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.
25 – Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar – WWE Title Match (WrestleMania XIX)
From LAST YEAR‘s WrestleMania World Title Matches List:When Lesnar won the 2003 Royal Rumble to earn a shot at the WWE Title, it set up what I hoped would be one of the greatest matches of all time between two amateur wrestling champions who became monsters of sports entertainment. Lesnar, still in his first full year in WWE, was a phenomenal athlete and pitting him against the best wrestler in the company gave me chills to think about. And the match delivered – mostly. It would likely be higher if not for Lesnar’s horrifying botch on his Shooting Star Press toward the end of the match. It was a scary image.
24 – Undertaker vs. Randy Orton (WrestleMania 21)
From LAST YEAR’S Best of the Undertaker WrestleMania List: In 2005, Randy Orton was a cocky young upstart who called himself “The Legend Killer.” He was looking to shoot his career into superstardom with a WrestleMania win over The Undertaker, even going so far as to recruit his father, WWE Hall of Famer “Cowboy” Bob Orton Jr. This was probably the first time many people actually expected The Undertaker to lose at WrestleMania, and it added a lot to the intrigue as the match went on. In the end, though, The Undertaker reversed a Tombstone attempt from Orton into one of his own and managed to put the future World Champion down for the win.
23 – John Cena vs. The Rock (WrestleMania XXVIII)
The build for WrestleMania XXVIII started a year before, when Rock cost John Cena the main event of WrestleMania XXVII. So, since in the ensuing year Cena won the WWE Title THREE TIMES, this match wasn’t really about revenge. But it was about using The Rock to bring in a huge pay-per-view buy rate and a record-breaking live gate. So, you know, mission accomplished.
22 – Undertaker vs. CM Punk (WrestleMania NY/NJ)
Back to that UNDERTAKER list from last year:An urn serving as the source of The Undertaker’s powers being stolen and used against him has been a frequent trope for the Deadman’s opponents. When CM Punk used an urn against The Undertaker for this 2013 match, he was also disparaging the memory of The Undertaker’s recently-deceased former manager, Paul Bearer. The disrespect from Punk and his manager Paul Heyman added some heat to the build for the event, which carried over into the match itself. Punk managed to give the Deadman a good fight, but ended up being the 21st victim of The Undertaker’s Tombstone piledriver.
21 – Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair – Career Threatening Match (WrestleMania XXIV)
The Shawn Michaels-Ric Flair match was the emotional centerpiece of the show. Flair wrestling his final WWE match the night after being inducted into the Hall of Fame, losing to the guy who arguably took his spot as the best in the business. It was the natural end for the “Nature Boy’s” career (as long as you ignore that whole TNA stint… and I think Flair does at this point, too).
That’s all for today’s list. Come back tomorrow as we make it into my Top 20 Favorite WrestleMania matches! And let us know what you think of this edition in the comments!