To be the greatest event of its kind, WWE WrestleMania XXX has to surpass WrestleMania X-Seven and WrestleMania XIX, two stacked events that set the standard with stout undercards and main events impossible to forget.
Since 1985, WWE has put together its own version of the Super Bowl, a spectacle-heavy gathering of the company's biggest stars, celebrities and buzzing energy.
At times, the pay-per-view has been the peak of WWE's year, a classic-creating supercard. Other times, though, it's been bogged down by filler, only to have the final match stumble as well.
Every WrestleMania to this point is ranked here based on the number of classic bouts, the average quality of the overall card and the greatness and entertainment value of the main event. Big moments push events higher up the rankings as well.
Classic Matches: None
Main Event: Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna
Caesars Palace hosted what many consider the worst WrestleMania of all time. John Canton of TJRWrestling is among those critics. He wrote, "Holy crap this show sucked."
Aside from an underrated Shawn Michaels vs. Tatanka Intercontinental Championship bout, there is little on the card to savor. When the night's best match ends in a count-out, that's the recipe for what PWTorch's Jimmy Eaton called "a very forgettable show."
Hart vs. Yokozuna didn't make much of an impact on fans. Hulk Hogan's surprise title win felt cheap.
This event is more remembered for togas, camels and Giant Gonzalez's horrendous bodysuit.
Classic Matches: None
Main Event: Hulk Hogan vs. King Kong Bundy (Steel Cage)
The stink of WrestleMania II's worst matches ruined all of the positive portions of the show. It's not Ricky Steamboat and Hercules Hernandez's solid match or the well-worked tag team match between The British Bulldogs and The Dream Team that fans remember of this WrestleMania.
Mr. T and Roddy Piper's garbage sandwich of a boxing match made a bigger impression.
The talk of this WrestleMania is always its four-city format, not any of the action or big moments. The card was overstuffed with filler as well—Adrian Adonis vs. Uncle Elmer is not WrestleMania material—making for a dragged-out show.
The disappointing main event couldn't save a show that, as Wrestling DVD News' Brett Mix puts it, offered "nothing great or even good for that matter."
Classic Matches: Diesel vs. Shawn Michaels (WWE Championship)
Main Event: Lawrence Taylor vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
WrestleMania XI offered fewer duds than II and XI, but aside from the WWE title match, there was little to rave about. Undertaker's battle with King Kong Bundy happened during his run of forgettable bouts, years from making the defense of his undefeated streak a show-stealing spectacle.
Razor Ramon vs. Jeff Jarrett or The Blu Brothers vs. Lex Luger and The British Bulldog is not on any sane fan's list of great matches. The main event, though, is what gives WrestleMania XI its negative perception.
Putting a non-wrestler in the biggest match of the night is WWE's worst WrestleMania choice to date. The result was an embarrassing match capping off a bad show.
It's hard to argue with John Powell of Slam! Sports when he calls the whole night "a washout" and rates the event as "poor."
Classic Matches: None
Main Event: Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff vs. Hulk Hogan and Mr. T
The first-ever WrestleMania's strengths were spectacle and big moments.
Having Mr. T, Muhammad Ali, Cyndi Lauper and Liberace aboard made for an event that felt huge. Andre the Giant clashing with Big John Studd was clunky, but memorable. Those elements push it ahead of the worst WrestleManias of all time, but there aren't enough quality matches to rank it any higher.
No one is confusing Matt Borne vs. Ricky Steamboat or King Kong Bundy vs. Special Delivery Jones with WrestleMania's many classics. The main event, while no technical display, was fun and had a great energy to it.
John Canton of TJRWrestling wrote, "It's not a show I would recommend if you want to see great wrestling action."
Classic Matches: None
Main Event: Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan (WWE Championship)
Plenty of star power in the main event couldn't make up for a long, dud-heavy show. A lot like the first edition of the event, WrestleMania V featured way too many forgettable bouts.
Matches like Dino Bravo vs. Ronnie Garvin felt like something more fitting for a weekly TV program, not the biggest wrestling spectacle of the year. That's part of the reason Linden Walker of F4WOnline rips the event, writing, "Next time you can't fall asleep, throw this one in the DVD player."
The main event, though, was better than WrestleMania I's and light years ahead of Lawrence Taylor vs. Bam Bam Bigelow from WrestleMania XI. Savage and Hogan performed well, capping off a dramatic story. That bout doesn't come close to the event's best ever, though.
Classic Matches: None
Main Event: Steve Austin vs. The Rock
While there is no true standout match from WrestleMania XV other than Austin vs. The Rock, there was a better percentage of solid bouts than the events that rank below it.
Shane McMahon vs. X Pac was entertaining, as was the four-way Intercontinental Championship match. The night's warts bring this down from a higher ranking, though.
Butterbean knocked out Bart Gunn in under a minute, making the entire Brawl-For-All tournament that preceded it a waste of time. Obviously WWE didn't learn its lesson from Wrestlemania II: that there's no place for boxing at a wrestling event.
The Undertaker vs. Big Boss Man Hell in a Cell match is only remembered for the unsettling live hanging stunt at the end. The match itself was awkward and devoid of energy.
WrestleMania XV's good offerings, like Austin and The Rock, balanced out its worst stuff, resulting in a show that breaks even. It's makes perfect sense then that John Canton of TJRWrestling rated the event a 5 out of 10.
Classic Matches: Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart (Submissions match)
Main Event: Sycho Sid vs. Undertaker (WWE Championship)
When someone like TJR Wrestling's John Canton calls an event a "three hour trainwreck", one has to wonder why it's not ranked lower. The answer: Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart.
One of the most dramatic matches in WrestleMania history saw the villain become the fan favorite, and vice versa, as the Austin era began with his forehead smeared in blood, an instant classic slapped onto his resume.
That match was good enough to get it to this point in the rankings, but there are so many flops outside of it that this is its ceiling. The main event had a happy ending, but little else.
Other than the fans who have a photographic memory, few remember Rocky Maivia vs. The Sultan, for example. The event's other offerings, from Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Goldust to Owen Hart and The British Bulldog vs. Mankind and Vader, were okay at best.
At least there were no boxing matches or public hangings, though.
Classic Matches: Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper (Intercontinental Championship), Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair (WWE Championship)
Main Event: Sid Justice vs. Hulk Hogan
By the time Savage and Flair was over, fans had to be thinking they were set to see one of the greatest WrestleManias of all time. The event proceeded to limp to the finish line.
As Brett Mix of Wrestling DVD News puts it, this show had "a strong first half, capped off with a miserable second."
Adding up the solid outing from Shawn Michaels and Tito Santana with the excellence of Piper vs. Hart and the fiery emotion of Savage vs. Flair, WrestleMania XIII seems like it should be ranked much higher. The throwaway bouts that followed, however, pull it down the rankings.
Owen Hart vs. Skinner was a waste of airtime, a squash match better suited for Raw. The tag title match was just as forgettable.
The main event flopped afterward. Even the night's two classic matches can't lift this WrestleMania any higher on the list thanks to Hogan and Justice's sloppy, overbooked mess.
Classic Matches: Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels (WWE Championship)
Main Event: Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels (WWE Championship)
The fond memories fans have of this event are a tribute to the power of a great match and a huge moment. Austin's win followed by Mike Tyson knocking Shawn Michaels out ranks as one of the most unforgettable endings to a WrestleMania ever.
Beyond that climax, though, there isn't much to enjoy. F4WOnline's Linden Walker writes, "the rest of the show is very mediocre."
Although WrestleMania XIV didn't have the excess of all-out bombs that lower-ranked shows did, it didn't have enough quality bouts to push it up past this point. Triple H vs. Owen Hart and the tag team dumpster match were, like the show itself, average.
Classic Matches: None
Main Event: Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase (WWE Championship)
The tournament format both hampered and boosted this WrestleMania. Fans didn't know who would be battling for the WWE title by the end of the night, which created suspense, but not the kind of buildup other events benefited from.
Savage's win, followed by him hoisting Elizabeth on his shoulder and celebrating with Hulk Hogan, is one of the most moving WrestleMania moments ever.
The issues with this show lie with how WWE got to that moment. Aside from Savage vs. DiBiase, there weren't many memorable bouts throughout the night.
Savage's matches against Greg Valentine and Butch Reed were good, but they didn't make up for the overlong card heavy on okay matches. Having 16 bouts on a single event forced WWE to make many of them hurried.
Classic Matches: Undertaker vs. Triple H (No Holds Barred)
Main Event: The Miz vs. John Cena (WWE Championship)
The Miz may not agree, but WrestleMania XXVII's main event is nothing to brag about.
It lacked star power compared to the event's biggest matches ever. It also didn't deliver in the ring, feeling more like an undercard bout than the headliner.
The classic Undertaker vs. Triple H bout makes up for that to a degree. Jason Powell of ProWrestling.net wrote, "This didn't live up to the greatest WrestleMania of all-time hype that Rock gave it to start the show, but I was entertained."
That sums up this WrestleMania well.
Randy Orton vs. CM Punk was good. Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio was as well. Beyond the Triple H and Undertaker bout, though, there was nothing great, leaving this behind the best versions of the event.
Classic Matches: Undertaker vs. CM Punk
Main Event: John Cena vs. The Rock (WWE Championship)
The most recent WrestleMania pushed ahead of the event's worst offerings, but lagged behind its best.
Undertaker's annual classic came against Punk this time around. A number of really-good-but-not-spectacular matches made up the rest of the card.
Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H, The Shield vs. Randy Orton, Sheamus and Big Show were a moment or two away from being classics as well. Like the show itself, those matches just missed out from being great.
A big chunk of that blame can go to the main event. Cena and The Rock didn't do anything to top their previous match and relied too much on false finishes. The result was a mostly flat ending to a night filled with promise.
Classic Matches: Randy Savage vs. Ultimate Warrior (Retirement Match)
Main Event: Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter (WWE Championship)
At its best, WrestleMania VII delivered matches ranging from solid to fantastic. At its worst, it offered clunkers WWE would likely wish it could erase from history.
The Nasty Boys vs. The Hart Foundation entertained. The Rockers vs. Haku and The Barbarian is one of WrestleMania's most underrated matches. Savage and Warrior delivered a powerful showing that remains one of the event's best ever.
Those bouts and the emotional win for Hogan (and America) over the traitor Slaughter makes it easy to agree with John Canton of TJR Wrestling when he calls this WrestleMania "a fun event."
The best WrestleManias don't have the kind of bombs that this one had, though. Jake Roberts and Rick Martel's blindfold match induced more eye rolling than cheering and there were too many disappointing matches like Greg Valentine and Earthquake.
Classic Matches: Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior (WWE Championship and Intercontinental Championship)
Main Event: Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior (WWE Championship and Intercontinental Championship)
The hatred between Jake Roberts and Ted DiBiase, along with the high-flying excellence that was Tanaka and Sato vs. The Rockers, provided the build toward a momentous main event.
Warrior and Hogan provided a match that felt as big as WrestleMania headline bouts are supposed to. The mighty Hogan finally fell and a new titan had arrived. Brett Mix of Wrestling DVD News remarks that it's "a masterpiece for its time and it still holds up very well today."
What keeps this WrestleMania out of the top 15 is the large amount of filler.
Of the 14 matches on the card, a good five or six of them should have been cut. A Big Boss Man vs. Akeem match doesn't make a WrestleMania any better.
Classic Matches: Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart (Iron Man match for WWE Championship)
Main Event: Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart (Iron Man match for WWE Championship)
The length of the main event forced WWE to slice off a lot of filler it might have otherwise added, instead allowing Michaels and Hart to compose a classic.
They were the company's two biggest stars at the time and both knew how to work an audience with in-ring magnificence. The result was one of the best matches in WrestleMania history.
In addition, Goldust and Roddy Piper's Hollywood Backlot Brawl was entertaining and Diesel vs. Undertaker was a better-than-average battle of big men. Not having anything else to savor beyond that, though, keeps this event from achieving a higher ranking.
One classic and two solid outings put this show just below WrestleMania's best, as it lacked the depth of the best ones.
Classic Matches: Triple-Team Ladder Match
Main Event: The Rock vs. Mick Foley vs. Big Show vs. Triple H (WWE Championship)
Take away the demolition derby that was the three-team Ladder match and WrestleMania 2000 goes from excellent to average.
That match certainly had the audience's heart rate up and provided some of the most jaw-dropping moments WrestleMania has ever seen. So much of the rest of the card underwhelmed, though.
The Hardcore Battle Royal or Big Boss Man and Bull Buchanan vs. D-Lo Brown and Godfather, for example, were flops.
Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle composed an exciting match, but each man has produced better. The main event was far better than King Kong Bundy vs. Hulk Hogan, but is just average compared to the classics that some WrestleManias have closed out on.
Classic Matches: The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan
Main Event: Chris Jericho vs. Triple H (WWE Championship)
WrestleMania X-8 doesn't have the multiple classics as the top versions of the event, but it's batting average is impressive.
Ric Flair and Undertaker's Street Fight, Rob Van Dam and William Regal's opening bout and the main event itself were all entertaining and compelling offerings, just not masterpieces.
The biggest and most memorable clash was the meeting of two icons. Rock vs. Hogan is no wrestling clinic, but has all the emotion and theater that makes pro wrestling so dang fun.
Another standout match would have pushed this event into "great" territory, but instead it is firmly nestled in "really good" status.
Classic Matches: Money in the Bank Ladder match, Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker
Main Event: Triple H vs. Randy Orton (WWE Championship)
Michaels vs. Undertaker is great enough on its own to justify buying the WrestleMania 25 DVD. Their chemistry sparked onscreen, and two of WWE's best ever outdid their best work to date on the company's biggest night of the year.
The Money in the Bank ladder match, Matt and Jeff Hardy colliding and a fun world title match made this an enjoyable event despite Santina's Battle Royal win smelling up the card.
WrestleMania 25's worst offerings, though, were scarce. That Divas Battle Royal and a quick finish for Rey Mysterio and John "Bradshaw" Layfield are the only items worth skipping during repeat viewings.
Even as beloved as WrestleMania X-8 is, thanks largely to Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock, the lack of misses here pushes this event ahead of that one.
Classic Matches: Edge vs. Chris Jericho (World Heavyweight Championship), Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (Streak vs. Career)
Main Event: Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (Streak vs. Career)
There is a lot to love about WrestleMania XXVI other than the classic between Undertaker and Michaels. Whether or not one believes those two surpassed what they did the year before, it's hard to call this anything other than a masterpiece.
The undercard featured a hard-hitting clash between Triple H and Sheamus, a fun match pitting CM Punk against Rey Mysterio and the usual excitement born from the Money in the Bank ladder match.
That depth makes it even better than WrestleMania 25, in spite of the cringe-worthy mess that was Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon and the Divas tag match. Just about everything else worked.
Only events with an even higher concentration of great matches rank above this one.
Classic Matches: Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair (Retirement Match), Undertaker vs. Edge (World Heavyweight Championship)
Main Event: Undertaker vs. Edge (World Heavyweight Championship)
Undertaker defended his streak with one of his best bouts, Michaels ended Flair's career and a wealth of matches hovered just below classic status.
The Money in the Bank ladder match wasn't as great as others, but plenty fun anyway. The WWE title Triple Threat was a moment or two away from true greatness.
Even Floyd Mayweather vs. Big Show was an entertaining spectacle.
The emotion of Flair and Michaels powers this WrestleMania into the top 10 with an effort Jason Powell of ProWrestling.net called "sensational." Had more of WrestleMania XXIV's great matches been of the classic variety, it would rank even higher.
Classic Matches: Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk (WWE Championship), Undertaker vs. Triple H (Hell in a Cell)
Main Event: John Cena vs. The Rock
The Undertaker vs. Triple H match is the kind of all-time classic that would have made this WrestleMania a success on its own.
Rather than just build filler around that bout, though, WWE delivered a fantastic WWE title match, a meeting of two icons nearly on par with The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan and a good undercard.
Take out the Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus 18-second match and the Divas tag match and this event would have slid into the top 5. Instead, a few bits of filler hold it back.
Still, the drama of Undertaker's defense of the streak, the star power and the quality wrestling overall make this one of the best WrestleManias to date.
Classic Matches: Money in the Bank Ladder match, Edge vs. Mick Foley (Hardcore match)
Main Event: John Cena vs. Triple H (WWE Championship)
As good as CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho from WrestleMania 28 was, Edge and Foley's violent masterpiece from WrestleMania 22 was better. Side by side, just about everything from this event wins out compared to the events ranked below it, including a better-worked main event even if it didn't have the same amount of spectacle.
Add Rey Mysterio's emotional title win, a surprisingly good Shawn Michaels vs. Vince McMahon fight and a fantastic Money in the Bank Ladder match, and this WrestleMania has to be considered one of the best ever.
That depth and range of entertainment makes up for the fact that it doesn't have one single match that is better than what Triple H and Undertaker did inside the Hell in a Cell, or either of the Michaels vs. Undertaker clashes.
Classic Matches: Money in the Bank Ladder match, Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle
Main Event: Batista vs. Triple H (World Heavyweight Championship)
WrestleMania 22 couldn't quite top what it did the previous year, though.
Shawn Michaels and Kurt Angle both have a reputation for delivering great work on big stages, and when they collided, the result was magic.
Pair that with the first-ever Money in the Bank Ladder match and there is reason to watch this show over and over again. When a Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero match is overshadowed and the match that Randy Orton and Undertaker put on doesn't get talked about enough, you know the card those bouts were on was stacked.
As Brett Mix of Wrestling DVD News writes, there was a "special feeling" for "the entire first half of the show."
Batista vs. Triple H isn't among the top main events ever, but it produced a huge moment for a rising star. Batista dethroning "The Game" was a bit of a stumble after such great striding, but there is little else to nitpick about this event other than the ill-advised sumo match featuring Big Show.
Classic Matches: Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat (Intercontinental Championship), Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant (WWE Championship)
Main Event: Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant (WWE Championship)
Despite not having the overstock of great matches that more recent WrestleManias have had, one near-perfect match and an iconic moment elevates this card just outside the top five.
Delivering what some consider the greatest WrestleMania match of all time—Steamboat vs. Savage—earns the event a ton of points. What is talked about far less is the entertaining Hair vs. Hair match featuring Roddy Piper and Adrian Adonis, as well as a good showing between Jake Roberts and The Honky Tonk Man.
What propels this past great cards like WrestleMania 21, though, is Hogan vs. Andre.
Wrestlers will never be asked to watch that match in any training session, but the energy that their collision created is the rarest kind. Could Hogan best the big man? Could he even lift him?
Their pre-match staredown alone make this WrestleMania a must-see.
As Linden Walker of F4WOnline writes, "this is the WrestleMania that all future events are compared to."
Classic Matches: Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon (Ladder match for Intercontinental Championship)
Main Event: Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna (WWE Championship)
Had WrestleMania X managed to avoid belly-flops like Earthquake vs. Adam Bomb, this would be in the discussion for best WrestleMania ever.
A few filler bouts drag this down some, but not out of the top five. Two all-time classics make sure of that.
The battle of the Hart brothers is the best opening match in event history. Others didn't have the benefit of having such great technical wrestlers in their prime who just happen to be brothers, a fact that made for rare drama.
The clash that popularized the Ladder match boosted this event as well. No WrestleMania hype video would be complete without Michaels leaping onto Ramon from the ladder.
John Canton of TJR Wrestling gave both matches perfect ratings. Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer, via ProFightDB.com, rated the Hart match 4.75/5 stars and gave out a rare five-star rating for Michaels vs. Ramon.
The WrestleManias ranked above this one only have the advantage of better main events.
Classic Matches: Money in the Bank Ladder match, Batista vs. Undertaker (World Heavyweight Championship), John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels (WWE Championship)
Main Event: John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels (WWE Championship)
The formula for WrestleMania 23 was to begin with an upset win in an exciting Money in the Bank Ladder match and end with a near-perfect wrestling match between two megastars. Scott Keith of Inside Pulse Wrestling wrote, "It delivered everything it promised and then some."
In between, Chris Benoit and Montel Vontavious Porter put on an underrated performance, the Battle of the Billionaires was a fun offering that saw Vince McMahon get shaved and Batista gave Undertaker one hell of a fight.
There are just two failed matches of the night: the Divas bout and Great Khali vs. Kane.
Only bigger moments and an even deeper card top this event.
Classic Matches: Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle (WWE Championship) Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit (World Heavyweight Championship)
Main Event: Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit (World Heavyweight Championship)
Evolution vs. The Rock and Mick Foley and Chris Jericho vs. Christian were both on the cusp of greatness. John Cena's first big WrestleMania moment and a hit-and-miss Cruiserweight Open filled out an event that is known for two classic bouts and an unforgettable ending.
Angle and Guerrero put on a performance worthy of the main event.
Benoit, Michaels and Triple H then made sure there was no doubt which match was the best of the night. Their bloody clash over the world title ended with an emotional win for Benoit. He stood in a downpour of confetti, his best friend Guerrero standing by his side.
Only the WrestleManias most loaded with classics top this one.
Classic Matches: Triple-Threat TLC Tag Team Match, Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit, Steve Austin vs. The Rock (WWE Championship)
Main Event: Steve Austin vs. The Rock (WWE Championship)
Three bona fide classics would be enough to put WrestleMania X-Seven in this lofty spot. It also featured the first of three Triple H vs. Undertaker bouts—always a violent, compelling offering.
Shane McMahon vs. Vince McMahon was an entertaining drama-drenched battle, and while some of the other bouts featuring Chris Jericho and Eddie Guerrero weren't their best, this was not a WrestleMania dragged down by filler like fans had seen so often before.
The TLC match delivered more than its share of moments, with the thrill ride exceeding expectations.
Top that all off with a great main event from two of WWE's biggest stars ever and only one WrestleMania can surpass it.
Classic Matches: Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels, The Rock vs. Steve Austin, Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle (WWE Championship)
Main Event: Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle (WWE Championship)
When discussing the greatest matches in the event's history, WrestleMania XIX comes up near the top of most fans' lists.
Jericho and Michaels would have stolen the show on any other card, but Rock and Austin made the most of their incredible chemistry and Angle vs. Lesnar was the perfect blend of mat wrestling and WWE-style violence, botched Shooting Star Press notwithstanding.
This night had its filler for sure (two words: pillow fight), but no WrestleMania had a deeper card.
Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon's Street Fight is often overshadowed by the event's trio of classics. The same is true for a good opener between Matt Hardy and Rey Mysterio and a Triple H vs. Booker T title fight that would have gotten much more attention on most shows.
It's been 11 years since Angle, Austin, Michaels and company delivered the WrestleMania that has come closest to perfection. Watching the stars of today and beyond as they try to top this near-masterpiece will be a fun ride.