- If something bad was an isolated incident or simply stupid, it does not render the whole thing Horrible.note .
- Merely being offensive in its subject matter is not enough to justify a work as So Bad It's Horrible. Hard as it is to imagine at times, there is a market for all types of deviancy (no matter how small a niche it is). It has to fail to appeal even to that niche to qualify as this.
- For that matter, being a morally reprehensible act also isn't enough. The Montreal Screwjob does not belong on this list, because while it might've been morally questionable (depending on who you ask), it still had an enormously positive impact on WWE, and the match was otherwise pretty competent. This page is for terribly executed wrestling matches (that don't even qualify as So Bad, It's Good), horribly written storylines/angles (even by the relatively low standards of pro wrestling narrative) and terribly run wrestling promotions.
Wrestling promotions with their own pages:
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- At ECW High Incident on October 26, 1996, Raven's Nest (Stevie Richards, The Blue Meanie and Super Nova) literally crucified The Sandman, complete with barbed wire wrapped around his forehead to act as a "Crown of Thorns". Nest member Stevie Richards later said of the incident that for the first time, the ECW fans were "not saying 'go to hell', they were just... quiet." note Later in the show, Raven broke character and apologized to the fans who were offended by it; the fact that he was ordered to do so and (to this day) never saw the problem with the act was obvious as he uttered the most insincere apology in wrestling history. It killed Kurt Angle's program with Taz before it could even begin, and Angle even threatened to sue ECW if they aired any footage of him at the show. It was years before he began taking calls from wrestling promotions again. note
- There's also the infamous "Mass Transit Incident". New England resident Erich Kulas wanted to get a chance to wrestle when Axl Rotten faced travel issues and had to no-show an event. The problem? Kulas weighed 350 pounds, was seventeen years old, and had no in-ring ability. The solution? Kulas lied to ECW bookers about his age, experience, and schooling background (he said he was trained by Killer Kowalski)—and even had his father back him up. Kulas, who wore a bus driver's uniform and went under the name "Mass Transit", was thrown headfirst into a hardcore match alongside D-Von Dudley against The Gangstas (New Jack and Mustapha Saed, the former of which is pretty much synonymous with Garbage Wrestling). The lowlight of the match came when New Jack bladed Kulas on the forehead and made him bleed heavily. Either way, he was left in a pool of his own blood. The fallout? New Jack was arrested, ECW's first pay-per-view Barely Legal was cancelled (it was quickly uncancelled after fan outcry), and a civil suit was filed against New Jack well after the event note .
- New Jack created a series of wall bangers worthy for another entry; ECW's Living Dangerously 2000 PPV. In a match with WWF reject Vic Grimes, the two of them decide, without telling anyone, to do a table bump off of a high, unsupported scaffold. New Jack missed the tables and landed on the concrete; Grimes landed on New Jack's head. New Jack was temporarily blinded in one eye after this. If you watched the shoot interview where New Jack blames Grimes for the spot going horribly wrong, he ignores the fact Grimes wanted to cancel the spot out of fear or last minute competence, leading New Jack himself to pull Grimes off the balcony because he wanted to go through with the spot leading to his aforementioned injuries. As a follow-up, New Jack deliberately injured Vic Grimes on an XPW show. Grimes was supposed to take a bump off a scaffold through a table tower, but New Jack deliberately overthrew him. Grimes suffered a broken ankle on the ring ropes; luckily it wasn't any worse than that.
Other Wrestling Shows
- The 1999 PPV Heroes of Wrestling, whose infamous moments include an out-of-shape and highly intoxicated Jake "The Snake" Roberts putting a snake between his legs, and...well, let your imagination run wild. It also featured commentary by Dutch Mantell (before he became a booker for TNA) and a guy named Randy Rosenbloom, who seemed to be completely unfamiliar with pro wrestling. He repeatedly described a dropkick as a "flying leg kick".
- It can be said that the audience just didn't care about the show. They even called Cowboy Bob Orton, who is supposed to be a heel, a "faggot", a classless act from the audience.
- Arguably the worst match out of them all was The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff vs. The Bushwhackers. Bryan Alvarez of Wrestling Observer (of "MINUS. FIVE. STARS." fame) rated the match "minus more stars than there are stars in the universe, and the universe is infinite". Similarly, Dave Meltzer rated the match as "absolute zero" stars note .
- It's a sad state of affairs when Jake's drunken rambling promo (the infamous "You wanna play 21? I got 22." promo) can be considered the high point of the show.
- Tully Blanchard vs. "Sweet" Stan Lane is the only good match, and even that is ruined by the inexplicable use of a terribly done "Dusty Finish"note .
- Scott Hall's appearance at a Top Rope Promotions show on April 9, 2011 is probably one of the most upsetting things a wrestling fan could possibly see. It is unknown exactly what was wrong with him, but videos and pictures from the event show him appearing to be completely out of it. Eyewitness accounts described him as looking "like an elderly patient with dementia", unable to hold a pen for his autograph session, and making jokes about the "English" audience in New England. It was so bad that there was a tremendous backlash against the promoters of the show for allowing Hall to appear in the condition he was in.
- A 2012 documentary on Scott Hall's fall from grace revealed he had suffered a violent seizure the night before the event and was under the effects of heavy painkillers to the point where he had no idea where he was. The promoter insisted Hall go on anyways, and the show was a debacle as seen. (Hall suffers from seizures as a side effect of his long-term substance abuse.)
- The American Wrestling Association's last gasp at credibility was the Team Challenge, an interesting idea that was sadly ruined by the overwhelming number of absurd gimmick matches that were booked for it, culminating in a match known as the Turkey On A Pole match...that was won by Jobber Jake "The Milkman" Milliman. The entirety of the show, such as it was, was the three announcers (including Sergeant Slaughter) at a folding table, the ring, and a pink curtain — no crowd whatsoever, not even any crowd noise or music; the promotion made up a silly gimmick about "huge crowds" causing security issues, so the show was moved to a "secret location", but nobody bought it. It was a sad spectacle to behold, and the promotion went out of business not long after. The company's assets were eventually bought by WWE.
- Xtreme Pro Wrestling (XPW), a California-based hardcore wrestling promotion founded by adult film industry workers. Absolutely untalented workers with derivative gimmicks, obnoxious, brainless announcers, its career that was little more than a series of attempts to capitalize on ECW's fame (even moving to Philadelphia and gaining former ECW wrestlers). The matches were uninventive and demonstrated no skill, despite desperate attempts to cover up the fact. The angles were poorly-done rehashes of already godawful angles from other companies, including WCW's infamous Fingerpoke of Doom. The production values were terrible, and the bookers had nary an idea what they were doing.
- Wrestling Society X decided that average wrestling fans weren't physically attractive enough and the sight of them at ringside went against the image that the company was trying to present. The solution? Put the fans in the back row out of the lights and fill the front rows with stereotypically young hip and attractive tweens. In spite of decent booking and some great wrestlers, the promotion had trouble connecting with fans. Treating them like second class citizens in such a manner had a lot to do with that.
- The Global Wrestling Federation (GWF) was seen on ESPN in the early 1990s, and started out as a more "serious" alternative to the eternally cartoony WWF and to WCW, which was heavily treading the sports entertainment waters at the time with characters like P.N. News, Johnny B. Badd, and others. The GWF presented a mix of veterans (Eddie Gilbert, Terry Gordy, Demolition Ax, Stan Lane) with new talent, some of which got their first national exposure in the GWF and went on to become superstars in the major promotions (Patriot, Lightning Kid a.k.a. Sean "X-Pac" Waltman, Scott Anthony a.k.a. Scott "Raven" Levy, Jerry Lynn). They also had a light heavyweight division months before WCW, featured fan comments on a regular basis, and acknowledged the history of the wrestlers. However, as talent became expensive and familiar faces left for greener pastures, the GWF found itself under new management that stuck mostly with local talent (from Dallas, Texas) and, similar to WCW, focused more on copying the WWF's sports entertainment angles and characters. "Highlights" included:
- The first-ever bungee cord match between Chaz and Steven Dane.
- Territorial wrestler Mike Davis "going crazy" and becoming "Maniac" Mike Davis, a George Steele lite who was "launched into space" before the aforementioned bungee match and came back with a moon rock.
- Rude Dog, an African-American wrestler who acted like a real dog (predating Al Greene's character in WCW by eight years)
- Joe Castellini, the corrupt commissioner of the GWF (one of the first heel figureheads in wrestling?) who fined Butch Reed for having fire thrown at him by Gen. Skandor Akbar because he was "drunk." He would later be exposed for shady business deals, and would come back portraying a homeless character who did odd jobs to turn his life around.
- The Ebony Experience (later Harlem Heat, Booker T and Stevie Ray) have a match interrupted by their crying sister, who tells them that their mother is in the hospital and needs surgery. To pay for the procedure, they are forced to join forces with...
- Sebastian, a second-rate knock off of the WWF's Jamison nerd character.
- Gaston B. Means, evil attorney.
- Francis "Crybaby" Buxton, a portly, whiny wrestler, as his name suggests. note
- Announcer David Webb suffers a blow to the head and then thinks he's Elvis Presley, and announces the matches as such.
- Longtime tag team partners John Tatum and Jack Victory end up at odds...over profits from a pizza delivery service they owned together.
- Bombshell Ladies of Wrestling note closed their fourth show with a bizarre angle. Champion Missy Sampson had just retained the title against Mickie Knuckles and then got on the mic to vow she would defend it anywhere and any time. Cue La Rosa Negra making an appearance, apparently challenging for the title. She attacked Missy and after a few seconds, the referee ruled that Missy couldn't compete therefore La Rosa Negra was now the champion. A screwy title change that came about via referee stoppage. After the segment was over the crowd chanted "this is bullshit!" and Missy got on the microphone and said "my thoughts exactly". Following shows eventually showed this was part of an angle to keep the title off of Missy Sampson for being too unattractive for the promotion in the opinion of its new commissioner. Fair enough but fridge logic demands one ask "Why allow her and the similarly built Knuckles to get to the end of the show? Why bring in Amazing Kong, who should be considered more problematic for the company image than Missy?". In truth the entire angle did not turn out to be irredeemable, but it could have all been done without making La Rosa Negra, who had to snap back from the face turn she did on the prior show, whose win to loss record did not make her a believable contender, champion in one of the screwiest ways possible.
- When independent companies decided to adopt the "internet pay per view" model it lead to a lot of disasters early on. It was rare enough to see a show that began on time, the aforementioned BLOW's 7th show saw the camera crew flat out no show, forcing them to improvise with a single grainy angle from the first camera someone could find. But the organization hit the hardest was perhaps Ring of Honor. Go Fight Live's feed often skipped, froze, went off sync, cut out all together and sometimes refused to start. Doesn't really matter how good your wrestling is when no one can actually see or hear anything does it?
- The American Wrestling Federation was an independent promotion that ran between 1994 and 1996. The idea was to remove all aspects of "sports entertainment" and make the matches seem as much like a real athletic contest as possible. Unfortunately, this meant breaking the match up into three four-minute rounds with a one minute break between them, if there was no pin or submission in that time, it would be decided on points. While it is true that shoot fights such as boxing matches work that way, in a professional wrestling match it only served to break up the flow of the match, and make the wrestlers look weak and out of shape. Add in a fiercely enforced set of rules that prevented most high-flying maneuvers or exciting spots, a high proportion of matches ending in a DQ, an obviously coached audience, a roster mostly made up of over-the-hill Ring Oldies who lacked enough name recognition for a nostalgia pop, and Terry "Red Rooster" Taylor on commentary, and you've got a perfect recipe for failure. Even the networks realised what a bad idea it was, so much so that the AWF literally paid them to be on TV, and, in order to boost attendance, tickets were free; there are even rumors that they offered free food at tapings to lure in the homeless simply to get more people through the door. At a time when ECW was adding a whole new dimension of violence to the sport and WCW and the WWE were squaring off for the Monday Night Wars, this worked about as well as you'd expect.
- AJPW booked a match between Giant Baba and a 7 foot tall karate black belt from India who went by the name of Raja Lion. Unfortunately, Raja Lion didn't seem to understand the concept of a 'worked' match. He threw wild clumsy karate kicks constantly the whole match, one time aiming one at Baba's head, completely missing and nearly breaking his own knee falling over backwards. He also stiffed Baba with leg kicks and karate chops. Politically, Baba had to be gentler with Lion than he might have been. He eventually pulled Lion down to the mat and put him in a leg neck crank hold note , and after Lion flailed around for a little while, the ref called for the bell. To help Lion save face and avoid an international incident, Tiger Jeet Singh then ran in and attacked Baba.
- The Pitbull Gary Wolfe vs Raven match from Extreme Reunion 2012, in which Raven buries the show, those who could not make it to the show and everyone else working on it and does not even have the decency to wrestle, sending in a bunch of people no one knows in his place and then complaining about the job they did. This match turned the crowd against the show for the rest of the night.
- AAA Triplemanía XXIII, labeled as the worst PPV of 2015 by many including the Wrestling Observer Newsletter for many reasons:
- Technical and audio difficulties with audio being either muted or filled with buzzing noises at random points with piss poor camera work
- Bad commentary with Matt Striker trying too hard while Hugo Savinovich being completely underwhelming, and for about half the show completely inaudible.
- Questionable bookings for some matches, one of them being a 3 Way Trios Match featuring 9 high flyers... inside a Steel Cage which limited their movesets.
- One of the matches, Los Villanos vs Los Psycho Circus, was hailed as the worst match in 2015 by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, with Dave Meltzer giving it a Minus Five Stars rating. Reason? One of the Villanos was limited due to a stroke, while the other two were completely out of shape, forcing the Psycho Circus to carry them to disastrous results.
- Only two matches, Alberto el Patrón vs Brian Cage, and Rey Mysterio Jr. vs Myzteziz were good, but not enough to redeem this PPV.
- In short, AAA's attempt to attract new viewers in the USA ended in a massive disaster, especially when compared to Wrestle Kingdom 9 and Ultima Lucha, both being successful at attracting new fans to Puroresu and Lucha Libre respectively.