The Showcase of the Immortals. The Grandest Stage of Them All. The show WWE puts on every year to start the cycle all over again.
Whatever you choose to call WrestleMania, it’s the biggest event in wrestling and has been for many years. We’ve had unforgettable moments, the closing chapters of memorable feuds, and new stars being made, helping to establish the phenomenon for over thirty years.
We’ve also had a lot of shit to wade through. For WWE, it’s the best opportunity they get to reach the biggest audience possible. This means, whether fans want it or not, we’ll see concerts from rappers, awkward celebrity appearances, and rarely funny comedy segments.
These distractions would be okay if the matches were always great, but they’re sadly not. Sometimes, they’re outright stinkers. As WrestleMania 33 approaches, here’s hoping the card can avoid the mistakes of these worst WrestleMania matches that happened not all that long ago.
11. Erick Rowan vs. The Rock (WrestleMania 32)
The Rock, being the self-aggrandising part-timer that he is, took it upon himself set his own name on fire at WrestleMania 32 in one of the brashest televised masturbations ever seen. After watching what he did to poor Erick Rowan, destroying him in six seconds all in the name of setting a new WrestleMania record, I wanted to set fire to my television.
Whenever The Rock returns, it’s usually at the expense of a full-time talent. He took CM Punk’s WWE Championship title just to add an extra flavour to his rematch with John Cena and dismantled Rusev when he was a legitimate monster, which was before he returned again and made him look like an idiot in front of his wife. But Erick Rowan’s public destruction left the Wyatt Family member buried without a shovel.
10. Triple H (c) vs. Roman Reigns – WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match (WrestleMania 32)
In terms of what went on in the ring, Triple H’s title defense against Roman Reigns at last year’s WrestleMania wasn’t all that bad. It was solid, no frills wrestling with some decent storytelling to boot, though it didn’t quite feel worthy of a PPV on such a scale.
What makes this match go down as one of the worst, then? The inevitability of it all. From the moment the bell was rung, everyone in the stadium knew what was going to happen and it showed. The atmosphere was flat and the actual match itself felt twice as long as a result; hardly ideal when Triple H’s infamous slow working is involved. The fans were so exhausted by it all that the traditional booing seemed half-arsed once Reigns had clinched it.
9. Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan (c) – World Heavyweight Championship Match (WrestleMania 28)
Before Goldberg shocked the wrestling world by making Brock Lesnar question where he’d gone wrong in life at last year’s Survivor Series, there was Sheamus taking on Daniel Bryan for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 28 and winning in no time at all.
Over in 18 seconds with over half of that involving Daniel Bryan kissing AJ Lee, Sheamus took Bryan by surprise and kicked him quite hard in the head. After the pin, Sheamus was the new World Heavyweight Champion to the excited bewilderment of the fans in attendance.
More of an “event” than an actual match, this has to go down as one of the worst recent WrestleMania matches as it represented a wasted opportunity to capitalise on Bryan’s popularity at the time. He would get there eventually, though.
8. John Morrison, Trish Stratus and Snooki vs. Dolph Ziggler and LayCool (WrestleMania 27)
Mixed tag team matches are a rare feature of modern WWE and this one served as a reminder why that is. Featuring the angry goblin from Jersey Shore and a returning Trish Stratus, the only redeeming factor of this match was that it was over mercifully quickly.
The only interesting thing to come out of it? Apparently, John Morrison was not happy that his girlfriend at the time, Melina, had been benched from the match for the return of the women’s wrestling legend. The only way to deal with it was to give Trish the cold shoulder and make an utterly unmemorable match a trivia question at the same time.
7. Miss WrestleMania Battle Royal (WrestleMania 25)
Where do you even begin with this one? Not only was an event dedicated to celebrating the work of female wrestling talent missing introductions so you didn’t know who was who until they were eliminated, but you also had a guy winning the whole thing.
Santino Marella, dressed hilariously as a woman and going by Santina Marella, took home the accolade by eliminating Beth Phoenix and Melina. Not only was it a poorly structured match that was impossible to follow, it also belittled the work of a lot of wrestling royalty. If they did this in 2017, WWE would probably be castrated.
6. Bobby Lashley vs. Umaga – Hair vs. Hair Match (WrestleMania 23)
The current President of the United States and the crazy uncle who runs a wrestling company had Bobby Lashley and Umaga fight for honour and hair back at WrestleMania 23. If Lashley won, Vince McMahon would have to have his hair shaved off. If Umaga won, Trump would get the same treatment.
Fourteen minutes later of slow, painful wrestling that even a special guest referee appearance from Stone Cold couldn’t save, Lashley came out on top. McMahon had his hair shaved off and Trump earned a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame for doing nothing.
5. The Boogeyman vs. Booker T & Sharmell (WrestleMania 22)
If Roman Reigns has proven anything to wrestling fans, it’s that WWE can be incredibly stubborn when it comes to pushing talent. Look no further than The Boogeyman: a gimmick wrestler who barely wrestled and spent most of his time eating worms instead and doing “spooky” things instead.
For reasons unknown, Booker T became embroiled in a feud with The Boogeyman, which led to a tremendously poor handicap match at WrestleMania 22 with Sharmella taking Booker’s corner. With less than four minutes gone, Boogeyman pinned the wrestling legend and then promptly went on to do nothing at all for the rest of his time with the company.
4. Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar (Wrestlemania 20)
If you turn the volume all the way down, Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 20 isn’t an inherently awful affair. Sure, it’s not quite the battle most fans were hoping for, but it’s fairly watchable grappling that might be too keen on rest holds.
Turn that volume back up, though, and you have one of the most hated matches not only in WrestleMania history but also over WWE’s many decades. Knowing that both wrestlers were leaving the company as soon as the match was over, the fans wasted no effort in tearing them down and letting them know how they felt. Goldberg won to a rapturous “meh” with Stone Cold redeeming the turgid match by Stunnering both into their new careers. Here’s hoping their rematch at WrestleMania 33 is the technical, masterfully exec–oh, what’s the point. Everyone knows it won’t be great, either.
3. Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon – No Holds Barred Lumberjack Match (WrestleMania 26)
This match should have never happened. Vince McMahon being irrevocably stuck in the past and obsessed with revisiting the Montreal Screwjob over and over again meant that a match between he and Bret Hart at a WrestleMania was almost inevitable.
If it had arrived a decade before 2010, it might have been a half-decent showing As it stands, the grudge match between the pair was almost painful viewing. It was good to see Hart back in a ring, but the much-publicised issues with his health meant that it was a slow affair with him unable to take bumps or move at much speed. McMahon has never been a brilliant wrestler either and was already at retirement age going into the match, so the eleven minutes of action felt like hours.
2. John Cena vs. The Miz (c) – WWE Championship Match (WrestleMania 27)
One of the strangest main events in wrestling history saw The Miz defend his WWE Championship against John Cena at WrestleMania 27. Even though a classic was never realistically on the cards, it never even looked like getting close thanks to how ordinary it all was. The crowd weren’t too keen, either, going flat for most of the match after the outrageously dramatic entrances for both wrestlers.
Cena is always at his best when he’s against someone his own size or a talent that can carry him to new places. The Miz, for all his positives, isn’t either of those. It was all fairly standard fare until both wrestlers went out of the ring and ended up being counted out. The match was declared a draw until The Rock came to the ring and restarted the match, thanks to the executive powers he somehow suddenly had.
With the match back underway, The Rock delivered the Rock Bottom to Cena to allow The Miz to get the pin. A terrible way to close out a WrestleMania, especially when you consider that WWE sacrificed a main event just to hype up the next two.
1. Michael Cole vs Jerry Lawler (WrestleMania 27)
Do I really need to talk about this? Fine. But I am saying as little as possible.
Two announcers -one a wrestling legend and the other Michael Cole- squared off at a WrestleMania for fourteen minutes. Stone Cold interfered and helped Jerry Lawler to win, but not before the RAW Anonymous GM overturned the result in Cole’s favour.
And yep, I just set myself on fire.