WrestleMania is the biggest event on the pro wrestling calendar. WWE has built WrestleMania by providing fans with some of the greatest pro wrestling matches of all time. Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant, Randy Savage vs Ricky Steamboat, Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon, and Bret Hart vs Stone Cold Steve Austin, are just a handful of wrestling classics to take place at WrestleMania.
More recently WrestleMania has been the home to great matches such as The Rock vs Stone Cold Steve Austin, Kurt Angle vs Shawn Michaels, and The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels. WrestleMania has also seen more than a few bad matches. These bad matches have included everything from bad wrestling to bad booking to bad fan responses. Some of these bad matches include David Sammartino vs Brutus Beefcake, Owen Hart vs Skinner, and Bam Bam Bigelow and Luna Vachon vs Doink the Clown and Dink. These matches have left fans puzzled thinking why these matches were ever given a valuable spot at WrestleMania.
Bad matches have happened throughout WrestleMania history and will unfortunately continue. And fans will continue to be puzzled by their inclusion at WrestleMania. Let’s take a look at some recent stinkers. The following are the top 15 worst WrestleMania matches since 2000.
15 The Undertaker vs Shane McMahon
The Undertaker vs Shane McMahon Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania 32 was doomed from the word go. WWE has to be given credit for creating a buzz worthy match but mat classic it was not. In fact, outside of Shane McMahon’s ridiculous high spot, the match was extremely boring. Fans that were excited for McMahon’s return must have forgotten that, despite being a key figure in WWE’s Attitude Era, he was a terrible wrestler. McMahon was a glorified stunt man and rag doll for established WWE Superstars to toss around. Combined with the fact that The Undertaker is now in the twilight of his career and you had a recipe for an ugly match. To make matters worse, the match had a stipulation, which basically wasn’t followed. The Undertaker’s win supposedly stopped McMahon from gaining control of Raw although he did just that for about a month. He was then granted control of SmackDown Live. Not only was the match awful, but it couldn’t even be saved by the high stakes stipulation because WWE refused to follow through with it’s own storyline. The Undertaker vs Shane McMahon was a complete let down.
14 10-Diva Tag Team Match
The 10-Diva Tag Team Match at WrestleMania XXVI was a rushed train wreck of a match. It was a way to get the WWE Divas in an official match without taking up too much show time. The match was actually a slap in the face of the Divas Division and disrespectful to some of the talented women wrestlers involved in the match. Vickie Guerrero was not one of those talented women wrestlers yet she was the focal point of the match. Guerrero was an entertaining authority character but really had no business in the ring. She delivered an ugly “bullfrog splash” and scored an even uglier botched pin on Kelly Kelly to get the win for her team. The WWE Women’s Division has come a long way and hopefully the days of sloppy 10 Diva Tag Team Matches at WrestleMania are over.
13 The Miz vs John Cena
WWE Champion The Miz vs John Cena at WrestleMania XXVII might be one of the worst main events in WrestleMania history. It had nothing to do with The Miz or John Cena’s in ring performances. WWE should have known better than to think this match and the outcome would send fans home happy. The Miz wasn’t ready for a run with the WWE Championship at that time. He was put into a spot that he wasn’t ready for and fans really didn’t want to see him in. At least John Cena would save the day and end WrestleMania by dethroning him. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. The match was used to set up The Rock vs John Cena at WrestleMania XXVIII. The Rock screwed Cena out of the title and helped The Miz retain. Not only was the WWE Championship made an afterthought but fans were also screwed out of seeing Cena end The Miz’s title reign. WWE also sent the message that they were more concerned with setting up WrestleMania XXVIII than actually booking a good WrestleMania XXVII.
12 Trish Stratus vs Christy Hemme
Trish Stratus vs Christy Hemme at WrestleMania 21 was painful to watch. WWE Women’s Champion Trish Stratus wasn’t the problem. The 2013 WWE Hall of Fame inductee was a solid wrestler during her career. Sometimes even the best are not capable of elevating their opponents. Christy Hemme was trust into a WrestleMania spot she didn’t earn or deserve. She was super green and in way over her head. However, WWE wanted to push their 2004 Diva Search winner rather than give Stratus a more seasoned and deserving opponent. The result was a sloppy match that Stratus could not save. Hemme appeared unsure of herself and as a result the match was very slow paced. She also botched a pinning predicament that Jim Ross described as “unique to say the least” because there was probably no other way to describe it without calling it a botch. Trish Stratus vs Christy Hemme was about a four minute match that went three minutes too long.
11 Triple H vs Roman Reigns
WWE Champion Triple H vs Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 32 was a complete disaster. The in ring work wasn’t bad but the fans weren’t buying Roman Reigns. WWE’s booking appeared brilliant but they underestimated how much fans did not want Reigns on top. WWE had been trying to force feed Roman Reigns as the next great WWE Superstar ever since The Shield broke up in June of 2014 . Using Triple H as the villain to get Reigns over should have been the perfect plan. The Game is a great heel and there are fans that just plain hate him in or out of character. However, the match wasn’t a technical classic and was less than dramatic. In addition, fans were disinterested in the torch being passed to Reigns. Reigns’ victory was overshadowed by the fan response during and after the match. WWE should have seen it coming and probably should have called an audible.
10 Melina vs Ashley
WWE Women’s Champion Melina vs Ashley Massaro in a Lumberjill match at WrestleMania 23 was a terrible match but at least it wasn’t the sexual spectacle that some Divas matches were known for at WrestleMania during the caveman booking era of the WWE Divas Division. What made the match so terrible was Ashley Massaro. Massaro was another former model and Diva Search winner that just never developed into a wrestler. As a result, fans were just not invested in her and the fan response (or lack there of) to the match spoke volumes. In her defense, Massaro was put in way over her head due to WWE desperately attempting validate their Diva Search format and their philosophy that any model could simply be turned into a wrestler. As good as Melina was in the ring, she couldn’t elevate Massaro so the match could be even remotely entertaining.
9 Goldberg vs Brock Lesnar
At Survivor Series 2003, a backstage exchange between World Heavyweight Champion Goldberg and WWE Champion Brock Lesnar had gigantic title unification match at WrestleMania XX written all over it. What a difference just a few months would make. Both WWE Superstars would lose their titles and both would give their notice that WrestleMania XX would be their last match with the company. Instead of potentially being one of the greatest matches in WrestleMania history, Goldberg vs Brock Lesnar became an embarrassing, uncomfortable mess. Stone Cold Steve Austin was named special referee but acted more like WWE damage control against fans that turned on this match in a matter of seconds. But you couldn’t blame them as they were fueled by the knowledge that both were taking a walk following the match. The bizarre start to the match featured Goldberg and Lesnar annoyingly stalling to lock up. The match ended just as strangely. After Goldberg scored the pin, Austin ended up stunning both men and celebrating alone in the ring. It was the only way to bring back the capacity crowd, which was extremely negative throughout the match up.
8 Kane vs Great Khali
Fans love giants in pro wrestling. Over the years, big men such as Andre the Giant, Giant Baba, and The Big Show have been huge (pun intended) pro wrestling attractions. However, there is usually a trade off with these pro wrestling big men. They usually lack in athleticism and in ring ability. However, the great giants make up for what they lack in technical wrestling skill with great charisma and ring presence. The Great Khali was a giant WWE Superstar that was extremely limited in the ring and lacked charisma. Great WWE Superstars such as The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, and Triple H had difficulty elevating The Punjabi Nightmare. Taking nothing away from Kane; but there was no way he was going to elevate Khali in their WrestleMania 23 match. Although the match was entertaining at times, overall it was a giant sloppy mess. Khali’s victory over Kane could also have been WWE’s way of trying to ram him down out throats. This could have attributed to the fans response following the match more than Khali actually getting over as an effective monster heel.
7 Torrie Wilson and Sable vs Stacy Keibler and Miss Jackie
Torrie Wilson and Sable vs Stacy Keibler and Miss Jackie (Gayda) in a Playboy Evening Gown match at WrestleMania XX wasn’t the worst match of all time. However, it did nothing to further a WWE Women’s Division that had become an embarrassment to women’s professional wrestling over the years . The match started with three of the women stripping down to their bras and panties before they stripped Gayda down to her’s against her will. Despite the cheap spectacle WWE booking, all four women involved in the match and the referee did a good job attempting to deliver an entertaining match. The match commentary by Tazz and Michael Cole was embarrassing and extremely juvenile. When looking at today’s WWE Women’s Division, it’s hard to think that cheap gimmicks like the Playboy Evening Gown match at WrestleMania XX actually used to be par for the course.
6 John Morrison, Trish Stratus, and Snooki vs Dolph Ziggler and Laycool
John Morrison, Trish Stratus, and Snooki vs Dolph Ziggler and LayCool was an awful celebrity mixed tag team match at WrestleMania XXVII. However, it didn’t have to be awful and surprisingly the blame cannot fall squarely on the inexperienced celebrity. Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi of MTV’s Jersey Shore, despite missing a tag early in the match, did a nice job and showed some athleticism, which appeared to win over fans that were initially showing her some hostility. The match may have been a victim of sabotage by at least one WWE Superstar involved in the match. John Morrison was said to be upset at Trish Stratus’ inclusion in the match while his on again off again girlfriend Melina was left off the card. Stratus, who had been inactive for several years, oddly wrestled a majority of the match while Morrison saw limited action. The match was out of sync from the get go which could have been an indication that there were some communication or cooperation issues. After Snooki scored the pin on Michelle McCool, things got a bit ugly between Morrison and Stratus. He refused to acknowledge her during the post match celebration. This match was a just a mess inside and outside the ring.
5 Beth Phoenix and Melina vs Maria and Ashley
Beth Phoenix and Melina vs Maria Kanellis and Ashley Massaro in a Playboy BunnyMania Lumberjill match at WrestleMania XXIV was another WrestleMania black-eye on the WWE Divas Division and women’s professional wrestling. Rapper Snoop Dogg or whatever he was calling himself at the time was the “Master of Ceremonies” for the match. Snoop, riding in a mini pimpmobile for lack of a better term, led the lumberjills to the ring. Whether WWE meant it or not, the message being sent was that the Divas Division, at least for one night, was a “Ho-Train”. The ring work in the match was also a sloppy mess. A far cry from the superior ring work seen in today’s WWE Women’s Division. Appropriately enough, the lights in the arena malfunctioned during the match. Too bad the lights never went on in the minds of the WWE creative members that thought these Playboy themed matches at WrestleMania were a good idea.
4 Michael Cole vs Jerry Lawler
After years of being shut out of a WrestleMania match, Jerry the King Lawler finally made his in ring debut at WrestleMania XXVII against, of all opponents, Michael Cole. The two Raw commentators had been feuding for several months. Cole actually cost Lawler a win over The Miz for the WWE Championship at TLC 2010. After being the special referee for the infamous Goldberg vs Brock Lesnar match at WrestleMania XX, Stone Cold Steve Austin was assigned to yet another WrestleMania stinker. Like Goldberg vs Lesnar, Jerry Lawler vs Michael Cole would have been a lot worst without the addition of the Texas Rattlesnake. Despite the match being pretty terrible, Lawler was a sentimental favorite in his first WrestleMania match. However, WWE found a way to ruin that when Lawler was disqualified and robbed of a win in his only WrestleMania match.
3 Akebono vs Big Show
Akebono vs Big Show in a sumo match at WrestleMania 21 is not only one of the worst matches in recent WrestleMania history but it also ranks as one of Big Show’s most embarrassing WrestleMania moments. For some reason, Big Show has never been booked by WWE to be the monster that he should be. The match should not have been contested under sumo rules and Show certainly shouldn’t have been made to wear a mawashi. One has to wonder if this was just WWE’s way of making Show the butt of a WrestleMania joke without him really knowing it. With all do respect to sumo wrestling, most American pro wrestling fans are very unfamiliar with it and have zero interest in becoming familiar with it. The fan response to this sorry spectacle at WrestleMania 21 showed it. Akebono vs Big Show in a worked sumo match was an awful booking decision.
2 Terri Runnels vs The Kat
The term catfight just about sums up WWE’s creative direction with this horrendous WrestleMania 2000 match between Terri Runnels and The Kat Stacy Carter. Appropriately enough, WWE’s resident porn star Val Venis was the special referee for the match. In addition to the match premise being extremely tasteless, Runnels and Carter could barely be considered wrestlers. To put it nicely, their in ring ability was less than polished. It could be why the object of this catfight was to simply be the first to toss their opponent outside of the ring. Venis started things up with his crude sexual humor to set the tone for the catfight. Jim Ross then embarrassingly tried to defend the match against “wrestling purists” and “star systems”. Ross said it wasn’t about “stars” but it was about “two young women settling their differences.” It surely wasn’t about wrestling either although the event was called WrestleMania 2000. What it was about was a cheap spectacle and giving women’s professional wrestling a bad name.
1 Torrie Wilson vs Candice Michelle
Torrie Wilson vs Candice Michelle in a Playboy Pillow Fight match at WrestleMania 22 was yet another degrading Playboy themed match promoted by WWE. For lack of a better description, Torrie Wilson and Candice Michelle had a “cat fight” in evening gowns on a bed of pillows. In one of the most bizarre moments in pro wrestling history, Wilson had a WWE official hand her dog to her, which she used to give Michelle a stink face with during the match. The two also stripped each other down to their bras and panties, which was a staple of these Playboy themed matches. These types of matches were extremely lowbrow and did nothing to help the mainstream perception of professional wrestling. At that time, WWE’s caveman mentality caused the WWE Women’s Division to be the laughing stock of the pro wrestling industry and an embarrassment to women professional wrestlers everywhere.