Wrestlemania Awful

Dear Scott,                        I’m the usual long-time reader, first-time contributor- all the way from Birmingham, UK. Having seen the return of the All-Time Wrestlemania Game, last week, I thought of a twist on it: Wrestlemania Awful.  Just like the All-Time game, you can only use a wrestler and a title once, but instead of choosing the best possible match… you have to select the WORST match.  In the case of many of the earlier Wrestlemanias, there’s quite a few terrible matches to choose from! I managed to include title matches for most of the belts, but I merged both the Cruiserweight and Light Heavyweight belts, and also the two sets of Tag Team championships that existed between 2002 and 2009.  I include my own list and reasoning for my picks, but assume that many others, including your good self, will come up with different and just as awful lists!  Wrestlemania Awful:   I.                    King Kong Bundy vs. S.D. Jones: Surely Vince should have been talked out of the idea of having this squash match take  place on a ‘Make or Break’ show for the WWF?   II.                  Flag match, Nikolai Volkoff vs. Corporal Kirschner: There were plenty of matches on this card to choose from, but I think this one just sounds terrible.  III.                Loser Must Bow match, Harley Race vs. Junkyard Dog: Primarily, this is a victim of not having enough time. IV.                Hercules vs. The Ultimate Warrior: Just a horrible big man match. V.                  The Red Rooster vs. Bobby Heenan: A waste of time, and surely Bobby shouldn’t have been put in the ring?! VI.                Big Bossman vs. Akeem: Again, it just seems a waste of time match. VII.              Blindfold match, Jake Roberts vs. Rick Martel: infamous for its shoddy execution. VIII.            Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice: the first main event on my list and it’s pretty horrible. To be honest, this match was just set up to appease two egos- one who was apparently promised a Mania main event and another who just didn’t want to give up the spotlight. IX.                The Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzalez: The doyen of terrible matches. I don’t think there’s much more I can add to the body of existing literature on this match alone. X.                  Earthquake vs. Adam Bomb: A really pointless squash. XI.                Lex Luger and The British Bulldog vs. The Blu Brothers: an opener which could easily have been broadcast on Superstars, let alone Wrestlemania!    XII.              Hollywood Backlot Brawl, Roddy Piper vs. Goldust: the whole thing is incredibly distasteful (e.g. showing the exact footage of O.J. Simpson’s car chase in ’94) and the ‘finish’ is also ridiculous. XIII.            WWF Intercontinental Championship, Rocky Maivia vs. The Sultan: The Sultan was just the wrong person to challenge the fledgling Maivia, who was already suffering fan backlash. XIV.            Dumpster match for the WWF Tag Team titles, Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie vs. The New Age Outlaws: This will probably be a controversial choice, but a.) I needed to put a Tag Team title match on the card and couldn’t really find room elsewhere; b.) It’s a great example of the Attitude Era hardcore brawling that was to come, but it’s not great wrestling; c.) Knowing that the titles were stripped the next night because of the ‘Wrong Dumpster’ rule further sours this match. XV.              Brawl for All match, Butterbean vs. Bart Gunn: Possibly the most mean-spirited match on any Wrestlemania card, because it was meant to humiliate and punish Bart for ruining the Brawl 4 All tournament. XVI.            Hardcore Battle Royal for the WWF Hardcore Championship, Hardcore battle royal featuring Hardcore Holly, Crash Holly, Tazz, Viscera, Funaki, Taka Michinoku, The Headbangers, The Acolytes and The Mean Street Posse: I like Hardcore matches as much as the next person, but this match was just too chaotic to follow. XVII.          WWF Women’s Championship, Chyna vs. Ivory: This match stood out like a sore thumb on the greatest Wrestlemania card of all-time; it just served as an excuse for Chyna to gratuitously dominate someone. XVIII.        WWF European Championship, DDP vs. Christian: This match could easily have taken place on Raw, let alone at Wrestlemania! XIX.            WWE Cruiserweight Championship, Matt Hardy vs. Rey Mysterio: A victim of not being given enough time. XX.              Playboy Evening Gown match, Torrie and Sable vs. Stacy and Jackie: Time-filler. I didn’t select Goldberg vs. Lesnar, because strictly speaking, Steve Austin is heavily involved as the Guest Referee… and he’s involved in another stinker later on. XXI.            Sumo match, Big Show vs. Akebono: Another gratuitous waste of time. XXII.          Booker T and Sharmell vs. The Boogeyman: The upside from this terrible match was that Booker managed to do really well with the ‘King Booker’ character XXIII.        US Championship, Chris Benoit vs. MVP: I appreciate this will be a controversial choice, but a.) I couldn’t use Kane vs. Khali (see below) or Lashley vs. Umaga (Austin as ref); b.) I wanted to use a US title match, and there aren’t too many to choose from and c.) when I watched this match at the time, I absolutely winced when I saw Benoit thrashing around in pain after he hit the Diving Headbutt which finished the match- when explaining Benoit’s brain injuries that resulted in the tragedies just two months after this match, this was one of the first reference points. XXIV.        ECW Championship, Kane vs. Chavo Guerrero: Nothing devalues a brand like having their title match begin and end in 8 seconds. XXV.          WWE Championship, Triple H vs. Randy Orton: I know this was hurt by being the main event after Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker had burnt down the joint, but the stipulation made at the beginning of the match sucked all the heat out of it- I can’t honestly remember if I even watched it the whole way through, it was that boring. XXVI.        No Holds Barred Lumbackjack Match, Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon: This all went on about ten minutes too long and was increasingly uncomfortable to watch. One of the few times where less is more! XXVII.      Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole: Everything about this match was booked wrong- it should have been a lot shorter and Lawler should have won outright. XXVIII.    World Heavyweight Championship, Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan: I guess in the long run, it’s got Bryan to where he is today, but at the time, it took the piss that stupid segments involving Santino and Brodus Clay ran longer than this match- which, if given the time, would still have enhanced both guys.   XXIX.        Mark Henry vs. Ryback: Not bad ring action per se, but the booking of the finish made Ryback look a complete chump.   Cheers,  Tom