As we quickly approach WrestleMania 28, it's time to look back at the wrestlers that have paved the way for the current superstars of the WWE.
The Top Ten performers were selected based on quality of matches (workrate), win/loss records, and overall historical significance.
Without further ado, here are the top wrestlers of WrestleMania history.
Owen Hart: Compiled a 5-2-1 record in his WrestleMania appearances. His best match was his encounter with his brother, Bret, at WrestleMania X.
Kurt Angle: Although he has a lackluster 3-5 record in his Mania matches, he wrestled in three five-star matches (vs. Chris Benoit at X-7, vs. Brock Lesnar ar XIX, and vs. Shawn Michaels at 21).
"Rowdy" Roddy Piper: "The Rowdy Scot" may have a 2-4-1 record in his matches, but he was involved in the first-ever WrestleMania main event, and wrestled in a 4 star classic with Bret Hart at WrestleMania VIII
Best Match: WrestleMania 22 vs. Mick Foley (Hardcore Match)
Edge retired with a 6-4 record at WrestleMania. His legacy includes a triangle ladder match (2000), a TLC tag team match (X-7) winning the first "Money in the Bank" match (21), and his hardcore battle with Mick Foley at WrestleMania 22.
It was only fitting he retired last year at WrestleMania 27 after defending the world championship against Alberto Del Rio.
Best Match: vs. The Undertaker at WretleMania 27
Triple H has compiled a 8-7 record at WrestleMania and had the distinction of being the first heel to successfully defend his title in the event's history (WrestleMania 2000).
Triple H has won the WWE title once at the event (18), and has been in a title match five other times. He also participated in one of the best matches in Mania history at WrestleMania XX in a triple threat match that included Chris Benoit and Shawn Michaels (Benoit won the world title).
Best Match(es): The "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Rock WrestleMania trilogy (15, X-7, XIX)
The Rock is 4-4 in Wrestlemania. While he never won a championship at WrestleMania during the Attitude Era, he was involved in the only WrestleMania trilogy of matches.
That trilogy, against Steve Austin, stands the test of time as the greatest series of matches in Mania history. Although Austin won the first two matches at 15 and X-7, The Rock would have the last laugh in what would be Austin's retirement match at XIX.
Best Match: vs. Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 23 (retained WWE Championship)
Cena has compiled a 6-2 record in Mania matches. In his every appearance, he has has wrestled for a championship.
This will be the first year that John Cena will not be wrestling in a title match. But, he is wrestling in one of the most anticipated matches of all time against the returning Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
Cena was also one of four men to win the WWE (or WWF) title three times at WrestleMania (21, XXV, XXVI).
Best Match: vs. Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXV
Although Undertaker may be undefeated at 19-0 in WrestleMania history, he has wrestled his share of stinkers at the event. Matches against Big Boss Man, Giant Gonzalez, and King Kong Bundy have done nothing but pad his record.
What is strange about Undertaker is that as he's gotten older, his matches have generally gotten much better. With the exception of his match against Mark Henry at 22 and Big Show and Albert at XIX, all his matches since WrestleMania X-7 have been of the highest quality.
He is one of four men to win the WWE (or WWF) title three times (13, 23, XXIV).
Also of note is he and Triple H are about to be in only the second trilogy of matches in the history of the event. Further, he will tie Bret Hart for most consecutive matches on the WrestleMania PPV in history.
Best Match: vs. Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XII (60 Minute Iron Man Match)
Bret Hart holds a little known record that has less chance of being broken than Undertaker's more lauded record. He wrestled in twelve straight WrestleManias from 2-13.
That is the Cal Ripken or Brett Favre streak for wrestling, and it is doubtful it will be broken.
Besides his impressive streak of 12 matches, he competed in several high quality matches. His matches with Roddy Piper (VIII), Owen Hart (X), Shawn Michaels (XII), and Steve Austin (13) all are easily among the top matches in Mania history.
Bret also won one WWF and one intercontinental title and compiled a 7-7 record at the event.
Best Match: vs. Ricky Steamboat at WrestleMania III
In the first ten years of WrestleMania, there was one wrestler Vince McMahon could count on to go out and have a quality match.
Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant may have packed the Silverdome, but Savage and Steamboat is the match that is talked about the most from that card.
Maybe more impressive was Savage's followup the following year at WrestleMania IV. He went out and wrestled four times in all. He won the WWF title in the final match that night.
His match against Ric Flair at WrestleMania VIII is another classic that showcased the great storytelling from two masters. He won his second and final WWF Championship in that match.
And, in his WrestleMania VII match against the Ultimate Warrior, he somehow carried the big man to a great match. Overall, Savage was 7-4 at WrestleMania.
Best Match: vs. The Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania VI
Hulk Hogan was the most important wrestler in the early days of WrestleMania.
Excluding WrestleMania IV, he headlined the first eight WrestleMania events. Overall, Hogan was an impressive 8-2-1 at Mania.
While his match quality may not always have been top notch, he always electrified a crowd like no one before him. He won the WWF title two times in Mania. He also wrestled two of the most high profile matches with Andre the Giant (III) and The Rock (18).
Hogan is also one of four men to have won the WWF or WWE title three times at WrestleMania (V, VII, IX).
Hulk Hogan carried the WWF and WrestleMania on his broad shoulders during the early years.
Obviously, Hogan is an important wrestler in the history of the event.
Best Match: vs. Bret Hart at Wrestlemania 13 (Submission Match)
Steve Austin's rise to the top of WWE started with his WWF title win and ended with his loss to the Rock at WrestleMania XIX. In those five years, Austin provided some of the top matches in Mania history.
During that time, he won the WWF title three times (14, XV, X-7), fought in the only trilogy of WrestleMania matches (vs. The Rock), and was the top superstar during WWF's Attitude Era.
He is one of four men to win the WWE (or WWF) title three times (XIV, XV, X-7).
Overall, Austin compiled a 5-2 record at WrestleMania.
Best Match: vs. The Undertaker at WrestleMania 25
He was called "Mr. WrestleMania" for a reason.
Even though he compiled a 6-11 record (5-9 in singles), he consistently delivered some of the best matches in the history of the event.He won one WWF title during that time.
But, what needs to be mentioned is the innovations he brought to WrestleMania. He participated in the first Ladder Match (X), the first and only Iron Man match (XII), the first Triple Threat title match (XX), and also the only man to wrestle in two retirement matches (XXIV, XXVI).
His resume includes gems that wrestling fans have come to appreciate as some of the greatest matches in not just the history of WrestleMania, but the history of wrestling itself.
His matches with "Razor" Ramon (X, Ladder Match), Bret Hart (XII, Iron Man Match), Chris Jericho (XIX), Chris Benoit & Triple H (XX, Triple Threat), Kurt Angle (21), Vince McMahon (22), John Cena (23), Ric Flair (XXIV, Retirement Match), and the Undertaker (XXV, XXVI, Career vs. Streak) were all Match of the Year material.
Without a doubt, he was the best wrestler in the history of this prestigious event.
Thanks for reading!
You can follow Dean Dixon at www.twitter.com/folsomcounty where he live tweets during Monday Night RAW and other assorted events.