The mere word ‘WrestleMania’ conjures up memories that sets a wrestling fan’s heart aflutter: Shawn culminating the dream, Hogan slamming Andre, Austin kicking off the Attitude Era, Hogan vs. Warrior, Savage vs. Steamboat, Benoit and Guerrero’s curtain call, Hogan vs. Rock, Undertaker’s streak, Shawn’s retirement.
This list will not recognize such greatness.
Instead, in the spirit of the name of this very site, we will count down the absolute worst of nearly three decades of WrestleMania. The only thing harder than ranking this list was figuring out which horrid moments, matches, and concepts got left off of the list.
50. Jack Swagger wins Money in the Bank (XXVI)Forced Swagger Push, Wave II (the current immigration run is III) saw the patriot claim the briefcase and cash in 2 nights later to defeat Chris Jericho for the World Heavyweight Title. Things of equal memorable value as that reign: your favorite drink of water from 1999.
49. Ray Combs’ ring introductions (VIII)Combs had big shoes to fill on Family Feud, due to Richard Dawson’s stellar prior hosting job. At WrestleMania VIII, Combs proved to be no Howard Finkel, introducing The Mountie, Repo Man, and the Nasty Boys in ha-ha-larious fashion.
48. Floyd Mayweather vs. Big Show (XXIV)Opinions of this match are divided. Some thought it was a good celebrity match, while others hated the combination Floyd’s lack of likability, and Show being a perennial WrestleMania loser. The build-up was poor as well.
47. Chester McCheeserton (2000)To quote Jim Ross in the same deadpan voice, “It’s a human block of cheese.” Al Snow’s self-appointed mascot for Head Cheese lasted but one night with the company, which we wish we could have said for Hornswoggle.
46. D-Lo Brown and Test compete for the Tag Team Titles (XV)D-Lo and Test co-win battle royal for a shot at the belts, but they hate each other. Their dissension costs them a 3 minute match. They argue afterward. Story is forgotten about. The A-Russo-crats!
45. Roddy Piper and Jimmy Snuka wrestle far past their peak (XXV)At least in Bret Hart’s case, he merely pummeled Vince the following year. Superfly and Hot Rod attempted to wrestle, and it wasn’t pretty. Ricky Steamboat, at age 56, picked up the slack for both men, thankfully.
44. Mean Gene Okerlund sings the National Anthem (I)Rockin Robin’s version 4 years later wasn’t great either, but Gene galloped through this version like the Headless Horseman, apparently in a great hurry to see Tito Santana vs. The Executioner. Actually, when you put it that way….
43. The Snoop Dogg rap challenge (XXVII)This one might have made for the Top Ten, if not for Zack Ryder’s doofusly upbeat version of Rebecca Black’s “Friday”. A pointless singing contest ended with the traditional post-2007 punchline: Hornswoggle. I didn’t hate midgets until the Vince paternity angle, believe me.
42. Sheamus vs. Bryan, Part I (XXVII)No, not THAT match. I’m talking about the one bumped to the pre-show, because Cole/Lawler and Undertaker/HHH each needed between 45 minutes and 3 hours to tell their stories (one is not like the other). Little did we know a worse indignity lie ahead.
41. Kane vs. Chavo Guerrero (XXIV)The ECW Title was so important, it’s challenger would be determined by a pre-show battle royal of midcarders. Then Kane wins and chokeslams Chavo Guerrero in hell in 8 seconds to win. E-C-DUB! More like E-C-Dumb. But hey, at least both men got paid for this match.
40. Ten Man Tag pre-emption (X)The match to your right was scrapped from the 1994 event due to time constraints, but they created a STORY for it: the heel team couldn’t decide who the captain would be, so the match was scrapped. Yep.
39. The Hollywood Backlot Brawl (XII)It started out so good, with a chaotic fight between Piper and Goldust near a Hollywood soundstage. Then it ended at the Arrowhead Pond (after inserting stock footage of the OJ Chase), where Piper disrobed Goldust, and revealed he wore nylons and lingerie. Ick.
38. Triple H vs. Randy Orton (XXV)The storyline: Orton assaults HHH’s family and kisses his unconscious wife, so HHH breaks into his house and attempts to murder him. The match: 25 minutes of slow brawling with no emotion. As Chris Jericho might say, “peanut butter and Chong.”
37. The “9-second” match (I)Nothing wrong with the squash of SD Jones by King Kong Bundy in and of itself. But stopwatch holders will tell you the match was 24 seconds. Why lie about a 15 second difference? A 24 second squash is still impressive.
36. Undertaker vs. Psycho Sid (XIII)A slow, plodding main event. Shawn Michaels and his hokey knee injury on commentary. Bret Hart interfering 3 times. Sid allegedly making gravy in his tights during the match. It wasn’t pretty, but it did bring The Dead Man to 6-0.
35. George Wells’ slobber (II)The aging CFL export’s lone claim to fame in WWE was his WrestleMania II loss to Jake Roberts, who draped Damian around him. Phlegm spewage then ensued. This beats out Jim Duggan’s WrestleMania V snot rocket, simply because Duggan’s leakage didn’t wiggle and pulsate.
34. Lord Alfred Hayes’ setups (I)We here at The Crap love us some Lord Alfred, and hardly blame him for this. Hayes would introduce each backstage interview, and do so with a rushed urgency, his eyes darting like a mass murderer on the witness stand. Just amateur hour stuff from the first incarnation of ‘Mania.
33. Stone Cold joins Vince McMahon (X7)A shocking twist at the time, a lack of continued payoff hurt Austin’s shocking swerve. In hindsight, this was the beginning of the end of Austin 3:16’s infallibility. The closest WrestleMania to perfection remains the best one, despite the closing blemish.
32. Sapphire wrestles (VI)I can’t hate this too much, because I do love a good comedy match. But Sapphire’s offense on Sensational Sherri did veer beyond comedy and into the absurd. SIDENOTE: Did you know Dusty wanted to bring in a black prostitute to play Sapphire, and had one in mind? He admitted it himself.
31. The instant replay debate (VII)A harmless time-waster was needed after the epic Savage-Warrior showdown. So we got Vince asking George Steinbrenner and Paul Maguire if WWE needed instant replay. Bad as it was, it led to RD Reynolds’ most underrated induction to this site.
30. Bret Hart vs. Bob Backlund (XI)What was once a hot feud, and gave us an all-time classic at the 1994 Survivor Series, ended with a whimper. For 10 minutes, the two technicians built zero heat before Bret won via Chicken Wing. Piper’s refereeing job and Backlund’s “I SAW THE LIGHT” speech salvaged what Bret called his worst match ever.
29. Triple H stands tall in the finale (2000)An old unwritten rule was that WrestleMania requires a happy ending. The rule was broken during WWE’s creative peak, when HHH pinned The Rock in a fatal four way to retain his title, via Vince McMahon’s interference. That’s how badly WCW was being crushed: WWE KNEW a horrid ending like that wouldn’t hurt them.
28. Sy Sperling gives Howard Finkel a head of hair (X)Sy would be not just the President of the Hair Club for Men, but also a client. He also made a client of The Fink, as seen to the right. It must not have been a good fit, as Howard was embracing his baldness again before long.
27. Ultimate Warrior injures Bobby Heenan (V)The Brain had cost Warrior the Intercontinental Title, helping his charge Rick Rude capture the gold. Afterward, Warrior attacked, for good reason. But his infamous recklessness came into play, and Heenan injured his bad neck even moreso on a bad landing from a careless gorilla press.
26. Susan St. James on commentary (II)Dick Ebersol’s lovely wife, and co-star of Kate and Allie, proved to be a less-than-sterling guest commentator. While Elvira wasn’t too much better in the LA portion, at least she didn’t say “uh oh” 4000 times like Susan, nor did she utter the phrase, “ALRIGHT GEORGE EAT HIS LEG”
25. Yokozuna vs. Lex Luger (X)Rip on Hulk Hogan if you wish, but in his prime, he never, EVER had a performance as dull as Luger and Yoko’s heartless title match. Granted, Yoko had to pace himself for later, but 3 nerveholds, a DQ ending, and Mr. Perfect’s referee attire make for the Bermuda Triangle of Suck.
24. Stroller Cam (XXIII)Apparently, Aurora Levesque has a camera strapped to her face, as Grandpa Vince whispered and cooed in a baby voice about hurting Donald Trump. Sick thought: does anyone else look at this picture, and get the image of “Vince McMahon: Excited Gynecologist”?
23. The Miller Lite Catfight Girls brawl (XIX)I swear I’m hetero while I type this. The tag title match with RVD and Kane vs. Lance Storm and Sean Morley was bumped to the pre-show, so that Stacy, Torrie, and the catfight girls could have a pointless brawl, and take off Jonathan Coachman’s pants. And people wonder why Lance is happy to be retired.
22. Sable vs. Tori (XV)Tori, in her garish catsuit, either had a bad case of the jitters, or just wasn’t very good, because her Women’s title match with Sable featured Murphy’s Law at its finest. The beastly Nicole Bass interfering at the end only heaped onto the manure pile.
21. Kid Rock’s interminable concert (XXV)Look, I like Bawitaba as much as the next lame white kid with the rhythm of Lobster Boy playing Dance Dance Revolution, but we didn’t need a medley of southern rock standards on a show we’re paying $55 for.
20. John Cena and Triple H play dress-up (XXII)First, The Game arrived as Conan the Barbarian, and then Cena was adorned as the Parkside Flasher. Or maybe a gangster, I dunno. And to think, CM Punk debuted here as a gun-toting henchman in Depression-era mobster attire.
19. Terri vs. The Kat (2000)Before Trish and Lita would arrive to add life, depth, and even cred to the Women’s division, you had matches like this, where the object was simply to knock the other out of the ring. This was the only 1 on 1 singles match at that WrestleMania, amazingly.
18. Rhythm and Blues perform Hunka Hunka Honky Love (VI)This bit is mostly known for a lesser-known DDP driving the pink Cadillac, but the body of the segment was a horribly sung performance by Valentine and Honky (wearing lipstick for some reason). The payoff was the Bushwackers going all Pete Townshend on the guitars.
17. Boogeyman vs. Booker T/Sharmell (XXII)Booker went from not having a match the year before (he won the pre-show battle royal) to getting squashed by a novelty act who spit out worms, and stalked his prey stealthily. Eh, I suppose it could always be worse….
16. Triple H vs. Booker T (XIX)You know, like this. Booker withstood Hunter’s plodding, Joe Stecher-wannabe offense while Jerry Lawler rattled off every criminal/racist jibe he could (nearly bringing Jim Ross to slug him). The depressing match ended with a HHH Pedigree, and a 45 minute lull, before HHH made the cover. You know, because he’s awesome.
15. The Deadliest Catch in-show commercial (XXVIII)As little Ralphie Parker would say, “A crummy commercial? Son of a bitch!” Mick Foley and Santino Marella broke crab legs and made fools of themselves until the inevitable Ron Simmons punchline. Seafood never looked so unappetizing.
14. Big Show vs. Akebono (XXI)I don’t mind novelty performances at WrestleMania, since they give a unique feel to biggest event of the year. But can we please do it without gratuitous amounts of man-ass? Wait, I watch wrestling, and that’s campy enough as it is. I might need to rethink this list, among other things.
13. Momma Dance (XXVIII)Naomi and Cameron wasting 5 minutes bumping and grinding would have been a better waste of time than ladies dressed like Madea getting down for no reason, other than to dump on your cable bill before handing it to you.
12. The DQ ending in Hulk Hogan’s farewell (VIII)Hulk Hogan and Sid Justice was already bound to suck, but as Hogan’s farewell, you’d think it’d have a decisive ending, right? Wrong. Harvey Wippleman caused a DQ, then Papa Shango ran in. Ultimate Warrior’s surprise return saved things to a decent degree.
11. The Rock as host (XXVII)WWE’s ass-kissing of big stars was in full force in 2011. Rock hosts the big show, gets a 10-15 minute promo to start the show, has a horrid segment with PeeWee Herman, and beats up both main eventers to stand tall at the end. Only the current WWE could make you hate The Great One.
10. The Blindfold Match (VII)Some enjoy this match for its novelty value, and it does, admittedly, have some creative moments. But the battle between Jake Roberts and Rick Martel doesn’t exactly hold up on repeat viewings.
9. Huckster vs. The Nacho Man (XII)This pre-show entry demonstrates hypocrisy at its finest: Hogan and Savage are OLD and should be mocked. You know, on a show where Warrior, Piper, and Roberts are lurking. Sounds like some entrepreneur was sweating bullets at those Nielsen numbers.
8. Undertaker hangs Big Boss Man (XV)The fact that The Dead Man ritualistically hung Boss Man after their lousy Cell match wasn’t the worst part. The worst was Michael Cole’s shock and horror on commentary, followed by his normal voiced segue to the next segment. WHILE BOSS MAN IS BEING HANGED.
7. Divas Battle Royal (XXV)No formal intros for any of the women, most of whom grinded up on Kid Rock like harem skanks during the entrance portion, and the winner wound up being Santina Marella, Santino’s “sister”. That was just begging for a Virgilina run-in.
6. Rowdy Roddy Piper: the black and white cookie (VI)Bad News Brown would later accuse Piper of being racist. Gotta admit that this moment doesn’t exactly help Hot Rod’s case. Piper went bi-racial before his match with Brown, with the message being, uhhh….we have no earthly idea. The Michael Jackson glove was a nice touch.
5. Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzalez (IX)Man, did Undertaker’s road to 20-0 have some potholes in it or what? Nobody could make Gonzalez or his airbrushed muscle suit look good. It didn’t help matters that it ended on a DQ, when Gonzalez merely gagged Undertaker with an ether-soaked rag.
4. Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar (XX)The two larger-than life stars were on their way out, and neither seemed interested in trying during their WrestleMania curtain call. The MSG crowd dumped all over both men, and the only cheers were for referee Stone Cold Steve Austin, who stunned both men after Goldberg’s victory.
3. Michael Cole vs. Jerry Lawler (XXVII)With entrances, match, and aftermath, a match between 2 announcers went 30 minutes. Michael Cole’s “heel” run spawned an obnoxious phase that’s still being felt today, even with him turning face again. Oh, and as an addendum, the match was atrocious to boot.
2. 18 seconds (XXVIII)Some say that Bryan benefited from this atrocity, but I counter by pointing out how Sheamus (the intended beneficiary) exploded in the starting blocks as a result. Thus began his run as an unlikable bully, when he was supposed to be the star face of the future. And to back up the Bryan assertion, saying “YES” and “NO” with Kane six months after the joke died, and being called “Goatface” by Cole and Lawler, when he’s having the best match on Raw, isn’t a “benefit”.
1. Hulk Hogan vs. Yokozuna (IX)So Hogan comes back, Yoko beats hero champion Bret Hart, and Mr. Fuji immediately challenges a rested Hogan to a title match. Hogan wins in 20 seconds, and doesn’t appear on TV again before dropping the belt at King of the Ring. Try as Sheamus and Bryan did, it couldn’t unseat the all-time champion of crappy WrestleMania moments.
Disagree with any of the picks? Think something else should have been on here? Let Justin Henry know about it. He responds to any and all inquiries and comments.
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)