It goes by many names - The Show of Shows, The Granddaddy of Them All, The Showcase of the Immortals. WrestleMania to the Superstars, Divas, and die-hard members of the WWE Universe is what Edge once said it was – "it's kind of like our Christmas." Much like the holiday season brings an all–around feeling of general saccharine happiness, the Road to WrestleMania more or less creates the wrestling version of the holiday season. No matter how good or bad the overall product is at the time of WrestleMania, there is the hope that the show will always live up to the hype.
This year is supposed to be the biggest WrestleMania of all time as AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas is being prepped for what is hopefully one-hundred thousand screaming fans. The company is gearing up for a crowd that could beat the mythical 93K in attendance for WrestleMania III. Nowadays, the masses flock to the show more because of the show itself than the actual card. But what was once most likely a sure thing might not be so sure with the roster depleted thanks to injuries.
While events like X7 and last year's show are filled with great moment after moment and very little to dislike, not every show can be blessed with such greatness. Many a 'Mania have clunker moments that make even the most ardent fan scratch their heads in bewilderment. But if a few different choices were made, these worst WrestleMania moments could have been prevented.
15 The Icon Loses (WrestleMania 31)
It took over 25 years to make it happen, but Sting was finally set to make his WrestleMania debut against Triple H. Of course the match itself could have been great had it not been turned into an absolute gimmickfest, showcasing the Monday Night War–16 years after WWE had already won it. The Chairman seemingly couldn’t let it go and booked the legend to lose his first, and what is seemingly his last, WrestleMania match. Since he was going to lose anyway, the WWE Universe should have been able to bear witness to the clash between the two dark saviors of WWE and WCW between Undertaker and Sting, and HHH could have squashed Sting at a later date.
14 The Instant Replay Debate (WrestleMania VII)
After the controversial way that Sgt. Slaughter won the world title at the Royal Rumble, then New York Yankees owner, George Steinbrenner and former football player, Paul Maguire debated the merits of instant replay at WrestleMania VII. The irony that the two owners were debating instant replay for a scripted sport must have been lost on Vince McMahon, since this was used as time filler at the show of shows. Luckily, we no longer have to sit through this nonsense; it has been removed from the event on the Network, which would have been the best way to prevent this one–not even have the conversation to begin with.
13 A Disqualification Would Cost Triple H the Title (WrestleMania XXV)
Considering all of the heinous acts that Randy Orton had pulled on the McMahon family, the main event at WrestleMania XXV should have been a war. For whatever reason, it was decided that Triple H could lose the title if he got disqualified. So now, a man that watched all of his in–laws get trounced and his own wife get DDTed, not to mention he also kissed his wife, finally had the chance to get his hands on the guy, but was told if he destroyed him, he'd lose the title. It should have been an old school inspired, bloody climax to a storyline. We know it's all a show, so the fact that these two weren't allowed to brutalize one another made it a very anti-climactic main event to an otherwise great WrestleMania.
12 The Big Sumo (WrestleMania 21)
When you're the world’s largest athlete and you're performing at the world’s greatest sports entertainment event, you're best used as a spectacle and at many WrestleManias, Big Show has been used as just that. So then the thought process of putting Show in the largest combat sport there is, Sumo, and against one of the biggest Sumos ever, Akebon, at The Grandaddy of Them All must have seemed great on paper, but sadly it was just another bad moment in the career of one of the best big men of all time. These gimmick matches are pretty decent ideas, but for all the buildup, the match lasted barely a minute. WWE needs to drop these ideas altogether or find a way to actually gimmick these too.
11 The Rock Stands Tall (WrestleMania XXVII)
The WWE Universe ate up every bit of The Rock returning to the WWE in 2011. Sadly, the main event of WrestleMania would take a backseat because of it. Instead of John Cena focusing on his opponent, WWE champion The Miz, he would engage in a war of words with The Great One. WWE was looking ahead to the showdown between Rock and Cena, instead of getting fans to care about the current main event. Both Cena and The Miz would fall victim to a man who hadn’t wrestled a match in almost a decade taking the spotlight instead of placing it on where it belonged, on the two superstars. Considering The Miz hasn't been the same since, it might have been better to beat Cena clean and stand tall.
10 Musical Interludes (Many WrestleManias)
WrestleMania is the Super Bowl, we get it. But for the most part, the NFL strings together a decent halftime show to entertain the masses. Having either D–grade musicians or just singers that for some reason are still considered A–list demeans The Showcase of the Immortals. But perhaps it's a good thing in hindsight, if they're going to keep pushing the women's division to new heights, then these bland interludes can serve as the new bathroom breaks for 'Mania. Fixing this one is easy–either get performers who the fans are interested in or just don't have these performances at all.
9 18 Seconds (WrestleMania XXVIII)
It created a firestorm that made Daniel Bryan, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t one of the worst moments in wrestling history, let alone WrestleMania history. Bryan had made it to the top of the card and had been given the honor of going into WrestleMania as World Heavyweight Champion to face the Royal Rumble winner. Headlining the event was not in the cards yet, as the brass decided Sheamus would be made on this night, delivering an instant Brogue Kick and winning the world title after 18 seconds. The move backfired and Sheamus has not been over since and the it was the most piss–poor presentation of a champion in the history of 'Mania. Considering the series of matches they had afterwards, this match could have been a great kickoff to the feud and the brass should have booked these two to go.
8 Brawl for All Finale (WrestleMania XV)
In 1999, the WWE had the grand idea of having their tough guys compete in the MMA–inspired Brawl for All competition. Rumor has it the whole thing was conceived as a way to get Dr. Death Steve Williams over. But then he got punked out by the uncharismatic Bart Gunn on the former tag champ's road to WrestleMania XV where the winner of the Brawl for All got the opportunity to face a real pro-fighter, Butterbean, which saw home kicked out in less than a minute. Much like with Akebono, Butterbean was the real deal and Bart Gunn had no shot, so this idea should have been scrapped or somehow should have figured out a way for someone with more of a fight background (i.e. Severn, Shamrock, or Williams) to take on the fighter.
7 LT / Bam Bam Bigelow (WrestleMania XI)
It had been nine years since the NFL had a presence at the show of shows. At WrestleMania II, it was a battle royal. By the time WrestleMania XI came around, the roster was so depleted that the company looked to Bam Bam Bigelow to carry Lawrence Taylor to a decent match. This one had all the bells and whistles of your spectacle 'Mania match, complete with some of the NFL's finest - including future Horseman Steve McMichael. For what it was, the match wasn't terrible, but as the final match to close out WrestleMania? Besides Hogan/Yoko, this has to be the worst one ever. The world title should always be the focus and the 'Mania closer, so there was no reason to put this on after Diesel/HBK.
6 Jerry Lawler / Michael Cole (WrestleMania XXVII)
Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler had done it all in his career, except for competing at the show of shows. That all changed at WrestleMania XXVII, when The King would get his hands on Michael Cole, who had been tormenting him for months at the table. While it was cool to finally see Jerry in the ring at 'Mania, we got a way too long match that actually saw Cole defeat The King. It would take three more years, but we now live in a world where Michael Cole is undefeated at 'Mania and The Undertaker is not. This match should have been way shorter and The King should have been booked to reign supreme at The Show of Shows.
5 The Undertaker / Giant Gonzalez (WrestleMania IX)
Speaking of The Undertaker, he too appears on this list. Before the streak became The Streak, The Phenom had been placed in some mediocre situations at WrestleMania. But mediocre is being kind when it comes to his match against Giant Gonzalez at Caesars Palace. Despite being carried in with a vulture at his side, The Deadman's entrance could not save this stinker. The Giant sadly just didn't have the skill set to even pretend he could hang with The Undertaker. This is the only asterisk on Taker's 'Mania streak–he defeated Gonzalez by disqualification. With no way to mask The Giant's lack of skills, perhaps the company could have brought in a different big man to face off with The Deadman.
4 The Undertaker Hangs the Bossman (WrestleMania XV)
A 2016 Hall of Fame inductee, The Big Boss Man gets the award for being in two of the worst Hell in a Cell matches in history. But only one of them gets the distinction of being at WrestleMania. The end of the match saw The Boss Man get hung from the top of the cell by The Brood. A murder was played out during WrestleMania XV. Obviously we didn't really watch The Boss Man die on national TV, but the stunt was still in poor taste, not to mention the horror that could have happened if Bossman wasn't harnessed correctly. Since the fans don't mind seeing The Phenom dump his opponents into coffins, perhaps The Brood should have dumped him into one.
3 Goldberg / Lesnar (WrestleMania XX)
The twentieth WrestleMania was filled with many dream matches. In 2004, pretty much every big name superstar in the world was under the WWE umbrella. Years before Suplex City was created, The Beast was likened to the unstoppable Goldberg. The stage was set for one of the most memorable wars in wrestling history. Fans caught wind it would be Goldberg’s last match and then Lesnar decided he wanted to head to the NFL. So, the fans completely ruined this one. While they have the right to boo or cheer whatever they want, the jeering of the MSG crowd at both men threw them both off of their game. There’s no way to fix this particular match, so knowing that both men were leaving, they should've booked them in entirely different matches.
2 WrestleMania VIII Finale (WrestleMania VIII)
Thanks to new Hall of Famer, The Godfather (as Papa Shango), the big ending to Hulkamania’s supposed swan song got a whole lot worse. Reportedly, the original ending to what was originally marketed as Hulk’s last match was that Shango was supposed to interrupt the count after Hogan delivered the big leg drop to Sid Justice. For whatever reason, that didn’t happen and Sid improvised, kicking out of the leg drop and the rest of the ending felt slightly off after that, as Sid’s manager Harvey Wippleman would get his man DQed for seemingly no reason. Why on Earth would Vince book this kind of ending to what was announced as Hulk's last match? Hogan should have gone over clean and gave the crowd what was thought to be his last ever pose down.
1 Hogan Beats Yokozuna (WrestleMania IX)
After Hogan left, Vince shifted the company focus onto great wrestling, with Bret Hart as the new chosen one, headlining WrestleMania against Yokozuna. But when Hogan returned, the focus would then be taken off of Bret and Yoko and placed on Hogan. Vince decided to put the strap on Hogan again in an impromptu match with the new champion, Yokozuna who had just beat Bret Hart. In then-record time, Hogan defeated Yoko, negating much of the hard work Bret had put in during Hogan’s time off, in what capped off one of the worst WrestleManias in history. Only Hulkamania could pull off two finale stinkers in a row. Since Bret/Yoko again headlined one year later, Vince should have allowed a program between the two to blossom rather than have Hogan politic himself into one more reign.
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