WrestleMania 34 is around the corner and it looks to be yet another stacked card for the biggest wrestling show of the year. Dream matches, debuts, returns, and even Rusev are on the card. It’s a WrestleMania miracle!
Now what I want to talk about today are the matches from the history of the show that stick in the minds of fans forever. This about the most memorable matches, not the best. A match doesn’t necessarily need to be a pure wrestling clinic to be memorable. For the best matches, that would be an entirely different list, but some of the matches listed here are indeed some of the best.
So in no real order, let’s take a look at the 10 most memorable matches to ever happen at WrestleMania!
Vince McMahon w/ Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley and Trish Stratus vs. Shane McMahon – Street Fight – WrestleMania X-Seven
This is what I mean by memorable match. Is it the best? No, but I truly enjoy this trainwreck of soap opera insanity. The build-up going into this father and son encounter was just bonkers. Vince demanded a divorce from Linda McMahon, drugged her into a comatose state, he flaunted his affair with Trish Stratus right in front of her, Trish was feuding with Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, Shane challenged Vince at Mania, and then Shane bought WCW from under Vince’s nose. Also, Mick Foley was made special guest referee. Wrestling can be silly sometimes, I think.
Yeah, the map to getting to this match was all over the place, but man did it reach one hell of a destination. The match was already going to be nuts, but then adding in the drama of a recently-closed WCW added even more insanity to the proceedings. Steamboat vs. Savage this is not, but boy oh boy, is it enjoyable. This match also plays out like an insane soap opera with Trish and Stephanie getting into it outside the ring, the weapons being hurled around, Mick Foley getting hostile with Vince, and J.R.’s brilliant commentary. However, we all know the main highlight was when Linda McMahon herself stood up from her chair as she hadn’t been drugged that day and gave Vince one massive kick to his grapefruits.
This match stuck with everyone in Houston and those watching at home that night. This match is one of the many reasons X-Seven is not just considered the best WrestleMania, but the best wrestling event ever by fans. It is wrestling at its most pure, over the top craziness and I just love it! If you have the WWE Network, give this a re-watch. I can’t love this match enough.
TLC II – WWF Tag Team Championship – WrestleMania X-Seven
Sticking with X-Seven, I could really make half this list matches from X-Seven and call it a day. We all knew TLC II had to be on this list. It’s the spotfest of all spotfests. This is arguably the most memorable tag team match in history with three of the most memorable tag teams ever: Hardy Boyz, Dudley Boyz, and Edge and Christian. These three exemplified tag team wrestling during the Attitude Era and had already stolen the show a year earlier at WrestleMania 2000 in the triangle ladder match. They had also stunned audiences with the first TLC match at SummerSlam 2000, so all eyes were on them come time for X-Seven. It even went on after the match I just talked about above. Seriously, how amazing is WrestleMania X-Seven?
This match had it all. It mixed up in-ring psychology and hardcore wrestling. We even got a mini-match of sorts with Lita, Spike Dudley, and Rhyno as the managers for their respective teams. Spike, in particular, got the worst of it, from a whopper of a chair shot from Lita, to losing two teeth from a Swanton Bomb off a ladder through a table by Jeff Hardy. Speaking of Brother Nero himself, what about that spear! You know the one I am talking about. Jeff, was tangled by the belts high up in the air and Edge just launched himself for the mother of all Spears. HOLY F***ING SHIT!
The result was Edge and Christian taking the straps once again, but that didn’t really even matter because they earned those championships after what they had just done. These men shortened their careers by putting their bodies through hell for our enjoyment and entertainment, and I will forever salute them for their performances that April night in 2001.
Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin – Submission Match – WrestleMania 13
As I said, some of the matches listed here are some of the best, and this is one of them. What may have been the launching pad into the Attitude Era is also one of the most brilliant moves in wrestling history. Bret walked in the babyface, and Austin the no-nonsense, don’t-give-a-crap-heel. By the end of the match, those roles would be switched.
Stone Cold had ushered in a huge change to wrestling at the time, where fans would cheer for the man who was quite literally up to no good. Hart’s babyface act looked to be long in the tooth. Before this match, they started toying with an angrier Hitman, particularly after failing to win the WWF Championship from Sycho Sid in a cage match and performing a worked shoot promo.
The match itself was incredible. Hart and Austin proved at Survivor Series months ago how good they were together and this was no exception. The action in this match was brutal, and some often forget it was a submission match, which you know, Hart was pretty great at, but Austin was more of a brawler. The drama, tension, and storytelling put on display here was amazing, and both men certainly gave the performance of a lifetime.
That image of Austin, blood running down his face, locked in the Sharpshooter, and refusing to give up will forever be ingrained in the minds of fans. Arguably the most iconic image of Austin before passing out from the pain, thus giving Hart the win. This match helped push WWE in its more iconic direction ever. Also, Ken Shamrock in those ref shorts, WOOHOO!
The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan – Icon vs. Icon – WrestleMania X8
If there are two men whose names are forever connected to the event itself, it’s The Rock and Hulk Hogan. Two different generations of wrestling clashed together before a passionate, sold out Toronto SkyDome, and even those watching at home could feel the electricity coming off their TV.
WrestleMania X8 might be remembered as a one-match show, but man what a match. This was huge; wrestling past vs. wrestling present, and it made the crowd go nuts. Seriously, the Toronto crowd was visibly and audibly spent throughout the rest of the event after this showdown. Rock and Hogan certainly put on a match for the ages, Hogan showing he could still go at that time and Rock at the top of his game. This match is also memorable because the crowd itself changed the match. Rock was the face coming in, Hogan the heel as the leader of the reformed New World Order. No one, seriously, no one expected Hogan to be as over as he was with the crowd that night, and they had to change the match on the fly. My mind still wonders what might have been had the crowd not effectively turned Hogan face that night.
Was this ever going to be a highly contested back-and-forth match? Not really, but it was going to be memorable no matter what.
Shawn Michaels w/Diesel vs. Razor Ramon – Ladder Match for the Undisputed WWF Intercontinental Championship – WrestleMania X
WrestleMania X is not only a great celebration for the event itself but is home to some of the most unforgettable moments. Namely among them is the 5-star classic between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon.
While not the first ladder match in WWE, it certainly is the one most people will think about. In hindsight, this match can be marred by backstage politics of both men, given what we know of The Kliq now, but that doesn’t really matter at all. Both men put on a damn fine performance in Madison Square Garden and changed the wrestling scene forever in. Michaels and Ramon put it all out there, and even Diesel on the outside added some great drama to the proceedings. Both men wanted to prove they were the true champion and in the end, they both were.
Michaels’ expert timing and selling were on full display, especially in the finish of the match as his foot was caught in the ropes, flailing in anguish as Ramon unhooked both belts and tumbled to the canvas. History was made within that match.
Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman vs. Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins – Triple threat match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship – WrestleMania 31
When you think of unforgettable WrestleMania endings, this is going to spring to mind right away. Fan resentment for Roman Reigns was high. It looked like he was going to topple the monster that is Brock Lesnar for the big belt in Levi’s Stadium that night until an opportunistic Seth Rollins came in.
Before the shock reveal, Lesnar vs. Reigns was actually a pretty good match. It was a far better contest than fans expected and really showed off that while the booking of Roman Reigns was awful, he could hold his own in the ring. Lesnar was giving his all as well and might be one the few last times he cared in the ring. Plus, this was the match that gave birth to “Suplex City”.
Just as Reigns and Lesnar were beaten down and tired – BOOM! This was the first time anyone who held the Money in the Bank contract figured to cash in at the grandest stage of them all and I was floored. I was watching live with my friends and nearly spilled my beer all over the place out of shock. It was insane; the match immediately became a triple threat and one Curb Stomp to Reigns later, Seth Rollins was champion.
This to me is the last memorable ending to any Mania event in some time.
Hulk Hogan vs. André the Giant w/Bobby “The Brain” Heenan – WWF World Heavyweight Championship – WrestleMania III
This is the most infamous match for both men involved. Sure, it was not the best match of the show (shoutout once again to Steamboat vs. Savage), but really the most memorable match, maybe ever!
The story of Hogan and André’s deteriorating friendship going in made for great drama. Also, there was the fact that Hogan had never slammed André, except for the several times he did and the countless others that had done the same thing, but whatever.
The sold-out crowd at the Pontiac Silverdome added to the drama of the match. It built it up bigger than it was supposed to be in all honesty and that’s why so many people, even non-wrestling fans, know so much about it. The moment Hulk lifted André, the world gasped in awe as they saw the giant taken off his feet and slammed to the ground for the pinfall. Both men expertly sold this encounter perfectly and knew how to play the crowd. This is storytelling at its finest.
The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania 25
I’m going to admit right now that this is my favorite wrestling match ever; dead serious. The fact it happens to feature my all-time favorite wrestler, The Undertaker, is a pleasant bonus. Shawn Michaels is Mr. WrestleMania, this we know, but Undertaker IS WrestleMania thanks to the prestige of the streak. So, when these two came together at the show of shows, was it any wonder they stole the show itself? No, no it wasn’t.
Undertaker and Shawn Michaels were always spectacular together in the ring, but that night in Houston proved they were as strong as the younger guys. From their amazing entrances to the in-ring work to that infamous botched dive from Taker himself, this had classic written all over it. Both men were well into the twilights of their respective careers, yet outperformed everybody on the card that night. This match was so good, it killed the crowd for the rest of the night, leaving them tired after the clinic both men had put on.
Finisher after finisher, near fall after near fall, it made me go insane! I was on the edge of my seat watching this match live and I couldn’t contain myself! The moment the ref counted three officially, I let out the biggest sigh of relief ever, thankful that the madness had ended. I legit stood up and applauded my television that night after the match ended because I knew I witnessed history. This, of course, led to the outstanding sequel a year later that ended Michaels’ career, but we won’t forget our first.
Ultimate Warrior vs. Hulk Hogan – WWF Intercontinental Championship vs. WWF World Heavyweight Championship – WrestleMania VI
Once again Hulk Hogan, and once again in Toronto.
This match was essentially the passing of the torch, from the ’80s to the ’90s. Granted both men weren’t the best technically in the ring, but that didn’t matter as they were both larger than life characters that propelled the WWF in its heyday. They knew how to work the crowd, bring the fans in, and entertain the masses, so pitting them against each other was a no-brainer.
Given the egos behind both men, planning this out must have been as difficult as doing a jigsaw puzzle blindfolded. Hogan kicked out right as the ref’s hand came down for the three if you need any proof, but regardless, this match represents WrestleMania as a spectacle. It’s where the impossible becomes possible and memories are made.
I would legit rank this as one of the best matches for both men and still would enjoy watching it today as I did when I rented this on VHS back in the day. It’s not just a WWE highlight, but wrestling highlight overall.
The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar w/Paul Heyman – WrestleMania XXX
Even if this were a ranked list, you know we’d be talking about this match last regardless. How could we not?
Unironically, Undertaker’s undefeated WrestleMania streak was one of the last things wrestling fans all over took seriously. If anyone – ANYONE – was going to break it, they would have huge momentum going forward. However, it wasn’t just anyone, it was Brock Lesnar. Brock Lesnar, the part-timer, the UFC guy, the man who would only appear if the money was right.
Honestly, the match itself was crap. It was slow, sluggish, and too tedious to be real, but the moment Lesnar hit that third F5, the world went silent. Those in attendance couldn’t believe it, I didn’t believe it, everyone else watching live at home didn’t believe it, but it happened. The Undertaker had been toppled at WrestleMania. Granted, the concussion he suffered early into the match most likely played a factor, but there is still so much speculation as to what exactly went down in the match if that was even the way it was supposed to go. WrestleMania’s return to New Orleans this year is going to add more mystery to this and we might finally get some answers.
I don’t know, but what I do know is that this is the most memorable match in WrestleMania history.
What WrestleMania matches do you think are most memorable? Let us know in the comments!