40 Best WrestleMania Matches of All Time (Following WrestleMania 40)

40 matches. 40 years.

best WrestleMania matches
best WrestleMania matches

For the past 4 decades, WrestleMania has been the standard bearer in what constitutes a grand expose of both athleticism and performance. Every wrestler, from WWE to SWG in Uganda, dreams of one day featuring on a WrestleMania card, hoping to one day make it into of the annals of the very best matches from its storied history. 

Let’s take a trip down memory lane, reliving some of the absolute best matches from WrestleMania’s past; highlighting a who’s who of wrestling lore and showcasing what makes this form of theatrics the greatest to ever be globally broadcast. 


40. Kane vs Big Show vs Raven – WrestleMania 17

Kicking off this gigantic list is some WrestleMania-flavoured carnage courtesy of two giants and a former ECW champion. WrestleMania 17 is going to feature quite heavily in this list and for all the right reasons. This match in particular may not have been the marquee, but it certainly delivered. 

All three wrestlers went balls-to-the-wall from the get-go, brawling backstage and beyond in the name of the Hardcore title. As far as this championship goes, you had to expect something a little less traditional in terms of wrestling matches. I don’t think anybody quite expected to be seeing Kane and Big Show legitimately throwing each other through dry wall, though. 

It was an awesome match that’s still a lot of fun to go back and watch.

39. Brock Lesnar vs Kurt Angle – WrestleMania 19

Brock vs Angle
Source: WWE

Brock Lesnar’s WrestleMania debut put him straight into the main-event against the then-WWE Champion. This was a dream match for many fans at the time and it did not disappoint. Brock was holding things down as ‘The Next Big Thing’ and looked every bit of the star that WWE wanted him to be in 2003. 

Unfortunately, the match ended on a bit of a sour note via a botched shooting star press from Lesnar. Most fans look back on the ‘Mania 19 main and remember the image of Brock spiking himself on the mat and it takes away from just how great the previous 15+ minutes were. This did all the favours for Brock, and Kurt looked just as fantastic as he had done for the previous few years. 

A great showcase of talent and chemistry.

38. Hulk Hogan vs Randy Savage – WrestleMania 5

Hogan vs Savage
Source: WWE

At the time of WrestleMania 5, this was seeming to be the biggest match of all time. Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage were two of the top stars in all of wrestling, both massive babyfaces and go-to tag partners for the biggest shows. However, the story goes that Savage’s semi-real jealousy would spill over into the kayfabe world and his bitterness towards Hogan would turn into a real feud. 

So came the WrestleMania main-event of the ages, the Mega Powers exploded with the world watching and the fans couldn’t be more excited. Hogan and Savage delivered on a fun back-and-forth affair which put over both wrestlers as two top-tier talents. Hogan, of course, came away with the big win, but Savage ultimately looked just as huge for sharing the main-event spotlight with his former friend.

A fantastic example of how to do face/heel dynamics in a big-time main event. 

37. Becky Lynch vs Ronda Rousey vs Charlotte Flair – WrestleMania 35

Becky Lynch
Source: WWE

The first-ever women’s WrestleMania main-event comes in at the 37 spot on this list. I will be the first to admit that when initially watching this match, I was exhausted after a very heavy night of wrestling. WrestleMania 35 was a slog due to its mammoth card and, quite frankly, it left many burned out by the time the three ladies took to the stage.

Nevertheless, the presentation of all three wrestlers in this match gave it the big fight feel element, with both RAW and SmackDown Women’s titles on the line. Of course, the big story going into this match was the overwhelming support for Becky Lynch. Becky was the clear favourite and the hype train carried her through to the win over two of the biggest female talents on the planet. 

All three women could walk away proud of this match, it not only served as a historic moment but also ended a very difficult WrestleMania on a positive note. 


36. Steve Austin vs Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania 14

The pinnacle of the Attitude Era saw the most popular person on the planet, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, finally capture his first WWE Championship from D-Generation X’s Shawn Michaels. HBK was on the way out due to numerous injuries and this was the perfect finale to his first major run in the company. Austin was at the top of his game and everyone was ready for 3:16 fever. 

With ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson serving as guest enforcer/referee, this match felt every bit of the major main-event that this WrestleMania deserved. DX’s entrance, their look and the general vibe they brought with them for this match oozed 90s angst. Austin’s attitude matching them moment for moment and fuelling the fans passion for this match. 

It was an intense affair which highlighted why WWE eventually went on to win the Monday Night Wars. This was wrestling at its peak. 


35. Money in the Bank Ladder Match – WrestleMania 21

Source: WWE

Ladder matches and WrestleMania go hand in hand. However, one of the most iconic ladder matches at WrestleMania has to be the very first Money in the Bank ladder match.

Now a cornerstone of WWE’s programming, Money in the Bank began as a flash-in-the-pan multi-man affair to get the majority of the upper-mid card a place on the card. This particular match was an experiment, to see what would happen if 6 of the best wrestlers just go nuts with ladders. It paid off in a huge way and soon became a staple of WrestleMania. 

Edge came away with the first win and went on to have one of the greatest heel runs of that era. Money in the Bank was a brilliant way to kickstart that chapter of his career and a fabulous match to boot. 

34. CM Punk vs The Undertaker – WrestleMania 29

Undertaker and CM Punk
Image Source:
Next Era Wrestling

I imagine a lot of folks would be putting this match higher on their lists but for me CM Punk/Undertaker from ‘Mania 29 comes in as a satisfying bout. This came around the time when ‘The Streak’ was becoming a WrestleMania feature of its own, having strung together a saga of four incredible matches between Shawn Michaels and Triple H in years prior. Punk was coming off of his legendary WWE Championship reign and made him a natural selection for Taker’s 20th opponent. 

Punk put in a great showing here in what was likely his best WrestleMania match. Taker also performed at a great standard, putting together the last of his fantastic run of WrestleMania performances. Not to mention, we also got Living Colour performing ‘Cult of Personality’ for Punk’s entrance. Everything about this match from start to finish just felt awesome. 

33. AJ Styles vs Shane McMahon – WrestleMania 33

A bit of a shocker at the time, nobody expected AJ and Shane to be on such a banger in the opener of WrestleMania 33. 

If you’ll excuse the wording, this was a phenomenal effort from both men. AJ, looking for his first WrestleMania victory, put together a fantastic no DQ match against Shane, who was just about still able to wrestle a decent match at this point. In fact, this was probably Shane’s best match this side of the Attitude Era. Neither man held back with hardcore spots which gave this match a certain 90s flavour, much to the delight of fans in attendance and at home.

Both men looked like they truly cared about this match and it truly paid off for the fans. An odd match on paper, but genuinely one of the better from that card. 

32. Ronda Rousey & Kurt Angle vs Triple H & Stephanie McMahon – WrestleMania 34

Triple H Ronda Rousey

A classic example of how to debut a big-time wrestler. Ronda Rousey’s WWE debut came at WrestleMania alongside some heavy hitters in Triple H and Kurt Angle. Rousey was packaged perfectly as a badass in the making, with WWE holding back nothing in terms of her previous accomplishments that projected her as a future champion. 

The match itself was a great 15 minute stretch which highlighted the aging Attitude era stars as well as putting over Rousey in a huge way. Ronda looked great and I think the faces on Hunter and Angle sold how excited they were to be a part of that match as well. 

‘Rowdy’ Ronda would of course win the match but go on to have a patchy run in the company. But as far as her debut goes, nobody can hold a candle to that one.

31. Rey Mysterio vs Eddie Guerrero – WrestleMania 21

Rey Mysterio and Eddie
Source: WWE

Mysterio and Eddie are two names which go hand-in-hand as far as great matches are concerned. Finally, the two legendary luchadores were able to bring their flashy, technical styles to the big stage in the show’s cinematic opener in Hollywood. Built around the mutual respect between them, the then-WWE tag champions competed in an excellent exhibition of what brought them to the dance. 

Looking back, you could almost treat this as Eddie’s swansong to the wrestling world. He and Rey grew up in the industry together and their chemistry on display only serves as a nod to both men’s talent, but mostly Eddie’s ability to turn any match on the card into gold. This was the perfect curtain jerker, giving everyone else on the ‘Mania 21 card a hell of a high bar to reach. 

30. Kurt Angle vs Chris Benoit – WrestleMania 17

From a high-flying masterclass to a mat-based masterclass, Benoit and Angle absolutely delivered in a ‘follow that’ performance at WrestleMania 17. Angle and Benoit were both comfortably sitting in the mid-card around ‘Mania season and were given an opportunity to put the rest of the roster to shame with a total belter midway through the show. 

In years to come, these two would become known for having instant classic after classic. The ability these two shared and the psychology displayed between them made for stunning bouts and WrestleMania was no exception. If you like your technical grapple-fests, then this must be in your top-10 at the very least. 

Even though the match was on the shorter side in terms of its length, these two grapplers made the most of every second with an intense back-and-forth competition. 

29. Bray Wyatt vs John Cena – WrestleMania 36

Bray Wyatt

WrestleMania 36 was a unique fever-dream of a wrestling show. Having taken the decision to continue with their regular programming, WWE were one of the only live sports brands to continue their season despite the global pandemic. Hailing from the WWE Performance Centre, WrestleMania aired as promised with two nights of hushed yet exciting action. 

In amongst all of the chaos and uncertainly was a match that thrived off of chaos and uncertainty. WWE started leaning into the cinematic genre of wrestling matches, made famous by the Hardy’s Final Deletion in TNA. AJ Styles and ‘Taker main-evented the first night of ‘Mania 36 with the Boneyard Match, which was a fantastic match in of itself, but what followed on Night 2 was the now-legendary Firefly Funhouse match. 

Bray Wyatt and Cena’s WrestleMania sequel was memorable to say the least. It was a mesh of Wyatt’s twisted creativity, small nods to pop a smarter wrestling fan and John Cena having the time of his life in the process. Watching it back, it’s hard to define the exact purpose of this match and what it served for the two wrestlers going forward, but it kept ‘The Fiend’ looking strong and helped take our minds off of the developing pandemic for a brief while. 

This may not be the most traditional wrestling match but you can be damn sure that it deserves a place here for it’s efforts. 

28. Sami Zayn vs Johnny Knoxville – WrestleMania 38

Sami vs Johnny
Source: WWE

Rewind to my teenage years and there’s no way I would have imagined Jackass’ Johnny Knoxville being featured on a list of greatest WrestleMania matches of all time. 

On paper, this match was doomed to fail, with an ailing Sami Zayn having to carry a feud with a celebrity star. What actually transpired was a masterpiece, utilising both men’s better qualities to create a fun match full of wacky spots and surprisingly dramatic twists and turns. Knoxville’s career as a daredevil served him well in a competitive match against the veteran Zayn. Lots of hardcore nonsense featuring giant hands, a human-sized mousetrap and of course, cattle prods – what more could you ask for?

Fans took to social media to praise both Sami’s and Knoxville’s efforts throughout this feud. Arguably, this match led to Sami’s meteoric rise to the Bloodline saga the following year and Johnny Knoxville can comfortably sit on the throne of being the best celebrity to appear and wrestle at WrestleMania. 

Oh, and Wee-Man outdoing Hulk Hogan’s bodyslam will live in my mind rent-free forever. 

27. Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar – WrestleMania 31

roman brock
Source: WWE

Before ‘The Tribal Chief’, there was ‘The Big Dog’ and this was supposed to be his crowning moment. 

After winning the Royal Rumble and forcibly being put over by his cousin Dwayne, Roman was on track to becoming the star WWE wanted him to be at that point. The fans were completely against the idea and did everything they could to boo him out of the building and show the world that Lesnar was the one they wanted to win that night. 

Despite this, the match was absolutely fantastic. Both Brock and Roman went all-out as far as physicality goes and managed to turn the fans into willing participants. The majority were still vehemently against Reigns, but they were on the edge of their seats throughout and probably would have lost their minds if Roman did actually pick up the win that night. 

However, it wasn’t to be. Instead, Seth Rollins, who had lost to Randy Orton earlier on that night, sprang ringside with his Money in the Bank briefcase to pull off what is now known as ‘The Heist of the Century’. It was a star-making moment for Rollins who many had penned as a potential cash-in victor for the WrestleMania main-event. It was the first of its kind and was executed perfectly. 

Fans were overjoyed for Rollins and overjoyed that Reigns hadn’t walked out as the golden boy. But even outside of the dramatic finale, this was a great match in isolation, without considering the shoddy build. 

26. Cody Rhodes vs Seth Rollins – WrestleMania 38

Cody Rhodes vs Seth Rollins
Source: WWE

Fast forward a few years and WWE is embroiled in a simmering war against All Elite Wrestling. As the momentum begins to wind down for AEW, a huge move is in play with the former EVP of the company pitching a return to his former stomping ground. Cody Rhodes would become the first major player to jump ship during the renewed ratings battles. With WrestleMania on the horizon and Seth Rollins looking for a mystery opponent, all seemed ready for a big return to the company for ‘The American Nightmare’. 

As the final seconds hit, doubt still lingered in the air as to whether or not we’d hear Downstait introduce Cody back to WWE, or whether Stardust would magically descend from space for a cosmic comeback. Alas, the Cody Rhodes as we learned to love outside of the E emerged from the Codyvator and made a triumphant return.

Not only was the return a WrestleMania moment in of itself but the match was fantastic too. Both Rhodes and Rollins displayed excellent chemistry and veteranship which made for a can’t-beat match for Night One of ‘Mania 38. Rhodes would of course go on to become the flagbearer for the company and be the guy to potentially dethrone ‘The Tribal Chief’ after his record-setting reign. 

An amazing first match back for Cody. 

25. John Cena vs Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania 23

In 2007, John Cena was at the top of his game and forging his legacy as the Greatest of all Time. Cena would headline WrestleMania the year prior against Triple H and now be set for a huge match against the iconic ‘Heartbreak Kid’ Shawn Michaels. This was a must-see match for fans of current and older wrestling, with the man of yesteryear facing the face of the youngblood in Cena.

Both competitors entered ‘Mania 23 as Tag champions, having built their feud around mutual respect and sportsmanship. As the match unfolded, this quickly deteriorated into a game of one-upmanship, with HBK doing everything he could to remind the world that he is in fact the man around WWE. 

This really elevated Cena into the upper echelon of WrestleMania competitors. Beforehand, Cena was carried through the big-time title matches by the likes of Hunter and JBL, but this match displayed just how much Cena had learned from former opponents and it translated into a picture perfect main-event match. 

24. Edge vs The Undertaker – WrestleMania 24

Undertaker vs Edge
Source: WWE

The next year’s WrestleMania saw ‘The Rated R Superstar’ Edge compete in his crown jewel match. After having a critically acclaimed heel run as World Champion, Edge would go on to headline ‘Mania against another synonymous wrestler, The Undertaker. 

Taker and Edge had a chemistry unlike any other duo at the time and they were able to put on a banger in the show’s main-event. Edge was of course on the losing end as the Streak was still alive and kicking, but this demonstrated just how great Edge had become as a singles wrestler and as a marketable heel. 

Undertaker has since spoke on this match and claimed that he originally believed this was one of the potential matches to see the Streak’s end. Personally, I prefer the actual outcome with Lesnar defeating Taker at 30, but what a nod to not only Edge as a performer but also this match. It was a back-and-forth, psychology masterpiece and could have been even more legendary if WWE were willing to push Edge just that little bit further. 

But hey, still a phenomenal match. 

23. Charlotte Flair vs Rhea Ripley – WrestleMania 39

Charlotte vs Rhea
Source: WWE

A more recent entry sees the WWE Women’s Championship defended between two of WWE’s top female stars. Rhea and Charlotte went all out for their second ‘Mania affair, first meeting at WrestleMania 36 for the NXT Women’s title but now taking their feud to a marquee level. 

This was a great match, a true showcase of how far women’s wrestling has come in the modern era. Rhea was on the precipice of superstardom and Charlotte was the necessary element to help get the fans take her seriously as a major player. Ripley and Flair left it all in the ring and even took liberties to ensure their match was given ample time. 

Definitely worth a rewatch if you haven’t already gone back a year yet.

22. The Rock vs Hollywood Hulk Hogan – WrestleMania 18

Rock vs Hogan
Source: WWE

Following the conclusion of the Monday Night Wars, plenty of WCW’s top dogs had jumped ship to RAW and found themselves a new home in time for WrestleMania. Wrestlers like Booker T, Rob Van Dam and DDP were all booked onto the ‘Mania 18 card, acting as if they had been part of the WWE roster the whole time. However, there were still a few WCW mainstays which had yet to make an appearance for WWE. Names like Goldberg, Sting and of course, the nWo. 

Naturally, WWE did everything they could to reel back in Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, the original three to send shockwaves through the wrestling world after heading to WCW. With the nWo’s arrival, the WWE landscape was shaken and WrestleMania was in store for a huge dream match in Hogan vs Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. 

This felt like a blockbuster affair; Hogan and Rock were the two biggest stars in wrestling, period. Seeing them share the same ring caused fans to lose their minds, let alone when they were geared up and ready to go in Toronto. Hogan and Rock echoed the same vibes as Hogan/Warrior from WrestleMania 6, but with the added tension of the Monday Night Wars. This was an excellent example of how to do big-time matches. 

It’s just a shame Triple H and Chris Jericho had to follow it. 

21. Gunther vs Sheamus vs Drew McIntyre – WrestleMania 39

Source: WWE

Being a fan of the BritWres independent scene, this triple threat was a love letter to the British Strong Style which captured my fandom over a decade ago. Gunther was on a tear as Intercontinental champion, having had a fantastic singles match with Sheamus at Clash of the Castle in Cardiff, Wales. Both men made sure everyone left Principality stadium talking about them and just how far they took the physicality in their 15 minute encounter. It made perfect sense to replay this on the biggest stage of them all. Drew McIntyre was also searching for a title fight and seemed the perfect fit for a brutal brawl at WrestleMania. 

This match did not disappoint and built upon what made the Clash at the Castle match so memorable. I would go as far as saying that this is the greatest Intercontinental Championship match since Savage/Steamboat at WrestleMania 3. All three men looked amazing in this contest and had obviously given each other permission to let loose on one another’s chests backstage. 

If you like three beefy dudes not holding back with their strikes, then definitely go back and check this one out again. I think even Michael Cole was surprised to see just how little they were pulling their chops and punches. 

20. The Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar – WrestleMania 30

“The Streak is over”.

Wow, what a moment that sticks with every wrestling fan to this day. It’s a shame that the match itself was tainted by an unfortunate injury sustained by The Undertaker early on in the match. Nevertheless, it still felt like it had the physicality that folks expected from a Lesnar/Taker match. Years prior, Undertaker and Lesnar feuded over the WWE Championship during Brock’s early run. Their matches then were fantastic and brutal to say the least. 

I don’t think anyone actually expected Brock to be the one to finally defeat Undertaker at WrestleMania, but that’s certainly something which added to the thrilling conclusion. After limping through the match, the crowd were pretty muted. When Lesnar hit that final F5 and managed to make it through to the final three count, you could literally hear a pin drop in an arena full of thousands. 

It’s a magical moment that gives me goosebumps whenever I watch it. Paul Heyman sold it to perfection and the fans helped channel all of our emotions at home. It was a strange occurrence which nobody thought possible, but that in of itself is a WrestleMania moment and earns this match a spot on the list. 

19. Kofi Kingston vs Daniel Bryan – WrestleMania 35


Back to WrestleMania 35, the night which was affectionally known as ‘KofiMania’. 

For years, Kofi Kingston had been happily filling in the role of perennial mid-carder, rarely actually making it onto the WrestleMania card outside of Money in the Bank matches. When the New Day took off and became a beast in of itself, Kingston was riding a wave of momentum. Heading into WrestleMania 35, Kingston flirted with the main-event scene and fans went crazy for it. 

Similar to his opponent’s run in 2014, Kingston had the entire WWE fanbase behind him, hoping to see another B+ player finally be awarded the major championship. The match itself was average but was carried by the ravenous Kofi hype train that went nuts for his eventual win. Though rare, these moments are always a pleasure to see unfold. It’s great to watch the genuine reaction of the wrestlers themselves when a workhorse like Kofi breaks through to the main-event scene. 

This was one of those moments where you sit back and say ‘Well done, WWE’. 

18. The Undertaker vs Kane – WrestleMania 15

Undertaker vs Kane
Source: WWE

Back to the Attitude Era and one of the biggest storylines of that time was the arrival of Undertaker’s baby bro, Kane. WWE sank some serious time into building this parable of a broken family torn apart by a devastating fire. Kane, who had been locked away for several years, was making his return to exact vengeance on his brother. Finally debuting at Badd Blood and legitimately tearing the door off of Hell in a Cell, fans were enamoured with the character, the story and the eventual match at WrestleMania. 

This match may not be the best technically, but the aura surrounding it was unparalleled. WWE have tried to recapture not only this feud but also the supernatural elements that came with it through characters such as Bray Wyatt, but not to the same degree. Everything was so of the time in this match, the colours, the dark themes, everything. It was like watching a Joel Schumacher Batman film. 

It was a fresh take on pro wrestling and helped create one of the most iconic characters of all time. 

17. Chris Jericho vs Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania 19

This was probably the first match that I watched at WrestleMania which made me go, “Wow, this is what wrestling should be!”

Shawn Michaels had returned to in-ring competition in the summer of 2002, wrestling his former buddy Triple H and going on to win the World Heavyweight Championship. However, come WrestleMania season, Michaels was out of the title picture and looking for a big return match. Also looking for a huge match was Chris Jericho, someone which many had made comparisons to HBK in the past. 

This turned into a brilliant feud of one-upmanship, HBK was a great hero to Jericho’s heel and they performed a picture perfect match. I’m not sure why but the aesthetic of this match always stands out to me, the colourful attires, the megastar entrances and the fast-paced action just made this an excellent bout. This is a go-to watch for me whenever looking for a pure wrestling match on the grandest stage. 

And it’s always fun looking back on Y2J enjoying his own dream match. 

16. Kurt Angle vs Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania 21

Angle vs Michaels
Source: WWE

Sticking with ‘Mr. WrestleMania,’ Shawn Michaels would spend a few years ticking off some personal dream matches. One of them took place in Hollywood against the former Olympic gold medallist, Kurt Angle. Angle was in the midst of his greatest run in WWE, having excellent matches with anyone he could on SmackDown. 

This particular match was built on a resting hatred of Shawn that Angle built in 1996. Angle was frustrated that everyone was talking about HBK’s WrestleMania moments than his own Olympic win. Therefore, this match was made to determine who was the better wrestler. Even though an argument can be made for both sides, this match stood as a standard for the rest of the roster to meet. 

Both Angle and Michaels delivered on the WrestleMania standard andpièce de résistancep. Much like the Jericho match, this is one you can show off to anyone as what a WrestleMania match should look like. 

15. Edge vs Mick Foley – WrestleMania 22

Edge vs Foley
Source: WWE

At the very start of this list, I talked about one of the most memorable hardcore matches from WrestleMania 17. Now let’s talk about the most memorable hardcore match of all time. 

Edge and Mick Foley delivered a Japan-level deathmatch at WrestleMania 22. This match not only served as Foley’s piece de resistance but also helped propel Edge back into the main event scene following a dire WWE title run. I don’t think anyone expected this match to echo the ECW standard as much as it did. We saw barbed wire, flaming tables and of course a stinky sock. 

It was a wonderful callback to deathmatch wrestling and a rarity for WWE at the time. This was the last of its kind and a brilliant swansong for Foley’s WWE career. I think there’s definitely a place for this style of wrestling at WrestleMania, it’s a shame that WWE aren’t willing to push themselves across that boundary again in modern times. AEW manage to recreate this at times, but perhaps a little too much. 

For big time hardcore wrestling though, this is where you want to start. 

14. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs The Usos – WrestleMania 39

Zayn & Owens vs Usos

I had been waiting years to finally see a tag team main-event of this standard at WrestleMania. I am a huge proponent of tag team wrestling and I think that when it’s done well, it can create some of the greatest matches of all time. You look back through WWE’s biggest successes in terms of in-ring competition over the past decade and the majority come from tag matches. 

This was the epic conclusion to Sami Zayn’s story, evolving from the Bloodline’s little fanboy to being one of the most over things in wrestling. Sami had progressed from wrestling Johnny Knoxville to being the most talked about wrestler in the company and this was a great story to see unfold. Scoring the main-event, alongside his friend/enemy Kevin Owens, was a huge nod to his success. 

Also huge credit to the Usos who had gradually become the greatest tag team of our time over the past ten years. Every aspect of this match called for the main-event spot and the match itself delivered in so many ways. Fans were emotionally invested and the four wrestlers brought out all of their best spots. 

The ending was beyond satisfying and a fantastic end to the first night of last year’s ‘Mania. 

13. The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania 26

Okay, so let’s just preface this one by saying that this isn’t the last time we’ll be talking about this match. 

WrestleMania 26 was undoubtedly built for both Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. This was a year-long subtle build to the main-event, following on from their outstanding match at the previous year’s ‘Mania. This match didn’t really start taking shape until about a month and a half prior to the show itself but many assumed that we would eventually get to the rematch between these two legends. 

HBK and Taker upped the ante this time round by putting Streak vs Career. HBK was determined to be the one to break the streak, so much to the point where he would retire if he lost. It added that extra layer of drama necessary for the sequel performance and it felt like the biggest match of that time. 

On a card full of stacked matches, this one served perfectly as the main-event but unfortunately didn’t get quite as much time as it deserved. Nevertheless, it had a brilliant vibe and sucked fans into the action. It was an emotional match that gave HBK a great send-off at the time and continued to demonstrate that Undertaker’s WrestleMania matches were the ones to watch. 

12. Randy Savage vs Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat – WrestleMania 3

Going all the way back to the very first memorable WrestleMania match, that’s right, it’s time for Savage vs Steamboat. 

This match is the earliest on the entire list and is probably one of the matches that everyone features towards the top of their best of all times. Randy Savage was on top of his game; holding the Intercontinental Championship and having hordes of fans despite his heel persona. Savage put his title on the line against the fledging babyface, Ricky Steamboat, who fans were willing to rally behind. The story was pretty basic but the audience was excited to see a championship fight nonetheless. 

However, nobody thought they’d be walking away from the Pontiac Silverdome having seen a masterclass in pro wrestling. WWE weren’t exactly known for their mat-classics at the time, favouring the heavyweight style with little to no high spots so this was a breath of fresh air. Savage and Steamboat kept the pace for 15 minutes and didn’t slow down. 

I think what makes this match so special is that is is unlike anything else on the card. For a more modern fan, this is a slight flash-forward to the style of today, albeit not perfect. Still a wonderful match leagues ahead of its time. 

11. Daniel Bryan vs Randy Orton vs Batista – WrestleMania 30

Daniel bryan

The next two entries are very similar to one another in the sense that it’s practically the same story twice over, ten years apart. 

In 2014, we not only witnessed the end of the Undertaker’s undefeated streak, but we also had the triumphant rise of Daniel Bryan and independent wrestling. Bryan, who was deemed a B+ player by Triple H and the Authority, had to battle his way through hurdles to make it into the main-event for the WWE Championship. 

Having won the Royal Rumble match, the returning Batista earned himself a match against his former Evolution partner, Randy Orton. Fans weren’t exactly happy with this outcome and instead protested relentlessly for Daniel Bryan to be entered into the match instead. This only added to the story and you could argue that this was the desired outcome of the storyline writers from the start, though I’m not sure. 

Daniel Bryan would of course make it into WrestleMania plans, having to first battle Triple H in a singles match (which was a fantastic match in of itself) in order to enter the triple threat in the main-event. Bryan would win the singles match, left beaten and battered, and then face the two bigger stars later on in the evening. 

Fans were all over this match and needed a big, positive finish to the show following Undertaker’s shocking defeat. Fans were literally screaming the word ‘Yes’ at the top of their lungs and it made for a fantastic championship atmosphere. Bryan would have to fight through all sorts of pain and crushing moments before finally getting the win and ending the night on a high. It was an emotional journey to say the least.


10. Chris Benoit vs Triple H vs Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania 20

Benoit Triple H HBK
Source: WWE

Now, some may disagree with me here, but I’d say that this particular match was practically the same as the Daniel Bryan triple threat but just better. 

Chris Benoit had a similar rise to prominence in 2004 but instead actually managed to win the Royal Rumble match. This was a surprise at the time as Benoit had never really been a main-event guy. He had been involved in title matches previously, namely against Kurt Angle in 2003 and during his initial run as part of the Radicalz. However, this was the first time Benoit really stood out as a potential main-event star. 

Benoit would challenge for the World Heavyweight title on the opposing show, which was a bit of surprise. Triple H, the reigning champ at the time (who would just never lose), would do everything to ensure that Benoit knew his place and that it wasn’t in the main-event with himself. Meanwhile, Shawn Michaels would continue his feud with Triple H and demand that he also be included in the title match at ‘Mania 20. 

So there you have it, another triple threat with two established main-eventers having to wrestle around the new kid on the block. The fans were dedicated to getting Benoit over and it was probably the first time in a long while that fans were able to sink their teeth into someone outside of the established main-eventers. The match was great, as you’d expect with the calibre of talent involved. 

Again, this is somewhat interchangeable with the Daniel Bryan match for most folks but this was the OG storyline for me, and despite what Benoit’s legacy has become, this will always be a success story for WrestleMania lore. The scenes of him and Eddie holding their respective titles in a shower of confetti to close the show will always be a legendary image. 

9. Bret Hart vs Owen Hart – WrestleMania 10

Bret vs Owen
Source: WWE

We got Uso vs Uso at WrestleMania XL and Hardy vs Hardy from WrestleMania 25, but nothing touches the original brother squabble in Hart vs Hart. 

Bret and Owen had spent many years amicable in WWE but things had finally reached a point where the younger Hart demanded his time in the spotlight. Bret was already booked for ‘Mania X in the main-event against Yokozuna for the WWE Championship but this was a great step away from the title picture for an exhibition of excellence in the squared circle.

The chemistry on show here was beyond fantastic; wrestling fans treat this match as the pinnacle of technical wrestling in the mainstream. Bret and Owen, both classically trained in the Hart Dungeon, put every other brother duo on the planet to shame by performing what every family squabble should end up like. 

The chain wrestling here was incredible and served as the standard for grapplers for years ahead. Big respect to the Hart family for creating wrestlers of this level. 

8. Shawn Michaels vs Ric Flair – WrestleMania 24

Michaels vs Flair
Source: WWE

For two bonafide legends to step into the ring at WrestleMania, you know you’re in for something special, especially when those names are Michaels and Flair. 

‘The Nature Boy’ had been plotting his (first) in-ring retirement for a fair while, defending his active competition against mid-carders like MVP and Mr. Kennedy. His fate seemed written in the sand for his career to come to an end on the grandest stage, as is worthy of his iconic wrestling career. So, Flair needed a big-time opponent to see him out the door, that man was Shawn Michaels. 

The match was emotional, it was dramatic and it was everything you’d want from these two in the twilight of their respective careers. Shawn’s final words, “I’m sorry, I love you.” will forever echo through the minds of wrestling fans who cried along with Flair as he took the final superkick to end his career. 

Then he debuted for TNA and ruined everything. 

7. Roman Reigns vs Cody Rhodes – WrestleMania 40

Cody vs Reigns
Source: WWE

The most recent entry on this list comes from Night 2 of WrestleMania 40; the rematch between ‘The Tribal Chief’ and ‘The American Nightmare’ in a battle to Finish the Story. This was pro wrestling at its very best, intending to kickstart a new era for WWE post-Vince McMahon. 

They achieved everything they set out to, with Cody finally pinning the champion and ending his 1000+ day reign, a legendary feat by today’s standards. Rhodes has been the perfect flag-bearer for WWE since returning two years prior, seemingly primed to be the one to pick up the reins from Roman. 

The match turned into absolute chaos thanks to the ‘Bloodline Rules’ stipulation earned on the previous night, where ‘The Final Boss’ Dwayne Johnson pinned Cody to the mat for three. The added drama of interference from both sides in the latter parts of the match was titillating, with legendary stars like The Rock, John Cena and The Undertaker making brief cameos to make this a match to remember. 

This truly was the renaissance of WWE.  

6. Hulk Hogan vs Ultimate Warrior – WrestleMania 6

Hogan vs Warrior
Source: WWE

An incredible spectacle to go back to when you want a reminder of how exciting WWE was to the young fans of the 90s. For the first time, two babyfaces headlined WrestleMania in Toronto, pitting the two biggest stars against one another in an inevitable collision course for the World Championship. 

Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior were two superheroes, two icons of their time and fans were torn between who exactly was the ultimate star. With a brief encounter at the Royal Rumble, this match was perfectly set to be the WrestleMania main-event of all time. The match itself was slow and sluggish, but fans ate up every single spot on the edge of their seats. 

Say what you will about these two individuals but there’s no denying their star power and their blockbuster attraction in this match. Very few matches have managed to replicate this level of hype and genuine uncertainty as to who was going to take the brand forward as the big star. 

5. The Undertaker vs Triple H – WrestleMania 28

Coming back to ‘The Deadman saga’ of the early 2010s, Undertaker was set to finish his own story at WrestleMania 28 in the ultimate swansong of the Attitude Era. This featured three of the biggest stars of their time, signalling the finale of the most historic era in wrestling inside Hell in a Cell. Triple H and Shawn Michaels had both attempted to break the streak, and both failed. But this time, it was the two of them (with Michaels as referee) against Taker inside of the demonic structure. 

This match had everything that makes wrestling great: drama, twists and brutality. The cell added an extra layer of intrigue to the sequel match between Hunter and Taker from the year prior and all signs pointed towards this being the end of Taker’s streak. Fortunately for Undertaker, he was able to fend off the two-on-one antics from DX and walked away with yet another win to add to his legacy. 

The final shots of Taker, HBK and Triple H leaving the arena in each others arms is a beautiful callback to everything they achieved in the industry. All three would go on to be integral parts of the WWE going forward but this was their farewell to the prime of their careers and a final gift to the wrestling fanbase. 

4. The Dudleys vs The Hardy Boyz vs Edge & Christian – WrestleMania 17

WrestleMania 17 will always go down as one of my favourite ‘Manias for many reasons, one of them is the second TLC match to steal the show in WWE history. The Hardys, The Dudleys and Edge & Christian are synonymous with the hardcore rules matches, mostly because of this match. Some might argue that the first TLC affair from WrestleMania 16 may just trump this in terms of its innovation, but I personally find this match to be more balls-to-the-walls carnage. 

With ECW now left behind, this match served as a nod to everything the ‘extremists’ of Philly achieved during their tenure. With all sorts of crazy spots put together by the six men involved, plus extra cameos from the likes of Rhino, Spike Dudley and Lita, this match was chaos incarnate. 

This match set the bar for future ladder matches and TLC matches, showing just how much wrestlers can achieve by putting their bodies on the line for an absolute car-crash spectacle. 

3. The Rock vs Steve Austin – WrestleMania 17

Steve Austin
Source: WWE

Keeping with the same ‘Mania, the main-event saw two of the biggest stars in wrestling history battle for the second time in the show’s main-event. This time however, Steve Austin was entering the match as a hometown hero and the obvious favourite to win the WWE Championship from the former corporate champ. 

Austin and Rock have a timeless chemistry which needs no hyperbole. This match was so of the times that it’s hard not to feel like a kid again when watching it back. Of course, the big WrestleMania moment from this particular match was the shocking heel turn of Austin and his alliance with long-time enemy, Mr. McMahon. 

The ploy was so perfectly executed and reacted to by the commentary desk that it sent shockwaves through the entire world of pro wrestling. It was a swerve like no other and is often imitated but never replicated. 

2. Bret Hart vs Steve Austin – WrestleMania 13

Bret vs Austin
Source: WWE

An iconic match for too many reasons. Bret Hart and Steve Austin executed the first-ever double turn at WrestleMania to perfection, with ‘The Hitman’ entering as the babyface and leaving the villain. Hart and Austin were embroiled in a blood-feud spanning across months worth of action. This epic conclusion to their feud built the foundations of what would become ‘The Attitude Era’, and if you didn’t get it already, this period redefined wrestling. 

The action was hard-hitting and bloody, with Austin spilling buckets in front of the Chicago crowd. It’s a rarity to see a submissions match at WrestleMania these days and I think it would be tricky to create something more spectacular than this match. Austin’s relentlessness and his reluctance to submit before passing out was genuinely one of the greatest moments in wrestling. It created a star like no other in a match like no other. 

This was originally going to be my number one, but then…

1. The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania 25

What more can you say that hasn’t already been said about this match. It is just perfection from start to finish. 

At a time where many fans were becoming worn out by the booking and lack of fresh talent, WWE booked legendary rivals, Shawn Michaels and Undertaker, against one another in a standard exhibition with the streak on the line. 

With expectations at somewhat of a low, despite the two names involved, this match delivered something which reawakened fans’ passion for the genre and the brand. The audience were reminded of just how great this art can be with two masters of their craft doing their thing. 

Honestly, this match will hold up for years to come. A clear tutorial on how to create a WrestleMania-worthy showcase. 

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