There is a lot of talk lately about the possibility of The Rock and John Cena having a WrestleMania rematch at WrestleMania 29.
It is not an unfounded topic of discussion, with the latest backstage news suggesting the match may well be in the works. Both men are currently involved in the WWE title picture, and there are very few other wrestlers left in WWE capable of main-eventing the "Superbowl of Wrestling" that is WrestleMania.
This has drawn the ire of many WWE fans within the internet wrestling community—those who believe that the match has been seen before, and that there is no interest in seeing a rehash.
With this sentiment abound within a community I am part of, I began to reflect on past WrestleManias. And you know what? Rematches seem to do just fine on the whole.
Lets take a look at some previous main event rematches at WrestleMania, starting with this year's and working backwards. How have they done?
1. WrestleMania XXVIII: The Undertaker vs. Triple H (rematch from WrestleMania XXVII and WrestleMania X7)
The original Triple H/Undertaker match took place at arguably the greatest WrestleMania of all time, and is generally regarded as an impressive match.
However, WrestleMania XXVII's rematch was equally well-received, with many fans suggesting it was the best match on the card and saving a pay-per-view that was otherwise lacking. Time was generous to both men, who performed very impressively.
Perhaps more stunning was that at this year's WrestleMania, the men were put in the main event for a third time, and had the best match of the trilogy.
2. WrestleMania XXVIII: Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus (rematch from WrestleMania XXVII)
OK, so this was not really a main event, but it was still promoted as a major match on the card. The fact that WWE had three huge main events in 2012 meant this got shoved further down than it would otherwise have done, so I thought I would mention it anyway.
If you look at WWE before WrestleMania XXVIII and WWE now, the biggest change in the status quo has been the rise of Daniel Bryan.
This was brief—a far from impressive match—however it was different. Say what you will about it; it certainly was made no less exciting as a result of being a rematch from last year's (if you don't recall the previous match, it was streamed on WWE.com as a dark match—you can find it on YouTube easily enough).
It also helped make Daniel Bryan into a star, as fans warmed to the man WWE had tried to bury.
3. WrestleMania XXVI: The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (rematch from WrestleMania XXV)
The first match was probably the best WrestleMania match ever, possibly the best match ever.
The rematch? The stakes were higher. The emotion was higher. The spots were more exciting. It was a fraction less well-structured and played out than the year before, but being slightly less good than the best match of all time is far from a poor achievement.
Given the fact that the storyline of this pair of matches was eventually weaved into the Triple H/Undertaker rivalry in the following two years, one could conceivably describe it as a four-year long story—and not once did it stop being exciting.
4. WrestleMania XX: The Undertaker vs. Kane (rematch from WrestleMania XIV)
OK, this is the disappointing one. In 1998, Kane and The Undertaker had a decent match. It was far from special, but it was a solid match and remains a memorable part of the two men's lengthy story together.
Their 2004 rematch provided a thrill at the inclusion of the revival of the Deadman gimmick after an absence of several years, but the match itself was a squash with a few poorly executed moves. Oh dear.
Two of the best guys in the history of the business only having a reasonably good match the first time, and a poor one the second time? Yeah, it happened.
5. WrestleMania XIX: The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (rematch from WrestleMania X7 and WrestleMania XV)
This rivalry defined the Attitude Era, and all three matches remain the stuff of legend. Did the feud get better with time? Hard to say. Many fans would lean towards WrestleMania X7—the second in the series—as the best, but all three matches have their fans.
6. WrestleMania X7: Edge & Christian vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz (rematch from WrestleMania 2000)
You would think that all six of these men being in the tag team division with no other feuds going on—two years in a row, no less—would be an unlikely occurrence. What was even more unlikely was that their first match was brilliant, but the second became the stuff of legend.
7. WrestleMania X: Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna (rematch from WrestleMania IX)
Neither of these matches has ever really impressed me. WrestleMania IX had the less satisfying finish of the two, with Hulk Hogan somehow walking out with the WWE Championship; but the two matches were pretty similar, making the second the kind of rehash fans fear The Rock vs. John Cena II could become.
8. WrestleMania IV: Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant (rematch from WrestleMania III)
The first match, despite being legendary, was actually not very impressive. Seeing the two icons go at it on the Grandest Stage of Them All for the first time in history—with that iconic slam and that leg drop—amidst the intense atmosphere the crowd created, made a poor match into a very entertaining piece of work.
The second time, it was all under closer scrutiny as a result of the previous year's success. How did it do? Well, there's a reason one match gets talked about, and the other does not.
So comes to an end our little journey down memory lane. We have seen how rematches can work very well, or they can work very badly. How does this article make you feel about the idea of a WrestleMania rematch between The Rock and John Cena?
My own personal view is that generally if the first match was impressive, the second was as well. If the first was sloppy, or if fans had been generous because it was an iconic match-up, generally the second match was just as bad if not worse.
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