The measuring stick for any pro wrestler in the WWE is WrestleMania; WWE’s biggest show every year, since 1985. Those who become legends are the ones who perform not only at the highest peak, but consistently show up year after year, an achievement that is not easily attained in a business where turnover is so high. The names you see on this list are nearly all Hall of Famers or future inductees that have instilled memorable moments that almost any wrestling fan can recall.
With 31 WrestleManias in the books, this list will not include this year’s appearances, since they have not officially happened yet. The lowest member of this list is nine appearances and the most is at twenty-three! The number one spot will probably be pretty obvious to most fans, but there may be a few names along the way that will surprise you.
Unfortunately, there are no women who made the list, but the one with the most matches is Trish Status at five with a record of 3-2. At any rate, there are plenty of big names to get through, so let’s find out who showed up and entertained the fans time and time again at the “Granddaddy of them all!”
15. Goldust – 9 Matches
Starting things off is one of the most bizarre gimmicks ever created in the WWE, Goldust. He holds down this spot, but is tied with four others who have also performed in nine matches; Christian, Mark Henry, Matt Hardy, and Tito Santana.
Goldust’s most memorable match was against Roddy Piper at WrestleMania XII in a Hollywood Backlot Brawl that saw both men go on a car chase mid-match, using every weapon they could find, Piper eventually pinned him. Unfortunately, in his nine matches Goldust has yet to find a win, which is the longest winless streak at WrestleMania.
14. Edge – 10 Matches
Coming in at ten matches is a guy who found success not only in the tag division, but in the main event scene in singles matches. Initially known for his work with Christian, Edge took his skills into the ever-dangerous Table, Ladders, and Chairs match where he took on The Hardy Boys and The Dudleys.
Here he performed a spot that will live on in highlight reels forever, when he speared (from off a ladder) Jeff Hardy down to the ring in spectacular fashion. As cool as it looked, Edge has stated in interviews this one was of the bigger bumps he took that led to his retirement years later due to cervical spinal stenosis.
13. The Rock – 10 Matches
If this was ranking most memorable WrestleMania moments, The Rock would be much higher, but since this is just solely on number of matches, here he stands. He went up against “Stone Cold” Steve Austin at WrestleMania X-Seven, which is consider no only one of the best matches ever, but typically the best WrestleMania show of them all.
Later on, he went up against John Cena in a “Once in a Lifetime” match which he was able to win; ironically enough, the two fought again the very next year with Cena getting the victory this time around. Possibly most memorably Rock took on “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan in an “Icon vs. Icon” match that was yet another all-time classic match.
12. JBL – 11 Matches
Earlier it was mentioned there would be a few surprising names on this list, JBL is one of them, working eleven matches both in the tag and singles match-ups. Working alongside Farooq, JBL (then know as Bradshaw) performed in multiple matches against the best in the division.
As his career went on, he moved up to the main event scene, most notably defending the WWE title against John Cena in WrestleMania 21. At this point, JBL had been champion for over nine months, which was the longest reign in a decade, so not only was it a big loss for JBL, but it gave Cena his first world championship and led to his own decade of dominance in the WWE.
11. “Macho Man” Randy Savage – 11 Matches
Pro wrestling has provided a lot of interesting stories that have managed to outlive the wrestlers who were included and none bigger were Macho Man and Miss Elizabeth. The quintessential pro wrestling couple, they had a bond that not only was real, but connected with the fans in a way that few others have been able to do.
Sure, Macho Man has won world championships and feuded with Hulk Hogan, but none come as memorable (okay, maybe his incredible match against Ricky Steamboat is more talked about) as when Savage was defeated in a Retirement match by The Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VI. Macho Man’s manager, Queen Sherri, was so bothered by the loss, she attacked him, this brought out Miss Elizabeth (who was in the crowd) to fend off Sherri and reunite with the Macho Man. If you’ve ever seen the clip, there’s an unbelievable amount of people crying in the crowd, which is not something you see very often in pro wrestling.
10. John Cena – 12 Matches
With an impressive 9-3 WrestleMania record, that is second only to an individual that will be mentioned later in this list. Sadly, one of those losses came to the Miz in a match that was for the WWE Championship, no, that is not a typo, Miz actually was in the main event and beat Cena, well, with a little bit of help from the Rock.
Unfortunately, this year Cena is out with a shoulder injury, which brings his streak of appearing in twelve straight WrestleMania shows to an end.
9. Hulk Hogan – 12 Matches
You may have heard of this guy (other than Vince McMahon) he’s basically the reason WWE grew out of the territories and into the international scene. Taking on legends like Roddy Piper, Macho Man, and Andre the Giant, Hogan was the biggest star in WrestleMania’s early years.
Even though his peak was in 80s, Hogan appeared in the first nine WrestleManias before heading over to WCW for a good chunk of the 90s. Then in 2002, he returned to take on The Rock in what most considered one of the best “dream matches” ever in wrestling with a Toronto crowd that decided to cheer on the Hulkster, even though he was supposed to be the heel.
8. Chris Jericho – 12 Matches
Even though Jericho has not been in many main events, he has consistently been one of the better performers, no matter where his match is on the card. Although, he did get to end WrestleMania 18 in a losing effort against Triple H for the Undisputed WWF title.
Most notably, Jericho took on Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 19 in a match that went longer than any other on the card at just over twenty-two minutes. This match has been reviewed as not only one of the best for this show, but one of the best ever in WWE. Michaels was able to get the hard fought victory, after the match, the two respectfully hugged each other, but in classic heel fashion, Jericho lowblowed Michaels seconds later.
7. Randy Orton – 12 Matches
At only thirty-five years old, Orton is the youngest wrestler on the list and could easily move near the top as the years go by if he decides to stick around the business. Getting started at a very young age, Orton wasn’t one to mess around too much with the lower card, eventually going after the biggest dog in the yard, The Undertaker.
This was at a time when Undertaker’s “streak” was still fairly young (12-0) before taking on the young gun. It was definitely a spot where fans thought he might finally lose, to help put over some new talent, but alas Orton fell to “The Deadman.”
6. Bret Hart – 14 Matches
Bret was one of the few wrestlers who worked the early WrestleMania shows and was able to stay with the company all the way until 1997, when he famously left for WCW after the “Montreal Screwjob.” Initially working with Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart in the Hart Foundation, Bret steadily worked his way up the card over the years before headlining nine, ten, and thirteen.
His most famous matches came against Shawn Michaels (including a 60-minute Iron Man match) and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. He also holds the honor of having the greatest opening WrestleMania match against his brother Owen Hart in 1994.
5. The Big Show – 15 Matches
Even though Big Show is (hopefully) nearing the end of his career, he is still considered one of the most consistent big men in wrestling. Typically, a man his size would start breaking down much earlier than other smaller wrestlers, but Show has been able to stay healthy enough to work on WWE’s “big show” fifteen times.
Aside from performing in a sumo match, Show’s biggest feud received a ton of mainstream media attention, when he decided to take on boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr. Amazingly, Mayweather got the win with a knockout punch (and some brass knuckles) which added another loss to Big Show’s paltry WrestleMania record of 5-10.
4. Shawn Michaels – 17 Matches
Also known as “Mr. WrestleMania” Michaels is the benchmark of what it takes to be a great performer in the biggest event of the year. Interestingly enough, you would think a guy with that nickname meant he won a lot, but in fact he had a record of 6-11, not exactly a dominant number for “The Heartbreak Kid.”
His first title win, his matches with Bret, Jericho or Angle, retiring Ric Flair, the ladder match, and his matches against The Undertaker, it’s basically impossible to pick the moment for Michaels. It’s unlikely we’ll ever see another wrestler with such an impressive resume ever again.
3. Triple H – 19 Matches
Since this list only counts up until last year’s show, Triple H will soon be at twenty matches in under a week and at 46 (working part-time), it’s likely he’ll tack on a few more matches before he officially retires from in-ring competition.
Some of his most famous matches are; Hell in a Cell against the Undertaker, the triple threat match against Shawn Michaels/Chris Benoit, and his match against Daniel Bryan. Bryan had to defeat Triple H to get to the main event (which he did) but along the way these two put on an incredibly entertaining match.
2. Kane – 19 Matches
Along with Triple H, Kane has a record of 9-10, working year after year, in a variety of match styles; Hardcore, Ladder, Tag, and Singles. Most famously, Kane worked against his brother, The Undertaker, losing both times to him.
For the most part, Kane has never really been a major factor in these shows, but has always been there to round out the card in multi-man matches or to help put over younger talent like The Shield. Kane’s run will continue this year as he will be one of the participants in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal Memorial, possibly getting a “gold watch” win, much like Big Show received last year.
1. The Undertaker – 23 Matches
Before you even clicked on this article, you knew exactly who was going to be number one, but that doesn’t take away from the impressive feat The Undertaker has accomplished. Yes, his streak of winning 21 matches in a row is amazing (and won’t be repeated), but considering how much people jump around or get injured in this buiness, it might be more impressive that he’s been able to perform in 23 WrestleMania matches.
At 51, Undertaker will take on Shane McMahon in a Hell in a Cell match and he’s not showing any signs of slowing down, even though this year’s show is in his home state, which could be a nice place for him to retire for good. With classic matches against Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and Edge and four matches ahead of second place on this list, he is clearly number one; he is “The Phenom.”