Wrestling can deliver some of the most outstanding, outrageous and downright exciting spectacles of any event out there. These muscle-clad athletes defy gravity and the laws of physics when they are at their best, which is why the WWE regularly packs out stadiums all over the world when they come to town. However, while the greatest wrestling matches wow fans and drive audiences wild with excitement, not every match lives up to expectations. Over time there have been some matches which have gone down in infamy, match-ups so terrible that not even wrestling’s greatest defender could argue that they were anything other than putrid.
They say that learning from history helps us to avoid making the same mistakes again. With that in mind, we bring to you five of the worst wrestling matches in the history of the sport. Hopefully revisiting these abominations and reminding us of just how awful wrestling can be when it goes wrong will help to avoid repeats in the future. The Powers That Be are smart enough to know that bad matches are bad for business, so we can hope not to see top-level action of the standard described here in future broadcasts. Now let’s take a look at what we reckon are the worst examples of wrestling matches of all time.
Hollywood Hogan vs The Warrior
Following on from a great match between the two combatants hopes were high for another great bout, but this one was a hot mess from start to finish. These two had faced off at Wrestlemania VI in a classic contest, but 8 years later neither man was in the kind of shape to put on a good show. Hulk Hogan had by now morphed into a heel character – hence the ‘Hollywood’ moniker – that nobody was really buying. The large crowd in attendance didn’t seem to have a particular rooting interest in either man.
In fact the biggest noise from the crowd came in the form of gales of laughter. This was at the moment where Hogan crawled over to a corner and spent an age trying to light a fireball in the face of his opponent, who helpfully stands at the far side of the ring while Hogan fumbles around for the incendiary equipment. The laughter was provoked by the fact that the fireball was more of a damp squib, feebly flashing a light into Hogan’s own face. A bout full of miss-timed shots and laborious moves could not end fast enough. It finally came to an end when Horace comes into the ring and clanks the Warrior across the back with a chair.
Chris Harris Vs. James Storm
There are some ideas that it’s hard to believe ever made it past the discussion stage before being laughed out of town. A blindfolded wrestling match surely must come into consideration when it comes to dumb sporting events. However, that is exactly what the audience were presented with in 2007 by TNA. Chris Harris and James Storm had been tag team partners in the high profile America’s Most Wanted team, meaning that their first meeting as opponents in the ring should have been a big deal.
Instead, we were treated to the sight of two blindfolded men gingerly groping their way around the ring as they tried to locate one another. The first grappling action that takes place – after what it seems like an age of time has passed – is between Harris and the referee. The crowd become audibly bored during what passes for a contest. Soon shouts of ‘Fire Russo’ echo through the auditorium, as the restless crowd seek to blame the TNA creative director for staging such a shambolic event. Although now there are multiple sites which offer odds on all kinds of sports, fortunately for the punters at the time of this fight, it took place before online sports books were taking any bets on wrestling, so we can hope at least that no big stakes were wagered on this sorry affair.
Sharmell vs. Jenna Morasca
Now we are all in favour of equal opportunity and the promotion of female athletes within all sports, wrestling included. However, there are times when – regardless of gender – an event is just impossible to like. Such was the case in the ill-fated match-up of Sharmell and Jenna Morasca back in 2009. To add insult to injury, this was sold as pay-per-view as well as a being contender for the worst ever female sporting event. Bear in mind that one of the two brawlers in action here was Jenna Morasca, who was basically a reality-tv star thanks to her appearance on the previous year’s run of Survivor. And she’s taking on the wife of Booker T, who has come dressed in a bright blue evening gown for reasons best known to herself.
Some of the action on display here was the kind of stuff you want to watch through your fingers. Some feeble slaps, a bit of hair-pulling and some very unconvincing stumbles across the ring was about it from both women. Some of the moves seemed to happen in tentative slow motion, making a mockery of any attempt to sell this as a real fight. Jenna seemed most concerned with the angle at which the cameras were catching her derriere, and the fight ended in a most underwhelming pin. Meanwhile Awesome Kong and Sojourner Bolt amble around outside the ring without doing much of note. Pretty dismal stuff.
The Mega Powers vs TATEH
Before you ask, TATEH stands for The Alliance to End Hulkmania, and is about as confusing as the bout in which they featured here. So on the one side you’ve got Hogan and Randy Savage, (‘The Mega Powers’) and they are up against an alliance made up of Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Kevin Sullivan, Shark and Zeus. The whole thing takes place in what is generously referred to as a Tower of Doom, which is basically a giant three story cage. There are ‘bad guys’ positioned in various sub-cages waiting for the heroic duo to get to them, kind of like the Bosses at the end of a level in the video game.
If that summary sounds clear enough, then it certainly didn’t play out that way at the event. Perhaps someone should have explained to the audience exactly what was playing out in front of them. The crowd struggled to see anything going on behind the layered metallic cages, particularly when the action started to take place high above their heads. Even the commentators and camera crew were struggling to make sense of proceedings, and it became clear from very early on that there was no real ‘match’ here at all, just the two Powers clambering through a bunch of cages to beat up on whoever was inside them. Meanwhile the bad guys had the task of sitting in empty cages without much to do while waiting for the arrival of the dashing duo. Not the finest hour for WCW.
The Bushwhackers vs. Nikolai Volkoff and The Iron Sheik
Let’s finish with a monument to awful wrestling, this has justifiably been called the worst tag-team match of all time. On a PPV event where the main bout featured a drunk Jake Roberts, you would think that nothing on the same card could be much worse. However, that would be to ignore the messy match-up between Volkoff and the Sheik versus the New Zealanders, who were represented as Australian so as not to blind the audience with geographical complexity. The show began with an inordinate amount of stalling, Volkoff doing the Soviet anthem and Sheik swinging clubs about while the awaited the arrival of the bald-headed Bushwhackers.
When combat was eventually joined, it was not exactly a pretty sight. Although the match only went on for 8 minutes, it seemed to stretch into eternity as poorly executed moves and half-hearted shots were attempted by all involved. To say that these wrestlers were past their prime when this bout took place in 1999 would be a severe understatement. None of them seemed to want to suffer any heavy landings or to take any serious knocks, so a lot of the moves were treacle-slow and borderline incompetent in terms of believable execution. The sells were arguably even worse than the moves, and certainly not fooling anybody watching at home. The whole sorry mess finally came to an end when Luke pinned the Sheik and put everyone out of their collective misery.