Last week, I asked all of you fine readers to give me future column topics. I already covered the new ‘Mission Impossible’ theme: Dolph Ziggler winning the WWE Championship in 2020. Up next is a totally different conversation but one just as fun. Thanks to Noah for the suggestion:
Worst WrestleMania Main Events
WWE loves to get cute with the “main event” tag line. Just to be clear, the criteria is the match has to go on LAST. Bobby Lashley vs. Umaga from WrestleMania 23 does not count, despite it arguably being the most hyped up bout on the card and thus technically – a big main event. Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker from WrestleMania 25 does not count; even though I consider that to be the best match ever, it didn’t end the evening. Thus, not a main event by definition here. You get the idea. Without any more stalling, let’s keep it simple and stick to a top five…
Honorable Mentions: The Hulk Hogan era may not be filled with technical classics. However, I tend to give them a pass as it made so much money and was simply a sign of the times. That formula worked, so how can you argue it? The Iron Man Match from WrestleMania 12 also is not my cup of tea. I dare any of you to pop that match in right now and sit through the whole thing without staring at your phone or typing on your laptop. Good luck! Also, I was live at WrestleMania 33 (first and only trip seeing the biggest event of the year). The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns may not have been what was expected…but I was there. Thus, it was cool. Just the whole experience totally reeked of awesomeness.
5. WrestleMania X-8 – I am willing to forgive WWE a little bit for a few reasons. We’ll begin the obvious: Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock should have headlined. Not only headlined but closed the show. Imagine the posing and staredown and handshake as Jim Ross shouted this was the greatest WrestleMania ever! He did it every year but with that picture on television screens, it would have worked perfectly. The clear tease and cliffhanger of the nWo breaking apart and The Hulkster as a good guy again would have led us right into the next night’s episode of Raw. Instead, we didn’t get that picture perfect ending. We still had almost an hour left in the show and a little thing called the Undisputed Championship to be decided. Chris Jericho had claimed the title(s) back in December 2001 by defeating The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin in the same night. He was the weasel heel and went to the March grand daddy of them all still clutching to the top belt in the industry.
Sadly, Triple H was back in the fold after missing the last seven months of 2001. After a scary injury in May, he spent the rest of the year rehabbing and was return to get back to the top. In his way was Chris Jericho. Really though, nothing was in his way. Jericho was a main eventer…but not really. He was simply “holding” the title while the real stars like The Rock, Stone Cold, and Triple H were kept busy. Well, his three months were up. HHH was winning that match and unfortunately, there was not much drama. Add in the weak build up focusing on Stephanie McMahon instead of the freakin’ Undisputed Title, and there was trouble brewing. Once Hogan and Rocky stole the show though, it was game over. They stood no chance, and they knew it. The usually lively Canadaian crowd didn’t ultimately care about the HHH comeback story or putting Jericho out of his misery as the blah heel chump (champ). One, two, three – new champion and lots of undeserved JR screaming to close out a really good star studded WrestleMania!
4. WrestleMania 9 – Heck, throw in WrestleMania X also. I am a Shawn Michaels guy over being a Bret Hart guy. To me, there isn’t even a debate and just silly to bring up. HBK did everything The Hitman did and then some. Thus, all of HBK’s old stuff is worth re-watching. Bret Hart’s? Eh, not so much. It is/was a huge gamble to repeat Wm main events two years in a row. I know Hulk Hogan ended up leaving with the prize at WM9, but the story revolved around Bret and Yokozuna from the opening bell. Two years in a row. No thanks. If there is one saving grace, it is the fact that I’m a sucker for the face being raised on the roster’s shoulders and heralded as a conquering hero. I love that sappy stuff, and we have seen it close WM multiple times. Good stuff – the complete opposite of anything Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna.
3. WrestleMania 27 – The Miz as WWE Champion in late 2010 is something I will defend. Heck, for those that followed the product, I’d guess a lot of fans would defend that risky decision. The Miz making it all the way to the main event of WrestleMania nearly six months later is a little bit of a stretch but worked in the grand scheme of things. John Cena as the face challenger really needs no explanation. He was the man in the company and was always one step away from the WWE Title. All the ingredients were there. Throw in The Rock returning after a seven year absence and you had one heck of a keg ready to explode. The pay-per-view buy rate certainly exploded for the 20011 Mania. I mean, we even got great entrances by both men. In front of a packed Georgia stadium, it was go time! Until it wasn’t. Some will blame the dull nature of the match on The Miz getting a concussion. However, that was at the WAY end of the match. It had already dragged on and stunk. Fans sat on their hands waiting for The Rock to show up. He eventually did. By then, the damage was done. Miz won via The Rock screwing John Cena out of the bout – setting their memorable feud in motion for the following year. Made even worse is Cena defeated The Miz a few weeks later for the gold anyways. Sigh…
2. WrestleMania IV – Ah yes, the entire WWE Championship tournament. Remember that? The gold was held up, and the company thought it would be a wise move to have a tournament to determine the rightful holder of the title. It made sense and was a good idea. The problem was chucking all of that into such a short time frame without adequate results. The Hulk Hogan/Andre The Giant rematch was wasted from the absolute heights of one year prior. It was really a rematch of a rematch, but for PPV, this didn’t deserve a BS/DQ finish. With the two top stars out of the way, that left us with Randy ‘Mach Man’ Savage and Ted ‘MIllion Dollar Man’ DiBiase at the finals. Not a bad main event but not the finals most likely expected. A lot of interference and a nice spotlight on The Hulkster is what I imagined for the Savage vs. DiBiase matchup. The Macho Man won the gold and was would drop it a year later to Hulk Hogan. As noted, I do tend to forgive most of the 1980’s as the formula made a truckload of money. Hard to argue against record numbers. WrestleMania IV as a whole just didn’t do it for me.
1. WrestleMania 36 – Drew McIntyre vs. The Big Show for the WWE Championship main evented WrestleMania in 2020. Seriously…
Alright, alright. We won’t count that.
1. WrestleMania 25 – Tough to narrow this list down to only a couple of matches. With WrestleMania 25 taking place in Houston Texas, it was sure to be BIGGER than normal. HBK and Taker proved that earlier in the show. Sadly for HHH, he was about to be stripped of any glory for the second time on the grad stage. Much like 2002, he had no chance to outshine an amazing classic that took place an hour beforehand. This time, his heel opponent was Randy Orton. Much like WrestleMania 18, the outcome was not in much doubt. Even though Orton had been on a roll and that year’s Royal Rumble winner, the story line called for Triple H to retain. It was a blood feud and had tremendous buildup. Great TV. To make us all care about the 375th HHH/Orton match takes skill, and WWE did it. Once the night arrived though and there were clear rules that this had to be a straight up wrestling match, all the air had been let out of the balloon. This battle demanded a street fight. A brawl. a FIGHT. Something, anything! Nope, we got the usual wrestling match between two guys who nearly killed each for the last month. No logic whatsoever and slow crawled to the finish line. Lots of folks will blame HHH here, but his track record speaks for itself. He knows how to deliver in spades. Just horrible circumstances that screwed him over twice. Even the best of the best of the best could not have survived Hogan/Rock and then HBK/Taker. Sucked for him but also sucked for us.
Follow me on Twitter: @JustinWatry
Email me: email@example.com
Thanks for reading.