WrestleMania Moments seem like bigger goals for a WWE Superstar than championships. What was once a saying busted out one time by Jim Ross during Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock has become the backbone of WWE. WrestleMania has become the one show a year that everybody cares about, and every moment is apparently a WrestleMania Moment.
Thing is: not every WrestleMania Moment is great. Some of them are downright stinky. Some moments that are meant to be epic end up coming off as anything but. Some moments are so hideous that you wonder why they were even thought of. The week before WrestleMania seems like as good a time as any to remind everybody of this.
I left off pretty much anything to do with irrelevant celebrities because we all knew those moments were going to stink anyway. The Miller Lite Catfight Girls’ Pillow Fight was never going to take up space in the highlight reel. Snooki wasn’t going to have a five star match. Howard Finkel joining the Hair Club For Men wasn’t meant for anything more than a laugh.
These are the Top 5 Worst WrestleMania Moments.
5. Sting vs. Triple H (WrestleMania XXXI)
I know I’m in a minority on this one. I remember watching this as it unfolded & also watching my Twitter feed explode with positivity & people marking out for all of the random appearances. Everybody from DX came out to help Triple H. Everybody from the NWO came out to help Sting. Eventually Triple H got the win & everybody ended up showing mutual respect.
I had so many problems with all of this. Sting losing his only WrestleMania match doesn’t even make my list, because the winner & loser here didn’t particularly matter. Here’s what I was confused by:
-Why was the NWO helping Sting? Sure, he joined the Wolfpac when they were feuding with NWO Hollywood, but that was because of his unending loyalty to Lex Luger. He never fully forgave Hogan or most of the other NWO guys.
-Why would Sting show Triple H respect after he was beaten by a sledgehammer shot? The whole reason Sting came to WWE to begin with was his disapproval of the Authority & their evil ways. Why would Triple H cheating to beat him magically change his mind on the matter?
-Was this match booked for any other reason than to prove that WWE > WCW? And why were they still obsessed with reiterating that point more than a decade later?
I know a lot of you probably liked it. To me, it was a gigantic waste of time. I can see these guys in their prime on WWE Network. I didn’t need to see them stumbling around here.
4. Bret Hart vs. Mr. McMahon (WrestleMania XXVI)
This is another one that will probably make people mad. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the fact that Bret finally came back to WWE & made amends with everybody involved with the Montreal Screwjob. It was time to let bygones be bygones & give Bret the historical spotlight that he deserves.
We could have skipped the on-screen feud with Mr. McMahon though. We also could have skipped the “match” at WrestleMania, which was as embarrassing to watch as I feared going in. Bret has obviously never been the same physically since his stroke, and Vince wasn’t exactly an athletic marvel whenever his prime would have been. Watching Vince get heat on Bret & the young Harts coming down to help was sad more than anything else. Harry, TJ & Nattie are all great in their own way, but this didn’t do them any favors.
Bret vs. Vince was very similar to the later Sting vs. HHH match. They both appealed to nostalgia in very flawed ways. Many didn’t care the presentation was flawed & were simply happy to see their old favorites. I would have rather remembered my old favorites the way they were. There’s probably more money to be made the former way, of course.
3. Michael Cole vs. Jerry Lawler (WrestleMania XXVII)
It was nice that The King finally got to have a match at WrestleMania. That is the only good thing that can be said about this atrocity. After we sat through months of Michael Cole crapping on everybody on the WWE roster & burying the product to the point of no return, Lawler was set to shut him up at WrestleMania. We got a couple of fun matches with Lawler vs. The Miz out of the buildup, so that was pretty cool. Stone Cold Steve Austin was the guest referee for some damn reason. I still can’t believe they wasted him on this.
After fourteen minutes of in-ring action that felt like forty due to Cole getting to do most of the offense, Lawler got the win by making Cole submit to an ankle lock. The Anonymous Raw General Manager then reversed the decision due to Austin’s biased officiating. But hey, Austin got to stun some announcers nobody cared about. Just a tremendous waste of time and the exact opposite of a WrestleMania Moment.
2. Hulk Hogan Wins the WWF Championship (WrestleMania IX)
Even as a kid this whole thing didn’t feel right. Bret Hart was about to defeat Yokozuna & retain the WWF Championship when Mr. Fuji threw salt in Bret’s eyes while he was applying the Sharpshooter. Yoko wound up getting the pin in less than legitimate fashion. Hulk Hogan came down due to his outrage, & Fuji issued an open challenge to Hogan right then & there. Bret seemingly approved, and Hulk ran in & beat Yoko in a minute.
It was supposed to pop the crowd, which it did, but it felt a bit off & didn’t show anybody in a positive light. Hogan beat a 500 pound man who had just been through a grueling match & was worn out. Yoko needed Fuji to beat Bret, & couldn’t beat Hulk. Fuji looked like an idiot for issuing a challenge to Hulk Hogan while his champion was sucking so much wind that the first three rows passed out from oxygen deprivation. Bret looked like a gullible fool that was fine with the Hulkster stealing his thunder & spot on top of the mountain.
This could have made sense if it was leading to a full-time Hulk comeback, or even a part-time one. Instead it led to Hogan dropping the title at King of the Ring back to Yokozuna while Bret Hart twiddled his thumbs & waited for his big match with the Hulkster. I think he got one in WCW, but I’m not 100% sure. They gave stuff like that away on Nitro all the time.
Honorable Mention: Big Show vs. Akebono (WrestleMania 21)
Five words: Big Show in a diaper.
Honorable Mention: Sheamus Beats Daniel Bryan In 18 Seconds (WrestleMania XXVIII)
This would be an easy top 5 pick if it didn’t build up a tremendous amount of goodwill for Bryan. I’ve grown to appreciate it for that alone. The only problem is that the guy it was actually supposed to get over, Sheamus, got less than nothing out of it. The assertion that the outcome was WWE’s goal all along doesn’t pass the laugh test.
1. “Santina Marella” Wins Miss WrestleMania Battle Royal (WrestleMania XXV)
This train wreck had a couple of parts. First, we were treated to the musical stylings of future WWE Hall of Famer Kid Rock.
We all have our opinions when it comes to music & politics. I won’t subject you to mine here, other than to say that I am no fan of what Kid Rock brings to the table. The various Divas entered in the battle royal got to walk out during Rock’s final song & if you could identify most of them you’re a better man than I. Let’s run down the list:
Katie Lea Burchill
Some of these folks hadn’t been seen in years. Sunny? Joy? Molly Holly dressed in her original Holly cousin persona? They all came back here with little notice from anybody because it was a battle royal with way too many people in it that went 7:25, and nobody got entrances because Kid Rock had to sing. Most of these women would have been a viable winner because it’s a battle royal & who really cares, right?
They managed to choose the worst possible option.
“Santina Marella”. The alleged twin sister of Santino Marella, who emerged during the build-up to this match because…hell, I don’t know why. Somebody was really high that day I guess. Santino’s humor was popular with fans at the time & this gave him something to do. It was simply really stupid at the time. Hindsight makes it look really really stupid.
The tone of women’s wrestling in WWE has flipped 180 degrees in the nine years since somebody thought this was a good idea. Thank God. I guess the real question is if naming the Women’s WrestleMania Battle Royal after Santina Marella would have gone over better than the attempt at naming it after Fabulous Moolah.