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Top 20 Wrestling Matches Since 2000 That We Wish We Could Forget

When it’s good, a professional wrestling match can be a thing of beauty; captivating, impressive, and even emotional. But when it’s bad...oh man, is it bad. Sometimes a bad match might just be boring. Sometimes it can be very disappointing if the audience expected more. And sometimes it can make you downright embarrassed for even watching the product. While pro wrestling is hardly perfect today, you can’t really criticize the in-ring work. From the WWE, to the independents, to Japan, the quality of wrestling hasn’t been this good since, maybe ever.

But sadly, it wasn’t always this way. After a golden era of in-ring work ended in the WWE in the early 2000s, the rest of the decade was left desperately wanting more. And sadly, with a few exceptions, most promotions around the world experienced a similar nadir. There were great matches, of course. But there were also some stinkers. A lot of them. There were so many worthy candidates for “worst of the decade” that didn’t even make this list: Hulk Hogan (as Mr. America) against Roddy Piper on SmackDown in 2003, a botch-laden RAW match between Mickie James and Gail Kim, a handful of matches from the short-lived WWA promotion, and any one of the six-thousand-four-hundred-and-eighty-seven matches between Big Show and Kane. But to make it on this list, a match had to be either a crushing disappointment or so brutally awful as to make you question every decision you made in your life that led to watching such an abomination.

Read on and re-discover 20 matches since 2000 we wish we could forget.

20 Hulk Hogan vs. Shawn Michaels - SummerSlam 2005

via wwe.com

It’s unlikely anybody can contend with Hulk Hogan for having had the most terrible main event matches ever (maybe Luger). But Hogan has been carried to good --even great-- matches in his career and if there’s one man who could carry a 52-year-old Hulkster to a great match, it would be Shawn Michaels. Unfortunately, in the summer of 2005,  Michaels didn’t feel like doing that. Instead, Michaels decided to channel the sarcastic, disrespectful, and unprofessional Shawn Michaels of the 1990s. HBK bumped like crazy for Hogan. But not in a good way. Michaels bounced around the ring in ridiculous fashion, falling over in overly dramatic ways, and pulling silly faces.

19 Torrie Wilson vs. Dawn Marie - No Mercy 2002

via wwe.com

Late 2002/early 2003 is remembered as a golden period for SmackDown. While RAW was focused on horrendous and trashy angles and gimmicks such as Katie Vick and H.L.A., SmackDown, under the stewardship of Paul Heyman, was presenting excellent professional wrestling, largely on the back of “the SmackDown Six.” But what people often forget is that SmackDown was not immune to trash, and the trashiest, hottest garbage angle of them all, was the feud between Dawn Marie and Torrie Wilson. The feud centered around Dawn Marie pursuing Torrie’s father, Al.

18 The Undertaker vs. The Big Show (The Punjabi Prison Match) - Great American Bash 2006

via wwe.com

The Punjabi Prison Match went through a lot of changes from its first inception by then-WWE writer Court Bauer. Bauer’s initial idea for a new, innovative, and frightening match was twisted and altered until we got the lame idea and structure we saw at the Great American Bash 2006. What’s worse is that the man whose signature match it was supposed to be, The Great Khali, was pulled from the card at the last minute due to elevated liver enzymes. Thus, Big Show was put into the match, even though he had nothing to do with the storyline.

17 TNA Knockouts Makeover Battle Royal Match - Sacrifice 2008

via divadirt.com

The Knockouts Makeover Battle Royal marks TNA’s first appearance on this list. TNA has been a joke for the majority of its existence, but when criticizing TNA, the one thing nearly everybody has always qualified, no matter the time period, is that it’s not the talent’s fault. TNA has always had capable wrestlers, even some great ones, but they never figured out how to consistently write good storylines for them. The chief culprit here is Vince Russo. Russo loved thinking up complicated and nonsensical matches, and the Knockouts Makeover Battle Royal is a great example of this. The match involved 10 women, only one of whom, Kim, was a great worker.

16 Jamie Noble vs. Nidia (Blindfold Match)- No Way Out 2004

via youtube.com

At WrestleMania VII, Jake the Snake Roberts fought Rick “The Model” Martel in a “blindfold” match. The match was not great. And never mind that they actually were wearing bags over their heads and not blindfolds, but, it wasn’t awful. There was a certain charm to it, given the characters in the match and the WWE’s more cartoonish, child-focused product at the time. However, we only ever needed one blindfold match. And we definitely didn’t need one in 2004 as part of the awful Jamie Noble vs. Nidia feud.

15 Teddy Long vs. Eric Bischoff - Survivor Series 2005

via wwe.com

Do you know what happens when you place two people who aren’t wrestlers into a wrestling match? You get an awful match. It’s astounding that some people in professional wrestling still haven’t figured that out. At Survivor Series 2005, we got a truly atrocious bout between Teddy Long and Eric Bischoff. Teddy Long danced around and gestured to an uninterested crowd while Bischoff tried to hit him with his oh so impressive karate kicks. Bischoff eventually got the upper hand when Palmer Cannon (remember him? Yeah, nobody does) distracted the two referees (one from each brand), which makes no sense because he should have been helping Long.

14 Steel Asylum Xscape Match - TNA Impact January 4, 2010

via wikimedia.org

January 4, 2010, was arguably the biggest night in TNA’s history. A special Monday edition of Impact aired featuring Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff’s debut. And what was the very first thing we see on this momentous edition of Impact? A Steel Asylum Xscape match. This big red structure assaulted the eyes and made it hard to see what was going on the ring. And what was going on was stupid. After a few minutes, Homicide pulled out a baton and hit everybody with it. Homicide then took forever to climb up the awkward, curved cage, which made no sense considering the match was over.

13 Kane & The Undertaker vs KroniK - Unforgiven 2001

via vimeo.com

Unforgiven 2001 marked KroniK’s first WWE pay-per-view, having recently joined The Alliance as part of the horribly botched Invasion angle. This match saw the Brothers of Destruction defend their WCW --yes, WCW, not even WWE-- tag titles against the once-popular WCW tag team. KroniK got over during the last days of WCW because of their funny name (haha, so clever) and the fact that they just squashed smaller wrestlers in quick matches, a tried-and-true path to success.

12 The Great Khali vs. Kane - WrestleMania 23

via tjrwrestling.net

You knew The Great Khali would make it somewhere on this list. It could have been a match against Big Show, or a match against Batista, or even another match against Kane. Or it could have been that battle royal on RAW when he accidentally eliminated himself. But seeing as how WrestleMania 23 was the biggest stage of any of these, it deserves to be on this list. This WrestleMania was promoted heavily as the 20th anniversary of WrestleMania III, and as such, the WWE wanted to recreate the Hogan-slamming-Andre spot. They wanted to do this with Hogan and (presumably) Big Show, but both had left the company just a few months before Mania. But the WWE was deadset on this idea, so they booked Kane vs. the Great Khali.

11 Ariel & Kevin Thorn vs. Kelly Kelly & Mike Knox - December to Dismember 2006

via diva-dirt.com

December to Dismember was the WWE’s ECW brand’s first pay-per-view event. It was so awful that it would also be their last. The show received very little promotion on WWE TV, and therefore, did a very poor buy-rate. Only two matches on the show were promoted ahead of time, there was acrimony backstage, and Paul Heyman left the company shortly after the event and would never officially work for the WWE again in a creative capacity.

10 Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar - WrestleMania XX

via wwe.com

At the time of this writing, Goldberg and Brock Lesnar have had two singles matches, and the one at WrestleMania XX was by far the worst. And that’s saying something because their other match only lasted one minute and 26 seconds. Their WrestleMania XX match would be the last either would have for years. Goldberg was finishing up an underwhelming one-year contract with the WWE in which he had been booked poorly. Lesnar had decided to leave wrestling, somewhat abruptly, annoying the WWE who felt mistreated after having invested so much in Lesnar.

9 Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon - WrestleMania XXVI

via wwe.com

On January 4, 2010, Bret Hart returned to RAW after a 12 year absence. He opened the show with a heartfelt, emotional, and real moment with Shawn Michaels. He ended the show with a cheesy, poorly acted, wrestling angle with Vince McMahon. And that angle would get worse. The feud involved Bret being hit by a car, faking a leg injury, and, for some reason, included John Cena’s presence. The match at WrestleMania XXVI was downright abysmal. Fans weren’t expecting much from Bret seeing as how he had retired due to concussions a decade previous and even had a stroke since then.

8 James Storm vs. Chris Harris (Blindfold Steel Cage Match)- Lockdown 2007

via wikimedia.org

7 Christy Hemme vs. “Big Fat Oily Guy” (Tuxedo Match) - Against All Odds 2007

via thewrestlingsection.blogspot.com

6 Scott Steiner vs. Sid Vicious vs. Jeff Jarrett vs. Road Warrior Animal - WCW Sin

via wwe.com

WCW went out of business in March 2001. Still, they managed to have one of the worst matches of the decade. Most remember this match for Sid’s nauseating leg break. Seeing Sid stare down at his hideously disfigured leg while Steiner beat him down was bad enough, but there was more to it than that.

First, the two heels, Steiner (the WCW champion) and Jarrett, didn’t seem to care which one of them won the match, thus further devaluing the WCW title (if that was still possible).

Second, the big tease of this match was babyface WCW chairman Ric Flair’s mystery man. Flair eventually introduces him near the end of the match -- after Sid’s leg is destroyed -- and he comes down in a ridiculous mask and pseudo-straight jacket get-up and immediately turns heel and attacks Sid. How can anybody care about the heel turn of a character who was JUST introduced?

5 Trish Stratus & Bradshaw vs. Jackie Gayda & Christopher Nowinski - WWE Raw July 8, 2002

via youtube.com

This match will forever be remembered as one of the worst debacles in RAW history. Christopher Nowinski was barely a year into the business, Trish Stratus was not quite yet the great worker she would become, and Bradshaw had yet to develop his charismatic JBL character. And Jackie Gayda was...Jackie Gayda. First, the competitors seemed confused about the rules of a mixed-tag match. Second, the story of the match was Nowinski avoiding Bradshaw, which meant that Gayda had to work most of the match. And boy, was she awful.

4 Team 3D vs. LAX (Electrified Cage Match) - Lockdown 2007

via wikimedia.org

Lockdown 2007 sure was a great event, wasn’t it? In what was another Russo classic, Team 3D (Brother Ray & Brother Devon) fought LAX (Homicide and Hernandez) in a cage that was supposedly electrified. This match was just so profoundly stupid that it defies belief. If you showed this match to somebody and gave them no context, they would likely think they were watching a parody of a wrestling match on some satirical comedy show. To watch wrestlers sell electrocution is pretty much indescribable.

3 Triple H vs. Scott Steiner - Royal Rumble 2003

via cagesideseats.com

This match is in contention for the worst WWE main event of all time. Scott Steiner from 1992 vs Triple H of 2001 would be an amazing match. But in 2003, not so much. Both men had grown very fond of working out and had clearly been taking their "vitamins," as their bodies had ballooned to ridiculous proportions. Even so, despite his size, Triple H was still a very good wrestler in 2003. What he wasn’t, however, was humble. He was cocky enough to assume he could get a good 20-minute main event-style match out of Steiner. Well, he couldn’t.

2 The Reverse Battle Royal - TNA Impact October 26, 2006

via youtube.com

Vince Russo. Again. Of all the idiotic "something on a pole" matches, of all the sexist women’s matches, of all the convoluted, overbooked finishes, the Reverse Battle Royal is surely Vince Russo’s crowning masterpiece. The match had three phases. The first saw 18 men starting on the outside of the ring trying to be one of the first seven to climb over the top rope and into the ring. Get it, it’s the reverse of a battle royal. That’s so clever. Instead of getting a wrestling match in the ring with wrestling moves, you got a colossal mess of dudes brawling on the outside.

1 Jenna Morasca vs. Sharmell - Victory Road 2009

via deviantart.net

To call this a wrestling match is an insult to the entire profession. The match featured Booker T’s wife, Sharmell, against former Survivor winner Jenna Morasca, who was in TNA because...well, it’s a mystery. It was totally unclear who was the face and who was heel (they were both heels?) and for some reason, Sharmell was in a dress.

The match begins with a lot of gesturing and then “strikes” by Sharmell. At this point, the audience realizes what they’re in for and begin to boo and pray for an out-of-body experience. Jenna Morasca "ran the ropes" in a fashion that Kelly Kelly would be ashamed of and delivered a cross-body that saw her get, maybe, five inches off the ground. And I know Morasca isn’t a wrestler, but has she ever even seen a slap? Does she know what it looks like? She looked like she was trying to shoo some flies away. The biggest bump came when Sojourner Bolt was knocked to the outside.

Oh yeah, Bolt and Awesome Kong were at ringside as seconds. Why not just have those two work the match?! Morasca pinned Sharmel in an unnecessarily sexual fashion after Kong punched Sharmell. Then, Morasca got into an argument with Kong after the match for no reason, and Kong decked her too. What an abomination.

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Top 20 Wrestling Matches Since 2000 That We Wish We Could Forget