There's nothing that can impact a show positively or negatively quite like the opening match. From the moment the first bell rings, fans will be able to tell if what they're watching is going to be worth their money of if they'd just wasted their time. It's either something that'll have the boys in the back thinking 'man we really got to step up our game to try and beat that' or 'alright well at least we know our match won't be that bad'. While the majority of people will tune in for whatever the main event match will be, the majority can also tune out thanks to the opening contest.
The first contest on the card has taken an interesting turn over the course of WrestleMania history. In the early years, it was strictly used as a way to get perennial mid carders an easy win on the biggest show of the year. It was a spot for guys like Tito Santana, KoKo B. Ware, Rick Martel, and so on. Since then, it's grown into one of the most coveted spots on the card, playing host to multiple world title matches, a variety of mid card title shots, and even a couple of Money in the Bank ladder matches. It's gone from being a spot no one wanted to one that everyone envies.
For these rankings I went back and watched the opening of each WrestleMania (can't say I'm not dedicated to you people) and gave each match a rating from 1 to 10. Obviously these rankings will reflect what I like in wrestling, so you may disagree with some of the choices but I think we can all agree on the worst and best, it's that middle ground where things get murky. That's the fun of doing lists like this though, so if you feel like I grossly misplaced one of your favorites or highly overrated what you found to be a stinker, feel free to let me know! Without further ado, let's get this started with what was surely the worst opening contest in WrestleMania's history.
31 Tag Team Battle Royal - WrestleMania XIV
30 Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus - WrestleMania XXVIII
29 ShowMiz vs. R Truth and John Morrison - WrestleMania XXVI
28 Paul Orndorff vs. Don Muraco - WrestleMania II
27 20 Man Battle Royal - WrestleMania IV
26 Four Team Elimination Match - WrestleMania 13
25 Six-Man Tag - WrestleMania XII
24 Tito Santana vs. The Executioner - WrestleMania I
23 The Allied Powers vs. Blu Brothers - WrestleMania XI
22 Kane & Big Show vs. Carlito & Chris Masters - WrestleMania 22
21 John Cena vs. Big Show - WrestleMania XX
20 El Matador vs. Shawn Michaels - WrestleMania VIII
19 Can Am Connection vs. Muraco & Bob Orton - WrestleMania III
18 Finlay vs. JBL - WrestleMania XXIV
17 King Haku vs. Hercules - WrestleMania V
16 William Regal vs. RVD - WrestleMania X8
15 Al Snow vs. Hardcore Holly vs. Billy Gunn - WrestleMania XV
14 Rey Mysterio vs. Matt Hardy - WrestleMania XIX
13 William Regal vs. Chris Jericho - WrestleMania X-Seven
12 KoKo B. Ware vs. Rick Martel - WrestleMania VI
11 Money In The Bank Ladder Match - WrestleMania 23
10 The Godfather & D'Lo Brown vs. Bull Buchanan & Big Boss Man - WrestleMania 2000
9 Tatanka vs. Shawn Michaels - WrestleMania IX
8 Seven Man Ladder Match - WrestleMania 31
7 The Rockers vs. Barbarian & Haku - WrestleMania VII
6 The Shield vs. Big Show, Randy Orton, & Sheamus - WrestleMania 29
5 Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio - WrestleMania XXVII
4 Money In The Bank Ladder Match - WrestleMania XXV
3 Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero - WrestleMania 21
2 Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H - WrestleMania XXX
1 Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart - WrestleMania X
There's no need to debate the best opening match in WrestleMania history, as this match is number one by a wide margin. The precision and flow of this contest has truly never been matched as the chemistry between the two brothers was on full display. The brother vs. brother match goes down as not only the best match to open a WrestleMania but might be the single greatest match the company has ever put on. Just like Mysterio and Guerrero, the knowledge that each wrestler had about the other led to a lot of incredible spots when one would be able to predict what the other would do before one brother even knew he was going to do it. The match was back and forth from the beginning to the end, with both Bret and Owen getting times to show off while the other was taking a beating. The ending sequence was beautiful, with counter following counter following counter ending with Owen stopping Bret's victory roll attempt to finally show his brother that he wasn't the runt of the litter any longer.
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