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 XXVI – March 28, 2010
This was a weird year for both WWE and WrestleMania. The talent lineup was just stacked with current and future stars, but it felt like very little on the card clicked the way it was supposed to.
We are firmly entrenched, I think, in an era of WrestleMania here where the cards blend together and, while it gets a bit worse in the next couple of years, I have trouble recalling which matches were featured on this card outside of the main event and a couple of the other matches on the card.
Once again, it’s not a bad card. There’s a lot of pretty good stuff here, mixed with very little crap, it’s just that very little of it comes off as memorable.
Best Match: Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker. Once again, the Phenom and the Showstopper steal the show. Obviously, your mileage may vary, but I find this match to be much better than the first one. The two guys get right into it, not needing to feel each other out. And the ending, with the jumping Tombstone of Retirement after Shawn slapped Undertaker was pure gold.
Worst Match: Michelle McCool, Layla, Alicia Fox, Maryse and Vickie Guerrero vs. Mickie James, Kelly Kelly, Eve, Gail Kim and Beth Phoenix. When the highlight of your match is Vickie Guerrero botching a frog splash (called a “hog splash” by lead play-by-play man Michael Cole because we need to body shame women), you have a problem. There’s a lot of talent in this match, and yet they got just over four minutes to have all the divas do their finishes and then lead into the Eddie Guerrero tribute. This should have been preshow fodder.
Just SHUT UP: I thought Michael Cole was obnoxious, but then I watched a WrestleMania where Matt Striker was one of the announcers. Striker’s feigned enthusiasm and stupid attempts at catchphrases really was grating throughout the four hour card. The former teacher combined the worst aspects of Cole and Jerry Lawler into a ridiculous package.
Go The Other Way: There were a couple of matches on the card that, in my own opinion, were booked the opposite way of how things should have gone. First up, CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio. They keep teasing these stipulations that would have interesting consequences, and then they don’t follow through. This time around, if Rey Mysterio lost, he would have been forced to join Punk’s Straight Edge Society. The feud was continuing anyway, why not give it some legs and have Rey join Punk for a month or two? It just made no sense to have Punk lose here.
The other match with screwy booking was Triple H vs. Sheamus. Sheamus was just coming off of his first WWE Title reign and could have used a win over Triple H at WrestleMania to keep him strong. Instead, he jobs out to the Game in their first encounter, before destroying him at the next big show. Backwards booking all around.
Such a Disappointment: I was expecting more out of the World Heavyweight Championship match between Canadians Edge and Chris Jericho (Sign in the Crowd: I Bet The Canadian Wins – Brilliant). For whatever reason, Edge – who just returned from an injury to win the Royal Rumble – seemed like he was off his game and not up to the standard he had set in previous years. The match never got into high gear. Things were saved a bit by the post-match beat down, but even then, they seemed to miss opportunities. With Jericho speared through a barricade, just have Jack Swagger cash in his newly-won briefcase on Jericho instead of waiting til SmackDown, five days later.
Revenge, Canadian Style: Bret “Hitman” Hart returned to WWE in January, and the wheels were set in motion to blow off a 13 year feud that started with the Montreal Screwjob. I doubt anyone expected Hart’s match with Vince McMahon to be a 5-star classic, considering Hart’s medical history and Vince being Vince. But they put on a complete overbooked mess that could have been a lot of fun, but dragged on just a bit too long. The chair shots! Oh the humanity!
The Set Up: With the exception of the main event, which ended the career of Shawn Michaels, it felt like a lot of the matches at WrestleMania were just setting up something to happen on another show. The WWE Title Match between Batista and John Cena was no exception. Cena beat Batista here in a pretty good, if unspectacular, match to regain the WWE Title, but it was prologue to a continuing series of matches between the two, leading up to Batista quitting two months later. WrestleMania XXVI managed to turn the “Showcase of the Immortals” into the kickoff for angles to end at a B-show.
The Top Twenty!
Once again, just one new addition this time around.
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 – Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker (WrestleMania XXVI)
6 – Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior – WWF Title vs. Intercontinental Title (WrestleMania VI)
7 – Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. Shawn Michaels – WWF Title Iron Man Match (WrestleMania XII)
8 – Edge & Christian vs. Hardy Boyz vs. Dudley Boyz – Tag Team Title TLC Match (WrestleMania X-Seven)
9 – Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho (WrestleMania XIX)
10 – Edge vs. Kane vs. Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit vs. Christian vs. Shelton Benjamin – Money In The Bank Ladder Match (WrestleMania 21)
11 – Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker (WrestleMania 25)
12 – Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. “The Rocket” Owen Hart (WrestleMania X)
13 – Ultimate Warrior vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage – Career Ending Match (WrestleMania VII)
14 – Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels (WrestleMania 21)
15 – Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon – Intercontinental Title Ladder Match (WrestleMania X)
16 – The Undertaker vs. Edge – World Heavyweight Title Match (WrestleMania XXIV)
17 – Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle – WWE Title Match (WrestleMania XX)
18 – Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair – Career Threatening Match (WrestleMania XXIV)
19 – The Undertaker vs. Randy Orton (WrestleMania 21)
20 – Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar – WWE Title Match (WrestleMania XIX)
Top Ten WrestleMania Tag Team Matches
1 – Edge & Christian vs. Hardy Boyz vs. Dudley Boyz – Tag Team Title TLC Match (WrestleMania X-Seven)
2 – Hulk Hogan & Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff (WrestleMania I)
3 – Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake vs. The British Bulldogs – Tag Team Title Match (WrestleMania 2)
4 – Hart Foundation and Danny Davis vs. British Bulldogs and Tito Santana (WrestleMania III)
5 – Dudley Boys vs. Hardy Boys vs. Edge and Christian – Tag Team Title Ladder Match (WrestleMania 2000)
6 – The Rockers vs. Haku & The Barbarian (WrestleMania VII)
7 – The Rock and Mick Foley vs. Ric Flair, Randy Orton and Batista (WrestleMania XX)
8 – Team Angle vs. Los Guerreros vs. Chris Benoit and Rhyno – WWF Tag Team Title Match (WrestleMania XIX)
9 – Nikolai Volkoff & The Iron Shiek vs. Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham – Tag Team Title Match (WrestleMania I)
10 – Terry and Hoss Funk vs. Junkyard Dog and Tito Santana (WrestleMania 2)
Top Five WrestleMania Women’s Matches
1 – Trish Stratus vs. Mickie James – Women’s Title Match (WrestleMania 22)
2 – Lelani Kai vs. Wendy Richter – Women’s Title Match (WrestleMania I)
3 – Victoria vs. Jazz vs. Trish Stratus – Women’s Title match (WrestleMania XIX)
4 – Victoria vs. Molly Holly – Women’s Title Match (WrestleMania XX)
5 – Jazz vs. Lita vs. Trish Stratus – Women’s Title Triple Threat Match (WrestleMania X8)