WWE first started overbooking its matches during the Attitude Era, has the chaos and interferences during the climax of the bout had the crowd going into a frenzy. Sometimes, matches being overbooked actually made sense and made the encounter even more thrilling.
However, it can also have negative effects, as it makes fans feel robbed of witnessing a fulfilling payoff to a storyline. During the Ruthless Aggression Era, these examples were very evident, and some of these matches were still great, while others suffered because of the overbooking.
10 Great: Bobby Lashley Vs. Umaga (WrestleMania 23)
The Battle of the Billionaires between Vince McMahon and Donald Trump, who were represented by Umaga and Bobby Lashley respectively, was clearly a ploy to increase PPV buys for WrestleMania 23, but it was still a good match with an extremely satisfying payoff.
With the ringside drama involving Vince McMahon and Donald Trump and the presence of Steve Austin as special guest referee, this match became a lot more entertaining than it was supposed to be. Vince getting his head shaved was a great moment, along with Steve Austin giving a Stunner to the future President of the United States.
9 Terrible: Triple H Vs. Randy Orton (Unforgiven 2004)
Randy Orton’s babyface run in late 2004 was one to forget, as Orton losing the World Heavyweight Championship a month after winning it to the guy who betrayed him, gave him zero credibility as a top babyface.
Triple H and Randy Orton’s match at Unforgiven 2004 was average at best, and the interference from Evolution towards the end of the match felt tiring. The referee took a bump and sold for way too much time, which completely killed the finish of the match.
8 Great: John Cena Vs. Rob Van Dam (One Night Stand 2006)
John Cena and RVD’s match at ECW One Night Stand 2006 was absolutely electric from start to finish, as the ECW faithful let their voices be heard and wanted no part in seeing Cena walk out as WWE champion instead of a beloved ECW icon.
The interference from Edge towards the end could be argued against, but the energy in the building couldn’t go unnoticed. Cena adapting to the crowd reaction and working more heelish was a nice touch, especially with Cena taking out the referee due to pure anger. RVD winning the title was obviously a great moment, but the match between the two deserves as much recognition.
7 Terrible: Shawn Michaels & “God” Vs. The McMahons (Backlash 2006)
Shawn Michaels had a lenghty feud against The McMahons in 2006, but after WrestleMania 22, the rivalry took a whole new step, as God somehow became involved in the storyline. At Backlash 2006, Shawn Michaels teamed up with “God” to take on the McMahons.
God was portrayed with a spotlight that made its way to the ring. Obviously an actual spotlight isn’t a useful tag team partner, so this was pretty much a 2 on 1 handicap match. The match featured interference from the Spirit Squad and it was just a poor match followed by a ridiculous angle.
6 Great: Eddie Guerrero Vs. Rey Mysterio (SummerSlam 2005)
Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio at SummerSlam 2005 is one of the most controversial matches in WWE history, as it featured two wrestlers fighting for the custody of a child. Eddie and Rey are great wrestlers, which meant no matter how ridiculous a storyline was, they could always have a great match.
Vickie Guerrero and Dominik played a big part in the match, which made sense when it comes to the story. Eddie and Rey have had historic battles in the past, but this one differentiates itself from others due to the ladder match stipulation and the ridiculous storyline.
5 Terrible: Steve Austin Vs. The Undertaker (Backlash 2002)
While Steve Austin and The Undertaker have battled it out multiple times, they never had a bona fide classic that would garner a huge legacy, as most of their matches ranged from decent to average. They worked with some difficult circumstances at Backlash 2002, as Steve Austin was burned out and the huge amount of time the match was given didn’t help either.
Ric Flair was the special guest referee with him playing a big part in the finish. Scott Hall and X-Pac walked down to the ring to just look at the match as they didn’t interfere. Flair was taken out as the match approached the end, but as Flair counted the pinfall Austin’s foot was on the rope, which just added further drama to the WWE title scene.
4 Great: Edge Vs. The Undertaker (WrestleMania 24)
Edge and The Undertaker had one of the best main events in WrestleMania history at WrestleMania 24, as both men had a thrilling encounter filled with great action and drama. The match was slightly overbooked but everything made sense and it didn’t look ridiculous.
The referee bump was well done as it actually looked life the ref was hurt after The Undertaker accidentally hit him with a big boot. Charles Robinson’s sprint to the ring just added to the drama, and it lead to a great false finish. The Undertaker and Edge always delivered the goods, which is why their work is so well remembered today.
3 Terrible: Triple H Vs. Kevin Nash (Judgment Day 2003)
Triple H’s reign of terror often featured some terrible matches, and it was no exception at Judgment Day 2003 against Kevin Nash. Nash had just came back from a quad injury and his work in the ring had deteriorated, but this match had no right being this bad.
Before the match, Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels had a big brawl, but it failed in giving this match a hot start. There was a referee bump just five minutes into the bout and the match was thrown out shortly thereafter.
2 Great: Team Austin Vs. Team Bischoff (Survivor Series 2003)
This match was the definition of chaotic, but in a good way. Multiple stories ended and progressed and the in-ring action also kept fans at the edge of their seat. This was the beginning of Randy Orton’s iconic Survivor Series performances.
Shawn Michaels had a great babyface performance, as he eliminated multiple members of Team Bischoff when all hope seemed gone, as Shawn was the only member of his team. Batista interfered and cost Team Austin the victory, which furthered the Shawn Michaels vs. Evolution rivalry.
1 Terrible: D-Generation X Vs. The McMahons (SummerSlam 2006)
The DX vs. McMahons rivalry featured a lot of goofy moments that haven’t aged well today. Their matches weren’t great either, as it featured a lot of shenanigans that looked out of place. Vince had gotten much older and wasn’t able to have the same matches he had in years prior.
The match featured interference from multiple heels, as Vince had orchestrated for wrestlers to attack DX to weaken them before the match started. There were some bright moments that had the crowd going crazy, but overall, it’s not a match worth seeking out.