Thursday, March 27, 2008

Ranking the Wrestlemanias

Greetings one and all, after exhaustingly chronicling the history of the great event known as Wrestlemania, it is time for me to be a little less objective. Today, in order to stay hyped for the event, I have decided to take the time to rank every Wrestlemania from 1 (being the best) all the way down to 23 (that being the worst, which should surprise nobody). I have also included a list of three things to love and loathe about each card. For some events it was hard to fill either one of them, and for some it was hard to limit myself to just three. Also, I have included my feelings on the best match for each event.....enjoy.....

#23. Wrestlemania IX:

Three things to Love:

- Watching Bobby Heenan ride a camel
- The only Wrestlemania appearance by Evil Doink.
- The end

Three things to Loathe:

- Hogan winning the Title despite not being in the match
- Seeing one of the companies best performers reduced to a commentator
- Wrestlemania IX

Match of the Night:

Intercontinental Title Match: Shawn Michaels vs. Tatanka

The opening match with a count out ending is the best and it features Tatanka, and people wonder why this is the worst ever.

#22. Wrestlemania IV:

Three things to Love:

- Watching Randy Savage’s greatest moment
- Seeing Hogan get disqualified in a shocking moment
- Bad News Brown screwing Bret Hart over

Three things to Loathe:

- The high amount of short, boring matches
- The fact that this was the closest Dibiase ever got to the title
- The missed opportunity for Savage-Steamboat II in the tournament

Best Match:

Tournament Final: Randy Savage vs. Ted Dibiase

After the long boring first three rounds of the tournament, the final was genuinely exciting. It really was great to see Savage get a victory of this magnitude.

#21. Wrestlemania XI

Three things to Love:

- The greatest wrestler vs. celebrity match of all time
- Watching Shawn Michaels emerge as a major player
- Owen Hart’s first title win

Three things to Loathe:

- Bret Hart, mid-carder.
- The World Title match not going on last
- The Undertaker vs. King Kong Bundy: Epic Borefest

Best Match:

WWF Title Match: Diesel vs. Shawn Michaels

These two had an amazing chemistry, and put on one hell of a show in a middle of a pretty terrible card. It is also the first time that HBK started to get cheered, despite his heel status.

#20.
Wrestlemania 2

Three things to Love:

- NFL Battle Royal
- Dynamite Kids head: Great Foreign object, or greatest foreign object?
- Roddy Piper throwing a stool at Mr. T

Three things to Loathe:

- The confusing nature of having three venues.
- George “The Animal” Steele kicking out of a Macho Elbow.
- Hogan vs. Bundy: Cage of LAME

Best Match:

WWF Tag Title Match: The Dream Team vs. The British Bulldogs

This is simply a great fun match that saw one of the greatest tag teams of all time pull off a huge win. Plus, using The Dynamite Kid’s head as a weapon is all kinds of awesome.

#19. Wrestlemania 13

Three things to Love:

- Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin, greatest match ever.
- The irony that this show was subtitled “Heat”, and most of the card would resemble that future C-show.
- Trying to find the moment when Psycho Sid supposedly takes a shit during the middle of the main event.

Three things to Loathe:

- Worst. Main. Event. Ever.
- Watching The Rock when he still sucked.
- Everything that wasn’t Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin

Best Match:

Submission Match: Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin

Not only is this the match of the night, it is my pick for best WWF/E match ever, it is simply amazing. If it wasn’t for this match this show would have been worse than Wrestlemania IX…seriously…

#18.
Wrestlemania VI

Three things to Love:

- Hogan vs. Warrior, better than it had any right to be.
- The electric Canadian crowd
- Watching the Hart Foundation destroy the Russians in 19 seconds.

Three things to Loathe:

- Only having Bret Hart wrestle for 19 seconds
- Roddy Piper painting himself half black
- That God awful mixed tag match

Best Match:

Title vs. Title: Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior

Neither of these guys have ever been the greatest in ring technicians, but yet they go ahead and have an absolute classic match. I think that the WWF put so much effort into hyping and planning this match that they forgot about the rest of the card until the last minute, and we were stuck with the rest of that crap.

#17.
Wrestlemania I


Three things to Love:

- The fact that a Woman’s match actually got focus
- Liberace dancing with the Rockettes
- Pittyin’ the fools that step in the ring with Mr. T

Three things to Loathe:

- Simple Fact: Most of the matches on this show sucked
- 23 seconds meaning 9 seconds in wrestling land
- No World Title Match

Best Match:

Hulk Hogan and Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff
This really was a fun Main Event Tag team match. All four guys played their roles to a tee, and the ending was fun and had enough drama. This really is a good thing, because if this match hadn’t have delivered then there would have been some major problems for the company then.

#16. Wrestlemania XV

Three things to Love:

- Austin vs. The Rock, epic main event.
- The Triple H and Chyna turn(s).
- Pete Rose dressed as the San Diego chicken for revenge

Three things to Loathe:

- Undertaker vs. Big Boss Man: How to have a bad Hell in a Cell Match
- The New Age Outlaws switching matches with no build up a week before
- The fact that X-Pac was in the second best match of the night…think about that…

Best Match:

WWF Championship Match: The Rock vs. Steve Austin

This was the first of three fantastic Wrestlemania matches between these two. These two gave it their all and then some, and the match just feels so damned epic. Too bad the rest of the show feels like it needs its ridilin in order to gain some focus.

#15. Wrestlemania XII

Three things to Love:

- Bret and Shawn go old school
- Shawn’s entrance and celebration
- The Ultimate Warrior squashing Triple H

Three things to Loathe:

- Bret and Shawn going an hour with no pinfalls
- The Hollywood Backlot Brawl
- Knowing that Shawn would flake out on returning the loss to Bret Hart

Best Match:

Iron Man Match for the WWF Championship: Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels

First off I want to say that this is a fantastic match, as both men proved their doubters wrong by lasting the entire 60 minutes. Secondly, I want to say that this is perhaps the most overrated match ever. While it is great, it is not in the same stratosphere that it seems to rest in WWE Cannon, where is listed as the “greatest ever”, it really could have used a pin or two before the excellent ending.

#14. Wrestlemania X8

Three things to Love:

- Icon vs. Icon, Hogan vs. Rock
- Arn Anderson running in to try and help Flair
- Booker T saying “Of course I’m smart, I got glasses don’t I?”

Three things to Loathe:

- Triple H vs. Stephanie McMahon for the Undisputed Championship…maybe someone else was involved…
- Edge vs. Booker in a feud over shampoo
- Steve Austin vs. Scott Hall – Raw Main Event, and not Wrestlemania moment

Best Match:

Hogan vs. The Rock

Sure this wasn’t the most technically sound of matches, but that didn’t matter to everyone in attendance that day. The fans totally made this match what it was, going crazy for Hogan, and booing The Rock. The end of the match got really exciting, as you started to believe that Hogan had a chance. Why they didn’t put this on last still boggles my mind, and I hope someone in the company got a stern talking to over that at least.

#13. Wrestlemania 2000

Three Things to Love:

- Jericho, Benoit, and Angle giving us two falls of goodness
- Edge and Christian climbing the ladder of success
- Pete Rose vs. Kane, round three

Three Things to Loathe:

- A Heel leaving Wrestlemania the champion
- No straight one-on-one matches
- Eddie Guerrero getting pinned by Chyna

Best Match:

Triangle Ladder Match for the WWF Tag Team Titles: Dudley Boyz vs. Hardy Boyz vs. Edge and Christian

This was a tossup between this one and the two fall, two title match. This match took the innovation of the Hardyz vs. E&C Match from No Mercy of 1999, and took it to a whole new level that really hadn’t been seen before. These six men made stars out of one another on that night, and the most amazing thing is that they would be able to top this on two separate occasions.

#12. Wrestlemania VII Three things to Love:

- Savage working his magic with The Warrior
- Virgil finally defeating Ted Dibiase
- The crowd’s response to Hogan and Slaughter

Three things to Loathe:

- The blindfold match
- A Disqualification ending in the Intercontinental Title Match
- The incredibly insulting “Iraqi Sympathizer” storyline

Best Match:

Retirement Match: Randy Savage vs. The Ultimate Warrior

These guys put together a classic, plain and simple. From Warrior walking down to the ring to save energy, to Savage hugging Elizabeth at the end, this match was drama plain and simple. For the duration of this match you fully believed the hatred each man felt for the one another, and the desperation that they each felt as they strived for victory.

#11. Wrestlemania V

Three Things to Love:

- The Mega-Powers, and their explosive nature
- Brainbusters vs. Strike Force: Tag Team Awesomeness
- Seeing Red Rooster AND The Blue Blazer in high profile matches

Three Things to Loathe:

- Ted Dibiase being forced to slum it with Brutus Beefcake
- Morton Downey Jr. , that guy was just a jackass
- Knowing that the Warrior was still on his way up, despite the loss

Best Match:

WWF Championship Match: Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan

This is pretty much the WWF greatest main event match of the 1980s. These two had an amazing story that had over a year of build to it and they really delivered when it counted.

#10. Wrestlemania XIV Three Things to Love:

- Austin and Shawn putting on the manliest performance ever.
- The Undertaker vs. Kane actually being good.
- The debut of “Do you smell what the Rock is cooking?”

Three Things to Loathe:

- L.O.D. 2000 and everything that they stood for
- Slaughter’s handcuffs distracting everyone from a good Owen vs. Triple H match
- The Rock’s disqualification victory

Best Match:

WWF Championship Match: Shawn Michaels vs. Steve Austin

This match is a super heated brawl with a hot crowd. They gave it their all for the entire match, and put on a great performance. As impressive as this is, it’s made to appear even greater when you take into account just how injured both men were, simply amazing.

#9. Wrestlemania 23
Three things to Love:
- Batista’s swank running powerslam through an announce table.
- Cean and Michaels delivering and then some
- Green Bay Plunge on a midget and Hardy kills Edge: Memories of Money in the Bank

Three things to Loathe:

- ECW, 8 men, 1 match, 6 minutes.
- Ashley Massaro being given a match at Wrestlemania
- The Great Khali vs. Kane…everything about it.

Best Match:

World Title Match: Batista vs. The Undertaker

Tough call between both top matches, but I’ll side with the Smackdown one. Batista gave an interview before the event saying that these two would steal the show and I for one laughed. Turns out the big man was right, as these two used everything at their disposal to put on a damn great match.

#8.
Wrestlemania 22


Three things to Love:


- Edge spearing Foley face first through fire.
- Triple H tapping out for the second time in a main event.
- Trish and Mickie putting on the greatest women’s match in WWE history

Three things to Loathe:
- Watching Booker T loose to The Boogey Man
- Vince McMahon’s match getting twice as much time as Rey Mysterio’s
- Carlito being embarrassed…once more.

Best Match:

Hardcore Match: Edge vs. Mick Foley

These two went out and had perhaps the goriest match in the history of Wrestlemania. They used tacks, barbed wire, and most importantly, Edge spreared Foley face first through FIRE. That's just so damned manly, you'll have to shave after watching it.

#7.
Wrestlemania XIX


Three things to Love:


- Jericho vs. Michaels or how to make me giddy like a school girl
- FINALLY….The Rock has defeated Steve Austin!
- Lesnar and Angle pulling out all of the stops

Three things to Loathe:

- Kane, RVD, Storm and Morley getting bumped to Heat so there was more time for the Miller Light Cat Fight Girls.
- Being concerned for the lives of both Angle and Lesnar after the Main Event Match
- Triple H: Proving that Racists win in the end.

Best Match:

Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho

The main reason this event ranks so highly in my eyes is because all Top Five matches on this card really were excellent, even Triple H vs. Booker T. However, at the end of the day I have to give the nod to the first confrontation between two of my all time favourites. I was so excited for this match, and my hopes were not dashed in any way shape or form, as these guys put on a classic. Sure, I still think that Jericho should have won (especially after the Ali Shuffle Super Kick) but this match really is a reason why I am a fan of this pseudo-sport, plain and simply.

#6.
Wrestlemania III


Three things to Love:

- Hogan slamming Andre: THE Moment in Wrestling history
- Savage and Steamboat putting on a classic.
- King Kong Bundy’s refusal to pick on someone his own size.

Three things to Loathe:

- Watching a legitimate bad ass in Harley Race parade around in a cape and gown
- Knowing that Steamboat’s moment of glory would not last long in the WWF
- The fact that Piper just wouldn’t stay retired!

Best Match:

Intercontinental Title Match: Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat

This was an easy choice as these two went out there and put on one of the best matches in the history of the WWF. On the grandest of all grand stage these two showed what small, fast guys could do, which helped influence a great deal of future lightweights like Michaels, Jericho and Guerrero.

#5.
Wrestlemania VIII


Three things to Love:

- Roddy Piper’s crisis of conscience
- Flair and Savage delivering all kinds of awesomeness
- Watching the crowd go ape shit when Warrior’s music starts playing

Three things to Loathe:

- Hogan and Sid going last
- Money Inc. taking an intentional count-out on a major PPV
- The 8 Man Tag Match that belonged on an episode of Superstars

Best Match:

WWF World Title Match: Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage

This was a complete toss-up between this match and the Intercontinental Title contest. I feel that this match had perhaps the greatest side story of “She was mine before she was yours” going into it. These two went out and put on one of the greatest, and most severely underrated performances in the history of Wrestlemania.

#4. Wrestlemania XX
Three things to Love:


- The Main Event, from the first punch to the last hug
- The crowd turning on Lesnar and Goldberg
- Flair, Foley and The Rock being in the same match

Three things to Loathe:

- Watching Ultimo Dragon, one of the all-time greatest get bitched out.
- The rushed and boring tag title matches
- Knowing that nobody celebrating in the ring at the end of the show would live another three and a half years.

Best Match:

World Title Match: Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit

My most vivid memory of following this pseudo-sport was watching this match with my friends and literally screaming “Tap you son of a bitch”. This match captured everything that I love about wrestling, as they had technical mastery, high spots, and an amazing story. While events of last summer soured the memory of this moment, it is still a fantastic match that deserves all of the praise in the world.

#3. Wrestlemania 21
Things to Love:

- Angle vs. Michaels, everything about Angle vs. Michaels.
- Cena and Batista making the Big Time
- Edge being Mr. Money in the Bank

Things to Loathe:

- The lukewarm setup and reaction and set up given to Cena vs. JBL
- The Sumo Snorefest
- Watching Rey fiddle with that stupid mask of his

Best Match:

Angle vs. Michaels

This is an easy choice, as two of the greatest wrestlers of our generation met for the first time at this amazing event. They gave it their all for the entire match, and seeing Angle win cleanly really was a shocking moment.


#2. Wrestlemania X
Things to Love:

- Bret Hart getting redeemed for the crap that happened to him the year before
- The Ladder Match
- Owen Hart in the shadow of his big brother

Things to Loathe:

- Lex Luger and Yokozuna taking 14 minutes of my life that I will never get back
- Watching Adam Bomb get squashed…scratch that, watching Adam Bomb at all
- Seeing the boring face Doink

Best Match:

Tie: Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart AND Intercontinental Title Ladder Match: Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels

I know, I know, I’m sitting on the fence here in one of the most debated topics in wrestling history, which was the best match at Wrestlemania X? Truth is, it totally depends on your preference and mood, if you want to see something classic and old school, go for the Harts, and if you want to see something that was innovative and groundbreaking, but still holds up today, check the ladder match. Either way, you won’t be disappointed!


#1.
Wrestlemania X-Seven

Three things to Love:

- Austin vs. Rock II, the Main Event of all Main Events
- Watching Jeff Hardy get speared from the top of the giant ladder
- Everything else about this card

Three things to Loathe:

- The damn X-Seven name when they should have stuck with XVII
- Chyna claiming to be a woman
- Knowing that it will be a long time until we see a card that is this amazing

Best Match:

No Disqualification WWF Title Match: The Rock vs. Steve Austin

Not only is it one of the most historically significant matches in the history of the company, it is also one of the greatest. Austin and Rock took their amazing chemistry and turned it all the way to 11. The sheer desperation that both of these guys gave makes the match feel monumental, and the ending and aftermath make it even more monumental. If you haven’t seen it, you need to watch this match, plain and simple.

Well that concludes the rankings. We shall have to wait until this Sunday to see where Wrestlemania 24 fits in on this ranking system...lord knows I'm intrigued...

Until next time,

G

5 comments:

McNutt said...

Great list Glen. I'm going to confess a soft spot for Wrestlemania IV, though I won't defend its quality. I've just always loved tournaments in wrestling, especially when I was growing up and not nearly smart enough to tell who was going to win.

My grandfather had three wrestling tapes that my brother and I would watch if we were bored when visiting: WM 1, 2 and 4. Of the three, 4 probably got the most play.

Anonymous said...

Wrestlemania X at #2???? You gotta be kidding me. Two good matches don't make a great show.

G said...

McNutt - You guys watched Wrestlemania IV repeatedly and lived to tell the tale? You and Miles are much braver men than I...

Anonymous (if that is your real name) - For the record, Wrestlemania X is not just two good matches, no, no, it's two of the greatest matches that the WWF/E has ever put on in its entire history. Add the great story of Bret losing and then winning and Owen looking on jealous at the end, plus Vince telling the fans that the Luger experiment is over, and a decently entertaining Savage-Crush match, and yeah, I think that's better than 22 other Wrestlemanias (including last nights, for sure!).

John said...

I actually liked WM 9, but I was a huge Hogan mark at the time!

It was awesome to me.

I'd move some of the current Manias down the list and I didn't like 20 that batch, other than the Main Event.

17 I definitely agree with you as #1. My other top Manias: 8, 10, 3

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