WrestleMania, the showcase of the immortals, the Granddaddy of them all, the biggest show in sports entertainment. Call it what you want, but there’s no denying that for any wrestling fan the most exciting time of year is WrestleMania season. Over the years, WWE has put on some of their best matches at WrestleMania. They’ve also put on some of their worst, and sometimes they just put on some really weird shit that doesn’t seem to make much sense.
I’ve sat through over thirty years of WrestleManias to bring you some of the weirdest matches WWE put on for their biggest show of the year.
12. Terri Runnels (w/Fabulous Moolah) vs The Kat (w/ Mae Young) – Catfight Match (WrestleMania 2000)
Val Venis is the special guest referee for this seemingly random match which sees two non-workers going up against each other in a Catfight Match, because that just screams entertainment. The match starts with Venis making his entrance and Jim Ross points out that neither Terri Runnels or The Kat are actual wrestlers, which just makes me want to watch this match less.
Venis starts off by saying that he is a lot like WrestleMania, they’re not the single largest extravaganza of all time (because of his dick), they’ll both get your blood pumping (again, his dick), but the difference is Mania only comes once a year while he comes every single night (dick). No one reacts to these poor attempts at jokes.
Meanwhile, Terri and The Kat are dressed like skanks, and the match involves them rolling around the mat. No one explains the rules but it turns out you have to throw your opponent to the outside of the ring to win, which The Kat does twice, but both times her supposed manager Mae Young distracts Venis. The match ends with The Kat ripping Terri’s clothes off and Mae giving Moolah a Bronco Buster. Why this exploitative bullshit made its way to a WrestleMania card instead of staying on RAW where it belonged is beyond me.
11. Dusty Rhodes & Sapphire vs Macho Man & Sherri (WrestleMania 6)
In 1989 Dusty had returned to the WWF (he’d previously worked for the WWWF in the late 70’s), and after feuds with The Big Boss Man and The Honky Tonk Man, he entered into his biggest feud in the WWF against the Macho King Randy Savage. Holy shit, two of the biggest stars of the 1980’s squaring off for the first time in WWF and at the biggest show of the year? Boy, what hype!
Except it wasn’t because the powers that be decided to add Sensational Sherri and Dusty’s valet Sapphire to the match for some unknown reason. Sherri used to be a wrestler and even held the WWF Women’s Title, while Sapphire had little wrestling background; she was also in her fifties at the time. Sapphire’s offense mostly includes light Bum Tackles, Jesse Ventura comments that “she certainly has the hips to do that.”
I don’t know who booked this match or what they got for it but it should have been 5 to 10 years. Someone actually thought to book this bullshit comedy match at a WrestleMania rather than booking a one-on-one competition between two future Hall of Famers.
10. Hillbilly Jim, The Haiti Kid & Little Beaver vs King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo and Lord Littlebrook (WrestleMania 3)
This is a pretty famous one. Hillbilly Jim and two midgets, The Haiti Kid and former two time NWA World Midget’s Champion Little Beaver, take on King Kong Bundy and two other midgets, three time NWA World Midget’s Champion Little Tokyo and one time NWA World Midget’s Champion Lord Littlebrook. Well what’s weird about this match, apart from all the midgets?
This time last year, King Kong Bundy was being booked as an unstoppable monster. At the first WrestleMania he beat jobber Special Delivery Jones in allegedly nine seconds (in reality it was 24 seconds), and last year he main evented WrestleMania when he challenged Hulk Hogan, the biggest wrestling star in the world at that point, for the WWF Championship. Then, just one year later, he’s booked in this three minute long comedy match.
It’s sad that Bundy, who was once one of the biggest monsters in the company, fell off the map as badly as he did. He never recovered and never got back his main event status, but this was the definite low point of his career. Also, it’s odd to think that this match contains two future Hall of Famers, neither of which are King Kong Bundy or Hillbilly Jim.
9. Roddy Piper vs Goldust – Hollywood Backlot Brawl (WrestleMania 12)
Goldust was given a big push back in 1995/96, having success against the likes of Marty Jannetty and Bam Bam Bigelow before winning the Intercontinental Title at the 1996 Royal Rumble. With Goldust’s gimmick being a big Hollywood actor and everything, the idea of a Hollywood Backlot Brawl might make some sense, but sadly it just doesn’t at all.
Goldust, despite being the Intercontinental Champ and supposedly a step down from the World Title, was feuding with Rowdy Roddy Piper, who at the time was the President of the WWF and hadn’t wrestled much since the early 90’s. First of all, it’s bad for the IC Champ to be feuding with what is essentially a non-worker; it’s like when The Miz feuded with Jerry Lawler. What’s worse is that Piper battered the shit out of Goldust who, other than running over Piper (yes that happened), didn’t get any offense in.
The two brawled around an alleyway for a bit before Goldust sped off in his gold Cadillac while Piper gave chase. WWF aired footage of the OJ Simpson car chase, pretending it was Piper in the car instead, before the two ended up brawling in the Arrowhead Pond which saw Piper strip the IC Champ Goldust to his undies. Way to book your champ, guys!
8. Akebono vs Big Show – Sumo Match (WrestleMania 21)
You know who sucks at WrestleMania? The Big Show. Since his Mania debut in 1999 Show has lost to Mankind, The Rock, Kane, The Undertaker, John Cena and The Shield (in a tag match with Randy Orton and Sheamus). For the last three years, he’s competed in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, and despite being the biggest person in those matches, he’s only won one. To be fair, he has won a handful of tag matches, most notably when he and Kane retained the Tag Team Titles against Carlito and Chris Masters, and he did once beat Cody Rhodes, but you’d think that with Big Show being a multiple time World Champion he’d have more luck at WrestleMania, but no, he doesn’t. He can’t even beat non-wrestlers, losing to Floyd Mayweather and Akebono, and it’s the latter match we’re going to look at.
Unlike Floyd Mayweather, no one knew who Akebono was (not many American pro wrestling fans follow Japanese Sumo Wrestling) and no one cared either. Michael Cole and Tazz try to get Akebono over as he waddles to the ring, and once he finally gets there we see that they’ve even removed the ropes for this match. That’s too much effort to put in a match that no one cares about, surely, that’s almost as bad as putting a bed in the ring (we’ll get to that later).
The entrances and pre-fight ceremony are longer than the actual match itself (if you can even call it a match). They go through all the tradition which Cole and Tazz explain to the viewers at home who have gone to take a piss at this point. We get a horrifying look at Big Show’s big arse as he crouches down, not to mention Akebono’s dick fat hanging out of the side of his mawashi. Some fans boo as Show and Akebono spend what feels like hours throwing salt all over the ring before they finally go at it, only for it to end in just over a minute. The weirdest thing about this match is that WWE actually booked it, for fuck’s sake.
7. Genichiro Tenryu & Koji Kitao vs Demolition (WrestleMania 7)
What’s so weird about this, you ask? Sure, written down it just sounds like a tag team match, except the booking and its place on the card are anything but ordinary. First of all, this was Tenryu and Kitao’s WWF debut. Not their PPV or their Mania debut, their actual WWF debut. Why debut someone at WrestleMania? Surely you’d build them up to that, right?
Not only that. but they actually won. Demolition were huge back in the 80’s but by this time Ax had left and we were left with Smash and Crush, neither of whom worked that well together and weren’t as good as old man Ax. So these guys debut at Mania and beat the former Tag Team Champions Demolition, quite a push. right? Well it would be except neither man stayed on in the WWF. Kitao went back to Japan and was never seen again while Tenryu did re-appear in WWF, but that was just to make up the numbers in the 1993 and 1994 Royal Rumbles.
Aside from all that, this four minute match came after a twenty minute classic which saw Macho Man drag The Ultimate Warrior to a Hall of Fame worthy match and reunite with his former valet Miss Elizabeth in one of the most emotional moments in WWF history. Most people would be forgiven for thinking that was the end of the show, and most people actually did, but nope, it just kept on going.
6. Jake Roberts vs Rick Martel – Blindfold Match (WrestleMania 7)
Guess what, Tenryu and Kitao weren’t alone when it came to weird matches at WrestleMania 7. One of the weirdest stipulations ever is of course the Blindfold Match, and at Mania 7 we saw ‘The Model’ Rick Martel vs Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts. This feud, and furthermore this match, stemmed from Martel accidentally blinding Roberts, and when their showdown at Mania came around, Roberts wanted Martel to know how it feels to be blind, ergo it was a Blindfold Match.
While the fans in attendance may have had fun yelling at Jake where Martel was, the fans at home were subjected to two men feeling their way around a ring for over eight minutes. It eventually came to an end when Jake hit Martel with the DDT, which also ended their feud.
5. Adrian Adonis vs Uncle Elmer (WrestleMania 2)
A fat cross-dresser vs a fat hillbilly might sound more like a scene from a Wayans Brother movie than a WrestleMania match, but at Mania 2 we were subjected to this frankly bizarre encounter.
Adonis is dressed like an over the top gay stereotype while Uncle Elmer is a fat guy in overalls. This shit may have been commonplace back in 1986, but looking back it tarnishes a show as prestigious as WrestleMania. Adonis and Elmer literally fall around the ring for three minutes. Adonis oversells everything as if he doesn’t give a fuck about this cheap comedy match, and Elmer falls down after just punching Adonis. It’s the kind of match that makes you hate yourself after having watched it.
4. Butterbean vs Bart Gunn – Brawl for All Match (WrestleMania 15)
Anyone who remembers the Brawl for All tournament the WWF did back in 1998 will hopefully remember how terrible it was. It lead to the injuries of several wrestlers including Steve Williams who was the favourite to win and who would have gone on to feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin after having won the tournament, only problem is he didn’t win it, Bart Gunn did.
The fights were actually shoot fights, and while Williams was a tough guy it turned out Gunn had actual boxing experience, and despite not having boxed professionally for some years, he still kicked Williams’ ass. So what do you do with a guy who has just legit beaten tough guys like Williams and Bradshaw and in doing so got himself over as a potential star? You punish him for it, of course.
Enter Butterbean, a fat gimmick boxer. Butterbean was brought in to fight Bart Gunn at 1999’s WrestleMania 15 in a Brawl for All match, which was contested under shoot fight rules. Like I said, Bart Gunn was a former boxer but hadn’t boxed for years, Butterbean, despite being a comedy guy, was a legit boxer, and he made short work of Bart Gunn, knocking him out cold without 35 seconds. With that, Bart Gunn’s potential push was over, and so was his career in WWF as he was released shortly after, that’ll teach him to get over.
3. Torrie Wilson vs Candice Michelle – Playboy Pillow fight (WrestleMania 22)
Torrie Wilson and Candice Michelle were two women who worked in WWE and were famous only for having breasts, and here they are in a match on a WrestleMania card. Lillian Garcia introduces the “first ever Playboy Pillow Fight Match” and I sincerely hope it was the last one too. The crowd and even the commentators are silent during Candice Michelle’s entrance, until Jim Ross brings up Frank Gotch vs George Hackenschmidt in 1911 – yeah, this match reminds me of that too. Meanwhile, Torrie is carrying a tiny dog, which I think shits itself on the way to the ring, either that or something falls off Torrie’s dress.
Torrie and Candice awkwardly perform moves onto a bed, Torrie backdrops Candice onto a bed and JR calls it a nice move. Fans boo and people shout “You suck!”. Torrie grabs her dog and shoves it ass first into Candice’s face, boy I hope that dog didn’t really take a shit. Candice awkwardly performs moves which I can’t find the names for because I don’t know what they’re supposed to be. At one point, she hangs upside down, and at another she jumps off the middle rope and gently touches Torrie. The match ends with both women stripping each other to their underpants, because that’s all women are good for, and Torrie wins with a Schoolgirl.
Everything about this match is just wrong, the fact that it was on a Mania for one thing, but also in order to set this matchup they had to change the canvas and put a goddamn bed in the middle of the ring, which couldn’t have been easy. If they wanted a cool down match before the main event they could have had, I dunno, anything else.
2. Mr. T vs Roddy Piper in a Boxing Match (WrestleMania 2)
In what sounds like a match that was booked by a child playing Mad Libs, Mr. T, an actor, fought ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, a professional wrestler, in a boxing match. That’s right, two men with no boxing background taking each other on in a boxing match at the biggest show of the year.
Of course this was just to capitalise on Mr. T’s popularity, as well as continuing on T and Piper’s feud from the first WrestleMania. Everything about this match was wrong, starting with the stipulation. T and Piper got gassed pretty quickly and resorted to throwing shitty looking worked punches, and on top of that the ring girl didn’t show up until the final round.
It was a match that didn’t satisfy wrestling or boxing fans. Why someone thought this was a good idea is beyond me, but it seems WWF didn’t learn their lesson and years later they booked the aforementioned Brawl for All tournament.
1. Hulk Hogan vs Sid Justice (WrestleMania 8)
“What’s so weird about this match?” you’re probably thinking loudly. Well, other than the fact that this was the first Mania main event since Mania 2 not to include the WWF Title (Macho Man beat Ric Flair for the belt and stole the show earlier in the night), the match was pretty straightforward.
Sid had turned on Hogan at that year’s Royal Rumble, which led to Ric Flair winning the Rumble and the WWF Championship. Despite being the Champion, Flair was pushed down the card to make way for Hogan’s enormous ego, which just had to main event WrestleMania despite not being the champion.
The match goes fine until the end, which was just a strange, overbooked mess. It starts when Hogan hits the big leg and pins Sid. But something’s up. We don’t know what yet, but Sid and his manager Harvey Wippleman do. Despite it not being booked, Sid actually kicks out of the immortal Leg Drop! What the hell? At the same time, Harvey Wippleman jumps up on the apron and despite not attacking or even touching Hogan, the ref calls for the bell and Hogan wins by disqualification in the main event (which is bullshit).
Then the pieces fall into place as some strange looking guy makes his way to the ring. Who the hell is this guy? Well we weren’t to know at the time but it was Papa Shango, who was supposed to break the pinfall and attack Hogan, leading to the planned DQ finish. But of course that didn’t happen so instead Sid kicks out, Hogan wins anyway, and some random dude comes down to attack Hogan. To add to the mess, the Ultimate fucking Warrior runs down out of nowhere and he and Hogan fight off the heels. Warrior hadn’t been seen since the previous year’s SummerSlam after being fired by Vince McMahon, and he was never advertised for this show so it was a big surprise to everyone, or at least it would have been if they weren’t so confused by everything that had just transpired.
In the end, what was to be a big comeback and the debut of a new monster just became a big, botched up mess. Hogan left shortly after before returning briefly at next year’s WrestleMania. Sid also left after his feuds with The Undertaker and The Ultimate Warrior failed, and Papa Shango’s feud with Hogan never came to be, and his feud with Warrior ended without a PPV match. Shango wouldn’t actually appear on PPV apart from a 28 second stint in the following year’s Royal Rumble, so that shows you how successful his WWF run turned out to be.