HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – The Grandest Stage of Them All. The Showcase of the Immortals. The Show of Shows. The Greatest Spectacle in Sports Entertainment.
Whatever you call it doesn’t matter. This time of year means one thing and one thing only.
For over 30 years the WWE (formerly WWF) has provided us with a spectacle unlike any other in professional wrestling.
As we approach the 33rd incarnation from Orlando, Florida on Sunday I figured it would be a fun exercise to pick the brains of some of the fellow wrestling fans on the SportsRadio 610 staff for their favorite Wrestlemania matches of all-time.
See which ones made the list (no, Jericholics, not that list).
Cody Stoots of In the Loop
10. Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle Wrestlemania XX
Latino Heat with a rare feat retaining the WWE title at Wrestlemania. A real treat from Eddie and Kurt Angle. The finish with Eddie taking his boot off to beat Angle’s ankle lock was superb.
9. Randy Savage vs. Ultimate Warrior Wrestlemania VII
The Macho King wrestled a true gem as he carried Ultimate Warrior to maybe his only “good” match of his career. The multiple elbow drops and high-flying moves from Savage left me in awe. The end is Warrior beating Savage but the real story is Miss Elizabeth reuniting with her beau after the match.
8. Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle Wrestlemania 21
A true classic from two of the best in-ring performers in the history of the business.
7. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock Wrestlemania X-Seven
This would have been the number one match of all-time for me if after using Vince McMahon’s help Austin, instead of aligning with the devil himself, stunned Vince and then pinned The Rock.
6. Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart Wrestlemania X
I miss Owen Hart being in wrestling. He was so damn good. I think he was more entertaining than Bret was at almost every turn. He could have been WWE champion multiple times. His untimely death is a tough moment in wrestling history but this is truly excellence in execution.
5. Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon Wrestlemania X
One of the first ladder matches and still one of the best ladder matches.
4. The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan Wrestlemania X8
One of the most impressive double-turns in wrestling history. The energy is palpable and even at his advanced age, Hogan has a nice match that meant so much to the history of wrestling.
3. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian WrestleMania X-Seven
Three of the best tag teams of all-time wrestling in one of the most brutal and innovative matches ever.
2. Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels WrestleMania 25
1. Brett Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin – Submission Match, WrestleMania 13
Perhaps my favorite match ever. Just a masterpiece from start, Austin walking through the broken glass, to the finish, Austin passing out bloody as hell. Hart was amazing in this as a technician working Austin. The steel post figure four is just great. The announcing was top notch too. Storytelling at its finest.
10. Daniel Bryan vs Randy Orton vs Batista, Wrestlemania 30
Bryan gets Batista to submit to conclude a run to the title that fans everywhere had been clamoring for. Sadly, Bryan would be forced to retire just months.
9. Ultimate Warrior vs Hulk Hogan, Wrestlemania VI
On paper, this probably didn’t look like a great match — significant, yes.. watchable, no. However, these two actually put on a good show within the confines of their skill sets. Also, Hogan losing clean at the end of a Mania card was jarring.
8. Steve Austin vs The Rock, Wrestlemania XIX
The final match of Austin’s career, and the end of the greatest rivalry of the Attitude Era.
7. Owen Hart vs Bret Hart, Wrestlemania X
The culmination of a months-long “jealous little brother” angle, in which Bret gives Owen a huge boost by getting pinned clean. Bret would get back any juice that he lost about three hours later when he pinned Yokozuna for the WWF title.
6. The Rock vs Hulk Hogan, Wrestlemania X8
Two of the most charismatic performers in the history of the business collided, and by the end of the match, the script was thrown out the window. Rock came in as the babyface and Hogan as the heel, and the Toronto crowd had ZERO desire to boo the returning Hogan. His babyface turn would be complete the following night on RAW.
5. Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon (Ladder Match), Wrestlemania X
The first Wrestlemania match that was truly built on a combination of high-risk stunts and storylines. This was the Match of the Year and considered revolutionary back in 1994.
4. Edge/Christian vs Hardy Boyz vs Dudley Boyz (TLC Match), Wrestlemania X-Seven
On a card with Austin-Rock, Undertaker-HHH, Vince-Shane, and Benoit-Angle, the show was stolen by a tag team title match that had several “HOLY BLEEP” moments.
3. Ricky Steamboat vs Randy Savage, Wrestlemania III
The gold standard for 80’s-style title matches, stole the show from the much more heavily marketed clash between Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan.
2. Shawn Michaels vs Undertaker, Wrestlemania 25
Most people have this one as their top Mania match ever, and deservedly so. it was awesome. But….
1. Bret Hart vs Steve Austin (Submission Match), Wrestlemania 13
… this match was more historically significant and just as awesome. This match triggered the Bret hart heel turn, which led to Bret leaving for WCW after the Montreal Screwjob (the most historically significant event in wrestling history next to the night Vince McMahon, Sr. impregnated Vince McMahon, Jr.’s mom), and it also started Austin’s babyface run which was arguably the hottest in the history of wrestling. I was in attendance for both of my top two, and the atmosphere in the cozier Rosemont Horizon for WM 13 also is a bit of a tie breaker.
10. Undertaker vs. Edge – World Heavyweight Championship Match, WrestleMania 24
As you might have noticed, Edge has shown up on this list a few times. Undertaker and Shawn Michaels are the top two WrestleMania performers of all-time in my opinion, but Edge isn’t far behind.
Undertaker and Edge had one of my favorite feuds of all-time with a retirement match, a Hell in a Cell classic, and this match on the biggest stage of them all.
9. Edge vs. Mick Foley – Hardcore Match, WrestleMania 22
Mick Foley never won a match at WrestleMania, but this was his best moment. The hardcore match era was starting to die off by the time this gem happened, but it belongs right next to all the classics.
Edge and Mick Foley are arguably the two best “hardcore” match wrestlers in WWF/E history, and this match stands out as some of their best work with several jaw-dropping high spots.
8. Undertaker vs. Triple H – Hell in a Cell “End of an Era,” WrestleMania 28
Not the best Hell in a Cell match ever, but definitely the best Hell in a Cell match that took place at a WrestleMania. Two legendary performers with Mr. WrestleMania as the special guest referee, lots of great hardcore action, but not so much that it became illogical or a spot fest; just right.
7. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian – Tag Team Championship Triple Threat TLC Match, WrestleMania 17
Sometimes the extreme matches can become spot fests, lack a natural build-up and progression to a logical finish, and just feel like a Fast & Furious stunt show, but this match while a spot fest to some degree, was the best extreme match of all-time.
6. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock – WWF Title, WrestleMania 17
Another double heel turn, but I actually hated the finish. The heel turn for Stone Cold didn’t work, but the match was excellent.
5. Shawn Michaels vs. Brett Hart – WWF Title 60-minute Ironman Match, WrestleMania 12
The two best in-ring workers of the 1990’s in a throwback 60-minute match; spectacular.
4. Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat – WrestleMania 3
I became a wrestling fan in 1995, so you’ll notice this is the only match from the 1980’s or before on my list. This match, however, stands out and is something I sought out when the WWE Network launched, or before that when I rented wrestling tapes from Blockbuster in the 1990’s.
3. Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels – Intercontinental Title Ladder Match, WrestleMania 10
The first ladder match, the best ladder match, and two stars at the top of their game.
2. Brett Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin – Submission Match, WrestleMania 13
The best double turn I’ve ever seen with Stone Cold being propelled into baby face superstardom, and Bret Hart starting one of the more underrated heel runs as the leader of the anti-American Hart Foundation.
Plus Ken Shamrock as the ref, Stone Cold passing out in the sharpshooter with blood and agony covering his face; one of the best examples ever of telling a great story with a wrestling match.
1. Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania 25
The two best WrestleMania performers of all-time, two of the biggest names at all-time, in their prime, and executing at their absolute best. An amazing match with more re-watch value than any other match on this list.
10. Kurt Angle v. Eddie Guerrero – Wrestlemania XX
9. Tables Ladders and Chairs 2 (Hardy Boyz v. Edge and Christian v. Dudley Boyz) – Wrestlemania X-Seven
8. Macho King Randy Savage v. Ultimate Warrior – Wrestlemania XVII
7. Bret Hart v. Stone Cold Steve Austin – Wrestlemania 13
6. Hulk Hogan v. Ultimate Warrior – Wrestlemania VI
5. Hollywood Hulk Hogan v. The Rock – Wrestlemania X-8
4. Shawn Michaels v. Kurt Angle – Wrestlemania 21
3. Daniel Bryan v. Batista v. Randy Orton – Wrestlemania XXX
2. Steve Austin v. The Rock – Wrestlemania X-Seven
1. Undertaker v. Shawn Michaels – Wrestlemania 25
Follow Stoots on Twitter – @Cody_Stoots