Follow TV Tropes

There are subjectives, and then there are these. While you may believe a work fits here, and you might be right, people tend to have rather vocal, differing opinions about this subject.
Please keep these off of the work's page.

Following

Horrible / WWE

Go To

"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) is a Long Runner in both its history and its talent, so it's no real surprise that it's hit more than a few snags along the way - bad wrestler ideas, bad pay-per-view events, and bad gimmicky storylines.

Advertisement:

Important Notes

  • 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.
  • No Real Life Examples, Please!. While the WWE's management of the COVID-19 pandemic was questionable at best, it doesn't make it as an example, as it doesn't pertain a work but rather a Real Life situation.

Advertisement:

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

Gooker Award winners

    The InVasion Angle (2001) 
Ah, The InVasion Angle - the greatest feud there ever could have been, and the biggest disappointment there ever was.

  • By April 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 his father 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 night, 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 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 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 15 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, Scott Steiner and (most damning of all), the entire original nWo (Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash). 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 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 had both Austin and 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 and ECW 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.
  • Diamond Dallas 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 50 cents on the dollar. He was brought in as the stalker of The Undertaker's then-wife at the time Sara, and then he and fellow WCW refugee Chris Kanyon feuded with Undertaker and Kane - and they were absolutely buried; the average match resembled a Curb-Stomp Battle, and the feud ended with Page getting pinned by Sara from within a Raw match after SummerSlam 2001. 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 Hardcore 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. As the next entry also suggests, 'Taker the consummate WWF company man appeared to have taken the Monday Night Wars more personally than he should have and was simply unwilling to work properly with ex-WCW guys, possibly the single most unprofessional thing the Deadman ever did in his otherwise legendary career, which may have played a hand at being named Most Overrated that year by the The Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards.
  • Unforgiven 2001 featured an infamous match between the Brothers of Destruction and Kronik. 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.
  • 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 (Big Show, Chris Jericho note , The Undertaker, Kane, and The Rock) against Team Alliance ("Stone Cold" 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 given that 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 an ECW star vs. a WWF star - it hinged on the two biggest WWF stars of the Attitude Era. And Rock won thanks to 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 onboard 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 vs. 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 31 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

    The Katie Vick Saga (2002) 
Murder, necrophilia, puppets, this saga had it all!
  • The storyline had Kane challenging Triple H to his World Title, when H started talking about a mysterious woman named 'Katie Vick' that upset Kane. It was soon revealed that she was Kane's dead high school sweetheart that he had killed in a car accident. A distasteful subject, but nothing was too offensive... until Triple H wore a Kane mask, entered the funeral parlor where Katie's body was apparently on display, climbed into the casket, and proceeded to have sex with the corpse (actually a doll). 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!"
  • It was later reported that Vince McMahon was the only person who found the angle amusing, and literally everybody else involved tried their damnedest to convince him otherwise. For years afterward, the skit was castigated by such folks as Triple H, Mick Foley, The Rock, Shawn Michaels, CM Punk, even Kane himself, and it is universally considered by fans to be one of the most embarrassing moments in professional wrestling.
  • The vignette was also filmed in an actual funeral parlor where actual funeral business was still actually being conducted that day. Apparently there was a service going on in the next room, and the funeral director had to come in to interrupt because Triple H was making too much noise having fake sex with a corpse/doll.
  • This is just one of a long line of attempts to apparently kill Kane's career. The May 19, 2006 angle and Lita's pregnancy come to mind here, along with his previous gimmicks of the Fake Diesel, Isaac Yankem, and the Christmas Creature.
  • This angle also tanked Scott "Sick Boy" Vick's career. Vick was seen at the time as an underrated wrestler with a big upside, and the entire reason Vick was chosen as Katie's last name was for bringing him onto the main roster (he was going to be her kayfabe brother). Then when the angle tanked WWE lost interest in him, and he lost interest in the wrestling business.

    "Eddiesploitation" (2006) 
Vince McMahon's "tribute" to the late Eddie Guerrero, a tasteless and disrespectful angle that lasted for over a year starting from 2006, and involved every superstar connected to Latino Heat just for the sake of ratings.
  • It featured "shining moments" such as Randy Orton telling Rey Mysterio to his face that Eddie was "in hell" (something that Orton absolutely hated doing, as like everyone else, he loved Eddie), and Mysterio claiming to receive spiritual assistance from Eddie's ghost in Heaven. It didn't even stop there—everyone from Eddie's best friends to Eddie's still-grieving widow was forced to take part in feud after feud, fight after fight, and promo after promo referencing him and his death. Only one thing kept it from dragging on even longer: Chris Benoit finally called Vince out, after he tried to set up a feud between Benoit and Chavo Guerrero over Eddie's "estate." To this day, Eddiesploitation is easily McMahon at his most shameful. According to Konnan, McMahon himself was the only person in the company who didn't see how awful an idea it was. When WrestleCrap awarded it the Gooker Award for 2006, RD Reynolds didn't include any soundbites or images—it was so loathsome he couldn't bring himself to go through it again, article or none.
    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.
  • To add insult to injury, Vince evidently didn't learn anything from this travesty. After Roman Reigns was forced to temporarily leave the company in October 2018 due to a resurgence of leukemia, Vince had Dean Ambrose — as part of a Face–Heel Turn — mock Roman and his situation with a promo line saying that his illness was a "punishment" and "him having to respond to the man upstairs." And that wasn't even the most offensive promo he wanted Ambrose to cut! According to Dean, McMahon had in mind a promo that, had the former not refused to go through with it, would've lost WWE all business with cancer-related organizations and required them to fire him and the writers to save face. Dean has not shared the details publicly, nor have the handful of people he's told, but he cited it as one reason he left WWE.
  • On the bright side, this angle did give Vickie Guerrero a career as a spokesperson and manager that has lasted even into her tenure in AEW. Although some, if not many, would say that her presence and gimmick make her a really annoying Scrappy.
Advertisement:

    Jinder Mahal: WWE Champion (2017) 
In 2017, WWE decided to give the WWE Championship to Jinder Mahal. The end result was a total disgrace to the company that completely derailed Jinder's career and tarnished the once proud championship.

  • During his first run with the company, Jinder was a lower-midcarder at best, and ended his tenure being released while part of 3MB, 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. On the 2017 Superstar Shake-up, he was sent to SmackDown, where the story begins:
  • In the blue brand, 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 #1 Contender's match for Randy Orton's WWE Championship. He shocked the world by winning, then beating Orton for the title at Backlash 2017. Speculation soon arose that he had been given the belt to promote WWE's forthcoming tour of India, which made business sense—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 that Mahal wasn't a very good choice to promote the company: for one, he wasn't born in India.note  His in-ring ability was So Okay, It's Average at best and on par with anything else listed here at worst, and hadn't really improved since he left the first time.note  What's more, his character was just boring, a dead-straight stock Foreign Wrestling Heel that would've been out of date more than twenty years prior.
  • From there, his title reign went on to defy all understanding of how credible champions were booked. "Highlights" include defending the title against Randy Orton in a Punjabi Prison Matchnote  at Battleground 2017, an attempted cash in by Baron Corbin during a match with John Cena that was thwarted by a roll up, damaging the images of all three wrestlers involved, and a feud with Shinsuke Nakamura that nearly destroyed the latter's already shaky career in the main roster.note  After enduring months of backlash from both fans and talent alike WWE ultimately had AJ Styles defeat Jinder on a random episode of SmackDown.
  • The consequences of the run were devastating:
    • WWE had to cancel every show but one on their India tour due to low ticket sales—Jinder Mahal hadn't even gotten over there, defeating the entire point of the run. To give you an idea of how bad the ticket sales were, the previous tour in the same city was a two night event. On the one show that wasn't cancelled, his "homecoming", Jinder faced off against Triple H, and jobbed to him in front of a 70% filled arena. That's right, the push was such a failure that they couldn't even let him win in his supposed homeland.
    • The whole run torpedoed the WWE Championship's lineage and prestige, so much so that on combined pay-per-views its matches were secondary to the then-very-recent Universal Championship.
    • After this run, Jinder did win at least two other titles (an eight-day reign with the United States Championship, and the comedic 24/7 Championship twice) but aside from the obligatory rematch with Styles (which he lost), Jinder was kept far away from the WWE Championship, never to sully its legacy again.
  • This disastrous title run won WrestleCrap's 2017 Gooker Award. Fun fact: The Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt "House of Horrors" match at Payback was awarded the title by default earlier that year; the hosts assumed no decision WWE could possibly make since might ever be as bad.
  • Meanwhile, The Wrestling Observer Newsletter was clear on their judgement of Jinder Mahal: not only did he won the "Most Overrated" award (by a landslide margin even against Roman Reigns), but he got second and fourth place in "Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic", the former for his racist promos against Nakamura and the latter for the title reign as a whole — and he likely would have won had the two been combined into one entry — he lost only to WWE re-personing Jimmy Snuka after having been Unpersoned due to the investigation of the death of his ex-girlfriend.
  • As a side note, WWE didn't give up on promoting 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, and Amanpreet Singh, all of whom were born in India.note  It took three more years for Singh and Gurjar to debut on NXT television, and by that time WWE had stopped mentioning India entirely.

    Crown Jewel (2018) 
Considered one of the worst pay-per-views in WWE history, the inaugural Crown Jewel event proved to be a disaster in both booking and business decisions.

  • The deal that led to the event wasn't at all a good idea to begin with. It was a 10-year, 20-show deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: for a net total of $450 million USD the latter got ten straight years of propaganda, for itself and its new crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. Nevermind how badly it contradicted their progressive image, the whole deal was surrounded by controversy. They'd already kicked the hornet's nest circa the first Crown Jewel, with Greatest Royal Rumble. WWE's female talent were all strictly forbidden from performing by Saudi law—as WWE relentlessly pushed women's wrestling stateside. Despite that, the show itself was considered to be passable, its most memorable moment being Titus O'Neil's trip heard round the world.
    Its sequel, however, was another story entirely. WWE's relationship with Saudi Arabia suddenly raised even more troubling questions, starting just a month prior. The dismembered body of an outspoken bin Salman critic was found in Istanbul's Saudi consulate—while investigations were still underway, most agreed that it was very likely an assassination ordered by Mohammed himself. Celebrities, superstars, and even U.S. Senators begged WWE to cancel the event; most famously, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver put them through the wringer. The only concession WWE made was to prohibit all mention of Saudi Arabia.
  • The event was marked for notorious absences:
    • The entire female roster, in what may be the closest this event had to an upshot, they instead fought on the all-female PPV, Evolution. By far, this was better-received than not just Crown Jewel, but many of the other WWE PPVs in that year alone.note 
    • John Cena stepped down from competing in the WWE World Cup, as his agent was worried that it might hurt his image. He instead continued to further his acting career, leaving a post-Face–Heel Turn Bobby Lashley to take his place. This was a net gain.
    • Daniel Bryan, who was highly critical of the Saudi Kingdom's crimes against homosexuals, outright refused to participate. He even wanted to lose his feud against The Miz at Super Show-Down, and with it his shot at the WWE Championship, if it meant avoiding the event. AJ Styles was meant to defend the title against him on the PPV, culminating both said feud and Styles' own with Samoa Joe. Instead, the whole thing was quickly resolved on the SmackDown go-home show three days prior. Ironically, AJ vs. Joe at Crown Jewel, without any feud in between, ended up being the best match both men had all year, and one of the scant few good points.
    • Roman Reigns announced that he had to drop the Universal Title due to a recurring battle with leukemia. This forced WWE to make the three-way between him, Braun Strowman, and Brock Lesnar a one-on-one for the vacant title. note  More on that later...
    • Sami Zayn, in a badly hushed-up case. On paper, he'd be a no-brainer for a show like this; he's Syrian-Canadian, speaks fluent Arabic, and had been one of the faces of the company even while he was in NXT. He even performed on the 2015 Middle East tour. He'd been advertised for Greatest Royal Rumble, but was dropped a few days prior, officially because Bobby Lashley had injured him in a match. Turns out Zayn is an incredibly outspoken critic of Saudi Arabia, for financing the Assad regime in Syria. That, and he runs a charity that brings medical services to Syria. He is Persona Non Grata in Saudi Arabia, who ordered WWE to never even mention him at any event in the country; as you might expect, this carried over to Crown Jewel as well. If nothing else, numerous other wrestlers also decided to have no part of the deal. Meanwhile, Mustafa Ali, Titus O'Neil, and others donated their paychecks from this to charity.
  • November 2 came, and how did the event open? With an underwhelming speech from a recently reinstated Hulk Hogan.note  This set the tone for the rest of the PPV. Turns out the crown prince had a nostalgic streak, and wanted to see the stars he used to watch back in the WWF years. Hogan was among the few specific requests who had not been dead for years.note 
  • The WWE World Cup. A "World Cup" where the entirety of its participants came from a single country,note  even though WWE itself has competitors from at least 10 countries on Raw and SmackDown alone. And on NXT, they even have a Saudi Arabian wrestler, Mansoor. The early rounds were composed of 5-8 minute matches where perennial midcarders The Miz and Dolph Ziggler reached the finals... against proven main eventers and world champions. Then, come the finals, Miz couldn't participate due to a kayfabe injury. Instead of being replaced by his last opponent Rey Mysterio, or forfeiting the match, he was replaced by Shane McMahon, who hadn't wrestled at all that day. Naturally, Shane won, to announcements of "Shane is the Best in the World". And the worst part? This wasn't a last-minute switch—it was intended from the get-go, as part of Shane's long-planned Face–Heel Turn.
  • Next was the Universal Title match. WWE's efforts to push Roman as the face of the company fell flat when he vacated the title, leaving the match as a one-on-one between Strowman and Lesnar. The sad announcement had the sole benefit of turning Braun face; most felt his heel run was just to feud with Roman. Come Crown Jewel, a lot of people expected Strowman to put a definitive end to Lesnar's Universal Title prospects; he was the only superstar on Raw who could plausibly be the face of the company. It was good and well, the match was going on without hitches... until Baron Corbin hit Strowman with the title, which allowed Lesnar to hit him with F5 after F5, securing the match and the Universal Title. Long story short: Corbin was tasked with bringing the Universal Championship to Raw, and instead conspired to get the title off Raw.
  • And then there's the main event, the very first match announced for the PPV: D-Generation X vs the Brothers of Destruction. This would've been a must-see... twenty years prior, during the Attitude Era. Now, all four of them are past their prime and over their physical peak, with their wrestling careers otherwise far behind. Taker and HHH did have a good match at Super Show-Down weeks earlier, but the promos for this match were beyond the level of the match itself. It started with Triple H tearing his pectoral muscle, and from there it delved into a comedic botch fest. Not that it stopped Hunter, as only a chokeslam upon the announcers' desk would put him out of the match. As for Shawn, his ring rust had showed up too much during the match itself. At one point, both Kane and Shawn were setting up a spot from one of the corners, but Shawn forgot that Kane was wearing a wig and threw it. Then there's the botched moonsault, which broke Michaels' nose and forehead. The match mercifully ended with Hunter pedigreeing Kane.
  • The kickoff had a United States Championship match between champion Shinsuke Nakamura winning over Rusevnote  that made the United States title look even more meaningless. In the SmackDown Tag Team Championship match, The Bar toppled The New Day.note 
  • Little changed in the aftermath of the event, and in most cases things went several steps back:
    • Perhaps the most notable thing was the beginning of a multiple month-spanning angle involving both Shane and The Miz that led to them forming a team and becoming SmackDown Tag Team Champions...for a couple of weeks, reducing the prestige of a title that had very good runs until that point. Meanwhile, fans had to endure the ring announcers constantly calling Shane "The Best in the World" and drawing it out longer each week, which quickly got on their nerves.
    • The SmackDown roster was subjected to a ignominious sweep from Raw at Survivor Series note , all for the protracted non-starter that was Shane's heel turn. note 
    • WWE's already doubtful ratings plummeted. Baron Corbin wound up taking the fall onscreen for everything bad that happened on Raw due to having played an on-screen authority role at the time, and the McMahons began "taking the power back" in an attempt to scrub everything to do with this from view. And although Corbin's widely-despised reign as Raw’s general manager came to an end, it also cost SmackDown their much more beloved general manager Paige, and resulted in more airtime for the McMahons, in particular Shane.
    • The Universal Title went back to a mostly-absent title, making it even more meaningless, and Strowman was left out of the title picture. Finn Bálor replaced him for Royal Rumble 2019. Lesnar was booked to retain the title at Royal Rumble, and apparently Vince McMahon was concerned about Strowman losing too many times to Lesnar. However, this attempt to protect his image didn't stop him from jobbing to Baron Corbin with interference from Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre at Elimination Chamber 2019, so it was meaningless.
    • Probably the only remotely good thing to come out of the event was the state of the WWE Title: it ended up in the hands of Daniel Bryan on the go-home show for Survivor Series 2018, who pulled off a massive heel turn the same day he won it. He began a bizarre yet brilliant run as an eco-friendly Well-Intentioned Extremist, complete with a "100% organic" new design for the title made out of wood and hemp.
    • The United States Championship finally changed hands at the last SmackDown of the year, ending in Rusev's hands... until Royal Rumble 2019, where he lost it at the hands of Nakamura yet again only for him to lose it on the following SmackDown to, of all people, R-Truth!
    • And last, but definitely not least, the plans for the road to WrestleMania 35 that involved HBK and Taker note  were all nixed in light of the main event's failures—it was so awful that Shawn swore off ever returning to the ring as a result.
  • As expected, when the time came to pick the worst thing that has happened in wrestling in 2018, not only did it run away with WrestleCrap's Gooker Award, but did so in record-breaking fashion: majority of the vote, margin of victory (between first and second is 40%, rest averages about 45%), and the first Gooker to get over 50%. Which also means that not only did it surpass every other candidate of the year,note  but also made anything from TNA/Impact Wrestling's worst days look good.
    • What's more this event played a key part in the WWE being picked as the worst wrestling promotion of the year by Dave Meltzer himself, breaking an 11-year streak of TNA/Impact Wrestling "winning" that award. The event also swept many of the negative categories: The pay-pew-view was named "worst show" with 638 votes, while the runner up got 239 votes, and the main event won "worst match" with 289 votes to 57 to the runner-up. The whole controversy got the notorious "Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic" award with a whopping 901 votes, while nothing else reaching 100.
  • The worst part of all this is that Evolution PPV, in spite of everything, ended up being a serious candidate for best PPV of the year, while the overpromoted Crown Jewel was a candidate for worst.

    Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt, Hell in a Cell (2019) 
  • The match started out well enough, but things went awry when Rollins, supposedly having the upper hand, couldn't pin Wyatt despite having thrown as many objects and finishers as he could on him. Fans started to notice the repetitive pacing and began to boo Rollins as Wyatt continued to No-Sell his moves. Shit started to hit the fan when Rollins, against the wishes of the referee Rod Zapata, decided to strike Wyatt with a sledgehammer to finish him off, forcing Zapata to call for the bell. In a Hell in a Cell match, which normally goes on until one of the wrestlers is pinned or submits. The whole arena melted down in boos and jeers, with chants of "RESTART THE MATCH!", "AEW!" and "BULLSHIT!" reverberating throughout the arena.note  By the next day, #CancelWWENetwork was once again trending.
  • Both wrestlers saw their image take a major beating in the aftermath. With Rollins' heel-like actions during the match causing fans to turn against him. It didn't help that Wyatt buried all of Rollins' moves. It's no surprise that Rollins didn't show up the next night on Raw, likely to avoid the potentially huge boos he would've gotten. While The Fiend didn't see his image tarnished as badly as Rollins did, he ended up losing a lot of momentum as he was essentially seen as an indestructible machine that could withstand any finisher thrown at him, making him difficult to book for future matches with anyone. Even before the match, many in the wrestling world felt Wyatt was pushed into the world title too soon (the match was only Wyatt's second match as The Fiend, after he cleanly beat Finn Bálor at SummerSlam 2019) and weren't impressed by the rushed build towards the HIAC match. Many went into the bout with fairly low expectations, but they weren't at all ready for the bungled up finish at the end.
  • To add more salt in the wound, the whole no contest/DQ result in a Hell in a Cell main event match? They did the same damn thing last year.note  The only reason people tolerated that mess was because it was used to build a planned Triple Threat match between Braun, Roman and Brock at Crown Jewel...which, as mentioned in that folder, never happened because of Roman's leukemia returning. That match combined with this debacle had the terrible effect of minimizing the significance of one of WWE's most cherished and romanticized gimmick matches they've utilized for 22 years, as not only did it show WWE could change the rules at any time if they feel like protecting their top faces of the company is more important than entertaining the fans, but that the match type can no longer hold up to the strict PG rules the company has implemented since 2008. Many now doubt that future Hell in a Cell matches will ever receive the kind of hype or brutality that defined them in the past in the aftermath of Rollins vs. Wyatt, especially after reports that both Sasha Banks (vs. Becky Lynch) and Wyatt got injured during their respective matches.
  • In a perfect demonstration of how everyone watching felt about the finish, Sean Waltman himself (a.k.a. the guy who put the X-Pac in X-Pac Heat), at the live watch along, couldn't help but shoot on how idiotic it was:
    "Alright, you may not ask me back for another one of these, but how the hell do you get DQ'd in a Hell in a frickin' Cell!?"
  • To put the final nail in the coffin, Dave Meltzer gave the match -2 stars, and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter later gave it the "Worst Match of the Year" award.
  • This disgrace to wrestling even won the 2019 Gooker Award, just barely beating out the abysmal Rusev-Lana-Lashley love triangle arc by nine votes, as well as beating WWE 2K20, their first ever video game candidate. On a funny little note, they did recognize that they should have known what people were in store for with the match being brought to its viewers by WWE 2K20 itself. To quote directly from the article, "seeing the Gooker winner being sponsored by the second runner up for the award is a whole new rancid territory."
  • Fortunately, WWE did not repeat the mistake of having a no-contest finish for a third year in a row at the 2020 Hell in a Cell event, clearly indicating they had finally learned their lesson. Notably, during the Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso match, the ref tries to throw the match out, only for Reigns to toss him out of the ring, as if WWE were doing a bit of Self-Deprecation at their own past failures.

    RETRIBUTION (2020) 
  • RETRIBUTION was supposed to be the modern-day nWo, The Nexus or Aces & Eights, and ended up being an example of everything bad about the WWE call-up of NXT superstars into their main roster. Helped by the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the company from having live audiences (an integral part of Professional Wrestling that could've helped give proper feedback about the faction), the stable was composed of five NXT call-ups hellbent on destroying anything WWE-related.
  • The stable was announced on the WWE website days before their first impact (their attacks on a generator), nullifying the surprise factor, a key component of this kind of angle.
  • The thing that probably doomed the stable was when people immediately noticed their similarities with Antifa, which was not helped by a rumor a few months prior that WWE was planning to debut a stable with such a gimmick. While there is no evidence that the rumors were true, the optics were still terrible, especially considering the political climate at that time, and is likely what led to the team's subsequent neutering into ineffectual troublemakers instead of dangerous disrupters.
  • The faction kept trashing the set of Raw and Smackdown until they decided to settle on Raw, thus also undermining their "anti-establishment" component.
  • Their goofy reactions and confusing, mixed metaphor-riddled promos, as well as their awful names (T-Bar, Slapjack, Reckoning, to name a few) undermined their credibility. They also never did anything particularly dangerous that would indicate this was truly an 'invasion', and instead just jumped around and screamed a lot like a bunch of teenagers. In particular, they never damaged anything that cost actual money; when they "invaded" the first Smackdown to use the Thunderdome, the group completely, carefully avoided ever risking causing harm to any of those very expensive video screens. The most they ever did was cut a few ring ropes (easily the least expensive part of a wrestling ring) with a chainsaw.
  • In an episode of Raw, they confronted Vince McMahon, the chairman of the company. Having the perfect opportunity to display upon them how much they hate the company... they chose NOT to attack him. Furthermore, on that same night, all the wrestlers (both from the stable as well as those who appeared to confront them) made distinctions between men and women. For the rest of the episode they vanished.
  • And, in order to show how much laughable a group that was supposed to be dangerous became, they hardly ever won any match. Not even after their leader (Mustafa Ali) was revealed.
  • All this was not helped by the fact that The Hurt Business debuted at the same time, became one of the most compelling wrestling acts WWE had for that year, and they handily bested RETRIBUTION whenever they crossed paths, including Bobby Lashley dispatching Slapjack in just under four minutes in an US Title match at Hell in a Cell.
    • Just to make it clear, WWE debuted two brand new factions, and made their first feud be between each other. Never mind that RETRIBUTION's goal was to disrupt the WWE authority, which didn't really conflict over Hurt Business's objective to win gold, but why did the company pit two brand new factions against each other, meaning one team would by necessity have to lose to the other and thus kill their menace right out of the gate? Either party could have feuded with literally anyone else.
  • Tellingly, when the time came to choose the winner of the 2020 Gooker Awards, they won by a landslide (40% over the second, third and fourth place's 11%) over other "highlights" such as the "Eye for an Eye" match between Seth Rollins and Rey Mysterio, RAW Underground, and All Elite Wrestling's dud of a match between Matt Hardy and Sammy Guevara. WrestleCrap even nicknamed the faction "The Dork Order".
  • The faction ended up being disbanded for good on the kickoff show of Fastlane 2021, after Ali's defeat at the hands of Matt Riddle, with Ali's bad treatment of Reckoning and Slapjack causing Mace and T-Bar to walk out on him. The faction tanked all of their members' respective careers: Mercedes Martinez (Retaliation) went back to NXT, Mia Yim (Reckoning) disappeared, Dominik Dijakovic (T-Bar) went from having stellar matches in NXT with Keith Lee prior to RETRIBUTION to forming a Tag Team with Dio Maddin (Mace) shedding off all traces of their involvement with the group but did almost nothing of note, Shane Thorne (Slapjack) was last seen in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle of the go-home Smackdown episode before WM37, and Mustafa Ali entered in a feud with Ricochet... in the C-Show Main Event.

Other examples

    The Authority 
One of the darkest chapters in WWE history occurred from 2013 to 2016, where Triple H and Stephanie McMahon created a faction they called The Authority, which caused an immense bout of Too Bleak, Stopped Caring and generated nuclear levels of X-Pac Heat.

  • The angle began at the 2013 edition of SummerSlam, where Triple H was the guest referee for a title match between John Cena and Daniel Bryan. At the end of the match, Bryan won the title, only for Randy Orton to cash in his Money in the Bank contract on him. Triple H then screwed Bryan over by Pedigreeing him, allowing Orton to easily win. Thus began what would become a trend for the Authority going forward- if it looked as if a face was going to win, they would screw them over as hard as they could.
  • From there, the angle devolved into how authority figures should not be booked, as week after week, Triple H and Stephanie began antagonizing anyone they could, roping in nearly every major heel on the roster, and receiving virtually no punishment for their behavior. Even worse, the first twenty minutes of episodes of Raw and SmackDown were spent with them making long winded and aggravatingly annoying speeches about how utterly great they were. Subsequently, ratings began to increasingly drop as fans began getting so tired of the Authority that they tuned out.
  • Bryan was buried week after week by the Authority at every opportunity to get the title in what became a wild goose chase. At Night of Champions, he won the belt, but was stripped of it the following week because Triple H had ordered referee Scott Armstrong to do a fast count. The next month at Battlegrounds, his match with Orton ended in a no contest as Big Show, who bounced back and forth from helping and hindering the Authority throughout the angle, decided to interfere. Similarly, at Hell In A Cell, Triple H had Shawn Michaels act as guest referee, and Michaels attacked Bryan and cost him the match. Such actions did nothing to help the Authority's image and derailed their actions further. When Bryan finally won the title at WrestleMania 30, things seemed to be going on the right track, but Bryan vacated the title the next week due to injuries sustained during the match, ending his title aspirations for good and leaving the Authority to start bullying the rest of the roster.
  • At the 2014 Survivor Series event, Cena challenged the Authority to a match which saw Sting appear and aid Cena's team in finally ending the faction- but executives from USA Network decided to force WWE to bring the faction back, believing this would help ratings. Thus, five weeks afterwards, Seth Rollins, who had betrayed The Shield to join the Authority, forced Cena to reinstate the faction, ruining the star power they had received.
  • After this, Rollins cashed in his own Money in the Bank during the main event of WrestleMania 31 to become the new champion, and went on a reign of terror that saw him becoming as invincible as his benefactors for a period of eight months. The run finally came to an end after Rollins was injured at a house show and the title was vacated, with a tournament held leading up to the 2015 Survivor Series to crown a new champion... only for the Authority to enlist Sheamus into their ranks and have a third cash in to get the belt right back in their hands, rendering the whole tournament for nothing. Tellingly, the episode of Raw after Survivor Series had a record low in terms of ratings.
  • After Survivor Series, Roman Reigns, who won the tournament and thus the title before the cash-in, attempted to get the title back, and even nearly took out Triple H at Tables Ladders Chairs, but the Authority forced him into a stipulation that, at the 2016 Royal Rumble, the match would entirely be for the title this time, and went so far as to rig the drawing so that he would be the first entrant. Although Reigns did his best, the Authority once again abused the system and had Triple H himself enter at the 30th spot and win the title, which, for some reason, the announcers seemed to think was a very good thing despite the fact that now the title was on someone who had spent the past few years being unstoppable.
  • The angle was finally ended for real in one of the most confusing payoffs in wrestling history. In 2016, Shane McMahon returned to confront his family and demanded control of Raw, to which Vince McMahon (who openly supported the Authority) forced him to face The Undertaker at WrestleMania 32. Not only did the Undertaker, by this point a long-time face, do Vince and thus the Authority's bidding with no apparent Face–Heel Turn or other explanation (aside from orders that if he lost, he would have to retire), but Shane ended up losing the match... and then was given control of Raw and SmackDown anyway due to "overwhelming fan support", despite it being clear that the Authority didn't care about the fans one bit. Reigns also got the title back from Triple H, but that match, and indeed the entirety of the event, was panned by critics and audiences.
  • By the end of the angle, no one left looking any better for it. The McMahons' image had been forever tainted by them constantly abusing the fans, none of the facesnote  who fought them got over due to constantly being screwed over and buried beyond belief (particularly Reigns, who the fans hated even more than the Authority), many of the wrestlers who did ally themselves with the Authority lost all fan support as well (Sheamus, for one, founded a sub-faction called the League of Nations which never got over with the fans), and ratings began to decline further and further and have never fully recovered. During the height of the angle in 2015, the whole faction was even nominated for a Gooker Award. They didn't win, but they still got over 500 votes. Rumors even began to circulate that during the angle, providers were so dissatisfied with pay-per-view buyrates that they began offering refunds, which proved an obvious truth- despite the Authority's incessant claims that they were doing what was "best for business", they were doing the exact opposite and ruining the business and WWE as a whole.
  • The most telling thing about the Authority is that they, by being completely unstoppable, killed the authority figure trope in its entirety. The trope has been played well by others, including Vince, but by abusing their power and refusing to simply let themselves lose and fail, the use of the trope ground to a screeching halt, and, two years after the end of the angle, the entire McMahon family, as mentioned in the Crown Jewel folder, decided to stop being involved in storylines, and many rival companies began following suit.
  • Historically speaking, one could surmise that this was the starting point for RAW's decline in viewership. While the ratings had slowly been deteriorating since 2001 (incidentally, during Triple H's Reign of Terror), this was chalked up to the end of the Attitude Era and audiences cutting the cord to move to online streaming services. RAW ratings around this decade typically hovered around an average of 3.00, but past 2013, when it became apparent that there was no clear end to the Authority or their abuse, RAW's ratings began dipping into the 2.00s, and eventually below even that by 2020 due to other terrible booking decisions, to the point that brand new rival AEW would occasionally beat them in the ratings. On the other hand, Smackdown, which typically had better workrates and storylines, managed increase their viewership slightly to stay consistently above 2.00. The successes of Smackdown and AEW prove to highlight that low viewership isn't an industry-wide phenomena, but specifically due to the quality of the program, which has led to the loss of patronage by audiences.

    October 2019: The Brock Lesnar saga 
Two main event matches from early October 2019 (one of them being the aforementioned Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt above) and the build up to one of them showcased everything wrong with WWE's creative direction that the promotion was taking after the abysmal ratings of 2018, and they happened just two days apart: a lack of faith in building new stars, and nonsensical booking for commercially successful ones.

  • Kofi Kingston vs. Brock Lesnar:
    • On the October 4, 2019 edition of SmackDown, the show premiered on Fox for its first special episode. The match saw Lesnar deliver a single F5 to defeat Kingston and win his WWE Championship in 9 seconds. This put Kingston's reign as champion in a terrible light. The way Kingston was absolutely crushed by Lesnar in the match led many to suspect WWE never had any faith in Kingston as champion. This link has the entire "match", though you may wish you didn't watch it afterwards.
      • In 2020, this lack of faith was revealed to be 100% true, as former WWE writer Dave Schilling revealed that Kingston being squashed by Lesnar had been the plan from day 1 of his title reign — meaning that WWE had absolutely no interest in making Kingston champion or belief in him whatsoever and only did it to pop the fans for a "WrestleMania Moment".
    • Even worse, it was only done to introduce Lesnar's former UFC rival Cain Velasquez to the company, allegedly for a match at the upcoming Crown Jewel — and for more teeth gnashing stupidity, rumors were that Velasquez wasn't even signed to a contract and had also been in negotiations with both New Japan Pro-Wrestling and new rival All Elite Wrestling, showing the company hasn't learned from their mistakes in signing people just to keep them from other promotions, meaning that, if a deal couldn't be reached, Kofi lost his title for nothing. (To add insult to injury, the Kofi/Brock match was over so fast that Mysterio, Dominic, and a debuting Velasquez, who were scheduled to surprise and confront Lesnar, were left with plenty of extra time to stand around doing nothing, as the episode ran short.) Fortunately, he was signed to a contract the whole time, yet the fact the rumors of it leaked suggest it was a Hail Mary move. In any case, that contract wound up only being of minimal actual work. Once again Vince had suddenly pulled the rug out from under a champion to put the belt on Brock for a feud that didn't need a belt involved to be engaging - just like the Brock/Goldberg feud from 2016/2017, the Lesnar/Velasquez feud was a personal affair based around their past history and Brock going after Cain's godson Dominic Mysterio. It's like Vince doesn't believe that Lesnar is enough of an attraction in his own right unless he's a champion, despite the obscene amounts of money he pays for him.
    • The eventual Lesnar/Velasquez match at Crown Jewel ended up a joke- Velasquez was in serious need of surgery and incapable of working properly, so he and Brock worked a short and underwhelming 2 minute MMA-style match before Lesnar caught Velasquez in a Kimura Lock and Velasquez tapped out. Then Rey Mysterio had to run out to save Velasquez from Brock's beatdown and make the feud Brock vs. Rey again, making the whole stupid affair for nothing. As for Kofi? He was shuffled right back to the tag team division as his old, positive New Day self like the past six months of him being champion never happened, leaving a bitter taste in fans' mouths.
    • In some bizarre combination of Hope Spot and beating a dead horse, Kingston and Mysterio would both get the opportunity for revenge at the 2020 Royal Rumble. Lesnar, who voluntarily came out first, was running roughshod over everyone who entered, with minimal difficulty. Kingston entered at the end of the first third of the match, and lasted longer against Lesnar than anyone else in the match, in part because Lesnar was toying with him. Next came Mysterio, who also barely got into the ring before Lesnar embarrased him, as well. But as Lesnar didn't actually eliminate either of them yet, Kofi's tag partner Big E came out 3rd, and gave the two a Heroic Second Wind as they hit combination moves on Lesnar only for Lesnar to throw them all out of the match and only start to get tired. No Rey Mysterio ironman performance. No Kofi Kingston miraculous save. No closure. "Your heroes are dead. Move on."
    • As a final note on this sordid affair, Brock would hold the belt for six long months before finally losing it to Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania 36 the following year in a similar short match, the difference being that at least multiple finishers were used by both wrestlers, while Velasquez was released at the end of April having only worked one other match in his WWE career.

    NXT callups 
NXT has been called one of the best wrestling shows on the planet, with matches and strong booking rivalled only by the likes of NJPW. But the politics-laden, heavily-scripted mess that Raw and Smackdown became in the latter part of The New '10s have proven to be graveyards for the careers of NXT stars that were called up to the main roster. Regardless of their accomplishments and work ethics, these talented wrestlers are often lost in the undercard instead of being properly utilized, and their loss in relevance have begun to increasingly hurt the integrity of the NXT brand, since if these guys can do the best work possible in developmental and still be reduced to jobbers in the main roster, why should audiences invest any time or emotion in them in the first place? Some cases such as RETRIBUTION have been covered in other folders, but here are some of the worst cases:

  • Aleister Black went from one of the most dominant breakout stars of NXT with an intense yet compelling Satanist gimmick to barely even an afterthought once he was called up to the main roster in 2019. Initially paired with Ricochet (see below), the duo were quickly separated due to the Superstar Shakeup. For Black's first singles angle, he sat in a room and waited for someone to 'pick a fight' with him. This 'storyline' lasted well over two months, where Black literally sat and did nothing but issue challenges before Cesaro answered him. Black would then go on to have a decent (if underwhelming) run throughout 2020 before disappearing from television for 6 months (later revealed to be because of creative simply not wanting to use him). This was someone whom many figured could be another legitimate successor to The Undertaker (the other being Bray Wyatt, another booking disaster chronicled in this page), and he now had less than nothing to do. Black would return once again in 2021 in dominant fashion with a new look and intriguing vignettes that set up a feud with Big E... only to be released by WWE two weeks later due to supposed budget cuts, making many fans and commentators question why he was given a build up after a long absence if he was going to be cut anyways.
  • Buddy Murphy had a well-received team with Wesley Blake and Alexa Bliss in NXT before becoming a highly-respected up-and-comer through his excellent performances on the cruiserweight-themed 205 Live show. Then he was called to the main roster in April 2019, with about the most relevant thing he was put into was Seth Rollins's Power Stable. Once said-team was reduced to only Rollins and Murphy, they entered into a feud with Rey Mysterio and his family; the angle included "gems" such as the Eye-for-an-Eye match between Rollins and Mysterio, and Murphy's romantic involvement with Rey's 19-year old daughter Aalyah. After being released at the same time as Black, he admitted that the Aalyah Mysterio romance angle had made both of them extremely uncomfortable but they still went through with it for the sake of being professional. On a more comical but also very damning note, Murphy also admitted that he couldn't even bring himself to watch WWE's main roster shows anymore even while he was still working there, keeping up with events on the shows by watching recaps on the YouTube news channel WrestleTalk.
  • One of the most egregious examples came when Karrion Kross, the NXT Champion who had been on an undefeated year-long streak, who once pinned four of NXT's strongest competitors at the same time at a Takeover event, made his main roster debut on the RAW after Money in the Bank 2021. He came out for a completely random, unannounced match, having been stripped of his flashy, dramatic entrance and his charasmatic valet Scarlett, which were widely considered a pivotal part of his act. His opponent, Jeff Hardy (who hadn't won a match in the entire year so far), beat him in less than 2 minutes with a roll-up, putting his feet on the ropes (an uncharacteristically heel move). Kross tried to salvage the situation afterwards by cutting a promo about how Hardy had made a huge mistake, but the damage was done - between the lackluster presentation and the appallingly lame match result, the fans didn't give a damn about him.
    • After the rage-inducing segment, rumors emerged that this was a declaration saying that NXT was no longer on the level of importance with Raw and Smackdown note  and that they shouldn't get any funny ideas above their station regarding their position in the company. Whether these rumors were true, to many fans, it all still meant that NXT is not worth getting invested in if the entire promotion is not going to be canon at all with the main roster, and is a monumental act of self-sabotage, intentional or not, by McMahon on his own product.
    • It got better. On the same show as Kross' debut, former NXT and NXT North American Champion Keith Lee, who had been called up the previous year but then disappeared to go back into training for the 'WWE Style', returned after recovering from injuries to challenge WWE Champion Bobby Lashley... and lost in 5 minutes. While many defenders have said that this match was at least more competitive than Kross', immediately after the match, Goldberg came out to challenge Lashley, thereby relegating Lee to an afterthought, which many fans had feared since he was called up.
    • The week after that, Jeff Hardy tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the rematch with Kross to be cancelled. WWE decided to pit Kross against Keith Lee, a match which Kross won, meaning the guy who lost to the WWE Champion lost to the guy who lost to the guy who hadn't won in 6 months.
    • Apparently, the long-term story (before Jeff Hardy was taken off the program) was to have Kross lose twice to Hardy, before bringing in Scarlet and his flashy entrance, whereby Kross would reassert his dominance once again. So in case you didn't notice the subtext, the reigning NXT Champion, who once demolished every serious challenger he faced on the NXT roster, couldn't get past 2 minutes on the main roster without his girlfriend by his side. Now imagine The Undertaker, Kane, or Brock Lesnar with that build with their respective managers. And Kross beating Lee (instead of getting beaten by anybody else) meant that this supposed long-term story had been instantly derailed in two weeks.
  • Ricochet has been wrestling for over 15 years at smaller but still successful promotions all over the world, with his most internationally recognized accomplishment easily being the gravity-defying match against Will Ospreay at the 2016 NJPW Best of the Super Juniors. Ospreay has gone on to become IWGP Heavyweight Champion and by 2020 was considered one of the best wrestlers alive. Upon his arrival to the main roster in 2019, Ricochet had a three-week run as the United States Champion before becoming a regular on the C-show Main Event.

    Pay-Per-Views 
  • WrestleMania IX (1993) remains one of the worst WrestleManias in history. Poor booking, poor matches, it had it all.
    • 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 for the Intercontinental Championship, 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 retained the title by sheer luck and Tatanka won the match but not the Intercontinental Championship and would never receive another title shot for it again.
    • The Steiners were the only babyfaces on the show to win a fair fight, against The Headshrinkers.
    • Doink the Clown faces Crush; as Crush has his head vice applied, a second Doink note  comes out from under the ring as the ref is distracted and hits Crush with a loaded prosthetic arm. Now, this could have been funny in a normal match, but not on Wrestlemania. Oh and even worse: After the match, "Macho Man" Randy Savage tried to pass off the second Doink "as a figment of everyone's imaginations."
    • Razor Ramon meets Bob Backlund in one of the strangest matchups ever. Razor Ramon ended up being cheered, despite being a heel.
    • Lex Luger vs. "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.
    • Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake completely dominate Money Inc. from within their Tag Team Championship match when Hogan hits both members of Money Inc. with 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 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 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.
    • The show goes from bad to worse with the next match: The Undertaker vs. Giant González. Largely hailed as one of the worst matches ever, Undertaker tried to pull a watchable match out of the irredeemably awful González. After seven-and-a-half painful minutes, Taker wins the match by DQ after González uses chloroform, in Undertaker's only match at WrestleMania to end in DQ.
    • The main event between Yokozuna and Bret Hart for the WWF Championship 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 Yoko doesn't even go for and hit his Signature/Finishing Move, 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. 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 22 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 Pro-Wrestling event). Vince McMahon, understandably pissed off, has Hogan lose the belt to Yokozuna at King of the Ring 1993 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 '93 tournament as compensation, but the tournament itself meant nothing and the fans and Hart himself knew it.
  • King of the Ring 1995 was the absolute low point for WWF'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. 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.
  • 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.
  • The Great American Bash 2004 was the crowning example of how not to revive one of WCW's most beloved annual shows. The Norfolk crowd was almost completely dead, though you can't really blame them with a card as bad as they got. The general feeling of the show is an episode of SmackDown for 3 hours, which is never a good thing.
    • The opening Fatal 4-Way for the WWE United States Championship between John Cena, Booker T, Rob Van Dam, and... René Duprée proved to be a surprising bore, with half the match at the start having both Cena and Duprée clashing while the other two just stand around.
    • Luther Reigns beats Charlie Haas in a match that shows why Luther never really became the next big star.
    • Kenzo Suzuki beats Billy Gunn in a match that'd be bad enough for SmackDown, let alone a pay-per-view, with Suzuki himself mostly doing chops and his finisher, and that's about it.
    • Mordecai beats Hardcore Holly in a snoozer. One month later, he would disappear and be brought back as Kevin Thorn in WWE's ECW.
    • The Undertaker fought The Dudley Boyz in a handicap match in the main event(!), with a nonsensical stipulation that if the Undertaker lost, Paul Bearer would be drowned in cement. Despite winning, the Undertaker himself drowned Bearer in cement anyways.
    • The only two matches that were decent for the pay-per-view itself were Rey Mysterio Jr. and Chavo Guerrero Jr.'s match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship and JBL and Eddie Guerrero's Texas Bullrope match. The problem here is that both Rey and Chavo had battled in better matches before and JBL and Eddie had battled in a brutal main event at Judgment Day one month before in a much better brawl.
    • Afterwards JBL started a world championship reign that grossly wore out its welcome, especially given he wasn't exactly the best wrestler going at the time. Most of the wrestlers who were clearly being pushed in this show had turned out to be major flops and were either relegated to jobber status or sent back to development. Most tragically, the cracks in SmackDown's own prestige and relegation to the B show until the second brand split in 2016 begins to show.
  • The 2018 Backlash was not well-liked by fans. It did not help that the preshow started at 7 pm Eastern and the show closed at almost Midnight on a Sunday. The only good point was the opener for the Intercontinental Championship between The Miz and Seth Rollins. The rest of the event, however, was widely criticized for having extremely bland, predictable contests:
    • The somewhat well-received AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura match had suffered from a dull double-knockout finish.
    • Nia Jax's match had people doubting that she could be a draw as champion.
    • Both Randy Orton and Jeff Hardy had put on a snoozer of a match.
    • The lowest point was the non-title main event: Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe. It was a snoozeworthy match comprised almost entirely of rest holds and other bland spots ending with yet another contrived Reigns victory, at which point fans were already clearing the stands while those who remained showed their "enthusiasm" with a series of "beat the traffic" chants. The worst part is that Samoa Joe and Roman Reigns previously had a longer match on the New Year's episode of Raw that was actually rather well-received and showed both men had a lot of chemistry. Whether or not it was due to Joe having recently come back from injury or some other factor, the match that happened at a pay-per-view couldn't hold a candle to something broadcasted on weekly TV!

    Angles 
  • In 1998, the WWF did a 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 then proceeded to have real fights that looked terrible 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 matches meant Dr. Death pulled a hamstring and was taken out in the quarterfinals by Bart Gunn. The bookers then put Gunn in a WrestleMania XV match with professional boxer Eric "Butterbean" Esch 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 Russo thought that Gunn would beat Butterbean note  - 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. 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. When interviewed on Dark Side of the Ring, Russo revealed that he came up with the whole thing just to shut Bradshaw up, as he'd been bragging to the entire locker room that he was the toughest.
  • As bad as David Arquette: WCW World Heavyweight Champion was, it was just barely the worst angle that year. Over in the WWF, Mark Henry at the time worked a sex addict gimmick as "Sexual Chocolate", which saw him involved with female bodybuilder/D-Generation 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 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 flashing her audience in defiance of the "show me your puppies" gag. In WrestleCrap's annual "Gooker Award" voting, Arquette beat this by 0.5%. The whole shebang actually placed at #62 in What Were They Thinking? The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History, the only pro wrestling entry on that list. 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.

    Individual Matches 
  • As bad as the Montreal Screwjob was, the "Original Screwjob" on Wendi Richter is even more egregious. One could charitably characterize Montreal as Vince McMahon being excessively paranoid about having his champion leave with the belt and dumping it in a trash can on Nitro; this screwjob, on the other hand, was around a time when Richter's contract was being renegotiated. note  The critical moment was when The Fabulous Moolah, in the guise of "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.
  • The Undertaker was given two matches with Giant González - one at WrestleMania IX, the other at SummerSlam 1993. Both are regarded as some of the worst matches of all time. The only good thing that came from those matches was González's suit, which makes him look like a Titan.
  • 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 Booger note , 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 was fixated on catering to young children, and the original Doink, Matt Borne, was released from the company due to drug problems after SummerSlam '93, 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, and blatant double-teams by the faces that the referee does nothing about. The only redeeming portions of this match were Bam Bam 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.
  • Al Snow vs. Big Bossman inside the Kennel from Hell Match at Unforgiven '99. While it was an interesting concept, 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 Christopher Nowinski and Jackie Gayda vs. Bradshaw and Trish Stratus match from the July 8, 2002 episode of Raw. Gayda blew a boatload of spots, including Trish Stratus' 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.
  • Triple H vs. Scott Steiner at Royal Rumble 2003. Steiner blew up a couple of minutes into the match, and had a foot injury that stopped him from being able to lift up his leg. As a result, his offense was mostly limited to spamming the belly-to-belly suplex, falling and nearly dropping Trips on his head while trying to do a Tiger Driver which became known as the "Double-Underhook What-The-Fuck-Was-That?", dumping himself and Trips onto the floor while attempting a ring apron powerbomb, which became known as the "Stumble Bomb", and hitting Trips on the head with the leather strap of the belt, to which Trips did a bladejob. At the same time, Steiner botched several sell attempts, including selling a Diamond Cutter by falling backwards, and completely failing to sell a facebuster knee smash. 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.
  • 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. Big Show for the ECW World Championship on August 1, 2006. Doesn't sound quite as bad as you'd think, and to give credit where it's due the match itself isn'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. See for yourself all the boos they got. Big Show, who considers the match a major Old Shame in his career, recalled his thoughts during the match in an episode of WWE Untold centered on the ECW relaunch, and he didn't mince words:
    Big Show: That's the worst feeling in the world, when people start, you know, shitting on your match, 'cause you've lost them somewhere in your match. Back then, I didn't know how to get them back. I didn't know to get them then. I was just like, "Oh, crap. Here we go. How much time do we have left? Ugh, can we just go home now?" Like, you're just embarassed.
  • 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 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 chanting for TNA right in front of Vince McMahon.
  • Kaitlyn vs Maxine from Season 3 of the competition-based 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 phone call during the middle of it.
  • Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania XXVIII for the World Heavyweight Championship, which lasted 18 seconds! Worse, it was WWE's attempt at beating a record that shouldn't have even been shot for - 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.
  • 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 until 2019 when he returned to WWE, albeit in a non-wrestling role, 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 WWE really hate their own audience?" that was retweeted 20,000 times in 24 hours.
  • Royal Rumble 2015: In light of not just the 2014 edition, but everything that had happened between then and this point,note  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 rehash them in Philadelphia, Smark Central and the birthplace of ECW. And yet, they did.
    • After a night that boasted, among other matches, Rollins vs. Cena vs. Lesnar, the time for the eponymous main event came, and WWE darling Daniel Bryan entered at #10, to roaring applause... only to be 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 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 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 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 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. Perhaps in order to avoid the PR disaster, on the plus side, the aftermath not only had Bryan resuming the involvement with the championship, but the main event of WrestleMania was rewritten to involve a cash-in from Seth Rollins.
      • 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.
    • Probably the most-enduring fallout of this debacle was the unfortunate impact it had on Roman's career going forward. What was supposed to be the start of the biggest push of his life was instead a crippling blow that he has never fully recovered from, and indeed probably never, EVER will. As Adam Blampied pointed out in his assessment of (and fantasy rebooking of) Roman's early singles career, Roman didn't do anything wrong except not be Daniel Bryan on the one night when Daniel Bryan should have won the Royal Rumble, and many fans have never gotten over that one single booking travesty. Even as Roman's career has recovered and he's become a legitimate star, he will always have a set of hardcore haters who will never accept him because of Royal Rumble 2015.
      Adam Blampied: See, at its absolute simplest, what happened to Roman is that at a very specific point in time he wasn't Daniel Bryan and WWE fans have never forgiven him for it.
  • The Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss at Extreme Rules 2017, a Kendo Stick-on-a-Pole Match that 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 would "run in" at the end of the segment...and by "run in" we mean she pouted down the ramp as her music played, stood there waiting for everyone else to leave the ring, then rushed into the ring and immediately got the boots put to her by an expectant Alexa, making her look dumber than Eugene and making people hate Bayley for forcing them to sit through this awful segment with no clear retaliation as payoff. Alexa then beat the crap out of Bayley, making her look weak and making the whole thing pointless if the intention was to get Bayley more over, as instead it did the opposite. During the match itself Bayley had the kendo stick and was chasing Alexa when she had her cornered, but hesitated until 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 hits 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 the Cena vs. Brock Lesnar match at SummerSlam 2014 was this one-sided.
  • Payback 2017 and the infamous House of Horrors Match between Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt. What sounds interesting on paper instead becomes one of the most boring and idiotic matches that year. The entire "match" is pretaped and there's nothing to explain even how it works. Keep in mind they decided to do this on a live PPV, which only helped to hide the crowd's shouts of "BORING" while they watched it. The entire match was just creepy imagery with Orton and Wyatt brawling in the house... for a few seconds before dragging out even more creepy images. It ends with Wyatt toppling a fridge on top of Orton and leaving for the arena... and taking a whole other 20-minute match before arriving. Somehow, Orton manages to be there at the arena without any explanation and attacks Wyatt for a very short match, only for Jinder Mahal (with whom Orton was scheduled to defend the WWE Championship against at the following PPV, Backlash 2017) to come out with the Singh Brothers and cost Orton the win. As stated above in Jinder's WWE Championship run section, this match was so bad that not only did RD skip waiting a year to induct it into WrestleCrap, but along with the entire Wyatt-Orton feud in general, preemptively called it as the winner for the 2017 Gooker Award before Jinder's WWE Championship run turned out to be even worse.
  • Super ShowDown 2019: While the event as a whole was negatively received by wrestling critics, The Undertaker vs. Goldberg match in particular had shaped up to be a depressing and unfortunate case of Be Careful What You Wish For due to the fact that both performers were well past their physical and athletic primes and that the match itself had come a good 15 years too late. Despite an impressive opening with a pair of Spears from Goldberg, it quickly became obvious to everyone watching that both men truly and undoubtedly lacked the stamina that was needed and required for a sustained match. Before too long, the match fell into a horrendous case of Nightmare Fuel for all the wrong reasons when a Tombstone Piledriver from Taker had ended with Goldberg's head impacting the mat and shortly after that, a botched attempt at a Jackhammer from Goldberg had just narrowly avoided a disastrous landing on Taker's own neck. A Tombstone Piledriver reversal attempt fell apart immediately afterwards as both stars were clearly too fatigued and exhausted to perform the spot, leading to an obviously-audible-called finish with a very flaccid Chokeslam from Taker, putting Goldberg down for the three-count and putting the match itself out of its own misery. Appropriately enough, it was inducted into WrestleCrap.
  • The TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs 2019 main event, a TLC tag team match for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship between The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane) vs. Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch. The match quality began to dip as it approached its ending, as Kairi had suffered a legitimate concussion half way through the match. It was clear she was in trouble given her body language, though Charlotte apparently didn't seem to catch the signs. Whether she knew Kairi was in no condition to work or not, Charlotte began roughing her up a bit, even going for a spear, to which Kairi couldn't sell properly. Charlotte seemed frustrated at that point, cursing Kairi out and even slapping her, then followed by powerbombing Kairi through a table, despite Sane's obvious plea for her not to; Charlotte again didn't catch the message and went through with the spot. When it came time for Charlotte and Becky to use chairs, Kairi uncharacteristically (in wrestling standards) ran away from Charlotte, and it took Becky to finally catch on and check on her, rolling her under the ring for her own safety and directing Asuka to go on to the finishing spot to end the match. Asuka would go on to win it solo, but had only celebrated it for mere seconds before the cameras panned away towards a group of male wrestlers brawling outside the ring as part of an ongoing story. Most wouldn't call this match outright horrible, but the danger Kairi was in (in addition to the recklessness of Charlotte) made it really uncomfortable to watch and it's inexplicable why an audible wasn't called backstage to protect her. Just months later, Kairi would depart from the company, having recently married and wanting to return to Japan, though some reports emerged that she was looking to get out due to repeatedly being injured by unsafe workers (Nia Jax especially).

    Wrestlers/Gimmicks 
  • 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.
  • The Gobbledy Gooker, perhaps the template of 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/storyline) at the WrestleCrap website.
  • Mid-1993 saw one of the company's biggest flop gimmicks to date with Friar Ferguson, played by the late Mike Shaw. Ferguson was a wrestling monk, complete with a bottle of holy water and a big brown cloak. And he danced. In 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 Raw. note 
  • The saga of bad gimmicks given to Chaz Warrington (Mosh of The Headbangers) in 1999, which, as the examples shown below indicate, may have affected more than just the WWE.
    • First, there was Beaver Cleavage, a parody of Leave It to Beaver, complete with both a beanie and a 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  After only two weeks and hostile fan reaction, Vince McMahon ordered the character axed, and Warrington never had quite a career after this. Oddly, despite the gimmick ending with Chaz supposedly breaking character and walking out of a skit, Chaz himself was reportedly amused by the skits.
    • 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 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 four 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.
    • The kicker of all this? The Beaver Cleavage gimmick in particular was Vince Russo's pet gimmick, and he fought hard with Creative to get it on the air, and McMahon ordering it axed was the cause for Russo to jump to WCW and screw it up, too.
  • 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 Último Dragón. The problem was, Vince didn't bother to watch any 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 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 Último Dragón gimmick afterwards.
  • 2012 was a very, very long year for Zack Ryder. After becoming popular in 2011 thanks to Z! True Long Island Story and extenstive social networking, he ended the year as the US Champion. Too bad for him Creative was really not happy he managed to get over by himself. Within a month into 2012 he is regulated to being John Cena's perennial rescuee. Because Kane wants Cena to give in to 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. To sum it up: Cena: Not Even Once

    Other 
  • 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 Catchphrase 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. 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; what happened was a glorified Diva Search sketch, with an occasional flash of skin. 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.
  • 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, 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.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report