WWE WrestleMania: Ranking the Main Event Buildup over the Years

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WWE WrestleMania: Ranking the Main Event Buildup over the Years

Looking back on WrestleManias past is like leafing through a photo album — the headlining match is a valuable snapshot of who ruled the company at that particular time. 

But the inclusion of big-name superstars in the closing match doesn't automatically guarantee a memorable event. 

An extraordinary WrestleMania headliner is built up over time, the culmination of a slow-simmering feud in which each wrestler has had a chance to verbally and physically slay his opponent.

The rudimentary element of all WrestleMania main event feuds is this: a believable, interesting and otherwise entertaining reason for two wrestlers to fight. 

Each feud has different wrinkles and secondary components added into it, but the underlying characteristic between all of the best WrestleMania main events is the same. 

The audience has to genuinely care that these two wrestlers want to tear each other apart.

First, let's take a look at the 10 worst WrestleMania main event buildups, instances in which something — the storyline, the execution, or the wrestlers involved — just didn't click.

WrestleMania II, Hulk Hogan vs. King Kong Bundy

WrestleMania XXVII, John Cena vs. The Miz: The WWE spent more time hyping the feud between Cena and the Rock, leaving the Miz as nothing more than an afterthought.

WrestleMania X8, Triple H vs. Chris Jericho: Not only was this match overshadowed by Hollywood Hogan vs. The Rock, it also suffered from poor booking. Using Jericho and his Undisputed Championship as a secondary prop to Triple H and Stephanie McMahon's divorce was a nonsensical decision. 

WrestleMania IX, Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna

WrestleMania X, Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna: Hart and Lex Luger were co-winners of the Royal Rumble, which jumbled the title picture. Luger had been feuding with Yokozuna since the previous year, and Hart had a conflict with his brother, Owen, heading into WrestleMania. Because of this, Hart vs. Yokozuna really had no build besides their feud leading up to WrestleMania IX. 

WrestleMania 13, Undertaker vs. Sycho Sid

WrestleMania 25, Triple H vs. Randy Orton: Triple H seeking vengeance after Orton punted Vince McMahon in the head was a passable storyline, but the Legacy never got any credibility as a heel stable. Shane McMahon was able to manhandle Orton one week after the punt, Triple H constantly had the Legacy on the run, and even Vince held his own during the three-on-three brawl a week before 'Mania. 

WrestleMania 22, John Cena vs. Triple H: Triple H did not take John Cena seriously as a threat, making Cena a major underdog going into this match. The problem with that: Cena had been the WWE champion for 343 of the last 364 days on the date WrestleMania 22 took place. 

WrestleMania 23, John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels

WrestleMania XIX, Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar: Instead of booking this match as two guys looking to prove they were the best wrestler in the world, the WWE built Angle up as a cowardly champion trying to win by any means necessary — switching places with Eric Angle and getting interference from Team Angle — to win. 

Now, on to the 17 best WrestleMania main event buildups: 

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