There are few annual traditions quite as exciting as WrestleMania. Over the past 30 years, we have been treated to some spectacular moments, some heart-stopping matches and have had our imaginations captured in the showcase of the immortals. However, we have also had to sit through our share of nightmares. Matches that have no place at such a prestigious event. Matches that we really want to black out of our memories. Matches that when they took place, all you could wonder was, “man, did I really just spend money to watch this?”
Today we are going to look at the 10 worst matches in WrestleMania history. It’s fitting we’re counting down because we’re sinking to the bottom of the barrel. This list won’t include 30-second squashes like Warrior vs. HHH or Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus because like a great match, a bad match needs time to build, or collapse. Really, how bad could a match be if it’s over in a blink?Time to put you to sleep, time to suck the energy out of you, time to knock WrestleMania down a few pegs. These matches make the list due to what seemed like a never-ending torture when we watched them live.
10. Jake Roberts vs. Rick Martel – Blindfold Match – WrestleMania VII
So let’s put a blindfold on two of the most talented performers for their match. Genius!
Who on earth thought this would be a good idea? Also, how did a match in which the wrestlers not being able to see each other go on eight minutes?
The match consisted mostly of one trying to find the other, one tripping over the other, basically what you would expect to happen in blindfold match. The question is why did this happen? Was it supposed to be funny?
Could they not have just put on a regular match?
9. The Great Khali vs. Kane – WrestleMania 23
The Great Khali has never had a good match. Six minutes at WrestleMania 23 was still six minutes too long. I don’t think even Shawn Michaels could get a good match out of him. They guy can’t move! Taking place in Detroit, WWE tried to recreate the iconic moment of Hogan slamming Andre the Giant. Kane slammed Khali, but went on to lose.
Let’s just move on, nothing worth mentioning here.
8. Undertaker vs. Big Boss Man – Hell in a Cell – WrestleMania XV
The worst Hell in a Cell match in history just had to take place at a WrestleMania. In the penultimate match of WrestleMania XV, the Undertaker and Big Bossman engaged in a messy, sloppy affair and if anything the ring crew should be most upset. They had to do all that work in getting the cell set up for nothing.
This wasn’t even a feud worthy of the cell. Undertaker’s Ministry of Darkness was feuding with Mr. McMahon‘s Corporation and Bossman mostly felt like someone the Corporation had to throw in. There’s nothing memorable about this match from bell to bell. The audience was probably counting the minutes until they could see Stone Cold vs. The Rock.
Following the match The Ministry raised the cell and “hanged” the Bossman from it. Thanks for the pointless and disturbing visual, guys.
Hell in a Cell matches are supposed to be the climax of an extremely personal and intriguing feud. The problem was this ‘feud’ wasn’t particularly interesting and almost killed the allure of the cell. Thankfully the WWE came back with many cell classics.
7. Doink and Dink vs. Bam Bam Bigelow and Luna – WrestleMania X
The Doink character was never quite the same after the original Doink, Matt Bourne, was released from the WWE. Against all odds, Bourne made a clown character in wrestling compelling, portraying an evil clown scaring kids in the audience.
Following the character’s face turn, a succession of wrestlers played a face Doink and the clown was teamed with a little sidekick known as Dink. They took on the team of Bam Bam Bigelow and Luna Vachon. Thankfully this silly affair lasted only six minutes with Dink mostly running to avoid Bam Bam. Bigelow eventually pinned Doink for the win. They then proceeded to attack Dink.
I’ve never quite understood the perception that audiences would enjoy seeing a little person face big wrestlers. This match also happened to follow a wrestling clinic put forth by Bret and Owen Hart, so following that match probably makes this look even worse than it was.
6. Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzales – WrestleMania IX
No, this list is not meant to bash the legendary Undertaker in any way. On the contrary, I will say this; poor Undertaker. Despite being one of the most popular wrestlers in the WWE for so many years, he kept being fed absolute garbage in his early days.
Here he faced a 7’6″ Giant Gonzalez who wore an airbrushed muscle suit had no business being in a wrestling ring. Wrestling promoters clearly hadn’t realized that fans only want to see giants if they can wrestle. Gonzalez could not.
The athletic phenom did everything he could to carry the Giant to a decent match, but it was just an impossible feat. The match was slow-paced and lacked any sort of flow, but it sort of had an appropriate finish. This was the only one of Undertaker’s WrestleMania victories which was not by pinfall or submission. Taker won by disqualification after Gonzalez used chloroform on him. Funny, because being doused with a chloroform soaked rag is exactly how this match felt to the fans.
5. Divas Battle Royal – WrestleMania XXV
This match actually had some potential to be interesting. When it was announced there was a buzz that many former Divas such as Trish Stratus, Lita, Sunny, Madusa, maybe even Chyna would be brought back. It would’ve at least served a nostalgic purpose, much like the Gimmick Battle Royal of WrestleMania X-Seven.
Instead, Trish and Lita turned it down and WWE didn’t seem to try to make this match somewhat memorable. The divas weren’t given any special attention, as Kid Rock wasted 10 minutes of the event with a half-assed concert.
Instead of making a new female star from the Battle Royal, the WWE had Santino Marella dress in drag, pretending to be his twin sister, Santina. He/she won the match and was crowned Miss WrestleMania. Santino has done some great comedy work throughout his career, but for some odd reason wrestling fans don’t want to see talented male wrestlers face female wrestlers in drag. Who would’ve thunk it?
4. Mr. T vs Rowdy Roddy Piper – Boxing Match – WrestleMania 2
The way Mr. T was used at the inaugural WrestleMania was brilliant. Things fell off the wagon at WrestleMania 2. The WWE decided that it’d be a great idea to have one of its main event matches feature its top heel against a celebrity in a… boxing match… at a wrestling show. Note to wrestling promoters: if fans want to see a boxing match, they’ll go to a boxing match.
The WWE’s Brawl For All Tournament could’ve made the list, but that farce was over in 20 seconds. This match between Piper and T went 13 minutes! Poor fans in New York had to sit through this as the main event of one of WWE’s three mini-cards at WrestleMania 2.
A choreographed boxing match can only work in movies because you have endless hours and takes to get it right. One take in front of a live audience? Recipe for disaster.
The match provided no compelling action and in fact included a botched spot. T was set to knock Piper out of the ring with a left hook, but if you look back at the footage, you can clearly see the punch missing its mark. It must’ve been the wind that knocked Piper out of the ring. The match ended when Piper got himself disqualified by bodyslamming Mr. T. The match could’ve been decent had it been shorter, ended with a knockout and had been lower on the card. Or maybe just don’t do a boxing match. Yeah, that sounds like a better idea.
3. Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon – WrestleMania XXVI
This is painful for me, being the big Bret Hart fan I am. Unlike many on this list though, it made sense to have this match. It all stemmed from the 1997 Montreal Screwjob and fans had waited for years to see Bret finally get his revenge on Vince McMahon. The problem was the booking in this match.
With Bret’s well-documented physical limitations, due to the concussions and stroke he suffered and McMahon being 65 years old, expectations for the match itself were low. I and many others expected about a three to five-minute beat down from Hart, including some chair shots, a couple of big bumps from McMahon and finally a sharpshooter to end things and signify redemption for Hart.
Instead we got an overbooked, 11-minute farce. A pointless swerve was thrown in, briefly making us think McMahon had bought off the entire Hart family to side against Bret. Seconds later Bret revealed the family cashed their cheques and were still siding with Hart. The whole family ganged up on McMahon. Totally overbooked, way too long. A simple beat down and quick redemption for Hart would’ve sufficed. Hopefully young fans will look back at the Hitman’s real matches and not this one. This doesn’t do Hart’s career any justice.
2. Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg – WrestleMania XX
This isn’t the worst bell-to-bell action in WrestleMania history. In fact there are many matches worse than this one. It’s here because I can’t think of any match in WrestleMania history that crashed so far below anyone’s expectations.
This was a dream match going in. Two powerhouses set to collide on the biggest stage. Fans were expecting a hard-hitting, explosive, high-impact match. They instead got a match where practically nothing happened, with both wrestlers seemingly intent on putting the crowd to sleep.
Both men were set to leave WWE and the New York crowd knew it, booing both participants from the get-go, chanting “You Sold Out!” to Lesnar who was leaving to try out in the NFL. Goldberg was simply not signing a new contract. Lesnar and Goldberg, rather than remaining professional, said ‘screw this’ and circled… and circled… and circled. They finally locked up after a few minutes but the match had already gone off the rails. The rest that follows is hatred spewing from the MSG crowd, Lesnar and Goldberg trading high-impact moves at an incredibly slow pace.
Goldberg, the babyface, won the match, but the only cheers came when guest referee Stone Cold stunned both men out of the ring.
1. Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole – WrestleMania 27
Jerry Lawler has been a loyal employee to the WWE for nearly 20 years but has mostly served as an announcer. By all means he deserved to have a match at WrestleMania. Just not against fellow announcer Michael Cole!
What a train wreck from start to finish. This match was built for nearly five months, with a heel Cole verbally berating Lawler for months and costing him in two title matches against The Miz, before Lawler and Cole was announced for WrestleMania XXVII. Steve Austin was named guest referee. Poor old Stone Cold. Why can’t he be called into action to referee a decent match?
This encounter is unwatchable. You would’ve though after the long feud, Lawler would quickly squash Cole, get his WrestleMania win and the feud would end and let the King have a nice little moment in the sun.
Instead, Cole actually controlled most of the match. An announcer with zero wrestling experience controlled most of a match against a wrestling legend. The match lasted 14 minutes. FOURTEEN!
Even worse, after Lawler seemed to win the match, making Cole submit to an ankle lock, the ridiculous anonymous GM reversed the decision due to referee Stone Cold “abusing his authority.” History will go down as Cole winning by DQ. The feud dragged on another two months and featured a short and sweet match at Over the Limit. That one lasted three minutes and ended with Cole kissing Lawler’s foot and being drenched in BBQ sauce. Had that same Over the Limit match been booked at WrestleMania it would’ve been fine. Instead WWE decided to torture an audience that had paid good money to see the biggest show of the year.
The fact that no one liked the feud, that it went on too long and didn’t deliver any kind of payoff whatsoever is what makes this the worst match in WrestleMania history. WWE, for future reference, let your WRESTLERS compete at WrestleMania.
Hopefully the WWE’s blunders of the past 30 years have taught them many lessons going into the future.