WWE History: Ranking Every WrestleMania of the 2000s

Travis WakemanCorrespondent IIMarch 2, 2013

WWE History: Ranking Every WrestleMania of the 2000s

0 of 13

    WrestleMania 29 will be the 14th installment of the huge pay-per-view event since the turn of the century. Some of these events have been incredibly good, while others have left much to be desired.

    What makes a great WrestleMania event? Most all of these events have had at least one stellar match, but what separates a good show from a great show are the moments it creates, the moments that make you want to go back and watch over and over again.

    Starting with WrestleMania 16, we will take a look back at every WrestleMania since 2000, ranked in order from the worst to the best.

13. WrestleMania 27: 2011

1 of 13

    The Georgia Dome in Atlanta hosted WrestleMania 27. Looking back, it's not a hard decision to put this show at the bottom of this list.

    WWE always puts forth their best effort on their television shows leading up to WrestleMania and in 2011, it never felt like they did that.

     

    What Made It Good?

    Honestly, not much. The Undertaker and Triple H did tear the house down with their match in which "The Game" seriously threatened the legendary undefeated streak. Edge successfully defending the world title against Alberto Del Rio and Randy Orton's victory over CM Punk were both passable matches as well.

     

    What Dragged It Down?

    Sheamus was scheduled to defend the United States title against Daniel Bryan, but on the day of the event, that match was changed to a dark match for the live crowd only.

    Snooki of Jersey Shore fame was able not only to compete at the show, but get the deciding pin for her team in a six-person tag team match. There was also an eight-man tag team match that didn't even last two minutes.

    But what really puts WrestleMania 27 at the bottom of this list is the lackluster main event it featured. Some may argue that The Miz deserved the spot, but a match featuring The Miz defending the WWE Title against John Cena should not be headlining WrestleMania.

    Even the company seemed to realize this, as they brought in the Rock to "guest host" the show in hopes of getting people to order it.

12. WrestleMania 2000

2 of 13

    WrestleMania 2000, also known as WrestleMania 16, took place in Anaheim, Calif.

    This show was built around the WWE title match being contested in a fatal four-way in which each competitor would have a member of the McMahon family in their corner.

     

    What Made It Good? 

    In a Triple Threat ladder match for the WWE tag team titles, the Hardy Boyz, the Dudley Boyz and the team of Edge and Christian stole this show. This would lead to several other encounters, which would get better each time, between the three teams.

    The main event match featured Triple H defending the WWE title against Mick Foley, The Rock and Big Show.

    The match wasn't the best in terms of in-ring performance, but it did mark a few firsts. It was the first time a reigning champion had successfully defended the title in the main event since WrestleMania 11 and it was the first time ever that the heel in the match ended the show on top. That was refreshing.

     

    What Dragged It Down?

    The show felt very thrown together with some of the matches, such as Bull Buchanan and Big Boss Man against The Godfather and D'Lo Brown, T&A vs. Al Snow and Steve Blackman and The Kat taking on Terri Runnels.

    Rikishi and Kane, two of the bigger stars they had at the time, were put together to take on the team of Road Dogg and X-Pac. It just seemed there were too many matches on the card that didn't have any real purpose.

11. WrestleMania 22: 2006

3 of 13

    WrestleMania 22 took place from Chicago's Allstate Arena. This event had a full card with 11 matches, but not all of them delivered.

     

    What Made It Good?

    This show featured big moments for Mickie James, who took the women's title from Trish Stratus, as well as Rey Mysterio, who became World champion by defeating Orton and Kurt Angle in a Triple Threat match, which was an emotional sight for many.

    In the main event, Cena successfully defended the WWE title against Triple H. Just being able to see the shocked looks on the faces of so many after Triple H tapped out is worth going back and watching.

    The show also featured two excellent gimmick matches. Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon competed under No Holds Barred rules while Foley and Edge had a memorable hardcore rules match in which Foley fell into a flaming table, an instant classic moment. 

     

    What Dragged It Down?

    Over the years, The Undertaker putting his undefeated streak at WrestleMania on the line has become one of the event's top storylines. Was there anyone who felt Mark Henry would actually end the streak?

    Then there's The Boogeyman, who not only was on the card, but actually won a match. The Playboy Pillow Fight between Candice Michelle and Torrie Wilson could have been left off as well.

10. WrestleMania 26: 2010

4 of 13

    WrestleMania 26 was held at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., home of the Arizona Cardinals.

    It wasn't a horrible event, but other than the last match of the night, but it wasn't one that fans were incredibly thrilled about, either.

     

    What Made It Good?

    After years and years of hoping it would happen, the WWE universe finally saw Bret Hart get a measure of revenge against McMahon. Though Hart was clearly past his prime, it was still good to see him lay into Vince.

    Shawn Michaels and Undertaker, who had an incredible match the year before at WrestleMania 25, met again, this time with the career of Michaels on the line. In a match that closely rivaled their previous encounter in Houston, Undertaker kept his streak alive by defeating the "Heartbreak Kid." 

     

    What Dragged It Down?

    Neither of the major title matches were that memorable. Edge and Chris Jericho had a decent match. Cena and Batista, a matchup that at one time could have been as big as any the WWE could put together, was over in just over 13 minutes.

9. WrestleMania 25: 2009

5 of 13

    WrestleMania 25 took place at Reliant Stadium in Houston. I think we all expected better out of the 25th anniversary of this event, did we not?

     

    What Made It Good?

    The Undertaker and Michaels had arguably the greatest WrestleMania match of all time. The streak seemed in severe jeopardy as Michaels hit Undertaker with everything he had. But in the end, Undertaker stood tall in victory.

    Ricky Steamboat was also a pleasant surprise. Paired with Rowdy Roddy Piper and Jimmy Snuka in a handicap match against Jericho, Steamboat was amazing, despite not competing for several years.

     

    What Dragged It Down?

    Despite a tremendous build-up, the main event match for the WWE title between Triple H and Orton fell completely flat.

    The show also featured a 25-diva battle royal to crown Miss WrestleMania. In the weeks leading to the event, this actually seemed interesting because it seemed like fans might get a chance to see some great divas from the past.

    Instead, the match was a jumbled mess which was won by Santino Marella, dressed as a female.

8. WrestleMania 23: 2007

6 of 13

    The WWE set an attendance record inside Ford Field with over 80,000 fans at WrestleMania 23.

    The show featured Cena defending the WWE title against Michaels and Undertaker challenging for the World title while putting his streak on the line against Batista.

     

    What Made It Good?

    Undertaker and Batista had a war, and again, WWE did a great job of keeping fans guessing about whether the streak would end. Undertaker managed to find enough to win the match and the World title.

    In the "Battle of the Billionaires," McMahon and Donald Trump each chose a representative, with the loser of the match having to shave his head. WWE did a great job garnering big media attention for this match and in the end, it was Mr. McMahon who was shaved bald.

    ECW finally getting their day was great. Rob Van Dam had already competed at WrestleMania, but Tommy Dreamer, Sabu and Sandman never had and never would again. It was great to see them achieve victory in Detroit.

    For fans who questioned whether Cena would remain on top, they got their answer in a big way at this event. One year after surprisingly making Triple H tap out to his STF, he did the same to Michaels.

     

    What Dragged It Down?

    The card was too small. WrestleMania should consist of more than eight matches.

    Melina vs. Ashley and Kane vs. The Great Khali were both very poor.

7. WrestleMania 21: 2005

7 of 13

    Dubbed as "WrestleMania goes Hollywood," WrestleMania 21 took place in Los Angeles at the Staples Center.

    This would be a momentous night for the company as two of their rising stars would reach the top of the mountain.

     

    What Made It Good?

    Cena and Batista both won their first main titles by defeating JBL and Triple H, respectively.

    WrestleMania 21 was the introduction of the Money in the Bank ladder match and the six men that competed in the first one did not disappoint. Edge would walk away as the inaugural winner.

    Kurt Angle vs. Michaels is a top 10 WrestleMania match. If you haven't ever seen it, look it up. Undertaker and Orton had an excellent match as well.

    There was even an appearance from Hulk Hogan at this show. He came out to rescue Eugene from an attack by Muhammad Hassan and Daivari. Hogan had just been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame the night prior.

     

    What Dragged It Down?

    This show was pretty solid from top to bottom. The match featuring Trish Stratus defending the women's title against Christy Hemme wasn't great, and then you had the Sumo match between Big Show and Akebono, which was just bad.

6. WrestleMania 28: 2012

8 of 13

    Last year's event turned out a lot better than most initially expected, having a great atmosphere outdoors in Miami.

    This event marked the first time The Rock had competed at WrestleMania in eight years.

     

    What Made It Good?

    In a rematch from WrestleMania 27, Triple H went into Hell in a Cell against Undertaker. This time, they threw a wild card into the mix, having Michaels as the guest referee. This was an incredible match, one of the best the event has ever seen and in the end, it saw all three men leave the ring together. I guess that's why they billed it the "end of an era."

    With the WWE title on the line, Punk and Jericho put on a terrific match as well. Punk was able to get the win by submission with his Anaconda Vise.

    Finally, The Rock and Cena delivered. This was an excellent back-and-forth match that kept viewers guessing as to who would walk away with the victory. In the end, it was The Rock.

     

    What Dragged It Down?

    No matter your feelings for either Daniel Bryan or Sheamus, they should have been given longer than 18 seconds. The world title was on the line in the match as well. Yes, it provided for some comical television for Bryan and his embarrassing moment, but it was a poor decision.

    On top of that, your women's champion should not be getting pinned by Maria Menounos.

5. WrestleMania 24: 2008

9 of 13

    Outdoor events are so much better, don't you think? WrestleMania 24 took place at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla., and top to bottom, it was a very good event.

     

    What Made It Good?

    CM Punk put his name in the main-event picture by winning the Money in the Bank match, a feat he would duplicate the following year at WrestleMania 25.

    Two matches stand out from this event. The main event of the evening saw Edge defend the World title against Undertaker. He threw everything at the challenger in an effort to end the streak. Still, Undertaker found a way to overcome the odds and put Edge away with the Hell's Gate submission hold.

    Ric Flair may be the greatest wrestler who ever lived. At WrestleMania 24, fans saw his tremendous career come to an end.

    Though Flair soiled it a bit by going to work for TNA, it doesn't take away from this WrestleMania masterpiece. Truly one of the greatest moments in WWE history, it was a pleasure to see unfold, especially for those fortunate enough to be in attendance.

     

    What Dragged It Down?

    It's pretty obvious that a celebrity on the card isn't going to lose, but seeing Floyd Mayweather defeat the massive Big Show was a little too much, even if he did have help from countless people.

4. WrestleMania 20: 2004

10 of 13

    WrestleMania 20 used the phrase "Where it all begins again," and it certainly felt that way with a very well-done show.

    Taking place from historic Madison Square Garden, this was a very complete event that had fans excited for the future. 

     

    What Made It Good?

    The final three matches were all excellent. Eddie Guerrero used his usual trickery, loosening his boot to fool Angle and roll him up for a pin to retain the WWE title.

    After a bit of a hiatus, The Undertaker returned under his Deadman gimmick to face Kane in a very memorable match. Last seen in his biker gimmick in losing a Buried Alive match at Survivor Series, Undertaker returned along with Paul Bearer to defeat his brother.

    The night ended with a bang as Triple H, Shawn Michaels and Chris Benoit treated fans to one of the greatest Triple Threat matches in wrestling history. Benoit triumphed to win the world title and the emotional scene culminated with Guerrero coming to the ring to congratulate his friend. A truly great and unforgettable moment.

     

    What Dragged It Down?

    How bad was the match between Brock Lesnar and Goldberg? It should have been tremendous, but with fans catching wind of the plans both men had to leave the company, they let both men have it, showering them with boos. No matter how much Lesnar and Goldberg would have wanted to have a good match that night, that crowd wouldn't have let them.

    The Cruiserweight Open was also a disappointment. WWE had an opportunity to really showcase some of their real talent in this match, but it was very forgettable.

3. WrestleMania 18: 2002

11 of 13

    The SkyDome in Toronto housed WrestleMania 18, which was sold around Triple H trying to regain his place atop the mountain and The Rock and Steve Austin battling the nWo.

     

    What Made It Good?

    The Rock vs. Hogan. This match places this whole event several spots higher than it would have been had it not been on the card.

    This match will go down as one of the most memorable in history based on the way the crowd reacted to it, something WWE likely didn't even see coming. The Rock walked away victorious in one of wrestling's greatest encounters.

    Undertaker and Flair had a great match as well, one that is very underrated when it comes to talk of great matches at WrestleMania. 

     

    What Dragged It Down?

    The predictability of the main event. Jericho and Triple H put on a great match, but the whole thing was very predictable and that took a lot away from it.

    Austin facing Scott Hall. Austin was arguably your top draw at the time and this match just came across as very meaningless. That should never happen at WrestleMania with a star of that caliber.

2. WrestleMania 19: 2003

12 of 13

    What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think back to WrestleMania 19? Hopefully, it's not Lesnar's attempt at the shooting star press.

    Safeco Field in Seattle hosted this event and there really isn't much it didn't have. All in all, it was a very good show.

     

    What Made It Good?

    Michaels and Jericho had a perfect one-on-one matchup. It was so good that it was a shame to see someone lose. This is another match that doesn't get mentioned often when it comes to best matches in the history of the event, but it should.

    Hogan and McMahon was a match that old-school fans had to love and had to be on one side or the other. Not even an appearance by Piper could stop the Hulkster from pulling out the win.

    Austin and The Rock completed their trilogy against each other in grand fashion. The Rock, who had accomplished basically everything in the business, had never defeated Austin at WrestleMania. That changed at WrestleMania 19 when Rock finally got a win over him. To this day, it marks the last match of Austin's career.

    The main event saw Angle and Lesnar, arguably the top two athletes on the roster at the time, square off for the WWE title. Lesnar got the win despite his attempt at the shooting star press that could've ended much, much worse than it did.

     

    What Dragged It Down?

    The involvement of Nathan Jones was about the only blemish on this card. He was scheduled to team up with Undertaker to face Big Show and A-Train but instead was taken out of the match, turning it into a handicap match.

    Undertaker would still win, as he has done every time he has competed at the event.

1. WrestleMania 17: 2001

13 of 13

    WrestleMania 17 was not just the best WrestleMania of the 2000's; it may be the best one of all time.

    This show had it all. A deep card, excellent matches and an incredible main event.

     

    What Made It Good?

    Just prior to WrestleMania 17, McMahon acquired rival company WCW. But in the storylines, it was his son Shane that had become the owner. This led to a father vs. son match that was so much better than anyone would have predicted. The match saw Shane defeat his father and start a buzz about what would become of WCW.

    Edge and Christian, Matt and Jeff Hardy and D-Von and Bubba Ray Dudley were put into the match again. Not only would they top the match they had at WrestleMania 2000, they blew it away. The second installment of the TLC match is one fans will never stop talking about.

    There was even a gimmick battle royal on this card. Though it was painful to watch at points, it was very nostalgic as well. The Repo Man at WrestleMania? Count me in.

    The main event was, to this point, the best WrestleMania main event of all time. Austin and The Rock went at it in a back-and-forth match between two of the biggest stars the wrestling industry has ever known and it was up in the air who would come out victorious.

    No way that Austin would align himself with his sworn enemy McMahon to win, would he? That's exactly what happened as a shocking twist brought the event to a close.

     

    What Dragged It Down?

    Nothing. This was a great event from top to bottom. Eleven matches that all told a story and gave this event a case for the best WrestleMania of the 28 that have taken place so far.