As the current leader of the wrestling world, WWE is looked at as something to build on and for fans to enjoy. It’s hard to put up with all that pressure and that includes pay-per-view. Over the years, WWE has pushed PPV as the big bit for the company, a key way to make money and get stars over. When it works, it’s great. When it doesn’t…it can be very, very bad.
When one mentions terrible PPVs, WCW often pops to mind and TNA has given us some stinkers as well. But it only makes sense that having the most PPVs of all time, WWE has also given us the most number of worst PPVs ever. Sometimes they can be redeemed by a great match but far too often, they are cards that are up to down terrible and nothing can save that. Some are low-key, some are the biggest shows of the year. They involve major stars who usually turn in terrific matches but here just send out utter garbage. Bad turns, bad booking and terrible pushes for the wrong people, they all combine for shows that make fans wish they’d never spent money on. Here are the 20 worst PPV events in WWE’s history and a reminder of how bad this company can get.
20 SummerSlam 1995
This was one of the worst years in WWE’s history, packed with bad shows. SummerSlam was a key example. We did have a fantastic ladder match between Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels for the IC title, but that all this wretched card had. The opening matches of Hakushi/1-2-3 Kid and Hunter Hearst Helmsley/Bob Holly were short and rough and while it was fun to see Barry Horowitz win over Skip, it was still a lifelong jobber coming on top over a more deserving star. The Undertaker/Kama casket match dragged way too long as did the horrible Bret Hart/Isaac Yankem battle. Bertha Faye won the Women’s title over Alundra Blayze in a bout that deserved more time.
19 King of the Ring 2002
The last KOR PPV went out with a whimper, not a bang as WWE was reeling from Steve Austin suddenly walking out on the company. The Hardyz against Steven Richards and Raven was short and bad and Ric Flair versus Eddie Guerrero was a too slow match as neither guy seemed able to gel with the other. The Kurt Angle/Hulk Hogan battle was also a letdown with Angle winning by submission despite Hogan looking stronger in what looked like a comedy match.
18 New Year’s Revolution 2005
Emenating from Puerto Rico, this show had a good main event but the rest was just garbage. Eugene and William Regal retained the tag titles on Christian and Tomko in a bad opener and the Trish/Lita match was marred by injury to Lita. Maven was a bad challenger for IC Champion Shelton Benjamin and the Muhammad Hassan/Jerry Lawler battle was atrocious, made worse by how there was no commentary with Jim Ross, who was in Lawler’s corner.
17 1992 Survivor Series
Shifting from the Hogan era to the “New Generation,” this card broke away from Survivor Series tradition with only one elimination match (Nasty Boys and Natural Disasters vs. Money Inc and the Beverly Brothers) which was pretty bad. The Headshrinkers beat High Energy, Yokozuna literally crushed Virgil, the Big Boss Man beat Nailz in an overhyped battle and the Tatanka/Rick Martel match was a waste.
16 WrestleMania XI
One of the worst Manias of all time as evidenced by the main event. The Allied Powers and the Blu Brothers was a waste, Razor Ramon beat Jeff Jarrett by DQ and the “I Quit” match between Bret Hart and Bob Backlund was far too slow given its promise. Undertaker and King Kong Bundy was a slow and agonizing battle and while the title match between Diesel and Shawn Michaels was good, it only made Shawn look better, not the WWE champion.
15 SummerSlam 2007
WWE was still in shock over the Benoit murder/suicide and that sent a pall that this show couldn’t overcome. That wasn’t helped by how so many on the roster were about to get hit by wellness policy suspensions. Kane and Finlay had a rough opener while the IC title Triple Threat dragged with Umaga retaining.
Rey Mysterio’s return against Chavo Guerrero was too slow while the Divas battle royal was lukewarm. We had Stone Cold coming to a “beer drinking contest” that was just an excuse to deliver a Stunner to MVP and CM Punk came up short against ECW Champion John Morrison.
14 Great American Bash 2005
Despite a good build, this show turned out poor, kicking off with Animal and Heidenreich forming a new Legion of Doom to win the tag titles but the fans never accepting this pairing at all. Booker T and Christian had a too-short match as did Chris Benoit and Orlando Jordan. That was followed by Undertaker against Muhammad Hassan in a match with interference by masked men and Hassan crushed which basically pushed him out of the company for good.
13 Bragging Rights 2010
After boosting the Nexus to prominence, WWE soon managed to ruin it on this show. While the Ziggler/Bryan opener was good we then had Cena and Otunga teaming up to win the tag belts from Cody Rhodes and Dew McIntyre followed by Ted DiBiase versus Goldust, both matches not advertised at all.
The Buried Alive match between Kane and Undertaker was as bad as you could imagine with Kane winning and the big “RAW vs. SmackDown” tag match was a letdown.
12 Armageddon 2003
Another sign December just isn’t a good month for PPVs. The card kicked off with Mark Henry dominating Booker T totally until Booker pulled off a surprise win. The RVD/Randy Orton match was good with Orton winning the IC title, but the Jericho/Christian versus Trish/Lita match was rough to say the least. Shawn Michaels beat Batista despite being pounded around while the tag team match was a mess of teams and spots without real flow and storyline.
11 Battleground 2013
The first Battleground was one of the lowest ordered shows ever and for good reason. Alberto Del Rio beat RVD in the opening match, The Great Khali and Santino faced the Real Americans in a terrible tag match and Curtis Axel’s IC title match with R-Truth was rough as well. The AJ Lee/Brie battle was ugly and Bray Wyatt against Kofi Kingston was truly poor. The CM Punk/Ryback match was truly rough to watch as Punk did his best to salvage the battle.
10 In Your House: D-Generation X
One of the last In Your House PPVs, this 1997 show came with WWE still reeling from the events of Montreal and it showed. Sgt. Slaughter, clearly past his prime, lost to HHH in a dragging Boot Camp match. Butterbean and Marc Mero had a terrible “Toughman contest,” and Jeff Jarrett beat The Undertaker by DQ.
9 Armageddon 2004
December PPVs just aren’t that good, it’s pretty obvious. An opening tag team match was good but it was downhill from there as the Bashams, Hardcore Holly and Charlie Haas had a terrible match, Cena against Jesus (remember him?) and Big Show beating Kurt Angle, Mark Jindrak and Luther Reigns in one match.
8 King of the Ring 1999
This is when it became clear Vince Russo’s writing was getting out of control. The tournament bouts were poor with Road Dogg pinning Chyna, Billy Gunn over Ken Shamrock by the ref stopping the bout and Gunn winning the whole thing despite how poorly suited he was for a major run. We had Mideon and Viscera beating the Big Boss Man in a handicap match, The Hardyz and the Brood in a fair match but not as great as they’d do in the future and The Undertaker and The Rock in a quite bad title match.
7 Unforgiven 2003
This terrible card opened with the Dudleyz winning the tag titles in a handicap tables match. That was followed by Test and Scott Steiner in a terrible match with Test winning and thus Steiner had to be his “property.” A Divas tag match was surprisingly good thanks to Lita and Trish as partners but the Shane/Kane battle was just a total mess of a “brawl” that did nothing to help either man. That was still far better than the horrid match of Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler against Coach and Al Snow.
6 The Wrestling Classic
One of the first ever wrestling PPVs, this was dominated by a tournament that was basically a dry run for what would become the King of the Ring. It was pretty damn bad despite some attempts to liven it up like Davey Boy Smith versus Ricky Steamboat as the bouts lasted about five minutes each with far too many bad ends. Randy Savage was set to have a great run with big wins…only to lose in the finals, by count-out, to the Junkyard Dog.
5 In Your House 4: Great White North
You have a show in Canada and you put Bret Hart in the dark match. That’s a sign it’s going to be bad. Smoking Gunns against Razor Ramona and 1-2-3 Kid was fair, but Goldust’s debut was rough with the crowd and Yokozuna against Mabel set new depths in terrible “big guy” fights. We had the infamous bit of Dean Douglas being rewarded the IC title when Shawn Michaels had to forfeit and then immediately losing it to Ramon.
4 Great American Bash 2004
After a great run in 2004, the “SmackDown” brand hit a major stumbling block with this show. The Eddie Guerrero/JBL bull rope match was a good brawl but too much poor stuff like John Cena facing Booker T, Rene Dupree and RVD in a rough four-way match, Luther Reigns vs. Charlie Haas, Sable vs. Torrie and Mordecai vs Bob Holly.
3 WrestleMania IX
The worst WrestleMania of all time, accept no substitutes. The Caesar’s Palace setting may have sounded great but on TV, it looked cheap and far less crowded than it truly was and having everyone in robes and other outfits was just stupid. The bouts were not only bad but idiotic from two Doinks attacking Crush, Undertaker vs the always terrible Giant Gonzalez, Razor Ramon vs Bob Backlund and highly hyped Mega-Maniacs vs Money Inc match ended with the faces losing by DQ.
2 King of the Ring 1995
Yes, it’s 1995 once more, showing again how bad a year this was. The tournament had bad moves like Shawn Michaels and Undertaker being bounced in the opening round, while names like Savio Vega was put in the finals. It ended with the obese and horrible worker Mabel winning and becoming King, intended to push a new heel but the fans hated it from the start.
1 December to Dismember
It’s never a good sign when most of a PPV card isn’t announced before the show even begins. That no doubt helped it become the lowest ordered PPV in the company’s history and those who did buy regretted it. This was the sign the WWE's revival of ECW was an epic disaster and showed off big-time with a show as far away from ECW as you could get. MNM fought the Hardy Boyz, Balls Mahoney had a bad match against Matt Striker, ECW mainstay Tommy Dreamer was beaten down by the Great Khali and a terrible intergender match took place as well.
That all led to the Elimination Chamber main event, with Hardcore Holly replacing Sabu, RVD pinned early, weapons used to poor effect and finally coming down to Bobby Lashley beating Big Show to win the ECW title and the show ending in under two hours. Reportedly, Paul Heyman was in tears afterward and you can’t blame him as this was a slap in the face for ECW and even on its own terms, a terrible PPV “event” that has to top this list.
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