Every year, there is much speculation of what the WrestleMania stage will look like, with journalists all hoping to be the first to get a glance of the entrance way of the ‘Showcase of the Immortals’.
Instead of looking forward, and pontificating on what this year’s will look like, I’m preferring to look back at previous years and provide my five favourite WrestleMania stages. While these are in no particular order, each one sticks out in my mind, with features that elevate them above WrestleMania I’s contribution – a dark curtain (spoiler alert: WrestleMania I did not make the list).
The really tricky part of compiling the list is I am looking back at these stages with the perspective of someone who grew up with internet 2.0, someone who has grown used to HD TV and the highest of production values. However, I will endeavour to judge them as products of their time as much as possible. Without further ado, here’s my top stages from WrestleMania’s past.
1. WrestleMania III
The earliest show on my list, WrestleMania 3 was the one that broke the mould. Instead of your usual entrance curtain, this featured essentially golf carts with mini-rings on top of them to ferry the wrestlers to the ring. It is a sign of huge progress and is the forebear of many years to come. There’s also something quite wonderful about seeing Andre the Giant being carried to the ring by a miniature ring that these words do not do justice.
2. WrestleMania 33
Now for something much more recent, WrestleMania 33. This stage was notable for one thing, the huge roller coaster. Who doesn’t love a themed stage, and even better this was themed after a theme park, so ended up being theme-ception.
To have a working rollercoaster at the grandest stage of them all is a certain type of energy that I can only wish to exude and it’s for that reason that this makes my top-5 list.
3. WrestleMania 21
Another year and another theme, this time with WrestleMania 21. This iteration had a lovely theme as WrestleMania well and truly went Hollywood. The main event had Batista taking on Triple H and boy, will it be a long time before we see them wrestle again, if ever. Also worth noting is the Wikipedia page for this event is worth 5 minutes of your time, if not just to see who is the main event according to that page.
All jokes aside, when the WWE go for a theme, they really go for a theme and long may that continue, although I shudder to think what the theme will be in the year 2053.
4. WrestleMania X-Seven
Sometimes the event holds a special place in your heart, and colours your memory of everything associated. This is certainly the case with WrestleMania X-Seven’s stage. It’s not the most flashy or special stage – merely a couple of LED screens with WrestleMania on one side and X-Seven on the other.
That being said, it was the entrance for the best WrestleMania so far. The Rock took on Stone Cold in the main event and earlier in the show there was the amazing TLC 2 between Edge and Christian, the Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz. The rest of the show was also amazing as the above are just two highlights from the card.
5. WrestleMania 31
The final entry on the list is WrestleMania 31. This absolutely has to make the list. It featured a massive screen and was the scene of Seth’s famous run-in to cash his Money in the Bank contract. Those aren’t the reasons this stage gets into my top 5. The defining reason why this stage sticks out in my mind and is truly worthy of its inclusion on this list are 4 words: Rusev.in.a.tank.
What show could ever compete with that? Especially with Seth, you end up having – on the same show – Money in the bank and Rusev in a tank. Nothing says classic WWE more than that.