With the Royal Rumble in the rearview mirror, it’s the best time to be a WWE fan — it’s WrestleMania season.
The Showcase of the Immortals, the Grandaddy of Them All, Wrestling’s Super Bowl — these are all names synonymous with the biggest show of the year. In the event’s history, there have been a number of star making moments. Hulk Hogan slamming Andre the Giant, the Shawn Michaels/Razor Ramon ladder match, Stone Cold Steve Austin bleeding until he passed out, Ric Flair’s retirement, and Seth Rollins cashing in his Money in the Bank are just a handful of amazing things to happen in WrestleMania history.
But just because it’s a spectacle doesn’t mean it’s without its faults. There have been plenty of times where the wrong wrestler has won; more importantly, there have been times when a match itself wasn’t the right away to go. These matches seemed to drag the entire event down, whether it was the quality of the match itself, or the fact that fans just didn’t have the appetite to see it in the first place.
But what were they? Let’s take a look at eight matches that didn’t belong on a WrestleMania card and eight that should’ve taken its place.
16. Didn’t Belong: Triple H vs. Roman Reigns, WrestleMania 32
There’s nothing worse than when a WrestleMania main event is easily predictable months in advance. Unfortunately for fans, that was the case just one year ago. With the WWE doing everything in their power to get Roman Reigns over as their top good guy — including him taking out Vince McMahon and overcoming every obstacle in his way — it was obvious that Triple H’s Royal Rumble win was set up just so Reigns could be coronated at the biggest show of the year.
But the fans didn’t buy it. Doing anything to boo Reigns, the WWE Universe was firmly behind Triple H in the weeks leading to the event. To make matters worse, it was the final match on a five-hour long show — not only were fans exhausted from the event but they had to sit through a lackluster main event with the outcome already known. As you can tell, Reigns is still struggling to get over, proving even further that this match was a waste of time.
15: Should’ve Been: Triple H vs. Dean Ambrose
Just two years prior, the WWE caved into the audience and changed their main event of WrestleMania, which saw Daniel Bryan rise to immortality on the road to the show. With upper management fixated on Reigns, everyone knew those plans weren’t going to change — but Dean Ambrose wasn’t going down without a fight.
In the weeks leading up to WrestleMania, Dean Ambrose fortified himself as a crowd favorite — and a mini-feud with the COO of the WWE added to his growth. The feud may have only lasted for a couple of weeks, but Ambrose and Triple H put on a great main event at WWE Roadblock, one that had many believing that the WWE could change the course of WrestleMania and add Ambrose to the main event. It’s clear that the one-on-one championship match elevated Ambrose in the eyes of the decision makers, but it came months after WrestleMania. If the creative team pulled the trigger on Ambrose, it would’ve made for a much better match.
14. Didn’t Belong: Christian vs. Chris Jericho, WrestleMania 20
When looking back at the WrestleMania XX card, there were mostly bright spots. The preliminary bout between Christian and Chris Jericho added to that narrative as the two Canadian superstars put on a strong matchup.
The duo formed a comedic yet formidable tag team that highlighted their strengths as both funny characters and strong in-ring competitors. But in the midst of their run, fellow Canadian Trish Stratus came into the picture, who piqued the love interest of Jericho. This led to a split between the two as Christian became jealous of Jericho and Stratus. Of course, a swerve occurred, as Stratus ended up turning on Jericho and siding with Christian, which included a devastating slap and a serious make-out session to add salt to Jericho’s wound.
13. Should’ve Been: Christian vs. Edge
The kibosh can immediately be put on this match, only because Edge was out with an injury for WrestleMania XX — but hear me out. Besides a brief feud during the Invasion angle in 2001, Christian and Edge never had a full-blown feud with one another. It’s a shame, not only because they’re best friends and probably would’ve loved to face one another on a grand stage but they could’ve put on a match that wouldn’t have been forgotten.
But even if Edge was healthy, the match would’ve been unlikely. According to a former creative team member: “As much as it seems Christian turns into the fan favorite choice to win Money in the Bank Match each year it’s not going to happen. Christian is seen as a good hand that can help some of the younger talent and does not have a lot of support from higher ups to be a Main Event guy. Edge vs. Christian as a main event program has been pitched to death and rejected every time.”
12. Didn’t Belong: Triple H vs. The Rock vs. Mick Foley vs. Big Show, WrestleMania 2000
The Royal Rumble match is always the starting point of the championship feud at WrestleMania — but in 2000, it wasn’t predetermined. The Rock was supposed to win the match, no harm, no foul. Unfortunately, however, his feet touched the ground as he dumped the Big Show out. The creative team let this play out on television and, with the help of Shane McMahon, added him to the main event.
But of course, all the McMahons had to get involved. With Stephanie representing Triple H, Shane representing the Big Show, and Vince representing The Rock, Linda, too, needed to back someone. In the end, she decided to choose the recently-retired Mick Foley, making the Championship match a four-way. Unfortunately, the main event of WrestleMania 2000 was more about the McMahons than the participants, which was the icing on the cake of an already subpar event.