This is part one of my series, which explores 40 of the most defining sports memories of my life. As I recently turned the age of 40, this series will be a play on 40 memorable moments in several categories of Sports that have stuck with me. I start this series by sharing my top 40 WrestleMania moments.
Let me introduce myself….
For those of you that haven’t read any of my columns, let me introduce myself. I am a father of five, a devoted husband, and a pet parent of two dogs. I am an alumnus from both the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Colorado Denver. My past work includes writing for several outlets in the past including DNVR, The Camel Clutch Blog, and Cover32 Sports.
While I attending the Colorado Media School, I co-founded the “Full Nelson”, a radio show that aired on Denver’s, Mile High Sports Radio. If you heard the show you were treated to several high-profile guests. The guest list included; Hall of Famers such as Mick Foley, Trish Stratus, Rob Van Dam, and Diamond Dallas Page. We spoke with other major stars such as Vader, Al Snow, and current WWE Champion Bobby Lashley. The Full Nelson had exclusive interviews with the eliminated cast members of season five of WWE’s reality competition, Tough Enough.
Although the majority of my work revolves around the NFL and NBA, my passion is sharing my love for Professional Wrestling AND Sports Entertainment. I narrow my coverage to the WWE, NXT, and AEW brands. Stay patient as I work towards bringing the “Full Nelson” and my coverage on Pro Wrestling and Sports Entertainment to Border Fuel Sports! Now, in the spirit of WrestleMania week, let’s gloss over my top 40 lifetime WrestleMania matches and moments.
Note, these moments I list are in chronological order as they occurred:
40. Macho Man Randy Savage becomes WWF Champion at WrestleMania IV.
My favorite Professional Wrestler of all time is the late, great, Macho Man Randy Savage. As a kid, I was drawn to his charisma, his lengthy promos, and his short temper. I also had a huge crush on his valet, the late Miss Elizabeth, which made him even cooler in my eyes. WrestleMania IV was my first as a WWF viewer and Savages’ run to the title was historic, as he defeated Butch Reed, Greg Valentine, One Man Gang, and finally Ted DiBiase for the vacant WWF title.
39. Rick Rude defeats Ultimate Warrior for WWF Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania V.
The Ravishing one had one of the best managers of all time, in Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. The Ultimate Warrior in my mind was one of the most obnoxious wrestlers and rambled on well too long in his promos. I was also not a fan of how the Warrior was a three-move show after being dominated in nearly all of his matches. I popped hard as a child for Rude, as I dreamed of growing up with abs and tights spray-painted with whoever my current crush was.
38. Hulk Hogan defeats Macho Man Randy Savage for WWF Championship at WrestleMania V.
The Mega Powers exploded at WrestleMania V, and I was torn as a fan of both Savage and Hogan. As much of a Hulkamaniac as I was, Savage was my number one. Additionally, I agreed with Macho, that Hogan was violating the boundaries of friendship with Miss Elizabeth, and that Hogan was secretly jealous of Savage being the champ. This would have been my favorite match of all time if Savage would have covered Hogan after the second, third, or even fourth elbow drop. Unfortunately, Macho kept pushing his luck, Hogan “hulked up”, and the rest was history. What a bummer.
37. Ultimate Warrior defeats Hulk Hogan for WWF Championship at WrestleMania VI.
Heartbreak as a child. In my opinion, one of the most hyped-up confrontations in history, with a flat performance. The highlight was the Warrior overcoming Hogans’s “hulk up” and Hogan just missing the kick out after the three counts.
36. Jake the Snake Roberts defeats The Model Rick Martel at WrestleMania VII.
The fact that the “Model” Rick Martel used his arrogance cologne to partially blind Jake the Snake made this an interesting match. When the blindfold stipulation was added, my imagination ran wild and I started wrestling my pillow blindfolded. The comeuppance for Martel and the DDT was memorable.
35. Ultimate Warrior defeats Macho King Randy Savage at WrestleMania VII.
The greatest babyface turn in WWF/WWE history occurred on this night. The Macho King started the night fighting to save his career with the late Queen Sherri by his side. Yet he ended the night as a babyface, reunited with his former manager Miss Elizabeth. This was the first time I ever shed tears for a professional wrestling match. Lost in all this drama, was the fact that Savage once again dropped several elbows without covering for the sure-fire three counts. His hard-headedness drove me crazy on that one.
34. Hulk Hogan defeats Seargant Slaughter for WWF Championship at WrestleMania VII.
Hulkamania and American Patriotism ran wild, as the Immortal Hulk Hogan ran wild on the traitor and Iraqi sympathizer, Sgt. Slaughter. I was jumping around bragging to my parents how Hogan overcame Col. Mustafa, Gen. Adnan, and Sgt. Slaughter to regain the WWF title.
33. The Natural Disasters defeat Money Inc. at WrestleMania VIII.
The Natural Disasters were the first tag team that started as heels and turned babyface that I rooted against. Why was I a huge Million Dollar Man fan? What kid didn’t want to be rich?? I wasn’t old enough to understand what I.R.S. stood for, or cared to know. I also was a mark for Jimmy Hart and his megaphone, too bad Tug Boat and Earthquake “crushed”, my team.
32. Macho Man Randy Savage defeats Ric Flair at WrestleMania VIII.
Once again Savage is fighting another man disrespecting him and Miss Elizabeth. This was also my first real exposure to blood in professional wrestling and it was awesome! I was pleasantly surprised that Macho Man was able to win the WWF title against the Nature Boy, using a heel tactic of grabbing the tights in a small package!
31. Owen Hart defeats Bret Hart at WrestleMania X.
The original brother versus brother WWF/WWE storyline starts and ends here as the GOAT. The feud between these brothers started at Survivor Series, progressed at the Royal Rumble, and culminated with Owen Hart’s upset to start WrestleMania X. This match was for those fans of technical wrestling and storyline psychology.
30. Razor Ramon defeats Shawn Michaels for WWF Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania X.
Best ladder match of all time. The Heart Break Kid and the best version of Scott Hall, as Razor Ramon. Along with the opening match, between the Harts, this match stole the show and could be an argument for the top 10 WrestleMania matches of all time.
29. Shawn Michaels defeats Bret Hart for WWF Championship at WrestleMania XII.
If you had to watch any two individuals duke it out for more than an hour, who better than the Heart Break Kid and the Hitman? From the greatest entrance in WrestleMania history; Michaels ziplining to the ring, to the Heart Break kid refusing to submit as the hour came to an end, this was a wrestling clinic. Although I found Bret Hart dry and boring, there was no denying the realism of their rivalry inside the ring. This was the only match worth looking for on the WWE Network for WrestleMania XII.
28. Bret Hart defeats Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania 13.
Two years in a row at WrestleMania, Bret Hart played a huge role in cementing a future hall of Famers star status. The previous year it was Hart giving the rub to the Heart Break Kid and at WrestleMania 13, it was the Rattle Snake. After 20 plus minutes and putting a bloodied Austin in the Sharp Shooter, Bret could not force Austin to utter the words “I Quit”. Although Hart was victorious, his post-match antics continuing the attack on Austin and the tease of tension with the special guest referee, Ken Shamrock, Hart and Austin pulled off a historic double-turn, reversing course on their character’s popularity with the fans.
27. Triple H defeats Owen Hart at WrestleMania XIV.
26. The Rock defeats Ken Shamrock at WrestleMania XIV.
The Rock starts to become a break out star and become bigger than the rising star of the Nation of Domination.
25. Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie defeat The New Age Outlaws for WWF Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania XIV.
The Dumpster playing a part in a tag match between the old legends and the New Age Outlaws was badass.
24. The Undertaker defeats Kane at WrestleMania XIV.
One of the top 5 all-time rivalries started at WrestleMania. From the debut of Kane to his continued torment of the Undertaker, this match set up the ultimate redemption for the Phenom.
23. Stone Cold Steve Austin defeats Shawn Michaels for the WWF Championship at WrestleMania XIV.
The fanfare for two future Hall of Famers alone sells the excitement for this match. The evil boss antagonizing the average American who hates their boss made it more exciting. Inserting the “Baddest Man on the Planet”, Iron Mike Tyson as a “member” of DeGeneration X and the Special Enforcer made it f’ing badass. The memory of Tyson cold-cocking Michaels post-match is a permanent Sports Center Top 10 moment.
22. Triple H heel turn at WrestleMania XV.
Who else was shocked that Triple H turned heel? I was at that time. He helped Shane McMahon defeat X-Pac and joined the evil corporation. This helped solidify Triple H as one of the better heels on his way to becoming a top-three heel of all time with Ric Flair and Hollywood Hogan.
21. Shane McMahon defeats X-Pac at WrestleMania XV.
See above. Also, Shane-O-Mac was pretty damn impressive in the ring. This weekend Shane will no doubt surprise us all with a better than expected showing against Braun Strowman at WrestleMania.
20. Stone Cold Steve Austin defeats The Rock at WrestleMania XV.
In my opinion the best of the trilogy between the two. The Corporate Rock versus the Rattle Snake was the perfect ending to a stacked WrestleMania card. The Rock also sells the Stone Cold Stunner better than anyone in history has.
19. Edge & Christian defeats The Dudley Boyz & Hardy Boyz for WWF Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania 2000.
The beginning of the rivalry for these three teams. If you want to see exciting, fast-paced, brutal, and entertaining brawls, fisticuffs, and violence, go to the WWE Network and start here moving forward in time between these teams.
18. Chris Benoit-Chris Jericho-Kurt Angle Two-Fall,Triple Threat match for the WWF European & Intercontinental Titles at WrestleMania 2000.
17. Fatal 4-Way for the WWF Championship feat. The Rock, Triple H, Big Show & Mick Foley at WrestleMania 2000.
It should have had Chris Jericho inserted here instead of the Big Show. Other than missing the boat on a Hogan-Flair WrestleMania main event, this was a missed opportunity.
16. Shane McMahon defeats Mr. McMahon in a Street Fight at WrestleMania X-Seven.
Only the McMahons can fulfill every teenage boy’s fantasy of beating up their Dad and getting away with it. No, really though, the trash can-drop kick from the other end of the ring is the most amazing movie I have ever seen. The fact it was Shane, who was not a full-time performer made it even more jaw-dropping.
15. TLC featuring Edge & Christian-The Dudley Boyz & The Hardy Boyz at WrestleMania X-Seven.
The greatest stipulation in professional wrestling history, performed by three Hall of Fame-worthy tag teams. How many of us had any energy to watch anything after this is nothing short of miraculous? I would have hated to follow up immediately after any of these TLC matches.
14. Stone Cold Steve Austin turns heel at WrestleMania X-Seven.
I wasn’t so much upset that Austin was a heel again, it didn’t make sense for the DTA man to side with the evil boss and basically, be a heel stooge. As great as a match as it was, this was the second-best of the trilogy of matches with the Rock.
13. The Rock & Hulk Hogan split the crowd at WrestleMania X8.
Who were you chanting for and be honest? I rooted for the leader of the NWO because frankly, Hogan still had “it” and the Rock became redundant. The correct man won and we all marked out when Hogan “hulked up” on the Rock, but the Rock was too good and young to realistically lose to an aging Hogan.
12. Shawn Michaels & Chris Jericho throw down at WrestleMania XIX.
11. Brock Lesnar almost ends his own career at WrestleMania XIX.
10. John Cena’s start to a Hall of Fame career at WrestleMania XX.
9. Christian gets the best of Jericho at WrestleMania XX.
Anyone who gets to makeout with Trish Stratus is my hero. Christian was a cool peep.
8. Goldberg & Brock Lesnar betrayed by Madison Square Garden crowd at WrestleMania XX.
The start of crowds in certain cities “hijacking” matches. This was the professional wrestling version of booing opposing teams and referees for unacceptable performances and/or behavior.
7. Money In The Bank at WrestleMania XXI.
6. Mickie James bests Trish Stratus at WrestleMania XXII.
The psycho-stalker Mickie James going over on Trish Stratus was one of the best angles for a female storyline, let alone on the WrestleMania stage at that time.
5. Shawn Michaels ends Ric Flairs career at WrestleMania XXIV.
Shawn Michaels telling Ric Flair, “I’m sorry, I love you”, as Flair is asking for HBKs sweet chin music is an all-time WrestleMania tear-jerker moment.
4. Undertaker-Shawn Michaels at 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania.
The greatest WrestleMania match of all time. If you want to argue, tweet me a better match, I dare you!
3. Career vs Streak featuring Undertaker & Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXVI.
This is the only WrestleMania that I have attended live. I specifically made the road trip from Denver to Phoenix to see the Streak versus the Career. It did not disappoint and I cried tears of joy that I was there to witness Shawns “last match”. I know nothing of a match in Saudi Arabia and neither do you.
2. Rock & Cena square off at WrestleMania XXVIII.
The Rock went Hollywood and came back to lay the smackdown on John Cena’s Candy A……. I loved it, as did every adult male around the world. Everyone else rooted for the future Hall of Famer John Cena.
1. The Beast Incarnate ends the Streak at WrestleMania XXX.
It happened so fast that everyone had that “oh Sh….” moment. The stunned silence from the crowd and Paul Heyman’s reaction sold the shock waves heard around the world as the Undertakers WrestleMania streak came to a screeching halt.
- Ronda Rouseys apperance at WrestleMania XXXI.
- NWO-DX face-off during Sting & Triple H at WrestleMania XXXI.
- Seth Rollins cashes in the Money In the Briefcase during WrestleMania XXXIs main event.
- Charlotte-Becky-Sasha at WrestleMania XXXII.
- Becky-Rousey-Charlotte at WrestleMania 35.
What’s in store for WrestleMania this weekend? Could we see some all-time great matches? Stay tuned!!