Recently, WWE confirmed that AJ Styles will be taking on none other than Shane McMahon at WrestleMania 33. While there are some who believe that this match can exceed expectations, many more fans see this contest as a direct slap in the face to AJ Styles. After Styles spent the last year cementing himself as one of the best wrestlers in the world, you would think that WWE could find a way to reward him with a WrestleMania match that is more than an excuse to get a McMahon on the card. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that's going to be the case.
Then again, what else did you expect? WWE has been misbooking their best wrestlers since the very first WrestleMania. Through a combination of bad long-term booking decisions and short-sighted matchmaking, WWE has turned putting the right wrestler into the wrong match into a WrestleMania tradition. When you take a look at all the times WWE misused one of their biggest names, you start to realize that AJ Styles' impending match against Shane McMahon is far from the worst thing WWE has ever done to one of their stars come WrestleMania season. These are the top 15 times WWE wasted a great wrestler on a bad WrestleMania match.
15 Stone Cold Steve Austin: vs. Savio Vega (WrestleMania XII)
14 Owen Hart: vs. Skinner (WrestleMania VIII)
13 Ricky Steamboat: vs. Matt Borne (WrestleMania I)
The first WrestleMania may very well be the most historically significant wrestling event in the history of the business, but it’s also an awful overall card. The highlight of the evening was Hulk Hogan’s celebrity filled main event. Everything else on the show is largely forgettable. Even by WrestleMania I standards, though, Ricky Steamboat’s match against Matt Borne is a real head scratcher. Steamboat was in the prime of his in-ring career at this point, and WWE decided to utilize his considerable talents by having him wrestle the guy that would become Doink the Clown years down the line.
12 Mankind and The Big Show: Special Referee Match (WrestleMania XV)
11 Ted DiBiase: vs. Brutus Beefcake (WrestleMania V)
10 Brock Lesnar and Goldberg (WrestleMania XX)
9 Mr. Perfect: vs. Brutus Beefcake (WrestleMania VI)
We swear we’re not picking on Brutus Beefcake. It just so happens that he was involved in some really awfully booked WrestleMania matches against opponents that clearly deserved more than the opportunity to wrestle Hulk Hogan’s friend. While Beefcake’s match against DiBiase felt insulting, this one is somehow even worse. Shortly before WrestleMania VI, The Ultimate Warrior ended Mr. Perfect’s undefeated streak.
8 Chris Jericho: vs. Jimmy Snuka, Roddy Piper, Ricky Steamboat (WrestleMania XXV)
7 The Undertaker: vs. Big Bossman (WrestleMania XV)
6 Rick Rude: vs. Jimmy Snuka (WrestleMania VI)
Rick Rude, much like Ted DiBiase, is a guy that WWE just never seemed to know what to do with. They knew that Rude had a great character, a tremendous physique, and well above-average ring skills, but when it came time to actually write meaningful storylines for him, WWE’s creative team seemingly collectively shrugged their shoulders. Even though Rude carried Ultimate Warrior to a great match at WrestleMania V, WWE still saw fit to reward him with a throwaway encounter against Jimmy Snuka at WrestleMania VI.
5 Dolph Ziggler: w/Michelle McCool, and Layla vs. John Morrison, Trish Stratus, and Snooki (WrestleMania XXVII)
WWE has resorted to the bottom of the barrel when trying to get celebrities to make WrestleMania appearances, but they never reached further than they did in 2011 when The Jersey Shore’s own Snooki made her in-ring debut. Following weeks of build-up, the stage was set for Snooki to team up with Trish Stratus and John Morrison to take on the team of Dolph Ziggler, Michelle McCool, and Layla.
4 The Shield: vs. Kane and The New Age Outlaws (WrestleMania XXX)
The booking of The Shield is one of the best things WWE has ever done. No, seriously. From the day that Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose stepped into the company to the day that Rollins betrayed the group, WWE treated The Shield like they were the most dominant group on the roster. They were rewarded for their efforts with three of the company’s biggest singles stars. Actually, this WrestleMania match feels like the single biggest misstep in the history of The Shield’s group run.
3 Jake Roberts and Rick Martel: Blindfold Match (WrestleMania VII)
2 Kurt Angle: vs. Kane (WrestleMania X8)
1 Stone Cold Steve Austin: vs. Scott Hall (WrestleMania X8)
Sting’s absence wasn’t the only disappointment to come from WrestleMania X8. No, we’re not talking about the Chris Jericho/Triple H main event that fizzled out; we’re talking about Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Scott Hall. When WWE knew that some of the big name WCW talents they weren’t able to sign for the invasion storyline were going to be available for WrestleMania X8, they started to put together a few “dream match” scenarios. One of those scenarios involved Stone Cold Steve Austin battling Hulk Hogan. While that match would have been a showdown between arguably the top two draws in wrestling history, the honor of wrestling Hogan instead went to The Rock.
Stone Cold’s consolation prize was Scott Hall. The problem here was that Austin clearly didn’t want to wrestle Hall, and Hall was at a point in his life where he wasn’t really up to having a great match with anyone. For Stone Cold’s second-to-last WrestleMania match, this was a dud.
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