WrestleMania has featured some of the best matches of all time, while also featuring a handful of duds. For every Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania 13, there’s a Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon at WrestleMania 26. Some matches are pure gold, while others should have been scrapped long before the promos made broadcast. There are those matches that will live on in the minds of fans around the world as some of the greatest encounters of all time, while there are others most would just like to forget.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane to WrestleMania moments that are complete trash. Find out what matches are so foul that you’ll wonder how they even made it on the card in the first place.
Here are the top 5 worst WrestleMania matches of all time.
5. WWE Championship match: Yokozuna (c) vs. Hulk Hogan – WrestleMania IX ( 9)
Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna for the WWF (now WWE) World Heavyweight Championship was suppose to close WrestleMania IX. This event should have been the launching pad for WWE’s New Generation Era, showcasing the brightest stars of the day and passing the torch onward from The Golden Age’s Hulkamania-dominated era. But unfortunately, WWE had a hard time pulling the trigger on the New Generation and regressed back to a stale baby-face Hogan as the top guy.
At WrestleMania IX, Yokozuna was able to knock off “Hitman” Bret Hart for the WWF Championship, although through underhanded means (via Mr. Fuji’s salt to the eyes of the Hitman). Immediately afterwards, Hogan stole the spotlight and made both competitors look like complete chumps in comparison. Mr. Fuji issued a challenge on behalf of Yokozuna to Hogan, and 22 seconds after the bell rang, the Hulkster was the new WWF Champion.
What Bret Hart wasn’t able to accomplish in a match lasting almost ten minutes (8 minutes, 55 seconds to be exact), Hogan was able to accomplish in a mere 22 seconds. Hogan handedly dispatched of Yokozuna without breaking a sweat while Hart put over his opponent like a mountain-climber trying to overcome Mount Everest. This match was a clear slap in the face to WWE’s emerging New Generation and can be considered as one of the worst “big” matches in WrestleMania history.
4. Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon – WrestleMania XXVI (26)
This match was just sad. Bret Hart is such a legendary wrestler and 99.9% of the time he puts on an amazing performance in the ring. But not when he’s been retired for over a decade, can’t take a bump, and looks more like a random dude from a friends and family BBQ than a rough and tough professional wrestler. When Hart returned to the ring at WrestleMania XXV, he was a mere shell of his former self and didn’t belong in a wrestling match, much less one that dragged on for over ten minutes.
At least Bret Hart got a measure of pay-back on his boss for screwing him out of the WWF Championship back in 1997 during the Montreal Screwjob incident. And I’m sure there was definitely tons of nostalgia to capitalize off of, seeing Bret Hart wrestling in a WWE ring against the nefarious Mr. McMahon.
But the match between Vince and Hart was just god-awful. It consisted primarily of Vince McMahon getting his ass kicked by Bret and his entire family. It was much more of a comedic squash-match/faux gang assault than a serious wrestling match. Hart being unable to take bumps in the ring severely took away any possibility of serious drama in the match. It was just a Vince McMahon beat-down, and that’s all it’s ever going to be. Vince proved himself to be somewhat of a masochist in this match; willing to be thrashed by Hart and his family for being a bad, bad boy.
3. World Heavyweight Championship match: Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Sheamus – WrestleMania XXVIII (28)
This match was downright disgraceful. In the first match on the WrestleMania XXVIII card, Sheamus knocked Daniel Bryan’s block off in 18 seconds, capturing the championship in a fraction of the time it takes to even go to the bathroom. This move all but solidified the World Heavyweight Championship to the status of mid-card fodder, while triggering a counter-reaction in favor of the defeated Daniel Bryan (in what would later become the YES Movement).
Perhaps, the only positive outcome of this short 18-second match is that it lit a fuse beneath the feet of the fans. Support for Daniel Bryan exploded and his career only went up from this moment, not down. While Sheamus became a strong, but bland champion, Bryan became one of the most popular superstars in WWE history.
Sheamus may have squashed Daniel Bryan in near-record time. But history will remember the YES Movement as something much more significant than Sheamus’ lukewarm run as champion, engaging in feuds many have already forgotten.
2. Intercontinental Championship match: John “Bradshaw” Layfield (c) vs. Rey Mysterio – WrestleMania XXV (25)
With this match, WWE sent out a clear message that they don’t care about their secondary championships. The WWE United States Championship wasn’t even defended at WrestleMania XXV, while the Intercontinental Championship match lasted a mere 21 seconds. This event is also noted for being JBL’s last night as a professional wrestler. He was embarrassed by a wrestler nearly half his size and defeated in less than a minute. What a way to go out.
JBL’s lightning fast defeat took away from Rey Mysterio’s championship win. The victory seemed rushed and cheap. It also made the WWE IC Title look relatively unimportant to the grand spectacle of WrestleMania.
1. Michael Cole vs. Jerry “The King” Lawler w/ special guest referee Stone Cold Steve Austin – WrestleMania XXVII (27)
First off, Michael Cole does not belong inside a wrestling ring. He belongs behind the announcer’s table on commentary, and some would argue that he doesn’t quite belong there either (he’s won the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Award for Worst Television Announcer in 2001 and then again from 2009 to 2012). All that being said, Michael Cole made for a really annoying heel and it was somewhat satisfying to see him getting demolished by Jerry “The King” Lawler.
This match dragged on for a staggering and torturous 13 minutes and 45 seconds. That’s more time than what was given for the World Heavyweight Championship match between Edge and Alberto Del Rio (11 minutes and nine seconds), which goes on to show what WWE thought of their World Heavyweight Title.
Another bummer about this match is that Jerry Lawler didn’t hit his patented piledriver finisher on Michael Cole. This was Lawler’s one and only WrestleMania match and he wasn’t even allowed to use the move that helped make him famous. Lawler finished off Cole with an ankle lock, but got disqualified by the anonymous Raw General Manager and the decision of the match was reversed because of Steve Austin’s “biased” referee moves.
Cole vs. Lawler dragged on for far too long. It was worse than watching Snooki wrestle. This encounter between Cole and Lawler will go down, at least for this article, as the worst match in WrestleMania history. Not even Stone Cold could save this debacle.
Honorable Mentions: Half of WrestleMania XXVII (27)
WrestleMania XXVII may be the worst WrestleMania ever. The main event between John Cena and The Miz was completely overshadowed by the host Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Any hype for The Miz’s rise to main event prominence dwindled in the presence of “The Great One.” The Rock even stole the spotlight at the end, screwing Cena out of a victory. So when it came down to it, The Miz’s match against John Cena only worked as a commercial for the impending WrestleMania 28 match between Cena and The Rock.
As previously noted, Michael Cole vs. Jerry Lawler was positioned as one of the headlining matches of the evening (which says a lot about the quality of the event). Plus, Snooki wrestled…and actually wasn’t half-bad, but thankfully, she was only allowed to perform a couple of moves. Snooki brawled in a six-person tag team match, alongside Trish Stratus and John Morrison, against the likes of Dolph Ziggler and LayCool. The downside of this match is that Ziggler and Morrison barely performed at all in this match, which only lasted three minutes and 16 seconds. The upside is that it didn’t drag on like the dreaded encounter between Cole and Lawler.
Another dud from WrestleMania 27 was an eight-man tag team match, which demolished any hype or momentum The Corre may have had going into the event. The Corre was a group of young, up-and-coming wrestlers who all identified as equals within the group. The team was made up of then WWE Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett, Ezekiel Jackson, and then WWE Tag Team Champions Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater. This fresh team of champions was demolished within one minute and 32 seconds. Their opponents (Big Show, Kane, Kofi Kingston, and comedic wrestler Santino Marella) made The Corre look like absolute chumps, killing off any credibility they may have had as an intimidating or forceful presence on the SmackDown brand.