As of late, I have been watching a lot of WhatCulture YouTube videos (seriously, they guys have made wrestling funny, damn you, I wanted to do that!!), especially their interesting take on Top 10 listings. So as a result, Suplex Retweet have decided to do our own unique listing (no Top 10 greatest wrestlers lists for us today). I’m Steven Wilson (Wilson Club will be a thing, not Pacitti Club), and this is the Top 10 worst matches in Wrestlemania history.
- The Rock vs John Cena – Mania 29
Before any one snaps at me for this selection, I am not taking anything away from these two’s original match at Mania 28, which was a classic in my opinion. The issue was that that match was built up to the audience as ‘Once in a Lifetime’, a one-time only affair. Fast forward ten months, and it was clear this wasn’t going to be the case. The Rock first ending CM Punk’s historic WWE Title reign, and John Cena winning the Royal Rumble. The fans sensed a snake in the grass, and weren’t happy about it. The build-up especially wasn’t helped by the fact that many fans believed the Punk deserved to be in match, making it both a triple threat match, plus keeping the once in a lifetime tag intact. Instead, we were treated to a drab match, full of far too many false finishes and finisher steals, as well as a horrible image of Rock raising Cena’s hand in victory at the end of the show, an ending that, if they had planned it, should have happened the year before. Overall, the fans felt cheated. Their emotional investment from one year earlier, evaporated in the space of one evening.
- Akebono vs Big Show – Mania 21
WWE has a horrible habit of turning to other areas of the celebrity world to drive an audience to their product. One notable example that just missed this list was their decision to have NFL line-backer Lawrence Taylor main event Wrestlemania 11 against Bam Bam Bigalow (yes, main event, not mid card, the final god damn match), however, this match missed the list purely because it probably saved the company in the grand scheme. In 2005, however, WWE continued to show how they had absolutely no clue as to how to properly book The Big Show by having him face sumo wrestler Akebano, in a SUMO match. Yes, sumo wrestling, at pro wrestling greatest event. It was no surprise that this was a one-minute snooze fest where Big Show was outclassed. It didn’t help that it followed one of the greatest Mania matches of all time in Shawn Michaels vs Kurt Angle. The Sumo match was the one pit stain in what was a superb and historic Wrestlemania.
- Miz vs John Cena – Mania 27
If you asked many wrestling fans out there, they would say that the WWE title match should be the focal point of any PPV show. So, on paper, The Miz defending his title against John Cena had no issues. The main problem surrounded the factors that went with the match. First thing was The Rock reappearance in WWE for the first time in over five years. It was clear from day one that the company was positioning him for his impending feud with Cena, and they took up the majority of the pre Mania screen time facing off with each other, making The Miz, the champion and top man in the company, feel like an afterthought, which didn’t help with the fact that many didn’t take him seriously as champ (this is what happening when your main previous defence was against a then 62-year-old Jerry Lawler). Second was the match finish. Oh my god, the finish. Horrible to a tie. First things first, it ended with a double count out. Biggest main event of the year, and they do a double count out. What were they thinking?? Thankfully, The Rock (who was guest host for Mania 27), had some sense and restarted the match, only for him to immediately Rock Bottom Cena, allowing Miz to pin him, again making the champ play second fiddle to the major stars.
- Hulk Hogan vs Yokozuna – Mania 9
It will come as no shock to anyone that Hulk Hogan has a massive ego. This is epitomised by the fact that he was in all bar one of the first eight Wrestlemania main events (technically he played a big part in the finish of Wrestlemania 4 as well so we can say he was in all eight of the first Mania main events). It looked as if this run was set to end as he was nowhere near the main event scene come Mania 9, with Bret Hart defending against Yokozuna, with Hogan presumably on his way out the company, on his way to Hollywood. Guess again. That match ended with Yokozuna winning the title after Mr Fuji threw salt in Bret’s eyes, which was a pretty bad finish in its own. What made things worse was Hogan, who for some reason came down to ringside to check on Hart, then being challenged by the new champ to a title match, which Hogan would win in 22 seconds. This was a great example of a wrestler’s ego getting out of control, thinking of himself over the actual product. It was a truly terrible end to arguably the worst ever Mania (that whole Roman gimmick was just stupid).
- Ultimate Warrior vs HHH – Mania 12
Speaking of wrestler’s ego, no one’s ego was bigger than the Ultimate Warrior. But despite holding the company up for money, being involved with drugs and skipping shows, the fans loved him and were full of excitement when they heard of his second (yes second) return to WWE at Wrestlemania 12 against future top star HHH, who was just starting for with the company. Now here is the thing, Warrior had absolutely nothing to prove here, so this would have been a great opportunity to give a massive rub to a man who, even at this stage, before he married into the McMahon family, was earmarked as the future of the business, be it by putting it over, or by having a classic match with him. Well this is the WWE we are talking about after all, and Warrior squashed HHH in just over a minute. Warrior would be on his bike again little over four months later, making this whole affair utterly pointless.
- Brock Lesnar vs Goldberg – Mania 20
My word, this should have been an epic. In one corner, you had a man who was the greatest start WCW produced in the 90s. In the other, you had the future of the business, who had won three WWE titles in 2 years, and pretty much won all that could be won in the company in that time. We also had Stone Cold Steve Austin as guest referee, and was taking place at the most hyped Wrestlemania of all time at this point in time. What could go wrong? Turns out, a couple of things. Firstly, Goldberg’s year long run in WWE hadn’t gone to plan (HHH never really put him over, killing all his momentum) and it didn’t appear as though he was going to extend his run with the company. Secondly, rumours began swirling around in the week before the event that Lesnar, who had grown tired of WWE’s notable ruthless travel schedule, was also set to leave for the NFL. The fans in attendance were well aware of both these rumours, and gave both stars a rough time, booing them throughout the contest, telling both that they ‘Sold Out’. Part of this was also due to both appearing as though they weren’t trying in the match (it took several minutes for the two to make contact with each other). The only moment of excitement came when Stone Cold stunned both out of the company post-match. Hopefully we see a better contest when the two clash at Survivor Series next month.
- The Rock vs Erick Rowan – Mania 32
Since the aforementioned appearance at Mania 27, The Rock has made it a habit of returning to the Grandest Stage of them all. Up until this year though, it always felt like there was a purpose to his appearance (feuding with Cena, that epic moment with Hogan and Austin, and appearing with Ronda Rousey). This year, however, it appeared that he was there purely to fog the stoplight. He talked to the crowd for what like a decade, when it appeared as though the segment had a role when the Wyatts appeared, Rock firstly went on to diss them completely (The Rock has made a habit recently doing this to new stars, Rusev and Lana being the two main examples), but he would then challenge one of them to a match (for some reason, he had his wrestling gear on under his clothes). He would go on to beat Erick Rowan in a record six seconds, ending any fading momentum the Wyatts had. I loved The Rock back in the Attitude Era, but please Rock, don’t show up at Mania 33.
- Big Bossman vs Undertaker – Mania 15
It saddens me that a match from the streak has appeared on this list, but it had to happen, and it was either this match or Takers Wrestlemania 9 horror against Giant Gonzales, but I choose this one based on the circumstances. Taker was just hitting his stride as the evil leader of The Ministry of Darkness, and was in midst of doing whatever it took to take the company from Vince McMahon. Vince responded by having The Big Bossman protect him, and the two would face at Mania 15 in a Hell in The Cell match. That’s where the issue occurs with this one. At this stage in WWE, Hell in a Cell matches were only designed for feud ending classics, which this wasn’t, as this was the early moments of this feud. On top of that, the match canned, Taker was looking really out of shape at this point in his career and struggled against a known tough worker in Bossman. But, as with many matches on this list, it was the ending that killed things. Taker HUNG BOSSMAN FROM THE CELL. Yes, he had the Brood (Edge, Christian and Gangrel) throw Taker a noose which they had attached to the cell, and they proceeded to have the cell raised, and the Bossman was hung. They simulated the death of a wrestler on the biggest PPV of the year. Awful. What is more disturbing is that, based on how the storyline went in the coming months, was that this, technically was Vince’s idea. Sums WWE up at times.
- Michael Cole vs Jerry Lawler – Mania 27
My god was Mania 27 terrible. In late 2010, WWE made the decision to turn commentator Michael Cole heel, in turn making him the most hated, and annoying character on TV. As part of this turn, they had him feud with co-commentator Jerry Lawler, which was set to climax with a match at Mania 27. Now, in an ideal scenario, this should have panned out with Lawler, making his first Mania wrestling appearance, beating Cole in a short five-minute match, getting his illusive Mania win in one of the opening matches of the night. Surprise, surprise, this isn’t how it panned out. The two would go on in the middle of the show, just before Undertaker and HHH. They went on for nearly 15 minutes (longer than the World Heavyweight Title match that opened the show). It dragged on a lifetime, not helped by Lawler’s aging ability and Cole’s just general lack of ability, and it ended with Cole winning via a reverse decision (Lawler originally won) after the Anonymous RAW GM (not god awful gimmick, screw you Hornswoggle), ensuring the feud would continue for another two months. It is safe to assume that many in attention probably missed this match, going to the toilet or for refreshments. Weird fact, Stone Cold Steve Austin also referred this match. He must be a bit of a bad Mania match jinx.
- Sheamus vs Daniel Bryan – Mania 28
18 seconds. That is all it took to make it to Number 1 in this list. In 2011, Daniel Bryan would win the World Heavyweight Championship, embarking on a hell run that would see his popularity sky rocket. That same year, Sheamus would turn face, and become more popular than he had ever been, winning the Royal Rumble in 2012 and setting up a Mania match. It is safe to say that many fans were excited to see these two go at it, especially since we were robbed of seeing them face off last year, after their US title match was firstly relegated to the pre-match, and then turned into a battle royal mid-match, which was won by The Great Khali (seriously, Mania 27 sucked). When Mania 28 started off with this match, though, many smelt a rat, and those few were correct. After briefly sharing a kiss with his then girlfriend AJ Lee as the match got started, Bryan would turn around to a Brogue Kick to the face, losing his title in just 18 seconds. Wow. The internet blew up after this, with one person describing as a “transparent virtual slap in the face to those who admire the talents of the Irishman and the American Dragon.” It was a horrible beginning to a great Mania (Taker vs HHH in a Hell in a Cell, emotional rollercoaster of a lifetime) and saw a unique backlash from fans who would get behind Bryan for years to come, and probably was the making of him in WWE. Sheamus, though, never recovered from this, having a forgettable title run, and still has never hit the same level of popularity he had before this event. This would also begin, arguably, the worst opening hour in four-hour Mania history. Needless to say, a title match should not be over in under a minute, PERIOD.
That’s all folks.