The Inaugural Wrestling Shame "Hall of Shame"

Over the past few weeks, I've been debating writing a piece about the WWE Hall of Fame. Originally, I was going to write about how certain figures deserve to be the Hall, but then I figured "well, everyone is going to do that." Then I thought about writing a piece that would argue how the WWE Hall of Fame could be more legitimate.

Then it hit me: why are we so concerned with the WWE Hall of Fame here at Wrestling Shame.

We need a Hall of Shame.

So Rick and I proudly (shamefully) present our inaugural class of the Wrestling Shame Hall of Shame. The honorees will receive nothing, which actually isn't that much less than WWE Hall of Famers receive when you think about it.

We have several categories: Shameful Booking, Shameful Wrestler, Shameful Match, Shameful Legacy Match, Shameful Entrance Music, Shameful Fan, Shameful Promo, and Shameful Debut.

I also added a Shamefully Wonderful Match because, well, it's our Hall of Shame.

Shameful Booking: The Invasion

A little history here. Rick and I started this site because we were obsessed with re-booking the Invasion angle from 2001. You can read our pieces attempting to do so still here (Rebooking Page) but I think it became apparent to both of us that trying to rework this angle is next to impossible.

A lot of print has been dedicated to the failure of this, which should have been the biggest money-making angle in professional history, but if you're unfamiliar, it basically boils down to two things: the WWE had lost a considerable amount of money on the XFL and couldn't afford to bring in a lot of the more expensive WCW contracts; at the same time, the WWE booked the angle into essentially becoming a battle of the McMahon family and Stone Cold versus the Rock.

And there's also this:

Also, as a scholar of the 1930s, I'm really offended that they used FDR in their promos for this.

There are a lot of angles that are deserving of induction into the Hall of Shame (I suspect the Summer of Punk will be the next inductee), but honestly there is not a shameful angle more deserving of induction into our Hall than this.

Shameful Wrestler: Buff Bagwell

To be fair, we don't believe that Bagwell is the worst wrestler of all time. But to be blunt, I can't think of a wrestler who somehow managed to combine hokey, annoying, and arrogant so completely. On the one hand, I suppose that could be the mark of a good heel, but on the other, I think it just doesn't work at all.

Let's be honest here: if you were trying to get someone to understand professional wrestling, would you show them a Buff Bagwell match? No, you'd show them Randy Savage, Chris Jericho, John Cena, CM Punk --- hell, you'd show them Jerry Lawler versus Andy Kaufmann before you'd show them a Buff Bagwell match.

I mean watch this entrance:

There are so many shameful crimes on display here: beating Chris Jericho, the 3rd generation NWO song, the posing. But again, does any of this make you hate Bagwell as a heel? No, you end up feeling sorry for the guy because you end up thinking "this guy has no idea how to be bad or be arrogant or sexually confident." I think we all had that friend in college who believed in his heart of hearts he was "the ladies man," but in actuality, he never got the courage to talk to a woman; that's who I think of when I see Bagwell.

True story: I, along with friend of the site Ron Felten, saw Bagwell perform at an indy show in Milwaukee three years ago. He got to the show late, and came through the main entrance of Turner Hall Ballroom, dragging his rolling-luggage behind him. I don't remember anything about his match, but the sight of this man looking as confused as a dude at an airport on his 3rd layover of the day will remain with me for the rest of my life.

Also this:

Shameful Match: Lesnar and Goldberg, Wrestlemania XX

Perhaps the most topical entry in the inaugural Hall of Shame is our first entry for Shameful Match given that we will see a re-re-re-match of these two men at Wrestlemania. But perhaps their most infamous / famous contest occurred at Wrestlemaina XX when everything that could go wrong, went wrong.

For starters, the crowd at Madison Square Garden was keenly aware that this would be the last match (at least for the foreseeable future) for both men: Goldberg's contract was expiring and Lesnar was leaving the WWE to try out with the Minnesota Vikings. And from the crowd let everyone know they were pissed, booing the living daylights out of both men, chanting "this match sucks," "we want Bret," and "you sold out." And as Rick wrote in his overview of Goldberg's first run with the WWE, neither man appeared to even want to be in this match. Heck, they almost had to be coaxed into fighting each other in the ring in the first place as they stared each other down for....*checks watch*...43 minutes?

Also, Stone Cold was wearing a Confederate flag-skull logo on his tshirt. Come on Steve. You're better than that.

As Austin recently said in an interview, people were expecting a "knock-down, drag-out fight" between the two men, but, given a range of circumstances, that did not happen here. And it's a really tough match to watch for all these reasons.

Shamefully Wonderful Match: Shawn Michaels and Hulk Hogan, SummerSlam 2005: 

To be honest, we've been thinking of a way to discuss this match since we started the site. But in our mind, this is one of the most shameful -- and yet amazing -- matches in professional wrestling history.

To the unfamiliar, David Dennis Jr. provides some larger context to this match at Uproxx, but in short Shawn Michaels was miffed at Hogan backing off the original plan for the two men, and decided to over-sell everything in this match. Dolph Ziggler can only dream of achieving such over-selling perfection.

While the entire match is on the Network, you really only need to see Michaels's overselling highlights to appreciate the shameful artistry:

To be honest, this isn't nearly as shameful a match as Lesnar / Goldberg, but it's still pretty great. Also, I wrote all of this before Rick suggested Lesnar / Goldberg, and I didn't feel like deleting any of this.

Legacy Shameful Match: The Shark Cage Match Between Chief Jay Strongbow and "Bulldog" Bob Kent

There's a long tradition in professional wrestling of "shark cage" matches where a tag-team partner or manager of one wrestler is suspended above the ring in a shark cage (Chris Jericho at the last Royal Rumble is the most recent example.)

But in the 1975, Big Time Wrestling in Detroit offered fans an actual shark cage match where Chief Jay Strongbow and "Bulldog" Bob Kent actually fought in a shark cage in the middle of ring.

Let's just say this doesn't work.

I've honestly watched this match three times and I'm still trying to figure out if the crowd is reacting to the "drama" of one man very, very, very slowly trying to exit the cage, the "thrill" of watching the referee try and hold the cage together, or if they are legitimately booing this match.

Shameful Entrance Music: X-Factor

Originally, I suggested the theme for the American Males or any number of WCW theme songs. But two things occurred to me: first, I realized we would need to dedicate an entire wing of Hall of Shame to WCW themes; second, Rick reminded me about the theme song for X-Factor.

As Rick pointed out to me in an email, "The best part is when the song says 'I know you hate that fact' and they play 'X-FACTOR' on top so it sounds like 'I know you hate X-FACTOR.'" 

We do indeed. We do indeed. 

Shameful Fan: This Kid

I love this kid.

This is me after watching most WWE shows. Hell, this is me on a daily basis. 

Shameful Promo: Sid Vicious's Body of Work

I think the best way to describe Sid Vicious or Sid Justice or Psycho Sid's promos is to imagine if Ernest Hemingway got really drunk, lifted weights, and forgot how to talk. That's maybe a bit unfair to Sid, but despite his dangerous persona, even the most vocal Sid supporter has to admit his impact was hampered by those promos.

Consider what we simply call "the bees promo."

Or his declaration that he is, indeed, a "fuel-injected suicide machine."

Or who can forget the "half a man / half a brain" promo.

But there have been times where Sid has tried his damnedest to save a segment. Which brings us to our final category.

Shameful Entrance or Debut: The Shockmaster

I would say this clip is the Ty Cobb of the Hall of Shame. Others might say "Oh the Goobledy Gooker had a better career" or that "David Arquette actually won a championship," but there is no wrestling moment in history that is more emblematic of everything we try to do here than this.

Honestly, ask yourselves this: what DOESN'T this clip have? Crappy 1990s Sting? A probably drunk Ric Flair? A confused Booker T? A befuddled and cursing British Bulldog? And the voice: good lord, the voice. And the costume, especially the sparkly Stromtrooper helmet.

But an underrated element of this clip is Sid's determination to try and make this work. God damn he sells his rage here, but you see a moment on his face where he realizes "man, this won't work."

When I die, I want this played at my funeral on a loop.

That's it for the Inaugural Wrestling Shame Hall of Shame class. You all worked very hard at being shameful, and we shamefully owe a debt of gratitude to you all!

If you have a nominee for the Wrestling Shame Hall of Shame, email us at @[email protected]. State your case for your nominee's inclusion in our Hall of Shame, and if we use your work, you'll get credit and some sort of prize!

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