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 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.
15 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.
14 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.
13 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.
12 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.
11 11. Should've Been: Triple H vs. The Rock
As mentioned in the previous slide, the stage was set for The Rock vs. Triple H for months, and it would've been the best option as both men were at the top of their game at that point in time. Instead of forcing multiple wrestlers into the contest, they should've stuck with their original plan and kept the main event of WrestleMania 2000 as a one-on-one matchup.
10 10. Didn't Belong: The Rock vs. John Cena, WrestleMania XXIX
Leading into WrestleMania XXVIII, the WWE was able to set up a matchup that lived up to its "Once in a Lifetime" slogan. The Rock was the former face of the franchise who went on to become a world-renowned actor. John Cena took his place as the number one guy and let it be known that the WWE will always be his home. Real life tension and intense, entertaining promos elevated this feud and it was a treat for all fans involved.
9 9. Should've Been: The Rock vs. John Cena vs. CM Punk
As mentioned before, The Rock ending CM Punk's historic reign as WWE Champion wasn't something that fans wanted to see. Additionally, Punk had been the WWE's MVP in the year leading up to WrestleMania XXIX and he very much deserved a spot in the main event match. In his memorable post-WWE interview, he stated he wanted to be added to the match — and that's exactly what the WWE should've done.
8 8. Didn't Belong: Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice, WrestleMania VIII
As everyone knows by now, this wasn't scheduled to be the main event of WrestleMania VIII — but we'll get to that in a bit. During the Royal Rumble that January, Hogan was eliminated by Sid Justice to the surprise of many. Mad at what just happened, Hogan turned around and pulled Justice over the top rope, which assisted Ric Flair in winning the WWE Championship.
7 7. Should've Been: Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair
The dream match that never was — in the WWE, that is. When Ric Flair jumped ship from WCW to the WWE, it was a near-certainty that the top stars from each company would meet at the biggest wrestling show in the world. There was even a faux press conference that declared the championship match set for WrestleMania VIII.
6 6. Didn't Belong: Shawn Michaels vs. Tatanka, WrestleMania IX
By the time 1993 rolled around, Shawn Michaels was really starting to hit his groove as a singles star. Not only was he the Intercontinental Champion heading into WrestleMania IX, but he was also working with the Sensational Sherri, a manager who had only been associated with top level talent.
5 5. Should've Been: Shawn Michaels vs. Randy Savage
This rumored matchup has become one of the juiciest stories in wrestling folklore, one that came to light when the "Macho Man" Randy Savage was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015. At the time of WrestleMania IX, Savage was forced into commentary duties — but it was then when he got his itch to get back into the ring.
4 4. Didn't Belong: Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna, WrestleMania X
With the WWE product shifting away from wrestlers full of muscle, Bret Hart was chosen as the man to lead the charge into the next generation. That decision was even more apparent when the fans turned their back on Lex Luger — who was acting in the Hulk Hogan role — and supported Hart.
3 3. Should've Been: Bret Hart vs. Hulk Hogan
As stated above, WrestleMania X couldn't have been much better for Bret Hart. He put on a fantastic wrestling clinic with his brother and walked away as the company's top star by the end of the show. But if the WWE wanted to put an emphasis on Hart's standing with the company, they could've had him defeat Hulk Hogan in a passing of the torch moment.
2 2. Didn't Belong: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock, WrestleMania 19
For the final selection, we're simply nitpicking. The feud between The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin was a focal point during the esteemed Attitude Era and is considered among the best programs of all time. While no one knew outside of The Rock, WrestleMania XIX was going to be Austin's last — Austin wanted to go out against a man he accomplished so much with.
1 1. Should've Been: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Hulk Hogan
One year prior at WrestleMania X-8, the WWE put on one of the biggest dream matches in history as they were able to pit The Rock against Hulk Hogan. While fans were obviously excited for the match, some found it odd that Stone Cold Steve Austin — the company's top star during the Monday Night War — wasn't chosen for the match. According to Austin himself, he refused to do the match because he didn't think it would've been all that good.
Either way, it would've been a sight to see. Fast forward one year later and Austin and Hogan shared a place on the card, but once again, failed to share the ring together. Since Austin was retiring, it made sense to take on The Rock; but if he did wrestle Hogan at WrestleMania XIX, it would've been more remembered than Hogan's encounter with The Rock.
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