WrestleMania 30: Worst Event Cards in PPV's History
WrestleMania has been referred to as the Showcase of the Immortals and as such, the importance of crafting a card worthy of that title can be as key to the success of the show as the actual performance given by the Superstars lucky enough to be on it.
Over the course of 29 years, WWE has produced some of the best wrestling cards of all-time.
WrestleMania III delivered a little bit of everything, including quality tag team bouts, a Match of the Decade nominee in Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage and an iconic main event between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant.
WrestleMania VII and WrestleMania X-Seven both featured strong undercards that gave way to truly emotional marquee matches.
WrestleMania XXVIII featured a card stacked with legitimate main event matches a few undercard bouts featuring former World and WWE champions.
Not every event was lucky enough to have expertly crafted matches that featured several matches that piqued the interest of fans across the globe. Some installments of the biggest show of the year succeeded or failed despite lackluster or unexciting lineups.
With this year's WrestleMania card incomplete and opinions split as of this moment, here is a look back at some of the worst event cards in the history of wrestling's biggest event.
Here's hoping that WrestleMania XXX does not one day join a revised edition of this list.
- Hulk Hogan and Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff
- Women's Championship: Wendi Richter vs. Leilani Kai
- Body Slam Challenge: Andre the Giant vs. Big John Studd
- Tag Team Championship: The US Express vs. Nikolai Volkoff and Iron Sheik
- Intercontinental Championship: Junkyard Dog vs. Greg Valentine
- David Sammartino vs. Brutus Beefcake
- Ricky Steamboat vs. Matt Borne
- SD Jones vs. King Kong Bundy
- Tito Santana vs. The Executioner
The original WrestleMania was an event built on the fusion of professional wrestling and mainstream celebrity.
It is a good thing for Vince McMahon and WWE that Mr. T, Cyndi Lauper, Liberace, Billy Martin and Muhammad Ali attracted the audience it did because the card for the March 31, 1985 show was far from strong enough to ensure that the McMahon family did not lose everything they waged on the success of the event.
Hogan and Mr. T's battle against the loudmouth Roddy Piper and "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff was a legitimate main event match, one that fans had to see if only so they could witness Hogan shut Piper up, but the remainder of the card was very average at best.
No one match stood out as one that had potential to be great.
The Intercontinental Championship match between Greg Valentine and Junkyard Dog made very little sense given the rivalry between Valentine and Tito Santana that had been raging leading into the show. Had JYD and Santana flipped spots on the show, WrestleMania I would have had that one really great match to perfectly offset the glitz and glamour of the rest of the card.
The success of the show ensured that there would be a sequel and, three decades later a WrestleMania XXX, but it succeeded despite a very lackluster card.
- Steel Cage Match for the WWE Title: Hulk Hogan vs. King Kong Bundy
- Junkyard Dog and Tito Santana vs. Terry and Hoss Funk
- Uncle Elmer vs. Adrian Adonis
- Ricky Steamboat vs. Hercules Hernandez
- Tag Team Championship: British Bulldogs vs. The Dream Team
- 20-Man Battle Royal featuring Andre the Giant, John Studd and NFL Stars
- Flag Match: Corporal Kirchner vs. Nikolai Volkoff
- Women's Championship: Velvet McIntyre vs. Fabulous Moolah
- Boxing Match: Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper
- George Wells vs. Jake Roberts
- Intercontinental Championship: George Steele vs. Randy Savage
- Paul Orndorff vs. Don Muraco
WrestleMania 2, like many sequels, was majorly disappointing and it all began with this card.
The idea to broadcast the show from three different locations ensured that there would be too many matches featuring too many competitors who either did not deserve to be on the show or had no business being on a show the magnitude of WrestleMania.
The Hogan-Bundy match in retrospect may not appear to be 'Mania worthy but at the time, it had a very solid build and really put both Hogan's career and his title reign in jeopardy.
The British Bulldogs vs. The Dream Team, based on talent alone, appeared to be a match that could steal the show out from underneath the more hyped matches on the card.
Everything else, from the celebrities involved to the remaining matches on the card, felt second rate in comparison to the previous year's broadcast.
Mr. T and Roddy Piper's feud had heat, very real heat, but a boxing match was far from what wrestling fans wanted to see. The battle royal involving Andre the Giant and the stars of the NFL may have attracted an audience but from a card building standpoint, there were far too many stars used within it that could have been used to help strengthen the weaker points of the show.
Matches such as Jake Roberts vs. George Wells, Uncle Elmer vs. Adrian Adonis and Ricky Steamboat vs. Hercules did nothing but highlight the fact that Roberts, Steamboat and Adonis would have been much better utilized elsewhere.
Perhaps the worst card in WrestleMania history.
- Title for Title Match: WWE champion Hulk Hogan vs. Intercontinental champion Ultimate Warrior
- Jimmy Snuka vs. Rick Rude
- Big Bossman vs. Akeem
- Million $ Championship: Jake Roberts vs. Ted DiBiase
- Jim Duggan vs. Dino Bravo
- Rockers vs. The Orient Express
- Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire vs. Randy Savage and Sherri
- Tito Santana vs. The Barbarian
- The Hart Foundation vs. The Bolsheviks
- Roddy Piper vs. Bad News Brown
- Brutus Beefcake vs. Mr. Perfect
- Hercules vs. Earthquake
- Tag Team Championship: Demolition vs. Colossal Connection
- Koko B. Ware vs. Rick Martel
If one were to look up the definition of "one match show," they would find a reference to WrestleMania VI.
The epic encounter between the Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan sold the show and was the only match featured on the marketing materials for the event.
And rightfully so.
While the card is lined with some of the biggest and most beloved stars of the era, there was a decided lack of matches that really caught the casual fan's eye past that heavily hyped main event.
Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire vs. Randy Savage and Sensational Sherri was a rarity in that it was a mixed tag team match and in that era, those were a rarity. The idea of Sapphire, a untrained performer, and Sherri dragging down what could have been a perfectly fine match between Rhodes and Savage.
Brutus Beefcake had evolved into a very solid midcard worker and his match with Mr. Perfect could have been a show-stealer. Unfortunately, the number of matches on the card ensured that the match would not get much time.
Matches such as Jim Duggan vs. Dino Bravo, Earthquake vs. Hercules and Koko B. Ware vs. Rick Martel were unnecessary and served only as filler.
Without Hogan and Warrior in the main event slot, WrestleMania VI from Toronto's SkyDome may very well have gone down in history as the worst card in the history of the show.
- WWE Championship: Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna
- Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzalez
- Mr. Perfect vs. Lex Luger
- Tag Team Championship: Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake vs. Money, Inc.
- Bob Backlund vs. Razor Ramon
- Crush vs. Doink the Clown
- Steiner Brothers vs. Headshrinkers
- Intercontinental Championship: Tatanka vs. Shawn Michaels
WrestleMania IX was one of the most interesting cards WWE has ever produced because it is the first time the company actively attempted to move on from the stars of the past and focus on those who would lead it into the future.
Sure, Hulk Hogan, Brutus Beefcake, Ted DiBiase, Mr. Perfect and Bob Backlund were all stars who had been heavily featured in years past but Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and Undertaker were all put in high profile positions and given the opportunity to stand out.
Crush, Doink, the Steiners and Tatanka were just a few other newcomers with the opportunity to shine on the grandest stage.
Unfortunately, a wealth of new and interesting characters do not an excellent card make.
There was no match that could really be considered WrestleMania quality and the fact that the returning Hulk Hogan was wasted on a tag match against the already-established DiBiase and IRS made for a wasted opportunity.
The company did an exceptional job of building Yokozuna up as a legitimate threat to Hart's WWE championship but the match between them hardly set the professional wrestling world on fire.
Regardless of how awesome the Doink the Clown character may have been, a match with Crush was far from anything on wrestling fans' wish lists.
The card lacked any match of substance and really failed to live up to the lofty expectations fans have for the biggest show of the year.
- Lawrence Taylor vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
- WWE Championship: Diesel vs. Shawn Michaels
- Submission Match: Bret Hart vs. Bob Backlund
- Tag Team Championship: The Smoking Gunns vs. Owen Hart and Yokozuna
- The Undertaker vs. King Kong Bunday
- Intercontinental Championship: Razor Ramon vs. Jeff Jarrett
- Allied Powers vs. The Blu Brothers
To say that 1995 was not a banner year for World Wrestling Entertainment would be an understatement.
Business had fallen off significantly and Vince McMahon's wrestling empire was struggling to find a legitimate top draw that could reverse the downward spiral. With no strong story or feud to headline the show, McMahon turned to all-time great NFL linebacker Lawrence Taylor to help bring some attention to the Showcase of the Immortals.
As it turned out, the April 2 pay-per-view resembled the Showcase of the Mediocre more than anything else.
Diesel vs. Shawn Michaels made sense given the history between the two but it was hardly a match worthy of one of the marquee spots on the WrestleMania card.
Bret Hart vs. Bob Backlund and Razor Ramon vs. Jeff Jarrett were rematches of bouts that fans seen before and were not overly enthusiastic about then.
The main event pitting Taylor against Bam Bam Bigelow was excellently promoted but many felt Bigelow was not the level of star to be booked into that spot on the card.
Ultimately, WrestleMania XI's card resembled that of an In Your House pay-per-view than the biggest show the industry has to offer.
- Fatal Four-Way for the WWE Championship: The Rock vs. Mick Foley vs. Triple H vs. Big Show
- Rikishi and Kane vs. Road Dogg and X-Pac
- Intercontinental and European Championship: Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle
- Too Cool and Chyna vs. Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn and Eddie Guerrero
- Catfight: The Kat vs. Terri Runnels
- Triangle Ladder Match for the Tag Team Championship: The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge and Christian
- Al Snow and Steve Blackman vs. Test and Albert
- Hardcore Battle Royal for the Hardcore Championship
- Godfather and D'Lo Brown vs. Big Bossman and Bull Buchanan
Giving your audience too much can be a bad thing, as WWE learned with its WrestleMania 2000 card.
The real money match was The Rock vs. Triple H but instead of giving fans the match they wanted, they overbooked the main event by inserting Mick Foley and Big Show into it to make a Fatal 4-Way match.
The Hardcore Battle Royal for Crash Holly's Hardcore Championship featured every notable jobber on the card, alongside a few very talented individuals such as Tazz and Hardcore Holly.
The tag matches featuring Al Snow and Steve Blackman taking on Test and Alebert and Godfather and D'Lo Brown facing Big Bossman and Bull Buchanan had no reason to be on the card other than to get all involved a WrestleMania payday.
The Triple Threat match for the European and Intercontinental titles featuring Kurt Angle defending against Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit, as well as the Triangle Ladder match between the Hardys, Dudleys and Edge and Christian, looked to have great potential to be phenomenal matches but little else stood out as anything more extraordinary than what fans would see on Raw.
A rare misstep in a year that featured some of the best cards in WWE history.
- WWE Championship: John Cena vs. The Miz
- John Morrison, Trish Stratus and Snooki vs. Dolph Ziggler and LayCool
- The Undertaker vs. Triple H
- Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole
- Randy Orton vs. CM Punk
- Kane, Big Show, Kofi Kingston and Santino Marella vs. The Corre
- Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes
- World Heavyweight Championship: Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio
At a time when WWE has seemingly mastered the craft of building a WrestleMania card by fusing legendary competitors with the stars of today, WrestleMania XXVII stands out as one of the worst in recent history.
John Cena vs. The Miz simply was not a WrestleMania-worthy main event. Miz had risen to stardom over the course of 2010 and cashed in his Money in the Bank to win the WWE title in November of that year and looked to be the closest thing to breakout star the company had seen since Cena.
Unfortunately, The Rock's return to WWE and a much more interesting conflict between he and Cena completely overshadowed Miz and made him an afterthought in his own title defense.
The Jerry Lawler-Michael Cole feud was actually very well done but two commentators meeting in a one-on-one match is far from an ideal match, no matter how great of an in-ring competitor one of those men may have been.
Outside of Undertaker vs. Triple H, it is difficult to single out any other match on the card as anything special upon first glance.