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WWE Wrestlemania 28: 25 Greatest Matches in WrestleMania History

Mark PareCorrespondent IIJanuary 6, 2017

WWE Wrestlemania 28: 25 Greatest Matches in WrestleMania History

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    At WrestleMania 28, we have a star-studded lineup with many different matches that can be considered main-event caliber.

    Taking a look back, there have been some amazing matches that set the tone for the future, some that set a bar that may never be reached and created moments we will never forget.

    On Sunday, a couple of these matches have the potential to join a list that few will ever reach.

    When you think about WrestleMania, you think of those matches that told an amazing story and kept the audience on edge throughout.

    Here's a look at the 25 greatest matches in WrestleMania history.

25. Kurt Angle vs. Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit (WM 16)

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    Coming into this contest, Kurt Angle was the European and Intercontinental (or Eurocontinental, as he called it) Champion.

    Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit were in the infancy of their WWE careers after coming over from WCW.

    This match was two falls and showcased three of the top talents in the WWE. A classic triple-threat match for the ages and the unique concept of putting both belts on the line was a great job done by WWE creative.

    I still remember the weeks after this match, where Angle wouldn't stop crying over the fact that he wasn't pinned, yet lost both of his titles.

    These three future World Champions had great promos leading up to the match, and the match itself was in fact the first WrestleMania contests for each man.

    Click here for part two of the video.

24. John Cena vs. Triple H (WM 22)

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    Entering a hostile Chicago crowd has become routine for John Cena; we all know what happened at Money in the Bank against CM Punk.

    Some say this was the match where it first became apparent that the Cena character was starting to get old on people.

    Of course, it could also be that he was facing an all-time great in Triple H.

    Going into the match, Triple H had lost the Royal Rumble and went on to win the Road to WrestleMania tournament to be granted a title match against the champion, Cena.

    Cena had won his title back from Edge at the Royal Rumble and went on to defeat the "King of Kings" by submission in this contest.

    This was one of those matches that was defined by the crowd.  The Cena character went on to be booed heavily during PPV events down the road, including at One Night Stand in June, when he faced Rob Van Dam in a pro-ECW crowd.

23. Roddy Piper vs. Bret Hart (WM 8)

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    A back-and-forth battle between two WWE Hall of Famers for the Intercontinental Title at WrestleMania.  Can you feel the nostalgia?

    Both men utilized many great elements in the short 15-minute span they had for the match, and it lived up to be two guys fighting over a belt that had way more value than it does now.

    Bret's blood, the referee bump and the fantastic counter from the sleeper hold are a few things that are memorable, but when Piper overcame temptation to use the ring bell, it showed just how much respect he had for this up-and-comer.

    If that didn't, the fact that Piper put the belt on Hart and pulled him to his feet sure did.

22. Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel (WM 11)

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    It was Shawn Michaels' first WWE Championship match at WrestleMania, and in order to win, he had to defeat the current champion and his former bodyguard, Diesel.

    This match was one that showcased HBK's ability to have an excellent contest against a giant, an ability that translated further in his classics with The Undertaker (more on that later).

    The celebrity content was at a fever pitch as well, with Pamela Anderson, Jenny McCarthy and Jonathan Taylor Thomas all at ringside.

    What followed was the 1995 Pro Wrestling Illustrated "Match of the Year."

21. Mick Foley vs. Edge (WM 22)

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    This was a hardcore match that seemingly passed the torch from the Attitude Era generation to the new generation of main event Superstars.

    Edge won his first WWE Championship in January by cashing in his Money in the Bank contract he won at WrestleMania 21. He lost the belt four weeks later.

    Mick Foley has always been the "king of hardcore," but Edge took him to extreme lengths that have not been seen on TV in years. The blood, the fire, the barbed wire—nothing was off-limits in this contest.

    A truly unique WrestleMania moment, one amidst a plethora of athleticism, was one that capped off a genre of wrestling that is few and far between in the PG-13 WWE.

20. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho (WM 19)

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    Shawn Michaels made his way back to WrestleMania for the first time since returning from his back injury.

    Put him in the mix with a brash, arrogant Chris Jericho, and you saw magic before your eyes.

    Jericho main evented the previous WrestleMania and came into this one with a vendetta to defeat one of his childhood idols.

    HBK didn't take kindly, and you can be sure he doesn't back down to a challenge. These two put on a great match, with Jericho even performing Sweet Chin Music!

19. Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit (WM 17)

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    If you are looking for a straight-up wrestling match with a flavour of the WWE, this is the match for you.  Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit, one year removed from their triple-threat match (along with Chris Jericho) at WrestleMania 16, started this contest with a stellar display of technical mat wrestling, and the excitement built from that took them through this contest.

    Submission attempts a plenty, and overall, one of the matches that even as part of the undercard stole the show.

    It's no wonder both men faced off in an Ultimate Submission match a month later.

18. Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair (WM 24)

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    This match had more emotion involved than any I can remember watching.

    Ric Flair was inducted to the WWE Hall of Fame the night before and then faced off against his friend Shawn Michaels.

    It was a classic, one that I do wish went down as Flair's last match in his entire career, as WWE did do a great job of closing the career of the Nature Boy.  You can't blame Flair for going to TNA; he had an itch and wanted to continue.

    The best finish of all-time, one that brings tears to my eyes even today.

    "I'm sorry, I love you."

17. Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar (WM 19)

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    The main event at WrestleMania 19 was the first time that two former amateur wrestling champions faced off for the WWE Championship.

    The 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist, Kurt Angle, vs. the 2000 NCAA Heavyweight Wrestling National Champion, Brock Lesnar.

    There wasn't too much to the theatrics, but still was worthy of the main-event billing.

    Lesnar took a huge bump in this match, messing up a "Shooting Star Press" and suffering a severe concussion in the process. He did win the match and the title, however.

    Another match that showed the established main-event star (Angle) put over the young and apparent future of the business (Lesnar).

    We all know how that one turned out; no offense, Brock. I loved your UFC career, though.

16. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit (WM 20)

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    The Triple H/Shawn Mchaels feud took up the fall of 2003 and into 2004, battling over the World Heavyweight Championship.

    Chris Benoit won the 2004 Royal Rumble, and what followed turned into another triple-threat match for the ages.

    Three guys at the top of their game putting on a show at the 20th anniversary of the biggest spectacle in sports entertainment.

    All three got in great offense, and in the end, Benoit finally secured a World Heavyweight Championship by forcing Triple H to tap out to the Crippler Crossface.

    Another touching ending is when WWE Champion Eddie Guerrero came out to congratulate his friend (and a man he skipped to WWE with) Benoit on his win and celebrate amidst the streamers and the capacity Madison Square Garden crowd.

15. Ultimate Warrior vs. 'Macho Man' Randy Savage (WM 7)

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    This retirement match was a feather in the cap for the Ultimate Warrior.

    After facing (and defeating) Hulk Hogan for the WWE Title at WrestleMania 6, he got the opportunity to face the other half of the Mega Powers, "Macho Man" Randy Savage.

    The tireless effort of these guys to make simplest moves like an elbow drop be so deadly.

    Do you remember when the Warrior kicked out of FIVE Macho Man elbow drops?  Check it out, and more of this amazing match, including the provocative pin in the end.

14. Triple H vs. Undertaker (WM 27)

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    This slide was a must as we head into the rematch at WrestleMania 28.

    Last year, Undertaker took a beating at the hands of Triple H, but the story was all about how Undertaker continues to survive this streak.

    It was a fantastic display by two veterans of the business, showing how to get things done on the grand stage.

    Survival of the fittest, and Undertaker survived this one by pulling into every facet of his game and grabbing the submission before getting carted out due to exhaustion.

13. Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle (WM 21)

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    A pure mat wrestler against arguably the greatest performer of all-time? Sign me up!

    Kurt Angle was looking to get another shot at the WWE Championship as an entrant in the Royal Rumble.

    Michaels, coming off of a WrestleMania main event, wanted another shot at the gold as well.

    A simple matter of jealousy about the 1996 Olympics and Shawn Michaels wrestling Bret Hart in the 60-minute Iron Man Match (again, more on that later).

    Putting these two in the ring together, both of them told an amazing story in the ring, and even though Angle (as the heel) got the win, I still applauded both of them for what they just did, and that was steal the show.

    Even on a card with John Cena and Batista winning World Titles for the first time, this was the match that made WrestleMania 21.

12. Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior (WM 6)

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    It was an early memory for a few friends I knew who had the chance to see this match live. The SkyDome in Toronto was packed for this one, as the Ultimate Warrior looked to capture the WWE Championship and unite the title with the Intercontinental Championship against Hulk Hogan.

    Another great match in WrestleMania and WWE history, as Hogan passed the torch to the Ultimate Warrior.

11. The Rock vs. 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin (WM 17)

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    Two men that led the Attitude Era and brought the WWE to heights it never knew before was The Rock and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.

    From two different walks of life, both men emerged in WWE and climbed the ladder to success quickly.

    They main evented three WrestleManias and put on some good matches, but the story told in this one and the athletic ability and use of the no-DQ stipulation made it one of the best matches ever.

10. The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan (WM 18)

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    Another match that some friends of mine got to see in Toronto was the Icon vs. Icon match between The Rock and Hulk Hogan.

    Hogan came back to the WWE with the nWo in February. All three men got dance partners for WrestleMania, but none more thrilling than this one.

    Rock and Hogan put on an excellent match, one that the crowd got into, cheering both men at one point and bringing Hogan to turn face.

    It's that legend effect. No matter your preference, if we respect you, we respect you.

9. TLC Match: Edge/Christian vs. Hardy Boyz vs. Dudley Boyz (WM 17)

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    Back when the Tag Team titles meant something, three tag team combinations took to WrestleMania and competed in a brutal TLC Match.

    The innovators of the match, these three teams took to the skies with a bunch of huge bumps and tons of tag team moves.

    A tornado tag at its finest, as all teams had to grab the belts hanging in the balance.

    Who can forget Edge spearing Jeff Hardy out of mid-air?

    These three put on a prototype in a Triangle Ladder Match at WrestleMania 16, and here, they set records and standards for all ladder matches.

8. Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant (WM 3)

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    One of the most anticipated matches of all-time.

    "The Irresistible Force vs. the Immovable Object," as it was billed, filled up the Pontiac Superdome with more than 93,000 people. Although it wasn't an excellent match, if you look at it from a clinical mat wrestling standpoint, it created buzz, and the match itself was one you couldn't take your eyes off of.

    Could Hogan slam Andre? Could Hogan retain his WWE Title in the toughest challenge in his career?

7. Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart (WM 10)

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    One of my favourites from two brothers brought up in wrestling royalty.

    No words can describe what the two Hart brothers did in this match. All the technique, all the skill and the fact that Bret had to wrestle Yokozuna later that night didn't slow the Hitman down against Owen.

    Enjoy!

    Click for part two and part three.

6. Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon (WM 10)

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    Another great match from WrestleMania 10 was one that started the revolution of the ladder match.

    Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon put on one of the greatest ladder matches in history, a standard that is still looked upon to today's stars.

    Again, no words can describe the awesome, so just watch!

5. Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage (WM 3)

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    A match that still tests time is one from WrestleMania 3, and the fact that it rates so high even in today's standards can tell you just how good this match really was.

    Two WWE Hall of Fame stars in their prime, getting things done, trying to win the Intercontinental Championship.

4. Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (WM 26)

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    The rematch everyone wanted at WrestleMania 26 proved to be a devastating one for Shawn Michaels.

    It was a fitting end to a fantastic career, one of the best in history, putting on another "Match of the Year" at the big stage against another legend in The Undertaker.

3. Bret Hart vs. 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin (WM 13)

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    A simple submission match blew up into something much bigger.

    The image of Austin's bloody face, screaming in agony over the Sharpshooter from Bret Hart is everlasting in every wrestling fan's mind.

    The rare double turn happened as well, as Hart became vilified, while Austin went on to became the biggest face in the company.

2. Shawn Michaels vs Bret Hart (WM 12)

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    The first ever WWE Iron Man match was one between two men with intense hatred for one another.

    More importantly, this match was between two men who were told they couldn't hold an audiences attention for a whole hour. Boy, were those critics wrong.

    For 60 minutes, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels put on a wrestling clinic, plain and simple, and when the time expired without a winner, we got more, an encore performance if you will.

    HBK's first ever WWE Championship win was well-earned in one of the greatest matches in not only WrestleMania history, but professional wrestling history.

    One of the best entrances to a match as well.

1. Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (WM 25)

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    This match set the tone for WrestleMania 26 and the last match of HBK's career.

    This match, however, was all about ending the streak of the Undertaker and the fact that Taker never beat Shawn Michaels in a one-on-one match beforehand added some intrigue.

    These two men did things in the ring that made everyone that ever thought wrestling was a dead art think otherwise. HBK and Undertaker are two of a kind from an era of wrestling that we remember as kids.

    They told a story in that ring that solidified just why they are who they are, and I can say without a doubt when someone makes fun of me for liking wrestling in this era, I can tell them that if they were a fan back in the day, to watch this match and to feel that inner child come out.

    In fact, I think I watched this video three times after I looked for it to put in this very slideshow.

    Case in point, this was the greatest match in WrestleMania history.

    What do you think? Are there any other matches that you can think of that could've made this list?

     

    Mark Pare is a Featured Columnist. You can follow him on Twitter, and don't forget to check out his sportswriter page.

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