Every year around the month of March, wrestling fans usually start to roam the web or dive into their personal memorabilia collection for past WrestleMania memories.
The stage known as “The Showcase of the Immortals” is pro-wrestling grandest spectacle, with WWE’s biggest superstars poised to rewrite the history books composed of the great achievements made possible by their elders.
There have been dozens of unforgettable WrestleMania events, not to mention moments that last a lifetime (like The Ultimate Warrior pinning Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 6 or Mike Tyson knocking out Shawn Michaels almost 10 years later). On the other hand, there have also been some lackluster WrestleMania offerings, whether it’s a specific year that failed to live up to expectations (WrestleMania 2000) or a few stinkers on the bill holding up the festivities.
However, it’s nearly impossible for the spring showcase to not feature a shocking development, or a surprising incident year after year. From its inception in 1985 to the 30th anniversary in 2014, there is always a Mania moment worth talking about year after year.
That being said, here are some of the most shocking and jaw-dropping episodes from WrestleMania’s rich 30-year history:
14 Randy Savage & Miss Elizabeth Reunite (WrestleMania 7)
Some may suggest the word “shocking” brings forth a negative connotation. In this instance, that’s definitely not the case.
13 Butterbean Legitimately Knocks Out Bart Gunn (WrestleMania 15)
Bart Gunn had surprised his peers by being a hoss that could strike, too, when he won WWE’s Brawl For All, a shootfighting tournament that was both a failed and dangerous experiment.
12 Kane Assaults Pete Rose (WrestleMania 14)
Kane must have been a Red Sox fan, since he warmed up for his older brother by delivering a Tombstone to a helpless Rose. Either that, or Kane was the monster Paul Bearer declared him to be.
11 Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin & The Rock Together At Last (WrestleMania 30)
10 Goldberg & Brock Lesnar Stink Up The Joint (WrestleMania 20)
The clash between Goldberg and Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 20 in 2004 had the potential to be one of the biggest matches in the history of the business. When you take Goldberg’s WCW streak and tie it up with Lesnar’s impressive WWE run, it had all the makings to be a classic encounter.
The problem was both competitors were leaving the company, and the Madison Square Garden crowd in New York didn’t pull any punches.
9 Brock Lesnar Botches The Shooting Star Press (WrestleMania 19)
8 Roddy Piper’s Offensive “Ring Attire” (WrestleMania 6)
Roddy Piper’s fall from grace over the years is a little inexplicable, considering he headlined the first ever WrestleMania and found himself in an odd and meaningless match against Bad News Brown at WrestleMania 6.
7 Hulk Hogan Somehow Wins The WWF Championship Over Yokozuna (WrestleMania 9)
When one thinks of the worst WWE booking decisions, the finale of WrestleMania 9 should stick out like a sore thumb.
6 The Undertaker Hangs Big Boss Man (WrestleMania 15)
5 Sheamus Shocks Daniel Bryan In Just Under 20 Seconds (WrestleMania 28)
Time restraints have played a role in booking decisions over the years (see Rey Mysterio vs. JBL or Kane vs. Chavo Guerrero), but none were more appalling than Sheamus’s win over Daniel Bryan for the World Heavyweight Championship.
Just when Bryan was getting a major backing from fans, WWE decided to have Sheamus “Brogue Kick” Bryan for the quick win, after the latter deemed a kiss from A.J. Lee necessary before commencing his match.
4 Bret Hart & Steve Austin Do The Old Switcheroo (WrestleMania 13)
This epic encounter was billed as a Submission Match, which favored the technical Hart over Austin’s brawling style. With Ken Shamrock serving as the referee, Hart trapped his foe in the Sharpshooter for the win, but it was the conclusion of the match that would forever change the careers of both individuals.
Austin was bleeding profusely in the submission hold, which will be remembered as one of pro-wrestling’s best images ever. The audience sympathized with “Stone Cold,” turning on Hart and booing the Canadian when he further attacked his adversary after the match.
3 Stone Cold Steve Austin Makes A Deal With The Devil (WrestleMania 17)
There was no bigger dream match than Austin vs. The Rock at WrestleMania 17. Both superstars were juggernauts in the wrestling world, both at the top of the heap in terms of status. You just didn’t know who was going to take it.
The bloody back-and-forth war would go down as one of the best in Mania history, aside from the jaw-dropping conclusion. Vince McMahon made his way down the ring, helping Austin batter the “Great One” with a steel chair and aligned himself with his most hated rival.
2 Hulk Hogan Body Slams Andre The Giant For WWF Supremacy (WrestleMania 3)
1 Brock Lesnar Crushes The Undertaker’s 21-0 Streak (WrestleMania 30)
Not only was this shocking for a WrestleMania crowd, this was perhaps the most astonishing moment in pro-wrestling history, besides the obvious Montreal Screwjob and "Vinnie Mac" purchasing WCW.
The Undertaker was WrestleMania’s most successful wrestler, winning 21 matches in his career at the pay-per-view. He was no match for "The Beast Incarnate," who was light years ahead of “The Phenom” in terms of in-ring performance on that given night, yet the majority of onlookers expected a Taker victory because it was a given at that point.
When the current WWE Heavyweight Champion hit the Texan with his third F-5 and scored a three count, the Superdome went silent, as the camera caught hundreds of fans in complete amazement and disarray.
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