April 3rd 2016 is a date that all WWE fans will have circled in their diaries, as it is the date of the biggest Pay Per View of the year, the 32nd annual WrestleMania.
In this blog, I thought that I would take a look back over the past 31 years of Wrestlemania to compile my top 10 matches in the history of the event.
This list is my personal top 10, some of my picks do not appear often in peoples top 10’s, some appear in almost every top 10. There are one or two which you may think deserve to be ranked higher, some that you think should be ranked lower or even some that should not be on the list whatsoever.
I will explain my decisions for some of these choices as we go through the list and some choices just speak for themselves so require no explanation……
10. Hollywood Hogan vs The Rock – WrestleMania 18
My reason for putting this into my top 10 is because, as the picture above reads, It was billed as “Icon vs Icon”. The greatest superstar of the 80’s and (arguably) the greatest superstar of the 90’s facing off once and for all in the match that nobody thought they would ever see! The original match pitting 2 greats of their respective generation against one another. It was also the passing of the torch moment from Hogan to Rock which was then passed on to John Cena 11 years later. The match itself was not the greatest in the world, but for the pure fact of it was the original match that nobody thought they would ever but eventually witnessed it, It makes my top 10.
9. CM Punk vs Shelton Benjamin vs Chris Jericho vs Carlito vs MVP vs Mr. Kennedy vs John Morrison (Money In The Bank Ladder Match) – WrestleMania 24
Quite possibly the one Money In The Bank ladder match that sticks out in my mind as having the most athletically gifted talent at the time competing in it! There are so many memorable moments in this match, John Morrison hitting a moonsault from the top rope to the outside……with a ladder in his hands! Shelton Benjamin standing on top of a 20 foot ladder, only to have that ladder tipped over and sending him flipping to the outside and through another ladder! This match was also, in my opinion, the match in which CM Punk arrived on the scene and became the main player that he did over the next 5 and a half years in the company!
8. Bret Hart vs Stone Cold Steve Austin (Submission Match) – WrestleMania 13
In my opinion, this was really the moment where “Stone Cold” Steve Austin arrived on the scene as a major player in WWE! A lot of people would argue that the infamous “Austin 3:16” promo at King Of The Ring in June 1996 was that moment. Lets fast forward to March 1997 where, after a lengthy and heated rivalry, Steve Austin would provide one of the most iconic scenes in WrestleMania history! During the Submission match, Austin would get cut open and bleed profusely from the head and after being locked in Hart’s signature submission hold, The Sharpshooter, Austin refused to tap out and instead allowed himself to pass out. This for me solidified “The Texas Rattlesnake” as one of the toughest superstars to ever step foot in a WWE ring!
THE NEXT TWO MATCHES SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES AND WILL GO DOWN AS INNOVATIVE AND CLASSIC MATCHES! THESE REQUIRE NO EXPLANATION IN MY OPINION….
7. Ricky Steamboat vs Randy Savage – WrestleMania 3
6. Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon (Ladder Match) – WrestleMania 10
THE REST OF THE MATCHES I FEEL LIKE I NEED TO EXPLAIN…..
5. The Rock vs Stone Cold Steve Austin – (No Disqualification Match) WrestleMania 17
The second of 3 battles at WrestleMania between (arguably) the two greatest superstars of the 90’s. This one for me is the best of the trilogy as both superstars were in their prime and gave everything they had to entertain that audience. It had such a feeling leading up to the match that these two superstars genuinely hate one another. Who can forget that moment at the end of the match when Austin turned his back on all the fans and sided with the villainous boss, Mr. McMahon, repeatedly hitting The Rock over and over with a steel chair until he finally managed to get the 3 count for the win.
Jim Ross, the lead commentator, made that moment even more meaningful by his reaction to Austin’s actions shouting the words “Stone Cold have sold his soul to the devil, to win the WWE Title! Why Steve? Why this way?” in only the emotive way in which he does! No other commentator would have sold the enormity of this moment quite like Jim Ross did that night.
4. Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels (60 Minute IronMan Match) Wrestlemania 12
A lot of people would argue that this should be at least 2nd, if not top, of any greatest matches list. A classic match in which the two superstars would compete for 60 minutes and whoever scored the most falls during the match at the end of that time would be declared the winner. After the 60 minutes had expired in this match though, no man had scored a fall meaning it went into sudden death in what was an all time wrestling masterclass by the 2 Hall of Famers.
A classic match but why did I not rank this higher I hear you ask…..
When I thought about my top 10 matches I looked at many factors, one of which being whether can go back and re-watch it over and over and still be as hooked as I was when I first watched it. The answer with this one sadly is no. It is an outstanding match don’t get me wrong hence why it features so highly, but Its not one of my first choices to go back and watch on the WWE Network.
3. Edge and Christian vs The Dudley’s vs The Hardy’s (Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match) – WrestleMania 17
Wow, what can I say about this match? Off the back of the original “TLC” match at SummerSlam the year before, this match had a lot to live up to and it did not disappoint! It surpassed every expectation that I had and then some! I still get nervous when I watch it back and I see Jeff Hardy hanging from the hook which the titles are attached to, with Edge stood on a ladder in the corner ready to dive off and spear Hardy to the ground from what must have been 15-20 foot easily! Or the moment in which Matt Hardy and Bubba Dudley are stood at the top of the ladder in the ring, only to have that ladder tipped forcing the two superstars to end up falling through 4 tables on the outside of the ring! Or even Jeff Hardy hitting a Swanton Bomb from the top of a 20 foot Ladder going through Spike Dudley and Rhyno (Who had run in to interfere) and also 2 tables!
To this day, this is the greatest “TLC” match of all time and I don’t think it will ever be topped!
2. Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania 25
The match which makes everybody’s top 10 and I strongly considered to be my number 1. The match billed as “The light vs the Dark” This was the first time that I Genuinely thought that The Undertakers undefeated streak (which stood at 16-0 at the time) would come to an end. I am still on the edge of my seat when I watch it back almost 7 years later! It was back and forth, nobody could see which way this was going to go and the ending set up the rematch the year later perfectly (And Michael’s final match in WWE).
I strongly considered that to be number one because of the back and forth nature, the fact that I can re-watch it over and over and the unpredictability of the match…….But after much consideration, The match which I believe is the greatest in WrestleMania history is……
1. Undertaker vs Triple H (Hell in a Cell Match with Shawn Michaels as Guest Referee) – WrestleMania 28
Whenever I want to go back and watch a match from the past, This is always the first one that I go to! Billed as “The End of an Era” pitting the 2 longest serving superstars left against one another, with the guest referee being Triple H’s best friend and the man who had to retire after losing to The Undertaker 2 years prior….Shawn Michaels. Add on top of that, the most dangerous structure in WWE history and a match that nobody has competed in more than these 2, The Hell in a Cell made this an even more incredible match!
The emotion in which all 3 legends portrayed in the ring was something that grips me still every time I watch it back, the unpredictability of how it would end, with Michaels hitting a “Sweet Chin Music” to the Undertaker allowing Triple H to hit a “Pedigree” and even that couldn’t keep Undertaker down. So many times I thought this match was over but it kept going and going. None of these Icons wanted to disappoint and they certainly did not!