Vince McMahon’s greatest accomplishment isn’t just creating WrestleMania; it’s transcending WrestleMania into more than just a sports entertainment event. It seems unfair to even compare WrestleMania to other pay-per-views as it has rightfully staked its claim alongside the premier sporting events around the world. WrestleMania should be talked about in the same breath as the Super Bowl or the World Cup; it is an event that has become as much of a spectacle as it is a wrestling PPV.
The bright lights, the grand stage, the “Showcase of the Immortals” and more have made WrestleMania the highlight of every wrestling fan’s year. It has also become the place to be for celebrities from Aretha to Ozzy and everyone in between. In fact, WrestleMania is no longer just an event, but rather a season and it’s time to kick that season into high gear.
With WrestleMania 33 just around the corner, it’s time to reminisce on past WrestleMania moments. We all remember Hogan slamming Andre at WrestleMania III or the HBK-Bret Hart Ironman match at WrestleMania XII; but there are also numerous moments that have flown under the radar. Butterbean KOing Bart Gunn, Trish Stratus’ heel turn and a Pamela Anderson cameo are among the forgotten moments that didn’t even make this list! But I’m confident you will be satisfied with these forgotten moments and they may even make you go back and check them out in their entireties. Here are the top 15 WrestleMania moments you forgot about.
15 WrestleMania VII: Jake Roberts vs. Rick Martel In A Blindfold Match
I can’t see why people forget about this match (pun clearly intended). The setup for this match played into the gimmick as Rick Martel had previously “blinded” Jake the Snake with his arrogance spray. Both wrestlers sold the fact that they couldn’t see very well with black hoods over their heads and it came across as somewhat believable. (Hey, at least it was more believable than Cedric Ceballos in the Dunk Contest). The missed elbow drops provided much-needed comic relief to a match which wasn’t the greatest in quality. Roberts gained the upper hand and defeated Martel when he was able to “locate” Martel and deliver a DDT for the 1-2-3. Still though, you wonder if they had just been better off wrestling a simple one-on-one match without the blindfold gimmick.
14 WrestleMania IX: Double Doink!
Doink was one of the staples of the post-Hogan, pre-Attitude era of the WWE. He got into a feud with Crush who had transformed from a heel with Demolition to a bleached-blond face with a gimmick that played off his Hawaiian roots. During the match between the two, the ref got knocked out and, out of nowhere, a second Doink showed up! Multiple Doinks (and later a Dink) would become a running gag on TV tapings but this would be the first time the audience saw two Doinks at the same time.
The Doinks attacked Crush with an arm cast, the second Doink escaped before the ref awakened, and the first Doink scored the pinfall victory over Crush. Long before there were two Undertakers or two Sin Caras, there were two Doinks and this may have been WWE’s first foray into having multiple, identical characters.
13 WrestleMania XV: Hell In A Cell Makes Its WrestleMania Debut
The Big Bossman returned to the WWE in 1998 after five years in WCW. He immediately joined Mr. McMahon’s stable, The Corporation, who was waging war against The Undertaker’s stable, The Ministry of Darkness. Those two would face off in Hell In a Cell which made its Wrestlemania debut in the 15th annual event. Big Boss Man brought out all of his old school weapons including the nightstick and the handcuffs; but he was done for after Taker hit him with the Tombstone. After the match, a noose was attached to Bossman’s neck and the other end was tied to the top of the cell. Paul Bearer then raised the cell which caused Boss Man to hang from the cell and flop around like a fish out of water.
While this was during the Attitude Era, even Vince Russo wouldn’t actually “hang” a wrestler in the middle of the ring. Bossman actually had a body harness concealed under his wrestling gear and the noose was actually attached to that thus giving the illusion that he was hanging from the noose.
12 WrestleMania XII: Hollywood Backlot Brawl
It’s perhaps a good thing if you forgot about this moment. Roddy Piper and Goldust faced off in Anaheim in a no-DQ match labeled a “Hollywood Backlot Brawl.” The buildup to the match wasn’t anything spectacular, but the editing of the match sure was. WWE interwove taped parts of the match throughout the live WrestleMania broadcast to make it appear as the two were fighting for hours. They even included actual footage of the white Bronco police chase of O.J. Simpson and made it appear as it was Piper’s Bronco instead. The two wrestlers would eventually make it back into the ring where Goldust was stripped to his thong and Piper would claim the last WrestleMania victory of his career. It would be another 13 years before Piper laced up his boots at a WrestleMania while it would be about another 13 days before we saw Goldust in a thong again.
11 WrestleMania IV: Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant (Part 2)
I don’t have to rehash WrestleMania III and maybe the most pivotal moment in WWE history. But few remember that Hogan and Andre had a rematch one year later at WrestleMania IV. Both men faced off in a 14 man single elimination tournament for the vacant WWE Championship. The two legends met in the quarterfinals in front of about 75,000 fewer fans than who watched them the year prior. The match ended in a double disqualification after the two exchanged chair shots and, thus, both were eliminated from the tournament. Arguably the most important feud in wrestling history, this was the last high-profile match between Hogan and Andre. The two would culminate their feud in a steel cage match at Wrestlefest in the summer of 1988.
10 WrestleMania XX: Molly Holly Loses Her Hair
WrestleMania XX is best known for either being John Cena’s WrestleMania debut or for being the supposed swan song for both Goldberg and Brock Lesnar who were departing the WWE afterwards. Lost in the shuffle of those matches is, perhaps, the only Hair vs. Title match in women’s wrestling history! Victoria put her Women’s Championship on the line while Molly Holly put her hair on the line. It’s fitting that Holly nearly won the match using Victoria's “Widow’s Peak” neckbreaker but Victoria countered for the backslide pin and win.
Major props goes to Holly for allowing to have her hair shaved completely bald which is something many male wrestlers have declined over the years. Three years later the WWE would again put hair on the line in a WrestleMania match. At WrestleMania 23, Bobby Lashley, with Donald Trump in his corner, defeated Umaga, with Mr. McMahon in his corner. Lashley prevailed and thus, he, Trump, and special guest referee Stone Cold Steve Austin shaved Mr. McMahon’s head.
9 WrestleMania II: WWE vs. NFL Battle Royal
As part of WrestleMania’s attempt to cross over into the worlds of sports and celebrity, the WWE staged a 20 man battle royal which featured 14 wrestlers and six active NFL players. These weren’t just bottom-of-the-roster players that you’ve never heard of as all six players were either Pro Bowlers or Super Bowl champs. Imagine if today’s NFL players tried to petition their teams to allow them to participate in a wrestling match, much less one featuring the likes of Andre the Giant and Big John Studd! It was clearly a different climate back in 1986 as compared to now. As for the match, Andre was the last man standing after eliminating Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart. This would be the last WrestleMania victory of Andre’s career.
8 WrestleMania XXIV: Pyro-Gate
After a 15 year hiatus, WrestleMania returned to an outdoor setting as the Citrus Bowl in Orlando hosted the event. With no roof restrictions, WWE went all out with the pyrotechnics and shot them as high as 2000 feet compared to just 150 feet at the previous year’s WrestleMania. It may have looked great on TV, but a snapped cable ended up shooting the fireworks into the top rows of the stadium and injuring several people. Most of the injuries were considered minor, but if you were one of the people burned by some fireworks, I doubt you hardly consider that a minor injury.
WWE has had several WrestleManias since then in an outdoor stadium, but they’ve rightfully scaled back the pyrotechnics for the safety of the patrons (and also for the sake of their budget as WrestleMania XXIV’s pyrotechnics cost about $300,000).
7 WrestleMania 13: The Rock’s WrestleMania Debut
Before there was “The Rock”, there was Rocky Maivia and Dwayne Johnson would make his WrestleMania debut against his cousin, The Sultan (AKA Rikishi). Rocky successfully defended his Intercontinental Championship with a series of dull moves that gives you greater appreciation to the People’s Elbow and the Rock Bottom. After the match, Rocky was attacked by The Sultan and his managers, Bob Backlund and The Iron Shiek. But what’s a 3-on-1 attack without someone running down to make the save? That someone was Rocky Johnson, Rocky Maivia’s father, who looked to be in pretty good shape for a man in his mid-50s. “The Rockys” then cleaned house with the heels and, thankfully, the next time we would see Dwayne Johnson at WrestleMania, he had transformed into The Rock.
6 WrestleMania XIX: Hulk Hogan vs. Mr. McMahon
Somehow a match with arguably the two most important people in WWE history gets lost in the shuffle in terms of WrestleMania matches. Perhaps it’s because the WrestleMania XIX card was stacked and many consider it the greatest WrestleMania ever. Both Hogan and McMahon donned the proverbial crimson masks during their Street Fight match which Hogan won after delivering three leg drops to McMahon. The match even featured a surprise appearance by Rowdy Roddy Piper who clubbed Hogan with a lead pipe. It was Piper’s first time inside a WWE ring in seven years and rekindled the Hogan-Piper feud from WrestleMania I. Even though Hogan would appear at future WrestleManias in various roles, this Street Fight with McMahon would mark his final WrestleMania match.
5 WrestleMania VI: DDP Drives R&B
Diamond Dallas Page’s first WrestleMania match was at Wrestlemania X8; however, DDP actually made his WrestleMania debut 12 years earlier. At WrestleMania VI, the tag team of the Honky Tonk Man and Greg Valentine (known as Rhythm and Blues) were driven to the ring in a pink Cadillac. The driver of the car was actually an unknown wrestling announcer and manager who would later be known as Diamond Dallas Page. The Cadillac was indeed Page’s and, at the time, he was also a nightclub owner in Florida. After spending the next decade in WCW, Page would finally step foot into a WWE ring in 2001. As for the team of Rhythm and Blues; upon reaching the ring and debuting their new song, the group was attacked by the Bushwhackers who proceeded to break R&B’s guitars.
4 WrestleMania 2000: Hardcore Battle Royal
Quick, which WrestleMania holds the record for the most title changes? The answer would be WrestleMania 2000 which had 13 title changes, 10 of which came in the Hardcore Battle Royal. The rules of the Battle Royal were that the match would last 15 minutes and the title would change hands after every pinfall. Crash Holly entered in as champion and would also be the 9th Hardcore champion in the match. However, his “cousin” Hardcore Holly would pin Crash after hitting him with a candy jar (why not?) and thus became the 10th and final Hardcore champion of the match.
Unless the WWE invokes a similar gimmick match with another championship, this WrestleMania record will likely never be broken. The battle royal was just one of many pointless gimmick matches at WrestleMania 2000.
3 WrestleMania XIV: The Dumpster Match
Hardcore legend Terry Funk actually made his WrestleMania debut 12 years earlier but this match had one of the great endings that embodied the Attitude Era. Funk, as Chainsaw Charlie, and Cactus Jack teamed together to take on the New Age Outlaws in which the winners would be crowned after putting the opposing team in a dumpster. Funk was 53 years old and wore pantyhose on his head, but the crowd ate this match up and the action eventually spilled over into the backstage area. After some back-and-forth action, the Outlaws were laid on a wooden crate attached to a forklift. Funk then got behind the wheel of the forklift, lifted the Outlaws up, and literally dumped the Tag Team champs into a dumpster for the win.
This would be the only WWE title that Funk would ever hold; however, he and Foley’s reign would last just 24 hours as they would lose it back to the Outlaws the next night on RAW.
2 WrestleMania X-Seven: Gimmick Battle Royal
Every WrestleMmania seems to either have a comic relief match, a gimmick match, or a battle royal and WrestleMania X-Seven had all three rolled into a single match. This battle royal featured 19 of the best gimmicks in WWE history including the Repo Man, Duke “The Dumpster” Droese, Brother Love, and The Goon. In other words, this battle royal featured half of the WWE’s roster from the early to mid 1990s. The last man standing was The Iron Sheik after he eliminated Hillbilly Jim. The crowd popped and gave Sheik a standing ovation. As someone who was a heel throughout all of his pro career, this might have been the only time in a ring that Sheik was actually cheered. Sheik’s ovation would be short lived; however, as Sgt. Slaughter would then re-enter the ring and apply the Cobra Clutch to his former rival (and one-time partner). Thankfully, for all, Sheik did not get on the mic and cut a promo afterwards.
1 WrestleMania 21: Stacy Keibler’s Basic Instinct Scene
Not every moment is a match and that’s perhaps why this skit gets lost in the shuffle. WrestleMania 21 took place in Los Angeles and, thus, the Hollywood aspect was used as the WWE parodied several movies during their lead-up. One of those movies was Basic Instinct and Stacy Keibler portrayed the character that Sharon Stone played in the movie. Keibler was always known for her legs so she pulled off the infamous interrogation scene perfectly. In addition to Keibler, the skit also featured JBL, Christian, Chris Jericho, and another Canadian wrestler named Chris whose last name is not Jericho. That last person’s inclusion in the parody is likely the reason why WWE never re-airs the skit and why this moment is not just forgotten, but also one WWE wants you to forget.