We’re down to the top ten.
10. Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit - Wrestlemania X-Seven
The first 5 minutes of this match were surreal. You had two “smaller” wrestlers on Wrestlemania in front of 50,000-plus (really over 67,000) WWF fans, doing nothing but amateur wrestling. It was hold and counter hold… AND IT GOT OVER. It got over huge.
I don’t think anything like that would have been envisioned in 1987. Heck, it wouldn’t have been envisioned in 1997. But Angle and Benoit were just that good, and while they would go on to have better matches, this remains a technical classic.
It was the first time we witnessed their display of countering each other’s finishers which became a staple of their matches, and at the time that was really really cool. The finish was perhaps not what you’d ideally want from these two, but it’s non-conclusiveness left things open for rematches.
Winner: Kurt Angle
9. Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle - Wrestlemania XIX
At one point in this match, I thought to myself that I was watching one of the greatest matches I’d ever seen in my life. In fact, as the match was going on, I thought this could possibly be the greatest match in Wrestlemania history.
Kurt Angle was injured going into the match and there was worry that he wouldn’t be able to work. But this is Kurt Angle. You knew he’d be there. And he went on to have a fabulous performance.
Brock Lesnar held his own and it was a match mixed with fast and hard hitting action. It fell off near the end as Brock tried a shooting star press and nearly broke his neck.
There was a bit of a breakdown as Lesnar was in a fog, but Angle led him through to the finish. While the ending didn’t allow it to achieve its full greatness, it’s still one of the greatest Mania matches of all time.
Winner: Brock Lesnar
8. Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair - Wrestlemania VIII
There are only a handful of matches from the earlier Mania shows that have really stood the test of time. This is definitely one of them. 17 years later, it still holds up as well as it ever did. They wrestled with a level of intensity you rarely see. It was an intensity that was befitting of the storyline.
Flair was magnificent as usual, but most of the credit for this match has to go to Savage. He played his role to perfection, and brought a believability to it. The involvement of Liz and Perfect was also excellently booked and only added to the tension.
I would also be remiss if I did not mention Bobby Heenan’s work on commentary. In my opinion this was his greatest performance.
Winner: Randy Savage
7. Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage - Wrestlemania III
Big D says:
What more can I say that hasn’t been said? A lot of people consider this to be the greatest match in Wrestlemania history, and without a doubt, it is the best in the first nine years of Mania.
Randy Savage defeated Tito Santana for the Intercontinental Championship in 1986 and held the title for a year. He wrestled Steamboat initially on Saturday Night’s Main Event and dumped Steamboat’s throat over the guard rail as Vince McMahon screamed at the top of his lungs that Steamboat swallowed his tongue (on a later Superstars of Wrestling).
Steamboat was probably the No. 3 or 4 babyface in the company at the time, but this shot him up a few levels.
If I could use one word to describe this match, it would have to be "smooth". There were tons of near-falls and reversals and hordes of psychology. There are at least three or four times in the match where you thought it was over and it wasn’t. Everything was crisp and tight.
In the end, the Dragon vanquished the Savage with his buddy Animal Steele at his side.
Winner: Ricky Steamboat
6. TLC II - Wrestlemania X-Seven
This is the highest ranked match of all the gimmick matches on our list. There was just something a little more special about this one. Part of that reason is because this match was on the greatest Wrestlemania card in history, which was nearing the end of their popularity explosion.
Also, the setting helped. When you saw these guys on top of ladders surrounded by near 70,000 fans watching with baited breath, it just added to the excitement. All three teams were brilliant, and though Edge and Christian won, Jeff and Matt Hardy, and Bubba Ray and Devon were all spectacular in their own right. Tables, ladders, and chairs, oh my!
Winner: Edge and Christian
We are down to the top five. Which match is the greatest match in Wrestlemania history according to us? You will soon find out.
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