As we continue down the road to the biggest show of the year, I’ve been going through each event to prepare for the big day.
Instead of doing recaps for every WrestleMania (other people here do that much better), I’ve been putting together a Top Ten list of WrestleMania matches and have been updating it after each show.
WrestleMania X-Seven – April 1, 2001
The Monday Night Wars ended two weeks before this show and the WWF celebrated its victory over buying WCW with a huge show. The Attitude Era was built around The Rock and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin taking over as the top guys in the company, and what better way to close out the Attitude Era than with a WrestleMania rematch between the two.
Many consider this show to be the greatest WrestleMania ever, and considering the quality of the matches from top to bottom, it’s hard to argue that point.
Best Match: The Rock vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin – No DQ WWF Title Match. The intensity for this match was off the charts. Austin and the Rock came up through the ranks of the WWF together and for the second time main event WrestleMania. Austin and Rock have amazing chemistry in the ring and on the microphone, so the match was always going to be great. The build to the show was one of the all-time classics and fans were treated to the best WWF Main Event Style brawl of all time. Austin siding with Vince McMahon to win the match may have taken away from the match for some, but it made sense within the storyline. It’s just too bad they decided to do the change deep in the heart of Texas, Austin’s home state.
Worst Match: Ivory vs. Chyna – Women’s Title Match. Yet again, the worst match on the card belongs to the ladies. This year, though, it’s not because the match was outright bad – it wasn’t. It was a squash, which is what it was supposed to be. But on a year when everything else delivered, a Women’s Title squash match featuring Chyna is going to be the least of the attractions.
Climbing The Ladder: If it wasn’t for Austin-Rock, the Tables, Ladders and Chairs match for the Tag Team Titles would have topped the list. Somehow, all three teams improved on the amazing performance at WrestleMania 2000 with this match. It was the best kind of car wreck, with memorable spots and run-ins from Lita, Rhyno and Spike Dudley. Definitely deserving of a Top Ten spot.
Another Family Affair: Last year, it was a McMahon in every corner. This time around, the WWF just put the men in the ring and let them go at it. There is no reason a match between Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon should have the energy or quality that it did, but it was one of the best matches of the night. Mick Foley, Linda McMahon, Stephanie McMahon and Trish Stratus all get involved and manages to wrap up storylines before the whole thing got reset to start the Invasion angle. The cheers when Linda McMahon stood up from her “comatose state” to kick Vince in the grapefruits was unbelievable. And then it was followed by more when Foley started laying in shots. Really fun garbage brawl.
Taker’s Best Shot: There was a time when an Undertaker main event was not one of the better matches on a card. That all changed with his WrestleMania X-Seven match against Triple H. Fully in Biker-Taker mode, the Deadman and the Cerebral Assassin brawled all over the Astrodome before bringing it back to the ring for a balls-out sequence. And for the first time watching an Undertaker WrestleMania match, I believed he could lose. But no, not even a sledgehammer to the head will cause Undertaker to lose at WrestleMania. Not when he hasn’t even reached double digits yet! One of my favorite matches from this year’s card.
Don’t Go Over: In contention for worst match of the night was the Gimmick Battle Royal, where old characters were brought back to put over how ridiculous some of the booking could be. Such notables as The Goon, the GobbledyGooker, Tugboat and James E. Cornette joined Sgt. Slaughter, Earthquake, Michael “P.S.” Hayes, Kamala and others in a battle to see who could look the most ridiculous. In the end, the Iron Shiek won the match, mainly because he reportedly couldn’t take an over-the-top-rope bump. That’s pretty good logic. The match was improved upon by having old favorites Mean Gene Okerlund and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan on commentary. Although, I imagine Paul Heyman would have fit right in with those guys.
The Top Ten
Finally! There’s some movement in the Top Ten this time around. Three matches from WrestleMania X-Seven make their way into the Top Ten.
Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin – Submission Match (WrestleMania 13)
“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat – Intercontinental Title Match (WrestleMania III)
The Rock vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin – No DQ WWF Title Match (WrestleMania X-Seven)
Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior – WWF Title vs. Intercontinental Title (WrestleMania VI)
Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. Shawn Michaels – WWF Title Iron Man Match (WrestleMania XII)
Edge & Christian vs. Hardy Boyz vs. Dudley Boyz – Tag Team Title TLC Match (WrestleMania X-Seven)
Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. “The Rocket” Owen Hart (WrestleMania X)
Ultimate Warrior vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage – Career Ending Match (WrestleMania VII)
Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon – Intercontinental Title Ladder Match (WrestleMania X)
Triple H vs. Undertaker (WrestleMania X-Seven)
Top Ten Celebrity Appearances
Mike Tyson – WrestleMania XIV
Pete Rose – WrestleMania XIV/WrestleMania XV/WrestleMania 2000
Bob Uecker – WrestleMania III/WrestleMania IV
Mary Hart – WrestleMania III
Cyndi Lauper – WrestleMania I
Alex Trebek – WrestleMania VII
Vanna White – WrestleMania IV
Burt Reynolds – WrestleMania X
Regis Philbin – WrestleMania VII
Gennifer Flowers – WrestleMania XIV
Top TEN Musical Performances
Ray Charles, America the Beautiful – WrestleMania 2
Little Richard, America the Beautiful – WrestleMania X
Fife and Drum Corp performing Piper’s entrance – WrestleMania I
Steve Allen rehearses in bathroom with the Bolsheviks – WrestleMania VI
Boyz II Men, America the Beautiful – WrestleMania XV
Aretha Franklin, America the Beautiful – WrestleMania III
Motorhead, The Game – WrestleMania X-Seven
DX Band, DeGeneration X theme – WrestleMania XIV
Willie Nelson, America the Beautiful – WrestleMania VII
Ice-T, Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy – WrestleMania 2000