Worst Wrestling Matches of All Time
When wrestling is good, it's great. When wrestling is bad, dear God, it is terrible. A good professional wrestling match requires knowing how to work the crowd, how to time your opponent's moves and how to keep your opponent safe. It's harder than it looks, because professional wrestling is difficult. It's easy to have a bad match. And sometimes — rare times— matches are so bad they live in wrestling infamy.
Whether it's because of excessive botches, intoxicated wrestlers or just plain bad booking, the most infamous wrestling matches are complete train wrecks. They might be worth watching now as curious pieces of wrestling history, but if you had to see them live, you'd want your money back.
From WWE to TNA and beyond, these are the worst wrestling matches of all time.
20. Shawn Michaels vs. Hulk Hogan (SummerSlam)
Date: Aug. 21, 2005
Location: Washington, D.C.
Why Shawn Michaels vs. Hulk Hogan Sucked
Is this one of the best matches ever or one of the worst? If you take glee in Shawn Michaels overselling like crazy just to screw with Hulk Hogan, it's one of the best. If you were looking for an epic confrontation between two legends, it's one of the worst.
Behind the scenes, Hogan and Michaels were supposed to have a series of three matches beginning at SummerSlam 2005. After it was agreed that Hogan would win the first match, but before SummerSlam began, Hogan backed out of the three-match plan, citing a previous injury and saying that SummerSlam would be their one and only match. And, of course, it would be the match that Hogan was booked to win.
That angered Michaels, who took the pinfall as agreed upon — but not without being a bit of a brat. Throughout the entire match, Michaels took each and every punch and throw from Hogan like it was being delivered by Zeus himself, throwing himself around the ring like a cartoon character.
"I already knew what I was gonna do — I was gonna go out there and do business, but I was gonna make him earn it, just to be a pain in the butt all day," Michaels recalled years later. "And that was something I did just for my own enjoyment. It wasn’t right, it wasn’t professional."
Professional? No. Funny? Yes.
19. The Brothers of Destruction vs. KroniK (Unforgiven)
Date: Sept. 23, 2001
Location: Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania
Why Brothers of Destruction vs. KroniK Sucked
KroniK was a tag team formed in WCW that was composed of Briand Adams and Bryan Clark. They were only in the WWE for a few weeks, thrust into a major feud with Undertaker and Kane before disappearing for good.
To be fair, everyone performed poorly in this match. Kane hit two sloppy moves — a neck breaker and what might have been a shoulder breaker— while Undertaker whiffed a punch and knee. There was no flow or impact to any of the moves in this match, with everything looking just kind of terrible from Adams and Clark, both of whom had significant ring rust and just weren't ready to be in the spotlight at that time.
Clark and Adams were given the option to go to a developmental territory if they wanted to stay with the company. Clark refused and was quit-fired, while Adams went down to Heartland Wrestling for a few months before also quitting WWE.
18. Booker T vs. Buff Bagwell (Monday Night Raw)
Date: July 2, 2001
Location: Tacoma, Washington
Why Booker T vs. Buff Bagwell Sucked
As far as in-ring action goes, there are many worse matches than this one. But given the context, Booker T vs. Buff Bagwell on Raw is one of the worst wrestling matches of all time.
WWE had purchased WCW three months before this, which was a big enough deal to make The Wall Street Journal. For the first time ever, the WCW guys were given the main event spot on Raw. It was up to the WCW guys to put on a hell of a main event and show the WWE and its fans just how good they really were. WWE even put the WCW logo on the TitanTron and the ring skirt and staffed the announce table with WCW people.
Why they chose Buff Bagwell for this match is beyond anyone's comprehension. Booker T was — and probably still is — a fantastic wrestler. Bagwell was always just average. The fans immediately turned on the match, booing both, and gave Booker the first "boring!" chant of his career.
"I was just trying to get as much as I could out of Buff,” Booker told WWE.com. "I did the best that I possibly could, but I was pretty much on my own."
Many people point to this match as what soured the WWE on many of the WCW guys, leading to most of them being buried by WWE guys. Booker was good enough to have an incredibly successful WWE career, while Bagwell was fired the next week. He later became a male escort.
17. Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar (WrestleMania XX)
Date: March 14, 2004
Location: New York City
Why Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar Sucked
Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar had all the potential of being an epic brawl. But it was leaked that Lesnar was waving goodbye to the WWE for an NFL career (which wouldn't work out), and Goldberg was leaving the company as well, apparently unhappy with the way he was being treated.
Wrestling fans, believing that they had some kind of ownership over these two, took that personally. They relentlessly booed both guys in the ring, and even Steve Austin as guest referee couldn't keep the heckling at bay. Fans chanted "Hey hey hey, goodbye!" "You suck" and "You sold out!" while booing throughout the entire match.
It didn't help that both guys phoned it in, neither willing to do what it took to get the crowd invested, and the match itself was bland and slow for what was expected. They went through the motions, Brock lost, and Austin managed to get the only cheers of that match after he stunned them both.
16. Triple H vs. Scott Steiner (Royal Rumble)
Date: Jan. 19, 2003
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Why Triple H vs. Scott Steiner Sucked
The feud for Triple H vs. Scott Steiner at the 2003 Royal Rumble was ridiculous. They had several macho challenges, including an arm-wrestling contest, bench press contest, and an oiled-up, bodybuilding pose-off. It was a hot feud though, and people were expecting a good payoff.
However, Steiner was suffering from drop foot syndrome, which meant he was partially paralyzed in one of his feet. Surely, WWE would figure out a way to hide his injury and protect the guy? Nope. They put him in an 18-minute match with Triple H, who was recovering from a partially torn quad muscle. The result: Steiner became winded a few minutes in and botched several moves, including a double underarm suplex. Triple H hit Steiner with a sledgehammer, causing a disqualification finish.
The two matched up again at the next pay-per-view, but by that time, the WWE was done with Steiner, and sent him down to languish in the mid-card until he quit. Steiner has been vocal about how much he hates Triple H and the WWE, calling it the worst place he ever worked.
"There ain’t two bigger d-----bags than Triple H and Stephanie [McMahon]," Steiner said in 2017.
15. Jackie Gayda and Chris Nowinski vs. Bradshaw and Trish Stratus (Monday Night Raw)
Date: July 7, 2002
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Why Jackie Gayda and Chris Nowinski vs. Bradshaw and Trish Stratus Sucked
This tag-team match started off fine but devolved into missed spots within just a few minutes due to Jackie Gayda being way too green in the ring.
"You don't take an NFL player who has never thrown a football and throw them into an NFL game," Gayda said a few years later, noting she only had two months of training. Gayda had won the second series of WWE's "Tough Enough," which led to her developmental contract.
Gayda missed multiple spots, leading to her and Trish Stratus flailing about while the former tried to get the match back on track. It finally ended with a second-rope bulldog from Stratus, which Gayda didn't sell until Stratus had hit the ground. The crowd booed and laughed.
"Mercifully, it's over," Jim Ross announced after the bell.
14. Mr. T vs Roddy Piper (WrestleMania II)
Date: April 7, 1986
Location: Uniondale, New York
Why Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper Sucked
We're pretty sure Roddy Piper was mad about this match until his dying day.
This was a gimmick boxing match with Mr. T riding off his role in "Rocky III" as Clubber Lang, and coming back to WrestleMania after feuding with Piper in 1985. Piper is a heel again here, but no matter what he does, he can't get the crowd interested in this match. The punches look worked, and Mr. T is gassed out by the second round.
The match starts to go off the rails when Mr. T throws a punch that doesn't connect whatsoever, but Piper has to sell it and falls out of the ring. Piper chucks his stool at Mr. T right before the start of the fourth and final round, hitting him in the legs. This was apparently not in the script and happened because Piper was fuming. At the end of the fourth, Piper body slams Mr. T, everyone starts fighting, and the match ends in a disqualification for the man who pities the fool.
Piper legitimately did not like Mr. T in real life, as he thought the actor didn't respect the wrestling business. This real-life feud dates back to the first WrestleMania, where Piper flipped out at Vince McMahon when he was supposed to lose to Mr. T in a tag-team match (Piper got his way, as Hulk Hogan pinned Paul Orndorff).
13. Al Snow vs. Big Boss Man (Unforgiven)
Date: Sept. 26, 1999
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Why Al Snow vs. Big Boss Man Sucked
The Kennel from Hell match is widely considered one of the worst gimmick matches in the history of wrestling. This match featured a steel cage enclosed in a Hell in the Cell cage, with the winner needing to escape both cages to win the Hardcore Title. The storyline leading up to the match centered around Al Snow's little dog, which Big Boss Man kidnapped, killed, and fed to Al Snow. That's why the first cage, the kennel, was surrounded by "vicious" and "bloodthirsty" Rottweilers. That's what the commentators said, anyway.
Al Snow and Bosman have one of the most boring cage matches in the world, while the Rottweilers are completely disinterested in the match, and mostly end up peeing and pooping around the ring. Two of them tried to have sex.
"Now, you have to understand the entire match, the entire angle is built around the focal point being these dogs," Snow recalled in an interview (transcription from Reddit, video on YouTube). "How can you use these dogs? What can you do with these dogs? Please explain to me, because I would like to hear somebody tell me what they expect you to do with them when they’re out there urinating, defecating, and fornicating so much they couldn’t even show them on TV."
12. Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon (WrestleMania XXVI)
Date: March 28, 2010
Location: Glendale, Arizona
Why Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon Sucked
Bret Hart and Vince McMahon had a long, real-life feud ever since McMahon screwed Hart out of the title at 1997's Survivor Series. And then, of course, there was the tragic death of Bret's brother, Owen Hart.
McMahon and Hart famously had bad blood between them, which heightened expectations for their WrestleMania match. No one expected it to be great — Bret was 51 and banged up, while McMahon was 64 — but a fun little brawl for a "no holds barred" match seemed possible. That's not what we got.
McMahon brought out almost every living Hart family member to join as lumberjacks at ringside, claiming he paid them all off. But — shocker — they don't turn on Bret when McMahon demands it. The match is mostly McMahon being hit by a chair, foreign objects and the Hart family for 11 minutes.
11. Undertaker vs. Goldberg (Super ShowDown)
Date: June 7, 2019
Location: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Why Undertaker vs. Goldberg Sucked
The WWE signed a lucrative, multiyear deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2018 which is allegedly worth $100 million per year (and there are only two events per year). Performing in Saudi Arabia certainly raises ethical concerns — some wrestlers have refused to go — but most choose to overlook things like the Jamal Khashoggi murder and perform for a big payday. Apparently, Crown Prince Mohammed is a wrestling fan and requests certain marquee matches, which is why you had Goldberg and Undertaker booked for the main event.
On paper, this looks like a decent match. Goldberg was looking great for a 52-year-old. The Undertaker looked good in his match with John Cena at WrestleMania XXXIV. Even though Undertaker was approaching 55 years old, if the match were booked right, this could have been a good match.
Everything went fine until Goldberg tried to spear Undertaker in the corner. Undertaker moved, and Goldberg overshot the move, bashing his head into the ring post and cutting himself wide open. Clearly concussed, Goldberg was unable to take or deliver any spots. He fell over and nearly broke Undertaker's neck when going for a jackhammer, and mostly stumbled around the ring until Undertaker called an audible and ended it with a horrible-looking chokeslam.
Undertaker came so close to death or serious injury in this match that it really made him reconsider just how much longer he should be working.
10. Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole (WrestleMania XXVII)
Date: April 3, 2011
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole
Michael Cole's heel "Cole Miner" persona was one of the most unlikeable things about the WWE in 2011. He had been feuding with co-commentator Jerry Lawler for several months before and after, costing Lawler a WWE Championship match when the King fought the Miz.
All of this ridiculous feud seemingly culminated at WrestleMania XXVII, where Cole donned an orange wrestling singlet two sizes too small and hid in his "Cole Miner" wrestling box until Lawler pulled him out of it. Because everyone involved in this angle knew it would be terrible — Cole has zero wrestling experience — they threw Steve Austin in there as guest referee.
This match lasted 21 minutes. It's free on WWE.com.
And when we say seemingly culminated, the feud wasn't over. Lawler and Cole went on to have a match the following month at Over the Limit. It ended with Jim Ross pouring barbeque sauce over Cole in the center of the ring.
9. Hulk Hogan vs. Warrior (Halloween Havoc)
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Why Hulk Hogan vs. Warrior Sucked
The Warrior was always an awful wrestler who got over on his looks, good booking and coke-fueled entrances. Hogan was a working heel as Hollywood Hogan. While he was never the best wrestler, he could work the crowd like few others and could deliver a good match when needed.
This match was super hyped. It was a rematch eight years in the making and the return of Warrior, who was now hailing from "one warrior nation" instead of "parts unknown" and just as crazy as ever. Warrior would appear in the ring in a cloud of smoke to taunt Hogan, then disappear. Backstage, he appeared in Hogan's mirror. It was corny as hell, but fans were hyped.
So, of course, this match failed to deliver on every level. Mostly full of punches and kicks and mistimed moves, it ended with a botched "fireball." The fireball here as flash paper, ignites quickly and requires fast hands. Hogan fumbled with a lighter and plastic bag in the corner (which the cameras zoomed in on), then lit the paper while he was holding it at ground level. The paper instantly flamed out, Hogan tossed some ash at Warrior, and the end of the match had to be improvised.
WCW had signed Warrior for $1 million, but he only worked three matches total. This was the kind of cutting business acumen from WCW execs that ultimately led to the company's downfall.
8. Kaitlyn vs. Maxine (NXT)
Date: Oct. 19, 2010
Location: Alberta, Canada
Promotion: WWE NXT
Why Kaitlyn vs. Maxine Sucked
Before NXT was an actual promotion, it was some weird, in-ring pseudo-reality show for WWE prospects.
One of the worst matches to come out of that era was Kaitlyn vs. Maxine, two very green wrestlers. Each had a trainer in their corner. Kaitlyn had Alicia Fox, and Maxine had Vickie Guerrero. Both Fox and Guerrero were mic'd up to the arena's loudspeakers. Kaitlyn wrestled in a hoodie. Practically every move was botched.
Michael Cole, then working as a heel announcer, relentlessly trashed the match and stepped away from the announcer table to take a phone call from his mother.
7. Gerald Brisco vs. Pat Patterson (King of the Ring)
Date: June 25, 2000
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Why Gerald Brisco vs. Pat Patterson Sucked
This wasn't just a match for the hardcore title. It was a title match that was also an evening gown match — to win, one has to strip the other "down to their bra and panties," as Jerry Lawler proclaimed on commentary.
This match involved Pat Patterson shoving a banana and a Maxi pad in Gerald Brisco's mouth, several low blows and a bronco buster. The fans just got angrier and angrier, booing relentlessly, until Crash Holly came down to beat both of them and steal the title.
It's stuff like this that gave wrestling its highbrow reputation.
6. Los Villanos vs. Los Psycho Circus (Triplemania XXIII)
Date: Aug. 9, 2015
Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Why Los Villanos vs. Los Psycho Circus Sucked
This is difficult to describe, as all six of the wrestlers in this match have very similar names (Villano III, IV and V; Monster Clown, Murder Clown and Psycho Clown) and are all similarly dressed and masked, making it difficult to tell which one is which. It doesn't matter, though, because it's a train wreck of a match.
Villano III had a heart attack a few months before this match occurred, which meant he couldn't do much, while another of the Villainos was awfully overweight and could only lumber around the ring.
However, this match was mostly just for longtime fans who were looking to see off some of their favorite wrestlers. Unfortunately, it was just downright terribly done.
The Bushwackers vs. Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff (Heroes of Wrestling)
Date: Oct. 10 1999
Location: Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
Promotion: Heroes of Wrestling
5. Why the Bushwhackers vs. Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff Sucked
Heroes of Wrestling was a disastrous one-off pay-per-view event that was supposed to lead to a franchise or even a wrestling promotion. It didn't, thanks to matches like this and a notoriously horrible main event.
All of these men were in their 50s (with Sheik pushing 60), resulting in a combined age of 200 years. None of them can bump. Instead, they have to sort of tumble to the mat when needed. The Bushwhackers, with their gimmick being from Australia, chant USA! USA! Which prompts the crowd to chant it, and Sheik and Nikolai threaten to leave the match. They return to very, very slowly hit the Bushwhackers for another eight minutes.
Nikolai and Sheik can barely move and have to very carefully slam their opponents and give the softest-looking kicks and punches. It's a painful match to sit through, and the Bushwhackers — who actually look pretty good for their age — can't do a damn thing to salvage it. Watching this match is pure agony.
4. DX vs. Brothers of Destruction (Crown Jewel)
Date: Nov. 2, 2018
Location: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Why DX vs. Brothers of Destruction Sucked
Eight years earlier, Undertaker retired Shawn Michaels in one of the greatest matches in wrestling history. Since then, Michaels had not once got back into the ring for another match and had repeatedly said that he was done with wrestling.
Suddenly, Michaels was willing to work one more time, in Saudi Arabia, where the paychecks are almost as large as its list of humanitarian crises. It would be a tag match with his longtime buddy Triple H against Kane and Undertaker, who were once again working as the Brothers of Destruction.
A few minutes into the match, Triple H flips over the corner ropes and tears his pectoral muscle, making him effectively wrestle with one arm for the rest of the fight. At one point, Kane's mask and hair come off and fall outside the ring. Michaels does a moonsault from the middle turnbuckle to outside the ring, but neither Kane nor Undertaker catch him, so ends up slamming down hard on the outside mat, shaking his arm and grimacing in pain. It ends with Triple H hitting Kane with the worst pedigree he had ever given.
After the match, Michaels walked backstage, opened up his arms wide, said, "Missed it by that much," and laughed.
3. Jenna Morasca vs Sharmell (Victory Road, 2009)
Date: July 19, 2009
Location: Orlando, Florida
Why Jenna Morasca vs. Sharmell Sucked
Jenna Morasca isn't a wrestler. She was the winner of 2003's "Survivor: The Amazon" game show, and later the host of several "Survivor" offshoots. For whatever reason, TNA picked her to work an angle with the Mafia, which led to this baffling match with Sharmell at 2009's Victory Road. Sharmell was also not really a wrestler, having worked as a Nitro Girl and then as a valet for Booker T.
Probably the worst thing about this is the beginning, where the camera gives Morasca a colonoscopy as she gets into the ring before the cameras cut to a disgusted Sharmell while the announcers sounded confused and uncomfortable. The entire match is one botch after botch. Neither knew how to wrestle or throw a punch. The match ends with Morasca grinding on Sharmell for the pinfall.
At least it led to Brian Alvarez screaming "Minus five stars!" and one of the funniest wrestling recap shows ever.
2. Jeff Hardy vs. Sting (Victory Road, 2011)
Date: March 13, 2011
Location: Orlando, Florida
Why Jeff Hardy vs. Sting Sucked
It was supposed to be a dream match between two icons. Instead, it was a sad, horrible disaster.
Backstage, hours before his main event match with Sting at Victory Road, Jeff Hardy appeared fine. But as the match drew nearer, Hardy grew more intoxicated. When the then-33-year-old wrestler's music hit, it took 45 seconds for him to emerge from the curtain. He was obviously drunk and wobbling, moving slow and strange. Before the match even started, the referee threw up the "X" sign, indicating Hardy was in no condition to compete, but the match went on anyway.
That is, until Eric Bischoff ran to the ring and improvised, declaring the match was now a no-DQ and telling Sting and Hardy how to end the match when the mic was away from his face.
Then the bell finally rang, Hardy pretended to throw his shirt to the crowd for nearly a minute until Sting hit his finisher and pinned Hardy to the ground, visibly preventing him from kicking out at two.
On the way back up the ramp, a fan screamed, "Bull----!"
Sting yelled back, "I agree!"
Hardy has since cleaned up and is working for WWE.
1. Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart' and King Kong Bundy vs. Jake Roberts and Yokozuna (Heroes of Wrestling)
Date: October 10 1999
Location: Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
Promotion: Heroes of Wrestling
Why Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart' and King Kong Bundy vs. Jake Roberts and YokozunaSucked
Heroes of Wrestling was supposed to have a double main event of Jake Roberts vs. Jim Neidhart and King Kong Bundy vs. Yokozuna. The return of Roberts was to be a high point for the evening. He had publicly struggled with drug and alcohol abuse, and this was to be a triumphant return to the ring.
He showed up absolutely hammered and gave a slurring promo where he ranted a bit about cheating at cards and other various games before trying to get the crowd to chant "DDT! DDT!" They didn't.
Given Robert's state, the main event was changed on the fly to a tag-team match, with Roberts teaming up with Yokozuna and Neidhart with Bundy. But not before a few minutes where Roberts did have a one-on-one match with Neidhart. That included Roberts making some very suggestive moves with his boa constrictor and rubbing a female fan's hands on his chests. After a few very awful minutes of wrestling, Roberts collapsed in the middle of the ring with his snake, smiling and kissing it on the mouth.
At that point, Bundy and Yokozuna awkwardly and separately headed down to the ring. Someone on the production team can be seen talking to Neidhart outside the ring while Roberts just stumbles and falls down in the ring. Eventually, it just becomes a tag-team match, and Bundy pins Roberts even though they weren't the legal men. No one cared.
Thankfully, Roberts is now clean and working with AEW. He's also the only person still alive from that match.