WrestleMania is indeed the grandest stage of them all, and as such only a handful of performers have ever been able to main event the showcase of the immortals. Some have done it multiple times and others have managed it just once, but regardless, the WWE Universe will forever remember their efforts throughout the years.
Of course, given that the first Mania took place more than three decades ago, not everyone on this list is still floating around the pro wrestling business, but the ones that are have proven that once you’ve main evented the show of shows your stock goes up to levels that you would’ve previously thought were unattainable.
So from bonafide main eventers to upper mid carders who got lucky, you know that there’s going to be a variety of characters popping up here. Given the larger-than-life nature of this business, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
34. Hulk Hogan (WrestleMania I, II, III, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX)
Hulk Hogan is the godfather when it comes to WrestleMania main eventers, flying the flag for the then-WWF during the first few incarnations of the show. The Hulkster was consistently the biggest draw in all of professional wrestling, and that showed with several appearances in the most high profile match on the card at Mania.
In the present day, Hogan is still trying to make amends with the WWE after being blacklisted from the company, however his settlement money from the Gawker trial likely means that he’s sitting pretty either way right now. The multi-time world champion has opened a series of beach shops around the country that likely helps to pass the time, with many fans taking the opportunity to meet him this past April in Orlando.
33. Mr.T (WrestleMania I)
Mr. T is the first celebrity member of this list, and unfortunately he’s not the last. The former Mania main eventer is best known for his roles in Rocky and The A-Team, however it’s his appearance in the famous tag team match at WrestleMania 1 that is most well remembered amongst professional wrestling fans both young and old. Well, mainly old.
Nowadays the 65-year-old keeps a relatively low profile, with his last big media appearance of note being a stint on Dancing with the Stars in which he was eliminated 3rd. In case you were worried that he wouldn’t be immortalised within the industry, fear not, because he was also inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
32. Paul Orndorff (WrestleMania I)
Paul Orndorff was often cited as being quite an underrated talent within the WWF, and given the quality of Mr Wonderful’s work we tend to agree with that statement. He proved to be a worthy heel adversary for Mr. T and Hogan all those years ago, and he’s continued to pop up from time to time in the last few years.
At the age of 67, Orndorff recently competed in his first match since 2000 with the CWE promotion up in Canada. In terms of the WWE, he most recently appeared during Hulk Hogan’s birthday bash on a 2014 episode of Raw, however the current generation didn’t really give him the reception that his legacy deserves.
31. Roddy Piper (WrestleMania I)
What is there to say about Rowdy Roddy Piper that hasn’t already been said? The man was born a superstar and the world of wrestling allowed him to showcase his talents for the world to see. Piper was a stalwart within the business and despite his many controversies, nobody will ever forget what this man did for generations of wrestlers and fans alike.
Unfortunately in July 2015, Roddy passed away at the age of 61 in a year that saw many wrestling greats leave this world. Wherever he is right now, we know that he’ll be looking down on the current product and smiling as he realises just how far wrestling has come – with his influence being a big reason why it continues to be so successful.
30. King Kong Bundy (WrestleMania II)
King Kong Bundy was a misunderstood character in many ways, with his monster heel persona being something that probably should’ve led to many more appearances in the main event. Alas, his peak came at WrestleMania II, when he lost to Hulk Hogan inside of a steel cage.
The 59-year-old last appeared on the independent scene back in 2006, and his most recent affiliation with World Wrestling Entertainment wasn’t a great one as he was named part of a class action lawsuit against the company that claimed they had routinely failed to care for several of their superstars.
29. Andre The Giant (WrestleMania III)
To call Andre The Giant a wrestling legend would STILL be doing the man a disservice, because the Frenchman was much more than just a wrestler – he was an icon. From being bodyslammed at WrestleMania III to winning the title, Andre was one of the most notable performers in the history of sports entertainment.
Alas, his lifestyle eventually caught up to him, with The Giant passing away back in 1993. To this day, his name continues to be brought up on a daily basis when it comes to discussions about the greatest of all time, with the yearly Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania continuing to carry his name forward in fine fashion.
28. Randy Savage (WrestleMania IV, V)
There’s an argument to be made that Randy Savage is one of the most well rounded performers in the history of WWE, with back to back WrestleMania main events under his belt. Savage is one of the most imitated performers of all time, with his legendary “oh yeah” catchphrase only being trumped by his phenomenal in-ring ability.
In what is becoming an unfortunate trend on this list, Randy died back in 2011 due to cardiovascular disease. It was this incident that led to the WWE finally giving Savage his long overdue induction into the Hall of Fame, with the likes of Bayley continuing to carry his name forward with some of her many tributes to the Macho Man.
27. Ted DiBiase
The Million Dollar Man is a severely underrated talent in the annals of wrestling history, and it’s a shame (and a sham) that “buying” the WWF Championship was the closest he ever got to being called a world champion within the company. DiBiase had one of the most fascinating heel characters we’d ever seen, and his Mania main event alongside Savage was well deserved.
Following an unsuccessful stint by his namesake son in the WWE, the 63-year-old is now a part of their Legends program where he makes sporadic appearances from time to time. He is also a Christian Minister, spending a lot of his days preaching about God. Many fans would love to see Ted return as a manager one day, but as we all know from watching him in the ring – “everybody has a price”!
26. The Ultimate Warrior
When you combine a thousand rainbows with an unlimited storage of adrenaline, you get The Ultimate Warrior. Whether it was his ridiculous persona or his endless energy, Warrior knew how to put on a show for the fans and that’s exactly what he did throughout the course of his career; which included a triumphant victory in the main event of WrestleMania VI.
After being exiled from the company for many years, Warrior returned in time to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, with his emotional speeches at the ceremony and on Monday Night Raw sending shivers down the spine of the WWE Universe. As we now all know, they were his final public appearances, with the charismatic superstar passing away less than 24 hours after that famous night in New Orleans.
25. Sgt. Slaughter (WrestleMania VII)
For reasons unknown it took an Iraqi sympathizer gimmick to finally thrust Slaughter into the main event picture, with his legendary feud alongside Hulk Hogan still being talked about to this day (for better or worse). Regardless of the circumstances, Slaughter always knew how to play to the crowd, whether it be as a heel or a babyface.
In the present day, the 68-year-old is a part of WWE’s ambassador program, making the odd cameo on Raw and SmackDown Live much in the same vein as the aforementioned DiBiase. Oh, and he also had a United States Championship match against (Antonio) Cesaro back in 2012. Weird, right?
24. Sycho Sid (WrestleMania VIII, 13)
The man with a thousand names, Sid was a top name back in the 90s due to his size and overwhelming power in the ring. Whilst he may not have been as appreciated as he should’ve been, his look was so intimidating that he felt like a legitimate threat to whoever stepped in the squared circle with him – which includes his WrestleMania main event opponents The Undertaker and Hulk Hogan.
In recent years Sid hasn’t really popped up within the public eye, making a few brief appearances in the lead up to RAW 1000 in addition to a stint in a body building competition. It’d be nice to see WWE roll him out for a couple more shows here and there, because at the end of the day his legacy speaks for itself.
23. Yokozuna (WrestleMania IX, X)
When it comes to badass foreign heels, you aren’t going to find many better than Yokozuna. The Samoan beast (who played a kayfabe Japanese sumo wrestler) was an absolute force of nature throughout his WWF career, main eventing consecutive ‘Manias against the household names of Bret Hart and Hulk Hogan. The company trusted him with those kind of matches and the reasoning is very simple: he was just that good.
After being released from the company, the California-born wrestler started to wrestle on the independents, before unfortunately passing away in late 2000 at the age of just 34. He would’ve undoubtedly returned to WWE at some point later down the line, and his loss is still felt to this day by both his family and his fans alike.
22. Bret Hart (WrestleMania IX, X, XII)
The best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be. Period. There’s no two ways about it – Bret “The Hitman” Hart has always been a sensational performer in the ring, and Vince McMahon will likely never be able to thank him enough for all of the world-class matches he put on during his WWF tenure.
After dealing with a bout of cancer and making a successful recovery, Bret can now be seen making the occasional appearances for WWE, whilst also popping up on the independents every now and again. Given his recent comments about the company, the question remains: will we ever see The Hitman in a WWE ring again? Time will tell.
21. Lawrence Taylor (WrestleMania XI)
When you’re one of the best-known players in the National Football League, the odds are high that Vince McMahon will try and get you to pop up on WWE programming. In this instance, however, the boss went a step further by putting LT in the main event of WrestleMania XI and bizarrely enough, it actually went quite well.
Unfortunately it seemed like things went downhill from there, with a handful of accusations being thrown at Taylor in the aftermath of his football career. These days Taylor is enjoying retirement, but given the events of the last few decades we probably shouldn’t expect another appearance in the WWE any time soon.
20. Bam Bam Bigelow (WrestleMania XI)
You could copy and paste a lot of what we said about King Kong Bundy into this entry, because Bam Bam Bigelow was a star in the making back in the ’90s. He had the look and big man persona to really make a difference in the WWF, and yet his only major stint in the big time came against an NFL player. Still, he managed to get a Mania main event out of it.
Bigelow is the latest in our string of tragedies when it comes to WrestleMania headliners, passing away 10 years ago to this year due to a drug overdose. Despite not being mentioned all that much on WWE television, die-hard fans will always know and remember him for the everlasting impact that he left on the “big guy” genre.
19. Shawn Michaels (WrestleMania XII, 14, XX, 23, XXVI)
He is, indeed, just a sexy boy – that just so happens to be one of the best of all time. Shawn Michaels has always been a talented guy, but throughout his second run he also cemented himself as a truly unique and iconic performer both inside the ring and out of it. Plus, he scored yet another Mania main event at XXVI with The Undertaker.
Since retiring, HBK has stayed true to his word when it comes to staying out of the ring, despite a few near calls with the likes of AJ Styles calling him out in years gone by. Michaels likes to pop up on Raw from time to time, even becoming a pre-show panellist for WrestleMania 33. Say what you will about the guy, but he knows how to work a crowd even at this point in his life.
18. The Undertaker (WrestleMania 13, 24, XXVI, 33)
He is the Deadman, and he is the most legendary competitor to ever step foot in the ring at WrestleMania. With a sensational 23-2 record at the Showcase of the Immortals, it’s no wonder that Taker has been able to pick up a few Mania main events over the years. His latest, amazingly, came this past April in Orlando against none other than Roman Reigns.
Courtesy of that loss, we’ve all been left wondering as to what Taker’s future holds, with a lot of fans believing that he is in fact going to officially retire once WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans comes around. Is that going to be the case, or will The Phenom have one last ride at the granddaddy of them all?
17. Stone Cold Steve Austin (WrestleMania XIV, XV, X-Seven)
Whilst it’s a shame that Stone Cold Steve Austin retired following WrestleMania XIX, we need to appreciate what the Texas Rattlesnake was able to do for the business that we know and love. Austin main evented some of the biggest shows of all time, with WrestleMania X-Seven in Houston perhaps being the pinnacle of his entire career.
SCSA has remained firmly in retirement, instead choosing to move into the podcast world where he still remains. Stone Cold does a few shows on the Network every now and again with notable superstars, but with it being nearly a year since his last one a lot of fans are growing restless – and that’s the bottom line.
16. The Rock (WrestleMania XV, 2000, X-Seven, XXVIII, XXIX)
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The Great One has had such an impressive career that he could main event another WrestleMania tomorrow and very few people would even bat an eyelid. The People’s Champion has enjoyed many successes in the main event of the big one, with two back-to-back showcases against John Cena breaking all kinds of records.
Despite appearing at many consecutive Manias since XXVII, we didn’t see the man known in Hollywood as Dwayne Johnson appear in Orlando this year, but his next sporadic appearance can’t be all too far away given how much he loves the business. We never know when he’s going to show up next, as Rock continues to be a trail blazer in every sense of the word over in Hollywood.
15. Triple H (WrestleMania 2000, X8, XX, 21, 22, XXV, 32)
They call him The Game, and it’s perhaps one of the most appropriate nicknames of all time, because boy oh boy, does he know how to play it. Although many of his Mania headliners ended up falling flat on their face, HHH plays the detestable heel role brilliantly and as such, he has more than earned his place in the annals of WWE history.
Having transitioned into the business side of things recently we can expect to see a lot more of Mr Levesque as the years go on, with Paul set to take over the day to day operations of World Wrestling Entertainment once Vince finally walks off into the sunset. Not bad for a guy who was one on the verge of being fired.
14. Mick Foley (WrestleMania 2000)
It’s hard not to love Mick Foley, unless your name is CM Punk. Why? Because the two men mirror each other in a lot of ways, with Punk desperate to get a Mania main event in the same way that Foley was awarded one because of his many years of service to the company. Whilst it came during the fairly horrendous WrestleMania 2000, it’s still an impressive feat.
Having recently been fired as Raw General Manager, the man formerly known as Mankind has gone back to making appearances for a variety of different causes, including conventions around the world. We wouldn’t be surprised to see him come back to WWE in some capacity very soon, but either way we’re just happy to see him healthy.
13. Big Show (WrestleMania 2000)
It’s almost heartwarming to see Big Show on this list, because he really has revolutionised what it means to be a larger athlete within the realms of professional wrestling. His years of service paid off during the same main event that Mick Foley featured in, and truth be told, he deserved more headline moments in the years to come.
Show is still plying his trade on a weekly basis for WWE with a likely SummerSlam match with Big Cass right around the corner, and the man himself has confirmed that he’ll be riding off into the sunset by the time WM34 comes around. On behalf of the WWE Universe, thank you for everything you’ve done for this industry, Show.
12. Chris Jericho (WrestleMania X8)
We’re starting to get into the territory of Superstars still performing in the present day, which brings us to the one and only Chris Jericho. Y2J more than earned his main event spot back at WrestleMania X8 against Triple H, and it’s a shame that WWE felt the need to stack that card to the point where they had no chance of living up to the hype.
Jericho, even as he moves towards 50, continues to put on fantastic performances inside of the ring against the likes of AJ Styles and Kevin Owens. He’s currently off working with Fozzy, but it seems likely that he’ll be in NOLA next year as the early hype to WrestleMania 34 continues.
11. Brock Lesnar (WrestleMania XIX, 31)
When you come face to face with Brock Lesnar, you’d better be sure that you’ve got a fool-proof game plan otherwise you aren’t coming out of there alive. That lesson was learned in the main event of WrestleMania by both Kurt Angle and Roman Reigns, with the two bouts being equally as impressive for different reasons.
Rumours are abound that Brock will be returning to the UFC once again following New Orleans next year, but right now the important thing to note is that he continues to reign supreme as the Universal Champion over on Raw. With SummerSlam just around the corner, the Beast Incarnate’s legacy continues to grow with each passing day.
10. Kurt Angle (WrestleMania XIX)
Oh it’s true, it’s damn true. The Olympic Gold Medallist Kurt Angle was always seen by many as the greatest wrestler in the world, and yet it took until 2003 for him to land a main event spot at the biggest show of the year. Still, it was against Brock Lesnar in one of the best Manias of all-time, so we can’t complain too much.
Kurt has battled many demons since that night in Seattle, and in 2017 he has re-emerged as a new man and as the new Raw General Manager. Despite being handed bizarre storylines such as the illegitimate son angle with Jason Jordan, Kurt has proven to be a much needed breath of fresh air for the red brand.
9. Chris Benoit (WrestleMania XX)
Chris Benoit is one of the best technical wrestlers we’ve ever seen. Chris Benoit is also a former World Heavyweight Champion, and a man whose greatest achievement in pro wrestling came at WrestleMania XX when he defeated Triple H and Shawn Michaels at Madison Square Garden to finally realise his life long dream.
Unfortunately this list is being done to confirm what these guys are up to nowadays, and as we all know Chris Benoit murdered his wife and son before killing himself a little over ten years ago. For now, let us remember his phenomenal wrestling ability as opposed to his horrific and disgusting crimes.
8. Batista (WrestleMania 21, XXX)
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The Animal had a rocket strapped to his back in 2005, which was the year that saw him dethrone former mentor Triple H at WrestleMania 21. The match itself may not have been all that great, but the message behind it was clear enough: Batista is the future of this business and there’s nothing that anyone can do to prevent that.
Which makes it all the more odd that his next main event at Mania didn’t come until nine years later. Still, it’s hard to say that he’s been struggling in that time with the multi-time world champion starring in films such as Guardians of the Galaxy on the way to becoming a huge Hollywood star. Step aside, Dwayne.
7. John Cena (WrestleMania 22, 23, XXVII, XXVIII, XXIX)
It just had to be the face that runs the place (Sorry AJ) – it’s John Cena. A man who has been at the helm of many WrestleMania successes, carving out a number of great matches that make people remember why he is indeed considered to be one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. Don’t try and deny it people, you know it to be true.
Despite enjoying the occasional period of time off nowadays, John is still a big part of the WWE family and is currently attempting to capture his record-breaking 17th world championship within the company. The man has many years left to go before calling it a day, and we personally can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.
6. Edge (WrestleMania XXIV)
On this day, we see clearly. The Rated R Superstar’s rise to the top was unlike anything we’d ever seen before, with Mr Copeland taking his world title tally from 0 into double figures in a span of just five years. It’s a truly remarkable feat, with the fairytale story culminating in a WrestleMania 24 main event against The Undertaker.
After being forced into retirement Edge decided to focus on his acting career and whilst that’s still a big part of his life, fans will be much more interested to hear that Edge and best friend Christian now have a podcast that plays much more to their strengths than their ill-advised WWE Network show ever did.
5. Randy Orton (WrestleMania XXV, XXX)
He hears voices, we see a legend. Whichever way you choose to look at his career Randy Orton is a WWE success story in almost every single way, from his first big main event at WrestleMania XXV all the way through to his latest at WrestleMania XXX. You may not like him, but you pretty much have to respect him at this stage.
Many fans choose to knock Orton for his work in recent years, labelling him as being quite lazy, but in spite of that he continues to impress night in and night out over on SmackDown Live. He may have lost the WWE Championship to Jinder Mahal, but a major matchup against Rusev at SummerSlam is just around the corner.
4. The Miz (WrestleMania XXVII)
To many, The Miz doesn’t belong on this list – and up until about 12 months ago we probably would’ve said the same thing. Alas, we’ve all been wrong from time to time, and when it comes to Mike Mizanin, he has certainly proven that he can be a top heel in the WWE. That, in itself, is a major achievement after the fairly underwhelming WrestleMania XXVII main event that he featured in.
In the present day, Miz, alongside his wife Maryse, is one of the few bright spots within WWE and as Intercontinental Champion he has proven himself to be one hell of an asset for the company. Why they don’t feature him more is anyone’s guess, and another potential world title run should definitely be on the cards in 2018.
3. Daniel Bryan (WrestleMania XXX)
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The rise of Daniel Bryan is the greatest underdog story in WWE history and there’s no two ways about it. That famous night in New Orleans will be remembered forever by every man, woman and child who witnessed it either in person or on their television. There are moments in wrestling that you just never forget, and that’s certainly one of them.
As many people know, however, Bryan’s numerous injuries eventually caught up with him and his premature retirement has led the former ROH star into a new role as SmackDown Live General Manager. Whilst his exploits are certainly entertaining, we’re still holding out hope for a return to the ring in the not so distant future.
2. Seth Rollins (WrestleMania 31)
WrestleMania 31 was already a solid show as we neared the end of Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns, but the eventual cash-in of Seth Rollins took it into that next level of greatness and there really isn’t any disputing that. The Architect finally made it into the upper echelon, and since then things have only gotten better and better.
Well, kind of. A few injuries have certainly hindered Seth’s progress, but as a top babyface on Raw he has come out of the other side a better man and a more well rounded performer. Another run at the Universal Championship is likely on the horizon, and that is most certainly best for business.
1. Roman Reigns (WrestleMania 31, 32, And 33)
No matter how much we as fans protest there’s simply no getting round the fact that The Big Dog is the new franchise player around here, and the sooner we all expect that the better off our lives will be.
Reigns is pencilled in to challenge for the aforementioned Universal title in Brooklyn this month, and beyond that, a rumoured clash with Brock at WrestleMania 34 could see Roman headline the showcase of the immortals for an astonishing fourth consecutive year. Perhaps he’s been right all along: maybe this is his yard now.
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