Talking is supposed to a simple thing. At least in theory but in practice, it can be tricky. We all make mistakes, misspeak words, babble, stumble on sentences, it’s only human. But when you have a mic in front of you, they can take on a whole new dimension. Many a politician has been ruined by a bad botching of a line. Many a newscaster has become a viral sensation by blowing a story, cursing on air or another mistake that costs them dearly. While it’s natural to have this happen, having it recorded on TV turns a minor error into something that lasts a long time.
In wrestling, fans can be rather judgmental about minor mistakes, as seen by the “you f----d up” chants when a guy botches a move in the ring. It’s not really fair as you can’t expect wrestlers to be perfect but fans have high expectations. That also includes railing into them for a bad bumbling of a promo or announcing. Again, these performers are human, pressures of a show so mistakes can be common and you can ignore it. However, some botches are bigger than others. Both wrestlers and announcers alike have made some mistakes that rise above minor errors and instead are absolutely idiotic. Many suspect it’s the reason WWE has been scripting promos, to reduces the chances of them messing up. From modern times to “olden days,” there have been botches you just can’t believe occurred and laughed about them majorly. Here are 20 of the biggest mic botches made by wrestlers and announcers over the years in wrestling and marvel how easily the brain and mouth can disconnect.
20 Bad Botching
Christy Hemme certainly had the amazing looks to fit into wrestling but none of the skill as her poor run in WWE could attest. Signed to TNA, they soon realized she wasn’t fit for the wrestling either so instead made her the ring announcer, figuring at least she’d look great in the dresses. For a 2013 tag match, Hemme announced the first competitor coming out were Bad Influence. Instead, out came Austin Aries and Bobby Roode, both looking rather annoyed at the error. Aries got right into Hemme’s face yelling about it and when she corrected it, he got on the ropes with his crotch in her face. A botch leading to a rather uncomfortable moment that speaks volumes about TNA.
19 Eli Cottonwood - Who has a mustache?
You have to include this one among great terrible moments on the mic. In the days when NXT was basically just “Tough Enough,” challenges were made to the workers to show their stuff. One was them given a subject and having to cut a promo about it. The subject for Cottonwood was “mustache” and he proceeded to do a promo that played like something out of the first season of “True Detective.”
He had no mustache but reality did, no one else in the ring had one although some did, then some do and he does and he has the best…the “logic” is all over the place and it’s no surprise Cottonwood was never pushed in any way for one truly insane piece that had fans baffled.
18 What Title is it Anyway?
A classic case of a Diva pushed more for looks than talent, Fox was set to challenge Melina for the Divas title in what was supposed to be a big feud. Sauntering to the ring with the mic, Fox proceeded to call the belt the “undefined” championship and how she had more Twitter followers than Melina or LayCool, which wasn’t true. Not being able to even say what title you’re going for is hardly the best way to sell yourself and ruined the entire feud from the start.
17 5,000 viewers
The dying days of WCW could be sad to watch with all the guys trying but knowing the end was coming. Stevie Ray was given some bad stuff with a feud with Booker T that went nowhere and then his own interview segment “Suckas Gotta Know.” He and Lex Luger were talking with Lex wanting to share some info and asking “it’s just between us, right?” Stevie was supposed to joke “just us and five million viewers” but instead said “five thousand.” Tony Schiavone tried to cover by seriously suggesting Stevie meant 5,000 in each household. A combination of botches that showcased how bad things were for WCW.
16 Uh... you know what, brother.
Take Hulk Hogan in his ‘90s prime and toss in a patriotic fervor and no telling what could happen. At the 1991 Royal Rumble, Hogan was in his red-white-and blue best as he prepared to take on the guys in the Rumble and also ranting on Sgt. Slaughter having just won the WWE title. As he went on, Hogan talked about how the U.S. would emerge triumphant but forgot who they were fighting. Yes, despite how Saddam was the most infamous guy in the world at that point, Hogan couldn’t recall his name, just waving “that guy” but determined to beat him. Wild and nutty as Hogan could be and amazing how he went so long.
15 Who Dat Guy?
The early 1990s were not a fun time for WWE as Vince insisted on doing many PPVs himself despite his bad announcing skills. At the 1994 King of the Ring, they brought on legendary football player Art Donovan to do commentary with Gorilla Monsoon and Randy Savage. To call what happened a comedy of errors is to give it a break as Art played up the stereotype of a grandfather watching a modern TV hit. “Who dat guy?” was a constant refrain along with asking what moves were called, calling IRS a “businessman,” asking how much guys weighed even after it was announced and more.
You can hear Savage and Monsson annoyed at all this and even mocking poor Art as it went along as his tryout as an announcer was one massive botch and another reason to dislike this rough show.
14 Sid I
Sid Vicious, a man with the absolutely perfect look of a major wrestling star but not quite the skills to pull it off on the mic. His career is filled with one nutty promo botch after another but none quite so epic as the bit at In Your House when Jim Ross was interviewing him backstage and Sid began to immediately stumble over his words. In one of the most famous moments ever, he dropped character to say “let’s do it again” and Ross had to remind him “We’re live, pal!” Sid just shrugged and continued, setting the tone for years of the craziest promo botches imaginable.
The “guest host of RAW” stuff could be hit and miss as for every person that worked (William Shatner or the Muppets), we had slews that didn’t. Jeremy Piven quite obviously didn’t as rather than try to be Ari Gold, he attempted to get by as himself…which wasn’t a good thing. His rants were annoying as was Ken Cheong as his sidekick. The topper was when he told Miz and John Cena that if they lost a match “you will be banned from the Summerfest.”
The announcers had to laugh at the botch as Piven quickly realized he should have said SummerSlam but the damage was done. Even his “Entourage” co-stars would joke about it in a later RAW appearance and show Piven may be great with a script but not as good live.
12 The Silverdome
Before he was basically blackballed following his racial slurs, Hulk Hogan was still regarded as one of the biggest guys in all of WWE history. For WrestleMania XXX, it made sense to have Hogan come out as guest host and do a major promo on the history of the show. However, Hogan then talked of how amazing it was to be here at the “Silverdome” when the show was being held at the Superdome in New Orleans. Hogan immediately realized his gaffe and laughed about just being too excited so at least he acknowledged the botch well but still a famous one.
11 We comin' for you!!
It took Booker a while to get going on the promo work but once he did, he turned into one of the best guys around. His early years were rough when he and Stevie Ray were Harlem Heat and Booker trying to be too “street” for his own good. A prime case came when the Heat were ready for a big match and Booker running down most everyone in the company before coming up with the insane line “Hulk Hogan, we coming for you, n---a.” It was a very bad promo move that didn’t go over well with fans and Booker’s botching getting him into some hot water of the time.
10 Hogan's tirade on McMahon
In 2003, Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon got into it with a big feud, arguing over which had truly made WWE into a massive success. One confrontation had Hogan go off majorly, botching words and having to go back and repeat them and at one point says he was “the right guy in the right place and the wrong time” and even says he was “the gay.” When Hogan got going, little things like proper English could escape him and it’s to his credit Vince kept from laughing at this spectacle.
9 Long Island Iced Z... Jack Swagger!
Lillian Garcia is a veteran with ring announcing and you’d think she’d be able to avoid huge errors. Sadly, such is not the case as during an intro, she discussed the guy from Long Island, the “Long Island Iced Z himself,” talking of the ultra-popular guy and how he was…Jack Swagger. The announcers immediately called her on the error as Ryder didn’t seem too thrown but still going along with the match. Still, hard to blame a lady so lovely for messing something up.
8 Steiner goes Medieval
You can fill this list with nothing but Scott Steiner moments given his insane rants and incredible intensity. It was wild in WCW but got even crazier in WWE to the point a Network special even talked about his crazy stuff. He and Chris Jericho were to have a verbal showdown with the idea being Jericho mocking Steiner’s headgear as “King Arthur” and Steiner replying “I’ll go medieval on your ass!” Instead, Scott declared “King Arthur, come in here and I’ll kick your medieval ass!”
In other words, he stole Jericho’s insult to wear as an honor. You can see Jericho thrown as the entire promo made no sense. Remember, folks: Scott Steiner is a University of Michigan graduate.
7 Mean Gene's F Bomb
Throughout the WWE of the ‘80s, Gene Okerlund was a familiar figure doing promos and backstage interviews, a nice guy fans liked. At SummerSlam ’89, he was interviewing Rick Rude and Bobby Heenan on Rude’s upcoming IC title match against the Ultimate Warrior. Just as he began, the “WWE” logo sign behind him suddenly fell down and a startled Okerlund yelled “f---k it!” on live PPV. The camera immediately cut to the crowd with Jesse Ventura mocking Okerlund for the mistake. Gene has had a good sense of humor and even sending it up so at least he can laugh with everyone else.
Technically, this is more a production crew error but it has to rank as an epic botch, even by TNA standards. The teaming of Mike Tenay and Don West was a regular one in TNA’s first years, West was annoying with his yelling but they serviced the fans well. In 2006, Sting and Abyss were going at it in a match that moved from the ring to the backstage area with both guys going wild on their commentary. Around this point, the cameras cut to the duo to show that Tenay and West were reading off scripted pages in front of them and not even looking up at the action. It cut away fast but it showcased how blatantly TNA is planned and hurting the product badly.
5 Big Al’s Beard
The latter days of WCW were filled with laughable moments and this has to rank among the wilder. Pushed as a legitimate badass, Tank Abbott never clicked that way in WCW and soon stuck in the lower cards. He and Big Al went at it in a brawl on PPV that was mostly just yelling at each other before getting a leather jacket on a pole (it makes no sense). With Big Al laid out, Yank pulled out a knife and put it to Al’s throat while yelling the C-word out.
The cameras cut away as Tony Schiavone quickly said that Tank was threatening to cut off Al’s beard. The problem was that Al had no beard and it was quite obvious to viewers what Tank had said. It was a bad mistake already but the botched cover-up of it only made it worse to rank among WCW’s crazier moments.
4 What's Up, Green Bay?!
When Michael Cole calls you on the idiocy of a mistake, you know it’s bad. Showing up for a show in Wisconsin, R-Truth did his usual rap opener to fire up the crowd and then yell out “Hello, Green Bay!” You can see folks in the crowd going “wait, what?” as Cole immediately pointed out that the show was in Milwaukee. Guess those cheese-head hats in the crowd confused him but still funny, especially as this wasn’t even R-Truth’s “nutty” phase.
3 Lex Luger
Luger was never what one might call skilled on the mic. In his early days, he had to be carried by the Horsemen and just never really clicked as a skilled promo guy even as a main eventer. But you could not believe this bit from a NWA Cyberspace show. Unable to say “despicable,” not knowing the name of the upcoming show and finally, failing to properly tear his shirt off. A true botching that showcases the “Total Package” was rather incomplete when it came to making a promo work.
2 Sid II
Sid, the gift that just keeps on giving. In the later days of WCW, his promos quickly became a key part of the show, going wild and crazy even more than Scott Steiner. There are so many to choose from but one has to stand out as Sid confronts Steiner, ranting angrily and pulling off his now infamous line “You are half the man I am and I have half the mind you do!” His face shows he has no idea of what he just said and continues onward, showing that bizarre persona that made him so oddly popular to people.
1 Jeff Harvey
On a WWE Network special on “biggest blunders,” Adamle gets right in the middle with various workers and even Vince and Stephanie, noting how they felt sorry for the guy. From the day he announced “Jeff Harvey,” Adamle became a human highlight reel for ridiculous lines (“Jamaican me crazy!”) to botching names (“CW Punk”) and not even knowing basic wrestling moves, the guy just never had a chance.
Vince has said he thought the heat on him would make him a good move for RAW GM which just led to more ridiculous moments and Vince has actually apologized for putting Adamle in that position. His reign was short but oh so memorable for a man who seemed unable to even say “good morning” without making it a mess and the obvious choice to top this list.