Botch (professional wrestling)
To botch in professional wrestling means to attempt a scripted move or spoken line that does not come out as it was originally planned due to a mistake, miscalculation, a slip-up, or an error in judgment. Most botches are harmless, such as a wrestler simply flubbing a line or missing a cue, or falling before his or her opponent's move actually connects. At times, however, a poorly timed or executed move has resulted in serious injury or even death.
A common cause of botches is inexperience. Jackie Gayda, winner of the Tough Enough 2 competition, in one of her first TV matches (a tag team match with Christopher Nowinski against Trish Stratus and Bradshaw on the July 8, 2002 edition of Raw from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), botched nearly every move that she tried or attempted to sell, the most infamous of which was a second-rope-bulldog by Stratus, which Gayda sold two seconds too late.
On April 26, 1976, Bruno Sammartino suffered a neck fracture in a match against the relatively inexperienced Stan Hansen at Madison Square Garden, when Hansen improperly executed a body slam. Bruno came back eight weeks later for a rematch.
Sometimes botches can be extremely dangerous and can end a wrestler's career or life. For example, WWE wrestler D'Lo Brown once botched a running sitout powerbomb on his opponent Droz, resulting in Droz being rendered quadriplegic (although he later regained some use of his upper body). This botch was mainly caused by D'Lo not being able to get a grip on the baggy clothing worn by Droz while holding him in the powerbomb position. Droz also did not cinch himself up at the waist as is the safety measure for powerbomb receivers. In other cases, the wrestler performing the move could be injured. Japanese wrestler Hayabusa botched a springboard moonsault in a match against Mammoth Sasaki when his foot slipped on the second rope and he landed on his head, causing damage to his spine and neck and paralyzing him, although he regained feeling in his legs before his death in 2016.
In May 2001, Brian Ong was training with Dalip Singh (better known as the Great Khali) and took a flapjack from Singh. The move was botched, reportedly because Ong had grabbed Singh's shirt instead of pushing off Singh's back as he was instructed. Although he had made the mistake several times before without incident, this time Ong landed tailbone first and his head was violently whipped back against the mat. The resulting impact caused catastrophic damage to his spine and brainstem. Coupled with a previous concussion, the move resulted in Ong's death a few days later.
In most cases, minor botches are simply glossed over and the match is continued. One example was the ending of the Hulk Hogan-Sid Justice match at WrestleMania VIII. The planned ending was to involve Papa Shango running into the ring to break up Hogan's pin attempt. However, Shango missed his cue, forcing Sid to kick out of the pin attempt and manager Harvey Whippleman to jump onto the ring apron to interfere and prompt the disqualification, just as Shango ran into the ring to assist Sid with the intended double-team beating of Hogan.
Serious botches resulting in injuries often result in improvised endings to matches, or the remainder of a match will be canceled if a wrestler cannot continue or requires immediate medical attention. During the match between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Owen Hart at Summerslam 1997, Hart botched a piledriver, breaking Austin's neck. Hart was forced to improvise an extended taunt sequence until Austin was able regain his composure and roll him up in a schoolboy pin, ending the match earlier than planned but with the desired winner. If a wrestler is seriously injured, the referee normally signals the need for immediate help by doing an "X" formation with his arms over his head. In recent years, as some wrestling fans have noticed this, the referee may sometimes perform the symbol in an attempt to indicate a kayfabe injury to another performer, which will lead to the match being called off.
Botches can also involve scripted lines. During the airing of WrestleMania XXX, Hulk Hogan—serving as the host of WrestleMania—mistakenly referred to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to the live audience as the Silverdome, the home of WrestleMania III and where Hogan had his infamous showdown with André the Giant. After Hogan corrected himself, Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock would rib Hogan for calling the Superdome the Silverdome, and it ended up being a running gag for the rest of WrestleMania XXX and into the post-WrestleMania Raw the next night.
Botches can sometimes have a positive impact on a career. One (in)famous example is when Mick Foley, under his ring name Mankind, wrestled The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match at King of the Ring (1998). After Foley was tossed off of the top of the cell through the announcers' table, the match was going to be stopped. However, as he was being stretchered out of the arena, Foley got off the stretcher, climbed back on top of the cell, and continued the match. The Undertaker then delivered a chokeslam to Foley on the roof of the cell, which caused one of the roof panels to give way. Foley plummeted to the mat below, dislocating his shoulder. A chair fell with him and landed on his face, knocking a tooth out through his upper lip. Foley still finished the match and gained a legendary status among wrestling fans, and has since been dubbed "The Hardcore Legend". Some people even claim that he is the toughest man alive.
Sometimes botches can lead to the accidental invention of new moves. For example, the diving headbutt was invented when Harley Race botched a splash from the top rope, Jake "The Snake" Roberts claims to have invented the DDT when he was accidentally tripped by his opponent while applying a front facelock, and Toshiaki Kawada inadvertently invented the Ganso bomb, one of the most dangerous moves in wrestling, after he failed to execute a powerbomb on Mitsuharu Misawa and instead dropped his head.
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