Last WrestleMania season, I took on the tough task of ranking my top 31 favorite matches in 'Mania history. And this wasn't a single article, either. Every day in the month of March, I wrote an article breaking down each bout, culminating in my favorite WrestleMania match of all-time on March 31, mere days ahead of WrestleMania 32. I enjoyed putting the series together, despite the long time it took to do it.
This year, I thought I would do something a bit different, yet not quite as arduous. Instead of looking at 'Mania matches I loved, why not talk about those I wasn't too fond of? And I'm not talking about matches I didn't care about, either; I'm referring to bouts that I straight-up did not like. For my WrestleMania Recall series, every 'Mania match ever was eligible, but this list will only take into consideration matches from WrestleMania 25 onward, because that was my first Show of Shows as a fan. Trust me, there are many, many matches I could include from those early installments, so I decided to limit it to the last eight years of 'Mania only.
10. The New Day vs. League of Nations (WrestleMania 32)
Let's start off this list with a match I'm sure that is still fresh in the minds of fans... or not, because it was completely forgettable. I am indeed referring to The New Day vs. League of Nations. In my opinion, the WWE Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania 32 should have been New Day vs. The Usos vs. The Dudley Boyz. The latter two teams faced off on the Kickoff show anyway, so why not make it a Triple Threat? But no, WWE just had to get League of Nations on the card even though the stable was atrocious and was never once booked to look like a legitimate threat to anyone.
In fact, the entire build to this bout consisted of New Day getting the better of League of Nations. That's why it made no sense to me initially when this 4-on-3 Handicap match was announced as a tag title match. What the hell did Sheamus, Rusev, Alberto Del Rio and King Barrett ever do to deserve that? Honestly, it would have made the match a bit more worthwhile because fans wouldn't have cared otherwise. As it turned out, fans sat on their hands for this match because the belts weren't defended and it was just a normal six-man tag team match instead. You know, like you would see on any average episode of Raw or SmackDown.
This not-so-memorable match comes in at No. 10 because it wasn't bad; it was just unnecessary. New Day's Booty Os entrance was cool, but everything else that followed was a blur until the legends came out and laid waste to everyone. Stone Cold Steve Austin getting that monster pop was amazing, but it did nothing to get over anyone involved in this. Worse of all, the tag team champions lost to League of Nations, who broke up two weeks later. Brilliant booking, WWE!
9. Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos vs. Beth Phoenix and Eve torres (WrestleMania 28)
Warning: There will be a handful of women's matches on here from the last eight years. It's a shame, too, because it's not a knock on the women. Rather, it's a knock on the company for putting them in such stupid situations. The mutli-woman matches, which were an obvious attempt to get everyone on the card, largely meant nothing, and as a result, the workrate suffered. WrestleMania 28 was no different, featuring a tag team match pitting Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos against then-Divas Champion Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres.
What was the reason behind this match happening, you ask? I couldn't even tell you myself. I'm pretty sure Phoenix and Torres confronted Menounos on her talk show, but you would have never guessed that because the video package that preceded the match was literally just a montage of the Divas division showing off their sexy side with very little highlights of their matches. Ah, the dark days of the division.
For months, I held out hope we would see Kharma return in time for WrestleMania 28 to face Phoenix and/or Natalya for the Divas Championship. While Kharma did come back in the 2012 Royal Rumble match, that was the last we saw of her in WWE. I'm not sure whether that was the original plan or what because this match felt thrown together to me. For as much as I love WrestleMania 28, this bout was a minor blemish on the card. The in-ring action was pretty poor, though I do give credit to Menounos for fighting through the broken rib that she suffered during training for Dancing with the Stars. She wasn't all that terrible, but why have her pin the champion and not allow Phoenix to get her win back? That dumb decision doesn't make sense to me even all these years later.
8. Vickie Guerrero Invitational Divas Championship Match (WrestleMania 30)
Speaking of mutli-woman matches that were mostly meaningless, I present you with the Vickie Guerrero Invitational from WrestleMania 30. Apparently, the idea was to pay tribute to Vickie as she prepared to exit WWE that weekend, but she wouldn't end up departing the company until later that summer, so that went out the window. I understand that the angle was AJ Lee defending her Divas Championship against all the women she had pissed off during her reign as champion, but more than half of those women did not deserve to be there in the first place. Eva Marie? Cameron? Aksana? Rosa Mendes? Come on now.
I might have just accepted it at the time because if nothing else, I was happy the title was finally being defended at WrestleMania. It had been in existence since 2008 and had not yet been on the line in a match at 'Mania, which is ridiculous. The match would have sucked regardless, but WWE did them no favors by holding it immediately after The Streak ended at the hands of Brock Lesnar (more on that later...spoiler alert). Unsurprisingly, the crowd either booed or didn't care about what they were seeing, so the women were met with silence.
Perhaps the nicest thing I can say about the match was that it didn't overstay its welcome, but even then, those few minutes the match lasted for were painful. No one, except AJ, had any semblance of a story going in, so whether the match happened when it did or in the opener, who was the crowd supposed to rally behind? Thankfully, AJ walked out of WrestleMania with her title intact, though her reign would come to an abrupt end the next night when Paige debuted and beat her for the belt.
7. ShoMiz vs. John Morrison and R-Truth (WrestleMania 26)
I might be in the minority here, but I liked WrestleMania 26. I really did. Although WrestleMania 25 was my first WrestleMania as a WWE fan, WrestleMania 26 was the first one I watched live (I had the chance to watch the 25th Anniversary with a friend but my mom grounded me that weekend so I couldn't...dammit, Mom!). That said, I probably have an emotional attachment to this event that most did not, but putting that aside, it was a way better WrestleMania than the event that preceded it and the event that followed it.
Kicking off the show, unfortunately, was this Unified Tag Team Championship match. Defending champions The Miz and Big Show (collectively known as ShoMiz...ugh) took on John Morrison and R-Truth. Basically, there wasn't enough room in the Money in the Bank Ladder match (which already featured ten people) for these four, so they were given a random match of their own. This matchup made the main card, yet The Colons vs. John Morrison and The Miz (where the titles were unified to begin with) the year prior did not. Explain that one to me.
Miz and Show had very little chemistry as a team, and Morrison and Truth had even less chemistry together. Both tandems were literally thrown together at the last minute for this 'Mania match, and that was the state of tag team wrestling at the time in a nutshell. Nothing about it was offensively bad, but at four minutes in length, it was a really weird way to open the show. I just remember thinking, "That's it?" once it was over. Why even bother with this bout? Seriously? What was gained from this?
6. Miss WrestleMania Battle Royal (WrestleMania 25)
Oh, look, another multi-woman WrestleMania match that was an absolute mess! Celebrating 25 years of WrestleMania, it made sense for WWE to try to commemorate the occasion by doing a massive Divas Battle Royal. In theory, it was fine, but the execution was awful. This type of Battle Royal with the women was such a tired troupe in WWE by this point and the title of "Miss WrestleMania" lacked prestige.
WWE would have been better off doing a Divas Championship match between Maryse and the returning Gail Kim, or putting Trish Stratus up against anyone on the roster, such as Beth Phoenix. Hell, Stratus wrestled on Raw a few months before WrestleMania, so she may have been up for it. But when she was asked to take part in this Battle Royal by the company, she turned down the offer and rightfully so.
A few former notable names were spotted in the match, however, including Sunny and Victoria, who had retired from the ring at the onset of the year. Despite that, she returned to WWE for this one match and then left again to TNA. They walked to the ring while Kid Rock performed "So Hott," and it was all downhill from there. Women were tossed out left and right and most of the time not even the commentators knew what was going on. They were lost like the rest of us. The bout was bad enough, but then the entire Divas division was shit on when Santino Marella (dressed up as a woman, mind you) tossed out his girlfriend Phoenix and Melina to win the whole thing. And so began one of the worst angles in recent memory. There were rumors that the Miss WrestleMania Battle Royal would become a staple of 'Mania going forward (like how the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal is now), but those plans were thankfully scrapped.
5. John Morrison, Trish Stratus and Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi vs. Dolph Ziggler and LayCool (WrestleMania 27)
On the subject of Trish Stratus, she was slated to compete at WrestleMania 27 to coincide with the season premiere of Tough Enough after Raw the next night, where she was a coach. She came to the aid of Kelly Kelly at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view in February and they fended off LayCool, so that seemed to be the bout they were building toward at WrestleMania 27. Okay, so Kelly was terrible in the ring, but she was far and away the most popular Diva at that point and had been a focal point on the blue brand, so that was a logical match to do for WrestleMania.
Somewhere along the way, plans changed. WWE swapped out Kelly for Nicole Polizzi, better known as "Snooki" from Jersey Shore. I am 100 percent biased here because I hated that dreadful show with a burning passion, but I was completely content with her guest hosting Raw for a night in mid-March 2011. I just didn't need to see her wrestle in a match at WrestleMania, and you know for a fact the only reason WWE did that was to score some mainstream attention, and they did.
The whole match was total throwaway and a lazy way of getting certain stars on the card. Dolph Ziggler had just been "fired" from SmackDown, so he randomly went to Raw and feuded with John Morrison. Morrison, pissed off his girlfriend Melina got booted from the bout in favor of Stratus (I highly doubt Melina was ever slated for the match...she had been irrelevant for months), gave Stratus the cold shoulder here. Stratus' in-ring return was lost in all of this and it doesn't surprise me in the slightest she hasn't returned since because this was a waste of her. To her credit, Snooki didn't embarrass herself in the ring, but... why? I realize Jersey Shore was still somewhat popular at the time, but surely WWE could have brought in someone with more appeal to wrestling fans than Snooki of all people.
4. The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar (WrestleMania 30)
Before you even think about it, let me clarify that The Streak ending is not the only reason why this match made the list. That's a whole other argument for another day, but I will say I don't think it should have ended. Ever. It would be one thing if the match where The Streak was conquered was an instant classic, like WrestleMania 25 with Shawn Michaels or WrestleMania 29 with CM Punk. What bothered me more than anything was that as a feud, The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar sucked. And as a match, The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar sucked.
People remember The Streak being broken and nothing else, but I, for one, remember the match itself and I really wish I didn't because it blew big time. Save for one occasion, Lesnar had been manhandled time and time again by Undertaker in the buildup to the pay-per-view. In other words, excitement for the matchup was at an all-time low. Undertaker did suffer a concussion early on in the match, so that undoubtedly played a big factor in why it was so subpar, but there was no drama or storytelling whatsoever, a complete contrast from years prior.
It was just big move after big move, kickout after kickout. Sometimes that formula works, but it didn't for these two. The crowd didn't eat any of it up. Lesnar was on offense for the better part of the match, so I had people telling me after the show, "It was terrible on purpose!" No, it wasn't. That was not done intentionally to make The Streak ending that much more shocking because people were going to be blown away by that no matter what. Above all else, these two had some stellar matches back in the day, so to call their encounter at WrestleMania disappointing would a massive understatement. On the bright side, they redeemed themselves with a pair of physical, entertaining matches in late 2015.
3. The Rock vs. John Cena (WrestleMania 29)
Let the record show that I was actually a huge fan of John Cena vs. The Rock from WrestleMania 28 and everything about it. Okay, I could have done without the bickering back and forth on social media, but the one year buildup was unprecedented, the tension felt real, and the match lived up to the lofty hype in my opinion. And Rock winning in shocking fashion was the cherry on top (I was fully convinced that Cena was winning). With the bout being billed as "Once in a Lifetime," you would think that would have been it, but WWE just had to go with a second match to make just as money as they did the first time with Cena vs. Rock.
It is true that Cena vs. Rock led to WrestleMania 28 receiving the highest buyrate of all-time, but that wasn't the sole reason why they held the rematch the following year. According to Rock himself, this entire plan had been mapped out when he first came back in 2011, so the second match was always meant to happen, unfortunately. I wasn't nearly as excited for their encounter at WrestleMania 29 as I was the year prior because I, along with everyone else, essentially knew what would happen: Cena would win, allowing Rock to "pass the torch" to him even though Cena was already established as a top star.
The predictability of it was one thing, but the match itself was simply abysmal. The rest of the show was basically a four hour episode of Raw to me, so to cap off the underwhelming evening with this lackluster main event was a letdown. Anyone who held out hope for a surprising ending with either Rock retaining or Cena turning heel were left disappointed. Again, I would have been fine with that, but the match was just a train wreck with the two constantly attempting to hit their finishers like it was some sort of video game. The pinfall covers were rushed and there was no big fight feel to it, for me anyway. When Rock won the previous year, I was left curious, anticipating what would happen next. After Cena won at WrestleMania 29, I couldn't have cared less. And don't get me started on the two embracing each other afterward despite all the bad blood there was for years on end.
2. Ryback vs. Mark Henry (WrestleMania 29)
It's no coincidence that two of the top three matches on this list come from WrestleMania 29. It was easily my least favorite WrestleMania in the time I have been a fan, and this match was one of the major reasons why. A lot like John Cena vs. The Rock II, the build wasn't half-bad, and there were times I was anticipating the encounter. After all, it was a battle of behemoths, more specifically between two of the more dominant stars in WWE at the time. Henry was fresh off a return from injury and Ryback was still relatively popular despite his countless shortcomings, but this could have been the big win he needed.
Well, what we received was disgraceful. It must have been a real lack of in-ring chemistry because I couldn't point you to one decent match they have ever had together. The matchup was a slow, plodding mess and the crowd responded to it appropriately by crapping all over it. I had my fingers crossed that it would be worth it once Ryback had his WrestleMania moment by getting Henry up on his shoulders, hitting the Shell Shocked, and scoring the victory. What a fool I was for thinking WWE would do the right thing.
Instead, when Ryback picked up Henry for his finisher, The World's Strongest Man held on to the top rope and subsequently fell on top of his opponent, pinning him in the process. You read that right: Henry falling on top of Ryback was what beat him. And no, there were no plans in place for Henry to become a monster heel again because he lost to Sheamus in a Strap match the very next month at Extreme Rules before taking a hiatus. Ryback wound up laying out Henry with the Shell Shocked afterward, and although it was a cool visual, why not have him win the match?! I guess the idea was that all these losses were the reason why Ryback turned heel the next night on Raw, another asinine booking decision that killed Ryback's popularity in the long-run from which he never recovered.
1. Michael Cole vs. Jerry Lawler (WrestleMania 27)
You may find that Mr. McMahon vs. Bret Hart is conspicuous by its absence on this list. That's because I didn't hate it. Yes, the match was total trash, but it was so bad that it was good (Bruce Hart attempting to count out Vince and Bret despite it being a No Holds Barred match was hysterical). Meanwhile, Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole was so awful that it was just that: Awful. Unlike McMahon vs. Hart, there was absolutely nothing redeeming about this match. It didn't bring a sense of closure to a long-time feud. Rather, it was a waste of time.
For months, WWE crafted this story that started with Cole costing Lawler the WWE Championship on an episode of Raw in November 2010. From there, the two bickered on-and-off on commentary through WrestleMania season (making Raw even more unbearable to watch in the process), where Lawler finally had enough and challenged him to a match at 'Mania. WWE threw just about everything at this point to make it tolerable: Stone Cold Steve Austin was brought back as the special guest referee, Cole appointed Jack Swagger as his trainer, Jim Ross called the contest, and Grand Master Sexay (Lawler's son in real life) returned at one point. But nothing was going to make this match worthwhile.
WrestleMania 27 would have been considered an atrocity had this match happened or not, but I would have settled for Lawler facing Alex Riley as had been rumored instead because at least the match wouldn't have been a complete joke. The whole point was that Lawler had not yet wrestled at the event, let alone win there, and he couldn't even do that! Technically, he did, but that damn Anonymous Raw General Manager reversed the decision and awarded Cole the victory, so the record books will forever show that Cole won at WrestleMania and Lawler didn't. This would have been a passable blowoff to a feud that should never have happened in the first place, but they continued it through the month of May. And they remained on commentary together after that, making this entire feud the biggest slap in the face to fans in years.