WrestleMania is the yearly World Wrestling Entertainment show that has, for years, been referred to as “the showcase of the immortals.” What started out as just the biggest wrestling show of the WWE year has become a cultural phenomenon that attracts fans and viewers from all over the world. Diehard fans and WWE viewers plan trips and vacations around WrestleMania weekend, which includes all kinds of wrestling events that are presented by multiple companies. In a perfect world for those who attend the show, the best WWE matches of each year would occur at editions of WrestleMania.
That, as followers of the industry know, as often not been the case. Yes, all-time greats such as the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels repeatedly produced memorable WrestleMania moments that will live on so long as highlights of former shows are aired on WWE programming and on the WWE Network. For every great WrestleMania match that has taken place over the years, though, there have been some horrible main events that left foul tastes in fans who paid money to watch the show in-person, via pay-per-view or via the WWE Network. You would be better off choosing to not review these contests.
10. WrestleMania 2000: Triple H vs. The Rock vs. Mick Foley vs. Big Show
While the WWE was pulling away from World Championship Wrestling in the “Monday Night Wars” at the time, WrestleMania 2000 was not a banner night for the company. The four-way match for the WWF Championship was largely just an excuse to focus on the McMahon family, as the encounter featured a “McMahon in every corner.” The Nintendo 64 video game that shares the same name is far better than what fans were given in the main event match of the actual show; and to think that the McMahon family is still front and center in storylines heading into WrestleMania 32.
9. WrestleMania 4: Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase
Wrestling fans think that they love watching tournaments that determine a champion. WrestleMania 4 put that theory to the test. Randy Savage and Ted DiBiase did not have a terrible match in the final act of WrestleMania 4. Fans had simply already seen both wrestlers on several occasions, and it was never all that believable that those in attendance were going to be sent home after having watched the “Million Dollar Man” win the championship. The biggest takeaway from this WrestleMania main event was that it set up that memorable feud involving Savage and Hulk Hogan.
8. WrestleMania 7: Sgt. Slaughter vs. Hulk Hogan
The world of professional wrestling was a lot different back in 1991. Sgt. Slaughter turned heel and announced himself as an “Iraqi sympathizer” when the United States was involved in the Gulf War, and Slaughter just so happened to be the World Champion heading into WrestleMania 7. The WWE needed an American – a real American, even – to serve as the hero who could defeat the dastardly Slaughter. Enter who else but Hulk Hogan, who survived quite the beating during the match and hit the leg drop of doom to win the match for the WWE and for America.
7. WrestleMania 13: Undertaker vs. Sid
The Undertaker is a legend of the industry who has been involved in some tremendous WrestleMania battles. This was not one of them. Granted, it didn’t help that the two had to follow the submission match between Bret Hart and Steve Austin, widely considered by fans and wrestling journalists as one of the best matches to ever take place underneath the WWF/WWE umbrella let alone at a WrestleMania. Undertaker versus Sid had run-ins, boring action and time wasting, and that the “Phenom” needed an assist from Hart to guarantee victory helps the match make the list.
6. WrestleMania 11: Lawrence Taylor vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
Before anybody decides to lash out at this WrestleMania main event, they should remember that Lawrence Taylor was a former football player who was barely trained to work a halfway-decent match in the ring. Wrestling fans should also remember that a match involving a celebrity such as Taylor would never serve as a WrestleMania main event in 2016 or anytime in the near future. Nobody can say, with a straight face, that Taylor versus Bam Bam Bigelow was a classic encounter or even a match worth re-watching. It still does not deserve the hate it gets from some observers.
5. WrestleMania 27: Miz vs. John Cena
The build-up for WrestleMania 27 has been criticized because the company made Miz the WWE Champion and the top heel in the organization. Miz’s abilities, or lack thereof, are not why this is one of the worst WrestleMania main events in history. Miz suffered a legitimate concussion early into the match, one that was so serious that he later admitted that he does not even remember the contest. One could tell, upon re-watching the encounter, that both Miz and Cena were negatively affected by the injury, and thus the match became a clunker that probably would have been better had Miz never had his bell rung.
4. WrestleMania 25: Triple H vs. Randy Orton
Triple H and Randy Orton engaged in a blood feud leading up to WrestleMania 25. Orton attacked members of Triple H’s family, most notably his wife Stephanie McMahon, and Triple H responded by breaking into Orton’s house to get revenge. When the two finally faced off inside of the ring at WrestleMania 25, they had a basic and boring wrestling match as if the two were performing in the main event segment of an edition of Raw. It was boring, it was forgettable, and it ended with Triple H raising the championship belt in celebration as the crowd went mild.
3. WrestleMania 10: Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna
Forget, for a second, that Yokozuna was involved in the main event of WrestleMania 10. This match was doomed from the start because of events that had occurred earlier in the evening. Bret Hart and Owen Hart put on a wrestling clinic and a five-star match early on in WrestleMania 10. Later that night, Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels were involved in a historic ladder match that was ahead of its time and that still gets mentioned as one of the best contests in WrestleMania history. Try as they might, Hart and Yokozuna were never going to equal those other matches.
2. WrestleMania 8: Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice
Just seeing that Hulk Hogan and Sid Justice battled it out in a WrestleMania main event may be enough for one to understand why this match is so high on the list. The match included run-ins by manager Harvey Wippleman, Papa Shango and, last but certainly not least, the Ultimate Warrior. It was Hogan who technically won the match when all was said and done, because of course he did, but he won via disqualification. It is difficult to imagine that a WrestleMania would have such a lackluster ending these days regardless of what you think about how the company books angles.
1. WrestleMania 9
Everything about the closing sequence of WrestleMania 9 was a letdown for fans and proof that the WWE was about to go through a down period sooner than later. The scheduled main event of Bret Hart versus Yokozuna can’t be considered a letdown because fans should have known that they weren’t going to get a classic encounter. Yokozuna defeated Hart with the help of manager Mr. Fuji only to then drop the belt to, of all people, Hulk Hogan in an impromptu match, a decision that made the entire championship storyline a waste of time for those who followed it. Never go this route again, WWE.