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.
Today, we return to Madison Square Garden for the 10th annual event.
WrestleMania X – March 20, 1994
Back where it all began, Madison Square Garden, the WWF began a new era in 1994. Hulk Hogan, the biggest star of the WrestleMania years, was not only on his way to signing with rival WCW, but he was also just months away from testifying in Vince McMahon’s steroid trial. The Hulk Hogan era was over in the WWF and it was time for some new stars to rise.
There was a definite sense of unpredictability coming in to WrestleMania X. There were two WWF Title matches scheduled, thanks to Bret “Hitman” Hart and Lex Luger both winning the 1994 Royal Rumble. Would the title change once, twice or not at all? And just what goes on in a ladder match?
The WWF needed new stars to rise for WrestleMania X and from the first match of the card, you could see that the WWF was serious about pushing some new blood.
Best Match: Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. “The Rocket” Owen Hart. A feud that simmered since the 1993 Survivor Series took it up a notch at WrestleMania X, as the Hart brothers put on a clinic for the boys in the back and showed everyone what they learned in their father’s dungeon. Owen, the youngest Hart brother, beating the established main eventer in the show opener gave the company a feud to headline the company through the next year and helped set the stage for the next few years.
Worst Match: Adam Bomb vs. Earthquake. When your match is little more than a backdrop to get a feud between announcer Howard Finkel and manager Harvey Wippleman over, you’re not going to get a whole lot of time to get going. Another useless WrestleMania squash.
The Title Matches: For the second year in a row, Yokozuna wrestled in two WWF Title matches and for the second year in a row, Yokozuna ended up going 1-1 and leaving the arena without the title. Of course, for WrestleMania X, the two title matches were scheduled. While I really was hoping for a Luger-Hart main event, having Bret Hart overcome the monster who beat him the year before truly gave Hart the ball as the focus of the company.
Climbing The Ladder: The main event scene wasn’t the only thing in flux leading up to WrestleMania X. In the fall of 1993, Shawn Michaels was stripped of the Intercontinental Title after reportedly failing a drug test. The title went to Razor Ramon in a battle royal on Raw in October. Not long after, Michaels was back, and the build to crowning the one, true Intercontinental champion was underway. Instead of a regular match between the two backstage buddies, the title was put up for grabs in a ladder match, the first time one was seen on WWF television. Michaels and Ramon set a standard for what a ladder match should look like, having a great match that included a ladder instead of having the ladder overshadow the match. You could argue that this should be the best match on the card, and it certainly comes close.
Cut Down: WrestleMania X was another three-hour, 9 match card, but there were 10 matches scheduled. Reportedly, Michaels and Ramon going long in their ladder match caused the WWF to cancel a 10-man tag team match between Jeff Jarrett, The Headshrinkers, IRS and Rick Martel vs. The Smoking Gunns, Tatanka, I-2-3 Kid and Sparky Plugg. That match would have given Irwin R. Schyster the honor of being the only male wrestler to have a match at both the first WrestleMania and the tenth. With that match cut, the only person to wrestle at both WrestleMania I and X was Leilani Kai, who lost the Women’s Title to Wendy Richter in 1985 and lost her bid to get the belt back against Alundra Blayze in 1994.
The Top Ten
Two new matches make not only the Top Ten, but break the Top Five overall this time around.
1 – “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat – Intercontinental Title Match (WrestleMania III)
2 – Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior – WWF Title vs. Intercontinental Title (WrestleMania VI)
3 – Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. “The Rocket” Owen Hart (WrestleMania X)
4 – Ultimate Warrior vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage – Career Ending Match (WrestleMania VII)
5 – Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon – Intercontinental Title Ladder Match (WrestleMania X)
6 – Hulk Hogan & Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff (WrestleMania I)
7 – “Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. Bret “Hitman” Hart – Intercontinental Title Match (WrestleMania VIII)
8 – Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake vs. The British Bulldogs – Tag Team Title Match (WrestleMania 2)
9 – Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant – WWF Title Match (WrestleMania III)
10 – Hart Foundation and Danny Davis vs. British Bulldogs and Tito Santana (WrestleMania III)
After taking a year off, the WWF brought back some more pageantry for WrestleMania X.
Top Ten Celebrity Appearances
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
Muhammad Ali – WrestleMania I
Elvira – WrestleMania 2
Alice Cooper – WrestleMania III
Top Five 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
Aretha Franklin, America the Beautiful – WrestleMania III