WrestleMania is the biggest event of the wrestling year. While some fans say that NXT Takeover: Dallas is more appealing than the WrestleMania card this year, many will still watch. It’s WrestleMania, and very few people who call themselves wrestling fans would miss such a spectacle.
Most wrestlers around the world aspire to have at least one match at “the show of shows.” They may never get the chance, but the goal to be on the biggest wrestling show there is proves that there is something about it that makes it such a big deal.
The WWE talent brings out everything each year for the event. You see everyone going over the top for their “WrestleMania Moment.” It is something that makes every fan remember you, regardless of being a top guy, mid-carder, or jobber.
One moment at WrestleMania can make an entire career. That is a massive thing that no wrestler wants to leave WWE without. Some feel that they fail if they don’t main event the show, but others just aspire for the one moment to stand out. One moment in one time can make you a legend. Being a WrestleMania legend is sort of like being a Super Bowl hero. You have to do something with the moment you have to make your career great. However, it all truly starts here.
One moment in WrestleMania can give you the momentum to become a major player for WWE for years to come. There have been so many amazing moments throughout WrestleMania history that changed the wrestling industry. Here are 11 of them:
11. Edge Spears Jeff Hardy From Heaven To Hell
If there is one moment that is burned into the minds of wrestling fans who loved the WWE during the Attitude Era, it is the spear heard around the world.
During one of the infamous TLC matches at WrestleMania, the Hardy Boyz were facing The Dudley Boyz and Edge & Christian for the WWE Tag Team titles. The three teams were always great to watch and so it made sense to have them go at it at WrestleMania. The three of them were insane – legit insane. You know it because of what they all did to each other over the years. None of it was crazier than the TLC match at WrestleMania 17.
This match involved an intense moment where Jeff Hardy was attempting to grab the Tag Team Titles when Bubba Ray Dudley removed the ladder Jeff was on. Hardy, not wanting to give up the gold, held on to the titles which left him just hanging several feet in the air. Then it happened … Edge had an idea. He found his way up on a ladder even with Hardy in the height scenario. He then speared Jeff from the heaven to the hell as both wrestlers came crashing down on the canvas.
10. Dagger To The Hart
Owen Hart was one of the best up and coming performers before his untimely death. Everyone loved Owen and so did the WWE management. Many felt that he would go on to win multiple titles in WWE and eventually the World Title. He had charisma for days and could talk up a storm. He could wrestle as good as anyone … except for maybe one guy. His brother Bret Hart was a top performer in WWE and Owen felt he was the better brother. The problem was that he had to prove it to the world and to himself first. So he decided to take on his brother Bret at WrestleMania 10, where the two would decide who the better man was. It was one of the best matches in WrestleMania history. Looking back on it, the match means far more with Owen gone. Going in, few thought Owen could beat his brother. In fact, most were betting against him doing so.
To the shock of everyone, Owen pulled it off and upset his brother on the grandest stage of them all. The rise of Owen was upon us and Bret was now having to cope with the fact that his little brother beat him when it counted the most. It was an emotional win for Owen, and a great match for everyone. More than anything else, it was a shocker.
9. Miracle On Bourbon Street
Going into WrestleMania 30, fans were given a lot of things they hated. First and foremost, Batista won the Royal Rumble earlier in the year and WWE really had no major plans for Daniel Bryan. They planned to put him against Sheamus again.
People wanted Bryan to win the WWE World Heavyweight title at WrestleMania and nothing else would do. WWE was pretty much forced into this, so they set up a match between Triple H and Daniel Bryan. The winner would go on later in the night to join Randy Orton and Batista in the main event of the show.
Bryan won against Triple H in a fantastic match. He then would go on to have a great main event match with Orton and Batista. He would make “The Animal” tap and walk away with the title and give us one of the greatest moments in WrestleMania history.
It was made ever more iconic after seeing Daniel celebrate his win with Connor “The Crusher” Michalek, a child who had cancer and just wanted to see his hero in Bryan win the big one. He not only did, but also got to celebrate it with him. Connor would pass away not too long after this.
8. The Bleeding Turn
At WrestleMania 13, we knew going in that the best match of the night very well could be “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart. Both men were great in-ring workers and anyone who fought Hart would certainly look good as “The Hitman” was known for helping to make everyone look good in the ring.
Austin and Hart had one of the bloodiest matches in WrestleMania history. Not only was the match a major turning point for Austin, but this match was amazing to see for the end alone. Forget the greatness of the match itself for a second and focus on the ending.
Hart wanted to beat Austin badly and thus hated how things ended. Hart put a bloody Austin in his Sharpshooter finish and wanted to make Austin tap. “The Rattlesnake” refused and with blood running down his face, he passed out from the pain.
Hart won the match, but hated that Austin refused to quit. So he stomped on the unconscious Austin and the attack forced fans to see Hart as the heel, and Austin as the babyface. The moment may not have been as popular if Austin didn’t go on to become the legend that he is now.
7. Hardcore Edge-ucation
Mick Foley has been a legend for quite some time. When you take two major falls in a Hell in a Cell Match and continue to work, that takes guts. Many feared for his life after all he did in the ring, yet today he is still supremely intelligent. Edge was not far behind him, as he put his body on the line far more than most should have with TLC. Both were identifiable by what they did in a hardcore match. In the mid-2000s, though, Edge wanted to break away from the mid-card and tag team scene. He was too good to be held back. So by 2005, he would slowly rise up to become a major player for WWE. By 2006, he won a WWE Championship….for all of a month. He needed to prove he could hang with the best, but he also needed to prove that he could go to levels where no one would be able to follow him.
He and Mick Foley wanted to go hardcore for Mania, and Edge wanted to prove why he was the ultimate hardcore king. He put on a great match with Foley, which had to end with something major. A table was set up, which everyone felt would be used eventually. Lita, being the crazy hardcore chick she was, lite the table on fire. Foley would find his way onto the apron only for Edge to spear him through the ropes onto the table below, putting both men on fire for a second. Edge would have just enough energy to get the pin and end the match. To most, this helped to make Edge a major top heel for years to come. It took a shocking end to make it happen, but it truly changed the game for Edge.
6. The Beast Eats The Streak
Brock Lesnar is known for being a freak athlete that no one could ever replicate. Few people have the credentials that he does going in, but seeing him in action makes many realize that he could take on and literally beat anyone he came in contact with.
That was why Lesnar taking on The Undertaker made so much sense. Regardless, WrestleMania 30 was the perfect time to make it happen. Lesnar clearly was a better athlete, but obviously The Deadman has magical powers that make him hard to beat.
Everyone of all shapes and sizes took on “The Phenom” at WrestleMania and all failed to take him out. Lesnar seemed like just another win for Taker, but then it happened.
Numerous beatdowns and a few F5s later, Lesnar beat Undertaker clean in the middle of the ring. Many thought it was a mistake. The ref was surprised, and Paul Heyman sold the hell out of it, too. Lesnar was even sort of shocked. The music did not play at first, making many think that the match was going to continue. You could hear nothing. Everyone was too stunned to know what just happened. The Streak was over and Undertaker was left lying in the middle of the ring, a beaten man. Then Lesnar’s music hit and he walked out the winner to a sea of shocked and surprised faces.
It was a moment no one will ever forget.
5. WrestleMania 31 Goes Bankrupt
Seth Rollins has been known to many fans as a member of The Shield, a great faction that took everyone out that they came across. Fans loved the group, but we all knew that eventually, the group would have to break up.
In the summer of 2014, Seth Rollins would hit both Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns with a chair, betraying his friends and going on to be The Authority’s new pawn of success. Rollins did win Money in the Bank and it led us all to believing that Rollins would win his first WWE World Heavyweight Championship one day. Then WrestleMania 31’s main event happened. It was a match few wanted to see. Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight title.
WWE was trying to give us a main event that fans just weren’t into, and it seemed like Vince McMahon realized what would happen if Roman Reigns won the title to end the show. Therefore, just a short time before the match happened, Rollins was called in and told he would be cashing in his MITB case.
About eight minutes or so, Rollins comes out when both men are down in the ring to make the match a triple threat for the title. Suddenly he found an opening and curb stomped Reigns to take the win. The next day he could be heard telling Reigns, “Thank you so much.”
4. I’m Sorry, I Love You
In one of the most memorable matches of a generation, Ric Flair had to take on Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 24. Ric Flair was not doing a lot with WWE and then suddenly came out saying that he would “never retire.”
Vince McMahon, being the evil man he was, said to “The Nature Boy” that the next match he lost would be his last and he would have to retire from active competition in WWE. Flair was able to stay undefeated for a long time. Out of nowhere, the match with “The Heartbreak Kid” was set. Michaels originally did not want to do the match, but Flair insisted. HBK knew that he would beat Flair and did not want to be the man to retire his friend.
The match was terrific and very back and forth. The fans loved every second and we were waiting with excitement to see what they would do next. Finally, Flair had nothing left and was basically telling Michaels to finish it. Shawn didn’t want to, but he knew had to. The moment before he gave Flair the Sweet Chin Music, he mouthed “I’m sorry, I love you.”
3. Brock’s Botched Shooting Star Press
Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar were known to have some of the better matches during their time at the top, but none were more memorable than their match at WrestleMania 19. Going into the match, Kurt Angle was actually hurt and was set to leave WWE for a bit following the match to have surgery. Lesnar was tapped to be WWE’s next big thing, (literally), and he was going to lead the SmackDown brand in Angle’s absence. But this was truly Lesnar’s first time on such a grand stage and he needed a guy like Angle to keep him sane throughout the match. Due to both men having real wrestling training in their backgrounds, they were known for shoot performing. So any sort of possible botch fans took as a sign of the two sparring for real.
Lesnar wanted to have a WrestleMania moment, so this near 300-pound monster of a man wanted to do a Shooting Star Press to shock the crowd. Keep in mind, Lesnar was known for hitting this move before and even finish some matches with it before debuting. Everyone was telling him to do something big, and he went for it. Sadly, Lesnar landed badly and was potentially one half-inch away from fully breaking his neck and joining Angle on the injured reserve. Thankfully, the two finished the match with Lesnar winning. Lesnar was hurt; however, he may have barely escaped with his life.
2. Stone Cold Steve Traitor
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin was one of the most popular wrestlers in the world during his time on top with WWE. Very few people could compare to the man in WWE. He came across as the every man. He wore jorts all the time and drank beer before and after matches….sometimes during.
Austin and Vince McMahon were always at each other’s throat and would go after each other one way or the other. Austin made Vince’s life a living hell and McMahon did the same for Austin. It was fun to see….so it would make absolutely no sense for Austin to ever love McMahon, right?!? WRONG!
Austin would face The Rock at WrestleMania 17 for the WWE Championship. This was the best match WWE could have possibly put on. The Rock was set to leave to film a movie shortly after this, so he had to lose. Most fans didn’t know this as internet spoilers like this were not nearly as common. Toward the end of the match, Vince McMahon came down to ringside to “observe” … you know, like bosses do. Austin would finally hit the stunner on Rock, but just got a two-count. McMahon then handed Austin a steel chair, telling us that the two had sided together in an amazing turn no one saw coming. Austin would brutally attack Rock with sixteen chair shots that would ultimately end him and give Austin the win.
After the match, with Austin as the new champ, McMahon was back on top with another top man. He and Austin would shake hands, and shared beers to leave everyone shocked.
1. A Giant Is Slammed
WrestleMania was truly started by Vince McMahon, but Hulk Hogan was the man who helped to make the show a realistic event. Without him, many believe things would not have gotten as far as it did. Naturally that meant he was the man for some time.
He would main event several WrestleMania events, but the biggest one of all was against Andre the Giant at WrestleMania 3. The match was set because Andre felt cheated. Hogan was given a huge trophy for being champ while Andre would get a small trophy for never being beaten. It would anger the giant, and have him go out to get the services of Bobby “The Brain” Heenan to help him accomplish his goal of becoming WWF Champion. Hogan and Andre were friends, but no longer. He had to take the title from Hogan and Heenan led the promo charge.
Andre would go back and forth in the ring with Hogan until suddenly, Hogan slammed the very heavy giant to the shock of everyone in the arena. No one thought it would happen and many gave him no shot in winning. After slamming Andre, he then delivered the immortal leg drop to pin him.
This ranks very high on the memory list for most wrestling fans and for many, it helped ignite WrestleMania as a real “Showcase of the Immortals.”