29 Greatest WrestleMania Moments in History

Justin LaBarFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2013

29 Greatest WrestleMania Moments in History

0 of 29

    The 29th WrestleMania is quickly approaching. So many great moments have taken place over the years that helped define what WrestleMania is to the performers and the genre.

    These are moments that you have to see and feel to understand. Moments that have become iconic images or pieces of video for the history of WWE WrestleMania and professional wrestling.

    I put a list together of 29 of the greatest moments in WrestleMania history you must see. Not the greatest matches or the greatest moves necessarily, but those points in history that can stand alone and define the greatness that is WrestleMania.

WrestleMania 1: Roddy Piper Face-to-Face with Mr. T

1 of 29

    The first WrestleMania features the main event of Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff against Hulk Hogan and Mr. T.

    The start of the match shows Piper and Mr. T nose-to-nose with each other as the tension builds and the fans realize they're about to see the main event for what brought them there. The main event of WrestleMania 1. If this didn't succeed, it very well could have been the last WrestleMania. Obviously, the whole event succeeded, but I can't think about WrestleMania 1 and not think about the tension building and the meeting of wrestler and celebrity in the middle of Madison Square Garden.

WrestleMania 3: Hulk Hogan vs. Andre "The Giant"

2 of 29

    "The irresistible force meets the immovable object." That famous line that can be heard on commentary from Gorilla Monsoon as Andre “The Giant” and Hulk Hogan square off at WrestleMania 3.

    This entire match is a moment but specifically the staredown at the beginning and the payoff when Hogan slams Andre.

    The largest crowd ever of 93,000 and the slam heard around the world might have sealed the fate of WrestleMania's legacy.

WrestleMania 4: The Mega Powers Celebrate

3 of 29

    The ending of WrestleMania 4 with the Mega Powers of Macho Man and Hulk Hogan celebrating as Miss Elizabeth is hoisted up for all of Trump Plaza to see.

    The two biggest babyface stars in 1988 ultimately working together. It created another WrestleMania moment.

WrestleMania 6: Hulk Hogan Passes the Torch to Ultimate Warrior

4 of 29

    At WrestleMania 6, the Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan met, with Hogan holding the WWE title and Warrior the Intercontinental title. The match was one of the best for each man. The ending once again saw a WrestleMania moment as the torch was being passed on that night. Hogan handed the belt to Warrior and raised his hand.

    Things didn't play out the way WWE envisioned over the next few years, but it still doesn't change the magic in that moment between the two stars.

WrestleMania 8: The Return of the Ultimate Warrior

5 of 29

    WrestleMania 8 didn't provide the match many in the industry thought they would finally see: Ric Flair versus Hulk Hogan was the requested match but didn't take place.

    Flair defended the title in a match against Macho Man, while Hogan finished the night in a grudge match with Sid Justice. The ending would be a famous ending of interference and surprise. First, Papa Shango comes to the ring to help Justice, and then Ultimate Warrior would return to WWE after an 8-month absence from the company.

    The night ended with, once again, Warrior and Hogan standing together celebrating in front of a cheering, sold-out crowd in Indianapolis with rarely-seen (at the time) pyrotechnics surrounding the ring.

WrestleMania 10: The Famous Ladder Match

6 of 29

    It wasn't the first-ever ladder match, but it was the match that made ladders famous.

    Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon put themselves and ladder matches in a whole new league of respect after they battled to see who the real Intercontinental Champion was.

WrestleMania 10: Bret Hart Is the Man

7 of 29

    Celebrating a decade of WrestleMania back in the place where it all began in Madison Square Garden, WrestleMania 10 was the night of Bret Hart.

    The top Superstar for the company was appropriately featured in two matches that started and ended the pay-per-view.

    Hart lost in a terrific match to his brother Owen Hart followed by winning the WWE title from Yokozuna at the end of the night. It was well-deserved and fitting, seeing how a year before at WrestleMania 9, Hart found himself stepping out of the spotlight for Hulk Hogan.

    At WrestleMania 10 in 1994, Hogan had jumped ship to WCW, and WWE was letting everyone know who their new top face was in Bret “The Hitman” Hart. The night ends with the company showing this literally as the other faces of the company hold Hart up on their shoulders for all the world to see.

WrestleMania 12: The Boyhood Dream Comes True

8 of 29

    Shawn Michaels created an iconic image as he propelled from a zip line from the top of the arena in Anaheim over the crowd of people at WrestleMania 12.

    He was going in to WWE's first-ever Iron Man match, where Michaels and Bret Hart would see who could score the most decisions in an hour time limit. The winner would walk out as WWE Champion.

    The match remained scoreless for the entire hour and was sent to overtime. It was there the boyhood dream came true for Shawn Michaels. Perhaps one of the most prominent first world-title wins for any wrestler, Michaels on his knees clutching the title is a WrestleMania moment if there ever was.

WrestleMania 13: The Iconic Image of Austin's Face

9 of 29

    Blood dripping down his face as he screamed in agony but not quitting―it was this that let everyone know, on the biggest stage of WrestleMania, that Stone Cold Steve Austin had arrived.

    An “I Quit” match between Austin and Hart was a WrestleMania moment. The two men walked in with Hart as a face and Austin as a heel. When the match was over, Hart was hearing groans from the crowd as Austin's name was chanted by the sold-out crowd.

    In a WrestleMania that was among the worst in the 29-year history, it did feature this moment, which was one of the best.

WrestleMania 14: Pete Rose the Best Heel of the Night

10 of 29

    WrestleManias have seen a lot of celebrity involvement over the years. Pete Rose made his stand out in 1998 at WrestleMania 14.

    He cut the best heel promo of the night on the Boston baseball fans before Kane came out and tombstoned him to the mat.

    It was a moment that lives on forever in WrestleMania history.

WrestleMania 14: The Austin Era Has Begun

11 of 29

    It was a main event that helped turn the tide for WWE in their battle with WCW for the spot of top wrestling company.

    It was the main event that helped let everyone know WWE's attitude was on full display.

    It was the main event that would send Shawn Michaels into a five-year retirement after the match to attend to back injuries and personal problems.

    It was a main event that announced to everyone that the “Austin era has begun.”

    It was a main event that was a moment in WrestleMania history when Mike Tyson counted to three for Austin's first world title win and stood tall raising his hand as Jim Ross screamed, “Stone Cold, Stone Cold, Stone Cold.”

WrestleMania 17: The TLC Match and Spot That Lives Forever

12 of 29

    WrestleMania 17 featured one of the greatest TLC matches ever.

    The match also featured one of those memorable spots that had never been seen before, and whenever I think about the match, I think about this move.

    Jeff Hardy hanging on to the title suspended over the ring as Edge jumps off of a ladder and spears him in mid-air.

    This match cemented the legacy of TLC matches and the three tag teams in it forever.

WrestleMania 17: Austin Sold His Soul to the Devil

13 of 29

    It was a moment nobody saw coming. Stone Cold Steve Austin shaking hands with Mr. McMahon after double-teaming The Rock with a steel chair to win the world title in the middle of Texas.

    WrestleMania 17 is often talked about as one of the greatest WrestleManias ever, and it contains this moment, which is one of the greatest ever, reminding us anything can happen at WrestleMania.

WrestleMania 18: The Showcase of the Immortals

14 of 29

    The 7:30 mark of the video can give you goosebumps.

    It's the moments before the action gets started for the first-ever meeting between The Rock and Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 18.

    The match has one of the most incredible crowd interactions ever. A story was told, and a ride was taken for any watching this match. A WrestleMania moment was born.

WrestleMania 19: Goodbye to Stone Cold Steve Austin

15 of 29

    The third meeting between The Rock and Stone Cold was a moment then. Now, looking back 11 years later, we can see just how significant that moment truly was to history.

    The final match for Stone Cold Steve Austin who put on a great performance with The Rock. An ending that took three Rock Bottoms to finish it and a “breaking of character” for a few seconds for the world to see, as The Rock leaned over Austin's body and spoke to him.

WrestleMania 19: The Insane Shooting Star Press

16 of 29

    Everyone who watched WrestleMania 19 live can remember seeing the famous shooting star press attempt from Brock Lesnar.

    An ugly landing inside of what was a great match with Kurt Angle to end the pay-per-view.

    Lesnar created a WrestleMania moment by stepping outside of his routine and attempting such a daring move for a man of his size.

WrestleMania 20: The Return of the Deadman

17 of 29

    WrestleMania 20 was the return of "The Deadman.”

    The Undertaker in his original gimmick returned with Paul Bearer to write another chapter in his story with his brother Kane.

    A moment like only The Undertaker can create. Of course, the recent passing of Paul Bearer only enhances the significance of this historical night celebrating two decades of WrestleMania.

WrestleMania 20: Guerrero and Benoit's Crowning Moments

18 of 29

    If you were to rank the moments in order of greatness, this would be in the top few.

    Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero are both deceased now, but at WrestleMania 20 they were celebrating together the crowning moments in both their careers.

    They stood proudly in Madison Square Garden holding WWE's two world titles after they had came so far together in their careers.

    Despite what the future would hold a few years later for each man, on that night at WrestleMania 20, Benoit and Guerrero owned one of the most memorable WrestleMania moments ever.

WrestleMania 21: John Cena Wins First World Title

19 of 29

    It was here that John Cena joined the party and won his first world title.

    An entertaining contest with JBL made Cena work for the reward of being the man. It would launch Cena to a new level and era. It started what would become a decade of Cena as the face of WWE.

WrestleMania 21: Batista Wins World Title from Triple H

20 of 29

    On the same night that Cena would become a made man, Batista also joined the ranks of being a top guy for WWE.

    In one of the best endings to a main event match—with all the reversals and excitement―Batista would go over on Triple H to end WrestleMania 21.

WrestleMania 22: Mick Foley Gets His WrestleMania Moment

21 of 29

    It was a moment for Mick Foley, and it was a moment for the history of WrestleMania.

    This moment featured a table on fire that Edge would spear Foley through to end one of, if not the most, hardcore match ever at WrestleMania.

WrestleMania 22: HBK and Vince McMahon Get Hardcore

22 of 29

    The chairman of a billion dollar company isn't too proud to lay on a table with a trash can on his head while one of his biggest stars in history jumps from 20 feet above to land on top of him.

    A WrestleMania moment was born between Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon at WrestleMania 22 in a violent match.

WrestleMania 23: A Bald Billionaire

23 of 29

    An image we all remember for WrestleMania is Stone Cold and Bobby Lashley holding Mr. McMahon still as Donald Trump shaves the head of the WWE owner.

    WrestleMania 23 saw Trump and McMahon's hair on the line in a match between Lashley and Umaga. A theatrical ending and entertaining WrestleMania moment.

WrestleMania 24: The End of Ric Flair

24 of 29

    Perhaps the most teary-eyed of the WrestleMania moments came in the final seconds of the match between Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels to end Flair's career.

    Flair, knowing the end is just seconds away, tells Michaels to come on. And Michaels mouthed the words “I'm sorry, I love you.” He then hit his finishing move on Flair to end the match, which was followed with an emotional embrace.

    The moment can be found at the 26:40 mark on the video above.

WrestleMania 26: HBK's Career Is Over

25 of 29

    WrestleMania 26 marked the end of Shawn Michaels' career in one of the greatest matches ever with The Undertaker.

    The entire match is a moment watching the magic in the ring. The ending was done to perfection and marked the 18th WrestleMania victory for The Undertaker and the end for the HBK.

WrestleMania 27: Edge's Last Match

26 of 29

    It was a good match, but the moment is created based on what would happen in the days following.

    Edge versus Alberto Del Rio started off WrestleMania 27 but would be the end of Edge's career. He was forced to retire due to a neck injury, and this match became a WrestleMania moment because of it.

WrestleMania 27: Finally, The Rock Returns to WrestleMania

27 of 29

    WrestleMania 27 also saw the return of The Rock to the big stage after years away from the business.

    Though he wasn't wrestling, The Rock was the special guest host of the event, and him opening the show was a moment to be there for and never forget.

WrestleMania 28: End of an Era

28 of 29

    The Undertaker, Triple H and Shawn Michaels standing on the stage at WrestleMania 28 was a moment that will never be forgotten.

    It was billed as an end of an era.

    Match of the year between Triple H and The Undertaker in Hell in a Cell, combined with the ending of the men holding each other up while the crowd saluted them is a great showing of what WrestleMania is all about.

WrestleMania 28: The Rock and John Cena Finally Meet

29 of 29

    After years of build-up, The Rock and John Cena faced off at WrestleMania 28.

    Much like WrestleMania 18 was for The Rock in the seconds prior to the action starting, as he and Cena stared each other down, everyone watching knew they were witnessing a WrestleMania moment.