The one thing that we all care about in Wrestlemania is the finish and there is no other way to end the show than to have a great main event. It’s the one thing that almost every wrestler strives for because you have the biggest recognition and the winner comes out as the biggest star. Admittedly, for many of the main event, we jut kept having Hulk Hogan (from Wrestlemania 1 – 9) and the Breakfast Club members (Triple H, Randy Orton, Batista, John Cena) that over hogs up the main event for many Wrestlemanias. But once in a couple of years, we get someone different and someone who deserve that main event spot that somehow become huge name in the wrestling world like Stone Cold Steve Austin, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Brock Lesnar, Ultimate Warrior, and Daniel Bryan. Sometimes it’s not just about creating new stars, but to also grow their popularity to the next level to prove why they’re the best. Whenever there’s a Wrestlemania coming along, everyone wants to know who’s going to main event because the wrestlers building up his feud with a champion is given the most attention, most time for promos, and is honored with one of the best storyline booked in this show. While I’ve already done my Top 10 Favorite Wrestlemania matches, there’s nothing more important than to give a climax and leave everyone happy.
Number 10. – Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels – 60 Minute Iron Man Match
This match is important, not to just show the talent between HBK and “The Hitman” but instead it was to shift away from the steroid wrestling to show smaller guys wrestling a very physical match that lasted in the entirety of third half the show. WWF has got an infamous reputation as a sporting event that was using Steroid scandals for each of their wrestlers and finally it was time to show that there are talent in the wrestling world that doesn’t need super physique star to run the show. Even though the New Generation Era has done a lot of damage to the company, 60 Minute Iron Man Match showed that there are some good in this era. Though the whole purpose of this match was to have the most pitfalls or submissions within within 60 minutes, none of the two had any falls for either men. But because the match is an hour long and we all know that none of the pitfalls or submissions were made within 60 minutes makes it tough to sit though, I still recommend in watching it just to see how much does it take to be the best wrestler because it takes stamina, impact, strength, speed, and endurance to last that long. The great thing about Bret and Shawn is that they’re two phenomenal performers that did everything to make themselves and each other look good. I’ll have to admit that the match was very slow paced, there wasn’t much to expect knowing that there aren’t any falls, the audience was falling asleep leaving in silence, and Bret forgotten to sell the damage on his arm, but this was a unique match. The highlight of this very show is of course the last couple of minutes as Shawn made a mistake in doing a flying move and Bret reversed it into a sharpshooter, but Shawn didn’t give up the submission all the way to the end of the count. I would have appreciated it if this match just ended with Bret leaving the match with his WWF Championship and make a rematch in the next Wrestlemania, but Gorilla Monsoon came in and said that the made should restart in overtime because there must be a fall. It made all of us hoping that his match could just end because going over an hour is already almost half the show, but that last Sweet Chin Music made Shawn Michaels victory and became the new WWF Champion. This is why Shawn Michaels acquired the nickname ‘Mr. WrestleMania.’ He has been involved in so many iconic matches at WrestleMania and the 60 minute ‘Ironman Match that went on longer than 60 minutes was one of those matches. Both Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels were in their prime and they started a new era of wrestling where smaller guys became a standard in pro wrestling. But due to the fact that this match went way longer than it should, there was not that many surprises during this match, and it was incredibly slow paced, it was tough to watch this match at its entirety. The only thing that could have been better with the finish was to have Shawn and Bret shake hands, but their lack of sportsmanship and level a hatred they both had with each other shows in their body language and facial expression. You can see Shawn acting like a bitch telling the ref to get Bret out of the ring while Bret left in sheer disappointment. It’s always tough to see the tension between the two that carried throughout the years, but at least none of them killed each other, that’s for sure. Though I can’t see myself watching this match many times over, but it still was an impressive match on the card and a great finish nonetheless.
Number 9. – The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin – Wrestlemania 17
I really don’t think that this match was better than Rock-Austin match in Wrestlemania XV because there was something missing in this match in comparison to Wrestlemania XV’s main event. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that this match was incredibly well worked where both of these men gave everything that they’ve learned from each other throughout the Attitude era. The problem for me however is that both Austin and Rock just feels too invincible that there was no way that either one of the men can put each other over. No matter how many stunners, rock bottoms, People’s elbow, chairshots, weapon shots, table crashes, and even the kitchen sink, none of the men wants to lay down for defeat. My favorite part of the match however was when Stone Cold was in the sharp shooter and had blood pour on his face just giving us that nostalgic moment of when he was in the same position with Bret Hart in Wrestlemania 13. This match really did show their endurance to show that they have what it takes to be the top, but at the extent that it they’re almost inhuman. It was so intense to see which of the two had to loose, until Vince McMahon had to come down the ring and interfere. This time, he wasn’t coming to save the Rock, but instead to save Stone Cold Steve Austin, his arch nemesis. Now this heel turn just doesn’t make any sense to me because Austin represented the people below the employers whom pleasures to make their employees a miserable hell and it was his duty to rebel against the system and those who controls everything. Just having a Vince and Austin teaming together was just so bizarre to me. For shock value, this is ingenious stuff, but for the fact that they’ve made one of the most important stars of the attitude era to suddenly turn heel and made this hardcore match into as piñata out of the Rock it wasn’t really a good idea. For a storytelling, work-rate, and entertainment standpoint, it just shows why Rock vs. Austin in Wrestlemania XV is way superior. It seemed as though he wouldn’t stop until the fans turned on him. Finally he got a few boos and went for the cover. As soon as the ref hit three, the crowd erupted again. The fans just didn’t care about the heel turn. They were going to cheer Austin anyway. I always felt that hurt the end of the show a bit, but admittedly this was to build up to the epic disappointment called the Invasion angle that was going to happen after Wrestlemania. I fully agree with Stone Cold Steve Austin that he should have gave Vince the stunner so save himself from that heel turn. Honestly, the heel turn for Austin really lost a lot of popularity and credibility for him. And if you disagree with that statement, who’s making Hollywood blockbusters today? (Hint: The Rock) Exactly!
Number 8. – Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle – Wrestlemania 19
And here we come to our most unique Wrestlemania main events of all time. We have the ever so credible Olympic Gold Medalist going toe-to-toe with a rookie with the highest potential. It’s not Brock’s first WWE Championship match, but it’s sure one hell of a Wrestlemania debut to start at the main event that no one has ever had. Sure they were shoving Brock Lesnar down our throats, but be honest here, he had the “it” factor. The physique, the move set, the talent; he had everything to be main event material. Angle risked a lot in this match, competing despite the fact he was in need of neck surgery. He was facing a rookie who didn’t know his own strength. However, he couldn’t pass up getting his chance to star in the main event at WrestleMania. Unlike any ‘Mania main event, this very match was all about the purity of Wrestling. If you thought that his match with Chris Benoit was art in terms of athleticism, this one here is gold. It was pure wrestling; there’s no heel or babyface, no dirty wrestling involved, and no “formulaic” iconic moves that are taken place to entertain the fans. As I was watching this match, I just can’t help but get that special feeling of what Smackdown used to be; the magic of technical wrestling. The crowd got hotter and hotter as the match went on. Lesnar displayed tremendous athleticism to go with his brute strength and Angle showed how much he had truly mastered professional wrestling. It was a very competitive match that worked tremendously well! I was about to consider this the best match of the night until the botched finish that could have ended either one of their careers. After a couple of F-5 that Angle kicked out, Lesnar decided to go up top and apply the shooting star press. It was a nasty fall as he landed on his neck and bumped on Kurt Angle. Immediately, this match needed to end after that because both men were really hurt after that stunt, so after a final F-5, you can see Brock was out of his senses and didn’t know where he was at. Despite that botch, Brock deserved to become the new WWE Champion because he was the key to a new era for the Brand Extension. I remember how it just ended perfectly when Kurt and Brock shook hands and raise hands for ending a really fantastic show. Both men made full recoveries in what proved to be a physically grueling match. Later in 2003, their rivalry continued; providing better matches than this one. Despite all the risk involved, they both made it out alive from a career ending situation. I really don’t think we’re ever going to have a main event to be similar to this one when it comes to stipulation and in-ring ability.
Number 7. – The Rock vs. John Cena – Wrestlemania 28
We all know that Wrestlemania 27 wasted out time promoting this very match and this match needed to pay off. I haven’t had so much anticipation for two competitors since Hogan vs. Rock and certainly, I wanted the Rock to beat Cena. After all of these years of Cena hammered down our throats, The Rock came back to make fun of John Cena and made him look like shit in each episode of RAW before this show. From boots to asses, Cena’s a kung-pow bitch, Rock singing with his acoustic guitar; they were all so intense! Because the Rock effortlessly talked smack on John Cena, it made this match more and more hyped. Even through each of the wrestler’s had their own performers giving their own entrances to even further the production and anticipation, all those props did not make this match good. Admittedly, the match wasn’t as great as I anticipated because Cena didn’t give much effort than his same moves of doom, The Rock was losing a lot of stamina, that awful bear hug that took too long to break, and the match went on for over a half an hour. The best thing I can tell you about going back to this match was that the entire stadium was loud during the duration of the match. It was pure magic to see the Rock to finally wrestle a big name opponent since Stone Cold Steve Austin in Wrestlemania 19, and do all of his signature moves that brought our nostalgia-feeling into full gear! This match represented Attitude Era vs. PG Era. There were so many instances where the Rock was going to loose but each time he pops out of the count, it got the crowd roaring with delight. I really thought that John Cena was going to win this match because the WWE wanted to shove John Cena even further down our throats. But after so many Rock Bottoms and two people’s elbows, that final Rock Bottom that gave him that clean three count actually made me jump out of my seat with joy. That instance where John Cena lost felt like true satisfaction. It was like the WWE are acknowledged that we all hate Cena and after all those years of having him shoved down our throats and putting his face in nearly every aspect of the WWE, it was like the WWE gave us a bone for supporting this company throughout all the dissatisfying times of being a fan. That victory for the Rock made the show into one of the all time best Wrestlemanias. It’s something about the Rock’s charisma, character, and talent that John Cena could never capture. Rock had the whole crowd in his hands and he effortlessly made all of us happy. The build-up for this match couldn’t get any bigger and it delivered with a sweat victory that shows why The Rock is an all-time great! The image of Cena sitting down on the concrete floor with the ramp behind him truly represents why Cena can NEVER be an all time great.It was more than a great one, it was one of the best finish to a Wrestlemania show ever!
Number 6. – Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock – Wrestlemania XV
I’m certainly one of those individuals that considers Rock-Austin match in Wrestlemania 15 their best because there was no bullshit finish (Wrestlemania 17) and it didn’t became that kind of match where they threw in too many finishers (Wrestlemania 19). After all the horrible matches that we all had to endure in Wrestlemania 15, at least this main event almost saved the show from being the worst Wrestlemania ever. The Rock has already made himself a great wrestler and he deserved to become WWF Champion after winning it in the Survivor Series tournament. It was a great way to make a new star instead of just having Austin to be the top guy. Everyone still talks about how great Austin vs. Rock is because it was as epic as Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes, Hogan vs. Andre, and Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels. Out of all the bad booking in this card, this is the finale that did it right. This match delivered because it was a combination of hardcore wrestling, showmanship, and even technical brawls. Think about Wrestlemania main events and this match truly fits that picture. I just couldn’t believe the punishment that these two where taking from landing on concrete floors, falling on a lights and other steel objects, and did everything to keep each other down. It was a very chaotic match were even many referees gets knocked out. Hell, even Vince McMahon had to come in and try to give the Rock the win because neither one of the men could put the other man down for the count. But thankfully, this is the match that threw in so much in a singular match, having Vince McMahon involved, Mankind return as special guest referee, so much mayhem happening, and finishers applied towards each other just to do everything they can to put the other over. Suddenly, that last stunner proved to be the most effective and it earned him another main event victory, but this time it’s Vince McMahon’s loss. This proved to be one of my favorite main events in a Wrestlemania. It shows why Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock were made for each other and they both face each other in 2 more Wrestlemanias in the future that couldn’t hold the candle to their first match together.
Number 5. – Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton vs. Batista – Wrestlemania 30
This match to me is like the triple threat match in Wrestlemania 20 and you all know how special that main event was for me. Ten years later in the triple threat match in Wrestlemania 30, lightning struck twice. Daniel Bryan had to wrestle his damnedest against Triple H to get this spot in the main event card and there was no perfect time to have the “Yes movement” to finally reach its goal. I had my speculations that this could have ended tragically with either not having Daniel Bryan not win the match or somehow start to have a heel turn like Austin did in Wrestlemania 17. Miraculously, Daniel Bryan did not go through any last minute booking bullshit and just went out there with a damaged shoulder as the biggest babyface you can imagine. This daring individual is wrestling the breakfast club with Orton and Bootista to show what it means to be the common man to reach his goals. Somehow, I just had that feeling like I was brought back ten years ago when I wanted Chris Benoit to win at Wrestlemania XX, I had the same emotions here. I really did feel like this was going to be that moment all over again while still suspecting that this was going to end anticlimactically. But wouldn’t you know, Bryan wrestled like crazy against these two individuals. I couldn’t describe how invested I was watching this match. I especially loved it that Triple H came back to the ring to interfere the match and gave him a sledgehammer and even Orton and Bootista gave Bryan an RKO-Batista Bomb through the announcer’s table that shocked the living hell out of me. He was getting stretchered out of the match, but he refused to give up and continued the match. That was not to say that Orton and Batista made this a handicap for Bryan, the sure as hell wrestled better than any of their Wrestlemania matches when they were involved. Because everyone in this match created the most chaotic triple threat imaginable, it was as hell highly entertaining. But load and behold, as soon as Randy Orton got out of the way, Daniel Bryan got Bootista in the yes-lock and made him tap (and for everyone who booed Batista at Royal Rumble 2014 he deserved it). This is the second time in my life where I wanted something form the WWE (first was to have the Rock beat Cena at Wrestlemania 28) and they gave me Daniel Bryan as our new Champion and the victor of Wrestlemania XXX. It was like Wrestlemania 20 all over again where I wanted so desperately for Chris Benoit to win a decade ago, but I can’t look back at it because it’s so tragic after what he did that ruined that moment. A decade later, the WWE did it once again with another common man that deserved it! Daniel Bryan was ruling the night and left us with a big bang.
Number 4. – Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior – Wrestlemania 6
Out of the first 6 Wrestlemanias Hogan has been in, this one is his best! We’re talking about an opponent where it’s almost his equal and both of these men wanted to face each other with title for title where the winner of the match wins both the Intercontinental and WWF Championship. It all started at Royal Rumble where the two face each other squared off as the whole audience where in awe. This was the first time where a Wrestlemania main event had babyface vs. babyface and the whole audience had a mix reaction for both men. No doubt was this some of the most exciting and most physical Wrestlemania main event of all time. I’m not really a huge fan of powerhouse matches as they’re are normally slow paced brute strength, but this match was so damn intense it became the best physical match I’ve probably ever seen. Both of these men were at the prime of their careers and it was a perfect opportunity to keep seeing strength challenges, power moves that are mesmerizing to behold, and each time I watch this match, I get chills down my spine. No doubt this is an instant classic as it begun with a strength challenge and picked up the pace with amazing wrestling that was lacking in the previous Wrestlemanias. This was the first time I’ve seen Hogan this vulnerable (more-so than his match against Andre) as it was convincing that Warrior was that almighty. The only little flaw I have was that poor leg injury that Hulk had when he fell of the ring because if you’re not going to make a sell out of it after that match, then it’s unnecessary. I still wonder why we can’t have another great match with two wrestlers with great physique as these two as they offered the best display of magnificent power play like I’ve never seen before, and probably never see again. The Ultimate Warrior was as a great of a wrestler if not more than Hulk Hogan. I love this pure wrestling match and the finale towards the end of this match was pure gold. Ultimate Warrior carried Hogan in a guerrilla press and then an ultimate splash to know Hogan was more than to let Warrior over. As soon as Hogan broke the pin, it was going pandemonia. It looked as if Warrior was going to loose after the big boot, until the Hogan missed the Leg Drop and Warrior reversed it to give him the big splash for the victory. The fact that Hogan tried to break the pin right after the three showed that Warrior was the man. Hogan had enough energy to leave ringside and give Warrior the belt. At first it looked like they were about to fight in that hush silence as they meet face to face, till Hogan passed the torch to Warrior and Warrior was the undisputed Intercontinental and WWF Champion. I couldn’t asked for a better match than Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior, but you know what? We actually did in the following Wrestlemania!
Number 3. – Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels – Wrestlemania 26
If there was a feud that deserved a Wrestlemania rematch, it had to Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker. I can’t stress enough that their match in Wrestlemania 25 was the only great match on the card and it was the best match in Wrestlemania history. After Shawn Michaels lost the match, he was more eager to end the streak because he was the closest that came to ending it (Since Kane in Wrestlemania 14). There was nothing more than have a second chance. At the time the Undertaker won the World Heavyweight Championship and Shawn wanted to win the Royal Rumble in order to face him at Wrestlemania 26. Unfortunately, he got eliminated and Taker was waiting for another opponent. Shawn couldn’t accept that so he had to interfere the Elimination Chamber match and cost Undertaker his World title. Never had there been so much anticipation to make this match happen because there was no other guy that deserved to end the streak than Shawn Michaels. It look like he was about to get his chance… until Undertaker made this rematch a stipulation by saying if he loses, his career is over… And that’s the only flaw that I have with this rematch and why I can never say it will ever be better than their match in Wrestlemania 25. Not because it was going to be Shawn’s last match, but because we seen this before. This was the same stipulation as to Ric Flair’s retirement when he lost to Shawn Michaels in Wrestlemania and knowing that this is a career ending match if he loses, it kinda spoiled the results for me, personally. However it is a double edge sword where the Undertaker-Michaels rematch did do a couple of things that was better than the original match; it was much more emotional and the storytelling was in full force, there were a lot less mistakes happening in this match, and the finish was what you call a “Wrestlemania moment” when Shawn slapped Undertaker cross the face just to have the deadliest Tombstone of all time. Despite what both of those matches had over the other, the Undertaker-Michaels rematch itself was a classic bout and there were so many exciting moments that it really kept the fans on the edges of their seats until the end of the match when Undertaker pinned HBK and ended one of the greatest in ring careers of all time. This was Shawn’s last match ever as a wrestler and it was a classic no doubt about it. Some say that matches like Undertaker-Michaels happens once in a lifetime, but never could we thought it could happen twice!
Number 2. – Shawn Michaels vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin – Wrestlemania 14
This was the match that set the standard of what the Attitude was all about. Shawn Michaels was infamous for being responsible for the Montreal Screwjob and he had no sympathy for what he has done to Bret Hart. The only man left that was worthy of facing The Heartbreak Kid at a Wrestlemania main event was the man who did not tap out when he face Bret Hart in last year’s wrestlemania; Stone Cold Steve Austin. Because Austin showed how much of a badass he was when he passed in the sharpshooter and started to piss Vince McMahon since, got his popularity rising up and this was the match that he needed to forever establish himself as the all time great! Austin set himself for trouble when he got the whole D-Generation-X, Vince McMahon, and even Mike Tyson to go against him, how’s able to win this match? The answer, do what Stone Cold does best. Shawn Michaels was also in some serious shit when he injured himself in that Casket Match against the Undertaker at Royal Rumble 1998 and it didn’t look like he was going to last very long in this match. Surprisingly enough, he managed to keep up with the match and did his best to keep Austin down. For a man with an injured back, Shawn was able to move just like he normally did. Still, Austin gave Michaels a beating of a life time and the crowd was cheering with all their might for Austin to win. It was insane that Triple H and Chyna interfered in the match to save Shawn but was sent out of the ringside area to continue their one on one fight. The moment Stone Cold hit the stunner on Michaels, Mike Tyson came in the ring and fast counted for Austin’s victory having Jim Ross shouted “Austin! Austin! Austin! The Austin Era has begun!” and right he was. Shawn represent the New Generation Era and the times had to continue with Stone Cold Steve Austin as the face of the company. 1998 was the year of Austin and McMahon as their rivalry really brought back the audience to tune back into the WWF’s product. The best part of the whole match was the aftermath when Shawn got back to call betrayal to Mike Tyson only to get punched square in the face and lie flat on the floor. This was the right booking for the right winner and it was certainly one hell of a memorable Wrestlemania moment!
Number 1. – Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit – Wrestlemania XX
Chris Benoit had to face the best of the best throughout 2003 and had to win the Royal Rumble 2004 Match to have this shot. He had to get involved in the rivalry between Triple H and Shawn Michaels feud (that started back in Summer 2002) because all three men wanted the World Heavyweight Championship. And they showed. It was the first triple threat main event in a Wrestlemania and it’s remains the best triple threat match that I’ve ever seen in my life, let alone the best Wrestlemania main event. It was in-ring work that was passionate and eruptive where all three men were so desperate to win this very match. Each of them gave all they got by delivering so many grappling technical moves and less brawls than we normally expected when it comes to anything with Triple H involved. Chris Benoit fought so hard against the two best Raw stars that both of them ended up bleeding like a stuffed pig. One of the most memorable moments of the match was when HHH and Michaels’ suplex Benoit from one announce table through another. It really looked like it was going to put Benoit for good, but the finish had him recovered to take HBK out of the ring and put HHH in the cross face. This was the perfect finish to one of the best Wrestlemania main events of all time and I didn’t not want it any other way than to have Benoit to make “The Game” tap out. Nothing to me felt so relieving than to finally see HHH (with all the burying he did to his opponents and shoving himself down on our throats from 2002-2003) tapped out and put Benoit over to become the new World Heavyweight Champion. If you’re a wrestling fan, seeing Benoit win the championship after a lifetime in the business, after the critics called him too small, too one dimensional, this is a moment that still brings chills. And to put icing on the cake, Eddie came back to the ring just to have these two celebrate their victories together. It that very moment that I’ve cried because of the triumph that they both accomplished together from ECW, WCW, and now the WWE.
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