While 2016 may go down as one of the worst years in the history of humanity, it was a rather strong year for the WWE. There is a logjam of matches fighting for the top 10 bouts of the year (article coming soon) and we’ve seen the rise of quality wrestling being prioritized above star power and looks. However, there will always be flops and while this list is nowhere near as strong as last year’s, here are the top 10 worst pay-per-view matches of 2016. We won’t be including non-title pre-show matches for the sake of not having 10 pre-show matches on this list.
Dishonorable mentions: New Day versus Anderson and Gallows (SummerSlam), Natalya and Becky Lynch versus Charlotte and Dana Brooke (Money in the Bank), New Day versus League of Nations (WrestleMania) and Charlotte versus Natalya (Payback).
- (WrestleMania) The Rock versus Erick Rowan (0:06)
I mean, technically it was a pay-per-view match and so it kind of has to count. After The Rock’s 15 minute entrance and a cool little back and forth promo between him and Bray, we got a dream match between Rock and Rowan that ended immediately with a Rock Bottom. This is exactly what a five hour WrestleMania needed…
- (No Mercy) No DQ Match: Carmella versus Nikki Bella (8:05)
This wasn’t terrible, but there just aren’t 10 standout matches that deserve mudslinging this year. The feud between Carmella and Nikki was an example of how to book a women’s mid-card feud, but unfortunately the culminating match fell short of expectations, failing to capitalize on the stipulation. Also, using an ENTIRE fire extinguisher to set up the finish was kind of awful.
- (Royal Rumble) United States Championship Match: Alberto Del Rio versus Kalisto (11:30)
Again this wasn’t THAT bad, but the match was littered with botches that got Kalisto’s United States Championship run off to a rocky start. This coupled with Del Rio clearly not caring about the match lead to a rather pedestrian affair. Their Fast Lane rematch was excellent, however.
- (Fast Lane) Diva’s Championship Match: Charlotte versus Brie Bella (12:30)
This may have just been a way to give Brie Bella one final title match as a salute to her career, but did we really need to get punished because of it? Charlotte is one of the best female professional wrestlers of all-time, but she certainly struggles working with anyone beneath her talent wise and this is the prime example of that. At 12 minutes long, this was difficult to get through and a fitting way of sending the Divas Championship to the bin.
- (Hell in a Cell) Bayley versus Dana Brooke (6:30)
This one is entirely Dana Brooke’s fault. I refuse to put any blame on the FAR more talented Bayley. Brooke missed the timing on multiple spots and it was clear Bayley needed to slow down multiple times so Dana could keep up. She’s out of her depth and matches like this are probably why we don’t get mid-card feuds on RAW, which sorely needed Paige and Emma at this time.
- (Backlash) Bray Wyatt versus Kane (10:55)
This was one of those matches we’ve seen to death and considering it only happened because Brock Lesnar caved Randy Orton’s head in, it wasn’t exactly a highly anticipated affair. The match itself wasn’t remarkably terrible, but I’ll never get those 11 minutes back and it featured Bray Wyatt taking a loss to a 60-year-old man via a hobbled Orton.
- (Extreme Rules) Women’s Championship Match: Charlotte versus Natalya (9:30)
Remember when Charlotte and Natalya had a match of the year candidate in NXT and the launched the rise of women’s wrestling? Vince McMahon clearly doesn’t. This isn’t the fault of either of the ladies here. They were rushed into an eight minute match before Dana Brooke came out to Ric Flair’s music to end the match. We got this crap instead of just letting these two wrestle, because we can’t have nice things. They didn’t even get a proper rematch!
- (Fast Lane) Big Show, Kane and Ryback versus The Wyatt Family (10:37)
Fast Lane is quickly building a reputation as an absolute stinker of a pay-per-view and this is partially why. The Wyatt Family, who aren’t even on the WrestleMania card, will surely get a nice win over these three big men just to give them some steam going forward? Nope! Instead, the quintessential Vince McMahon trio went over clean, defeating Harper, Rowan and Strowman while Bray watched on. The match itself was awful and the finish just left everyone exasperated.
- (Fast Lane) R-Truth versus Curtis Axel (2:23)
Yes, this actually happened. Don’t you remember the feud? Of course you don’t, because there wasn’t one. This bout was lodged in as (probably) the piss break match before the main-event of the show. It wasn’t advertised on the card beforehand and existed as a means of slowly getting Truth and Goldust together… because that proved worth the six months of build-up. Axel won after interference from Adam Rose, Heath Slater and Goldust – in case you were wondering or cared.
- (Extreme Rules) Asylum Match: Dean Ambrose versus Chris Jericho (26:21)
No match caused as much pain in 2016 as this one. Where do we even begin? Steel cage matches are incredibly difficult to make interesting as it is, but this one featured weapons! Among the foreign objects were a mop, a straitjacket and a non-Mitch potted plant. This boring affair went for 26 long minutes and built up to the finish featuring thumbtacks which was the first hardcore thing to appear in the half-hour bout. Slow pacing coupled with the ridiculous match length flattened the crowd out almost immediately. I think it’s fair to say we won’t be seeing this stipulation any time in the near future… or ever again.