The Wrestlemania Invitational: Round 1

Demetrus StokesAnalyst IFebruary 21, 2009

Well folks it's a rarity that I give you two articles in one day.  If you haven't already check out my take on the debacle that was Sting vs. Kurt Angle on TNA Impact last night.

Now on to bigger and better things!  Wrestlemania 25 is a little over a month away and we've seen our share of prediction articles and fantasy card articles here on B/R. 

I thought it only befitting that I introduce some of our newer writers to what I like to call a "Stokes Staple".  For those of you who've been reading my stuff for a while you know what I'm referring to....

That's right folks the invitational is back! 

In this, the third invitational that I've done we will crown the championship award (to be named later) to the best Wrestlemania of all time. 

This article will we first round matchups and in a series of articles to come we will crown the winner! 

Let's lay out some ground rules for how matchups were determined. 

  • With there being 24 Wrestlemania's, 16 will be included in the first round matchups with the other eight receive byes. 
  • I chose what I thought were the best eight Mania's and gave them an automatic bye to the second round.  Those to automatically advance are Wrestlemania's 3, 6, 10, 14, 17, 19, 20 and 24. 
  • When determining a winner for the matchups I looked at the quality of the card and the classic matches that took place at the event. 

Let's get started......

Wrestlemania IX vs. Wrestlemania X8

Wrestlemania IX could quite possibly be the worst Mania of all-time. Yokozuna vs. Bret Hart was the best match on the card by default. Of course the biggest thrill of the night came after Yokozuna won the title from Hart, he challenges Hulk Hogan to an impromptu title match and Hogan gets the win. I guess Hogan was the original "ultimate opportunist". Worst match by far was the Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzalez

Wrestlemania X8 wasn't the greatest but it wasn't horrible either.  We had the return of the NWO as Scott Hall took on Steve Austin.  The best match of the night of course was The Rock vs. "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan in what was one of the best matches from a crowd involvement standpoint that I've ever seen. Worst match goes to Maven vs. Goldust for the WWE Hardcore Championship. 

X8 wins this battle on Hogan vs. Rock alone.... 

Winner: Wrestlemania X8

Wrestlemania 2000 vs. Wrestlemania IV

Wrestlemania 2000 was very tag-team heavy. Looking at the card there were five tag matches out of the nine on the card.  None bigger than the ladder match between The Dudley Boyz, Edge and Christian and The Hardy Boyz.  The best match on the card for sure.  The WWE title was on the line in a fatal four way between Triple H, The Rock, Mick Foley and The Big Show. A McMahon was in the corner of each and it marked one of the few times a heel (Triple H) won the main event match. 

Wrestlemania IV was unique in that the WWE title was vacant and was up for grabs in a tournament.  The shocker here was that "Macho Man" Randy Savage and not Hulk Hogan won the tournament by defeating "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase. 

The tag team ladder match gives 2000 the edge in an upset of sorts.

Winner: Wrestlemania 2000

Wrestlemania I vs. Wrestlemania VII

The original Wrestlemania laid the foundation for what we have today. Without one we wouldn't have reached 25. Overall though big back then, looking at the card now nothing really jumps out at you. The big match was Hogan and Mr. T teaming out to face Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff. Let's not forget Muhammad Ali was the special guest referee. 

Wrestlemania VII took place during the time the country was at war with Iraq.  So it was fitting that the "Real American" Hulk Hogan took on the "Iraqi Turncoat" Sgt. Slaughter. This match was weak at best. The Nasty Boys vs. The Hart Foundation was a good match. The best match on the card was the retirement match between Randy Savage and the Ultimate Warrior. 

The original will forever be in our hearts but.....

Winner: Wrestlemania VII 

Wrestlemania VIII vs. Wrestlemania 23

Wrestlemania VIII was supposed to finally give us the dream match between Hogan and Ric Flair however it didn't happen. Flair's match did not disappoint as he lost the title to the Macho Man in a decent match. Hogan's match against Sid Justice wasn't good at all. Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper for the Intercontinental Championship may have stole the show. 

I had the honor of witnessing Wrestlemania 23 live and had a blast.  Vince got his hair shaved as a stipulation of Bobby Lashley defeating Umaga, and we had two decent title matches.  The Undertaker defeated Batista for the World Title and John Cena beat Shawn Michaels for the WWE Championship. 

Though Hart vs. Piper was probably the best match on either of the Mania cards, I have to go with 82,000 plus at Ford Field in Detroit.

Winner: Wrestlemania 23

Wrestlemania 21 vs. Wrestlemania XV

Wrestlemania 21 introduced us to the "Money In The Bank Ladder Match".  It has now become a Wrestlemania tradition.  Edge won the first one and in my opinion the best one so far.  It was the beginning of a new era of sorts as John Cena and Batista both became first time champions on this night.

Wrestlemania XV gave us Rock vs. Austin and a main event can get no bigger than that. Outside of that the card was really weak. You could argue that the second best match was Shane McMahon vs. X-Pac for the European Championship. When a part-time wrestler gives you the second best match that can't be good.

Winner: Wrestlemania 21

Wrestlemania XI vs. Wrestlemania 22

Lawrence Taylor vs. Bam Bam Bigelow was the main event of Wrestlemania XI.  No really it was.  Need I say more?  I said IX may have been the worse?  I retract that statement.

Triple H wore that funny thing on his head when he walked down the aisle to face John Cena in the main event of Wrestlemania 22. Thank God he never did that again! Rey Mysterio became the "little big man" but it was Edge and Mick Foley who stole the show in my opinion. 

Winner: Do I even need to say it.....Wrestlemania 22

Wrestlemania XIII vs. Wrestlemania V

XIII only had one match worth mentioning. Austin vs. Hart. One of the greatest matches of all-time and the match that further put Austin on the map (let's not forget his King of The Ring speech). The Undertaker won his second WWE title so I guess that was cool too. 

At Wrestlemania V the "Mega Powers" exploded and we got the main event of Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan. The drama behind this match was pretty intense. "Ravishing" Rick Rude became Intercontinetal Champion by defeating the Ultimate Warrior in what would become a great feud between the two. 

As great as Austin/Hart was the overall card of Mania V was better. I'm sure the comments will tell me otherwise. 

Winner: Wrestlemania V

Wrestlemania II  vs. Wrestlemania XII

Wrestlemania II  was weird in that the event was tri-mulcast (if that's a word) from three different venues. Needless to say the WWE never pulled this stunt again.  Hogan vs. King Kong Bundy in a Steel Cage was the main event but the best match was The British Bulldogs finally winning the tag titles by defeating The Dream Team. 

Wrestlemania XII was about one match and one match only. Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels in an "Iron Man" match. One of my all-time favorites. The rest of the card stunk up the joint. I guess the Undertaker vs. Diesel was ok. 

Wrestlemania II had a couple of good matches but it's hard to overlook the Ironman match.

Winner: Wrestlemania XII   

There you have it!  Round One is complete.  Look for Round Two next week.  The matchups will be...

WM 18 vs. WM III

WM 2000 vs. WM X

WM VII vs. WM X-7

WM 23 vs. WM 24

WM 21 vs. WM XX

WM 22 vs. WM XIX



Feel free to comment on today's matchups. 


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