Worst Pro Wrestling Botches [VIDEOS]
Botch [boch] - noun - In professional wrestling, a spot during a match that does not go as planned due to a mistake, miscommunication, or slip-up. With Wrestlemania 28 coming up on April 1st, this is a look back at some of the worst moments where things did not go as planned. With some botches, embarassment is the only result. But several botches have resulted in serious injury to the performers, sometimes ending their careers.
Mickie Knuckles has made a name for herself on the independent circuit for her hard hitting style and being able to take on men in the ring. During a match with IWA Mid-South wrestling, Mickie jumped off a wall no more than 6 feet off the ground and landed on her opponent. However, when she landed, Mickie's leg snapped.
All it takes is a second for a move to go wrong and end someone's career. Ravishing Rick Rude was at the height of his career in 1994, working for WCW and feuding with Sting over the "International World Heavyweight Championship". During a match for New Japan Pro Wrestling in Fukuoka, Rude defeated Sting to become a three-time champion, but during the match Rude's back was slammed against the edge of the raised platform, resulting in an injury that stopped Rude's career dead in its tracks. Rude was rumored to be training to make an in-ring return when died in 1999 at the age of 40 due to heart failure.
While some botches end careers, other's become a benchmark for someone's career. The late Eddie Guerrero was one of the most popular WWE Champions in the last 15 years. During his run as WWE Champion, Guerrero feuded with John Bradshaw Layfield. During the "Judgment Day" pay-per-view, JBL, who was known to be stiff (hard hitting) in the ring, hit Guerrero with a hard chair shot. Normally with a chair shot, the wrestler being hit will try to take the brunt of the shot with his hands. In this case, Guerrero never got his hands up and took the full force of the chair to his head, resulting in what is considered the bloodiest match in the history of the WWE.
This is probably the only botch on the list that didn't result in physical harm, but harm to one's career. Jackie Gayda was one of two winners of the second season of WWE's reality competition show "Tough Enough". In one of her first matches, the inexperienced Gayda was wrestling in a mixed tag match against top female wrestler Trish Stratus. Stratus went for a top rope bulldog, but Gayda messed up and forgot to "sell" (go along with) the move and didn't react for a few seconds. The overall match was so bad that the other wrestlers in the match have called it the worst match they've been involved with, and head commentator Jim Ross actually apologized to the television audience at the end of the match.
Tag Team wrestling in WWE isn't what is used to be. I remember the time when tag teams like The Hardy Boyz, Edge & Christian, and The Dudley Boys would tear down the house and steal the show. One of the last great tag team matches took place at "Armageddon" with The Hardy Boyz and MNM taking part in a four team ladder match. During the match, a spot was set up to have Jeff Hardy jump off the top rope onto a ladder that would kick the ladder up into the faces of Joey Mercury and Johhny Nitro. The spot went as it was supposed to, but Mercury took the end of the ladder directly to his face, shattering his nose and causing a deep cut under his left eye.
Much like Rick Rude's back injury, one second Hayabusa is a top performer and the next he's paralyzed. In 2001, Hayabusa was wrestling for Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling where he was a top draw and considered to be the heart of the company. During a match with Mammoth Sasaki, Hayabusa attempted a Springboard Moonsault, a fairly simple move for a high flyer. When Hayabusa pushed off the middle rope, his feet slipped and he landed directly on his head, breaking his neck and paralyzing him. The company went out of business shortly after in part for not having their star performer.
This is a botch that will always live in infamy. In 1993, after a successful run in the WWF as Tugboat/Typhoon, Fred Ottman signed with WCW to debut as The Shockmaster. Ottman was set to debut during an interview segment hosted by Ric Flair. They had rehearsed his entrance, busting through a plywood wall, with no problems. For whatever reason, a production assistant was told to reinforce the wall with a 2x4 that was nailed at the bottom. During the live show when Ottman made his entrance, he tripped over the 2x4 and fell down, causing his helmet (A Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet covered in glitter) to fly off. Instead of pushing The Shockmaster as a serious character, plans were made to make the best of the situation and have Ottman trip up during all of his entrances. Unfortunately, it never took off and Ottman retired a few years later.
Jim Cornette has never been a wrestler, but he's one of the greatest managers/talkers the wrestling business has ever seen. In 1986, the NWA built their Starcade event entirely around a tag team scaffold match between the Road Warriors and Jim Cornette's Midnight Express. The entire match went as it was supposed to, even the ending with Jim Cornette being chased up the scaffold, and falling off. So none of the wrestlers had to fall from the top of the scaffold, the idea was made to end with a chicken fight underneath the 25 foot high scaffold. The original plan was for Cornette to fall into the arms of Big Bubba Rogers, who was fall to the ground with Cornette to brace him. Rogers was late in catching Cornette who landed lock legged on the mat and blew out his right knee in the process.
The double ring cage match known as War Games because a staple of NWA and later WCW, bringing together 8 to 12 of the top wrestlers into a single match. During one War Games match, Flying Brian Pillman and Sid Vicious worked out a spot where Vicous would powerbomb Pillman in the middle of the ring. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough room and Pillman's feet hit the top of the cage, resulting in Pillman being dropped on the back of his head. Known for being unprofessional, Vicious is seen making a comment to Pillman, then picking him up to do the spot again. Pillman was completely knocked out, forcing a quick end to the match.
Having already worked in Canada and Japan, Chris Benoit was making a name for himself in America, working for Extreme Championship Wrestling, being one of the few pure wrestlers in the company that didn't rely of overly violent matches. During a match with Sabu (a man who once tore his bicep off his arm, reattached it with gaffer's tape, and finished the match), Benoit went for a suplex, but Sabu ended up landing on his head, breaking his neck. Sabu later made a full recovery, and Chris Benoit was given his best known nickname, The Crippler.
The second leg break on the list, and the second appearance of Sid Vicious. Instead of unprofessionalism on his part, this was just a freak accident when Vicious broke his leg coming off the second rope. At the "Sin" pay-per-view, WCW management allegedly told Sid he needed to add something to his move set, like moves off the second or third rope. Being 6'9" and over 300lbs, Sid didn't see the need for a performer his size to do aerial moves and was very uncomfortable trying it. Sid snapped both his tibia and fibula, with one of the bones breaking through his skin. He later sued WCW for forcing him to do something he wasn't comfortable with. Sid planned to make a return to WCW, but the company was bought out by WWE before he had a chance to return.
Another mistake that actually helped the career of the injured performer. Hardcore Holly had never truly gotten over with the audience, partly due to his attitude and an incident where he roughed up a member of "Tough Enough" to teach the contestants a lesson. During the rebirth of ECW as a WWE show, Hardcore Holly was a perfect fit, having been a staple of WWE's Hardcore division. In 2006 during a match with Rob Van Dam, Holly suplexed RVD through a table, but the metal support on the table came loose that cut a gash into Holly's back. Bleeding profusely, Holly finished the rest of the match as planned and received a standing ovation from the crowd. After 24 stitches to close the wound and a 10 day period to let it heal, Holly returned to ECW as a fan favorite.
Some injuries like Hayabusa's will end a career immediately, while others will shorten a career considerably. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was rising through the ranks of the WWF on his way to becoming the most popular professional wrestler of all time. In 1997 at "Summerslam", Austin was set to defeat Owen Hart for the Intercontinental Championship. Reports are that Hart wanted to do a spot where he performed a Tombstone Piledriver on Austin, but Austin didn't want to because of previous neck injuries. For whatever reason, Hart went ahead and did the spot anyway, but instead of dropping to his knees, Hart dropped to his butt and drove Austin's head into the mat. Austin was temporarily paralyzed, and Hart did what he could to stall the match until Austin could get up. The match finished with Austin winning, but Austin would need to get neck fusion surgery and was out for nearly 5 months. In 2003, Austin retired from in-ring work, citing several injuries, primarily his neck injury from Hart. Since this incident, any form of the piledriver has been forbidden in the WWE, with the exception of performers like Undertaker and Kane who are known for full protection of their opponents.
The main thing you have to remember when watching this is that Shane McMahon is not a wrestler. He's the son of Vince McMahon and was an executive with the company at the time of this match. Shane had wrestled several matches over the course of his time with WWE, but was never considered a full-time wrestler. During his match with Kurt Angle at "King of the Ring", both Shane and Angle take a lot of big risk moves, but it was a simple move that injured Angle and later injured Shane. Shane suplexes Angle onto the concrete floor, breaking Angle's tailbone. Shortly after this, Shane and Angle moved to the entrance set where Angle was supposed to suplex McMahon through the glass. Unfortunately, because of Angle's injury, he didn't have enough strength to get Shane through the glass on the first try. Angle was prepared to stop the match when Shane didn't break the glass and landed on his head, but continued at the instruction of Shane.
It is strange to say, but this is the most successful botch of all time, making Mick Foley one of the top stars in the history of the WWE. Foley was set to take on The Undertaker in a "Hell in the Cell" match. Foley had wanted to one-up a spot in a previous Cell where Shawn Michaels hung from the cage and fell through an announce table. Foley and The Undertaker started the match on top of the cage and quickly went to their first major spot where Foley was thrown from the top of the cage onto an announce table. The spot went as planned, but Foley dislocated his shoulder and bruised his kidney. Foley, deemed unable to continue, was rolled out on a stretcher, but Foley didn't want to disappoint the fans. Foley rolled off the stretcher and crawled back up the cage. Foley and The Undertaker fought a little more, and then they moved into their next spot where Foley would be chokeslammed onto the top of the cage and the section would bend and sag. However, the section completely broke away, sending Foley through the cage to the ring. Along with Foley, a chair fell to the mat and hit Foley in the face knocking him out. To this day, Foley has little to no memory of the rest of the match, which went on for quite some time. After the match, a dazed Foley asked The Undertaker if he remembered to use a bag of thumbtacks left at ringside, completely unaware that he still had a multitude of tacks sticking in his back and arm. According to Foley, Vince McMahon was the first to hug him after the match, thanking Foley for all he has done and making him promise to never do anything like that again.