There is no greater time to be a wrestling fan than during Wrestlemania season. The WWE pulls out all the stops in order to bring the best product to the fans on the biggest stage for professional wrestling. A culmination of storylines comes to an end while performers put their bodies on the line, creating moments that will be etched into the wrestling history books.
Wrestlemania 31 in San Francisco is right around the corner. Fans are eagerly anticipating Sting’s WWE debut against Triple H, as well as seeing whether or not Roman Reigns can grab the brass ring and defeat the “Beast Incarnate”, Brock Lesnar, for the WWE World Heavyweight title.
In honor and anticipation of the 31st entry of the greatest wrestling show in North America, here is a ranked order of the 15 best and most memorable Wrestlemania events in WWE history.
15. Wrestlemania X8
In an electrifying atmosphere in Toronto, Canada, The Rock and Hulk Hogan faced off in one of the biggest dream matchups in Wrestlemania history.
The Undertaker, in his biker persona, continued his streak by beating Ric Flair while the Hardcore Title, in its days of being defended 24/7, changed hands 6 times throughout the night.
In the double main event, The Rock went up against “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan while Chris Jericho defended his WWE Undisputed Championship against “The Game” Triple H. Hogan, fresh off his return to the WWE as member of the New World Order, came into this match as a heel. The fans, however, chanted for the Hulkster while booing one of the most popular acts in wrestling history, The Rock.
The Rock defeated Hogan before Triple H became a 5-time WWE champion in a solid main event that saw him Pedigree Jericho for the win.
14. Wrestlemania VII
The beginning of a legendary Streak and the most emotional, heart-warming moment in the event’s history define Wrestlemania VII.
The Undertaker made his Wrestlemania debut when he faced Jimmy Snuka. In the main event, Hulk Hogan overcame the odds and beat the treacherous Sergeant Slaughter to win the WWE Title.
The most memorable match in this event, however, came from two superstars putting their career on the line. With a stipulation that saw the loser forced into retirement, neither man could have afforded to lose. The “Macho Man” Randy Savage faced The Ultimate Warrior in a classic that saw the Warrior barely eke out the victory.
Although Savage had lost his job, he finished the night as a winner when his estranged manager Miss Elizabeth emerged from the crowd and saved him from a beating from the villainous Sherri Martel. In one of the most emotional moments in wrestling history, Miss Elizabeth and Randy Savage were reunited.
13. Wrestlemania VIII
Bret Hart and Roddy Piper battled it out in one of the best Intercontinental Title matches in Mania history, with Bret using the turnbuckle to his advantage to win the title. Half-way through the show the WWE Title match came on as champion Ric Flair defended his title against the “Macho Man” Randy Savage in an absolutely amazing matchup that saw Savage win with a rollup.
In the main event, Sid Justice battled Hulk Hogan in what was supposed to be Hulk’s retirement match. After a DQ finish that saw Papa Shango interfere on Sid’s behalf, The Ultimate Warrior made his triumphant return to a raucous ovation to help out the Hulkster.
12. Wrestlemania XXVI
Mr. Wrestlemania had his final match at the University of Phoenix Stadium at Wrestlemania XXVI.
Randy Orton defeated his Legacy counterparts while Jack Swagger became Mr. Money in the Bank. Bret Hart returned to the ring after a 10-year absence and got his revenge on the boss himself, Mr. McMahon, for screwing him over the last time he wrestled in the WWE. Chris Jericho and John Cena walked away with belts around their waist as they beat Edge and Batista respectively.
This event will forever be remembered for Shawn Michaels’ last match ever. He put his career on the line against The Undertaker’s Streak in a fantastic, emotionally-draining match that saw the Phenom put his rival away with a jumping Tombstone.
11. Wrestlemania 22
Rob Van Dam won the second ever Money in the Bank match while The Undertaker continued his streak against Mark Henry in a Casket Match. Mickie James defeated Trish Stratus for the Women’s Title in one of the best matches ever pitting two women wrestlers against each other.
Shawn Michaels beat Mr. McMahon to a pulp in a No Holds Barred match after months of getting screwed by the boss. Rey Mysterio got the feel-good win and honoured his recently-deceased best friend Eddie Guerrero when he beat Kurt Angle and Randy Orton in a Triple Threat for the World Heavyweight Title in a short but sweet match.
In the main event, John Cena and Triple H both came out to special entrances: Triple H was a barbarian while Cena honoured Wrestlemania’s host city Chicago with an entrance pulled out of a gangster movie. In a match that everyone expected Triple H to come out victorious, John Cena would not be denied as he successfully defended his WWE Title and officially became the face of the WWE.
The brutal, bloody and brilliant hardcore match between Edge and Mick Foley stole the show. The unbelievable finish came when Edge speared Foley through the ropes and unto a flaming table.
10. Wrestlemania XXX
The 30th anniversary of the biggest wrestling show in the world was all about Daniel Bryan’s story of redemption. Oh, and a little thing known as the Streak came to an end.
Starting the night off were arguably the three biggest wrestlers of all time, Hulk Hogan, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock. They hyped the event before fans got to see Triple H and Daniel Bryan tear down the house in the opening match. With his win, Bryan moved on to the main event, where he defeated champion Randy Orton and Batista by making the latter tap to his “Yes! Lock”.
The Shield continued their dominance, John Cena bested the freakish Bray Wyatt, AJ Lee retained her Diva’s Championship and Cesaro was the inaugural winner of the “Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal”.
This event will be remembered for the most shocking Wrestlemania moment in history: Brock Lesnar defeated The Undertaker after hitting his finishing maneuver “F5” three times, bringing an end to the Phenom’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania. 21-1 was plastered on the screens as fans sat in deafening silence.
9. Wrestlemania 24
Fans witnessed an extraordinary event from the Citrus Bowl that saw a boxing champion take on a giant while one of the greatest wrestlers to ever lace up his boots wrestled in his final match.
JBL beat Finlay to kick the night off in a brutal “Belfast Brawl”. CM Punk was victorious in the Money in the Bank Ladder match, winning a guaranteed shot at the WWE Championship. Kane defeated Chavo Guerrero in the shortest match in Wrestlemania history at 8 seconds to win the ECW Championship.
Randy Orton successfully defended his WWE World Heavyweight Title in a Triple Threat matchup featuring John Cena and Triple H while The Undertaker and Edge had an awesome match that saw the Phenom extend his winning Streak at Wrestlemania by making Edge tap out to Hell’s Gate. Floyd Mayweather also defeated the Big Show in the best performance ever by a celebrity after using a steel chair on the giant’s back and punching him out with brass knuckles.
In terms of lasting appeal and historic moments, none are as memorable as Shawn Michaels telling Ric Flair that he “was sorry” and that he “loved him” right before delivering a Sweet Chin Music, effectively ending one of the greatest wrestling careers of all time.
8. Wrestlemania XXVIII
“Once in a Lifetime” and “End of an Era” defined this awesome Wrestlemania hailing from the Sun Life Stadium in Miami.
In a controversial opening match that saw the birth of the “Yes! Movement”, Sheamus defeated Daniel Bryan in 18 seconds with a Brogue Kick to win the World Heavyweight Title.
Fans got a Hell in a Cell match that represented an “End of an Era” in the WWE, as Triple H and The Undertaker, the two oldest company men and faces of a generation had an epic battle inside the cell. Shawn Michaels, who refereed the match, tried helping his best buddy Triple H end the Streak, but even with their combined efforts the Dead Man walked away victorious.
Chris Jericho and WWE Champion CM Punk put on a great wrestling match as Punk successfully defended his title. To close the show, The Rock and John Cena tore the house down, delivering a dream matchup that many fans had been clamouring for. With a Rock Bottom out of nowhere, The Rock defeated John Cena, sending the crown happy as their hometown hero pulled out the unexpected victory.
7. Wrestlemania 23
Two fantastic WWE Title matches and Donald Trump shaving the boss bald highlight this Wrestlemania.
In the opening Money in the Bank match, Mr. Kennedy pulled out the victory in this human train wreck that saw people stretchered out, battered and bruised. The Undertaker continued his Wrestlemania Streak by defeating “The Animal” Batista for the World Heavyweight Title. It was an unexpected surprise that saw two behemoths pull out all the stops to deliver a classic. In the main event, John Cena bested Shawn Michaels when he made him tap to his STF.
Donald Trump and Mr. McMahon faced off in a “Battle of the Billionaires.” They each chose a representative to fight on their behalf: McMahon chose the monstrous Umaga while Trump settled on the rising superstar Bobby Lashley. With a stipulation that stated the losing billionaire would get his head shaved, Lashley pinned Umaga after help from special guest referee “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.
The image of Vince McMahon, with shaving cream on his head, bald and sobbing, will forever be carved into the minds of fans everywhere.
6. Wrestlemania XX
“Where It All Begins… Again” was the slogan for the 20th anniversary of the biggest wrestling show of the year, held in one of the most historic venues in Madison Square Garden.
John Cena started off the night by defeating the United States Champion the Big Show. Christian and Chris Jericho delivered a fine little match that saw Christian win when Trish Stratus interfered. Evolution beat The Rock & Sock connection in another great match while Chavo Guerrero retained his Cruiserweight Title in a gauntlet match.
The Undertaker made his grand return to the Dead Man gimmick after years of portraying his badass biker persona, soundly defeating his brother Kane for the second time in Mania history. In one of the biggest disappointments in Wrestlemania history, Goldberg and Brock Lesnar delivered a dud when neither man showed any care or enthusiasm for their match as both men were leaving the company the very next day. The fans let their displeasure known as the chorus of boos flooded MSG.
In the double main event, Eddie Guerrero retained his WWE Title in a fantastic match against Kurt Angle. Chris Benoit beat World Heavyweight Champion Triple H and Shawn Michaels in arguably the best main event in the history of Wrestlemania. Closing the show with long-time friend Eddie Guerrero as champions with confetti raining over them is a bittersweet sight, as both men’s lives were cut short in controversial fashion.
5. Wrestlemania III
Considered the biggest event in the 1980s wrestling boom, Wrestlemania III housed 93, 173 screaming fans in the Pontiac Silverdome, an attendance record that wasn’t broken until 2010.
The show featured one of the greatest Wrestlemania matches ever when Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat defeated the “Macho Man” Randy Savage for the Intercontinental Title. The two put on a wrestling clinic to the delight of fans everywhere, with Steamboat pulling out a Small Package for the win.
In the main event, Hulk Hogan faced off against Andre The Giant for the WWE Championship. Many consider this the most important wrestling match of all time due to the names involved and for giving that fans the most iconic moment in wrestling history. The spectacle and storytelling were out of this world. The visual of Hogan slamming Andre defines wrestling to this day.
4. Wrestlemania 21
Wrestlemania went Hollywood in its 21st edition that saw new blood rise to the main event.
When Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero opened the show, fans knew they had something special on their hands. The Undertaker and Randy Orton put on a great match with a familiar result: the Streak would continue.
In the first ever Money in the Bank ladder match, Edge beat 5 other men in a phenomenal outing. Shawn Michaels, in typical “Mr. Wrestlemania” fashion, stole the show when he and Kurt Angle beat themselves up in a half-hour epic. Angle would ultimately win with his Ankle Lock submission.
The double main event of John Cena vs John Bradshaw Layfield and Triple vs Batista proved to be historic as both men’s victories signified a changing of the guard: they would lead the roster for the next few years, becoming the faces of the company. John Cena toppled JBL for the WWE Title while Batista beat his former friend and mentor Triple H for the World Title to close out a fantastic show.
3. Wrestlemania X
Hailing from New York, the ten-year anniversary of Wrestlemania was also one of the show’s best.
In the greatest opening matchup in Wrestlemania history, the jealous Owen Hart defeated his brother Bret Hart in a classic.
Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels fought for the Intercontinental Title in a ladder match that is considered not only one of the greatest Wrestlemania matches of all time, but one of the greatest matches ever period. Razor beat Shawn in a match that would serve as the blueprint for ladder matches for years.
In the main event, WWE Champion Yokozuna faced off against Bret Hart after having defeated Lex Luger earlier in the night. “The Hitman” pulled out the improbable win as the whole locker room (minus jealous brother Owen) came out to celebrate the title change.
2. Wrestlemania XIX
This is such a fantastic PPV that it can easily be labeled as one of the best Wrestlemanias of all time. Coming in at number two on this list, Wrestlemania XIX saw fantastic action from start to finish.
Shawn Michaels, in his first Wrestlemania match in 5 years, showed no signs of ring rust as he defeated Chris Jericho. Triple H successfully defended his title against Booker T in a solid matchup. Hulk Hogan and Mr. McMahon had a fun, bloody brawl as the biggest superstar to grace the ring defeated the boss.
The Rock and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin had their third match at Wrestlemania. The Rock was finally able to defeat his arch nemesis on the grandest stage in what was Steve Austin’s last match ever. In the main event, “The Next Big Thing” Brock Lesnar beat Kurt Ange for the WWE Title after a botched Shooting Star Press nearly killed the “Beast Incarnate.”
1. Wrestlemania X-Seven
Was there really any other choice for number one? Widely considered not only the greatest Wrestlemania of all time but also the greatest Pay Per View in history, Wrestlemania X-Seven saw wrestling’s most important years, the Attitude Era, come to an end.
Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit put on a wrestling clinic while Triple H and the Undertaker brawled it out in epic fashion. Mr. McMahon lost to his son Shane McMahon in a Street Fight – only in wrestling. The Iron Sheik won the Gimmick Battle Royal while Kane, Chris Jericho and Eddie Guerrero got some gold around their waist.
In one the most hellacious matches in the event’s history, Edge & Christian defeated the Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz in a TLC match: no, that’s not tender love and care but Tables, Ladders and Chairs.
In one of the most shocking moments in wrestling history, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin sold his soul to the Devil when he and long-time nemesis Vince McMahon screwed The Rock out of his WWE Title in a phenomenal main event.
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