WWE: Top 10 Main Event Matches in WrestleMania History
With WrestleMania 27 less than two weeks away, I was thinking about the top 10 "Main Event" matches at WrestleMania.
The criteria I used to select these matches was that it had to be the last match of the show (therefore disqualifying matches like the Rock vs. Hollywood Hogan, even though it was promoted as the Main Event).
Also, the match had to pass the "name association" test, meaning that when you say for example, "WrestleMania XXIV," do you think of the Undertaker vs. Edge? Not necessarily. I personally think of Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair, which would downgrade the Taker/Edge match.
Sit back and enjoy the video clips attached to make the nostalgic journey back recapping the past 26 years, and as always feel free to let me know what your ranking of the matches would be.
10. WrestleMania 23: John Cena (c) vs Shawn Michaels, WWE Championship
One of the more interesting main events at WrestleMania, given that this was basically a face vs. face match.
Being at this event, the one thing that really stood out to me was how behind Shawn Michaels the crowd was. In my mind, this was the first instance of the "Let's Go Cena, Cena Sucks" chant.
This match went nearly a half an hour, and was followed by the epic hour-long match on Raw three weeks later in London.
There were a number of near falls and a ton of tense moments where you thought that HBK was actually going to come out on top.
But yet again, Super Cena came out on top.
9. WrestleMania XV: Stone Cold vs The Rock (c), WWF Title
The first of three epic encounters between Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Rock at WrestleMania.
The buildup for the match was huge, considering the way Vince McMahon won the Royal Rumble, and then Austin defeated McMahon at St. Valentine's Day Massacre (with the debut of the Big Show) to win a shot at the Main Event of WrestleMania XV.
Again, there were a number of near falls. The Rock kicked out of the Stunner; Stone Cold kicked out of the Rock Bottom. Both attempted each other's finisher. Multiple referees were knocked out.
Most memorable was how stacked the odds seemed against Austin with Mr. McMahon in the Rock's corner.
But the toughest SOB (along with referee Mankind), showed that there was nothing Stone Cold couldn't overcome at WrestleMania.
8. WrestleMania XX: Chris Benoit vs Triple H (c) vs Shawn Michaels, World Title
This is the best match that technically doesn't exist in WWE history (this match was removed from the record books due to Benoit's atrocious behavior).
From a pure wrestling standpoint, this was one of the greatest matches in WrestleMania history. I will never forget seeing Triple H tap out to the Crossface, mainly because I never thought with Triple H's pull that he would ever let that happen.
While this match is one of the all-time greats, it gets slightly downgraded because when you say, "WrestleMania XX," I still think about Brock Lesnar vs Goldberg instead of this match.
That could partially be because WWE has buried it historically, but it is still a testament to the greatness of this match that I ranked it this high.
7. WrestleMania XIX: Brock Lesnar vs Kurt Angle (c), WWE Undisputed Championship
This is probably the greatest pure wrestling match-up in WWE history. Brock Lesnar, a two-time NCAA champion, vs. Kurt Angle, an Olympic Gold Medalist.
This match, in my mind, will always stand out for the botched Shooting Star Press by Lesnar at the end of the match.
It is a testament to his ability and conditioning that he was able to continue the match, and not miss significant time.
Again, this match could be higher on the list, but with the final encounter between the Rock and Stone Cold directly preceding it, I slightly downgraded it.
Nonetheless, for the wrestling purist, this is possibly the greatest match in WrestleMania history.
6. WrestleMania VI: The Ultimate Warrior vs Hulk Hogan (c), WWF Championship
This was supposed to be the "passing of the torch" by Hulk Hogan to the Ultimate Warrior.
The Warrior was destined to become the next face of wrestling, but as we all know, that did not last for long.
This match featured one of the "hottest" crowds of all time, with them clearly torn between cheering for the Ultimate Warrior and Hogan.
If it would have lived up to what it was billed as, this match may have been higher on the list.
It gets downgraded because Hogan went on to main-event at the next three WrestleManias, while the Ultimate Warrior would be released in the next year
Nevertheless, this is still one of the greatest, most memorable matches in WrestleMania history.
5. WrestleMania XXVI: The Undertaker Vs. Shawn Michaels
Streak vs. Career.
While this match may not have been as good as their WrestleMania 25 encounter, it was still one of the greatest matches of all time.
You could feel the emotion between HBK and Taker, as well between them and the crowd, who truly did not know if this really would be Michaels' last match.
HBK kicked out of multiple tombstones, and made me believe that the streak could actually end, but alas, he fell to the Deadman just like everyone else.
Unlike the other matches, this match gets bumped up due to the fact that HBK has stuck to his word and remained retired (something I hope he sticks to).
4. WrestleMania III: Hulk Hogan (c) vs Andre the Giant, WWF Title
In my opinion, this is the match that led to wrestling's mainstream popularity.
Nearly everyone, wrestling fan or not, has heard of the Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant match.
While this may not have been the greatest technical wrestling match in history, as Andre was at the tail end of his career, and Hogan was, well Hogan, it still had an enormous cultural impact.
Hogan became a mainstream superstar after he executed the impossible, by slamming Andre the Giant.
Add that to the fact that it was before the largest crowd in history, and you have one of the greatest WrestleMania moments of all time.
3. WrestleMania X-7: Stone Cold vs the Rock (c), WWF Title
I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would ever see Stone Cold join forces with Vince McMahon, yet that is exactly what happened at WrestleMania X-7.
While I was always a bigger Rock fan than Stone Cold, I remember feeling extremely betrayed when Austin turned on the fans. That just shows you the magnitude of this match.
The match was one of the greatest back and forth contests in history, again featuring a number of near falls, and the only reason I feel that it isn't higher on the list is because I think the WWF made a mistake by turning Austin heel.
As I wrote in another article about Stone Cold's top 10 matches, I believe that turning Stone Cold heel lost the luster of his character.
He could no longer use his anti-hero persona, which was "heelish" to begin with, therefore making him a man without a persona.
Austin would become a shadow of his former self in the months to come, making a mockery of his character by doing segments where he looked like a buffoon (such as where he would suck up to Vince by playing the guitar or having Debra bake cookies, etc.).
Clearly, Vince realized his mistake and turned Austin back against him when Stone Cold joined with the Alliance.
Although, I may disagree with the result of the match, it truly was one of the most shocking moments in WrestleMania history.
2. WrestleMania XII: Shawn Michaels vs Bret Hart (c), WWF Title
The match that solidified Shawn Michaels as the new face of the WWF.
The Iron Man match is legendary for numerous reasons, and many insiders will tell you that the only two people, at the time, that could have executed this match were HBK and the Hitman.
What really displays the greatness of this match is the fact that it held everyone's attention for more than an hour, yet there was only one fall.
I read an article recently where the writer compared this match to a soccer match, which I agreed with. Given American's hatred for soccer, how is it possible that we paid attention for this whole time without any "scoring?"
I think the answer lies in the great wrestling ability that both Michaels and Hart possess.
This match featured everything from a fast-paced style to ground-and-pound mat wrestling to a brawling slugfest.
Plus, who will ever forget Shawn Michaels entrance?
This is the foundation of the Icon, the Main Event, the Showstopper, the Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels.
1. WrestleMania XIV: Stone Cold vs Shawn Michaels (c), WWF Title
Prior to about a week ago, I would have said that the Iron Man Match between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart was the greatest match in history.
After watching the True Story of WrestleMania DVD though, you can truly understand how important this match was to wrestling history as a whole.
At the time, as we all know, the WWF was losing the Monday Night War with WCW and needed to do something drastic to bring back viewership.
Therefore, Vince McMahon went back to his roots, and secured Mike Tyson to be the special guest enforcer for this match.
This attracted a huge media circus to the event, something that gave the WWF much-needed publicity.
In addition, this was the validation of Stone Cold Steve Austin as a main event superstar, as well as ushering in the Attitude Era.
Plus, many of us believed, at the time, that this was going to be Shawn Michaels' last match in the WWF. Luckily for us all that wasn't true, but the impact could be felt in the match (and the next night on Raw with the formation of the new D-X).
I will never forget where I was when Austin blocked Sweet Chin Music, and spun HBK into the Stunner, while Tyson counted to three.
This began the greatest era in wrestling, and therefore is the No. 1 Main Event in WrestleMania history.
Will the Rock/Cena/Miz feud give us another memorable WrestleMania moment?
Will Triple H end the Undertaker's streak?
After how much money I have shelled out to see the event in person, hopefully it lives up to the hype.
But for the time being, let me know if you agree, or disagree with my picks, and let's hope that this WrestleMania leads to an addition to the list.
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