When fans plunk down their money for a pay-per-view event, they expect their money’s worth. That works a lot in wrestling and far too many times, fans have been burned badly. From shows that have been horrible from start to finish to good shows marred by a bad main event, too many times fans have realized they wasted their money. Many will complain it’s grown in the last few years but really, from the start of the PPV industry, WWE has given us shows with poor endings. Bad main events, some bad skits, the wrong guy going over, it all happens and makes the show and WWE themselves look weaker.
There are slews of choices, many from the last few years but even looking back at the start of PPV, WWE has given us bad endings. They involve everything from a terrible bout to a “celebration” that fans hate and just make viewers want to demand instant refunds.
Over the decades, too many shows have ended this way but here are the biggest. Here are the 15 worst ways WWE ended a PPV and fans were livid about plunking down money for such a show. Hopefully you're not spending over $50 for a PPV anymore.
15 15. Survivor Series 2000
The Survivor Series has been home to some nutty stuff in the past but this was something else. A year before, Steve Austin had been run over by a mystery car, kicking off a wild mystery with Rikishi taking the blame for it. It turned out that Triple H was the mastermind behind the attack (which made more sense anyway) and he and Austin were soon going at it in a wild feud. The match was a massive brawl extending through the arena and the Radicalz got involved to get beaten back by Austin. Triple H eventually got into a car to try and run Austin down, with Austin giving chase. Austin got his hands on a crane and used it to pull Triple H’s car into the air, hold it a few stories high and then let it drop. So the PPV ended with our hero trying to commit vehicular homicide.
14 14. Over the Limit 2011
13 13. King of the Ring 1999
One of the nuttier feuds in WWE, Steve Austin had been feuding with The Undertaker who promised he was working for a “Greater Power.” It turned out to be Vince McMahon under a hood, resulting in a lame payoff. To salvage it, the idea was Linda installing Austin as CEO to drive Vince crazy for a few weeks. It led to a match with Austin against Vince and Shane with a briefcase containing the CEO rights hanging over the ring. Naturally, Austin dominated the two McMahons, beating them severely. However, when he went for the briefcase on a ladder, the cable holding it suddenly rose up out of his reach.
12 12. Hell in a Cell 2014
11 11. WrestleMania XXVII
When The Rock made his major return to WWE in 2011, it was massive, fans ecstatic to see him back and it seemed to push Mania more. However, the show turned out rather poorly, The Rock more of a distraction than a good guest host and the show had too many bad matches. The main event had John Cena challenging The Miz for the WWE title and it was expected Cena pull off the big babyface title win or for The Rock to affect the match in a cool way.
The match was quite bad, especially for Mania and the fans grew bored with it as it went on. The Rock intervened when the match ended in a double countout, restarting the match. He then interfered when the ref was distracted to attack Cena, laying him out a Rock Bottom allowing Miz to get the win. The Rock then laid out Miz with a Rock Bottom and People's Elbow and celebrated as the show went off the air... So The Rock essentially cost Cena the WWE title, despite him having already failed due to the countout.
10 10. TLC 2014
9 9. Battleground 2013
Easily the worst PPV of the year, this card showcased the rough idea by WWE on how Daniel Bryan wasn’t “the guy” despite being more over than anyone in the company. Once again, Bryan and Randy Orton were going at it for the World title and it was felt at the least, fans could get a good result. Instead, the bout was rough, both guys not seeming to click well together and there was too much interference.
8 8. December to Dismember
The night the spirit of ECW truly died. Fans had been worried for a while about this WWE revival of the brand and how it brought too much WWE flavor to things. But no one could have foreseen this horrific PPV with bad matches and a short running time. Topping it was an Extreme Elimination Chamber match between CM Punk, Bob Holly, Rob Van Dam, Lashley, Big Show and Test. Even with weapons added, it was a lame idea and looked terrible to watch with Punk and RVD, the two most popular guys with the crowds, eliminated fast.
7 7. Royal Rumble 1999
We get to 1999, which was the year Vince Russo’s wilder tendencies began to take over and it began with the Rumble. Vince McMahon had forced Steve Austin to come in at #1 and promising to ensure he'd lose. But commissioner Shawn Michaels forced Vince to be #2. They fought it out before Austin was beaten down by The Corporation and taken away in an ambulance. Vince then spent the match in the commentary booth taking shots on Austin while everyone else fought it out. Austin came out to chase McMahon back in the ring and beat him down and was on the verge of eliminating him when The Rock came out.
6 6. Over the Limit 2012
This show had Daniel Bryan vs. CM Punk but it wasn't put it the main event spot. Instead, John Cena faced John Laurinaitis as part of one of the worst feuds WWE had ever seen. The match was mostly Cena slamming Laurinaitis around, beating him down and dominating easily. The bit with them at the commentary table was funny but still not worthy of a high place on the show. It built up to the ref getting knocked down as Cena finally seemed ready to win a match he could have finished off a dozen times already.
5 5. SummerSlam 1993
It’s one of the more baffling booking decisions WWE has ever made. When Hulk Hogan left in 1993, Vince decided he could just take anyone and make them into a Hogan-like hero. He chose Lex Luger, a guy many had been calling “the next Hogan” for years and gave him an All-American gimmick. “The Lex Express” had Luger going around touring, setting himself up as a big hero and the fans backing him up. By every bit of logic, this meant that SummerSlam should have seen Luger winning the belt off of Yokozuna. The match unfolded as expected, Luger making a big comeback to knock Yoko out of the ring…where he was counted out. The faces came to celebrate and balloons floated down but it meant nothing as Luger hadn’t won the belt.
4 4. 2015 Royal Rumble
When you misjudge your audience, it’s a bad thing. And few recent examples for WWE are as clear as in 2015. To fans, it was totally obvious and logical: Daniel Bryan wins the Royal Rumble and goes to WrestleMania to face Brock Lesnar for the title he was forced to give up. Bryan was hot, incredibly over, he had it all and fans wanted it badly. Leave it to WWE to massively screw it up by deciding to ignite the Roman Reigns push for the main event. Shockingly, WWE decided to have Bryan eliminated from the Rumble early to break the hearts of the fans. Thus, poor Roman had no chance when he entered, literally booed for his every move and dumping out the far more popular Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler at the hands of Big Show and Kane didn’t help.
3 3. Survivor Series 1997
Some might argue with this given how it all turned out. But for its time, you couldn’t get a better example of a terrible PPV ending. After months of feuding both on screen and behind the scenes, Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart were ready to go at it for the WWE title. The back and forth has become legendary as Bret made it clear he didn’t want to lose in Canada and certainly not to Michaels. The match was a wild brawl ending with Michaels getting Bret into the Sharpshooter and Earl Hebner immediately calling for the bell.
2 2. WrestleMania IX
1 1. The Great American Bash 2004
After a good run as the better show against RAW, things started to falter for SmackDown in 2004. This show is a clear indicator. Despite a good undercard, including Eddie Guerrero vs JBL, the main event was one of the absolute worst in the history of WWE. After weeks of feuding, The Undertaker faced the Dudley Boyz in a handicap match with Paul Bearer locked in a case with Paul Heyman threatening to unload cement on him. Seriously.
The match was a disaster, The Undertaker dominating the Dudleyz to win and then marching to Heyman. As Heyman backed down, Taker grabbed the switch and pulled it himself to pour cement onto his own manager. So the PPV ended with our hero killing off his longtime aide and it wasn’t even the start of a heel turn. A topper to a bad show and a standout of some of the horrible stuff WWE would be going through that year.
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