At its best, professional wrestling is a beautiful art form. Men and women locking up in a square ring telling a captivating story through their athletic abilities and larger than life personalities is what propels the business forward and makes any wrestling fan proud to love this "sport". It combines the best features of sporting events, theatre and music into the great spectacle we know today as sports entertainment. It make can you laugh, smile, cry and scream for joy all in the same night. I and millions around the world love it.
At its worst though, professional wrestling is a cringe-worthy, vomit-inducing and dangerous mess. The moments where professional wrestling goes wrong have been dubbed "botches" by fans. Hell there's even an entire video series devoted to these mistakes which you should totally check out AFTER reading this article of course.
Sometimes these mistakes are harmless. A performer can flub a line or just sell a move poorly. While those errors are embarrassing, other times a botch can have more horrible consequences. Bones can break, concussions can be given and in some cases, lives can be changed forever in the worst of ways.
This list will rank those moments in professional wrestling where the botches destroyed fans' suspension of disbelief and shattered the illusion which pro wrestling tries so hard to maintain at all times. Ironically enough, lots of these botches make people laugh, smile, cry and scream for joy just as wrestling is supposed to do. The problem is though, that those emotions are conveyed through all the wrong reasons.
20 Mark Henry "Pushes" Batista
The first entry on the list might not even be a botch at all. On the May 10, 2010 edition of Monday Night Raw, "The World's Strongest Man" ran to the ring to lay the smackdown on Drax The Destroyer. He pushed Batista away from the ropes, but it had no effect... at first. Only after a couple of seconds did Batista go crashing to the mat. Was it Henry's push that did him in? Perhaps Kurt Angle had suplexed a voodoo doll of the Animal, or maybe Goldberg projected his astral form to spear Batista and show him who the real master of the move is. Whatever the case, it looked damn hokey.
19 Big Al's Invisible Beard
World Championship Wrestling was the Ted Turner-owned promotion that nearly put WWE out of business in 1997. Near the end of its existence though, it became a punchline for the entire industry. At Superbrawl 2000, former UFC fighter Tank Abbott and unknown wrestler Big Al had just completed their Leather Jacket on a Pole match (hi Vince Russo!) when Abbott decided he had not inflicted enough punishment on Al and the audience and decided to hold a knife to Al's throat post match. The camera quickly cut to the crowd and announcer Tony Schiavone, scrambling to explain the madness, said that it was a pair of scissors and Abbott was just shaving Al's beard. Two problems: it was clearly a knife, and Al had no beard. Luckily for our amusement, this is not the last of WCW on this list.
18 Undertaker 's WrestleMania Faceplant
What!? The legendary Phenom of sports entertainment makes it on this list? Yes, shocking as it may seem, Undertaker committed one of the most horrifying botches of all time and at WrestleMania no less. In his hometown of Houston, Texas, Undertaker dove over the rope as he did his entire career to squash the Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels at ringside. Michaels though pulled a cameraman in front of the Deadman's leap to save himself. A cool spot turned into a nightmare when Taker overshot his trajectory and landed on the top of his head to barely covered concrete below. Luckily, 'Taker seemed to roll through the fall enough to avoid serious damage. Undertaker, resilient as he is, continued the match and seemed to be okay. As scary as the botch is, it proves once again that you cannot kill that which is already dead.
17 Randy Orton RKO Retake
It's been said by some wrestlers that wrestling is more difficult than doing movies because actors have an infinite number of times to do their lines while wrestlers must get everything on the first take. Usually, this is true, but sometimes even wrestlers need a second take. On the January 26, 2004 edition of Raw, Chris Jericho and Rob Van Dam teamed up to face Randy Orton, Batista and Ric Flair of Evolution. Near the end of the match, Jericho had Batista locked in the Walls of Jericho while Orton ran in to make the save with his signature RKO. Orton though, overshot his jump and couldn't grip Jericho fully for the facebuster. Orton scrambled to his feet and redid the spot while Batista delayed his tapout even more. Not the best look for the diamond in the rough of Evolution.
16 Hulk Hogan Shows His Age
Impossible! The Undertaker makes a second appearance on this list? Luckily for the American Badass, this botch is no fault of his. At Judgment Day 2002, Hulk Hogan squared off against Undertaker in a world championship rematch of their Survivor Series 1991 encounter which saw the Deadman win his first world title. Even by 2002, it was clear to see that Hogan was not the (limited) wrestler he once was. Due to bad knees and worse hips, Hogan, as J.R said, couldn't quite get all the way up for Taker's chokeslam. Instead of an echoing crash, the landing looked as soft as an old man gingerly lying down to go to sleep at his 6 P.M bedtime. Oh, and Hogan still wants to return and face John Cena or Stone Cold...
15 Sid Vicious I: The Beginning
There is perhaps no other man known more for hilarious botches than the man, myth and legend known as Sid. Possessing lots of size and little of anything else, Sid somehow managed to have quite a successful career bouncing around WWE and WCW for most of his career winning the world championships in both promotions twice. Before his match at In Your House 5, Sid had a LIVE interview with Jim Ross to take care of. Sid, as Sid does, messed up his line and asked J.R to "do this again". After a reminder from Ross that the PPV was live, Sid wrapped his promo with typical tough guy drivel before Ross gave it back to ringside. The first, and certainly not last of Sid on this list.
14 Kevin Nash Fails English Class
Despite what Internet comments might demonstrate, most people are able to understand basic grammar and spelling. At young ages, little children enter elementary school in order to prepare themselves for the harsh reality of the world we live in. Kevin Nash though, seemed to skip his Grade 4 English class. In his WCW debut, Nash called the word "play" an adjective. The confidence displayed after which he continues his promo either saves it or makes the botch even funnier depending on where you stand. Either way, Kevin Nash needs to enroll into Grammar Slam with CM Punk right now.
13 Brock Lesnar Shooting Star Presses His Head
Before he was screaming like Venom in pain and german suplexing John Cena, Brock Lesnar was considered the the next big thing by the WWE. Paired with Paul Heyman and pushed to the moon with a world title victory over The Rock at SummerSlam 2002, Brock Lesnar was on track to become the next box office attraction in WWE. In his WrestleMania debut, Lesnar faced Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania XIX. A simple F-5 wouldn't be enough to make an impact; Lesnar decided to bust out a technique he used in his training days, the Shooting Star Press. Lesnar used the move in Ohio Valley Wrestling numerous times, but Angle was a little too far this time and as a result, the near 300-pound Lesnar landed on top of his head. By some miracle, the concussed Lesnar got up and finished the match by nailing Angle with a third F-5 and getting the pin. Scary, scary stuff from the Beast Incarnate.
12 Sin Cara Fails the Landing
Triple H is regaining lots of love from the Internet Wrestling Community for signing many indie wrestlers to WWE's NXT roster like Sami Zayn, Adrian Neville and Kevin Owens but Hunter's first major signing was anything but a home run. The original Sin Cara (a.k.a Mistico) was an enormous star in his native Mexico, but was a major bust in WWE, notable only for botching in almost every match he ever wrestled and refusing to learn the English language. The madness began though on the post WrestleMania XXVII Raw by interrupting Sheamus's beatdown of Daniel Bryan. Cara shocked Sheamus, ran to the ring, jumped and... tripped over the top rope. This botch seemed to set in motion a curse for all of Mistico's WWE career, which mercifully came to an end in March 2014 when WWE finally released him.
11 Sid Vicious II: The Clueless Fool
Sid makes his second appearance on this list on the heels of defending his WWE Championship vs Bret Hart in a steel cage on the March 17, 1997 edition of Monday Night Raw. Hart, fed up of being screwed by numerous people in the company, unleashed a tirade against the system of the WWE and called out both Stone Cold and Sid. It was arguably the best promo of the Hitman's career. When Sid marched down to the ring, he responded to Hart's comments by saying "I don't know s***!" Huh? Well, I guess points to Sid for honesty...
10 T10. The Abominable Mike Adamle
When speaking of hated announcers in WWE history, there is perhaps no other more despised than one Mike Adamle. His background included announcing work in football and hosting duties at American Gladiators, but no wrestling background. Adamle had his shot to prove he could work in wrestling at the 2008 Royal Rumble, where he debuted as an interviewer. In his first on screen appearance, Adamle morphed Jeff Hardy's name into Jeff Harvey. To my knowledge, Jeff Harvey has yet to make his WWE debut. Perhaps he's the Bunny, we may never know.
9 T10. Michael Buffer Gets Ready To Botch
If boxing has a Howard Finkel, it would have to be Michael Buffer. His charm, booming voice and signature "Let's Get Ready To Rumble!" catchphrase has endeared to fans of all sports, not just boxing. WCW hired Buffer in 1998 to give their matches more of an epic feel and in defence of WCW (for once), this seemed like a good idea. On an episode of Nitro, the legendary Bret "Hitman" Hart became Bret Clark according to Buffer. Adamle may have gotten more notoriety for his botch, but Buffer's was just as bad.
8 Hulk Hogan and the Bloody Screwjob
Yes, it was 1999 and yes, Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan were still main eventing WCW PPVs. This encounter between the two took place at Uncensored 1999, with Hogan defending his title in a first blood/steel cage match vs the Nature Boy. During the match, Hogan smashed Flair into the cage which gave Flair the proverbial crimson mask. Under normal logic, Hogan should have won the match. This being WCW, the match continued until Hogan bled as well and Flair won the match via pinfall... in a first blood match. It's abundantly clear with mistakes like this why WCW became the laughing stock it was near the end of its existence.
7 Sid Vicious III: Self Character Mutilation
After Sid's last performance on this list, it would be quite difficult for "The Ruler of the World" to top himself on the stupidity scale, but fear not! Sid always delivers the laughs. In December of 2000, Sid came to the entrance ramp to put Kevin Nash in his place due to Nash impersonating Sid in the ring. Sid, in the midst of his lunacy, proclaimed that Nash wasn't even half the man he was. Sid then added that he had half the brain that Nash did. You tell 'em Sid! You can't write better comedy than the improvisational humor of Sid Vicious.
6 Booker T is coming for you...
Booker T had it all and is a pioneer for African Americans in professional wrestling. His athletic ability, charisma and legendary spinarooni have cemented his legacy as one of the greatest performers in wrestling history. But that's not why he's here. At Spring Stampede 1997, Booker T was scheduled to compete in a four corners match to decide the number contender for Hulk Hogan's WCW World Heavyweight Championship. In his speech, Booker emphatically closed his promo by telling Hogan that he was coming for him n***a. Booker... just tone it down a couple of notches next time, okay man?
5 Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior II
Some of you may be wondering why an entire match and not just a single moment occupies this entry. Well, if you have summed up the courage to view this monstrosity, you will understand why it is this way. Pick your favourite botch, from Hogan tripping over Warrior's log roll to Hogan throwing a piece of paper at the Warrior and proceeding to burn his own eyebrows, this is one match that these legends never want you to see again.
4 Starrcade 1997 Debacle
Starrcade (WCW's WrestleMania) 1997's championship main event of Sting versus WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan was poised to be the ending of one of the best feuds in professional wrestling. Due to the fault of referee Nick Patrick, WCW royally screwed up the final note of this masterpiece. During a pinfall attempt, Patrick was supposed to fast count Sting's shoulders to the mat, which would prompt Bret Hart to come down to ring side and restart the match. Sting would then win the title and the crowd would erupt. Problem is, Patrick issued a normal speed count. This made it seem as if Hogan got screwed out of his title and made Sting look like a complete loser. Even in their finest hour, WCW still managed to screw up their fortunes.
3 Owen Hart Botches Tombstone on Stone Cold
At SummerSlam 1997, Austin defeated Owen Hart to become Intercontinental Champion and continue his meteoric rise to the top but at a terrible cost. Hart was supposed to hit Austin with a tombstone piledriver but he placed the Rattlesnake's head too far below his leg and dropped him right on top of his head. The move gave Austin a bruised spinal cord and led to other neck problems for the Hall of Famer which, along with knee problems, hampered his career and led to a premature retirement in 2003. This botch is particularly note worthy because one would think that an excellent technician like Owen Hart would never commit such a horrible mistake inside a wrestling ring. Luckily for Austin, his neck is doing fine nowadays and he seems to be okay, but the incident will never be forgotten by anybody who has seen it.
2 Shock and Horror: The Shockmaster Debut
Here it is. You all knew it was coming and it has arrived. Live at Clash of The Champions XXIV in August 1993, The Shockmaster was set to make his debut by crashing through a wall and proclaiming his power to the world. Fortunately for us, something much greater came out of this ordeal. Shockmaster couldn't quite break the wall completely and instead tripped over a piece of wood, causing him lose his glittered Stormtrooper helmet exposing his secret identity, breaking the first rule of superhero code. Another (fourth) wall was broken when cameras picked up Ric Flair exclaiming "Oh God!" and Davey Boy Smith shouting "He fell flat on his ass!" The Shockmaster character went absolutely nowhere (even if the debut was pulled off) but this legendary blunder will live on forever.
1 The Tragedy of Darren Drozdov
I've cracked a lot of jokes on this countdown but the laughing ends now. On October 5th, 1999 at a SmackDown taping in Long Island, New York, Darren Drozdov was paralyzed from a powerbomb gone wrong by D'Lo Brown. Rather than landing flat on his back, Drozdov was dumped on the back of head due to the awkward grip of the botch and because of the move, was left a quadriplegic. Out of respect and good taste, WWE has never released the video and only a couple of photographs have ever been leaked. The incident remains a stark reminder to the dangers that every wrestler faces when they enter this business. Drozdov has not let the accident stop him from enjoying life and does not hold any ill will towards Brown for his condition. It is one of the biggest tragedies in professional wrestling history, and the biggest botch of all time.
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