It’s time for the grandaddy of ’em all. Or fine, whatever, THE ULTIMATE THRILLRIDE (that just felt dirty to type). On the morning before Wrestlemania, I thought I’d share Lunch Mod’s first Top Ten list, fittingly, the Top Ten Wrestlemania matches of all time.
Admittedly, this was a little tougher than I thought. The cut down to 20 was relatively easy, as was trimming another five matches off the list. Going from 15 to ten, however, that was brutal. Sadly, you’re not going to read about the war for the Intercontinental title from Wrestlemania V, pitting newly minted Hall of Famer, Ravishing Rick Rude against the Ultimate Warrior. You won’t see my favorite recent Wrestlemania match, Triple H vs Daniel Bryan, from Wrestlemania 30 on this list either. No Hogan/Warrior, no Undertaker/Edge, and possibly controversially, no Iron Match from Wrestlemania 12 (it’s great, but it’s sooooo long, you guys).
The following are the Top Ten Wrestlemania matches of all time, as told by me. You can check out these matches and many, many more on the WWE Network. It’s pretty great. So as a reminder, this is super subjective and not reliable in the least. Carry on.
10. Shawn Michael vs. Ric Flair – Wrestlemania 24
“I’m sorry. I love you.” Look, I get it. It’s pro wrestling. But damn, this was a great, emotional match. Two of the greatest of all time. Flair’s last match and yet another epic performance from the Heartbreak Kid.
Also, shout to the cameo from future Women’s Wrestling GOAT, a young Charlotte Flair. I’d expect to see her on this list a few years from now.
9. Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart – Wrestlemania 10
So, Wrestlemania 10 was pretty good. Well, maybe not good, but it had two badass matches that populate this list (foreshadowing…it’s a thing). Brother vs. Brother. This was a really nice, lengthy, technical classic that opening the tenth version of the show. Owen was ridiculous. He does everything well in this one, aside from having a giant, white thing on his mouth during the post-match promo.
Bret was Bret. Fundamental and sound. He lost to his younger brother in the opener, then went on to win the WWF title from Yokozuna in the main event, furthering the cool Owen vs. Bret story that would carry the company into the summer.
8. Edge & Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz: TLC Match – Wrestlemania 17
This one is a little weird. It’s obviously a great match and the crowd is super hot, which always adds layers of excitement. But re-visiting it, it’s hard to not watch through covered eyes. The bumps these guys take from these crazy spots are just incredible. It’s a classic and it spawned an entire genre and style of matches in the industry. Whether that was a good thing, it’s hard to say.
7. Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels: Ladder Match – Wrestlemania 10
The grandfather to the TLC match mentioned above, the ladder match from Wrestlemania 10 was unlike anything we had ever seen at the time. Michaels had an air about him, even heading to the ring (it’s pre-faith Shawn, think iffy character, Shawn). He looked like he thought he was the best guy on the show and he wanted everyone to be talking about him, and him alone at its conclusion.
Razor probably doesn’t get enough credit for this one. Michaels runs circles around him, but not in a derogatory way. That doesn’t make sense. Just trust me, this is awesome and these two had a tremendous chemistry.
6. Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant – Wrestlemania 3
If you wanted to argue that this match should be higher, or even number one, I’d let you. Without this match, none of the others would probably matter. To hear Hogan talk about this one is a little like hearing your grandpa talk about the fish he caught “that one time”. Andre weighed in at probably 400 and something pounds at the time, but at this point, Hogan would tell you it was damn near 1,000. This one was fun, 93,000 people witnessed it live, and while it came in the third iteration of the event, it really started it all.
Andre was game here, even though he really couldn’t move all that well at this stage of his career. Considering that, it was a truly great performance, one perhaps matched only by his role in the Princess Bride. I mean it.
Anybody want a peanut?
5. Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin: Submission Match – Wrestlemania 13
It’s pretty impressive to have this kind of back-and-forth, suspenseful classic in a submission match, when only one of its participants has a submission hold. This is the match that launched Austin into the stratosphere, and Hart deserves a lot of credit for that. It’s near impossible to pull off a “double turn” and make it seem natural and organic, yet Austin entered the bad guy and left the good guy. Hart did the same, but in reverse. Masterful stuff.
4. Hulk Hogan vs. Macho Man Randy Savage – Wrestlemania 5
In our house, my sister and I rented four movies over and over again (You had to go to the video store, pull a tag and take it to the counter. It was a whole thing. I’m super old). It was a rotation of Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, Camp Nowhere, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and Wrestlemania 5 (ok, so that may have been somewhat influenced by me).
I still love this match. Even if some (read: ALL) of the Hogan/Savage/Miss Elizabeth stuff doesn’t really age well. Savage is at his best. Hogan is at his Hogan-est. Elizabeth stands there.
Oh, and our future president is sitting in the front row. So, there’s that.
3. Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock – Wrestlemania 18
You’re not going to confuse either of these guys with ring technicians. That said, good lord is this crowd ever pumped. Two of the greatest to ever do it, in the same ring, amidst an electric crowd.
Hogan tried to
murder injure The Rock by ramming his car with a semi just a week earlier, yet somehow nostalgia made him an overwhelming babyface to the Toronto fans. Because pro wrestling.
These electric moments are what I love about watching this stuff (Rock/Mankind from 1999 Raw is still my favorite). Nothing tops this.
2. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs. Macho Man Randy Savage – Wrestlemania 3
Plenty has been said and written about this one, so let’s just get to the point. This is probably the greatest technical wrestling match ever. It’s two guys that are on the shortlist for best to ever lace up the boots, in their physical prime, just putting on a clinic. Steamboat wins with a small package. A small package. The greatest match of all time ends with a small package. Perfection.
1. Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker – Wrestlemania 25
The photo says it all. Steamboat/Savage was a technical masterpiece, but this one was a story. Sometimes I cringe at that word being overused in pro wrestling, but dammit, this was a story. These two had been fighting each other, in some form, for over ten years prior to this match. It all went into this one.
They would try to catch lightning in a bottle one more time and repeat this classic the following year, but it didn’t quite live up to the original. This one was so, so, so great.