With WWE Wrestlemania 38 approaching, I decided to create a list of my favorite Wrestlemania matches from over the years. The rankings have been determined from my own personal opinions but I took various factors into consideration including match quality, storyline, and overall impact. Click here for part three and here is part four…
8. Steve Austin vs. The Rock (Wrestlemania 15)
WWE was red hot in 1999 with Austin at his peak of popularity and Rock’s popularity was continuing to grow. For several months, Mr. McMahon was doing everything possible to keep the WWE Title away from Austin. In this match, Austin was finally able to overcome the odds and reclaim his title. For Austin fans, this was the big moment of revenge that they had been waiting for.
7. Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage (Wrestlemania 3)
While Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant was the main event of Wrestlemania 3, it was Savage vs. Steamboat that stole the show. This match was way ahead of its time in terms of the pacing and numerous near-falls compared to what was seen in WWE during that period. You also had a great finish with Steamboat getting his revenge on Savage after a brutal attack from months earlier.
6. The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (Wrestlemania 26)
This was a rematch from Wrestlemania 25 and while I personally prefer that one, this match had added stakes with Michaels’ career being on the line. Michaels gave Undertaker everything he had but it wasn’t enough and his career was ended on that night. The finish with Michaels slapping Undertaker in a last act of defiance followed by a jumping tombstone from Undertaker was perfect.
5. The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan (Wrestlemania 18)
This match was truly a magical moment in wrestling history and a “dream” scenario that actually played out before our very eyes. Despite being a heel, the nostalgia was there as Hogan returned to the Toronto Skydome where he battled the Ultimate Warrior over a decade earlier. No matter what Hogan and Rock did in the ring, the crowd was eating up every moment.
4. Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels (Wrestlemania 10)
To settle a dispute over who the “real” intercontinental champion was, a ladder match was set up with the winner grabbing both titles. As the first WWE ladder match on a PPV, this bout set the standard for future ladder matches. Ramon had his shining moment while Michaels proved he was the future of WWE in a match that still holds up to this day.
3. Steve Austin vs. The Rock (Wrestlemania 17)
This was the main event of what was arguably the greatest Wrestlemania event in history. Like the other Austin vs. Rock matches, it was an absolutely fantastic battle between two of the greatest characters in the history of the business. While I was never a fan of the Austin heel turn, the finish of the show represented the symbolic end of the “Attitude Era” as the company would move into a new direction with the acquisition of WCW and ECW.
2. The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (Wrestlemania 25)
I remember watching Wrestlemania 25 and being unimpressed with the event until this match started. All of the sudden, I felt like I was watching Wrestlemania. Undertaker and Michaels didn’t have the flashiest moves but everything they did MEANT something. No matter how big or small, the two hit every right note when it came to telling the perfect in-ring story.
1. Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin (Wrestlemania 13)
To this day, this is still my all-time favorite match and I feel it is one of the most historically significant performances ever. Everything about this match felt real and I believed that these two guys legitimately hated each other’s guts. In my opinion, Hart and Austin executed the best double turn in the history of wrestling with Austin passing out in a pool of his own blood and Hart attacking the man after the match was over. The finish would lead to Austin becoming the biggest star in wrestling and ushering in the Attitude Era.
Thank you for reading! Click here to start back at part one.