Top 15 Wrestlemania matches ever


Top 15 Wrestlemania matches ever
(Philly.com)

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72,219 spectators pack University of Phoenix Stadium for WrestleMania XXVI on March 28, 2010, in Glendale, Arizona. WrestleMania XXVI surpassed Super Bowl XLII's 71,101 attendance at the stadium. (Rick Scuteri/AP file)

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WrestleMania WWE Wrestling Shawn Michaels Hulk Hogan The Undertaker Triple H

Ric Flair Bret Hart

Wrestlemania XXIX is five days away and when the biggest wrestling show of the year nears, it’s almost an annual ritual to rank the best matches to ever take place at the mega-event.

Wrestlemania is where great matches happen. You can have a great match anywhere else and it only lasts a certain amount of time. Have a great match at Wrestlemania and it lasts forever.

Here are 15 matches that have taken place at the Showcase of the Immortals and have stood the test of time.

15. Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon, Ladder Match – Wrestlemania X

We kick off the list with Mr. Wrestlemania, Shawn Michaels. He began to earn that moniker when he and Razor Ramon stole the show in Madison Square Garden back in 1994. The ladder match was still in its infancy stages as far as the mainstream viewing audience was concerned, but Michaels and Ramon did unimaginable things to each other that people couldn’t even comprehend at the time. Ramon won the match to become the undisputed Intercontinental Champion, but it was Michaels who benefited the most from this match as it catapulted him to a main-event level in WWE.

14. Tables, Ladders and Chairs II – Wrestlemania X-7

While Michaels and Ramon revolutionized the ladder match, Edge and Christian, the Hardy Boyz and Dudley Boyz evolved the match during 2000 and 2001. TLC II was the pinnacle of the feud between the three teams and they took it further than anyone could have imagined at the time. The ladder match was more commonplace by this time, but these three teams raised the bar with this match and raised it to heights that wrestlers probably don’t want to come close to again.

13. "Macho Man" Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair, WWE Championship – Wrestlemania VIII

This Wrestlemania will be more remembered for the opportunity that was missed by WWE by not having Hulk Hogan and Flair, the two biggest stars of the 1980s, go at it in the main event. But what the fans did get was a very entertaining feud between Savage and Flair. When you have Savage and Flair, already two of the most charismatic wrestlers ever, in a feud that involves Mr. Perfect and the greatest manager in wrestling history Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, you’re guaranteed some great entertainment. Not to mention, a great match from two of the best performers of all time. Everything that led to the match was great, the match itself was great and even the post-match was great with a legendary promo from a defeated Flair.

12. Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle – Wrestlemania XXI

It was nearly impossible for this match to fail. You had the greatest in-ring performer ever in Michaels locking horns with a legitimate Olympic gold medalist in Angle. There was a great build up to this match, which included Angle doing a fantastic rendition of Michaels’ theme song “Sexy Boy,” and the match itself was everything you’d expect from two legendary performers such as these two. It was hard-hitting and had some great counters and reversals that kept the crowd guessing until the very end.

11. The Undertaker vs. Triple H, Hell in a Cell – Wrestlemania XXVIII

This match was dubbed “The End of an Era.” — so much for that. Despite the false advertising this match was an instant classic at last year’s Wrestlemania. Was it a technical masterpiece? Heavens no. But it had one major component that a lot of matches of today lack: emotion. This match gained the emotional investment of those in attendance and it turned an average match from a technical standpoint into an all-time great. Not to mention it was brutal at certain points with the shots were dishing out to each other. Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee only added to a match that was going to be great to begin with.

10. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho – Wrestlemania XIX

This match had it all. It had a great story heading in with Jericho facing his childhood idol in Michaels, it was fantastic from technical and storytelling standpoint and it had a great ending where both competitors came away looking better than they did going in. This undoubtedly stole the show at that year’s Wrestlemania, which is saying something considering The Rock and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin faced off for the third time and Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle closed the show.

9. Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair, Retirement Match – Wrestlemania XXIV

Yes, another match with Michaels. This is the seventh match on the countdown so far and he had been in or involved in all but one so far. Just a testament to how great he really was. This was, at the time, the retirement match for Flair. Anybody that knows wrestling that didn’t last long, but boy what a final match this could have been for him. Once again, this match was not a technical masterpiece. It didn’t have to be. But what it did was invoke emotion from the crowd, including the iconic final moment of the match where a beaten and battered Flair tells Michaels to finish him off with the Sweet Chin Music to which Michaels says, “I’m sorry. I love you.” before indeed finishing him off and ending his career. It was almost as if he was taking Old Yeller out to pasture. Whatever you wish to relate the finish to, it was the best match on the show and was a perfect way to end Flair’s tremendous career … at the time at least.

8. Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior, The Ultimate Challenge – Wrestlemania VI

For its time, this was one of the most unique matches ever. It was the first time two top babyfaces (good guys) faced each other in the main event of a major show such as Wrestlemania. Hogan was the top guy for the WWE at the time, but Warrior was just as big at this point among wrestling fans, which created such a split atmosphere leading into the show and during the match. This match didn’t have a whole bunch of great moments, but for its significance at the time, it belongs on this list.

7. Bret Hart vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Submission Match, Wrestlemania XIII

Talk about a unique match. Hart and Austin pulled off something that is seldom seen nor attempted: the double switch. It is common for one person in a match to go from face to heel (bad guy) or vice versa in a match in an effort to surprise the audience. You rarely see both members of the match do so and that’s what happened here. Hart went into this match as the beloved good guy, but Austin, being as much of a bad guy he possibly could at the time, began picking up steam and cheers from the fans, essentially turning him into a good guy. The iconic visual of Austin writhing in pain from Hart’s patented Sharpshooter with blood running down his face only to not tap out, but pass out was the icing on the cake in making Austin one of the biggest fan favorites in wrestling history. Hart attacking Austin after the match further cemented him as a heel in the United States. This match was hard-hitting and with great storytelling and emotion, put it very high among the greatest matches in Wrestlemania history.

6. Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant, WWE Championship – Wrestlemania III

Although this match may not be the pinnacle of this list, it is still seen as the pinnacle of professional wrestling history as the biggest main event ever. All of the ingredients were there: the biggest Wrestlemania in history past or present with breaking the world indoor attendance record, the biggest star in the company at the time Hulk Hogan on rocket ship ride straight to the top of the business, the biggest wrestler in literal terms Andre the Giant in the biggest match of his life. As Gorilla Monsoon said it was “the unstoppable force against the immovable object.” This match was all storytelling with Andre never been beaten and Hogan not being able to slam him – or so we thought. Hogan eventually mustered up strength from his Hulkamaniacs to pick up Andre the Giant, slam him and pin him in the middle of the ring, capturing the imaginations of every wrestling fan in the process.

5. Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat vs. "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Intercontinental Championship – Wrestlemania III

While Hogan and Andre brought people to the building and in front of their television sets, Savage and Steamboat captivated the audience who tuned and proved that Wrestlemania was more than just a big main event. These two were in the prime of their respective careers and went back and forth and back again on their way to having not only one of the greatest Wrestlemania matches ever, but one of the greatest matches period. This match was on the top of numerous Wrestlemania lists for years and is still at the top of some until this day. It was such a change in pace from the normal wrestling matches that were slow and plodding. The pace was fast and furious from the outset and didn’t let up until Steamboat finally triumphed over Savage. It’s a shame that only one man could win this match.

4. Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart, 60-minute Iron Man Match – Wrestlemania XII

This match had never been before to this point, but Michaels and Hart pulled it off without losing the audience for a second. It’s not easy to have a match for 60 minutes and keep the audience interested for all 60 of them, but these two did just that. The personal issues between these two had already reached a high level, but it didn’t prevent from taking care of business on the biggest stage when they needed to the most. The beat each other up, told a story, showed great technique and left people wanting more at the end. All of that adds up to the fourth-best match in Wrestlemania history.

3. The Rock vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, WWE Championship – Wrestlemania XVII

This match was the height of the famed Attitude Era and boy did it deliver. Some people may think the ending of the match ruined the entire match, but that is nowhere near the truth. The ending (Steve Austin aligning himself with Vince McMahon) was bad and shouldn’t have happened, but it didn’t take away from everything else that happened up until that point. It got started hot and heavy from the word go and continued on that hard-hitting pace throughout. This match was a war plain and simple. Austin and Rock beat the crap out of each other, giving the fans all of their monies worth in the end. Bell to bell, this is one of the greatest main events in wrestling history.

2. Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock, Icon vs. Icon – Wrestlemania XVIII

If there was ever a time where the audience and story being told mattered way more than any technical aspect of the match, this was it. Heading in, Hogan did everything he could to be the biggest bad guy in wrestling while The Rock was riding high as the People’s Champion. But something happened in Toronto that night. It was if everyone all of a sudden remembered how much fun they had being a Hulkamaniac during the 1980s and wanted to relive those memories one more time. The result: one of the best atmospheres in wrestling history. The crowd made this match and it forced The Rock and Hogan to switch roles a bit. The Rock began to work more like a heel whereas Hogan reverted back to the days saying prayers and eating vitamins. When Hogan began hulk up on The Rock, it felt like 1985 all over again. This match wasn’t hard-hitting or brutal. There weren’t too many crazy spots. It didn’t need any. It was simply fun to watch.

1. The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels – Wrestlemania XXV

Classic. That is the best way I could describe this match. Everyone knew that these two would deliver, but no one knew it was going to be this extent. No one knew that both of these guys had another match like this one in them, but Michaels and Undertaker went out and had the best match in Wrestlemania history. This match went back-and-forth like no match I had ever seen. I don’t know if anyone picked Michaels to end Undertaker’s streak, but midway through the match it looked as if he had a legitimate chance. Even to the point that Michaels did something I had never seen before: kick out of The Undertakers patented Tombstone Piledriver. I can tell you personally, my jaw went through the floor when I saw that the first time. And the look Undertaker had on his face afterwards was priceless. There’s nothing more about this match that can be said that already has been said. It was purely a masterpiece.