The Grand Daddy of Them All. The Showcase of The Immortals. The thing you sit through to get to the amazing ‘Raw after WrestleMania’.
It goes by many names, but WrestleMania has been the marquee event for all wrestling fans. This year is the 35th Anniversary (don’t believe the WWE, if we started at 1 and we’re at 36, that’s 35 years – we did not have WrestleMania 0, Vince), and throughout those years, we have had some legendary conflicts.
We have also had some absolute toilet put onto our screens. For every Daniel Bryan realising his dream we have…well, you’ll see, as we go through the one bad match per year that we get at a WrestleMania. Here are 35 of the worst WrestleMania matches.
WrestleMania I – King Kong Bundy vs SD Jones
The inaugural WrestleMania was headlined by the all-star tag team match of Hulk Hogan and Mr. T up against Rowdy Roddy Piper and Paul Orndoff. However the second match on the card saw a debuting King Kong Bundy alongside his manager Jimmy Hart up against Special Delivery Jones (LOL 80’s wrestling names) who is soundly beaten in what Howard Finkel says is nine seconds. Now wrestling can be crap for many reasons: from poor storytelling to bad in ring performance, but this is the worst crime – insulting the fans’ intelligence.
THERE IS NO WAY ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH THAT IS ANYWHERE NEAR NINE SECONDS. IT IS 24 SECONDS BY MY COUNT. If you’re gonna fudge it to make him look like a beast, say 15. Don’t knock off 15 seconds! I know they have a low opinion on their paying customers but to not believe they don’t get the concept of time is a bit much.
WrestleMania 2 – The Fabulous Moolah vs Velvet McIntyre
Back in the day, Moolah wasn’t exactly a huge fan of losing… like ever. If you ever look at her NWA and her WWF women’s title reigns, the shortest was just shy of nine months. This is proven in this god awful match at the second instalment of WrestleMania against Velvet McIntyre – who I am starting to think might be Mrs Doyle from Father Ted in her earlier years. This starts off with Moolah beating the crap out of McIntyre, followed by McIntyre beating the crap out of Moolah. Velvet goes for a splash. She misses. Her top comes off. Moolah does a ‘five year old holding his sister down to spit in her mouth’ style cover. Wins. Everyone is confused. I don’t know either. We got a women’s main event last year. Looking at this, I’ve never been more happy.
WrestleMania III – Hillbilly Jim, Haiti Kid, and Little Beaver vs King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo, and Lord Littlebrook
King Kong Bundy’s ‘Mania journey thus far.
1) Monster squash (through lies)
2) Main event against Champion and face of the company Hulk Hogan.
3) Six man minis match with a man in overalls.
The phrase ‘oh how the mighty have fallen’ comes to mind. Only The Miz has come close to wetting the bed over a year this bad. It ends with a giant man attacking a smaller man, leading to a DQ because you know, midgets aren’t people according to 80s WWF. King Kong Bundy probably looked at this, saw Andre vs Hogan blow up the (allegedly ) 93,000 and said ‘good luck with the midgets next year Andre’. Nope, just you Bundy.
WrestleMania IV – Hulk Hogan vs Andre The Giant
Now, how can a rematch from last year’s WrestleMania main event in the epic WWF title tournament from this ‘Mania be crappy? I’ll tell you how – a finish that defies wrestling logic. Now I am able to suspend my disbelief for a bit – if this ended in a DQ because they hate each other after the Saturday Night Main Event title incident I’d get this …BUT HULK HIT ANDRE FIRST! He should have been DQ’d and the match was over, Andre’s shot was after the fact. If he kept hitting Hogan afterwards then sure, but he hit him once!
Logic please, 80’s wrestling.
WrestleMania V – Red Rooster vs Bobby Heenan
Terry Taylor was going to either be Mr. Perfect or a man who thinks he is a chicken. To this day Terry Taylor will never go near a Nando’s after this shower of crap. He was somehow affiliated with the Heenan Family until he said ‘lol you’re crap mate’ and dropped him, leading to this match.
Just before the Megapowers exploded, this was the cool off match – a drab 30 second pile of nothing. Heenan, who is not a wrestler, cost himself the match rather than the Rooster beating him. Amazing.
WRESTLEMANIA VI – Bad News Brown vs Roddy Piper
He came out in half black-face. HE CAME OUT IN HALF-BLACK FACE.
I love Hot Rod, but do I really need to say anymore? Coincidentally, most of the Tory government considers this ‘banter’.
WRESTLEMANIA VII – Hulk Hogan vs Sgt. Slaughter
Now, this might be my first controversial opinion – picking the main event of the seventh Showcase of the Immortals. But my God, Slaughter had no place in a WWF main event in 1991 and this match goes at a wind erosion level of pace. Sure, it is MURICA vs DEM TERRORISTS but it doesn’t hide the fact that this match is utter garbage.
WRESTLEMANIA VIII – Hulk Hogan vs Sid Justice
Yes, another main event featuring Hulk Hogan is absolute trash, mainly because of what it should have been. We were meant to be getting an ultimate wrestling dream match at the time, Hulk Hogan vs Ric Flair, the Triple H vs Sting of it’s day. We instead got this. WHAT? IT’S A JOKE.
But through one reason or another, Flair was bumped down to have a great semi-main with the Macho Man and Hulkster had a plodding twelve minute borefest with Sid “not friends with foam, scissors or anything in a barbers” Justice, famous for Papa Shango coming out late and leading to Sid having to fuck up the finish.
WRESTLEMANIA IX – Take a wild guess…
HULKSTER WITH THE HAT-TRICK. Bret Hart loses the title, he waves off Hulk to steal his thunder like a chump and beat the new champion Yokozuna when he hadn’t been around for ages and was only in a tag team feud with Money Inc.
This deserved to be held in a parking lot in Las Vegas, because it was hot garbage.
WRESTLEMANIA X – Earthquake vs Adam Bomb
It’s 35 seconds long, and literally has no place on the show. It begins with the awesome looking but eventually flawed Adam Bomb and soon to be women’s champion Harvey Wippleman (look it up) bullying ring announcer The Fink before Earthquake rocks up and squashes the newcomer for no reason.
WRESTLEMANIA XI –The Allied Powers vs The Blu Brothers
To be worse than a main event with a non-wrestler must be something. In all fairness, this is one of the worst WrestleManias in history but my lord, this match is SO dull. At least LT vs Bam Bam was a spectacle: this is just a pile of nothing. Luger and Bulldog had the most 90’s music known to man too.
WRESTLEMANIA XII – Shawn Michaels vs Bret Hart
YEAH SUCK IT U MAD BRO?
But seriously, I really like this ‘Mania but my god this match is so boring! I will repeat this is my opinion, and not the opinion of this site as a whole, but some people like looking at paintings where as some are enthralled by cinema. This is a painting of a match, and I like the movies. I appreciate it’s brilliance but I cannot sit through it without doing something else.
My favourite part is Shawn doing his zipline gimmick at the start and Vince’s iconic line at the end – that’s where it ends for me.
WRESTLEMANIA 13 – Rocky Maivia vs The Sultan
The Rock and Rikishi faced each other in 1997. Not even The Iron Goddamn Sheik, Mr. Bob Backlund or Rocky Johnson (he gets no suffixes or prefixes) can save this match from being nine minutes, but feeling like it’s 19.
This was the hardest to pick, because bar the submission match and the terrible six man street fight – it’s all crap.
WRESTLEMANIA XIV – Marc Mero & Sable vs The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust & Luna
This was hard for another reason, as I like this ‘Mania. I have gone for this because it summed up the bad side of Attitude Era booking. We have two heels facing each other purely because they needed a vehicle to push Sable, who had no wrestling talent and wanted to just be famous but was pushed because of boners.
All the boners. Again, this match is about 9 minutes but felt about 19.
WRESTLEMANIA XV – Sable vs Tori
This should have been the apex of the mental and monumental Attitude Era, but it has gone down as one of the biggest damp squibs in WrestleMania history. This match emphasises it, as two women, a botched Sablebomb, a Nicola Bass run-in and Sable waving to the fans and grinding AS A FREAKING HEEL. Get in the bin.
WRESTLEMANIA 2000 – Headcheese vs T&A
Tag-team Mania, the two match card Mania – again the event that should have been an apex of the second phase of the Attitude Era but it fell flat. Pre-Shield (Boss Man & Bull) is a Raw match ON WRESTLEMANIA. Kat vs Terri in a Cat Fight was a Smackdown match ON WRESTLEMANIA. But T&A vs Al Snow and Steve Blackman was a Sunday Night Heat match on BLOODY WRESTLE-BLOODY-MANIA.
One bright spark: a small cheese man dies. That’s right. Talk about how the PG era sucks because we have a midget in a bull costume all you like. THE ATTITUDE ERA HAD A MAN DRESSED AS CHEESE.
WRESTLEMANIA X-SEVEN – Right To Censor vs Tazz and The APA.
The ‘Mania is perfect from top to bottom. You can rationalise everything (Chyna vs Ivory was trash but it had a great storyline) and even the Gimmick Battle Royale was great nostalgia. This match wasn’t even bad, it was just meh. Also, Tazz tripped and fell onto the ropes and you could literally hear his last chance at being a thing in the WWE breaking in half.
The speech Bradshaw gave in the APA office beforehand was absolutely awesome though.
WRESTLEMANIA X8 – Edge vs Booker T
Again, this ‘Mania was sublime – had great matches, a great setting, ROCK VS HOGAN, Triple H vs Jericho – and even this match isn’t crap – but it’s over a damn shampoo commercial in Japan. So, the match isn’t awful, it’s the stupid build-up.
Good for them for not being crap.
WRESTLEMANIA XIX – Undertaker vs Big Show & A-Train
This is probably tied with ‘Mania X7 as my favourite WrestleMania ever, I literally cannot pick a bad match out… so I’ve gone for this because LOL NATHAN JONES. Wow. How does it feel to be taken out of your first ‘Mania for being too green, and for it be done by the Mega-Powers of NUNZIO, JOHNNY THE BULL AND CHUCK PALUMBO?
Feels bad, Colossus of Boggo Road. He then hits a god awful spin kick during a run in.
This a hot streak of good WrestleManias – wonder how long will this will last?
WRESTLEMANIA XX – Goldberg vs Brock Lesnar
I don’t need to say more, do I? This couldn’t have been more phoned in if it was done with a literal phone.
WRESTLEMANIA 21 – Akebono vs Big Show
The WWE’s jack of all trades, master of none The Big Show was lined up to face sumo grand champion Akebono in a sumo match when WrestleMania went Hollywood (and knocked it out of the park in my opinion), and it was really ramped up as a big deal.
But it’s a sumo match. At a wrestling event. With Big Show in a sumo outfit. No one enjoyed this. Akebono could have wrestled, let them wrestle. Silly reason to do something other than wrestling, a trait they WILL not learn from.
WRESTLEMANIA 22 – Torrie Wilson vs Candice Michelle
This ‘Mania was labelled “Big Time!” and for the most part it was. However, this is the start of a trend of throwing divas out for cross-promotion or to kill time which also completely kills the show. Off the back of a tremendous, emotional Rey Mysterio title win – we go to Candice Michelle and Torrie Wilson in a bed, lightly pillow fighting for THREE MINUTES before Torrie rolled up Candice. WWE, don’t get me to feel then get me aroused – that’s just weird.
Why not give Rey, Orton and Angle three more minutes and have a classic on your hands? Maddening.
WRESTLEMANIA 23 – Kane vs The Great Khali
Ironically, until WWE decided that money was more important than morals (again) this was the only big slam WWE could talk about.
It’s The Great Khali vs Kane match used to promote See No Evil. Of course it’s awful.
WRESTLEMANIA XXIV – Kane vs Chavo Guerrero
One of the earlier insets of WWE kicking the bleeding body that was ECW’s legacy was allowing Kane to beat then champion Chavo Guerrero in 11 seconds. The fact this match can be shown in gif form speaks volumes.
On a card with Michaels/Flair, Taker/Edge, Show/Mayweather and CM Punk’s first Money in The Bank win – this was a complete turd.
WRESTLEMANIA 25 – Divas Battle Royal
How do you celebrate 25 years of proud women’s wrestling at your global companies biggest event? Have them come out as a parade of faceless backing dancers for Kid Rock, and then proceed to not really ever explain who’s in there – followed up by having Santino in drag win.
We have come a long way since then, but this could have been brilliant but it was used as dressing for something that WAS NOT WRESTLING. AGAIN.
WRESTLEMANIA XXVI – Bret Hart vs Mr. McMahon
Vince had a string of these ‘real life brought into the ring’ matches at WrestleMania in the Noughties – and they were awesome, like him vs Hogan and him vs Michaels. This was arguably the most personal, it was also the drizzling shits.
Bret couldn’t really wrestle anymore so it was just a prolonged beating with various weapons and a heel turn fake out by the Hart family. A massive let-down for all concerned.
WRESTLEMANIA XXVII – Michael Cole vs Jerry Lawler
OH GOD, I’D BLOCKED OUT THE COLE HEEL TURN. This not only was an awful match (how Lawler can be proud of this being his ‘WrestleMania moment’ I do not know) it ruined commentary, on Raw…forever. This was the genesis of the crap we hear now. This…THIS. And it doesn’t even have a set ending, it’s a stupid bait and switch with the ANONYMOUS RAW GENERAL MANAGER.
All that was wrong with 2011 in one match.
WRESTLEMANIA XXVIII – Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos vs Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres
Again, thank god for The Women’s Revolution.
There was a quite decent three way tag team title match on the pre-show, and this was on in the middle of the WrestleMania card. Tyson Kidd hasn’t had a normal match on the WrestleMania main show… but Maria Menounos has.
But hey, they got that hot Extra audience to watch this pay-per-view right…right? She also got fake tan on her butt and it look like she pooed herself, which is just fantastic.
WRESTLEMANIA 29 – Mark Henry vs Ryback
I love Ryback, I love Mark Henry – this was borderline acceptable and I could not in good faith pick John Cena vs The Rock, because it is the easy answer – this just had a ridiculous finish.
Ryback picks up Mark Henry for a Shellshock, who holds the rope and falls on Ryback and just wins. How flaccid.
WRESTLEMANIA XXX – The Shield vs New Age Outlaws and Kane
The Shield were arguably three of the four most over faces in the WWE at what is now considered one of the greatest WrestleManias of all time. So what do they do? Put them against the New Age Outlaws and Kane in a tag team match… and only give them two minutes. The end was great (Reigns’ two man powerbomb on the N.A.O was a great visual) but why not give them a greater platform? What a waste, what a load of crap.
WRESTLEMANIA 31 – The Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
This Mania was awesome. Once again, like 30 – they nearly gave us chicken shit and turned it into a lovely chicken salad. We had Seth Rollins’ ascension to awesome, RUSEV IN A TANK, the insane Triple H vs Sting old man fight club, RUSEV IN A TANK, The best RKO ever and of course, RUSEV IN A TANK. So, the only match I did not like was in the pre-show, which technically counts, so suck it.
The rightful winner should have been Damien Mizdow who had a star making moment by turning on his employer, The Miz. REMEMBER HOW AWESOME THAT WAS? Big Show then won, stood by his trophy looking like an arse and no one cared. AND THE TROPHY WAS NEVER SEEN OR SPOKE OF AGAIN THAT YEAR.
So, RUSEV IN A TANK.
WRESTLEMANIA 32 – The Rock vs Erick Rowan
This was very much a mixed bag of a Mania. We got the re-birth of the WWE women’s division in a phenomenal triple threat match and AJ Styles’ WrestleMania debut. We also got a 27 minute main event that felt forced and lazy between Triple H and Roman Reigns and an even lazier Brock Lesnar struggling to care against Dean Ambrose in a street fight.
However….The Rock appearing, setting his own name on fire and then burying one of The Wyatt Family for literally no reason takes it for me. This did nothing but hurt a group that could have been as big as The Shield. Pointless.
WRESTLEMANIA 33 – Bray Wyatt vs Randy Orton
This was a pretty great Mania looking back at it. Hardy Boyz reutrning, Triple H and Seth Rollins having a pretty good match, Goldberg and Brock Lesnar having a smashmouth title fight. Therefore, I’ve had to go with this because this match was just….weird. If your first reaction to the weird powerpoint presentation-style witchcraft wasn’t out and out uncomfortable laughter, then you are lying. This was so silly too – it had a pretty cool build. Orton joining the Wyatts, the burning of the Wyatt compound – it could have been a Lucha Underground style mythical battle. But instead, worms via a projector. Ooh, scary.
WRESTLEMANIA 34 – Jinder Mahal vs Randy Orton vs Bobby Roode vs Rusev
Again, another really fun Mania in retrospect. The Ronda Rousey tag match exceeded all expectations, NICHOLAS, Daniel Bryan’s return, NICHOLAS, Seth Rollins, The Miz and Finn Balor tearing it up.
Then we got this, four guys who should have been so much more. Keep in mind this match has a sure-fire Hall Of Famer, a recent WWE Champion (NEVER FORGET JINDER MAHAL WAS WWE CHAMPION), one of NXT’s best champions and a man who was over A.F with his ‘Rusev Day’ gimmick. The latter was put in last minute due to overwhelming fan response and that summed up this match as a whole.
Slapdash, boring, nothing of note and Mahal winning the gold did nothing for the title or him. A big pile of meh.
WRESTLEMANIA 35 – Baron Corbin vs Kurt Angle
Now, I actually really enjoyed this ‘Mania in spite of the fact it was, at last count, several millennia long. 16 matches is a lot to take in one sitting (thank Christ for a two dayer this year). Highlights include Kofi Kingston realising the boyhood dream by capturing the WWE Title, a crowd pleasing opener with Seth Rollins dropping Brock Lesnar in under three minutes, The IIconics emotional Women’s Tag Team Title win and Becky Lynch winning a historical main event against Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair.
I am going to have to pick Baron Corbin vs Kurt Angle for this Mania’s worst match for two reasons. Not only was the match pretty boring, but who in the blue hell wanted Corbin as the Olympic Gold Medallist’s final opponent? Yes, he’s a great heel and it makes sense in storyline, but balls to that: give us Angle vs Cena! It just left a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth. At least Batista fell over before his way-too-long match with Triple H. Let’s have a look.
So there is is, amongst 35 Manias – there lies 35 absolute thorns. What will Mania 36 bring? We’re all stuck inside, the weather has got really nice because of course it would and we have a Mania over two days in an empty arena that no-one really wants. It’s all just a big shame.
Anyway, RUSEV IN A TANK.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @MattyID. Thanks for reading!