What Were They Thinking?: The Biggest WTF Moments in Wrestling
In wrestling there are good angles and bad angles, each with their own level of success and popularity. Then there are those stories and angles that leave the fans scratching their heads wondering, "What the F were they thinking?" These angles are odd, poorly done, or just plain stupid, leaving the fans wanting more.
This list is dedicated to those moments from some of the biggest promotions ever (WWE/F, WCW, ECW, and TNA). And with them are their respective clips for wrestling fans who may not have seen them the first time around, or for fans who want to relive that special kind of magic.
Please not that there is no official ranking for these moments, as they are all very terrible.
In what many will remember as a heavily promoted angle from the WWF, the Gooker was a originally a huge mystery wrapped up in a giant damn egg that was at a bunch of WWF shows prior to that year's Survivor Series PPV. Many wondered what was inside the egg, could it be a new superstar, a surprise celebrity guest that would show up at the PPV? The options seemed endless.
Unfortunately for the fans, when "Mean" Gene finally announced that the egg was hatching. It was then that fans got their first look at the abomination forever known as the Gobbeldy Gooker. Almost instantly, the boos started to rain from the crowd as the Gooker did his dance routine for "Mean" Gene.
Fun fact, for all you fans: The original plan for what was to come out of the egg was not the Gooker. In fact, the original idea was to debut a new wrestler under the terrible name of Eggman. Even more interesting, the man who was scheduled to be Eggman would debut that night anyway under a different gimmick, a dead man walking by the name of the Undertaker. Thankfully he didn't want to be Eggman and the decision was made to create the Gooker.
Now the Undertaker is a future Hall of Famer with multiple title reigns to his name and the Gooker is a punchline used for Wrestlecrap's annual award for the worst angle/character in wrestling that year.
Vince Russo Winning Heavyweight Title
Whether you love him or hate him, no one can deny that Vince Russo has made an impact on the wrestling landscape on more than one occasion. Unfortunately for him, he will be remembered more for his bad ideas than his good ones, especially during his tenure at WCW. Yet one incident that will remain in the minds of wrestling fans is an event that happened in WCW less than a year before the company would be sold to the WWE.
At Nitro on September 25, 2000, Vince Russo had booked himself as the No. 1 contender for the World Heavyweight title. He would take on newly crowned champion Booker T in a cage match. At the end of the match, Booker was less than three feet from walking out the cage door and retaining the title when Goldberg came out to the ring. Booker let him in so that he can put a beating on Russo. While this happens, Scott Steiner slams the door in Booker's face. Booker responds by kicking it back into Steiner's face. As this is happening, Russo, dressed up like a football player, tries to make a mad dash for the door only to be speared through the cage wall onto the floor by Goldberg, thus becoming champion.
While this was intended to bring in more fans and boost ratings, it only added more fuel to the hatred fire that fans had towards WCW and Russo. It did nothing for ticket sales, as reported in The Death of WCW, only about 200 more tickets were sold in Russo's hometown once it was announced he would be fighting for the title.
What's worse was that the following week, Russo would vacate the title, meaning he was undefeated as a champion since no one beat him for the belt. Russo would take some time off afterwords due to multiple concussions, which was why he would wear football garb to the ring, and Booker T would regain the belt in a match against Jeff Jarrett.
Since this site doesn't allow Dailymotion embeds, here is the link to the match:
David Arquette Winning Heavyweight Title
Even more abhorrent than Vince Russo winning the world title in WCW was a title reign that happened five months to the day prior to Russo's title. A day that will live in infamy for any wrestling fan is the day that actor David Arquette won the World Heavyweight Championship in WCW.
In an attempt to get some publicity for the newly released WCW movie Ready to Rumble, as well as get some much needed publicity for WCW in general, the decision was made to give Arquette the belt. Arquette, to his credit, didn't want it because he knew how bad of a decision it was and how fans would react to an actor getting the belt. So on WCW Thunder on April 25 which aired on the 26th, DDP and Arquette were put in a tag match against Jeff Jarrett and Eric Bischoff with the world title on the line, the stipulation being whoever got the pin would win the title.
From the start, it was basically a handicap match as Arquette had been attacked earlier in the night so DDP was taking on both Jarrett and Bischoff. Yet near the end of the match Arquette stumbled his way into the ring to help his partner. He hits a spear on Bischoff and goes to pin him at the same time DDP covers Jarrett. The ref counts to three while watching the Arquette pin thus making actor David Arquette the World Heayweight Champion of WCW.
Allowing an actor to win the belt killed whatever prestige and credibility that title had left. Imagine if the WWE gave the WWE title to Kevin Federline when he feuded with John Cena or if Pete Rose beat Kane for the title, would you care about the title as much anymore?
WCW succeeded in getting press for the event, unfortunately it was the same kind of criticism that many fans like me had about how horrible of an idea it was. It also gave the public the wrong idea of wrestling in general of being a circus act when WCW couldn't afford that kind of image, especially with new co-owners AOL, who were on the bubble to begin with in regards to WCW. Arquette would drop the title 12 days later at the Slamboree PPV in a triple cage match, a match inspired by Ready to Rumble, as Arquette turned on DDP, allowing Jarrett to win the title.
Hogan/Russo Bash at the Beach Incident
At Bash at the Beach 2000, Hulk Hogan was set to face Jeff Jarrett for the World Heavyweight title. Yet what happened was a series of events that are still discussed to this day. Hogan comes out to the ring ready to fight decked out as Hollywood Hogan, Jarrett comes out next and gets in the ring followed by Vince Russo. Yet once the bell rings, Jarret immediately lies down in the ring and Russo jumps up on the apron to yell at Hogan telling him to pin Jarrett. Russo would make his way around the ring telling Hogan to pin Jarrett, eventually throwing the title belt into the ring. As he walks to the back Hogan gets to a mic and states "This is why this company is in the damn shape that it's in, because of bull--- like this."
It is then that he puts his foot on Jarrett's chest and gets the pin. Immediately after the pin, Jarret almost runs to the back and leaves Hogan to take the belt and make his exit. What happens next is the most disputed, as Russo returns to the ring and gets on the mic. He would then proceed to cut a scathing promo eviscerating Hogan, blaming the match result on his creative control clause and his politicking behind the scenes. Vince would then basically fire Hogan there live and set another World Title match with Booker T and Jarrett for later in the evening.
This whole thing was believed to be Russo, Bischoff and Hogan's attempt to "work" the wrestlers in the back, in an attempt to build morale which was at an all-time low in WCW. Many realized that it was a "work" as they saw two world title belts in the arena earlier that day. Also, the match was not last on the card. Rather, it was in front of a Goldberg/Nash match with no real story implications in the title picture.
Only Hogan, Bischoff and Russo are confirmed to know how much was a work and what became a shoot, not even Jarrett was aware of what was going down. The thing that was not expected was Russo's promo afterwords, it was supposed to be short and to the point, and nowhere near as vicious. It was supposed to be the lead in to an angle for Hogan to leave for some time to rest and heal up and eventually come back to challenge his title against whoever was champion at that time. But after the Russo promo, Hogan left the arena in actual anger and ended up suing WCW and Russo for character defamation, something that was still going through the courts when Hogan was first offered to join TNA. He declined, as Russo was with the company.
Because of the problems caused there was no mention the following weeks, leaving fans in the dark about what they really saw. And what did WCW get? No bump in the ratings, no extra ticket sales, nothing, when they could have had gotten those by toning down what happened and rolling along with the angle, it may have slowed the bleeding that the company was suffering during the waning months of the Monday Night Wars.
WWF Mid-90s Second Job Gimmicks
During the late 80s to mid 90s there were two types of wrestlers within the WWE and, to a lighter extent, in WCW. The first group were the guys at the top or very near the top who had realistic or somewhat exaggerated gimmicks, like Hulk Hogan being a near super All-American bodybuilder or Bret Hart being a technical and submissions master.
The other group was part of the mid card or lower, their gimmicks, if even given one outside of being a jobber, was cartoonish to Disney-like levels. These gimmicks were usually attached to what were meant as "part-time jobs" for the wrestlers. These included a wide array of occupations and it wasn't limited to a small number of guys. There were some successful gimmicks, namely Big Boss Man, I.R.S. and the Undertaker.
Yet for those few here are the many who flopped miserably:
The Goon - hockey player
Tugboat - captain of you guessed it, a tugboat
Repo Man - self explanatory and a horrible turn for the former Smash of Demolition
Isaac Yankem - dentist, thankfully Isaac would find more success as Kane
TL Hopper - Plumber
Sparky Plug - Nascar driver
Real Man's Man - one of the few Attitude ones with William Regal wearing construction gear and chopping wood
Duke "The Dumpster" Droese - Garbage Man
These gimmicks may have been fun for the kids to watch, but for older fans who wanted real wrestling and decent storylines, they went elsewhere, namely WCW. WCW began slowly phasing out its cartoonish stories and characters for more realistic ones. This is something Eric Bischoff has gone on to claim: Being more realistic helped in Nitro's success against Raw in the Monday Night Wars.
The WWE would eventually change course and go the complete opposite from having cartoonish characters to over the top personalities that were extensions of the wrestler's own personality, something that would allow the WWE to beat WCW in the long run.
Brawl for All Tournament
In 1998 the WWF had a bloated roster with a lot of their guys not being able to get as much TV time as desired or not being put into decent storylines. So the idea was made to have a legitimate shootfight tournament as a way to give wrestlers some additional exposure while at the same time hopefully create some new "tough guy" stars that fans could attach to.
Many felt that this was a perfect way to get "Doctor Death" Steve Williams a desired push in the WWF as a legitimate tough guy to a mainstream audience as he was known from wrestling in Japan and WCW but not as well in his current position. Entrance into the tournament was voluntary and there was a cash prize of $75,000 for the winner.
The rules for the fights were confusing enough, with each fight being three rounds, and points going for number of punches landed, takedowns and knockdowns. Knockouts were possible with an eight-count instead of the normal 10. Fans showed their frustration and confusion by chanting "we want wrestling" during the first round of the tournament.
When the tournament started, things went as expected, with odds on favorite Williams moving to the next round after getting a TKO win over Quebecer Pierre. Unfortunately, every other fight in the first round ended in a decision or draw. Then, Steve Blackman and Hawk suffered injuries that didn't allow them to move on in the tournament or wrestle.
When the second round began the seemingly unthinkable happened as the odds-on favorite Williams would be knocked out by Bart Gunn, effectively killing any mystique that Williams had as a legit tough guy. Gunn would then KO his next opponent, the Godfather, in order to go to the finals where he would win the whole thing by beating Bradshaw by TKO.
Now the WWF could have ended it here and then push Gunn as a knockout artist who could take on anyone. Unfortunately, creative and management had other plans as they decided to test Gunn in another shoot fight against Eric Esch, better known as Butterbean, a superheavyweight pro boxer and now MMA fighter. Gunn maybe should have declined when he was told he would be facing a guy with a 77-8-4 record with 58 of those wins by knockout, but on the other side, if he won he would have most likely received a monstrous push. The two would meet at Wrestlemania XV, where Butterbean would knockout Gunn in about 30 seconds. After the embarrasing KO loss, Gunn was released shortly afterwards.
Raw Guest Hosts/GM
In June of 2009, the WWE would start a gimmick that was meant to change the landscape of their flagship show Raw. They were correct that it would, unfortunately, it was not for the better. It was decided after an angle ended where Donald Trump "bought" Raw and then was fired by Vince after he bought it back. Two weeks later the guest Raw GM concept was introduced to the WWE universe.
The first guest was Batista who was out with an arm injury. He was able to use the position to get the last bit of juice out of his feud with Randy Orton. Yet in the following weeks the position just became a source of promotion for the Seth Green show Robot Chicken, the movie Hot Tub Time Machine or the A-Team. Yet for every guest that was there to promote a project there were just as many that were there for reasons known only to the WWE, like the members of ZZ Top, Al Sharpton and Flavor Flav.
This would go on for nearly a year before being slowly phased out by the WWE to now where there is a guest every once in a while.
And if you want to see the long, sad list of hosts, here is the Wiki:
In 2002, Jeff Jarrett and his father Jerry would start their own wrestling promotion in response to the WWE becoming the sole, big-name promotion in the US after WCW and ECW folded. They would air their shows on PPV each week as a way to get the word out about their promotion, eventually leading to a TV deal.
The first couple of shows were a sight to see. With former wrestlers from the WWE and WCW fighting each other to assert their dominance, the promotion showed a lot of promise. It also showed itself as an Attitude era-like show by having women dancing in cages throughout the show, Elvis impersonators, midget wrestlers fondling themselves in trash cans and the tag team known as the Johnsons.
Now if you don't remember the Johnsons you're lucky, but if you do here's a little trip down wrestling memory lane. The Johnsons were a tag team made up of wrestling twins Mike and Todd Shane whose gimmick was to be that of larger than life wrestling penises—I am not making this up. They came out to the ring covered head-to-toe in beige bodysuits and masks with tubesocks stuffed into their crotches.
The gimmick was horrible and embarrassing for the Shane twins. More so as they had to give up the NWA tag titles as TNA joined up with the organization and had rights to the belt. So in exchange for losing the titles they just won, they were now walking, talking dongs. Luckily the team didn't last in TNA and the twins would go back to wrestling in the indies and different developmental promotions.
Bret Hart vs. Will Sasso
When you look back at Bret Hart's WCW career, ask yourself, what was his most pushed feud? Was it against Chris Benoit? Goldberg? If you think so then you unfortunately would be wrong. Why you ask? Because this was WCW in its twilight years and those feuds were due in part to Bret pushing for them, so they weren't management's ideas.
No. The most pushed feud for one of the all-time greatest technical wrestlers in pro wrestling history while he was in WCW was against Will Sasso. Name doesn't ring a bell? Well if you were a fan of the FOX show Mad TV you would know that Will Sasso was a fat guy who was part of the main cast for many years who was best known for his impersonations of Kenny Rogers, Steven Seagal and Tony Soprano. Fortunately for WCW, he was also a huge mark for the industry.
The feud would play out while Bret was having a lame feud at the same time with a hobbled and aged Roddy Piper. Brett would have a guest appearance on Mad TV during his run as U.S. Champion. During a sketch where Hart was playing a body guard for Sasso, Hart supposedly "snaps" and begins to attack one of Will's costars, Debra Wilson, to the point where she takes off her wig and says the armbar Bret has her in was really hurting her. He then turned his attention on Sasso and locked him in the Sharpshooter, effectively turning heel in front of the Mad TV audience.
Since this was an idea of WCW management, this story was touted all over Nitro, the problem was many fans didn't know about Hart being on Mad TV or why the fan favorite turned heel and attacked an actor. Either that or they didn't care about this "feud." Unfortunately, they were going to be force fed this angle as Sasso would interfere in Hart's title match against Roddy Piper, costing Hart the title.
Hart would then challenge Sasso to an actual wrestling match on Nitro. Sasso would come to the ring with Debra Wilson for their match. Now when I say match, I actually mean Sasso overselling being out of shape and staying outside the ring while Bret taunts him by sitting in a chair and drinking water as he waits for Sasso to get back in the ring. Unfortunately, Debra Wilson would pull a swerve and attack Sasso allowing hart to slap on the Sharpshooter for the quick tapout.
Hart would return to Mad TV once more but this time Hart would be taken out by Piper, who would then help Sasso and Wilson restart their friendship, thus ending the horrible angle.
In 1999, the writing team of Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara left the WWF. They joined the main competitor WCW, where they were offered more control of their storylines and didn't have to write stories for two shows like they would have had to for the WWF. So with that freedom Russo and Ferrara did some very impressive things that could have saved WCW if given the right build up, like pushing the middle card guys and Cruiserweights.
Yet when things didn't work out as expected, the duo decided to go all out and make wacky angles and characters. One angle was something Ferrara had done once before in the WWF where he was pulled from the crowd and asked to do an impersonation of Jim Ross. Ross was apparently not too fond of it. It only happened once and wasn't brought up again on WWF TV. But now with WCW, the pair had the creative freedom to grind their ax against Good 'Ole JR and the character of Oklahoma was created.
It was Ferrara's impersonation, but now over exaggerated and also making fun of Ross' recent bout with Bells Palsy. Ferrara acted like his character had the affliction as well. They would also use Ross' real life friendship with "Doctor Death" Steve Williams in their angle as a goon heel who would beat up on the Cruiserwieghts as Oklahoma would berate them often times using racial stereotypes and mocking the mostly Latino wrestlers.
What was more horrible is Oklahoma would eventually become Cruiserweight champion himself by beating Medusa. The thing about the angle was that Ferrara is nowhere near being a Cruiserweight and Medusa isn't either. It would be the only time the title would be called the Light Heavyweight title.
Big Boss Man/Al Snow/Pepper Angle
In 1999, after feuding with the Undertaker, the Big Boss Man would battle Al Snow in the Hardcore division of the WWF. Their feud would culminate in a major angle involving Snow and his dog Pepper. Boss Man would taunt Snow and Pepper for weeks, leading up to Boss Man wanting to bury the hatchet and share a dinner with Snow. Unfortunately, the dinner that Snow was eating was revealed to be Pepper, cooked up by the Big Boss Man.
This would lead to the end of their feud with the Kennel from Hell Match at Unforgiven. This would be no ordinary cell match as the ring would be in the traditional cage, but the Hell in the Cell would surround the ring as well. Then in between both cages would be a number of police dogs that were supposed to attack either man as they tried to escape in their attempt to win.
Unfortunately, the match was a dud. Neither man was putting their effort into selling the attack dogs outside the ring. Even worse, the dogs weren't into the match, opting rather to bark at each other, take dumps, and hump each other. Real scary attack dog stuff, no wonder the match was named the worst worked match of 1999 by Wrestling Observer.
Rey Mysterio Losing His Mask
During his tenure in WCW, Rey Mysterio became a fan favorite with his high flying style and superhero gimmick made in part by his lucha mask. Yet for some reason, Eric Bischoff had always wanted Rey to lose his mask, feeling that he would be more marketable to the American audience. He had done it before with Juventud Guerrera and he wanted Rey to be next. So the decision was made for it to be part of the feud between the LWO and NWO.
Rey and Konnan would face off against the Outsiders in a "hair vs. mask" match with Rey's mask on the line against Ms. Elizabeth's hair. Now what most fans in America don't understand is the importance of a lucha libre's mask. These masks are the very identity of these wrestlers and mask vs. mask matches are very rare but when they happen they are a very big deal in Mexico.
So the match happened and the Outsiders won as Nash pinned Rey after he was hit with the Outsider's Edge from Hall. So the moment of truth came and Rey removed his mask, revealing that he looks like a twelve-year-old. He would then get a gimmick as a "giant killer" as he would beat Nash, Bam Bam Bigelow and Scott Norton, though it would end after he would lose to Nash at that year's Unforgiven PPV.
He would flounder around in the Cruiserweight division until WCW folded, and eventually join the WWE with his mask back on. Now, fighting with his mask again after losing it is very controversial and Rey was booed out of arenas in Mexico a few times since he originally lost it. So while Rey received a light push after giving up the mask, Rey's mask sold like hot cakes at merchandise tables for WCW events. So yeah, really not marketable.
Jay Leno & DDP vs Hogan & Bischoff
In 1998 the tide of the Monday Night Wars had taken a turn for the worse for WCW. Raw was beating them in the weekly ratings and and PPV buy rates were plateauing. So in a state of damage control, Eric Bischoff set into motion an idea similar to what he had done a couple years back with Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone. Yet instead of getting a couple of athletes to compete against a wrestler, he would get into a feud with Jay Leno, you know, of the Tonight Show.
The angle would start as the NWO would "take over" the Tonight Show, complete with a stage setup at Monday Nitro. Leno would strike back against the NWO in order to reclaim his show and would eventually join forces with one of the few men to never join the NWO, DDP. A tag team match would be set for the upcoming PPV Road Wild, an annual money pit for the company as the show was hosted in the middle of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and admission was free for those at the rally. Added to the fact that WCW was spending money to bring in Jay Leno was B-list country singer Travis Tritt's concert after the main event. WCW could not afford to to waste money, even at that time.
The match would be the main event of the evening with Hogan and Bischoff coming to the ring with Ms. Elizabeth and the Disciple while DDP and Leno came to the ring with his Tonight Show band leader Kevin Eubanks. Once the match started fans and viewers saw the match for what it was, a publicity stunt designed to get national press for WCW. No more apparent than when Jay Leno had Hogan in an armbar and held it for about a minute, long enough for the photographers around the ring to take dozens of shots apiece. The match would graciously end as Kevin Eubanks would interfere and hit the Diamond Cutter on Bischoff to allow DDP and Leno to get the win.
The match was horrible and drew slightly because of Leno's name, but nothing else past that. And since the show was free for those in attendance, the only money they made was from PPV buys, when they could have made some decent money if they charged for attendance.
Hogan vs. Warrior 2
When fans and pro wrestling analysts look back at the fall of WCW, the night that they most point to as being the start of it all was October 25, 1998. That was the night of the annual Halloween Havoc PPV, a night that will be memorable for two incidents in particular, neither of them good. The first would be the much hyped up rematch between Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior, who was known as the Warrior in WCW.
The Warrior was signed on to WCW as a way to give Hogan a feud while he was put on the back burner of the world title picture, while at the same time bringing back fans to WCW. Unfortunately, this signing caused some serious problems as Warrior was signed to a huge deal which wouldn't have been so bad if it was for more than three matches.
The first match was as part of the main event at Fall Brawl where nine men representing three teams (WCW, NWO Hollywood, and NWO Wolfpack) competed inside two cages put together. Warrior had a lackluster performance in the match and ended up injuring himself in the process. His second match was as part of a tag match with former tag partner Sting as they beat Hogan and Bret Hart by DQ. But Warrior didn't really participate in the match as he stayed on the outside then ran in the back as he chased off a member of the NWO.
Then between Fall Brawl and Halloween Havoc the Warrior would taunt Hogan using magic—no, I'm not kidding. He would appear in Hogan's mirror and only Hogan and the audience could see him as everyone else from Bischoff to other NWO members claimed they didn't. He would evaporate into thin air and appear in the rafters with the Disciple to taunt Hogan, although the stand in for the Disciple was what appeared to be a sex doll dressed up like the Disciple. This was all in an attempt to hype up their rematch.
His final match in WCW would be the real kiss of death for the organization as he would face his rival Hogan in a co-main event at Halloween Havoc. In what Eric Bischoff himself has claimed was one of the worst main event matches in wrestling PPV history, everything that could have gone wrong, did. The timing of spots were off and hits weren't sold properly, when Hogan tried to use a piece of flash paper to blind the Warrior, he couldn't light it in time and ended up lighting it on himself. Warrior was sluggish as he was still nursing an injury. The match was thankfully ended as Horace Hogan came out and hit Warrior with one of the worst chair shots in wrestling history and Hogan got the pin.
Warrior's contract would not be renewed after the horrendous match and things would go back to normal for WCW. Unfortunately that wasn't completely the case. You see that night the PPV ran over the originally allotted three-hour run time, so when fans were settling in to the main event title match between Goldberg and DDP, the PPV cut out, leaving millions of fans in the dark as to what happened in that match.
It was later revealed that WCW had not let the PPV companies know that they were going to run over, a mistake that would cost them millions as they showed the main event in its entirety the following night on Nitro, which pissed off the PPV companies who would lose money since fans weren't going to buy the replay of the event that was going to air Tuesday. This would be the first blatant misstep on the part of WCW management which would lead to a massive snowball effect, ultimately ending the company.
The other effect it would have was that the signing of the Warrior would inadvertently, some say directly, lead to the deaths of two wrestlers, the British Bulldog and the Renegade. The Bulldog would be injured after he fell awkwardly on the trap door the Warrior used during his promos, leading to an addiction to painkillers and medication, which in turn led to his death years later. In the Renegade's case, he was used as a body double for the Warrior when he disappeared and reappeared in the rafters or played mind games on Hogan. After the Warrior left, there was little use for the Renegade, real name Rick Williams, so they released him. He would then commit suicide after having a fight with his girlfriend who later said he was rather upset about his sudden release.
Ready to Rumble
In 2000, WCW was on a warpath as it tried to regain some of its luster that it had lost over the past couple of years. So WCW licensed its name and wrestlers out in order to be used in a movie titled Ready to Rumble. Unfortunately, the movie would not only insult movie goers in general but wrestling fans specifically.
The movie would star David Arquette and Scott Caan as two lifelong wrestling fans who spend their days talking wrestling, working as septic tank cleaners and sticking their hands up their butts as a way to get free Slurpees, all true. After going to a episode of Nitro and seeing their favorite wrestler Jimmy King get screwed by DDP and an evil promoter, which results in King losing the belt and his job, the pair get in a car crash where their septic truck tips over and is hit by a truck hauling toilet paper. Arquette sees this as a sign of fate that they need to resurrect King's career, again all true.
This leads to the duo finding King hiding in a trailer park in drag and eventually meeting his family who hates him. They retrain the fallen champ, and he gets his rematch against DDP in a triple cage match. Like all WCW matches, there are run-ins by dozens of guys and it ends with King winning after getting help from Sting. Everyone's happy and can go about their days wrestling with their hands up their butts.
Where the movie failed primarily was that it made wrestling fans out to be the stupidest people on the face of the earth. Nearly the entire movie everyone is telling the main characters that wrestling is fake, including Jimmy King. Yet every time these statements were made to Arquette and Caan, they are met with blank stares as it's in one ear and out the other. That along with making it seem these guys are complete and utter losers does nothing to help make wrestling seem like a hip thing to be watching.
Add to the fact the movie was panned by critics and bombed in theaters, it was another bad decision by WCW.
Hall Tasing an End to Goldberg's Streak
After the debacle at Halloween Havoc, WCW would make it's next giant mistake in the main event of their biggest annual PPV, Starrcade. The main event would see Goldberg defend his title and 176-match win streak in a no DQ match against Kevin Nash, who became No. 1 contender after winning the World War III battle royal.
The match was back and forth with Goldberg setting Nash up for the Jackhammer, but Nash hit him with a low blow. Goldberg would bounce back but then there would be interference from Disco Inferno and Bam Bam Bigelow. As Goldberg took them out, Scott Hall appeared dressed up as a security guard and zapped Goldberg with a stun gun. Nash, not seeing the attack, hit the Jackknife Powerbomb on Goldberg and pinned him to win the title and end the streak.
Goldberg had been put in his place below the NWO and was just like everyone else in WCW. He would never officially win the world title again in WCW and would have lame feuds with Lex Luger, Sid Vicious and Vince Russo. Yet his streak being broken was nothing compared to what happened a few days later.
Fingerpoke of Doom
Of all of the times WCW made a boneheaded move, none was viewed as more damaging than the Fingerpoke of Doom. After Goldberg lost the world title to Kevin Nash, Nash played it as he was sorry for what happened and didn't know that Hall had gotten involved, so he offered a rematch that night against Goldberg with the title on the line. Unfortunately, Goldberg would be taken away by police at the beginning of the show for stalking Ms. Elizabeth, so Nash was without an opponent. So he offered the match to Hollywood Hogan who was there to promote himself running for president.
Hogan accepted and the main event was set. Goldberg was released from custody as the cops realized Elizabeth was lying and Goldberg rushed to the arena to be in the main event. He could have been on a rocket and he still would have missed the match as when it started, Hogan and Nash circled each other, Nash pushed Hogan to which Hogan responded by faking a punch and then poking Nash in the chest. Nash dropped to the ground and Hogan pinned him to become the champion.
All of it was a swerve to give Hogan the title again and reunite the NWO where it was now one combined faction instead of two rival groups. Goldberg rushed to the ring and took out many of the NWO but was dropped after getting hit by Lex Luger. Goldberg was then beaten and handcuffed to the ropes, where he was tased by Scott Hall, effectively killing the star power Goldberg had in the World Title picture.
Not only was the "Fingerpoke" harmful to WCW, another thing they did that night was announce that Mankind was going to win the WWF title that night, with Tony Schiavone claiming "that will put butts in the seats" on orders from Eric Bischoff. The moment that was said, thousands of fans switched over to watch Mankind win, costing WCW from winning in the ratings that night.
WCW would become like 1996 again where the NWO ran wild, but this time the fans weren't on board as they had already seen this before. And it was downhill from there.
Hornswoggle vs. Chavo
In the same time span that the WWE, Chavo Guerrero would enter into one of the worst feuds in the history of pro wrestling, and I don't think I'm overstating that. For some unknown reason, Chavo would be put into a feud with WWE leprechaun, Hornswoggle. Now I don't know what Chavo did or who he pissed off, but it must have been pretty bad, I'm thinking he played the "honk honk" game with Stephanie McMahon's implants or went to the bathroom on Vince's desk as Vince walked into his office.
There was no real reason for the feud except to utterly bury Chavo. Each week the guest host would put Chavo in a weird gimmick match against Hornswoggle, and each time Chavo would lose. And when I say weird gimmicks, I mean weird. Chavo was dressed as a cow while Swoggle had to tip him. There was Texas rope match where Chavo had to wear a cow head. Also, there was a blindfold match where Chavo was the only one wearing a blindfold. These were just a couple of the matches that happened over the course of a year.
This of course did nothing for either participant's career as the feud ended a little bit before the guest host angle did, thank the lord. Chavo would eventually ask for his release from the company, and I don't think anyone would blame him. Hornswoggle is still around, but not as part of any important angles, for now. The feud would gain some acknowledgment, winning Wrestlecrap.com's Gooker Award for 2009 for the worst story in pro wrestling for that year.
Chamber of Horrors Match
Halloween Havoc just seemed to be filled with bad ideas, this was one of the first. In what can only be described as a homage to Wrestlemania IX, everything was Halloween. From the set that looked like it came out of a third grade play to the announcers who wore costumes, including Eric Bischoff dressed as Dracula.
So for the opening match WCW had a special cage match called a Chamber of Horrors match. The match would be the team of Sting, the Steiner Brothers and El Gigante taking on the team of Cactus Jack, Abdullah the Butcher, Vader and the Diamond Studd. Inside the cage were useless weapons and props like caskets and shrunken heads. But those things didn't compare to what was hanging above the center of the ring, an electric chair.
The object of the match was to lower the chair, strap one of your opponents in it, then flip a switch to "electrocute" them. The match itself was abysmal as all eight men really didn't know how to use the weapons in an entertaining way and so it just came out looking clumsy. The match would finally end when Abdullah would be placed in the chair and Cactus Jack would throw the switch, not realizing his teammate was in the chair. The lights would flicker and Abdullah would jump around in the chair as if he was really being shocked. Thankfully, this match didn't become an annual event for the PPV.
WCW Junkyard Invitational
In an effort to push some of the lower level talent in their Hardcore division, WCW set up a match called the Junkyard Invitational. According to the brief intro given for the match, Hak (the Sandman) gave the invite to anyone and everyone to see who the toughest guy was. The match had 14 competitors and was held in a real junkyard rather than a set with the object of the match being a wrestler won after they scaled the junkyard fence and escaped. The match was filmed like an episode of Cops with camera men running around the action and even a helicopter flying overhead.
What made the match bad was set up spots like cars that were meant to be tipped over and jump cables used to "electrocute" opponents standing on engine blocks. Add to that the fact that since the WCW announce team wasn't clued in to the filmed backstage segments or certain parts of matches, Bobby Heenan and Tony Schiavone spent most of the match figuring out who was even in the match and pointing it out to fans.
This also went along with WCW not even promoting the fight, even though they could have drew a bit from it as fans in attendance seemed somewhat entertained. What's worse, almost every fighter in the match would legitimately get hurt in some manner as the match was in a real junkyard rather than a controlled environment, causing those guys to lose money due to being out of action.
Mass Transit Incident
Warning: Graphic violence and language in the clip
There are dates in every promotion that its fans will remember for their rest of their lives. For ECW fans, one of those dates was November 23, 1996 at a house show in Massachusettes. That was the date when the infamous Mass Transit incident occurred.
For those of you who haven't heard of what happened, here's a rundown. At the house show, The Gangstas (New Jack and Mustafa) were to take on D-Von Dudley and Axl Rotten in a tag match. But when Axl couldn't make the show due to a family emergency, Paul Heyman scrambled to find a replacement. Eric Kulas would offer his services, claiming to be a 23-year-old wrestler who had been trained by Killer Kowalski. Eric's father and a midget wrestler vouched for the man's credentials and Heyman had no reason to believe Eric was underage as he was 5'10" and close to 400 pounds.
The bout was meant to be a squash match favoring The Gangstas. D-Von would be separated from Eric, wrestling under a Ralph Kramden-esque gimmick named Mass Transit, leaving Eric at the mercy of New Jack. According to eyewitness reports, Eric had asked New Jack to blade him as he was asked to bleed in the match but had never bladed before. Eric was then be beaten with a variety of weapons, causing him to bleed profusely. After the match, Eric would need to be carried out by medics.
Controversy quickly followed as word spread of what happened. The original air date of ECW's first PPV was canceled and eventually pushed back to a few months later, Inside Edition would vilify ECW during an interview with the Kulas family, and New Jack would be brought up on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
Though when all of the facts came about how Kulas had lied about his credentials and that he asked for New Jack to blade him, New Jack was acquitted on all charges and was not liable in a civil suit from the family. ECW would push forward and grow their audience until their closure in 2001. Kulas would die in 2002 from complications from a gastric bypass surgery, to which the family would try to sue New Jack again saying the incident caused him to eat himself to death, again New Jack was acquitted.
Though many felt that this whole incident could have been avoided if Paul Heyman had asked for I.D. to prove Kulas was of legal age, or even if another ECW wrestler replaced Axl rather than hiring a local who he had not worked with before.
Hornswoggle: Last Cruiserweight Champion
Before there was the X-Division in TNA, there was the Light Heavyweight division in WCW , which was eventually known as the Cruiserweight division. Many men, and even a few women, have won this title. A few have gone on to bigger and better success, earning tag titles, US titles and even a few World titles.
With that being said, let's play a game of "which of these things is not like the other." Here are your choices.
A) Brian Pillman
B) Rey Mysterio
C) Eddie Guerrero
If you guessed D then you chose correctly. Now the more important question is how is Hornswoggle different from the other three? If you said all three have been Cruiserweight champion at some point in their career, you're right, but Hornswoggle has the distinction of being the last Cruiserweight champion in WWE history.
For some reason, the WWE, in their infinite wisdom, decided to give the Cruiserweight title to midget wrestler Hornswoggle in what I can only assume was a PG idea that would have eventually lead to little stuffed Hornswoggle dolls, complete with toy belt.
Hornswoggle would win the belt in an open invitational for the Cruiserweight belt, pinning Jamie Noble to win the belt. He would then successfully defend the belt against Noble in a short feud after winning the belt. After being found to be the illegitimate son of Mr. McMahon, Smackdown GM Vickie Guerrero would have him vacate the title because of that and his size making matches detrimental to his health. So while Hornswoggle may not have been the worst Cruiserweight champ, Oklahoma wins that title in a landslide, having him as the last was almost an insult when there were so many good Cruiserweights in the WWE at that time like Greg Helmes, Chavo Guerrero or even Jamie Noble.
Hopefully the WWE will learn the error of its ways and bring the title back, as there are many great wrestlers who could breathe new life into the Cruiserweight division and put on exciting matches.
Love him or hate him but you have to admit, Vince Russo will be remembered for a very long time in the mind' of both wrestling fans and people within the wrestling business. The few other things that most people will admit about Russo is that he can write a great introduction to an angle, something that will bring fans in and want to see what happens next. Unfortunately, he can't keep the momentum going and the story begins to get muddled and fall apart. This is due to Russo being left alone to his own devices. If he had an oversight editor like he had in Vince McMahon when he worked in the WWF, WCW still might be around or TNA might not get mocked as much by many members of the IWC.
The third thing that many will acknowledge is that Vince Russo loves him some stipulation matches. Throughout his tenure at WCW, Vince Russo came up with some of the most off the wall ideas and combinations for match stipulations. During both of his tenures at WCW, Nitro and the PPVs were littered with matches that had extra stipulations. There were bunkhouse brawls, cage matches, numerous matches to decide who would be WCW Commissioner and President, triple cage matches, strap matches, table matches, first blood matches, inferno matches, wedding gown matches, mud matches and many other combinations.
Yet his most favorite type of match appeared to be "X" on a pole matches. There were Viagra on a pole matches, crowbar on a pole, pinata on a pole, leather jacket on a pole and even Buff Bagwell's mom Judy was put on a forklift.
Yet the one thing that Russo never seemed to understand about stipulation matches, is that they have to mean something when fans see them, they have to be special. Having them happen all the time just because took the magic out of them. The WWE is facing the same problem today with PPVs that are centered around certain matches like Hell in a Cell or Elimination Chamber. These matches were originally meant to put an end to a feud, not be something to happen just because it's June.
Unfortunately, there was no one to reel Russo in and control his creative juices so these ideas ran rampant in WCW. So with that happening, the stipulations were devalued and fans soon became bored with the constant barrage being thrown at them.
Fake Diesel and Razor Ramon
In 1996, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall joined WCW as The Outsiders, a team bent on destroying everything that WCW was. This really left the WWF in a quandary as Nash and Hall were two of the biggest stars in their promotion at the time. So in a scramble, the WWF decided to pull a fast one on its fans. And who was decided to be the man to pull it off? The fan favorite commentator Jim Ross.
So for weeks after Nash and Hall left, Ross would constantly say that he was in contact with "Diesel" and "Razor Ramon" the characters portrayed by Nash and Hall respectively. This wasn't as shocking as when Ross said next that he would be bringing them back to the WWF. To say fans were skeptical would be a huge understatement.
Then on September 23, 1996, Jim Ross would get in the center of the ring and begin a worked-shoot promo, going off on his time in the WWF up to that point and Vince McMahon, even giving the first mention on WWF TV that Vince was chairman of the company and not just a commentator. He would then say he was responsible for all of the big stars going to WCW as revenge against the WWF for how they treated him. It was at that time that he reintroduced Razor Ramon.
His music started and the fans went nuts, but it quickly stopped when they saw "Razor Ramon." He was about the same height, had the same outfit, but looked like he hit the hotel mini bar one too many times with the flabby gut he had. "Diesel" would then debut, and while he was a similar height, his hair was too stringy, and his face was heavier. Fans knew instantly that these were fakes, and the boos rained down on the ring.
Any cred that Ross earned with his from the heart promo was soon lost as he associated himself with the two scabs as he also became whinier as the weeks went on. The heel Ross was quickly dropped in favor of the J.R. that fans loved. Unfortunately, "Razor Ramon" and "Diesel" would stick around for a couple more months until the Royal Rumble, they would even get a tag title shot against Owen Hart and the British Bulldog. "Razor" would be released soon after the character was done, "Diesel" would stay under contract and be repackaged as the estranged brother of the Undertaker, Kane.
Pacman Jones: TNA Tag Champ
Apparently the men behind the David Arquette world title reign never learned their lesson. In mid-2007, football player Adam "Pacman" Jones was in the middle of a yearlong suspension from the NFL and in turn, had a lot of time on his hands to do other things. So with that in mind, Jones began negotiations with TNA to start a wrestling career. Unfortunately, when Jones' coach found about the player wanting to wrestle, he stated that Jones could not do any actual wrestling for the company because of the terms of his NFL contract.
This is where it begins to get muddled, TNA would then go to say they would sign Jones in a non-wrestling role. Yet on August 6, the deal was signed followed by Jones and Jeff Jarrett giving an interview that gave the impression that Jones would in fact wrestle for the company. Upon hearing about this, the Tennessee Titans issued a restraining order that prohibited Jones from working with TNA at all. An agreement was finally reached where Jones could appear in the company but could not be "touch or be touched, use or be hit by any object or anything else that could injure him."
Jones would make his debut at Hard Justice later that month, where he was interviewed by Mike Tenay saying that his reason for joining TNA was to prove that he was a team player. He would then be interrupted by Ron "R-Truth" Killings. The two would seem like they were going to start fighting but were separated by security guards. The following episode of Impact would see Jones appear to challenge Killings, only to turn around and show him respect.
They would then form Team Pacman and attack other wrestlers, spray painting their backs with the word "PAC." The team would challenge tag champs Kurt Angle and Sting at No Surrender, a match where Jones had virtually zero in-ring time as he refused to tag in or at times ran away from tagging. He would end up making the pin to get the tag titles for Killings and him.
Since Jones couldn't actually wrestle in a match, Consequences Creed would join Team Pacman and defend the titles with Killings. The team would eventually lose the tag titles to A.J. Styles and Tyson Tomko at Bound For Glory and afterwords Jones would disappear from TNA TV until his contract expired later that year.
So while people bash David Arquette for when he won the World Heavyweight Title in WCW, at least he attempted to wrestle in the matches that he was involved in and was a fan of wrestling. Jones was in it for the paycheck and to stroke his ego, something TNA was more than willing to do.
Warning: Foul language in the clip
As many know, ECW gained a name for itself with its over the top violence, risque storylines, and original characters. Yet one angle proved to be too much for even ECW standards. At a show on October 26, 1996, Raven and the Sandman were in the middle of a feud that had involved Raven "brainwashing" the Sandman's wife and son. After their match, a swerve involving the Sandman's son leaves him at the mercy of Raven, Stevie Richards and the Blue Meanie.
Richards and Meanie came to the ring carrying a large wooden cross and followed the orders of Raven as they began to crucify the Sandman in front of the shocked crowd. As Sandman was carried out, backstage Paul Heyman went into complete damage control mode. Raven was made to go back out to the ring and apologize for what happened, though to say it was a flimsy apology would be an understatement as it was apparent that Raven was being forced to apologize.
The incident really hurt ECW in the long run as well. In the audience that night was Kurt Angle, fresh off his gold medal win at the Olympics. He was asked to come in and do guest commentary for a match as a way to see if he would be interested in signing with the promotion to wrestle. Yet after seeing the crucifixion and knowing the negative impact that it could have on his career, Angle went to Paul Heyman, asked for the money he was owed for his appearance, and threatened to sue if his name was shown when the episode aired. Angle would then go and join the WWF a year and a half later. So in one instant, not only did the stunt alienate the entire crowd watching the show, but it cost ECW one of the best wrestlers in recent memory working for them.
Mike Awesome vs. Tazz for ECW Title
In 1999, ECW star Mike Awesome was making a name for himself as a monster who would also do high flying moves. He would win the ECW Heavyweight title twice that year, the first time beating Tazz and Masato Tanaka in a three-way dance and then later that year when he again defeated Tanaka.
Yet a shocking thing happened in April of 2000 when Awesome would show up on Monday Nitro to attack Kevin Nash. This was shocking in that Awesome was still the ECW Heavyweight Champion and was still supposedly under contract with the promotion. It was a he said/he said situation where Paul Heyman said that Awesome was still under contract to ECW while Awesome said that he hadn't renewed his contract because Paul hadn't paid him overdue wages. Eric Bischoff had originally wanted Awesome to show up on Nitro to drop the title belt in the trash a la Alundra Blayze, but realized the legal issue in that so he just had Awesome show up and stated that he was the ECW champion.
An agreement was finally met where Awesome would lose the belt at an ECW house show and work for WCW. Paul Heyman then came up with what he thought was an ingenious idea to the likes of what no one had seen before. WCW wrestler Mike Awesome would fight WWF wrestler Tazz for the ECW title at a house show. The match was incredibly short and a squash against Awesome, who after being beat immediately ran out of the arena.
Awesome would then flounder in WCW under horrible gimmicks like "The Fat Chick Thrilla" and "That 70s Guy," eventually going to the WWE as part of the Invasion angle. Tazz would bring the ECW title with him to Smackdown and face then WWF champion Triple H in a non-title match. He would then drop the belt to Tommy Dream a few days later at Cyberslam. He would remain in the upper mid card for the rest of his career before becoming a color commentator for the WWE and most recently, TNA.
While this was a neat and kitschy idea at the time, it ultimately tarnished the legitimacy of the belt by having it change hands in a squash and by the fact that man who won the title worked for another promotion. If Heyman really wanted to stick it to Awesome and WCW, he should have chosen a guy like the Sandman or the eventual champion Tommy Dreamer to beat Awesome. If that had happened a squash wouldn't have been as bad as it would have shown the strength of the ECW wrestler over a WCW wrestler.