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Mishal’s Top 5 Worst Matches Of The New Millennium

Mishal takes a look at the Top 5 Worst Matches Of The New Millennium! Did your “favorite” make the list?

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Roman Reigns Triple H WWE WrestleMania 32 Chairshot Edit

Last week I took a dive into ranking the best matches that WWE has presented in the new Millennium. A series of matches that haven’t just defined what the industry means to me as a fan since the late ’90s, but ones that have defined this generation for fans. Matches that gave, and still give us, goose bumps, make us cry or scream at the top of our lungs whether you’re at home or in the rafters, they simply are among the few we can call the very best.

This time, I took a different approach.

Being in the mood for some truly awful professional wrestling over this past weekend put me in the mood to really contemplate what were the worst main events we’ve seen from the company since the new millennium rolled around.

Professional wrestling always has its classic moments, those that edge their place in the corner of our hearts & minds, and for the most part, I’d say the business has the tendency to be somewhat decent on a regular basis. Every now & then, however, we see it at its very worst. Wrestling can take a turn for the worst, being the very worst thing that fans want to see.

Bad or terrible wrestling matches don’t usually happen on their own, they’re a result of much larger issues. It could boil down to bad storytelling, a botched build-up to the match, crowds that aren’t invested in what you’re selling, the chemistry between performers just doesn’t mesh as well as you’d want, the overall booking & placement of a certain match on a card or in some cases, a match that absolutely nobody, and I mean nobody, has the desire to see in the position its in.

Thankfully, these matches aren’t frequent and are more oddities than anything, but they’re still worth mentioning for the sake of not repeating the same devastating mistakes twice over. On this article, I’ll have a look at just those kind of matches, ones that in some cases WWE has managed to learn from, but in some cases, has remained as stubborn as they always have been.

Honourable Mentions

  • Team RAW vs Team SmackDown – Survivor Series 2017
    I’ll never understand what the creative team was trying to achieve here. Aside from booking the NXT newcomers like Shinsuke Nakamura, Finn Balor & Bobby Roode to look like complete filler all this did was come across as entirely aimless. It resulted in a booking that amounted to nothing, a hysterical Triple H meme & Shane McMahon of all people being booked to look the strongest amongst a sea of fresh talent that could use the boost to their standings. A complete waste of time that nobody will look back on fondly.
  • Goldberg vs The Undertaker – Crown Jewel 2020
    One of the very few matches I can ever say I had a rough time sitting through. I’ll be an Undertaker fan until the day I die, but it was clear that he didn’t have enough to carry an already concussed Goldberg in a match that didn’t even cross the 10-minute mark. Most spots either botched dreadfully or in some cases were so horrifying to look at that you wanted to turn your screen off. It was mercifully short but nothing short of uncomfortable to see two industry icons almost kill one another on multiple occasions.
  • The 2014 Royal Rumble Match – Royal Rumble 2014
    By no means, a terrible Royal Rumble in execution, filled with solid spots & star-building material that was just enough to admire in the early stages, but marred by one of the most bizarre match finishes ever witnessed. When a company has a star as red-hot as Daniel Bryan was at the time, the idea of replacing him with an essential part-timer infuriated everyone across the board, whether you were at home or in the crowd.
  • Jinder Mahal vs Randy Orton – Battleground 2017
    In all honesty, it takes effort for a match to be this uneventful from an action point of view. Orton & Mahal possessed next to no chemistry that would have you invested in a match solely on your own interests in what they were fighting over, most of their confrontations were plodding, formulaic & lacked any real spark (aside from the ‘classic’ at Backlash 2017), so placing them inside the ‘Punjabi Prison’ did them no favours. The match happened, nobody cared, but The Great Khali’s surprise return was so wonderfully bizarre it made the whole experience slightly worth torturing yourself through. But no more than once.
  • Seth Rollins vs Baron Corbin – Stomping Grounds 2019
    Name me a single soul that actually cared about this match. Both guys are immensely talented in their own right but the lack of tension & heat for anything they did left the crowd more stoic than even slightly engaged. It didn’t help that the stipulation this was contested under is so hard to actually execute well, in this case feeling more like it got in the way of a match that could have been somewhat acceptable if the two were allowed to flex their own talents. The post-match moment got an okay pop, but aside from that nobody is going to remember this, ever.

Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns – WrestleMania 34

I’ll be the first to admit, a small part of me adores this absolute train wreck of a WrestleMania main event.

In the build-up to this match there seemed to be no other route for WWE to go than having ‘The Big Dog’ Roman Reigns finally ascend to the top of the throne on Monday Night RAW & dethrone then Universal Champion Brock Lesnar after a reign that lasted an entire calendar year at that point. This was billed as the long-time, much-anticipated rematch between the two men who engaged in a war at WrestleMania 31 that exceeded almost everyone’s expectations, especially myself. Their rematch promised no interference, shenanigans and a decisive finish to determine the best on the brand.

What we got, was an exhausted, bored & uninterested crowd on the very biggest show of the year watching a match that, it seemed like, they couldn’t genuinely care less about. Rather than invest in the story being told the sellout crowd decided to formulate their own entertainment, chanting for NXT (who had just put on a show two days prior that `you could genuinely call one of the best of all-time), booing every move either man did & remaining mostly mute for all the matches big spots. Even Lesnar’s F5 to Reigns through the announce table received an ovation quieter than some lower card competitors tend to receive.

Having Reigns pull out the big guns and even blade himself on the biggest stage of the year received next to no reaction from a crowd that was either exhausted beyond belief or simply didn’t care about what the company was trying to present to them. You can revisit this and laugh at how disinterested everyone is, even the commentary team at points, and for that certain level of entertainment, I’ll give it points. That doesn’t, however, excuse this from being one of the very worst booked matches the company has slotted into the main event.

Triple H vs Roman Reigns – WrestleMania 32

WrestleMania 32, much like this match, just seemed to drag on until the end of time as we know it. The show was quite literally ‘the biggest WrestleMania of all-time’ but was at points, too big for its own good & shoved such a ridiculous amount of material, as well as talent onto the card that nobody knew what to do with everything thrown at them. Certain matches (particularly the brilliant Women’s Title bout or stellar opening contest) garnered enough praise from the audience to stand out but if there’s one match you need to ensure works, it’s your main event, which generally is contested for the biggest prize in the game, the WWE Championship.

There was nothing necessarily wrong about this going on last, it was the payoff to a supposed ‘blood feud’ that had been brewing since the fall of 2015 & seemed to mark the official ‘passing of the torch’ moment you’d come to expect from a star the company sees as their next John Cena in Roman Reigns. WWE’s failure wasn’t just the booking of Roman Reigns prior to this match, but that this was contested under a standard singles match, offering nothing to deliver on the payoff fans were promised.

Using the ‘No Disqualification’ or ‘No Holds Barred’ rule isn’t necessarily essential in telling the final chapter of a major feud, but neither man was even given a weakness or ‘Achilles heel’ to play off of, resulting in a match devoid of tension. Unlike Triple H’s match with Daniel Bryan two years prior, contested under similar circumstances, this just felt like your average main event to an average show, rather than the biggest the business has to offer.

Letting the two slug it out for just around 30 minutes didn’t help the situation either since neither man is known for their long-term capabilities in the ring, but rather shorter matches with large bursts of offence. The contest itself dragged a crowd that had already sat through upwards of 7-hours of wrestling into a world of boredom since the constant rest holds, taunting & unspectacular match style did nobody any favours since this was pitched as an all-out brawl on paper. Admittedly the match did find a bit of a spark towards its ending but by then the crowd had already been underwhelmed from 25 minutes of action that belonged on an episode of RAW, not a WrestleMania.

Arguably the worst thing to see as a wrestling fan is a WrestleMania where the crowd at the end of your show is nearly dead silent, and this was one of those painful nights to soak in.

John Cena vs John Laurinaitis – Over the Limit 2011

There’s a time & place for comedy matches in wrestling, and while they aren’t always necessarily the highest value product, they have their position on a card if executed well enough.

One position a comedy match should never be in, however, is in the main event of a pay-per-view.

John Cena’s rivalry with John Laurinaitis is one that wrestling fans don’t really speak of, not just because of how forced it was at a time when pay-per-view buys & ratings in the company were struggling in managements eyes, but more importantly because of what it overshadowed as a result of its position. The main event of the Over the Limit show had the potential to be an incredibly underrated WWE Championship Match between CM Punk & Daniel Bryan or a Fatal-4-Way Match for the World Heavyweight Championship featuring Sheamus, Randy Orton, Chris Jericho & Alberto Del Rio. What we got instead, was a joke that had no place being where it was.

In a match with Laurinaitis’ position as General Manager of both RAW & SmackDown on the line, the two contested in a one-sided affair that saw Cena humiliate the General Manager in embarrassing fashion. From dumping garbage over him, water down his pants & providing colour commentary for a brief moment, both men tried to entertain the crowd watching which was an impossible task considering what they had to follow in the show’s undercard. Rather than a stellar main event worth the money of a pay-per-view at the time what we got was an overly long, badly written joke that did nobody any favours, amounting to a match that would have been better suited to the mid-card of a show with a significantly less chunk of time dedicated to it.

To add insult to injury, the match ended when the ‘returning’ Big Show engaged what felt like his 811th heel turn in the last 3 months alone, providing nothing of excitement & continuing an angle no fan had asked for at the time. As far as the main events in wrestling go, it should always be reserved for the best you have to offer, this was the furthest from that.

The 2015 Royal Rumble Match – Royal Rumble 2015

Very few matches have the ability to infuriate an entire fanbase of people all in one fell swoop. Regardless of who you’re a fan of, who you prefer to win a match or who you desire to see headline a show, this is the prime example of WWE being WWE. I’ll always do what I can to defend the company where they deserve it, but this faithful night in Philadelphia is an evening I’ll never be able to stand by as someone who knows how good their product can be when they listen to fans.

A year prior, the 2014 Royal Rumble garnered the reputation for being the worst match of its kind up to that point. It was a failure on almost every level imaginable but at the very least was a pretty stellar match itself until the final 10 to 15 minutes came about which lead to Batista of all people clenching the victory. 2015’s match was a different story entirely, and to this day is one of the most bafflingly backwards booked matches I’ve witnessed since the darkest days of WCW in the early 2000s.

In terms of quality, the match had a solid start with the right guys entering and the company’s most popular competitor (and at the time, the favourite to win) Daniel Bryan making his presence felt after missing out on his chance to make history the previous year. It all when downhill from there because, in one of the most confusing, rage-inducing moments fans have ever seen, Bryan was inexplicably dumped from the match for no good reason. This sent fans into a flurry of anger & resentment, turning on the remaining match entirely, booing every remaining competitor almost out of the building & being forced to sit through arguably the worst booked match in company history until that point.

All of this pointed to a severe disconnect that the company had with its audience, or another solid example of its outright stubbornness to push Roman Reigns as their top guy against a fanbase that was craving something else entirely. Fans always complain about the company never listening to their wants, and this was one of those nights that complaint was undeniable. Rather than giving us the new blood so many of us desired to see garner the spotlight against then-champion Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania, we sat through the likes of Big Show & Kane tearing through the most beloved talent in the company, in a move that simply enraged fans to the point of them hijacking what the company thought would be a defining moment.

I could go on for hours about how abysmal this whole ordeal was, and if it weren’t for one other match, this would top my list without question.

Seth Rollins vs ‘The Fiend’ Bray Wyatt – Hell in a Cell 2019 

Hell in a Cell 2019, by all standards, might be the worst booked wrestling show I’ve seen in terms of structure.

The card itself was a victim of its own layout, with the hottest matches on the show going on first leaving everything else to simply wallow on its own without any real interest or stakes to keep the audience invested in anyway. As a result, the rest of the show was simply mediocre with little to no real excitement in any of the remaining contests on the card. However, the shows biggest blunder came at the height of its main event, which set the bar for how bad a wrestling match can be.

WWE admittedly did book themselves into a corner with this match, as Seth Rollins fresh off defeating Brock Lesnar for the 2nd time that year was pitted against the hottest gimmick in the company, ‘The Fiend’ Bray Wyatt who was fairly fresh to his new role on the roster & thrown into the main event a little too abruptly for most peoples liking. Having the hottest gimmick available contest against a champion that was only just settling into his 2nd reign as champion seemed like it would have been better saved for Wrestlemania season, rather in the middle of the fall season of wrestling which isn’t always the most eventful outside of the brand warfare that takes place.

And as expected, the booking was as much of a mess as you’d imagine it to be.

In terms of a match, this wasn’t even a match, at least not a traditional one. Both competitors wisely played into building up the amount of punishment ‘The Fiend’ could absorb, further expanding on the monster-like qualities of his character, but the direction the match went ended up making everyone involved, the officials included, incredibly silly to say the least. After absorbing countless stomps, weapon shots & abuse at the hands of Rollins, ‘The Fiend’ refused to eat a pinfall, leading to Rollins dragging out a hammer (a prop used in Wyatt’s ‘Firefly Funhouse’) and slamming his opponent with it, whilst below a pile of rubble. Not only did the spot leave no impact at all but lead to the match ending in a referee stoppage, the one way you don’t portray your most feared star as the biggest threat imaginable.

To say this left fans unhappy would be an understatement, as it leads to the loudest chorus of boos I can remember hearing at a wrestling show, primarily focused towards Seth Rollins who was already on thin ice with fans due to questionable past booking. What only angered fans more was Wyatt eventually recovering and dismantling Rollins, but rather than restarting the match, the company pulled the show off the air in the most anti-climatic fashion, leaving everyone bitter.

A main event of this caliber should have been booked as an all-out war and considering the circumstance should have lead to ‘The Fiend’ running through the champion like he did everyone before him, instead, this was a match that practically forced the company to shift their stance on not just their premier superstar, but the direction of every main storyline that followed. WWE has had their bad matches in the past, but nothing was as bizarre as this match ended up being.

When a match infuriates literally every fan across the board, shatters the credibility of your biggest superstar, almost kills the momentum of your hottest act, tanks the respect people had for a match with the legacy of ‘Hell in a Cell’ & from reports, resulted in borderline riots, you know that match deserves the position I’ve given it on this list.


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Cook’s Top 5: Miz Moments

Cook brings the most must see Top 5 of the week! Is it obvious or a MIZtery?

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The Miz WWE

This week is all about our new WWE Champion, The Miz!

Let’s be honest, Miz might not hold the Championship for too long. He’s got a big match with Bobby Lashley next week. We wish him luck, and maybe something unlikely will happen resulting in Miz holding on to the title longer than anybody expects. Still, I feel the need to get this particular edition of the Top 5 out there as soon as possible.

Here are the Top 5 Miz Moments!

5. Main Eventing WrestleMania

The match itself…not so great. Miz was obviously the third most important person in the match. He also suffered a concussion. But the guy still main evented WrestleMania and beat John Cena, which is something that not too many other people can say. This will remain Miz’s biggest WrestleMania match unless they get Bad Bunny to wrestle him this year.

4. A Ladder Match with Dolph Ziggler

Miz & Ziggler have quite a bit in common. Both hail from the Cleveland area. Both prefer to think of themselves as being from Hollywood. They’re both egotistical characters that make up for what they might lack in size with ego. They’ve been in WWE forever with limited changes to their character, pretty much on the same level of the card. Naturally, they get along pretty well & have good chemistry.

2016 saw the best incarnation of their on-screen issues, with Miz & Ziggler trading the Intercontinental Championship back & forth. The Ladder Match ending the feud at TLC is considered by most to be Miz’s best match. I don’t have a ton of other options off the top of my head, so we’ll go with that.

3. The First MITB Cash-In

You always remember your first. At this point in time, much like here in 2021, Miz wasn’t seen as the most believable choice to be WWE Champion. However, the man had a briefcase, and, importantly, this was back before the briefcase gimmick was completely run into the ground. So when Miz ran down at the end of Raw to cash in on Randy Orton, it got a tremendous reaction.

People were either really happy or really angry. I was on the angry side of the spectrum, especially since I had a cold and was writing a news column during all of this. Man, I remember when the week or so a year I would a cold was the only time I really felt like crap.

What can I say, Miz has grown on me over the years.

2. Feuding with The King

A lot of old school wrestling fans found it hard to believe that The Miz had become WWE Champion when more deserving wrestlers from their childhood never had been. Heck, Jerry Lawler, a God of Memphis rasslin who piledrove Andy Kaufman into oblivion, had never even gotten a shot at that title, even though he’d worked for WWE for nearly twenty years. Seemed wrong to a lot of people, but nobody expected that wrong to be addressed.

Lawler was celebrating his sixty-first birthday the week after Miz defeated Randy Orton for the WWE Championship. One thing led to another, and Lawler got his very first WWE Championsgip opportunity. In a TLC match! They got the fans believing that Lawler could win the title…until that pesky Michael Cole kept Lawler from climbing further up the ladder.

It was nice to see the King get another important run on WWE television long after we thought it was possible. A large part of the reason it was possible? The Miz. He portrayed himself as just beatable enough that the title change could happen. Also held up his end of the bargin in the promos, which was never easy for Lawler’s opponents.

I know everybody likes a title change, but this was the best work Miz did during his first WWE Championship reign by a wide margin.

Honorable Mention: Marrying Maryse

You knew I had to mention this, right?

1. Talking Smack to Daniel Bryan

I’ve always been a Daniel Bryan guy. Back when he was Miz’s “rookie” on NXT, I thought the idea that Miz would have something to teach him was a bit outrageous. It was an interesting pairing though, and the Miz/Bryan relationship/rivalry has provided plenty of compelling moments over the years.

None moreso than the night where Miz did something that a lot of people didn’t think was possible: make himself seem right & Daniel Bryan seem wrong. The way Miz defended himself in this tirade was pretty much impossible to argue with. Maybe Miz doesn’t wrestle the way that hardcore wrestling fans would like, but he is pretty much the prototypical WWE Superstar of his era. He always works hard, is never hurt, and you don’t have to worry about him embarrassing himself or the company.

This promo raised Miz’s character to another level at the time, and definitely added some fuel to the fire for Bryan’s eventual return. If you want to see one Miz promo that sums up who he is & was, this would be it.


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Bodeen’s Top 5 Moments: WWE Elimination Chamber 2021

Bodeen Green is back with your look at his Top 5 Moments from WWE Elimination Chamber!

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WWE Elimination Chamber 2021 Kevin Owens Jey Uso

Bodeen Green is back with your look at his Top 5 Moments from WWE Elimination Chamber!

Due to the short build between the Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber, there was a general lack of excitement from fans heading into the Elimination Chamber Pay-Per-View, especially with the lack of established matches on the card. Despite this, the Elimination Chamber was still a solid show to watch, mainly due to both chamber matches being fun to watch, with the last chamber match, having a shocking but awesome twist.  So as we leave the Elimination Chamber and take yet another step forward on the Road to WrestleMania, let us look at the top 5 moments that stood out on this short but solid show.

5. Riddle becomes United States Champion

Heading into this match, it seemed highly unlikely that Riddle would beat the United States Champion, Bobby Lashley. Even though the match was a triple threat match and Riddle did not have to pin Lashley to win the title, fans had seen Riddle lose to Bobby time and time again, making it seem the only real threat to Lashley’s title reign in the match was Keith Lee. However after Lee was taken out and John Morrison won a match on the pre-show earlier in the night, things seemed somewhat possible for Riddle.

All three men looked good in this match, as Lashley dominated the start of the match, helping fans get their breath back from the opening Elimination Chamber. This would force Riddle and John Morrison to team up on Lashley, despite being teamed up on Lashley would fight back and seemed to have things won as he put the hurt lock on John Morrison, only for Riddle to attack Lashley with the crutch belonging to MVP and pin John Morrison to become United States Champion

Yet again, special credit has to be given to MVP as a manager, he serves a purpose and actually looks like he’s being effective in helping Lashley. An example of this was MVP encouraging Lashley to stay outside the ring to recover as Riddle and Morrison treaded blows inside the ring.

4. The Tribal Chief reigns supreme for now

Instead of defending the Universal Championship inside the Elimination Chamber, Roman Reigns would use his power to face the winner of the SmackDown Elimination Chamber match, straight after the match. This was yet another great heel move from Roman as it once again showed how much power he has backstage due to his bloodline and role as a main-event player.

After Daniel Bryan survived a brutal chamber match, Roman Reigns would come out straight after the match, giving Daniel Bryan little time to recover. Roman would go to spear Daniel, only for Daniel to reverse it into the Yes Lock, making the impossible seem possible, only for Roman to counter and punish Daniel, locking in the guillotine for the win.

After holding the Universal Title, Roman would be hit with a spear by Edge, who seemed to copy Roman from earlier on SmackDown as he whispered in Roman’s ear, before pointing to the WrestleMania sign, giving fans his answer on who he’s gonna face at WrestleMania.

3. An Awesome finish

After The Miz won the Money In The Bank briefcase at Hell In A Cell against Otis, it seemed like every Pay-Per-View he would give Drew McIntyre a threat, stating he was going to cash in, however as time went on, it seemed more unlikely he would ever successfully cash in the Money In The Bank briefcase and win the WWE Championship from Drew McIntyre.

Each after he pulled out of the Elimination Chamber match, it still seemed unlikely Miz would cash in successfully, especially with it being so close to WrestleMania. However, after we saw backstage footage of The Miz talking to MVP backstage before the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship, things started to become interesting.

After McIntyre had won the Elimination Chamber match to retain his WWE Championship, Bobby Lashley would come out and dominate Drew, leaving The Miz to cash in on Drew, allowing Miz to win the WWE Championship, putting a massive twist on the Road to WrestleMania.

2. McIntyre survives the Elimination Chamber   

The Elimination Chamber match was filled with heaps of sub feuds, especially with the WWE Champion, Drew Mcintyre who had old rivals in Randy Orton and AJ Styles, as well as a new feud with his former best friend Sheamus, despite this, Drew would keep a level head and dominate everyone in the match, before eventually hitting a claymore on AJ Styles to win the match and retain his title before The Miz would cash in.

Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton would start the match before Drew would come in and dominate both men. Kofi Kingston would come in next and hit Orton with a roll-up to score a shock elimination. Orton would RKO both Hardy and Kofi, allowing Styles to have an advantage as Omos helped destroy his pod, so Styles could enter early in the match. Kofi would be eliminated by Sheamus, as well as Hardy who was eliminated by Drew.

AJ, Sheamus and Drew would trade blows, with Sheamus hitting Drew with a Brogue kick, only for Styles to hit the Phenomenal Forearm on Sheamus to eliminate him. With Drew now battered and broken Styles would attempt a Phenomenal Forearm on Drew, only for Drew to hit a Claymore Kick in mid-air to survive and win a great Elimination Chamber match.

1. Daniel Bryan goes the distance 

Despite the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship being a great match I personally found the opening chamber match earlier in the night much more enjoyable. It felt much more smooth and natural than the later chamber match with all 6 men involved looking strong with Daniel Bryan, being the clear MVP of the match as he entered the chamber first with fellow dark horse Cesaro and went on to win his third Elimination Chamber match.

Cesaro and Daniel would start things off slow as they entered the match first. King Corbin would then come out, followed by an irate Sami Zayn who could not believe we entered forth. Corbin would be the first eliminated after Cesaro put him the Sharpshooter. Kevin Owens and Jey Uso would then come out with Owens eliminating Sami. As Sami exited the ring Jey would trap Kevin’s arm in the Chamber door, superkicking him then eliminating him.

Cesaro would then mount a comeback only for Jey to ruin his momentum as he superkicked Cesaro and hit a splash to eliminate him. Jey would then attempt a splash of a wounded Bryan, only for Bryan to get his knees up and hit Jey with the running knee to win the Elimination Chamber match.

These were my top 5 moments from the Elimination Chamber. What were your top 5 moments and what did you think of both Elimination Chamber matches? Let us know in the comments below.

 

 


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