As if the wrestling community wasn’t negative enough, I’m Scott Hammond and here are my top five worst WWE Pay-Per-Views in history. And just a little reminder, it’s all subjective.
Number 5: Backlash 2018
We start off with a recent entry, and the saddest part of this is that the show started off really well. Seth Rollins defended his Intercontinental title against The Miz in what was a really good (albeit slightly long) match. Miz worked Rollins’ leg and after engaging the crowd in some near falls, Rollins retained. From that point though, the show went drastically downhill. A face Nia Jax defeated Alexa Bliss to retain the RAW Women’s title, before turning heel for no apparent reason a few months later.
Elias had a terrible segment with New Day, Rusev, No Way José (and his conga line comprising of Titus O’Neil and Apollo) and poor Bobby Roode, followed by Daniel Bryan in his first PPV singles match since being cleared beating an unemployed Big Cass. People assumed the show would be saved by AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura. They were wrong. The match didn’t have the chemistry of their Japan effort, and the match ended in both men not reaching the ten count after kicking each other in the balls. Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman then squashed Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, effectively killing their momentum as a team, and the Pay-Per-View ended with Roman Reigns vs Samoa Joe. Obviously, pre-illness, Reigns was the most polarizing character in the company, and the fans in attendance didn’t take kindly to him having the main event given that there was no title involved. According to reports, many fans were seen leaving the venue during this match, as well as chants for CM Punk among others. Reigns won the match with a spear, and to this day, many people look at it as a really terrible show that gave nothing back to the fanbase aside from the opening match.
Number 4: Great American Bash 2004
Cast your minds back, it’s 2004 and the Dudley Boyz have abducted Paul Bearer (yes this happened), which led to a main-event match at the Great American Bash 2004 between the Dudley Boyz and the Undertaker, but we’ll get to that shortly. John Cena, who was universally cheered at this point in time opened the show to defend his United States title in a Fatal four-way match against Booker T, Rob Van Dam and Renee Dupree (he was awesome). The match was pretty decent, but it was unfortunately followed up with matches such as Charlie Haas vs Luther Reigns (what is with that surname), and not forgetting the instant classic that was Torrie Wilson vs Sable. Mordecai defeated Bob Holly as well on this card and was promptly never seen again.
There were two shining lights during this show, Rey Mysterio fought through a kayfabe knee injury to beat Chavo Guerrero, and in the title main event, Eddie Guerrero had his win reversed against John Bradshaw Layfield in a Texas Bullrope match and JBL was awarded the WWE Championship for the one and only time in his career. A Guerrero in the only decent matches on a show, coincidence? Now to the main. And where to start? The Undertaker, being emotionally blackmailed by SmackDown general manager Paul Heyman agreed to a handicap match against the Dudley Boyz. Paul Bearer was kidnapped and Paul Heyman put him in a glass tomb, threatening to fill it with cement and commit murder on Pay Per View. The Undertaker ended up beating both Dudley Boyz and saving Paul Bearer before the cement engulfed him. The Undertaker then saluted Bearer, and told him he couldn’t have Bearer being his weakness anymore, and murdered his long-time manager by filling the rest of the tomb in cement. I can’t believe I just wrote that. It actually happened. The Undertaker killed Paul Bearer to close the show. Wow.
Number 3: Survivor Series 1999
This was more of a disappointing main event really affecting the perception of the whole show. Pay-Per-Views during this prosperous time in professional wrestling were rarely bad, but the late change to the main event really brought the live crowd down. The rest of the show was a mixed bag, with highlights including the debut of Olympic gold medallist Kurt Angle in a squash over Shawn Stasiak, pushed in with different traditional Survivor Series elimination matches.
Chyna defeated Chris Jericho to retain the Intercontinental title in a pretty bad match, and the New Age Outlaws defeated Mankind and Al Snow to retain the Tag Team Titles. The main event of ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin vs The Rock vs Triple H was actually scrapped during the middle of the show when an unknown assailant (later found to be Rikishi, who did it for da Rock) ran down Steve Austin in the parking lot. The anticipation built for who would replace Austin, and when the time came for the big reveal… it was the Big Show. With the help of Vince McMahon (who was a face at this point), the Big Show won the WWE Title to end the Pay-Per-View in one of the biggest let downs in WWE history. The Big Show would then go on to feud with the Big Boss Man for the WWE title. Dark days.
Number 2: WrestleMania IX
I think we can all agree that this show had probably the most overbooked main event in WWE up to that point. The undercard of this Pay-Per-View was quite awful, to the extent that until I re-watched it, I had no idea who was on it. Shawn Michaels defeated Tatanka via count-out in the opener but retained the Intercontinental title with the champion’s advantage. The Steiner Brothers had a half decent match against the Head Shrinkers, but amidst all this, Doink the Clown defeated Crush with a prosthetic arm. Oh, how I loved the 90s. Money Inc and The Mega-Maniacs (Hulk Hogan and Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake) went to war and with a referee overturning the Maniac’s victory (Hogan used a face mask as a weapon, jeez), Money Inc retained the WWE Tag Team gold. Lex Luger and Mr Perfect had a match, which Luger won, but he actually didn’t because Perfect’s foot was on the bottom rope.
However, he still won apparently, because the referee only overturns verdicts on heels. The Undertaker had to endure the worst match of the night (that is saying something here) against the Giant Gonzalez, who, alongside putting the crowd to sleep with terrible wrestling, also put the Undertaker to sleep with a rag soaked in chloroform. The referee came to his senses finally and disqualified Gonzalez, to effectively end that awful gimmick once and for all. Main event time. Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart took on WWE Champion Yokozuna, and the winner of the match was…Hulk Hogan. No typo there. Hulk Hogan. Early on, Yokozuna distracted the referee long enough for Mr Fuji (his manager) to throw salt into Hart’s eyes, which distracted him long enough for Yokozuna get a pinfall victory over him. With Mr Fuji and Yokozuna celebrating, Hogan, of all people, came out to check on Hart, and for no reason at all Mr Fuji challenged Hogan to an impromptu match against Yokozuna for the title there and then. Bret Hart, not mad at all for being completely screwed out of his opportunity gave Hogan his blessing, and Hogan went on to beat Yokozuna and capture the WWE Title. Wow, that was worse than I remember.
Number 1: ECW December to Dismember
If you know, you know, right? WWE’s rebirth of the ECW brand is now infamous, but this was the first (and last) WWE ECW branded Pay-Per-View ever. Let’s gloss over the fact that over half of the roster was not ECW material. Coming into the Pay-Per-View, that only has ONE match advertised, the main event. Coming into the show, they also added MNM vs The Hardy Boyz (neither team was a part of the ECW brand) to bolster the very lacklustre lineup. With an arena allegedly half full, they started as strongly as they could with the aforementioned tag team match, and albeit very run-of-the-mill, served its purpose. Then, the abomination began. First up was Matt Striker vs Balls Mahoney, in a ‘Striker’s Rules’ match, which allegedly meant no gauging of the eyes, no moves off the top rope and no foul language. Mahoney won the match. The fact that the match ended was the best part. Sabu was also written out of the main event next, in a backstage segment. The crowd began a ‘BS’ chant. A tag match took place next, with Elijah Burke and Sylvester Terkay defeating the Full Blooded Italians (Tony Mamaluke and Little Guido). This was another nothing match that had zero interest from the live crowd. Daivari then defeated the heart and soul of the original ECW Tommy Dreamer with help from the modern day Giant Gonzalez, the Great Khali. It’s worse than it sounds, and if you don’t believe me go back and watch it.
There was another tag team match that meant absolutely nothing before we finally came to the only match that was built on ECW TV, The ECW Title Extreme Elimination Chamber match. So, Bob Holly was the man chosen to replace Sabu. This was brutal. The entrants were CM Punk, Test, Hardcore Holly, Rob Van Dam, Bobby Lashley and ECW Champion The Big Show. Fans were hoping against hope that Rob Van Dam would win the title, partly salvaging something from the night, and was the only ECW original in the match. After CM Punk (another fan favourite) was eliminated first, Bob Holly was gone shortly thereafter. Things then took an even worse turn, when Van Dam was the third man eliminated, essentially leaving three very ‘WWE’ guys in the match. The fans dumped over the rest of this match, it got very hard to watch, and finally, with just Big Show and Lashley left, Lashley hit a spear and had his big moment, winning the ECW title in an arena (half) full of fans who chanted ‘refund’ very loudly. The show went off the air with Lashley, a face, being booed out of the building after winning the title. In the direct aftermath of the ECW show, Paul Heyman and Vince McMahon had a huge falling out and Heyman was sent home and blamed for the event, even though this was quite clearly not his fault.
In truth, these are just a few handpicked examples of the WWE missing the mark, and its all in good spirit. But seriously, Balls Mahoney vs Matt Striker? Really?
All photos and videos courtesy of WWE.com