WWE News: Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 33 voted Worst Wrestling Match of 2017
What’s the story?
2017 was a year of ups and downs in wrestling, as seen with a large number of bad matches that took place throughout the calendar year. Although many of them were downright embarrassing and others simply failed to live up to the hype, there was one match that was so bad and so disappointing that the Wrestling Observer Newsletter subscribers voted it the Worst Match of the Year.
That award goes to the match between Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton at WWE WrestleMania 33
In case you didn’t know…
Just as there is usually a scale of 0 to 5 for good matches, there is a negative scale as well for exceptionally bad matches. The award for Worst Match of the Year is usually reserved for that one match that either gets built up so much and fails to deliver or one that is simply so full of botches and poor execution that its performers end up looking like amateurs instead of like professionals.
Some previous matches to win this ‘award’ won it because the match itself was boring and simply failed to live up to all the hype and promotion.
The matches in this category include John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt (Steel Cage match at Extreme Rules 2014), John Cena vs. Jon Laurinaitis at Over the Limit 2012, Triple H vs. Scott Steiner at Royal Rumble 2003, and Hulk Hogan vs. The Warrior at Halloween Havoc 1998.
Then there are the matches that were bad because of the inexperience and poor judgment of the wrestlers when the match took place.
Examples of these include Sting vs. Jeff Hardy at Victory road 2011, Bradshaw & Trish Stratus vs. Jackie Gayda & Christopher Nowinski, Jenna Morasca vs. Sharmell, Rebel vs. Shelly Martinez and the women’s elimination match at Survivor Series 2013.
The 2017 winner falls into the first category, i.e. a match that was heavily promoted but ended up being such an underwhelming match that the audience couldn’t help but groan collectively at the sight of it.
The heart of the matter
Of the top five matches voted worst of the year, four of them were WWE matches. And of these four, poor Randy Orton was involved in three of them. Not only was his dreadful WrestleMania 33 match with Wyatt the winner, but their rematch in the ‘House of Horrors’ match was #2, and his Punjabi Prison match with Jinder Mahal was at number five.
The other WWE match that rounds up the top five was that abysmal Kendo Stick on a Pole match between Bayley and Alexa Bliss that effectively killed the former’s character dead in her tracks.
Randy Orton recently defeated Bobby Roode to win the WWE United States Championship, effectively becoming a Grand Slam Champion in WWE. After retaining that title in a rematch against Roode recently, Orton was attacked by – of all people- Jinder Mahal, with whom it appears Orton will be feuding going into WrestleMania.
Wyatt, meanwhile, has been stuck in booking Hell (not even purgatory, because at least that implies the possibility of upward mobility) for most of 2017, and has most recently found himself in a feud with ‘Woken’ Matt Hardy.
The two of them are reported to have finished filming WWE’s version of ‘The Final Deletion’, which they are calling ‘Ultimate Deletion’, in the hopes of recreating the success Hardy had when he put the original wacky show together while in TNA in 2016. As for what Bray has planned for WrestleMania 34, that has yet to be determined.
The Wyatt-Orton match at WrestleMania 34 absolutely deserves this award, even if the House of Horrors match actually got a lower rating by the Observer. While the House of Horrors match was expected to be an overbooked mess, fans were hoping for a good match between these two men to represent the SmackDown main event.
What we got instead was ten minutes of utter nonsense. The most memorable (I use that term loosely here) parts of the match were when the camera panned out to show images of insects, maggots and the like appearing as images on the ring canvas.
These special scenes were apparently supposed to act as mind games against Orton, but ended up having little influence on the match, if any. Despite these gimmicks, Orton won clean with an RKO, effectively killing Bray’s main event push before it could even gain any momentum.
Keep in mind that Bray’s WWE title win at Elimination Chamber 2017 was met with roaring approval from many people. The feeling was that, despite so many struggles, this WWE Championship win would be the start of something special for the up-and-coming star that Wyatt was.
So when so much hype went into Bray’s match with Orton at WrestleMania 33, fans were expecting a big match to go with it. Instead, this match felt hokey, underwhelming, and utterly nonsensical. It damaged Bray horribly, and Randy’s victory ended up being hollow as he lost the belt to a man who, on the same show, got punked by a fan in Rob Gronkowski.
In this case, the Wrestling Observer and its voting members were 100% on point with their collective voting decision.