WrestleMania 30: Worst Booking Decisions in the History of the Pay-Per-View
While WrestleMania may be the company's biggest event of the year, that shouldn't suggest it is immune to the inept booking that has often blighted WWE's product over the years.
In fact, there have been more than a few dreadful creative decisions in the history of the PPV. From baffling match placement to mind-bogglingly bad bouts—The Undertaker has really been burdened with some awful opponents over the years—you have to wonder just what Vince McMahon and his writing crew were thinking when they came up with this nonsense.
So, if you're feeling brave, let's have a look at the most terrible booking decisions in PPV history, in order of just how awful of an impact they had.
7. The Undertaker vs. Big Bossman at WrestleMania 15
Needless to say, when people consider great Undertaker matches at WrestleMania, this one almost certainly doesn't come anywhere near the top of the list.
At WrestleMania 15, the legend took on Big Bossman in a truly wretched Hell in a Cell match that ended with The Phenom and his acolytes actually hanging his foe from the top of the cage.
Tasteless and totally nonsensical—Bossman was back on television, perfectly fine, a week later—this had to be one of the most cringe-worthy WrestleMania moments ever.
6. Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus at WrestleMania 28
Make no mistake about it, the 18-second Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus title bout at WrestleMania XXVII was flat-out embarrassing.
Not only did it damage Bryan’s credibility—it took the star a good while to recover from this debacle—it was also a colossal waste of both men’s talents; Bryan is one of the best wrestlers on the planet, and Sheamus is an outstanding performer.
But WWE couldn’t give them, and the World Heavyweight title, a decent amount of time on the biggest show of the year? What a slap in the face this was. Not just to them, but the fans as well.
5. Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon at WrestleMania 26
Vince McMahon and Bret Hart finally clashing at WrestleMania after years of tension and hatred stemming from the 1997 Montreal Screwjob should have been a major deal and a once-in-a-lifetime feud for wrestling fans.
Alas, due to Hart's limitations—post-concussion syndrome left him unable to do much at all in the ring—as well as some of the most nonsensical booking ever—evil heel Vince found himself getting bullied and beaten up by several members of the Hart family—meant this match was a total debacle. By the time it was (mercifully) over, you had to wonder why they even bothered.
4. Hulk Hogan Wins the Title at WrestleMania 9
Hulk Hogan won the WWF Championship at WrestleMania IX under some laughably bad circumstances.
Following Yokozuna’s defeat of WWE champion Bret Hart—evil manager Mr. Fuji threw salt in Hart’s eyes, allowing his client to pick up the victory—an impromptu bout between Hogan and the new champion was quickly made. Hogan stormed out and, after managing to avoid another salt attack, hit the leg-drop on Yokozuna to win the belt in just 22 seconds.
What exactly was the point of all this? Did anyone realize how bad and inept it made Hart look? Was Hogan’s ego totally out of control at this point? Was Vince Russo booking this?
The show was a bad pay-per-view anyway, but this was easily one of the worst WrestleMania endings ever.
3. Putting Randy Orton vs. Triple H on Last at WrestleMania 25
At WrestleMania 25, WWE management made the call to have the Randy Orton vs. Triple H match go on last. This was a bad idea: Not only did the Orton-Triple H bout have one of the worst buildups ever (Triple H, armed with a sledgehammer, breaking into Orton's house springs to mind), but it couldn’t possibly live up to the tremendous Match of the Year candidate between Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker from earlier in the evening.
Inevitably, by the time Orton vs. Triple H rolled around, the crowd was largely tired out and disinterested, and the show ended on a flat note.
2. Triple H Beats Booker T
In the spring of 2003, Booker T looked set to be one of the company's next big babyfaces. He was charismatic, a great wrestler and came off as a genuinely likeable guy. He was one of the few WCW stars that managed to get over with fans after the botched Invasion storyline from 2001, too.
Throughout Booker T's title feud with Triple H, the star's troubled past—he served time in prison for armed robbery—was continually brought up. Egged on by manager Ric Flair, Triple H viciously mocked the former WCW champion for his youthful mistakes and disputed that he had really turned his life around.
So, Booker was all set to gain his revenge against Triple H and win the World title at WrestleMania 19? Eh...no, actually. He lost clean. Worst still, after drilling him with the Pedigree, Hunter proceeded to wait roughly the time of one Lord of the Rings movie before going for the match-winning pin.
Basically, think of this program like a '80s high school sports film where you spend your time rooting and cheering on the scrappy underdog only to see him get absolutely obliterated by the evil, smug jock at the end.
Poor Booker. His career was never quite the same after this disaster.
1. Steve Austin Turns Heel at WrestleMania 17
At WrestleMania 17 in 2001, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin shocked the world when he aligned with Vince McMahon to defeat The Rock for the WWF Championship at the end of the show.
While one could understand the company being keen to shake up Austin's (somewhat) stale beer-drinking, anti-authority redneck character, this wasn't the time or place to do it. And fans continued to cheer on The Rattlesnake in the following months. Likely thanks to this, as well a badly booked Invasion angle, WWE's business floundered in 2001. Oh, the company was still hugely profitable, of course, but the days of 5.0 ratings were long gone. The "boom period" was over.
Unsurprisingly, the bookers rectified their mistake and turned Austin babyface again by the end of the year, mercifully bringing one of the worst heel turns of all time to a close.