It can be tough to be a wrestling fan. Wrestling still has a stigma about it that makes non-fans think that if you like it, you’re not that bright. Never mind that people are addicted to reality TV or other stuff and wrestling still isn’t as dumb as the typical Adam Sandler comedy. Yet wrestling fans still have to put up with folks dismissing it all as an act, not getting the drama or real danger involved and why we care about it so much. It’s hard to explain and it gets even harder when wrestling promotions seem to go out of their way to drive us crazy with their antics.
It’s easy to single out WWE but frankly, so much of their stuff doesn’t compare to other bits throughout history. WCW appeared to be masters of providing things that made wrestling look completely idiotic and TNA seems to be following in their footsteps. That’s not to mention various indies and other bits that provided crazy stuff too. It’s not just stuff that’s bad (like Shockmaster), it’s downright insulting to the intelligence of viewers and makes wrestling look like a total joke. It’s stuff that makes it hard for us as fans to get into taking the business seriously and outraged this stuff can happen. Here are 15 of the many moments when you felt embarrassed to call yourself a wrestling fan and how, for all the good stuff the business has given us, it’s had a lot more bad as well.
15 Sharmell vs. Jenna
14 Fingerpoke of Doom
This is more “sheer rage” than embarrassment but it still has to rank on this list. WCW was coming off breaking Goldberg’s unbeaten streak with Nash winning the World title and the heat extreme. Fans thought they would be getting a rematch to set things up and kick off 1999 in a good way. Instead, they were given one of the biggest turning points in wrestling history with Goldberg “arrested,” Hogan challenging Nash who fell to a finger poke, allowing Hogan to win the belt and celebrate.
13 Vince vs. God
You have to wonder sometimes what goes through Vince McMahon’s head. His 2006 feud with Shawn Michaels had some good stuff like their terrific WrestleMania brawl but Vince just had to go the extra step. He took exception to Shawn’s religious beliefs (which most everyone acknowledges made Shawn a better man) and challenged Shawn to a tag match of him and Shane against Shawn and God.
12 Dungeon of Doom
When Hulk Hogan came to WCW, the entire company began a shift from being the antidote to the cartoonish antics of WWE to copying them totally. Rough as it had been in his first year, Hogan’s influence got worse when he helped WCW create the worst stable ever: the Dungeon of Doom. Kevin Sullivan led Kamala, the Zodiac (Ed Leslie in makeup), the Shark (the former Earthquake), Meng in a cheap mask, obese Loch Ness, leprechaun Braun (who was actually normal size) and the Giant.
11 Cruiserweight Champion Hornswoggle
Once, the Cruiserweight title was a serious deal, first with WCW as their matches kept fans tuning into Nitro during the Monday Night War. WWE revived it to be a standout on SmackDown, boosting Rey Mysterio and others up nicely and keeping fans thrilled while giving smaller guys a place on the card. In 2007, Chavo Guerrero defended it in a multi-guy match with Hornswoggle running through the ring as the bell rang. At the climax of the match, the leprechaun got on the top rope and hit a “tadpole splash” to get the pin and become the champion.
10 Kiss My Ass Club
The first time, it wasn’t too bad and fit the ego of Mr. McMahon with his demands that, to get his job as WWE Commissioner back, William Regal had to kiss Vince’s bare rear end. Vince being Vince, he couldn’t let it rest there and insisted on doing it time and time again. He would get into it with dancing in the ring and flashing his rear end constantly to the hate of fans and while it could be turned on him at times (forced to kiss Rikishi’s rear end), it got to be too much.
9 Abyss’ Magic Ring
8 Katie Vick
7 Jay Leno
Only WCW could do this. To headline a PPV, they did not have Goldberg, the red-hot World champion. No, instead they had DDP teaming with Leno against Hogan and Bischoff. Leno was mostly on the outside until tagged in to attack Hogan, slapping him in an armbar and keeping it on just so news photographers could get a photo of it. On a DVD, Chris Jericho speaks for many by saying that the sight of the host of the “Tonight Show” manhandling one of the wrestling’s biggest stars “made me ashamed of our business.”
6 Mae Young
4 David Arquette
3 Trump vs. O’Donnell
2 Judy Bagwell
1 Vince Russo Gimmick Matches
Frankly, most anything Vince Russo has done can make you ashamed to be a wrestling fan. The problem was Russo loved “big moments” and such but didn’t get how you have to build to them, just tossed major stuff all out there and thought fans would eat it up. Bad as so many of his angles are, it’s his gimmick matches that drive you crazy. It can’t be a simple bout, oh, no. Russo needs to turn it into a ridiculously overbooked affair with multiple rules and ideas that turn it into a total mess. Just look at his creations:
*The San Francisco 49’ers Match where Jeff Jarrett and Booker T had to grab boxes containing either the World title, a blowup doll, a photo of Scott Hall or a glove.
*The Lockbox Challenge, where a terrible Knockouts match for keys led to the opening of briefcases running from a title belt to doing a striptease in the ring.
* The Last Rites Match with the idea to shove your opponent into a casket lowered from the ceiling.
*Putting on a pole anything from a bottle of Viagra to various weapons.
*The Reverse Battle Royal, cited as one of the worst bouts imaginable.
Not to mention slews more, all total messes and making wrestling look more like a joke and not mattering compared to Russo’s desire to push angles and characters too much. Russo’s entire tenure in WCW was a mess yet somehow his idea of “spicing up” matches just made it even worse.
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