Earl Marx, Brian Damage, John Carbery & Jamie Lithgow
Today we continue our run of WrestleMania themed Top 5 posts, however this week we shall cast our eye over the more regrettable moments from ‘The Showcase of The Immortals’. Yes, it’s our Top 5 WrestleMania mistakes.
I am going to look at matches/stories that….I just really feel we could have taken a different approach to either the match itself OR the story leading up to it.
5. Triple H vs Booker T – WM19
Even now, as I think of moments from this feud, there were just a lot of racial jokes that I am just not a fan of and think they were made in very bad taste. That aside, Booker was RED HOT around this time and found his place in the E. Everything seemed pointed to a Booker win. I felt completely deflated when Booker didn’t go over. Still can’t see why Trips won. But..did it makes Trips more hated? I suppose so.
4. The Great Khali vs Kane – WM23
I mean, picture this match in your head. Yes, it was every bit of the “ugh” feeling that I am sure has come over you. 5 minutes and 31 secs of your life that you will not get back.
3. John Cena vs The Rock – WM29
ALL SIGNS POINTED TO THE TRIPLE THREAT BETWEEN CENA, ROCK, AND PUNK. I mean…whut the hay-ell??? I am a HUGE Rock fan, but…Punk should have been allowed to worm his way into that match. Yeah, The Rock gave Cena his win back, but man…Cena didn’t need another spot like that. Punk did. And I disagree with MANY things Phil has said about the E since leaving, but this one was spot on – he held the title too long to not be included in the big dance.
2. Triple H vs Sting – WM31
Yup. I said it. I am Sting fan. I know he had to have someone in there with a good “hand” to help him through the match, but…Triple H winning did nothing for Sting and Sting’s return to challenge authority. And yes – I am hurt that Sting never got that one big win in WWE. This one is totally personal. Ha.
1. Shane McMahon vs Undertaker – WM32
Yes, Shane’s return blew the roof off of the place. Yes, I was in attendance at this particular ‘Mania. But, if I’m not mistaken, if Shane won, he would get control of Raw. Well, he didn’t win…in a very…mildly brutal match. Then, the next night and a few Raws after that, Shane was awarded control of Raw anyway. It just felt…very deflated. I just don’t see why this matched needed to happen with that stipulation. Oh wait – let’s not forget that Shane alluded to having something on Vince. What was it exactly? The keys to much better storytelling?
5. Wrestlemania 2 Announce Teams
Now say what you will about the actual show. I actually enjoyed it as a kid. Grown up though…I realized a lot was taken away from the actual matches by the odd pairing of wrestling announcers and celebrities. The celebs like Cathy Lee Crosby, Elvira and Susan St James knew nothing about the wrestlers or angles they were calling and it ultimately (I think) hurt the overall show.
4. Giant Gonzalez vs. The Undertaker
Considering the streak was broken at Wrestlemania 30…this isn’t as bad as it could’ve been. Every match before and since Wrestlemania 9 during the streak had the Undertaker defeat his opponent cleanly. His match against Gonzalez…which was just plain bad to begin with ended by DQ when Gonzalez used Chloroform to knock the Dead Man out.
3. The Big Show Vs. Akebono in a Sumo Match
If you think the Big Show vs Shaq would be horrible…then you obviously never witnessed this absolute catastrophe. Big Show in an oversized Sumo thong…enough said.
2. Hulk Hogan defeats Yokozuna in a quick squash
We all know the history behind this…but it doesn’t make the situation any better. Bret Hart who was a great WWF champion who represented the title with dignity loses to Yokozuna who quickly turns around and loses to Hulk Hogan in an impromptu match at (you guessed it) Wrestlemania 9.
1. Huckster vs Nacho Man at Wrestlemania 12
I know, I know…it was actually on the Free for all show and not the actual card…but the fact this was anywhere near Wrestlemania was an embarrassment.
5. Roman Reigns, Wrestlemania Main Eventer
Both times Reigns headlined Mania have to be seen as crushing failures. He was booed mercilessly at Wrestlemania 31 while being pounded by Brock Lesnar before Seth Rollins was given a hereo’s welcome as he cashed in his money in the bank contract and stole both the match and title away from Reigns. The following year WWE decided not to second guess themselves and had Reigns defeat HHH for the World Championship with the accompanying soundtrack being a chorus of boos from what was reportedly the biggest audience in company history. A disaster.
4. Seamus beats Daniel Bryan in 18 seconds at Wrestlemania 28
This was just a big shit sandwich that led to the current era of wrestling where fans feel like they can and should hijack wrestling shows in response to bad booking. WWE created a hostile environment for themselves that they still haven’t rectified properly and still find themselves at odds with their core audience over moments like this.
3. HHH and Jericho go on last at Wrestlemania X8
Every Wrestlemania main event should be memorable but this one is recalled most often as a trivia item. What match went on last the year Hogan vs Rock happned? Oh yeah it was a snoozefest squash match between Jericho and HHH.
2. Not Presenting Hulk Hogan vs Ric Flair at Wrestlemania VIII
I’ve heard WWE’s justification for not presenting this dream match at ‘Mania VIII and its never made any sense. The two biggest stars of the 80’s finally coming together to kick off the 90’s would’ve been huge. When they eventually clashed on PPV it was for WCW and was one of their biggest successes to date.
1. Hulk Hogan defeats Yokozuna at Wrestlemania IX
Who thought this was a good idea? First you have the new face of the company become the first babyface champion to lose the WWF title at Wrestlemania and then immediately erase any progress the heel who beat him made by having Hogan drop the leg asap. Hogan then immediately disappeared from TV, only surfacing to halfheartedly drop the title back to Yoko in a screw job before fucking off to WCW. Nothing good came of this mess.
There are so many different ways one could approach this topic, so I’ve decided to take it literally. Here are my Top 5 Wrestlemania mistakes –
5. Who Let Rockin’ Robin sing ‘America The Beautiful’? (Wrestlemania V)
Musical performances at Wrestlemania; the term minefield springs to mind. For every Aretha Franklin at WM3 there’s a Drowning Pool at WM18. My favourite rubbish performance has to be Rockin’ Robbin – yes, the wrestler – at Wrestlemania 5. Even Mean Gene did a better job when he sang the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ at the first Wrestlemania. I mean, she quit clearly couldn’t sing.
4. Hulk Hogan at The Silverdome…no wait, The Superdome (Wrestlemania XXX)
You can understand Hogan’s mistake, especially given the context of his promo, but it was still funny. It was good to see everyone, Hogan included, see the funny side of things too.
3. Raven’s Car Crash (Wrestlemania XVII)
This was a triple threat match between Kane, Big Show and Raven for the Hardcore Title. Raven’s planned spot would see him commandeer a golf buggy, with Big Show hitching a ride. Kane would commandeer a second buggy, with a referee riding shotgun. The idea was to have a Mario Kart-esque chase around the entire concourse of the Astrodome. What would have been a genius spot was derailed after a few yards when Raven crashed his buggy and got its wheels stuck in some kind of ditch, which housed some wires. What was a bit of a bummer was almost a complete disaster, because if damaged the wires Raven crashed into would have reportedly killed the live feed and taken Wrestlemania off the air. Now that was a close call.
2. Papa Shango Misses his Cue (Wrestlemania VIII)
Whose mistake was this? On the surface, this looked like Charles ‘Papa Shango’ Wright’s blooper. However, did someone give him a late cue? Did Hogan and Justice jump the gun? Was the referee to blame, somehow? For those unaware of what I’m talking about, Sid Justice was not supposed to kick out of Hogan’s famous leg drop at Wrestlemania 8. Instead, Papa Shango was supposed to break up the pin at the referee’s two count. Problem was, by the time the ref had counted two Shango was only half way down the aisle. Cue Justice controversially kicking out of one of wrestling’s most protected moves and Harvey Wippleman (Sid’s manager) thinking on his feet to cover for an almighty cock up.
1. Brock Lesnar’s Shooting Star Press (Wrestlemania XIX)
Lesnar vs. Angle; this was 2003’s dream match and main event. That wasn’t enough though, Brock Lesnar decided this bout needed it’s very own ‘Wrestlemania Moment’. Word on the newly built streets of the IWC was that the massive Lesnar had a Shooting Star Press in his locker, but he was saving it for a special occasion. Well, the occasion arrived and with Angle more than half way across the ring Lesnar took flight from the top turnbuckle… and landed square on his head. How he avoided serious injury is still a mystery.
You can read all previous ‘Top Five’ pieces here.