411's Countdown To WrestleMania 22: The Biggest Losers
Posted by Scott Rutherford on 03.20.2006
Winning isn't everything you know.
We all know about the winners at WrestleMania and especially for the main eventers it's reward for a good years work or the start of something bigger in your career. While it's undeniable that these moments stand out in the memories of most fans I want to focus on the other men of the WM win/lose ratio, the men that are willing to take one for the team on the biggest wrestling stage in the world, who put the company before themselves. They are WrestleMania's Greatest Losers.
Now before you think this is some piss take or the beginning of a run of insults towards these men you're wrong. This is a wrestling fan standing up and saluting the men that play the lesser role on the grand stage and rarely get acknowledged. I am here to give them the respect they deserve.
I also want to give due credit for the main source of my facts and figures. Every year Rick Scaia does the excellent Road To WrestleMania over at OnlineOnslaught and part of that is a very informative column about the numbers of WM and contained in that is the losers tally. It saved me a fair bit of research and I encourage you all to check out this year's version (but you must always come to 411 first for your wrestling fix!)
I debated about putting Tito last, a sort of finale with the man who has lost the most at WM but I though no way, this man deserves to be first and take pride (and I do mean pride) of place at the top of this list. Tito was the ULTIMATE team player for the fed during many years of service. He appeared in the first 9 WrestleMania's (although his WM9 match was not televised) and outside of his first match at original WM where he won, Tito saw the lights 8 times in a row.
Far from being a JTTS, Tito was the man Vince approached when he needed the "Next Big Thing" made to look as good as possible on wrestling's biggest stage. A loyal WWF soldier to the end Tito deserves as much credit for his loses as the main eventers do for their wins because they all had to start somewhere and it was men like Santana were there to hold their hands.
WM2 – w/Junk Yard Dog v Dory & Terry Funk: This was before Tito was placed permanently into the undercard in a few years time. He was a freshly dethroned Intercontinental champ and JYD was in a hot feud with the Funks. This tag match turned out to be all kinds of fun with The Funks turning back the clock and JYD bringing his working boots. Terry Funks branding iron was the difference on the night.
WM3 – w/The British Bulldogs v The Hart Foundation & Danny Davis: Tito treaded water for the year between WM2 and WM3 before he was inserted into the mega-hot angle of crooked referee Danny Davis and his attempts at becoming a professional wrestler. This was one of the matches of the night as well and showed Tito unleashing on the former referee that cost him the IC title over a year before. To show that Tito has no luck it was Jimmy Hart and his megaphone that was the tide turner.
WM4 - Strike Force v Demolition: Signified the one and only time Tito held a championship at this time of year. Of course Strike Force lost the title setting off the longest reign for a tag team in WWF history and sowing the seeds for next years match. Marked the third year in a row that a foreign object cost Tito a victory with Mr. Fuji and his cane the culprit this time out.
WM5 – Strike Force v The Brain Busters: Strike Force partner Rick Martel's big comeback from a year long lay-off because of a back injury and the beginning of Tito's role as a stepping stone. Martel turns on Tito leaving him to be eaten alive by The Busters and thus began one of the hottest feuds of that year. The shit kicking Tito took was a thing of beauty.
WM6 – v The Barbarian: This was the beginning of the "put over the new heel" phase that I was talking about. While Barbarian didn't set the world on fire he was given a fine entrance into the singles ranks by Tito bumping like a pinball for him and making him look like a million bucks.
WM7 – v The Mountie: New WM, new heel. This was Jacques Rougeau's turn as he was put over Tito in a 1:20. The irony here is that this is Jacques one and only win at WM in 7 matches himself. This also marked the fourth time a weapon was used to beat Tito and this years model was an electric cattle prod.
WM8 – v Shawn Michaels: This was Shawn's first singles match at WM and Vince gave him the easiest way to look good, wrestle Tito. Some say the match was disappointing considering who was in the ring but he made Shawn look like a star. Job well done. I will point out that at least with this match Tito was allowed to actually work and Shawn got the fluke win instead of Santana getting squashed as in previous years.
I bet allot of you spit out your coffee when you read that name. The man synonymous with avoiding a loss at all costs actually has tasted WM defeat EIGHT times. Sure some of them were part of the tag team The Rockers but the man was a singles wrestler since WM8 and we are fast approaching WM22! You can talk all you want about Shawn the political animal but he has lost some big matches on the largest stage. When looking at the stats you soon notice that out of 8 matches Shawn has had as a singles wrestler at WM he has only won 2 of them. Surprised? I was.
His Losses In Singles Matches…
WM9 v Tatanka: Tatanka was a hot babyface at the time and Shawn was riding his wave towards world title stardom, who was to lose? Turns out Shawn went down by count-out with Tatanka getting a "moral" win. This was to be expected since a pinfall loss was out of the question for both men.
WM10 v Razor Ramon: Yes, this is the famous Ladder Match that really made these two men stars. This was a lesson in how you can lose and still remain over and strong in the eyes of the fans. This match began the legend of Shawn Michael the performer. We will also note that this is two defeats without being pinned.
WM11 v Diesel: Three WM matches in a row and three loses! I will acknowledge this was his first clean pinfall lose of the three but it still is something of a surprise when you look at it. This match was notorious for Shawn not playing the heel role he was suppose to and not long after being turned face. This match was given high praise at the time and voted by many as Match of the Year.
WM14 v Steve Austin: Shawn's back was FUBAR at this point and this was him passing the torch to the white hot Stone Cold. Despite his injuries and obvious discomfort Shawn played his part putting over Steve and helping start the Attitude era in earnest. Also one of the few times he took a clean pinfall loss to lose a title.
WM20 v HHH v Chris Benoit: One of the best matches of the new century and interesting on a few different levels mainly because you had one guy that loses more than he wins and two guys that usually refuse to lose. In a surprise Benoit went the fuck over! Sure HHH tapped out while Shawn was on the floor but they both played their part in making Benoit the star of the night.
WM21 v Kurt Angle: This match was one of the few dream matches the WWE had left and there was plenty of talk about who would lose. In what was one of the matches of the year and the match of the night Shawn took the loss cleanly on the big stage taking him to 2-6 in the win/loss stakes as a singles competitor.
The Big Show
Would you believe that this man has NEVER won a match at WM? Since entering the WWF in 1999 TBS has tasted defeated every trip to the ring during the Super Bowl of Wrestling. I personally would expect the biggest athlete in the WWE to at least have one win but it seems every time out Show is the victim of circumstance or just bad luck. Who knows, maybe this year he will finally get to raise his hand in victory (given the mega-push he has been getting for the past few months) but I somehow think his lot is to always be the loser at this time of year.
WM15 v Mankind: This was Shows first big PPV match about a month after his debut and had the stipulation of the winner being the referee for the main event. That storyline meant Show had to lose so they went the DQ route so Mankind could trouble-shoot the title match and not weaken Show in the formative stages of his push. No doubt they intended for him to win many future matches but life is just strange sometimes…
WM16 v HHH v Mick Foley The Rock: This was the main event and left allot of people scratching their heads. We all knew it was coming down to HHH/Rock and that Foley would be a sentimental favourite which meant that TBS show shafted very early in the match. Many experts termed this as an embarrassment for The Big Show since he was defeated before the ten minute mark. You could almost pinpoint this as the match that he lost true main event status in the WWF.
WM17 v Kane v Raven: A Triple Threat match for the Hardcore Title with Show coming in as champ and was a decent shot at actually winning…guess again. TBS had only just returned with much fanfare and had run riot over the hardcore division and was building up a head of steam. Kane walked away the winner after an entertaining match.
WM18: Show didn't wrestle this night but I do have to mention that he was relegated to being "random wrestling celebrity" at the WWFNY after the fed was unable to come up with anything for him to do.
WM19 w/A-Train v The Undertaker/Nathan Jones: The WWF actually found something for him to do this year and that was being the years "Undertaker jobber". Nuff said.
WM20 v John Cena: TBS was US Champion here and was assigned the task of putting over SmackDown's golden boy. To Shows credit he was working this match injured and put in a fairly decent performance with the green Cena. But he still lost.
WM21 v Akebono: In a bizarre bit of booking the WWE decided to put The Big Show in a match against sumo legend Akebono in a sumo match. There was no chance Akebono was going to lose and once again Show as the victim of circumstance beyond his control as he had been in years past. The Big Show 0-6.
The Dudley Boyz
How can the most decorated tag team of all time in the WWE be in this list? Well, like The Big Show these guys have yet to taste WrestleMania victory and if you're looking for a good reason why I can't help you. More WWE tag team titles than any other and I thought you would find at least one win but alas, it's not to be. You see, even the champions have a tough time come WM.
WM16 v Edge & Christian v The Hardy Boyz This match is justly held as one of the great WM highlights. Three teams in one of wrestling's ultimate gimmick matches. They came into the match as tag champions and left with reputations enhance but a zero in the win column. To be fair this match was all about the spectacle not the winner and was a hell of an introduction to the big stage.
WM17 v Edge & Christian v The Hardy Boyz. Part 2 and the result was exactly the same, right down to the loser. Again this is hard to really make a negative because the match was about the spots and the entertainment but it still went down in the loss column for the Dudley's.
WM18 v APA v Billy & Chuck v Hardy Boyz: Having been the most dominant team of the past year in the WWF the Dudley Boyz were the second team eliminated in the four-way match. I find it disturbing at this point that probably the most over team in the previous five years of WWF history cannot get a victory at WM and what's more, they had to job out to friggin' Billy & Chuck.
WM19 Willy The WorkerRob Van Dam & Kane v Lance Storm & William Regal: This match had controversy for many reasons, chiefly being that the tag team champs of RAW couldn't get a match on the biggest card of the year and the fact that the Dudley's couldn't even get into a pre-show match altogether! They were outside the ring with D-Von and Bubba split as to who should win. While it doesn't count towards there win/loss record it had to hurt these proud men to be left off the main card and then even the pre-show warm-up match.
WM20 v Booker T & Rob Van Dam vs. La Resistance vs. Mark Jindrak & Garrison Cade: While this is a step up on the previous year it still is an affront to tag teams and the title they fight for. Two of these four teams were thrown together for lack of anything better for them to do and this match was made just so 8 guys got a decent payday for the year. Just a sad note to leave the Dudley legacy on with not one single win at Wrestlemania.
2 time tag champion, 2 time IC champion and 5 time heavyweight champion. Hardly sounds like a man who was a six-time WM loser does it but like Shawn Michaels, Bret was the man in the wrong spot on more than a few occasions in tag matches. You can't really say much more about this man than others have already and it's very true that Bret has had more than his share of major WM victories but he has lost his share of matches.
WM2 – Battle Royal: Is there any shame being the second last man in a battle royal? Well when the winner was Andre The Giant and you are a 230lb tag wrestler I think you're doing well. Only relatively new to the WWF this is a nice way for people to get to know Bret Hart.
WM4 – Battle Royal: Bret's bad battle royal karma continues as he's once again deposed by the winner at the last hurdle in a double cross. While you can argue that this lose was the best thing to happen to Bret because he was turned face and The Hart Foundation was given a new lease of life, he still had to taste defeat.
WM7 v The Nasty Boys: I'm noticing a pattern here, Bret seems to never lose twice in a row. This one hurt because it was for the title that the Foundation held and the Nasties walked away with the gold after Jimmy Hart got involved. This marked the start of Bret's singles push and he was IC champion come SummerSlam.
WM9 v Yokozuna: Not only did Bret headline the worst WM of all time he had the ignominy of losing as well. If you are a student of wrestling you know the politics that happened with this show and why he lost but it's hard to let ones losing the world heavyweight title stand without comment.
WM10 v Owen Hart: Talk about being the biggest loser. In one night Bret lost the match of the year to Owen Hart in the curtain jerker and then went on to win the world title back in the main event. The defeat to Owen set up one of the greatest series of matches the WWF had ever seen and the win meant it was for the title. You can't beat that. I guess you can call me seeing a pattern as something of a mis-call now. My bad.
WM12 v Shawn Michaels: Bret was set up to lose this match months in advance but that didn't stop him from going out there and putting on one of the best matches ever and putting over someone who he didn't particularly like in the first place. It was one of Bret's ultimate team defeats and history shows he never fully recovered from this. But I will point out that he had the greatest of all WM matches the next year and he won that one.
O Dustin, you cad. One of the true weird men in the history of the federation, Dustin Rhodes has a perfect record of failure at the time where it counts the most. It's hard to talking about him losing and put it in the same terms as The Big Show because Goldust was never a guy you would expect to walk away a winner. He's had some colourful WM moments. Let's take a look.
WM12 v Rowdy Roddy Piper: This was certainly an…odd debut for the gold one. Storyline-wise he was supposed to be the man from Hollywood and semi-retired Piper had issues with that. So they had a Hollywood Backlot Brawl to settle the score that evolved into an OJ style chase topped off with Dustin being stripped down to bondage gear under his ring attire which meant a tick in the loss column. I have no idea what else to say.
WM13 v Hunter Hearst Helmsely: To show how odd wrestling can be this match, while being the full stop on the HHH/Goldust feud it also was booked to make Hemsleys new female bodyguard Chyna a monster. Literally everything in the match lead up to her getting involved and showing her off as a monster and because of which, HHH started getting over for the first time in his WWF tenure. Weird.
WM14 v Sable & Mark Mero: GD was stuck in the middle of his valet Luna and her fight against the glamorous Sable and this was the woman's war to settle the score. He was almost a sideshow to the woman…fuck that, he was the fourth banana of this bunch and it would not have made much difference if he was there or not.
WM15 v The Road Dogg v Ken Shamrock v Val Venis: This was the heyday of Russo booking and this Intercontinental title match was the perfect distillation on why Russo sucked. I'm not going to go into too much detail but suffice to say this match is bad and the booking doubly so. Goldust had The Blue Meanie and Ryan Shamrock in his corner and the kicker was they both hated each other and wanted his attention all to themselves. Those two fighting caused GD to lose the match and it was the last time Dustin was seen at a WM for three years.
WM18 v Maven: Yes, upon his return Goldie was placed into a match with Tough enough winner Maven and proceeded to lose this Hardcore Title match to Spike Dudley who wasn't even in the bout. It's a pity because Rhodes entered a period where he picked up his game and the effort he put in made him incredibly over in his partnership with Booker T but also his efforts never saw him grace the next WM after being release.
Jacques was a highly entertaining wrestler during the first boom of wrestling whether it was part of the team with his brother, as a singles wrestler (The Mountie) or again as part of the team The Mounties. During his tenure he won the Intercontinental title and the tag team championship but managed to taste defeat in a hefty 6 from 7 matches at Wrestlemania. While it is no great surprise he has this sort of record (after all The Big Show is a two-time world champion and he is batting zero) it goes to show much like Tito Santana who Jacques ironically has his only victory against, the entertainment value of the wrestler can far outweigh something as trivial (and I do mean trivial) as ones winning record.
WM3 v The Dream Team: This would be the Beefcake/Valentine version of the DT and this match was all about introducing the Rougeau Brothers, turning Brutus Beefcake face and setting up the New Dream Team of Dino Bravo and Greg Valentine. Funny then the Jacques and Raymond would lose this match in a scant four minutes, See, even stupid booking happened in '87 kids.
WM4 -20 Man Battle Royal: Due to the heavyweight title tournament on this card most of the rooster was compressed into this one match. They didn't win and that's all you need to know.
WM5 v The Bushwhackers: This would be a sad time for the Rougeau Brothers. They became heels midway through the previous year and were one of the most hated teams in the fed and yet they never got anywhere near the tag team titles. What is more the pity they lost this match to the jobber team of The Bushwhackers. They were not a team by the next years event.
WM8 w/Repo Man, & the Nasty Boys v Jim Duggan, Sgt. Slaughter, Big Bossman & Virgil: Having been the IC champion a scant few months before Jacques (who was now The Mountie) was placed in the ultra-meaningless "get everyone on the card" match which was lost by the heels in around 6 minutes.
WM10 The Mounties v Men on a Mission: Even as a reigning tag team champ Jacques couldn't get any love. No way was the fed going to job the hated heel champs but they also wanted to keep MOM strong incase they wanted to change titles (which they did on a phantom switch around this time). So MOM got a count out win, the champs keep the titles and Jacques goes 1-5.
WM14 Tag Team Battle Royal: After a four year absence Jacques came back as part of the team The Quebecers and really didn't make much impact either way. After a few minutes of non-descript action The Quebecers were eliminated and Jacques soon again was gone from the WWF this time for good.
Love him or hate him, Bradshaw is one of the true wrestling characters in the world today and despite the objections of just about everyone he is one of the longest reigning world champions of the past 10 years. It was a long climb to that mantle of JBL that was littered with a 1-6 record at WM. People seem to forget that before he was the arrogant main eventer he was a loyal jobber for Vince and more than did his share at WM.
WM13 v The Headbangers v The Godwinns v Furnas & LaFon: Quite the auspicious start to his WM career don't you think? This match was for a title shot on the next nights RAW. Suffice to say they never made it that far and in fact, they lasted just under 5 minutes before being part of a double-countout with Furnas and LaFon.
WM14 Tag Team Battle Royal: JBL had been part of the New Blackjacks with has-been Barry Windham who dumped JBL for the greener pastures of Jim Cornet's NWA tribe. SO Bradshaw settled on DOA member Chainz as his partner. That goes about as well as you would imagine.
WM16 Hardcore Battle Royal: This was the heyday of the hardcore title where the 24/7 rule was in effect and the crazy stipulation for this match was it went for 15 minutes with each pinfall on the champ counting as a title reign and whoever was champ at the end was the winner. Chaos would be a good way to describe this match that had roughly 487,987,876,165,978 title changes in it and a botched ending that didn't see JBL get the victory.
WM18 v Billy & Chuck vs. The Dudley Boyz (w/Stacy Keibler) vs. The Hardy Boyz: This was the days of the APA and it was a sad day again for Bradshaw with his team jobbing first at the 3:26 mark. The once popular APA were multiple tag champions and were also fore-runners in the Invasion angle as WWF loyalists but to no avail. JBL was a few years off the main event still.
WM20 v Scotty II Hottie & Rikishi v The World's Greatest Tag Team v The Bashams: This was the last hurrah for the APA as Farooq fired not long after and JBL became champion of the f'n world! Silly match in the "get everyone on the card" tradition that saw them taste defeat without even being pinned.
WM21 v John Cena: One year later and worlds apart. The man that was a non-factor in a meaningless tag match 12 months earlier was headlining one of the biggest shows of the year and giving the responsibility of putting over the man the WWE was hoping to have carry the company for the next year and beyond. In an odd was this defeat last year was the pinnacle of his reign since he had beaten every main eventer thrown at him for the past 10 months and it took the hot new thing to usurped his place.