In honor of WrestleMania 33, members of the PTBN Staff has gathered to create a series of 33 lists, all dedicated to the rich history of WWE’s grandest spectacle. Each contributor assigned a ranking of 1-10 and votes were tallied accordingly. We will be releasing one list per day, with the final list to be posted on April 1, 2017, the day prior to WrestleMania 33! Be sure to share your feedback with us on social media! You can view the complete series here!
Day Twenty-Five: Best WrestleMania Match Finishes
Others Getting Votes: Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage – WMVII (19), Mick Foley vs. Edge – WM22 (18), Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins – WM31 (18), Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle – WMXX (18), Daniel Bryan vs. Batista vs. Randy Orton – WMXXX (15), Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan – WMXXVIII (14), Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude – WMV (9), Steve Austin vs. The Rock – WMX7 (9), The Rock vs. Mick Foley vs. Triple H vs. Big Show – WMXVI (8), Mr. McMahon vs. Shane McMahon – WMX7 (6), Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase – WMIV (6), Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal – WMXXX (6), Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage – WMIII (5), Hulk Hogan vs. Yokozuna – WMIX (4), Lawrence Taylor vs. Bam Bam Bigelow – WMXI (4), Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels – WMXIV (3), Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels – WMXII (3), British Bulldogs vs. The Dream Team – WMII (3), Steve Austin vs. The Rock – WMXV (2), Undertaker vs. Edge – WMXXIV (1), Team Hillbilly Jim vs. Team King Kong Bundy – WMIII (1), Undertaker vs. Kane – WMXIV (1), John Cena vs. The Miz – WMXXVII (1)
10. Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker – WrestleMania XXVI (20 Points)
Highest Ranking: #4 (Neil Trama & Tim Capel)
Shawn Michaels was looking for redemption after losing to the Undertaker the year before, but in his search to end the streak, he went out of his way to anger the Deadman. The two had a stellar match in the main event of WrestleMania XXVI, but Michaels wasn’t able to get the job done. The Undertaker also needed to up his game to defeat the Heartbreak Kid, whose career was on the line if he lost. After Michaels survived two Tombstone piledrivers, the undefeated Undertaker yelled at Michaels to stay down. A defiant MIchaels slapped the Deadman across the face. It was all downhill from there, as the Undertaker set Michaels up for a third Tombstone, this time a jumping one for extra oomph, and Michaels’ career was over. The Deadman, though, was still undefeated.
9. Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H – WrestleMania XX (22 Points)
Highest Ranking: #5 (Brian Bayless & Steve Riddle)
No one thought it would happen. They hoped, maybe, but in the end, everyone figured that the main event of WrestleMania XX would end with either Triple H or Shawn Michaels standing with the World Heavyweight Championship. Chris Benoit winning the main event was a pipe dream for fans. But then the impossible happened. Benoit eluded Michaels’ Sweet Chin Music and then countered Triple H’s Pedigree into his finisher, the Crippler Crossface. Triple H eventually tapped, giving Benoit the title, and the chance to celebrate in the ring with his friend, WWE Champion Eddie Guerrero.
8. Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant – WrestleMania III (26 Points)
Highest Ranking: #1 (Glenn Butler)
A record-setting crowd at the Pontiac Silverdome was on hand to see the biggest main event in the history of the WWF up to that point: the nigh-unbeatable Andre the Giant challenging for his first WWF Title against champion Hulk Hogan, who had held the belt for more than three years at that point. The match itself may not have been anything special, but the sight of Hogan bodyslamming the 525-pound giant, then hitting him with his patented leg drop for the 1-2-3 is one of the most iconic moments in company history.
7. Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart – WrestleMania X (29 Points)
Highest Ranking: #1 (Steve Riddle)
In one of the best opening matches in WrestleMania history, former WWF Champion Bret Hart, set to challenge for the title in the main event, had to wrestle his baby brother Owen, who was out to prove himself as the best wrestler in the vast Hart family. The brothers went back and forth for 20 minutes with neither man able to gain a distinct advantage. But as is usually the case with two evenly-matched competitors, one mistake was all it took. The Hitman went for a victory roll, but The Rocket countered, planting his brother’s shoulders to the mat for an upset win that set the stage for a feud that lasted for years.
6. Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar – WrestleMania XXX (36 Points)
Highest Ranking: #1 (Chris Jordan)
Eat. Sleep. Conquer. Repeat. It was The Beast Incarnate’s mantra, but how could he possibly conquer the Undertaker’s perfect WrestleMania streak? He had beaten everyone else up to this point and no one had any reason to believe the streak would end at WrestleMania XXX. When Lesnar hit that third F5 on the Deadman and went for the pin, even Lesnar’s advocate, Paul Heyman, was shocked when the referee’s hand went down for the third time and Undertaker’s shoulders stayed on the mat. The streak was over, and Brock Lesnar had done the unthinkable.
5. Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker – WrestleMania XXV (40 Points)
Highest Ranking: #1 (Tim Capel)
Many would say the first WrestleMania encounter between Undertaker and Shawn Michaels was an even better match than the second, an epic battle that started with the amazing “WrestleMania Moments” from the introductions of the competitors. The match ending saw Michaels go to the top rope to attempt a moonsault, but the Deadman caught him on contact. After that, as the late Gorilla Monsoon would say, it was academic. Tombstone piledriver. One. Two. Three. A great match with a great ending.
4. Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair – WrestleMania XXIV (41 Points)
Highest Ranking: #4 (Mike Eller & Brian Bayless)
The Nature Boy had been defending his career for months, with each match given the stipulation that it would be Flair’s last if he were to lose. Flair battled each time and won. But then, the newly-announced WWE Hall of Famer decided he wanted his WrestleMania moment: beating Mr. WrestleMania Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXIV. Flair’s run came to an end, though, and he knew it during the match, as he stood up, waiting for Michaels to hit him with Sweet Chin Music. A remorseful Michaels looked at Flair and mouthed, “I’m sorry, I love you,” before cracking Flair in the jaw for the win.
3. Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar – WrestleMania 31 (42 Points)
Highest Ranking: #3 (Steven Ferrari & Brian Bayless)
It had been ten years since the Money in the Bank briefcase concept was introduced and in that time, no one had ever cashed in on the Grandest Stage of Them All. It had been teased, but it never came to pass, until WrestleMania 31. While The Beast and the Big Dog were battling over Lesnar’s WWE Title, briefcase holder Seth Rollins picked his moment and used the contract to join the match to the surprise and delight of the Santa Clara crowd. The Architect of the Shield capitalized on his former partner being distracted by Lesnar and Reigns with a Curb Stomp for the pin and the WWE Title.
2. Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior – WrestleMania VI (51 Points)
Highest Ranking: #1 (Scott Criscuolo)
The Irresistible Force met the Immovable Object as the Ultimate Warrior, the Intercontinental Champion, faced WWF Champion Hulk Hogan with both titles on the line. It was one of Warrior’s best performances ever, matching the Immortal One move-for-move and punch-for-punch. And when he rolled out of the way of Hogan’s legdrop, the Toronto crowd knew it was Warrior’s time to shine. He nailed Hogan with a big splash and pinned the champ to win the title and the mantle of The Man in the WWF. The show of respect after the match, with Hogan handing Warrior the belt, added to the feel of the passing-of-the-torch moment.
1. Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin – WrestleMania 13 (69 Points)
Highest Ranking: #1 (Mike Eller, Steven Ferrari, Jason Greenhouse & Brian Bayless)
The sight of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s blood flowing down his forehead and over his face, while he defiantly refused to give in to Bret “Hitman” Hart’s sharpshooter submission is certainly an iconic WrestleMania moment, and the finish of the match turned Austin into the badass rebel that everyone loved and made the Hitman, for years one of the WWF’s most popular superstars, into a villain of the highest order. It was a brilliant switcharoo and an amazing feat that paved the way for the next year of WWF storylines.