Throughout the course of WWE history, we’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of pay-per-view main events. Now, when I say main event, I’m talking how the term is intended. In my humble opinion, the main event is the last match of the night. This is the match that the bookers want to close the show with, and whether we like it or not, that’s what we have to take.
Now, there’s been a ton of main events that had the right guys facing off against one another but just had a bad match. While I obviously don’t like when this occurs, it does happen. Everyone is going to have an off night, but I tend to let it slide on occasion when at least the right guys were in there.
There are other times when the main event is very good, but it just gets overshadowed by another match on the card. This happens all the time and this is something I’m completely okay with. The beauty of watching guys today like Dolph Ziggler or Kevin Owens is that they’re going to go out and put on one hell of a show to try and prove that they themselves belong in that final match of the night.
Then there’s the main events that actually do work. You’ve got the right guys in the ring telling the right story and having a great match. Nothing wrong with that at all.
But then you get the main events that just do not deserve to be main events of a pay-per-view. You’ve either got the wrong people in there or the match shouldn’t be the final match of the night….or both….or any number of things that constitute a horrible main event. Here’s 15 WWE pay-per-view main events that were just plain wrong.
15. The Undertaker vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin-Over The Edge 1999
Okay, there have been worse matches in the world. And with this match starting the list, I feel there have obviously been worse main events in the world, but the reason this match is being included in this match is due to the fact that it never should have happened. Yes, I’m on the team that thinks Over The Edge should have been cancelled due to the accident involving Owen Hart. Perhaps Owen would have wanted the show to go on but we’ll obviously never know that for sure. And to be honest with you, ‘Taker and Austin have put on better matches. There was a lot going on here with run-ins and Vince and Shane and guest referees and the like. You also have to wonder how the performers possibly could have had their heads completely in the match knowing their colleague and friend had just died. For a lot of different reasons, I wish I’d never seen this match.
14. John Cena vs. R-Truth – Capitol Punishment 2011
This was nothing more than a filler match to get to CM Punk vs. John Cena later in the summer and WWE just needed someone for Cena to beat. The unfortunate soul to get the nod that time around was R-Truth. Had the outcome of the match not been so obvious, I might not have included it here, but there was absolutely no way that anybody thought that Truth was walking away with the WWE Championship. It was great to see a mid-card talent like Truth in a main event and he is a great worker when given the chance, but his little push was doomed from the start. And this entire pay-per-view was just very strange anyway.
13. Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton – Battleground 2013
This is one of those instances where the actual match was pretty solid, but the ending was just pure rubbish. I mean, come on, it’s Randy Orton vs Daniel Bryan. What could possibly go wrong? Well, it turns out….a lot. As I said, the match was going just fine until the third man that was inserted into this feud, Big Show, came to the ring and hit his big KO punch on both Punk and Bryan. Both men are knocked out and the show goes off the air and the match is ruled a no-contest. Okay then.
12. Kurt Angle vs. Mark Henry – Royal Rumble 2006
Not only did this match go on last, this match went on after John Cena vs. Edge and after the actual Royal Rumble match (the year Rey Mysterio won). I’m not saying that a match between Mark Henry and Kurt Angle can’t be good, but come on. The only reason it main-evented the show was so that The Undertaker could come back and destroy the ring with some fake lightning. Joy. As for the match itself, it really wasn’t that great anyway. It didn’t even last 10 minutes and was really just Mark Henry throwing Kurt Angle around until Angle got a quick 1-2-3 with a rollup.
11. Lex Luger vs. Yokozuna – SummerSlam 1993
It turns out that Lex Luger just couldn’t live up to the main event hype. Or maybe he just spent too much time on “The Lex Express” that summer because his match with Yokozuna was just terrible. Now, the original main event for SummerSlam that year was supposed to be Hulk Hogan vs. Bret Hart, but it turns out that Hogan didn’t really want that to happen and dropped the belt to Yokozuna at King of the Ring. Hart got involved in a feud with Jerry Lawler at that same event (which turned out to be a great feud) and Luger was essentially thrown in as the new Hogan to battle the big guy.
Luger got his hip toss…err, bodyslam in and knocked Yokozuna out of the ring to pick up a countout victory, which didn’t win him the WWE title, but was apparently good enough to warrant that type of celebration with balloons and the other babyfaces of the company hoisting Luger. Just awful.
10. The Undertaker vs. The Undertaker-SummerSlam 1994
For the second year in a row, the main event of SummerSlam was an absolute dud. If you’ll recall, this was the pay-per-view that saw Bret Hart and Owen Hart battle in one of the greatest cage matches in history, but the final match of the night saw The Undertaker go one-on-one with…himself. Okay, not really himself, but a guy pretending to be him. This terrible storyline thankfully ended as the “real” Undertaker picked up the victory and the impostor was never seen again…I mean, until he returned as Chainz a few years later.
9. CM Punk vs. Ryback – Hell In A Cell 2012
Forgive me Ryback fans, but I’ve just never been sold on anything that has to do with the guy. Yes, he’s a very big and strong guy, but when he’s put into a match with a guy like CM Punk, he’s going to look bad and this was certainly the case at the Hell In A Cell pay-per-view in 2012. Most HIAC matches usually go for a while, but this one only went about 11 1/2 minutes before we got the “Brad Maddox screwed Ryback” finish that gave The Big Guy his first loss in WWE.
8. Diesel vs. King Mabel – SummerSlam 1995
I thought I’d give you a quick break before ripping into yet another SummerSlam main event. This was just classic Vince McMahon booking. It was big man against big man for the WWE Championship and was just terrible all the way through. Nobody really cared about Mabel, even after he won the King of the Ring tournament, and the two just slumbered through this match before Nash ended it in under 10 minutes. Not only was it just dreadful to watch, but it also had to follow the ladder match between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon for the Intercontinental Championship. I suppose a lot of matches would look bad compared to that. But seriously, this match was bad on its own.
7. Extreme Elimination Chamber – December to Dismember 2006
If there’s any match that symbolizes how bad things were when WWE tried to resurrect ECW, this might be it. I’ve always enjoyed the concept of the Elimination Chamber and adding the hardcore element to it seemed to be a recipe for success. Wrong. The only guy that the crowd was even remotely into was CM Punk and he was eliminated first. That left Big Show, Test, Hardcore Holly, RVD and Bobby Lashley to battle for the ECW Championship. Read that sentence again with a straight face. Lashley would get the win and Paul Heyman would actually leave WWE for a while because of that decision.
6. The Miz vs. John Cena – WrestleMania XXVII
The biggest problem I have with this match is that it is just simply not a WrestleMania main event. In essence, all it did was serve as a preview of a WrestleMania match that was a year away. If something like this had happened at one of the lesser pay-per-views, it probably wouldn’t be on this list, but it was the main event of the biggest wrestling show in the world. First of all, there was the fact that no clear winner came out of the match until The Rock restarted it. Then, he inserted himself into the match by hitting his finisher on Cena and The Miz picked up the win. Neither Cena nor Miz had the spotlight in this match. It was all about putting the special guest in the spotlight, something that doesn’t need to be a thing at a WrestleMania main event.
5. John Cena vs. The Great Khali – One Night Stand 2007
Hey, I’ve got an idea. Let’s put The Great Khali in a Falls Count Anywhere Match to show how mobile and versatile he really is. Somebody must have been actually thinking that when they booked this main event for One Night Stand back in 2007. Khali controlled most of the contest (which only lasted about 10 minutes) as he dominated John Cena as the action moved towards a well-placed crane. Super Cena turned the tide and FU’d Khali onto the floor for the 1-2-3. Rarely have I been more bored by a main event.
4. The Undertaker vs. The Dudley Boyz – Great American Bash 2004
In the only Concrete Crypt Handicap Match that I can recall (just the name alone should tip you off that it’s not going to be good), The Undertaker took on both Dudleys at The Great American Bash pay-per-view in 2004. The stipulation was that if The Undertaker lost, Paul Bearer (who had been kidnapped) would have to be sealed in a concrete crypt. Wow, really? Thankfully for Bearer, ‘Taker would win the match and then just pour in the concrete anyway. Again, wow. It’s even worse when you realize that Eddie Guerrero and JBL put on one of the best strap-style matches in company history on the undercard.
3. Hulk Hogan vs. Yokozuna – WrestleMania IX
Technically speaking, this did become the main event of WrestleMania IX, which is arguably the worst WrestleMania in history. After Yokozuna defeated Bret Hart for the WWE title, Hogan (who had no affiliation with Hart whatsoever) came out and was subsequently challenged by Yokozuna to a title match. Bret told Hogan to go ahead with it and The Hulkster won in just over 20 seconds. It made absolutely no sense. To be fair, the match between Yokozuna and Bret Hart was certainly not a classic by any stretch of the imagination. This was just horrible booking to serve Hulk Hogan.
What’s worse is that Hogan had apparently agreed to drop the title to Bret Hart later on but chose instead to lose to Yokozuna at King of the Ring in what would probably be an honorable mention on this list if that had gone on last.
2. John Cena vs. John Laurinaitis – Over The Limit 2012
The 2012 version of Over The Limit featured not only a Fatal Four Way Match for the World Heavyweight Championship involving Sheamus, Randy Orton, Chris Jericho and Alberto Del Rio, but also a WWE Championship match between CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. So which would be the main event? Neither. Instead, they went with John Cena vs John Laurinaitis in a No Disqualification match that saw the “fired” Big Show interfere on Big Johnny’s behalf to save his job. It’s matches like these that really help you understand why CM Punk may have gotten a little upset at times.
1. Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Lawrence Taylor – WrestleMania XI
I’ve got no problem with celebrities showing up from time to time and getting involved, but this is just too much. Lawrence Taylor is a great athlete and I’ve always thought that Bam Bam Bigelow was a bit underrated. So it stands to reason that the two could have a decent match somewhere in the middle of a pay-per-view. Instead, we got that match as the main event of a WrestleMania. I’m sure that didn’t upset Shawn Michaels and Kevin Nash at all. What might be worse is that LT got a squeaky clean win over an established superstar. It’s hard to get your credibility back after that. Sadly, this is the match that Bam Bam Bigelow will be most remembered for and in my opinion is the worst main event of a WWE pay-per-view in history.
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