Throughout history, there has been some epic, five star, matches. Then, there have been duds; matchups that should have delivered, but just didn’t. That’s not the only characteristic of duds, though, as all matches are expected to deliver. What makes these so bad, is how they were hyped up, and also the performers involved in some cases.
Gorgeous George vs. Ernie Dusek
Make no mistake about it, I love the Gorgeous One. He had one of the most significant and illustrious careers in all of professional wrestling history. However, no matter how great he may have been, and regardless of how big a fan of his I am, Gorgeous George’s name is not omitted from this list.
1949 was an important year for wrestling for one notable reason (there were other reasons, but let’s stick with this one as being the biggest). This year marked the first time a wrestling show would emanate from the sacred Madison Square Garden in over a decade. You see, a prominent boxing promoter at the time, named Tex Rickard, despised pro wrestling, and unfortunately for fans, he controlled the bookings for the venue. Thankfully for all wrestling fans since, Toots Mondt, a prominent wrestling promoter, who formed the first remnants of what is now the WWE, was able to weasel himself into the Garden, with the help of a financial backer. He also received help from one of Rickard’s own men, Roderick James “Jess” McMahon.
Now, knowing the basic backstory, you should be able to see how this first event card was quite noteworthy. It was headlined by George and Dusek. The prior had risen to the top of the wrestling heap, and was expected to sell out the venue. However, George had made most of his fame on the West Coast; New York City was a completely different demographic. The event under-sold, few reporters showed, and the crowd wasn’t into the Gorgeous act or the match itself. The match was described by one reporter as, ” technically a succession of five headlocks, and a body hold finished Dusek.” Another reporter for the Post stated, “It was the first show held at the Garden in 12 years. An equal period of time is likely to elapse before another one is attempted.” Ouch.
Hollywood Hogan vs. Sting, WCW Starrcade 1997
Well, that didn’t take long to get to a Hogan and WCW match…
The biggest star of the WWF at one point, and one of the biggest stars ever on the WCW roster, find themselves in the same company and on different sides. Sounds great! Ah, and WCW even began building this match up in November of 1996, over a year before it would take place. That makes it sound even better.
Unfortunately, this match completely bombed. Hogan was…well, he’s Hogan. Sting had been out of action for over a year, and although got in most of his signature moves, was clearly rusty. The match was slow-paced, with both taking the safe route. That might have been ok if say the entire length of the match had gone longer than 15 minutes. Yeah, a 15 minute match culminated a feud that had been built up for more than a year, and that’s including the classic WCW, over-booked finish. For the finish, referee Nick Patrick was supposed to conduct a fast count, however, the count was anything but fast. Bret Hart then came out, on a crusade against a screwjob finish, and had the match restarted, only for Sting to hit his Scorpion Death Drop about a minute later to capture the WCW World Championship. NEW CHAMPION! NEW CHAMPION!…until the next night on Nitro anyway…well, technically, the next week, on the inaugural Thunder show…when JJ Dillion forced Sting to vacate the title.
Hollywood Hogan vs. The Warrior, WCW Halloween Havoc ’98
Another Hogan match, who would’ve thunk it? Less than a year after his memorable-for-the-wrong-reason match against Sting, at Starrcade, Hogan found himself facing off against The Warrior, in what would also be remembered as a dud.
WCW had the bright idea to bring in Hogan’s old adversary, in an attempt to capture the attention of longtime WWF fans, to stop/slow the decline of their own product. Needless to say, it didn’t work. Injuries and age plagued the match, as both were no where near their WrestleMania 6 heights. Hogan resorted to walking around the ring for the majority of the match, as Warrior stayed inside, seemingly uninterested in the man he had waited nearly a decade to get a grasp of. For the finish, Hogan tried burning a fireball in Warrior’s face, only to burn himself.
To put it in perspective, even Eric Bischoff admitted this match sucked!
Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg, WrestleMania 20
This list just would not be complete without this gem. I know I was a Lesnar fan way back when, but I can’t remember who I was rooting for in this match, but I do know that everyone else was cheering for “Stone Cold” Steve Austin…the special guest referee. You know a match is horrendous when the referee is getting all the cheers. Well, I shouldn’t say “all,” there were some great “You sold out,” “You both suck,” “This match sucks,” and of course the classic “boring,” chants.
The match had been heavily hyped, and just the idea of the most dominant guy out of WCW vs. the most dominating wrestler in the WWE, sounds fantastic. Sadly, they played the safe card, and the match was too slow paced, or “pedestrian” if you prefer. Also, both were on their way out of the company, as Lesnar wanted to try his hand at football, and Goldberg’s contract was set to expire. Thus, the live crowd hated both, and not in the good, heel way.
Just a classic dud match, worth checking out merely for history purposes and the entertaining NYC crowd.
Randy Orton vs. HHH, WrestleMania 25
WrestleMania’s Silver Anniversary should have been one of the most remembered events in wrestling history. The entire card should have been stellar. However, not only was the card not up to expectations, but all but one match was less than remarkable, and that one match wasn’t even the mainevent!
The feud between Randy Orton and HHH in 2009 had been built up pretty good; easily the most notable storyline for that year. The match pitted two ring veterans, who are very familiar with one another, against each other, on the grandest stage of them all. Surely, they would deliver. Sadly, for everyone watching (and especially for those who dished out $65.00 for the ppv), this match was so boring. Neither man looked their best in this, slow-paced, one-sided, relatively short match. It definitely was not a WrestleMania worthy bout, and besides for the storyline, will be forgotten, and forever over-shadowed by the Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels classic.
I realize I’ve described many, or all rather, of these matches as “slow-paced,” but don’t take me for someone who doesn’t like slower, methodical matches. I do enjoy them, if there’s good wrestling, and the match builds upon itself. These matches, don’t deliver either of those qualities, and considering their hype and star power, well, they’re just duds. Let me know some of the other matches you classify as duds in the comments!
Thanks for Reading,
Check Out This Week’s “J Classic”-http://wrestlingrambles.com/videos/jclassics/j-classics-episode-4/