The time is upon us again. The spring spectacular. The granddaddy of ’em all! The showcase of the immortals! It’s wrestling’s Super Bowl (although, I prefer the less popular Super Bowl is football’s Wrestlemania).
It’s arguably the most exciting time of the year for wrestling fans, and it’s not always just about the show or weekend itself. Part of the fun encompasses thinking and discussing the “what if’s” & “best of’s”.
It’s no doubt that fantasy booking is the undisputed favorite pastime of wrestling fans. “Arm chair quarterbacking” allows hardcore fans to dream up scenarios of what either they want to see or what they wish they would have seen in years past. Another tradition demonstrated by passionate pro wrestling purists are compiling lists. I am no exception, as I have wasted a ridiculous amount of time over the years partaking in both of the previously mentioned activities. This column will focus on both. I would like to begin with my Top 10 of missed Wrestlemania opportunities.
Now, these missed Wrestlemania opportunities are strictly matches rather than moments, and are based only on what was possible at the time according to the roster at WWF/E’s disposal. Also, I won’t get into the booking elements before & after as that is likely a whole separate column, but I am more than willing to engage in this discussion @kevwilds on twitter.
1. Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair at Wrestlemania 8
2. Hulk Hogan vs. Bret Hart at Wrestlemania 9
3. Steve Austin vs. Mankind at Wrestlemania 15
4. Triple H vs. The Rock at Wrestlemania 16
5. Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko at Wrestlemania 17
6. Steve Austin vs. Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania 19
7. Shawn Michaels vs. The Rock at Wrestlemania 20
8. Shawn Michaels vs. Rey Mysterio at Wrestlemania 25
9. CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania 30
10. Undertaker vs. Sting at Wrestlemania 31
Honorable mention is John Cena vs. Undertaker this year, but it could still happen, so it stays off of the list for now.
Ok, now it’s time for the main event. The mother of all wrestling lists and the reason you’re reading this in the first place:
My Top 25 Wrestlemania Matches
1. Randy Savage vs. Ultimate Warrior-7
2. Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin-13
3. Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker-25
4. Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart-10
5. Steve Austin vs. The Rock-17
6. Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat-3
7. Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon Ladder Match-10
8. Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair-8
9. TLC II-17
10. Daniel Bryan vs. HHH-30
11. The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan-18
12. Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart-12
13. Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper-8
14. Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior-6
15. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho-19
16. Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns-32
17. Undertaker vs. Edge-24
18. Kurt Angle vs. Eddie Guerrero-20
19. Batista vs. Undertaker-23
20. Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle-21
21. Edge vs. Mick Foley-22
22. Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage-5
23. John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels-23
24. Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels-24
25. Undertaker vs. CM Punk-29
Well, there you have it. I’m sure most of you have concocted similar lists and probably even amended and updated it several times over the years. If not, I suggest you take the time to do so. It allows you to look at these matches in a different light, often dissecting the reasons you loved the matches in the first place. Some matches you may end up remembering more fondly (or vice versa) once you dig them out of your consciousness. You may even discover different matches you once overlooked or hadn’t fully appreciated upon first viewing.
This column isn’t breaking new ground. Lists such as this have been done ad nauseam. Virtually every media outlet that covers wrestling even minimally, have compiled a “greatest” or “best of” Wrestlemania list of some sort.
The difference is, you don’t have to be a journalist, English major or even in the wrestling business to compile such a list. You merely just need to be a fan. A love and respect for the art form and it’s biggest event, are the only qualifications necessary. After all, It’s the fans opinions that matter most.
So, before the biggest show of the year (and longest), take a trip down memory lane and see what your list looks like when it’s all said and done. Let’s just hope this year’s outing brings us a new selection to add to the list, thus causing us to repeat this exercise all over again. See ya next year!