The grand stage of WrestleMania is the perfect event to reward the wrestlers and the fans for our love of the industry. Wrestling is unlike any other sport due to the scripted aspect and unlike any other form of entertainment due to the live aspect. The combination of both worlds is celebrated once each year during the WrestleMania blockbuster event. Wrestling having its own Super Bowl event has created more memorable moments and great matches than anyone could have expected. The top stars compete in the most high profile matches as it’s the highest honor a talent can have in the world of WWE.
The top matches are usually one-time attractions for the big show as it culminates a feud. It’s extremely rare for a rematch to take place but there have been a small select few to have their matches met with a continuation at multiple WrestleMania shows. The best example of it would be the tag team matches featuring The Hardyz vs. The Dudleyz vs. Edge and Christian. All three teams put themselves on the map by stealing the show at WrestleMania 2000 in a Triangle Ladder Match. The following year would see them raise the bar with an even better Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match at WrestleMania X-Seven.
Not all matches have had the same fortune as the legendary tag team series. The best thing about WrestleMania is everyone knows how important it is. We forget about the booking, scripted aspect and silly things revolving around wrestling to celebrate the importance of the yearly extravaganza. That typically leads to the wrestlers doing their best work to live up to the expectations everyone has for them. The pressure of repeating the successful results once again in another WrestleMania event is often too much for them to handle and it can lead to a drop off. We’re going to look at those stories here with twelve WrestleMania matches that couldn’t live up to the original.
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12 The Undertaker vs. Triple H
Two of WWE’s greatest legends faced off on three separate occasions at WrestleMania. The trilogy of matches between Triple H and The Undertaker were all highly entertaining but the match at WrestleMania XXVII failed to follow WrestleMania X-Seven’s greatness. The first match in 2001 would feature one of the best hardcore battles in WWE history with both men putting it all on the line in what many would classify as the first great match in The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak. If that match never took place, the mystique of The Undertaker’s streak may have never started to gain momentum. The WrestleMania XXVII match was good but nothing special like the original at WrestleMania X-Seven.
11 Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper
One of the bigger attractions to make the first WrestleMania event a huge success was the use of Mr. T in the main event. The charismatic actor teamed with Hulk Hogan to defeat Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff in the big match that helped make the WrestleMania spectacle the success it is today. Mr. T would square off with Piper once again the following year at WrestleMania II in a boxing match, but it was less charming this time around. A tag match can help hide a non-wrestler’s weaknesses but when he doesn’t have a partner, it’s easier to get exposed. That happened when Piper and Mr. T had a stinker at WrestleMania II.
10 Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
The first ever Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal seemed like a great idea on paper. WWE wants to get everyone on the card in an effort to reward their hard work all year by allowing them to perform on the biggest stage, but there are only so many spots. The battle royal not only gives everyone a place on the show but it should be for a treasured prize. The first match was great with Cesaro getting a surprise win in front of a hot crowd at WrestleMania XXX. The second annual battle royal at WrestleMania 31 was a mess with Big Show winning in lackluster form on the pre-show to help sink the promise of the concept.
9 John Cena vs. Big Show vs. Edge
The rematch in question features John Cena and Big Show facing each other twice in the history of WrestleMania. The very memorable WrestleMania XX kicked off with John Cena winning his first singles title in WWE by defeating Big Show. Cena’s ascension was met with love and the fans celebrated like it was a main event level victory for Cena when he lifted Big Show for the Attitude Adjustment. The two would see each other again at WrestleMania XXV in a triple threat match along with Edge for the World Championship. This was one of the more forgettable world title matches in WrestleMania history and a horrible misuse of Cena that didn’t appease the fans like it did five years prior.
8 Divas Battle Royal
The men have been thrown into pointless battle royals in an effort to get everyone on the WrestleMania card, but it has been far worse for the women. The years between the era of Trish Stratus ending and the Divas Revolution beginning featured the female wrestlers getting booked in battle royals, lumberjill matches, multi-person tag matches and Playboy showcases. Nothing was as bad as the pair of battle royals. WrestleMania XXV featured an interesting concept at least with female standout performers from the past and present battling to be named Miss WrestleMania, though the ending of 'Santina' winning was ridiculous. Another battle royal took place at WrestleMania XXX but what made it worse was the misuse of AJ Lee. As the Divas Champion, Lee deserved a singles match at some point during her peak run but was instead placed in this horrible battle royal.
7 The Undertaker vs. Kane
The Undertaker’s WrestleMania history is well respected for good reason, but the first few years of matches were stinkers with nothing memorable. His first big WM storyline that felt like a big deal featured the first matchup between The Undertaker and Kane at WrestleMania XIV. WWE’s two supernatural brothers had a great story for months before the match finally took place and did a good job living up to the WrestleMania pressure. The two legends would try to bring their rivalry back to the big stage at WrestleMania XX but it was significantly less noteworthy. Aside from seeing The Undertaker revert back to “The Deadman” gimmick after his stint as “The American Badass” character, the match offered nothing to look back on fondly.
6 Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna
We’re going to ignore the fact that Hulk Hogan used WrestleMania IX as a way to get another title run and bury both men, but the Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna match wasn’t that bad, at least for a Yokozuna match. The big man would see his ability decrease as time went on, due to his weight holding him back from keeping up with opponents like Hart. The WrestleMania X rematch would see the duo main event for the second consecutive year but a convoluted stipulation forced them both to wrestle earlier in the evening. Bret delivered a classic against his brother Owen and Yokozuna had a poor match against Lex Luger. The idea of putting Yokozuna in two bouts wasn’t a good idea and you could see his fatigue as WrestleMania X ended.
5 Steve Austin vs. The Rock
Many would argue that Steve Austin and The Rock had the greatest rivalry in WWE history due to their popularity during The Attitude Era. Three main event level WrestleMania matches in a five year time period would add credence to that belief. WrestleMania XV and WrestleMania X-Seven featured the two big stars delivering great action and having the best match on each show. The trilogy would culminate at WrestleMania XIX which represented the era of an era. This was Austin’s final match before retirement and The Rock’s final WrestleMania singles match until WrestleMania XXVIII. The match was fine but nothing special compared to their past classics and the other great matches on the card that night in a somewhat disappointing outing.
4 Triple H vs. Randy Orton
Triple H and Randy Orton would battle for the WWE Championship on consecutive WrestleMania events in very different ways. WrestleMania XXIV featured Triple H, Orton and John Cena in an entertaining triple threat match. The fact that it was below Edge vs. Undertaker and Floyd Mayweather vs. Big Show matches on the card put less pressure on them to have an incrddible match. Things were the exact opposite at WrestleMania XXV where the Orton vs. Triple H singles match main evented the show in a painfully boring matchup. The build was quite personal and well done, but the actual match featured a snore fest with zero intensity leading to fans going home unhappy.
3 Andre the Giant vs. Hulk Hogan
The massive success of WrestleMania III was mostly thanks to the blockbuster appeal and great spectacle of Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant. The David vs. Goliath story ended with Hogan picking up the big man for a body slam in front of over 90,000 fans. No one would accuse the match of being a work rate masterpiece but it was a home run in terms of what it was supposed to be and is still remembered fondly today. The rivals would square off once again at WrestleMania IV in the tournament for the vacant WWE Championship. Hogan and Andre’s match was much less memorable this time around with a double DQ finish leaving all fans disappointed hoping to see the classic replicated.
2 Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker
It feels a bit harsh to rank this pair so high, but it’s due to spoiling us with their greatness. Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker finally squared off on the biggest stage of them all at WrestleMania XXV. They stole the show by delivering one of the greatest matches in pro wrestling history. This was wrestling art that will be remembered for decades when discussing the best matches in WrestleMania history. Michaels wanted a rematch the following year at WrestleMania XXVI in what would be the final match of his career. The two legends dazzled us once again with another great match but it just wasn’t as special as the year prior. Perfection is impossible to duplicate.
1 The Rock vs. John Cena
The Rock and John Cena facing off at WrestleMania XXVIII was a perfect storm. It was The Rock’s first singles match back in almost nine years and right in the middle of Cena’s peak run as the top guy in the industry. We waited a year to finally see the once in a lifetime battle in front of a hot crowd conveniently in The Rock’s hometown of Miami. The match worked out as well as WWE could have hoped for. WWE sadly went back on their word of the “once in a lifetime” billing by having the two main event once again the following year at WrestleMania 29. The feud was horribly stale at that point and the crowd was notably less interested in the lackluster rematch that put a damper on the legacy of Cena and Rock’s feud.
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