Throughout its history, the PPV has been a staple of WWE. Beginning with WrestleMania 1 way back in 1985 the company have gone on to hold over 300 PPVs and not all of them have been a success.
For every WrestleMania 10 there is a WrestleMania 9, for every King of the Ring 1998 there is King of the Ring 1999 and so forth.
We have listed the 10 worst WWE PPVs using the wealth of wrestling data that is Cagematch.net. The website is one of the internet’s most in-depth and informative wrestling databases on the web. A wealth of wrestling information including fan votes and ranking lays within.
Here are 10 of the worst WWE PPVs of all time according to Cagematch.net.
10. In Your House: The Great White North – 1995
1995 was not the best year for WWE. Severely lacking in star power the promotion suffered one of its worse years at the box office. The previous year saw Live attendance and PPV buys take a hit but in 95 they were in a constant downward spiral.
The In Your House concept was introduced to combat this lack of revenue. The idea was to hold shorter and cheaper monthly PPVs during the space in between the “big four”. The new format began on May 14th, 1995 and was a long way off becoming the much-loved event it would end up to be.
Heading into the PPV things were against WWE. Shawn Michaels was attacked and badly beaten outside a bar in Syracuse. The injuries sustained took him out of action and thus he vacated the Intercontinental Championship, throwing plans into disarray.
To make matters worse the newly crowned King of the Ring, King Mabel broke The Undertaker’s orbital bone with a botched leg drop ruling him of in-ring competition for the show.
Held in Canada, one would expect Bret Hart to be featured heavily, not just because he is a national hero, but he was also heading into a rivalry with Diesel. However, Hart was only used on commentary during the main event before getting involved in the post-match melee.
The event is a tough watch due to the plodding pace of the action in the ring. It started off slow and never got into another gear.
Yokozuna vs King Mabel is the only memorable match on the card because of its woeful content while the main event between Diesel and the British Bulldog is a dull affair in front of a completely uninterested crowd.
So bad was the ending of the PPV Vince McMahon was reportedly so disgusted that stormed away from the commentary table muttering the words “horrible”.
Cagematch rating – 2.90.
9. Great American Bash – 2004
In 2004 WWE revived the old WCW PPV Great American Bash, but unfortunately a success it was not. Despite featuring two great matches the show was a major letdown during a lacklustre period for the promotion.
WWE was in a similar situation it was in a decade earlier. The gap left by the Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin was filled briefly by Brock Lesnar, who walked out along with Goldberg at WrestleMania XX.
At the time WWE ran brand-specific PPVs and this show was exclusive to SmackDown and it was clear that the blue brand was suffering from a lack of star power.
The show is so poor that not even Rey Mysterio winning the Cruiserweight Championship from Chavo Guerrero in an excellent encounter and JBL beating Eddie Guerrero for the WWE Heavyweight title in Bull Rope Match could save this weak outing.
The reason for torrid reviews and ratings for the event is the rest of what transpired on either side of these matchups.
Three of the undercard matches featured some of WWE’s biggest flops. Mordecai, Kenzo Suzuki and Luther Reigns were all in action on the PPV, which certainly doesn’t help the fan enjoyment.
Torrie Wilson vs Sable was another low point of the event and shows us just how far women’s wrestling in WWE has come since this era.
The main event of the event saw The Undertaker facing the Dudley Boyz in a Two-On-One Handicapped Concrete Crypt Match. The match had Paul Bearer’s life on the line because if ‘Taker won he would be drowned in a glass crypt of cement.
Not one for being told what to do, the Undertaker destroyed the Dudley Boyz, while cement began to surround his manager. The Deadman then headed to save Bearer from his plight, but much to the confusion of the crowd, flicked the switch to engulf him further, essentially committing murder on live PPV.
This bizarre finish was far from a fulfilling conclusion and left the audience fleeing flat and (forgive the pun) dead.
Cagematch rating: 2.85
8. WrestleMania II: What The World Is Coming To – 1986
WrestleMania I was a huge success, however its successor, not so much. The event was an ambitious affair as the show broadcasted from three separate locations – the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in New York; the Rosemont Horizon in Illinois; and the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in California.
Each venue had its own crowd, who witnessed an hour of action from its individual match card and a main event. Once their portion of the extravaganza was over they watched the rest on giant movie screens. This decision to run one event in three different cities is highly criticized then, now, forever.
The performers involved in the event reads like a who’s who of wrestling legends. WWE Hall of Famers Paul Orndorff, Macho Man Randy Savage, Jake Roberts, Roddy Piper, Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan and many more.
Although the Cagematch rate is aimed at the first hour hailing from New York, the other two parts don’t fare too well in the reviews and rating either.
Only three out of the twelve matches presented are worth checking out, but maybe make it four and add Piper vs Mr T Boxing Match just to see how band it truly is.
The final segment of the show saves the event somewhat mainly due to how incredibly over Hulk Hogan was in this era. Despite the Steel Cage match with King Kong Bundy being a slow and plodding affair, everything Hogan did was met roars of excitement from the crowd.
However, even the Hulkster at the peak of his powers couldn’t bring this lengthy, disappointing and disjointed PPV.
Cagematch rating: 2.31
7. Battleground – 2017
For those who don’t remember, this PPV took place during the WWE Championship reign of Jinder Mahal and was headlined by Mahal vs Randy Orton in a Punjabi Prison Match.
Earlier in the year, WWE out of nowhere crowned the recently returned Mahal as WWE Champion. The move received instant backlash due to the lack of build, in which he went from lower mid-carder to champion without any real merit.
After defeating Orton for the title at Money In The Bank the two were locked in a lacklustre feud over the title that led to one of WWE’s worst gimmick matches.
The Punjabi Prison match is notoriously bad due to the structure itself hampering visibility of the action inside, therefore fan interest is pretty much non-existent.
Although the main event is often blamed for the poor reception to the PPV, the rest of the show isn’t much better. New Day and The Uso’s kick things off with a great outing but is all downhill from there. Shinsuke Nakamura vs Baron Corbin does nothing to elevate the event or the crowd and the women’s Number One Contender Five-Way Elimination Match is rather messy.
Even Kevin Owens and AJ Styles failed to get going and resulted in a disappointing match that should’ve been a show-stealer. More surprisingly John Cena vs Rusev in Flag Match lacked excitement and failed to live long in the memory.
Despite the undercard not delivering it is the final image of the Great Khali holding a championship that isn’t his above his head sums the entire PPV up perfectly.
Cagematch rating: 2:25
6. Fastlane – 2017
The PPV in-between Royal Rumble and WrestleMania is never that great and 2017’s Fastlane is proof of that, especially with how the show ended.
The show centred around the Universal Championship clash between Kevin Owens and Goldberg. But the rest of the card despite some good to great action presented fans with a myriad of odd and questionable booking decisions.
Braun Strowman, who was on the huge monster run of his career suffered his first major loss at the hands of Roman Reigns. Charlotte Flair, who was undefeated in eighteen PPVs lost to Bayley, in what is essentially a secondary or even third-rate event.
Then we get to the involvement of Goldberg. He returned to WWE earlier in the year in conjunction with the 2K18 video game and (somewhat) anticipated rematch with Brock Lesnar.
WWE is often knocked for allowing part-timers to just roll in around WrestleMania time, collect a big pay-day and leave. That is exactly what happens whenever Goldberg returns, but he usually wins the title too. That is what transpired on the PPV when he challenged Kevin Owens for the Universal Championship.
As soon as the match was booked it was clear that is what was going to happen. However, there was a modicum of belief that WWE heard the fan negativity and wouldn’t feed Owens to the former WCW man.
Owens was a popular champion. He had a run of great matches with WWE’s finest Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns but it was friendship with Chris Jericho that was a vital part of his reign. But all that didn’t matter because Goldberg was back and whenever he returns he is inserted into championship contention regardless of who is wearing it.
Goldberg bulldozed Owens in the main event that lasted only twenty seconds. The result and the manner in which it happened, left the audience unhappy, to say the least.
Cagematch rating: 2.23
5. Super ShowDown – 2019
A Goldberg shaped theme is beginning to form on this list. It seems whenever he appears on the show, the lower the rating.
The Saudi Arabia shows will always be looked upon in a negative light due to the multitude of controversies in the country. Plus the shows themselves are nothing more than glorified house shows with no real storylines leading into the matches nor do they have any consequences coming out.
In 2018, WWE announced they would be hosting several WrestleMania style events in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as part of a 10-year project with the Saudi General Sports Authority. This event was the third in a long line of WWE PPVs in the country.
The card was filled with outings that garnered little to no interest. Seth Rollins vs Baron Corbin for the Universal Championship was passable, Shane McMahon vs Roman Reigns was missable and the 50-man Battle Royal was a confusing mess.
The only match that had any gusto to it was Finn Balor vs Andrade for the Intercontinental Championship, but couldn’t do anything to lift the show out of the doldrums.
This show is notorious for the disastrous main event that featured The Undertaker facing Goldberg for the first time in WWE history. The bout was a botch-filled atrocity littered with mishaps and unsafe spots.
The headliner heaped more dirt on what was already sluggish and uninspired event and one that was voted the worst major wrestling show of 2019 in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards.
Cagematch rating: 1.59
4. ECW December to Dismember – 2006
A show so bad that it ended ECW’s brand-specific PPVs, resulted in Paul Heyman’s departure from WWE and ECW originals Tommy Dreamer and Stevie Richards requested their release from the company the very next day.
WWE re-launched the ECW brand in 2006 after a successful One Night Only PPV the previous year, however, it was a pale imitation of the renegade promotion that changed the professional wrestling landscape years earlier.
The new version of ECW debuted on SyFy and featured original acts such as RVD, Sabu, and The Sandman mixing it up with WWE performers like the Big Show, Kurt Angle and Bobby Lashley. It was clear from the outset that this was not the ECW of old and was instantly criticized due to the watered-down and over-produced nature of the much-loved brand.
Things did not improve by the time the brand’s first and ultimately its last, PPV came around. The event centred around an Elimination Chamber Match for the ECW World Championship. Apart from the main event, no other match was announced beforehand leading to very little buzz surrounding the show.
Despite the lack of interest, the PPV began with a bang as the Hardy Boyz met MNM in a fun and entertaining match. Everything else that followed would contribute to PPV’s rotten reputation.
The second fans saw Sabu lying unconscious backstage the fans were booing and chanting “Bullshit” as they realised the brand’s favourite madman was being written out of the main event. Hardcore Holly replaced Sabu in the match leaving only one man, RVD in the bout with any ECW credentials.
Another participant in the match who held non-WWE kudos and therefore fan support was CM Punk who was coming up through the ranks and if Heyman had his wish, was to be crowned champion in the chamber. Heyman’s insistence on Punk going over caused a huge power struggle with Vince McMahon, who won and had Lashley win the championship instead.
As Lashley stood with the title above his head the live audience chanted for refunds as well as for TNA while the PPV and any hope of ECW being a success faded to black.
Cagematch rating: 1.46
3. King Of The Ring – 1995
Known as the worst King of the King of all time and for very good reason. 1995 saw man-mountain Mabel join the likes of Harley Race, Ted Dibiase, Bret and Owen Hart crowned WWE King of the Ring.
As mentioned at the top of the list 95 was a torrid year for WWE. A severe lack of stars created a fall in tickets sales and PPV buys, which left Vince McMahon desperately looking for his next superstar to lift the promotion out of its rut.
Diesel was given the title and promoted as the face of the company, but popularity continued to wane. The Undertaker was battling a series of injuries and Shawn Michaels was proving to be a constant liability.
One glance at the tournament bracket proves just how starved for big names WWE was during this period. Yokozuna, Michaels and ‘Taker were all eliminated in their first match leaving Mabel, Roadie and Savio Vega fighting for the crown.
McMahon surprisingly turned to Mabel. A perpetual mid-carder with only three years of wrestling experience, but he was big and one thing McMahon likes is big guys. So he put the WWE machine behind Mabel in a move that would go down in infamy as one of his worst.
The fans rejected Mabel as the company’s top heel instantly. Boos, jeers and chants for ECW rained down upon him in his coronation just as they had during his matches.
In Mabel’s defence, his matches weren’t the only ones that bombed, even Bret Hart failed to deliver on the night too. The Excellence of Execution took on Jerry The King Lawler in a Kiss My Foot Match, which was more about Lawler’s stinky feet than it was wrestling
Cagematch rating: 1.30
2. Crown Jewel – 2018
WWE’s shows in Saudi Arabia are bad but this was on another level because 2018’s edition of Crown Jewel was the one with a bald Shawn Michaels, Triple H tearing his pec and Kane’s mask falling off, all in the same match. However, the negativity surrounding this show began way before the bell rang.
It was a PPV no one wanted to happen and judging by what happened both in and out of the ring it never should have.
WWE came under fire for running a show in Saudi Arabia in the first place, due to the country’s record on human and women’s rights, as well as the then-recent assassination of Jamal Khashoggi. As the world reeled from the news WWE was urged to sever ties with the country but continued to promote the show, with all references to Saudi Arabia removed.
Despite the torrent of controversy and John Cena and Daniel Bryan boycotting the show, it went ahead as planned with WWE stating contractual obligations with the General Sports Authority.
The doomed show featured the return of Hulk Hogan, a D-X and Brothers of Destruction reunion, the first-ever WWE World Cup and a Universal Championship match, all of which received awful reactions.
There were some highlights in the ring mostly from the World Cup Tournament matches but all that was ruined in the finals. Shane McMahon inserted himself into the match and ultimately won the tournament. It was a decision that made all of the wrestlers who were fighting to be the best of the world earlier in the night look like total chumps.
WWE seemed content in making everyone look like chumps throughout the night. Brock Lesnar demolished Braun Strowman in a matter of minutes, while Shawn Michaels came out of retirement to compete in what is widely referred to as the worst match in WWE history.
Cagematch rating: 1.01
1. Super ShowDown – 2020
The Goldberg curse strikes again!
Back in 2020, WWE headed back over to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for another one of their super shows and continued their bad habit of running bad shows. But according to Cagematch ratings, this trip to the kingdom is so bad it is the worst WWE PPV of all time!
Like all of the Saudi shows that came before it, Super Showdown featured a host of rehashed matches take Roman Reigns vs Baron Corbin, who clashed for what felt like the hundredth time and meaningless bouts such as Ricochet’s decimation at the hands of Brock Lesnar.
In fact, the Universal title match between Lesnar and Ricochet lasted only ninety seconds and was so damaging to the former his status in the company remains shattered seemingly beyond repair.
Unfortunately, Ricochet wasn’t the only one to suffer a career-ending defeat at the hands of a part-timer on this show, which is one of the main reasons for the backlash.
Bray Wyatt’s multi-layered creation, The Feind was the hottest act in wrestling. A personification of Wyatt’s fractured psyche, the horror movie-inspired nightmare character gripped the imagination of wrestling fans worldwide.
The character was so popular WWE fast-tracked him to the title at the expense of Seth Rollins, who was the face of the company after vanquishing Lesnar at WrestleMania 35. Then in an unfortunate twist of fate, the same happened to the Fiend.
Goldberg returned a few weeks earlier and as per usual was inserted into the title picture. Wyatt accepted his challenge much to the detriment of his character. Until the Goldberg feud, The Fiend was one of the most feared performers on the roster after stalking and destroying many victims. But the former WCW star, Goldberg just plain no-sold it causing all of the mythos and intrigue WWE had built around the Fiend to disappear in one bad promo followed by an ill-conceived and awful match between the two.
Goldberg ran through the indestructible Fiend with ease in a match that lasted mere minutes but an impact that will last years.
Cagematch rating: 0.79