Top 15 Worst Booked Finishes in Pro Wrestling

Pro wrestling is an interesting animal in that it is an industry designed on the fact that it attempts to pull one over on its audience on a regular basis. Whether this is the result of the predetermined match or a writer’s attempt to swerve the audience with a shocking ending, pro wrestling promotions are there to make the audience surprised by a given outcome. Unfortunately, some outcomes are not as well received as others for any number of reasons from a wrestler refusing to lose to someone, the booker wanting to shock the crowd in an attempt to garner attention, or backstage politics, either way there is a reason for a match to have a terrible outcome.

So with that in mind I created this ranking of the worst booking decisions in pro wrestling. These include odd title changes, nonsensical back stories for matches, and just flat out head scratchers that made fans furious, confused, or both. The matches were chosen based on how infamous they are to wrestling fans, overall impact of the result, and overall awfulness of the outcome. These are match finishes that will remain in wrestling infamy solely for the fact that they are downright rotten. Similar to how the Shockmaster is remembered for having the single worst debut in pro wrestling history, these matches remain in the minds of fans because they hit a level of sucking or “what were they thinking” that was previously thought impossible. These decisions make fans think that promoters hate them despite the fact that fans come in droves and spend millions of dollars on the industry each year.

So please read, enjoy, and let us know what you think down in the comments section. How would you have ranked these differently? Are there other matches that you felt should have made the list or that one of the entries should be ranked differently?

16 John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar, Extreme Rules 2012


The WWE had all the momentum in the world going into Extreme Rules 2012. The Rock had just emerged victorious over John Cena to coincide with Brock Lesnar's WWE return. Coming out of the UFC, the WWE sold Lesnar as a legitimate fighter that could take down any wrestler on their roster. In some sort of bodily function they can't seem to get rid of, the WWE just HAD to have Cena beat Lesnar. It made no sense, sapping Lesnar's momentum before it started. It took Lesnar breaking the Undertaker's streak to finally sell him as an unstoppable force, but a lot of time could've been saved had Lesnar won his return match.

Knowing what we know now, if Cena's journey was going to lead him to redemption over The Rock at WrestleMania XXIX, shouldn't he have had a tough year in the win-loss column leading up to that match? Either way, it was a real head scratcher.


14 Tazz vs. Mike Awesome (ECW on TNN 4/13/00)


13 Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Kane (Raw 6/29/98)


12 Sting vs. Hulk Hogan (Halloween Havoc ’99)


In Vince Russo’s ever long quest to show the internet wrestling community that he was listening to them and vice versa, he came up with an idea to try and remove Hulk Hogan from the spotlight for a while, while at the same time trying to raise morale in the back with other wrestlers fed up with Hogan’s backstage politics. So to write off Hogan from TV, Hogan was booked to lose against Sting at Halloween Havoc in their World Heavyweight Title Match.

11 Hulk Hogan vs. Jeff Jarrett (Bash at the Beach ’00)


In what was seemingly an attempt to lose what remaining fans WCW had, Vince Russo decided to rehash the Halloween Havoc incident with Hulk Hogan and his “creative control” clause in his contract, this time with Jeff Jarrett instead of Sting. Yet instead of Hogan laying down it was Jarrett who laid down with Russo yelling at Hogan to pin him. After the match Hogan would cut a scathing promo on Russo and the current status of WCW before leaving.

10 Sting vs. Jeff Hardy (Victory Road ’11)


In one of the biggest headscratcher moments in pro wrestling, TNA felt that it was okay that Jeff Hardy go out to the ring to fight Sting for the World Championship in the main event of Victory Road, despite the fact that Hardy was high as a kite. So it was then decided that the main event would be cut down to as short as possible to lessen the chance of serious injury to either performer. Eric Bischoff would make his way to the ring and announce that the match was now No Disqualification, while shaking both men’s hands and whispering into their ears letting them know of the change.

9 Sting vs. Hulk Hogan (Starrcade ’97)


In what is probably the most well promoted match in WCW history, Hollywood Hulk Hogan and Sting were finally set to meet each other in the ring at Starrcade ’97 for Hogan’s World Heavyweight Title after a year of buildup between the two. Unfortunately, Hogan dominated nearly the whole match from start to finish and pinned Sting in the center of the ring, to the shock of everyone hoping to finally see Hogan get what was coming to him. Apparently the referee, Nick Patrick, was supposed to do a fast count leading to newly signed Bret Hart coming out and demanding the match be restarted, in which Sting would ultimately win.

Unfortunately, Patrick did not do a fast count so the whole reason for Hart coming out did not make sense, but it is besides the point as fans wanted to see Sting get a clean win over Hogan after a year’s buildup rather than a restarted match with an impartial Hart acting as referee. The ending that unfolded made it look like the heel Hogan was screwed out of his title.

8 Batista Wins the 2014 Royal Rumble


Coming into the 2014 Royal Rumble there was no hotter wrestler in the industry than Daniel Bryan. From deafening “yes!” chants from the audience to the fact he had been trying to defy the odds and regain the WWE Championship for the better part of a year, Bryan could do no wrong. Yet that did not deter the higher ups from having returning part-timer and good buddy of Triple H, Batista, win the Royal Rumble. Many would have thought it was a long shot that a 45-year-old would win the Rumble, especially when his only involvement leading up to the match was a half-assed feud with Alberto Del Rio.

7 Hulk Hogan vs. Yokozuna (WrestleMania IX)

6 Brock Lesnar vs. the Undertaker (WrestleMania XXX) 

5 David Arquette and DDP vs. Jeff Jarrett and Eric Bischoff (Thunder 4/25/2000)


In an attempt to get some mainstream publicity for WCW and promote their movie Ready to Rumble, the decision was made to make actor David Arquette the World Heavyweight Champion. The belt was defended in a tag match between the team of Arquette and DDP against champion Jeff Jarrett and Eric Bischoff. Arquette would end up pinning Bischoff and crowned the new champion as boos rained down upon him from the audience in attendance.

4 Vince Russo vs. Booker T (Nitro 9/25/00)


3 Kevin Nash vs. Goldberg (Starcade ’98)

2 Hulk Hogan vs. Kevin Nash (Monday Nitro 1/4/99)

While Nash and Goldberg’s match at Starrcade might have been bad, it does not hold a candle to the match that many point to as the start of the downward spiral of WCW. A week after the pay-per-view, Nash came out and stated he wanted to give Goldberg his rematch after how their first match ended, but when Goldberg was taken away by police, Hogan was chosen as a replacement and a tune up for Nash.

1 Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart (Survivor Series ’97)


Going into Survivor Series, there was no real definite finish to the World Title match between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart. Neither man wanted to lose to the other but the belt needed to be taken off of Hart before he went over to WCW. Ultimately it was decided by a select few that Bret would be screwed over in the end of the match and the belt would be placed on Michaels. So when Michaels locked Bret in Bret’s own Sharpshooter finisher, referee Earl Hebner called for the bell to be rung and the match awarded to Michaels. Fans were irate about what happened and Bret went ballistic tearing up the ring. While the match would ultimately lead to the WWE taking the lead in the ratings war with WCW, the thought that there was not something better in place before the match occurred is baffling as the WWE would alienate a large portion of its Canadian fans, though it would make Mr. McMahon one of the greatest villains in pro wrestling history.

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Top 15 Worst Booked Finishes in Pro Wrestling