There have been some truly spectacular matches over the last 28 WrestleManias. And we will get to them, I promise you, but I’m going to bring you down before I build you up. This list isn’t complete, or absolute, by any means. Some of you will disagree, and that’s understandable, but hey, I’m driving this bus, so deal with it. So, in no particular order, here’s a list of a dozen matches that just stunk the joint up…
Bret Hart vs. Bob Backlund @ WrestleMania XI
2 WWE Legends and master grapplers going 1 on 1 at “The Grandest Show of Them All”, sign me up. After a great match at Survivor Series ’94, expectations were high for this one. 10 yawning minutes later and Bret had completed, by his own admission, “Easily my worst match ever”.
But, that is a show, not a match! OK, let’s be honest, WrestleMania II is a hot mess, pretty much start to finish. Vince McMahon felt he could do no wrong at this point, and he was so very wrong. If you go back and watch it, you should be highly surprised there was a WrestleMania III at all. The list of things wrong here is unbelievable:
- Every match on the card, all 12 of them, were painstakingly lame, the whole event being a shameless series of celebrity plugs.
- The event was held on simulcast from 3 time zones and due to the different venues, the ringside announcers were divided up and paired with a non-wrestling celebrity. These groupings are comically bad and would be awesome if the idiocy was intentional. (Vince McMahon & Susan St. James in NY / Gorilla Monsoon & Cathy Lee Crosby in Chicago / Jesse Ventura & Elvira in LA)
- This is the only WrestleMania held on a Monday instead of the traditional Sunday.
- Let us not forget the other celebrities involved: Joan Rivers, Tommy Lasorda, Dick Butkis, Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Ricky Schroeder, and Ozzy Osbourne. Butkis and Ed Jones are ok, but there is nothing wrestling fans like more than Joan Rivers.
Divas Battle Royal @ WrestleMania XXV
Stupid, stupid, stupid. Santino Marella won this disaster in drag as his “sister” Santina. Everyone who saw it lost.
The Big Show vs. Akebono @ WrestleMania XXI
Poor old Paul Wight, during his time in WWE, Vince McMahon has used WrestleMania matches as embarrassing footnotes in a pretty solid career overall (a few which deserve honorable mention on this list). Big Show lost his first 6 WrestleManias, and was been knocked unconscious by Floyd Mayweather, but a sumo match against Akebono takes the cake. Beyond the horror of a bad match no one wanted to see, fans had to wait as the ring crew disassembled and reassembled the ring for it.
Dusty Rhodes & Sapphire vs. Randy Savage & Sherri @ WrestleMania VI
As a kid from the Mid-Atlantic Territory, I loved watching Dusty Rhodes wrestle. Great classic matches against Flair and the Horsemen, or maybe Dick Murdoch. But this was a far cry from that. McMahon put him in polka dots and sent him to the ring each night with Sapphire. That was bad enough, but at WM6, he put Dusty in the ring WITH her. The one great part of this story, “The American Dream” had a black prostitute in mind for the part of Sapphire; one he knew personally….his words, not mine.
Michael Cole vs. Jerry Lawler @ WrestleMania XXVII
Over 30 minutes of airtime was wasted on this atrocious match at the company’s premier event. The suckage level on this one is way up there; luckily I was in attendance for this and spent it out buying T-shirts and such. My best friend Jay’s least favorite match ever.
Roddy Piper vs. Goldust @ WrestleMania XII
Actually when this started, it didn’t seem too bad. Billed as a “Hollywood Backlot Brawl” match, you expected brutality and blood. You likely didn’t expect stock footage from the OJ Simpson chase in the white Bronco. You also weren’t expecting Goldust was wearing lingerie and nylons under his ring attire. Aren’t surprises fun?
Booker T with Sharmell vs. the Boogeyman @ WrestleMania XXII
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, I hope so, because I tried, but failed, to come up with them….
Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar @ Wrestlemania XX
On paper, this seemed like a good idea. But when the two guys in one of your main events are BOTH wrestling their last matches in the business, they aren’t inclined to give a crap, and damn, it showed. The crowd hated it, and booed them both loudly. The only good part of this was the end, literally. Special guest referee “Stone Cold” Steve Austin stunned both men after it ended to a rousing applause from the thousands in attendance, which helped wake up everyone at home.
Yokozuna vs. Lex Luger @ WrestleMania X
Ok, I am biased here; I hate Lex Luger, because he sucked, a lot. But my bias is not why this crapfest is on the list, it’s here because it earned it. Yokozuna was actually very gifted athletically for guy with his own gravity, and he had another match later in the show, so I give him a slight pass. On the boring scale, this was a 9.8, except for Mr. Perfect’s referee gear, which was obviously spectacular.
The Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzales @ WrestleMania IX
I’ve already mentioned this in my review of the Undertaker’s Streak last week, I must say it again. This is one of the worst matches in WrestleMania history. Where was DX with a “Who booked this crap?” sign while Giant Gonzales was using a chloroform soaked rag to knock out the Deadman? Probably in high school, but still, where was Pat Patterson? Just a total trainwreck…..
Hulk Hogan vs. Yokozuna @ WrestleMania IX
Ideas like this baffle me. First of all, WrestleMania IX is right behind WrestleMania II on the suckmeter. By the time the main event of Bret Hart against Yokozuna started, fans were ready for the night to end. The aforementioned Undertaker/Gonzales match was over, as was Doink versus Crush. Lex Luger had finished stinking up the place and the camera wasn’t on Jim Ross in a toga that often. Yokozuna defeated Hart and won the WWF Championship, and then, Hulk Hogan came to the ring to check on Bret. Inexplicably, his manager, the great Mr. Fuji, immediately challenged the Hulkster and 22 seconds later, Hulk Hogan left with the WWF Championship in hand! Simply pathetic.
Well there you go, and there is plenty of room for discussion. No Sheamus vs. Bryan in 18 seconds? Where is that Floyd Mayweather/Big Show disaster anyways? Or maybe, the octogenarians Piper and Snuka at WM25? All valid options, these just the ones that jump out at me. Regardless of your own opinions, do yourself a favor and never watch these matches again. Keep your shoulders off the mat.