At this point in life, anyone who doesn’t live under a rock knows that professional wrestling is not real. It has never been real, but back in the day they went to great lengths to make it seem real.
In today’s world the WWE doesn’t try to hide anything at all. Throughout history there have been a lot of matches that were put on to serve a purpose like setting up a new champion, but there have been several as well that served no purpose at all.
Both of those types of matches are usually the worst ones. For instance, in 2000 Pat Patterson faced off against Jerry Brisco. Twenty years previous to that, that would have been a sellout crowd main event. But in 2000 both men dressed up as women in the ring and accomplished nothing but tarnishing their stellar reputations. It was a match that served no purpose at all and was more of an embarrassment than anything else.
Here we will look back at some of the fakest matches in professional wrestling history, in no particular order.
20. The Original Screwjob – Wendi Richter vs The Fabulous Moolah
When female wrestling became big again in the 1980s, Wendi Richter was thrust into the spotlight as one of the main participants. She became a national figure, but she wanted to be paid like one. She didn’t get any royalties from WWF merchandise with her likeness on it such as tee shirts, dolls, etc. For her WrestleMania appearance she was paid $5,000 as the co-main event, while Hulk Hogan and the others in the men’s main event were paid $50,000. Vince McMahon Jr. kept promising her more money but it never came. Eventually McMahon got tired of Richter pestering him about it, so he set up what is known as the original screwjob to get her out of the picture.
McMahon set up a match for Richter to defend her Women’s Championship in Madison Square Garden against a masked competitor, The Spider Lady. But Richter didn’t know that it was actually Moolah under the mask. Nor did she know that whatever she did that night, it wasn’t going to result in her defending her title. During the match The Spider Lady stopped selling moves and eventually pinned Richter. The Champion easily got out of the pin attempt but the referee continued to count to three, and awarded the challenger the title. The only people who knew what was going on were Moolah and the referee. The crowd, along with Richter, was in a state of confusion. When she figured out what had happened Richter was irate. And when she unmasked her opponent to find Moolah under the mask, she was twice as angry.
Richter was so angry that she grabbed her gear out of the locker room and walked right out through the Madison Square Garden door, still in her gear and makeup. She hopped in a cab and while much of the crowd was still trying to figure out what had happened, Richter was on her way to the airport, never to wrestle with the WWF/E again.
19. The Montreal Screwjob – Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels
Vince McMahon struck again when he ripped the WWF Championship away from Bret Hart at The Survivor Series in 1997. Hart had recently signed with WCW and had given his notice to the WWF. McMahon was worried that Hart was going to take the championship with him when he left, so he took matters into his own hands. There are conflicting reports that say Hart just didn’t want to lose the title in Canada but he would have dropped the belt elsewhere before he left. It’s been almost twenty years and we still don’t know all of the details and we very well may never know them.
Hart was defending the title against Shawn Michaels, who he had been involved in a feud with, both in and out of the ring. During the match, Michaels put Hart in the Sharpshooter submission hold, Hart’s own finishing move. Referee Earl Hebner had been ordered by McMahon that when that hold was put on Hart, to end the match and say that the champion had submitted. So he did what he was told and the title was awarded to Michaels.
Once Hart figured out what had happened he lost his mind. He attacked McMahon and confronted several wrestlers to find out who had known about what was going to happen. It has never been verified if Michaels knew what was going to happen that night. This led to a series of interviews that became famous when McMahon said that he didn’t screw Hart, only “Bret Hart screwed Bret Hart.”
18. Bob Backlund vs The Iron Sheik (WWF Championship)
Near the end of Bob Backlund’s nearly six-year title reign things started changing. Vince McMahon Jr. had taken over the company and he wanted a more colorful champion. Backlund himself had been going through some personal changes and he was even voted the Most Overrated Wrestler near the end of his time at the top.
Hulk Hogan was near the top of his game at that point and McMahon wanted Backlund to turn into a heel and lose the belt to Hogan, but Backlund refused. He said that since he wrestled under his real name, due to what his family might have to endure from such a move, that he wasn’t going to do it. McMahon basically told Backlund that he was going to lose the title and Hogan was going to become the new champion. He also promised Backlund a rematch with Hogan, or one with The Iron Sheik. Backlund agreed to the match with Hogan, but he would only do it as a fan favorite. This way the fans could decide who should be the champion moving forward.
Backlund was defending the title against The Iron Sheik and during the match the challenger put the champion in his famous Camel Clutch submission hold. After several minutes in the hold it was apparent that the champion wasn’t going to give up, so his manager Arnold Skaaland threw a towel into the ring, bringing Backlund’s time as champion to an end, even though he never submitted or was pinned. He had actually beaten The Iron Sheik three other times in title matches that weren’t televised, so it wasn’t like he was much of a threat to knock off the champ.
Backlund never got a rematch for the title as McMahon said that he was “injured” and couldn’t give the new champion a fair match. Hogan was given the rematch and he blasted The Iron Sheik in a short match to win the title. More on that one in a minute. Backlund was also never given a match for the title with Hogan as he was promised and a few months later he left the company. This match could actually be considered McMahon’s first screwjob that was handed out.
17. Hulk Hogan vs The Iron Sheik (WWF Championship)
In early 1984 the world got their first peek at what would become a staple in the wrestling world for the next several years. A beaten Hulk Hogan coming back from the dead to give a kick to the face and a leg drop to end a match. In a match that lasted under six minutes, Hogan became the first person to escape the Iron Sheik’s Camel Clutch submission hold. He then used his second wind to pin his opponent to win the WWF Championship. At the time the world had no idea that they would be seeing the same scenario over and over again for the next ten years. This match signaled the changes that Vince McMahon Jr. was bringing into wrestling. It was a changing of the guard on many levels as Bob Backlund would be gone from the company for eight years and the old style of wrestling was headed out the window, in favor of the more obviously fake and entertainment-style wrestling that we know today.
16. Bob Backlund vs Bret Hart (WWF Championship)
In late 1994 Bob Backlund had returned to the WWF and he was a much different person than he was during his nearly 6 years on top. He took on current champion Bret Hart in a “Throw in the Towel” submission match. The object of the match, playing off of the match when Backlund lost the title to The Iron Sheik, was to put your opponent in a submission hold and make their corner man throw in the towel, signaling a submission.
Hart had Davey Boy Smith in his corner while Backlund had Owen Hart, the champion’s brother, in his corner. During the match Smith was injured and unavailable. Bret Hart turned to yell at his brother, blaming him for Smith’s injury, and Backlund used the moment to put his Crossface Chickenwing submission hold onto the champion. Bret Hart held off for over eight minutes and would not give up. Owen Hart finally realized the damage that his brother was enduring and pleaded with his parents, who were seated in the front row, to throw in the towel because Davey Boy Smith couldn’t. After several minutes of arguing with her husband, Helen Hart eventually threw the towel into the ring, giving Backlund the championship. Couples have enough problems without Vince McMahon getting involved and parents shouldn’t be taking part in wrestling matches anyway. The match itself was 35 minutes and was pretty good. Well, it was until the ending.
15. Randy Orton vs Daniel Bryan (WWE Championship)
This match took place at Night of Champions in 2013 and it wasn’t so much what happened during the match that made it obviously fake. It was what took place the following night. The match itself was over 17 minutes long and Daniel Bryan ended up pinning the champion Orton to win the belt in what was a pretty good match.
The very next night on Monday Night Raw, Triple H took the title away from Bryan, saying that the referee had made a fast count to give Bryan the title and that Bryan was involved in the planning of it. This made the match from the previous night totally worthless and it ended up as if it had never even taken place.
The facts are that the count was a bit fast but Orton was defeated and out. The referee could have counted to six slowly and it wouldn’t have mattered. He wasn’t getting up. The WWE totally screwed the fans that went to the match and had ordered it on pay per view by basically making it irrelevant.
14. Debra vs Sable (WWF Women’s Championship)
In early 1999, WWF Women’s Champion Sable was matched up against Debra in an Evening Gown match for the title. The object was to rip off the gown of your opponent to get the win. Sable was able to do this fairly quickly with the help of a lot of things happening in the ring that had Debra not really paying attention. After Sable was announced the winner and still champion, Shawn Michaels, who was acting Commissioner at that point, came into the ring and reversed the decision. He basically said that he liked how Debra looked standing there in her bra and panties and awarded her the championship. Debra was the new WWF Women’s Champion by virtue of “looking good” and the title change is still recognized to this day by the WWE. It severely dampened the credibility of the title and made the match itself, what there was of it, virtually worthless.
13. Texas Tornado vs Mr. Perfect (WWF Intercontinental Championship)
In a 1990 SummerSlam match, Intercontinental Champion Mr. Perfect put his title on the line against the Texas Tornado, better known as Kerry Von Erich. The match wasn’t all that long and it was obvious that Von Erich at that point was just a shell of the competitor that he once was. He only had one foot and there were a lot of rumors of a pain killer addiction. Mr. Perfect, also known as Curt Hennig, carried the match and sold Von Erich well, but he made one glaring error at the end of the bout.
Von Erich nailed him with his Tornado Punch finishing move and Hennig went down for the pin fall and lost the title. But Von Erich punched him with a right hand. Meaning Hennig should have spun around to his right from the power of the blow. Instead he spun around to the left, in the air, and made the finishing move look completely fake.
12. Joey Ryan vs Danshoku Dino
In what could be called a true dick move, Joey Ryan performed The Penis Flip on his opponent Danshoku Dino in a December, 2015 match in Japan. Dino was drawn in by the penis and forced to grab it. When he did that Ryan used his member to flip Dino over, but not before the penis put Dino in severe pain. Nothing more needs to be said about why this match is on the list.
11. Steel Asylum Xscape
TNA Impact held a match in early 2010 called the Steel Asylum Xscape. This was truly odd, even for the world of professional wrestling. The ring was surrounded by red bars and unlike a steel cage, it was topped off over the ring in a dome-like shape. The object was to climb out of the top of it, which proved difficult because the top was shaped like a dome. Whenever someone got close, they fell off, back down to the ring. It was just as difficult for fans because they couldn’t see the action very well through the numerous thick red bars that surrounded the ring. To top it all off, during the match Homicide took out a baton and starting hitting people with it. For doing so he was disqualified…in a no disqualification match. Enough said.
10. Andre the Giant vs Akira Maeda
This match in mid 1986 is truly one of the worst that has ever taken place. Andre the Giant liked to drink and many people knew that. And the gigantic man could drink enough to kill a regular human being. Many people who were there on the night of this match say that Andre was seriously drunk when this match started. In normal situations there weren’t many people who could make the big man do something that he didn’t want to do. When you add major amounts of alcohol into the mix, it’s even worse.
His opponent that night was Akira Maeda, who was known for being stiff in the ring and not one to try and sell opponent’s moves. This, coupled with Andre’s drunkenness, was a recipe for disaster.
Maeda kicked Andre several times during the match but the giant just stood there and did nothing to sell the moves. The look on his face said that he didn’t even want to be there. Every time that Maeda tried to put a submission hold on Andre, the big man just pushed him aside like it was nothing. He clearly didn’t want anything to do with the match.
Eventually Antonio Inoki came down to the ring and told the both of them to knock it off and finish the match. Andre was all for it and he collapsed so that he was lying down in the middle of the ring. He started yelling at Maeda “pin me!” but the smaller man wanted nothing to do with it and he refused. A brawl ensued and eventually both combatants were disqualified. The fans that were at the match were not at all pleased with what they had just witnessed.
9. Goldust vs. The Ultimate Warrior (WWF Intercontinental Championship)
This In Your House match in 1996 was just a complete waste of time and space. Goldust was supposed to put his Intercontinental Championship on the line against The Ultimate Warrior and he obviously wanted nothing to do with the challenger. It took him about ten minutes to finally get into the ring, and when he did he was immediately was clotheslined by the Warrior. Goldust then left the ring again and was counted out, remaining the champion. This one was just flat out bad.
8. Junkyard Dog vs. Moondog Spot
This 1985 bout was about as bad as the Goldust title defense that was just mentioned. Almost. A play by play of the bout was Moondog Spot punched the Junkyard Dog several times and then attempted a splash from the top rope. He missed and Junkyard Dog handed out a couple of weak heat butts and then pinned him. That’s the entire match. It only took 43 seconds from bell to bell. Who bother?
7. Daniel Bryan vs Sheamus (World Heavyweight Championship)
WrestleMania 28 took place at Sun Life Stadium in Miami and was the highest grossing pay per view event in the history of wrestling. But it certainly wasn’t because of this match.
Daniel Bryan put his title on the line against Sheamus and he kissed the belt goodbye in only 18 seconds. At the beginning of the match he got a kiss from his then girlfriend AJ Lee, and then turned around and was met with a brogue kick from his challenger and was pinned. It took one single move to pin the World Heavyweight Champion. Come on now. We are supposed to believe that?
6. Hulk Hogan vs Yokozuna (WWF Championship)
This was another match that just insults any wrestling fan. It was at WrestleMania IX in 1993 and Yokozuna had just won the WWF Championship from Bret Hart. Mr. Fuji, the challenger’s manager, threw salt into Hart’s eyes allowing the giant man to pin the champion. Hulk Hogan came into the ring to check on Hart’s well being and Mr. Fuji offered him a title shot right then and there.
Well at that point everyone in the world knew what was going to happen. Hogan made short work of the new champion and after Mr. Fuji missed his target with some more salt, one Hogan leg drop later there was a new champion for the second time in a matter of minutes.
These events were completely pathetic. They should have just had Hart lay down for Hogan if they wanted the Hulkster to be the new champ. It would have been more realistic.
5. Sheamus vs Zack Ryder (WWE Championship)
At least the fans didn’t have to pay for this one. On a Monday Night Raw show in late 2010, WWE Champion Sheamus faced Zack Ryder for the title. The bell rang and Sheamus gave Ryder a brogue kick and pinned him. The official time of the match was 10 seconds but it may not have even been that long. What’s the point of this? No professional wrestler is going to go down and lose a match after one single move. That’s just not realistic.
4. Diesel vs Bob Backlund (WWF Championship)
This is another title match that was a waste of time. A complete embarrassment. Two moves and it was over. It was 1994 in Madison Square Garden and all it took was a kick and a Jack Knife Power bomb and Backlund’s second reign at the top was over.
Diesel had no business in a title match at that point and to embarrass an icon who had so many great years at MSG, with an eight second match, the WWF should be ashamed of themselves. If Backlund was going to lose the match, at least let them go at it for awhile. There was no need to do that to someone who had given the best years of his career to the company.
3. Andre the Giant vs Hulk Hogan (1988, WWF Championship)
In February of 1988, WWF Champion Hulk Hogan faced off against Andre the Giant with the title on the line. Hogan of course was a fan favorite at this time and Andre was a heel. The match was televised on NBC’s The Main Event and the whole world saw one of the dumbest events in wrestling. Andre pinned Hogan for the championship, but only because referee Dave Hebner’s twin brother Earl was bought by Ted DiBiase, also known at the time as The Million Dollar Man. Hogan escaped before the count of three but Hebner continued to count anyway. After the match Andre took the championship belt and handed it over to DiBiase. This was obviously ok with the company because they recognized Andre’s title run as the shortest in history. How does Vince McMahon Jr. sleep at night knowing he has made countless icons in the business look like a fool?
2. Hulk Hogan vs Ric Flair (WCW Championship)
This one took place at Uncensored in 1999 and it was for Hogan’s WCW title. It took place in a First Blood Barbed Wire Steel Cage match. Ten to fifteen years prior, this one would have been an instant sell out, but at this point both combatants were long past their best days.
Flair was the President of WCW and he basically told referee Charles Robinson to use his own discretion during the match, as long as Flair came out the winner.
Flair won the title easily as the referee failed to count anytime Hogan had Flair pinned and when Hogan drew first blood, which would be a victory in a first blood match, again the referee refused to acknowledge it. Something like that is just a waste of the fans’ hard earned money. Whether they paid for a ticket or bought the pay per view.
1. Andre the Giant vs Hulk Hogan (1980)
This match took place at the final Showdown at Shea and was before Larry Zybysko and Bruno Sammartino climbed into a steel cage. At the time Andre was the fan favorite and Hogan was the heel. Hogan was still a few years away from starting Hulkamania.
This was odd as it took place at Shea Stadium, former home of the New York Mets. The ring was set up out at the second base area and the fans were seated in the regular stadium seating. There were no floor seats or ring side seats. The only thing around the ring was dirt, grass, and photographers.
The match was nothing to write home about as far as action goes and the fans were too far away from the ring to see what actually happened inside of it. So not many noticed at the time when after seven minutes of pretty boring action, Andre pinned Hogan for the win, even though Hogan wasn’t pinned.
The referee was knocked out and missed Hogan body slamming Andre and then pinning him. By the time Andre got up, a second referee had entered the ring. Just in time to see Andre dish out a body slam of his own followed by a huge splash onto Hogan’s chest. Then Andre covered his fallen opponent and the replacement referee counted to three, even though Hogan was clearly out at the count of one. But the fans were too far from the action to notice that.
To make it worse, Andre got up and celebrated the victory but then an upset Hogan hit him with an elbow to the head. When Andre got back to his feet a few minutes later, he was a bloody mess. From one elbow. Whatever. The fans were booing Hogan loudly for injuring their hero. But only a few short years later they would be cheering him on, as he brought fake wrestling to the top of the “sports” world.