Ranking Every Wrestlemania Main Event - Part 1
Wrestlemania - as far wrestling goes, it is THE show. There is nothing else that compares to it. Other wrestling promotions have had their own "Big Show." In fact, Starrcade even predates Wrestlemania by a few years. Wrestlemania is such a big deal even other media have mentioned it - such as Roseanne and Groundhog Day (which often sounds hilarious when they talk about these events like it's just some random wrestling event).
Bottom line: Wrestlemania is a big deal. And the main event of Wrestlemania is a big deal. Sometimes the booking team gets the main event, sometimes they get it wrong, and sometimes they just have to play with certain cards. With 32 main events to choose from, I decided to rank every. Single. Match to headline Wrestlemania. And I said headline. As CM Punk pointed out, there's only one real main event, so anything that was presented as a main event does not count. (There is one that's borderline, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.) These matches are gonna ranked from best to worst so this article is gonna start with the lousy ones before we move to the good ones.
Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice – Wrestlemania VIII
Surprised that I ranked this the worst? The levels of suck this match are what put this under-hated “gem” at the bottom. A big reason to hate this match is that it was supposed to be Hogan vs. Flair. There are various reports about why that match didn’t happen (then). Hogan and Flair had some good matches in WCW (at least in 94) so that was a sample of what we could have had. But it wasn’t a total loss – we did get Randy Savage vs. Flair. And here’s where the problems begin – if Flair vs. Savage had been the last match on the card, it would probably be closer to the top. Unfortunately, it was pushed to the middle of the show for this dredge (though pretending it’s the last match isn’t too hard since there’s little else watchable after Savage/Flair). However, this match had a loose justification for being the headlining match – they were presenting it as Hogan’s retirement match. Look, I don’t know how seriously Hogan’s “retirement” was treated at the time. Years of Vince Russo booking “retirement” matches every Nitro hadn’t happened yet (Not to mention Hogan was talking about the possibility of doing more matches). Still, as a self-contained story, the biggest star in wrestling having his final match is a somewhat respectable reason for this match to go on after the world title.
And that only makes it worse! Because if it were Hogan’s final match, shouldn’t it be GOOD? When I think of matches that were PLANNED to be someone’s final match – Rock vs. Austin, HBK vs. Flair, and one we’ll get to – whether the guy stayed retired or not, they were clearly trying to end on a high note. This was not only a sloppy, mediocre match, but it ended in a DQ! Yes, this is the ONLY Wrestlemania main event that ended in disqualification. Want more salt in the wound? The disqualification was botched. Papa Shango (the plot just keeps thickening) was supposed to interfere but missed his cue, calling for Sid to kick out of the leg drop and Harvey Whippleman to interfere. The Ultimate Warrior made his comeback, which – giving a little faint praise to this fiasco – was in fact a big deal. The whole thing felt less like the main event to biggest show of the year, more like a Raw match, building to another match. For being a cluserf*** of awfulness, this match gets my vote for worst Mania main event ever.
Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna/Hogan vs. Yokozuna – Wrestlemania IX
There is very little to say about this match that has not already been said. Some might say I am cheating by also including Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna, but think about it. That was the advertised main event, that was the match audiences were sold on. Yeah, Hogan inexplicably winning the title was technically the last match, but if someone asked you what the main event of Summerslam 2013 or Survivor Series 2015 were, you’d probably say Bryan vs. Orton and Reigns vs. Ambrose. The thing people tend to overlook about this match is that Hart vs. Yokozuna was a decent match – it was classic storytelling with the brave fighting champion Bret Hart having to defend his turf against then-unbeaten monster Yokozuna. If that had been it, the main event would have been serviceable, probably somewhere in the middle of this list. However, Hulk Hogan came out for his “friend” Bret Hart. Mr. Fuji for some reason wants to challenge Hulk Hogan to a match. And in 21 seconds, Hulk Hogan wins the WWF title. Regardless of one’s attitude about Hogan – In fact, a flimsy argument could be made that Hogan beating Yokozuna was at least a big deal – still more than I can say about the previous match. But the final match of Wrestlemania should NOT be a 21 second squash. The fact that I’m debating whether or not it even counts as a match, the fact that it buried two top stars – one of which was an undefeated monster – is why this match deserves all the hate it gets.
Undertaker vs. Sid – Wrestlemania 13
Wresltemania 13 is one of the most notorious one match shows in the history of the event. It’s understandable how Austin vs. Hart is the match everyone remembers, but there were other decent matches – LOD/Ahmed Johnson vs. the Nation in a pretty solid brawl, and Triple H had a respectable match against Goldust. I wish I could say the same thing for the main event. There are many reasons this match turned out so underwhelming. I think everyone knows the story behind this one – the main event was supposed to a rematch with Bret Hart reclaiming the title against Shawn Michaels, but Shawn “lost his smile”. (There’s actually more to it according to Bret’s autobiography. They even considered switching it to a hair vs. hair mid-card match when it was discovered fans were becoming privy to the planned main event). Despite Austin winning the Rumble, Bret winning the WWF world title (in an underrated classic at In Your House: Final 4), and Vader being in the world title scene – and a feud against the Undertaker – the booking team went with Sycho Sid vs. Undertaker. Despite Wrestlemania 13 having the tagline “heat”, that is exactly what this match lacked. Undertaker and Sid had a mediocre, heatless match – where Bret Hart interfered for whatever reason. This match is even more baffling in hindsight considering Sid went off TV until June – most likely because of injury. When he came back, he was a midcarder before disappearing when he needed neck surgery. This match was a wreck, but if they didn’t book it this way, we may not have gotten the 5-star classic Austin vs. Hart match which pretty much changed the face of WWE. Even so, I have to rank these by what the match itself brought to the table, and this was a stinker.
The MIz vs. John Cena – Wrestlemania 27
One of the hard parts about doing an article like this is I have to say things about matches that have been talked about to death. I hate to aim for low-hanging fruit like this, but this match was pretty bad. This may seem hard to believe, but there was a time when people were high on the Miz – he had transformed himself from that obnoxious reality star who flubbed his lines monumentally to a lovably obnoxious tag team star with John Morrison. That success got parlayed into a world title push where beat Randy Orton AND John Cena. I could go on about the people who deserved this spot more and how this is another example of hindsight being 20-20 with Miz being a mid-carder ever since, but I need to cut to the chase. Even if the company had picked a more worthwhile opponent, one has to wonder how good this match was going to be – the whole thing was just window dressing to promote Cena vs. the Rock for the next year. Yes, a Wrestlemania main event was just a promotion for another match – that bears repeating. But does that automatically make a match bad? No, what makes it bad is that Cena and Miz had zero in-ring chemistry. Some reports say that Miz suffered a concussion during the match.
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