Someones the people in charge backstage booking the event are the ones making terrible decisions. See for yourself by reading on...
15 Triple H - vs. Scott Steiner, Royal Rumble 2003
Before Brock Lesnar would introduce John Cena to Suplex City in the summer of 2015, Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner would do it first at the 2003 Royal Rumble. Except back then, it wasn't cool. Nor did the suplexes look nearly as devastating as the Beast Incarnate's. It actually kind of came off as if that was the only move Steiner knew how to do.
This has to be one of Triple H's worst matches, and it seemed as if he and Steiner didn't even care to make this match good if at all passable. The fans in attendance didn't shy away from letting these two know how bad it was. Add in the fact that this already-boring match went on for far too long and this folks, is a stinker you don't ever need to check out.
14 Trish Stratus & Bradshaw - vs. Jackie Gayda & Chris Nowinski, RAW, July 8th, 2002
In a mixed tag team action in 2002, Trish Stratus teamed with Bradshaw in what has to be one of the most embarrassing matches to ever occur on live television. The Canadian beauty isn't to blame completely. Her opponent that night, Tough Enough Season 2 winner Jackie Gayda, later to be known as Miss Jackie, takes the brunt of the blame.
What was worse? Jackie missing her cue to toss Trish up in the ropes (but in all seriousness, why did Trish throw herself into the ropes if Jackie wasn't there to do it?) or when Trish jumped off the top rope to hit Jackie with her signature Bulldog and Jackie decided not to react to the move until two seconds had passed?
To be fair, Jackie barely had any training under her belt and it was WWE's decision to throw her out there on live television. Yes, Trish Stratus did become an amazing performer but this was too early in her career for her to be able to successfully carry a rookie through a match.
13 William Regal - vs. Goldberg, Nitro, Feb 9, 1998
Although this is the first of two matches featuring Goldberg on this list, we're not talking about Goldberg here. The great wrestler here is William Regal.
You could argue Goldberg was never really a fantastic wrestler. During the height of his popularity in WCW, he'd go out there, hit a few powerful moves and squash his opponent to victory. Simple, yet effective. So when given a match with the technically sound William Regal, it should have been a good combo, right? At least expert Regal could make Goldberg look even better, right? Not really. It seemed as if Regal wanted to make Goldberg work a little harder than usual. And instead of the match going the usual two minutes, it went on a bit longer. The longer it went, the more we could tell how green and inexperienced Goldberg really was. To be fair, Regal should've known better.
Don't make your opponent look bad, because in wrestling, you both look bad and that's never fun for you or the audience.
12 John Cena - vs. The Miz - Over The Limit 2011
A typical John Cena match circa PG Era at its worst. John Cena put his title on the line in an 'I Quit' Match against The Miz to disastrous results. Because of its no disqualification rules, The Miz turned the bout into a handicap match with both him and protege Alex Riley taking a beating to Cena for over 20 minutes before Cena would cry out "I quit!"
Wait a minute. John Cena said "I quit"? The Miz won?
No. It was just a recording of Cena saying I quit. Of course.
So the referee abruptly reverses the decision, and Cena turns into the Cena we've always hated to hate - Super Cena! Ugh. Somehow, even after taking one of the most brutal and vicious beatings of his life, John Cena is able to annihilate both men within minutes before eventually getting The Miz to scream "I quit!" even though he had the upper hand the entire match. All it did was make The Miz, who WWE had been building up as a top tier talent, look weak. This is just one of many examples as to why fans quickly grew tired of the Leader of the Cenation, and still to this day is greeted with "John Cena suuuuuucks!" by the majority of the crowd every time he steps into the ring.
11 Shawn Michaels - vs. Hulk Hogan, SummerSlam 2005
Shawn Michaels and Hulk Hogan would finally clash in 2005, the first time in their careers in what was sure to be a moneymaker. So why is this match on the list? Because quite simply put, Shawn Michaels chose to be just as egotistical as he was earlier on in his career and it was never more obvious than it was here. The match isn't necessarily terrible, but it's pretty apparent that Shawn Michaels was overselling each and every one of Hulk Hogan's moves to the point that even a child could realize that wrestling is indeed "fake", therefore making it impossible for the anyone to suspend their disbelief.
The reason? As backstage stories go, Shawn Michaels agreed to lose only if he could go on to later defeat Hogan in a rematch. When Michaels would later receive word that Hogan would back out of their rematch before their match at SummerSlam, Michaels would lose but not without making the match a complete joke instead of the classic it could have been.
To Michaels' credit, he didn't think he should lose to an old part-timer. To Hogan's credit, he had already lost a few major matches since his return and only decided to back out due to Michaels's unprofessional-ism throughout their feud. Whose side are you on?
10 Gail Kim vs. Mickie James - RAW, August 17th, 2009
At this point in 2009, the Divas Division wasn't offering a whole much in terms of quality wrestling. Or at least fans didn't seem to care. So when WWE decided to put two of the best women on the roster in the ring against one another for the first time in a championship match on Raw, surely it should've been the best women's wrestling match to come in a very long time, no? Unfortunately that wasn't the case.
A failed crossbody off the top rope left Kim in a daze for real. And when James attempted to nail Kim with a spinning heel kick and her signature DDT, Kim failed to take both moves correctly, leaving an obviously frustrated James to score the win after a simple forearm to the face. If only you could see Mickie's face. She was NOT happy.
9 Bret Hart - vs. Bob Backlund - WrestleMania XI
Although their feud started off pretty well with a solid outing at the Survivor Series event prior, by the time Bret Hart and Bob Backlund wrestled in an "I Quit" Match at WrestleMania XI, fans had already lost interest. With special guest referee Roddy Piper calling the shots to help garner interest for the match, he took the attention away from competitors and the entire match turned out being more awkward than entertaining. How annoying was it to hear Piper yell into the mic every two seconds with a loud, "Whatt'dya SAY???
Add in the fact that Bob Backlund never actually said "I quit" even though he was meant to, the match has to be one of Hart's most embarrassing contests in his career. Yes, even more embarrassing than his match with Vince McMahon 15 years later.
8 Daniel Bryan - vs. Sheamus, WrestleMania XXVIII
The previous year, Daniel Bryan and Sheamus were bumped off the card at WrestleMania due to time constraints. A year later at the 28th annual event, it seemed as if these two were finally going to be given an opportunity to show the world what they weren't able to last time. And this time, it would be for the World Heavyweight Championship.
How could they go wrong? The match went 18 seconds...
Daniel Bryan would start the match by kissing girlfriend AJ Lee for good luck before he would step directly into a Brogue Kick from opponent Sheamus. And yes, after all that hard work and dedication, Bryan lost the title in 18 measly seconds. Seeing what these two are actually capable of, this has to be one of the biggest disappointments in the history of WrestleMania.
7 Booker T - vs. Jeff Jarrett, Nitro, December 2nd, 2000
If you're looking for a match so terrible it's funny, this might be it. About six months before WWE would wedge the final nail in WCW's coffin, Vince Russo thought up the first and only San Francisco 49ers Match, a match that went so terribly wrong you cannot help but cringe. Or laugh. Either or.
The stipulation - four boxes would hang from poles on each turnbuckle, three of which were holding weapons and the other one, holding the World Heavyweight Championship. If you opened the box with the Championship belt, you won the vacated title. Yep. Winning the World Championship had never been so easy. The "weapons" in each of the boxes turned out to be a blow-up doll, a picture of Scott Hall, and a glove.
Why is this match so stupid?
1) For some reason or another, the glove is perceived as a serious weapon.
2) The belt falls out of the box before Booker T can actually retrieve it.
3) A little man dressed as a Superhero gets himself involved for reasons better left unknown.
6 Alberto Del Rio - vs. Sin Cara, August 19th, 2013
If you're a professional wrestler, the goal is to well, stay professional no matter what the circumstance. If you get injured, you stay in character and do an impromptu finish if you have to.
Sin Cara, who you see on Raw each and every Monday isn't actually the same Sin Cara you saw a few years ago. The original Sin Cara (the one known for botching more times than not), in a match on Raw with the incredible Alberto Del Rio, decided to cut his match short because he injured his finger. He literally called the ref to stop the match just because he hurt his finger. Even the WWE Divas of yesteryear never ever did that.
This has to be the only time this has been done in a WWE ring, and you could tell that Del Rio was legitimately ticked off about the incident and the beating he let in to Cara after the match may have not been scripted. Can you really blame Del Rio?
5 The Undertaker - vs. Hulk Hogan, Judgement Day 2002
At this point in Hulk Hogan's career, it was pretty apparent the former megastar was brought back as more of a novelty act more so for his wrestling. Not to say Hogan couldn't do the job, but his age was definitely starting to show. Sometimes, he'd provide us with some classics like with The Rock at WrestleMania X8. Other times, we got a dud, like in his match with The American Badass, The Undertaker at Judgement Day in 2002.
This match is remembered most for producing the worst looking chokeslam in the history of professional wrestling. Undertaker couldn't seem to lift Hogan up for it, who failed to jump up correctly in assisting Taker in delivering the move. WWE didn't seem to have much faith in Hogan after and he would be kept away from the title picture thereafter.
4 Jerry Lawler - vs. Michael Cole, WrestleMania XXVII
I still haven't forgiven Michael Cole for this.
WWE finally decided to give wrestling legend Jerry Lawler a WrestleMania match. Unfortunately for the King, it would be against the uber annoying Michael Cole. The storyline leading up to it was pretty solid in the way that it pretty much set us up to want nothing more than to see Cole get annihilated at the biggest stage of them all. However, due to poor booking decisions, Michael Cole somehow managed to dominate the entire match and even score the victory over Lawler. Why would we want to see this?
It was an embarrassment and a failure. A match that should have went no longer than five minutes and should have had Jerry Lawler dominate the worst person in the world turned out to be everything we didn't want to see. Poor Jerry was given the worst WrestleMania match in history rather than a real match at the grandest stage of them all. Shame.
3 Sting - vs. Hulk Hogan, Starrcade 97
Fans were starting to get tired of the NWO shtick, and after a buildup that lasted upwards to a year with Sting set to finally take NWO out for good, Starrcade 97 drew record numbers.
What fans expected and wanted to see was Sting destroy Hogan and take the title. Instead, probably due to Hogan's inflated ego, Hogan dominated the entire match, until suddenly, the referee counted Sting down for the 1, 2, 3 and that was it. Sting lost the match clean to Hogan.
Oh, wait, but actually the referee did a fast count and screwed Sting over, according to Bret Hart. Except everybody in the arena and watching at home witnessed the referee count to three at normal speed. But we were supposed to believe otherwise...
Bret Hart comes out and tells everybody that WCW will not have a screwjob like the WWE did and somehow has the power to restart the match, which also makes zero sense. Sting finally takes a beating to Hogan and scores the win. But the damage had already been done. This has to be one of WCW's biggest and greatest disappointments.
2 Kevin Nash - vs. Hulk Hogan, Nitro, January 4th, 1999
The same night Mankind won the WWE Championship on Monday Night Raw, Monday Nitro gave us the Finger Poke of Doom, a moment so ridiculous and infuriating that many people have labeled it the moment that ultimately killed WCW.
Kevin Nash, who had just recently put an end to Goldberg's streak (something fans were already pretty upset about) had his first title defense against Hulk Hogan. What could have been a fantastic match turned into another instance of bad booking by WCW. Nash, who had spent the last year establishing himself as Hogan's biggest enemy, suddenly let Hogan pin him 1, 2, 3 after being poked in the chest.
From a storytelling perspective, it made no sense. Kevin was doing quite well for himself, so why join up with Hogan again when you had your own group already dominating the company? The biggest prize in professional wrestling was just handed over to Hogan as if it meant nothing just for a cheap pop even though nobody wanted to see them reunite. Add in the fact that Nash's victory over Goldberg ultimately meant nothing, WCW fans quickly grew tired of WCW's cheap booking and two years later would fall to WWE.
1 Brock Lesner - vs. Goldberg, WrestleMania XX
Although this technically may not be the WORST match on this list, it's getting the top spot anyway because it took place at the grandest stage of them all. The 20th anniversary of WrestleMania, no less!
This is a match that sounded amazing on paper. You had two of professional wrestling's biggest beasts battling it out one on one with Stone Cold Steve Austin calling the shots as special guest referee. Fans had already known this was going to be Goldberg's last match, but when fans discovered a few days before the event that it would also be Lesnar's, they were livid.
After the bell rang, the two Superstars literally stood in the ring for upwards to five minutes staring at each other while soaking in the heat of the crowd. It's almost as if they chose not to work a good match because the fans in attendance were so crappy. Eventually, the final few minutes of the match picked up steam, but the damage had already been done and this is regarded as one of the worst matches in the event's history.
Rumour has it that these two may have one final rematch at next year's Mania. Can they redeem themselves?
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