With WrestleMania one week away, it’s time to go back and revisit the cream of the crop. Since next week’s show is the 35th annual event, I’ll spend the week listing my favorite 35 matches in the show’s history.
** NOTE – The lists being published this week were compiled from the larger list of WrestleMania match rankings done for Scott’s Blog of Doom and Place To Be Nation. Check out those sites for more great WrestleMania content. All rankings are, of course, just my opinion and are not meant to be a definitive list **
Every day this week will feature another list of 5 standout matches. The complete list of 35 favorite matches draws from 23 different WrestleMania events over the years.
Don’t forget to check out PART 1, covering matches 35-31. Let’s get to today’s edition!
30 – Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks – WWE Women’s Championship Triple Threat (WrestleMania 32)
I never thought I would see the day where a women’s title match would steal the show at WrestleMania, but that’s what these women did here. The Diva’s Revolution may have already been as dead and buried as the Divas Championship was at this point, but these three women certainly proved that it was possible for women’s wrestling to be taken seriously on a big stage. This match is part of the reason that the main event of this year’s show is going to be the women’s Triple Threat between Flair, Lynch and Rousey.
29 – Randy Orton vs. Batista vs. Daniel Bryan – WWE Title Triple Threat match (WrestleMania XXX)
From LAST YEAR‘s WrestleMania World Title Matches List: In his second match of the evening, Bryan went up against Orton – who beat him for the WWE Title at SummerSlam – and Batista – who won the Royal Rumble. Against two former students of Triple H, and with an injured shoulder, the deck was stacked against Bryan. The energy from the crowd, who were ravenous to chant YES! at the end of the evening with a victorious Bryan, helped the match immensely. And when Bryan finally caught Batista in the YES! Lock and got the man now known as Drax to tap out, the Superdome erupted. A classic WrestleMania moment, indeed.
28 – John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels – WWE Title (WrestleMania 23)
Again, from the World Title Matches List: Few would argue that John Cena is WWE’s best current big game player, but since his first WrestleMania appearance in 2004, he’s had very few great WrestleMania matches. Leave it to Mr. WrestleMania, Shawn Michaels, to elevate his game. Leading up to their WrestleMania match in 2007, Michaels and Cena were thrown together and ended up winning the tag team titles, putting them in the position of “partners who hate each other,” but the match didn’t need that added bit of tension. Cena seemed unbeatable, but Michaels took him to the limit before tapping to The Champ’s STFU submission hold. Two of WWE’s franchise players put on a clinic to close out one of the bigger WrestleManias in history.
27 – “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock (WrestleMania X8)
You want a WrestleMania moment? Get in the ring with Hulk Hogan. Hogan suffered his third WrestleMania loss and the second one in Toronto. Hogan and Rocky may not have put on a wrestling clinic, but the energy was off the charts and they gave the fans almost everything they wanted. I can only imagine how pumped the 68,000 people in attendance would have been had Hogan won.
26 – Wade Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Stardust vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. R-Truth vs. Luke Harper vs. Dean Ambrose – Intercontinental Title Ladder Match (WrestleMania 31)
From LAST YEAR‘s Best Opening Matches List: This match was all about Daniel Bryan’s return to the ring after he vacated the Undisputed WWE World Heavyweight Title due to injury the previous summer. Fans were still invested in Bryan and seeing him back in action upped the enthusiasm for the match. Of course, he had good dance partners in champion Wade Barrett, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth, Stardust and Luke Harper. But seeing Bryan climb the ladder to win the Intercontinental Title, though, made the match something special.
That’s all for today’s list. Come back tomorrow as we creep into my Top 25 Favorite WrestleMania matches! And let us know what you think of this edition in the comments!