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Yawnamania: The Top 5 Worst Wrestlemania Events Ever
By Mother Brain
This year’s WWE Wrestlemania is shaping up to be one of the most laziest cards ever put together. Management is aggressively working against fan reaction to give the audience what they feel will draw the mainstream crowd. Though Paul Heyman is doing an excellent job hyping the Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns title match, the latter has been booked terribly for weeks. Crowd favorite Daniel Bryan is being tossed into a ladder match for the Intercontinental Title. An out of shape Undertaker takes on Bray Wyatt with no streak to defend and the company is doing everything ridiculous to not waste Sting’s pay-per-appearance contact by dubbing his voice in video packages.
Has WWE ever done worse with their “grandaddy of them all” in the past? These five past events that come to mind were virtually unsalvageable even if they had at least one memorable match. Here’s five examples of Wrestlemania at its not so finest:
Wrestlemania IX (1993)
This was the first Mania to be held in an outdoor venue and revolved around a Roman-theme as it took place in Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Though WWE champ Bret Hart vs. the indestructible Yokozuna was the advertised main event, the big sell was the return of Hulk Hogan after a year-long absence from the company due to the infamous steroid scandal. Vince McMahon believed Mania could not draw without him and he initially promised Bret that Hogan was only there to promote his movie, Mr. Nanny; however, Hogan played his power politics by having Bret lose the title to Yokozuna so that he can be immediately challenged at the end of the night to beat him and leave the crowd happy. The moment was magical, but the reality for fans settled in the days and weeks after that Bret was robbed of the belt without facing Hogan directly.
The rest of the card was full of lazy booking. Shawn Michaels defended the I.C. title against Tatanka who should have swapped places with HBK’s ex-Rockers partner, Marty Jannetty. Undertaker kept his streak intact by beating the late Giant Gonzalez by DQ in what can be called his worst Mania match ever. Who thought Lex Luger and Bob Backlund was a PPV worthy match? No wonder Hogan was paid handsomely to return.
Wrestlemania XI (1995)
This one has a soft spot in my heart because it was the first one I ordered on PPV and I attended the Fan Festival (before it was AXXESS) days before the event. To fill the void of no mainstream stars in wrestling at the time, NY Giants great Lawrence Taylor jumped in the ring against Bam Bam Bigelow. It had the most hype WWE had seen in a while and the NYC media went apeshit over it. The match itself, however, was not worth the hype with Taylor looking horrible in the ring and Bam Bam did not benefit from the match at all. While Diesel and HBK was a decent title match, the latter heel completely outwrestled his ex-partner to the extent of winning the audience over. He immediately turned face the night after. Sounds familiar?
Bret Hart had what he calls his worst match ever with Bob Backlund in an “I Quit” match to settle their ridiculous feud. Celebrities were the bigger highlight that year outside of Taylor with the likes of Pam Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, and Jonathan Taylor Thomas of Home Improvement. WWE was so desperate to get mainstream press and they did a piss poor job at it.
Wrestlemania 13 (1997)
This Mania is only memorable for the Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin submission match that made Stone Cold a massive superstar and helped to start the Attitude Era. Beyond that, it was the most depressing Mania in years. No celebrities, ECW-style staging, and more useless matches for a PPV. Undertaker and Sid headlined the event for the title in a forgettable bout that saw the Dead Man get his 2nd title win in six years. There was the bizarre pairing of the Legion of Doom and Ahmed Johnson against the Nation of Domination with Johnson donning LOD attire. Even the likes of the New Blackjacks and Rockabilly made appearances. But the most important moment was Rocky Mavia vs. The Sultan where the audience turned on babyface Rocky. This eventually led to his big heel turn and the rest was history.
Wrestlemania XXV (2009)
The Undertaker vs. HBK will go down as one of the greatest matches in wrestling history. This card? Not so much. They made the worst decision by letting Triple H and Randy Orton face off last to settle their brutal feud. The low-energy blowoff was not worth $60. John Cena defied the odds once more to win another title in a triple threat with Edge and Big Show. The Hardy Boyz had their highly anticipated match which lacked chemistry and no thrills. Besides the horrific Divas battle royale with an Italian man winning, seeing Chris Jericho take on aging legends was indeed embarrassing (minus the time Ricky Steamboat got in the ring). Making matters not live up to hype was Mickey Rourke’s guest appearance to snuff Y2J. Why? Just why? The rest of the card (with exception to the Money in the Bank match) was a bore overall.
Wrestlemania XXVII (2011)
The Miz entered as WWE champion having done everything imaginable to get over in the mainstream media. Yet, he walked into Mania as a forgotten participant because The Rock was guest hosting the show and had spent the last several weeks trading insults with John Cena. It made the title match forgettable and nothing more than an advertisement for the next Mania. Miz’s career never recovered since. Edge had his last match in a disappointing title match with Alberto Del Rio. The Undertaker could not top his HBK matches by facing Triple H in a No Holds Barred match. Wade Barrett’s The Corre made no impact in their match and they soon disbanded afterwards. The mixed six-person tag match was clouded with controversy over John Morrison’s jealously over the legendary Trish Stratus. Though this Mania did big business in attendance and buy rates, The Rock’s appearance created a belief in Vince that past stars were better suited to headline his grandaddy show over emerging talent. A serious issue that still plagues the company to this day.
What past Wrestlemanias would you consider to be Yawnamania?