There’s no such thing as a flawless wrestling match. Even the greatest matches of all time have little imperfections. We accept these flaws because we realize that nobody is perfect and little mistakes during a match are bound to happen from time to time. Still, some mistakes are more notable than others. A wrestler completely missing a move, for instance, is pretty bad. A wrestler that is clearly talking to his opponent is always awful. No professional wrestling botch, however, is worse than the botched ending.
As inconceivable as it might be to think that the most carefully planned part of a wrestling match, the ending, can be botched, it does happen from time to time. The funny thing about botched endings is that they can be hard to spot. Wrestling bookers love to plan match endings that make it seem like a mistake has occurred, but there’s nothing quite like a genuinely botched match ending. They're the rarest incidents in all of wrestling and, while each time it happens is pretty notable, there are some that are so shocking they manage to stand out above the rest. They are the 15 biggest botched finishes in wrestling history.
15 15. Ric Flair Pins Hulk Hogan In A First Blood Match
14 14. TNA's Big Red X Falls To The Ground...Twice
Whether you love TNA or hate TNA, it’s hard to deny that they’ve been the best source of absolutely bizarre wrestling content sine WCW went under in 2001. Over the years, TNA has played host to some of the most downright unfortunate incidents to ever occur in a wrestling ring. As bad as TNA can be at times, however, the bright spot of their programming line-up has long been the company’s X-Division and the incredible talent that have competed in it. Even the X-Division isn’t immune to the occasional bout of “only in TNA” syndrome, though.
13 13. Great Khali Accidentally Eliminates Himself From A Two Man Battle Royal
12 12. Ricky Steamboat Forgets To Raise His Arm
In theory, a match between Ricky Steamboat and Rick Rude in 1988 is just about the greatest thing ever. After all, Rick Rude is one of the most naturally gifted heels to ever grace a wrestling ring and Ricky Steamboat is one of the most naturally gifted babyfaces to ever step into that same ring. Put them together in their in-ring primes, and you would think that you’d have something magical. While the match between Rude and Steamboat at Royal Rumble 1988 was indeed a pretty good one, it got really weird towards the end when the referee performed the three arm drop test to determine if Steamboat was passed out.
11 11. Mickie James Accidentally Becomes Women's Champion
10 10. Eddie Curses Out His Wife For Missing A Spot
9 9. Razor Ramon Gets Tired of Waiting For Jeff Jarret and Decides To Become Champion
8 8. Brock Lesnar Nearly Paralyzes Himself At WrestleMania
Although most people are well aware that Brock Lesnar is an absolute beast in the disguise of a mere mortal, every now and then, it is helpful to remind ourselves that the man is capable of doing things typically reserved for comic book characters and other fictional entities. What’s even scarier to think, however, is that Brock Lesnar used to be even more gifted than he is now. Back in 2003 when Brock was getting ready to main event WrestleMania XIX against Kurt Angle, he was arguably at his athletic peak. In fact, he was even capable of performing a shooting star press as he demonstrated a few times back in his developmental days.
7 7. Kaitlyn Forgets She Isn't Supposed To Win A Battle Royal
6 6. Hollywood Hogan Gets Screwed?
This night was supposed to be WCW's crowning moment. This could have been the night that cemented them as wrestling's no.1 company. Instead it proved to be the beginning of their downfall. After an epic year-long feud between Sting and Hollywood Hogan, the stage was set for Sting to come back and squash the heel Hogan to bring the belt back to WCW.
Instead, Hogan inexplicably dominated most of the match. Here's where the botched ending happens. Bret Hart was brought into the match as a special enforcer. Once Hogan hit his leg drop on Sting, referee Nick Patrick was supposed to fast count Sting, prompting Bret to restart the match, ensuring no 'screwjob' ending happened again. Things looked really silly when Nick Patrick gave a legitimate three count. When Bret had the match restarted, with Sting eventually submitting Hogan with a Scorpion Deathlock, it looked as if Hogan had been screwed over.
5 5. Papa Shango Ruins The Ending Of WrestleMania VIII
4 4. Dean Malenko Loses A Match In Under A Minute Because He Forgot The Rules
There are a lot of things in wrestling that sound like a good idea, but don’t actually end up working out that way. For instance, WCW must have thought it sounded like a good idea to put Dean Malenko in Billy Kidman in a “Catch-as-Catch-Can” match in 2000. After all, both are really good wrestlers and it might be fun to put them in a match that is based on traditional professional wrestling rules such as it being illegal to exit the ring. The problem is that it’s not actually that easy to ask two wrestlers, no matter how good they are, to simply forget everything they’ve spent their careers learning and adopt strange rules such as that.
3 3. Hardcore Holly Gets A WrestleMania Win By Mistake
WrestleMania 2000 was essentially the “everyone gets a paycheck” WrestleMania, as WWE worked especially hard that year to everyone on the roster onto one show. One of the ways that they accomplished this was hosting a Hardcore Championship pinfall battle royal that included nearly every wrestler that was otherwise not involved in anything important at the moment. What should have been a fairly unmemorable match designed to satisfy the crowd’s bloodlust ended up becoming legendary because of what happened in the final minute.
See, Hardcore Holly was supposed to break up Tazz’s submission attempt and attempt to either pin Crash Holly to take the title with no time left or for Crash to kick out. Instead, a miscommunication (or perhaps even semi-intentional sabotage) saw Tim White count to three, yet the announcers tried to sell it that Crash got his shoulders up at the last second.
2 2. Sandman Gets A Concussion and Refuses To Lose
1 1. Royal Rumble 2005 Ends Like A Three Stooges Film
In terms of importance, the talent involved, and general absurdity, this has to be considered the most botched wrestling match ending of all time. Towards the end of the 2005 Royal Rumble match, Batista lifted John Cena up for a Batista Bomb and tried to slam him to the ground. Cena resisted, and, in the process, sent both men over the top rope where they landed on the ground at the same time. Now, WWE has done this kind of ending before, but they had no intention of doing it again here. Batista was actually supposed to win the match. Because he did not, the referees were smart enough to act like there was a legitimate debate as to who was the winner until Vince McMahon could get down there to restart the match.
Where things really turned ugly is when Vince finally made his way to the ring and proceeded to blow both of his quads in the process of entering it. It’s at this point that things broke down past the point of redemption.
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