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 XXX – April 6, 2014
This is the first WrestleMania of the WWE Network era and I really can’t imagine a modern WrestleMania topping this card for pure enjoyment. It covered everything it needed to, building the show around Daniel Bryan and his quest to regain the WWE Championship with not one, but two, great matches.
From the opening segment right on down to the final images of the show, WrestleMania XXX delivered, exceeding expectations and the show will forever be remembered as one of the best shows of all time.
Best Match: Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan. You’ve got one of the best workers in the world in the ring with a very good hand in front of an ultra hot crowd with the winner going into the main event. The opening match of WrestleMania XXX set the tone for the entire night. Had Triple H beat Bryan, the show would probably have ended up being a lot worse, because it would have deflated the crowd completely. But WWE did the right thing, put Bryan over strong, which is exactly what everyone wanted. I watched WrestleMania XXX with some friends who didn’t really keep up with WWE. By the middle of the match, the people who knew nothing of Daniel Bryan were chanting “YES! YES!” with everyone in the Superdome. It was a hell of a moment.
Worst Match: AJ Lee wins Vickie Guerrero Invitational Divas Title Match. This is one of those cases where the worst match on the card still isn’t that bad. Matches with multiple divas usually followed the same formula – divas brawl then go into a string of finishing moves to highlight everyone before working towards the finish, and this is exactly what happened here. Somehow, all the Divas ended up on the entrance side outside the ring, giving the Bella twins a chance to do pretty nice twin dives onto the rest of the field. AJ spent most of the match on the floor up until this point, when she got back in the ring to bring the match home. A perfectly acceptable match for the cool down segment before the main event, but it wasn’t up to the standards of the rest of the card.
Not The Silverdome: We complain about the weekly 20-minute opening interview segments, but the real opener of WrestleMania XXX was a lot of fun. Hosted by Hulk Hogan, who was joined by “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock, everyone seemed to have a lot of fun. Some of that was at Hogan’s expense, since he said he was in the Pontiac Silverdome (the location of WrestleMania III) a couple of times before realizing he was in New Orleans at the Superdome. Hogan would return later for a fun callback to the first WrestleMania with Roddy Piper, Paul Orndorff and new Hall of Famer Mr. T. Really great segments to boost the crowd during down periods on the card.
The End of the Streak: So, I don’t think anyone saw that coming in the lead-up to the match. Rewatching the match this week, early on you can see Brock Lesnar a suplex and drop the Undertaker right on his head, and from the moment Taker got up you could tell he was a little out of it. There was a glaze in his eyes and he looked around like he didn’t know where he was. But even then, when Lesnar hit the third F5, I was expecting a kickout that never came. Lesnar pinned the Undertaker and the streak that started at WrestleMania VII was over. The reaction of Lesnar’s advocate, Paul Heyman, to the win really helped sell the moment.
Andre Would Have Been Proud: The 31-man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal (or the Andre Roussimouf Memorial Battle Royal, ARMBaR) featured 8 former World Champions and was probably the most talented Battle Royal in WrestleMania history. Originally meant to be a 30-man match, Cesaro was a last-minute entrance after he lost a Fatal Four Way during the preshow. The crowd was completely behind Cesaro the entire match. Every elimination, every European uppercut got a raucous reaction from the crowd, especially when Cesaro lifted Big Show up and slammed him out of the ring. How Cesaro doesn’t become a superstar after this match is beyond me, but leave it to WWE to somehow mess that up.
What An Ending: By the time the main event Triple Threat for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship started, I think we were all expecting the storybook ending, but there was that nagging feeling that WWE would take it away. Thankfully, the match and the show ended the way it needed to, with Daniel Bryan leading a “YES!” chant holding up the titles he just won with confetti coming down and 70,000 people losing their minds. Absolutely one of my favorite WrestleMania moments ever.
The Top Thirty!
To celebrate the 30th WrestleMania, we are once again expanding the list!
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. Undertaker (WrestleMania XXVI)
6 – Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan (WrestleMania XXX)
7 – Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior – WWF Title vs. Intercontinental Title (WrestleMania VI)
8 – Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. Shawn Michaels – WWF Title Iron Man Match (WrestleMania XII)
9 – Edge & Christian vs. Hardy Boyz vs. Dudley Boyz – Tag Team Title TLC Match (WrestleMania X-Seven)
10 Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho (WrestleMania XIX)
11 – Undertaker vs. Triple H – Hell in a Cell (WrestleMania XXVIII)
12 – Edge vs. Kane vs. Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit vs. Christian vs. Shelton Benjamin – Money In The Bank Ladder Match (WrestleMania 21)
13 – Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker (WrestleMania 25)
14 – Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. “The Rocket” Owen Hart (WrestleMania X)
15 – Ultimate Warrior vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage – Career Ending Match (WrestleMania VII)
16 – Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels (WrestleMania 21)
17 – Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon – Intercontinental Title Ladder Match (WrestleMania X)
18 – Undertaker vs. Edge – World Heavyweight Title Match (WrestleMania XXIV)
19 – Eddy Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle – WWE Title Match (WrestleMania XX)
20 – Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair – Career Threatening Match (WrestleMania XXIV)
21 – Undertaker vs. CM Punk (WrestleMania NY/NJ)
22 – John Cena vs. The Rock (WrestleMania XXVIII)
23 – Undertaker vs. Randy Orton (WrestleMania 21)
24 – Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar – WWE Title Match (WrestleMania XIX)
25 – “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock (WrestleMania X8)
26 – John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels – WWE Title (WrestleMania 23)
27 – Randy Orton vs. Batista vs. Daniel Bryan – WWE World Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat match (WrestleMania XXX)
28 – CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho – WWE Title (WrestleMania XXVIII)
29 – Triple H vs. Undertaker (WrestleMania X-Seven)
30 – Hulk Hogan & Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff (WrestleMania I)
Top Twenty WrestleMania Musical Performances
Ray Charles, America the Beautiful – WrestleMania 2
Little Richard, America the Beautiful – WrestleMania X
Living Colour, Cult of Personality – WrestleMania NY/NJ
Fife and Drum Corp performing Piper’s entrance – WrestleMania I
Mark Crozer and the Refs, Live in Fear – WrestleMania XXX
John Legend, America the Beautiful – WrestleMania XXIV
Steve Allen rehearses in bathroom with the Bolsheviks – WrestleMania VI
Machine Gun Kelly, Invincible – WrestleMania XXVII
Drowning Pool, Tear Away – WrestleMania X8
Aretha Franklin, America the Beautiful – WrestleMania III / WrestleMania 23
Gospel Choir, The Time is Now – WrestleMania XXVII
Nicole Sherzinger, America the Beautiful – WrestleMania 25
Boys Choir of Harlem, American the Beautiful – WrestleMania XX
Rev Theory, Voices – WrestleMania XXX
P.O.D., Booyaka – WrestleMania 22
Flo Rida featuring Sia, Good Feeling and Wild One – WrestleMania XXVIII
Kid Rock Medley – WrestleMania 25
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
Ranking The Rematches!
We’ve had quite a few rematches at WrestleMania over the years. A bunch of them involve the Undertaker… Here, we’ll count down from the best to the worst:
The Rock vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin – No DQ WWF Title Match (WrestleMania X-Seven)
Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker (WrestleMania XXVI)
Edge & Christian vs. Hardy Boyz vs. Dudley Boyz – Tag Team Title TLC Match (WrestleMania X-Seven)
Undertaker vs. Triple H – Hell in a Cell (WrestleMania XXVIII)
The Rock vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (WrestleMania XIX)
The Rock vs. John Cena – WWE Title Match (WrestleMania NY/NJ)
Triple H vs. Undertaker (WrestleMania XXVII)
Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant (WrestleMania IV)
Undertaker vs. Kane (WrestleMania XX)