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Points by Ben Simmons during Game 3 victory over Nets

Best 33 matches in WrestleMania history

Posted by Eric Fisher On March 26

Now that the List of Jericho has been torn up by Kevin Owens, PhillyPhanatics.com’s list of the best WrestleMania matches in history doesn’t have any challengers for the title of best wrestling-related list in the world.

The list is updated every year, with one match added for each year of WrestleMania’s existence. The list is subjective, so sometimes matches move up and down the list. We’ve had matches toward the bottom of the list move on and off the list. For example, when no match from WrestleMania XXXI was deemed worth of making the list (several made honorable mention) last year, the Jericho-Christian match from WrestleMania X, which had been pushed into the honorable mention category the previous year, returned to the list.

Did any matches from WrestleMania XXXII (I’m a traditionalist; I like the Roman numerals) make the list? Just one.

The Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon match may be the most memorable match. It was a brutal physical contest in Hell in a Cell. Shane’s leap off the top of the cage and through a table will be etched in people’s minds for a long, long time. But it wasn’t a great match. It was more of a stunt show. At times, the match dragged a little bit. That match will go in the honorable mention category. The same is true of the Jericho-A.J. Styles match. One or two of their earlier matches may have made this list if they had taken place at WrestleMania, but this one came up just a bit short.

The Intercontinental Championship ladder match that opened WrestleMania XXXII was terrific. Zack Ryder’s upset win over Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn, Stardust, The Miz and Sin Cara got last year’s show off to a tremendous start. The problem for this match is that several ladder matches are already on this list, including the first Money in the Bank ladder match. And, as good as this match was, I’m not sure it’s any better than the Intercontinental Championship ladder match at WrestleMania 31, and that match ended up in the honorable mention category, so that’s where this match goes as well.

So which match from WrestleMania XXXII made this year’s list? The Women’s Championship match, which was a triple-threat match involving Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Bayley. This was a fantastic match, with the ringside presence of Ric Flair being a nice touch. But the main reason this match makes this year’s list (at No. 30) is the excellence of the three women inside the ring.

Please keep in mind that this list is subjective. It could change from month to month, week to week or even day to day.

Will any matches from WrestleMania 33 in Orlando on Sunday make next year’s list? The Goldberg-Brock Lesnar match will be a spectacle, but will it be a great match? Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens seems the most likely match to make this list. Could the women do it again, this time in a fatal four-way for the Raw Women’s Championship? What about Shane McMahon vs. A.J. Styles or Triple H vs. Seth Rollins? What do Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt have in store for us?

In one man’s opinion, these are the top 33 WrestleMania matches of all-time:


(WrestleMania number and site in italics)

33. Chris Jericho vs. Christian (X, New York) An undercard match that mixes terrific technical wrestling with wonderful storytelling

32. Roddy Piper vs. Bret Hart (VIII, Indianapolis) A wonderful Intercontinental Championship match between friends, with Piper (now a good guy) fighting his bad-guy demons as well as fighting Hart

31. Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker (XXX, New Orleans) The historic match in which Lesnar ends Undertaker’s WrestleMania winning streak at 21 matches, stunning wrestling fans all over the world. Paul Heyman’s facial expressions and encouragement of Lesnar are classic.

30. Charlotte vs. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks (XXXII, Dallas) The first women’s match to make the list, this triple threat match — with Charlotte retaining the title — was excellent

29. Hulk Hogan/Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper/Paul Orndorff (I, N.Y.) The match that launched the WrestleMania rocket ship. Without the success of this match, WrestleMania may have been a one-year venture.

28. Randy Savage vs. Ultimate Warrior (VIILos Angeles) A terrific “retirement” match with an emotional post-match surprise

27. Edge vs. Mick Foley (XXII, Chicago) Edge helps Foley attain his “WrestleMania moment” (below) with this fantastic hardcore match

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

26. Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage (VIII, Indianapolis) The build-up to this WWF Championship match, with Flair implying he had a prior relationship with Savage’s girlfriend, Miss Elizabeth, was pure gold. Manager Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and executive assistant Curt “Mr. Perfect” Hennig added immensely to the story-telling, and Flair and Savage delivered in the ring.

25. Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit (XVII, Houston) A match that sometimes gets overlooked because of the other great matches on the same card. A wrestling clinic.

24. Edge vs. Undertaker (XXIV, Orlando) An excellent match between two of the best. Undertaker improves his unblemished WrestleMania record to 16-0 and captures the World Heavyweight Championship.

23. The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan (XVIII, Toronto) The emotion in this match is absolutely incredible. The crowd makes this match, but Hogan and Rock deserve tons of credit for adjusting to the crowd’s reaction and turning this into a memorable match.

22. Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H (XXX, New Orleans) A tremendous opening match to WrestleMania XXX, and it needed to be in order to follow an entertaining segment featuring three icons — The Rock, Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin — in the ring together. Bryan and Triple H are excellent. Stephanie McMahon’s reactions ringside enhance the match.

21. Money In the Bank Ladder Match (XXI, Los Angeles) This ranks at the top of the MITB WrestleMania matches because, as the first one, it was so innovative

20. Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior (VI, Toronto) An exciting face vs. face WWF Championship match in which Hogan passes the torch to the Warrior

19. The Rock vs. Steve Austin (XVII, Houston) A terrific WWF Championship match featuring a surprising ending. This is the best of the Austin-Rock WrestleMania encounters, all of which were very good.

18. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho (XIX, Seattle) An often-overlooked match because no title was on the line and it is on the same card as Angle vs. Lesnar and Steve Austin vs. The Rock (which turns out to be Austin’s final match)

17. Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar (XIX, Seattle) Two former NCAA wrestling champions battle it out in this tremendous WWE Championship match. Angle is an Olympic gold medalist. Lesnar later won the Ultimate Fighting heavyweight championship.

16. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit vs. Triple H (XXN.Y.This WWE Championship match may have ranked higher except the feel-good moment of seeing Benoit finally win the world title is spoiled by the knowledge that Benoit kills himself and his family a few years later.

15. Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair (XXIV, Orlando) Flair’s retirement match (left). An incredibly emotional match that might bring a tear to your eye.

14. Undertaker vs. C.M. Punk (XXIX, East Rutherford, N.J.) Punk and Undertaker put on a dramatic match that convinced fans Punk could win, causing them to pop for many of the near-falls before Undertaker improved his WrestleMania record to 21-0

13. Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels (XII, Anaheim) What do you do with two of the best wrestlers of all-time? Give them an hour to entertain the fans on your biggest show of the year. An excellent iron man match between two real-life rivals for the WWF Championship.

12. Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon (X, N.Y.) Michaels and Ramon brought ladder matches to the masses with this dramatic confrontation

11. Undertaker vs. Triple H (XXVII, Atlanta) The Undertaker takes a brutal beating from HHH, but still pulls out the victory to extend his WrestleMania winning streak to 19-0

10. Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart (X, N.Y.) The Hart brothers put on a wrestling clinic in the opening match of WrestleMania X. Perfect execution, with younger brother Owen pulling off the upset of Bret, who won the world title later that night.

9. Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton vs. Batista (XXX, New Orleans) Daniel Bryan captures the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from Randy Orton in a triple threat match that hits all the right notes as the ultimate underdog overcomes incredible odds to win the coveted championship

8. Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant (IIIPontiacMich.) The match that arguably sold the most tickets in wrestling history. Not a technical masterpiece, but the magnitude of this WWF Championship match earns it a top-10 ranking.

7. Undertaker vs. Triple H (XXVIII, Miami) The Undertaker survives Hell in a Cell, extending his WrestleMania winning streak to 20-0. Shawn Michaels does a tremendous job as guest referee. Seriously.

6. TLC (XVII, Houston) Edge and Christian, Matt and Jeff Hardy, and D-Von and Bubba Ray Dudley brought the house down with this innovative Tables, Ladders and Chairs match for the Tag Team Championship. (You thought TLC stood for Tender Loving Care?)

5. Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (XXVI, GlendaleAz.) Undertaker’s WrestleMania winning streak vs. Michaels’ career (Michaels loses and retires)

4. Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels (XXI, Los Angeles) A tremendous example of story-telling in the ring. An amazing match.

3. Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (XXV, Houston) An outstanding match featuring two of the all-time best. Fantastic series of big moves, near-falls toward the end.

2. Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat (IIIPontiacMich.) An all-time classic for the Intercontinental title that still holds up after all these years.

1. Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin (XIII, Chicago) An outstanding brawl featuring a perfectly executed double heel/face (bad guy/good guy) turn. By the end of this match, the fans are vociferously booing Hart and wildly cheering for Austin. Hart and Austin use their actions to tell a story, which is what professional wrestling is all about.

Honorable mention: 20-man Battle Royal featuring NFL players (II, Chicago); the British Bulldogs vs. Greg Valentine/Brutus Beefcake (II, Chicago); Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage (V, Atlantic City); Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel (XI, Hartford); Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels (XIV, Boston); Triangle Ladder Match (XVI, Anaheim); Undertaker vs. HHH (XVII, Houston); Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle (XX, N.Y.); Randy Orton/Batista/Ric Flair vs. The Rock/Mick Foley (XX, N.Y.); Randy Orton vs. Undertaker (XXI, Los Angeles); John Cena vs. HHH (XXII, Chicago); Undertaker vs. Batista (XXIII, Pontiac, Mich.), Edge vs. Chris Jericho (XXVI, Glendale, Ariz.); Randy Orton vs. C.M Punk (XXVII, Atlanta); Rock vs. John Cena (XXVIII, Miami); C.M. Punk vs. Chris Jericho (XXVIII, Miami); John Cena vs. The Rock (XXIX, East Rutherford, N.J.); Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar (XXIX, East Rutherford, N.J.); Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins (XXXI, Santa Clara); Triple H vs. Sting (XXXI, Santa Clara); Intercontinental Championship ladder match (XXXI, Santa Clara); Tyson Kidd and Cesaro vs. Big E and Kofi Kingston vs. Los Matadores vs. Usos (XXXI, Santa Clara); Chris Jericho vs. A.J. Styles (XXXII, Dallas); Intercontinental Championship ladder match (XXXII, Dallas); Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon (XXXII, Dallas).

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