With WrestleMania 34 in the rear-view mirror, let’s take a look back at what makes this event so great. Let’s go back in time to the matches that made WrestleMania the very best pro wrestling extravaganza in the world.
WrestleMania is an annual spectacle showcasing the very best of sports entertainment. It’s the professional wrestling equivalent of the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Indy 500, the Stanley Cup, and the Belmont Stakes, all rolled up into package. It’s an event where legends are made and dreams are realized. But not all matches are created equal, some fade from memory while others are forever etched in the minds of WWE fans everywhere.
Here are the top 5 best WrestleMania matches of all time.
5. The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan – WrestleMania X8
The atmosphere of this match was electric. The crowd went wild to see a living legend from a past generation face off against an icon of the industry in the present day. The Rock was the young lion who dethroned the mighty yet aging Hulk Hogan. As a WWE fan, it’s hard not to feel goosebumps seeing these two titans of pro wrestling clash on the grandest stage of all.
Hogan passed the torch to The Rock following his defeat to “The Great One.” Both wrestlers put on one hell of a performance. The crowd at the Toronto SkyDome also helped make this match special with their vocal support for a heel Hogan while many turned on a baby-face Rock. The fans were as much apart of this match as the wrestlers.
4. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart – WrestleMania 13
The characters of Stone Cold Steve Austin and Bret “Hitman” Hart changed drastically from the start of the match to the finish. Hart came into the match a baby-face, while Austin entered as an anti-hero heel. Both men switched roles by the end of their battle as many fans sympathized with Austin who fought to the bloody end and never gave up. Stone Cold never tapped out but passed out to the Hitman’s sharpshooter submission hold.
Following his victory, Hart continued to assault a prone Austin, which cemented the double turn; Stone Cold became a good guy in the process, while Bret transformed into a full-fledged villain. The special guest referee Ken Shamrock was forced to intervene, but the villianous Hart wanted nothing to do with the former UFC Champion.
Hart and Austin wrote a masterpiece in the ring, creating one of the best matches in WrestleMania history.
3. Ladder match for the Undisputed WWE Intercontinental Championship: Razor Ramon (c) vs. Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania 13
WWE fans had never seen a high-flying match of this caliber at WrestleMania before. This first-ever ladder match on the grandest stage of them all set the precedent for all other ladder matches to follow. Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon painted a pro wrestling wrestler with high-impact moves and insane high risk stunts, especially on the part of HBK.
Going into this match, both men were at odds regarding who was the true Intercontinental Champion. Michaels had been stripped of the title back in the fall of 1993 because he didn’t defend it enough. Ramon would later win the championship in a battle royal, but Michaels never accepted the title change.
By the end of their WrestleMania encounter, Razor Ramon proved that he is the true Undisputed WWE Intercontinental Champion, winning the match while HBK was still tangled up in the ropes.
Score one for the bad guy!
2. Singles match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship: “Macho Man” Randy Savage (c) vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat – WrestleMania 3
Andre vs. Hogan attracted the crowd, while Savage vs. Steamboat stole the show at WrestleMania III. Both men put on a wrestling clinic in-and-out of the ring. Fans went wild while watching the stunning athleticism and high-paced drama of the encounter. Steamboat and Savage left the crowd of over 93,000 on the edge of their seats.
The feud between these two titans had built up for six months, finally coming to a boiling point at WrestleMania inside the Pontiac Silverdome. The vendetta stemmed from Savage cowardly assaulting Steamboat and sending him to the hospital with an injured larynx as the Macho Man dropped a ring-bell on his throat from the top rope.
Steamboat got his revenge at WrestleMania, defeating Savage in one of the best matches of all time. Following the match, Color commentator Jesse “The Body” Ventura said to announcing partner, “This is one of the greatest matches I’ve ever seen Gorilla!” And you’re not the only person who thinks that, Jesse!
1. Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker – WrestleMania XXV (25)
Shawn Michaels said in an interview that his match against ‘Taker at WrestleMania 25 is as close as he’s ever came to a perfect match. And many wrestling critics agree that the first WrestleMania encounter between Undertaker and HBK is one of the best, if not the best match in the history of WrestleMania.
The Undertaker nearly killed himself in this match as he dived from the top rope, knocking over a cameraman, and landing head-first onto the protective mats. Somehow, ‘Taker was able to return to the ring at the last second before the referee could count him out.
Michaels was able to withstand just about every move from The Undertaker’s arsenal. In the end, it took two tombstone piledrivers to put away HBK in a match that will live on as one of the best matches of all time between two of the very best pro wrestlers in the industry.