INDUCTION SPECIAL: 2016 – A Look Back in Horror – The Worst in Wrestling!

79 Submitted by on Thu, 29 December 2016, 20:00

A staggering and inordinate amount of deaths among talented, beloved celebrities and entertainers. A hideously ugly election cycle that only seemed to magnify the worst in everyone. The continued existence of Chrisley Knows Best, despite nobody knowing (or willing to admit knowing) a single person that watches that show for non-ironic reasons. The year 2016 has not been a pretty one, to say the very least.

In professional wrestling, it’s not much different. Things were pretty damn bad on a number of fronts in the sports entertainment medium we all hold dear, and for some, it’s as wretched as its ever been. I wouldn’t quite go that far, actually: there’s plenty to enjoy if you open your eyes and crane your neck around.

Among the goodness in wrestling this year, SmackDown upgraded itself into must-see episodic television, thanks to simple week-to-week storytelling and the presence of the impeccable Mauro Ranallo on commentary. The Royal Rumble was actually pretty good for once, even in spite of Triple H winning the WWE Championship. NXT continues to be a haven for top-notch wrestlers from around the globe, and the success of the brand spun-off another brilliant creation for international and indy talents to thrive in: the Cruiserweight Classic. Matt Hardy’s psychosis (the mental disorder, not the luchador) manifested itself in ways nobody else could have ever dreamt up. The Miz underwent a renaissance, on account of impassioned promos and some of the best in-ring work of his career. The Revival, well, revived the art of classic tag team wrestling, and even won the admiration of lovable curmudgeon Jim Cornette. Hulk Hogan dropped the big leg (not a euphemism) on the parasites at Gawker. The author of this article managed to co-write a book on 1997-98 WWE, vanquishing the laziness that has been his consistent nemesis for 33 years.

The following list will cover none of those topics. Least of all, the book. I’m nothing, if not virulently biased.

Instead, I aim to present the absolute worst of 2016 in one convenient package. The worst matches, moments, ideas, gimmicks, and storylines are ranked subjectively, all one man’s opinion. There will no doubt be disagreements with the list (and the order) as I have compiled it. That’s to be expected. Just keep in mind that it is one man’s opinion, although I’m always up for playful debate and discussion. Playful is fun. JBL will even declare that we’re having fun in there with our discussion. Everyone loves when JBL spouts company-approved cliches.

Each year, I look back at the list I put together 365 days or so earlier, just to see if there were any entries I jumped to gun on, and would have been better off leaving out. With the 2013 and 2014 lists, I found a handful in each that made me say, “Yeah, I suppose…”, but for the 2015 list, I stand by all 50 entries. The only one with even a fraction of remorse from me is number 19, R-Truth’s ongoing stupidity. And that’s only because his 2016 Royal Rumble spot, in which he slid a ladder into the ring and tried to climb for the non-existent Money in the Bank briefcase, made me laugh until it hurt. I admit to being a simple man.

That being said, something tells me I’ll be standing just as firmly by the 2016 list as well, with or without a cute Royal Rumble moment taking the starch out of a sole entry.

And yes, consider this a precursor to the 2016 Gooker Award voting, which will take place in just a couple of weeks.  You won’t have 50 entries to choose from there, only 10, so consider this the super-sized version with a Grotesque Gulp so enormous it won’t fit into your car’s drink holder, no matter how hard you try to jam it in there.

Any criticism or comments or whatnot, feel free to comment below, or Tweet at me. I’m perfectly capable of arguing in either forum.

Away we go.

50. TNA’s stormy night

A good number of TNA’s woes are self-inflicted, but inclement weather is something beyond their control. The June 14 edition of Impact ended up being delayed for nearly two hours after a thunderstorm played havoc with the Pop TV transmitters in Atlanta. In the place of wrestling, the same commercials aired on loop for almost the duration of Impact’s intended time slot.

49. Not a good sign, not a bad sign…

The near-unabated uber-push of “The Guy” continues to irk many viewers, though the lengths that WWE has gone to try and protect Reigns’ image have proven comical. Like the fan’s sign at WWE Payback that read, “WHEN IT REIGNS, IT BORES”. A WWE.com photo scrubbed out the final two words, turning negativity into a weird half-a-sentence. WHEN IT REIGNS….okay, then what?

48. TNA’s Twitter hates your guts

TNA’s lead announcer Josh Mathews (he of the lowered-pitch voice thanks to the wonders of post-production) is reportedly in charge of the promotion’s Twitter. The same Twitter that hits back angrily at benign fan criticisms (clearer image here). Mathews has had Twitter run-ins in the past, most caustically with former TNAer TJ Perkins, so perhaps control over social media should be delegated more thoughtfully.

47. Make Darren Young Great Again

While it’s great to see Bob Backlund get dusted off for another goofy run, his pairing with career midcarder Darren Young really went nowhere. Things looked semi-amusing at first when an out-of-touch Backlund and his archaic coaching methods failed to jive with his millennial protege. After a brief feud with The Miz, Young became a non-factor before the end of summer, wasting Backlund’s unconventional brilliance.

46. Edge, Christian, New Day, League of Nations segment

In theory, matching the irreverent wits of Edge and Christian and The New Day should have made for some entertaining television. At Fastlane, the two sides traded underwhelming barbs before being interrupted by the ice-cold League of Nations, who are left standing there after more lame insults. Unless you think, “International House of Dumbasses,” is a seminal bon mot worthy of Roast Battle.

45. Impact Grand Championship

TNA has notoriously been averse to keeping their concepts simple (Hard 10 Challenge, Doomsday Chamber of Blood, Fight for Your Right battle royal). While a ’rounds’ system isn’t so convoluted (classic World of Sport wrestling thrived on such rules), the concept feels out of place in TNA, where outlandish gimmickry and mayhem have been more predominant in 2016.

44. TNA loses out on The Club, then complains

In late 2015, TNA had apparently struck a deal to not only bring back AJ Styles, but also sign his Bullet Club allies Doc (Luke) Gallows and Karl Anderson. The three obviously signed with WWE instead. For their part, TNA sent out a scornful press release scolding Styles, even though they were the ones that made plans for the three without any dotted lines signed.

43. Obey the Jumbotron

Even though the announcers laugh off “Bizarro World” crowds that chant against the WWE narrative, the company would rather exercise some Jesse the Body-esque mind control on its Universe. That’s why at WrestleMania 32, the Jerryworld big screen ‘encouraged’ specific crowd chants, like “Woo” for Charlotte, “New Day Rocks”, and counting Brock Lesnar’s suplexes in sequence. Amazingly, there was no “Yay” prodding for Roman Reigns in the main event.

42. Wyatt Compound Match

Granted, TNA and WWE have ripped each other off enough over the years, but this one felt especially hokey. After “Final Deletion” became an ironic absurdist hit, WWE immediately threw together a holy war between The Wyatt Family and The New Day on brother Bray’s turf. Coincidence? If anything, it could be argued that WWE brought more attention to Matt Hardy’s captivating dementia than they did their own storylines.

41. Montreal Part VIII: Hebner Takes Manhattan

Bret Hart possesses little filter when it comes to levying criticisms against WWE. “The Hitman” (fresh off both wrist surgery and prostate cancer surgery) made no bones about his lack of desire for appearing at WWE Payback in May, claiming he was only doing so in support of his niece, Natalya. The same Natalya that lost via a Sharpshooter screwjob to Charlotte, while Hart watched on with disinterest.

40. The Shining Stars

It’s hard to tell if portraying evil travel agents is a step up or down from playing bullfighters (from Puerto Rico). Primo and Epico wasted the spring starring in endless vignettes in which they advocated for their home island, and talked botany, which I suppose makes them heels. Then they really showed their nefarious side by tricking R-Truth into trading he and Goldust’s spot at Survivor Series for a timeshare! Those cads!

39. Goldust and R-Truth’s “comedy”

There’s comedy, there’s high comedy, and then there’s comedy so forced that it’s pushed through our television screens with a plunger for good measure. Goldust and R-Truth are each in their physical twilight and are fine as comic relief, but bad segments like Goldust as an awkward waiter and R-Truth as an apologetic pizza boy only further beg the question, “Why is Raw three hours?”

38. “Take two!”

Despite being a skillful, eagerly-determined wrestler, it’s not exactly Bayley’s nature to demonstrate such voraciousness verbally. That’s why her doe-eyed timidness doesn’t lend itself to the most compelling promos, as proven on the post-Hell in a Cell airing of Raw Talk, in which Bayley sheepishly shambled through a promo, and Booker T and Lita aggressively roasted her for it. When Lita thinks your talking needs work…

37. “Good Lucha thing”

Bayley was reciting Dusty Rhodes’ “Hard Times” sermon with gusto compared to Kalisto’s pink nightmare of a promo. After being drafted to SmackDown Live, Kalisto’s interview stumbled out of the blocks before he delivered the immortal phrase, “Good…Lucha…thing”, and ran off set while grunting “Goddamnit!” To begin, Kalisto uttered the words “shock the world”, which was also prelude to another moment of masked wrestler infamy.

36. A Cruiserweight division, modern WWE style

Remember the days of Dean Malenko, Rey Mysterio, and Chris Jericho occupying time on WCW Nitro with their world-class athletics and acrobatics? It’s not exactly the same in today’s WWE, where the revived Cruiserweight division does boast many legitimate talents, only shoe-horned into slower WWE-style matches and “branding” with special purple-colored ropes. Only WWE could render dynamic international and indy talents dull.

35. New RAW logo

The 10,000th person that pointed out that the W looks like an upside-down M, and that the new Raw logo was ripped off of the Dodge Ram logo, won two tickets for the endless TV taping of their choosing. Maybe the emblem is a tribute to the minimalist works of Sol LeWitt, only without the courtesy of engaging the viewer through additional dimension.

34. Breezango’s Sunburn match

Speaking of wacky Golden Truth antics, how’s about the time those hooligans locked Fandango and Tyler Breeze in a tanning booth, and the brilliantly-named “Breezango” appeared six days later covered in hi-larious seventh degree burns? Quite a lot of elaborate plaster and make-up for a throwaway pre-show match, especially since most fans in the building didn’t understand what the gag was supposed to be.

33. Dana Brooke

Dave Meltzer’s periodically noted that WWE views Dana as “the female Roman Reigns”. Well, they were kinda right – crowds don’t seem to care for the extremely green, brought-up-too-soon female grappler that would go on to have transparently bad matches on TV, one particularly memorable one with Bayley. The dead silence at Extreme Rules when Dana made a grand entrance dressed as Ric Flair was a bad sign.

32. Joan Lunden for Warrior Award

All the praise in the world to the veteran journalist for conquering breast cancer, but we all know that’s not the issue here. Annoyed wrestling fans will once again note that The Warrior Award was twisted and mangled from Warrior’s original idea to honor unsung backstage contributors. Of course, one guess which path will provide WWE with more (hollow) publicity.

31. Orton: “no enhancement needed”

When CM Punk mocked Jeff Hardy for his poor choices in life, it made sense, given Punk’s straight-edge adherence. In this case, the irony was blindingly clear. Orton mocked opponent Brock Lesnar’s USADA drug fail by claiming that he didn’t need chemical help to be as great as he is. Of course, two failed drug tests and selective immunity in the 2007 Signature Pharmacy scandal say hi.

30. The fallout over Joey Styles’ comment

Styles gets fired by EVOLVE (and a few other peer organizations) for making an edgy joke that veered into territory that Gabe Sapolsky asked him not to tread upon. The outrage and aftermath prove to be far more over the top than is really necessary. Jim Cornette said it far better than I ever could, so if you have 20 minutes, let the Louisville Lip break it down for you.

29. Frequent Women’s title changes

The Raw Women’s Championship has changed with such frequency in the latter half of 2016 that you’d think there was a 24/7 rule in place. At this point, I’d expect to see Pete Gas wallop Charlotte with a trash can outside of a laundromat and pin her. Big E even joked about the “hot potato” (to reportedly some backstage heat) in a throwaway line on a recent Raw.

28. Mick Foley as Raw‘s General Manager

It’s almost incomprehensible that the great Mick Foley could become such a liability on the mic, akin to watching Ali suck wind against Trevor Berbick in 1981. As Raw‘s GM, Foley lacks the charming dorkiness of his previous runs, and instead rambles aimlessly and uncomfortably (when he’s not shouting randomly). Even if he’s being held to a strict script, it’s still clear Foley’s lost his touch.

27. Coach’s “defense” of WWE over concussions

Ever since WWE buddied up to ESPN in 2015, current ESPN anchor Jonathan Coachman has enjoyed a renewed marriage with his ex-employer. That’s why he passionately defended WWE against the class action concussion lawsuit filed this past summer. In the midst of his defense, Coach admitted he suffered probably something like 10 or 20 concussions in a five year stretch, and never had all of them evaluated. Oops.

26. Enzo attends sensitivity training

The Daniel Bryan/Kane anger management sessions were to Enzo Amore’s forced sensitivity training what Revenge of the Nerds was to Nerds in Paradise: the former was a comedic sleeper hit, while the latter was a humorless attempt at co-opting the surprisingly-effective formula. Enzo is a unique comic presence, and understandably, his voice is stifled by constrictive setpieces where he can’t feed off of the crowd.

25. Vince suspends Titus O’Neil

Daniel Bryan’s emotional retirement speech came equipped with a bizarre occurrence, that being Vince McMahon flipping out on Titus for ‘playfully’ grabbing his arm as the listening throng went to leave the ramp. An irate McMahon suspended Titus for sixty days, reportedly costing him his WrestleMania bonus. Dave “No Frigs Given” Batista, a friend of O’Neil’s, publicly chastised McMahon, and said O’Neil should’ve just quit the company.

24. WWE releases Damien Sandow

One of those cases where, “Creative has nothing, even if the fans do.” Sandow turned heads with his droll portrayal of The Miz’s muted sidekick, and the budding face turn excited many viewers. Then Sandow was briskly swept under the rug with Zack Ryder and other contradictions of creative. Fitting that Sandow’s last WWE hurrah was a warm response in the otherwise-heatless Andre the Giant battle royal at WrestleMania 32.

23. David Otunga as an announcer

WWE insists on three-man commentary booths like Tommy Wiseau insists on having a cup of hot water handy: nobody’s exactly sure why. This list trashed Byron Saxton a year ago, but Otunga makes Saxton look like John Facenda by comparison, offering empty platitudes and duh-duh statements similar to a pull-string doll that spits out elementary buzzphrases. Can’t SmackDown just roll with JBL and Mauro?

22. HHH helps Kevin Owens then vanishes

With Raw‘s ratings floundering the past few seasons, it almost seems as though WWE holds back in the fall, not wanting their big guns to get pummeled by Monday Night Football. It’d explain why Triple H cost Seth Rollins the WWE Universal title on August 29, and then disappeared for the entire autumn season, most likely to return come January, so the COO can look like a massive ratings draw.

21. Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose

One of the lowlights of WrestleMania 32 (more on that show later) was the disappointing brawl between Lesnar and Ambrose. In what amounted to barely more than an extended squash match, Lesnar controlled 85 percent of the skirmish, finishing Ambrose clean with an F5 onto a pile of chairs. Ambrose would later claim that Lesnar was lazy, and didn’t want to do anything out of his comfort zone in the match.

20. The New Day vs. The Club

While the wacky and energetic New Day can make even the most inane of dialogue work to some degree, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson understandably struggle trying to match the trio’s silliness. Instead of getting to be the ruthless ass-kickers the two played in Bullet Club, Anderson and Gallows were caught up diagnosing “ringpostitis” and fighting off Jon Stewart like, as Bryan Alvarez would rasp, “a couple of geeks.”

19. Susan G Komen

Bears residual mention on an annual basis. Stephanie McMahon proudly tweeting out the remark about philanthropy being a brand-builder last year makes it ickier. While WWE isn’t the only media empire that uses charity (in this case, one with highly dubious motivations) as an image-enhancer, their incessant badgering of what good people they are makes October broadcasts unbearable.

18. The Prime Time Players explode…..again

You remember those “Silly Laws That Are Actually Real” humor books you could find in your school library? Apparently one of those edicts states that Titus O’Neil and Darren Young must remain connected at all times, either as partners or as opponents. The two were drawn back together this summer after their second split, and to say it failed to electrify would be an understatement.

17. The Asylum Match, and Mitch the Houseplant

If you’ve read Chris Jericho’s books, you know about the “Curse of Jericho”, which pertains to his debut/return matches. The term could better apply to his current WWE lot, in which he’s asked to deadpan his way through goofy concepts. In this case, a feud with Dean Ambrose that held promise went on to feature Mitch the Houseplant, and an interminable “Asylum” match that was more sleep-inducing than EmergenZ.

16. The aftermath of Roman Reigns’ failed drug test

Reigns isn’t the first performer to violate WWE’s wellness policy, nor will he be the last, but the on-screen damage control was something wild. In most cases, the offending talent would be persona-non-grata for the suspension’s duration, but instead Reigns was prominently mentioned on television, with popular-enough Dean Ambrose defending his buddy by noting we all make mistakes. Naturally, that too failed to sway the ticket-buying jury.

15. The aftermath of Brock Lesnar’s failed drug test

At least Reigns served a sensible punishment. Lesnar flunked a USADA-sanctioned test prior to his UFC 200 fight with Mark Hunt, and would eventually have his unanimous decision victory nullified, in addition to a one-year suspension. On the WWE side, Lesnar, as a part-timer, is apparently exempt from consenting to drug testing, which is a pretty hefty double-standard. Though really, what would Brock’s “punishment” be, sitting home for thirty days? How would he survive?

14. Roman Reigns: still not “The Guy”

The year 2016 saw more attempts to get Reigns over as “The Guy”, only for the crowds to continue resoundingly rejecting him. It’s not Reigns’ fault he’s slotted into feuds with better-regarded opponents (AJ Styles, Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens), but the writing continues doing him no favors. When the year started, Reigns was actually better positioned as the incumbent champion, but by the Rumble, the goodwill wore off.

13. PPVs are tooooo looooong

WWE made the decision in 2016 to expand the length of their pay-per-views. Pre-show included, WrestleMania was a soul-crushing six hours in length, while SummerSlam and Survivor Series ran longer than most people would have cared for. Even Money in the Bank ran past 11 PM EST, a concession allowing home viewers to catch the finish of the historic NBA Finals Game 7 during a crappy Rusev/Titus O’Neil match.

12. And there are too many PPVs, too

Remember in 2006 when WWE expanded its PPV calendar to 16 events, which was more bloated than a mob informant floating in the bay? Child’s play, says WWE, who feels that Raw and SmackDown each deserve their own monthly shows to go along with the Big Four events, resulting in stretched out feuds, a litany of unspecial rematches, and Sunday night showcases that feel more like lifeless space occupiers.

11. Rebel vs. Shelly Martinez

Seven years after Jenna Morasca’s fly-swatting strikes of doom, Rebel and Shelly did their damnedest to set new standards for badness in the realm of TNA Knockouts. By now, you’ve probably seen the infamous finish, in which Shelly’s attempt at a suicide dive results in her shambling gut-first into the middle rope and suspending herself like a parachutist in a tree, which was enough to render her unconscious.

10. The Old Day

On Labor Day, WWE pre-emptively chose to punish ten percent of their audience (the ones deserting them a week later for football) by making everyone sit through The Old Day, a look at The New Day in their future (health permitting) octogenarian states. Apparently, this was supposed to make us hate Gallows and Anderson (for their wit, not lack of it). Instead, we came to better understand why The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega prefer to freelance.

9. Brock busts Orton open hardway

“Alright, Brock, listen: blading is considered barbaric, and we have squeamish sponsors that we’re trying to appease. However, we also need a blood stoppage for your match. So here’s the plan: we need you to nick Randy’s eyebrow with your tree stump of an elbow until you draw blood. That’s WAY more sensible than him using a razor to thinly slice his skin, am I right?”

8. Camp WWE

Literally the only reason to spend 20 minutes watching Camp WWE is to hear Vince McMahon recite obscenity-filled non-sequitirs with his usual phlegmy bark. Otherwise, it’s just humorless dick-and-crap jokes with uninteresting stories. It’s a cartoon, and I get that you’re not supposed to take it seriously, but Story Time is a far better marriage of animation and WWE kookiness.

7. Holy Foley

There’s certainly an undeniable irony in Mick Foley, whose gritty work transcended fictional wrestling, taking part in a “reality” show with the sort of hack scripting that would be too dopey for Bazooka Joe wrapper comics. Holy Foley is primarily a vehicle to shine spotlight on Mick’s adult children Noelle and Dewey, and conveniently enough, Foley’s Facebook tirades on WWE’s short-sightedness ceased just in time for the show’s launch.

6. Eddiesploitation, Part II

Even though Sasha Banks isn’t related by blood to the Guerrero family, she openly considers Eddie a hero and role model. So much so that WWE, patron saints of tact, ran hard with it, with Foley actually uttering, “You’re a part of Eddie’s legacy,” to Sasha on an October Raw. Guerrero’s been through enough posthumous storylines for one eternity; can’t we just leave him in peace?

5. McMahon Family Feud, Part 6,274

Remember when WrestleMania 2000 revolved around McMahon family melodrama, and the event was one of the rare misses of an otherwise awesome year for WWE? Somebody must think that more McMahons on TV benefits the company, because here are Shane and Stephanie serving as figureheads of SmackDown and Raw, warring with one another. To put it in perspective, when Shane and Stephanie began feuding a generation ago, ratings were three times higher.

4. Global Force Gold

Any hopes that Jeff Jarrett’s Global Force Wrestling could become an impact player have long since been flushed. Today, the company seemingly exists only as a punchline due to their involvement in a money-into-gold multi-level marketing scheme wholeheartedly endorsed by Jarrett himself. Say what you will about Dixie Carter, but at least she hasn’t resorted to selling Karatbars to rubes.

3. Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker

Shane’s return on Raw after six-plus years away from the sport was an exciting and genuinely-awesome moment. Then Shane was tied into a WrestleMania match with Undertaker for control of Raw, while Undertaker’s career was on the line. The build-up was bad, with an inexplicable story and the return of Shane’s laughable punches. The match was just as exhaustively tedious, as Shane’s elbow off of Hell in a Cell couldn’t save it.

2. WrestleMania 32

There were numerous injuries to major stars going into the big event, which makes it all the more baffling that six hours elapsed from the first pre-show bout to the end of the main event. Boy, did it drag. Questionable booking ruled the night, as it almost seemed like the plan was to job out everyone likable, leaving fans no choice but to cheer Reigns in the finale. Didn’t take.

1. TNA, period

After over fourteen years of shaky existence, TNA felt closer to the grave than ever in 2016. Between needing to raise fast cash for TV tapings, the power struggle between Dixie Carter, Billy Corgan, and others, and the revelation of a number of unresolved legal issues, among other ugliness, it became much clearer just how messy things were for the disputable number two promotion. Hopefully, the new owners from Anthem can find solid ground in 2017 and beyond.

Written by

Justin Henry is WrestleCrap's inquiring newsman, thirsting for knowledge always. He enjoys the art of satire, as you'll find in many of his works here at WrestleCrap. Drop him a line on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh) and Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/jrhwriting)
79 Responses to "INDUCTION SPECIAL: 2016 – A Look Back in Horror – The Worst in Wrestling!"
  1. #OPC says:

    I’m still hoping K-Mart will buyout TNA.

  2. "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

    Great job on this one, Justin.

  3. Charles Belles says:

    I got titan screwed and titan shattered for Christmas, cannot wait to read them after I finish sinking.

  4. Autrach Sejanoz says:

    I wonder, what would happen if Earl Hebner really did take Manhattan?

  5. s1mon86 says:

    I still think RD will induct the adventures of Matt Hardy for the Gooker this year. There is too much material for him to pass up on

    • Si says:

      Why? Even this article goes out of its way to praise Broken Matt, and if the purpose of the Gooker is to spotlight storylines that failed and made the company look foolish then it doesn’t qualify at all being the one thing (on TV) that’s keeping people interested in TNA.

    • JimbobJones says:

      If he does, this site will have jumped the shark and gone COMPLETELY against its original purpose.

      The Hardy stuff has been fascinating, and most people have been praising it for its creativity. It may not be everyone’s taste, but if it gets even nominated for the Gooker, then he needs to go back and retroactively add EVERY gimmick that shouldn’t have worked but did, including Doink, the Undertaker, and Mick Foley (someone with 3 distinct personalities? That’s just stupid!)

      Just because “it’s TNA” doesn’t mean it’s automatically bad.

      • Guest says:

        By the same token just because you buy into the trope of “So Bad It’s Good” doesn’t mean everyone else does or should.

    • Brian says:

      RD has said in interviews that he really hopes Broken Matt doesn’t get the Gooker. I agree. Dude has repackaged himself better than anyone in recent memory.

  6. Mister Forth says:

    TNA is like that prison escape movie where the group thins with every problem they “overcome”.

  7. Rose Harmon says:

    I don’t agree with Matt Hardy for the Gooker at all. Sure, it’s silly and absurdist, but it got people talking and engaged with TNA. It was the most creative and original thing we’ve seen all year!

  8. JM says:

    My vote for every Gooker award from now until eternity will be Shane vs. Undertaker, until the rumored Shane vs. Lesnar match happens. Then that.

  9. Joey says:

    I hope you nominate TNA’s various business screw-ups in 2016 for the Gooker this year. A detailed summary of all the bullshit sounds like a worthy, epic induction.

    • JimbobJones says:

      I’m fairly positive that the Gooker generally has to do with angles or stuff that is shown on-screen.

      I think backstage stupidity is generally relegated to columns like this one.

  10. Adam says:

    Ah, 44 – Because TNA learns from anything, much less back when they hyped a MEM return without signing half of them. Makes for a fun game, though – predict which Rumble surprise entrant’s going to trip them up next.

  11. Si says:

    TNA deciding to turn a much loved part-comedic character into Aron Rex, no-nonsense technical asskicker was a far worse decision.

  12. Sean Bateman says:

    Kwang is a bigger threat from Puerto Rico than the Shining Stars.

  13. eew pmac says:

    #8…

    Bruh, are you watching the same show as me? This ain’t just piss and shit jokes… this is well written comedy by a RESPECTED comedic actor and television show creator.

    I’ll yield to one thing if we must agree on something, at least it’s better written than say… cartoon network and adult swim’s latest offerings? (Alleged phallus and excrement jokes aside)

    • The Lunatic Binge says:

      Seth Green is respected? And if you think Camp WWE is better written than Steven Universe or Rick and Morty you’re insane.

      • eew pmac says:

        Rick and Morty… no, that show is amazing.

        But SU is cancer, it doesn’t deserve to share a pedestal… let alone a NETWORK with Rick and Morty.

        I’ll gladly accept your accusation of my lack of sanity to defend my right to bash SU but still enjoy Rick and Morty

  14. Doc75 says:

    “Chrisley Knows Best”. anyone care to explain that one?

    • Jimbolian says:

      “Chrisley Knows Best is an American reality television series airing on the USA Network. It centers around the lives of wealthy Georgia real estate mogul Todd Chrisley and his family. The show formerly took place in Roswell and Alpharetta, Georgia, both near Atlanta. The show is currently in its fourth season, which was filmed mainly in Nashville, Tennessee.”

      So if “reality” TV shows are your cup of tea, this one’s for you.

  15. Thedude says:

    Great list. Damn near perfect. Only things I can honestly say I disagree with is camp wwe, which i loved and wish it had more episodes. And Brock busting open Orton. I thought it was a great finish, showcased Brock for the beast he is, and I got to see Orton get beat on. Good times.

  16. Gerard says:

    tyvm for saying screw the 2016 gooker award nominations here is everything crappy bad and just plain weird that happend in a wrestling ring during 2016

  17. Gerard says:

    oops commented before i actually read the induction but still 2016 was just an all around bad year for hollywood and the wrestling world hopefully things will look up in 2017

  18. JB says:

    I know Otunga is bad, but for a grown man to question why the show can’t have JBL and Maury, that really puts it into a new perspective.

    I really wonder if commentary will get better once Vincent passes on. I’ve always felt it’s usually terrible and that he runs off the good ones because he sucked so badly at doing it himself.

  19. Doc 902714 says:

    How about Jon “FREAKIN\'” STEWART WRECKS SUMMERSLAM 2 years in a ROW? And both times were nonsense. Pete Rose (WM XIV, XV, 2000) ain’t got nothing on this guy. At least the first time Pete did it at WM XIV, it was kinda funny and mildly entertaining. That has never been the case with either of Jon Stewart’s unappreciated (and unwanted) back-to-back SummerSlam run-ins. One can only hope and pray WWE doesn’t threepeat (pun intended) with this one.

  20. Jimbolian says:

    The Broken Matt saga is what’s keeping TNA relevant for now, so I think I’ll pass on voting it for Gooker 2016.

    So instead, I’m going with Wrestlemania 32. One of the most lackluster WM ever; just on the same level as XI, XV, and XXVII (but nothing will ever surpass IX). Plus it didn’t help that the booking reeked of Russo with half of the story lines coming out of the show became moot the following night.

    • JimbobJones says:

      Like I said above, if Broken Matt even gets nominated, then WrestleCrap will have gone ENTIRELY against their purpose. Even if something’s insanely stupid on paper, if it works, then it shouldn’t be nominated.

      Don’t get me wrong. If they beat it into the ground (they ARE TNA), then I fully expect it to be in NEXT year’s Gooker nominations, but not this year’s.

      As for WM — I think 32 was the worst. WM9 was worse in the booking and quality sense, but I’d rather watch a 2+ hour WM9 than a 4+ hour WM32 any day (something like 7 hours if you include all of the pre-show crap)

      • Burb says:

        Broken Matt did work as a “so bad it’s good” concept at first.

        Keyword being “at first”.

        They’ve long since ran it into the ground. Delete or Decay and the three TV specials were god awful and not even entertaining in the way the Final Deletion and contract signing were.

        Wrestlecrap already has gone entirely against its purpose. Rather than putting the spotlight on actual garbage angles and events, they’re just catering to the IWC by bitching about Roman Reigns in every other spot on the list.

        But Broken Matt is a meme, so it’s good.

      • Jackwagon says:

        “Even if something’s insanely stupid on paper, if it works, then it shouldn’t be nominated.”

        It’s like the old saying goes: if it’s stupid and it works, then it’s not stupid.

  21. Alexandru says:

    Kalisto and Darren Young are garbage. As was the League of Losers crap. The McMahon story line’s are beyond stale and Dixie Carter showed her self to be a snake in the grass. Have to say this year has been far better than last though. Smackdown has been on fire

  22. Mav says:

    The McMahons and HHH are everything that’s wrong with wrestling. Pushing philanthropy because it’s good for business. Putting the title on part-time performer HHH. Banning signs that are critical. To me, all of them have X-Pac heat, as in, I’m changing the channel. I’ll give Vince credit. He made me a wrestling fan back in the 80s. But HHH and Stephanie are somehow able to ruin a monopoly, which should be impossible to do. I liked Vince best in his straight, 80s announcer guise. As soon as they made the show about them, it was garbage. Make your shows about wrestlers. Let them do their own thing to connect with audiences. Stop thinking anyone is tuning in to see a 20-minute monologue from HHH or Stephanie. That is just egotism at a ridiculous level.

    It’s too bad WCW self-destructed. I haven’t cared about today’s wrestling since. The WWF/E won the battle but lost the war. It’s at war with itself, and it’s losing.

  23. Chris says:

    What about the ” Make Brock a Heel in Minnesota Debacle”?

  24. The Lunatic Binge says:

    I laughed for 5 minutes at “Global for Gold”. Jesus Christ Jarrett what the fuck are you doing?

  25. Jerm says:

    Disaster Artist reference!

    • Justin Henry says:

      I’m barely 1/3 of the way into it and I’ve just about pulled a back muscle from laughing so hard.

      • Jerm says:

        Checked it out from the library and my girlfriend and I both read it in less than a week. I immediately asked for a copy for Christmas and was rewarded. I see myself reading it over and over through the years…followed by a compulsory watch of the masterpiece film itself.

  26. Greg says:

    The reason they do not test part-timers is due to the wellness policy NOT trying to catch cheaters. It is for health reasons. A part-timer is not around enough for the punishments to have any real impact. They want their full-time guys to be clean due to needing them constantly and punishments actually having impacts.

    Lance Storm has said this and agrees with it. I see no issue with Brock not getting in trouble.

    Not all of Susan G Komen is bad. The local chapter where I live actually does fantastic work. They said they understand why people get annoyed with the constant pink stuff but it is important to raise awareness of it.

    • Guest says:

      Even with Brock being a part timer it doesn’t really excuse him flunking a drug test and yet still being allowed to wrestle on TV, when WWE is current big on suspending people and keeping them off TV for weeks. The optics just don’t look good as they’re creating a double standard….though I believe having Orton win that match by DQ was likely a last minute punishment it was a shitty and dangerous punishment, which creates another contradiction.

      • Greg says:

        Suspensions can be enacted whenever they want. It does not have to happen right away. It is a health program. They want their full-time guys to be clean. Punishments will matter to full-time guys and hopefully get them to clean up. Part-time guys will not be impacted by suspensions. It will not achieve anything.

        You’re focusing on the wrong thing. They are not trying to catch cheaters. In baseball, steroids make you artificially better. That is cheating. In WWE, you can’t cheat.

        Making Brock look like a badass as a punishment would be a very dumb punishment. I don’t believe that.

  27. JimbobJones says:

    Assuming that they don’t do something stupid and nominate Broken Matt, and assuming that they stick with the “if it doesn’t show up on-screen, then the backstage stuff isn’t in play” rule, is there anything in TNA that will really qualify for a Gooker this year?

    I can’t really think of anything (of course, I might be missing something — I haven’t paid THAT much attention to them). Backstage, they’ve been a tire fire, but on-screen, their stuff has, by all accounts, been fine (or at least stable).

    For me, I’m fairly positive that either the Shane/UT mess (pre-and-post WM) or the booking of Gallows and Anderson would have to take it.

    It’s hard to believe that right now, with SmackDown actually being fun to watch, that so much crap happened this year. But it was a mess, especially in WWE.

  28. John says:

    I know there were only 50 spots but does anyone else think that Goldberg squashing Lesnar in 90 seconds should be considered a crappy moment? Ever since Lesnar broke the streak there has been much hype about who would finally be able to convincing slay the beast who broke the streak. For all the hype this rematch got to say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I don’t know what the plans are going forward for Lesnar and Goldberg but IMO I don’t think there is anything that can be done that will make me say that squash match was justified in hindsight.

    • Gold Standard says:

      I fully agree with you. If Goldberg had to win due to something contractually, that’s fine, but the 96 second squash was not the way to go about business. If I were the person booking this match, I would have had it go about 10, with Goldberg doing the exact same opening, but Brock kick out of the Jackhammer…..Goldberg landing some punches and kicks…..and at about the 10 minute mark, Brock catch Goldberg in a surprise submission.

      Stephanie can still go on next week and claim Goldberg kicked Brock’s ass. Brock can save face by saying he overcame adversity and still found a way to win……then they wouldn’t have thrown away tons of money on having Brock vs. Brawn Strowman down the road.

      With Brock’s squashing, the match of Strowman and Lesner loses a lot of its luster.

      • John says:

        I think the squash might have worked if this was their first meeting. But it wasn’t and most people probably haven’t forgotten their crappy match at WM20 which made this even more of a disappointment after the hype for a rematch to make amends for that event.

        This along with the streak ending IMO confirms that WWE makes too many decisions solely to get some cheap shock value from the crowd with little if any idea on how to go forward once the shock wears off. As a result many potentially great storylines are lost.

        Imagine if Hogan turned heel in 1996 just for the sake of shock with no plans beyond the heel turn. But there was a plan on what they wanted to do and where they wanted to go with it with the whole nWo concept. The fact that the nWo went on way too long is another story.

        Somehow I think Hogan’s heel run would have been a lot less successful if they would have turned him solely for the sake of shock value and nothing else.

      • Guest says:

        Makes sense have Brock go over Lesnar just a few months removed from him almost concussing Orton. Secondly they could’ve easily had made Strowman-Lesnar months earlier but for whatever reason (likely Strowman himself) they chose not to, it also doesn’t help that both Lesnar and Brock are heels.

        • Gold Standard says:

          Strowman was not ready yet because he was saddled with the Wyatt Family. Now that he’s on his own, he’s making a decent showing of himself.

          Lesner is not really a heel….he was a heel against Goldberg but a face when facing Roman Reigns. I’m sure it would be easy for fans to cheer for Lesner just as easily as they boo him. It’s all based upon who he is facing.

  29. Another Dave says:

    Every time I see Billy Corgan in a suit and tie, TwentySomething me dies a little bit more.

  30. CF says:

    Nothing from _Lucha Underground_?

  31. Meh says:

    As far as the Warrior Award goes it seems you have to or had cancer and also be an American to be inducted the Hall of Fame via the Warrior Award which explain why I can’t see WWE inducting UK wrestler, Kris Travis via the Warrior Award despite there being a petition (http://www.thepetitionsite.com/en-gb/965/697/728/wwe-warrior-award-2017-to-be-awarded-to-kris-travis/) for it.

    The Warrior Award is truly the American Cancer Award.

  32. Thomas Moffatt says:

    I’ll probably be branded jealous and bitter for this but ‘All Things Miz’ bored me to tears since WM32. He bores me and I wouldn’t miss him if he left tomorrow. I fast forward through ‘All Things Miz’ and couldn’t give a shit. The whole Daniel Bryan thing? Struck me as someone taking a childish swipe when they couldn’t handle the truth. I do miss Damien Sandow, back in January/February he teamed on with Fandango against Darren Young and Mark Henry on Main Event and the entire arena was chanting ‘We Want Sandow’. Massive trick was missed last year with Sandow.

    Sandow was across big time. Unlike Roman Bloody Reigns. Note to WWE: all attempts to get him across as a face are failing, please turn him heel as jerk of the century. Gooker of the Year candidate for me is ‘All Things Roman Reigns’, from the Rumble, to the WM32 main event, to the ‘The Guy’, to the patriot, to the piggybacking on Sasha Banks’ popularity, the AJ Styles feud where he was DQ’d for the low blow and nothing was said, the failed drugs test and the worst bit was Nipple H branding him a ‘loser’ for failing to win the WWE World Heavyweight Title then putting him straight into the Universal Title competition – surely it would have looked FAR more damning to force him down the card and not open the door for opportunity, victimise him? Might have got him across.

    One moment that made me laugh was during the Club’s feud with Enzo, Cass and John ‘The Chav is Here’ Cena when the under 10’s started chanting “We Want Cena’ which was responded by the adults with ‘NO WE DON’T’.

    Was not sad in the slightest to see Hornswoggle get released as he can now get his own induction. I think Byron Saxton is still the worst TV announcer, worse than Otunga who is an intelligent man who is made to come across as a moron. Seriously, I would be tempted to make Saxton as an obnoxious manager with a chip on his shoulder for his failures as an announcer and a wrestler (remember before he was a rubbish announcer he was an equally rubbish wrestler) and try someone else out on the table such as Christian or Big Show, witty guys who can show a lot of passion.

    I now open the floor for my condemning for not loving Miz where I get branded bitter and jealous and my beheading is quickly arranged…

    • Gold Standard says:

      I agree about Sandow. I think the WWE threw more money away when they put Rhino with Heath Slater. They could have had Slater recruit Sandow to be his tag team partner and that would have been over huge.

      I refer to Roman Reigns as the 21st Century Lex Luger. Supposed to be a sure thing, but just isn’t.

      I also think that they should do something else with Byron Saxton. It seems they are trying to make him into Jonathan Coachman, but it’s just not working. Maybe a manager role might work for him.

    • Guest says:

      “The whole Daniel Bryan thing? Struck me as someone taking a childish swipe when they couldn’t handle the truth.”

      Makes sense…..when you remember Miz is a heel.

      “Massive trick was missed last year with Sandow.”

      Massive Trick was missed with Sandow when he was still a heel and jobbing to people for no rhyme or reason even while holding the MITB briefcase. And before WWE deciding to copy Charlie Haas routine of dressing up as other wrestlers which was lazy.

      “please turn him heel as jerk of the century.”

      Yeah if people don’t like him as a face they’re not going to like him as a heel especially if he winds up getting pushed for the title (again)…..and also when he can’t cut promos.

      “to the piggybacking on Sasha Banks’ popularity,”

      So popular she keeps jobbing to Charlotte and now is being busted down to feud with Nia Jax.

      “Might have got him across.”

      Why not it worked for Daniel Bryan eventhough everyone complains about how they screwed him over doing that.

      “I think Byron Saxton is still the worst TV announcer, worse than Otunga who is an intelligent man who is made to come across as a moron.”

      The guy was on a reality show to get together with a reality TV star that came from another reality show…..that’s already a mark against him.

      “and try someone else out on the table such as Christian or Big Show, witty guys who can show a lot of passion.”

      …..That sounds awful mainly because Christian isn’t a good talker and Big Show…..is well slow.

      “I now open the floor for my condemning for not loving Miz where I get branded bitter and jealous and my beheading is quickly arranged…”

      Miz gets a lot of undeserved hate….but I won’t cruxify you for your blashphemy.

      • Greg says:

        When there is like 5 people in the Raw Women’s division, Sasha going from Charlotte to Nia is not a demotion. It is the best they can do.

      • Thomas Moffatt says:

        Thank you kindly, sir 😉

        I’ll never be converted on the Miz and I wasn’t stimulated by the Daniel Bryan thing. Ironically, I’d like to see Sandow make a surprise appearance and de-throne the Miz as IC Champ.

        Always found Christian a decent mike man – then again I used to think that way about Booker T and look what happened there. Still think Byron Saxton needs to be replaced, William Regal is the obvious choice but he’s busy with development.

        On the subject of Sasha, she is completely over with the fans. The hot potato isn’t her fault and she still remains over, her title wins have come across as brilliant. Not her fault on the booking.

        With Reigns I was thinking a jerk-ass heel who doesn’t deserve his push, loves himself and is hand selected by management… that sounds familiar…

        Thanks for not crucifying me – would made a horrible mess on the carpet, like Patterson Briscoe II…

  33. M says:

    Where’s the awkward interview between Dean Ambrose and Steve Austin? Ambrose was completely exposed in lacking the qualifications to be “The Guy” in that interview.

  34. The Kid from Iowa says:

    #39
    Clearly trying to recapture the Booker T-Goldust shenanigans.
    R-Truth, I served with Booker T. I knew Booker T. Booker T was a friend of mine. R-Truth, you’re no Booker T.

  35. Thomas Moffatt says:

    Another one that didn’t make the list – Cody Rhodes leaves WWE.

    Cody was fed up and unhappy being Stardust, pleading to be allowed to drop the character and be Cody Rhodes. WWE fail to listen to their employee and lose a talented star.

    • Justin Henry says:

      Didn’t think that was a real qualifier, per se. Rhodes had been used very well previously, and it was more a difference in creative than simply, “We’re not going to use you.”

    • Guest says:

      Cody’s departure wasn’t really as bad as Wade Barrett.

      • Thomas Moffatt says:

        That was badly handled plus Wade ends up being in a WWE movie. Bet he looks back at the League of Nations with fond memories (!)

  36. Walter Kovacs says:

    There is no dispute. TNA is definitely a number two. Unless the dispute is whether it’s a promotion.

  37. OSBL says:

    Four words I can’t believe I didn’t see here: A Good Lucha Thing

  38. Nick says:

    Am I the only person that thought Camp WWE was just okay? It wasn’t awful, but a mature comedy show with wrestlers should write itself. I think the premise of kids at summer camp handcuffed the writers. Just a comedy about wrestlers being wrestlers could be hilarious. The majority of the cast being children makes it difficult to tastefully do a lot of the things that a mature show can do. The only parts I really liked were the parts with Vince, which I thought were generally pretty funny. The rest ranged from mildly cringy to just there. It’s by no means worse than Old Day, Rebel vs. Shelly, the almost weekly pay-per-views, pay-per-views that are too long, or any number of things before it.

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