Inside Pulse Wrestling » Wrestlecrap Wrestling news, rumors, reviews and commentary, from WWE to TNA to ROH and everything in between... Fri, 11 Apr 2014 19:24:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Wrestling news, rumors, reviews and commentary, from WWE to TNA to ROH and everything in between... Inside Pulse Wrestling no Wrestling news, rumors, reviews and commentary, from WWE to TNA to ROH and everything in between... Inside Pulse Wrestling » Wrestlecrap The View From Down Here – Book Review ‘The Death Of WCW’ Tue, 29 Mar 2011 00:57:39 +0000  This is the second book by RD Reynolds, of Wrestlecrap fame. And it is one that I have put off reading because purely of its content. A little back story. I was a fan of WCW. Even with all their stupidity, whenever I got the chance, I would be watching videos of WCW (which was all we got in Australia) and a few comp tapes sent to me by friends in the States. I fell into an anti-WWE state at about WrestleMania 11 and so WCW was my ‘thing’. This is despite the fact I hated Hulk Hogan. With a passion.

But with Hogan WCW started appearing on PayTV in Australia. I remember seeing Kevin Sullivan refer to him as Terry in an interview. And I remember thinking that something seemed wrong. But I loved the cruiserweights and putting up with Hogan seemed like something I was willing to tolerate. Then came the nWo and I was bored with that concept after 6 months. Not because I have a short attention span, but because it was so one-sided that I lost interest in watching the matches. Still, there were cruiserweights and other matches so I was happy enough.

Then came Starrcade 1997, which I’ve written about on this very site, and the beginning of the end for my fandom.

This book depressed the hell out of me as I read about the death of the company I enjoyed more than any other televised wrestling.

But this book has made me dislike Hogan even more, even as Bret Hart’s book started to give me some sympathy for the guy. And now he’s helping screw up TNA, a company which has given me some of the best matches I’ve seen in recent years. And I just wanted to slap Kevin Nash around the head with a brick. The guy comes out of this book as bad as Hogan. And don’t even get me started on Russo and Bischoff. Sorry. I’m bitter. Let’s get on with this.

Now we have ‘The Death Of WCW’ by RD Reynolds and Bryan Alvarez (2004).

This is not the light and fluffy WrestleCrap book like the other two. There are still plenty of crap-worthy moments (chamber of horrors? doomsday cage? Jim Herd? Tank Abbott – boy band roadie?… dear God, the list just goes on and on, doesn’t it?) but this is a look at the way things played out.

I have read some criticisms that the back-stage stuff as portrayed in this book is not accurate. Be that as it may (and I have no idea either way), there is no denying what we saw in the ring, and how it made us feel. And I say ‘us’ because I agreed with 99% of their criticisms. And what they put forth makes sense.

A quick criticism right off the bat: Personally I felt everything pre-1996 was rushed through too quickly (in less than 50 pages). I know the whole downfall probably started then (despite the company doing well), but it did not allow a complete back story to come through, especially to those not “in the know” about exactly where WCW came from.

The book itself, as I have come to expect from a WrestleCrap title, was well researched, well written, well edited and just generally well put together. It follows along chronologically and uses all the available statistics to support the story, with little asides all the way through to help give some extra meaning to what was going on. It was hard to fault at all.

Now for my problem with the book: It was just too damn depressing. It was reliving the death of a favourite celebrity. And that was what it felt like – a cancer that was eating away at the core of WCW, where egos, big business and utter stupidity was allowed to get in the way of something that people actually liked. Remembering every reset, every stupid nWo angle, everything else was just bringing back memories I thought I had forgotten. And then the epilogue where the InVasion angle was detailed made me just want to punch Vince in the head, yelling, “Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!” at him over and over again.

But I have to say, it is clear that no one learns in wrestling. The authors put forth that before Bischoff, Jim Crockett did some of the same things… and ended up going bust. He also did an InVasion angle eerily similar to the WWE/WCW one. A man ahead of his time. I must find a book about him.

But this book did leave me feeling not good. The whole series of disasters that followed one after the other became harder and harder to read. This is not the fault of the authors, but of the subject matter. I have a horrible feeling when I pick up Scott Keith’s Dungeon Of Death (sitting in a pile only half read) and force myself to finish it, I am going to be brought down just as hard.

The pseudo sport that we all love so dearly will undoubtedly always be there in some form or another, but to read about the absolute crap that goes along with it…

This is a good book, don’t get me wrong. RD Reynolds – no matter who he’s writing with – has a tone and style that is very polished and easy to read, without being kiddie-like. I find most of his humour hits the spot nicely. It’s just the subject matter this time, that’s all.

This, the seventh of my wrestling reading adventures, is a very good book. But you have to be able to go into it emotionlessly, something I found hard to do. So, The Death Of WCW is recommended, but with caveats.

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The View From Down Here – Book Review ‘Wrestlecrap Book Of Lists’ Sat, 22 Jan 2011 01:00:35 +0000  Yes, life is dull. My 5th wrestling book in a row. I think this indicates a level of boredom unheard of in modern life. And this is sort of a sequel to one of my previous reads.

I have just finished ‘The Wrestlecrap Book Of Lists’ by R.D. Reynolds and Blade Braxton (2007).

This is sort of the sequel to the original Wrestlecrap book (even though they wrote another one in between, which I have waiting for me to read as well). And, to my mind, the list format actually works better for what they are trying to get over and suits the humour style better as well.

The list format, I think, is what needs looking at first. Much like the old Wallechinsky book, this allows a much wider range of topics than can be covered well in a straight-forward narrative. It also means if something does not work for a reader, it is much easier to skip over.

And, yes, not all of these lists work. Some are not funny, some are repetitive, and some push the boundaries of being coherent. Most, however, are very well done. (Personal favourites: Evidence that the Ultimate Warrior had superhuman, otherworldly powers; Times when we wouldn’t have been content with pinning our foe’s shoulders to the mat, and everything in chapter 7 Wrestling… You Know, Actual Wrestling.)

This book is, like the first one, not for those serious about wrestling. It takes an irreverent swipe at nearly everything and everyone. Not all of it was stuff I had heard of before, but that was part of the joy of the book. Just when you think you’ve heard every stupid thing promoters have done, oops!, there’s another one. But it does have a downside – you realise just how much stupidity there is when it is all thrown at you like this, and you do start to look for it and become more personally critical. That could be for the better, but looking at current product, I don’t think it matters.

It is an easy yet not simplified read, which is something I think writers of music books should look at (having recently struggled through the pretentiousness that is a book on the Manic Street Preachers, and some years ago forced my way through Goldman’s Lennon book) but it does not play down to its audience. Some of the pop culture references are quite obscure, and the language used is not full of one syllable words.

It is tightly edited and well constructed; the research these guys put into their website has clearly helped out with this book as there is barely a thing missed. For all the criticisms I have read of Wrestlecrap, getting it wrong is not one of them. However, and I do not say this often, a few more photos would not have gone astray to actually illustrate what they were writing about.

There are a few other differences between this and the first book. I don’t know if the book in the middle (Death of WCW) had anything to do with it, with its depressing subject matter, but the affection that ran through the first book is lacking here, replaced by an almost head-shaking sadness. The authors have not gone for out and out abuse, but it is almost a eulogy for an innocence lost in the pseudo-sport we love.

In general, though, and like the first book, the misses in this are few and far between, though there are some. And, again, like the first book, you need some idea of North American wrestling – especially who the major players are (like McMahon, Cornette, Gagne, etc) – in order to get the full impact of what was going on here. And so, like the first book, it is not a book for some one who is coming in cold. While those readers will find some of this funny (especially through the humorous writing style), much of what is described will go right over their heads. I also feel the humour style and references may well date this book in another decade or so. This is a book for fans, really.

The final list also needs some mention here before I finish. I disagree with their final selection as the worst gimmick in pro wrestling, but the argument they put forward is very compelling. And I think that encapsulates the book as a whole – the authors are passionate about what they are doing here and that comes through in their writing.

So this is the fifth wrestling book in my list. I’m going to read something else, and then come back with some more tales from the squared circle. But you could certainly do worse than these five books, and the Wrestlecrap Book Of Lists is yet another very fine book. So, yet again – thoroughly recommended.

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To Be Determined – WWE Kane’s History of Crap Mon, 20 Dec 2010 19:00:01 +0000 Veteran wrestling fans are familiar with the classic site This site is dedicated to the absolute worst that professional wrestling has given us. For the last few years, I’ve been doing a similar thing in Israel. Every year, at the year-end awards that are given on Israel’s largest wrestling online community, I’ve been writing the recaps of the worst things that happened in wrestling that year. And if you think that I was bitter and offensive when I wrote about Cena haters or fanboys of ECW or TNA, you should see the stuff I’ve been writing there, as nasty as can be. But I digress. The one thing that became clear to me after doing this thing for so long, is that World Heavyweight Champion Kane (At least he’s the champion at the time of writing) has been part of the worst things that WWE gave us in the last decade, and for that he should be honored.

Here’s a recap of Kane’s worst accomplishments. Granted, sometimes he was on the victim side rather than the offender, but he was still involved: The Katie Vick saga, his feud with Matt Hardy and Lita (The black wedding), his feud with Snitsky (After Lita lost the baby), his 2004 feud with Undertaker (All the stupid supernatural stuff), his feud with Viscera, his 2005 feud with Edge and Lita, May 19th and the feud with the fake Kane (The future Festus/Luke Gallows), The ECW Championship match at WrestleMania 24 (All 8 seconds of it), his 2008 feud with Rey Mysterio (Where we never learned why they were feuding), his 2009 feud with The Great Khali (Like this could have been anything other than crap), His 2010 feud with Edge (Yes, again), his 2010 feud with Rey Mysterio (Yes, again!) and his 2010 feud with Undertaker (YES, AGAIN!!!). In fact, 2010 has been a “Best of the Worst” year for Kane, with repeat feuds against Taker, Edge and Mysterio.

The question is why. Why does WWE keep putting Kane through those absolute terrible feuds and storylines? Why are they so intent on making Kane synonymous with crap? Granted, he’s not a good wrestler anymore (I don’t care that he was a decent bigman ten years ago, he hasn’t had a good match in years) but that’s no excuse. Glen Jacobs has been a loyal company man, from the days of Fake Diesel and Isaac Yankem. He has done every stupid thing that WWE has told him to, and he did with his head up high. Sure, they rewarded him with a lengthy title reign this year but that reign has covered the extent of his three crappy feuds of 2010.

But perhaps we shouldn’t even as why. Perhaps we should just look at Kane’s career and thank him. Thank him for the countless hours of laughter that we had while watching his feuds. Thank him for the countless hours we saved when we closed the TV and did other things when he appeared because we knew that nothing good will happen. Thank him for doing so much crap that he made other things look so good in comparison. Thank him for challenging us to find new ways to defend wrestling when people saw his stuff and asked “You really like this crap?”.

Yes, I realize it’s not his fault. The WWE “creative” team is responsible for creating all of this and he’s just delivering it, doing the best he can with the absolute worst he’s handed. All the backstage gossip paints his as a nice, down to earth, responsible guy. But it’s not working. I can’t remember the last time I actually enjoyed watching Kane. I’ve heard several rumors that his current title reign is his swan song before retiring. I hope it’s true because I have no idea how much this writer, and I guess many other wrestling fans, can take. Kane’s spot in wrestling’s Hall of Shame is already guaranteed. In fact, to paraphrase Triple H, he should have an entire wing dedicated to him. Really, we don’t need any more of this.

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The SmarK Rant – Worst WrestleMania Matches EVER Sun, 28 Mar 2010 07:06:49 +0000 The SmarK Rant – The Worst Wrestlemania Matches EVER

Scott, any chance of a Top Ten Worst? the list for potential candidates has grown sizably over the last few years, and the commentary always gives the matches some sort of value.

Yeah, sure, why not. Here’s the ground rules, though, to keep it fair:

1. No battle royales. They always suck and the list would get tiresome quickly because I hate them so very much.

2. Because the Divas are not generally trained professionals and can’t be held to the same standards, I’m going to attempt to refrain from including them unless it’s a REALLY shitty match.

3. Quick squashes which never had a chance to be either bad or good will generally get a pass, because ‘At least it was short’ is the mantra by which I keep my sanity sometimes.

4. Dull matches are not what I’m looking for here — I want spectacular car wrecks that give me something to talk about in response to my smart-ass friends who think the segment they’re watching is the worst ever. It’s no good to pull out Rude v. Roberts from WM4 because it’s just offensively boring, not actively bad. To truly trump the argument I need a match from this list where I can say ‘Oh yeah? Well I remember watching a Wrestlemania where…’

5. Finally, no boxing matches, Brawls for All, or Sumo matches. Anyone can fuck up something they’re not regularly trained at, I’m looking for people who get paid to WRESTLE who apparently can’t do that well enough to entertain me for 5-10 minutes.

(Note: I cannot in good conscience include Huckster v. Nacho Man, partly because it was not on the proper Wrestlemania broadcast and partly because they were not attempting to do a real match.)

I’m gonna give a free pass to the first couple of years because they were still finding their way with the show, but by 1987 they would have known better, so that’s our starting point for candidates.

Honorable mention #1: Brock Lesnar v. Goldberg.

This one is a special case because although a legendary bad match, it’s so fascinating as a bad match that it goes all the way around and becomes good again by way of the crowd reactions and all the revisionism that went into the DVD editing of it. It’s really not even close to making the list based on quality alone, but it was a rare match with circumstances so unbelievable and crazy that that people still talk about it today and often grossly exaggerate the lack of quality. But yeah, it sucked. From Wrestlemania XX…

Austin is of course the special referee. The crowd reactions here are immediately fascinating, as the MSG crowd is apparently aware of the imminent departures of both men and has no interest in liking this match, no matter what. Then they focus on Lesnar, chanting “You sold out” at him so loud that JR has to acknowledge his departure. Then they move onto “The Goodbye Song” as both guys seem unsure of how to handle things. Finally, they make contact at 2:46 after endless stalling, and the crowd viciously turns on the match right from the first lockup. And you thought Philly was mean. They do an extended fight over the lockup, which the crowd has no patience for. Another lockup and the carnage from the crowd continues. At this point, I’d have had Austin just stun both guys and move onto the next match. Next chant: “This match sucks”. Who knew they played bingo at MSG? They fight over a shoulderblock and both go down, and the crowd sympathizes with no one. Next up, the old standard “boring” chant. Goldberg finally gets things going with a press slam on Lesnar, but the spear misses and he hits the post. Brock pounds away and gets a suplex for two. Brock goes to a neck vice, which was exactly what the match didn’t need. That goes on for far too long before Goldberg escapes with a hiptoss, but they collide and both are out, and the crowd turns on them again. Brock gets two. Crowd lets us know that this match sucks again. Brock works him over in the corner, but Goldberg comes back with clotheslines and the neckbreaker, as now the crowd is chanting for Hogan. God, they’ve gone nuts. I knew it would happen someday, but I just didn’t think it would be MSG going over the deep end before the rest of the city. Spear gets two. Brock comes back with the F5 for two. Brock goes for his own spear, but misses, and Goldberg finishes with the spear and jackhammer at 13:41, giving the match a sarcastic round of applause for being over before going silent again. Austin thankfully redeems things somewhat by laying out both guys with stunners. As a match, nothing interesting, but as a bizarre sociological experiment, this was tremendous. ½*

Honorable mention #2: Bad News Brown v. Roddy Piper

So this one is not necessarily the WORST match in my list of candidates, but it stands out as the most needlessly offensive to anyone who isn’t a member of the KKK. It’s not bad enough to make the list as a match, though, so it gets a pass. From Wrestlemania VI…

And now your one giant step for racial harmony, as Piper comes out with one side painted in blackface and the other side white. They tussle to start and fight on the mat, but the ref keeps separating them. What is this, the UFC? Piper slugs away and does some biting the corner, but Brown lays him out from behind and gets a fistdrop for two. Slam and elbowdrop get two. Piper pokes him in the eye and slugs away in the corner, but Brown returns the favor by thumbing him in the eye, and he pulls apart a turnbuckle. Piper whips him into it, as irony proves to be just as ironic in Canada as in the US, and Piper pulls a white glove out of his tights. Presumably loaded. Piper slugs away with it and goes up with a fistdrop, then knocks Bad News out of the ring and they brawl to a double-countout at 4:44. This didn’t go anywhere, but it booked more as a teaser for a future house show feud than as a WM blowoff. *

10. Crush v. Doink the Clown.

Well you had to know we’d begin the list with a Wrestlemania IX match, to me the shock was that IX was fairly low-key on this list, with only two entries. This one is a stupid feud between two people who embodied the cartoon character spirit of the early 90s with one of the dumbest ideas in history for the finish. So I think it qualifies, even if it’s a little short to be truly epic bad.

This is a pretty infamous match. Doink the psychotic clown was always a very cool gimmick. Crush attacks Doink before the bell, sportsman that he is. There’s TOO MANY BRIGHT COLORS HERE. Crush is decked out in neon yellow, orange and purple. Doink has red, blue and yellow, with green hair. This is going to wreck my TV screen. Meanwhile, the match sucks the meat missile. Crush goes for the Kona Kompactor, but the ref gets bumped and Doink rolls out and tries to crawl under the ring. Crush throws him back in and applies the Kompactor, but Doink II comes from under the ring and decks Crush with a prosthetic arm, and a beatdown results. Doink I gets the pin when the ref wakes up. A supremely bad idea. -**

9. Hulk Hogan v. Sid Justice

First appearance (of two) for Sid here, and this one makes the list because we lost Hogan v. Flair to get…this. From Wrestlemania VIII:

This was SUPPOSED to be Hogan’s retirement match, but he just kept coming back. The show is running long at this point, too. Sid attacks him to start, and Hogan punches him out of the ring and finishes his posing. We start proper as Sid knees him in the gut and pounds away in the corner. Hogan slugs him out of the ring. Back in, Sid calls for the test of strength like every other idiot heel in WWF history, and gets Hogan down to his knees, but he fights back up again. Sid takes him into the corner with knees, and chokeslams him. Sid stops to give his “Do unto the man…” line to the camera and the match is suddenly 10x better, since Sid isn’t doing anything. He uses the CLUBBING FOREARMS and Hogan bails, so Sid follows and hits him with Harvey’s medical bag. Wonder if that was George Zahorian’s bag? Back in, Sid uses the VULCAN NERVE PINCH OF DOOM as I go change my laundry. Hogan fights out, so Sid sideslams him and powerbombs him, but it’s Hulk Up Time, punch punch punch big boot legdrop…and then a very interesting moment as Papa Shango was supposed to run in and break up the count, but misses his cue, forcing Sid to kick out. That was to protect Sid, but in retrospect they needn’t have bothered, since he was gone weeks later anyway. It’s a DQ at 12:26 for no adequately explored reason, and Papa Shango finally gets out there for the beatdown…until Ultimate Warrior makes a shocking return and blows the roof off the place. Good thing they had his music ready. Well, Hogan’s good Wrestlemania match streak ends at 3. ¼* Some cosmetic changes to Warrior had people guessing that it wasn’t Jim Hellwig, but believe me, I wasn’t that lucky.

8. Intercontinental title match: Rocky Maivia v. The Sultan

From Wrestlemania 13, another show that was just a bad idea all around but surprisingly only gets two entries. This was a glaring case of Vince not being able to see the forest for the trees, as his pet project Rocky Maivia was stuck into a high profile position well before he was ready, and an injury to planned opponent Marc Mero left the green rookie at the biggest show of the year against the unmotivated Sultan as a result. The crowd was of no hope in easing Rock’s nerves here, although he would get better, of course.

Wow, welcome to Bizarro World. Who would have EVER, I mean, EVER thought that Rocky would end up main-eventing what should turn out to be the biggest Wrestlemania ever? And a three-time WWF champion with a huge following? And that the Sultan would get successfully repackaged as a dancing sumo wrestler and get almost equally over? Rocky gets *no* pop. For the record, this was supposed to be Rocky getting beaten like a dog by ‘Wildman’ Marc Mero, but the injury to Mero that put him out for almost a year prevented it, and so we get the Sultan, evil Arab. Rocky tries more stuff here than today (dropkick and a couple of other moves) but it doesn’t look very good. The dreaded ‘Rocky Sucks’ chant makes it’s PPV debut here. Several times, and very loud. Terrible match. The Sultan is former Headshinker Fatu, for those who don’t know. The Sultan hits a headbutt off the top but only gets two. Sultan…moves…so…slow. Lots of resting. I’m soooo glad Rocky had a personality transplant in late 97. Faarooq is probably less glad, of course. The crowd is downright hostile towards the Rock, even booing him as he powers out of a chinlock. Rocky makes the superman comeback, hulking up and drawing no reaction from the crowd. He nails a belly-to-belly for two and hits his ‘Layin the Smack Down’ DDT, setting up a flying bodypress, but the Iron Shiek is distracting the ref. Sultan gets a superkick and a piledriver for a couple of two counts, but Rocky rolls Sultan up out of nowhere for three. Crowd isn’t appreciative. Vince, who is many things, is not stupid. He heard the crowd reaction and took the title off Maivia soon after, then re-tooled him into The Rock a few months later. The rest is history. The Evil Foreigners work over Rocky, but Rocky Johnson makes the save. -* A horrible match.

7. Steve Blackman & Al Snow v. Test & Albert.

From Wrestlemania 2000. Head Cheese, Test, and early Trish Stratus, three things are a recipe for disaster.

Okay, quick word of explanation here. Blackman and Snow were Head Cheese, as Snow engaged in a quest to find a personality for Blackman. Test & Albert were Trish Stratus’ first stint in the WWF, which just shows how incredibly far she’s come as a character and a worker since her debut in 2000. For one thing, she’s no longer overly muscled and freakishly tanned. Nor does she wear 6 inch lifts in her boots. Test starts with Blackman, but gets superkicked. Snow comes in for a quick double-team and Snow slugs away, but Test clotheslines him and brings in Albert. Test gets the big boot. Snow comes in with an enzuigiri on Albert, but they beat on him in the corner. Albert gets double-teamed in the Head Cheese corner and they get a double-clothesline for two. Snow suplexes him for two. Blackman kicks him down for two as things get REALLY ugly and the match just falls apart. Snow & Blackman work Albert over, but he comes back with a butterfly suplex and makes what appears to be a hot tag for the heels, as Test comes in and cleans house on Head Cheese and gets a sideslam on Snow for two. I don’t get this at all. Double powerbomb on Snow, so devastating that Snow pulls up his tights in mid-sell, gets two. JR apologizes about 18 times for the match as Snow hits Albert with a quebrada outside, and Blackman pounds on Test to set up a Decapitation double-team on Test for two. Albert baldobombs Snow and dumps him, and presses Test onto Blackman for two. JR keeps burying the match as Blackman superkicks Albert, but Albert basically no-sells and Test finishes Blackman with a flying elbow at 6:59 to end the suffering. If this wasn’t in the running for Worst Match of the Year, it should have been. -**

6. WWF title quarterfinals: Hulk Hogan v. Andre the Giant.

I feel bad about picking on broken-down Andre, but really Vince was just milking the poor guy for whatever money he could make off him by this point. This was a rare outright horrible match on a show where everything else was just kind of boring. From Wrestlemania IV:

The whole saga is recapped for those who need it. This feud is one of those cases where they started out with a bad match and got worse each time. Andre attacks to start, as vigorously as he could move by that point, and pounds Hogan with the CLUBBING FOREARMS. Having seen Hogan wrestle Big Show a million times, Andre really doesn’t look that tall here. Hogan fights back with clotheslines and goes after Dibiase, then rams him into Andre and starts throwing chops. Andre falls into the ropes and gets tangled up, so Hogan capitalizes by tearing his shirt off and posing. Well, no one ever said he was a great strategist. He slugs on Andre to no avail, and Andre finally goes down. He drops elbows, but Andre chokes him down on the mat. Andre is painfully slow here. Dibiase gets his shots in from the outside, and Andre chokes him from behind and turns it into a VULCAN NERVE PINCH OF DOOM. And we move to tape #2. That’s the worst tape break I’ve ever seen. Anyway, Andre continues choking, but Hulk miraculously comes back, which is a development I didn’t expect at all. Punch punch punch clothesline and Hogan goes for the slam, but Dibiase brings in a chair and breaks it up. Our combatants fight over it, and it’s a double DQ at 5:14, giving the winner of Dibiase v. Muraco a free trip to the finals. Horrible, horrible stuff, as Andre was obviously in no shape to be out there. -** Hogan, sportsman that he is, beats up Virgil and nearly kills him with a suplex on the floor because he didn’t want to go down with him. And then he slams Andre too. What a hero.

5. Giant Gonzalez v. The Undertaker

And here’s your other entry from IX. This is a bad match used as a touchstone against which most other bad matches are rated, and IT’S NOT EVEN THE WORST ON THIS LIST.

Undertaker has a vulture with him. That’s about the most interesting thing here. A truly wretched match, topped only by their Summerslam 93 rematch. Gonzalez ‘sells’ like he’s being poked with Scott Hall’s tazer gun, and moves like he’s got a pole shoved up his ass. After 18 hours of excrutiating non-action, the Giant gets a chloroform-soaked rag and smothers Undertaker into unconsciousness, drawing the DQ. -***

4. WWF World title match: Sid v. The Undertaker

Back to Wrestlemania 13 for the main event, which again wouldn’t be memorably horrible in a midcard position, but this was the match that Vince wanted to build to as the focus of the promotion for months beforehand. People were actually expected to put down $40 to watch THIS MATCH. Actual money. Undertaker had been proven to be carryable by Bret Hart and Sid could be carried by Shawn Michaels, but neither of them is wrestling in this match, unfortunately.

Because it’s a special occasion, UT is wearing his original ‘grey rubber gloves and torn sleeves’ outfit. HBK is doing commentary, working through the pain of the smile-ectomy he went through which put him out. Undertaker has gone through a year of shitkickings from Mankind, and this is his reward for loyalty. Sid gets the clear-cut heel pop. Bret Hart makes his way to the ring and grabs a mike, sending threats to Shawn, telling off Undertaker, and claiming Sid screwed him. So Sid powerbombs him. Served him right. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is your heel turn. Undertaker attacks Sid from behind and we’re underway. Undertaker hammers Sid a few time and slams him for a two count. Ropewalk shot, but Sid won’t sell. UT charges the corner but gets caught in a bearhug for resthold #1. And that uses up a couple of minutes. Big boot and Sid pushes him over the top rope, then into the Spanish announce table. Bad night for the foreign announcers. Sid drops UT on the railing a couple of times, then slams him through the table. Vince announces that this was changed to a no-DQ match beforehand. Sid rolls UT in for two. CAMEL CLUTCH OF DEATH is resthold #2. Double axehandle off the 2nd rope, and Sid stalls. Ugly powerslam gets two. And a couple more. Sid drops the leg for two. And a couple more. I like that he keeps trying for the pin, forcing UT to keep kicking out. UT hits the flying clothesline, but Sid no-sells. They fight to the floor. Back in the ring, UT misses an elbowdrop. Sid goes into resthold #3. UT breaks and powerslams Sid for two. UT applies a VULCAN NERVEGRIP OF DOOM for resthold #4. Sid escapes and they both hit a big boot at the same time for a double KO spot. Sid is up first for a two count. Another double axehandle. A sort of clothesline-like type thing off the second rope gets two. Match…..moving……so……slow. UT blocks another 2nd rope attempt, but Sid no-sells again and slams UT, then heads to the top rope. UT does the zombie situp and crotches Sid. Slam off the top, and UT goes to the top. Flying clothesline gets two. UT goes for the tombstone, but Sid reverses to his own. It only gets two. Sid dumps UT, and Bret is back. He wallops Sid with a chair from behind and gets dragged off by referees. UT takes advantage and rams Sid into the steel. Back in the ring, UT chokeslams Sid for two. UT misses…whatever…coming off the ropes and Sid powerbombs him. Nope, here’s Bret again. Sid knocks him off the apron, but walks right into the tombstone and gets pinned. Way screwy ending. UT wins his second World title. Crap match. 1/2* This was, for all intents and purposes, the last appearance of Sid.

3. Hollywood Backalley Brawl: Goldust v. Rowdy Roddy Piper

From Wrestlemania XII, as drugs once again prove how dangerous they can be by making me sit through the first of many nostalgia comebacks by Roddy Piper, due to Scott Hall’s suspension. I suppose you can play the ‘it’s not intended to be an actual match’ card, but I’m gonna play the ‘It’s my list’ card, which always wins. This was EXCRUCIATING to sit through. You might argue as well that it was somewhat ahead of its time, foreshadowing the hardcore matches of the future, but I argue that all it reminded me of was Dustin’s truck match in WCW against Barry Darsow.

This was supposed to be Ramon’s match, but he was in rehab and on his way to WCW, so it’s noted homophobe Piper who gets moved into the feud. This is a pre-taped segment that takes place in an alley in “Hollywood”. Goldust pulls up in a gold Cadillac, where Piper is waiting. Piper smashes in his windows with a baseball bat and basically mugs him. He rams Goldust into a dumpster and tosses garbage cans at him. The editing here is pretty obvious. He whips out his firehose and sprays Goldust down. Geez, that’s not Freudian AT ALL, Roddy. Piper lays in some stiff shots, but gets low-blowed. Goldust runs him over with the Caddy (cue stuntman!) and drives away. Piper follows in a white Ford Bronco as we head back to the arena, where we find a dead crowd as a result of a long pre-taped segment. Piper & Goldust arrive back at the arena and fight to the ring. Goldust works on the knee and gropes him a bunch. Goldust hits the LIPLOCK OF DOOM, causing Piper to go berserk and apply a groin claw and knee to the groin (does anyone else see the scathing irony there?) and finishes by ripping Goldust’s clothes off to reveal S&M gear. Goldust flees, I guess essentially conceding the match. Total junk, but the crowd loved it.

2. Blindfold match: Jake Roberts v. Rick Martel

From Wrestlemania VII, and this was a TOUGH call to make. In the end, though, there was some small modicum of entertainment value to be derived from the marks in the audience guiding the ‘blinded’ Roberts to victory with their cheers, so it ends up at #2 instead of taking the coveted top spot. Otherwise, the gap between 2 and 3 is HUGE, as at least everything else on this list underneath #2 can be called a ‘wrestling match’ in some form. This was just two guys in see-through ‘blindfolds’ stumbling around a ring for 7 minutes, like ballet for the blind and stoned.

This is a legendary match, for all the wrong reasons, as Martel blinded Jake to set it up. Maybe it was just the cheap rotgut he was drinking at the time? So yeah, both guys are wearing hoods, which they can obviously see through in reality. The idea is that Jake points to where Martel is, and the crowd cheers to lead him on. They wander around the ring and Jake trips Martel up for two. Martel pounds him on the mat and tries a backdrop, but Jake just moves out of the way. Now, why wouldn’t someone do that all the time? Talk about exposing the inherent logic gaps of the business. They bump into each other again, but they can’t find each other. Nothing like non-contact to spice up a match. Martel finally gets a slam, but Jake just stands up to dodge an elbowdrop. Martel accidentally gropes Damian and retreats to the other corner. Jake finally finds him and grabs a headlock, but Martel dumps him. Martel follows like an idiot and grabs a chair, but of course can’t find him. Back in, Martel gets a backbreaker and the Boston Crab, but Jake powers out. Martel is dazed, DDT, goodnight at 6:09. There’s a reason why you don’t see many blindfold matches…well…ever, really. -***

And finally, what other alternative could there possibly be for the worst match in the history of Wrestlemania?

1. Heck in the Cell: Big Bossman v. Undertaker

This one had ‘bad idea’ written all over it as plain as the eyebrow on Vince Russo’s forehead, but that’s never stopped them before. Punchy-kicky to start. And that goes on for good long while before they fight outside. Absurdist line of the night, from (who else), Michael Cole the Little Goatee Wearing Bitch: He declares that Hell in a Cell is dangerous because you can get your fingers caught in it. Lawler does me proud by responding to that one for me. Bossman cuffs Taker to the cell as a spontaneous ‘boring’ chant starts. Undertaker does a bladejob best described as a polite concession to the expectations of Philly fans and the match format. Bossman gets rammed to the cage and joins the Gig Club, although really it’s about 0.0000004 Muta between them and I’ve seen menstrual flows that were more inspiring. Someone get these losers some aspirin and a ‘Best of Muta’ tape, STAT. Meanwhile, the ongoing saga of which side of the arena can do a bigger ‘boring’ chant continues. Sadly, I’m not sitting close enough to the rear speakers to make an informed judgment on the matter. UT mercifully tombstones and pins Bossman at 9:46. Call it -***1/2, and that’s generous. The Brood rappels from the ceiling and HANGS the Bossman, which was of course forgotten by the next night, because CRASH TV = RATINGS.

Sadly I had this list at 25 items before I whittled it down to 10, so Wrestlemania has been just as famous for stinkers as it has for great matches.

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