On Sunday April 3rd, the WWE's annual spectacle is upon us. With each year, there are a number of things that can be expected. We can anticipate celebrities being a part of the show, grand entrances by a number of the talent, and matches that will take your breath away. However, for all the focus we put on different aspects, there are some we put a special focus on. They aren't necessarily considered the best matches, but rather the ones subject to substantial criticism. Despite the popularity that surrounds some of these matches, we ask, were they really as good as has been claimed? When exploring these matches there are a number of different factors to assessing how good they are or are not. The criteria this column takes into consideration: a celebrity's involvement, a changing of the guard, the publicity of the match going into the event, the names involved in the match, and the result of the match.
We have matches putting together some of the most popular names in the wrestling business facing one another, but whether the match actually lives up to the hype is another story. In some cases, for all the pomp and circumstance surrounding wrestlers involved in the event, the actual match falls flat. We aren't saying these matches were terrible or even bad, but rather they are considered overrated. At times matches are put on a pedestal by critics, analysts and even WWE itself, but when we remove all these things does it really tell an effective story from beginning to end? At times the story isn't a plausible reason for making a match worth all it's cracked up to be. Here are the Top 15 Most Overrated Matches in WrestleMania History.
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9 Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXX
Two of the biggest names in wrestling in a match considered overrated? It had the greatest and most shocking ending in WrestleMania history, but isn't really worth all the attention it has received. The problem was Brock dominated the match for the majority of the contest, repeatedly beating down The Undertaker. If the narrative was for The Deadman to make a triumphant comeback, then perhaps the story would have given the match value. But that didn't happen; Lesnar dominated and ended the streak. The match result wasn't overrated but the match itself certainly was.
8 Randy Orton vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Kurt Angle at WrestleMania 22
This match is a scenario where the story in the match, and having a third contestant, led to it being overrated. Leading up to the match, we were ‘treated' to Orton's incessant need to state that Eddie Guerrero was actually in Hell, and making that Mysterio's motivation to win the title. What did that have to do with Angle? He wasn't saying something offensive or derogatory towards Mysterio. It was the overbooking of this match that leads to it being overrated, as it could have been fine just being between Mysterio and Angle.
13. Umaga vs. Bobby Lashley at WrestleMania 23
These were two wrestlers that didn't have an issue with one another. In fact, the match had almost next to nothing to do with them. More attention was given to Vince McMahon and Donald Trump, and after all the hype centered on those billionaires, it would be difficult to consider this anything, but overrated. The match was a hair vs. hair match to determine who would ultimately get their head shaved. Both Lashley and Umaga wrestled a decent match, but unfortunately for them that it was made to be something bigger than it actually was because of the other names involved. It was also obvious that McMahon would lose, making the whole build boring.
12. Edge vs. Mick Foley at WrestleMania 22
It was a match that put the Hardcore Legend, Mick Foley, against Edge, and is given more credit than it really deserves. When a match doesn't really tell a story, it's hard to feel for the characters. This match had moments that took viewers breath away, but was it really worth all the attention that it got? Sure, Edge speared Foley onto a table that was on fire at one point, but does a match just need a crazy stunt to be considered good? This sort of stunt-fest was commonplace in the 1990s, but really doesn't hold up today.
7 Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock at WrestleMania X8
At WrestleMania X8 in Toronto, wrestling fans saw a meeting of two of the biggest stars in the wrestling industry, Hulk Hogan and The Rock. Just the thought of it was putting people in seats and causing tickets to sell. It has been considered a success because of the fans in attendance. They turned Hogan from a heel into a face in the middle of that match. But it's overrated because even if you put two big names together, that doesn't mean you will get an exceptional wrestling match. The Rock sold Hogan's very limited offense, but the match itself was not notable.
6 The Ultimate Warrior vs. Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI
It was a match that many considered a changing of the guard. Hulk Hogan was believed to be passing the torch to The Ultimate Warrior. It was thought to be all those things because this was when the Ultimate Warrior captured the WWE Heavyweight championship, while still the Intercontinental champion. Does that make the match great? Neither were particularly talented ring workers, nor did they apply any ring psychology. So while the match was popular, it wasn't very good.
9. Big Show vs. Floyd Mayweather at WrestleMania XXIV
When Big Show is involved, normally something huge is supposed to happen. In this match, Big Show faced a man that was essentially a quarter his size. It was celebrated as a giant slaying, as Floyd “Money” Mayweather knocked out Big Show. But it took everything but the kitchen sink for Mayweather to do so. While Mayweather may be one of the most popular boxers in the world, this match was given way more attention and publicity than it deserved. Big Show was hit with brass knuckles and had to be on his knees in order for Mayweather to even land the punch.
5 The Rock vs. John Cena at WrestleMania 29
The first time they faced each other showed that they were capable of hyping a match and following through. The second time, it seemed like all the value was gone. The match doesn't hold up because midway through The Rock was injured and thus limited in what he could and couldn't do. The result was about ten rock bottoms and ten attitude adjustments; it even appeared as though they were trying to fill time by doing the same moves over and over again. The match lacked creativity, storytelling and value. The rematch quite simply didn't live up to the hype.
7. Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Lawrence Taylor at WrestleMania XI
At the time, WWE thought it would be a great idea to have a match which had one of their most agile heavyweights face off against an NFL great. It was essentially being billed as a contest between the NFL and professional wrestling. But it didn't matter if Taylor won the match, it wasn't worth the hype as Taylor isn't a wrestler, but a professional football competing in a wrestling ring. It was great as a marketing tool for WrestleMania, but was the match all that good? Nope and thus really overrated based on the work involved in the match.
6. Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair @ WrestleMania XXIV
The billing of the match was, if Ric Flair lost, he was going to retire. As the match approached its closing, Michaels said with tears in his eyes, “I'm sorry and I love you” and proceeded to superkick Flair and pin him, winning the match. Why is this match overrated? For all that Flair has achieved over his career, his limited abilities in his fifties means the match isn't worth all the praise it's received. Flair was at an age where even if he hadn't lost, he should have retired because he couldn't do the things he once did in the ring.
4 Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel at WrestleMania XI
Best friends, better enemies; that seems like a fitting subtitle for this match. What always stood out about Diesel was his ability to articulate himself, and his imposing size and strength made him a notable character and champion. So when he faced off against The Heartbreak Kid, it would be easy to say the match was going to be a standout contest. The problem was that even though Michaels' performance stood out, the match itself is often give way more credit than it deserves. The presence of celebrities such as Jenny McCarthy and Pamela Anderson added to the popularity of the match.
3 Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg at WrestleMania XX
This should have been a grand affair, with two guys that were often compared to one another even though they earned their popularity in different decades. It really was a marquee match…on paper. When the match itself happened, it was very lackluster, with fans showing their disapproval of both. That could be partially attributed to fans knowing both were leaving WWE after the event was over. Add to that, Stone Cold Steve Austin was the special guest referee, and it should have been better than it was.
2 The Undertaker vs. Triple H at WrestleMania XXVIII
The Undertaker and Triple H are future WWE Hall of Famers and their past matches against each other certainly stand out. This contest had many variables that could contribute to a great match. Is it worth being considered good? No doubt; but is it worth being considered great and earning as many accolades as it has? That's a different story. When we get down to it, we had the same narrative that we had the past number of years with The Undertaker, including the year before when the storyline for Triple H was ending the streak and doing what Shawn Michaels couldn't do.
1 Hulk Hogan and Mr. T vs. Paul Orndorff and Roddy Piper at WrestleMania
It was the first ever main event at a WrestleMania. It had celebrities and all the pomp and circumstance in the world. It also wasn't all that good of match. When we consider the men involved in the match, a lot of solid wrestling really didn't happen. We had tons of outside interference and tons of post match shenanigans, but what was lost was the actual match and any sort of quality wrestling. As it was the first WrestleMania main, event it really set the bar, but it is heralded for being the first one, not necessarily a very good one.
1. Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant at WrestleMania III
A match that was reportedly in front of 93,000 people in Pontiac, Michigan saw the irresistible force meeting the immovable object. This was also when fans saw the epic bodyslam of the seven foot tall, five hundred pound Andre. But that doesn't overshadow the poor quality of the match. It was slow moving and plodding, and while sometimes less is more, it is nice to see a wrestler actually striking their opponent convincingly so fans believe they are actually hurt. It stands as an iconic match, but the lack of wrestling illustrates how this match isn't worth the attention it has received.
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