Over the years, some championship matches on WWE or WCW programming have stunned the fans. Last week's episode of WWE SmackDown seemingly added another unexpected title match to this list. WWE official Adam Pearce, who hasn’t wrestled in over six years, earned a title match against WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns.
This decision confused many fans. The blue brand is filled with incredible Superstars who could have benefited from a pay-per-view match with Reigns. But this somewhat odd match is just the latest in a long line of bizarre title bouts.
Over the years, wrestling has regularly presented fans with weird combinations of wrestlers competing for top titles. Sometimes, the wrestlers in these title matches have displayed great chemistry together, so they pleasantly surprised the audience. But more often than not, these ideas fell flat on their backs. They often got ridiculed for years to come.
These list features title bouts that left the fans in utter confusion and disbelief. It's also important to dive into the booking decisions that led to these matches. With that being said, here's a look at some of the most unlikely championship matches fans have seen throughout WWE (and WCW) history.
#5 - James Ellsworth vs. AJ Styles - WWE Championship
James Ellsworth had a memorable WWE career because his 2016 run on WWE SmackDown was quite entertaining. Ellsworth had become popular in the wrestling industry, so he was slowly introduced in the feud between Dean Ambrose and AJ Styles. He first appeared as Styles' tag team partner in a match against Ambrose and John Cena. Unfortunately, The Miz took him out before the match started.
Here, Ellsworth surprisingly became a main event player on WWE programming. Styles picked Ellsworth as his opponent in a non-title match, and the underdog picked up the win with a little help from "The Lunatic Fringe." With this victory, Ellsworth earned a WWE Championship Match against Styles.
On paper, it seemed like Styles would squash his opponent. But the match was more competitive than many people expected it to be.
Ellsworth even hit Styles with the No Chin Music during the bout. Ultimately, many fans were stunned when Ellsworth won the match via disqualification. Thankfully, the WWE Universe didn't see Ellsworth win the WWE Championship. But another surprising contender managed to win the title just a few months later.