WrestleMania 29: Ranking the Greatest Rematches of WWE's Premier Event
WrestleMania rematches have proven to be some of the event's best matches ever.
WrestleMania 29's main event features The Rock vs. John Cena for the second consecutive time. There has been a collective grumbling about seeing that matchup again, but The Show of Shows has a marvelous history of sequels surpassing the original.
Can Rock and Cena outdo what they did last year? Can they create a masterwork that has their match discussed as one of the best WrestleMania rematches?
They have some stiff competition. The Undertaker, Steve Austin and a fearless trio of tag teams have set the bar for WrestleMania sequels incredibly high. The following are the repeat WrestleMania matches that were exciting in spite of not being novel and still accelerate our heart rate today.
7. WrestleMania XX: Undertaker vs. Kane
Undertaker’s first WrestleMania battle with Kane came at WrestleMania XIV. The sequel didn't have the original's novelty, but it was buoyed by the momentum of Undertaker's return.
Kane had buried Undertaker alive months earlier.
The two brothers' rematch featured one of the most intense faceoffs in WrestleMania history. A disturbed Kane shouted that he had already killed Undertaker and said, "You're not real!"
The match itself was short and not all that memorable. The crowd was buzzing regardless. That amped-up crowd, the pre-match drama and the excitement of Undertaker's return made this a sequel worth watching.
6. WrestleMania 27: Undertaker vs. Triple H
The second installment in the Triple H and Undertaker trilogy saw The Game attempt to prevent Undertaker from extending his undefeated WrestleMania to 19-0. Even though he left Undertaker unable to walk with the Deadman forced to exit the ring on a stretcher, Triple H failed like all the men before him.
Their WrestleMania X-Seven match was an excellent, dramatic brawl. The two men outdid themselves in their first rematch 10 years later.
Undertaker and Triple put each other through hell in search of victory.
Undertaker crashed through Plexiglas. Triple H gave Undertaker a spinebuster through the announce table. Undertaker suffered chair shot after chair shot.
Triple H screamed, "Stay down!" in a powerful moment of theater.
They would go on to top their effort just one year later, building on the intensity of their first clash at The Show of Shows.
5. WrestleMania XIX: Steve Austin vs. The Rock
When you have two men with such overwhelming star power, who seem born to fight each other, whose chemistry is among the best ever, you let them go at it three times at WrestleMania.
The Rock lost the first two installments of their WrestleMania rivalry. This final chapter was not about a championship, but Rock's pride. Could he finally beat his rival on the WWE's grandest stage?
Their third match featured the same intensity that made their other two battles great. Their storyline hatred throbbed on screen. They stole each other's finishers; Rock wore Austin's vest.
Saying that Austin vs. Rock III was not quite as good as Austin vs. Rock II is no knock on this match. It's hard to beat the near-perfection those two achieved in their first WrestleMania rematch.
4. WrestleMania 28: Undertaker vs. Triple H
Last year's Hell in a Cell battle outdid Undertaker and Triple H's other two WrestleMania matches with the help of added hype, with Shawn Michaels' contributions as guest referee and the macabre backdrop that is Hell in a Cell.
Silencing the fans who griped that someone else should get a shot at Undertaker, Triple H delivered an even better performance this third time around.
Triple H punished The Deadman with chair shots and spinebusters. None of it was enough. Despite looking at times like he was legitimately hurt, like he was suffering on that grand stage, Undertaker once again rose to victory.
This was more vicious than their match the year before, and more dramatic and more moving.
Michaels' compassion, his indecision about whether to stop the match when it got to its violent apex, added emotion to this already emotional battle.
3. WrestleMania X-Seven: Tag Team TLC Match
If someone were to tell a fan who had just witnessed the daredevil madness and adrenaline-stirring match that was the Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge and Christian at WrestleMania 2000 that those wrestlers would top their effort a year later, it wouldn't seem possible.
Those six men delivered a rematch that did just that.
The teams did the same kind of jaw-dropping moves off and against ladders that they did the first time. The sequel added the power of extra hype. Fans knew going into this how good it could be. All six men elevated their games and took even more risks than in the first time out.
These two matches blend together as a blur of carnage and awe. The lasting image of Edge leaping from the ladder and spearing Jeff Hardy puts this slightly above the original and among the greatest WrestleMania matches ever, rematch or otherwise.
2. WrestleMania 26: Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker
Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 25 may be the greatest WWE match ever. To say the sequel is just a touch less great is no insult. It's hard to top the classic they put on the first time around.
The sequel did have the added emotive power of it being the sendoff for Michaels. It had many of the same spots and the same explosive crowd. Their chemistry wasn't quite as perfect this time around, though. In spite of a few awkward moments, it was still enthralling entertainment, as two of WWE's best ever showcased their skills with the world watching.
Rob McNichol of The Sun appropriately called it, "A glorious denouement to an epic clash between two of wrestling's greatest ever titans."
1. WrestleMania X-Seven: Steve Austin vs. The Rock
This is how you do a rematch.
Steve Austin and The Rock surpassed what they did in their first WrestleMania match by capitalizing on the electric buildup, by demonstrating their fantastic chemistry once again and ending with a shocker.
Much of the beginning of the match was a brawl, but it shifted into more in-ring grappling, carrying over the viciousness from the early going. Few WrestleMania main events have been this intense.
Two titans went toe to toe on the world stage, the Rock delivering a Stunner and Austin giving his rival a Rock Bottom.
Bloody, personal and unforgettable, Rock vs. Austin II is the best WrestleMania rematch yet.