We are now less than a week from a WrestleMania that features one of the most stacked cards in history.
CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho for the WWE Championship is a match that could sell shows on its own. Yet it's only the third main event come Sunday.
It's around this time of year that we start to think back to our favorite WrestleMania shows and matches. I know I did, and it got me wondering: what if we could make a dream card out of these WrestleMania classics?
Of course, it would be difficult with the amount of great matches to make this loaded card, so here are a few rules for the following slideshow:
1) There is a limit of 10 matches on this card. Even that is a match or two overboard, but with 27 WrestleMania's to cover, a show with three times that number would be easy to craft.
2) No one is pulling double duty. This is an important one, especially when it comes to a superstar like Shawn Michaels. Mr. WrestleMania has had amazing matches against a multitude of superstars, but since this card would theoretically be happening all in one night, he can only fight one person. While this means plenty of great matches will be left off the card, it also provides a perfect opportunity for everyone to bring their own opinions to the table on their dream card.
3) Each championship can only be defended once. So although there have been numerous memorable WWE Championship matches in WrestleMania history, only one of them will be appearing on my card.
Making this slideshow is like putting together one big jigsaw puzzle, and I'd love to hear everyone's opinions on their dream cards while trying to follow those three rules.
Let's get started!
Check out my power ranking of all 11 of the Undertaker's Hell in a Cell matches at this link.
The best opening match in WrestleMania history is a perfect way to kick off this dream card.
Like their match at SummerSlam a few months later, when Bret and Owen got into the ring together, it was golden. Their rivalry had been simmering for weeks before this encounter, and it all came to a head in the first match of the night.
Although Bret would go on to win in the main event by pulling double duty, (ironic since it is forbidden in this slideshow) he could not pull off the win against his brother.
After a twenty minute classic, Owen picked up the win and Hart family bragging rights for the time being. It is a match that any wrestling fan could enjoy watching multiple times.
While my pick for the best Money in the Bank match would go to the encounter at WrestleMania 23, a number of superstars in that match already have other spots on the card.
WrestleMania XXIV still showcased a great ladder match, which featured CM Punk beating Shelton Benjamin, Chris Jericho, Carlito, MVP, Mr. Kennedy, and John Morrison.
The spot of the match has to go to Morrison, who showcased his talent with a ridiculous moonsault while holding onto a ladder. Morrison could have been a champion by now, but a couple of bad backstage decisions later and he is not even with the company anymore.
Punk would go on to win the World Heavyweight Championship and have a lackluster run as a first-time champ. Thankfully, he has developed into one of the top stars of the WWE heading into his encounter with Chris Jericho on Sunday.
I am sure there is no surprise about John Cena making the card, but his placement here is probably not what you were expecting.
Cena has been involved in a major championship bout ever since WrestleMania 21; unfortunately, none of those matches have been spectacular enough to earn a spot on this dream card.
However, in the brief history of the United States Championship in the WWE, he had one of the more prevalent bouts against the Big Show to open WrestleMania XX. It was a good opener, and not only was it Cena's first performance at WrestleMania, it was his first major show of sheer power when he hit the F-U on the Big Show.
As for Show, this just about sums up his WrestleMania career. He is a proven veteran, but WrestleMania usually is not a very good night for the Largest Athlete in the World.
He will be looking to end that trend by defeating Cody Rhodes for the Intercontinental Championship.
Believe it or not, the divas used to get more than five minutes on any sort of WWE programming.
Mickie vs. Trish was a feud that had been developing for months. Mickie was a fan of Trish, but was just a bit forward about her love for Stratus. Once she realized Trish would not reciprocate the same feelings, she went crazy.
The feud culminated at WrestleMania 22, and although Trish was supposed to be the face, she was booed heavily by the Chicago crowd, who were looking for a change at the top of the divas division.
The two women were given almost ten minutes, which is practically a sin in today's company. In the end, it was Mickie who stood tall, much to the delight of the crowd.
In the history of the Intercontinental Championship, it would be very difficult to find a match better than this encounter at WrestleMania III.
While some matches can be called on the fly, this was not one of them. Savage was a perfectionist, and every move was planned out months in advance in order to deliver the best show possible. What followed was one of the best WrestleMania matches ever.
Savage would go on to have a number of other classic WrestleMania contests: Ted DiBiase, Hulk Hogan, the Ultimate Warrior, and Ric Flair are names that come to mind. For Steamboat, however, this was his WrestleMania moment, and he prevailed by winning the title after a large number of near falls.
Although the early WrestleMania cards poured on the filler matches, this is one of two contests that made WrestleMania III a night to remember.
Pop quiz: Who are the current WWE Tag Team Champions?
Answer: Epico & Primo
When was the last time we saw these guys on Raw? And how are they featured on the WrestleMania card? A long time and they're not are the correct answers, respectively.
A decade ago, however, the tag team championships were arguably just as important as the WWE title. This match from WrestleMania X-7 is the pinnacle of the glory days of the tag team division.
Edge & Christian. The Dudley Boyz. The Hardy Boyz. These three teams were synonymous with the division, and any of the three could be the champ at any time. These six were so good that they helped create the match simply known today as TLC.
While the first one took place at SummerSlam the year before, this contest was arguably better. The involvement of Lita, Spike, and Rhyno added to the contest, and the huge spots throughout were ridiculous.
It might be a very long time before the tag team division ever reaches this type of level again.
Just imagine how good this match could have been if it was given more time. On my dream card, these three men would be given 20 minutes to make one of the best triple threat matches in history.
Unfortunately, this was the contest that got the short end of the stick at WrestleMania 22. Still, with just a little less than ten minutes to work with, this was a fantastic World Heavyweight Championship match.
The WHC has only been featured at WrestleMania since 2003, when it was first defended by Triple H against Booker T. In its short history, matches such as HHH/HBK/Benoit and Taker/Edge have delivered memorable contests.
Since men in both of those contests are in other spots on this card, however, Angle vs. Mysterio vs. Orton would deliver a show-stealer with the proper amount of time.
Nonetheless, this was a feel good moment for Rey Mysterio, who won the big one on the biggest show of the year. It is unfortunate that the death of Eddie Guerrero had to be the reason for his main event push.
No, it is not for the WWE Championship, but the Rock and Stone Cold is more than just that title.
Triple H and the Undertaker will be battling at WrestleMania for the third time on Sunday. The Rock and Stone Cold is the other pair to accomplish that feat. Theirs is more impressive, however, because it happened in the span of five years.
Think of top superstars such today, such as John Cena vs. Randy Orton. Would fans want to see them battle at three separate WrestleManias, much less main-event two of those? Probably not. But the Rock and Stone Cold accomplished that, and left everyone wanting more.
This particular bout at WrestleMania XIX is their only encounter that did not involve the WWE Championship. By then, Rock vs. Stone Cold could easily sell-out arenas without the strap. The Great One had done it all (or so we thought), and the last item on his list was defeating the Rattlesnake on the grandest stage of them all.
Little did we know that it would be the last time Austin would participate in a wrestling match. Although there are rumblings of him returning to face CM Punk, he has not made the commitment to go at it again.
The Rock needed Stone Cold, and vice versa. Two of the greatest superstars were at their prime at the same time, and it is something that might never be replicated.
Forget about the match quality. It sucked, and we all know that. But the fact of the matter is this match is the reason the WWE is so big today.
Vince McMahon took a huge leap when he thought of the concept we know now as WrestleMania. The first two installments were filled with celebrities, but there were no defining matches that make us remember those events.
That all changed with Hogan vs. Andre.
This was the highlight of wrestling in the 1980s, and anyone who was anyone was talking about these two superstars colliding. While Savage vs. Steamboat was the best wrestling match of the night, it was Hogan vs. Andre that got everyone watching in the first place.
We look back at this match now and hate on the actual quality of the wrestling. However, wrestling was much simpler back then. The finishing moves of top superstars included a flying elbow, a leg drop, a splash, and a sleeper. With the exception of Ziggler using the sleeper, it's hard to use any of these maneuvers as a finisher in the year 2012.
Wrestling has evolved over the years in order to stay modern. When Hogan vs. Andre happened, the body slam was the biggest moment that could have ever happened.
Considering the effect this match has on the business and the hype it brought to wrestling, it has to be the WWE championship contest on this dream card.
The last match on my dream card should be the best match in WrestleMania history: Taker vs. HBK.
Although the rematch had more riding on the outcome, the original was still the best. It was a 30-minute classic, and there will never again be a reaction quite like that night when a superstar kicks out of the Tombstone.
The kickout was such a rare occurrence before WrestleMania XXV, so when HBK was able to avoid a three count, it instantly propelled the match into classic territory. Even then, the match went almost another ten minutes, as Taker and Michaels gave us everything they had.
Probably the most amazing part about this classic was that the combined age of both men at the time added up to 87. The ability to put on a display of athleticism such as this in one's forties is a ridiculous feat.
The Streak has become a bigger deal at WrestleMania than any championship. Randy Orton got it officially started at WrestleMania 21, and Shawn Michaels propelled it into legendary status. There will never be anything quite like it again.
Therefore, the best way to end this dream card is with a 30-minute classic that leaves the fans going home wishing they could see Taker and HBK wrestle for another hour.
Triple H: His best chance of getting on the card was either against Taker last year or the Triple Threat match at WrestleMania XX. Shawn got in his way both times, and he was left off the card. Maybe that does prove who is better?
Kane: The veteran made a huge impact on his debut and faced Taker in his first match at WrestleMania, but since the Streak has become prevalent, the quality of the Deadman's matches has risen dramatically. His other chance was in the MITB match, but WrestleMania XXIV was the best one of those left where all the participants were available.
Ric Flair: An emotional Retirement match and a great title match against Savage are very notable contests, but both opponents were already on the card.
Ultimate Warrior: Both his title match against Hogan and his retirement match against Macho Man could easily make the list, but they were both trumped by the WrestleMania III encounters.
Mick Foley: Without a doubt, his Hardcore match against Edge at WM 22 was worthy of a spot, but it is tough to top the TLC match from WrestleMania X-7.
Thanks for reading! I encourage you to all try and make your own WrestleMania dream card with the same rules and share them in the comments section. Plenty of great matches like Hart vs. Austin and HBK vs. Angle were left out and could easily be a part of the show.