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Important Note: If something bad was an isolated incident or simply stupid, it was probably a Wall Banger. Merely being offensive in its subject matter is not enough to justify a work as So Bad It's Horrible. Hard as it is to imagine at times, there is a market for all types of deviancy (no matter how small a niche it is). It has to fail to appeal even to that niche to qualify as this. To qualify as Horrible here, it should have actually damaged the business in some way — i.e., hurt a wrestler's drawing value or offended real-life fans to the point that they quit watching.
- At ECW High Incident on October 26, 1996, Raven and his Flock literally crucified the Sandman, complete with barbed wire wrapped around his forehead to act as a "Crown of Thorns". Flock member Stevie Richards later said of the incident that for the first time, the ECW fans were "not saying 'go to hell', they were just... quiet." (It should also be known that, as some members of the Flock were Catholic outside the ring, they were actually worried about being blasphemous). Later in the show, Raven broke character and apologized to the fans who were offended by it; the fact that he was ordered to do so and (to this day) never saw the problem with the act was obvious as he uttered the most insincere apology in wrestling history.
- Kurt Angle, fresh from his gold medal win in the 1996 Olympics, attended this show to set up working a program with Taz; he refused to do it after seeing the Raven-Sandman crucifixion. Angle went so far as to refuse calls from any wrestling promotion for a few years, and he threatened to sue ECW if they aired the footage of him at that show. The footage of the crucifixion and Angle's appearance at the show was revealed for the first time on The Rise and Fall of ECW DVD, which was made well after WWE had bought ECW.
- There's also the infamous "Mass Transit Incident". New England resident Erich Kulas wanted to get a chance to wrestle when another wrestler faced travel issues and had to no-show an event. The problem? Kulas weighed 350 pounds, was seventeen years old, and had no in-ring ability. The solution? Kulas lied to ECW bookers about his age, experience, and schooling background (he said he was trained by Killer Kowalski) -- and even had his father back him up. Kulas, who wore a bus driver's uniform and went under the name "Mass Transit", was thrown headfirst into a hardcore match alongside D-Von Dudley against The Gangstas (New Jack and Mustapha Saed, the former of which is pretty much synonymous with Garbage Wrestling). The lowlight of the match came when New Jack bladed Kulas on the forehead and made him bleed heavily. Either way, he was left in a pool of his own blood. The fallout? New Jack was arrested, ECW's first pay-per-view Barely Legal was cancelled (it was quickly uncancelled after fan outcry), and a civil suit was filed against New Jack well after the event (although the criminal charges were dropped when it was discovered Kulas lied to the bookers and personally asked New Jack to blade him, via audio from the incident). Unrelated to the wrestling, but still somewhat sad, is the fact that Kulas died in 2002 from complications during gastric bypass surgery at the age of 23.
Other Wrestling Shows
- The 1999 PPV Heroes of Wrestling, whose infamous moments include an out-of-shape and highly intoxicated Jake "The Snake" Roberts putting a snake between his legs, and...well, let your imagination run wild. It also featured commentary by Dutch Mantel (before he became a booker for TNA) and a guy named Randy Rosenbloom, who seemed to be completely unfamiliar with pro wrestling. He repeatedly described a dropkick as a "flying leg kick".
- Scott Hall's appearance at a Top Rope Promotions show on April 9, 2011 is probably one of the most upsetting things a wrestling fan could possibly see. It's unknown exactly what was wrong with him, but videos and pictures from the event show him appearing to be completely out of it. Eyewitness accounts described him as looking "like an elderly patient with dementia", unable to hold a pen for his autograph session, and making jokes about the "English" audience in New England. It was so bad that there was a tremendous backlash against the promoters of the show for allowing Hall to appear in the condition he was in.
- A 2012 documentary on Scott Hall's fall from grace revealed he had suffered a violent seizure the night before the event and was under the effects of heavy painkillers to the point where he had no idea where he was. The promoter insisted Hall go on anyways, and the show was a debacle as seen. (Hall suffers from seizures as a side effect of his long-term substance abuse.)
- The American Wrestling Association's last gasp at credibility was the Team Challenge, an interesting idea that was sadly ruined by the overwhelming number of absurd gimmick matches that were booked for it, culminating in a match known as the Turkey On A Pole match...that was won by Jobber Jake "The Milkman" Milliman. The entirety of the show, such as it was, was the three announcers (including Sergeant Slaughter) at a folding table, the ring, and a pink curtain — no crowd whatsoever, not even any crowd noise or music; the promotion made up a silly gimmick about "huge crowds" causing security issues, so the show was moved to a "secret location", but nobody bought it. It was a sad spectacle to behold, and the promotion went out of business not long after. The company's assets were eventually bought by the WWE.
- A special mention goes out to Xtreme Pro Wrestling (XPW), a California-based hardcore wrestling promotion founded by Rob Black and Lizzy Borden, both of whom work in the adult film industry. This page describes XPW in a nutshell.
- Wrestling Society X decided that average wrestling fans weren't physically attractive enough and the sight of them at ringside went against the image that the company was trying to present. The solution? Put the fans in the back row out of the lights and fill the front rows with stereotypically young hip and attractive tweens. The promotion had trouble connecting with fans; treating them like second class citizens in such a manner had a lot to do with that.
- The Global Wrestling Federation (GWF) was seen on ESPN in the early 1990s, and started out as a more "serious" alternative to the eternally cartoony WWF and to WCW, which was heavily treading the sports entertainment waters at the time with characters like P.N. News, Johnny B. Badd, and others. The GWF presented a mix of veterans (Eddie Gilbert, Terry Gordy, Demolition Ax, Stan Lane) with new talent, some of which got their first national exposure in the GWF and went on to become superstars in the major promotions (Patriot, Lightning Kid a.k.a. Sean "X-Pac" Waltman, Scott Anthony a.k.a. Scott "Raven" Levy, Jerry Lynn). They also had a light heavyweight division months before WCW, featured fan comments on a regular basis, and acknowledged the history of the wrestlers. However, as talent became expensive and familiar faces left for greener pastures, the GWF found itself under new managment that stuck mostly with local talent (from Dallas, Texas) and, similar to WCW, focused more on copying the WWF's sports entertainment angles and characters. "Highlights" included:
- The first-ever bungee cord match between Chaz and Steven Dane.
- Territorial wrestler Mike Davis "going crazy" and becoming "Maniac" Mike Davis, a George Steele lite who was "launched into space" before the aforementioned bungee match and came back with a moon rock.
- Rude Dog, an African-American wrestler who acted like a real dog (predating Al Greene's character in WCW by 8 years)
- Joe Castellini, the corrupt commissioner of the GWF (one of the first heel figureheads in wrestling???) who fined Butch Reed for having fire thrown at him by Gen. Skandor Akbar because he was "drunk." He would later be exposed for shady business deals, and would come back portraying a homeless character who did odd jobs to turn his life around.
- The Ebony Experience (later Harlem Heat, Booker T. and Stevie Ray) have a match interrupted by their crying sister, who tells them that their mother is in the hospital and needs surgery. To pay for the procedure, they are forced to join forces with...
- Sebastian, a second-rate knock off of the WWF's Jamison nerd character.
- Gaston B. Means, evil attorney.
- Francis "Crybaby" Buxton, a portly, whiny wrestler, as his name suggests. And yes, that name came from there.
- Announcer David Webb suffers a blow to the head and then thinks he's Elvis Presley, and announces the matches as such.
- Longtime tag team partners John Tatum and Jack Victory end up at odds...over profits from a pizza delivery service they owned together.