It was a fascinating and bloated 2013 in WWE.
We had 52 editions of three-hour Raws, a brand new reality show to stomach and began the final march toward the WWE network (whatever form that will take). With more WWE TV time than ever before, it was an incredible amount to sort through.
Bad things (as well as a lot of good) were bound to happen.
We said hello to Xavier Woods, The Wyatt Family and Curtis Axel. We said goodbye to Ted DiBiase, Matt Striker and...well, that's about it.
Overall, the year started pretty hot, and that momentum lasted until about WrestleMania. While there were a few bright spots spattered throughout the rest of the year, the spotlight started to shift from the talent to management.
For those who watched it all, and for those who missed out, it's time to dive in and celebrate WWE's 25 worst moments of the year.
Raw (May 20)
No matter what, Curtis Axel probably wasn't going to become a big star. He may have the family lineage and solid in-ring skills, but he seems to be a bit lacking in the charisma department.
But Triple H only made it that much harder for him on his grand re-introduction.
On the May 20 episode of Raw, Paul Heyman announced he was taking on a new client. There were high hopes and plenty of guesses as to who it would be. Antonio Cesaro? Matt Morgan? Rob Van Dam? Those hopes were quickly deflated when it was revealed to be Michael McGillicutty.
Mr. McGillicutty was now known as Curtis Axel. Joe Hennig probably would have been better, but hey, let's roll with it. The important thing is that he was aligned with Heyman, who has an amazing track record of turning midcarders into stars. Perhaps Axel would be next.
Instead of giving Axel the hot debut he desperately needed, he was referred to as a child by HHH and then slapped in the face by him. Axel didn't get up and fight back. He just sat there. On the ground. Like a child.
Well, there went that idea!
Take a look at the photo on this page. The image on the left is from Raw vs. SmackDown 2007. Not too shabby, right? It sure looks like Hulk Hogan if you ask me.
The image on the right is from WWE 2K14. I have no idea what that monstrosity is.
Despite being on two different systems, and seven years apart, the 2007 game engine arguably looks better. If nothing else, it's far more realistic. You can probably go right now to the nearest used game store and get that game for a dollar. If you want the one on the right, though, you need $60 to get a copy.
That's a bigger betrayal than Hogan giving Randy Savage the Guillotine Legdrop at Bash at the Beach '96!
Check out any other video game series over the past decade—from Madden to Call of Duty to Resident Evil—and see how much seven years mattered for building a virtual world. The WWE series has basically remained the same (except for the name changing), or even become worse.
And don't even get me started on the gameplay on the 2K series. Call me old-fashioned, but give me WWF No Mercy on the Nintendo 64 any day of the week!
Kaitlyn is a young, attractive, physically fit woman. She's also the closest thing to being a "normal" woman in terms of body shape in the WWE.
So in WWE world, this means she's basically a walking hippopotamus. Don't think that's how the company feels? Then why was she subjected to a storyline that often accused her of being fat and manly?
Much like Mickie James' treatment during the "Piggy James" storyline, and Nicole Bass being referred to as "mister" by Shawn Michaels, the company has shown absolutely no signs of growing up.
If the WWE is going to be so horrible to one of its talents, then Kaitlyn should have at least won the feud with AJ Lee. But no, she didn't. She basically had a nervous breakdown and constantly cried. You know, just how women must act in the land of WWE.
Raw (Feb. 25), SmackDown (Mar. 1)
It was another year in WWE, which meant another year filled with handicapped matches.
The worst, most degrading and career-damaging one was The Primetime Players taking on Team Hell No, with Daniel Bryan blindfolded and Kane having one arm tied behind his back.
Now, in theory, two professionally trained fighters should be able to manhandle two other guys at such a disadvantage. This is not the case in the world of wrestling.
Somehow, the team of one man not being able to see and the other unable to perform even a bodyslam won in just a few minutes. A rematch was in order for SmackDown, with Kane now blindfolded and Bryan's arm tied. Perhaps WWE thought it was righting a wrong and gave the Players the win...via roll-up.
Despite it being incredibly idiotic for Team Hell No to win in the first place, WWE still went ahead and booked these teams to fight four more times within the next two months. What was the point of that? Shouldn't those guys have been fired if they can't win under such circumstances?
Not surprisingly, Hell No won all four bouts. And also not surprisingly, people still don't take The Primetime Players seriously.
Raw (Mar. 25)
Imagine you're at your job.
You work at Burger King and are just coming to work. You're in a pretty good mood. For some reason, the boss is upset that day, and he kicks you in the balls as he's leaving the restaurant.
Sounds like a lawsuit to me!
Not when your boss is Triple H. He'll just do that kind of thing whenever he feels like it, even when he is a babyface. Of course, when he did it to Wade Barrett, it never led to any form of a match. It was just an extreme part-time wrestler kicking a full-time wrestler 10 years his junior in between the legs and making him look like a fool.
Why? Because he's The Game. That's why! Now get back to work!
Raw (Jan. 14)
In wrestling, it's best not to force alliances. These things should happen naturally or have a storyline reason for the pairing.
Forcing one of the all-time greats to give his blessing to a struggling midcarder doesn't help out anyone.
On the 20th anniversary of Raw, Ric Flair made only his second WWE appearance on Raw since his return from TNA. It should have been a great night for him. It most certainly was not.
Flair was a guest on an episode of Miz TV, which is where segments go to die. The two just chatted back and forth casually until fellow midcarder Antonio Cesaro interrupted. This was all beneath Flair.
The two taught Cesaro a lesson, and then Flair seemed to pass the torch of his trademark Figure Four to Miz. Miz them proceeded to screw it up virtually every time he ever attempted this move again.
To date, it has been Flair's last appearance on a main WWE TV show. Let's hope that Hulk Hogan gets something better to do if he returns, including hopefully not passing his Guillotine Leg Drop to Tensai.
There were some bad, unfunny moments in WWE this year (of course), but were any so terribly pathetic as Alberto Del Rio's and Ricardo Rodriguez's respective impressions of of Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger?
These skits basically summed up Del Rio's failed babyface run perfectly. He was out of his element and trying way, way too hard. WWE already has Sheamus and John Cena cracking terrible jokes as top faces; it did not need a third.
That didn't stop the company from trying. In an ill-fated sketch, Rodriguez stuffed a pillow up his shirt and Del Rio slapped on a blonde wig. They talked about how Mexican food doesn't sit well in Americans' stomachs. That was it.
After debuting on SmackDown, the initial sketch was then rerun in its entirety on Raw. The two stood there like conceited morons in the middle of the ring while presenting it to the crowd. It had to have been horribly painful for them.
Thankfully, Del Rio did turn back heel, but not before helping drop some of the worst WWE comedy of the year.
“This may be the worst segment in the history of Raw.”
-Michael Cole, Raw, Mar. 11
Perhaps the most straight-up awkward segment of the year in WWE was Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel. What had been an entertaining talk show in the past, somehow spiraled into a big bowl of wrong during his last attempt.
It may have been the Jeritron malfunctioning off-air that threw the host off his game, but everyone was at their worst that night. Brad Maddox was full-on Maddox by screwing up his lines, and Miz did a horrible Wade Barrett impression that should have never made it onto TV.
Let's hope that The Highlight Reel makes at least one more comeback, as there's no way that segment should serve as the show's series finale.
The Great Khali doesn't speak English that well.
Hey, why are you not laughing hysterically at that? Vince McMahon sure does!
Seriously, that's the entire joke. He's hard to understand, and management loves it. That seems to be the only reason Khali has a job right now, so McMahon and his cronies can laugh at him.
To celebrate this fact, WWE made a video about him singing some hit songs. Go ahead and watch it. Oh, you didn't find it funny? But remember, he doesn't speak English that well! Get it? It doesn't matter that it's not his native language. For some people, he's hard to understand!
Now laugh! Vince McMahon commands you to!
How many times did we need to be instructed on how to download the WWE App over the course of the year?
How many people who pay more every single month to own a smart phone don't know how to go to the app store? WWE must think this number was pretty significant, as we were instructed seemingly every other week how to find the WWE App.
Perhaps next week they can teach us how to turn the channel!
For anyone who has watched WWE over the past 30 years, we've come to understand a lot about Vince McMahon's psyche. But one thing perhaps stands out the most: This man has a strange fetish for dancing.
On the Sept. 13 edition of SmackDown, The Miz, Great Khali, R-Truth and Fandango competed in a dance-off. Not that you'd expect anything less, but it was bad. It was terrible. It was the worst. Miz won and no one cared.
Fandango also battled The Great Khali twice more this year in dance-offs. Get it, because Fandango is actually a pretty good dancer and Khali is largely immobile? Again, why aren't you laughing hysterically?
You don't get it, I don't get it—only Vince McMahon understands why he does this.
He has tried to start his own bodybuilding competition organization and his own football league, but why has he never started his own dancing show? Deep down you know he wants to. Perhaps that's why he's so adamant about getting the WWE network on the air. Then, he could finally fulfill this deep-down desire of his and start an hour-long WWE Superstars dancing show each week.
WrestleMania 29 (Apr. 7)
Remember after SummerSlam 2012, when HHH delivered a 15-minute speech where he wasn't sure if he was going to retire or not?
That was terrible. But not as terrible as him actually getting his rematch with Brock Lesnar and beating him!
WWE took a sure thing in UFC box-office mega-star Brock Lesnar returning to wrestling and completely blew it. It had the unbeatable monster lose two of his first three matches. By far the worst one was losing to the extreme part-timer/COO Triple H.
Hunter is nine years older than Lesnar, and the company gained virtually nothing from having them wrestle. Instead, it lost out on a plethora of other huge potential matches by having the boss beat The Beast.
Sadly, it would not be the last time in 2013 that HHH greatly damaged someone else's career...
Raw (Nov. 18)
WWE creative wanted to have a Divas match at Survivor Series, and it had to think fast. With the show a mere six days away, nothing had been promoted. The company got desperate and gave us a musical chairs segment.
Why did WWE take out its laziness on us?
It was a weird, awkward mess with all of the babyfaces and heels competing for chairs. The women gave up within a couple of rounds and started brawling for the heck of it. That was it. That was the entire build for a six-on-six match, which also saw former enemies Kaitlyn and AJ Lee team together for absolutely no reason.
The entire thing was a mess, and the idea was inexplicably spurred on by Raw going country that night (because musical chairs is huge in Nashville, apparently). Let's hope it never happens again.
Raw (June 17)
One night on Raw, AJ Lee was minding her own business, cutting a promo about how she was the best woman in the WWE. You know, typical heel nonsense.
Somebody had to shut her up, right? What young, charismatic female wrestler was going to do it, and then challenge her to a match?
Oh, it was her boss.
Stephanie McMahon could take no more of this. How dare a female wrestler actually get over on her watch? Steph took to the ring, threatened to fire her champion and then buried the rest of the WWE Divas for interrupting her. She did this while she was a babyface.
Now, of course, this never came to anything. By the end of the year, Steph didn't wrestle AJ. She just got to belittle and tower over her on TV. Hope that made her feel good about herself, because it didn't do anything for anyone else.
Oh, and why did Steph intimidate the babyface women on the roster in the first place?
Apparently, because one of them interrupted her in real life! Imagine watching Raiders of the Lost Ark, when out of nowhere, Steven Spielberg walks onto the set during a scene and yells at Harrison Ford for being late to the set that day. Then, he leaves and the movie continues. Would anyone take Indy seriously after that? Would it lead to anything worthwhile? Or would it just stroke the ego of the person in charge, for no other reason than to stroke their ego?
In case you didn't know, Sheamus is a man who just loves to fight and drink a pint.
He may have mentioned this once or twice.
But did you also know that he likes to wear his wrestling trunks in public during his free time and kick innocent people in the face? For a few weeks, WWE introduced us to some videos called "1-800-FELLA." These consisted of Sheamus being annoying and kicking things.
They were worse than they sounded. They also served no purpose. They didn't tie into any storylines; it was just bad comedy that seemed better suited on the Disney Channel.
Perhaps if Sheamus didn't go around beating things up all the time he wouldn't have hurt himself and been out of action for half of the year. Just kidding, fella. Go have a pint on me!
Every week, WWE Raw lasts a marathon-long three hours. This means that we also have to sit through about 40 minutes of TV commercials.
Sometimes, this just isn't enough for WWE's taste.
The company not only shoved its own products down our throats, like the newest video game and Brawlin' Buddies, but Arby's and Footlocker both stepped in to sell us stuff, too. Besides being annoying, these on-show commercials basically showed us how poorly paid WWE's midcarders are, and it gave WWE an excuse to make fun of Vickie Guerrero's weight some more.
Most films and TV shows at least try to hide that they're advertising during a program. They attempt to be more subtle. Not WWE. If they don't show a woman eating two ungodly large cheeseburgers, we may not get the point.
To top things off, by the end of the year, various Superstars started shilling Shopzone merchandise during Raw and SmackDown. It was always bad and always annoying. Next year, I'd like to see a 90 percent discount...on terrible in-show ads.
Raw (Jan. 28)
While Matt Bloom may have been a force of nature in Japan, his WWE return was a force of something else. He quickly flopped as a potential main eventer and was soon wearing women's undergarments.
Perhaps his stateside return wasn't the best career decision.
When Raw went to Las Vegas, WWE busted out the roulette wheel (because they're in Las Vegas! That must not get tiring for everyone who lives there). The usual standard wacky matches went down, and the age-old question of "What if the wheel actually lands on a lingerie pillow fight match for two men?" was finally answered.
Due to the spin of the wheel, Tensai was set to take on Brodus Clay in the lingerie pillow fight. He walked off in disgust. Vickie knew this was a bad idea and had Clay spin another wheel which landed on a dance-off. Tensai did not get the message and came down to the ring in some lingerie. One may wonder where he found such large undies in such a short amount of time.
Hilarity did not ensue for anyone except the announcers. Tensai did eventually go along with it, though, and danced it up. This segment also marked his ill-fated face turn where he had to team up with Clay in a pointless tag team for the rest of the year.
Maybe wearing women's underpants wasn't so bad after all.
Raw (Nov. 25)
Michael Strahan came to Raw, and it was a fumble of epic proportions.
WWE hasn't always failed with football players coming in. After all, Lawrence Taylor had a pretty fun angle with Bam Bam Bigelow years ago. But those two didn't end up dancing together.
During Miz TV, we found out that the talk show host is tougher than both the former WWE champion and Titus O'Neil when he easily hip tossed them both. Imagine a WWE wrestler trying out for the NFL, and scoring the game-winning touchdown his first night in. It just doesn't happen that way.
Later in the night, WWE made a mockery of the Wyatt Family too for good measure and had one of the Erick Rowan sheep masks placed on Strahan's face. I mean, I would understand hurting the credibility of multiple WWE wrestlers for the sake of Kelly Ripa. But Strahan?
SmackDown (Sept. 27)
Last year, Santino and his sock placed 16th on the worst-of-the-year list due to his inability to control the sock on his hand when he was around Aksana. This year, he jumped up nine spots to take part in something even worse.
During a match against Heath Slater, Santino was getting ready to dish out The Cobra. Suddenly, Jinder Mahal jumped up on the ring apron with a flute in his hand to charm Santino's sock away. Somehow, The Great Khali also had one (does he just carry one around in his pants?), and the two battled for the sock's love.
Khali won. Anyone watching the show lost...about 15 points off their IQ.
After a lengthy hiatus, Stephanie McMahon returned to WWE TV in 2012. She wasted absolutely no time in making us wish she'd take another lengthy vacation.
Besides unnecessarily getting herself involved in her husband's feud with Brock Lesnar, she took up crazy amounts of TV time when she turned heel. This was bad for the WWE universe, and the entire universe as a whole. For some reason, she thinks she can act. No one knows why she has this idea, but it is false.
The worst of it came when she tried to cry on TV. This was not within her limited skill set. She is the boss, after all, so who is going to tell her that she's wrong?
So, she attempted some tears anyway...and failed...and probably convinced many people to turn off the TV...and then proceed to throw it out the window...and maybe even themselves.
SmackDown (Sept. 29)
What's funnier than watching a man throw up once?
Why, watching a man throw up five times, that's what!
The day after Thanksgiving, WWE kicked off the show with an eating challenge between The Great Khali and Titus O'Neil. Strangely, there were absolutly no rules to the contest. It was just whoever could eat longer?
O'Neil won and was then forced to face Antonio Cesaro. You know, because he's the guy who does the swing move.
Anyone over the age of five knew where this was leading: O'Neil losing his lunch.
That wasn't good enough, or funny enough for Vince McMahon. You see, O'Neil then threw up in JBL's hat, then on Michael Cole's head, then on Zeb Colter's head and then on the entrance ramp. It just wouldn't stop!
Hopefully, you didn't have any family or friends around when you watched this episode of SmackDown, as you may never be invited home for the holidays again.
You know what wrestling fans needed?
Another hour of WWE programming every single week!
This time, though, the show was about the women of WWE, and it basically proved what most fans had long suspected: that they're almost all hired solely for their looks. We were introduced to JoJo and Eva Marie, both who look nothing remotely like a trained fighter, just trying to make their way into the wacky world of wrestling.
Oh, and we also saw Natalya's failed attempts to seduce her husband, Eva screw up ball room dancing and The Funkadactyls scream at each other.
Amazingly, cameras were there to capture it all!
The worst part of Total Divas was that instead of it being its own thing, WWE would incorporate storylines from that show into Raw and SmackDown, even though the reality show events actually happened months beforehand! Through this, we were exposed to the Bellas dating Daniel Bryan and John Cena, which did nothing for their characters, and sat through The Total Divas crew battling the non-Total Divas every single week after the show debuted.
Bad show. Bad acting. Natalya peeing herself. And contrived plots all in the name of "reality."
Man, did The Big Show cry a lot this year.
After turning babyface once again, he briefly teamed up with Mark Henry. Henry was then injured again, and Show needed something to do. So he turned on the waterworks.
For some reason, WWE also decided that Show should be a main-eventer again in 2013, despite no evidence that this has ever worked. A storyline developed that revolved around him losing all his money and doing whatever it took to keep his job. Of course, WWE basically diminished its entire roster by continually telling us that Show could never find another job. You see, if you're not in the WWE, you can only work at a gas station. Those are your two options.
So, Show went on a rampage. He knocked out a babyface Miz, Daniel Bryan and 67-year-old Dusty Rhodes. This wasn't enough to turn him heel. He was so morally conflicted that he cried all the time about what he did and was about to do.
Later, he threatened to sue the WWE just so he could get a title shot. From a storyline standpoint, he didn't deserve it at all. All he did was screw Daniel Bryan out of a deserved rematch.
Next time Big Show comes to town, bring out the Kleenex—and hide your grandparents.
Booking CM Punk vs. The Undertaker at WrestleMania should have been easy.
Punk had his streak of holding the WWE title for over 400 days. Taker had his WrestleMania streak. Put the two together and magic would happen. Sadly, magic did happen. The bad kind.
Punk lost the title at the Royal Rumble, which made his 'Mania showdown lose a bit of its luster. But the death of Paul Bearer (William Moody) in real life completely derailed the story.
In a rare and actual touching WWE moment, Undertaker knelt in the middle of the ring while a photo of Bearer was displayed on the big screen. With the lengthy history between the two, and the strange gimmicks they've had, it was the perfect way to pay his respect and give closure. WWE not wanting to leave an actual tragedy alone, had Punk interrupt the moment.
Things got worse.
Punk would continually make fun of Bearer's death, and he even stole Undertaker's urn, which (while never explicitly stated) was implied to contain the ashes of Bearer. The worst moment of the feud occurred on an episode of Raw when he attacked Taker with the urn and then rubbed the ashes all over himself.
Yes, wrestling is ridiculous, but a line needs to be drawn somewhere. How about not pretending to lather the ashes of a recently deceased employee onto the body of another employee.
Is that too much to ask?
SummerSlam (Aug. 18)
Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, The Rock and John Cena. In WWE's 50-year history, those are the five men who have been the true money-drawing "faces" of the company.
That's no disrespect to guys like Shawn Michaels, Batista, CM Punk and Bret Hart, but megastars are few and far between. With a banged-up 36-year-old John Cena as the current top guy, it's well past the time to start looking for a possible successor.
Wrestling, though, has become increasingly ridiculous with authority figures taking up far too much TV time. The search for a new star keeps getting delayed. Management seems to find one excuse after the next not to go all in on someone. This all came to a head at SummerSlam.
Through Bryan's hard work, fun personality and great matches, he was suddenly catching fire as a babyface. This wasn't a guy being forced on us like Bobby Lashley or Ryback. The crowds wanted Bryan. This was despite HHH, Stephanie McMahon and Vince McMahon constantly telling us how weird looking and short he was. The fans didn't care; he was their guy.
During the main event of the show, Bryan defeated Cena cleanly and the crowd erupted. A true main event star appeared to have been born. It was a moment that happens so rarely, but it's the moments like that that keep us watching.
The good times lasted about a minute.
Hunter gave Bryan the Pedigree, and Randy Orton took the title. There was no reason for it. None. HHH did not need to be involved at all, and Orton did not need another WWE title run.
Imagine if when Hulk Hogan defeated The Iron Sheik at Madison Square Garden in 1984, President Jack Tunney ran in, gave Hogan a low blow and then had Roddy Piper pin him. Sure, it would have got crowd heat, but it would have ruined the moment and placed that heat on the wrong person.
HHH just can't help himself, and this is terrifying since he will probably run the company someday. Sometimes wrestling just needs to be about active wrestlers, not the guys that used to be wrestlers.
At SummerSlam, the top star in WWE, the guy who never loses cleanly, lost clean. He put over Bryan in a fantastic match. That should have been the story, and that alone. Instead, it was all about The Game.
It was deflating, and it ruined the best wrestling moment of the year. After it happened, some argued that we should wait and see, that HHH would get his. Nope. Still waiting for that one. Meanwhile, Bryan has been feuding with The Wyatts while Hunter seems to have forgotten all about him.
We may now never know if Bryan could have been the true face of the company. He didn't even get the chance. That's what makes that main event so frustrating and idiotic on WWE's part.
Vince McMahon always claims that he listens to the fans and gives them what they want, but no one wanted HHH or Orton involved in that match. Maybe he needs to get a hearing aid.
Well, those are my picks for WWE's worst of the year. Agree? Disagree? What were your personal worst favorites? Sound off below and thanks for reading! Let's hope that 2014 is somehow better.