My FightGameBlog brothers and I have put together a list of what we believe to be the greatest 25 matches in Wrestlemania history.
We started by selecting all of the matches that we remembered to be in the neighborhood of three stars (0-5 scale) or higher, and then took a close look at those matches and rated them fully.
We'll start with match 25 through 21.
25. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock - Wrestlemania XV
Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock would go on to have better matches. In fact, two of them would be at two of the next four Wrestlemanias. But that doesn’t mean that this match doesn’t deserve its place on the list.
It was a pure out and out slobber knocker as JR and Jerry Lawler would go on to say. The finish was a bit overbooked as there were two ref bumps and Vince McMahon and Mankind both figured into the outcome. But if you heard the crowd pop, they didn’t care.
Austin and Rock showed some early magic and after shunning The Rock Bottom, Austin hit the stunner and the Rock looked up at the lights. Vince McMahon’s face after the match was over was priceless.
Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin
24. Triple H vs. The Undertaker - Wrestlemania X-Seven
Big D says:
This was an interesting match because a huge portion of the super hardcore fans weren’t looking forward to it despite it being two of the best workers ever. The build-up began shortly after No Way Out and it was simple. “You never beat me, stop talkin’ trash.”
Prior to the match, a lot of wrestling journalists such as Dave Meltzer thought this would be the perfect match for Taker to lose his streak in. Triple H was hot off a big win over Austin in the three stages of Hell match and was set to feud with Stone Cold after this show and through the summer, but Taker ended up getting the duke.
I remember the match going on second to last and it being a tremendous back and forth match with the highlights being Triple H using a sledgehammer to pop Taker mid-powerbomb, Taker choke slamming Trips over a balcony, and Taker winning with the Tombstone Piledriver.
Winner: The Undertaker
23. Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock - Wrestlemania X8
Big D says:
The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan was, in many people’s eyes, the last real “Dream Match” in the business and perhaps the first truly authentic “WWF vs. WCW” match despite Hulk Hogan being synonymous with 1980s WWF.
It was the superstar of the past vs. the superstar of the present.
While the work rate isn’t quite at the level of Steamboat/Flair, they put a very good match together designed to get Hulk Hogan on almost the same level as Rock, but little did they know that the jam packed 68,000 in the Toronto Skydome would make Hulk Hogan the biggest babyface since Wayne Gretzky.
Reports came in that people LEFT the building after this match. They cared about nothing else but seeing their hero from the past attempt to slay another dragon and cup his hand to his ear.
Winner: The Rock
22. Randy “Macho Man” Savage vs. The Ultimate Warrior - Wrestlemania VII
Randy Savage and Rick Rude have several things in common including Memphis roots, great voices, MANLY facial hair and oodles of in ring talent. But aside from all that, they are perhaps the only men to hold the key to the lock that is The Ultimate Warrior.
Nobody in wrestling got as many great matches out of Warrior as these two, and at Wrestlemania VII, Savage got perhaps the best.
Built up as a Macho’s retirement match, this match saw him bump like a maniac for everything Warrior had in his arsenal. The crowd was worked into a frenzy and when they went into the finishing stretch I think everyone watching was on the edge of their seat.
It was one of the most memorable finishes I’ve experienced. Warrior quite simply shoulder tackled Savage repeatedly for at least 3 minutes until Macho was completely and utterly decimated and all that was needed to pin him was a single foot.
Throw in one of the all time great Mania moments with the reunion of Savage and Liz and you have a match more than deserving of it’s place on the list.
Winner: The Ultimate Warrior
21. Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper - Wrestlemania VIII
Most of the time, the face vs. face dynamic just doesn’t work. At Wrestlemania VIII, Hart and Piper provided the blueprint for how it should be done.
This was just an incredibly intense match throughout. Both guys allowed their tempers to flare at just the right times, and Piper did an excellent job in teasing a heal turn. The finish was not only unique, but also suited the match’s purpose perfectly.
Piper’s best days in the ring were already behind him. He had one last great performance left in him, in which he passed the torch on to Hart. Bret was absolutely flawless on the night, and showed that he was ready to be pushed as WWE’s next big star.
Winner: Bret Hart
In the next post, you’ll see another Rock/Austin Wrestlemania classic as well as one former champion’s Wrestlemania moment.