It's no secret that the most exciting part of watching wrestling is being a witness to the incredible moves that pretty much defy the laws of gravity. A perfectly executed moment in the ring by our favorite superstar can easily become the best moment in a WWE fan's life. These moments cause the biggest pops, the loudest roars, and keep us coming back for more. However, with every high comes a low.
As many astounding and breathtaking moments as there are in WWE history, there are just as many (if not more) less than proud moments we have had to endure while watching our favorite show. The moments I am referring to are, of course, botches. We see them during promos, matches, or even while a wrestler is simply heading down to the ring (shout out to Seth Rollins!). They can typically be mildly embarrassing in the moment then easily brushed under the rug. However, there are times that botches have not only followed a wrestler through the remainder of their career. but also completely changed the rest of their lives.
For this list, we're breaking kayfabe and taking a peek into the 25 visually worst botches that have ever taken place within the WWE. So get prepared because you're about to be reminded of every eye-rolling, face palming, and gut-wrenching moment that you wish you could forget.
25 25. Stone Cold Break
In terms of severity, a botch like this would easily take the first or second spot. On August 3rd, 1997, at the SummerSlam Pay-Per-View, after reversing a piledriver from Stone Cold, Owen Hart managed to deliver one himself. However, Stone Cold's head was far below where it needed to be and when Hart landed the move, he ended up breaking Austin's neck. The botch was so severe that Austin was momentarily paralyzed — and Owen Hart himself thought he had paralyzed him for life. Luckily we soon found out that it was only a temporary paralysis as Stone Cold somehow managed to roll Hart into a pin and secure the victory. The fact that Austin's neck was broken is the only reason that this botch is on the list because visually, it doesn't even look like anything went wrong. When you look closely, you can see Austin's head hitting the mat, but other than the fact that he's not moving after it happens, there is no indication that the move itself was botched.
24 24. RIP HBK's Back
This is yet another instance where a botch is a thousand times worse than it actually appears. At the 1998 Royal Rumble, Shawn Michaels faced off against The Undertaker in a casket match. It promised to be (and honestly was) one of the best matches WWE had seen at that point. Unfortunately an early on botched move would end up having the power to alter the course of Shawn Michaels' career. The Heartbreak Kid was supposed to be tossed over the ropes and the casket, but a mistake in either the timing, the position, or the power of the toss landed Michaels with a very severe back injury when his lower back clipped the corner of the casket. Although Shawn and The Undertaker continued the match with the epic glory that was their feud, Michaels ended up having to go into an early retirement at the age of 32 soon after. His retirement only lasted four years, but knowing that a botch that we can barely even point out had the potential to end the career of one of the greats is a very scary thought.
23 23. Neville Vs. His Ankle
It's not uncommon within wrestling for your body to fight against you. On March 14th, 2016, Adrian Neville faced a battle against his ankle as he was trying to slide between the legs of Chris Jericho. The botch is quick and it is possible that most of you didn't even take much notice until his injury became apparent as the match progressed. Basically what happened was when Neville bounced off the rope and dove feet first to baseball slide underneath Jericho, his foot got stuck against the mat even as he pushed his body forward. The force against his ankle caused a fracture and he wound up in a cast with crutches and probably incredibly thankful for the fact that he would not need surgery. This particular botch was an unfortunate one with no one and nothing but the law of physics to blame, but since it was evident that the injury was a rather serious one, Jericho and the referee worked together to bring the match to an end. Had it continued, the fracture very well could have gotten worse and possibly resulted in the need for surgery. He was out for a total of four months before returning to television on July 25th.
22 22. The Actual Clothesline From Hell
2016 brought Raw the debut of the tag team Enzo & Cass. Not even a month later, the tag team was facing The Vaudevillains at the WWE Pay-Per-View Payback to fight for the spot as #1 contenders for the Tag Team Championships. I still am not 100% sure what the goal was when this botch happened (WWE claims he was attempting to slide under the ropes), but it appears as if Simon Gotch was to throw Enzo towards the ropes and Enzo was supposed to do... something. Somehow Enzo found himself stumbling over his own foot and ended up with a face full of ropes before his head slammed into the mat and he slipped to the outside of the ring. Not only was he knocked out cold, but after being immediately transported to the hospital, it was determined that he suffered a concussion. As previously stated, WWE has said that he was attempting to slide under the ropes when this botch happened. Although you can kind of see his body tilt as if he's getting ready to baseball slide out (he should have talked to Neville about that one first), what is more apparent is the fact that his feet apparently did not previously agree to this maneuver.
21 21. Sorry About Your Nose, Cena
Why does it seem like every time we turn around John Cena is ending up injured yet again? Think about it: Herniated disc in 2008, a torn pectoral tendon in 2007, another torn tendon in 2013, a hip flexor injury in 2010, elbow injuries, triceps injuries — the list just keeps going; but I digress. The injury that I have placed in the #21 spot happened on the July 27th, 2015, episode of Raw where he faced off against Seth Rollins. You know the episode. Seth Rollins gave John Cena one hell of a knee to the face thanks to what we can only assume was an overshot jump. This botch would have gone completely unnoticed except for the fact that when Cena finally rolled over, it looked like someone had used his face as a substitute Mr. Potato Head with the nose where the ear should have been. It was one of the more gruesome of the botch results, and blood trickling down your face and your nose being in the wrong location is not something you can easily hide. Cena kept on, though. Who really needs to breathe anyway?
20 20. Whoops, Was That Your Head
Triple H's finisher, The Pedigree, is a finisher for a reason: The move is absolutely brutal to whoever has to take it. Could you imagine not only having your head slammed into the ring while also having a 255-pound man basically sitting on it at the same time? Luckily for Triple H's opponents, it (usually) just looks really bad and is actually one of the safer of finishers that revolves around busting someone's head against the floor — so long as it is performed correctly by both wrestlers. But, as most moves eventually are, the move was botched in a match between Triple H and Marty Garner on May 28th, 1996, during a taping for Superstars. As Triple H went to deliver the pedigree, it seems as if either Marty wasn't quite prepared for the move or somehow miscalculated how the move was going to play out. Either way, Marty's legs went straight up in the air, and his head went straight into the mat. Seeing as how this botch nearly broke the guys neck, Marty attempted to sue WWE for the injury shortly afterward. Apparently, the claim was settled out of court.
19 19. "Botchie" James Vs. "Fail" Kim"
On August 17th, 2009, Mickie James and Gail Kim had a match against each other on Raw for the WWE Divas Championship. The match went pretty well for the most part with each Diva showcasing their flexibility and quick reaction time. It was towards the end of the match when things went south. It started with what was supposed to be a DDT given to Gail Kim. However, Kim clearly had other plans when she simply stood with her body straight and rigid as Mickie fought to get her to the ground. Botch #1. The announcers covered it up by stating that she had blocked the move, but I'm pretty sure we all know better. Moving on to botch #2, Mickie immediately followed the failed DDT attempt with a swinging kick that didn't come anywhere near Kim's face and (botch #3) an upper arm punch that landed between Gail's chin and chest. Apparently, Kim became so overwhelmed with all these swishes of air that they knocked her off her feet and allowed Mickie James to capitalize with a pin and a victory.
18 18. Sin Cara's Entire Career
Poor Sin Cara. If there is one wrestler who knows botching better than anyone, it's him. There are lists, upon lists, upon videos, upon more lists that highlight some of the best (or worst) botches that Sin Cara pulled off during his career. My personal favorite moment took place at Over the Limit in 2011 when Sin Cara was attempting to perform La Mistica on Chavo Guerrero. A combination of Chavo not getting a good grip on Cara's legs mixed with Cara not having enough momentum resulted in a hilariously ugly botch fest. Chavo desperately tried pulling Cara's feet around his neck, Cara thrashed around, and finally they managed to end the move properly with the facebuster. It was, by far, one of the more interesting botches I've seen. The big botch that people tend to talk about the most, though, took place on the August 19th, 2013, episode of Raw when he faced Alberto Del Rio. Basically, he went for a suicide dive, landed it, but apparently when he did he either popped a finger out of place or actually broke a finger. I'm not 100% sure, but what I am sure of is the fact that Sin Cara called off the match right after this happened and Del Rio was mad about it (he did an interview where he shoots on Cara about the situation and admits to stiffing him with a kick). Del Rio's anger is understandable considering other wrestlers have continued matches with way worse than a broken finger. The bottom line is that no matter how good Sin Cara is in between these botches, they happen way more often than they should.
17 17. Joey Mercury Gets A New Face
Had this particular botch not been so messy, it's another that might not have even made it on this list. That is exactly why it isn't placed higher. If it weren't for the excessive amount of blood pouring from every bit of Joey Mercury's face, we never would have even known that this move was botched. At Armageddon in 2006, a few WWE superstars were in the middle of a ladder match for the WWE Tag Team Championships. Matt Hardy had Johnny Nitro and Joey Mercury positioned over the feet of a ladder which was balanced on top of another ladder to create a seesaw. Jeff Hardy jumped from the top turnbuckle to hit the top of the balancing ladder, forcing the legs to slam into Nitro and Mercury's faces. Obviously, they were supposed to shield themselves to prevent any actual injury, but it didn't quite work out that way for Mercury. Somehow the wrestler misjudged either where he or the ladder was positioned, and he ended up with a fractured nose in four places, five stitches inside his nose and cheek, 15 stitches on the outside of his nose and cheek, as well as some internal bleeding. It was a messy botch, but kudos to him for coming back only weeks later.
16 16. CM Punk Wins!... Not Really
On the January 9th, 2012 edition of Raw, we saw CM Punk facing Jack Swagger. Vicki Guerrero, Dolph Ziggler, and John Laurinatitis were hanging out ringside because, in the event that Swagger lost, it meant that Ziggler and Vicki would not be allowed at ringside for the Royal Rumble match that was set to take place between the competitors. Just as we would expect from Punk and Swagger, the match was brutally awesome. Everything was going wonderfully. That is, until the end of the match. We all know WWE is scripted, and the superstars go into the matches not only knowing who wins but with a fair portion of the moves pre-planned. In this particular case, the referee was a bit uninformed, though. Either that or he was very forgetful. Maybe he just didn't like Swagger. Whatever the reason, Punk goes in for a pin that was supposed to end in a kickout. What am I saying... it did end in a kickout. You can clearly see Swagger's shoulder way off the mat by the time the third count hits. Yet the ref calls for the bell and announces Punk the winner. Punk then proceeds to wander around the ring, slightly dazed and confused, even showing signs of anger (he was never happy when something didn't go right), as everyone else just kind of stood there stunned. It wasn't long after that when WWE posted about the incorrect call and announced that in order to be fair, Swagger would get a title match the following week.
15 15. Bye Randy!
On June 1st, 2008, we saw a match between Triple H and Randy Orton at that year's Over the Limit Pay-Per-View. Now, Randy Orton is no stranger to shoulder injuries. He has two other recorded shoulder injuries — one in 2002 and another in 2005 — prior to this particular one. During the match we see Orton prepare for an RKO on his opponent, but The Game quickly shuts that down when he pushes Orton away mid jump and The Viper finds himself flying over the rope and down to the ground. This is one of those bumps that wrestlers take all the time. The mats are there in order to absorb the bumps and make them a little less painful. However, Orton ended up botching the landing and he hit the mat a little too hard on his already fragile shoulder. That particular incident resulted in a broken collarbone and time away to heal. Given his history of accidents and injuries, it shouldn't surprise you that just a few months later he re-broke his collarbone in a motorcycle accident. Poor Orton, right? So fragile. So injury-prone.
14 14. Batista Eliminates Himself
When it comes to botching, nobody does it quite like Batista does. A little later on in the list you'll get the full idea as to what I mean when I say this, but he has the most unique botches that have the ability to make you wonder how in the world he can go from being so great in the ring to making mistakes such as this one. In 2005, Batista participated in the Royal Rumble. The match came down to him and John Cena as the final two, and they hashed it out for a bit before The Animal attempted a Batista Bomb that went unbelievably wrong. Seriously. I still have a hard time believing it. He lifts John Cena up in front of him and the next thing we know he is stumbling backward and manages to fall over the top rope with John Cena still sitting on his chest. A couple refs tried to call the match, stating that Batista won, but then a couple more claimed that Cena won. If you go back and watch the footage, there is no clear cut winner because the two guys literally hit the ground at the EXACT SAME TIME. Seriously, how in the world did this happen? Some fans have tried to say that this was actually scripted. Given the way they cover it after the fact, I completely understand this thought process. However, once the match is restarted it becomes evident that this part of the match was not talked about beforehand when John Cena can be heard stopping Batista from recreating how the match was supposed to end and telling him to "hit me with the spinebuster, then throw me out." Plus, David Lagana (a writer for WWE at the time) came out with a statement clarifying that the double elimination was not a part of the script. So yeah. It was a botch. A very well covered up botch, but a botch none the less. Good job, boys. Good job.
13 13. It's A Bird, It's A Plane
Brock Lesnar's famous shooting star press botch is by far the most well-known botch in the world of wrestling. It's on every list and every time I have ever brought botches up to another fan, this is the first thing that is mentioned. We all know it. Brock Lesnar climbs onto the turnbuckle to perform the high flyer move that we so rarely saw from the massive beast of a man. He flies across the ring and instead of landing on top of Angle like he was supposed to, Lesnar's head rams into both Angle's ribs as well as the mat. This had to suck for Lesnar not only because it ended with a concussion, but because it took place at WrestleMania XIX — his very first WrestleMania. So the biggest botch of his career and it took place at his first WrestleMania. Had he not summoned The Beast within him and somehow finished the match, I have a slight inkling that this probably would have been the end of his reign in WWE. Or at least he wouldn't have been able to get away with as much as he has since the incident.
12 12. Sami Zayn And The Laws Of Gravity
In a much more recent incident, Sami Zayn apparently tried to take on the laws of gravity. Spoiler alert: he lost — which is actually pretty rare for the high flyer. On July 24th, 2016, Sami Zayn squared off against Kevin Owens in a match for the Battleground event. The match came with high expectations seeing as this was supposed to be the end to their feud (anyone else buying that, cause I'm not). Ignoring the botched move, the match was fantastic. But ignoring the botched moves is not why we're here. With that being said, about halfway through their match, Kevin tried to power bomb Sami onto the apron from the outside of the ring. Sami caught himself on the side and proceed to jump up and sit on the top rope, bouncing off and flipping backwards with the ultimate goal being to land on Owens. Needless to say, the goal was not met. In fact, Zayn found himself coming down, shoulder first, against the apron due to a miscalculation during this maneuver. And yes, it was the same shoulder that he blew out while walking up the stairs to the ring and posing for the crowd just a couple of months ago. Sami just has not had the best of luck since making his way onto the main show, has he?
11 11. Table - 1, Spide Dudley - 0
When a table is set up in a wrestling match, there's a pretty good chance that we will end up seeing a superstar being thrown into it. The expectations were there in 2003 when we saw a 10-man tag team match on Raw. The table was set up just outside the ring pretty early in the match by The Dudley Boyz, but not once was the table actually used during the match. We were all fairly disappointed and the crowd had actually chanted the word 'tables' as it was being set up. It wasn't until after the match was over that we thought we'd be able to see the awesomeness that is someone being thrown through a table. La Resistance (Part of the winning team) had attacked The Dudley Boyz with the Championship belts before grabbing Spike Dudley (One of the Dudleys who had actually had a hand in setting the table up) and carrying him over to the side of the ring where the table stood. They threw him over and... we still didn't get to see anyone go through the table. What we did see was Spike Dudley's head bouncing off the mat that surrounds the outside of the ring. He sustained a concussion that put him out for a little bit all because La Resistance apparently cannot aim. But hey, at least we did get to see The Hurricane go through the table after trying to get revenge for Spike. So all was not lost in this botch.
10 10. I'm Not Catching You: Part 1
You never really know how to feel when you're watching wrestling, knowing that Wrestler A was supposed to catch Wrestler B, but instead Wrestler B is now twitching on the ground with at least one bone in his body that is probably broken. I sure as hell didn't know how to feel when Chris Benoit tried to hit Booker T with a suicide dive on a 2005 episode of SmackDown. Benoit dove through the ropes and soared right past Booker T's head, nicking him slightly before his entire body slammed into the announcer's table. The table visibly shook and I swore up and down that Benoit had been broken in half. Unfortunately, I do not remember whether or not Chris suffered any sort of major injury from the botch, and since WWE has removed the majority of Benoit's history from their website, I am unable to find a source I trust to answer that question. That's okay, though. We don't need to know the extent of the injury to know that Benoit had to be in a world of pain all because of the way too common combination of bad timing and poor execution.
9 9. Kozlov Vs. The Ropes
Kozlov's botch is definitely high on the funniest and most ridiculous botches lists as well as this one just because of how unbelievably quickly it puts us at a loss for words. It's so bad that it is actually really sad. How is it that a professional wrestler manages to try and "fall" over the top rope while it's pulled down only to end up tucking his head too much and struggling to get over? He tries not once, not twice, but three times to get over that top rope before Jimmy Uso finally clotheslines him over. You can visually see that he is gripping that middle rope and trying to pull himself over. He's even kicking his legs up to get the momentum. At this point, the illusion is completely lost because it becomes so obvious that he is trying to get over the ropes. But his head is in the way. And then... well after he moves his head I have no idea why he couldn't get over. All I can say is thank you, Jimmy, because without him, Kozlov could very well still be trying to get over those ropes to no avail.
8 8. "Great Agility By Orton"
I think my favorite thing about this particular botch is the fact that it happens right as the announcers are heard praising Orton's agility. The praise was understandable given the fact that he had just blocked Kane from choke slamming him into the announcer's table by getting on said table and taking the upper hand (bad pun intended). However, after landing a kick to Kane's torso, Orton places his foot right in the hold where the monitor once sat and not only goes straight through the table but knocks it over in the process. Luckily for Orton's leg, he didn't sustain an injury. Unfortunately for Orton's ego, it probably came out of that a bit bruised. Not to worry, though! He managed to finish out the rest of 2011 with some pretty beastly matches to make up for the blunder.
7 7. A Dud Of A Double Team
Hell in a Cell is by far one of the crowd favorites as far as Pay-Per-Views goes and The Dudley Boyz were definitely among the best of the best in the tag team division during their time, even coming in at number 6 on WWE Countdown's "Greatest Tag Teams" list. However, Bubba Ray and D-Von did not do themselves must justice as a tag team at the 2015 Hell in a Cell. Blame it on age or miscommunication. Whichever you choose will not change the fact that while you are watching the attempted execution of some sort of tag team leg drop, you will cringe. What basically happened is Bubba Ray was holding Kofi Kingston horizontally, and D-Von tried to jump up and leg drop Kofi, but Bubba refused to let Kofi go. It was only once D-Von was done with the attempt when Bubba tossed Kofi to the ground. This botch was so bad that it immediately caused the crowd to erupt with boos while Big E stood from his corner yelling "What was that?!?" Selling the botch? Or actually questioning what these guys were doing? We can only speculate.
6 6. Batista's Random Oversell
We all remember that one time Batista came out to the ring in a wheelchair and screamed "I QUIT" angrily into his microphone. It is one of the most talked about Batista moments of all time. However, what you may have forgotten was what happened just two weeks prior to this event. Well, let me remind you! On May 10th, 2010, Batista and John Cena participated in a no disqualifications match. Batista was just about to deliver his signature bomb when Mark Henry came jogging down to the ring with his targets set on The Animal. When Henry got on the apron, Batista laid a punch on him, causing Mark Henry to push Batista away. Batista stumbled back a bit, but then stops and recovers... and then he takes the most random back bump ever seen in the world of professional wrestling. Now it can probably be assumed that it was scripted for him to take a fall there and it slipped his mind for a few seconds, but regardless, it is known as one of the most ridiculous and embarrassing botches to date. It's kind of funny how only two weeks later he quit, huh?
5 5. Jillian's Sacrifice
Warning: The following moment may induce some serious face palming. The year was 2009. The Match: Kelly Kelly and Mickie James vs. Maryse and Jillian. The outcome: Every fan in the world was watching in disbelief as we wondered how and why. It's even hard for me to describe what happened because it just doesn't make any sense. We see Mickie and Maryse hashing it out in the ring followed by Jillian breaking up a pin. Kelly Kelly gets involved and the next thing we know, she's diving towards the ropes and pulling them down. That's where the questions start because, in no way, shape, or form did Jillian show any signs of even chasing after Kelly Kelly. To make matters worse, as soon as Jillian sees Kelly Kelly pull the ropes down, that's when she starts running and she just dives through them like she's sacrificing herself. That's when I was left speechless. There was no attempt to even improvise because if there had been, I might have just shrugged this moment off. It was just awful. Even my 8-year-old brother could see right through that. Botch city, baby!
4 4. Shelton Benjamin Face Plant
That's right! Another high flyer took the laws of gravity and the top rope on in a battle and lost. This time, it was Shelton Benjamin who fell prey to a lovely little botch that had us all questioning how a high flyer could make such a rookie-type mistake. On an episode of Raw, Shelton fought Jeff Hardy. Hardy had just been tossing Benjamin against the ropes a few times with no real effort to do anything more than that when all of a sudden we see Benjamin jump over the ropes, hop to the top rope, and try to launch himself off of it and onto Hardy. Notice I said try? See, Shelton must have misjudged his footing because the second he went to launch from the rope, his foot slipped off and he came tumbling down face first. Luckily he was in a match with Jeff Hardy because not even a second after that, Hardy reacted by jumping on Benjamin and trying to capitalize on a pin. Hardy's lightening fast cover luckily saved Benjamin from the majority of the embarrassment that follows a botch of that magnitude.
3 3. Hardcore Neck Break
Coming in at #3, we have another tale of a broken neck as a result of an awful botch. On an episode of Smackdown in September of 2002, Brock Lesnar and Hardcore Holly royally botched the crap out of a power bomb. When watching the footage, it can be — and has been on MANY occasions — argued that Holly sandbagged Brock or that Brock botched the move on purpose. It's even been claimed that Holly sandbagged Lesnar which made him angry, so he did it on purpose. However, Holly has gone on in interviews to state that he and Brock not only got along really well, but that this botch was absolutely not done on purpose. He even points out the fact that if Brock was able to belly to belly Big Show, then there is no way that Holly would have been able to sandbag Lesnar. Believe what you want to believe, but the bottom line is that it looked horrible, it was awful, and these two should never attempt a powerbomb together ever again.
2 2. I'm Not Catching You: Part 2
As far as botches go, this particular one seemed to cause the most controversy. The reason for this is because an "innocent party" was involved in the botch that was initially blamed on either The Undertaker or Shawn Michaels, depending on which one you liked more. At WrestleMania XXV, The Undertaker had a match against Shawn Michaels (wait a second, is this sounding slightly familiar to anyone else but me?). During the match, Shawn Michaels was outside of the ring and The Undertaker dove over the ropes to take Michaels down (look it even involved taking a dive outside of the ring. Hello, number 24). The problem was that he not only landed on a cameraman, but he damn near succeeded in breaking his own neck in the process. If you watch the clip, you can see Michaels grab the cameraman and appear to pull him into Taker's path. The reason for this is that the camera man was actually part of the script, and he was supposed to catch Taker when he jumped out of the ring. It clearly didn't work out that way. "So wait a second! Are you telling me that this cameraman was responsible for the botch?" Apparently so! Luckily for us, Michaels was smart enough to at least try and pull him into position, which ultimately padded Taker's fall and probably saved his life. The camera man (better known as Sim Snuka) was released from WWE shortly after the incident.
1 1. AJ LEE TAPS OUT... TO NOTHING
I completely understand if you are sitting there wondering why in the world I would have put this particular botch in the top spot. Before I explain my reasoning, let me explain the situation. On August 12th, 2013, AJ Lee and Big E Langston had a match against Natalya and The Great Khali. There came a point where Natalya had AJ Lee locked into the sharpshooter, and we all knew at that moment that AJ Lee was likely going to tap out. She did. However, for some reason, Natalya released the Sharpshooter before AJ started tapping (which renders the tap null because wrestlers are allowed to beat on the mat as many times as they want if they aren't in a submission hold). The bell did not ring. Neither Natalya's nor Khali's music hit. There was no sign whatsoever that the match was over, yet Natalya knew that it's supposed to be. So she approached the ref and grabbed his hand to be announced the winner only to find out that the tap did not count. She responded with a confused and uneasy smile set on her face and immediately jumped back in as if nothing had happened. She put Lee right back in the Sharpshooter, not even trying to make it sell at this point regardless of AJ's attempts, and caused AJ to tap. The reason why this is number one on this list is the fact that the botch was not only such a bad one, but it was one that was emphasized by confusion. A match that had three outstanding in-ring performers (Sorry, Khali. We still love you, though) turned out to look like it should have been a filler slot at amateur hour all because a botch wasn't covered the way it should have been.
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