THREE GUYS AND… RETRO WRESTLING
series created by Marvin Mercer and Nick Stephenson
“ALL 31 WRESTLEMANIA MAIN EVENTS RANKED, VOLUME 1”
written by Dominick Cappello
The matches will be ranked from the worst / underwhelming / disappointing to the best / historic / memorable. Unfortunately, to keep myself sane, I must only consider the matches that closed the shows to be the main event even if we all know that the true main event or the match that really stole show went on earlier. So, that means WWF Championship bouts such as “Nature Boy” Ric Flair vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage at WrestleMania VIII and Diesel vs. Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XI will be excluded as will some classics such as The Rock vs. “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania XVIII and The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXV.
31. WrestleMania XXV
WWE Championship Match: Triple H (c) vs. Randy Orton
Randy Orton was booted from Evolution in 2004. So, he faces Triple H at WrestleMania in 2009. Five years later? Who the hell cared about this feud? Also, after The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, the crowd was zonked out. For a split second, when Randy Orton hit Triple H with the RKO, I thought that the match would end quickly and that CM Punk would cash in his Money in the Bank contract and WrestleMania would be salvaged, but instead we were treated to twenty more minutes of tedium before Triple H won without any real adulation from the crowd.
30. WrestleMania XXVII
WWE Championship Match: The Miz (c) (w/ Alex Riley) vs. John Cena
In my opinion, The Miz was never WWE Championship material. He’s at his best when in a tag team where he can run his mouth and leech off of a more talented partner. John Morrison, R-Truth, and Damien Sandow. Some have blamed The Rock for stealing his thunder, but was there anything special about The Miz vs. John Cena before The Rock interfered? Not really. The Miz is a reality show reject who should stick to tag teams. The Rock screwed John Cena out of the title and that’s all that mattered. The Miz could have been replaced by anyone in this match.
29. WrestleMania XXIX
WWE Championship Match: The Rock (c) vs. John Cena
Twice in a lifetime. Did we really need this match two years in a row? Nope. For the record, I don’t worship at the alter of CM Punk. He’s always seemed like a bit of snarky prick, but The Undertaker vs. CM Punk was a hell of a match. The straight edge superstar proved his point that he was the man in 2013 and his match, whoever his opponent was, should have closed the show. I can barely remember anything about The Rock vs. John Cena other than The Rock suffering a pelvic injury early in the match and him lamely attempting to pass the torch to John Cena in an insincere moment. The crowd just didn’t buy it.
28. WrestleMania XI
A Lumberjack Match:
Lawrence Taylor (w/ The All Pro Team) vs. Bam Bam Bigalow (w/ The Million Dollar Team)
I’m sure that most of you expected this match to be dead last, but for a football player vs. a mid carder, it was decent. Yes, Diesel vs. Shawn Michaels for the WWF Championship should have went on last. Also, LT’s involvement with the WWF didn’t help with the company’s mainstream appeal like Mr. T at WrestleMania I or Mike Tyson at WrestleMania XIV. LT gets an A for effort even if this might be the most lackluster WrestleMania. On the WWE Network, the cheapskates omit Salt ‘N’ Pepa performing “Whatta Man” after LT’s victory. What a jip.
27. WrestleMania VII
WWF Championship Match: Sgt. Slaughter (c) (w/ General Adnan) vs. Hulk Hogan
The WWF was heavily criticized for exploiting the Gulf War for the sake of a storyline. The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was originally announced as the venue, but because of poor ticket sales, the WWF admitted defeat and switched to the much smaller Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. Publically, the company actually blamed a bomb threat as the reason for the move to try and save face. A bomb threat? Really? How about the dog ate your homework? The Ultimate Warrior defeated “Macho Man” Randy Savage in a career ending match, then The Macho Man reunited with Miss Elizabeth, so the crowd was emotionally drained well before the title match. Sgt. Slaughter and Hulk Hogan had a pedestrian match at best. Not awful, but nothing special.
26. WrestleMania IX
WWF Championship Match: Bret “Hitman” Hart (c) vs. Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji)
Toga! Toga! Toga! I actually don’t mind the Roman Coliseum theme for this WrestleMania, but the main event was lacking star power. Bret “Hitman” Hart was still trying establish himself as a main event performer. It almost seemed like he was more over as Intercontinental Champion the year prior and needed to prove himself all over again now that he was the WWF Champion. Yokozuna was taking the WWF by storm, having won the 1993 Royal Rumble, but this was only his third WWF pay-per-view appearance. Yokozuna defeated Bret Hart and then lost the title to Hulk Hogan in an impromptu match. I guess that Hulk Hogan has an immortal Money in the Bank contract. The crowd popped for Hulk Hogan, but it was a bad booking decision in hindsight.
25. WrestleMania XVIII
WWF Undisputed Championship Match: Chris Jericho (c) (w/ Stephanie McMahon) vs. Triple H
What the hell were they thinking? How could The Rock vs. “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan not go on last? But, let’s take that match out of the equation and judge the main event on its own merits. It was Chris Jericho and Stephanie McMahon against Triple H? Triple H is who we’re suppose to sympathize with? The guy who hired Rikishi to hit “Stone Cold” Steve Austin with a car? The guy who would make sweet love to Kane’s dead girlfriend’s corpse? I know that he received a huge pop in Madison Square Garden months prior when he returned from his first of two torn quadriceps, but when he’s not in DX, Triple H is a horrible baby-face. His character only works as a heel. A heel Triple H defending the WWF Championship a baby-face Chris Jericho would have worked, but not with the reverse booking they went with.
24. WrestleMania II
WWF Championship “Steel Cage” Match:
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. King Kong Bundy (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan)
This match is actually a lot better than most people remember it being. It’s probably not remembered fondly because WrestleMania II was the pits and King Kong Bundy’s career took a nose dive following match. He was booked in a comedy little person match at WrestleMania III. So, looking back, it’s hard to believe that anyone took him as a serious threat to Hulkamania. At least we had Elvira as a guest color commentator 😉
23. WrestleMania VIII
Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice (w/ Dr. Harvey Wippleman)
Even though we didn’t get Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship, I still enjoy WrestleMania VIII. There was a great Intercontinental Championship Match between “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Bret “Hitman” Hart and a great WWF Championship Match between Ric Flair and “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice was advertised as possibly Hulk Hogan’s retirement match since he would taking a year long hiatus to avoid the steroid scandal, so you can somewhat justify it being the match to close the show. It was another pedestrian match accept that Sid Justice was more over than likes of King Kong Bundy and Sgt. Slaughter. A more credible threat to Hulkamania. There was a screwy DQ finish with Papa Shango interfering after the bell had already rung, but none of that mattered after The Ultimate Warrior made his triumphant return. I don’t care what anybody says. This was a WrestleMania moment. Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior standing tall.
22. WrestleMania XIII
WWF Championship “No Holds Barred” Match: Psycho Sid (c) vs. The Undertaker
Lucky number thirteen and two in a row for Sid. Shawn Michaels lost his smile, so this took the place of a possible rematch from WrestleMania XII with HBK vs. Bret “Hitman” Hart. Everything worked out for the best since we got Bret Hart vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in an incredible “I Quit” Match. Psycho Sid vs. The Undertaker had to follow the “I Quit” Match and an awesome Chicago Street Fight with Ahmed Johnson & The Legion of Doom vs. The Nation of Domination. The WWF Championship Match was made “No Holds Barred” at the last minute, probably to justify Bret Hart interfering several times, but other than that, there was no reason for the stipulation. There was nothing too special about this match other than The Undertaker being in the main event of WrestleMania for the first time, which he deserved, and him winning the title for the first time in over five years. The Undertaker, as a character, was screwed out of the title multiple times in the mid 1990s, so growing up a fan of his, it was nice to see him finally have his moment. His heralded WrestleMania undefeated streak was 6&0 at this point.
To be continued…
– Dr. Rochester