Thursday, April 02, 2009

Wrestlemania Rankings - The Main Events

Here we are the 9th, and final installment of the Wrestlemania Rankings, as we look at the best matches to ever close the show. Most of these matches have been pretty spectacular, and are considered the best of the best.

***************************************************


#24.
WWF Title Match
Yokozuna (c) vs. Hulk Hogan
Wrestlemania IX
Ceaser's Palace
Las Vegas, NV


Ten seconds of pure crap. This was completely insulting to absolutely every wrestling fan out there, as Hogan went out and stole the show from Bret Hart, and Yokozuna in what is probably the worst Wrestlemania moment ever.

#23.
Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Vicious

Wrestlemania VIII
Hoosier Dome
Indianapolis, IL


What was supposed to be Hogan's final match, but things worked out a little bit differently to say the least. This was supposed to be Hogan vs. Flair, but sadly that never happened here for a variety of complicated reasons. This was only the second time that a non-title match closed out Wrestlemania, and it was the only time that the show ended with a disqualification finish. The match was pretty bland, but the post-match surprise of having The Ultimate Warrior return was pretty freakin' fantastic.

#22.
WWF Title Match
Psycho Sid (c) vs. The Undertaker

Wrestlemania 13
Rosemont Horizon
Chicago, IL


Sid's second appearance on the list is hardly a classic either. Yet again, this is a match that was not supposed to serve as the Main Event, since it was supposed to be Bret-Shawn II, but we get this instead. Not much to write home about.

#21.
Steel Cage Match for the WWF Title
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. King Kong Bundy

Wrestlemania 2
Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
Los Angeles, CA


Another rather bleh match, very little action, very little drama. It happened, lets move on.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: And here's were they start to get good)

#20.
Hulk Hogan and Mr. T vs.
"Rowdy" Roddy Piper and "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff
Wrestlemania
Madison Square Garden
New York, NY


This is a hard match to hate for nostalgias sake. These four men (including one non-trained wrestler) went out and put on a fun match, that made you believe was important, and they certainly succeeded. Well worth a watch for nostalgia, but not for much else.

#19.
Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Lawrence Taylor

Wrestlemania XI
Hartford Civic Center
Hartford, CT

The third (and to date, final) non-title match to close out the show, and probably the best of the bunch. This is easily the best celebrity wrestling match of all time, and has held up well to this day.

#18.
WWF Title Match
Yokozuna(c) vs. Bret Hart

Wrestlemania X
Madison Square Garden
New York, NY

I remember watching this match and simply jumping for joy at the finish. My Canadian hero, Bret Hart, defeated the evil villain who had squashed him a year before. Simply a great moment. That being said, the match leading up to it was not the Hitman's finest, but still pretty decent, and one of the best of Yokozuna's career.

#17.
Undisputed Title Match
Chris Jericho (c) vs. Triple H
Wrestlemania X8
Skydome
Toronto, Ontario

I have such mixed feelings about this one. The storyling going into this one was simply ridiculous, as the main focus was Triple H vs. Stephanie. The match in itself was pretty good, but not on par with their work from a year and a half before. Also, the crowd was really not into this match at all, with everyone being exhausted after the spectacle that was Rock-Hogan.

#16.
WWF Title Match
Sergeant Slaughter vs. Hulk Hogan

Wrestlemania VII
Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
Los Angeles, CA

Like the previous match, the build to this one left a lot to be desired, and like the previous match, this was still pretty good. However, unlike the previous match, the crowd was actually into this one, as Slaughter approached nuclear level heat here, thus putting it abouve Jericho-H.

#15.
World Title Match
Triple H (c) vs. Batista

Wrestlemania 21
Staples Center
Los Angeles, CA

I remember a lot of people raving about this match at the time, and I really didn't get it. Maybe because it was on the same card as Rey-Eddie, Angle-HBK, Taker-Orton, and the first Money in the Bank Match, but I really wasn't blown away by the match quality here.

#14.
Four-way Elimination Match for the WWF Title
Triple H (c) vs. The Rock vs. Mick Foley vs. Big Show

Wrestlemania 2000
Arrowhead Pond
Anaheim, CA


The first multi-man match to close the show, and the first time that a heel left Wrestlemania as champion. Despite all of the McMahon involvment, the match was still a good one, especially when it came down to Triple H and The Rock. I think that everyone could see the Vince turn at the end, but it was still a fun ride getting there.

#13.
Tournament Finals for the Vacated WWF Title
Randy "Macho Man" Savage vs. "The Million Dollar Man" Ted Dibiase

Wrestlemania IV
Trump Plaza
Atlantic City, NJ

This was seriously the only redeeming quality to an otherwise mediocre event. The main event really delivered as both men (plus Hogan and Andre, their respective corner men) played their role well. Savage had already fought three very long matches en route to this finale, and looked like he was set to loose. Despite all the odds though, good prevailed, and Savage was able to win his first world title.

#12.
WWF Title Match
Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant

Wrestlemania III
Pontiac Silver Dome
Detroit, MI

This match could be ranked as high as #1, or as low as #23 and it would be hard to argue with it. This match, while technically was certianly lacking, it is easily the biggest match in the history of professional wrestling. This was not about the holds or high spots, it was about the spectacle, and every main event has been trying to recreate the same effect, to no avail.

#11.
WWF Title Match
Randy "Macho Man" Savage (c) vs. Hulk Hogan

Wrestlemania V
Trump Plaza
Atlantic City, NJ


The second Wrestlemania to feature a "former friends, current enemies" main event, that was much more emotional that the build to Hogan-Andre. The match here was really nothing short of spectacular, as it featured a good mix of psychology and emotion, and marked a major shift to the current idea of a "soap opera for men".

#10.
WWF Title Match
The Rock (c) vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin
Wrestlemania XV
First Union Center
Philadelphia, PA


The first of their epic Wrestlemania trilogy, as The Rock was backed by Vince McMahon and Austin was trying to regain his title. The match walked the fine line between "epic" and "overbooked" nicely. The series of referees, before Foely returned to count the three helped build an undeniable drama here.

#9.
WWE Title Match
John Cena vs. Triple H

Wrestlemania 22
All State Arena
Chicago, IL


Simply one of the most bizarre crowd reactions ever, as Cena was supposed to be the face, and H was supposed to be the heel. However, the crowd ended up being split somewhere in the middle, and both men played tweeners for the match. This is perhaps the most genuinely shocked with a finish of a Wrestlemania main event that I have ever seen, as everyone was expecting a Triple H victory, and nobody expected Triple H to cleanly tap out to the STFU.

#8.
Title vs. Title
Hulk Hogan vs. The Warrior Warrior

Wrestlemania VI
Skydome
Toronto, Ontario

The first face vs. face main event, which was simply unheard of at the time. Both men (and the crowd along with them) gave the matches of their lives, and it was far, far better than anyone could have ever anticipated.

#7.
WWF Title Match
Shawn Micheals (c) vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin

Wrestlemania XIV
Fleet Center
Boston, MA

As I mentioned the in Showstopper list, this was HBK's manliest performance of his career, as he probably should have sat this one out, but fought through it all. Similar things can be said for Austin who was still recovering from his near fatal neck injury. These two gave us a great match that kick started the Attitude Era. Tyson punching HBK was one of the most lasting images in Wrestlemania history.

#6.
WWE Title Match
John Cena (c) vs. Shawn Michaels

Wrestlemania 23
Ford Field
Detroit, MI

Another of the Showstopper's great performances. One of the most well rounded matches I have seen in a while, as these two really have a fantastic chemistry.

#5.
WWE Title Match
Kurt Angle (c) vs. Brock Lesnar

Wrestlemania XIX
Safeco Field
Seattle, WA

One of the most anticipated matches in recent Wrestlemania history. Ever since Lesnar was signed, everyone wanted to see the battle of the two amateurs turned pro, and it was saved until the biggest stage of them all. These two men mixed their amateur background in with the professional present, and gave us a match for the ages. The one thing that stopped this match from being even higher was having Lesnar miss the shooting star press at the end, and nearly killing himself.

#4.
Iron Man Match for the WWF Title
Bret Hart (c) vs. Shawn Michaels

Wrestlemania 12
Arrowhead Pond
Anaheim, CA

A great match that showcased the incredibly difference between the WWF and WCW main event style at the time, as the WWF's guys could really, really deliver. Despite my criticism of this match, I still think that this is one of the best technical matches to take place on the big stage.

#3.
World Title Match
Edge (c) vs. The Undertaker

Wrestlemania XXIV
Citrus Bowl
Orlando, FL

Yeah, I think that the latest addition to this list was that good. The build up was sub-par, and the match was in danger of falling behind the WWE Title Match, Mayweather-Big Show, and HBK-Flair on the depth chart, but they went out and closed the show in style. Seeing The Undertaker chokeslam one of Edge's cronies onto the other was great, followed by Charles Robinson's lonnnng run to the ring, and Edge getting a 2.999 count was great. Edge looked like a million bucks, and The Undertaker saved the day as usual.

#2.
World Title Match
Triple H vs. Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels

Wrestlemania XX
Madison Square Garden
New York, NY

Simply one of the best matches to ever take place, regardless of events that have followed it. Three of the greatest in-ring performers of all time simply delivered a match for the ages.

#1.
No-Disqualification Match for the WWF Title
The Rock (c) vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin

Wrestlemania X-Seven
Astrodome
Houston, TX

Now here it is, THE match. As I have said repeatedly on this blog, this is the most important match in the history of the pseudo-sport. The Attitude Era was defined by Austin fighting on his own against the Evil Boss, no matter what. Yet, here he had to turn to the very same boss to beat his long time rival, he had to give in to The Man, he fought the Law and the Law Won, he loved Big Brother. There was nothing more after that, anything else was just a footnote. This is simply required viewing for any wrestling fan.

***************************************************

And there we have it, the last of my Wrestlemania rankings for the year. Turn back later on to see prediction for the big show, as well as post show analysis. It's been a fun ride, let's see how this event changes any rankings from here on out!

Until next time,

G

Achieved Posts:

The Openers
The Intercontinental Title
The Tag Team Titles
Celebrities
Extreme Rules
Women's Matches
The Dead Man
The Showstopper
The Main Events

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