JC’s Top Rope Report: Ranking Every Wrestlemania

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Well, this is something that I thought about doing before this year’s Wrestlemania. But I decided to hold off until after Wrestlemania 30 so I had a nice round number to do for the rankings. Every year I try to watch every Wrestlemania leading into the show and I finally did this year. There’s really no set way to my rankings. This just goes off the overall event itself. Not much of an intro, but that really isn’t needed. So on we go!

30. Wrestlemania 2

-There is one thing that makes Wrestlemania 2 the worst of the worst when it comes to Wrestlemanias: Celebrity Announcers. It couldn’t get any worse than Susan St. James. The trio of Jesse Ventura. Lord Alfred Hayes and Elvira wasn’t any better. The three venue set-up wasn’t great. In today’s day and age it wouldn’t work (and would probably cost A LOT more money, even with inflation) and it wasn’t a success here. The only real highlight match was The British Bulldogs vs The Dream Team for the Tag Titles. We also got to see the Nassau Coliseum crowd cheer for Roddy Piper over Mr. T. But unfortunately, those two things can’t save this Mania from being the worst of all time.

29. Wrestlemania 9

-The cheesy and corny Caesar Palace theme and togas fit for the time period of this Mania. Seeing Bobby Heenan come out on a camel was funny. But nothing on this card was anything great. The opener between Shawn Michaels and Tatanka was good. Bobby Heenan was a riot during the Doink vs Crush match, especially after the second Doink appeared with him shouting “WHAT AN ALLUSION!” The ending was dumb an just didn’t make sense. Build up Yokozuna, have him win the Title, and lose it immediately. Yokozuna never recovered even if he did go on to have a long Title reign. We also got the worst match of The Undertaker’s Streak against Giant Gonzalez. Definitely not a memorable show.

28. Wrestlemania 4

-I’m a believer in tournament’s working on PPV in certain settings. But this one didn’t work. You should just never do any kind of tournament at a Wrestlemania. The problem was that the matches were way too short. Not only that, but no match really stood out at all. The Hogan/Andre match that was hyped up big time was a huge letdown. Both men were DQ’d even though Hogan used the chair well before Andre did. The announcers did a good job saying Andre did it so Ted DiBiase could get a bye, but the execution was just off. Randy Savage getting the top billing he deserved makes the end memorable. And of course, the battle royal on this show set the precedent for trophies being destroyed.

27. Wrestlemania 15

-This PPV took place in the middle of the Attitude Era but it was just not very good at all. The main event between Rock and Austin was good but probably the worst out of their three Mania encounters. But when Shane McMahon and X-Pac have the second best match on the show then you know you have a problem. The Hell In A Cell Match had two heels fighting each other. Chyna rejoined D-X, only to leave D-X and turn heel again with Triple H later. And who could forget the classic Bart Gunn/Butterbean boxing match? Anytime people clamor for the return of the Attitude Era you can point to PPVs like this that were sometimes the norm for the time period. It may have been entertaining TV but the matches were often not good.

26. Wrestlemania 11

-Some people call this the worst Mania if only because Lawrence Taylor main evented the show. I didn’t think LT was that bad. He wasn’t great, but he wasn’t terrible either. And you can understand the WWE at the time wanting to get some publicity with business not being that great. The Title match between Shawn Michaels and Diesel was very good and is underrated in my opinion. Nothing else on the show was anything special. Razor Ramon and Jeff Jarrett had a decent match ruined by a DQ finish. And Bret Hart vs Bob Backlund was disappointing. It’s a one match show. But Lawrence Taylor didn’t embarrass himself and had one of the better celebrity performances at Wrestlemania.

25. Wrestlemania 16

-What makes this Wrestlemania one of the worst ever? How about the tag line “A McMahon In Every Corner.” The main event itself was less about the fight for the Title and more about the drama going on in the McMahon Family. The wrestlers in the match were playing second fiddle to the McMahon Family outside the ring. Also add in the fact that there was only ONE singles match on the entire card and you have a recipe for a poor Wrestlemania. It did have some good matches, the ladder match and Jericho/Angle/Benoit triple threat, but the main event was very lackluster and the rest of the card was a hot mess.

24. Wrestlemania 7

-Remember, this Wrestlemania was suppose to be held in the LA Coliseum. Vince thought they could sell out the Coliseum at the time he thought of the idea at Wrestlemania 6. They were probably going to go with Hogan/Warrior 2, but they lost faith in Warrior and pulled the plug on the Coliseum idea due to a lack of ticket sales. Instead we got this Wrestlemania. It had the start of The Undertaker’s Streak. It also has one of my personal all time favorite matches in Randy Savage vs Ultimate Warrior. Just a great story told throughout. But the main event of Hulk Hogan vs Sgt. Slaughter was bad. The IC Title match disappointed. The opening Rockers tag match was fun. Everything else on the show was just okay.

23. Wrestlemania 27

-This was the first Wrestlemania I attended. Once I took off the rose colored glasses from that, I realized that this wasn’t that great of a card. Especially when you re-watch it a second time. The Undertaker/HHH match was more of a big spot, rest, big spot, rest kind of match. And while it wasn’t bad it isn’t great on second viewing. The main event fell flat because everyone was waiting for The Rock to run in and do something, and when it did happen it was a bit of a letdown. I think more than anything the build of the main event hurt the show. Miz was had a lot of heat at the time, but he was stuck behind The Rock and John Cena during the build. Everything else on the card was pretty average and that’s why this card didn’t really stand out as a big Mania crowd.

22. Wrestlemania 1

-Some people might rate this higher because of the spectacle that was the first Wrestlemania. I think I actually would have rated this lower if it wasn’t the first Mania. But just the pure spectacle of this show puts it here. There weren’t really any great matches on the show. But the main event definitely felt like a big deal. You had Muhammad Ali and Liberace involved, two huge celebrities at the time. Add in Mr. T and the whole MTV connection and you had a pretty big show for that time period.

21. Wrestlemania 29

-Man, do I have a bad track record of going to Wrestlemanias? I’m trying to go next year, so that might give you an indication that it might not be very good. I dubbed this card “ReMatchMania.” We got Rock/Cena 2, which was almost a carbon copy of the year before. HHH/Brock Lesnar 2 happened, and that outcome was telegraphed with the match stipulation. The best match on the card was CM Punk/Undertaker, which was no surprise. The mid-card didn’t have anything great. The Shield opener was fun but Jericho/Fandango disappointed and the tag title match was too short. Many people would consider this Mania forgettable and I would have to agree.

20. Wrestlemania 6

-There are a lot of Wrestlemanias that can be considered one match shows. This one is no exception. Everyone remembers this show for Hulk Hogan vs The Ultimate Warrior. And it definitely was a good match. It exceeded my expectations. But I bet there are a lot of people who couldn’t name more than one or two other matches on the card. They ruined a potential Dusty Rhodes vs Randy Savage match by adding Sensational Sherri and Sapphire to it. Jake Roberts and Ted DiBiase kind of disappointed. And Mr. Perfect suffered his first loss to Brutus Beefcake? There wasn’t a lot to like about the undercard of this show. But the spectacle of the main event bumps it up a bit.

19. Wrestlemania 12

-The WWE took a big chance giving Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart 1 hour to work a match at Wrestlemania. They did a commendable job, but the match really doesn’t hold up well. LOTS of rest holds. Now of course you can’t expect non-stop action throughout. But it isn’t the classic a lot of people make it out to be. Here we also got the entertaining Back Lot Brawl with Roddy Piper “chasing” Goldust through the California Highway via a White Bronco, which looked very similar to the OJ Simpson chase *wink wink.* The Ultimate Warrior’s return fell a little flat and everything else was average.

18. Wrestlemania 14

-Any time I watch this Wrestlemania, I cringe every time Shawn Michaels takes a bump. Knowing how bad of shape his back was in, it was commendable he even went out there and did anything. But he still put on a very good match and put Austin over in the end. Despite it being only about five minutes long, the Light Heavyweight Title match was fun to watch. We also got the Pete Rose gag that started here. Kane and The Undertaker was built well but the match was a bit of a letdown. The dumpster match for the Tag Titles was entertaining, outside of Terry Funk’s nasty bruise he received on the back.

17. Wrestlemania 18

-Here’s a Wrestlemania that I was excited to get to, but it just didn’t hold up for me on a second viewing. Obviously everyone remembers this for The Rock and Hulk Hogan. And it was very entertaining and fun. But the rest of the show kind of fell flat. Undertaker/Ric Flair didn’t hold up well. Triple H/Chris Jericho was obviously hurt by following Rock/Hogan. And others matches you would expect to be good (Edge/Booker T, RVD/Regal) weren’t given enough time to develop. Another Mania that was a one match show and doesn’t have much else to help bolster it.

16. Wrestlemania 5

-I couldn’t tell you if Savage/Hogan was the plan for WM5 all the way back at Wrestlemania 4, but it was a damn fine year long build for this match. Tensions rose just at the right time and exploded perfectly leading up to Wrestlemania. Maybe I overrate this Wrestlemania a little because of that but I really liked it. This Wrestlemania also had a couple good tag matches (Twin Towers/Rockers, Strike Force/Brain Busters) to go with it. And Rick Rude also got a good match out of Ultimate Warrior. I’ve seen this Mania lower on a lot of lists but I enjoyed it and it was definitely a step up from WM4.

15. Wrestlemania 13

-Another Wrestlemania that I’ve seen lower on a lot of lists but one that I really enjoyed. The Austin/Hart match here was a classic and one of my favorite matches of all time. The six man Chicago Street Fight was an entertaining brawl. And I think the Tag Title Match between Vader/Mankind and Bulldog/Owen Hart is very underrated. It was tough for the crowd to pick a side because both teams were heels but I enjoyed the action throughout. Triple H and Goldust had a nice little match. The main event between Undertaker and Sid struggled because of what it followed, but I thought it was a passable main event and not as bad as some people might think.

14. Wrestlemania 25

-This Wrestlemania has my favorite all time match on it in The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels. The match is one of the all time greats. But this was also a show dragged down by two sub-par main events. The Triple Threat World Title Match was poorly built and the Title itself felt secondary compared to the corny love triangle. The WWE Title Match between Orton and HHH was also a weak build in a match not a lot of people wanted to see happen again. I thought the Hardy Brothers match was a bit flat as well. We did get a solid showing out of Ricky Steamboat and a good Money in the Bank match, but for what was suppose to be a big show (the 25th ANNUAL Wrestlemania, not anniversary WWE) the show really didn’t live up to the hype.

13. Wrestlemania 23

-Unlike WM25, this Wrestlemania is placed high because the two main event matches made the show good. A lot of people say Shawn Michaels/John Cena was the best match on the card, but I’m a big fan of the Undertaker/Batista match here. I thought it was the best match on the show despite being almost half the length of Michaels/Cena. The Battle of the Billionaires was okay entertainment made better by the shenanigans of Steve Austin, Vince and Shane McMahon. There was your usual Money in the Bank match that had a lot of star power this year. Of course, the show also had Great Khali/Kane and Melina/Ashley which dragged it down a bit. But a solid Wrestlemania overall.

12. Wrestlemania 26

-So how does the Mania that has the second best Taker/HBK match get placed two spots higher on the list? Well it had a couple better matches. John Cena and Batista put on an entertaining match. I think Jericho/Edge was good, but it didn’t live up to the hype that people expected from it. But both Title matches were better than the previous years. We also got a good little CM Punk/Rey Mysterio match. The Money in the Bank match had a surprise winner and it’s a shame that Jack Swagger was booked so poorly. Randy Orton was all of the sudden one of the hottest commodities in wrestling. While this had a lot of good, there was no doubt that Bret Hart/Vince McMahon fell flat. Just booked completely wrong. Similar to Michael Cole/Jerry Lawler from Wrestlemania 27, the match had a very good build but a horrible match.

11. Wrestlemania 8

-Watching this Wrestlemania makes today’s commentary team look like a team announcing a JV football game. Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan were ON here. It may have been there best work ever. And that is one reason I have this Mania rated so high. The commentary throughout the whole show is great. It gets better after Flair loses and Gorilla is egging on Heenan for the entire Martel/Tatanka match. Just awesome. Not only that, but this show also had some good matches including a classic Flair/Savage match, Piper/Hart and HBK/Santana. In a way this Mania started the new generation with three future stars (Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, Bret Hart) going over three former stars (Tito Santana, Jake Roberts, Roddy Piper). The show fell a bit flat after the Savage/Flair match, but the Warrior’s surprise return at the end of the show was fun. An underrated Mania if you ask me.

10. Wrestlemania 30

-If I go back and watch this Wrestlemania next year, I may not have it listed this high. Perhaps the rose colored glasses haven’t come off yet. But I really do think this was a good show. Daniel Bryan and Triple H had the match of the night in the opener. The main event delivered as well. It followed the Wrestlemania 20 main event’s script pretty closely. John Cena and Bray Wyatt had a good match even if you didn’t like the outcome. Another reason this Wrestlemania gets put so high is it because it had two iconic moments on it. The first being the end of The Streak. The second being the opening segment with Hulk Hogan, The Rock and Steve Austin. Who would have ever thought that a talking segment would make a Wrestlemania better? Well, when you have three greats in the ring at once, it does make a difference. I really do think this Wrestlemania will be looked on quite favorably in the coming years.

9. Wrestlemania 28

-I thought the Top 3 matches on this show delivered in different ways. The Undertaker and Triple H told a great story in the ring. And Shawn Michaels added to it as special referee. The Rock and John Cena was a great spectacle of stars from different generations. While the moment really wasn’t at Hogan/Rock levels, the match was better quality. Chris Jericho and CM Punk had a really good wrestling match. The match might get looked over by some because of the other two matches I mentioned, but this was definitely the match of the night. This show might have cracked the Top 5 if Daniel Bryan and Sheamus were given an actual match. Even Randy Orton and Kane put on a decent match. A good show overall.

8. Wrestlemania 22

-An all around solid show. This might have had one of the best women’s matches the WWE has seen in the last ten years with Mickie James and Trish Stratus. Edge had a star making performance in his match with Mick Foley, which had a memorable ending. Shawn Michaels carried Vince McMahon to a very respectable No Holds Barred match. The John Cena/Triple H main event was a great atmosphere for a Wrestlemania main event. And the match itself delivered too after having some questions going in. The Triple Threat was too short to reach its potential. Given another ten minutes it could have been a classic. Of course, by this point the crowd was sick of Rey Mysterio being shoved down their throats. There were a couple of solid matches too (Tag Titles, US Title) that were good watches. It was a good show with very few down spots.

7. Wrestlemania 3

-This show doesn’t get put this high because of the match card. Like a lot of the older Wrestlemania shows, there wasn’t much of a build to most matches. But there is no denying that the show may be the most historically significant show the WWE did. After the let down that was Wrestlemania 2, the WWE knew they had to knock it out of the park with this show. And they definitely did by putting two of the biggest draws in wrestling history against each other. Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant was probably the biggest main event the WWE ever did. It’s bigger than Rock/Hogan, Rock/Cena and any Rock/Austin match. Andre the Giant was thought to be unbeatable and Hulk Hogan was the man during this time period. The show also had the classic Ricky Steamboat/Randy Savage match that showed off both men’s skill sets perfectly. While there may not have been a lot of classic matches, the historical significance of this show puts it high on the list.

6. Wrestlemania 20

-The Wrestlemania where it all began again. The WWE was looking to start a new with this Wrestlemania. They definitely did, it’s just a shame that the moment that ended this Wrestlemania can now never be looked upon the same again. The Triple Threat for the World Title is one of the best triple threat matches you will ever see. Just a great story told throughout. The Eddie Guerrero/Kurt Angle match was good but they have had better matches. Chris Jericho and Christian had a good match with a surprise Trish Stratus heel turn at the end. The three-on-two handicap match was good fun. Goldberg/Brock Lesnar was a train wreck but the crowd made it entertaining. The tag title matches were okay. I thought The Undertaker’s return was well done but again, his match with Kane wasn’t great. Overall this was a strong show and had Chris Benoit not done what he did, it would probably be in the Top 3.

5. Wrestlemania 21

-There are some people who don’t rate Wrestlemania 21 high because of the main events. While I will agree John Cena/JBL wasn’t that good, I think Batista/HHH is an underrated match. It’s not anything great but there have been much worse Wrestlemania main events. But the WWE essentially hit the reset but at Wrestlemania again a year later with John Cena and Batista closing the show on top. This show also gets a high rating because it may have had the best under card in Wrestlemania history. You got the classic that was Kurt Angle/Shawn Michaels, the very first Money in the Bank match, and a surprisingly good Randy Orton/Undertaker match. It’s a PPV like this that makes me wish for the return of the brand split. The Taker/Orton and HBK/Angle matches were inter-promotional matches and felt like a big deal at the time. And this was another show where a talking segment in Austin/Piper, along with Hulk Hogan taking out Mohammed Hassan, made the show better. Everything on this show was watchable, except Akebono/Big Show. A top notch show.

4. Wrestlemania 24 

-Floyd Mayweather might have had the best celebrity performance at Wrestlemania here. Floyd was written a pretty big check by the WWE and could have half-assed his way through the match. But he actually put in a solid effort and sold pretty well for someone that isn’t a wrestler. He made what many thought would be a trainwreck a very fun match. Everything about this show was good. Even the Divas match became entertaining when the power went out. Flair and Shawn Michaels went all out to put on a great match. Both Title matches delivered. I think if Edge/Taker had switched places with Flair/HBK, the crowd would have been more into the first half of it. The opening Belfast Brawl was good. JBL and Finlay are two veterans who knew exactly what they had to do to make the match good. Money in the Bank delivered as it always does. Batista/Umaga was a struggle to get through, but that is really the only negative thing you could say about the card.

3. Wrestlemania 10

-It’s very rare for a Wrestlemania, or any show, to have two five star matches on it. But this Wrestlemania did. It had the best opening match in Mania history with Bret and Owen Hart. That storyline is still one of my favorites of all time, and it was a big shock moment to see Owen win. And then that played into the story later that night with Bret winning the Title and still getting the big moment in the end. Meanwhile, Owen is left to ask how Bret still gets the recognition in the end despite his win earlier in the night. In addition to Bret/Owen, this show also had the classic Shawn Michaels/Razor Ramon ladder match. It was so new and unique at the time both men didn’t have to use the flashy moves everyone uses today. The crowd was into everything they did with the ladder. It really was a breakout performance for Shawn Michaels. The show also had a fun Randy Savage/Crush match, which was the blowoff to a pretty well built feud between the two that doesn’t get enough praise. This was a great show that helped continue a great Bret/Owen feud and started Shawn Michaels reputation of being Mr. Wrestlemania.

2. Wrestlemania 19

-Deciding between the last two Wrestlemanias on the list was tough for me. I really like both of these for each of their own reasons. But in the end, Wrestlemania 19 ends up as number two on the list. To this day, I still don’t get how this show only did 650,000 PPV buys, which is incredibly low for a Wrestlemania. This show was loaded with great matches. Shawn Michaels vs Chris Jericho and Brock Lesnar vs Kurt Angle were two great matches. And considering Angle was wrestling with a bad neck and Michaels wasn’t back for more than a year, it was a nice surprise. Hulk Hogan vs Vince McMahon, which a lot of people feared would end up main eventing the show, actually put on a fun brawl. And of course we got the great visual of bloody Vince coming up from the apron. We also got the final Rock vs Austin confrontation which was just another good one between the two. The undercard was solid but it could have gotten some more time. A lot of people, and rightfully so, still question Triple H going over Booker T. When the worst match on the show is The Undertaker match, then you know you are doing something right. This is a great show, and it really did just miss out on being the top Mania of all time.

1. Wrestlemania 17

-And here it is. The top dog of all Wrestlemanias. This one gets the top billing for a few reasons. One is that many people considered this to be the end of the Attitude Era. That makes it a pretty big event. It had the two biggest stars of that Era, Steve Austin and The Rock, go head-to-head in the main event in what felt like a huge match. Take away the Debra stuff and it also had a great build. The Undertaker and Triple H had the best of their three Wrestlemania matches here. Of course, both guys were ten years younger compared to their other two brawls. Vince and Shane had a slightly better brawl than Vince and Hogan. There were a lot of bells and whistles involved but it played into the match. And the pop Linda McMahon got for leaving her chair was amazing. The TLC Match may be the best one of the three with all teams involved. Another reason this gets the nod as top Wrestlemania is because the undercard was given a bit more time and had some great matches. That includes a good opener between Chris Jericho and William Regal, a solid Kurt Angle/Chris Benoit match, a fun Hardcore Title match and a gimmick battle royal that was a good nostalgic kick. As close to a perfect Wrestlemania as you can get.

Well, there’s my list and I’m sticking to it. What is your list? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Until Next Time,

Justin C

Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

 

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One thought on “JC’s Top Rope Report: Ranking Every Wrestlemania

  1. I’ve seen most of the WrestleManias and I think you put WM 20 too high. Take away the main event and Guerrero/Angle, there’s really nothing to it. I mean both 4 corner tag matches were eh, and the Crusierweight open was way too fast.

    WM21 was good. Might be too high as well. I thought the “Wrestlemania goes Hollywood” theme was excellent as were the commercials. Cena/JBL was too short and who can forget Big Show/Akebono? Triple H/Batista was very good as was Angle/Micheals and Money in the Bank.

    I also think WM5 is way too high. As great as the Hogan/Savage build-up and match was, that was it. I mean most of the matches had no storyline consequence whatsoever which makes it low on my list.

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