I've tried to limit myself to my top 5, since I'm sure others will have more input to this and I want some fresh perspectives.

In no particular order, because I frankly don't know how I'd even begin to compare them to each other...

1) Undertaker vs. Yokozuna for the WWF Championship in a Casket Match, Royal Rumble '94.  While the match itself is horribly, OUTRAGEOUSLY bad, that alone isn't enough to merit inclusion on this list, oh no.  You see, after it takes Yokozuna and ten other men to lock Undertaker in the casket, and after green smoke starts seeping out of Undertaker's urn, and after smoke starts smoking on the way down the aisle...the 'Taker appears on the Titantron and gives the following deep warning:

"Be not proud, because the spirit of the Undertaker live within the souls of mankind, the eternal flame of life which cannot be extinguished, the origin of which cannot be explained. The answer lies in the everlasting spirit.  Soon all mankind will witness the rebirth of the Undertaker.  I will not rest in peace."

Oh, and just to top the whole thing off, the Undertaker (Marty Jannetty in a Undertaker costume, to be exact) appears from behind the video wall and starts levitating up to "heaven" (the ceiling).

2) The hatching of The Gobbledygooker, Survivor Series '90.  In the weeks prior to Survivor Series, a large egg was seen at all the WWF house shows and television tapings.  Most speculated that it was a debuting wrestler, or at worst a celebrity guest appearance for the Pay-Per-View.  Well, sure enough, the big egg did crack at the Series, to reveal...some guy (Hector Guerrero) in a big turkey suit.  He danced with Mean Gene Okerland for the next ten minutes to the complete apathy of the crowd.

3) Mae Young giving birth to a hand, RAW is WAR.  It was sometime in early 2000.  You see, Mae was OLD, and she was also Mark Henry's girlfriend.  How can you NOT make the the logical jump to her giving birth to a hand?!  Are you stupid or something?

4) The Shockmaster makes his WCW debut, Clash of the Champions XXIV The Shockmaster was really Fred Ottman, who was Tugboat and Typhoon in the WWF.  On a "Flair for the Gold" segment, Sting and Davey Boy Smith announced their Special Mystery Partner they would team with to take on Sid Vicious and Vader at Fall Brawl '93.  Ottman was supposed to break through a wall of the set and come barreling in.  One prob: He tripped over himself after exactly one step and fell right on his face.  Let me amend that--he fell right on his purple glittered Stormtrooper helmet, which promptly rolled right off his face.  Ole Anderson, having no idea what was going on, continued his voiceover while everyone on the set tried (unsuccessfully) to stop from quaking with laughter.  This gets funnier every time I see it.  The sad part is that in typical WCW form, they actually tried to push Shockmaster as a legitimate threat after this.  Come on, he FELL FLAT ON HIS FACE and you're trying to convince me he's a contender?

5) The Brian Pillman/Stone Cold Steve Austin gun angle, RAW is WAR.  This one isn't even funny.  Austin had turned on his former Hollywood Blondes partner, brutally attacking him and on this taping, following Pillman to his home.  Pillman retaliated by brandishing a loaded revolver (not really, of course, but that was the storyline) for self-defense.  The camera "lost transmission" for a few moments while the gun was allegedly fired, during which time the sidearm was supposedly wrenched away from Pillman.  This was in extremely poor taste and is one of the things the WWF doesn't like to talk about much.

(Oh my god, how could I have written this and not mentioned Great American Bash '91???)

1) Fake Razor Ramon and Diesel, WWF RAW 1996
What do you do when your two biggest draws up sticks and join your bitter rivals in the midst of the closest ratings war in wrestling history? Simple. You own the gimmicks even if you no longer have the guys the gimmicks were made for. No problemo! Simply get two new guys who look almost-kinda-sorta-if you squint like Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, have them watch videos of Diesel and Razor for a week to pick up the mannerisms, and have JR shamelessly hype the 'return' of Razor and Diesel. The result? Even the dumbest, most braindead mark didn't fall for these two losers, and the angle bombed so badly that the only way out was to put JR over as having gone insane, and pack the two fakers off to Mexico. FYI, Fake Diesel was none other than Glenn 'Isaac Yankem DDS...sorry, i mean Kane' Jacobs.

2) Heel Goldberg, WCW 2000
Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo were so sure. This was, and i quote directly: "The biggest story in wrestling history - and there's not a damn thing Vince McMahon can do about it!" The wrestling world was on tenterhooks, and the internet smarts were alive with the possibilities. Was it to be a new faction that would blow the nWo out of the water? Would it be The Rock signing for WCW? Would it be WCW moving onto one of the broadcast networks? No, it was Heel Goldberg. If an angle ever bombed, it was this one. Within a month, Goldberg was back as the number one fan favourite.

3) The Kennel From Hell Match, WWF 1999
In an angle that began when the evil Big Boss Man ate Al Snow's pet chihuahua, Pepper (who himself was a replacement for Pierre, Hardcore Reindeer), was it not natural that the blowoff would be one of the most brutal matches in WWF history? A Cage match. In A Cell. Surrounded by RABID DOGS! Yes, RABID DOGS! On leashes. On sedatives. And, quite clearly on laxatives. The dogs crapped all over the floor. The match stunk only marginally less. Within months, the Boss Man had elevated his game to the extent that he was stealing the Big Show's dad's coffin. Ouch.

4) The Goon, WWF 1995
If there ever was a gimmick that persuaded Vinnie Mac to launch 'WWF Attitude', it must have been The Goon. You see, The Goon was a hockey player. Who was so violent that he was kicked out of the NHL! And became a wrestler! Poor old Goon, however, did not save any of his win bonuses from his puck-hitting days, because he clearly couldn't afford any wrestling attire. Yes, the Goon wrestled in a FULL HOCKEY KIT. No, it's worse than that. He wrestled in wrestling boots that were made to look like HOCKEY SKATES. With blades. I don't need to continue, do I?

5) Cactus Jack: Lost In Cleveland, WCW 1991
Repeat after me: 'Never do an amnesia angle'. 'Never do an amnesia angle'. 'Never do an amnesia angle'. This episode is explored at length in Mick Foley's first book, Have A Nice Day! Mick had thrown his all into his big angle with Vader, taking a simply inhuman powerbomb bump onto the concrete floor. Did this result in a long lay-up for Mick, while the fans clamoured for him to return and wreak his revenge on the evil Mastadon? Not in a million years. Happily, the booking team decided to make poor Cactus lose his mind, leaving his family and becoming a hobo on the streets of Cleveland. WCW 'investigators' tracked him down, at which point further shame was heaped upon the angle as it transpired that Cactus could remember his previous life - as a fishing boat captain. At this point, sanity finally got a toehold back into the angle, and Cactus returned to exact his revenge on Vader...as losing his mind had only been HIS PLAN ALL ALONG! HE WAS TOYING WITH VADER! To his eternal credit, Mick has pleaded for nobody to ever watch these vignettes ever again. Thank god he overcame them.

Well I have my no-particular-order set of three here (as opposed to five, since i'm feeling kinda long-winded) as well. I'll add a couple more as the mood strikes me.

  1. Rockabilly (WWF, April 1997) Augh... this was just painful. Painful to watch, painful to listen to, and apparently pretty painful for almost everybody involved, with the exception of Billy Gunn, who was acting totally oblivious to the still-birth of his new gimmick. The WWF, at the behest of the Honky Tonk Man, were apparently working overtime all early spring to sign away Disco Inferno (Glen Gilbernetti) from WCW to play the part of Rockabilly, who not only has infinitely more charisma, but way better ring skills than our friend Billy. Despite what they say about remakes of gimmicks, I have a feeling that a Honky Tonk Inferno woulda worked. But it all fell through at the last moment with Disco re-signing with WCW, and so they pulled Billy Gunn from his Metal/Jakked-worthy feud with the criminally misused 2 Cold Scorpio (playing as Flash Funk at the time). HTM didn't want him in the role, but Vince was insistent (probably due to influence by Billy's pal Shawn Michaels), so it was done at April's Revenge of the Taker pay-per-view. And by the tone of HTM's introduction, he seemed really embarrassed that he had to be aligned with the guy, and then just decided to get rid of the script and rush through the intro just to get the segment over with. So Billy comes out, has terrible music, dances terribly, and says in a terrible drawl "I AM THE NEW MAN!". Vince and Jerry Lawler, who were on commentary that night, are appropriately stupefied. His first match was against another bad wrestler with terrible gimmick, "The Real Double J" Jesse Jammes. Originally the Rockabilly character was going to go over in a squash, but HTM wanted to get out of the gimmick ASAP so he leveraged with the bookers for a fluke pin in favor of Jesse Jammes. This was Rockabilly's only feud. It ended on WWF Superstars where the two guys decided that they were going nowhere as it stood and made a pact to team up, thereby creating the New Age Outlaws. Which, on the whole, was the most bearable thing for both guys.
  2. Doink Turns Face (WWF, September 1993) - I'll add my voice to the masses who have already had this thought: the original Doink the Clown was a great concept: the evil clown, spoiling people's fun, playing pranks that make him look more and more heelish. And Matt Borne was great in the role too, so much so that he wanted to take it further. As in, he wanted to turn the role into a demented sociopath roughly equivalent to the Joker, incorporating more of the mind games, and some of the visciousness from his indie days. He really wanted incorporate the new aspects and ideas on his character into with a feud with the Undertaker (who thought it would be great), but it wasn't the Attitude era yet. So Vince nixed it since it was out of the "plans" he had for the Taker. Not only that, but Vince decided it was time for a face turn for Doink. And Borne hated the idea so much, he left. So what did the WWF do? They pulled a Darrin! They got Steve Lombardi to quickly transition the role into a babyface, complete with throwing confetti into the audiences, having other wrestlers that don't even look like the original Doink dress up as Doink for fun (see Survivor Series '93), oh, and midgets... midget Doink replicas at that! Oh man, it was tremendous... tremendously stupid. The Doink gimmick sunk like a rock, and by the tail end of the Doink run, there was always an audible "Kill the Clown" chant. Thankfully, the WWF did. As a footnote, Matt Borne took the evil version of the gimmick to ECW, where he evolved it into the great Borne Again gimmick, where he would dress his beaten opponents up like Doink to make them feel the same "emotional trauma" he did. He had to quit wrestling after almost a year in the gimmick, as drugs got in the way of him having his life in order.
  3. Glacier (WCW, 1996) - Dun Dun Dun Dun Dah Dah! Dun Dun Dun Dun Dah Dah Dun Dun Dun Dun Dah Dah! (I hated this the first time when it was called) MOOOOOTAL KOOOOMBAAAT! ...actually the material that was used to make the endless promos for this was going to be used for an early version of the Mortal Kombat TV series for TNT, but the producers wanted to hold off until after the sequel, and so as not to waste the material they gave it to WCW to fashion around former jobber Ray Lloyd for a lousy Sub-Zero clone. And the guy, he had bad moves, and bad hair, and bad martial arts skills. And the most laughable backstory in the world, which stole from Kung Fu, The Last Dragon, Mortal Kombat, Highlander, Mamma's Family, and probably about 15 other things too. I do give it some brownie points, though, in that it did introduce the world to "The Cat" Ernest Miller and Kanyon (via a totally silly feud), who later became two of the most entertaining things about WCW in its dying days. It was a such a joke that in the end, Ray Lloyd decided to literally sell parts of his gimmick to other wrestlers, selling the costume to ex-Kaientai DX member Kaz Hayashi and the entrance pyro/effects to Ernest Miller, who just decided to use his own James Brown rip-off music with the Glacier entrance. I think he did some other terrible gimmick after that, Coach Buzz Stern. At least it was unnoticeable.

After reading this node, I realized I needed to add my own pick. Although it is fairly recent, it is up there with the worst moments WWE has ever produced.

The Katie Vick Saga, WWE, October 2002 When Kane became the number one contender for Triple H's World Heavyweight Championship, it was assumed that WWE would produce a storyline in which the two would fight each other over, you know, the title. Then again, this is Vince McMahon we're talking about. Common sense has never come into play that much with Vince.

So Kane and The Hurricane won the Tag Team Championship on Raw, and successfully defended the belts in a TLC match against Chris Jericho and Christian, Rob Van Dam and Jeff Hardy, and The Dudley Boyz. After the win, Triple H comes out with the microphone. And nothing good can ever come of that. Triple H closes the show with these cryptic comments:

"Katie Vick is dead Kane. And you killed her. You are a murderer."

At first glance, this could work as a storyline. You see, for five years, Kane has been presented as an unstoppable monster. He supposedly spent his life up until 1997 in a mental hospital, and I could conceivably see Kane breaking out and killing a girl in a fashion similar to Lennie in Of Mice and Men. But that would make sense, and again, we're talking about Vince McMahon here. So they took another option: completely contradicting five years of character development. They had Kane walk out to the ring and discuss how, 10 years ago, he wasn't locked up in a mental hospital, but just breaking into the wrestling business and going to keggers. Apparently, Katie Vick and Kane were friends and met at a party. Kane said Katie had too much to drink and attempted to drive her home. Kane said he was unfamiliar with a manual transmission, and that it was dark, and a deer jumped out in front of him, causing him to crash. Ms. Vick was killed instantly.

Triple H then came out to make an intelligent rebuttal to Kane's statements. First, he claimed Kane had beer on his breath. Second, he claimed there were beer cans in the backseat. Finally, and most damningly, were his claims that, when the autopsy was performed, some of Kane's semen was found in Katie's body. Then, Triple H asked Kane if she waited until Katie was dead to "give it to her".

I rolled my eyes when Jerry Lawler started making penis jokes. I groaned when Christopher Nowinski made comments about busting through Molly Holly's hymen. But semen has no place in professional wrestling.

The scary thing is, Vince McMahon loved the angle, and ordered it to continue. So continue it did. First, Triple H produced a video of himself, dressed like Kane, going to a funeral home, taking off all his clothes, climbing into the casket, and simulating sex with a dummy. The "hilarious" punchline had Triple H reaching down, producing a pink goo, throwing it at the camera, and saying "I JUST SCREWED YOUR BRAINS OUT!".

Again, McMahon loved the segment, so next week he had Triple H bring out a coffin, produce a Katie Vick dummy, and perform a horrible ventriloquist act. The show culminated with Kane locking Triple H in the trunk of a car and driving off, saying he was going to "screw him", and the big question would be whether or not Triple H would be dead when it happened. So, the big news to come from that episode was that, apparently, Kane is gay.

So after all Triple H put Kane through, coupled with the fact that Kane was a babyface and Triple H a heel, and that Triple H wasn't drawing as champion, you'd think Kane would beat the hell out of Triple H and win the title. Wrong. Instead, Triple H won, then lost to Kane in a non-title casket match, then promply beat him again in a string of house shows.

This was a horrible angle for several reasons: First, necrophilia and professional wrestling shouldn't mix. Second, it was a giant, calculated "fuck you" to the fans who paid attention to storylines, the hardcore fans who kept the WWF afloat in 1996 when it seemed that they were on the verge of bankruptcy. Third, it was horribly acted, with porn level performances by both Triple H and Kane.

In my twelve years as a wrestling fan, this was the most horrible thing I'd ever seen.

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