Damien Barling: Biggest Wrestlemania Screw Ups

Wrestlemania has provided us with some of the greatest, most memorable moments in the history of wrestling and sports entertainment (if theres a difference). It’s also the stage where the screw ups last forever. You could even argue the screw ups are magnified because of the stage. Here are the 10 greatest screw ups in Wrestlemania history.

10) Wrestlemania 21 – Big Show the sumo wrestler
Big Show in full sumo gear. Ass out an all. I don’t think this requires any more of an explanation. Also, I was there in person. It was awful.

9) Wrestlemania XV – Big Boss Man hanging
The story of The Undertaker at Wrestlemania will always be about the streak, and, sadly, the streak ending (see below). What’s thankfully ignored is the fact a lot of the Undertakers opponents have left a great deal to be desired. An aging Jimmy Snuka, Albert, and Giant Gonzalez are a few that come to mind immediately.

Another unforgettable moment, if only for its awfulness, is at Wrestlemania 15 when The Undertaker fought Big Boss Man in a Hell in a Cell match. The match was bad. Which is fine. It was the ending that left you with one of those “embarrassed to be a wrestling fan” moments. After The Undertaker had won, Edge and Christian, still collectively known as The Brood, dropped from the ceiling, tied a noose around Boss Man’s neck (there was a safety harness and hook attached to his jacket) and hung him from the ceiling in Philadelphia.

To add to the absurdity, the Big Boss Man appeared on Raw the next night unscathed.

8) Pretty much everything Triple H does at Wrestlemania
(See yesterdays – Triple H And His Wrestlemania Struggles)

7) Anytime Rowdy Roddy Piper interacts with a black person
Let’s face it, intentionally or not, Roddy Piper is one of the most racists people to appear on WWE television. In 1985 Piper was the main heel who the entire main event was built around. It was Piper vs Mr. T. It was Piper vs Hogan. It was Piper vs Snuka. Sure, Paul Orndorff and Bob Orton were invovled, but this was all Piper.

During a visit to the set of The A-Team prior to Wrestlemania I, the HotRod said to Mr. T – “You wear more chains then your ancestors.”

The two hooked up again during an ill-conceived boxing match at Wrestlemania II in which Piper told T he’d “whip him like a slave”.

All that pales in comparison to the fact Piper actually came out for his match at Wrestlemania XIII against Bad News Brown, a black dude from Harlem, with half of his entire body painted black. He later explained he did it to channel Nelson Mandella, or something ridiculous like that, yet every time he turned the “black” side to the camera, he’d fall into some sort of “shuck and jive” routine while referencing Michael Jackson.

6) Wrestlemania VII – Everything!!!!!
1991. Patriotism was on high because of the Gulf War and nobody capitalizes (exploits?) patriotism like the WWE. The country was at war so the WWE decided to take the All-American Sgt Slaughter, the real life GI Joe, and turn him into an Iraqi sympathizer to do battle with the Real All-American Hulk Hogan. I don’t have the time or patience to explain everything that went on here. There were death threats, bomb threats, a venue change from the 100,000 seat Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to the 15,000 LA Sports Arena, and a card of matches that, minus Warrior and Savage, would bore you to tears.

5) Wrestlemania XXVI – Bret Hart vs Vince McMahon
Ugh. Bret Hart couldn’t wrestle anymore. Vince McMahon never could. It was suppose to the culmination to the real life drama that took place back in November of 1997. If you’re reading this, you already know the story. Vince screwed Bret, Shawn screwed Bret, Bret screwed Bret, blah blah blah. Bret Hart stayed away from the WWE for 7 years before being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004. Even then, he stayed away. Then, in 2010, he decided it was time to bury the hatchet completely and move on. He appeared on Raw in Jan (17 years after his last appearance) and laid the seeds for his match with Vince McMahon. To add to the awful mess, they incorporated the ENTIRE Hart family into some convoluted story line that left the crowd sitting on there hands. McMahon took an uncomfortable beating that went on way too long. The match mercifully ended and it was, for the most part, the last time we’d seen either of them wrestle.

4) Wrestlemania XXVIII – Daniel Bryan loses in 18 seconds
The crowd in Miami was chanting “Yes, Yes, Yes” all weekend! It was the beginning of what WWE would later call the Yes Movement. Daniel Bryan was a star far brighter then WWE anticipated. To kick off the Showcase of the Immortals Sheamus “battled” Bryan for the WWE Heavyweight Championship. By battled I mean, Sheamus kicked Bryan in the face and the match was over in :18 seconds. The crowd was livid. Sheamus, the babyface, felt the fans wrath for years. The night after, Bryan went out in front of a sold out crowd that was still chanting “Yes” and thanked them for cushioning the blow of what was the worst night of his life.

3) Wrestlemania VIII – Ric Flair vs Hulk Hogan NOT happening
There are a million stories why this didn’t happen. Some say they didn’t mesh well. Some say the house show loop that they did wasn’t drawing big crowds. Some say there was a concern the crowd would react favorably to Ric Flair. Theres grainy footage of an Oakland house show in which Flair appeared to pin Hogan to a massive reaction (see below). Others think its a simple case of Flair didn’t want to lose to Hogan, Hogan didn’t want to lose to Flair, thus you couldn’t have a match without an ending and we’d have to wait 2 more years before we see these two in the ring together, sadly it was in WCW.

2) Wrestlemania X-7 – Steve Austins Heel Turn
Steve Austin has explained this numerous times. He wanted to try something different. He thought it would shake up the creative flow of the company. He acknowledges it was a mistake. He wishes it didn’t happen. It had a massive effect on business in a very negative way. What no one has ever explained though – why in the hell would you try to turn Austin heel in his home state of Texas?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

1) Wrestlemania XXX – Ending the Streak
I’m trying to look at this from multiple perspectives. One, Undertaker’s loss to Brock Lesnar was done to elevate Brock Lesnar into an unbeatable monster. That unbeatable monster was suppose to get conquered a year later by the chosen one, Roman Reigns. That didn’t happen. So was breaking the streak pointless? There’s a fair argument that says yes. Here’s another perspective – what if Taker hadn’t lost? Then what? Is WWE pushing ever Mania opponent as the one to break the streak? Bray Wyatt? Shane McMahon? Roman Reigns? Is he booked differently? Is it John Cena instead? My guess is he’s booked differently. His matches were often bigger then the title matches. He should’ve remained undefeated. It was special. It was special for him. It was special for us.

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