When the lights are on brightest, WWE usually delivers.
However, that hasn’t always been the case in 2019 with their PPV offerings being some of the worst in memory. So many mistakes, bad decisions and everything in between. Here, I take a look at the biggest booking botch from every WWE PPV this calendar year.
Asuka beating Becky Lynch clean at the Royal Rumble was a strange decision on the night, even more baffling all these months later. I just don’t get what they were going for here. Maybe they were trying to make Asuka look strong, but then they had her drop the title to Charlotte on a throwaway episode of Smackdown anyway. This killed Becky’s momentum and made her look like a loser, especially losing by submission. Becky didn’t need to win, but she couldn’t lose cleanly. She should’ve let her temper get the better of her and get disqualified. Thus, Asuka would’ve remained champion and not lost, and Lynch would have looked a badass with a mean streak heading into the Rumble Match.
We all feared WWE would crap all over the Women’s Tag Division when the belts were created, and that’s exactly what’s happened. The Chamber match at Elimination Chamber 2019 itself was fairly good, and having Sasha Banks & Bayley prevail was definitely the right choice. However, they dropped the belts to The Iiconics just weeks later, and the Tag Titles became an afterthought ever since. They may get some prominence at TLC when Becky Lynch challenges for them, but it will only be fleeting. Truth is, the division should never have been started. It’s been a mess, and now just feels like a joke.
If it were me I’d have had Roman Reigns win the Royal Rumble Match. It would’ve been the ultimate fairytale comeback story. Beating that, the next best thing was to have Roman turn on Seth Rollins for stealing his spot. The stage was set perfectly at Fastlane with the reunion of The Shield to wipe the floor of their rivals. Following the win, Reigns should’ve flattened Rollins, setting up a triple threat to include Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. We would have got a heel Reigns, some sympathy for Rollins, and the perfect homage to the WrestleMania 31 main event. So simple, it’s a shame WWE didn’t go with it.
This could’ve and should’ve been so special, but WWE instead chose to flush Kurt’s illustrious career down the toilet by having Baron Corbin beat him in under six minutes at WrestleMania. Angle deserved so much more. It was crying out for him to have his last battle with John Cena. That would’ve meant something, given Angle one last great WrestleMania moment, as well as giving Cena something worthwhile to do other than rap with Elias. I know WWE wanted to get heat on Corbin, but there were other ways of doing that than sacrificing Kurt’s glittering career.
There was no reason whatsoever to make Brock Lesnar Mr Money In The Bank, but WWE went ahead and did it anyway. This accolade should’ve been saved for Drew McIntyre to finally push him to that main event spot he is seemingly destined for. Instead, the whole concept was just another vehicle to put Lesnar over and get him back in the title hunt. What’s even worse is he wasn’t even scheduled for the match, and only showed up for the last minute or so. Vince McMahon believes Brock is a top draw, and there’s no telling him otherwise. Vince had a chance to create something lasting here and make a new star, but he chose to stick with the tried and tested instead, even though it was the wrong decision.
If Goldberg vs Undertaker happened in the mid-2000s, it would most probably have been a memorable bout. This clash at Super Showdown was memorable too, but for all the wrong reasons. They almost killed each other several times attempting the simplest of moves. Goldberg concussed himself spearing the turnbuckle, and Undertaker looked visibly pissed off throughout. This could all have been fixed by avoiding the match altogether. Just have them defeat some meaningless guys on the roster like Dolph Ziggler and Elias instead. Keep their aura strong, not ruin it completely by putting on this debacle.
Seth Rollins main eventing alongside Baron Corbin at Stomping Grounds began the keyboard warrior fighting WWE’s battles on social media which ultimately turned Rollins heel. It all stemmed from this shambolic main event. It was truly abysmal. An overbooked mess that had fans booing throughout. Thankfully for WWE, there weren’t many fans there otherwise the boos would’ve been even louder. Only 6000 were in attendance, and that was after WWE had given away thousands of tickets in a last-ditch effort to pack the place out. The truth was no one wanted to watch this main event, and the numbers did not lie. Corbin would make a good Intercontinental Champion, but as far as headlining goes, he’s no Beyonce.
WWE wanted to create the ultimate power couple, and who better than real-life pairing Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins, who were also the top dogs in their respective divisions? On paper, it looked a solid idea, but following their mixed tag main event at Extreme Riles, it failed miserably. It had a lot to do with fans souring on Rollins following his social media outbursts, and they also didn’t like the fact that The Man was now Seth’s girlfriend. It cooled Lynch down considerably and she hasn’t really recovered. Perhaps a heel turn will help her in the way it has Rollins.
The fans crapped all over Seth Rollins beating Brock Lesnar again at SummerSlam. Paul Heyman, writing the script, did everything in his power to garner sympathy for Rollins, but it simply did not work. The fans couldn’t care less. He entered the SummerSlam contest with broken ribs, but despite this still managed to slay The Beast in under 15 minutes. It didn’t look heroic, it looked ridiculous and made Lesnar look washed up. This tipped fans over the edge into the camp of firmly being against Rollins. He became everything they hated. He had become John Cena. A simple tweak here would’ve been to pull the trigger on a Rollins heel turn and have AOP interfere, flatten Lesnar and gift wrap the Universal Championship for Seth. Therefore we would have gotten the title off Lesnar, a double switch, and a new version of The Shield.
Seth Rollins is starting to feature prominently here, and for good reason. He’s been involved in an awful lot of rubbish wrestling this past year. One of the worst displays saw him defeat Braun Strowman at Clash Of Champions. This was nothing more than a complete burial of The Monster Among Men as a true main event superstar. Yes, it took several Curb Stomps to eventually pin Strowman, but it was overkill and just cemented Braun as an also-ran. Again, the fans booed Rollins out of the building due to the dire booking. The mistake WWE kept making with Rollins was making him an indestructible guy rather than someone who took immense punishment but refused to quit and always managed to find a way to win. That’s the Seth Rollins we’ve always loved, not this ridiculous superman version.
Seth Rollins vs The Fiend at Hell In A Cell was a shambles. I don’t know what was worse, the red lighting or the booking. Definitely the booking. The Fiend was red hot and looked a dead cert to take the Universal Championship from a stale Seth Rollins, but Vince McMahon had other ideas. Rather than see The Fiend destroy Rollins and become the new champion, we instead witnessed Seth dismantle Bray Wyatt to such a point that the referee was forced to stop the contest. It was a complete joke. The fans stormed out in protest, even chanting “AEW”, things were that bad. Apparently, McMahon admitted he was wrong and was quick to make amends at Crown Jewel, but by then it was too little too late.
I’m not complaining about Tyson Fury defeating Braun Strowman at Crown Jewel, but more towards how the result came about. The celebrity often gets the win in WWE, even Kevin Federline got the w over John Cena. Fury winning was never in question, but it could have been so much better. I know Fury didn’t have long to train, but they still could’ve delivered something more worthwhile. It was so bad and so dull to watch. Fury is such an entertainer in the boxing ring, but he seemingly lost all those skills in WWE. Nothing worked. Poor Braun Strowman has become this generation’s version of The Big Show. He’s just a comedy act that is used to put others over, even if that’s a boxer from the UK that has said some very controversial things in the past. They should’ve used all the bells and whistles to make this one a joy to watch. No effort looked to have been used. It was just another match on a bloated card.
Having the women main event at WrestleMania worked, but at Survivor Series it just felt forced and it didn’t pay off. The WrestleMania main event wasn’t very good either, but it had the element of excitement of a big fight feel which the Survivor Series one did not. Shayna Baszler and Becky Lynch had a well built-in story that had fans intrigued, but the inclusion of Bayley for brand supremacy just felt forced and hurt the bout in the process. It should never have headlined. The show was long and fans were tired, and the women gave them nothing to get excited about. It was such a letdown. They’d have been better suited kicking the show off, so the pressure wasn’t on and they were able to go out there and enjoy themselves. Team NXT should’ve stood tall to end the night instead.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @JK_CFC3. Thanks for reading!