Gooker 2020 – Vote for the Very Worst in Wrestling!

109 Submitted by on Thu, 07 January 2021, 19:57

There’s no need to recap why 2020 was such a messed-up year, and there was certainly enough awful stuff happening off-screen that could qualify as “the worst in wrestling”. This past year was no doubt the strangest in wrestling history, with wrestling promotions having to figure out ways to run shows without a live audience.

Some of their ideas were innovative.

Others were just dull.

And at least ten were worthy of taking home this year’s Gooker Award. 

Eye for an Eye

A basic rule for wrestling promoters is never to promise something you can’t deliver. It was therefore a major unforced error for WWE to build Rey Mysterio and Seth Rollins’s feud around a match that could only end when one man lost an eyeball, which no one believed for a second would actually happen. In the end, it was Rey-Rey who lost his eye, which WWE’s effects department simulated with state-of-the-art technology: a googly eye. Doctors were later able to pop his peeper back in its socket.

Gronk

When WWE signed former football great and giant goofball Rob Gronkowski, it made news on sports outlets around the country – even ones WWE didn’t leak it to! His first duty in the company was to serve the dubious role of “host” of the first-ever Wrestlemania with no live audience. Two months later, he ditched his WWE gig to return to the NFL. Despite the massive hype, Gronk’s run will be remembered solely for winning the 24/7 title and for making an elderly Vince McMahon jump off a balcony.

Jeff Hardy, drunk driver

In perhaps WWE’s most tasteless angle since the time in 2008 when Jeff Hardy was found unconscious, Jeff Hardy was found unconscious… again. This time, he was in a parking lot reeking of alcohol, having apparently run over Elias. This led to months of accusations from Sheamus, who mocked Jeff Hardy’s real-life history of alcohol abuse and DUI charges, culminating in a match held in a bar. Along the way, Jeff splashed his own piss in Sheamus’s face in a scene lifted verbatim from 2006.

Lana vs. Tables

After inexplicably transforming into the most self-centered, one-dimensional character imaginable (for which she nearly won last year’s Gooker Award), it was time for Lana to turn babyface and become a huge star. That meant playing up her lack of wrestling skill, winning a Survivor Series match by default, and being put through the announce table every single week for months by Nia Jax. The pay-off? A fluke win by Lana on Raw, followed by yet another table bump.

Matt Hardy vs. Sammy Guevara

In what may be a WrestleCrap first, two brothers are each nominated for the Gooker Award, with both Hardy Boys up for the honor this year. The most cursed feud of 2020 saw Matt Hardy and Sammy Guevara take turns bleeding buckets from errant chair shots. The program “peaked” with a last man standing match, where Matt Hardy fell ten feet and bounced his head off concrete, knocking him out. As if the situation weren’t bad enough, Hardy had vowed to leave AEW forever if he lost, leading to one of the most suspect medical decisions in wrestling history as Matt Hardy was allowed to finish the match.

Money in the Bank

How could WWE make the Money in the Bank match stand out from the other ten or so ladder matches of 2020? With ha-ha-larity, of course! Set at Titan Tower, the men’s and women’s matches were contested simultaneously and didn’t make a lick of sense. As WWE’s answer to a Friedberg-Seltzer film, the “action” was frequently interrupted by pointless cameos from the likes of Brother Love and some dork in Doink makeup. Other “highlights” included a 10-minute elevator ride, a mad scavenger hunt for a briefcase that was always supposed to be on the roof, and the apparent deaths of two superstars chucked off the top of the building. Even Otis’s surprise victory would be nullified later in the year.

Raw Underground

Over the past decade or two, WWE had definitely lost its edge (as well as most of its viewers). What Raw needed to pop big ratings and break up the monotony of its three-hour broadcasts was something new, something cool, something modern and groundbreaking to appeal to the youth of today. That something was Shane McMahon, who presented Raw Underground, where a group of unknowns worked MMA matches in a warehouse with hip-hop beats dubbed in at all times. It might have actually looked “underground” had Kevin Dunn not stationed five cameras in there. The giant Dabba-Kato emerged as the star of the short-lived segments before getting knocked out by Braun Strowman.

Retribution

A thinly-veiled Antifa analogue, this supposedly terrifying new faction arrived in the summer of 2020 to set some small fires, cut up the ring ropes, and wreak acceptable amounts of hell. Despite sporting dumb names and even dumber masks, the faction’s true identities were obvious to anyone who watched NXT. Slapjack, T-BAR, and the rest of the revolutionaries were dead set on destroying WWE, so it was just a bit odd that the company signed them to contracts. The well-behaved band of rioters remained exclusive to the Raw brand, where they lost almost every single match. 

The Swamp Fight

It took less than four months for WWE’s cinematic matches to wear out their welcome. For the main event of “The Horrow Show at Extreme Rules”, WWE threw in every horror cliché known to man. For starters, Braun Strowman was attacked by… himself… and woke up chained to a chair, where he suffered the most terrible fate of all: a five minute monologue from Bray Wyatt. After fending off fake members of the Wyatt Family and hallucinations of the Mixed Match Challenge, Braun succumbed to Bray himself, who emerged from the lake (ahem) reincarnated as The Fiend. The “match” ended when the Universal Champion drowned in knee-deep water. Fortunately for him, his title was not on the line.

Viking Raiders vs. Street Profits

The Viking Raiders wanted the Street Profits’ tag team titles so badly, they challenged them to every sport under the sun: golf, bowling, basketball, and, I think, wrestling. The two rival teams were so pumped for their title match at Backlash, they got into a desperately wacky fifteen-minute backstage brawl before it could even start. After nut-shots, three flashbacks, and a run-in by ninjas for absolutely no reason, the brawl ended in a dumpster full of garbage (symbolic) and a tentacle monster (not symbolic). 

 Which of these embarrassments earns the title of The Worst in Wrestling for 2020? You decide. Voting is open until Friday, January 15…so get to crackin’! (You know, like an egg.)

 

Written by

A wrestling fan ever since the days of Wrestlemania IX, Art graduated from college in the same building where Art Donovan called King of the Ring 1994. He also runs the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog, where he reviews New Generation-Era Monday Night Raws. Follow him on Twitter @Art0Donnell. Email at: art@wrestlecrap.com
109 Responses to "Gooker 2020 – Vote for the Very Worst in Wrestling!"
  1. Daventhespookieboi says:

    Can we have a ‘All of the Above’ option?

  2. Josh Dionio says:

    I’ll be honest, I went with Matt vs. Sammy. It ended with a cinematic match that we can all say was good, but everything else about it sucked. Hardy nearly dying from the cherry picker spot and the match not stopping, both getting busted open horribly, the feud was a train wreck.

  3. 314 says:

    It’s either Eye for an Eye or the Jeff Hardy thing for me.

    Eye for an Eye could also just been part of a nomination for the never ending feud between Rey and Seth, which would be a callback to the never ending feud between Roode and Young in TNA.

    The Hardy one wouldn’t have been so bad had they actually arrived to its obvious conclusion. They threw less than subtle hints that Sheamus framed Hardy for the wreck and planted the booze, so this could have gotten Hardy a ton of sympathy for being innocent all along and Sheamus booed mercilessly for being that big of an a-hole. Instead, they just sorta mysteriously dropped it after Hardy lost a random Raw match to Sheamus.

    Eye for an Eye/endless Rey/Seth feud gets my vote

    • Thomas Moffatt says:

      No, the Hardy angle limped on when Elias returned with Elias the victim of the crime being the heel. Jeff is naturally innocent but it still limped on before fading. I’m half expecting to make a limp return with the Forgotten Sons being behind the assault on behalf of King Corbin. There is a gimmick that needs dropping, the man is boring as hell on a mike and tedious in the ring. I’m pretty sure he’d be getting “You look stupid chants” if there were a live crowd. And he’d be nicknamed King Baron the Boring or King Corbin the Tedious…

      • Chris says:

        I know. That made zero sense.
        Even if Elias was mistaken and Hardy was innocent, Elias still thought that Hardy hit him with a car and nearly ended his career. How does that make Elias a heel?
        He was duped by someone (most likely Sheamus) who did hit Elias with a car.
        The feud ends with Elias realizing his mistake and teaming up with Hardy to find the real criminal, right? Not by WWE logic.

        I’m pretty sure WWE never came forward with Sheamus as the real driver because it’s sort of hard to rehabilitate a character who attempted to murder a random wrestler in order to frame a certain wrestler.
        Hey look! It’s Drew McIntyre’s old Irish buddy! When Sheamus wasn’t plotting to murder someone, they used to hang out at the pub all the time!

      • Ze Frenchie says:

        I think we can christen him “Boring Carbon” from now on.

  4. 314 says:

    Oh, and Raw Underground was so incredibly bad. It definitely warrants its own writeup for sure. Between Shane’s cringe play by play, the seeing 4 seconds of fighting, and it ultimately having no actual purpose, it certainly fits the mold of WrestleCrap

  5. lipe from Chile says:

    Going with Sammy vs Matt Hardy because the other 9 at least happened within the realm of kayfabe, but not stopping a match because of a concussion? Come on!

  6. Thomas Mossman says:

    Can’t vote for Gronk, if only for the mental image of Gronk sheepishly returning a half-eaten title belt to Vince, thinking it was made of chocolate.

    http://wrestlecrap.com/headlies/headlies-gronk-returns-half-eaten-wwe-24-7-championship/

  7. Jonathan zois says:

    See I think the whole Seth/Rey feud should’ve been on here, because that whole storyline went on far far faaaaarrr too long and that one match wasn’t even the worst of it

  8. Andy PG says:

    This needs more people to vote for Matt Hardy vs Sammy Guevara. Most of these are silly ideas that fit in the “wrestling sometimes gets stupid” category. AEW’s decision to continue the match at All Out could have crippled Matt Hardy permanently. It was grossly irresponsible for them to send somebody out who had been knocked out so badly he could barely stand.

  9. Pyrozooka0 says:

    I can’t believe someone literally almost dying on PPV isn’t gonna win just because it happened in the “right” company.

    • Barry says:

      It’s really not because of the company it’s with. Look at the history of the Gooker. Wrestlecrap is a site that has embraced the “tee hee tickle party” label. Most people (I’m assuming based on the current votes and history of the site) come here for fun. It’s not very fun rehashing something that’s just grim with very few chances for laughs. There’s a reason the 2007 winner was Vince being Swoggle’s dad and not the Benoit double-murder suicide.

      • RD Reynolds says:

        Mad props for remembering TEE HEE TICKLE PARTY.

      • Pyrozooka0 says:

        I just think AEW deserves an induction. While a lot of what they’ve done is very good there’s a fair amount of bad too and it’s weird to me how you’re not usually allowed to point it out.

      • Morgan Wick says:

        At the same time, there have definitely been Gooker winners that have been more serious, namely Eddiesploitation, and in the 2010s the Gooker seemed to increasingly be about voicing frustration with WWE’s creative direction, especially when the “brass rings” comment – something that happened entirely out of kayfabe – became a co-winner under questionable circumstances. So there certainly is precedent you can cite to induct something that goes beyond just bad booking and writing.

  10. System Error says:

    No Seth vs. Rey feud in general on there, just one single match from it?

    • Al Lobama says:

      Not only do I agree with that, but there should have also been an “All Things The Fiend” choice so that both the Firefly Funhouse match at WM and the Firefly Inferno Match didn’t get snubbed. Honestly, they could have saved a whole lot of space and just nominated “Cinematic Wrestling Matches” as a whole and done a giant induction covering the MITB match, both Firefly matches, the Swamp Fight, the Elite Deletion, the Tooth & Nail match, and Stadium Stampede.

  11. Jean Ambrose says:

    You’re tripping putting MITB or any cinematic matches on here, tbh

  12. Forth B says:

    Retribution gets the vote, even tying into Ali’s hacker gimmick they dropped & then picked back up did little to revive them.

  13. Erich says:

    Can’t you just make things easier on us and have a WWE in 2020 option?

    for that matter, where is WWE 2K20, the game?

    • Evan Waters says:

      Not that it won anything but WWE 2k20 came out in 2019 (all sports games do the “next year on the title” thing.)

    • Sir Cheese says:

      Pretty sure the video game came out in 2019 and was a Gooker nominee last year. I didn’t look back so I might be wrong about that, but that’s why I think the game isn’t on there.

    • Efraim says:

      It was released in late 2019, so it was already nominated for last year’s Gooker – and came in third in the voting, if I remember correctly.

  14. Jerry says:

    Second worst in wrestling 2020: Retribution (insert all-caps yourself)
    Worst in wrestling 2020: WWE recognised as “essential business”.

  15. John C says:

    This is no easy feat in picking out the smelliest turd in the bowl. The sheer stupidity of the Street Profits-Viking Raiders seemed to drag on so long that I’m not sure it isn’t still going on. The Money In the Bank painful comedic bits were so dismally bad. You can hear Vince in your head in full cackling mode from these two stinkers.

  16. George Nolan says:

    Tempted to vote. But I don’t see a poll up for me to choose among the nominees.

  17. Thun Fish says:

    Ah, hey, a year we have two easy favourites again. I guess the best bit about them is pointlessness, compared to some of the most horrible Gooker winners that were also fairly insulting as well.

    • Thun Fish says:

      Actually, never mind, I just remembered myself what was the origin of Retribution. If only the fed’s audience hadn’t sunk to its’ current state and the group didn’t suck so much shit, maybe the mix of cronysim and take that would’ve been easier to recall. Oh, and then there’s that current bit of hindsight just to spin the knife further.

      I voted for this, by the way. Those stable names will make for a field day.

      To quote a Brazilian saying, “the world doesn’t spin, it flips”.

  18. Dan Sheldon says:

    Compared to other years, as silly as some of these choices are, they don’t seem so bad in the grand scheme of things. They don’t seem as bad as in previous years. In fact, a couple of these things I kinda liked. I mean Lana vs tables was great. I wish they were still doing that every week. I didn’t even hate Raw Underground. I mean, at least there was some kind of action during that segment. They could have been replaced by a couple AEW stinkers like Matt Hardy teleportation or the mimosa mayhem match or the football field atrocity. Also, I would have voted for Impact’s murder mystery which could have been included. What I DID hate during 2020 was cinematic matches. I even thought Undertaker vs AJ Styles was stupid. So it was a tough choice between Money In The Bank and Street Prophets vs Viking Raiders. I went with the latter because it took the once great WAR MACHINE and turned them into a comedy act!

    • Al Lobama says:

      You know that 2020 was a bad year for wrestling when the “Who Shot Johnny Bravo?” angle didn’t immediately jump out as a Gooker nominee. I was so shocked that Firefly Inferno didn’t make the cut that the murder mystery angle didn’t even occur to me! For shame!

      • Chris says:

        The payoff for the Firefly Inferno Match hasn’t occurred yet, so I’m guessing that’s why it’s not a nomination.
        Otherwise, Orton becoming an uncontrollable pyromaniac, burning a character to death in the ring, and Alexa wanting to commit suicide afterward (with no one in kayfabe caring) seems like a perfect storm to me.

        If the payoff is a wrestling match or there ends up being no payoff, then it definitely needs an honourable mention at the very least.

        • Pyrozooka0 says:

          I mean Retribution is still ongoing too…

          Also while it’s very easy to make fun of a lot that has happened in Bray-Orton II I’d say it’s overall been entertaining. Hell, the changed format with the fire further back let them put on an actually watchable Inferno Match.

  19. The Doctor of Style says:

    Once again, a year with many “great” nominees to choose from!

  20. Thomas Moffatt says:

    Where was Goldberg’s latest title run? Burying the monster heel in under five minutes in a sub-par match and the dreadful match with Stowman at WM? A definite candidate in my opinion but not the winner…

    • Peter W Dawson says:

      Agreed, definitely should have been on the list. Yeah it got us the fascinating John Cena experiencing Ego Death ‘match’ at Mania but given how polarizing that was I’d hardly even call it being worth it.

      • Thomas Moffatt says:

        We were also spared Goldberg v Roman Reigns. I’m going to say the heel turn has refreshed a stale character and he is far more convincing as a heel and if the WM match had gone ahead it would have been awful and with a live crowd they would have shit on it and their reaction might have finally triggered the long overdue heel turn. Sadly, I can see a build to it this year – Goldberg beats Drew at the Rumble, Reigns wins the Rumble or Jey wins only for Roman to take it from him leading to a title unification at Mania that isn’t going to be terribly inspiring.

        • Chris says:

          I fully expect Goldberg to beat Drew for the title at RR, because this is WWE, after all.
          Goldberg only has two matches per year on his contract. I can’t see him agreeing to lose both of those matches.
          I’m thinking that maybe they have given up on the Reigns/Goldberg match now, deciding that ratings on RAW are the most important goal, and sadly they can’t think of anything else to bump ratings than bring back 50+ year old guys who can’t actually wrestle anymore.
          Then, Orton will probably win the RR. It seems like WWE were initially planning to do Goldberg vs. Orton as RR, based on Goldberg’s script on RAW, and they changed their mind at the last minute.
          If they were planning Orton vs. Goldberg, I can’t see them giving up on that plan.
          Maybe Edge has told WWE that he’s going to need some extra time to heal, so the Edge vs. Orton feud has been pushed back from WrestleMania.
          Orton wins the title at WM, Edge comes back shortly thereafter to challenge for the title.

          Yawn, but I’m expecting that at this point.

  21. Alex says:

    I think everything involving Brandi Rhodes on screen in 2020 was way worse than the harmless Gronk or the guilty pleasure Lana.

    Otherwise, plenty of deserving inductions! Difficult choice…

    • Al Lobama says:

      I’m actually ashamed of myself for forgetting about the Nightmare Collective in regards to the Gooker, but then again the angle didn’t last long because they rightly killed it before it grew. To your point, though, making it part of an “All Things Brandi Rhodes” induction gives you an awful lot more to work with and you can poke fun of all the ways she’s tried to squeeze herself onto TV, regardless of whether or not it makes sense.

      • Pyrozooka0 says:

        You can also throw in the fact that Brandi is making 2 million a year to contribute nothing. That’s main event money, LOL

    • Bret Cyr says:

      Lana may be your guilty pleasure, but Brandi is mine.

  22. Ray says:

    Baring some Seth/Fiend come-from-behind like last year my pick is on Retribution, but can we have some (dis)honorable mention here? Erick Rowan’s Box, Fiend/Goldberg, Jimmy Uso Karaoke, Lars Sullivan’s weird interview comes to mind

    • Art0Donnell says:

      I forgot all about Erick Rowan’s spider!

      • Ray says:

        To be fair it was pre-Covid and the pay-off were weeks away from Black Wednesday but still I think it deserved a bump

      • Gerard says:

        want proof that impact/tna is getting better?? Rd couldn’t find anything impact did all year long whether it was tessa as the first female heavyweight champion or moose saying i am not the impact champion i am the TNA champion or Sami Callihan’s crazy hacker gimmick none of these storylines were bad enough to have as a contender for gooker 2020!!

  23. Jeb says:

    I think the nomination should be for the entire Seth vs Mysterios feud, even though I still feel like Sammy vs. Hardy was the worst.

    Retribution is bad but like, I don’t see the worst in wrestling being a jobber stable.

  24. Mr. Boing says:

    Fat Ass Jericho should have been in the running for worst… or his dance routine with MJF
    that was Wrestlecrap worthy

  25. George Nolan says:

    Went with Retribution. Had a bit of fun poking fun of the stable for enough elements to their act with their masks, over-the-top mannerisms with attacking, and claiming to be going against the machine in spite of having WWE Twitter accounts, WWE contracts in kayfabe, and being allowed on the premises in spite of their antics.

    Runner-up for me would probably be the Sammy/ Matt feud because of some of the sloppier elements of the feud that led to legit injuries with Sammy’s stiff chair shot to Matt’s head and Matt concussing himself during one of the match spots in their All Out match.

  26. Jason Smith says:

    Gronk gets my vote for THAT douchechilling dance alone.

  27. Chris says:

    I went with the “eye for an eye match”. Most of the inductions for the year were pretty short term and minor aspects of the program.
    The “eye for an eye match” had a lot of build up, and all of it revolved around attempts to put out someone’s eye. Then, it all lead to a PPV match where the point was to remove the opponent’s eye.

    I could see Retribution winning too, but that all seems too inconsequential to even deserve to win. If WWE see them as the new JOB Squad, I can’t be bothered to give them attention by voting for them.
    Long term, it may deserve it most if this bad booking hurts the careers of some talented wrestlers. Hopefully, the talented members of Retribution will get another chance in the future.
    I can only imagine Vince watched the news one day and heard about Antifa. “Hey! I don’t like these guys. Let’s make a heel faction based on them! It’ll be great.”
    Two weeks later, “Who are these guys in the masks?”.
    “You asked us to make a faction based on Antifa…”
    “What? Antipasto? Why would I want a faction based on antipasto? I don’t even like that stuff!”

    I would have voted for Goldberg’s return if it were an option. That was pretty bad with potential harm to a wrestling character. Building up the Fiend as an unstoppable monster, only to have the Fiend get squashed by a guy over 50 years old.

    The Matt/Sammy stuff was really bad, but I don’t like bringing in real-world incidents for wrestlecrap. I like to see something that was actually planned and that creative thought would actually be a good idea.

  28. #OPC says:

    Raw Underground for me, just because it was supposed to be something that was going to “change the game” or something like that, then they just kind of ignored it after a while. I’ll say this over and over again: If WWE doesn’t care, why should anyone else?

  29. Evan Waters says:

    Went with Lana v. Tables because it just kept going with no payoff and no point. It’s this year’s “Cuck Rusev” storyline.

    • BB22 says:

      It’s funny that you said that it reminded you of “Cuck Rusev” because the whole angle of Lana v. Tables started around the time Rusev went to AEW. Leading me to think Lana was being punished for that because Vince and the head of creative were spiteful assholes.

      And the worst part is that it also highlights just how fucked up WWE’s writing is since the whole idea was to make Lana someone to root for… Only she just kept getting slammed though tables week after week after week after week, at least ten times in a row, and for what? A win in a Survivor Series match where she was forced by the woman that was slamming her though those tables per week to do nothing? A flash win over said foe in a short match on a random Raw only to get thrown though yet another table? Not even getting her revenge by taking the Woman’s Tag titles? It’s like WWE is taking all the worst ideas of booking from TNA 2010-2012 and thinking they could pull it off because they’re the leading Wrestling Company in the U.S. Failing to understand the real reasons why it didn’t work in the first place.

      • Evan Waters says:

        I mean, that’s the thing- it *might* be punishment for Lana’s husband moving to the competition, but it might just be the sheer desperation move of “people liked this the first time let’s just keep doing it.” Or it might just be Vince finds it funny, because what Vince finds funny is strange and alien to the rest of us.

        But yeah whatever it is, it gets nobody over, it’s not satisfying for the audience in any way, it’s not something that draws ratings or attention, it’s just such a waste of time *and* an increasing strain on one of your performers.

  30. bob says:

    if only the poll would show up I could vote

  31. energybooster says:

    The fact that the Money in the Bank match made it to this list (and not, you know, the horrid Bray vs. Braun vs. Puppets affair that preceded it) is sacrilege of the highest order.

  32. C Boz says:

    To me, utilizing a person’s demons that are shared by millions of others, and turning it into an angle, is not just crap – it is irresponsible and disgusting. Jeff Hardy’s treatment wins it for me. It was painful and unnecessary. WWE creative should hang their heads in shame for terrible taste and delivery, and all without a real blowoff match.

    On a second note: any cinematic match where the camera takes a first-person point-of-view is utter crap. I am not AJ Styles so, you wrestling companies, don’t pretend that I see what he sees in a “boneyard” match. The world is not flat, and neither is my brain.

    Happier and healthier 2021 to all y’all.

  33. Triple A says:

    Lest we forget, the true payoff of Lana vs Tables was the much desired (ahem) babyface return of Charlotte.

  34. MisterEEK says:

    Can we write in that cunt who decided to write an article calling to harass Brodie’s widow for information about his death

    • Jeb says:

      I would second this in a heartbeat

    • Van Daminator says:

      That’s not really in the spirit of the award, the award tends to be something a major wrestling company does, not a reporter. It would be like inducting the Benoit double-murder suicide in 2007.

  35. Doc 902714 says:

    “Despite sporting dumb names and even dumber masks, the faction’s true identities were obvious to anyone who watched NXT..”

    I always thought that was Connor of the Ascension playing the part of T-BAR. Gotta admit Dijakovic sure looked like he let himself go a bit. Also wasn’t Mercedes Martinez with the faction for about 1 week.

    Anyway OTIS and the Money in the Bank PPV as a whole for the Gooker Win. For what’s usually an anticipated annual PPV, there was not one redeeming quality (match) for this year’s MITB shit-fest

    • Thomas Moffatt says:

      What also needs to be mentioned about the MITB (and this is why I voted for it) is that WWE have done the same tired and stupid thing they seem to do every time there is an event like this and have the MITB contract end up in the hands of someone who wasn’t even in the MITB bank to begin with. WWE slap it in the hand of one of their most tedious employees. Drew McIntyre got it right when he said the briefcase is keeping Miz relevant but then again Miz has to be kept relevant.

  36. Jon Milne says:

    No matter how many times the WWE do such storylines, they seem to never EVER learn from past mistakes when it comes to Invasion angles, to the point where the angles seem to get even more incompetent and laughably bad every time the WWE returns to that well. Say what you will about the WCW/ECW Alliance “Invasion”, but at least that opposing force were treated as an actual legitimate threat to the WWF in-storyline, which is quite considerably more than can be said for the utter jokes that were the Nexus in 2010, and now of course Retribution in 2020. Of course, at least the Nexus got to actually feature in main event storylines with guys like John Cena and Randy Orton back when they debuted, whereas I don’t even recall Retribution feuding with anyone meaningful this year.

    Of course, Retribution aren’t just the worst of this year for being a bad Invasion angle. It’s also yet another example of the WWE massively wasting the talents of their NXT call-ups (Mia Yim, Dominik Dijakovic, Mercedes Martinez, and Shane Thorne are all greatly talented wrestlers who have seen their careers derailed by this terrible storyline) as well as the talent of one of their most talented and dynamic main roster stars in Mustafa Ali.

    And of course, the worst aspect of Retribution is this basically Vince McMahon’s really awful wrestling caricature of what he believes Antifa is, based on what his best buddy Donald Trump thinks. Never mind that this is all taking place on the backdrop of historic Black Lives Matter protests around the world against systemic racial discrimination in the justice system, making Retribution even more culturally insensitive.

    So yeah, nothing else comes close this year. Retribution for the Gooker this year, and if I were to revisit the article I wrote for the site from earlier this year, http://wrestlecrap.com/inductions/a-look-back-at-the-very-worst-of-the-gooker-winners/ , I’d put Retribution at #6 on this list.

    • Don R Townsend says:

      wow….took the words right out of my mouth. not saying some other candidates arent worthy but most of them seem like accidents (Matt vs Sammy) or a bad angle they came to their senses about and dropped rather quickly (Jeff vs Sheamus)….Retribution seems like it was designed to win the Gooker Award.

      First was the build up. They had people’s attention with what they were previewing. Who would be in the group? What would they do? Would they be the next Shield and run over WWE? Even when some of that mystery faded as names were announced, people were still eager to see if they were going to get it right with NXT call ups.

      It was apparent pretty quickly that WWE had opted to go a different direction. The stable debuted with silly masks and even sillier names. Also apparent was the fact it was a shot at Antifa. Despite all of that, WWE still found a way to go from bad to worse. The stable would show up causing damage and threatening violence only to be rewarded with a contract by the very same company it was attacking. To further make this angle dumbfounding, Retribution, supposedly an outsider group of anarchists, jumped on the chance to be part of the official roster, selling out faster than a weed dealer at a Cypress Hill concert.

      Yet we were still supposed to believe in the Retribution angle. To make things even worse, they were routinely beaten by the likes of Lashley, Cedric Alexander and MVP, who up to that point had been treated as glorified jobbers. Not a good start. Imagine Shield being beaten by 3MB in their debut. Hard to imagine them being perceived as bad asses after that.

      Not to mention the technical difficulties like their masks falling off every so often. In the middle of this creative shitstorm, default leader T-Bar took to social media to try and defend the DOA angle only adding to the backlash. WWE wasnt worried though because they had yet to reveal their secret weapon. ALI! Yes…..Ali….a guy who at one time had managed to get over enough that he was in line for a world title shot before being injured. A guy who seemed to be a natural face. A guy who in real life was an actual policeman.

      WWE believed he was the best choice to be revealed as the “real” leader of Retribution. Ali was already dealing with his own shaky gimmick of being a hacker. So WWE decided to combine the two gimmicks into one and basically destroy any possible momentum Ali had left. This did absolutely nothing for Retribution either and they actually lost a member before she even got her own silly name.

      Ali also attempted to explain away why Retribution was designed to be bad ON PURPOSE. Something that must have sounded good in his head but not so much when said out loud. Another head scratching development was the fact some members of the stable were getting title shots despite losing on a consistent basis. There’s also the other side of this which is the fans.

      Names like Slapjack and T-Bar are begging to be mocked and mocked they were. When fans are calling you Slapnuts and T-Bag a day after your debut you’re pretty much dead. That’s who they are now in the minds of fans. A couple other things. Retribution itself isnt a bad idea.

      I understand the concept. Guys who felt disrespected for not getting their shot or whatever. The problem is for the Retribution angle to work properly, it would have to come AFTER these guys got stuck with the gimmick and angle of this current Retribution. You’d want revenge AFTER being named T-Bag and Slapnuts, made to wear Halloween masks and job out on arrival. THAT’S when you’d want retribution.

      But what gives Retribution the edge? Much like this post, it just keeps going on and on with no end in sight. By the time they finally end this, the wrestlers involved may never be able to get the stench off of them. And that’s really sad. It’s possible this gimmick could keep producing crap for years based on what it did in 2020 alone. That’s a lot of crap.

      • Chris says:

        Don’t forget. They went from a group whose goal was to destroy the WWE to a group whose goal was to beat Ricochet.

        Sure, Ricochet fits with the group, but having an undercard wrestler join a group which has failed to amass any meaningful wins certainly isn’t going to help their supposed original cause.

        An interesting idea for this gimmick, if this is how it was going to be booked, would be to have them show up spouting that they want to destroy WWE, but have them on the undercard initially.
        The announcers mock them, saying that these guys aren’t any threat and they’re all talk.
        Have them slowly begin recruiting more and more members from the roster. Names like Ricochet, at first.
        Have the announcers still be dismissive but begin to show more concern as their numbers are growing and they seem to be becoming more dominant.
        Then, have them recruit a more dominant wrestler, like maybe Strowman.
        That’s when they begin to run wild.
        Suddenly, the announcers are sorry that they underplayed the faction and suddenly realize they are a true threat.
        That could have been creative.

    • Don R Townsend says:

      wow….took the words right out of my mouth. not saying some other candidates arent worthy but most of them seem like accidents (Matt vs Sammy) or a bad angle they came to their senses about and dropped rather quickly (Jeff vs Sheamus)….Retribution seems like it was designed to win the Gooker Award.

      First was the build up. They had people’s attention with what they were previewing. Who would be in the group? What would they do? Would they be the next Shield and run over WWE? Even when some of that mystery faded as names were announced, people were still eager to see if they were going to get it right with NXT call ups.

      It was apparent pretty quickly that WWE had opted to go a different direction. The stable debuted with silly masks and even sillier names. Also apparent was the fact it was a shot at Antifa. Despite all of that, WWE still found a way to go from bad to worse. The stable would show up causing damage and threatening violence only to be rewarded with a contract by the very same company it was attacking. To further make this angle dumbfounding, Retribution, supposedly an outsider group of anarchists, jumped on the chance to be part of the official roster, selling out faster than a weed dealer at a Cypress Hill concert.

      Yet we were still supposed to believe in the Retribution angle. To make things even worse, they were routinely beaten by the likes of Lashley, Cedric Alexander and MVP, who up to that point had been treated as glorified jobbers. Not a good start. Imagine Shield being beaten by 3MB in their debut. Hard to imagine them being perceived as bad asses after that.

      Not to mention the technical difficulties like their masks falling off every so often. In the middle of this creative shitstorm, default leader T-Bar took to social media to try and defend the DOA angle only adding to the backlash. WWE wasnt worried though because they had yet to reveal their secret weapon. ALI! Yes…..Ali….a guy who at one time had managed to get over enough that he was in line for a world title shot before being injured. A guy who seemed to be a natural face. A guy who in real life was an actual policeman.

      WWE believed he was the best choice to be revealed as the “real” leader of Retribution. Ali was already dealing with his own shaky gimmick of being a hacker. So WWE decided to combine the two gimmicks into one and basically destroy any possible momentum Ali had left. This did absolutely nothing for Retribution either and they actually lost a member before she even got her own silly name.

      Ali also attempted to explain away why Retribution was designed to be bad ON PURPOSE. Something that must have sounded good in his head but not so much when said out loud. Another head scratching development was the fact some members of the stable were getting title shots despite losing on a consistent basis. There’s also the other side of this which is the fans.

      Names like Slapjack and T-Bar are begging to be mocked and mocked they were. When fans are calling you Slapnuts and T-Bag a day after your debut you’re pretty much dead. That’s who they are now in the minds of fans. A couple other things. Retribution itself isnt a bad idea.

      I understand the concept. Guys who felt disrespected for not getting their shot or whatever. The problem is for the Retribution angle to work properly, it would have to come AFTER these guys got stuck with the gimmick and angle of this current Retribution. You’d want revenge AFTER being named T-Bag and Slapnuts, made to wear Halloween masks and job out on arrival. THAT’S when you’d want retribution.

      But what gives Retribution the edge? Much like this post, it just keeps going on and on with no end in sight. By the time they finally end this, the wrestlers involved may never be able to get the stench off of them. And that’s really sad. It’s possible this gimmick could keep producing crap for years based on what it did in 2020 alone. That’s a lot of crap. So let Retribution do something it can’t seem to do in the ring and that’s win.

    • Van Daminator says:

      I think an Antifa-esque heel faction could have been cool, if they actually gave them any semblance of a push.

      I remember talking to someone who hated the idea of the Librarians in AEW because it seemed to insinuate that reading books was a bad thing, when that’s missing the point. It’s not that reading books is bad, it’s the methods they’re employing that make them heels. Same with CM Punk’s straight edge heel run. I think it’s a similar thing here.

  37. ThePWBPoster says:

    Retribution got my vote, easily the worst booked stable in WWE history. They had potential but threw it all away and really no matter what they do now will not resurrect them whatsoever.

  38. Hulk6785 says:

    No Tessa Blanchard, Impact World Champion?

  39. Lee W. says:

    As someone who has dealt with eye problems for nearly 30 years, the whole eye for an eye thing was one of the most offensive pieces of garbage I’ve ever had the displeasure of witnessing.

  40. Mighty Vastardikai says:

    I went with Eye for an Eye, because of the ridiculousness of it.

    I am surprised we didn’t see a Highlander match where Drew McIntyre and whoever he was facing had to cut their opponent’s head off with a Sword (Preferably a Claymore). Then, two weeks later, the decapitated loser shows up wearing a neck brace. Then a month later, they forget the whole thing even happened.

    And this is just me, I think the only problem with Raw Underground was the awful camera work that ruins most of WWE’s product. The concept is actually interesting and could have been a good way to get some folks over. But, Kevin Dunn’s gonna Kevin Dunn, and Vince is gonna Vince.

  41. Rebel says:

    My pick is Matt/Sammy mainly how sloppy and dangerous resulting a concussion AND the match continuing when it was clear Matt is concussed. Not a good look especially when the father owns NFL team and the NFL as the league still dealing with fallout of CTE and concussions lawsuit

  42. Thomas Moffatt says:

    I think it is time for a Razzie type awards for Wrestlecrap as well as the Gooker. Have the Gooker as the overall worst in pro wrestling but have worst/stupidest feud. worst booked star, worst gimmick, worst promo/worst on promos, worst in-ring segment, most idiotic announcer, worst gimmick match, stuff like that and have a most insulting to the intelligence angle and an award for outside of the promotion for scummy activity like the journalist preying on Brodie Lee’s wife…

  43. Where is the poll says:

    Where is the poll? I don’t see one to vote.

  44. SlyGuy2895 says:

    I’m surprised the Rusev/Lana/Langley love triangle didn’t make the list. That reached it’s conclusion in 2020.

    • Ray says:

      It was last year’s runner up, I voted for their historic second Gooker only for Seth-Fiend HIAC finish catching up last minute

  45. Chris Green says:

    Just wanted to let you know the Gooker 2020 poll’s not been showing up for me since the article was made. I only see the Free Polls link, and my adblocker is turned off.

    Can this be fixed soon? Thanks.

  46. Mav says:

    https://thesportsrush.com/wwe-news-linda-mcmahon-led-pac-donated-money-to-group-behind-capitol-building-riots/

    Don’t give WWE a dollar of your money. Linda McMahon’s PAC, Women for Trump, got the permits to put on the awesome speech by our loser President that led to Wednesday’s terror attack on the Capitol. I loved the WWF as a kid but this is garbage. If you care about this country, watch AEW or find another hobby. Don’t support anyone who supports our sociopathic President, who was finally exposed as the fascist dictator so many of us said he was for four years.

  47. Van Daminator says:

    Eye for an Eye for me, based on how patently absurd the concept was. You’re telling me they actually expect us to believe Rey Mysterio is going to get his eye ripped out on live pay-per-view?

    Jeff Hardy Drunk Driver is a very close second though, based on how tasteless and poorly executed it was. I think the difference for me is that while I think someone could maybe salvage the Jeff Hardy angle if certain elements were tweaked and the writing was better, Eye For An Eye was dead on arrival.

  48. first time commenter says:

    I can see any of these choices being valid contenders for this year’s gooker. This felt like an especially rotten year for some of the big companies.

    WWE’s appalling handling of the COVID-19 situation and continued dealings with Saudi Arabia have made it once again very clear that it would be for the best if the promotion simply folded, never to come back. Then you’ve got their usual ‘by comitee’ micro-managed booking resulting in scattershot and abruptly ending storylines/feuds/ratings gimmicks. Goldberg trudging out to perform the exact same boring squash match for the upteenth time didn’t do the company any favors either.

    I’ll probably receive a lot of flack for this, but I can’t say that I found AEW to be all that better. Most of the comedy over there falls flatter than flat. A lot of the revered stars on their roster seem to be phoning it in a lot of the time, which is unfortunate since these guys and gals have shown that they can do a lot better with proper booking. Plus some other shit like Cody Rhodes turning into some off-brand HHH type heel figure, completely out of place Jim Ross on commentary, Tony Khan making on-screen appearances no one asked for, and so on.

    Impact’s Wrestle House segments could easily have been on the gooker list too just for how crap they were. Though I doubt that it would receive any votes due to people generally ignoring or downright forgetting about Impact. This smark-pandering was already real bad when Russo did it way back when but has become even more obnoxious over the years. These self-proclaimed smart fans being entertained by such low-effort content will never stop baffling me.

    On a different note, we may have a very early contender for the 2021 gooker in form of the Raw Legends Night, which somehow managed to be even worse than the usual ‘bring back some old guys’ fair by completely shitting on the veterans involved or just not doing anything with them at all despite announcing them proudly beforehand.

  49. Murk says:

    I miss something essential and I would have definitely voted for it; WWE terminating the contracts of dozens of employees during a global pandemic while making huge profit at the same time.

  50. Jon says:

    Oh my gosh! How do I choose??? Usually for me, there is a clear-cut winner- even amongst many worthy choices. But this poll is the most difficult one yet.

    Oh well…

    Eenie-meenie-mienie-moe,
    Catch a tiger by the toe…

  51. TimeLordSoundwave says:

    As bad as Retribution was, they still shouldn’t be nominated due to being an ongoing storyline. Hell, as of this writing, they’re on a winning streak.

    I voted for Eye for an Eye.

  52. statik says:

    Has to be retribution for me, it ticks so many boxes and was/is so damaging for a good core of talent.

    Matt vs Sammy was the closest as the angle was awful enough but the match was just so badly managed that was pretty terrifying. I don’t think it would make for the most fun of inductions though.

    I would probably have swapped mitb for the nightmare collective or the Goldberg nonsense. Either way that’s a damn good/bad list.

  53. Grownk says:

    Roman Reigns and Corbin’s dogfood story line should have been here as well. A case could have been made for randomly splitting tag teams like Ilconics, New Day, Heavy Machinery, Zelina Vega’s stable.

    • Thomas Moffatt says:

      I’m with you on those – the needless splitting pof tag teams has worn me thin – the main problem is it will leave someone sat around doing nothing i.e. Tucker Knight. He’s been shit on there.

  54. Aaron Peterson says:

    I would like to put in a write-in vote for the Miz/Otis Money in the Bank Shenanigans.

    Not only did it completely derail Otis’s push, but now they’re resorting to technicalities to keep the MITB on the Miz.

  55. Cuthbert says:

    The Lana inclusion is odd, since I found it pretty entertaining. She did a good job.

  56. C. Peter Roberts says:

    I was going to vote for Retribution, but had to go with Raw Underground. Retribution was/is just a lame stable with a questionable take on current events, and that’s hardly anything original on Vince’s part.

    But Raw Underground? That was the WWE *trying*.

  57. FrayFray says:

    This might be the first Gooker in that I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO VOTE FOR. Usually there’s a front runner but this year they are all front runners

  58. Lightwalker19 says:

    Well, I still stand by the point that 2019 was a way worse year than 2020, in storyline terms of course. The most part of these chocies aren’t so unsufferable and hideous to look at comparing at the 2019 stuff. I even think my eventual choice isn’t terrible as the runner ups of the last year Gooker candidates were.
    With that said, after the pandemic, WWE wasn’t making atrocious moves like last year. I mean, sure Jeff Hardy throwing his piss-jar on Sheamus was awful, but at least I remember their matches as watchable and even good (The bar fight cinematic match was fine), and the storyline while stupid, was a little bit of inoffensive.
    A similar thought I was having about the Eye vs Eye match. Yeah, the gimmicky stuff was incredibly stupid, but I remember liking this match. until well, the ending. Maybe if the choice would have about the whole Rellins vs Mysterio storyline, I would have chose this (Which was a never-ending term story. By God, they were feuding since June until last November, on the verge of Survivor Series)

    But only the Retribution storyline was the only stuff that I rolled my eyes, and say: This is not only stupid by Gooker-terms, but it’s also boring and very artificial to care about. To begin with, I do not have a positive opinion of those anarquist groups which only riot for the sake of rioting. They need to have a purpose to reach, which Retribution doesn’t have.
    Say what you like about Nexus, but at least when they debuted and were on TV, they had a main target to clash with: Cena, because he was the Ace of the company, the big representation of the WWE’s corporativism and the backstage politics which can mean a threat to their careers. (At kayfabe terms, even if ironically happened this way)

    Retribution doesn’t have a purpose or a goal to chase with. Simply, Retribution has no soul.
    It’s a WWE product at its laziest writing, that doesn’t even manage a arrange an irritation, just only indiference

  59. ktownshutdown says:

    I forgot about that weird shit with the Profits and the Raiders and Akira Tozawa’s ninjas????

    In any other year, I might give it to that based on weirdness, but this one’s easy: Retribution is the runaway winner. From the moment they first popped up on TV, this was destined for the Gooker Award.

  60. Todd the Bod says:

    I really think that whole idiotic show tune/dinner thing with Jericho and MJF should have been on here. One of the stupidest and most pointless things I have ever seen on a wrestling program and I think I lost IQ points watching it (not that I had that many to begin with, mind you). It wasn’t funny, wasn’t entertaining, and was like a bad SNL sketch.

    • Alucard says:

      Agree with you. I have to question the sanity of NY times when they decided to put it on their “best performance of 2020” list.

  61. Kelso Horror says:

    Personally I think Retribution doesn’t as their angle is still ongoing.
    Gronk on the other hand was a huge waste of time.
    Personally I still think Carnyland should’ve made the list.
    Worse than Ooogieloves losing to Twilight at the Razies.

  62. Kelso Horror says:

    Personally I think Retribution doesn’t deserve it as their angle is still ongoing. Gronk on the other hand was a huge waste of time. Personally I still think Carnyland should’ve made the list. Worse than Ooogieloves losing to Twilight at the Razies.
    {Please delete the earlier comment as it contains a typo?}

  63. Justin (not Henry) says:

    Yikes. So much material to where I see all of these being inducted this year, all for various reasons. But yeah, Retribution – violent gang hell-bent on destroying WWE signing contracts and changing their mission to talk smack on the IWC on Twitter – deserved to win.

  64. Ze Frenchie says:

    A great list, though I was expecting the terribly bad Rusev-Lana-Lashley triangle which wasn’t tackled last year as it was still ongoing.

  65. Bone White says:

    I’ve gone for Retribution, even though they’ve got a member who sounds like where you get a half time Bovril at a non-league football ground

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