Craig Wilson, Jamie Lithgow and Brian Damage
We continue our countdown to Wrestlemania with a ‘mania themed Top Five as Craig, Jamie and Brian list their Top Five favourite matches that closed the annual spectacle.
I have a soft spot for Wrestlemania 6, although it diminishes the more I watch it. Stll, even with a reviewed look at the undercard there is no faulting this as a main event. Sure, it’s not the technical masterclass that some on this list are but as ‘clash of the titans’ go, this is right up there. The WWF’s two top dogs at the time squaring off against one another with everything on the line, it’s no wonder that this match sold Wrestlemania 6 as well as it did. Sure, there is no flying head scissors or drop toe holds but every single move in the match felt huge and still does if you watch it back.
4. Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania 3
This couldn’t not feature on this list. The match that made Wrestlemania the box office hit that it was. Obviously it wasn’t the best match on the card, you’d have been hard pressed before the event to even suggest that it would be. But this is huge. Perhaps the two biggest guys in wrestling at this point battling it out after Andre turned on Hogan. Could another main event have sold out the Pontiac Silverdome? We’ll never know but the WWF having these two go at it certainly made the task of selling the venue out a lot easier. It’s not an incredible wrestling match but as a spectacle goes, with a hot crowd and a blistering feud, this match has to make this list.
3. Chris Benoit vs Triple H vs Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 20
One of those matches now airbrushed out of wrestling history and, as with every Benoit match, very difficult to watch nowadays. But what a spectacular main event this was. Unlike the Triple H vs Booker T match from the year before, this time around the right man won and the scenes of celebration were, at the time, very moving. Such a heartfelt moment that was destroyed by the awful things that were to follow that has meant it’s been around 8 years since the WWE was even able to talk about this encounter.
2. Stone Cold vs The Rock at Wrestlemania 17
For me this is the ultimate icon vs icon match. For anyone that grew up watching the WWE during the Attitude Era these were the guys that got you hooked on wrestling and the guys you want to see when you dip your toes back into the WWE if you are no longer a regular viewer. These are the guys that became stars on our watch. This was one of the dream matches that actually happened with both guys in their prime and that’s what makes it such an incredible Wrestlemania main event.
1. Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 26
The second part of their Wrestlemania classic matches, this is an emotional rollercoaster and my favourite main event in the history of Wrestlemania. Action packed from start to finish and emotionally charged, what a conclusion to the pair’s rivalry this was. It had everything and more. It benefited from the year long build-up and, although slightly poorer than their match the year before, Shawn Michaels took everything that the Undertaker had to offer and was afforded the chance to bow out on an almighty high.
5. Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton vs. Batista at Wrestlemania 30
Just think, this was supposed to be a singles bout between Orton and Batista. Thank God WWE saw sense and inserted a performer fans could actually cheer for. A very good match and a very satisfying conclusion to a rewarding storyline… or so we thought.
4. Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle at Wrestlemania 19
I feel like this entire show is often forgotten or overlooked, and the main event certainly is. I guess the fact that, for years, Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle were in no way associated with WWE might have something to do with it. The hype for this match was excellent, albeit the bout fell short of those lofty expectations. Still, as far as ‘Mania main events go this is well up there. Oh, and Lesnar somehow escaped paralysis after landing on his head executing a Shooting Star Press.
While Taker had a good match Batista the previous year, this bout with Edge was the first in his succession of truly outstanding Wrestlemania matches. It’s matches like this, and his later efforts against Michaels, Triple H and Punk that truly added intrigue to the famous streak.
2. Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 26
Easily the best Wrestlemania main event in my eyes. Most people consider it inferior to their match the previous year, but in terms of a show closing match I have not seen one executed as well as this. So, why have I placed it at number two…?
1. Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania 6
For what it was, it was well executed. Hardly a classic, but good enough to tell the story it needed to tell. Away from the actual match quality, it was Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Fucking Warrior! As a kid I was not a Hogan fan, but obviously accepted him as the top dude. I was a Warrior guy, so this, more than any other wrestling match, figures into some of my fondest childhood memories.
5. Hulk Hogan Vs Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania 3
This wasn’t the greatest match in the world…technically…but was so well booked and conceived…that it looked great. Andre being booked as undefeated in 15 plus years and never been slammed..(Although we know that wasn’t true) It had an epic feel to it that you just can’t fake with camera angles…piped in noise and lighting. This was a big deal.
4. Chris Benoit Vs Triple H Vs Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 20
I know the name Chris Benoit is very Taboo for many fans…including me…it still shouldn’t detract from the great match these three wrestlers put on at Wrestlemania 20. A solid technical match with a great finish and the scene with Eddie Guerrero and Benoit embracing to say we finally made it after all these years was a true Wrestlemania moment.
3. Hulk Hogan and Mr T. Vs Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff at Wrestlemania 1
The first ever Wrestlemania main event didn’t have a title on the line and quite frankly didn’t need one…the real heat generated in this tag team match was pure gold and help launch the WWF/E and Wrestlemania into the stratosphere.
2. Stone Cold Steve Austin Vs The Rock at Wrestlemania 15
What made this main event as good as it was…was the true rivalry that the Steve Austin and The Rock had. Each wanted to cement themselves as the top star and this…there first Mania match…was pure gold.
A tremendous back and forth match that stole the show at both Wrestlemania 25 and 26. The match in question was at 26 and it was a fitting end to a great career for HBK.
You can read all previous Top Fives here.