When it comes to WWE's WrestleMania event, you can either make yourself a legend or a laughing stock. Whatever happens here can define an entire pro-wrestling career. It is THE event for pro-wrestling.
There have been similar shows from other companies like Starrcade for WCW and now Wrestle Kingdom for New Japan Pro-Wrestling. However, nothing compares to WrestleMania. Even those who do not follow wrestling know about it. Fans can get behind you if you have a good showing and sometimes they can help to make you into something else entirely. Daniel Bryan had his career made after his performance at WrestleMania and John Cena had his entire career change after one big boo fest at WrestleMania 22 against Triple H.
Regardless of how things go down, the performance can be seen as the most important thing. Records do matter, but what you bring to the match and how well you show up truly determines who can be seen as the best performer of all time. Records are made via story line, so it is tough to truly go off of this, as it is not in the wrestler's control. However, if you can put on a match that people will talk about for the rest of their lives, that makes you a top performer and a WrestleMania legend.
On this list, we combine all factors. We clearly wanted to define a performer based on how well they performed at the show of shows. However, we had to nitpick in the end and had to go with records to help separate the pack. Regardless, we feel many will agree.
This is The Richest's list of the top 10 best performers in WrestleMania history:
10 "Macho Man" Randy Savage
We all know the WWE Hall of Famer in "Macho Man" Randy Savage was able to give us some impressive matches in his WWE career. He gave us so many great stories in his time. It is almost criminal we had to wait so long to see him go into the Hall and it took his death to truly allow us to see him be where he belongs.
Savage had what many believe to be the best match of all time with Ricky Steamboat at WrestleMania 3, the same show where Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant main evented the show. Every casual fan spoke about Hogan after the show and even WWE wanted to make us focus on that.
However, all hardcore fans knew the match of the night happened before with Savage and Steamboat. It was one you need to go to the WWE Network to see for sure. However, Savage had 10 other matches at WrestleMania and has a career 7-4 record. I want you to read the list of opponents this man faced at WrestleMania just to understand how truly respected he was. He faced Ted DiBiase, George "The Animal" Steele, Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair, Greg Valentine, Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, One Man Gang, and as we mentioned, Ricky Steamboat.
9 Daniel Bryan
The recently retired Daniel Bryan may be a surprise for this list, but he happens to be one of the few performers to have fought for a championship or defended one at every single WrestleMania he was part of. On top of this, he stole the show or put on the best match of the night a few times.
He also happens to be one of the few to have wrestled twice at the show of shows.
He lost in seconds to Sheamus when the World Heavyweight Title was put on the line, and it began a movement. It was his first WrestleMania, but the fans knew he deserved more. This started to get fans on his side more than he could hope and the next night he began to see his YES! and NO! chant used a lot.
Eventually he was put into more and more top matches until one day, he main evented WrestleMania 30. He had to leave due to injury almost right after this. He came back however, and won the WWE Intercontinental Championship at the very next WrestleMania. Sadly, his pro-wrestling career is over and he will not be able to wrestle at the event again. However, he made enough of an impact, especially in this era, to deserve a nod as a top WrestleMania performer for sure. He will always be remembered for what he did here and the history he made at the event.
8 Bret Hart
Bret Hart had a career that few could compare to. He was the top guy in WWE for years, but it took him a long time to attain this honor. He started out wrestling in a lot of tag team matches in WrestleMania, memorably working with The Hart Foundation for a number of the events.
He would go on to have matches against his brother Owen as well as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. In possibly his most memorable match, he worked with Shawn Michaels in what many call a top 10 WrestleMania match.
He would wrestle for or defend many titles at WrestleMania from the Tag Team to WWE Championship. He would end his WrestleMania career in a victory over Vince McMahon a few years back. While Hart did not leave WWE on the greatest terms, they have since made up. He is now praised all the time for his WrestleMania performances and after 14 appearances, it is not hard to understand that it made an impact on the event.
Whether he had a big or small match, he made sure to give you one hell of a story each time he performed. If there is one guy who should be on this list every time, it is Hart.
7 "Stone Cold" Steve Austin
"Stone Cold" may go down as the greatest WWE Superstar of all time, but it took him a long time to get to WWE. The moment he arrived, he was not given the greatest of respect.
Finally, he was able to stand out with a great gimmick. He then used WrestleMania as a big launching point in his career. He would work with Bret where the infamous double turn would occur. Austin would refuse to tap out to Hart's sharpshooter move and Austin would pass out due to the move.
He would visibly bleed from his head in agonizing pain and scream in pain before ultimately passing out, giving Hart the win. It would start a big main event heel run for Hart while Austin turned babyface and would slowly move to a main event face role. He would have a match with HBK after this that would ultimately give him the top spot in the company for years. Austin would then go on to face The Rock three times. He even had his last match against him.
Overall, Austin had seven WrestleMania appearances and won five times. He main evented the show four of those times, which is a crazy ratio. He was truly great at this event, giving us some amazing WrestleMania moments.
6 The Rock
"The Great One" is one of the top WWE Superstars in history and he is quite possibly the most successful out of all who have come into WWE. He is a huge Hollywood attraction, but he first became a star in WWE.
His performances in WrestleMania are really what led to his star shining bright. He fought for the WWE Championship on multiple occasions and out of his 10 matches at WrestleMania, he main evented five times. He is the only man to have beaten Hulk Hogan, "Stone Cold", and Cena at WrestleMania. That is a huge accomplishment if nothing else. What he has done outside of WWE cannot be matched and his performances at WrestleMania are very tough to top.
That said, he is clearly one of the greatest performers at the show of shows. He has not wrestled since his loss to Cena at WrestleMania 29, but there is a hope he can perform yet again on the grandest stage of them all.
5 Hulk Hogan
Success is tough to top when it comes to the Hulkster. He was a top star in two different companies, but his star was built out of WrestleMania. He had memorable moments like slamming Andre the Giant for a memorable win or beating the evil Randy Savage.
Another moment is losing to both Ultimate Warrior and The Rock in two different decades. Hogan proved he could tell a story and was top guy material at each WrestleMania he was part of.
While he was not great in his last WrestleMania match, which was against Vince McMahon, he was fun to watch overall. When the lights were on, the Hulkster shined. He was in 11 WrestleMania matches where he won 8 of them. He main evented almost every time he worked the show. However, he officially did in the first three then a few times after. He worked with some of the greatest of all time and became a star really due to this event. He was a good reason for the popularity of wrestling and WrestleMania was where he showed how good he was. Really, he may not be one of the best technical wrestlers of all time, but he was certainly an all time great at this event.
4 John Cena
Cena is on par with The Rock, Hogan, and others when it comes to all-time greats in WWE. It does not matter what you feel about his character, what he has done in WWE and continues to do should be nothing but commendable.
The superstar has also given us some amazing performances at WrestleMania. He was WWE's top guy for years. This led to him working a lot of championship matches and main events.
He has worked 12 WrestleMania events and has been in a World Title match 8 of those times. Two other times were spent fighting for the United States Title. The only non-title matches he has had were against Bray Wyatt and The Rock. He main evented WrestleMania numerous times and is able to put over top up and comers these days. He had a record of 12 straight WrestleMania appearances that will be snapped this year. Cena also has the most straight appearances of all time after he passed Hulk Hogan a few years back.
Few performed better on this stage than John Cena, where he gave us a lot of classic matches. Truly, he was a top tier WrestleMania performer if there ever was one.
3 Triple H
Truly one of the greatest iron men in WWE history is Triple H. This is all he ever wanted to do and he became one of the greatest at it. While he is an executive in WWE these days, he also still dabbles in the world of pro-wrestling as a performer even still.
If you can believe it, he will be performing his 20th WrestleMania at WrestleMania 32 this year. That is simply amazing. He has also worked against some of the greatest wrestlers of all time. Understand, his list of opponents contains legends that no one can say they faced at WrestleMania it seems. He wrestled almost every top guy of each decade at WrestleMania he was in other than Hogan, Flair, and CM Punk.
At WrestleMania, he worked against Ultimate Warrior, Kane, The Undertaker, The Rock, Austin, Sting, Daniel Bryan, Owen Hart, Goldust, Mick Foley, Chris Jericho, Booker T, Michaels, Batista, Cena, Randy Orton, Chris Benoit, Sheamus, and Brock Lesnar.
Literally, it is amazing that he could work with so many legends, Hall of Famers, and top stars. All of the people listed were World Champions at some point in their career other than Owen and Goldust. Owen probably would have been if he did not pass tragically. Many still believe Goldust deserved just one as well.
In his 19 matches so far, he has a record of 9 wins with 10 losses. He main evented the show 5 times but fought for a championship at several. He put on classic matches with so many, and was able to give us a great match even last year when he worked with Sting. He could wrestle in 30 WrestleMania matches if he keeps going at this rate and may go down as the greatest WrestleMania performer one day. But he still finds himself behind at least two men despite his amazing statistics.
2 Shawn Michaels
Shawn Michaels, for my money, is the greatest in ring performer to ever live. Of course this is one man's opinion that is supported by thousands of matches. I do digress however. When it comes to the Heart Break Kid, every WrestleMania match he was part of seemed to always be special.
Early on, he worked in a tag team called The Rockers at three different WrestleMania events. The true career of Shawn Michaels did not start until his match with Razor Ramon where the two would battle in a ladder match in a history making contest.
Micheals would work with a ton of great performers like Bret Hart, Ric Flair, Kurt Angle, Triple H, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, The Undertaker, and John Cena at WrestleMania. He also faced the likes of Vince McMahon at the event. Hard to escape him on this list, I know.
Michaels performed in 17 WrestleMania matches, but had a terrible 6 and 11 career record at the event. His record never truly mattered for most fans, but rather his performance at the event is what we all remembered. Loss or not, his match was must-see. Truly, few matched him. He main evented WrestleMania, fought for championships and wrestled legends. There is only one greater than HBK, and he would even admit it himself as he is the man who retired him at WrestleMania.
1 The Undertaker
The Undertaker is synonymous with WrestleMania. He is the man you think of when it comes to the event, and for good reason. The performances he has had at the show have been legendary. If you're putting a top ten list down of best matches in WrestleMania history, you'll see a lot of Taker matches up for consideration.
Early on, WWE did not seem to care about "the streak." After a while, they began realizing it was a pretty big deal. At his tenth one, WWE gave him Ric Flair and that seemed to be where WWE began counting and making the streak a big deal. At one point, Randy Orton was tapped to break the streak but chose to turn the idea down out of respect to The Undertaker. Taker had a lot of great matches at the event, but this has been especially true for the last 8. He had two matches with Shawn Michaels that were legendary.
He then had a few matches with Triple H where they went all out. One was in a Hell in a Cell match, including HBK as the ref, where the two of them just tore the house down. Undertaker even had a great match with CM Punk as well. Undertaker then lost to Brock Lesnar, which shocked the world. It made headlines across the world all that week. Many people still disagree that WWE had him lose.
Taker is now 22-1 in his WrestleMania career and very well could get his 23rd win in a few months. Obviously Undertaker has the most victories all-time at the event and the longest winning streak of all time. If you can name a record at WrestleMania, Undertaker probably has it. The matches he had were great, plus he has given us greatness even as he ages. He is literally a Phenom that will live on forever. No one knows when he'll retire, however rumors are that he will do so after this WrestleMania. It will be a sad day when such an announcement is made.
No matter when that day comes, Undertaker will always be known as the best WrestleMania performer.