If you want to know someone to blame for the glut of PPVs wrestling fans go through every year, look to Eric Bischoff. As he took over WCW in 1993, the company only had a handful of PPVs a year, just as WWE did. Bischoff decided to amp it up more and more to the point where there were at least two PPVs a month (between WWE and WCW), if not more. Sadly, this quantity did not lead to quality. That’s especially true when it’s WCW, a company that had a peaked from 1996 to early 1998 but had so many, many lows. The PPV history of WCW is a rough one as they could produce some fantastic shows that would rock you hard and be among the best you could see. Sadly, a vast majority of them were incredibly bad, even by the standards of the worst of WWE.
That’s especially true for the two main periods of low times in WCW: The early 90s, especially when Hogan arrived to toss his weight around and their last two years as the company went down the toilet. Despite having a great talent base that included some of the biggest stars in the business, WCW seemed to go out of their way to give fans some terrible shows that had demands of refunds abounding. Sometimes, a good match could salvage a bad card but too often WCW just produced shows bad from top to bottom and harming themselves. It was worse in the Vince Russo era with his penchant for massive gimmick bouts and not even announcing a card in full before a show aired. It’s hard given all the terrible bouts but here we go with the 15 worst PPVs in WCW history and how each played a role in turning what could have been a great company into a total disaster.
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15 Fall Brawl '94
It’s not just the quality here, it’s what it represents and that’s when WCW moved from its classic roots to the Hogan show. Hogan himself, the World champion, wasn’t present, he and Flair doing a “video face-off” where Hogan was booed heavily. Johnny B. Badd beat Steven Regal for the TV title off a backslide while Kevin Sullivan beat Cactus Jack, Foley’s farewell to the company. Ricky Steamboat was forced to forfeit the U.S. title to Steve Austin due to injury with Austin then losing it in 30 seconds to Jim Duggan. Pretty Wonderful kept the tag titles over Stars and Stripes in a poor match while Vader beat Guardian Angel and Sting (the most over guy in the company) in a ridiculously complicated three-way match.
The main event had Dusty and Dustin Rhodes with the Nasty Boys against the Stud Stable in what’s probably the lamest War Games match of all time, no blood, messy action and no stakes. In one show, WCW moved from being the antidote to the cartoonish actions of WCW to embracing that style, marking a very bad transition.
14 Road Wild '98
This show was created simply so Bischoff could hang out with bikers, and tickets were comped, so WCW made no revenue at the gate. Rey Mysterio and Psychosis did a surprisingly terrible match with some blown spots while Jericho and Juventud was a good battle. But then we had messes like the Scott/Rick Steiner match called off due to the anger of fans and mess fights of Brian Adams/Steve McMichael and Chavo/Stevie Ray. A massive battle royal between the nWo factions was won by Goldberg no-selling a Giant chokeslam and beating everybody.
The main event is infamous as Jay Leno and DDP faced Hogan and Bischoff with Hogan actually selling for the talk show host. Any show with that main event deserves a place among the worst and even more with the rest of the card taken into consideration so makes sense it was before a non-paying crowd.
13 SuperBrawl IX
This show was a sign of what would be a horrific year for WCW. Booker T and Disco Inferno had a surprisingly good opener but Saturn and Chris Jericho was ruined by Saturn just walking out. Kidman and Chavo Guerrero was also good but that was quickly followed by a whole lot of bad. Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko lost a complicated double fall match to Barry Windham and Curt Hennig for the vacant tag titles. Hall and Nash beat Rey Mysterio and Konnan to force Rey to unmask, which ruined him in WCW.
Hall would then beat Roddy Piper in a horrible fight for the U.S. title. Scott Steiner beat down DDP for the TV title and DDP was taken out on a stretcher. Goldberg and Bam Bam Bigelow had a very slow battle that did little for the dying crowd. Finally, the main event had Hogan and Flair for the World title where David Flair turned on his dad with a taser to allow Hogan to win and the tired sight of the nWo celebrating to end the show. A clear sign of how rough 1999 was going to be for WCW.
12 Halloween Havoc 2000
WCW was sinking by now and this makes it very obvious. We actually got a good opener of the Natural Born Thrillers winning a triple threat tag title match but from then on, it was utter garbage. Reno and Sgt AWOL got 11 minutes for a Hardcore title match while Misfits in Action against Perfect Event was a waste. Torrie dressed as Wonder Woman was the only bright spot to Filthy Animals against her and Shane Douglas. Buff Bagwell beat David Flair in a First Blood match while Mike Sanders beat Ernest Miller by countout in a kickboxing match. General Reaction won the U.S. title thanks to Major Gunns while Mike Awesome beat Vampiro.
Jeff Jarrett then beat Sting in a match involving multiple guys dressed like Sting which the fans loathed. Booker T’s World Title defense against Scott Steiner was only the semi-main with Steiner dominating before Booker pulled off a fluke win by DQ and Steiner destroying the refs. The real main event was Goldberg beating Kronik in a three minute squash match with tables.
11 Starrcade ‘99
Russo was in charge of WCW and boy, did it show. Madusa won the Cruiserweight title while the Hardcore championship was an ugly brawl. Jim Duggan and the Varsity Club lost to the Revolution while Vampiro was pushed over both Steve Williams and “Oklahoma” in two bad bouts. Harlem Heat and female partner Midnight lost to Creative Control, Jeff Jarrett beat Dustin Rhodes in a “Bunkhouse Brawl,” DDP beat David Flair in a “Crowbar on a pole” match while the Sting/Luger battle was best known for Sting actually seeing a turn from Elizabeth coming as her “mace can” had silly string instead. The Chris Benoit/Jeff Jarrett U.S. title ladder match was good but then the Nash/Sid powerbomb battle was ugly.
The main event had Bret Hart against Goldberg for the title with Russo recreating Montreal with Bret in the Shawn Michaels role while receiving the kick that would end his career. Only fitting WCW closed out the ‘90s with such an atrocious show.
10 Uncensored '96
Just months before Hall and Nash would change the company, WCW put out this horrific card. Konnan and Guerrero for the U.S. title was a good opener but the rest was bad. Finlay beat William Regal in a rough brawl, before Robert Parker defeated Madusa in an intergender match, The Giant beat Loch Ness in a match that felt longer than its two minutes and Ed Leslie (as the Booty Man) got 17 minutes to take down DDP when Kimberly joined him as The Booty Babe.
Sting and Luger against the Road Warriors looked promising only to turn into a Street Fight that lasted a half hour. The main event was one of the worst ever as Hogan and Savage faced off against eight guys in a triple-deck cage match that was horribly shot, mired with interference and a lousy finish. Remarkable to see the change in WCW just months later when they were putting this crap out.
9 Slamboree 2000
David Arquette was WCW World champion. That tells you all you need to know as to the state of the company. The undercard was made of ugly bouts like Terry Funk against Norman Smiley in a Hardcore match, Scott Steiner over Captain Reaction, Luger over Buff Bagwell only to get beaten down by Chuck Palumbo and Shane Douglas beating Flair when David Flair dressed as Sting hit his dad with a bat. That’s not to mention Hogan beating Kidman in an dragged out match where Hogan tried to sell himself as the hero.
The main event was a “Tower of Doom” cage match where Arquette attacked DDP to let Jeff Jarrett win the title. The epitome of the Russo era in all its “glory” and why WCW fell apart at this time.
8 Souled Out 2000
Just days before, this entire card was thrown into chaos when Bret Hart, then the World Champion, had to bow out due to a concussion. Likewise, Jeff Jarrett, scheduled for a best-of-three series, also was out with injury. Russo wanted a battle royal with Tank Abbott winning the title, an idea so dumb that it led to his firing. The show began with Billy Kidman and Dean Malenko with the stipulation that you couldn’t go to the outside…which Malenko did, forgetting the rules so the match was called off early. Kidman also faced Perry Saturn and the Wall on the card. Vampiro won a match against David Flair and Crowbar, Oklahoma won the Cruiserweight title off of Madusa, Booker T over Stevie Ray in a bad match, Tank Abbott went over Jerry Flynn in a minute and Buff Bagwell beat DDP in a rough Last Man Standing bout while Nash beat Terry Funk in a “Commissioner’s job” match.
The main event had Benoit beating Sid for the vacant title but set up to give the excuse for taking the belt off Benoit when he and the Radicals jumped to WWE the very next day. A mess already that just turned out even worse than expected.
7 Halloween Havoc '95
An infamous show in so many respects. Johnny B. Badd won the TV title off of DDP in an overlong match while Randy Savage beat Zodiac in just a minute. Lex Luger and Meng also had an overlong bout while Sting and Ric Flair against Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman ended when Flair turned on Sting and Luger and Savage faced off in another bout. What’s remembered is Hogan and the Giant going at it on the roof of the building in a Sumo Monster Truck match which Hogan won and then knocked the Giant off the roof.
The Giant showed up for the match with no sign of injury and a very ugly bout followed that included Luger turning heel and the Yeti (who looked like a mummy) attacking to grind on Hogan and Hogan lost the belt by DQ when manager Jimmy Hart turned on him. Nothing sums up the garbage of 1995 better than this and amazing only a few months before Hall & Nash would change everything.
6 Starrcade '97
This was supposed to be the show that allowed WCW to put WWF down and take their place as the leader forever. Instead, it was the beginning of their end. The opening of Guerrero vs Malenko was quite good but the rest was downhill as the supposed “WCW revenge” angle never took off. Scott Norton, Vincent and Savage beat the Steiners and Ray Traylor in a six-man bout while Goldberg beat Steve McMichael and Raven over Benoit in a messy “Raven’s Rules” match. Buff Bagwell beat Luger in an overlong battle and while DDP got the U.S. title off of Curt Hennig, it wasn’t a top notch match. Then, after paying out millions to get Bret Hart fresh off the Montreal Screwjob, WCW had him be referee for Larry Zybsko beating Bischoff. That led to the main event where, after over a year of build-up, WCW managed to blow the big Hogan-Sting encounter by having Sting be cleanly pinned by Hogan, the match restarted so he won but the damage done. One show that would end up changing the course of the Monday Night War dramatically and WCW never the same.
5 Halloween Havoc '92
This was the culmination of Bill Watts’ tenure at WCW and proof how his “old school" ways simply were not working. Steamboat vs. Pillman was good but U.S. Champion Vader’s win over Nikita Koloff was hard to watch, as was the tag team match of Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham against the Miracle Violence Connection in a half-hour time limit draw that was about 10 minutes too long. Rick Rude and Masa Chono had one of the worst bouts imaginable with long stalling and a messy ending.
Ron Simmons defended the World title against (this is real) the Barbarian. The main event was Sting vs. Jake Roberts in the “Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal” match where, after teasing various cool concepts, we got a Coal Miner’s Glove match. It was an ugly affair of them fighting it out with the laughable sight of Jake having to hold his cobra to his face and make it look like it was biting him to let Sting win. No wonder Watts proved to be a bad boss to load a major show with this garbage.
4 NWO Souled Out
It’s been pointed out that the key reason WCW fell from power was Eric Bischoff’s honest belief the New World Order could last forever and even wanting to push it as its own promotion. To try it out came this 1997 show, shot with the usual nWo camera feel and pushing them up as announcers Bischoff and Ted DiBiase mocked anyone not with their group. The matches were poor as well with one victory after another for the nWo although the Steiners did upset the Outsiders for the tag titles, but booked to make the Outsiders look really strong. Also notable was Eddie Guerrero beating Syxx in a ladder match with constant cracks on Eddie as “the Mexican jumping bean” among others.
The main event had Hogan and the Giant in an ugly no-contest, the entire thing nothing but an ego boost to Bischoff and proved how the nWo had a limited scope…a lesson WCW sadly would not learn.
3 Great American Bash 1991
This show was doomed. Just a week before, after a huge blow-up, Jim Herd fired Ric Flair, despite the fact Flair was the reigning champion, letting Flair jump to WWE with the title belt. Some fans claim the locker room decided to make the show bad as protest for Flair’s firing and when you watch this, you can understand why that theory holds. We started with a slow scaffold match that marked the PPV debut of Steve Austin but a bad opener. From there, we moved onto Diamond Studd beating Tom Zenk, Ron Simmons over Oz, El Gigante over One Man Gang with a bunch of midgets involved and Robert Gibson and Ricky Morton doing a match horrible for two guys who’d been partners for years. Brian Pillman (dressed as the Yellow Dog) beat Johnny B. Badd in a bout with the fans chanting slurs at Badd. Sting vs Nikita Koloff was good.
The main event saw Lex Luger and Barry Windham face off in a cage for the vacant title with the fans chanting “WE WANT FLAIR” constantly. Luger won and turned heel but the real main event was Rick Steiner beating Paul Ellering and Arn Anderson in a lame cage match. Infamous for kicking off a rough period for WCW and the loss of Flair so clearly felt.
2 Bunkhouse Stampede
It’s still one of the great ironies of the business that the Royal Rumble was created to mess with this. When Jim Crockett decided to do a PPV in New York, Vince countered with a free TV special featuring the first Rumble to take the audience from Crockett. As it turned out, Vince shouldn’t have bothered. Thanks to a printing error, hundreds of fans showed up to find the show had started a half-hour or even hour before the time on their tickets. The place was barely half sold and those who stayed witnessed a terrible card.
Nikita Koloff and Bobby Eaton had a time-limit draw while Larry Zybsko beat Barry Windham for the Western States Heritage title (a leftover of the UWF) that he would run into the ground. Of all people, Ric Flair defended his NWA title against Road Warrior Hawk for a DQ loss. As for the main event, Dusty Rhodes booked himself to win the steel cage battle royal (yes, really). The fans weren’t into it at all and it basically killed New York for the NWA for a long time. Still, we got the Rumble because of it so it did serve a purpose in the scheme of things.
1 Uncensored 1995
This was WCW’s attempt to get into the ECW-flavor of the ‘90s with a show built around “matches with no rules.” Sadly, this also meant matches with no quality. Blacktop Bully and Dustin Rhodes fought on a moving truck in a match hastily edited to cut out any blood and both guys fired afterward. Meng beat Jim Duggan in a “Martial Arts” fight, Johnny B. Badd defeated Arn Anderson in a boxing match with Arn having a bucket on his head. Randy Savage beat Avalanche when Ric Flair dressed as a woman to fight, the battle of Nasty Boys and Harlem Heat was a mess and Bubba Rogers beating Sting by DQ was a bad move.
It all led to the horrible main event of Hulk Hogan winning a strap match against Vader by dragging Flair to the corners and the debut of the Renegade. Atrocious in every way and amazing how WCW was horrible even in a year known as one of WWE’s worst and has to top any list of the worst shows ever.
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