Not every match can live up to the hype of being a WrestleMania main event, for every intense joy ride of emotions there’s an anti-climax that leaves fans feeling a little empty inside. Unfortunately there seems to be more these days than ever before, so here’s hoping that the women’s triple threat will comes through for us and makes a lasting WrestleMania moment.
It’s been a struggle to relive some of the time worst main events, some fall apart under the weight of being the main event whilst others are just a complete shambles. The key to making a great WrestleMania main event is the emotional investment from the fans, if the match is lacking in audience interest then you’ve already failed at being a show-closer.
Here are some of those matches that will forever be remembered for not being very memorable.
5. Triple H vs. Chris Jericho – WrestleMania 18
A controversial choice to start this list, as it was by no means a bad match. In fact, I’d say it ranks up there as one of the most underrated WrestleNania matches. However, as a main event, this was poor. Jericho and Trips had the real unfortunate task of following the show’s draw and true main event, Hogan vs. Rock.
The age old debate of whether the brand’s top championship should always main event show will always feature this match in the discussion. Triple H and Y2J themselves even argued at the time that they shouldn’t have to follow Icon vs Icon and they were right. The Toronto crowd were exhausted after roaring for the dream match prior, which left the title match feeling dire in comparison.
Some might even argue that Jericho wasn’t quite ready to headline a WrestleMania at this point in his career. Y2J had done a great job at working with a red hot Triple H and Stephanie McMahon throughout the build, but couldn’t quite capitalise on the moment and reinvigorate the crowd at the time.
Again, this isn’t a knock on Jericho or the match itself, because when watched in isolation, it’s a fantastic main event. But when catching it straight after the hype of Hogan/Rock, its kind of pathetic.
4. Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker – WrestleMania 33
If this was 2017 I would have felt terrible for having included this on a worst of list. What was supposed to be The Undertaker’s final WrestleMania match didn’t exactly meet the same caliber that most of his other matches had, which was part due to the fans’ disdain for Roman Reigns and part because of his years of physical abuse catching up with him.
On paper, this would have been an incredible past vs. present main event. Receptions aside, Roman is one of the greatest of the modern era and absolutely deserves to be in a WrestleMania match with Undertaker. Unfortunately that match fell apart real quickly and they had to rely upon the impromptu no holds barred stipulation to carry the match.
As physical as the match was, it barely generated any drama or excitement. Of course Reigns was walking away with the win, and the fans were so ready to sabotage his second consecutive WrestleMania moment. It was a mess, and if it weren’t for the ‘retirement’ angle at the end of the match, then this would have been a terrible finish to a fairly impressive WrestleMania.
Having Taker return to WrestleMania, and subsequent pay-per-views a year later, was just another layer of reasons to not enjoy this match. Perhaps if this match took place a few years prior then it could have stolen the show. But I’m afraid this was way past that possibility.
3. Lawrence Taylor vs. Bam Bam Bigelow – WrestleMania 11
Celebrities and WrestleMania came hand in hand throughout the 90s and 2000s. For some bizarre reason, Vince doubled down on Lawrence Taylor’s WrestleMania cameo and trusted the main event spot to him and The Beast of the East.
In all fairness, they managed to execute their spots and string together one of the better celebrity matches from Mania history. Credit to Bam Bam for guiding him through the intricacy of a worked wrestling match, but regardless this match was not worthy of the main event spot.
WrestleMania 11 didn’t really have much going for it. WWE was suffering in the midst of a slump at the time and it showed throughout the PPV. The only match worth sitting down for is HBK/Diesel for the WWE Championship. To combat the HHH/Jericho example from earlier, this was the night where the title match should have gone on last.
Vince quickly learned his lesson from this debacle and since then hasn’t used his main event spot up with celebrities. Even if sometimes it went well, it will never be the biggest draw — unless maybe it’s Conor McGregor.
2. The Undertaker vs. Sycho Sid – WrestleMania 13
There’s going to be a very obvious theme in these last two entries, I’ll let you take a guess at who that might be.
I don’t get why Sid was ever considered worthy of the main event spot; whether that be in WWE or WCW, he just never resonated with me. At this point, it’s just laughable going back on these main events and attempting to take them seriously. The guy captures exactly what went wrong in the 90s: a reliance on big dudes who had that comic villain aesthetic to them, but had zero aptitude in the ring.
Putting The Undertaker against him could at least be justified as a way of getting a decent match out of Sid, but even the Deadman in his prime couldn’t quite manage that feat. Taker never really had the best chemistry with bigger wrestlers and Sid was a prime example of that. Thankfully, Undertaker walked away with the championship and the victory and that was the last we saw of Sid at WrestleMania.
What a horrible end to a WrestleMania that kickstarted the Attitude Era. For those of you watching it for the sake of a mega Mania marathon, get through Hart/Austin then promptly watch something else.
1. Hulk Hogan vs. Sycho Sid – WrestleMania 8
Naturally, this was going to headline this list. Why anyone thought it was a good idea to send the show home with this debacle will always be beyond me. A show featuring Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage for the WWE title and Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper for the IC shouldn’t have to be remembered by this.
Yes, of course Hogan was still the biggest draw in professional wrestling and the return of The Ultimate Warrior was something to marvel at, but again, there is no way this should have headlined. The match itself just fell apart at the seams: neither man could work out how to string together a series of coherent spots and the fans quickly realised that they weren’t quite getting a spectacle to end the night on.
Just to make things worse, Papa Shango, BFF of Sid, ambled down to the ring to cause a DQ finish. Not exactly what you want from your main event, let alone at WrestleMania.
I have no words to describe how much of a let down this match was. An above average WrestleMania was totally let down by this stinker of a main event. Shame on you 90s wrestling, shame on you.
Honourable mentions: – Hulk Hogan vs Yokozuna (9) – The Rock vs John Cena (29) – Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar (34) – Hulk Hogan vs King Kong Bundy (2)
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