We're less than a week away from the 25th Anniversary of the greatest wrestling show known to man...WrestleMania.
The debate has raged on for years as to which are the greatest matches in the storied history of WrestleMania, but always overlooked are those matches which elicit a different reaction; those which cause us to doze off, those which send us to the fridge for another beverage, or even those which would have us turning the channel, if we hadn't shelled out 50 bucks for the show. These matches shall be ignored no longer. Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, I present to you the 25 worst matches in WrestleMania history...at least in my opinion.
25. Gimmick Battle Royal—WrestleMania X-Seven
To be honest, the wrestling fan in me kind of enjoyed seeing some of the best (and worst) gimmicks in the history of wrestling featured in this match, however, the match itself had no business being part of the biggest show of the year.
You had an assortment of men who were well past their prime, such as Iron Sheik, Sgt. Slaughter, Nikolai Volkoff, and non-wrestlers Jim Cornette and Brother Love, and men who would never otherwise had appeared at Mania, such as The Goon. Throw in a few guys who it was fun to see again and the Gobbledygooker, and you had the Gimmick Battle Royal.
Most of this match is still largely forgettable to me (Though I do recall wondering if Sheik was ever going to make it to the ring, his entrance took longer than the actual match). In the end, Sheik won the thing, and was promptly run off by the Sarge.
Good old 80s nostalgia at its best. Not Mania worthy, though.
24. Lawrence Taylor vs. Bam Bam Bigelow—WrestleMania XI
I could easily just lump together all of the matches which have involved non-wrestling personalities in the history of Mania. However, I thought it best to rate each on their own merits, or lack thereof. That brings me to Lawrence Taylor vs. Bam Bam Bigelow from WrestleMania XI. This match is ranked so low on my list due to the fact that of all the Mania matches which include non-wrestlers, this may have been the best.
Taylor actually showed himself to have a lot of athletic ability, no surprise since he is one of the NFL's all-time greats. Ultimately, this match makes my list due to the fact that Taylor beat an experienced Bigelow with a rather simplistic forearm from the second rope. The whole match just had a feel of unbelievability to it. For that, this match ranks 24.
23. Ultimate Warrior vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley—WrestleMania XII
What? A match featuring the Ultimate Warrior makes this list? Who would have thunk it? Seriously, there are so many reasons for this match to make the list.
First of all, Warrior not selling the Pedigree, which was a devastating maneuver, even early in Triple H's WWF career, was completely unbelievable. So to lose in less than two minutes to a purely one-dimensional beast like the Warrior mades no sense.
In retrospect, the outcome of the match turned out to be a big mistake. Helmsley went on to be a future Hall of Famer, while the Warrior faded back into obscurity mere months later.
Simply put, any list of Mania's worst matches needs to include at least one Warrior match.
22. Kane vs. Chavo Guerrero—WrestleMania XXIV
This match makes my list for one simple reason: the match only lasted eight seconds.
The result of the match was never questioned by most. The moment Kane won a battle royal prior to WrestleMania XXIV to determine Guerrero's challenger for the ECW Championship on the card, most felt it was a foregone conclusion that the Big Red Machine would emerge the new champion.
Chavo, a third generation superstar, would have at least been able to give Kane a decent match. Apparently, that was not to be. Somebody thought an eight second squash match would be the way to go.
Seems Vince is determined to do everything he can to kill the ECW Title. This match went a long way towards doing that. A squash match with a belt on the line is more than enough to make this list.
21. Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter—WrestleMania VII
This had the potential to be a great match. Hulk Hogan, the Real American, vs Sgt. Slaughter, the Iraqi sympathizer during the first Gulf War.
There are many reasons I put this on the list. And, honestly, not all of them have to do with the quality of the match itself. I hated how Vince and company cashed in on a very dark event. I didn't think the situation involving Iraq and Kuwait was something to be capitalized on financially. Turning Sgt. Slaughter, who had arguably been more patriotic than even Hogan, into an anti-American seemed to be unforgivable.
The match itself wasn't horrible, though as Mania main events go, it is largely predicatable as it was forgettable. Hogan gets dominated, beaten down by the evil Slaughter. Then Hogan hulks up, becoming seemingly impervious to pain. Big boot...leg drop...1...2...3. And we have a new champion. Definitely won't go down as a classic WWF Championship match.
20. Genichiro Tenryu and Koji Kitao vs. Demolition—WrestleMania VII
Once again, there are a number of reasons why this match makes my list.
First of all, the Demolition is not the same dominant team of Ax and Smash that terrorized the WWF. Ax was replaced in this match by Crush, who, in my opinion, never really gelled as a member of Demolition.
Secondly, Tenryu and Kitao, while very popular in their native Japan, were largely unknown in North America. This may not have been an issue had the WWF chosen to actually have any buildup to the match. But no...they decided fans would get into the match without any buildup. This would have been fine, had the match itself been good quality.
The problem is, when you have the team the fans are familiar with getting dominated by the largely unknown foreign team, the fans lose interest. All of this makes what could have been a great match one of the worst in Mania history.
19. Ahmed Johnson and the Legion of Doom vs. The Nation of Domination—Chicago Street Fight—WrestleMania 13
On paper, this could have been so much better. Ahmed Johnson, one of the toughest men of the day, teaming with the legendary Legion of Doom to take on one of the most dominant factions, the Nation of Domination, in a Chicago Street Fight. Sound like a recipe for a good old-fashioned slobberknocker, as JR would say. However, what we got was quite possibly the most boring Street Fight I've ever witnessed. No blood. Very little weaponry. Overall, a very dull match. Although, when you think about it, most of WrestleMania 13 could have made this list.
18. Red Rooster vs. Bobby Heenan—WrestleMania V
Come on...how can a match involving the Red Rooster not make the list? Not that Terry Taylor wasn't a talented wrestler, but he allowed himself to be saddled with quite possibly the lamest gimmick in wrestling history.
Where's your pride, man?And the best the WWF could give him at Mania was a match with Bobby Heenan?
Predictably, there was very little in terms of actual wrestling in the match. In fact, Rooster pinned Heenan in just 32 seconds. I really don't think this pick needs much explanation.
17. Hillbilly Jim, Little Beaver and the Haiti Kid vs. King Kong Bundy, Lord Littlebrook and Little Tokyo—WrestleMania III
Matches involving the little people have traditionally been nothing more than comedy fare, and this was no different. The match was full of the traditional midget spots which are meant to elicit a laugh and make the referee look like a bumbling fool.
However, this match doesn't make my list for this alone.
The finish of the match is what I really take issue with. It may have been staged, but watching Bundy slam Little Beaver was "one of the most despicable sights I've seen in the squared circle."
16. The Great Khali vs. Kane—WrestleMania 23
This match was just horrible. I'm convinced that nobody could carry Khali to a decent match. What made this match so utterly contemptable for me was the recreation of the famous bodyslam from WrestleMania III, the last Mania held in Detroit.
That epic moment when Hulk Hogan slammed the up-to-that-time unslammable Andre the Giant. This time it was Kane slamming Khali. The fact that WWE recreated such a classic moment in such a horrible match was unforgivable. Even worse was the fact that Khali came out on top in the match, pinning the Big Red Machine. This match was just terrible...no other way to describe it.
15. Undertaker vs. Big Show and A-Train—WrestleMania XIX
This match makes the list for a number of reasons. First of all, it's not what fans were expecting. It was to be a tag team match pitting Taker and Nathan Jones against Big Show and A-Train.
However, an announcement was made that the bout would be a handicap match. That would have been fine, except that Jones DID make an appearance partway through the match, attacking the Big Show, allowing Taker to hit a tombstone for the win.
A completely nonsensical match which is largely forgotten when recounting Taker's historic WrestleMania streak.
14. The Hart Foundation vs. the Bolsheviks—WrestleMania VI
This match makes the list purely because it was a match which in no way showcased the true abilities of the Harts, one of the greatest tag teams in history.
First of all, they were put in the ring against a clearly inferior team in Nikolai Volkoff and Boris Zkukov. And, to make things worse, the match lasted just 17 seconds. The Harts should have been given a much bigger window of opportunity to show what they could do at the biggest show of the year. However, the powers that be decided a 17-second squash was the way to go. Sheer brilliance! Can you hear the sarcasm?
13. Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper—WrestleMania 2
Ok, I know, I've already talked about how much I loathe most, if not all matches involving non-wrestling personalities, but this one really bothers me.
It's not even the fact that it was a boxing match on a wrestling show. I could live with that, especially given the fact that both T and Piper have backgrounds in boxing. However, this didn't resemble a boxing match in any way. I'm not sure how to describe it, except to say it bored me to tears and had a completely predictable ending. I mean, who didn't see it coming that Piper and company would attack T at some point? Unrealistic action and a predictable finish add up to the number 13 match on this list.
12. Doink vs. Crush—WrestleMania IX
Ah, Doink. One of the worst gimmicks in WWF history. And this match took place when he was still a relatively cool heel. The match was total buffoonery. From the appearance of a second Doink to the use of a prosthetic arm as a weapon, there was very little that could redeem this one. I can't begin to describe how much I hated this match.
11. Bam Bam Bigelow and Luna vs. Doink and Dink—WrestleMania X
Within a year of the previously mentioned match, Doink turned face (with a new wrestler using the gimmick), and added his own Mini-Me, appropriately named Dink. They faced off at WrestleMania X against the monster, Bam Bam Bigelow, and his "main squeeze," Luna Vachon, in a mixed tag match.
There was very little about this match which resembled actual wrestling. When he was in the match, Dink spent most of his time running around the ring trying to avoid Luna. As expected, Bam Bam pinned Doink for the win. Then, Bigelow and Luna proceeded to attack poor, little Dink. Apparently they hadn't learned from King Kong Bundy's mistakes. I would love to forget this match, but something just won't let me.
10. Terri vs. The Kat—Catfight—WrestleMania 2000
The word "catfight" says it all. The rules stated that the winner would be the woman who could throw her opponent out of the ring. Val Venis was the special referee. Yes, Val Venis. But wait, it gets better. The Kat had Mae Young in her corner, while Terri was partnered by the Fabulous Moolah. Again, not much in the way of wrestling here.
This match seemed to cater to the hormones of the young males watching. Venis proceeded to swap spit with both Terri and the Kat. Not to be outdone, Mae kissed Venis herself. That backfired though when Moolah interfered while Venis was otherwise occupied, as she pulled the Kat out of the ring. When Venis broke free of Young, all he saw was Kat on the arena floor. Thus, Terri was declared the winner. Definitely not a high point in Mania history.
9. Undertaker vs. Big Boss Man—WrestleMania XV
There have be some undeniably classic Hell In A Cell matches in WWE history. Undertaker vs. Mankind, Taker vs. Lesnar, and Triple H vs. Batista to name just a few. However, Taker vs. Big Boss Man from Mania XV does not fit into this category.
First off, what was the reasoning behind putting these men in the cell? There was no deep personal feud here. The feud was Taker's Ministry of Darkness against the Corporation, of which Boss Man just happens to be a part. It would have made far more sense to put Taker against one of the top guys in the Corporation, such as Triple H or the Rock. But no, he got the Boss Man.
What the fans got was probably the most uneventful Hell In A Cell in history. Nothing of note happened in this match. It was truly unworthy of the cell. And having the Ministry come down and "hang" Boss Man from the Cell at the end of the match was disturbing and utterly pointless. This match is well-deserving of being in my top ten on this list.
8. Butterbean vs. Bart Gunn—WrestleMania XV
Yet another example of a wrestler being embarrassed by someone from outside the industry. This match was born out of the WWE's Brawl For All competition, which was a series of quasi boxing matches involving WWE Superstars. The tournament was won by Bart Gunn, who went on to challenge pro boxer Butterbean to a legitimate boxing match at Mania XV. What ensued was Butterbean exposing Gunn's actual lack of boxing skills in a matter of about 30 seconds. Bathroom break material if there ever was one and another deserving entry to my list.
7. Roddy Piper vs. Goldust—Hollywood Backlot Brawl—WrestleMania XII
Where to begin with this one? First of all, the match itself was poorly staged. They very sloppily went between live action and obviously prerecorded segments. Then of course there was the tasteless (in my opinion) use of the OJ Simpson car chase footage. Yes, Piper just coincidentally happened to drive a white Ford Bronco. And I, along with many others, may be scarred for life by the finish of the match, which featured Piper stripping Goldust down to his very revealing women's underwear. I certainly didn't need to see that. This match was certainly not one of Dustin Rhodes' finest moments, and a no brainer for my list.
6. Akebono vs. Big Show—Sumo Match—WrestleMania 21
Another match where a WWE Superstar is embarrassed by an athlete from another sport. But what did you expect? Big Show was battling sumo champion Akebono in a sumo match. They removed the ropes and the winner would be the man who forced his opponent out of the ring. Mercifully, this match lasted only about a minute. Show was clearly out of his element here, and was defeated handily by Akebono. Another opportunity to grab a cold beverage. When will they learn to stick to wrestling?
5. Torrie Wilson vs. Candice Michelle—Playboy Pillow Fight—WrestleMania 22
I have very little to say about this one. Three words say it all....Playboy Pillow Fight. A pillow fight has no business being on the biggest show of the year. The only reason I didn't rank this match higher is because both Torrie and Candice are smokin' hot!
4. Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar—WrestleMania XX
This match could have been a classic.
You had two of the best bigger men in wrestling going at it. What went wrong? Well, first of all, through the internet, the fans learned that both Goldberg and Lesnar would be leaving WWE following the match. This lead to a chorus of boos and "You Sold Out" chants throughout the match.
Once the match started, the two wrestlers just stared each other down for the first several minutes, without any physical contact whatsoever. Finally, when they did lock up, both men successfully kicked out of the others' finishing maneuvers. In the end, Goldberg was able to finish Lesnar with a Jackhammer, but the highlight of this one was clearly special referee Stone Cold Steve Austin delivering Stunners to both men following the match.
What a sendoff.
3. Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzalez—WrestleMania IX
This one was clearly a case of even Taker not being able to carry Gonzalez to a good match. Gonzalez was a bust in WCW as El Gigante and he was worse in the WWF. The body suit with air-brushed muscles didn't help either. This man was so devoid of wrestling ability that he needed chloroform to subdue Taker, which he made to attempt to hide from the referee. The result was a disqualification and a match I'm sure Taker would rather forget.
2. Jake Roberts vs. George Wells—WrestleMania 2
I really could have numbered this and the next match as 1 and 1a. Both featured one guy who never should have appeared at WrestleMania. This one was only slightly better in quality than the number one match on my list. Wells actually managed a small amount of offense before being taken down by a DDT from Roberts. Overall, the outcome was never in doubt. Definitely not a match that would even come close to making PPV these days.
1. King Kong Bundy vs. SD Jones—WrestleMania
That brings me to my pick for the worst match in Mania history. It also happens to be I believe the shortest match in Mania history. It took just one Avalanche from Bundy to send Jones down for the count. Why he was even on the card?
So there it is. My picks for the worst matches in WrestleMania history. You may agree with some. You may disagree with others. But I think we can all agree on one thing: here's hoping WrestleMania 25 doesn't add any more to the list. Enjoy the action from Houston everyone!