After the previous few entries in this series strongly indicated "trouble brewing" for WWE, we've now officially hit rock bottom. The year 1995 is unquestionably the overall worst year in company history, from sparsely-attended tapings and house shows, to a roster loaded with groan-worthy gimmicks and less-impressive talent, to the difficulty of re-building a foundation of credibility following Vince McMahon's steroid distribution trial (despite him being found not guilty).
To make matters worse, after holding previous WrestleManias in posher venues like Madison Square Garden and 60,000+ seat football stadiums, WrestleMania 11 was due to be held in the Hartford Civic Center. While the building had previously housed Survivor Series 1990 and a few TV tapings, its proximity to a shopping center sanded off much of the WrestleMania mystique.
With a hint of desperation, WWE aggressively hawked the presence of two notable celebrities for their supercard: former NFL All-Pro linebacker Lawrence Taylor as an opponent for Bam Bam Bigelow, and Baywatch seductress Pamela Anderson as the intended valet of Shawn Michaels. In a sign of the attention-starved times, the opening video for WrestleMania 11 looked back at the previous ten incarnations of the show. However, instead of showcasing wrestling action, it was a montage of celebrities that appeared at those events.
In WWE's darkest hours, they genuflected before the altar of Hollywood and Pop Culture, hoping to summon a revival.
10. Vince McMahon Scheduled An Early-Morning Meeting, With A Twist
The night before WrestleMania 11, a memo made the rounds to the entire WWE entourage. McMahon instructed his troupe of performers to all be at the Hartford Civic Center first thing Sunday morning for an urgent meeting of unspecified purpose. Naturally, this would throw a wrench into any late-Saturday night carousing the wrestlers may have been planning on.
Sure enough, come Sunday, a horde of groggy talents packed into the Civic Center, still in the dark as to why the meeting had been called. Instead of McMahon, it was former manager and at-the-time office hatchet-man JJ Dillon that addressed the wrestlers, simply telling them that Vince wasn't coming, but he wanted to wish them all the best of luck on that night's card.
McMahon had no intention of showing up; he called the meeting to keep his talents in line on a day where everything needed to go right.