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 XXIV – March 30, 2008
Hey look! It’s a widescreen WrestleMania on my television! Finally! Those black bars were really starting to annoy me…
This is one of my favorite WrestleManias of the last 10 years. Three really great matches on top, a surprise result in the WWE Title Triple Threat match and a Money in the Bank match that was, I think, much better than the previous two years.
WrestleMania XXIV is one of the few – if not the only – event of the modern era that I missed live because of lack of access at the time, where I was working on a Sunday night and had no WWE Network (THE HORROR!). But as soon as the DVD came out, I was all over it and it quickly became a favorite.
Best Match: Undertaker vs. Edge – World Heavyweight Championship. I honestly wasn’t expecting that, but Edge and Undertaker definitely had the match of the night. These two guys worked their asses off in the main event and built a match that was fitting to be in the final spot on the card. The crowd kept building to a crescendo, too, and when Edge finally tapped to the Hell’s Gate, the pop was pretty nuts. Of course, the pyro set off after the match sent a bunch of people to the hospital, but nothing goes off without a hitch, right?
Worst Match: Chavo Guerrero vs. Kane – ECW Championship. You have to wonder why they even bothered to bring ECW announcers Joey Styles and Tazz to Orlando for an 11-second squash in the one match where they have the singular spotlight. Kane won a preshow battle royal for the shot, sneaked in the ring behind Chavo during ring introductions and won with a chokeslam. Complete waste of time.
Show WWE The Money: I have a soft spot for the Big Show-Floyd Mayweather match at WrestleMania XXIV. Show was motivated and Mayweather seemed game to be tossed around at least a little bit. Of course, there was no way Mayweather was going to be the face here, as WWE intended when they started the program, and both guys adjusted to the roles that the fans chose for them. Having Mayweather’s handlers get destroyed was a good way for fans to get some catharsis, knowing “Money” wasn’t going to take a chokeslam. Although, I kind of shuddered watching the ending with some of the chair shots Show took from Mayweather. Easily Big Show’s best WrestleMania match.
Leave The Memories Alone: Coming in a close second for match of the night, the Shawn Michaels-Ric Flair match was the emotional centerpiece of the show. Flair wrestling his final WWE match the night after being inducted into the Hall of Fame, losing to the guy who arguably took his spot as the best in the business. It was the natural end for the “Nature Boy’s” career (as long as you ignore that whole TNA stint… and I think Flair does at this point, too).
Anything Can Happen: Maybe WWE was forecasting the end of the WWE Title Triple Threat when they had their text poll, asking fans who they thought would win. Randy Orton, the defending champion, was a distant third while fans expected either Triple H or John Cena to leave with the title. But the Viper managed to slither out of Orlando with the title to the shock of pretty much everyone.
Anything Can Happen 2: When CM Punk grabbed the Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania XXIV, I would have bet any amount of money to say that Punk would have been the first cash-in to fail. After three straight years of title changes due to the briefcase, and not believing that WWE would get behind someone like Punk, his losing a cash-in attempt seemed like a good bet. Boy, was I wrong.
Guilty Pleasure: I admit, I enjoy the JBL character more than I probably should. I love the man’s entrance music, I thought he was great on the mic as a competitor (less so now as a commentator) and I generally enjoyed what he did in the ring. So, having said that, it should be no surprise that I love the JBL-Finlay Belfast Brawl that kicks off WrestleMania XXIV. The match is a fun brawl that sets the pace for the rest of the night.
Lights Out, Ladies: Even the Citrus Bowl in Orlando didn’t care about the Bunny Mania lumberjill match pitting Melina and Women’s Champion Beth Phoenix vs. Ashley and Maria. Halfway through the match, the lights went out in the arena, leaving only an emergency spotlight to show the action in the ring. It’s not the worst match ever, as Beth and Melina were able to carry the brunt, and for the most part it was just meant to get Santino over as a jerk. Plus, it gave Snoop Dogg a chance to make out with Maria, something I think we would all like the chance to do…
The Top Twenty!
We get some more movement, as Shawn Michaels and Undertaker battle to see who can have the best night. I think that will become a theme the next two years…
1 – Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin – Submission Match (WrestleMania 13)
2 – “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat – Intercontinental Title Match (WrestleMania III)
3 – The Rock vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin – No DQ WWF Title Match (WrestleMania X-Seven)
4 – Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit – World Heavyweight Title Triple Threat (WrestleMania XX)
5 – Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior – WWF Title vs. Intercontinental Title (WrestleMania VI)
6 – Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. Shawn Michaels – WWF Title Iron Man Match (WrestleMania XII)
7 – Edge & Christian vs. Hardy Boyz vs. Dudley Boyz – Tag Team Title TLC Match (WrestleMania X-Seven)
8 – Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho (WrestleMania XIX)
9 – Edge vs. Kane vs. Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit vs. Christian vs. Shelton Benjamin – Money In The Bank Ladder Match (WrestleMania 21)
10 – Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. “The Rocket” Owen Hart (WrestleMania X)
11 – Ultimate Warrior vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage – Career Ending Match (WrestleMania VII)
12 – Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels (WrestleMania 21)
13 – Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon – Intercontinental Title Ladder Match (WrestleMania X)
14 – Undertaker vs. Edge – World Heavyweight Title Match (WrestleMania XXIV)
15 – Eddy Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle – WWE Title Match (WrestleMania XX)
16 – Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair – Career Threatening Match (WrestleMania XXIV)
17 – Undertaker vs. Randy Orton (WrestleMania 21)
18 – Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar – WWE Title Match (WrestleMania XIX)
19 – “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock (WrestleMania X8)
20 – John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels – WWE Title (WrestleMania 23)
Top Twenty 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
Donald Trump – WrestleMania 23
Snoop Dogg – WrestleMania XXIV
Alex Trebek – WrestleMania VII
Vanna White – WrestleMania IV
Burt Reynolds – WrestleMania X
Regis Philbin – WrestleMania VII
Gennifer Flowers – WrestleMania XIV
Jonathan Taylor Thomas – WrestleMania XI
LT’s All-Pro Team (Reggie White, Steve McMichael, Carl Banks, Rickey Jackson, Chris Spielman, and Ken Norton Jr.) – WrestleMania XI
Muhammad Ali – WrestleMania I
Elvira – WrestleMania 2
Jenny McCarthy – WrestleMania XI
Alice Cooper – WrestleMania III
Pamela Anderson – WrestleMania XI
Ozzy Osbourne – WrestleMania 2
Top 15 WrestleMania Musical Acts
Ray Charles, America the Beautiful – WrestleMania 2
Little Richard, America the Beautiful – WrestleMania X
Fife and Drum Corp performing Piper’s entrance – WrestleMania I
John Legend, America the Beautiful – WrestleMania XXIV
Steve Allen rehearses in bathroom with the Bolsheviks – WrestleMania VI
Drowning Pool, Tear Away – WrestleMania X8
Aretha Franklin, America the Beautiful – WrestleMania III / WrestleMania 23
Boys Choir of Harlem, American the Beautiful – WrestleMania XX
P.O.D., Booyaka – WrestleMania 22
Boyz II Men, America the Beautiful – WrestleMania XV
Motorhead, The Game – WrestleMania X-Seven / WrestleMania 21
Jones High School Marching Band, The Time is Now – WrestleMania XXIV
Limp Bizkit, Crack Addict – WrestleMania XIX
DX Band, DeGeneration X theme – WrestleMania XIV
Willie Nelson, America the Beautiful – WrestleMania VII