It’s that time again. WrestleMania, the biggest event in wrestling. As such, we should, as we always seem to do, look at the history of WrestleMania.
It was not very hard to come up with a number of moments, but it was incredibly hard to sort them out, pick out 10, and then arrange them in order of great to greatest. So, here they are:
10) Mick Foley main events a WrestleMania
If there’s anyone that you can admire more for their contributions to this business, you would only be able count them on one hand.
Mick Foley had done anything and everything to help put the business over to the fans in the Attitude Era.
From working three different gimmicks, not to mention working as himself, to writing multiple bestselling works, to putting his body through things that just made people question the man’s sanity, to winning three WWF Heavyweight titles, Foley made sure to give people something to either laugh, cry, scream, or cheer about.
The man knew how to get fans emotionally involved with what was happening with him and perhaps no one was better in the 90s at doing that.
It only made sense that in the year 2000, when his run as a full-time active competitor was coming to an end, that he get to live the last dream he had on his list, to headline the biggest show in wrestling.
Foley was given that opportunity, and while that match certainly did not live up to the two previous pay per views’ title matches with Triple H, he was given the sendoff he so richly deserved. You can still hear the chants “Foley! Foley! Foley!”
9)“Macho Man” Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth reunite
I’m sure that not everyone has this on their list, but you have to understand how emotional this moment was. Obviously, this was back in the kayfabe era so it was easier for people to become emotionally involved in storylines like this.
For two years, Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth had been estranged on screen. Most of us know now that they were actually married. Savage had left Elizabeth and acquired Sensational Queen Sherri as his new valet.
Savage had enjoyed another pretty good run as a heel, as the Macho King, before it all came to a head at WrestleMania VII in his feud with the Ultimate Warrior in a Retirement Match.
After nearly 30 minutes of action, Warrior was able to come out on top while Savage was finished as an in-ring competitor. Sherri Martel then realized that she had lost her meal ticket and began to beat and kick Savage for losing his job, and in effect, her job.
We had already seen that Elizabeth was in the crowd, but suddenly, Liz ran to the ring and tossed Sherri out of the ring, something we had not seen a lot of out of Liz, physical altercation.
As Savage realized who was in the ring, the crowd was yelling for the two to get back together and in an emotional embrace, we saw Savage and Liz reunited. Many were crying in the arena in L.A.
Of course, we know Savage was able to get his in-ring job back by the end of 1991. And while Savage and Liz couldn’t last as a real couple, their moment at WrestleMania VII will always stand out. Ooooooo yeah! Sorry, had to do it.
8) Austin passes out from the Sharpshooter - With blood running down his face, Steve Austin truly earned the moniker “the toughest SOB in the WWE” by never saying the words that so many people had said before to the Sharpshooter submission, “I Quit.”
The match was seen as easily the best at WrestleMania XIII and launched the Rattlesnake into superstardom and gave Bret ammunition to turn heel for the first time in seven years.
The match was not known for its submissions, but for how brutal it turned out, with all the weapons used and action that happened outside the ring. Austin had made himself noticeable back at the King of the Ring with his famous Austin 3:16 speech.
However, he had never been given the proper push to get himself over as a contender, until he started his rivalry with Hart. At the end of the match, Hart was able to put a bloodied Austin in the sharpshooter.
It seemed like Hart was going to get the win over Austin as Hart refused to allow Austin to break the hold. Austin was in the hold for what seemed like an eternity before he finally succumbed to the pain, but he did not quit.
He instead passed out and special referee Ken Shamrock had no choice but to stop the match and award it to Hart, even though Austin never said “I Quit.”
It was the match that defined not only Austin’s career, but the pay per view as well.
7) Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart battle it out for 60 minutes
Many people consider this match to be the best in WrestleMania history. The funny thing is that Pat Patterson, who came up with the idea for the Iron Man Match, was told at one time people would not want to watch two guys wrestle for 60 minutes.
But as we’ve learned, it seems like that in the 80s, 90s, and 2000s there has been at least one match that went 60 minutes that people loved.
In the 80s, it was Flair-Steamboat II in New Orleans that went to a 60 minute draw that most remember, and then there was the classic between Samoa Joe and CM Punk in ROH that also went to a 60-minute draw.
In the 90s, the 60-minute match that most remember would be this one. In fact, it couldn’t be decided in 60 minutes, because neither man could score a fall. It seemed odd that Hart could not get Michaels into the Sharpshooter until there were 30 seconds left in regulation.
It also seemed odd that HBK could not hit Sweet Chin Music until an overtime period. Perhaps though that’s what made it intriguing.
The other thing great about the match, the two participants were two of the best in-ring workers in the business at the time. Oh, and let’s not forget HBK riding a zip line down.
6) In a battle of future Hall of Famers, Shawn Michaels comes closest to making The Undertaker’s streak history
This match was absolutely unbelievable. We expected something great considering the past matches these two had in 1997, but those were 12 years before this. For these two to put on a match like this in their 40s as if they were still in their early 30s was absolutely stunning.
It just made their Hall of Fame inductions all the more certain, though they were already in before this. My point is though that this match alone would put these two in because it showcased just how great these two are, especially against each other. Not only that, this match cost a man’s job (inadvertently), but that’s another story.
In the end, we saw some of the greatest false finishes ever with a great finish to end the story HBK and the Deadman told that night. I wish I could say that was the only WrestleMania meeting between the two because I think it was too good to top, but we’ll just have to wait and see. Remember Undertaker vs. Kane for the second time at a WrestleMania?
Alright, bad analogy considering that match was mainly to put over Taker’s return. As for this rivalry, we’ll see if the sequel can truly live up to the original.
5) Rock and Hogan square off at WrestleMania X-8
- It’s always been a dream to see two icons of different decades square off in their respected sport. Unitas vs. Elway, MJ vs. King James, Jack vs. Tiger, just to name a few.
There have been many match-ups in wrestling that people have wanted to see. Hart vs. Angle, Andre vs. Show, Styles vs. Michaels, among others. In 2002, we had the opportunity to see one of those.
When The Rock entered the WWE in 1996, Hogan was already making his mark again in WCW as the leader of the NWO. It was a match that many thought would never happen because of McMahon’s personal issues with Hogan.
But in 2002, McMahon signed the cornerstone of the NWO. All three had been former talents that turned their backs on McMahon and the WWE for bigger money in Atlanta.
But McMahon knew what he was doing. He knew what people wanted to see. And in February, the match was made, Rock vs. Hogan in Toronto Skydome. The most electrifying man in sports entertainment vs. the man who revolutionized sports entertainment.
It was a dream match-up for many people in terms of charisma, not in-ring skill. And in Toronto, the match stole the show as the crowd was split, eventually seeming to side with Hogan after he had started out as the heel going into the match.
Rock would be the one with the victory, and Hogan, just as he had 12 years before with Warrior, showed respect to the man that had beaten him and shook Rock’s hand.
The thing about the match that stands out the most with people though is what happened before the action began.
Rock and Hogan stood face to face with the crowd alternating between “Rocky!” and “Hogan!” chants. It was absolutely surreal and fit for a match of surreal proportions.
4) Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon make WrestleMania X their own with a Ladder Match
There’s a reason Shawn Michaels is known as Mr. WrestleMania. Going into WrestleMania X, most of the focus was on the fact that the WWF Title would be defended two times in one night, but by the end of the night, the talk of the 10th anniversary of WrestleMania would be the Ladder Match to become the undisputed Intercontinental Champion between official IC Champ Razor Ramon and self-professed IC Champ Shawn Michaels.
It was the second Ladder Match in WWE history, and some still consider to be the best because of the new and, at the time, innovative things that Michaels and Ramon did in that match.
Seeing things like Michaels splash Ramon off the ladder, Michaels ride the ladder onto Ramon, and Michaels throw the ladder on Ramon’s back, it was one of the most awe-inspiring matches in wrestling history.
Come to think of it, Ric Flair may have said it best when he said that Michaels virtually wrestled a ladder with someone else in the ring. That’s not to take away from Ramon, because he had to take a lot of abuse from that ladder.
At the end of the night, Ramon walked away with the IC Title, but Michaels was well on his way to earning the nickname Mr. WrestleMania.
3) Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero embrace in the middle of the ring at the end of WrestleMania XX
Forget what Benoit did outside of the ring for a moment and you’ll realize that this moment can never be ignored. Even if you believe Benoit doesn’t deserve to be on this list, Guerrero absolutely does.
Guerrero worked his butt off for years and made sacrifices and went through many demons on his way to the top. He also endured many heartaches and stumbling blocks, especially with WCW.
And despite what you and I think of Chris Benoit the man, Chris Benoit the wrestler deserves to be in this list because of what he did in this sport and the respect he earned in the ring and in the locker room.
He put up with some of the worst politics in WCW and was handed the title only in an effort to keep him there. He then went to WWE, worked his way to the top for the next four years and was finally given his due.
Yes, Chris Benoit did something that can never be forgotten and for some, never forgiven.
Still, he along with Eddie made their moment one to never be forgotten either. It was one of the most emotional moments for any wrestling fan.
2) Ric Flair surrenders to Sweet Chin Music to “finish out” his in-ring career
As much as I can not stand the fact that Ric Flair wrestled on the March 8th edition of TNA Impact, this will always be on my Top 10 list. I will say this would have been #1 had it not been for Flair lacing up the boots on Impact.
We all knew it was coming from the Internet reports, but more importantly, when Vince McMahon started the angle that the next match Flair lost would be his last. Then, the countdown began to WrestleMania XXIV.
The other thing that people were really excited about was that it was Shawn Michaels that had the honor of wrestling what was thought to be Flair’s final match. It would be the wrestler of the 80s vs. the wrestler of the 90s.
The Nature Boy vs. Mr. WrestleMania. It would be the ultimate way for Flair to go out, on the grandest stage of them all, against quite possibly the greatest all-around professional wrestler ever.
Flair even came out with probably his most luxurious robe he’s ever worn. He brought his A-game to the dance.
When it was all said and done, Michaels ended it the only way he could, with words of love and admiration and a final tune of Sweet Chin Music to close out Flair’s in-ring career (or so we were led to believe).
Flair would then immediately be given the ring to himself by Michaels and would be payed the respect he deserves by the crowd in the Florida Citrus Bowl.
He then came out the next night, was payed the upmost respect by the fans and his peers, given the opportunity to leave on the highest note anyone could ever go out on.
Of course, you know what happened next. Be that as it may, the moment will always be special to anyone who witnessed it.
1) Hulk Hogan slams Andre the Giant
Very simple title here. Very simple explanation, as if there needs to be one. Andre the Giant, a man who had never lost in the WWE, was going in as the ultimate favorite, especially with a man like Bobby “The Brain” Heenan at his side.
Hogan was clearly overmatched and even looked overwhelmed in the opening moments when he attempted a scoop slam that almost cost him the WWF Title.
About ten minutes later, Hogan was doing what no one else could ever dream of doing. He slammed Andre to the roar of applause from the Pontiac Silverdome. It was the moment when Andre said to Hogan “It’s all yours now.”
Andre didn’t have to do any of this. He could have changed his mind and let Hulkamania’s momentum stop dead in its tracks. But instead, he did the honorable thing for business and allowed Hogan to make WrestleMania history.
At that moment, Hogan and Andre both cemented their legacies. Hogan for being the only one to ever scoop slam the Giant, and Andre for being the honorable and humble man in letting him do it.
As I said earlier, I know everyone has different opinions on what is the Top 10 in terms of moments at WrestleMania.
You are more than welcome to comment and say what should or should not be on the list and where, but I’ll stick with this until another 10 years of WrestleManias, if not five. I hope everyone enjoys WrestleMania.
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