"Whoever responsible was clearly taking a page out of Charlie 'I’ve already got your money, dude' Sheen’s playbook, except at least the unhinged actor didn’t beg his disgruntled audience to see his next one-man show that he promised would totally be worth it, honest!"WWE (formerly CWC, then WWWF, then WWF), although a Long Runner in both its history and its talent, has hit more than a few snags along the way — bad wrestler ideas, bad Pay-Per-View events, and bad gimmicky storylines. Important Note: If something bad was an isolated incident or simply stupid, it doesn't make the whole thing Horrible. 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.
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Ah, the InVasion — the greatest feud there ever could have been, and the biggest disappointment there ever was. By April of 2001, the then-WWF had bought both of its major competitors - World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling - after both companies had gone out of business. The WCW buyout was the major acquisition, with the WWF acquiring the company's assets (including many of the contracts of its remaining roster and its extensive video library); they went so far as to have a special Nitro/RAW simulcast segment after the last match on the final Nitro to announce that Shane McMahon had (kayfabe) bought WCW instead of Vince (which, itself, was where the problems started).
- WCW vs. WWF was a dream match that fans looked forward to, but it quickly turned sour in the weeks leading up to the InVasion PPV. ECW wrestlers invaded an episode of Raw, and Paul Heyman himself declared the WWF vs. WCW war would be "taken to the extreme". This was the absolute high point of the storyline, as it appeared the top three wrestling promotions of the Attitude Era would be duking it out with each other in a no-holds-barred winner-take-all big battle...and then it all went downhill. Later that episode, ECW joined with WCW and became a singular entity known as The Alliance. The group would be called "the Alliance" through the rest of the storyline; mentions of ECW and WCW were kept to a minimum (partly because of trademark issues with usage of the ECW name). To top it off, Stephanie McMahon had been announced as the new owner of ECW, thus making the feud Shane and Steph vs. Vince, with the wrestlers as pawns in their family squabble. After having the Austin/McMahon feud appear to end because of the main event at WrestleMania X7, Vince threw himself and his family into the spotlight again, overshadowing everyone else in the feud and infuriating a lot of fans.
- The very first time the WWF tried to promote a WCW match counted as this all on its own, for a whole bunch of reasons - some of which weren't even anyone's fault. The match was Booker T vs. Buff Bagwell in front of a very hostile Tacoma, Washington crowd. The crowd had been booing and heckling the wrestlers all night, and many of them walked out before the WCW match even started. Booker and Bagwell didn't help, putting on a truly awful match (most of the blame went to Bagwell, who didn't exactly have a reputation for being a stellar worker to begin with, and who was in exceptionally poor form that night - Bagwell later blamed his performance on nerves from the hostile fans though). The only thing that got cheers during the match was when "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Kurt Angle, the WWF's top heels at the time, came out to beat up Booker and Bagwell before tossing them out of the arena. From this show, Vince McMahon took the belief that fans wouldn't cheer any WCW wrestlers and that WCW wrestlers didn't know how to work anyway. To put this in metaphor, the InVasion got off on the wrong step. This show was the wrong step, and WWE has rarely been back to Tacoma since. Bagwell was legitimately fired because the match was that horrible. Its induction into the annals of the WrestleCrap archives didn't come until fifteen years after the initial taping because RD Reynolds was so infuriated by it that "he never wanted to relive it."
- The next problem with the Invasion was the lack of star power on the part of WCW. Many top-tier WCW stars were not acquired by the WWF because their contracts were supposedly too expensive to buy out, the most notable amongst these names being Ric Flair, Sting, Goldberg, and Scott Steiner. This meant that the two biggest names on the WCW side at the beginning of the angle were Booker T and Diamond Dallas Page. This, of course, prevented many of the most anticipated (and presumably high-grossing) WCW vs WWF matches from happening. Instead, in a combination of trying to put higher drawing wrestlers in the main event and an unwillingness to treat WCW (and later ECW) like they were actually on par with WWF, Vince McMahon had Steve Austin and Kurt Angle turn turncoat and join the Alliance. The only Alliance members who were allowed to look halfway decent against the WWF guys were those who had already been working in WWF previously - The Dudley Boyz and Rhyno, for example. In other words, the feud, for the most part, was very blatantly WWF vs WWF. Most of the WCW guys were kept in the background and those that weren't were treated rather horribly, bar Rob Van Dam. Vince responded by booking Van Dam against WWF heels as often as possible.
- Page's treatment during the InVasion deserves its own explanation. DDP was so eager to continue his career, as well as be a major player in the InVasion, that he accepted a buyout for his WCW contract to the tune of fifty cents on the dollar. He was brought in as the stalker of The Undertaker's wife Sara, and then he and fellow WCW refugee Kris Kanyon feuded with Undertaker and Kane — and they were absolutely buried; the average match resembled a Curbstomp Battle, and the feud ended with Page getting pinned by Sara. He was reduced to a lower midcarder with a motivational-speaker gimmick, and had only just started getting over again when he was severely concussed in a match with Bob Holly, essentially ending his wrestling career (aside from a brief run with TNA). The Undertaker's lack of interest in the entire angle certainly didn't help anything—he went out of his way to make Page look bad.
- Then, finally, there was Survivor Series 2001. The final match was a "Winner Take All" Survivor Series Match between the Alliance and the WWF where the loser of the match would be forced to withdraw from the wrestling business (which should have told you who was winning right from the start). The match put Team WWF (The Big Show, Chris Jericho,note The Undertaker, Kane, and The Rock) against Team Alliance (Steve Austin, Kurt Angle,note Booker T, Rob Van Dam, and Shane McMahon note ). Of the ten men in the match, only two had been in the Alliance's originating companies when they went out of business (Booker T in WCW and Rob Van Dam in ECW), essentially making the main event an all-WWF affair. This becomes even more blatant when you know who the final two men in the match were — Steve Austin and The Rock. That's right, the fate of the wrestling world didn't hinge on a WCW star vs. a WWF star (or even an ECW star vs. a WWF star) — it hinged on the two biggest WWF stars of the Attitude Era. And guess what? Rock won thanks to Kurt Angle nailing Austin with the title belt and betraying the Alliance!
- After the InVasion ended, all the WCW main eventers who had been supposedly too expensive to bring over were hired over the years, with Ric Flair showing up the very night after the InVasion ended. Over the years, every WCW main eventer would end up in WWE, with Sting eventually being the last; though he was invited several times in the interim, he didn't trust WWE creative to treat him well and declined to hop on board until 2014. In a shoot interview, Sting admitted that the reason he thought this was because of seeing how WWE treated Booker T during the InVasion angle. InVasion was so bad, it ruined even the future possibility of the dream match of Sting versus Undertaker, as they're both long past their prime in the ring and Sting announced his retirement from wrestling at his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2016.
- Incidentally, it turned out that Sting was 100% correct in his assumptions, as when he finally did debut in WWE it was just so the company could drag out WCW's corpse to piss on it one more time— during his WrestleMania match against Triple H the commentators constantly harped on Sting for being a "WCW interloper" out to ruin the company for them (when during the feud Sting had pointedly gone out of his way to deny this— in fact, his reason for opposing The Authority was because he didn't want to see their backstage politics ruin WWE the same way WCW had gone) and then he lost the damn match!
- King of the Ring 1995 was the absolute low point for WWE's mid-90s slump in ratings. It had an array of bad matches, including a match that ended by time-limit draw, a match that ended by countout, a match that ended with outside interference, a match that ended with botched outside interference, and an inexplicable rise of Savio Vega (he was pitched as a guy who had an unbelievable rise to the top, but wound up getting crushed in the end). You can actually hear the air getting sucked out of the arena after The Undertaker gets pinned and eliminated from the tournament by Mabel in thoroughly underwhelming fashion, after a boot to the head by the interfering Kama, and a legdrop by Mabel. This is the same Undertaker who'd No-Sell some of the most devastating moves the roster had to offer, and two midcarders dispose of him just like that. When Mabel was crowned the king, he had garbage thrown at him. Of course, Mabel's subsequent main-event push tanked, and slowly withered and died by the end of the year - appropriately enough, after losing a Casket Match to the Undertaker.
- WrestleMania IX (1993) remains one of the worst WrestleManias in history. Poor booking, poor matches, it had it all. Let's go over the ways it sucked:
- A match between Bam Bam Bigelow and Kamala was canceled with no reason given. While neither guy was really a marquee name they were both talented big men who could probably have a decent match.
- In the dark match, Tito Santana defeated Papa Shango in his first 'Mania victory since WrestleMania I... offscreen. Some tribute to a guy who's been a part of 'Mania since the beginning.
- The opening bout has Tatanka and Shawn Michaels fight in one of the only good matches on the card, but everything reaches garbage towards the end. Tatanka hits his finisher on Michaels, only the referee refuses to count because, apparently, he had counted Michaels out beforehand. Not only did this ending completely ruin what was a good match, it made neither man look strong as Michaels only won by sheer luck and Tatanka won the match but not the title and would never receive another title shot again.
- The Steiners defeated the Headshrinkers in the only clean babyface win on the whole show.
- Razor Ramon meets Bob Backlund in one of the strangest matchups ever. Razor Ramon ended up cheered, despite being a heel.
- Lex Luger and "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig should've been a great match, as Hennig was one of the best wrestlers in the world and Luger was as good as his opponent was. However, neither seemed incredibly motivated and it led to a so-so match that didn't steal the show as it should have.
- The Mega Maniacs completely dominate Money Inc. when Hulk Hogan hits both members of Money Inc. with Brutus Beefcake's facemask during the third ref bump of the night. It looks like Hogan and Beefcake win when another referee comes out and disqualifies them for using the facemask. When does this ever happen? It makes no sense considering how several matches have been won by cheating (including one on this very show) and no second ref came out to DQ the cheaters. What makes this especially notable is the fact that it looked like the typical Money Inc. finish - they flee the match to take the countout loss but hold on to the belts since titles don't change hands by countout or DQ, robbing the challengers of the belts and, arguably, the fans of a solid finish - would be averted; Money Inc. started to head for the back only to have Howard Finkel - sorry, Finkus Maximus (ugh...) - announced that the referee had decided that if they did not return to the ring in time, the countout would basically be ruled a forfeit, and the title would indeed change hands. Ultimately, it was one BS finish replacing another.
- The show goes from bad to worse with the next match: The Undertaker vs Giant Gonzalez. Largely hailed as one of the worst matches ever, Undertaker tried to pull a watchable match out of the irredeemably awful Gonzalez. After seven and a half painful minutes, 'Taker wins the match by DQ after Gonzalez uses chloroform, in Undertaker's only match at WrestleMania to end in DQ.
- The main event between Yokozuna and Bret Hart isn't too bad until the ending. Hart goes for the Sharpshooter, despite showing prior that he's too smart to go for moves like that in the match, and Yoko gets out easily. Then, when Hart has Yoko in the Sharpshooter, Mr. Fuji throws salt in his face. Rather, Mr. Fuji fumbles about for a few seconds, directly in Hart's line of sight, to get a handful of salt, before he finally deploys it. Yoko doesn't even hit the Banzai Drop; he just blithely grabs Bret's legs and gets the pin. While the ending was stupid, what happened afterward was far worse.
- Hulk Hogan comes out, apparently to check on "his friend" Bret. He also issued an open challenge to take on the winner of the main event, so there's that as well. Yokozuna and Fuji have no reason to accept, yet Fuji does just that. In a pull so cartoonish it might as well have been on Rock N' Wrestling, it takes only twenty-two seconds for Yoko to take a salt bump and Hogan to drop the leg, get the pin, and walk out the champion. Behind the scenes, Hogan convinced McMahon that a heel couldn't walk out of 'Mania with the title, but instead of allowing Bret to retain, he should run in and squash Yokozuna to steal the title.
- Aftermath: Hogan is slated to drop the belt to Bret after the PPV, but refuses because he thinks it'll make him look weak. Then he skips out of the promotion to shoot movies (he was also caught on video badmouthing the WWF at a New Japan event). Vince McMahon, understandably pissed off, has Hogan lose the belt to Yokozuna in a squash match as punishment, and it takes the better part of a year before any of the fallout from WMIX is finally cleared. Bret Hart is booked to win the King of the Ring as compensation, but the tournament meant nothing and the fans (and Hart himself) knew it.
- Over the Edge. May 23, 1999: the night Owen Hart died. Working as the Blue Blazer at the time, he was to be lowered to the ground by harness from the rafters in a pastiche of Sting's gimmick in WCW. Instead, the harness failed, and he fell 70 feet, his chest hitting a turnbuckle on the way down. The only positive was that the accident was not seen live on TV, so they could extend backstage activity while dealing with the accident. Hart was taken to a Kansas City hospital, while WWF decided to continue the event, a decision that proved extremely controversial once Owen's death was announced. The event wouldn't see the light of day until the premiere of the WWE Network, where it was made available with heavy edits. The WWF would eventually settle with Owen's wife Martha Hart for $18 million, but still occasionally catch heat since part of the settlement was they could never mention Owen again on WWE programming, something the WWE Network has made impossible.
- Katie Vick. Murder, necrophilia, puppets, this saga had it all! The angle (which Vince McMahon thought was hilarious at the time) hit absolute rock bottom in a video where Triple H, posing as Kane, entered the funeral parlor (an actual parlor, which had a funeral going on next door) where his dead high school sweetheart — whom he had killed in a car accident — was on display, climbed into the casket, and proceeded to have sex with the corpse. The scene climaxes in a handful of spaghetti bolognese getting thrown at the camera and the punchline "I finally did it! I screwed your brains out''!" For years afterward, the skit was castigated by such folks as Triple H, Mick Foley, The Rock (the last two pointed out that Kevin Dunn and Vince McMahon tried their darnedest to make this sound like a good idea) Shawn Michaels, and CM Punk.
- This is just one of a long line of attempts to apparently kill Kane's career. The May 19, 2006 angle (which even the bookers realized was bad the week after the reveal) and Lita's pregnancy come to mind here, along with his previous gimmicks of the Fake Diesel, Isaac Yankem (a wrestling dentist), and the Christmas Creature.
- In 1998, the WWF Brawl For All, a boxing tournament between various wrestlers. As per Russo's Leaning on the Fourth Wall style of booking, this was booked as a "shoot" i.e. the wrestlers were actually beating each other up. Aside from the complications, this puts on the kayfabe for the rest of the show, the wrestlers (who, mind you, had no real boxing experience going into the tournament) then proceeded to have real fights that looked terrible (compare ragdolls flopping their arms about) and injuring each other. The angle was set up to get "Dr. Death" Steve Williams over as a tough guy for a potential "who's tougher" match with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. However, the very obvious variable of having unpredictable finishes in unscripted finishes meant Dr. Death pulling a hamstring and was taken out in the quarterfinals by Bart Gunn. The bookers then put him in his WrestleMania XV match with Butterbean where Gunn was utterly destroyed in half a minute. Accounts differ as to whether Gunn was being punished for winning the Brawl for All when he wasn't supposed to, or whether Vince Russo thought that Gunn would beat Butterbean - but either way, Gunn was fired when he got back to the locker room. The angle led to no less than four injuries, a lot of animosity between the wrestlers who beat each other up, and the destruction of two promising careers (Gunn and Dr. Death.) And, of course, the big selling point— that these were real fights fizzled with the fans who either didn't buy that they were unscripted or wanted them to just wrestle instead.
- As bad as David Arquette: WCW Champion was, it was just barely the worst angle that year. Over in the WWF, Mark Henry (who at the time worked a Barry White gimmick as "Sexual Chocolate") got involved with female bodybuilder/Degeneration X enforcer Chyna, and then with her friend Sammy who turned out to be a transvestite. Then he got involved with Mae Young, (then in her seventies) and got her pregnant. Three months later, Mae gave birth (while smoking a cigar) on RAW—to a disembodied hand, leading to the punchline: Vince declaring "Let's all give her a hand!". And let's not forget the way it opened—Mae Young flashing her audience in defiance of the "show me your puppies" gag. In WrestleCrap's annual "Gooker Award" voting, Arquette beat this by only 0.5%. The whole shebang actually placed at #62 in What Were They Thinking? The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History. The only thing it was good for was an over-the-top Brick Joke, and even that doesn't cancel out them repeating the angle—only to have her give birth to Hornswoggle.
- Unfortunately, there can be no mention of atrocious wrestling angles without one that most wrestling fans would prefer to forget: the rightfully infamous failure of human empathy known only as "Eddiesploitation".
After the tragic death of the much-beloved Eddie Guerrero, it's reasonable to expect that a company run by ordinary, sane people with actual human feelings and emotions wouldn't want to drag everyone involved through a tasteless, disrespectful angle just for the sake of ratings. Naturally, Vince McMahon used Eddie's death as fodder for an extremely tasteless angle with such shining moments as Randy Orton telling Rey Mysterio to his face that Eddie was "in hell", and Mysterio claiming to receive spiritual assistance from Eddie's ghost in Heaven.
According to Konnan, literally everyone in the entire company, including Vince's own daughter and son-in-law, thought this was an awful idea, except for the one man who wielded absolute power. Consequently, Vince forced everyone, from Eddie's best friends to his widow to take part in the crass, tasteless and degrading angles. Supposedly it was supposed to last even longer — Chris Benoit was set to feud with Chavo over "Eddie's estate" — until Benoit, Eddie's closest friend, finally called Vince out on it.
To this day, Eddiesploitation is widely considered Vince McMahon's Moral Event Horizon. When WrestleCrap awarded the angle the Gooker Award for 2006, RD Reynolds didn't include any soundbites or images from the angle in the article, because the angle wasn't something he could enjoy mocking — it was so loathsome he couldn't bring himself to go through it again just for the article.Reynolds: On the marquee of this site, it says, “The Very Worst of Professional Wrestling.” Truly, this induction is the very embodiment of that tagline. The seemingly never-ending exploitation of the late, great Eddie Guerrero is the absolute worst of pro wrestling, bar none.
- As bad as the Montreal Screwjob was, the "Original Screwjob" on Wendi Richter is even more egregious. One could charitably characterize Montreal as Vince being excessively paranoid about having his champion leave with the belt and throw it down on Nitro (which had happened with the Women's Title a few years prior via Madusa/Alundra Blayze); this screwjob, on the other hand, was around a time at which Richter's contract was being renegotiated note . The critical moment was when Moolah (in the guise of the "Spider Lady") gets Richter in a small package, at which Richter blatantly kicks out at one and has one shoulder obviously up at two. Even Gorilla Monsoon didn't initially notice that the three-count was made. Around the 7:18 mark here, you can see the small package.note
- A contender for worst Survivor Series match of all time happened at the 1993 edition of the event. The teams were Bam Bam Bigelow, Bastion Boogernote and the Headshrinkers, against, ostensibly, "four Doinks." After the better part of a year of Doink's shenanigans featuring himself and a second Doink, the implied payoff was to see four Doinks wrestling at once. However, this was during a period where Vince McMahon was fixated on catering to young children (he even disses Looney Tunes and Hanna Barbera on commentary, with a straight face), so instead, we got Luke and Butch of The Bushwhackers and Mo and Mabel of Men On A Mission, wearing Doink greasepaint and green clown wigs. After a confused crowd started chanting "we want Doink" over the bait-and-switch, the resulting "match" contained scooters, water balloons, the heels messily eating raw turkey and bananas (Samu actually gets eliminated after slipping on a banana peel), and blatant double-teams by the faces that the referee does nothing about. The only redeeming portions of this match were Bam Bam (the only one in the ring giving a lick of effort) and Bobby Heenan's commentary. And after the match, Doink finally appears on the video wall and cuts a promo that sounded like a six-year-old wrote it. This whole mess is a classic example of Vince being out of touch with his audience.
- The Christopher Nowinski and Jackie Gayda vs. Bradshaw and Trish Stratus match from a 2002 Raw. Gayda blew a boatload of spots, including Trish Stratus's finisher, a bulldog from the top turnbuckle. She missed it by a mile—she didn't sell it until a few seconds after Trish hit her, making the whole spot look utterly ridiculous. Jim Ross famously declared it "bowling shoe ugly" and all but apologized to the fans at its conclusion ("Mercifully, it's over"). Most fans simply refer to it as "That Jackie Gayda Match". Bradshaw said that it was one of the worst matches he'd ever participated in.
- The January 8, 2007 edition of RAW featured an attempt to cash in on the brief media feud between Donald Trump and Rosie O'Donnell. Two poorly-disguised jobbers (former NWA World Women's Champion Kiley McLean and Ace Steel of the Second City Saints) posed as the two and had a sluggish, no-effort, unbearable fight. It was so bad that the crowd, having gone past "You Can't Wrestle!" and "Boring!", began cheering for TNA.
- Unforgiven 2001 featured an infamous match between the Brothers of Destruction (The Undertaker and Kane) and Kronik (Bryan "Adam Bomb/"Wrath" Clarke and the late Brian "Crush" Adams) that took place as part of the InVasion angle. Taker was no-selling everything any WCW guy did to him with impunity, and Kane was only slightly better; meanwhile, told they were losing, Kronik decided they just wouldn't try very hard in the match. Botches, no-selling, extended rest-holds, miscommunication between the wrestlers, everything that could go wrong did. Both members of Kronik were ordered to go to development after the match, but refused and lost their jobs.
- Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar. Two men with similar gimmicks — big, charismatic, intense wrestlers who were nigh unstoppable by most other wrestlers. What could go wrong with a showdown between them? Well, Lesnar was ditching WWE to try out for the NFL, Goldberg's contract was set to expire and he wasn't renewing, and the show they wrestled at (WrestleMania XX) was being held in Madison Square Garden, a location that skews towards the Smark section of the fanbase. Goldberg and Lesnar decided not to bother having a good match knowing each other's fate, and the viciously negative fan reaction (skewed towards Lesnar, whose decision to leave WWE was more widely known than Goldberg's and more shocking, having only been reported a week before the show) certainly didn't inspire them to give a good performance. The end result was quite possibly the worst match in WrestleMania history, with Lesnar and Goldberg both using stalling tactics and low impact rest holds with both men not wanting to risk getting hurt. Guest referee Steve Austin was even getting visibly frustrated at the spectacle and the only saving grace came after the bell when Austin gave both Lesnar and Goldberg a Stone Cold Stunner as a lovely parting gift. You know it's bad when the fans are getting a better reaction from one another than the match—the biggest pop went to a fake wrestling match between a Hulk Hogan cosplayer and a "Macho Man" Randy Savage cosplayer. One Smark recapper described "Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg vs. the NYC crowd" as "the greatest squash match in history." They went to the Lesnar vs. Goldberg well again 12 years later, with somewhat better results.
- Batista vs. The Big Show for the ECW World Championship in August 2006. Doesn't sound quite as bad as you'd think, and to give credit where it's due the match itself wasn't horrible. However, it was held at the Hammerstein Ballroom, home to the wrong kind of audience for that exact sort of thing, as Hammerstein has traditionally been the original ECW's unofficial "Home Away From Home", and neither Batista or Big Show had any relationship with the original ECW whatsoever. When Big Show won the title from ECW Original Rob Van Dam, it was assumed that it was for the sake of Heel heat, but with this match putting two wrestlers who never wrestled in the original ECW for the ECW World Championship, many of the "ECW Mutants" became convinced of their fears that WWE seemed to try to scrub any trace of the original ECW out of their revival (which only worsened after the underwhelming December to Dismember 2006, the only solo PPV for ECW as a WWE brand). See for yourself all the boos they got.
- Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania XVIII for the World Heavyweight Championship, which lasted eighteen seconds! Worse, it was WWE's attempt at beating a record that shouldn't have even been shot for (and certainly not for a world title at that!)—quickest match at WrestleMania—and came seven seconds short of even tying. Hard to envision a better way to utterly waste what could have been a good bout. Fortunately, this didn't seem to hurt either's career in the long run.
- Kaitlyn vs Maxine from season three of NXT. Neither of them had much time to train, thanks to a dawdling tech crew setting up a stunt for WWE SmackDown. The resulting "match" was so bad the announcers broke Kayfabe and called it the worst match ever. Hell, Michael Cole even got up to take a phonecall during the middle of it.
- Triple H vs. Scott Steiner at Royal Rumble 2003. Steiner blew up a couple of minutes into the match, and to make up for this, he performed endless belly-to-belly suplexes through the entire match, and botched several sell attempts, including selling a Diamond cutter by falling backwards, and completely failing to sell a facebuster knee smash. His offence meanwhile included a Tiger Driver attempt that nearly dropped Triple H on his head after Steiner tripped over his own feet (this became known as the "Double-Underhook What-The-Fuck-Was-That?") and an attempted powerbomb from the ring apron that became known as the "Stumble Bomb" when he dumped himself and Trips onto the floor. Oh, and Triple H did a bladejob after Steiner hit him in the head with the leather strap of the belt. The only saving grace is that this was immediately followed by Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit, which many consider to be their greatest match against each other.
- Al Snow vs Big Bossman inside the Kennel from Hell Match. While it was an interesting concept (A Steel Cage inside the Hell in a Cell), the match was just dull. Exacerbating this were the allegedly angry guard dogs (in reality, they were just the opposite). Rather than keep the wrestlers in the cage as intended, they urinated, defecated, and mated right there in the Hell In A Cell during the match, in front of the whole audience. note
- The Undertaker was given two matches with Giant Gonzales — one at WrestleMania, the other at Summerslam. Both are regarded as some of the worst matches of all time. The only good thing that came from those matches was Gonzalez's suit◊ which makes him look like a Titan.
- Royal Rumble 2014: Daniel Bryan, who at that point and beyond was immensely over with the fans, was a favorite amongst smarks to win the match, and when the countdown began for Entrant #30, fans were on the edge of their seats. When the buzzer rang and Rey Mysterio's music played, the arena went into meltdown, booing any bit of Rey's offence and cheering his elimination. It got worse when the returning Batista won it. as they immediately turned on him. It's notable for being CM Punk's last wrestling appearance and for forcing the company to change the WWE World Heavyweight Title Match in order to stop it from imploding on itself.note Even Mick Foley verbally bit WWE's head off over this fiasco, posting the tweet "Does the WWE really hate their own audience?" that was retweeted 20,000 times in 24 hours.
- Royal Rumble 2015: In light of not just the above, but everything that had happened between then and this point, it was expected that WWE wouldn't be stupid enough to rehash last year's results. It was also expected that they wouldn't be suicidal enough to do so in Philadelphia, AKA Smart Mark Central and the birthplace of ECW. And yet, they did. WWE darling Daniel Bryan entered at number 10, to roaring applause—and was eliminated in ten minutes. At this point, the audience went into a rage, booing all but the most beloved participants (who, by the way, were unceremoniously beaten by Kane and The Big Show, riling the audience further). After Roman Reigns eliminated Kane and Big Show to appear to win the match, the crowd recalled that the monster heel Rusev, who got thunderous boos everywhere else, was never eliminated note and began to cheer for him to come back into the ring and beat Roman. It all came to a head when Rusev hit the ring to continue the match, and Roman Reigns threw him out in seconds to be declared the winner—the crowd jeered so fervently that not even the presence of The Rock (who was dragged out onto the ring to join Reigns in celebrating) could placate them. The marks rioted outside the arena, preventing WWE staff (including The Usos, who were met with chants of "When y'all say 'move,' we'll say 'no!'") from leaving. Its impact was felt for days—#CancelWWENetwork promptly became Twitter's #1 worldwide trend. The amount of subscriptions to the WWE Network dropped by 300,000, and the page to cancel subscriptions crashed due to heavy traffic. The sad thing is that the night also boasted Rollins vs. Cena vs. Lesnar, which was completely forgotten in the face of this failure. At least Bryan resumed involvement with the championship as a result. The worst thing about all of this is that it could have been avoided completely. Daniel Bryan had been out for months due to injuries, to the point where the question of if he would retire was banded about. A few weeks before the Rumble, WWE made a huge fuss about him returning and entering himself in the match. Given they could have announced his return after the show, a lot of fans saw his involvement as WWE trolling everyone. Adding to the accusations of outright trolling was that Goldust began to make his entrance to the match just after Bryan was thrown out. Goldust's entrance video begins with "A SHATTERED DREAMS PRODUCTION" splayed on the obscenely huge Titantron screen, leading to a mean/hilarious picture of Bryan looking dejected at ringside with that on the screen above him.
- After years of constantly failing to get Roman Reigns over (e.g., the aforementioned Royal Rumble 2015), WWE put perhaps the final nail into his (and, by extension, their) coffin by having him defeat and retire The Undertaker in front of probably the most-furious crowd ever at WrestleMania 33. And the backlash didn't stop there; the very next Raw opened with Reigns silently enduring many minutes of intense and nonstop booing, and countless fans even went as far as to mass-dislike every WWE video on YouTube.
- Bayley vs Alexa Bliss at Extreme Rules 2017 Kendo Stick-on-a-Pole match might as well be named the Bayley burial match. First of all in the build, we had the awful Bayley "This Is Your Life" segment which gave the feud lots of Go-away-heat as crowds chanted boring and "DELETE" as awful actors attempted to make people hate Alexa. Bayley then runs in at the end of the segment making her look dumber than Eugene and making people hate Bayley for forcing them sit through this awful segment. Alexa then beats the crap out of Bayley making her look weak and making the whole thing pointless if the intention was to get Bayley more over instead it did the opposite. During the match itself Bayley had the kendo stick and was chasing Alexa when she had her cornered, but decided to wait till the last possible second to hit Alexa who was able to take it from Bayley making her look even stupider. The match ends after Alexa hits Bayley repeatedly with the Kendo stick and hit the DDT for the win. Finally, this match was somehow shorter than the one at Payback breaking the cardinal rule of not having the face be dominated by the heel in the final match. Remember how Bayley was supposed to be the female John Cena, because not even Brock Lesnar vs Cena at SS 2014 was this one-sided.
- The Gobbledy Gooker. Perhaps the template of "so bad it's horrible" gimmicks. Has its own page, but in a nutshell: A man dressed in a turkey costume hatches from a giant egg at the 1990 Survivor Series and dances in the ring with "Mean" Gene Okerlund, to a chorus of boos from a disappointed audience. The gimmick even inspired the "Gooker Award" (for the year's worst gimmick/story line) at the WrestleCrap website.
- Mid-1993 saw one of the company's biggest flop gimmicks to date, with Friar Ferguson, played by Mike Shaw. Ferguson was a wrestling monk, complete with a bottle of holy water and a big brown cloak. And he danced. In the Friar's one match, the fans had no idea whether he was Heel or Face, but the match, with jobber Chris Duffy, was such a plodding, tedious waste of time that fans stopped caring (at one point, Friar picked up his opponent before a count of three, and you can audibly hear fans turning on the segment right there). Vince McMahon was the only one entertained by the gimmick, and it was probably one of the first big disasters of Monday Night Raw. note
- In 1988, Terry Taylor, then known as a stellar worker and up-and-coming star, debuted with Bobby Heenan as his manager, who claimed he could make any "red rooster" a champion. Eventually, Taylor broke away from Heenan, but continued being the Red Rooster, complete with a red fauxhawk, clucking during matches and a "small fan base" of plants known as the "Rooster Boosters". While not offensive or repulsive, this gimmick ruined Taylor's career—everywhere he went, he got "rooster" chants and could Never Live It Down.
- Beaver Cleavage (portrayed by Chaz "Headbanger Mosh" Warrington) was a parody of Leave It to Beaver, complete with beanie and sailor uniform, shown in a series of black and white vignettes. The vignettes showed the exploits of Beaver and his mother (Marianna Komlos), who'd respond with sexually suggestive remarks.note This was Vince Russo's pet gimmick, and he fought hard with Creative to get it on the air. After only two weeks and hostile fan reaction, Vince McMahon ordered the character axed, causing Russo to jump to WCW and screw it up, too; Warrington never had quite a career after this.note
- Chaz and Marianna didn't make out much better in the follow-up storyline, which took them from creepy and dumb to offensive and horrific. Chaz and Marianna carried on under their own names, ditching the gimmicks and simply being themselves on TV. Which was fine, until they suddenly broke up, which was turned into a domestic violence angle where Marianna would keep showing up on TV with bruises on her face, accusing Chaz of beating her. This caused the WWF to turn against Chaz to the point that his fellow wrestlers shunned him and the referees would refuse to count his pinfalls - which isn't ridiculous in itself, but this was going on at the same time when Jeff Jarrett was hitting women in the head with guitars and putting them in the figure 4 leglock during live broadcasts, to a fraction of the criticism. And in a typical WWE Reveal, the angle concluded with Headbanger Thrasher revealing that Marianna made the whole thing up for some reason; she was arrested and never heard from again while the Headbangers reunited and proceeded to do absolutely nothing. Man, it sucked to be Chaz Warrington in 1999.
- Vince McMahon was convinced that flippy cruiserweights couldn't draw right up until he hired Rey Mysterio Jr.. Once he learned that they could, he decided he wanted another one, and so he hired Ultimo Dragon. The problem was, Vince didn't bother to watch any Ultimo Dragon matches before hiring him, and Dragon wasn't particularly flippy. After watching Dragon wrestle, Vince became enraged, declared that Dragon's style was absolutely incompatible with everyone else on the roster, and depushed the guy as hard as he could get away with, even going so far to edit out the cheers Dragon got when he appeared on Velocity and Heat.
- As a follow-up, WWE, wanting to get rid of Dragon, said something about releasing him and then rehiring him without the Ultimo Dragon gimmick, under his real name Yoshihiro Asai. Asai even unmasked in Japan in preparation for this. Then it didn't happen. Asai ended up taking the Tiger Mask gimmick. After that, he opened the promotion dragondoor. He booked the main angle around his mask related ordeals and multiple impostor Ultimo Dragons and Tiger Masks. Imagine the Undertaker/Underfaker angle with a half dozen Underfakers instead of just one. dragondoor ended up having a six show lifespan - the only good that came out of it was that the mask issue got muddled enough that Asai was able to resume using the Ultimo Dragon gimmick afterwards.
- 2012 was a very, very long year for Zack Ryder. He starts off the season as US Champion, which already bodes badly for him. However, within the month he is regulated to being John Cena's perennial rescuee. Because Kane wants Cena to give in the Power Of Hate, he keeps on using Ryder as his personal Fay Wray. He then loses his US title (unceremoniously) along with his girlfriend, Eve Torres, who turned out to be a Gold Digger. The end result was a broken Ryder who never recovered from his attack and subsequent burial. While Cena on the other hand shrugged off the attempt to corrupt him and went on his merry way.
- In lists of the strangest and least-deserving WWE champions of all time, Jinder Mahal has to be at the very top. During his first run with the company, he was a lower-midcarder at best, and ended his tenure being released while part of Three MB, who, despite being over, existed just to job. When he was rehired in 2016 to fill out the roster following the second Brand Extension, he resumed his WWE tenure doing just that...except when he was sent to SmackDown following the 2017 roster exchange. There, no less than two weeks removed from being embarrassed at WrestleMania 33 by football player Rob Gronkowski, he was entered as a seeming extra body in a number one contender's match for Randy Orton's WWE Championship, which he shocked the world by winning, before beating Orton for the title at Backlash. After the collective shock of the wrestling fans wore off, speculation arose that he had been given the belt to promote WWE's forthcoming tour of India, which made business sense as it's one of the largest and fastest growing countries in the world and a perfect place for wrestling to make inroads. The problem was, Mahal was not a very good choice to promote the company. Not only was he not actually from India (he's a native of Canada), his in-ring ability hadn't really improved from the day he first left the company (about the only pops he got during his matches were from his lackeys the Singhs, the former Bollywood Boyz, constantly running interference and bumping like madmen), and his character was downright boring, as he played a stock Foreign Wrestling Heel that fans were absolutely tired of. From there, his title reign went as a seeming guide to how not to book a credible champion. His reign brought such highlights as the return of the Punjabi Prison match (one rated as one of the worst gimmick matches of all time), a stinker of a feud with Shinsuke Nakamura that nearly destroyed any credibility the latter had left after a shaky start on the main roster (which also featured some of the most racist promos aired on WWE television since The Nation of Domination). After enduring months of backlash from both their fans and their own wrestlers, as Paul Heyman cut a promo over on Raw absolutely burying Mahal as any sort of credible threat to Universal Champion Brock Lesnar in a "Champion vs Champion" match that had been scheduled for Survivor Series of that year, WWE pulled the plug on the Mahal experiment by having AJ Styles defeat him on a random episode of SmackDown. The final nail in the coffin came when WWE had to cancel every show but one on their India tour due to low ticket sales, meaning Mahal hadn't even gotten over there, one of the only reasons he was even given the belt in the first place. While it was noted that Mahal himself, out of Kayfabe was a legitimately hard worker and very grateful for the opportunity, it still doesn't change the fact that he ended up torpedoing the WWE Championship's lineage and prestige into the ground, so much so that on combined pay-per-views its matches ended up playing second fiddle to the less than two year old Universal Championship. You can read more about his disaster of a title run here, which ended up winning the Gooker Award for 2017 despite a winner already having been announced earlier in the year.
- As a side note, WWE hasn't given up their plans to promote in India, but it's perhaps telling that, near the end of Mahal's reign, they signed three new Indian wrestlers: Rinku Singh, former pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates and subject of Million Dollar Arm, Saurav Gurjar, an actor with wrestling/kickboxing experience, and Amanpreet Singh, better known in TNA as Mahabali Shera, all of whom are actually from India. note
- Tough Enough 2. Head trainer Al Snow, in just about every Confession Cam segment, was agonizing over how poorly the training was going. In fact, "These kids aren't ready" was practically the Catch-Phrase for the entire season. Then when it was time to select the winners, they deviated from the "one male winner, one female winner" thing at the very last split second, to the point that the person announcing the winners was audibly confused. The first winner announced was Linda "Shaniqua" Miles, aka Linda "miss a missile dropkick by" Miles, named after an incident in a match she wrestled on Heat. Yes, Linda was worse in the ring than Jackie Gayda (the second winner) following Tough Enough 2. In 2013 this was inducted into the annals of WrestleCrap.
- The 2003 WWE/Girls Gone Wild PPV special. Viewers were promised all sorts of R-rated hijinks that the networks would never allow (read: Divas flashing their goods). The audience got one shot of Torrie Wilson almost flipping her skirt at the crowd. The main attraction was supposed to be the crowing of Miss Girls Gone Wild 2003 (whatever that meant); what happened was a glorified Diva Search sketch, with an occasional flash of tits (not from the Divas, of course). Even when the "contestants" would start to get frisky and start doing what girls traditionally do in a Girls Gone Wild video, Jonathan Coachman would literally jump in and break things up. Did we mention that this was a Pay-Per-View? A tremendous waste of time for all involved.
- The entire ending sequence to NXT Season 2 was such a trainwreck it may have stopped several careers in their tracks. It started off with Kaval winning, which was about the only thing that went well here. After the announcement was made, runner-up Michael McGillicutty was handed the mic and cut a very Narmy promo where he trips over his lines. In that promo, he basically promises a Genesis of the career of Michael McGillicutty. Then he leaves the ring. Kaval tries to cut a celebration promo but is cut off when the rookies eliminated in the previous weeks come in and attack him. The WWE Pros try to intervene, and we get what ends up being the very antithesis of what made The Nexus work. Even the people in the nosebleeds could have heard the spots being called and the refs yelling instructions to the angry rookies. After that promo, only Kaval and Riley would find themselves appearing on television in the weeks that followed, (Kaval joined the Smackdown roster, while Riley would hang around The Miz as his 'apprentice') and the end of NXT Season 2 was never mentioned again. McGillicutty and Harris would finally resurface at Hell In A Cell, costing John Cena his match against Wade Barrett and acting as unofficial Nexus lackeys, before being officially inducted into the group a few weeks later. If there were plans for a Genesis stable involving NXT Season 2, they were quickly axed.