It happens all of the time on television shows. They get to a fourth, fifth, or even sixth season barely having a misstep and then it happens–a bottle episode, a poorly conceived idea, or even the dread shark jumping episode. But when your show is one of america’s favorite and lowest running male soap operas, professional wrestling, you have a lot more missteps you can take from a writing standpoint than on a traditional show. In fact, sometimes these portly scripted moments are even looked back on with un–ironic adoration.
Because wrestling seldom runs the risk of getting cancelled, the writing and booking team can take more chances with their storytelling than a standard show can. But still, sadly, sometimes the damage a bad storyline causes takes months, even years of reestablishing a talent to undo the damage a poorly crafted storyline can cause. But in wrestling no matter how high a talent can soar, no matter how legendary they become, these stars can never live down some of most poorly scripted moments in wrestling.
Wrestling fans have seen so many of these horrible, logic defying moments over the years and a list like this can actually be all encompassing to one year of wrestling (years such as this one have been wholly head scratching), hopefully this year will be better than the last. Make no mistake about it, the below items will forever live in infamy.
15. Fandango Beats Jericho
Chris Jericho toiled away in the salt mines, better known as the independent scene for years before going to WCW. There, he would suffer along with fellow brilliant competitors under the thumb of larger names like Hogan and Flair. He finally gets to the WWE, becomes a legend and after years and years of hard work, he is rewarded with a WrestleMania loss to a decent worker with a horrible gimmick that only Vince would love. Fandangoing might have been started ironically the next night, but Wrestlemania 29 would serve as a low point for Y2J.
14. The Gobbledy Gooker
What the heck is in that big ol’ egg? The biggest question of the fall of 1990 wasn’t; believe it or not; who is Ted DiBiase’s mystery partner (a certain Deadman, for those keeping score), but everyone was waiting to see what would hatch from a giant egg. Was it going to be an ostrich, a ton of money, a dinosaur? None of these sadly – instead we got legendary Luchador, Hector Guerrero preening and prancing around the ring in a ginormous ugly rooster costume. Gene Okerland would famously try to sell the bit, while Gorilla Monsoon egged (pun-intended) Roddy Piper to take thing home to his family. Not one bit of good came from this nonsense, and now serves as a reminder for bad planning.
13. Mae Young Gives Birth to a Hand
Another what were they thinking moment is also somehow one of the classic moments of the Attitude Era, so I guess Vince McMahon actually knew what he was doing here. That, or he knew the indomitable Johnny Mae Young would be able to pull off such nonsense as being pregnant geriatric who gave birth to a hand. Mark Henry has stated that when he asked Vince McMahon “why a hand,” his reply was a chuckle and “it’s a hand!” As if he knew that the WWE universe would wind up somehow cherishing this so bad it’s good moment, but call a spade a spade, still a horrifically scripted moment.
12. The Giant Falls off of Cobo Hall
Besides scripting him to be the son of Andre the Giant, when WCW debuted the Giant, they also decided to have a silly Man vs. Man / Monster vs. Monster main event at Halloween Havoc. In the very city where Hulk body slammed Andre, he would do battle against his “son,” but first the two would square off in a Monster Truck match atop of Detroit’s Cobo Hall. Sometimes we have to suspense disbelief, but watching Hulk push another man off of the roof the building and plummet to this death only to reappear five minutes later and give the Hulkstermthe big bear hug of death along with the Yeti made for the one of the worst double main events in history.
11. Brock Breaks the Streak
While most sports records are made to be broken, some believe the Deadman’s phenomenal run of being undefeated at WrestleMania should have never been scripted to be broken. And as of Wrestlemania XXX, the roster, much like it is now is so thin and there is not one single superstar who could benefit from the rub of ending the Streak. So why did Vince script the Beast to best the Phenom? Surely it couldn’t have been for the look of the bug-eyed man in the Just Say Yes t-shirt? Instead of building someone worthwhile up to the task of ending the Streak, Vince booked the Deadman on a one-way trip to Suplex City. While Brock defeating the Undertaker eventually reinvigorated their rivalry, it’s a moment that just wasn’t needed or even welcomed by many members of the Universe.
10. Sheamus Wins World Title in 18 Seconds
The WWE can paint any picture they want. They can show videos of Daniel Bryan’s journey set to the tune of Imagine Dragons’ “Monster.” They can pretend that their most popular wrestler down for over four years was all some intricately planned storyline. But the fact is, the guy was seldom on Vince’s radar and definitely not his interpretation of a star. Sheamus on the other hand, has everything Vince looks for in a big time superstar and decided it was a good idea that he runs right over D-Bry at the 28th annual Show of Shows. It was definitely a crappy moment for the fans and they, nor the American Dragon would gain redemption for two more years.
9. Batista Wins the 2014 Royal Rumble
The Yes Movement truly gained steam heading into the 2014 Royal Rumble. But would Vince actually give the fans what they want and have their guy win the whole thing and embark on the storybook ride towards WrestleMania XXX? Of course not, Bryan was once again cast aside, this time in favor of Batista who was booed out of the building when he won the Rumble, as the fans voiced their malcontent that Bryan wasn’t even in the Rumble in the first place. The fans continued to sour on the Batista / Orton Mania headliner and CM Punk would quit the company and cite Bryan not being booked to join the fray as one of the reasons. Eventually Bryan would finally reach the precipice at ‘Mania, but that’s only because the fans demanded it, not because it was scripted.
8. Roman Reigns Wins the 2015 Royal Rumble
Two years in a row, the fans were primed and ready to the American Dragon breathing fire atop the mountain, two years in a row the fans were robbed. But in 2015, a riot almost ensued when Daniel Bryan did actually get to participate in the Royal Rumble, but was eliminated barely ten minutes into his run. The crowd booed the crap out everyone else and chanted for Bryan for the rest of the match. How bad was Roman Reigns winning? The Rock got booed for coming out to raise his cousin’s hand in victory and it took the entire year to undo the damage of strapping the rocket to Reigns’ back.
7. Hulk Hogan Leaves WrestleMania IX as Champion
Shortly after WrestleMania VIII, Hulk Hogan had left the WWE to try and alleviate concerns that Vince was doling out steroids to his employees. In his absence, Ric Flair would pass the torch to a very capable Bret the Hitman Hart, signaling a new era and a New Generation on the horizon. Long before Daniel Bryan would get cast aside, Bret Hart was the original stalwart great worker who would get handed the shaft every time a bigger, stronger man came into the fold. After Yokozuna trounced the pink and black attack, Hogan would then defeat the Mighty Yokozuna in 22 seconds, negating all of the hard work Hart did in establishing himself as a major player. Luckily, the fans barely cared about Hogan as champion and he was gone several months later.
6. Corporate Kane
Wrestling has always been likened to a giant male soap opera. But most soap operas maintain a sense of continuity. The WWE had spent over 15 years establishing Kane as the Undertaker’s little demon brother from hell, horrifically scarred and vicious. Then one day, not only does he give his mask over to Stephanie McMahon, but he must have handed his testicles to her offscreen at some point. Now the same evil hellhound who burnt JR alive, choke slammed Linda McMahon and hooked Shane McMahon’s own nuts up to a car battery was just a domesticated minion, erasing anything that was ever interesting about the Big Red Machine.
5. Bray Wyatt Loses to John Cena
Since WrestleMania 21, WWE has been John Cena’s world with everyone else a distant second. Then came Bray Wyatt. For the first time in a long time, a new character that was different than everyone else. The Wyatt family was built up strong in their first year, including defeating the other resident trio, the Shield. Then it came time for the leader of the family to take on the leader of the Cenation. Their match at WrestleMania XXX could have been a star making moment for Wyatt, but also on this night he would become just another victim for super Cena. How bad can booking be? Wyatt has not recovered since even if he is booked strong, he still loses to big guys like the Undertaker.
4. 173 – 1
Unlike the Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak, Goldberg’s year-plus undefeated reign atop WCW needed to end sooner or later. Goldberg would defend the World title and his streak at Starrcade 1998 against Kevin Nash. Nash, who was WCW’s head booker at the time not only scripted himself to win (as if he needed the rub), but the way it all went down was just plain terrible. Goldberg would finally fall thanks to outside interference from Scott Hall and a taser. That was all it took to kill the momentum of one WCW’s only homegrown icons.
3. Austin Turns Heel
This ones so bad that to this day, Austin wishes he would’ve called an audible, gave Vince the Stunner and soaked in a Texas-sized beer bath. After being on the shelf for over a year with a bum neck, the bionic redneck made his triumphant return at the Royal Rumble 2001 and would go on to challenge the Rock at WrestleMania X7. Midway through the match, the Chairman would strut his way down the aisle and hand the toughest SOB a chair which he unrelentingly unloaded on the Rock with. Austin had sold his sound to the devil, but fan weren’t ready to boo the guy yet. Austin was still and still,is arguably the most popular star ever and have him go heel in his big return title match I his home state was a bad idea.
2. The Fingerpoke of Doom
Only WCW could script one bad moment, follow it up with another and get the fans to change the channel all in one fell swoop – the invention of epic fail. After Kevin Nash took the title and streak away from Goldberg, Hulk Hogan decided to come out of his 137th retirement to take on Nash. During the Nitro broadcast, Tony Schiavone told WCW fans there’s no need to turn to Raw because Mick Foley was going to win “their” world title. The channels changed almost immediately. And seeing as how WCW gave us a screwjob finish, dubbed the Fingerpoke of Doom, where Hogan would defeat Nash with a finger to the chest, the channel switch proved to be the right move.
1. Robocop Saves the Day
Over twenty years later and Sting still gets flack for this one. Always known for being a team player, the future Hall of Famer didn’t protest when the bookers in WCW circa 1990 thought some cross promotion between their brand and the upcoming Robocop 2. For some reason, someone thought it would be a good idea to have the cyborg cop come save Sting from an attack by the Four Horsemen. While every idea on this list is a pretty bad one and all are remembered for how bad they are, no moment is given more guff and provided more of a black mark on anyone’s career than this one.
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