It’s WrestleMania 34 this coming Sunday…so I have to do a WrestleMania-related Top 10, don’t I? I’ve already done a Top 10 Best WrestleMania Matches List (click here to view it!), and did think about doing a Top 10 Worst WrestleMania Matches List. But that would involve watching early WrestleManias, something I cannot tolerate! So I decided to change tack a little and examine WrestleMania main events. Of course, the early Mania main events (apart from one) involving Hulk Hogan can be discounted. But the modern era has more than made up for Hogan’s dismal wrestling. So here are my Top 10 WrestleMania Main Events!
Randy Savage (c) vs Hulk Hogan (WWF Championship, WrestleMania V)
The mega powers definitely exploded in this monumental main event. That came after a year of a brilliant build-up. I can’t possibly go into details here, but it’s a tale of insecurity and jealousy that looks positively Shakespearian compared to some of the match builds we get today. Hogan was never the best wrestler of his era, but Randy Savage was one of the best. And he wanted to prove that he could lead Hogan into Hogan’s greatest match to that point. Savage certainly did just that. I think The Ultimate Warrior vs Hulk Hogan is a borefest, and would never put it on this list. But Savage vs Hogan is probably the best Mania main event of the early era of WWE. Savage worked magic with Hogan to create one of Hogan’s best (if not the best) matches of his WWF career.
John Cena (c) vs Triple H (WWE Championship, WrestleMania 22)
If you want to see the beginning of the “Cena Sucks/Let’s Go Cena” chants, then this is it. John Cena was the babyface that people had grown to hate. In the year before Mania 22, he’d decisively beaten Kurt Angle, Christian, Chris Jericho and Edge. Although he was the supposed babyface in those feuds, the cheers tended to be directed at the heels. The crowd, it seemed, didn’t wanted Cena as their WWE Champion. In this main event, they cheered overwhelmingly for the biggest heel of them all, Triple H. A rain of boos showered down on Cena. More than anything, it’s the earth-shattering crowd involvement that makes this match hit the list. But, of course, with a tip-top performer like Triple H, the match quality will be very good, and here he almost excelled himself.
Brock Lesnar (c) vs Roman Reigns/Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns vs Seth Rollins (WWE Championship, WrestleMania 32)
We’ll be getting the sequel this Sunday, but people tend to forget that the original was actually a barnstormer of a match. Yes, no one wanted Roman Reigns in the main event position. No one particularly wanted Lesnar there, either, but that’s what we were given. And we were given a match that Lesnar largely dominated in a fashion that only he can do. It’s one of the few times over the past couple of years that Lesnar’s been motivated to perform at a high standard. Come on, if you’re a Roman hater, it was positively gleeful to watch Lesnar suplex the socks off Reigns. Of course, the entry of Rollins in the latter part of the match to cash in his MITB contract multiplied the excitement by a factor of X.
7. Randy Orton (c) vs Batista vs Daniel Bryan (WWE World Heavyweight Championship, WrestleMania XXX)
While this may not be the best triple threat match ever, the build-up and crowd engagement makes it one of the most memorable main events in company history. I’m not downplaying the in-ring action; it’s great. You’ll never get a bad match out of Orton, Bryan was on top form as usual, and Batista ploughed headfirst into proving that he did deserve to be in the main event (as the crowd believed he didn’t!). It’s probably in the top ten WWE triple threat matches of all time. But it’s the culmination of Daniel Bryan’s journey that makes this match very, very special. YES! YES! YES!
(Click here for my full review of this match
6. John Cena (c) vs Shawn Michaels (WWE Championship, WrestleMania 23)
John Cena has been responsible for one of the worst Mania main events ever (against The Miz), but his match again Shawn Michaels was a stunner. It may have looked inferior to the bout between Undertaker and Batista earlier on (Taker and Batista were annoyed that they weren’t in the main event position, so vowed to put on the best match of the night. They did just that), but that doesn’t mean it was an average bout. Far from it. HBK could drag a great match out of anybody. Cena was a decent worker back then, but nowhere near the level he would reach. They assembled a pulse-pounding match that even delivered a pildedriver…on the steel steps, no less! Their one hour match on Raw a few weeks later was a better contest, but this should still be remembered as one of the great Mania main events.
5. Edge (c) vs The Undertaker (World Heavyweight Championship, WrestleMania 24)
Why isn’t this match talked about more often? Edge and Taker had a gripping feud before and after ‘Mania 24, but this was the peak of their in-ring competition. It was Edge’s first and last ‘Mania main event, and he certainly rose to the occasion (and it was only ‘Taker’s second Mania main event!). It was a story of Edge outsmarting and outwitting Taker for the vast majority of the match, and it worked a treat. Edge worked on Taker’s back in a relatively slow first half, but the second half ramped up the action and the pace. Of course, the finishing sequence was exemplary. People should talk about this match more often!
Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker (Streak vs Career, WrestleMania XXVI)
I was underwhelmed when I watched this match the first time around. The sequel is usually inferior to the original, and I felt this match didn’t live up to the highs of their Mania 25 clash. But upon re-watching it, I realised I had overlooked the story of the match. It’s a story of a man who believes he is better than his opponent…but that belief is false. Taker dominates most of this contest (unlike the fairly even Mania 25 bout). HBK is arrogant, even cocky, thinking he was one mistake from ending Taker’s streak at Mania 25. Here, he’s proven wrong again and again. Maybe the one-sided nature of this bout took me by surprise initially, but I soon put that to one side and appreciated the brilliant storytelling that HBK and Taker laid out. Sure, it’s a little sloppy in parts, but that only adds to the sense of desperation that’s key to this bout. A memorable final match for HBK.
(Click here for my full review of this match)
Kurt Angle (c) vs Brock Lesnar (WWE Championship, WrestleMania XIX)
Upon first viewing this match, I watched it through my fingers. I watched in horror as Angle took dangerous bump after dangerous bump. Lest we forget, Angle had a serious neck injury coming into this bout. One wrong move and he could have been legitimately paralysed. But he did win an Olympic gold medal with a broken freakin’ neck, so this was just another day at work for Angle. Funnily enough, it was Lesnar who ended up nearly breaking his neck after a botched shooting star press towards the end of the match. But Angle wrestled like a man possessed, and Lesnar more than held his own in a clash that wrestling purists had desired for a long time. It didn’t disappoint, either. They may have had better clashes down the line, but this was a stellar main event. Also, it’s one of the few times that two virgin Mania main eventers have main evented WrestleMania.
(Click here for my full review of this match)
Triple H (c) vs Shawn Michaels vs Chris Benoit (World Heavyweight Championship, WrestleMania XX)
For a celebration of twenty (?!?!?) years of WrestleMania, ‘Mania XX was rather dull. However, the main event became not just one of the best Mania main events of all time, but the best triple threat match in company history. You won’t hear anything about it on WWE programming because of Chris Benoit, and for good reason. It’s hard to put his actions at the back of your mind when watching any of his matches. But this match is an half an hour display of cracking wrestling. Yes, it may not have detoured outside of the typical triple threat template of mostly being a one-on-one battle, but it did everything to perfection. There’s no chance to breathe in this monumental main event. The finishing sequence is out of this world. And the post-match celebration always brings a tear to my eye.
The Rock (c) vs Stone Cold Steve Austin (WWF Championship, WrestleMania X-7)
This is the exclamation mark on the end of the Attitude Era. It embodies everything great about the said era, with the two top stars of that era. It was the peak of possibly the greatest WrestleMania ever. My excitement for this match back in the day was unbelievable. I didn’t think it would meet my high expectations. The Rock and Stone Cold blew my expectations away. It’s a match full of brutality, psychology, wonderful storytelling and a delicious twist. The Rock and Austin were arguably never better than in this main event. A fitting send-off to the WWE’s most popular era.
(Click here for my full review of this match!)
Agree or disagree? Any you’d take away or add? What is your Top 10?
Hammy’s Top 10 Worst WrestleMania Main Events
Hammy’s Top 10 WrestleMania Matches
Hammy’s Top 10 Worst WrestleMania Matches
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