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Ranking Every Wrestlemania Main Event - Part 2
Lawrence Taylor vs. Bam Bam Bigelow – Wrestlemania XI
Sometimes how a match is placed can affect people’s opinions. After all – why do people remember Big Show vs. Mayweather fondly but deride this match? Okay, that match was better and told a better story, but I digress. This watch was in fact decent, but it had no business being the headlining match of Wrestlemania. Once again, the WWF Title match was relegated to mid-card! And once again, the WWF title match was leagues better than the grudge match main event. Of course, that can’t be too surprising since it was Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel was the title match. There is little to say about this one. It was just a mediocre match that headlined one of the worst – if not THE worst – Manias ever.
HHH vs. Orton – Wrestlemania 25
Yup, we’re back to the low-hanging fruit. To be honest, I don’t think this is one of the all-time worst matches, but it was pretty bad as far as Mania main events go. Also, we have a match that is proof positive good build does not equal a good match. The build was off-the-hook with Orton kissing Stephanie and HHH attacking Orton at his home had the makings to turn this into a veritable blood feud. Unfortunately, the problems started building up. First of all, they made this a match where if Hunter was disqualified, he would lose the championship. Some people can work that can kind of match, but when the company builds a feud this intense, a no DQ match was probably expected – especially considering the participants. HHH and Orton had several good matches together – including an excellent Last Man Standing Match that summer on Raw – but take note of how they were usually some sort of no-DQ match.
Another problem: They had to follow the Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels. Having to follow a superior match is not always the death of the main event. There are A TON of matches on this list that had to follow superior matches and still went over. However, if you’re gonna follow a match, that good, you need to bring SOMETHING to the table. The only thing new these guys did was begin the match with their finishers. Not a terrible idea, but starting with finishers then moving on to rest holds and slow chain wrestling is akin to attending a Rush concert where they begin with “Spirit of the Radio” then do their album filler for the next hour. All of this lead to a dull heatless match that the audience was completely bored with, and if the audience is bored, don’t expect the audience to feel differently.
Yokozuna vs. Bret Hart – Wrestlemania X
Hogan had left the company the previous summer. So these two could finally have a straight match without the interference of Hogan. And it wasn’t that great. This match was serviceable. Technically, this time the match was hijacked by a MUCH BETTER match. The show opened with the stone classic Bret vs. Owen. So Bret had to play tired. Remember how I said Bret was one of the few guys who can play tired and still have a good match? Well, it’s much harder to do that when his opponent is a 500 pound Samoan he can’t lift. Most of the match was decent, but the ending is what hurts this one where Yokozuna fell of the turnbuckle. So in the main event of the biggest show of the year, the WWF decided to position their new top guy by having him win the title because his opponent was too fat.
Ted Dibiase vs. Randy Savage – Wrestlemania IV
This is another match that sounds like it should be good. And to be fair, in terms of match quality, this is where these main events become watchable. Wrestlemania IV is notorious for an awful world championship tournament. Not all of Wrestlemania IV was bad, but it’s mind-boggling that a tournament that featured Ricky Steamboat, Randy Savage, Bam Bam Bigelow and Jake Roberts was this slow and BORING. I chalk a lot of that up to these people pacing themselves and/or selling the idea that they needed to pace themselves for more matches. I chalk that up as the reason this match was so underwhelming. Okay, giving more attention to Andre and Hogan interfering than DiBiase and Savage in the ring may have been a cause. Having such a long show that these two couldn’t work a match longer than ten minutes didn’t help. The fact that Savage had to play (or probably was) tired after the tournament was probably the nail that sealed the coffin. Playing tired and still having a good match isn’t easy – Dean Ambrose can do it. Bret Hart could do it most of the time, but it’s not a trick everyone possesses. Savage winning the championship was a big deal and DiBiase vs. Savage playing tired is still better than a lot of matches, but both men could do better.
Hulk Hogan vs. King Kong Bundy – Wrestlemania 2
Ah, Wresltemania 2 – Give the WWE some credit, it wasn’t just sequelitis. Unfortunately, Vince and co. used wild gimmicks to try to up the ante from the previous year, with venues in three cities. Thank goodness, they never attempted that absurd gimmick again. Each venue saw different matches live and different matches headlined at different venues. But the absolute main event was Bundy vs. Hogan. This is low on the list because it is HARDLY a technical classic. For what it is, the match is kind of fun. Bundy plays the typical monster while Hogan plays… Hogan. Bloodshed made this match memorable, but the match is a little too heavy on punching and kicking. Maybe not one of the better matches, but I have a soft spot for it.
Cena vs. Rock II – Wrestlemania 29
If I can the WWE booking staff credit for one thing in this whole ordeal, they did plan out a two year feud and followed through with it. Unfortunately, the best laid plans of mice and men… I don’t know how the rest of that goes, but in short, using three Wrestlemania headliners for this series was a half-baked idea for several reasons. First of all, between 2011 and 2013, people such as CM Punk and Daniel Bryan had captured the fans’ imaginations. As a matter of fact, the Rock’s world title win against CM Punk at that year’s Royal Rumble felt like the much more Wrestlemania-worthy match.
Also, there was little suspense for this match. By now everyone and their mother has made jokes about how the “once in a lifetime match” happened twice. Maybe the WWE seriously thought that would doop people into believing they wouldn’t have a re-match. But everyone knew what was coming. They knew the Rock would win at the Rumble, they knew Cena would win at the Rumble. They knew Rock and Cena would face each other, and they knew Cena would beat the Rock. I can’t go so far as to say the match was bad. It was okay, but felt like it was in slow-motion compared to what both men were capable of. They seemed to have exhausted their collective bag of tricks the previous year and the utter lack of suspense left the crowd fairly indifferent. Yeah, maybe it should have just been Once.
Check out part 1
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