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Horrible / WWE

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"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.


Important Note: If something bad was an isolated incident or simply stupid, it doesn't make the whole thing Horrible. Merely being offensive in its subject matter is not enough to justify a work as So Bad It's Horrible. Hard as it is to imagine at times, there is a market for all types of deviancy (no matter how small a niche it is). It has to fail to appeal even to that niche to qualify as this.


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    The InVasion Angle 
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 (and presumably high-grossing) WCW vs. WWF matches from happening. Instead, in a combination of trying to put higher drawing wrestlers in the main event and an unwillingness to treat WCW (and later ECW) like they were actually on par with WWF, Vince 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.
  • 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 (The Undertaker and Kane) and Kronik (Bryan "Adam Bomb/"Wrath" Clarke and the late Brian "Crush" Adams). 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!

    Jinder Mahal: WWE Champion 
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, until the 2017 Superstar Shake-up, where he was sent to SmackDown. And so it began.
  • 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, which he shocked the world by winning, before beating Orton for the title at Backlash 2017. After the collective shock of the wrestling fans wore off, speculation arose that he had been given the belt to promote WWE's forthcoming tour of India, which made business sense as it's one of the largest and fastest-growing countries in the world and a perfect place for wrestling to make inroads. The problem was, Mahal was not a very good choice to promote the company: not only was he not actually from India,note  his in-ring ability was So Okay, It's Average at best, deserving of another entry on this page at worst, and hadn't really improved from the day he first left the company,note  and his character was downright boring, as he played a stock Foreign Wrestling Heel that would've been considered dated even in the early 90s, without any hint of irony or self-awareness.
  • From there, his title reign went on and became a seeming guide on how not to book a credible champion, bringing in disastrous highlights such as the return of the Punjabi Prison Match for his championship title defense against Randy Orton at Battleground 2017 (rated as one of the worst gimmick matches of all time and with it a one-night-only return for The Great Khali at said pay-per-view) and a stinker of a feud with Shinsuke Nakamura that nearly destroyed any credibility the latter had left after a shaky start on the main roster (and also featured some of the most racist promos aired on WWE television since The Nation of Domination). After enduring months of backlash from both their fans and their own wrestlers, as Paul Heyman cut a promo over on Raw absolutely burying Mahal as any sort of credible threat to Universal Champion Brock Lesnar in a "Champion vs. Champion" match that had been scheduled for Survivor Series of that year, WWE pulled the plug on the Mahal experiment by having AJ Styles defeat him on a random episode of SmackDown. The final nail in the coffin came when WWE had to cancel every show but one on their India tour due to low ticket sales, meaning Mahal hadn't even gotten over there, one of the only reasons he was even given the belt in the first place.note  While it was noted that Mahal himself out of kayfabe was a legitimately hard worker and very grateful for the opportunity, it still doesn't change the fact that he ended up torpedoing the WWE Championship's lineage and prestige into the ground, so much so that on combined pay-per-views its matches ended up playing second fiddle to the less-than-two-year-old Universal Championship.
  • As expected, this disaster of a title run ended up winning WrestleCrap's 2017 Gooker Award, despite the infamous Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt "House of Horrors" match at Payback 2017 already having been announced earlier in the year, under the pretense that nothing WWE could have decided to do after it could possibly be as bad.
    • As a side note, WWE hasn't given up their plans to promote in India, but it's perhaps telling that, near the end of Mahal's reign, they signed three new Indian wrestlers: Rinku Singh (former pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates and subject of Million Dollar Arm), Saurav Gurjar (an actor with wrestling/kickboxing experience), and Amanpreet Singh (better known in Impact Wrestling as Mahabali Shera, who was released and returned to Impact shortly afterwards), all of whom are actually from 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.
    • Just to give one last assurance that his push was way over in the only show in India, in his "homecoming", Jinder faced off against Triple H, and jobbed to him in front of a 70% filled arena. The push backfired that badly to their overall image there that they couldn't even let him win in his supposed home country.
  • As for the Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards, 2017 was absolutely brutal for Jinder Mahal. Not only did he win the "Most Overrated" award, he did so by a landslide margin even against Roman Reigns. 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 (the actual winner that year was WWE's decision to re-person Jimmy Snuka after his death, despite the controversial circumstances that led him to be un-personed in the first place).note 

    Crown Jewel (2018) 
Quite possibly, the 2018 Crown Jewel was the worst event the WWE has ever put in their long history. But why is this event so awful that it deserves its own folder? Well...

  • The deal that led to the event in the first place was a bad idea from the day it was announced. It was a 10-year, 20-show deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. For a net total of $450 million, they'd get ten straight years of propaganda, both for the totalitarian state and for new crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (aka MbS). Nevermind how badly it contradicted their attempts at looking progressive, the entire deal was surrounded by controversy. At the time of their first event, Greatest Royal Rumble was already controversial; due to Saudi's strict religious laws severely curtailing women's rights, WWE's female talent were not allowed to perform. This is particularly bad, in that WWE was really pushing women's wrestling in 2018. Despite the controversy, the show itself was considered to be passable (although, as mentioned below, it played a part into turning Backlash 2018 into an awful event), but it is best remembered for giving WWE one of its most hilariously iconic moments in the form of Titus O'Neil's trip heard round the world.

    Its sequel, however, was another story entirely, as the relationship with Saudi Arabia became a whole new level of problematic as about one month before the show, journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed. Khashoggi was an outspoken critic of MbS' tactics, who was found dead and dismembered inside Istanbul's Saudi consulate. It was still under investigation at the time, but from the start, the Prince was a suspect, and the general consensus amongst the intelligence agencies of several countries was that he ordered the assassination. Celebrities, superstars, and even U.S. Senators were begging for WWE to cancel the event before it took place, as a result. Most famously, even John Oliver took some time on his program to slam WWE for their decision. Instead, they only prohibited the whole crew from saying "Saudi Arabia".
  • The event was marked for notorious absences:
    • Like with Greatest Royal Rumble, women were unable to compete on the show. 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. And rightly so.note 
    • John Cena stepped down from competing in the WWE World Cup, (see below) as his agent was worried that it might hurt his image. He instead continued transitioning into Hollywood a la Dwayne Johnson or Dave Bautista, 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, thus blowing his shot at the WWE Championship, if it meant avoiding the event. The title bout was supposed to be between the winner of that match and another feud. As a result, the WWE Championship wound up defended on the SmackDown go-home show,, between Samoa Joe (the winner of the latter feud) and the eventual winner. 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, performing on the Middle East tour in 2015. While he'd been advertised on the event, he was dropped a few days before he was set to leave, under pretense of an undisclosed injury while fighting Bobby Lashley. Turns out Zayn is an incredibly outspoken critic of Saudi Arabia's financing the Assad regime in Syria, and runs a charity that brings medical services to the region. He is Persona Non Grata in the country, with WWE ordered never to mention his name in any event there. At least he got several other wrestlers on his side; Daniel Bryan (as already mentioned above), Kevin Owens, and Aleister Black, among others, are with him in never doing a show in Saudi Arabia again.note  Meanwhile, Mustafa Ali, Titus O'Neil, and others donated their paychecks 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 was a fan of 90's-era WWF, and wanted to see the stars he used to watch. That in itself showed a problem in the crown prince's requests, as Hogan was among the few specific requests who had not been dead for years, such as Yokozuna and the Ultimate Warrior.
  • 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.note  Then, come the finals, Miz was suffering from an injury (kayfabe) and couldn't participate. Instead of being replaced by Rey Mysterio, his last opponent, 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", in an awful Shocking Swerve on par with Vince Russo. And the worst part? This wasn't a last-minute switch, but rather was the intended plan all along, 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 deliver F5 after F5 to Strowman to win 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 (Triple H and Shawn Michaels) vs. the Brothers of Destruction (The Undertaker and Kane). 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 all far behind them prior to this. 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 where he broke his nose and forehead. The match mercifully ended with Hunter pedigreeing Kane.
  • As for the rest of the matches? 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,note  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 (or "Constable") 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 (a shockingly neat design).
    • The United States Championship finally changed hands at the last SmackDown of the year, ending in Rusev's hands...until the fallout episode of Royal Rumble 2019, where he lost it at the hands of, 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 (admittedly, an overall good year even for the WWE itself), not only did it win WrestleCrap's Gooker Award by a landslide, with 52% of the votes, but it also broke several records: 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.
    • Oh, and if that isn't enough, this event played a key part in the WWE being picked as the worst wrestling promotion of the year by none other than Dave Meltzer himself, breaking an 11-year streak of TNA/Impact Wrestling "winning" that award (the only other time WWE "won" was in 2006, the year of "Eddiesploitation" - see below - and the last year before TNA's streak). 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 as mentioned earlier, the 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.

    October 2019: Lesnar vs. Kingston and Rollins vs. Wyatt 
Two main event matches from October 2019 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.

  • Kofi Kingston vs. Brock Lesnar on the October 4, 2019 edition of SmackDown, when the show premiered on Fox. The match saw Lesnar deliver a single F5 to defeat Kingston and win his WWE Championship in 9 seconds. This put Kofi's reign as champion in a terrible light, as it was by complete luck that he got the belt to begin withexplanation ; despite this, many were fond of Kofi's reign as champion and were expecting him to continue to dominate many of the company's top players. However, the way Kingston was absolutely crushed by Lesnar in the match led many to suspect WWE never had any faith in Kingston as Champion. 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 (see above). note  leading many to compare the situation to WCW's Fingerpoke Of Doom moment 20 years prior. This link has the entire "match" for those that wish to see it after missing out earlier that day, though you'll wish you didn't afterward.
    • There were two more factors that added even more insult to injury. Firstly, 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! Even worse, 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.
    • 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. So much for that intended dream match, eh?
  • After the SmackDown debacle above, one would think WWE wouldn't be stupid enough to book an even worse result for the main event of Hell in a Cell 2019, the titular match between Universal Champion Seth Rollins and "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt, two days later. Boy, are we so naive. The match started out well despite the unusual red lighting throughout the match, with both men showcasing their stuff and using the Hell in a Cell rules to entertain the fans. 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. The problem? It's a Hell in a Cell match, which normally goes on until one of the wrestlers is pinned or submits.note  The whole arena melted down in boos and jeers, and even when Wyatt revealed he was fine the whole time (and proceeded to deliver a vicious beating and mandible claw to Rollins before referees could carry him out), he failed to stop the chants of "RESTART THE MATCH!", "AEW!" and "BULLSHIT!" reverberating throughout the arena.note  By the next day, #CancelWWENetwork was once again trending, a repeat of the Royal Rumble 2015 debacle as slated below.
    • Both wrestlers saw their image take a major beating in the aftermath. Even before the match, fans were already beginning to sour on the Universal Champion Rollins due to his face persona wearing thin, but his heel-like actions during the match completely turned fans on him. It didn't help that Wyatt buried all of Rollins' moves, including the Curb Stomp-Pedigree combo that he used to beat Brock Lesnar clean at SummerSlam the same year, meaning Lesnar was totally dwarfed in kayfabe to Bray Wyatt. Having close kickouts in a long, hard-fought match is great, but kicking out at one after a truckload of finishers? 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 before the latter was sent back to NXT), 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 make matters even worse for this match: earlier in the match, The Fiend takes out a oversized mallet and uses it on Seth, then Seth uses the same mallet on The Fiend, yet the use of that mallet is not grounds for the match to be thrown out, but Seth hitting The Fiend with a Sledgehammer while he's pinned down is... WWE match booking everyone!
    • Finally, 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 and Wyatt got injured during their respective matches.
    • Things didn't get better when Zapata released a statement to WWE Network's The Bump show several days later to explain his decision to end the match, claiming that Wyatt's safety became the utmost priority for him and that calling the bell was for the best to both competitors. Given the dislikes on the YouTube video of the statement, the smarks weren't pleased.
    • 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.
    • In a perfect demonstration of how everyone watching felt about the finish, Sean Waltman himself 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!?"
    • 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."

  • WrestleMania IX (1993) remains one of the worst WrestleManias in history. Poor booking, poor matches, it had it all. Let's go over the ways it sucked:
    • A match between Bam Bam Bigelow and Kamala was canceled with no reason given. While neither guy was really a marquee name, they were both talented big men who could probably have a decent match.
    • In the dark match, Tito Santana defeated Papa Shango in his first 'Mania victory since WrestleMania I... offscreen. Some tribute to a guy who's been a part of 'Mania since the beginning.
    • The opening bout has Tatanka and Shawn Michaels fight in one of the only good matches on the card 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. 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.
    • The Mega Maniacs (Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake) completely dominate Money Inc. ("The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase and Irwin R. Schyster) 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 (including one on this very show) and no second ref came out to DQ the cheaters. What makes this especially notable is the fact that it looked like the typical Money Inc. finish - they flee the match to take the countout loss but hold on to the belts since titles don't change hands by countout or DQ, robbing the challengers of the belts and, arguably, the fans of a solid finish - would be averted; Money Inc. started to head for the back only to have Howard Finkel - sorry, Finkus Maximus (ugh...) - announced that the referee had decided that if they did not return to the ring in time, the countout would basically be ruled a forfeit, and the title would indeed change hands. Ultimately, it was one BS finish replacing another.
    • The show goes from bad to worse with the next match: The Undertaker vs. Giant 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 (or, rather, Fuji fumbles about for a few seconds, directly in Hart's line of sight, to get a handful of salt before he finally deploys it). Yoko doesn't even 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, so there's that as well. Yokozuna and Fuji have no reason to accept, yet Fuji does just that. In a pull so cartoonish it might as well have been on Rock N' Wrestling, it takes only 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 (he was pitched as a guy who had an unbelievable rise to the top, but wound up getting crushed in the end). You can actually hear the air getting sucked out of the arena after The Undertaker gets pinned and eliminated from the tournament by Mabel in thoroughly underwhelming fashion, after a boot to the head by the interfering Kama and a legdrop by Mabel. This is the same Undertaker who'd No-Sell some of the most devastating moves the roster had to offer, and two midcarders dispose of him just like that. When Mabel was crowned the king, he had garbage thrown at him. Of course, Mabel's subsequent main-event push tanked, and slowly withered and died by the end of the year - appropriately enough, after losing a Casket Match to the Undertaker.
  • 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 (yes, really) 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! note 
    • 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 Judgement Day two months before in a much better brawl.
    • The result? JBL starting 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!

  • 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 (who, mind you, had no real boxing experience going into the tournament) then proceeded to have real fights that looked terrible (compare ragdolls flopping their arms about) and injuring each other. The angle was set up to get "Dr. Death" Steve Williams over as a tough guy for a potential "who's tougher" match with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. However, the very obvious variable of having unpredictable finishes in unscripted 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 (Gunn and Dr. Death). And, of course, the big selling point - that these were real fights - fizzled with the fans who either didn't buy that they were unscripted or wanted them to just wrestle instead. 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 (while smoking a cigar) on Raw - to a disembodied hand, leading to the punchline: Vince declaring "Let's all give her a hand!" And let's not forget the way it opened - Mae 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 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.
  • The Katie Vick angle of late 2002: Murder, necrophilia, puppets, this saga had it all! The angle (which Vince McMahon thought was hilarious at the time) hit absolute rock bottom in a video where Triple H, posing as Kane, entered the funeral parlor (an actual parlor, which had a funeral going on next door) where his dead high school sweetheart - whom he had killed in a car accident - was on display, climbed into the casket, and proceeded to have sex with the corpse. The scene climaxes in a handful of spaghetti bolognese getting thrown at the camera and the punchline "I finally did it! I screwed your brains out!" For years afterward, the skit was castigated by such folks as Triple H, Mick Foley, The Rock (the last two pointed out that Kevin Dunn and Vince McMahon tried their darnedest to make this sound like a good idea), Shawn Michaels, and CM Punk.
    • This is just one of a long line of attempts to apparently kill Kane's career. The May 19, 2006 angle (which even the bookers realized was bad the week after the reveal) and Lita's pregnancy come to mind here, along with his previous gimmicks of the Fake Diesel, Isaac Yankem (a wrestling dentist), and the Christmas Creature.
    • 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.
  • Unfortunately, there can be no mention of atrocious wrestling angles without one that most wrestling fans would prefer to forget: the rightfully infamous failure of human empathy known only as "Eddiesploitation".
    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.
    • It's even worse when you consider how at odds it was with Eddie's history as a Mexican wrestler. He repeatedly turned down angles that he felt exploited the death of his father, the legendary Gory Guerrero. He did the same with regards to Art Barr, who he tag-teamed with as Los Gringos Locos—the closest he ever came to budging was to adopt Barr's finisher, the Frog Splash.
    • 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 (which he was first diagnosed in 2007), Vince not only 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," but also planned to have Ambrose say something else that was allegedly so offensive, it was one of the things that drove Dean to leave the WWE. Dean refused to do said promo, and neither he nor any of the few people he's told about it plan to share the details of the line with the public, but he claims that had he said it, it would have caused WWE to lose all their relationships with cancer-related organizations, and forced the company to sack him and the writers who came up with it just to save face.

    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 (which had happened with the Women's Title via Madusa/Alundra Blayze on the December 18th, 1995 episode); 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 (he even disses Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera on commentary, with a straight face), 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 (Samu actually gets eliminated after slipping on a banana peel), and blatant double-teams by the faces that the referee does nothing about. The only redeeming portions of this match were Bam Bam (the only one in the ring giving a lick of effort) and Bobby Heenan's commentary. And after the match, Doink finally appears on the video wall and cuts a promo that sounded like a six-year-old wrote it. This whole mess is a classic example of Vince being out of touch with his audience.
  • Al Snow vs. Big Bossman inside the Kennel from Hell Match at Unforgiven '99. While it was an interesting concept (a Steel Cage inside the Hell in a Cell), the match was just dull. Exacerbating this were the allegedly angry guard dogs (in reality, they were just the opposite). Rather than keep the wrestlers in the cage as intended, they urinated, defecated, and mated right there in the Hell in a Cell during the match, in front of the whole audience. note 
  • The 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 (this became known as the "Double-Underhook What-The-Fuck-Was-That?"), dumping himself and Trips onto the floor while attempting a ring apron powerbomb (this 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 (which only worsened after the underwhelming December to Dismember 2006, the only solo PPV for ECW as a WWE brand). See for yourself all the boos they got. 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 (former NWA World Women's Champion Kiley McLean and Ace Steel of the Second City Saints) posed as the two and had a sluggish, no-effort, unbearable fight. It was so bad that the crowd, having gone past "You Can't Wrestle!" and "Boring!", began 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 (and certainly not for a world title at that!) - quickest match at WrestleMania - and came seven seconds short of even tying. Hard to envision a better way to utterly waste what could have been a good bout. Fortunately, this didn't seem to hurt either's career in the long run.
  • 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 (which is generally considered the second-best match of the entire year behind the match where Bayley won the NXT Women's Championship from Sasha Banks), 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 eliminatednote  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 (including The Usos, who were met with chants of "When y'all say 'move,' we'll say 'no!'").
    • 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 (Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE championship) 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 (to go to the arena, Wyatt took the limousine Orton arrived at the house with) 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 (much like the previous event in Saudi Arabia, Crown Jewel), 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, trying to signal for Charlotte to stop and even sandbagging her, but Charlotte again didn't catch the message and went through with the spot hardway. 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.

  • 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. He starts off the season as US Champion, which already bodes badly for him. However, within the month he is regulated to being John Cena's perennial rescuee. Because Kane wants Cena to give in 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

  • 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 (read: Divas flashing their goods). The audience got one shot of Torrie Wilson almost flipping her skirt at the crowd. The main attraction was supposed to be the crowing of Miss Girls Gone Wild 2003 (whatever that meant); what happened was a glorified Diva Search sketch, with an occasional flash of tits (not from the Divas, of course). Even when the "contestants" would start to get frisky and start doing what girls traditionally do in a Girls Gone Wild video, Jonathan Coachman would literally jump in and break things up. Did we mention that this was a Pay-Per-View? A tremendous waste of time for all involved.
  • The entire ending sequence to NXT Season 2 was such a trainwreck it may have stopped several careers in their tracks. It started off with Kaval winning, which was about the only thing that went well here. After the announcement was made, runner-up Michael McGillicutty was handed the mic and cut a very Narmy promo where he trips over his lines. In that promo, he basically promises a Genesis of the career of Michael McGillicutty. Then he leaves the ring. Kaval tries to cut a celebration promo, but is cut off when the rookies eliminated in the previous weeks come in and attack him. The WWE Pros try to intervene, and we get what ends up being the very antithesis of what made The Nexus work. Even the people in the nosebleeds could have heard the spots being called and the refs yelling instructions to the angry rookies. After that promo, only Kaval and Riley would find themselves appearing on television in the weeks that followed, (Kaval joined the SmackDown roster, while Riley would hang around The Miz as his "apprentice") and the end of NXT Season 2 was never mentioned again. McGillicutty and Harris would finally resurface at Hell In A Cell, costing John Cena his match against Wade Barrett and acting as unofficial Nexus lackeys, before being officially inducted into the group a few weeks later. If there were plans for a Genesis stable involving NXT Season 2, they were quickly axed.


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