Our team look back on their favourite ever WrestleMania cards in our special WrestleMania Countdown week.
We are firmly in view of the biggest Pay-Per-View of the year, WrestleMania. As always with the big PPV’s at TWM News we like to showcase these events with our special WrestleMania countdown articles, and this is certainly no different.
We tasked our team with coming up with their “Favourite Five” WrestleMania Cards and they certainly didn’t disappoint. The following pages showcase the diversity of writing styles that we have at TWM so sit back and relax as the team bring you their favourite WrestleMania Cards.
When asked to write about my top 5 cards I have to admit this one didn’t spring to mind straight away. I was going to rattle off the first 5 that came to me but then I thought no, lets really try and find the 5 that I have really enjoyed watching the most over the years and the ones that might just make you the reader think, yeah, I fancy going back to watch that again.
One of the main reasons I picked this card boils down to the fact that I’m a sucker for a good tournament. I still miss the King of The Ring and having a tournament for the WWF title at WrestleMania is about as an exciting gimmick you can get for this ‘rasslin fan.
The show starts with one of my favourite features of any Mania card when it appears, a battle royal. From a business stand point; this is obviously just a way to get as much talent as possible onto the card however, from a fans point of view these are always entertaining matches and a great fun way to start a PPV.
I think the reason this goes down as one of the top 5 cards is not necessarily the strength of talent, although this card is littered with some of the all-time greats. DiBiase (Best guy never to win the title anyone?), Savage, Steamboat, Jake Roberts, Rick Rude, Hogan, Andre, Bret, The Bulldogs, for me though, this is one of the best laid out cards the WWF has ever crafted.
The first round of matches in the tournament, 6 in total, came back to back and thick and fast. As most of the matches on this jam packed card did. There were 16 matches in total more than any other WrestleMania card. In fact the longest match on this particular card came in the first round of the tournament when Rick Rude and Jake Roberts fought to a no contest after hitting the 15 minute time limit.
Upon the completion of the first round it was time for the WWF PPV debut of The Ultimate Warrior. Love him or hate him. The PPV debut of one of the most colourful characters wrestling has ever seen has to be acknowledged as an important moment.
The quarter finals saw Hogan and Andre go at it one more time in a rematch from WrestleMania III add to that the shock that both were eliminated via DQ and all of a sudden the tournament becomes unpredictable. Great stuff.
The card is headlined by Savage and DiBiase, who by this point have both worked magnificently in their own ways from the moment they first went out, Savage going over with the help of the Hulkster, an ending that would begin the road to the following year’s big event.
As I said earlier not a card that springs to mind straight away but one that certainly deserves a lot more credit than it perhaps gets. If you’ve got the WWE Network why not give it a whirl.
This WrestleMania was one of three shows I had on VHS as a child and I cannot honestly say that this isn’t the reason why I have included it in my top 5. It must be up there with there as one of my most watched WrestleManias.
Sold as a double main event, this was the first time WWF fans got to see the legendary Ric Flair on the grandest stage of them all and against a true legend of the business and WrestleMania III show stealer, Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage; this was always going to be a top draw.
The ‘second half,’ as The Fink put it, of the double main event was not a match that leaps off the card at you. Hulk Hogan vs Sid Justice. It was however the ending to a Mania card that everyone came to expect and want. Hogan posing victorious and this time he had The Ultimate Warrior by his side!
The real strength in this particular card comes in the first three matches. These matches were all of the highest quality in their own way and gave us a first look at some of the top names which would dominate the business for the next… Well one of them still is.
The curtain jerker was Tito Santana in his El Matador gimmick against the newly rebranded Shawn Michaels. This was the future Mr WrestleMania’s first PPV appearance as the Boy Toy and as we would come to expect in the years to come he didn’t disappoint in a fast paced match that ended with a clean victory for HBK. Old Guard 0 – 1 up and comers.
The Undertaker vs Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts went on second with a match I consider a true classic when it comes to The Undertaker’s Streak. The DDTs, the sit ups, Paul Bearer at ringside and of course the Tombstone to the concrete floor (shh don’t mention the distance Jake’s head was from the floor). The crowd lapped this up and rightly so. This was WWF in the early 90s at its finest. It’s amazing to think that it wouldn’t be until WrestleMania X-Seven that The Undertaker would get another decent opponent. But that’s another issue. Old Guard 0 – 2 up and comers.
The final match of those opening three contests was for the IC title and pitted, yes you guessed it, a wily veteran against the second man to be making is WrestleMania singles debut, Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart. This is genuinely one of my favourite matches of all time. I was always a Bret guy growing up and still have an ongoing feud myself with my HBK loving friends about who was the better. I remember the blood, the roll up, the bell spot and the handshakes and hugs at the end, wonderful in ring story telling from two of the all-time greats. Old Guard 0 – 3 up and comers.
It was time for the WWF to start investing in the future by the time WrestleMania VIII came along and by putting together a card that put over so much young talent (We also saw Owen Hart make his first appearance out of the Blue Blazer gimmick) against such big star names as well as having Flair, Savage, Hogan and Warrior on the card there is no question, for me anyway, that this is one of the best put together Mania cards ever.
I imagine this will come up on everyone’s list of top 5 cards. It is for me not only the best WrestleMania but the best PPV the WWF have ever put together.
This WrestleMania was somewhat of a coming out show for me. I was at University and living in student halls and although most people who were living or close to me at Uni knew of my penchant for muscly men in spandex most people in the often judgemental Sugarwell Court bar didn’t.
When I suggested the bar televised X-Seven live and make a night of plenty turned up and thank goodness the WWF pulled out all the stops and put on a show of such quality and diversity. Imagine if it had been WrestleMania II standard!
From the opening match between one of my favourite ever wrestling people William Regal against another one of my favourite wrestling people, Chris Jericho, in which the build consisted of the always funny posh man drinks urine joke, to the main event where two of the biggest names this industry has ever seen, Rock and Austin, would go at it again.
I don’t think you could really call any single match on this PPV filler. They may not all be 5 star matches but they were all well booked, went at a good pace and had their rightful place on the greatest card of all time.
Angle and Beniot put on a top class wrestling match, McMahon vs McMahon had everyone in awe of Shane’s coast to coast spot, Undertaker and HHH was the Dead Man’s best American Badass match, a match that cemented, if he wasn’t already, HHH as a ‘top, top’ guy in the business, even the Gimmick Battle Royale was great comic relief.
To cap it all off there is the match that personifies the real peak of tag team wrestling. The TLC match. Mania X-Seven really did have it all.
It’s an event that I have gone back to so many times when in need of something to watch that I have lost count. There really isn’t a dull moment.
This show was the culmination of everything good we had seen in the Attitude Era and I don’t think even the most cynical of wrestling fans could say that this isn’t the greatest ‘show of shows.’
I have gone back and forth about this one for a while but eventually I figured this has to go in my top 5 as it features the blow off matches for two of the best long term feuds in the history of the business and two matches that might just make my top 10 mania matches of all time.
The Feuds of which I speak are the Austin and Rock and Hogan vs Vince. We didn’t know it at the time but WrestleMania XIX was the last time we would see the rattle snake lace up a pair of boots and he lay down for The Rock to give him his win over the toughest S.O.B at WrestleMania, a win that The Great One had craved for so long. The poignant letters sewn onto the Austin’s black vest OMR stood for ‘One More Round’ a farewell message from the biggest name the industry had seen in a generation.
That leads me nicely on to the second of these feud blow off matches, a rivalry that had started over a generation ago. Hogan vs McMahon. The love hate, on off relationship had always been well known to most wrestling fans and as is always the case with wrestling storytelling, its better if there is some truth to it. Vince pulled some great facial visuals in this bloody encounter which saw the surprise appearance of Hogan’s old enemy, the ever charismatic Rowdy Roddy Piper.
The card had its duds, there is no doubting that. This particular outing for The Undertaker (Vs Big Show and A-Train) was one of the worst that he had been given, and that’s saying something. The triple threat tag team match was pretty good but I’ve never been a fan of triple threat or four way tag matches. I just don’t get it.
The two matches that stand out as true works of art on this particular card are Shawn Michaels Vs Chris Jericho and Brock Lesnar Vs Kurt Angle.
From a Jerichoholic’s point of view I have this down as his greatest ever PPV match. It had everything a wrestling purist could want. It was also significant as it was the WrestleMania return of the Show Stopper and living up to his name, this one certainly stole the show.
I also consider this to be Brock Lesnar’s best work. Yes he damn near killed himself doing the shooting star press and Kurt Angle was banged up already with an ongoing neck issue but as main events go it is right up there with the best of them. Both pushed themselves to levels befitting the title match and some may say a little too far considering the physical damage this match did to both guys.
It was a card that consisted of strong wrestling, great angles, fond farewells and the WrestleMania return of the business’ greatest performer.
This one makes my 5 as it has the sublime to the ridiculous, and a fair amount in between, all rolled up and packaged underneath that famous Madison Square Garden roof.
Would you like to know a pretty useless fact about WrestleMania XX, thought so, it is the earliest a WrestleMania has ever taken place. March 14th, Mania would have been and gone by now if it were 2004!
Anyway, back to the matter in hand. You had the sublime triple threat main event with HHH, HBK and Chris Benoit. Normally I’m not a fan of big title matches like this being anything but a one on one straight up wrestling match. In this case though I think you’d be hard pushed to find many complaints.
The Eddie Guerrero and Kurt Angle match was also fantastic. To this day still has one of my favourite endings to a match ever, the very clever ‘Eddie loosened the laces’ ending. That really was such an imaginative finish to what was a truly wonderful piece of in ring work.
Then you had the ridiculous in the form of the Goldberg vs Lesnar match, a match that on paper could have been a real good big man match but turned out to be a real awkward 13:42. Both men were set to leave the WWE immediately after the event. This was to be both men’s swan song in the Fed. Perhaps it’s not surprising then that one of the traditionally most clued in wrestling crowds (MSG) got hold of these two and practically boo’ed them all the way out of the WWE.
This card also included the WrestleMania debut of one Mr John Cena who at the time was eliciting nothing but positive reactions every time he walked into a building. Imagine that!
The Chris Jericho vs Christian match was strong and hinged on the classic love triangle, angle, With Trish playing her part at the point of said triangle.
We saw the reuniting of Rock ‘n’ Sock as they took on Evolution members Flair, Batista and Orton in a thoroughly entertaining match and a match that I think Mick Foley is a little harsh on himself when he talks about how disappointed he was with his performance.
Then there was the return of The Undertaker and by The Undertaker I mean the proper Undertaker. Albeit in a pretty poor match against his brother Kane but seeing the entrance in MSG, the druids, the lights, the music and the added bonus of a returning Paul Bearer.
This WrestleMania card was full of top names at the time and looking back on it now you notice just how many of the competitors on this card are or will be Hall of Famers.
– By Chris Higson
We’ve seen a really mixed bag of WrestleMania line-ups over the years; some truly exceptional shows whilst others have been rather less impressive to say the least. Some of the shows have looked pretty average on paper yet in practice were a hell of a lot more enjoyable than cards which appeared stacked from top to bottom with mega money spinning matches and returning legends but played out rather disappointingly.
How we watch wrestling has changed greatly over the last 30 years also. It seems passé to talk about the pay per view platform now that the almighty WWE Network has landed but in the late 80’s WrestleManias were over-loaded with throwaway matches because PPV’s only came along 2, 3 or later 4 times a year. Fans had to survive on a diet of TV squash matches with the odd “feature match” thrown in every few weeks, so it goes without saying that shows like WrestleMania were the chance to give fans a genuine supercard, at least in terms of quantity if not quality. Even in later years sometimes the whole roster gets loaded onto the card in some kind of multi-man match and naturally with so much going on, these shows are often clunky and overcrowded.
Whilst 14 and 15 match WrestleMania cards are long in the past, I’d still happily watch WrestleManias 4 thru 7 (which were my introduction to the WWF) with their abundance of 6 minute matches before viewing some of the more storyline-driven 8 or 9 match cards that have come along in the past decade because WrestleMania more than any other event is all about tradition and nostalgia, looking back and reminiscing about how much we enjoy and have enjoyed that history.
If I had to sit through 5 WrestleManias back-to-back though, what would they be? Probably these:
Maybe not an instant choice but after much deliberating I decided that it held enough points of interest to make the final list, beating a few other choices. Starting off I felt I had to include at least one of the old-school WrestleManias and in relation to the other cards from those early days, this one just has way more to it. All the classic names that I grew up watching during the “golden age” of the WWF are here: Hogan vs Savage on top in the match they had been building ever since the previous year’s show, with Warrior vs Rude heading up the undercard. The likes of DiBiase, Perfect, Jake and Andre, with Bret & Shawn on tag team duties all add to the classic feel of the event. Demolition vs The Powers of Pain is a million times better than it sounds and also, let’s all just take a moment to reflect on Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard’s one and only WrestleMania appearance beating Santana & Martel. Again, maybe not everyone’s immediate choice of a “classic WrestleMania” but look a little closer and it’s more than worthy of a spot on this list.
Definitely one of those WrestleManias where you can tell without question that just a little bit more care than usual has been taken in compiling the matches, making it the absolute best that it could be. Far from just a one-match show, every bout underneath the Austin/HBK headliner has what I see as a nice “symmetry” to it. No thrown-together style matches, every bout has 2 definite rivals that mirror or compliment each other perfectly; Taker/Kane, Rocky/Shamrock, HHH/Owen, and even the mixed tag team match was presented in such a way that made it look like a main event. Match of the night honours go the Outlaws/Cactus & Funk bout though. That match and the whole event for that matter was brilliant. A solid choice I think.
What is there to say about this show that hasn’t already been written about a thousand times before? This drew a line under the attitude era and kick-started the whole Invasion/WWE era; the influx of new talent brought in during the previous 18 months had by this time all settled in to assemble what was probably the greatest talent roster ever put together in WWF/E history. The addition of Angle, Benoit, Jericho & Guerrero to the roster, the revitalisation of the tag team division thanks to The Dudleys, The Hardys and Edge & Christian with The Rock, Triple H, Austin, ‘Taker and Kane all heading up the card meant that 2000 was the greatest in-ring year the company ever had. Coming off such a hot 12 months then and after WCW & ECW had folded, all eyes were on Houston and everyone rose to the occasion on the show. As well as looking damn good on paper which gave the show had a definite “big-time” feel to it, the matches delivered and so everything just came together perfectly. The WrestleMania measuring stick for many people.
Travelling to the previous year’s show in Toronto after 10 years as a fan was like the payoff to my decade of devotion to the crazy world of wrestling and as such, they could have put on a card of squash matches and I honestly wouldn’t have cared; sure we got some decent undercard matches and one hell of a main attraction in Hogan vs The Rock but being there LIVE was all that mattered in 2002. Making the return trip 12 months later mind you, while just as excited to be there, we got an absolutely awesome show to boot, stacked with genuine main event matches from top to bottom. Whereas WM18 crammed 11 matches into the line-up, here it was a case of quality rather than quantity. Austin/Rock, Angle/Lesnar, Hogan/Vince and HBK/Y2J were all fantastic matches and not only that, the context they were presented in gave the show a definite “must see” quality that some other editions of WrestleMania sadly lack. I have absolutely no hesitation in putting this show in my list, and I’m sure I won’t be the only one.
In my honest opinion, the last of the truly great WrestleManias. Built around the solid Triple H/Batista dispute, we were back to the format of not overloading the card just to get as many people onto the show as possible as was the case at WM20 the year before. All the matches had a solid reason for being booked and one got the feeling that exceptional care had been taken when putting this line-up together. Taker vs Orton and Mysterio vs Guerrero were well received, we saw the first ever MITB ladder match featuring stellar performances from all involved and Angle vs HBK was not just the match of the night but perhaps the finest match of 2005. On the whole, a bloody fantastic show.
WrestleMania 8 – for Randy Savage’s last great WrestleMania moment against Ric Flair and for continuing the elevation of Bret, ‘Taker and HBK – The 3 guys who would carry the company for the next 5 years.
WrestleMania 12 – A somewhat minimalist line-up with just 6 matches on the show proper, but definitely one of the better editions, having more of a “WrestleMania feel” than some other shows. Even if the much-lauded Iron Man match is a tad disappointing.
WrestleMania 2000 – Not a straight 1-on-1 match in sight, but still a hell of a show thanks to it’s fresh feel due to the abundance of WrestleMania debutants competing.
WrestleMania 20 – Maybe a tad overcrowded and that goes against it. Nevertheless, a show boasting a line-up as strong as this, with so much great build-up is bound to have it’s fair share of plus-points.
– By Dave Green
For our “Favourite WrestleMania cards” I’ve tried to pick the cards that meant the most to me as whole. Therefore no matter how great, say, Hulk Hogan Vs The Rock was at WrestleMania X8 or how much the second Shawn Michaels/Undertaker match meant to me as a fan, those events don’t make my list because the rest of the card wasn’t as well rounded, or of as much interest to me, as these shows were.
Although the previous year’s effort had been my “first” contemporarily viewed WrestleMania, this was the first one the felt like a true Supercard to me, a feeling enhanced by the stadium setting. Even at this early stage of his singles career I was excited that Shawn Michaels was getting his first one-on-one match at Mania. Two of my favourites The Undertaker and Jake “The Snake” Roberts were clashing in a match that had been brewing for months. The Intercontinental title match between Roddy Piper and Bret Hart promised much as well,. being quite unlike anything in terms of build up that I had ever seen before given the mutual respect between the pair. Although it all seems a little anti-climatic now looking back, I was pumped for Sid Vs Hogan at the time, with Sid being the kind of guy I knew I should hate but at the same time he was just so damn cool. And all of this was topped off with Randy Savage Vs Ric Flair which in my eyes was likely to be the greatest WWF title match ever and had the scandalous build up surrounding Miss Elizabeth (plus the promise of “cheesecake” photos of her from Flair that never were shown at Mania as it happened!). Sure my day called the Photoshop trickery of the Ric and Liz photos and looking back at it now I’m not sure that the twelve year old me knew what the angle all meant (“she was mine before she was yours, Randy”) but it sure was compelling. So many vital issues seemed to come together for this show.
I think part of the appeal of this one was the fact that I knew that my parents were away on holiday at the time of this one, and therefore I could invite four of my best buddies around for the evening and we could stay up, have a few quiet brewski’s, and enjoy the show. Assuming you can’t actually make it there in person, there’s nothing quite like watching ‘Mania with a few beers and some like-minded company (cheap Mick Foley style plug for our WrestleMania XXX party at Shooters Sports Bar in Manchester!) This was a hotly anticipated show because it promised to be the changing of the guard. By this time there was no doubt in my mind that this was Stone Cold Steve Austin’s night, but the Mike Tyson angle added an intriguing layer to the whole thing. Five horny teenagers were also looking greatly forward to seeing Sable’s in-ring debut, whilst I was certainly looking forward to Cactus Jack and Terry “Chainsaw Charlie” Funk tearing it up with the New Age Outlaws as well. Then there was the small matter of The Undertaker and Kane finally meeting one-on-one (and in these days it was at least plausible that Taker might not win) and I also had high hopes for Triple H versus Owen Hart. In the build-up this show seemed important (largely because it was) and there was definitely a feeling that this show mattered and that it was the start of a whole new era for the WWF.
This time around I was availing myself of my friend’s hospitality to watch this event but there was a real buzz leading up to this one. Obviously Stone Cold Vs The Rock was a HUGE draw (even with the terrible storyline with Debra to contend with) and there was genuine debate as to which way this one would go. As strange as it might sound to newer fans who will have long since have grown tired of the McMahon monopoly on screen time, people were genuinely looking forward to the father Vs son battle of Vince and Shane and it promised riotous entertainment. Kurt Angle versus Chris Benoit had classic written all over it (even if in execution it was a slight disappointment) and The Undertaker against Triple H had a real big match feel all about it as well. There was also the small matter of The Dudley’s, The Hardy’s and Edge & Christian clashing in a TLC match to consider. As the night went on and we got the unexpected treat of Kane/Raven/Big Show in a three-way Hardcore match and the gimmick battle royale (which was great nostalgia) the show lived up to all it promised. It’s arguable that the WWE have never presented such a fully-rounded card as this one before or after.
Well I “showed off” about attending WrestleMania 18 last time around so lets complete the set and mentioned that I was live in attendance for 19 as well…although 18 had the Rock and Hogan, this event was more of an all-round anticipation grabber for me. Just the fact that I would be able to see my favourite wrestler of all-time Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania would have been enough, especially as he was up against Chris Jericho (who at the time was a favourite of mine as well), but the show had more than that to excite me. Brock Lesnar against Kurt Angle promised to be a cracker, and who could say they weren’t looking forward to Rock/Austin III at ‘Mania. The likes of Rey Misterio versus Matt Hardy and the three-way match for the Tag Titles seemed to be more than solid mid-card additions, and although it was unlikely to be a five-star classic who could resist the spectacle of Hulk Hogan Vs Vince McMahon? I was even looking forward to Triple H Vs Booker T, purely because the build up suggested that it HAD to be Booker’s night to lift the gold…but the least said about that the better. This was great action from start to finish and holds some of my fondest memories as a wrestling fan.
It’s perhaps not the coolest opinion to have given the troubles with this year’s event in terms of booking, but back at WrestleMania 21, the WWE had certainly nailed it in terms of Batista’s profile. The long, winding storyline of his break away from Triple H and Evolution was perfectly paced. It was one of the best main-event storylines in the past few decades. Batista was over and this even got a huge buy-rate as a result. Those who criticise the WWE for bringing him back because he doesn’t draw are forgetting this monster event. There’s plenty to criticise, but not that point. Internet darling Chris Jericho was never a draw to that level. But anyway, I digress. I was super-psyched for the prospect of Shawn Michaels against Kurt Angle (not least for Angle’s “Sexy Kurt” song) and there was also great anticipation for Rey Misterio and Eddy Guerrero getting the chance on the biggest stage of them all. The spectacle of the first ever Money In The Bank match was intriguing, and as daft as this statement may sound a decade or so down the line I was also looking forward to Randy Orton becoming the first man to defeat the Undertaker at ‘Mania. Well we don’t get them all right do we…? (I was livid at the time, mind you). I was also looking forward to seeing Trish Stratus take on Christy Hemme, but we should probably leave that one there…
– By Matthew Roberts
First of all, I found this quite hard. I very rarely remember a full card from a pay-per-view anyway, but in my opinion, as a rule, Wrestlemania cards especially tend to look good on paper, but when you actually watch them, they never live up to expectations. Nonetheless, here are the five that I’d be most likely intrigued to watch again.
This one isn’t that great of a line-up. I just have some what of a soft spot for it. I’m not quite sure why, as for me this was one of the saddest WrestleMania’s in history, being as though it was Shawn Michaels’ “last” match and my favourite wrestler had just left. I still love the card though and it had to feature on this list even if the opening match is L.O.D. 2000 against the New Midnight Express. Which in my opinion actually was not a bad match, just the fans were not into it.
A very quick bout was up next with Aguila against Taka Michinoku. Not enough time to do anything too spectacular, but still enough to make you want to see more of these two. Owen Hart and Triple H was up next and it was a decent showing by both, it’s just that the ending let it down with the whole Chyna being handcuffed to Sgt. Slaughter and flour in the eyes, was a little overkill for my liking, but decent anyway.
Marc Mero and Sable against Goldust and Luna Vachon was not pretty by any stretch of the imagination, but it provided some comedy, even if for the wrong reasons on an otherwise rather serious card. Ken Shamrock and the Rock put on a good match, but again they went with the screwy finish and Shamrock got disqualified. The dumpster match that followed between the New Age Outlaws and Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie was everything you’d expect it to be. Great beginnings to the hardcore division that would later appear in the company.
There’s not even a break for the fans as we go into the Undertaker against Kane in a contest that was never going to be a technical classic, but for a young me, it was an emotional roller coaster. And last but not least you have Stone Cold Steve Austin against Shawn Michaels in a torch passing moment, whether it was reluctantly or not. Either way, even with a hurt back Shawn and Austin went out there and deliver a great match, one of my favorite Michaels performances in ‘Mania history.
It started with the inter-promotional battle royal and you can’t really go wrong with a battle royal in my opinion. They’re fun and a give a bunch of guys a pay day, good stuff. Next up was Kane and the Big Show against Carlito Chris Masters, I don’t remember this being either terrible or great, then again didn’t really need to be as the second match on the card. Money in the Bank was up next with Rob Van Dam winning, in my opinion one of the best MITB matches there have been.
JBL against Chris Benoit was decent, heck, I’m just a JBL fan, thought he played the character great. Edge and Foley in the hardcore match is one of those that many deemed an instant classic. Was certainly one of the highlights of the show. Unfortunately the next match was a bit of a dud, as we saw the Boogeyman take on Booker T. Not to worry though as Mickie James and Trish Stratus then put on a better than average WWE women’s contest.
Going into the last portion of the show you had a boringly average match with Mark Henry and ‘Taker, which was immediately followed by something I really enjoyed in Shawn Michaels against Vince McMahon, another high point of the evening. Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton and Kurt Angle then put on an entertaining triple threat match.
Before the main vent came some eye candy and chance for people to regroup as Candice Michelle and Torrie Wilson went to war in a pillow fight. John Cena against Triple H was the main event at a time when Cena was still fresh and had a fair amount of support behind him. Was a good match and when John Cena won, I think most fans were very happy with the result.
I’m not going to recap what every match was on this, but it was just a really fun show. I always love a tournament anyway, but you put a tournament for the vacant WWF World Heavyweight Championship on the biggest show of the year, with some of the biggest names in pro-wrestling on it, you’ve got my attention straight away.
Other than the tournament matches, the show kicked off with a battle royal, which as we already discussed to me just equals good watching. The Ultimate Warrior and Hercules was a bit of a let down, mainly because of the very short time span from bell-to-bell though. There was a six man tag where the Islanders and Bobby Heenan fought the British Bulldogs and Koko B. Ware. The names say it all.
The other non-tournament match-up saw Demolition capture their first titles from Strike Force, in a solid tag-team match. Of course the actual tournaments had some great moments too. Ricky Steamboat against Greg Valentine was one of my favorites in the opening round match, and Rick Rude against Jack Roberts was another.
It’d be remiss of me to forget to mention the extension of the Hulk Hogan feud, which naturally was a good way to get both men out of the tournament. Lastly you had the tournament finals where Macho Man Randy Savage defeated Ted DiBiase and the Mega Powers were born. Again just a fantastic way to end a show and cement Savage as a top guy.
Arguably this is probably the most stacked card in the history of WrestleMania. It’s extremely hard to point to any of them as a bad match. So, that “honour” must fall upon Chyna and Ivory, but, it was very short and easily forgettable. A close runner up would have to be the short affair between Tazz and the APA against Right to Censor, which wasn’t bad, just nearly as short as the orange wearing participant in the contest.
Onto bigger and better things, William Regal and Chris Jericho opened the show, you could not ask for two better guys to set the tone for your biggest event of the year. Raven versus the Big Show versus Kane in the hardcore match was one of the highlights of the relatively short lived WWF Hardcore Championship.
The pay-per-view struck a very average tone when Eddie Guerrero and Test took center stage, but it was very quickly picked back up, way above average by Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit in the following bout. A street fight between Shane and Vince McMahon was never going to be pretty, but it damn sure was brutally fun to watch. With the second TLC to come up next, in the words of Mick Foley all you can really say is, “Oh my.”
A bit of light entertainment came before we went into a double header of main event matches with the gimmick battle royal. Triple H and the Undertaker were up first and they put on something that is still one of my favorite Wrestlemania matches to this day. Finally we had the second installment of the Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin at ‘Mania. Many people consider this their best match, even with the heel turn at the end.
WrestleMania X. Do I hear a collective groan of readers going, what the…is this doing on here? Most likely. I genuinely don’t think this is as bad as people make out though. Okay, may-be some of it was, however, what this is, is the first WrestleMania I actually remember watching. I know there’s earlier ones I saw, but I don’t remember watching them. I actually remember parts of this so it will always be special to me.
Now, taking into consideration my blind love for this card, there are still two classic matches on it. We’ll come back to them in a second though, let’s get the rest out the way with. Bam Bam Bigelow and Luna Vachon took on Dink and Doink the Clown, not a great match, but cool for a child. In fact I watched this not too long ago and I still enjoyed it a fair amount. Alundra Blayze and Leilani Kai had awfully short match, and thus didn’t do much, although this did make Kai the only person to appear on both Wrestlemania I and X.
You can just totally write-off Adam Bomb and Earthquake, although on paper you could argue that had potential to be a good big-man contest. Men on a Mission and the Quebecers wasn’t horrific, but it’s not one to show the kids either. Now we come to Lex Luger and Yokozuna, it wasn’t so much that these two had bad matches, just that the character of Lex Luger never really meshed in my opinion. By no means was this one a classic, but it was tolerable even with the “get out of jail free” finish.
Yokozuna and Bret Hart was definitely the better match and in fact I think it was rather good. Those two just worked well together. The last match before we get to the two classics, was Randy Savage against Crush in a falls count anywhere match. Often this is met with mix receptions, but I thought it was great. When I was a kid I’d never seen anything like this. Very underrated in my opinion.
Of course that leaves us with the opening match, Owen Hart and Bret Hart. What can be said about this that hasn’t already been said. Brilliance. Just pure and utter brilliance. Then Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon in the ladder match, again the accolades for this one are just endless. This card and the last three bouts I talked about, I have no doubt, truly ensured I would never stop being a wrestling fan. For my six year old self, Wrestlemania X was king.
– By Jimmy Wheeler