Two years ago, I wrote a column about my WWE Mount Rushmore. It was quite simple – who were the four top stars of all-time that would be placed on top of a mountain for the world to see? I had Stone Cold and Hulk Hogan as the most obvious. I don’t care what your thoughts or opinions are – those two 100% have to be on there. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Then I placed John Cena on there. He was on top for far too long to not earn this. Forget the WrestleMania main events and 16 World Titles; he led WWE to global dominance, taking the company from a one billion dollar corporation to record highs, topping out at seven billion. To this day, the company is seeing his efforts pay off. Finally, it was tough…but I went with Andre The Giant. He personifies the larger than life style of professional wrestling.
Long story short, that was about the Mount Rushmore of Wrestling for the stars. Today, I will discuss the Mount Rushmore of WrestleManias.
Fair enough. Let’s do this.
I will break it down into two categories just because I am HORRIBLE at narrowing down things like this. Lists are impossible man…
For historical value, you have to start with the original WrestleMania. The very first one in 1985. The entire back story and gamble to put all of your eggs into one basket – wow! It obviously paid off, and here we are in 2021. You have to begin there.
The second HAS to be WrestleMania III. I can see the argument to NOT have the original Mania in this column. However, you can NOT ignore WrestleMania III. Just for the sole purpose of the WWE Championship main event match between Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant. I know the IC Title match between Ricky Steamboat and Randy Savage is the ‘greatest match ever,’ but none of that matters here. Hogan and Andre bringing together 93,173 fans in Detroits says it all.
I may get some backlash for this, but I believe WrestleMania 35 from 2019 deserves a shout out. Maybe as the honorable mention? Listen, the women main evented! That is just unbelievable to fathom when you consider the history of wrestling. In that moment, it was the right call and right story to do it. Becky Lynch rising to the top to topple Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey to become the WINNER TAKE ALL Womens Champion in the company. The under card was fine on its’ own, but this is about history…or should I say HERstory?
For the other two spots, I can’t choose, haha. Of course, right? Sorry, that’s just how I am. You have to throw in WrestleMania X-7 for the end of the Attitude Era aura and everything surrounding the event with WCW and ECW going out of business. At the same time, I believe WrestleMania XX had such a HUGE FEEL around it. The stacked lineup and build was just so surreal. Amazing hype going into that event. Then there was WrestleMania XXX. The opening segment with The Rock, Hulk Hogan, and Stone Cold. The entire Daniel Bryan WWE World Championship story, the Bray Wyatt/John Cena feud, the rise of The Shield, the greatest opening match in WM history, the end of The Streak, etc. I could go on and on here. WrestleMania 23 and 28 also had massive promotion and delivered big numbers in the end. Yeah, mark down 2001, 2004, 2007, 2012, and 2014 in whatever order you want.
Like I said, I am not good with lists.
Now for part two, I will do my own personal enjoyment.
Starting off has to be WrestleMania X-7 in Houston, Texas. While I do love to point out that there was about an hour of filler on the card, the top of the show was just so awesome. There was TLC 2, Shane McMahon vs. Vince McMahon, multiple title changes, the gimmick battle royal, The Undertaker vs. Triple H, and of course – Stone Cold vs. The Rock in an absolutely epic main event for the top prize…of course ending with the shocking heel turn from the one and only rattlesnake in his own home state.
I also have to include WrestleMania III just for the main event of Hogan/Andre. Admittedly, I wasn’t even born yet for this event, yet every time I see the clip or hear the stories about it I get goosebumps. Just the amount of questions and intrigue over the matchup. THAT was the definition on a WrestleMania main event.
I know it may not rank very high for others, but I really enjoyed WrestleMania 22 in Chicago. Two great title main events, Mick Foley vs. Edge in a hardcore match. Shawn Michaels vs. Vince McMahon in a brutal contest, JBL winning the United States Title, a great Money in the bank ladder match featuring the crowning of Rob Van Dam finally getting his due and so much more. Add in a rowdy Chicago crowd and yeah, good stuff.
WrestleMania XIX in Seattle also has a soft spot in my heart. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho literally got a standing ovation in my living room from my WrestleMania party. A hot opener between Rey Mysterio and Matt Hardy often gets forgotten about. Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon had a memorable street fight. Booker T vs. Triple H on RAW had a great story for the World Title. Stone Cold had his last match, losing to The Rock. There was the goosebump inducing promo promising the arrival of Bill Goldberg that got another huge ‘pop’ in my living. Oh, and the main event – Brock Lesnar nearly killing himself to win the WWE Title from Kurt Angle. Great show.
WrestleMania 31 in 2015 also seems to be high under rated. Top to bottom good stuff. Same with WrestleMania 34. That may be my honorable mention though. No offense to WrestleManias from the early 1990’s to the late 1990’s but no…no thanks. I only attended one WM in my lifetime, and that in 2017 in Orlando, so I have to show some love for that event too. Lots and lots of great events. With live fans back in the stands this weekend, let’s hope for another!
By Justin Watry (TWITTER: @JustinWatry)