WWE WrestleMania 35: Most Exciting Swerves in Event's History

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2019

Credit: WWE.com

Over the course of 34 years, WWE has saved some of its most exciting and unexpected swerves for its annual Showcase of the Immortals, WrestleMania.

Since the event's inception in 1985, it has been home to unforgettable returns, shocking defeats and twists even the most impassioned fans never saw coming.

Some had long-lasting effects on the WWE product, others were just fleeting moments dedicated to popping the audience and delivering a jolt of excitement. Whatever the case may be, they have helped lend to the spectacle that is The Granddaddy of Them All.

In anticipation of WrestleMania 35 in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on April 7, and what has the potential to feature a twist or turn in its own right, these are the most exciting swerves in the long and illustrious history of sports entertainment's most prestigious extravaganza.


An Ultimate Return

Hulk Hogan and Sid Justice may have headlined WrestleMania VIII in 1992, but it was the return of The Ultimate Warrior in the closing moments of the event that remains one of the most unexpected moments in the early years of the spectacle.

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As Justice and the evil Papa Shango beat down Hogan, whose future with WWE was in question amid retirement rumors, Warrior's music played and the former world champion sprinted to the ring.

The future Hall of Famer joined The Hulkster in clearing the heels from the ring and then stood tall with him to close out the show.

Warrior's return was wholly unexpected and served as the first truly explosive conclusion to a WrestleMania.

After all, this was the same Warrior who "held up" Vince McMahon for more money just before going to the ring at SummerSlam 1991 for the night's main event, as described in the 2005 WWE Home Video release, The Self Destruction of The Ultimate Warrior

The idea of him returning to the company so shortly thereafter was absurd, making his heroic save of Hogan that much more stunning.

The return would set the bar for the unpredictable, a bar that would be surpassed more than once over the years.


Hulk Hogan Leaves WrestleMania IX with the WWE Championship

There is something to be said about the ego of a high-profile performer. At WrestleMania IX, Hogan was never supposed to compete for the WWE Championship.

Instead, he was slated for a tag team title match in which he and partner Brutus Beefcake would challenge Money Inc.

They would lose the match via disqualification but still sent the fans home happy with the trademark Hogan posing after the match. Or so we thought.

Moments after Yokozuna underhandedly defeated Bret Hart to capture the WWE Championship, The Hulkster accepted a challenge between the massive new champion and an impromptu match ensued.

And in true Hogan fashion, the so-called Immortal One dropped the leg and left with the title, leaving fans scratching their heads over the turn of events that had just taken place.

To this day, it is the one major swerve in WrestleMania history that is most reflective of one man's king-sized ego.


Brock Lesnar is the One in 21-1

For 21 years, an Undertaker victory at WrestleMania was the surest thing in professional wrestling. Many iconic Superstars had risen to the challenge, but none were able to conquer The Phenom in his playground.

Until Brock Lesnar stepped up to The Deadman.

At WrestleMania XXX in 2014, the unimaginable happened as The Beast Incarnate delivered a third F-5 and pinned Undertaker's shoulders to the mat. Fans sat in stunned silence as the reality of the moment set in. Mouths agape, they stared at the ring in utter disbelief at the outcome.

It was a swerve that no one saw coming. Lesnar was supposed to enter New Orleans as the baddest Superstar on the block and the latest to challenge The Phenom's coveted streak, only to fall in defeat and move on to his next major program.

Instead, he did the unfathomable and earned mainstream-media headlines for the company in the process.


Seth Rollins Cashes In Money in the Bank

Roman Reigns vs. Lesnar was the announced main event of WrestleMania 31, but a mid-match cash-in of Money in the Bank by Seth Rollins helped create one of the greatest swerves in wrestling history.

Everyone was certain Reigns would defeat The Beast, capturing the WWE Championship and establishing himself as the face of the company in his first WrestleMania main event. The fans in Santa Clara, California, were already prepared to boo mercilessly if and when that took place.

Then, from out of nowhere, Rollins marched to the ring and handed over his guaranteed title opportunity, opting to challenge for the WWE Championship with both Superstars down.

One Stomp later and The Architect was holding the top prize in sports entertainment, emotion painting his face as he closed out WrestleMania, leaving fans stunned by the unexpected development.