10 absolute worst pay-per-view posters ever
A good pay-per-view poster should promote an upcoming event while highlighting the popular Superstars involved. When done right, the artwork should effectively generate interest amongst fans of sports-entertainment.
However, no organization is immune to producing posters that are poorly conceived and have little to nothing to do with the actual event. Others try to relate to the show, but often leave viewers scratching their heads.
WWEClassics.com found quite a few of these questionable marketing materials and narrowed down the 10 absolute worst from WWE and WCW.
Great American Bash 2000
Comic book-style pay-per-view posters are great when they are done well. Look no further than the legendary Joe Jusko’s Royal Rumble 1991 poster. At the other end of the spectrum is arguably the worst example of an illustrated poster – WCW Great American Bash 2000.
Featuring renditions of Hulk Hogan, Sid Vicious and Vampiro, the poster looked more like a collection of bad New York City street caricatures than three serious competitors. And while the descriptions of Hogan and Sid are accurate, Vampiro is bizarrely described as a “Mysterious Shadow Warror.”
With “A Battle of Heroic Proportions” emblazoned across the top, the poster makes it seem like Hogan, Sid and Vampiro are battling each other. In reality, Hogan faced Kidman at the event, Vampiro took on Sting and Sid was not even there.
WrestleMania X-Seven was a turning point in sports-entertainment. At the conclusion of the main event, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin turned his back on the fans and aligned himself with longtime rival Mr. McMahon. Many regard the event as the official end of The Attitude Era, and the wrestling world was still reeling from WWE’s recent purchase of WCW.
The follow-up to the landmark event was Backlash 2001. The show was to feature a villainous Texas Rattlesnake, but Austin wasn’t on the poster. Neither were any WCW stars. Instead, there wasn’t just one image of Triple H, but two. What was supposed to be going on with the two Hunters was unclear, but it definitely didn’t represent one of the most significant periods of wrestling history.
It’s okay if the “American Males” entrance theme plays continuously in your head when you look at the poster for WCW Slamboree 2000. Although this pay-per-view poster featured a recognizable and prominent WCW competitor in Buff Bagwell, the man looks completely ridiculous.
“The Stuff” might just be the pioneer of the “duckface” and this poster is surely evidence of that. Plus, the advertisement came out before Derek Zoolander’s “blue steel” took movie theaters by storm. Did Ben Stiller rip Buff off?
Bagwell was competing against Lex Luger at the event. He should have been a bit more serious and focused – not modeling underwear for a big-box store’s weekly ad.
Capitol Punishment 2011
WWE’s pay-per-view return to Washington, D.C., seized on the politics of the city. Mitt Romney had announced his candidacy for President the same month as the event. And while Barack Obama was under intense scrutiny for the nation’s unemployment rate and reforming health care, his approval rating jumped to a high with death of Osama Bin Laden the previous month.
Attempting to comment on current events, Capitol Punishment’s poster took a stab at satire. And while Rey Mysterio and John Cena both competed in matches at the event, Obama was not involved in any matches nor did he make an appearance. The end result was about as politically insightful as a Larry the Cable Guy routine.
Badd Blood 1997
Wait a second. How do you explain this one? Did The Undertaker have “bad blood” with himself? Is that why he chopped off his own head? Or maybe Kane, who debuted at this event, severed his brother’s head and then handed it to The Deadman to display for this poster’s photoshoot.
Either way, if The Undertaker’s head was removed, why does he still have one on his body? Did The Undertaker have two heads? Or maybe he possesses the astounding ability to regenerate heads. The head certainly doesn’t look like it’s decomposed, so why isn’t there blood dripping from it? The name of the pay-per-view has blood in the name! And where is the Hell in the Cell, which made its first appearance at this event? Or even just Shawn Michaels, who The Undertaker had all of that “bad blood” with? We just have no earthly idea what is happening here.
Also, why is he in the woods?
The bizarre poster for WCW SuperBrawl 2000 features the WCW World Title amongst the cosmos. The title is being held – or hugged – by an unidentified competitor. At first glance, one would assume that it is Booker T, but upon closer inspection it is clearly not.
For an event that featured Hulk Hogan facing Lex Luger and a WCW World Title Triple Threat Match pitting champion Sid Vicious against Jeff Jarrett and Scott Hall, this poster makes little sense. The question remains: Why is this unidentified man hugging such a prestigious World Title?
In 2006, The Show of Shows returned to Chicago — one of wrestling’s greatest cities — in a show that certainly was “Big Time.” But one thing didn’t feel “Big Time,” and that was the poster.
This was the very first time that John Cena was entering WrestleMania as WWE Champion. The challenger in the main event was Triple H. It was a quintessential battle of the old guard against the rising all-star. Other featured matchups on the show’s lineup included Shawn Michaels taking on Mr. McMahon and Rey Mysterio challenging for his first World Title.
None of this was featured on the show’s poster. Instead, we got a photo from an old Cena versus Booker T match, the latter of which was set to face The Boogeyman at the event. No face-off graphics, no Windy City imagery and certainly nothing that screamed “Grandest Stage.” So much for Big Time.
World War 3 1996
World War 3 was WCW’s craziest match – three rings featuring 60 competitors battling for either the WCW World Title or a championship opportunity. If the poster for the second World War 3 didn’t explicitly state what the match was, no one would have any clue what this poster was about. Maybe it was an attempt to capitalize on WWE’s popular In Your House events, but the image of a damaged mansion doesn’t really scream a massive battle royal, “World War 3” or even wrestling.
Adding to the head-scratching quality of the poster, why does it say “Total Destruction” when the house is still standing?
Royal Rumble 1995
Taking place in the University of South Florida’s Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla., the 1995 Royal Rumble boasted big stars in The Undertaker, Diesel and Bret Hart.
So how did WWE decide to feature all of this standout talent in the promotional material for the pay-per-view? Quite simply, they didn’t. Taking a cue from the show’s sunny setting, the poster was a simple shot of a beach with the ocean slowly roiling onto the sand. There wasn’t even a massive wave crashing onto the shore. And if the tranquil scene didn’t scream “Rumble,” those images of the flamingo and palm trees sure didn’t either.
The Great American Bash 1996
WCW’s advertisement for The Great American Bash 1996 is easily the most awesomely bad pay-per-view posters in sports-entertainment history. Bobby “The Brain” Heenan is eating a hamburger as the grill explodes. Yet, it’s hard to pull your eyes away from “Mean” Gene Okerlund. He’s appropriately dressed as a barbeque chef, but the ground beef he’s holding has been bizarrely morphed into the WCW logo.
The Great American Bash 1996 featured WCW World Champion The Giant battling Lex Luger, Sting versus Lord Steven Regal and Rey Mysterio challenging Dean Malenko for the WCW Cruiserweight Title. Yet, WCW’s marketing team thought a plate of ground beef was the best way to promote the event.