It will go down as one of, if not the greatest WrestleMania of all time. From NWO's reunion, to The Rock teaming up with Ronda Rousey and Randy Orton's incredible 'RKO outta nowhere', nearly every match delivered a spectacle fitting of the Grandest Stage of Them All. But Seth Rollins saved the best for last.
Brock Lesnar was on the verge of ending the career of Roman Reigns, such was the beating he was delivering to the Royal Rumble winner - whose 'reward' was to face the Beast Incarnate. Within 30 seconds of the opening bell, Lesnar had already delivered his finisher, the F-5, but instead of pin Reigns he decided to toy with his prey.
Lesnar delivered suplex after suplex, with the Levi's Stadium crowd counting as each one saw Reigns land heavily on the canvas. Soon enough we were into double figures, and Reigns had only caused more problems for himself by busting Lesnar open with vicious punches and knees on the few occasions he was able to.
The turning point came when Reigns countered Lesnar and through him head-first into the ring post, causing the reigning champion to split his head wide open as blood poured down his face. The former Shield member built momentum, delivering not one, not two but three Superman Punches and taking Lesnar down with a spear. Despite th attack, it was only good enough fro a two-count, and when Reigns went for another Superman Punch Lesnar countered to deliver a third and final F-5.
With both men laid out on the floor, the crowd was sent into a frenzy when Rollins' music erupted, and the self-proclaimed Future of the WWE sprinted to the ring to cash in his Money in the Bank contract, officially making the match a triple-threat.
WrestleMania - top 10 greatest matches
WrestleMania - top 10 greatest matches
1/10 10. Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton vs Batista - Wrestlemania XXX
Following the disbelief of Brock Lesnar conquering The Undertaker’s streak, the crowd were dead flat for most of the night that followed. The show needed an injection of life somehow and Daniel Bryan ensured that the fans got it. Earlier in the night Bryan had already battled with Triple H to qualify for the main event, which was a showcase by itself. This line up could have looked very different if WWE went with their initial plan of having Batista and Randy Orton lock arms while Bryan faced Sheamus, but they finally gave in to the “Yes Movement”, which ended with one of the greatest climaxes to a storyline that panned from Summerslam 2013. Bryan overcame the double team from Orton and Batista and celebrated with his faithful who were ecstatic at seeing their favourite underdog come out on top.
2/10 9. Ric Flair vs Shawn Michaels - WrestleMania XXIV
Ric Flair is your favourite wrestler’s favourite wrestler and his final final run was quite ironic in some ways. The veteran was 59 when his rivalry with Shawn Michaels got underway and it was time for WWE to push younger talent but Flair showed that he was still one of the most interesting talents on the roster with his Intercontinental Championship run. “The Dirtiest Player in the Game” was inducted to the WWE Hall of Fame the night before and the career vs. career angle made it quite evident that this would be his last match in a WWE ring. The bout itself was admirable with both wrestlers showing a huge amount of respect for each other with a series of technical counters. The finish of the match is one of the most iconic moments in wrestling history as Michaels paused and whispered “I’m Sorry, I Love you” before delivering a final Sweet Chin Music to the 16 time World Champion.
3/10 8. Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon - WrestleMania X
This was the bout that set the standards for every Ladder Match that succeeded its kind as the “Heart Break Kid” battled with “The Bad Guy” for the Intercontinental Championship. The two close friends showed the world how much heart they had if they were given the opportunity. Razor had won Shawn’s vacated Intercontinental title but as the youngster returned from injury, he still claimed that he was the true champion. Michaels’ bodyguard Diesel was unable to stop Razor Ramon from winning as three of the members of the famous “Kliq” gelled to emphasise the heart of the WWE in a time they were losing a ratings raw with WCW. This format would become a staple at WrestleMania for years to come in the form of TLC & Money in the Bank matches. Michaels earned his nickname as the “Showstopper” with performances such as this and went on to become one of the most decorated men in Sports Entertainment.
4/10 7. The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge & Christian - WrestleMania XVII
These three young teams used the staples of household appliances to keep each other down long enough so that they could climb the ladders and reach the hanging WWE Tag Team Championships. This match truly sent a farewell to the “Attitude” era in the most likely fashion with 20 minutes of violence and recklessness that is still talked about to this day. Edge’s spear from the 20 foot ladder onto a mid-air Jeff Hardy is continuously used in video package as with Bubba Ray Dudley falling out of a ladder to ringside and plummeting through four tables. Each team went on to be highly decorated with various championships and accomplishments before many members broke away to become individual legends. Their success can be traced back to the impact that each member made in this milestone match up.
5/10 6. The Rock vs. Hollywood Hogan - WrestleMania XVIII
Nobody could foresee the reaction Hogan that would get in Toronto, the last time he was in the SkyDome with the WWE he was passing the torch to Warrior at WM VI and he did it again here with The Rock. 2002 was a time where three generations of wrestling came together to create arguably the best roster in wrestling history. John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Kevin Nash, Ric Flair, The Undertaker and Steve Austin are just some of the names that were all actively wrestling at the same time. This “Icon vs. Icon” match was the most glorified non-main event ever as the two larger than life character’s chemistry sent electricity throughout Canada and gave every single fan goose bumps. After a series of finishers from both wrestlers, The Rock won with a final Rock Bottom. The sign of mutual respect following the match will be remembered forever by the fans as the two legends shook hands and received a standing ovation.
6/10 5. Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant - Wrestlemania III
Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant were the David and Goliath of its time with Andre has been unbeaten for 15 years. Both were cultural icons as Hogan had a cameo in Rocky III as ‘Thunderlips’ in 1982 which had offset the rise of “Hulkamania”, but Andre was still deemed the biggest star in the WWE when these two clashed at WM III. Over 93,000 people, which is still a WWE record to this day packed into the Pontiac Silverdome to witness Hulk Hogan lift the 520 pound Andre the Giant and Powerslam him. This feat of strength is iconic of the 80s wrestling boom, and a leg drop later Hogan propelled himself into being arguably the biggest name in the Sports and Entertainment in the world.
7/10 4. Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels - WrestleMania XII
This match stands as one of the greatest matches ever wrestled with two of the most gifted wresters stepping into the ring creating the perfect in-ring chemistry despite their backstage grievances. This is the first Iron Man match in WWE history and transitioned a new era where the smaller athletes were given the chance to shine over the larger wresters. The 60 minutes ended in a deadlock so was ordered to go into sudden death where HBK delivered the Sweet Chin Music twice to cover “The Hitman” for his first ever WWE Championship. There are not many that can argue that this Iron Man match was “The best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be.”
8/10 3. Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin - WrestleMania XIII
This submission match truly passed the torch between the leaders of two generations from ‘The New Generation” to “The Attitude Era”. The image of Stone Cold’s face covered in blood as he refused to give up while locked in the Sharpshooter is a landmark moment for “The Rattlesnake”. Hart went in the match as the face of the company and walked out as the villain while Austin walked out as a fully-fledged good guy, creating the perfect “double turn”. This match led to the first antihero of the WWE as the fans cheered a protagonist in the form of a beer swigging, finger flipper who refused to quit in a bloody state. This die hard display eventually led to Austin headlining the following WrestleMania to win his first WWE Championship.
9/10 2. The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels - WrestleMania XXV
The 2009 match of the year is also seen as one of the matches of the decade as fans saw an emotional battle that was full of twists and turns that told a truly engaging story. Despite the age of the two veterans, Michaels and Undertaker put on an exciting show that many young talents could only dream of achieving. The build-up into the match was executed perfectly with the Born Again Christian of Michaels taking down the demonic phenomenon of the Undertaker in the seamless angel vs devil angle. The shock on the face of “The Phenom” after Michaels powers out of a Tombstone is one another one of WWE’s iconic images. This match is seen as a modern classic by many and was so respected that the two main evented the following WrestleMania over the WWE Championship spot.
10/10 1. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs The Rock - WrestleMania XVII
The two faces of WWE’s most prolific era reached boiling point ahead of arguably the greatest WrestleMania of all time. The WWE universe were split on whether to back the man that headlined each show during Austin’s absence or the recently returned superstar that was hungry to regain his place at the top of the company. Both Superstars undoubtedly proved why they deserved to be in the top spot as they constantly kicked out of each other’s finishers, which was one of the first times that this was done on the big stage. The finish came with one of the biggest twists in WWE history as Austin "sold out" and joined aligned with his long-time nemesis, Vince McMahon to repeatedly attacked Rock with a steel chair to win the WWE Championship. This move was one of the most controversial moments in WrestleMania’s running as it happened in front of Austin’s hometown crowd in Texas, there is not a more dramatic way to finish a spectacle.
Rollins pushed his former team-mate Reigns out of the ring and hit Lesnar with a curb-stomp. However, he was fully aware that Lesnar could well kick out of a pin, and went to deliver a second, only for Lesnar to catch him on his shoulders and prepare to deliver another F-5, this time to Rollins.
Reigns had recovered to the ring though, and as Lesnar turned with Rollins aloft, he was leveled by a spear that sent him out of the ring. Rollins seized his chance, and as Reigns recovered he hit a second curb-stomp to pin Reigns and be crowned the new WWE World Heavyweight champion.
The Undertaker returned for the first time in a year to try and banish the memory of the stunning defeat to Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 30 with a win over Bray Wyatt, who has largely been credited with taking over the Phenom's mantle as the controller of the supernatural.
Taker started off as if he'd never been away, but he soon tired and Wyatt took full advantage of this to get on top. However, it was The Undertaker who would land the first telling blow, as he delivered a Choke Slam followed by a Tombstone Piledriver to his opponent. Wyatt survived though, and hit the Deadman with the Sister Abigail, but it was only enough for a narrow two-count.
In the end it was The Undertaker who delivered a second Tombstone Piledriver and ensured he got back to winning ways at WrestleMania.
The collision between two of the greatest names to have ever appeared in the ring lived up to its billing as Triple H and Sting fought out a classic. Sting looked on the ascendancy as nothing The Game could do appeared to have any effect on the former face of the WCW, but when D-Generation X arrived to help out their leader, it looked bleak for the Stinger.
That was until the unthinkable happened. The music of NWO suddenly hit and out came Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, former adversaries of Sting's back in WCW, but this time they were here to save him. When X-Pac handed Triple H a sledgehammer, Hall responded by passing Sting a baseball bat, and he promptly split the sledgehammer in half. This proved to by costly in the end, as the King of Kings used the broken head to take out Sting and win the match.
Afterwards, the two groups came together, with Triple H offering his hand to Sting in a mark of respect to the Icon.
John Cena won the United States Championship after he gained revenge over Rusev for the defeat at Fastlane. Cena looked to be on the ropes when Rusev locked in the Accolade, but the Leader of the Cenation powered out of it and hit the AA after a mistimed distraction from Lana to win the title and deal Rusev his first singles defeat in the WWE.
Daniel Bryan kicked off the night by clinching an action-packed seven-man ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship. Dean Ambrose thrilled the watching crowd with many high-risk moves, but he was taken out of the match after Luke Harper threw him out of the ring and through a ladder.
Dolph Ziggler also challenged late on, but Bryan would go on to knock his off the ladder with a headbutt to win the title from Bad News Bareet.
Randy Orton exacted revenge over Rollins as he claimed the spoils in their singles' matches early in teh night, although Rollins would go on to have a much bigger reason to cheer. Rollins looked to land a second curb-stomp on Orton, but the Apex Predator countered lovely to RKO Rollins and pick up the win.
Former rivals AJ Lee and Paige were able to work as a cohesive unit despite their past issues as they best the Bella Twins, Nikki and Brie.
In the two pre-show matches, Cesaro used his craft to help himself and Tyson Kidd retain the Tag Team World Championship titles over The Usos, Los Matadores and The New Day, while Big Show overcame the likes of Ryback, Kane and the surprise package Damien Mizdow.
Cesaro and Tyson Kidd DEF The Usos, Los Matadores and The New Day to retain World Tag Team Championship
Big Show wins the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Daniel Bryan DEF Bad News Barrett, Dolph Ziggler, Dean Ambrose, Stardust, Luke Harper and R-Truth in a seven-man ladder match to win the Intercontinental title
Randy Orton DEF Seth Rollins
Truple H DEF Sting
AJ Lee and Paige DEF the Bella Twins
John Cena DEF Rusev to win the United States title
The Undertaker DEF Bray Wyatt
Seth Rollins DEF Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns to win the WWE World Heavyweight title
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