Gooker 2021: Vote for the Very Worst of the Year in Our Legendary Poll!

76 Submitted by on Thu, 06 January 2022, 20:00

Another year come and gone…and is often the case, it was chock full of some of the worst pro wrestling has ever seen!  The real question, though is this: what was the very worst of the very worst?

What deserves the legendary WrestleCrap Gooker Award?

Using the same creeky old poll mechanism we’ve used since 2003(!!!!!), we present to you the following choices. Some made us laugh, some made us angry….but they all had us shaking our heads. I can say without hyperbole that for me personally, RD Reynolds, creator of WrestleCrap.com, it was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make in casting my own vote.

So here we go! 

Remember…you only get ONE vote, so make it a good horrible one!


Alexa, Lily, and the Fiend

It seems as if The Fiend is a mainstay in Gooker voting, so it is little surprise he’s here this year as well. Strangely, though, he almost didn’t make the cut.  After all, our friendly Fiend was MIA for most of the year…but don’t you fret! WWE was quick to give us Alexa Bliss, dressed up in ghoul make up and carrying around a dumb doll, to ensure Fiend-style Gooker nominees would be with us for yet another year!


Bianca vs. Becky – SummerSlam

One of the most pressing concerns in recent years for WWE has been the lack of new stars.  For how long can the company continue to give fans the same old, same old?  Amazingly, they appeared to have a true blue bonafide star on the rise in one Bianca Belair, who was heading to SummerSlam to take on Sasha Banks in what was sure to be an awesome match. Instead, Sasha was out of the match, and the WWE’s most popular woman in years, Becky Lynch, was inserted into the match. She proceeded to take down upstart Bianca in under a minute, then turned heel in a move no one wanted to see.  Oops.


Cody Rhodes: Babyface?

Cody Rhodes is an enigma wrapped in a riddle wrapped in a hideous neck tattoo.  Despite the fact that fans everywhere were booing him consistently throughout the year, he refused to turn heel, instead wrapping himself in the American flag and doing every old school babyface tactic imaginable to get the crowd to return to his side.  The debut of his new reality show, Rhodes to the Top, didn’t help the cause either, as both he and wife Brandi came off as completely unlikable in every conceivable manner.


NXT 2.0

Some folks may not want to believe this, but NXT was moved to Wednesday nights on the USA Network originally to attempt to kill off AEW prior to it being able to gain a following. When it failed to do so, the company decided to take the developmental brand in an entirely new direction. Gone were long-time NXT mainstays who put on incredible matches, and in their place were green talent who were nowhere on their level. OH! And did we mention that it was designed to be hip and cool and fresh? No better way to appeal to the youngsters out there than giving them what the elderly crew of Vince McMahon and Bruce Prichard perceive as hip!


WWE Promotes Movies with Zombies and Eggs

Cross-promotion of movies is nothing new in wrestling. Older Crappers may recall times when films such as Robocop, Child’s Play, and End of Days were given lots of air time by both WCW and the WWF.  Flash forward and in 2021 we got such antics again, only this time with zombies and golden eggs! And just like in the bad old days, this cross-promotion sure did suck!


Queen’s Crown Tournament

Once upon a time not so many years ago, a young Stephanie McMahon revolutionized wrestling by presenting women in WWE.  Pretty sure that never happened prior to her deciding to liberate the “fairer sex.”  While it’s easy to mock Steph and the company for such hyperbolic nonsense, there’s no denying the great matches that era provided us, with women like Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, Bayley, Charlotte, and others getting time to put on fantastic contests.  That wasn’t the case in 2021’s Queen’s Crown tournament, when the matches all kinda stunk and no bout other than the final lasted longer than 180 seconds.


The (Non) Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match

Here comes the boom!  Well, not really.  AEW’s much hyped and ballyhooed Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match featured Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley going at it with the AEW title on the line.  The match itself was pretty good (I mean, if you’re into that kinda thing), but the ending?  See, the entire ring was to explode.  It’s right in THE NAME OF THE MATCH FOR CRYING OUTLOUD.  That didn’t happen – instead, some sparklers went off on the ring posts as Eddie Kingston covered his pal Mox.  Maybe he was shielding him from the laughs of the crowd?


Ethan Page vs. Karate Man

They say that your toughest opponent in life is often yourself. Such as the case for one Ethan Page in his final match as he took on Karate Man, portrayed by Page himself. We know cinematic matches were all the rage during the pandemic era, and while some were good, others were…well, not so much.  The fact this one wound up on the Gooker nominee list should give you an idea where this one landed.


Toni Storm: Pie Today, Gone Tomorrow

If there was ever a ‘can’t miss’ prospect, it had to be Toni Storm.  She checked all the boxes: good wrestler, good talker, looks great.  Leave it to WWE to bring her up from NXT and have her do…well, absolutely nothing.  They just sat her in catering for months on end, before finally giving her a shot to work a brief feud with Charlotte.  The feud ended with Toni getting hit in the face with pies repeatedly (yes, like a clown) and then saying, “Screw this, I quit” and paying for a flight out of town.  Amazingly true story.


WWE Firings During Record Profits

While many fans bemoan WWE’s lack of creativity and seemingly never-ending repetitive shows, one thing cannot be denied: they are make more money than ever in the history of the company, and it’s not even close.  Despite these massive profits, the company continued to make talent cuts over and over throughout the year, with over 60 in-ring performers being shown the door.  Best of all, when said talent was let go, they were told it was due to “budget cuts”.  Guess that helps fill those canvas sacks with dollar signs on them outside Vince’s door!


And there you have it!  Pick out your worst of the worst below!

Please note – voting ends on Friday, January 14, with the winner being posted on the site Thursday, January 20!

(ALSO NOTE: we have heard of some folks having issues with the poll below. We are working to correct this. In the meantime, we suggest you login using Firefox, Edge, or Safari for best results. Thanks!)

 

What was the worst of the worst in 2021?

  • AEW Lack of Boom (5%, 139 Votes)
  • Alexa, Lily, and the Fiend (5%, 144 Votes)
  • Bianca vs. Becky (1%, 34 Votes)
  • Cody Rhodes: BABYFACE (3%, 79 Votes)
  • Ethan Page vs. Karate Man (1%, 17 Votes)
  • NXT 2.0 (50%, 1,452 Votes)
  • Queen's Crown (1%, 34 Votes)
  • Toni Storm: Pie Today, Gone Tomorrow (1%, 26 Votes)
  • WWE Mass Firings (23%, 648 Votes)
  • WWE Movie Tie Ins (11%, 304 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,877

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76 Responses to "Gooker 2021: Vote for the Very Worst of the Year in Our Legendary Poll!"
  1. Ben says:

    In my opinion, the mass firings by WWE was the absolute low in this list, where employment is hard to find nowadays due to the pandemic.

    • steve weiser says:

      i actually think RD should remove it from the list… its not a wrestling angle or gimmick . leave the behind the scenes and business practices out of the comedy. there is a real pandemic going on

      • Jimbolian says:

        Well don’t forget that the infamous Brass Rings comment by Vince back in 2014 (I think) was awarded the Gooker.

        • Alex says:

          Sadly, this once harmless fun wrestling site has become another anti-wwe mark forum, especially since the arrival of AEW (still 0 induction).

          • Ben says:

            You know there are 2 Gooker choices for GotY 2021 coming from AEW right? How about you quit your whining, “smark,” and vote either one of those instead?

        • Ben says:

          https://wrestlecrap.com/inductions/induction-vince-mcmahon-and-the-brass-rings-2014-gooker-award-co-winner/

          2014 Gooker co-winner. And it’s still related to the wrestling business.

  2. Alfonzo Tyson says:

    When you no longer have a place for William Regal in your wrestling company, you try dint know what te he’ll you’re doing.

  3. Hulk6785 says:

    Where’s the poll? I don’t see a poll, and the link doesn’t lead to one.

  4. Zeedeevel says:

    No poll showing up for me but will try back later. I get the feeling the firings will win this one. I do wish it was limited to on-screen matches/storylines instead of including behind the scenes stuff but I understand why it is on here. Taking the firings out the death match was the worst for me as a fan. That match didn’t just give fans something they didn’t like, it promised a lot that didn’t happen and really made kingston look silly.

  5. Jared Rodecker says:

    Non-exploding ring death match FTW!

    Glad to see you are starting to bring AEW in the WC universe. I love AEW – watching wrestling hasn’t been this much fun in a decade (or two?) – but part of the entertainment is the overwhelming amount of wresltecrap they put out there (alongside a lot of good stuff).

    Had it been on the list CHRIS JERICHO’S PHYSIQUE would be my personal choice for biggest turd of 2021. No words needed…just a photo gallery of gifs and this contest is over…

  6. Mr. Pelican Pants says:

    That new NXT logo is awesome, if last year was 1993.

  7. Bigbattle22 says:

    As much as I want Lady Fiend to win this, I have to go with the “budget cuts” firings. Like Reynolds said, WWE is still making a lot of money despite the fact that its storytelling, writing, and ideas are in a new level of hell. And while some of the firings I feel are justified (Eva, Jax, Ryker, just to name a few that were rightfully released), the cost was a bunch of other talent getting the boot as well. Hell, at time of this writing, Samoa Joe just got released as well (Again, and it looks like it’s going to stick this time) and I bet you anything WWE will say “It’s more budget cuts.”

    On top of that, if you add in the fact that WWE have no idea these days on how to make a new star, and you could make an argument that most of the WWE gookers on this year’s list can be tied right back to WWE crazed firings. Bliss overkilling on the Fiend gimmick and taking two of the most badass woman wrestlers out there and turning them into jokes? “Budget cuts”. WWE bringing back Becky at Summerslam to have her turn heel at random, out of nowhere, and kill off any heat Bianca may have had? “Budget cuts”. WWE bringing back Brock to give him the WWE title A-God-Damn-Mother-Fucking-gain?! “Budget cuts” (Granted, that’s not on the list but you can see where I’m going with this).

    I got no idea what Kahn is thinking. I have even less of an idea what Vince is thinking. However, there’s one thing I do know: These “Budget cuts” firings they’re doing are one of many major problems that need ER treatment and the longer those two keep pretending that it’s not a problem, the sharper the teeth are going to be when it finally bites them both in their asses.

    • Drekal says:

      You know something BigBattle, I hope RD sees your comment and uses that general idea in the induction – assuming that the budget cuts are the winner (personally that’s my bet). Those feel like points that could be addressed quite well in an induction, and could probably be expanded upon a little more with some thought and research.

      • Bigbattle22 says:

        Right now, it looks like NXT 2.0 is going to take home the gooker so I may as well give my thoughts on it.

        Back around the time voting for the 2017 gooker was going on, I gave my thoughts on the two picks that I felt had a chance to win (Bayley vs Alexa and Jinder the rushed WWE Champ). When I talked about Bayley vs Alexa, I said “I submit this as proof that the moment Vince calls up anyone that has been build up as a fan favorite in NXT, he will do all he can to bury them to the ground.” It turns out that Vince extended that hatred to the ENTIRETY of NXT in general.

        The first warning sign of this happening was when WWE announced that NXT was going to TV, Ironically to fight AEW. Even if NXT didn’t change their writing and booking team when it came onto TV (Or at least, it felt like the writing and booking changed), Year after year after year of nothing but pure dogshit in WWE’s main shows and PPVs had ruined fan interest in the company, to the point where I think WWE and the Seattle Mariners have something in common: Punching their fans in the dick any and every chance they got.

        So WWE trots out NXT to go up with AEW and AEW kicks NXT’s ass. Warning sign #2: Vince places all the blame on NXT instead of looking at why NXT isn’t doing as good as it once was. I think someone commented on here that Vince had a idea that HHH’s NXT was existing and was doing good but since it was nothing more than a web show at that time, he never gave a damn about it and even less of the talent that was moving up from there to the main shows. To Vince, unless you cleared all of his criterias for being good (That I swear seem to change day by day), you were nothing more than another cog on the wheel to be used, and the wheel hasn’t had a tune up in years.

        And that leads us to Warning sign #3. Vince saying he’s rebooting NXT but instead of HHH and his team doing it, it’s Vince and his team that’s doing NXT… I don’t think I need to point out how bad RAW and SD are these days to understand just why this is a really shitty idea. Even worse, Vince’s idea of NXT seems to be “What if New Gen era of WWE… BUT WITH EVEN MORE SUCK THAN BEFORE!!!”, because that’s clearly what fans want to see after a Monday where they had to suffer the madness of RAW and will have to suffer the ever growing insanity of Smackdown on Fridays.

        At this point, I feel bad for HHH. He had to inherent NXT after it was a reality game show for 4 seasons and rebuild it from ground up into a oasis of hope in a desert of madness, now that oasis has become just like everything else in the desert: Covered in sand, dry heat, and the ideas of a person that has clearly given up on what he thinks the fans want from his wrestling company.

  8. James says:

    TBF, it’s hard to pinpoint a start to the women’s revolution when people keep being problematic.

  9. Christopher Haydu says:

    I don’t know if WWE’s shameless promotion of films deserves the Gooker, but that image of Vince holding the egg needs to replace Man Mountain Rock for when R.D. says “Yeah, I don’t know either.” It’s too funny.

  10. Jason S. says:

    It looks like the poll is closed already? With just 5 votes?

    • RD Reynolds says:

      Still working on this, please check back soon. Sorry for the issues everyone. 🙁

      • steve weiser says:

        i hope you know the counter will let you vote more then one time. you can vote as many times as you want. ide call shenanigans

        • Andrew Herlan says:

          You took my vote! The poll told me I had already voted for “Mass Firings”, which wouldn’t have been my choice, if I had actually been able to cast my own vote. Rather than someone else telling me who I had voted for.

  11. Nigel Overstreet says:

    Picked Movie Tie-Ins because that one feels like the funniest one. Reading an induction about a bunch of people losing their jobs isn’t exactly tickling my funny bone.

  12. steve weiser says:

    I dont think the mass firings should be on the list since this is ongoing.

    • George Nolan says:

      Wrestlecrap’s had non-storyline and gimmick-related elements of pro wrestling be considered for Gooker Award nominations in the past, notably Vince’s “Brass Ring” comment and WWE’s exploitation of Eddie Guerrero for storylines following his death.

    • Death to Neck Tats says:

      Gookers have been given to to ongoing angles before. Remember Heel Cole?

      He wouldn’t win anyway, but Cody’s doing better than he would ordinarily because there’s a strong contingent who believe the whole thing’s been a work from the start, even though this would require Dave and Bryan to be working an angle for him, which they’ve never done with anyone else for any reason, and which if news of such got out would instantly destroy the credibility they’ve been protecting for decades.

  13. Prism says:

    I can see the poll as though I had already voted in it, but I can’t vote. I’m using Firefox BTW.

  14. Gerard says:

    depending on who you talk to all these wwe mass firings either mean the wwe is in real trouble and completely explode with rumours even going around that vince wants to sell the company or these firings just mean that the wwe is realizing we have wayyyy too many wrestlers and divas and we need to lose some extra weight!! whose right whose wrong who knows for sure!!

  15. George Nolan says:

    Torn between NXT 2.0 and WWE’s mass firings since both are almost equally as bad with how WWE’s seemingly been running itself into the ground since Vince started giving Nick Kahn more influence within the company.

    • Hurb Cherpley says:

      At least NXT 2.0 has given us the Big Bad Booty Nephew. The firings are strictly subtractive.

      • Death to Neck Tats says:

        For one company, they certainly are.

        Honestly, while immediately painful and deeply immoral, it’ll probably go down as the best thing to happen to the broader wrestling world. Not just AEW, which has really only picked up a rather small group of talent: Impact, GCW, MLW, NWA, the lesser indies, the non-North American promotions, and assuming it does indeed come back ROH, all stand to benefit from thd glut of top-level talent flooding the scene combined with the transition of Covid from pandemic to endemic. We could have a genuine golden age on our hands.

        Fucking up NXT’s different. They were the best thing WWE’s done this century, and Vince killed it out of jealousy and spite. WWE assembled the greatest roster of talent any wrestling company’s ever assembled, and they reduced it to being a training camp for their first serious competitor since 1999. Now they’re so short staffed, they’re reacing out to fucking Impact to fill their women’s Royal Rumble.

    • Dana says:

      I felt the same, George. In the end, I went with NXT 2.0 because it reminds me so much of growing up in the ’90s with the Chip & Pepper shirts, the Bodyglove snap bracelets and the neon/splash everything. I mean, sure, that was a fun time to live through (high school and university) but I don’t need to relive it every Tuesday with way-too-green wrestlers getting wins over the more experienced crew…so it got the Gooker vote. I’m just waiting for the Nickelodeon Slime match…

      The mass firings are less of an bad Gooker storyline and more of a sad Gooker reality.

      • George Nolan says:

        After giving it thought, decided to go with the WWE Mass Firings. While this has been going on since the start of the pandemic from 2020, the timing of it on top of the company making a profit shows how scummy the corporate side of the company can be with how Vince and his group view talent as expendable cogs if they can’t mold them into any way they like and thinking they know what the fans want. I’m privy to the rumors that Vince may be preparing to sell the company and that the mass talent and staff cuts may be in preparation for this to make the company look more appealing financially to potential sellers, and I’m starting to become more convinced this may be the case.

  16. Jon Milne says:

    The two worst things about the WWE throughout the years, but especially in the past half-decade, have been the creative bankruptcy, the contempt it appears to show towards main roster fans for getting behind stars from the indies and NXT, and of course, the sheer corporate greed it is exhibiting. And among these choices for the Gooker, nothing exemplifies all of these greater than the sheer amount of firings the WWE did during a pandemic year. When you somehow have no room in your company for highly talented people like Bray Wyatt, William Regal, Samoa Joe, Tegan Nox, Toni Storm, Ember Moon, and so many more, there is something seriously wrong with your product.

    And of course, we should consider the human cost of these constant releases. A friend of Alison Danger, who was also recently released, put it way better than I ever could:

    “Here’s a thread about one of my best friends in the entire world..Its a long one.. sorry..

    “You dedicate 20 years of your life to pro wrestling. Endure physical and mental stress and injury but persevere until you are ultimately offered your dream job.

    “Come on down and coach in Orlando. You sign on the dotted line, pack your entire life into a truck and move from Vegas to Florida, uprooting your family, and your child from their friends and school to chase your dream.

    “3 months go by, no performance issues to speak of, by all accounts you’re fitting in well. You are asked to go in to help as they are shorthanded, and you get exposed to Covid… ruining your Christmas by being a good soldier and are forced to quarantine.

    “You survive and make it through New Year’s and your child that you dragged across the country to accompany you is starting their first day at their new school today. You pick them up from the car circle and as they are getting in the car,they hear you are on the phone

    “It’s your boss telling you you’re fired, 3 months after you moved across the country for your “dream job”.

    “Sorry Danger… billion-dollar companies doing record profits restructure divisions and fire people after 3 months all the time… Good luck to you and your family though

    “The best part will be when they say she was let go due to budget reasons, completely forgetting that the reason they told her it took 3 months for her hiring to be approved in the first place was that they were waiting for BUDGET APPROVAL TO HIRE HER

    “YOU NEED BETTER ACCOUNTANTS”

    So yeah, the WWE firings should easily win the 2021 Gooker, nothing else comes close.

    • lipe from chile says:

      It’s a hard one. To me it’s either the fiend saga, or Cody Rhodes babyface. The WWE released are not a storyline, so we shouldn’t vote for it

      • Jon Milne says:

        I think a good comparison would be the 2014 winner, Vince McMahon’s “Brass Rings” interview. While this was not a storyline, I explained in this article I wrote last year – https://wrestlecrap.com/inductions/a-look-back-at-the-very-worst-of-the-gooker-winners/ – why it fits the definition of Wrestlecrap Gooker Award winning material:

        “How about the one where wrestlers who are demonstrably talented in the ring and on the microphone consistently see their pushes derailed, and end up becoming the victims of stop-start booking, because quite clearly they just haven’t grabbed for that Brass Ring enough. In fact, arguably things are even WORSE now than they were in 2014. How many times have we, as fans, felt incredibly frustrated as someone who we rooted for in NXT/New Japan/ROH/Impact/any other promotion ends up hitting the WWE main roster only to end up being subject to exactly the same inconsistent booking? Look at the Revival, at Shinsuke Nakamura, at Sami Zayn, at Bayley, at Sasha Banks, at Bray Wyatt, at the former Dean Ambrose – all wrestlers who we know are capable of having exceptional matches, and yet are criminally underused on the main roster. And even if you do get a sustained push, you can almost guarantee that the WWE’s main-roster booking will ruin it and completely take away your momentum, like with Kofi Kingston and Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns and The Fiend, to use some recent examples. Meanwhile, if you’re a part-timer, or someone coming back from retirement, or a McMahon, well this seems enough to qualify you for having grabbed the Brass Ring, and therefore you’ll get the main spotlight by default. And this is all because, much like WCW in its later years, the WWE only seems to care about short term profit as opposed to long term sustainability of its product.”

        This rings true for the releases too, as a damning indictment of WWE’s creative in burying wrestlers popular with fans and then somehow having nothing for those highly talented wrestlers to do in the company.

    • Ze Frenchie says:

      I agree. Most of the stuff here could end up in a fun induction at a later time. But this feels like something that needs to be addressed now, and as a Gooker, so that it is not lost that this is what is hampering the biggest wrestling business in the world, and not just another silly gimmick.

  17. Alex says:

    These 3 have nothing to do with Wrestlecrap:

    Bianca – Becky : Sasha couldn’t make it, WWE made for it by giving the fans a suprise return that went over very well wth the crowd

    NXT 2.0 : I prefer the old one too but ratings are about the same, young wrestlers are being developped and the quality of the show is far from “crap”. Also, it has just started. Give it a chance!

    Budget cuts : are we really questionning the business decisions of a highly profitable company? Aren’t we just supposed to have fun with silly booking?

    • Herb Cherpley says:

      No one’s complaining about Becky coming back to wrestle Bianca. They’re mad because the “match” went 30 seconds and made Bianca look like a geek.

    • Art0Donnell says:

      How are you going to use “highly profitable company” and “budget cuts” in the same sentence and not bat an eye?

      • Andrew H says:

        Looks like the poll is now closed. After being told that I had already voted, I got a “Failed to verify referrer” message.
        Is it still possible to mail in votes?

  18. Thomas Moffatt says:

    I would have been tempted to throw in the Eva-lotion as a candidate – mainly because the wretched woman got rammed down everyone’s throat when they had no idea what to do with Toni Storm. I hope Corey Graves died a little inside every time he had to tell us how great Eva Marie was… had she not been released she was a definite candidate.

    All things Miz would have had my vote – I don’t get the Miz and can’t stand him – I fast forward through all his stuff but still he did my head in all year.

    MJF and Brian Pillman Jr – I’m a fan of MJF, the guy you love to hate, but I felt he stepped over a line with Pillman Jr making comments about his father and his mother’s drug issues.

    For me the gooker winner isn’t in there – TWAT MCAFEE. With so much talent being released, how is this obnoxious arsehole still employed to sit at a table, talk shit and act the wanker??? What qualifies this DICKHEAD to commentate? I know WWE has a history of crap announcers but this guy ruins everything. Seriously, William Regal who should have been at the announce desk is released as is Samoa Joe from RAW. Tom Phillips gets replaced by a guy who is clueless and quits six weeks later (Adnan Virk). Phillips gets released. Jimmy Smith is okay but we still get Byron Saxton’s whiney dork routine and Graves’ persistent flip flopping between Lead announcer, heel color and face color leaves confusion. I was all for breaking up the Michael Cole – Corey Graves wingus and dingus duo but things have been made worse. There is clearly a problem with the announcing (much like 1995), Gorilla Monsoon wasn’t the answer then and Twat McAfee is the answer in 2022…

  19. Big D says:

    ugh…….way to remind everyone what a terrible year it was for pro wrestling. There were very few bright spots to be sure. This poll IS tough. They’re all terrible. No surprise NXT 2.0 and the mass firings are neck and neck in the lead as they are the ones that have the most impact.

    Let’s examine the rebirth or afterbirth if you prefer of NXT. It was only a few years ago that NXT was considered the best wrestling show around. Apparently that wasnt good enough for Vince. You see, NXT wasnt a Vince McMahon thing. Triple H got a lot of credit but the majority of it should go to Dusty Rhodes. Dusty was the architect starting with FCW and transitioning it into the good version of NXT.

    When he passed, Triple H stepped in and got a lot of praise for basically just being alive. Vince largely stayed out of NXT’s business bc he apparently never considered it anything other than a developmental territory. I’m sure he heard the praise it was getting but it was still a sub brand not on Raw or Smackdown’s level in his mind at least. NXT was able to do something those two brands had trouble doing which was get the talent over.

    Now…..maybe it was giving them more breathing room creatively…or maybe it was allowing them to put on the best matches they could. I know that sounds crazy right? Here’s the fatal flaw in NXT’s design. It is considered the minor leagues of WWE. Yes guys get over there but people like Vince arent impressed by that. They do enough to get noticed and called up but nothing they did in NXT seems to matter on the main roster. Look at a guy like Shinsuke Nakamura.

    Possibly the most popular star ever in NXT and was immediately ruined on the main roster. I get he can’t cut a decent promo in English. It’s WWE’s job to find a way around that. The alternative is a guy like Johnny Gargano or Adam Cole. They’re pretty good and routinely put on MOTY contenders but never go to the main roster. With NXT considered a lesser brand, some people may view them as not having what it takes. And the reboot is even worse. They have ONE real potential star in Bron Breakker (terrible name) and their 2 options are to either take the biggest star on NXT 2.0 away leaving them with no one OR to leave a once in a generation talent floundering on this abomination of a show.

    Whatever the outcome just consider that a few years ago NXT was generally considered the best show in wrestling and now it’s generally considered a complete joke. No question the blame is on Vince. And of course its because NXT went head to head with AEW and ran away with it’s tail between it’s legs. Since then Triple H has been MIA following a “cardiac event” and heads have been rolling. This is all about Vince not being able to leave well enough alone.

    Now the mass firings. On one hand I get it. Its their company they can do what they want. They want to let people go for whatever reason fine. The problem is hiding behind “budget cuts” when you’re bringing in record profits. Just tell the truth. The roster is insanely bloated from years of scooping of talent to keep them from signing with other promotions. They don’t have anything for them now and AEW can’t sign everyone anyway so let them go. The truth will set you free.

    Also, if you are going to release talent for any reason……you can expect backlash when the talent you keep is worse than the talent you let go. You release Bray Wyatt but keep Baron Corbin? I get the Fiend wasnt everybody’s cup of tea but it was light years better than anything Corbin’s ever done. Just the merchandising alone would cover that. Wyatt has a much much bigger following. Is there really that many people out there enthralled by the exploits of Constable King Happy Corbin to justify him staying employed?

    Rumor has it Vince really like Corbin for some reason. So it’s not about “business”. What’s best for business would be letting the dime a dozen scrubs like Corbin, Corey Graves and other also rans go and free up “the budget” the keep a guy like Wyatt. And yeah I understand there’s other factors that go into it. Wyatt was needing time off. Strowman was rubbing some people the wrong way. Some of the cuts were done to make an example of people to scare remaining performers. So maybe it’s not technically an angle but it severely impacts the product that get put in front of the camera.

  20. Richard Cranium says:

    Midway through 2021 I was sure Alexa & Lily would be a lock for the Gooker but then Joe Gacy’s putrid gimmick reared its ugly head, so that puts NXT 2.0 above it for me. Although if House of Torture from NJPW was up for voting, I’d be torn between it and NXT.

  21. Michael Hunt says:

    The best part of Ethan Page-Karate Man was Ethan being mad that Impact edited it to be a joke. He was mad that they made the match where he wrestled himself in front of a green screen a joke.

  22. Brian says:

    Interesting the WWE releases is nominated for a gooker. But not Big Swole exposing AEW’s glass ceiling when it comes to black wrestlers.

  23. John says:

    85 wrestlers from WWE gone throughout 2021.Then theres the talent behind the scenes. some wrestlers I forgot they were released or even still there like Velveteen Dream or Lars Sullivan. Not everyone got fired and just didn’t bother resigning. Funniest release was Alestair Black who came back from injury for a week then got released and then turned up on AEW. Pretty stupid on WWE fir handing your competition potential main event players. Idiots gave AEW 3 of the 4 members of Undisputed Era one of the hottest factions in NXT in recent years. Worst release was Bray Wyatt when he was way over with the fans than just about anyone on the roster. Why on earth are Jinder Mahal, crappy Corbin still there. https://clutchpoints.com/all-the-released-wwe-superstars-in-2021/

  24. OPC says:

    Have to vote for the mass firings, mostly because it involves Mickie James and a trash bag. RIP Blade (btw I think he would enjoy all the Trandoshans in “The Book of Boba Fett”.

  25. Dan Sheldon says:

    WWE took the one wrestling product I have really loved for years. A wrestling product that I actually traveled out of town to see in Cleveland, Buffalo and Pittsburgh! A wresting product that didn’t insult my intelligence. A wrestling product that gave me great wrestling by great wrestlers! They took it and totally ruined it. The color vomit that is mostly green, NXT 2.0 is my choice for the Gooker. I still say technically it is NXT 3.0. I mean NXT 1.0 included Wade Barrett and Daniel Bryan right?

  26. Richard Phillips says:

    I’m with a few others on this, I don’t think the mass firings are a suitable candidate.

    Are they dumb? Yes. But I don’t want RD to have another “more angry than amused” moment like when he covered the “Invasion” in 2001.

    I think more than anything that pissed us off rather than made us roll our eyes.

  27. Andy H says:

    Yesterday I came to vote. It told me I had already voted for Mass Firings.
    I saw that the site is having trouble. So I left.
    Now I came back now to vote.
    Only now the site tells me I have already voted for NXT 2.0.
    I call shenanigans.

  28. Death to Neck Tats says:

    I knew immediately it was gonna lose to WWE’s mass firings, but I voted Cody, because Face Cody is the worst part of a show I still watch, other than the inexplicable Jade Cargill push (she’s not even good enough to be on TV, and they gave her the women’s TV title!?), which I’ll probably vote for next year when it’s inevitably made an option, even though it’ll also lose to some awful thing WWE does or another.

    Surprised the Scouring of NXT’s number one, but I suppose I shouldn’t be. They’ve been the best thing about WWE since the Heyman Smackdown Era, and in many ways better, so of course Vince McMahon could never forgive ’em for this, and in fact resents the promotion for both putting on a better product than the main roster and getting over talent that doesn’t fit his own narrow mold. I know the official reason is failing to kill AEW, but I swear the reasons I gave are the actual ones, given that he did the same thing to Heyman-era Smackdown and Cornette-era OVW. At least when he did this to The Alliance, it was an attack on former competitors. It was wrong to do so, but it was at least an explicable act of petty revenge. This marks three different times he’s killed off brands that were never remotely competition to WWE. Jealousy and resentment are the only common denominators.

  29. Rob says:

    Went with 2.0. Like a few others have said, while I understand the logic behind “mass firings”, as that definitely is crap, to me, it’s more the “sad reality” crap instead of the “laugh at the stupid stuff going on” crap.

    While 2.0 is obviously tied in with the firings, with lots of talented mainstays either getting fired to be replaced by green kids who often aren’t ready for a live TV setting…or getting the heck out of there because they’d rather work with really talented wrestlers instead of being used to put over those green kids, there is just so much underlying hilarity to this whole thing. Well, that and total fear for their lives as they try to pull off moves they’re not ready for yet, making us cringe through moments like Jacy Jayne nearly killing herself attempting to dive out of the ring.

    The tons of gimmicks seemingly lifted from the 90s era that brought us garbagemen, plumbers, hog farmers and car racers, often out of the blue. One week after Duke Hudson had a fun match with Kyle O’Reilly, he’s suddenly repackaged as an ace poker player who actually sucks at poker. There’s the Chicago knock-off of Tony Soprano, the skater girl, the professor, the bar-fighting rednecks and so on.

    The way people just got haphazardly thrown on TV with no lead-in. No one had ever heard of Von Wagner. Then he shows up backstage, gets involved in trying to stop and attack and randomly gets tossed into a main event. Guys would be randomly involved in backstage stuff and no one would bother with details like saying who that person was. Like they are going for a “death of WCW era” sort of utterly chaotic TV where the chaos is the main (if not only) draw.

    Grayson Waller: being shoehorned as top heel due to having a gimmick that openly embraces Vince’s “out with the old, in with the new” philosophy.

    Joe Gacy: a one-note character designed to poke fun at over-the-top PC terminology. That gets rammed down everyone’s throat every single week because Vince don’t do subtle.

    Bron Breakker: He’s a Steiner. Everyone knows he’s a Steiner. The announcers constantly make references to his lineage. But his name is Bron Breakker. What in the actual…???

    So far, this thing has been loaded with Wrestlecrap gold. I mean, I’m sure things will get better as the kids get more seasoning and get more comfortable out there, but the way things went, it’s just been this glorious trainwreck.

  30. Doc 902714 says:

    Big E’s WWE title reign, Vince’s Golden Egg, the never-ending nonsense of the 24/7 title and, of course, Kevin Patrick are all things that I will associate with everything wrong with WWE in 2021.

    But the obvious GOOKER winner should be tied in with the mass releases of WWE talent in 2021, focusing instead on two potential super-talents who were let go because of a failed RAW rebranding would be Karrion Kross (w. loincloth but minus Scarlett and any substantial win-loss record) & Keith “Bearcat” Lee (a repackaging that was not necessary). These two were over with fans in NXT. But WWE peeled away at the very foundations that got them over, namely Keith Lee’s NXT theme music and Karrion Kross’ entrance with Scarlett. Consider this my write-in vote. So along the same vein, I would pick WWE MASS FIRINGS DURING RECORD PROFITS. The list of ex WWE Superstars who got the axe this year would be a great start-up roster for a start-up wrestling federation. I was shocked by some that had been let go but I should not have been surprised.

  31. Mike M. says:

    I look for the Gooker that can’t be redeemed.

    Almost voted for Alexa and Lily, but the performance was good.

    NXT 2.0 sucks and it looks like the company wants to bring back Zubaz. But, we get Bron Breaker, whose name sucks but who will likely be a big star.

    I think Bianca can recover from a quick, surprise loss.

    The movie tie-ins and cinematic fiascos will be forgotten.

    Face Cody is a possibility, but I’m more concerned that his tattoo looks like a starry slug at the prow of a striped speedboat.

    The exploding death match almost got the win, but there’s not a ton to say other than bad special effects.

    It has to be the firings for me. I get it, it’s not an angle. But in this era, the business is an angle. How these companies are run is part of the story.

  32. KatieVictoriasSecret says:

    I had to go with Bianca/Becky – one of the worst examples of booking in the women’s division I’ve ever seen all year. My runner up would be the Alexa/Lily mess, but the non-exploding ring was such classic WrestleCrap and so was the whole egg debacle.

    I can’t really vote for NTX 2.0 because at least I’ve enjoyed Bron Breaker’s rise to the top. But everything else about it was foolish and really dovetails into the firing entry.

  33. steve weiser says:

    you can vote as many times as you want if you just keep refreshing. needs fixed or somthing.

  34. Ze Frenchie says:

    WWE has entered it’s late-stage capitalism era, and the mass firings, NXT 2.0 and the movie tie-ins could all be included in one single induction: “WWE is profits, not pro-fans”.

  35. BigGoldBelt says:

    I wasn’t really sure what to pick, because they all sucked equally bad.
    Then I saw Non-Exploding Ring Death Match, and chose that without
    even looking at anything else.

  36. Ray says:

    Some (dis)honorable mentions: Ric Flair/Lacey Evans/ Charlotte feud, Eva Marie’s brief return, Karrion Kross’ weird mask and main event run, Demon Balor losing by worked botch, Charlotte – Nia shoot match

  37. Mike or something says:

    Making me choose between NXT and the Mass Firings. Oh god this company is awful. Why do I still watch?

  38. Justin Ballard says:

    I don’t agree at all that Cody and Brandi are unlikable on Rhodes to the Top. I find them very likable actually.

  39. Buzz Line says:

    It’s got to be the exploding ring match that ended with four sparklers.

    Alexa Bliss and her stupid doll? Well, they decided to have the woman smaller than Midlred Burke without Burke’s physique get mixed in with The Fiend. That had to go somewhere. Not saying it was good, or that it had to go where it did. I can’t even say I understand how it got there, but that something nonsensical was going to happen one way or the other.

    Bianca Belair? Booking has always been on of WWF/E’s weak points. Yes, they have turned out some great angles, but those are usually in the minority and at best 50% if we’re being honest. Becky Lynch is popular, she needed to come back. Did they handle it well? Obviously a lot of people don’t think so, but there is something resembling reasoning behind the events.

    Cody Rhodes wants to be the top face of his own wrestling show. Cody Rhodes wants to run for office some day. Cody Rhodes wants to turn back on being a heel. Is he a fool for the way he has gone about fighting his turn? Yes, but was this development truly left field? No.

    NXT 2.0 is a lie. This is WWE NXT 4.0! People seem to forget NXT started out as a show almost no one admitted to liking, where pro wrestlers hung from monkey bars and drunk soda pop! Except for the girls’ season where everyone claimed to like it for being so bad. WWE NXT is simply returning to form as far as I’m concerned. You’ve already seen your favorite wrestlers from it flounder on Raw and Smackdown, often through no fault of their own(RETRIBUTION). You had to know, in the back of your mind, that the same thing could befall the entire developmental brand. Having a developmental brand on national television kind of defeats the purpose of developmental to begin with, and its ratings weren’t great…yeah Raw doesn’t get a four anymore either but Raw’s had some makeovers and overhauls itself. Not the least of which was a shift to rated PG that people whined about for half a decade.

    Movie tie ins? Yeah, WWE’s done this before by turning Kane into Jacob Goodnight, “blowing up” R-Truth, and pretty much everything about John Cena after The Marine. They’ve had “imagine” sequences on WWECW and Raw, apparently shown under the ring is pocket dimension portal to little people’s court, allowed Mantaur to exist, look I’m sure it was all bad, awful, but you knew WWE was more than capable of it.

    Queen’s Crown? Never head of it until now. WWE has four women’s divisions though, they’ve got to do something for one of them every once and while. They’re gave their women their own Survivor Series, their own Hell In A Cell, their own Royal Rumble, their own Money In The Bank briefcase, so why not their own King Of The Ring?

    Karate Man? Not going to lie, this is a real Gooker contender. When was the last time a wrestler literally had to wrestle himself? A truly uniquely bad nominee. If the exploding lie wasn’t on this list I’d have voted for it without a thought.

    I understand why people are upset about Toni Storm. Everyone says she can wrestle. She looks good, both in a glamor sense and as an athlete. She brings WWE that precious international credibility. Her booking seems like something that would take care of itself and they screwed it up, but how many times has that happened. Shinsuke Nakamura was a hot name in pro wrestling once. The man who survived Inokism, the reviver of strong style. The man Brock Lesnar didn’t want to fight, the man who took down Kurt Angle. What’s he now? Remember Sheamus and his stupid king gimmick?(winning that tournament is supposed to make people look GOOD!) Sorry, but last I heard Toni Storm wasn’t given anything as bad as Neidhart’s farting gimmick. This is only notable because she left before that could happen.

    Releases? WWE had over three hundred wrestlers to five year contracts, didn’t know what to do with two thirds of them and had only signed them so no one else could do anything else with them either. Was it the move of scum to start cutting them after an unforeseen pandemic ensured hardly anyone else will be able to use the regardless? Yes it was, you all can’t look at a company clearly practices predatory business practices and act surprised when they continue to be callous. They’ll parody Bruiser Brody’s death for shock value and cheap laughs! They’ll gladly take part in the whitewashing of autocrats for some oil money. It’s more surprising when WWE does something classy.

    That’s why it HAS to be the exploding ring that didn’t explode. There’s nothing about Jon Moxley or Kenny Omega that says a ring must explode. Despite being called “Dynamite”, there was nothing about AEW’s flagship show or anything else that suggested explosive health risks to wrestlers. Not only did this exploding ring match make no sense to start with, it was simply announced without any foreshadowing or build up. Then they lied by failing to produce the exploding ring no one wanted or even expected to see until they were told they would. THEN Atsushi Onita came out of retirement and actually blew shit up, making AEW look even more like shit by comparison. Ladies and Gentleman, boys and girls, THIS IS YOUR 2021 GOOKER! It was entirely avoidable, 100% percent self inflicted, unexpected and quickly put to shame by a senior citizen. As a new promotion this hurts AEW way more than Karate Man hurts Impact.

  40. Justin (not Henry) says:

    That’s a whole pile of votes for only 12 listeners!

  41. steve weiser says:

    this poll should already be closed its january 15th.

  42. steve weiser says:

    why is the poll not closed?? is this a presidential election or somthing? lol

  43. jacob morrison says:

    this poll should be closed……how are people still voting?

  44. Fan of WWE says:

    Very disappointed to see NXT 2.0 come out on top. Because there’s now so many crappy gimmicks (Duke Hudson as a poker player, the Tiffany Stratton thing) that will be reduced to a footnote in a single induction.

  45. Arcane Azmadi says:

    On reflection, it’s not that surprising that NXT 2.0 ran away with the award. With the exception of the mass firings, most of the other candidates were single incidents or angles that only affected a few people with little real lasting effect. And hey, the silver lining to the mass releases is that at least all that talent is out of that godawful company now (Malakai Black is having a ball).

    But as far as the needless and wanton destruction of something that was once so beautiful and glorious, the ruination of the NXT brand is on par with vomiting on the Mona Lisa.

  46. Mitchell Colburn says:

    NXT 2.0 legit made me excited to be a wrestling fan again. Gone were the boring vanilla midget indie darlings having matches that went on WAYYYY too long, and in their place were actual grown men with unique and interesting characters as well as quite a few good looking women. It is a refreshing change from the boring match mark garbage everyone else is doing at the moment.

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