Every wrestler has a flare in his eyes as he walks down the ramp. He stops and inhales the blue and white atmosphere filled with electric emotions. Thousands of cameras flash in unison and blind him for a moment. He looks above towards the sky; his breath becomes heavier, heart beats even louder as he reads the sign, “WrestleMania."
WrestleMania is a night when they say destinies are realized. It is a night when some dreams come true and some just renege on their promise. Legacies are defied, legacies are defended and legacies are born at WrestleMania.
There have been 26 editions of WrestleMania so far. Each and every one of them has been legendary in its own right. It is a hard job to choose the greatest of them all. What criteria can we use? What really defines the greatness of a spectacle that sometimes transcends the limitations of adjectives and benchmarks?
Is it the raw emotion, violent as the high tide? Is it the moments that enter into our hearts and stay there forever? Is it the quality of wrestling that does not simply remain a profession anymore and burns like a passion of the true artist? What exactly is it?
Does the greatest WrestleMania bring back your heroes to take you back to the childhood or does the greatest WrestleMania hold your finger and take you to the future? What exactly is the answer?
Was WrestleMania 21 the greatest of all time?
Probably, it is just a little bit of every such "it" that makes an edition of WrestleMania the greatest of all time. I feel, that if ever any WrestleMania has had a little bit of every element stated above, it is WrestleMania 21.
To start with, the build up to this WrestleMania remains one of the best ever. Mind games of the Undertaker, ferociously competitive Kurt Angle, emotions of HBK, passionate John Cena, attitude of Batista, cocky Randy Orton and manipulative champions JBL and Triple H had our minds captivated for weeks leading to the 'Mania.
Before looking at the true legacy of this night, let us just have a recap of what happened on the given night very shortly.
In the highly anticipated main event, Batista defeated Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship. This match may not have been the wrestling clinic, but the intensity of the rivalry made this match a fierce affair. This match had one hell of the hype around it. It ultimately vaulted the pay-off of a push that Batista had received in the previous months including a Royal Rumble win.
John Cena captured the WWE championship from JBL. This match again was very high on emotions. The post match celebrations of Cena are the everlasting images of this 'Mania. The crowd was firmly behind Cena. Cena’s sustained push that lasted for a year, finally met its destiny.
Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak was challenged by the "Legend Killer" Randy Orton. Randy Orton was the first young star to challenge Undertaker at 'Mania. He indeed lost, but this loss elevated him to the pantheon of WWE stars. This match proved that Randy belongs to the top league and is there to stay.
In the last upper card match, Kurt Angle took on HBK Shawn Michaels. This match was the true show-stealer. When two of the most gifted athletes were at the loggerheads, nobody expected anything less than magic. These two, indeed, gave us a match that would last for ages in our memory.
The first ever Money In The bank, which in later years became the massive attraction, was also held for the first time. Edge emerged as the Mr. MITB in the end. It was not merely a shot at the championship. Today as we know, it was rather his shot at the super-stardom.
Trish Stratus and Christy Hemme faced each other over the WWE Women’s championship, where Trish retained her belt.
Big Show took on Akebano in a sumo match; it was not a match to talk a lot about either.
Eddie Guererro and Rey Mysterio squared off in the opening bout of the night. This was a fast paced, high flying affair as expected. It was a perfect opening bout for the show. Rey Mysterio defeated Eddie in this match. This match was one of the backdrops of the intense rivalry these two engaged in over the next year.
In addition to this card, Hulk Hogan made an appearance to rub some heat on Muhammad Hassan. Roddy Piper hosted his ‘Piper’s Pit’ for the first time in 16 years and his guest was none other than Stone Cold.
In my opinion it was one of the best WrestleMania cards. It had young guys going against biggest names in the business. It had two most complete performers in the WWE history going at each other. It had exhilarating ladder match. And to top this up, some legends, who have in many ways defined WrestleMania decorated the ring once again.
The true legacy of WrestleMania 21, however, lies in another fact. Almost all of the WrestleManias have delivered goods. They have created moments and they have created legends. A very few WrestleManias, however, have created future, and none more than this particular night.
Prior to this WrestleMania, WWE was in a spot of bother. After the exit of Stone Cold, Rock, Brock Lesnar and Goldberg, WWE was short of big draws. There had to come a moment when Vince had to write his company’s future and destiny of some new stars. Thank all our gods because he did it.
This night gave birth to three of the biggest stars of past decade. Edge, Randy Orton and Batista became the monster draws in coming times. They went on to become the biggest heels and biggest of the faces. Either two of these three have been in the WrestleMania main event ever since and together they have shared more than 20 championship reigns till this date.
The reason, however, this night is so significant to history is because of the rise of John Cena. Right from that moment John Cena has been the single biggest star of this generation. He has been the poster-child of the company. He has been in the title match at each and every subsequent WrestleMania. Together with Edge, Randy Orton and Batista, he has given us some of the best feuds in the last six years. It is not an exaggeration to say that he has become one of the biggest stars in the history of WWE.
Just remember that had it not been for the particular night, these four would have never been the same and so did the future of WWE.
I will rephrase my second paragraph to conclude here. WrestleMania 21 was a night, when destinies were realized. It was a night when some dreams did come true and some just reneged on their promise. Legacies were defied, legacies were defended and legacies were born at WrestleMania 21.
To sum it up and put it simply, WrestleMania 21 will always be cherished as the night of amaranthine day - a night when future was born.