wrestling / Columns

Top 7 Most Disappointing Wrestling Matches

June 5, 2020 | Posted by Steve Cook
wwe Roman Reigns WrestleMania 33

I’m curious about something. Are there people out there that are really buying into WWE’s hype for the Edge vs. Randy Orton match at Backlash? Do some members of the WWE Universe believe that Edge vs. Orton truly could be THE GREATEST WRESTLING MATCH EVER? Or does everybody see right through their nonsense?

Hey, I’m all about positivity, especially in this day & age. I got no problem with Edge or Randy wanting to set high goals for themselves. Nor do I take issue with WWE trying something different in an attempt to make people care about a PPV. It’s just that I feel like anybody truly buying into this hype is simply setting themselves up for disappointment when Orton gets disqualified five seconds into the match for kicking Edge in the groin.

Then again, us wrestling fans should be plenty accustomed to disappointment. Too many times, matches have been hyped up to us as the best thing since sliced bread, only to fall dreadfully short. Should Edge vs. Orton end up as a disappointment, it won’t be the first hyped match to flop. Today, we look at seven matches that didn’t exactly end up being magnificent.

7. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H (WWE Bad Blood 2004)

I was in the third row in Columbus’s Nationwide Arena for this one. It was my first and possibly only chance to see a Hell in a Cell match live, and back in 2004 there still hadn’t been too many of them. Shawn & Hunter’s feud had dominated Raw for most of the last couple of years, leading to a moment where they would have to meet inside the Cell. It promised to be a compelling situation.

It wasn’t. HBK & HHH went 47:26 in what ended up being one of the dullest HIAC matches of all time. Things might have been a bit better if the last ten minutes wasn’t mostly them laying on the mat in-between moves, but honestly the crowd had already given up on it by that point. Watching it live, I didn’t hate it as much as everybody else did. Then I saw it on DVD later and saw what everybody else was talking about. Of all the Shawn Michaels cage matches we ever saw, this was certainly one of them.

6. Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker (WrestleMania 33)

Previous attempts at crowning Roman at WrestleMania hadn’t gone so well. The Triple H match at 32 might belong on this list if people had higher expectations going in. We probably shouldn’t have had them for this one either, but it was still the Undertaker at WrestleMania. Even if he hadn’t worked since the previous WrestleMania, everybody still expected the Dead Man to pull a rabbit out of his hat like he had so many times before.

It didn’t happen. Reigns tried the best he could, but Undertaker wasn’t in the proper physical condition or frame of mind to have one of his WrestleMania classics. I’m just glad they didn’t try to sell it like one in The Last Ride, because that would have nullified any truth the series was trying to present right from the start. Maybe Roman & Undertaker would have had a great match at some point, but it wasn’t happening at WrestleMania 33.

5. Sabu vs. Taz (ECW Barely Legal)

ECW built this match up for over a year. Taz spent most of that time challenging Sabu, with no response from Sabu at the behest of Paul Heyman. Finally, Sabu could stand no more, and the match was set for ECW’s first PPV event. To be honest, it’s tough to say this match could ever have lived up to the hype. Many ECW fans literally expected somebody to die here. That didn’t happen. They had a nice little match, but it lacked the tension you would have expected from two guys that had been building a match up for as long as they had.

The booking didn’t help either. Sabu passing out in the Tazmission didn’t help Taz, especially since they booked a double-turn right after with Bill Alfonso turning against Taz and joining with Sabu & Rob Van Dam. It fell pretty flat, fortunately the rest of the show more than made up for it & ECW became a staple on PPV until 2001.

4. AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (WrestleMania 34)

Many of us had seen Styles & Nakamura tear it up at the Tokyo Dome at Wrestle Kingdom 10. Styles had been consistently one of the best performers since arriving in WWE, while Nakamura worked his way through NXT. Eventually, Nak made it to the main roster, won the Royal Rumble and challenged the WWE Champion. Who happened to be AJ Styles. We had visions in our heads of the Tokyo Dome, and of Styles & Nakamura stealing the show at an even bigger stage.

We neglected to consider the fact that Nakamura had dialed things down since arriving in North America. WWE was his retirement plan, where he could take it easier than he could in New Japan. I don’t know if that was the only reason this, and the rest of his matches with Styles during 2018, ended up being massively disappointing. Whatever it was, they weren’t able to recapture that Toyko Dome magic in New Orleans.

3. Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg (WrestleMania XX)

Goldberg vs. Lesnar was never going to be a five star wrestling classic. It should have been two big boys going at it and throwing all of their best stuff at each other. We actually ended up getting that at WrestleMania 33 and it was easily the best match of Goldberg’s comeback. It could have been even better thirteen years prior if the guys were in the mood for it.

They weren’t. They were each on their way out of WWE & weren’t too interested in killing themselves before moving on to hopefully bigger & better things. So we got a ton of stalling, a ton of restholds, and quite the crowd response inside Madison Square Garden. A match that magazines had hyped up for years as a dream match ended up being an absolute dud.

2. Shawn Michaels vs. Mr. Perfect (SummerSlam 1993)

pic courtesy wwe.com

When I think of the best in-ring performers in the WWF during the period I started watching pro wrestling, three names immediately come to mind: Bret Hart. Shawn Michaels. Mr. Perfect. They were the workhorses, the guys that put on the best matches on every show they appeared on & made the fans want to come back and see more action. Bret had many classic matches with Perfect. Bret would later have many classic matches with Shawn. So one would expect Perfect & Shawn to mesh pretty well together, right? I remember thinking as a punk 9 year old that those two men would steal the show at SummerSlam.

That didn’t happen. Even before the disappointing countout finish, Perfect & Michaels just didn’t mesh with each other like you would have expected. Mr. Perfect was definitely better as a heel than as a face, but he had good matches with others while working face. It might have had something to do with both men having the same strengths & weaknesses at the time, and not being able to complete a full picture. They were both better at selling for their opponents than they were on the offensive. Not that either was bad on offense, it just wasn’t their forte.

Unfortunately, they never got a chance to have that classic. Perfect’s back problems that took him out of action back in 1991 acted up again around Survivor Series 1993, and he wouldn’t compete on a regular basis again until 1997…for WCW. A return to WWF in-ring work was teased in 1996, and perhaps that would have been a time where babyface WWF Champion Shawn Michaels & heel Mr. Perfect could have had a real ripsnorter. We’ll never know.

1. Hollywood Hogan vs. Sting (Starrcade 1997)

The biggest match in WCW history had a nearly a year & a half of build. Sting retreated to the rafters after Fall Brawl 1996, offended by the idea that his friends & fans thought he would join the NWO. Hogan reigned as WCW Champion for most of the time afterward, while the NWO did all they could to bring WCW down. Sting was seen as the company’s only hope, and after some brooding he finally took his spot as the top good guy and was set to face Hogan at Starrcade 1997. The hype worked, as the arena was packed, PPV buys were through the roof and WCW had never been hotter. This was certainly going to be Sting’s crowning moment.

It wasn’t. Sting looked like a guy that had been sitting up in the rafters for almost a year and a half and doing nothing else. Hogan took most of the offense in the match, and the finish that was supposed to be a fast three count from Nick Patrick ended up being a regular three count. Bret Hart coming out to make things right was confusing because it looked like a regular loss for Sting. Anybody that bought Starrcade 1997 expecting Sting to come out on top & send Hollywood Hogan into retirement, or at least for there to be an exciting main event, was disappointed by the outcome.