BY: Jason the Ace
One thing is for certain about Wrestlemania. The best way to get someone excited enough to purchase the pay per view is to bombard them with images of magical moments from previous years. Just think about it. How many times have we seen Liberace and the Rockettes doing the chorus line kick in the middle of the ring, Hulk body slamming Andre, the Warrior raising his arms as the fireworks fill the Skydome, Savage hoisting Elizabeth on his shoulders after they reunited? The list of those history making moments go on and on. They are engrained in our memory as the cornerstones of that one special night of the year. But forget about Tyson punching Michaels, Edge spearing Jeff Hardy hanging from the belts, the Rock nose to nose with Austin and all those other moments synonymous with Wrestlemania. Let’s talk about all those moments that could have been. That’s right, here to rain on your Wrestlemania parade is the list of the biggest screw-ups, blunders or just awkward moments in Wrestlemania history.
- Brock Lesnar misses the shooting star splash on Kurt Angle, Wrestlemania XIX. Without a doubt the biggest gaffe in Wrestlemania history. There was not a person in Safeco Field or at home that thought Kurt Angle was in position for whatever Lesnar was about to do as he climbed the ropes. Had Brock hit this, that move would have been on highlight reels for years to come. Even casual viewers would have to admit they were impressed with the 6’3, 295 pound freak doing a reverse somersault in mid-air. Instead, he barely made contact and drove his head into the mat and Angle’s side. Michael Cole and Tazz tried to cover by saying Angle moved. Lesnar was knocked loopy. The finish of the final match of the evening was screwed, and Angle had to react quickly. However, Lesnar was so out of it, he couldn’t even comprehend what was happening. They managed a quick F5 reversal and win for Lesnar but it was certainly a lackluster finish as opposed to what could have been had Lesnar hit the move.
- The Undertaker’s suicide dive, Wrestlemania XXV. During what will go down as the Undertaker’s best Wrestlemania match ever, The Undertaker was supposed to hit Sim Snuka, dressed as a cameraman, with a suicide dive. However, whether it was the Undertaker’s old knees or Shawn Michael’s position, the Undertaker fell incredibly short. Shawn Michaels was supposed to pull the camera man in front of him to absorb the blow, but they were too far away. The Undertaker crashed head, shoulders and neck first on the concrete. There was legitimate concern that the move would be the end of the match, and possibly the Undertaker’s career.
- Scott Steiner is lucky to be alive, Wrestlemania IX. You know you have a good blunder when the entire match is remembered for this incident. Scott Steiner, who I assume was ready to take a version of the stun gun from the Headshrinkers, almost lost his career and life when Samu and Fatu carried Steiner too far back and dropped him head first from an elevated position inside the ring to the concrete floor. (4:58 into the video)
- Raven goes off course, Wrestlemania XVII. In a hardcore title match against Kane and the Big Show, Raven planned a spot where he would hop in a golf cart to escape the two men, but Big Show would hop on the back at the last minute and start choking him. Raven was supposed to take off with the Big Show in one golf cart and Kane was supposed to grab the referee and take off after them in a second golf cart. The chase was planned to go the length of the Astrodome concourse (per Raven’s shoot interview). However, only mere seconds into the chase, Raven drives the golf cart into a fence, and the wheel gets stuck in a hole between the fence and the floor. Not wanting to blow the spot, Raven tries tugging the golf cart back to continue the chase, and almost gets run over by Kane who is driving right behind them. (Video clip sttarts at 8:50) This would have been an extremely memorable comedy piece in what many call the greatest Wrestlemania since Wrestlemania III.
- Beware of those ring carts, Wrestlemania III and VI. It’s no wonder the WWE doesn’t use ring carts anymore. At Wrestlemania III, Hercules, after successfully busting open Billy Jack Haynes, hops on the ring cart with manager Bobby Heenan and throws his arms up in victory. The driver, who must have had a death wish, started driving causing Hercules to lose his balance and almost fall off the cart, if not for Heenan grabbing him by the arm. Herc, who positively was not working his gimmick, reamed out the driver as he rode to the locker room. (Video clip 13:35 in) That minor incident was nothing compared to what happened after the main event at Wrestlemania VI. Hulk Hogan, who just lost the WWE title and hugged it out with the Ultimate Warrior, was looking on with extreme sadness as the Warrior posed in the ring with the belt Hogan held for a year. As the camera captured the pain in Hogan’s eyes, the ring cart started to move and Hogan was quickly jolted back surprised by the sudden movement. Hogan tried to play it off, but go back and watch that moment and try not to laugh after Hogan is caught off guard.
- Ultimo Dragon, Wrestlemania XX. What more can you say. The guy slipped while running to the ring for his cruiserweight battle royal. They even cut it from the DVD.
- Spousal Abuse, Wrestlemania XVIII. During the Undisputed Championship match, Chris Jericho was accompanied by Triple H’s real life love interest Stephanie McMahon. In the storyline, the relationship turned sour and Stephanie was out for blood. Like her father, the Billion Dollar Princess was not afraid to get involved in the action. When Stephanie climbed the apron and stood on the bottom rope to a distracted Triple H, the way it was supposed to go was Triple H would throw Jericho into Steph’s mid section, and she would flip in the ring. Triple H would grab her for the pedigree and Jericho would come off the top with a missile dropkick to save her. Instead, Steph was knocked clear off the apron and crashed to the floor with Jericho. Triple H tried to save it by dragging Steph in the ring but without the quick pace of the planned spot, the action looked slow and stodgy.
- He hadn’t found Jesus yet, Wrestlemania XI. Shawn Michaels, in the prime of his d-bag phase, was high strung to say the least. Due to the involvement of Lawrence Taylor and various celebrities, there were about 20 photographers at ringside for the event. During his match with Diesel, Shawn takes a back body drop out of the ring and lands on a member of the press. Aggravated by their presence, Shawn no sells his move and begins to drag the photographer by his vest while shouting insults. I am not sure if this guy got an apology when Shawn did his twelve steps, but he should have.
- Mickey Rourke’s phantom punch, Wrestlemania XXV. For months the WWE built the tension between Chris Jericho and Mickey Rourke. Playing off Rourke’s performance in The Wrestler, and his boxing career. Jericho lashed out with insults week after week. When the two finally came face to face after Jericho’s match, the punch Rourke landed was … off center. Jericho looked like he was struck in the back of the head, but no one could really tell. It was a very anti-climactic finish to a hot story. Unfortunately, that is a clip you don’t often see in Wrestlemania video packages.