Whenever WWE screws up, like a bah-zillion incensed wrestling fans jump down the company’s throat. Perhaps, rightfully so. Putting on two or three hinder-kickin’ wrestling shows a week should be easy, right?
Well, maybe not. As it turns out, plenty of other organizations and individuals have screwed proverbial pooches about as hard as WWE ever has, sometimes much more so. Which means putting on a good wrestling show is probably rather difficult, and perhaps, we as fans should feel lucky we’ve seen as many great cards as we have.
Here, we’ve compiled a reminder that as boring as it may be to see Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler for the 68th time on SmackDown this week, things could always be worse. We could be watching Van Hammer win a squash match on WCW Saturday Night, or an immobile Randy Savage winning a PPV main event with a punch in TNA, or two intensely out-of-shape guys in street clothes hit each other with trash cans in our own backyards.
It could always be worse. It could always get much, much worse.
Herein, we’re glancing at many of the worst incidents that WWE can’t claim or admit to any responsibility for whatsoever. Perhaps these fiascoes are somewhat inspired by WWE and Vince McMahon can be blamed in an indirect way, sure.
What we’re saying is if you blame Vince McMahon for any of what follows, then you might as well blame him for other social ills, such as world hunger, police brutality, student loan debt, and cocky dudes in skinny jeans, and Budweiser beer.
15. ECW Fans Not Showing Billy Corgan Proper Respect
Somewhere in the ballpark of the late ‘90s, Billy Corgan lent his fame to the struggling ECW promotion – specifically, arriving to aid Steve Corino in his quest to wrangle the World Title away from Justin Credible. Persnickety bunch that they were, ECW fans did not take kindly to a non-wrestler rock star showing up in the ECW arena. Remember when Jeff Hardy got booed to death at Ring of Honor? It was that, only worse.
It’s one thing to be a devoted wrestling fan – it’s another thing to jeer at one of the greatest songwriters of his generation for no reason other than he, by no fault of his own, isn’t a wrestler. Shame on you, ECW fans. Smashing Pumpkins are awesome and your favorite wrestling show went out of business.
14. Dumb Indie Wrestling Cliches
To be honest, this slot was originally intended for a lowpoint in Juggalo Championship Wrestling. Then I actually watched Oddball Brawl from 2013, rather enjoyed it, and decided I didn’t want to knock JCW anymore. The Insane Clown Posse already taken enough abuse, after all. In the absence of any particularly poor wrestling-related incidents that aren’t already covered here, we’re differing to a link to this old Brandon Stroud article, which makes the excellent point that yes, raffles at indie shows are absolutely the worst. WWE does plenty of dumb stuff, but WWE never does raffles.
13. Extreme Reunion
Some assume misguided attempts to recapture the magic of ECW have been exclusive to WWE and TNA. Such is not so – “The Franchise” himself, Shane Douglas tried the same thing in 2012 and found out herding a handful of aging crash test dummies into a worthwhile wrestling show is a difficult task, no matter how authentic or well-meaning your objectives may be. On the April 28th card at the arena formerly known as the Viking Hall, Sabu and Justin Credible both had to cancel due to being waaaay too hungover from the previous night’s bender to perform. Douglas, to his own shock and horror, discovered too late that he had grown too fat to wrestle, much less main event. Footage from the event which you can see above – in which emotional violence from the fans far eclipses physical violence from the wrestlers – is downright ugly,
However we should note that Extreme Reunion shortly thereafter rebranded as Extreme Rising and delivered a superb inaugural Card Subject To Change, in which sentimental favorite Stevie Richards triumphed in a world title tournament. Then the money disappeared due to some controversial and confusing circumstances we don’t really have space to investigate here.
12. Teddy Hart Goes Into Business For Himself At Ring of Honor
Had Teddy Hart been able to keep his act together, today, he’d probably have Tyson Kidd’s job. So, eh, maybe depending on how you look at things, the Hart scion’s figurative downward spiral was a blessing in disguise. He may be considered a cautionary tale in the annals of professional wrestling, but at least he’s gotten to do way, way more drugs than Tyson Kidd ever has.
Hart hit his professional nadir in 2003, when he ruined the end of a Ring of Honor cage scramble by unexpectedly behaving as though unharmed by the preceding beating down, and performing a series of unannounced spots – including a shooting star press of the top of the cage. Then he threw up everywhere, because Teddy Hart was super high. More recently, Hart was widely reported wanted on sexual assault charges in Canada. Since no information about the charges has appeared since, maybe he no sold getting arrested, too.
11. David Arquette Wins WCW World Title
There’s already plenty of “Stupidest WCW Moments” lists out there, so to minimize redundancy, we’re just going to include the worst of Ted Turner’s worst incidental contributions to wrestling here. Furthermore, there’s not much more to be said about the former Mr. Courtney Cox’s 12-day reign as WCW champ – undoubtedly, one of the earliest nails in WCW’s coffin. Arquette’s Wikipedia entry – which spends a surprising amount of words on his fairly brief wrestling career – lists him as slated for the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2016, and we’re sure whoever made that clearly bogus edit thinks they’re very, very, clever.
10. The Shockmaster
Okay, never mind that Fred Ottoman tripped on a piece of wood – one that wasn’t present when he successfully rehearsed the stunt earlier that day – and fell flat on his arse, as Davey Boy Smith eloquently noted, instead of making a terrifying first appearance at Clash of the Champions XXIV in 1993. Forget that WCW lacked the technology (apparently) for Ottoman to hear Ole Anderson deliver what was supposed to be The Shockermaster’s promo, condemning the former Tugboat to wave his arms around aimlessly, hoping for the best. Let’s ignore the fact that there’s no way he could’ve worn his glittering Stormtrooper mask in the ring — Was WCW unaware of how intellectual properties work? Did they not realize LucasFilm would’ve destroyed them in court if The Shockmaster character hadn’t, luckily, figuratively and literally fallen on its face?
9. Jeff Hardy’s 90 Seconds Against Sting
Ah, Victory Road ‘11. As is the case with WCW, “Lamest TNA Blunders” could fill its own list of 15 trainwrecks, but none more embarrassing than Sting’s infamous 90 second triumph over the thoroughly wasted Jeff Hardy. Crime prevention and addiction services throughout the United States could save hundreds of thousands of dollars every year by cancelling all existing anti-drug education and outreach programs, and instead, force school children to watch Hardy bumble around like an oblivious goof before falling to a Scorpion Death Drop and fast count. The footage of Hardy spending five minutes faking like he’s about to throw his T-shirt into the crowd, then not doing that – ‘cause he’s a heel, remember? – could save thousands of lives every year if they aired it in rehab clinics.
8. The Brutus Beefcake “Anthrax” Incident
Back in 2004, white powder that Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake swears was a aspirin, and not something else, was found at Downtown Crossing station, causing an antrax panic that forced the busy MBTA facility to shut down. This incident makes the list because Beefcake was, at the time, working for the Massachusetts Bay Transport Authority, not the WWE.
Speaking of poor decisions made by guys named whose last name is “Hart,” Wrestlicious was an all-female promotion that produced 13 episodes of TV in 2010. A guy who won several million dollars in the lottery – seriously – decided to put some of that cash to use to realize his childhood dream of becoming the new Vince McMahon, except in an alternate reality where WWE was populated by car show bikini models-turned wrestlers whose characters all make Shockmaster look pragmatic by comparison. The lottery guy convinced “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart to co-promote and, of course, the lady wrestlers were also all rappers for no reason. We’re hoping Hart and the lottery guy intended Westlicious as an elaborate, expensive mechanism with which to get themselves laid. If not, it’s difficult to fathom how they thought flagrant sexism, hackneyed concepts, and probably not-terrific in-ring work (if Lacey Von Erich’s involvement is any indicator), would draw much money.
6. The Current State Of Virgil
In this instance, we mean “dismal” in a good way, for the most part. We’ve all gotten a good chuckle out of seeing Virgil wait, far too patiently, for someone to ask him for his autograph on LonelyVirgil.net. We find constant amusement by following his Twitter feed, wherein he grossly, if not intentionally, overestimates his scope of influence. We proudly wear our “Virgil: Wrestling Superstar” T-shirts everywhere we go. But we do feel sorry for anyone he’s ever expected to pay him for an autograph they probably didn’t want.
Whoever formulated the concept for the Naked Women’s Wrestling League back in 2004 severely misread the appeal of women’s wrestling. Granted, plenty of individuals get their jollies watching barely-clad individuals in better shape than they are doing the pretend fighting dance, and that’s fine and well and good. But for the majority of wrestling fans, watching NWWL is like watching a low-budget Avengers knock off, except Iron Man, The Hulk, and the rest of the bunch are all replaced with nude models. It’s not really a turn on, it’s just vaguely awkward. As one might expect given the product’s limited appeal, company spokesperson Carmen Electra sued the organization for not having any money to pay her in 2007.
4. Like, Basically Every Backyard Wrestling Match
Yeah, technically CM Punk got his start in the backyard Lunatic Wrestling Federation, but if he ever tried a moonsault off the roof of his parents’ house, we’d be awfully surprised, because CM Punk is not an idiot. We’re not saying there’s anything wrong with bored suburbanites with limited regard for their own health or well-being piledrivering each other on old mattresses and whacking each other in the noggin with cookie sheets. We just don’t understand where they got the idea that anyone aside from themselves and maybe their more sadistic friends would ever want to watch them do that.
3. NWF Kids Pro Wrestling
Granted, the NWF existed during the ‘80s, when athletic standards for pro wrestling were considerably lower. But picture a typical BYW event minus the props, cursing, and other types of “extreme” behavior, and you get NWF Kids Pro Wrestling – a bunch of 11-year-olds fake hitting each other on cable access. How did such a thing find its way into national syndication at one point? Even individuals who have watched the recent documentary aren’t sure how that was possible. Unlike CM Punk, none of the NWF kids went on to real careers in the adult wrestling biz. Like CM Punk, they got ripped off by a co-promoter for thousands of dollars following one of their successful indie shows.
2. Jake Roberts Gets Hospital Drunk At Heroes of Wrestling
It’s fun to knock Jeff Hardy for his main event meltdown at Victory Road, however, ultimately the fiasco will be overshadowed by Hardy’s many career high points. Furthermore and perhaps more importantly, Hardy at his most intoxicated couldn’t hold a flickering birthday candle to the mayhem of post-heyday, pre-sobriety Jake Roberts. Before his scheduled match with Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart at the first and final Heroes of Wrestling event – which had already stunk up the Casino Magic Hotel in Bay St. Louis in 1999 – Roberts entered the ring, placed Damien The Snake between his legs, proceeded to stroke Damien in a highly-suggestive manner, fell down, made out with Damien, and briefly passed out. All Jeff Hardy did at Victory Road was not throw his T-shirt into the crowd and lose. Jeff Hardy is a wimp.
1. This Match
First of all, credit to the glorious folks over at Botchamania for letting the world know this exists. Second, the greatest comedy writer on the planet could not script a funnier parody of wrestling match – which, astoundingly, this is not. We know scant little about Titanes En El Ring and our knowledge of Spanish is so limited we had to look up the national language of Argentina to determine that Spanish, is, in fact, the language spoken at Titanes En El Ring. But we nonetheless beseech readers to watch this uncanny contest. We won’t try to describe it. We could never do it justice. But we can say it is a sublime exemplar of majesty and horror that the WWE could never hope to equal.
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