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-Six: Best WrestleMania World Title Matches
Others Getting Votes: Undertaker vs. Edge – WMXXIV (21), Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle – WMXX (18), Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar – WM31 (18), CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho – WMXXVIII (9), Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels – WMXIV (9), Diesel vs. Shawn Michaels – WMXI (8), Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter – WMVII (7), John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels – WM23 (7), Steve Austin vs. The Rock – WMXV (4), Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase – WMIV (2), John Cena vs. Batista – WMXXVI (1)
10. Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart – WrestleMania XII (25 Points)
Highest Ranking: #4 (Steven Ferrari & Jason Greenhouse)
A match that has a wild spectrum of opinions from genuine classic to highly overrated. Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart were WWF’s two biggest stars that bridged the gap from Hulk Hogan to Steve Austin and this was their most marquee match up on paper. In addition, this provided the coronation of Shawn Michaels’ boyhood dream. That coupled with over an hour of technical based work landed the Iron Man with the #10 slot.
9. Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage – WrestleMania V (28 Points)
Highest Ranking: #3 (Brian Bayless)
One of the most iconic angles in company history with the Mega Powers Exploding and another match that has a wide gambit of opinions online. Similar to Michaels vs Hart, these were two wrestlers that fought each other many times throughout wrestling history but only once in the main event of a WrestleMania, therefore the stakes and prestige were raised. Hogan wins his 2nd WWF Championship and the year long reign of Randy Savage ends in the same building it started with him a drastically different man than the year before.
8. Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant – WrestleMania III (29 Points)
Highest Ranking: #1 (Glenn Butler)
We are three for three in the varying opinions metric. No one will call this match a technical masterpiece however it was executed about as perfectly as could be expected given the combatants. In addition, this capped off one of the most iconic shows in company history and much like the two previous entries, this was the biggest encounter that two of the biggest wrestling stars in history ever locked up in. A match worthy of the Silverdome.
7. Undertaker vs. Batista – WrestleMania 23 (39 Points)
Highest Ranking: #3 (Tim Capel)
Whether they were legitimately pissed off at not closing the show or not, Batista and Undertaker set out to prove the critics wrong with their WrestleMania 23 tilt. The streak was a fully fleshed out entity now and Batista created some real stakes and danger for it. These two limited workers had wonderful chemistry with each other and provided a brilliant slugfest in a high impact match that ended at precisely the right time.
6. Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle – WrestleMania XIX (39 Points)
Highest Ranking: #2 (Steve Riddle)
Ruthless Aggression was ushered in with a vengeance as Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar had the arduous task of following Hulk Hogan vs. Mr. McMahon and Rock vs Steve Austin. They did an admirable job by crafting a unique match that emphasized submissions, high impact offense and overall high energy workrate. The most memorable spot of this match will always be the botched Shooting Star Press from Brock but that shouldn’t overshadow all of the groundwork laid beforehand of these two workers setting out to change the main event narrative within the company for good.
5. Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair – WrestleMania VIII (42 Points)
Highest Ranking: #1 (Neil Trama)
Like a fine wine, this well received match at the time seems to get better with age. Everything from Macho Man’s gold outfit to Bobby Heenan on commentary to the fun lead in angle of Ric Flair and Liz’s relationship melded together for this show piece match on WrestleMania VIII. Savage winning by grabbing the tights gave Flair a justified receipt for all of his treachery leading to the match. Flair also slashes a great blade job that makes the match that much more memorable.
4. Daniel Bryan vs. Batista vs. Randy Orton – WrestleMania XXX (46 Points)
Highest Ranking: #2 (Mike Eller)
Yes! Yes! Yes! This match was all about the end destination of Daniel Bryan being the WWE Champion but the work leading to that was surprisingly excellent. Both Batista and Randy Orton felt like maligned characters heading into the match but they had their working boots on and created a neat dynamic of them teaming up to defeat Bryan once and for all. The Batista Bomb, neckbreaker combo through the table is an insane spot and the crowd was deafening when Bryan made Batista tap out.
3. Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior – WrestleMania VI (51 Points)
Highest Ranking: #2 (Scott Criscuolo)
Face vs. face matches weren’t that common in WWF lore by the time WrestleMania VI arrived. Especially one of this magnitude. Add into that a match with a divided fanbase between the old school Hogan stalwarts and the new age Warriors and this match had an iconic feeling before the bell even rang. It is a tribute to both of the workers that they recognized their limitations and spent weeks ahead of time laying out a satisfying match that impressed the toughest critics.
2. Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H – WrestleMania XX (61 Points)
Highest Ranking: #1 (Chris Jordan)
History will always have an odd air around this match but in the moment, this was a great accomplishment and moment. Kurt Angle vs Brock Lesnar a year before had a high workrate main event that didn’t involve gimmicks but this match doubled down on that approach and mixed in engaging and innovative three way spots along with old school storytelling of Triple H being the consummate heel. Blood, violence and ultimately jubilation are the signature emotions of the match that closed out WrestleMania XX.
1. Steve Austin vs. The Rock – WrestleMania X7 (86 Points)
Highest Ranking: #1 (Scott Criscuolo, Mike Eller, Tim Capel, Steven Ferrari, Jason Greenhouse, Brian Bayless & Steve Riddle)
Like Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant, this was two of the biggest stars in company history locking up in a gigantic dome with the title on the line. Add into that two workers with less physical limitations, more time in ring to create storyline narratives, blood and, for better or worse, a memorable ending and you have an easy choice for our panel in the best World Title Match in WrestleMania history.