Looking at the worst of the biggest wrestling show of the year.
It’s that time of year again, the time where every wrestling fan is gearing up for the biggest show of them all, Wrestlemania. And honestly, this year I’m not so much into it as year’s passed. If you’ve been following along you know where I stand with how things went in putting Roman Reigns in the main event over Daniel Bryan, and not only that, but the utter contempt and gall Vince and the WWE have for its fans. I think when Vince was asked about people cancelling the WWE network over the way things have been going, his reply being “They’ll be back” shows that not only is he out of touch to the point of being delusional about what is going on, but that he truly has taken the WWE fan base for granted. He has become so pretentious that he really think that the audience will never leave and he can do whatever he wants. Ratings down? Doesn’t care. Fans openly and visibly disappointed with the product, doesn’t matter since they are all mindless sheep and they can just put out some bullshit announcement to satisfy the stock investors he is fleecing to make things all happy. Those kind of statements don’t make me want to spend any amount of money on their product. So unless something really drastic happens in the next month or so, I may just pass on watching this one all together.
Anyway, on the topic of bad Wrestlemanias, I figured I’d kick off the season with a look at my top ten worst Wrestlemania events. These events to me stand out as the ten out of 30 that just didn’t hit the mark, disappointed, or outright offended me over the years. So while Vince may tell you that Wrestlemania gets better every year, we all know different.
10) Wrestlemania XI (1995) : This was the show headlined by Bam Bam Bigelow and Lawrence Taylor, along with Diesel and Shawn Michaels for the WWF Title. After that is a largely forgettable show. The undercard was irrelevant for the most part, and featured the submission match between Bret Hart and Bob Backlund that Bret himself says is one of the worst big matches of his career. The only thing that really redeems this show at all is the two main events. Diesel and Shawn put on a pretty good match and Taylor surprised EVERYONE by putting on a good match with the Bammer (Bigelow never gets the credit for guiding him through it). The WWF at the time was still trying it’s renewed push toward children at this point and was trying desperately to be cool.
9) Wrestlemania VIII (1992): Headlined by Hulk Hogan (In his “final” match) against Psycho Sid and Ric Flair V/S Randy Savage for the WWF Title. Originally it was advertised the main event was to be Hogan V/S Ric Flair, but that got changed for one reason or another (Hogan leaving most likely). Like the last entry it had a couple of good matches that saved the show (Flair V/S Savage and Bret Hart V/S Roddy Piper) but the rest of the show was forgettable. This was the start of the downswing for the WWF as most of the established guys had left or were leaving and they just didn’t have the roster depth to fill the voids. As has been noted on WWE DVD’s, Vince was also distracted with the oncoming Steroid investigation by the government so this show was booked by Pat Paterson instead. Real mediocre show.
8) Wrestlemania X (1994): I know a lot of Internet wrestling fans will defend this show to the death, but I don’t like it very much. The headliner for this one was Yokozuna V/S Lex Luger for the WWE Title and the winner would face Bret Hart. Outside of Bret V/S Owen (which is a good match) and possibly the Ladder match with Shawn and Razor Ramon, the rest of this show blows. Out of the 11 matches on the show, one match was cancelled, one match lasted 30 seconds. The mixed tag match was a disaster, and he Falls Count Anywhere match with Randy Savage and Crush was about as tame as a house cat. The title matches (other than the Ladder match) were not very good as the tag titles were between two teams that weren’t that credible or over, the women’s match featured Lei Lani Kai, who hasn’t wrestled in the WWF since 1988, and the first WWF title match was terrible and the finale of the show featured a gassed out overweight Yokozuna kicking Bret around for ten minutes before losing to a slippery second rope. I never understood why people love this show that much.
7) Wrestlemania 2000: The Wrestlemania where the McMahon family made themselves the headliners. Sure the main event was a fatal 4 way match for the WWF title with Triple H V/S The Rock V/S Big Show V/S Mic Foley, but the focus was more of the McMahons not liking each other. Even without Vince, his wife, and the kids taking the spotlight, the four way main event was pointless. Why not just have Triple H V/s The Rock? The rest of the show didn’t fare much better as everything was multiple man matches or tag team matches. The only 1 on 1 match was between Terri Runnels and The Kat. The 3 way tag team Ladder match and the double title 2 fall match are good, but this show was a failed experiment.
6) Wrestlemania 13 (1997): The show that holds the record for the lowest buyrate in WWF/WWE history. This card was messed up a LOT thanks to Vince, Shawn Michaels, and Bret Hart all meddling with the show to push their own agendas and feed their egos. This show was headlined by the WWF Title match between the Undertaker v/s Sid because Vince just loves big guys pounding on each other. The match is terrible of course and only is even mentioned ever again as part of the Undertaker’s undefeated streak. Bret Hart was supposed to face Shawn Michaels in a rematch of Wrestlemania 12, with Bret winning by “breaking” Shawn’s ankle. But Shawn didn’t want to job the title to Sid the month before or lose to Bret Hart she he cried about a knee injury in his infamous “Lost smile” interview. Mankind was supposed to face Vader and Owen was going to face the British Bulldog, but Bret wanted to keep Owen and the Bulldog together and the split between then partners Mankind and Vader never happened. The ONLY redeeming value of this show was the Austin V/S Bret Hart submission match. Outside of that, the show is terrible.
5) Wrestlemania (1985): Surprised? Yup. I don’t think the first Wrestlemania is all that good. This was supposed to be Vince McMahon’s grand showcase. What we got was an overhyped and shortened MSG house show (this show is only 2 hours long) with celebrities. Sure it had some good matches for the time, but it features 3 one sided jobber matches, 2 non finishes in a row, and doesn’t feature the second hottest feud in the company at the time with Greg Valentine and Tito Santana (They had wrestled in MSG 2WEEKS before this show). Meanwhile the NWA’s first Starrcade held in November of 1983 blew this show out of the water. When you have to clear out your show for a Knicks game later that night, even in 1985 there is something wrong.
4) Wrestlemania 2 (1986): Remember what I said about Vince’s ego meddling with a show, here is the ultimate example. This show took place in three different venues on the same night. New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, with each segment being like a 4 match self contained show. Each segment got it’s own main event (Mr. T V/s Piper in a boxing match in New York, A WWF/NFL battle Royal in Chicago, and Hulk Hogan and King Kong Bundy in a cage in Los Angeles). Each venues also was LOADED with every b list celeb Vince could get at the time. The results were a disaster. First, the live crowds were only treated to a 1/3 of the show live, as they had to watch the rest of the show on big monitors on closed circuit. The result of that is only 1 of the 3 shows sold out. For both the live audiences and the Closed Circuit/PPV audiences, only the east coast saw the show in proper order where as the rest of the country had it’s order switched to accommodate the time zone differences. Thanks to all the wasted time with celebs, intermissions, and such, 8 of the 12 matches were less than 5 minutes long. And thanks to the expenses of having three arenas, 3 crews, and 3 live satellite uplinks, the costs for the4 WWF were enormous and it was only because of the closed circuit that this show didn’t put Vince out of business. So why do it? Because Jim Crockett had held Starrcade 1985 in two locations (in the same time zone mind you) 4 months before and Vince wanted to out due him. HOWEVER, this show is a guilty pleasure of mine as its a prime example of 80’s kitsch at it’s best.
3) Wrestlemania IV (1988): This one is a hard one for me to say, since this was the first wrestling video I ever had and I love the show, but it’s not a good show at all. The main event of this show was a 14 man tournament to decide the WWF champion, with the rematch of Hulk Hogan and Andre being the focus. This show suffered a lot of issues. The location was awful. The year before they had been at the Pontiac Silverdome in front of somewhere between 78 and 90 THOUSAND people. for this show they went to the New Jersey Civic center that held less than 20,000 people. The show was Vince’s attempt to buddy up with Donald Trump who basically sponsored the show and he owned the Trump Plaza hotel and Casino next door to the venue. So this show was largely held in front of 18,000 non wrestling fans and gamblers who only knew who Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant were and that’s about it. The tournament format make the show drag on and featured a lot of dumb non finishes during the course of the show, including 4 DQ’s, a count out, and a time limit draw. Yes, out of 11 tournament matches, 6 ended in non finishes. No match on the show lasted more than 15 minutes, and the big match with Hogan and Andre went only 6 minutes and ended in a double DQ (To all the fans who say Hogan/Andre from WM 3 was bad, they should see this crapfest). The show actually had to be rebooked thanks to a chain reaction starting with the Honky Tonk Man nearly walking out of the company 2 months before. As much as i still watch this show, it doesn’t have much going for it in the larger scale of Wrestlemania history.
2) Wrestlemania XXVII (2011): The only Wrestlemania I regretted buying on PPV. This show is just terrible. This event was headlined by the WWE champion the Miz taking on John Cena, but you would have never had known from the build up, witch was focused on John Cena and the “host” of the show, The Rock bickering back and forth. See, before this event, Vince had reached a deal with the Rock to headline Wrestlemania… the next year in Orlando. So honestly he didn’t give a shit about this card held in Georgia. The event was basically a 4 hour edition of RAW as it was paced horribly. It was LOADED with commercials for the relaunched Tough Enough reality show and they brought back Austin, Booker T, and Trish Stratus to hype it. Yes, use the biggest most expensive show of the year to hype a “reality show” on the USA network. It also was jammed full of backstage “skits” that were not funny and just wasted time. They shotgunned through the first half of the show in the first hour and a half (30 minutes of it was a Rock promo to start the show), which was too bad since some of those matches were actually good. This lead to the atrocious Jerry Lawler V/S Michael Cole match that should have been a 5 minute comedy match, but went for over 20 MINUTES. They followed that up with the Undertaker taking on Triple H in a match that featured both men lying around on the mat for most of the match. The Main event was a booking nightmare since the fans weren’t going to cheer for the Miz, They sure as hell weren’t going to cheer for John Cena (Hell, they booed the church Choir that sang him to the ring), and knew the Rock was going to show up anyway, so the audience just sat on their hands and did nothing. The main event only served to hype the Rock V/S Cena and nothing else, and they dare charged people $60 to watch this shit.
1) Wrestlemania IX (1993): The universally hated Wrestlemania. The last two were a real toss up. Probably not a big surprise, but this show deserves all the hate it gets. This show had nothing going for it coming in, and still didn’t deliver on the goods. This show was held in the parking lot of Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas and had a toga party theme. Yeah, that didn’t work. It also was the first Wrestlemania to revert back to the 3 hour format, where in the years before it had been 4 hours. Along with that you had the strikes of being at a time when the WWF had a low talent depth of guys people cared about, combined with being the first Mania after RAW had premièred, so a lot of the undercard matches were on the level of your average RAW show instead of being more special. None of the undercard matches weren’t very good either, and the main event was a clusterfuck of issues. The advertised main event was Bret Hart defending the WWF title against Yokozuna. Tell me if this doesn’t sound familiar. Yokozuna at this point had only been in the company for around six months. He had one the royal rumble and nothing else (*ahem*). Up until this point he had only beaten guys like Virgil and a past his prime Hacksaw Duggan. But because he was fat, Vince saw money. However, at some point Vince realized the show wasn’t going to do well so he brought back Hulk Hogan after a year off and put him in the tag title match to hopefully get some people interested. This backfired as Hogan immediately used his creative control and said that if he didn’t win the WWF Title, he wasn’t going to show. So the main event, and the entire focus of the WWF was changed. Yoko beat Hart, and Hogan came out right after and won the title in an impromptu challenge that looked stupid. It lead to 2 months of Hogan not being on TV other than one pretaped interview, Him skipping off to Japan where he called the WWF title a “toy”, doing a bunch of house show tag matches, and then finally being fired after he refused to put Bret Hart over at Summerslam, instead wanted to feud with Giant Gonzales. Yes, within 2 months, Wrestlemania was made irrelevant. It was a hard toss up between this and the previous entry, but unlike the horrendous Wrestlemania 27, this show has ZERO redeeming qualities. NONE of the matches are any good (the “best” match on the card was a coked out Curt Hennig V/S a lazy Lex Luger). The toga thing was just stupid, the main event sucked in its build up and delivered even less, and its relevance in history was wiped out in less than two months.
So that is my look at the worst that Wrestlemania can offer. Will this year’s event make its way onto my shitlist? Well, it’s not off to a very good start.
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