WrestleMania is the biggest night in professional wrestling. It doesn't matter if you are a WWE, TNA, ROH fan, or just a casual wrestling fan. Everyone has to agree to that.
With WrestleMania XXVIII on the horizon, it is time to revisit just what makes this night so special.
It isn't just the celebrities, the excitement or the wrestlers involved.
Sure, it's a cool night for all of that and seeing legends who are not around during the regular year.
However, WrestleMania is truly the biggest night because of moments. Because of those times that you remember for a lifetime and never forget.
Every WrestleMania has them. Some have more than others, and they are truly what define each WrestleMania.
WrestleMania XXVIII will be another night for moments certainly, but before we get there, let's look back at the 50 greatest moments in WrestleMania history.
Note: With moments so great and numerous, it would be a crime to rate some of them over others, so I am listing them purely chronologically.
The first spectacle celebrity moment in WrestleMania history.
The world-renowned Liberace would come to the very first WrestleMania and act as the special guest timekeeper.
Before that though, he made a big celebrity impression.
With the Rockettes by his side, he would do the can-can in the middle of the ring before the big main event to a probably overly hyped crowd and hilarious commentary.
This was a celebrity appearance done purely for fun. It didn't distract from the action, and it was a legendary moment that the crowd loved.
WrestleMania I was a night where all the biggest celebrities came out.
While some were just there to watch or provide some minor entertainment, Mr. T came to perform, surprisingly well, in fact.
Of course, he had Rowdy Roddy Piper to work off and the energy of Hulkamania on his side, so sometimes you sort of forgot Mr. T was a celebrity.
This match wasn't the best Mania main event of all time, but it certainly wasn't the worst.
More importantly, it was electric, and the crowd was all over this match.
WrestleMania 2 was more of a collection of spectacles than a true WrestleMania, but it did have one true standout moment.
That moment was one of the most understated in WrestleMania history but also unmatched.
The legendary Ray Charles would perform "America the Beautiful" at WrestleMania 2 in a performance that should never be forgotten.
While many musical performances have come after it, including many others singing "America the Beautiful," none were more poignant than on this night.
Many people talk about matches stealing the show.
Maybe because the match was more exciting, more flamboyant, better told or just better wrestled.
At WrestleMania III, though, the term "show stealer" was defined forever in the WWE by one match: Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat.
This was the match for a generation, one that should never be overlooked or underrated.
While a bigger moment came at the end of the night, this match was far and away the best of the night, best of the year and frankly, one of the best of all time.
It was the match that made the Intercontinental Championship and made everyone take notice to these under-appreciated legends.
Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant.
It was the ultimate match.
The irresistible force vs. the immovable object.
The WWE's legendary face and unflappable champion vs. the undefeated (for 15 years) giant.
This match was a defining match because of its moment.
The moment where Hulk Hogan would lift up the 500-pound giant and body slam him to the mat in one of the craziest showings of power anyone could have ever imagined.
The WWE and WrestleMania became a huge hit from this moment on.
An understated moment of celebrity fun.
Andre the Giant was being interviewed by the celebrity star Bob Uecker when Uecker insinuated that Andre's hand was massive (calling it a foot).
The Giant didn't take too kindly to those words, and he turned around and choked out the star in front of the camera.
It wasn't really a frightening or an incredibly funny scene but simply just memorable, iconic even.
One year after stealing the show, it was Randy Savage's turn to take the spotlight.
With the WWF Championship on the line in a 14-man tournament, Savage battled Ted DiBiase in the main event.
DiBiase would come in with the advantage as he had gained a bye in the previous round, though even that wasn't enough to stop Savage, who came in with a fire and managed to gain the gold that he had never tasted before: the World Title.
This was not the end of the reigns of Hogan, but Savage's reign for over a year proved that he could truly be a star for the company.
If you ignore what this match really ended up being (the end of Savage's time at the top generally in favor of reinstating Hogan), this was quite the moment and match.
While the Hulkster has always been exciting and popular, his ability to put on great matches has always been questioned.
With Savage, though, it is pretty difficult to have a bad match, especially with this kind of emotion.
Savage and Hogan went all-out here in what could arguably be the greatest match of Hogan's career.
Seeing this match at the top of the card was a special moment and just a great contest to watch.
WrestleMania VI was the last time anyone would ever see Andre compete on the Grandest Stage of Them All.
During that night, he would come in as a champion and exit as a fan favorite and a legend.
The match Andre was involved in saw Demolition gain the tag team gold for a third time as they beat Andre and his partner Haku.
The moment that made this special though came after the match. As Bobby Heenan scolded his client, Andre snapped and took out Heenan.
After that, Andre was able to leave the arena to cheers.
Though he would come back one last time, this was the last defining moment and his last match at Mania of the very first Hall of Famer.
The Ultimate Warrior was once a huge star, one of the best in the WWF in terms of charisma and ability to get a crowd behind him.
With all that excitement behind him, WWE capitalized upon it by having a match for the ages as the Warrior took on the face of the company, Hogan.
It was a face vs. face match that was built around one thing more than any other: electricity.
These two had the crowd in the palm of their hands as they battled in a match that almost shouldn't have been great but ended up being one of the best of both men's careers, even though neither were known for being great in-ring performers.
When the moment came, the match ended as no one could have imagined. For the first time in his career, Hogan laid down for a clean loss to a star at WrestleMania.
While Warrior would never truly live up to this passing of the torch from Hogan, this moment was still defining.
This was the beginning of the most important symbol in WrestleMania history.
Sure, this wasn't a great match, but what it did was establish just what a monster Undertaker truly was.
He tore through the legendary Jimmy Snuka in mere minutes and continued an unbelievably dominant run.
People should have known even then that they were looking at a star, but now this looks so much bigger.
Randy Savage came into this match putting his career on the line in an awesome match against the Ultimate Warrior, but he left with one of the happiest moments in WWE history.
Savage lost the match, but what happened after the match was what mattered.
After losing, Sensational Sherri, the manager of Savage at the name, ran into the ring and assaulted a beaten-down Savage until Miss Elizabeth made her way into the ring to save her former husband.
The moment was defining and emotional in a way that few moments possibly could be.
These two coming together one last time was a moment that would live on for a lifetime, even with both now sadly having left us.
Ted DiBiase was the ultimate bad guy.
He paid off and bullied anyone and everyone in his way.
That applies tenfold for the wrestler known simply as Virgil.
Virgil served under DiBiase for years at his every beck and call under his abusive rule.
So when Virgil finally snapped and turned on DiBiase, nobody thought much of the servant taking on his former master, which made the moment Virgil won all the more magical.
Virgil didn't make much of the huge win, but it was certainly a WrestleMania feel-good moment.
Hogan's time at the top was already beginning to wind down at this point, but he had a couple of big years left in him.
Those years started as he faced one of the most hated heels of all time.
Sgt. Slaughter, who had recently turned on the US and become an Iraqi sympathizer, was actually so hated for this turn that he openly got death threats.
Through all of this, Slaughter became the WWF Champion, and it was Hogan's job to come in and stop this bad guy from taking over the company.
It was just a classic story with two big stars finally clashing on the Grandest Stage.
In the end, the good old USA won the night to an overjoyed crowd.
On this night, Ric Flair and Randy Savage went out and had an awesome match, one that was long overdue between two of the best.
That said, the promos after the match might have been even bigger than the match.
Flair, after losing to Savage, would give a signature Flair promo with all the charisma, intensity and insanity that he could possibly muster.
It was one of the best he has ever cut, and it was coupled by an equally manic and awesome Savage promo.
These were two of the best ever, and they proved it on every front on this night.
Roddy Piper was never really given the chance to hold a major singles title, so when he won the Intercontinental Championship, it was hard to see him lose it.
That said, I don't know if there is possibly a better way Piper could have lost the title than here on this night to Bret Hart.
Hart had won the title before, but this was the big moment for Hart to prove that he should be at the top of the WWE.
Just a year later, he had done much more than just win another Intercontinental Championship, and it all began here.
This was not much of a big moment, but it was hilarious.
Bobby Heenan has always been a funny guy, but this was just one of those little moments that really showed that off.
As WrestleMania was being aired in Caesar's Palace in Vegas, the WWE went all-out in creating a Roman atmosphere.
They had everyone dressed up and putting on a show, but Heenan coming into the arena backward on a camel was still a moment that stuck out in the insanity.
That said, this wasn't the greatest WrestleMania, so perhaps this just stood out in comparison.
On a lackluster WrestleMania, a legend was born.
No one knew what they were getting on the night as a young upstart Shawn Michaels battled the perpetual midcard wrestler, Tatanka.
This match opened the night, and nothing matched it afterward.
Michaels was on fire with the underrated Tatanka as a great wrestler to work off.
While the match ended in a countout, that was the only disappointment for an otherwise extremely solid and surprisingly effective match that would launch the career of Michaels as no one could have expected.
When you talk about matches opening a WrestleMania, you are usually talking about a solid and exciting contest that sets up the rest of the action.
You shouldn't be talking about the match of the night (or close to it).
When Owen Hart battled his brother to open the show, it was obvious quickly that these two were not simply competing. They were wrestling for the whole world to see.
Two of the greatest were at their best on this night, with an unexpected victory for Owen Hart, who rarely got the better of his brother. Not that that helped Owen in the long run, as Hart would go onto to win the WWF Title later in the night.
This match would be remembered even more fondly if it weren't for a certain show stealer.
While Michaels began stealing the show the previous year, he became a true star on this night.
This match was not the first ladder match of all time, but it was *the* ladder match.
After this night, every future ladder match would be compared to this one. Every single ladder match would be an exciting venture because it could possibly compare to this one.
Razor Ramon and Michaels made ladder matches cool long before anybody even noticed the match type, and it was because of this Intercontinental Championship match.
WrestleMania XII was one match. Okay, it had a few other matches, but really it all came down to the Michaels/Hart masterpiece at the end.
Some regarded the match as being too long, too slow and too meticulous, but at its heart, this was a match of moments.
Those moments began when Michaels made the greatest entrance in WrestleMania history as he flew down by zip line into the crowd before making his way to the ring.
What followed wasn't a spectacle like this, but it was a brawl and wrestling personified.
Yes, the same match had two moments.
While Michaels zip-lining down was cool, the end was even more important.
After years of the biggest physical stars controlling the company, Michaels and Hart proved that the small stars could put on just as good a show, in fact, a better show than those larger men.
At the end of the night, Michaels sat on the mat with the WWF Title in his hands for the first time, and the emotion could be seen on his face as he had finally achieved the ultimate dream.
This young kid who had grown up watching wrestling was finally holding the title that he had seen so many greats fight for and some never even gain.
This was the moment where a legend was born.
Rarely do you see a story so profound and affecting as on this night.
Stone Cold Steve Austin battled Bret Hart who was at the tail end of his career at the top.
The two fought in a submission match where Stone Cold was the villain antagonizing the veteran Hart.
What came out of the match at the end as Stone Cold refused to tap out was the most unique change in WWE history: the double turn.
Hart stood tall over an unconscious Austin, who had refused to submit and earned the cheers of the crowd, who now booed the veteran they had been praising.
It was such a turn that it changed the course of Austin's career, and we all know where that led.
The Brothers of Destruction, Undertaker and Kane, have an immortal history in the WWE that really exploded for the first time here.
This was the first time these brothers wrestled, and it was a legendary big-man showdown the likes of which is rarely ever seen in WWE.
Add to that the segment where Kane came out and destroyed Pete Rose (for the first of three years in a row) and the immortal Undertaker entrance to begin this match, and you had one for the ages.
No matter how much lumbering you'd think these two would do in the ring, it didn't matter. It was memorable, well-constructed and mystical.
Stone Cold turned a corner the previous year, but he truly took the ball here when he was given the WWF Title for the first time in his career.
It was the passing of one generation completely into another.
Not only did Stone Cold get the title to run with, but Michaels would take a long hiatus for years after this match to recoup from injuries.
In fact, it was largely believed we would never see him again (luckily, that wasn't the case).
This was a great match with an awesome ending, and Mike Tyson himself would punch out Michaels once the match had ended.
Not many can forget this match for how important it was and how enjoyable the match itself was.
And finally someone challenged Michaels/Ramon.
It only took six years, but there came a moment where the excitement needed to be amped up again.
This time, it wasn't just two men fighting over a title, but six.
Three teams of some of the greatest of all time in Edge and Christian, the Hardy Boyz, and the Dudleys battled it out for the WWF Tag Team Championship in a triangle ladder match.
I don't think anyone could have realized just how exciting a match like this could get.
It was off-the-wall excitement including amazing spots with Edge spears and Jeff Hardy Swanton Bombs.
This match is a largely forgotten classic featuring three of the greatest technical wrestlers of all time.
It was a two-fall triple-threat match between Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle. If that right there doesn't already scream show stopper, you are missing something.
Not many wrestlers could compete with these three in the ring, so seeing all three in the ring even if it was for only 13 minutes was a spectacle that could not be missed.
As far as moments go, this was about the match itself. There were titles involved, but really this was all about just seeing the best of the best in the younger talent go all-out.
Triangle Ladder match was one thing. TLC is another level.
As if the excitement weren't big enough the first time, after these two introduced the TLC concept, everyone knew it had to be seen at WrestleMania.
WrestleMania X-Seven saw TLC II where the tag-team masters (E&C, the Hardys, and the Dudleys) clashed once again.
Add to the madness Lita, Spike Dudley and Rhyno getting involved alongside the coolest Spear ever, and you had a match that was so crazy and exciting it has never truly been matched.
The Rock and SCSA fought three times at WrestleMania. Each time, it was the main event, and it was a great match.
However, only one will go down as one of the greatest of all time, and that was their match at WrestleMania X-Seven.
These two fought in an absolute war of a No Disqualification match where everything could happen, and it did.
The only that could ever be considered to having ruined this match was the ending, and that is usually a big deal.
Austin would decide to side with his arch-nemesis Vince McMahon in order to beat Rock, and Austin effectively turned heel at that moment.
It sounded and seemed kind of cool at the time, but it was handled wrong in so many ways.
Even so, that should not detract from this match, which was the most defining contest in all of the Attitude Era.
One year later, after everything had settled from one of the biggest matches of all time, a new match was named. One that was so incredible and exciting that nothing could top it.
The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan, two legends battling for the first time ever at the Showcase of the Immortals.
Rarely are such grand and hyped matches allowed to happen in this magic of a way.
The dream match of a lifetime allowed to steal the show at WrestleMania.
In the end, it was more about the crowd and the excitement than the actual match, but what a moment!
When HBK finally made his way back to the WWE, it was hard to tell how ready he was.
He put on some great matches, but he honestly wasn't fully awake, alive in the match. That all changed at WrestleMania XIX when Michaels wrestled Jericho in a match for the ages.
At first, it was just a cool match, but this match shaped and molded itself into a whole that saw something awaken in Michaels. Mr. WrestleMania came alive when the night arrived.
These two stole the show like no one else could with a story that was more about the wrestling than any moments, yet it still left an indelible mark after the contest ended.
Jericho played the heel like only he could and proved he wasn't happy about losing with one big low blow.
A great match between Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar that will always be remembered for one moment, the Shooting Star Press.
Lesnar, a mammoth of a man, went to the top rope and attempted to perform a move that men half his size have trouble pulling off.
While Lesnar has actually successfully pulled out the move before, when the moment came, Lesnar couldn't get the full rotation. He crashed and burned.
Even so, it was quite the sight to see such a big man attempt the move, and it was a great match for the night.
Christian and Jericho, two of the most under-appreciated performers of all time at this point in their careers, were given the chance to show off everything they had on this night.
Yet even with two great performers, the moment of this match did not come from either man but rather the woman between them.
Leave it to Trish Stratus to have a moment at the Grandest Stage of Them All as she turned on the man she seemed to be backing, Jericho, and helped Christian to win.
It was a shocking moment where the tables turned, on top of an already cool contest.
The Undertaker, the Dead Man, two names synonymous with one another.
Yet Taker was not always the Dead Man.
For years, in fact, he was the American Bad-Ass. Riding around on a motorcycle, very much mortal.
That was until Kane tipped the scales once again, helping to bury his brother.
When Taker returned to right the wrongs, he came back as the monster, the Dead Man.
The lights went out. Paul Bearer emerged. And then the gong struck.
The Dead Man was back.
I decided to couple together these two matches because while Eddie Guerrero's match here with Angle was great, this moment at WrestleMania XX was about Chris Benoit.
Guerrero came into the night as WWE Champion, and he left as WWE Champion. Benoit, though, was not coming in as champion. In fact, he was the underdog against two perennial contenders in Triple H and HBK.
The moment here wasn't either match, no matter great; it was the celebration.
As Benoit overcame both HHH and HBK on the Grandest Stage of Them All to gain hold of the World Heavyweight Championship, emotions built up.
Benoit was crying with joy. Eddie was by his side as the two friends and now champions embraced to remember this moment.
It was the victory no one could have ever expected.
Finally, the ladder match at WrestleMania was perfected.
It took 11 years, but WWE found a great and sustainable way to have a ladder match each year to bring up excitement at the grand event.
Money in the Bank was a simple concept to have six men fly around and destroy each other until one can get hold of a briefcase that held a chance at a World Championship.
Nobody knew just how big that opportunity was until after this year, when Edge won and finally became a star.
From this moment on, Edge would go from a stable midcard wrestler to one of the most prolific performers of the modern age of wrestling.
And it all began in a ladder-match type to rule Mania for years to come.
Someone asks you what wrestling is, you can simply tell them to watch Angle/Michaels at WrestleMania 21.
This match had a story. It had defined lines of the heel and the face.
But in the end, none of it mattered because two of the greatest wrestlers of all time were competing for the first time one on one, and they were given 30 minutes to just flat-out wrestle.
WrestleMania 21 was a night of many moments, but this match was the show stealer, the headliner, regardless of the moments later in the night.
John Cena, the face of the WWE.
That wouldn't be true if not for this match right here.
Cena came into this match as a fresh face with his first chance at fame on the Grandest Stage, and he came out beating one of the longest running WWE Champions in recent history, JBL.
It wasn't a great match. It was far too short for such a championship contest.
However, this was about the moment where Cena raised the WWE Title above his head and began his meteoric rise to becoming a legend.
That same night, we saw the rise of another star beating another huge veteran heel.
While Batista was never quite as big as Cena over his shorter time with WWE, there is no denying that Batista led the company for years usually beside Cena.
Without this match, SmackDown would have been missing its leader as much as Raw would have been missing Cena.
Rarely does HHH lose so decisively as on this night where his former Evolution mate would make HHH pay for all the evil he had done leading Evolution for years.
It was quite the way to end the show. Two new champions and a new challenger in Edge.
Edge and Mick Foley, a Hardcore match, with absolutely nothing on the line.
Yet these two went at each other tooth and nail.
Steel chairs, barbed-wire bats, tacks and, of course, the flaming table.
This was hardcore wrestling long past its prime, yet it was one of the best of all time.
This can be considered an unofficial retirement of the true Hardcore match, and what a send-off!
Rey Mysterio was never the guy. He was never seen as someone who should be leading a company, regardless of his phenomenal in-ring presence.
Yet after everything he had done, long past his prime, Mysterio finally found himself at the top of the world.
This moment was not perfect, as it was tainted by the knowledge that it never would have happened if Eddie Guerrero had not died months before.
Even so, it was an emotional moment, and seeing Mysterio reach the top was a gratifying moment.
When you get Donald Trump involved in a WrestleMania, what can you expect?
Luckily, a decent match and a funny moment coupled with massive buy rates.
Bobby Lashley and Umaga were guys who never really made it big, even though WWE wanted them to. Even so, they made for an exciting if unremarkable match with Stone Cold refereeing.
However, the moment after the match ended was the true moment, as Mr. McMahon lost his grand hair that he had flouted for so long. It was quite the humbling moment for the evil boss and a great moment for the crowd.
Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels wrestling.
These were two of the greatest of all time. While Flair was way past his prime at this point, there is no denying that he could still tell a story in the ring like few others.
With HBK at his side, these two told a story of the final journey of one of the greatest ever to wrestle.
Flair and Michaels pulled out all the stops, with everything from boots to blood to leg locks to tears.
This was not about two young, exciting stars. It was about the final fight of two veterans who age had finally begun to consume.
Undertaker rarely ever put the Streak against a World Title. In fact, it happened three times ever during his nineteen wins at the event.
The third time against Edge was one of the few matches that ever made you think that the Streak could end.
The villainous Edge would pull out any and all tricks to make that so, and he almost did, which was what made this match so special.
It main-evented the night with a great story that kept the Streak front and center as much as the World Title.
Again, this is about the match rather than a moment, but it certainly was a match to remember.
Rarely do veterans leave as heels. Why? Because they usually leave in a state that does not reflect upon them well.
JBL though decided not only to go out as a heel, but to go out on the Grandest Stage of Them All.
After losing a lightning-speed match to Mysterio for the Intercontinental Championship, JBL decided he was done.
So he took up a mic, and he quit just like that. It was an entertaining moment at the time though looking back it was sad to see such a great star leave with so little fanfare.
Undertaker vs. HBK for the Streak.
This match is a moment; in fact, it is one of the greatest moments of all time.
It didn't put over new talent. It didn't lead anywhere for the company. Honestly, the story wasn't even that great.
However, at the end of the day, all that mattered was that these two wrestled, and boy did they wrestle.
Move for move, counter for counter, charisma oozing out of both men. A match that just kept moving and developing until there was nothing left for either man to do.
This was the match, arguably the greatest match of all time, showing every superstar that came before and after these two men what true storytelling in wrestling is all about.
This match was meant to be a moment.
And in that it truly succeeded.
Vince McMahon was beaten down and destroyed by the entire Hart family before Bret came in and finished the job.
It was redemption for what was one of the worst (for Bret at least) moments in WWE history.
Bret got to make Mr. McMahon pay for it all, and like a good heel, he took it all.
WrestleMania XXV made everyone realize what HBK could still do in the company. It was exciting and captivating, yet one year later, the same match was happening with a much different game plan.
WrestleMania XXVI was the night where Michaels put his career on the line, and he lost.
The greatest performer in WrestleMania history finally fell at WrestleMania to the man who can never lose at WrestleMania.
It was a great match, but it was an unbelievable moment.
Seeing Shawn leave and knowing he was done with the WWE for good (wrestling-wise, at least) was a sad moment that can never truly be forgotten.
Twelve years after Michaels almost had his last match ever, he finally had his truly final match in grand fashion.
Nobody really cared about Triple H/Undertaker going into WrestleMania XXVII. It was just about two older guys slugging it out, and we knew Taker would win.
Well, most of us changed our tune pretty quickly as this match to be disregarded stole the show away from everyone. No one was even in the same class on this night.
HHH and Taker wrestled in a brawl, an absolute fight, that was about proving how immortal Taker truly is. At the end of the day, Taker came out of this alive with his Streak intact, but there was a moment where everyone thought the Streak was over.
Late into the match, HHH took Undertaker up and hit him with the Tombstone Piledriver with all of Taker's signature taunts. When Taker's head hit the mat, it was over. That is until Taker kicked out.
No moment has been so close to being the end of the Streak, not even HBK's Sweet Chin Music. No, this was the moment where it was made clear Taker will never lose at Mania.
It wasn't a great match. Somehow, this main event, super hyped contest, failed to impress at all.
Yet there was still a moment, an iconic moment, that no one ever expected to see.
The Rock came in out of nowhere and Rock Bottomed Cena, allowing Miz to win this WWE Championship contest.
Why did Rock do it? What did it all mean?
This was the finale we were all witness to and left wondering. Well, until the following night.
Four main event matches at WrestleMania XXVIII.
It's unheard of.
So many moments could come from Sunday's WrestleMania.
A Celtic Warrior or an Internet darling could be standing tall.
An era could finally end.
The Best in the World could be crowned.
And... the Rock will face John Cena. Legends will collide for the very first time. This match is so big that it could have already been included on this list.
In the end, WrestleMania XXVIII will add a couple moments to this list continuing the legendary legacy of the night known simply as WrestleMania.
Thanks for reading!
Comment below if you feel I missed any moments!