In professional wrestling parlance, a "squash" is a blatantly lopsided match. Usually short in length and painful looking, a squash establishes the winner as an unbreakable monster. Often, a booker will place a title contender in multiple squash matches to demonstrate that he or she is a legitimate threat to the champion.
As for the loser of a squash match? His job is to look like a chump; the worse he looks, the better his opponent looks. And some wrestlers, like the Brooklyn Brawler, have made a career out of consistently losing and putting over their opponents.
Here are 7 of the most embarrassingly one-sided matches in WWE history. We're not including the matches where the loser showed some resilience and grit, like John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar at Summerslam 2014. We're also not including matches like Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus at Wrestlemania 28 or Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series 2016; these should have been competitive, back-and-forth fights, but they ended in some flukey, auspicious manner.
The matches in this gallery are the humiliating ones--the matches that already looked horrible on paper--where the loser was reduced to a joke.
1. The Rock vs. Erick Rowan
The Rock was not advertised as an in-ring performer for Wrestlemania 32. But midway through his promo at the pay-per-view, the lights went out and the Wyatt Family stalked to the ring.
The Rock has a selfish tendency to verbally insult his opponents over things that are true. This is considered poor form in professional wrestling because a promo is supposed to promote a "must-see" match. If you make your opponent look like a fool, who's going to pay money to see him fight?
Instead of putting the Wyatt Family over as a trio of scary cult followers, Rock referred to Bray Wyatt, the "Eater of Worlds," as the "Eater of Hot Pockets," and he referred to Erick Rowan and Braun Strowman as "inbred Duck Dynasty b****es."
He then proceeded to Rock Bottom and pin Rowan in six seconds--a WrestleMania record. On his podcast, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin expressed his sympathy for Rowan, who was placed in a difficult situation that gained him nothing.
"It didn’t do anything for The Rock," said Austin. "It certainly didn’t do anything for Rowan, so what’s the deal? I don’t think the match needed to happen. It was not of consequence."
Bob Backlund was a beloved, decorated WWE Champion, whose prime lasted from the late-'70s to the mid-'80s. In the mid-'90s, Backlund returned to the active roster, this time as a deranged heel who would snap over perceived insults and assault people.
At Survivor Series 1994, Backlund beat Bret Hart to win the WWE Championship after Bret's brother, Owen Hart, interfered in the match and guilted their mother to throw in the towel. But make no mistake; there was no way that Backlund, at his age and with his current gimmick, looked or acted like a dominant world champion. Three days later, he faced Diesel in a title match at WWE's spiritual home, Madison Square Garden.
Just look at the above photo. Is there any doubt of who would or should win this? Diesel kicked Backlund in the stomach, Jackknifed him, and pinned him to clinch the title. It only took eight seconds.
It was humiliating for Backlund, but the old veteran sold his beating like a professional. According to Diesel, he crawled up the aisle to the dressing room to demonstrate his pain. Diesel was very grateful for that.
3. Brock Lesnar vs. Zach Gowen
When Brock Lesnar debuted in 2002, WWE Creative booked him to be a monster, and he drew a ton of heat by destroying beloved, significantly smaller babyfaces like Jeff and Matt Hardy. But this match between Lesnar and Zach Gowen seemed extremely classless, even by early-'00s WWE standards. Not only was Gowen as skinny as a twig, but he only had one leg--the result of an amputation due to cancer.
The match, and its aftermath, was an awful bloody affair. Gowen actually won by disqualification, but that's a laughable outcome. Lesnar "broke" Gowen's leg, slammed him outside the ring, and even smacked him in the head with a steel chair, all while taunting Gowen's mother sitting by ringside.
The following week, just for good measure, Lesnar grabbed Gowen by his wheelchair and threw him down a flight of stairs.
4. Big Show vs. Jamie Noble
The running joke on the Big Show is that he's turned heel and face so many times, everyone has lost count. This particular squash of Jamie Noble was during one of Show's heel phases in 2008.
Jamie Noble, realizing he was hopelessly outmatched, delivered a kick to Big Show's testicles, disqualifying himself. But the beating continued; Big Show kept sinking in body blow after body blow until Noble was spitting blood onto the mat. The memorable part of the beatdown was the quiet crowd reaction; suddenly, it wasn't fun anymore.
Show would go on to have long, fruitful career. Noble would sustain a severe back injury in a match with Sheamus in 2009, which sent him into early retirement.
5. Sable vs. Marc Mero
Marc Mero was brought into WWE as a good guy, and his wife, Sable, accompanied him to the ring. This makes little sense; why would a good guy need a sexy valet? Traditional booking dictates that the sexy valet manages the heel; she can make the women jealous, and make the men envious of Mero. Still, WWE moved ahead with the idea, and pretty soon, Sable eclipsed Mero in popularity.
Eventually, Mero turned heel; he became a jealous man who wanted Sable to cover up. And in May 1998, Sable and Mero, a man who outweighed her by over 100 pounds, squared off against each other. Technically the bell never rang, even though the referee was officiating. But the segment ended with Sable power bombing Mero before leaving the ring. Mero, to his credit, was an incredible sport behind the scenes and had no problem letting his wife be the star.
6. ECW vs. Colin Delaney
This was a sick joke, spread out over the course of weeks. Colin Delaney was a pale wisp of a man, and when he debuted on WWE's ECW brand, he was matched up against a different monster every week or two. They would all pummel him into paste in mere minutes.
It was dark, but funny. Tazz would interview Delaney before each of these confrontations and show a highlight reel of the previous weeks' carnage. Every week, Delaney would look more and more injured; by the time he reached Morrison and Miz, he was covered and bandaged from head to toe with athletic tape.
Fortunately, Tommy Dreamer ran in to save Delaney from Morrison and Miz. It was with Dreamer that Delaney would finally win his first WWE match.
It was Wrestlemania XII, and Triple H, then known as a snotty blue blood named Hunter Hearst Helmsley, was booked to fight the Ultimate Warrior. Once seen as the heir apparent to Hulk Hogan, Warrior had been gone from the company for several years at that point, and WWE wanted to pick up right where they left off.
The entrances took longer than the match. Triple H's only attacks were at the very beginning of the engagement; he performed a Pedigree on Warrior, and Warrior completely no-sold it; he popped right back up and started pandering to the crowd. Warrior then performed all of his signatures, one after the other, before pinning Triple H by kneeling on his chest.
In the years afterward, Triple H didn't have many nice things to say about The Ultimate Warrior. "Probably one of the most unprofessional guys I've ever stepped into the ring with," Triple H said in an interview. But time heals all wounds; it was Triple H who pushed for the Ultimate Warrior to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, only days before he died.