10 Worst Match Finishes in WWE and WCW History
WWE's latest controversial finish between Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan, this time at WWE Battleground, has not been well-received by fans.
Coming off Night of Champions, which resulted in refunds based on a questionable finish that was later reversed, WWE's non-finish at Battleground only made matters worse.
Big Show taking out both WWE championship competitors, meaning no new WWE champion as advertised, brings to mind other finishes that were ineffective in awarding a match to a clear-cut winner.
Finishes listed here were either awkwardly executed, subject to ridicule, flat-out botched or a combination of all three.
The overlying implication of a match finish is resolution. There is a sense of finality to a finish, and when this finality eludes viewers—not to mention pay-per-viewers—unenviable backlash follows.
10. Referee Botches Finish Between AJ and Natalya
If WWE referees ever want to get back to being consistently acknowledged on commentary by name, they can't be making mistakes like this.
During a mixed tag team match, notable combatants AJ and Natalya delivered an initial finishing sequence that was just fine.
Natalya caught the current Divas champion in a Sharpshooter, forcing Lee to tap out. Unfortunately, the referee failed to call for the bell, causing an uncomfortable delay.
The referee awkwardly attempted to raise Natalya's hand, but the Hart descendant shrugged him off, instead deciding to re-apply the Sharpshooter.
WWE announcer Michael Cole sarcastically made the call as AJ once again tapped out. This time, the bell was appropriately called for. By then, however, the live crowd in Sacramento wasn't buying it as they booed the finish mercilessly.
9. Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton Battle to a Non-Finish at Battleground
Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton could not be subject to any monkey business following a controversial finish to WWE Night of Champions the month before.
As an apparent measure to create interest in a first-time pay-per-view, WWE announced that the WWE championship would be held in abeyance.
The rightful champion was to be decided in a rematch at WWE Battleground, where Bryan and Orton's match was the main attraction on a lukewarm pay-per-view.
Instead of crowning a new champion, WWE got cute, booking Big Show to knock out Bryan, Orton, referee Scott Armstrong and the match itself.
Battleground signed off without a champion. Needless to say, fans were not happy.
8. Daniel Bryan Drops World Heavyweight Championship in 18 Seconds
Some may argue that Daniel Bryan's razor-quick loss to Sheamus was a launching point for his current success.
At the time, however, the finish for the WrestleMania XXVIII World Heavyweight Championship match between Sheamus and Bryan was a point of outrage.
After Bryan was Brogue Kicked in 18 seconds, prematurely ending a match that many thought could steal the show, audible chants of "bull----" and "Daniel Bryan" could be heard from Sin Life Stadium in ensuing matches.
The match would go on to send the careers of Bryan and Sheamus in opposite directions. Despite losing, the sympathy Bryan drew caused his "yes" chant to become an overnight sensation. Despite winning, Sheamus struggled to connect with fans as a babyface.
7. Brian Pillman Prematurely Quits a Strap Match Against Kevin Sullivan
Brian Pillman's firing from WCW in 1996 was all part of an elaborate hoax to get him over as an anti-establishment folk hero.
Pitted against then-real-life booker Kevin Sullivan at SuperBrawl VI, Pillman was booked to work a full-length strap match. The winner would only be decided when the loser declared, "I respect you."
Pillman hit the ring like a house afire, peppering Sullivan with strikes that clearly caught him off guard. Pillman would quickly seize the microphone and shout, "I respect you, booker man!"
Pillman was legitimately fired by Eric Bischoff for the stunt, which was reportedly part of a work that only Pillman and Bischoff were in on. The plan was for Pillman to join ECW before returning to WCW months later with immense heat.
True to the rebellious streak that defined him in and out of the ring, Pillman flipped the script on Bischoff, joining WWE—following a brief stint in ECW—in 1996 prior to his untimely death.
6. Sid Unexpectedly Kicks out of Hogan's Leg Drop at WrestleMania VIII
Everything about WrestleMania VIII seemingly failed to go as planned.
Ric Flair's much-anticipated WWE debut in 1991 had finally come to fruition. The logical WrestleMania main event that year between Flair and Hogan for WrestleMania VIII pretty much booked itself.
Instead, possibly due to ego and/or politics, Flair was paired with Randy Savage after winning the WWE Championship at the 1992 Royal Rumble.
Meanwhile, Hogan would face Sid. Hogan-Sid was one of those rare WrestleMania matches to go on last despite not being contested for a world heavyweight championship.
The main event was far from a wrestling classic. After Papa Shango reportedly missed his cue, Sid was forced to kick out of Hogan's Atomic Leg Drop, which was unprecedented.
The awkward finish was a fitting end to an ill-advised match that was only saved with the return of the Ultimate Warrior. Fittingly enough, that return was also marred with question marks.
5. Hulk Hogan Botches Fire Spot Against Ultimate Warrior
The long-awaited rematch between Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior commenced eight years after the original.
Halloween Havoc in 1998 promoted a dynamic double main event featuring wrestling's biggest stars. Unfortunately, both main events failed to deliver on one level or another.
Aside from being a poorly worked match, Hogan screwed up its most important spot.
Booked to blind Warrior with flash paper, the spot would literally blow up in Hogan's face as he attempted to set fire to the foreign object.
This proved to be the final nail in the coffin for a disappointing attraction match that was nowhere near its WrestleMania counterpart.
4. Goldberg-DDP "Finish" Causes PR Nightmare for WCW
The main-event match between Bill Goldberg and Diamond Dallas Page at Halloween Havoc 1998 actually featured a formidable finish.
Unfortunately, that finish went unseen on closed circuit as WCW's high-profile pay-per-view went off the air prior to the actual end of the World Heavyweight Championship match.
WCW was forced to reimburse millions of dollars to customers who ordered the pay-per-view and re-aired the match the following night on Nitro.
The match was one of the early indications of WCW's eventual downfall as internal turmoil and a lack of leadership would soon eat the promotion from inside out.
3. Jeff Jarrett Lies Down for Hulk Hogan at Bash at the Beach 2000
Jeff Jarrett was booked to face off against Hulk Hogan for the WCW Heavyweight Championship during the dying days of WCW.
There's a reason those were the dying days, as was not-so-eloquently articulated by Hulk Hogan himself shortly following the match.
At the behest of Vince Russo, Jarrett laid down in the middle of the ring to begin the match. A perplexed Hogan reluctantly placed his boot on Jarrett's chest for the three count.
This match is one finger away from being considered the most inconsequential world championship victory of Hogan's career.
2. The Montreal Screwjob
The Montreal Screwjob could be considered both one of the best and worst finishes of all time. The good came when the evil Mr. McMahon caricature/supervillain was created. The shocking finish to Survivor Series also spearheaded WWE's eventual dominance in the Monday Night Wars.
But this was a bad finish given the seedy lies and deception behind Bret Hart's forced exit from the WWE.
Hart willingly gave himself up as he took his own finisher from Shawn Michaels, only for the bell to unexpectedly ring.
Vince McMahon had called for that bell as he was overcome with paranoia that then-WWE champion Bret Hart would show up in WCW with Vince's title.
The pieces continue to be put together to this day like a completed jigsaw puzzle that is readily able to be dissembled and put back together again.
To this day, Canadian fans still chant "you screwed Bret" at the many co-conspirators of one of wrestling's greatest scandals.
1. Finger Poke of Doom
Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash were advertised in one of TV's biggest main events of the year. The pre-match atmosphere rivaled that of Goldberg's memorable match against Hulk Hogan, when the phenom first captured the WCW Heavyweight Championship.
Instead of an actual match, fans were trolled as Hogan simply poked Nash in the chest, quickly pinning Big Sexy as the title changed hands before fans knew what hit them.
The booking decision caused severe backlash for WCW and accelerated a process of erosion that was already evident.
With one too many PR disasters of this nature, WCW would soon go out of business just a few short years later.