In the early 1980s, Vince McMahon had an idea. He'd only recently acquired control of his father's company, the World Wrestling Federation, and McMahon felt it was time to take things to the next level. He wanted an annual main event, a showpiece akin to a Super Bowl or a World Series through which he could broadcast his entertainment business on a world stage.
It was in these embryonic moments of McMahon's ownership of his family's business that WrestleMania was born. The first WrestleMania was showcased in 1985, and two years later it had already grown into a sports entertainment extravaganza, attracting 93,173 people to the Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan. McMahon has never looked back.
Over the past 30 years, WrestleMania has helped McMahon's company grow into the billion dollar franchise it is today. It has also propelled several wrestlers to greatness. Shawn Michaels made a huge name for himself with several big wins at WrestleMania on his way to legend status. The likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin and Triple H have basked in WrestleMania glory, while The Undertaker managed 21 straight wins there before losing to Brock Lesnar two years back.
But WrestleMania hasn't been so kind to every superstar that's graced its hallowed ring. Not everyone on the roster has been given their WrestleMania moment, including several big names who have probably deserved it. It's a tricky arena to win in. Often those booking matches favor more extravagant contests than a typical singles match. Bulging battle royals are not uncommon, neither are four way tag team matches, triple threats and fatal four ways. Sometimes you don't necessarily need to be pinned to lose your title, as Kurt Angle found at at WrestleMania 2000 when he surrendered both the Intercontinental and European championships. Here's the top 15 wrestlers who have never won at WrestleMania.
NOTE: To qualify for this list, wrestlers must have competed in a minimum of two WrestleMania events.
15 Val Venis
Val had four cracks at WrestleMania without tasting success but he didn't enjoy an overly successful career anyway. Featured at WrestleMania XV in a four corners elimination match trying to win the Intercontinental Championship back from Road Dogg, who'd beaten Val Venis two weeks prior. The match also featured Ken Shamrock and Goldust who are also on this list. Two years later Val Venis was on the losing side of a six man tag team match, before a couple of failed showings in battle royals. Never a major star in the WWE and it's easy to see why he was never given a WrestleMania win.
Has fallen into the WrestleMania fodder category throughout his WWE career. That's not to say he's not without ability, R-Truth is a two-time Hardcore champion and has also won the United States Championship and the Tag Team Championship. Two of his WrestleMania appearances have been in battle royal type set ups. His WrestleMania debut was a tag team loss with John Morrison to Big Show and The Miz. He's also wrestled in a 12-man tag team match, and last year's seven man ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship, won by Daniel Bryan.
The former ECW man with the brutal spear was never quite able to get it done at WrestleMania. He was only booked twice at the pay per view, and never in an overly suitable match. His debut came alongside Chris Benoit in a three way tag team match at Wrestlemania 19. They were beaten by Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas in a match that also featured Eddie and Chavo Guerrero. He was then part of the 30 man battle royal won by Booker T, which preceded WrestleMania 21 and was not televised.
Rhino has recently rejoined the main WWE roster though so may well feature for a third time at WrestleMania.
Crush spent most of the 1990s with either WWE or WCW, but never landed his WrestleMania moment despite coming very close. He made up one half of Demolition in the WWE with tag team partner Smash, and the pair lost to on loan Japanese tag team Genichiro Tenryu and Koji Kitao at WrestleMania VII. At WrestleMania IX Crush lost to Doink The Clown in a singles match, thanks largely to Doink knocking out the referee. A year later in a falls count anywhere match, Crush would drop a falls count anywhere match to Randy Savage. Savage eventually won the match by pinning Crush backstage, then tying him up with a cable so he couldn't return to the ring.
His final moment on the big stage was at WrestleMania 13 when he teamed up with Faarooq and Savio Vega to lose against Ahmed Johnson, Animal and Hawk. Animal struck Crush with a 2x4 to secure the win.
Journeyman Northern Irish wrestler Finlay boasts an impressive resume, having won titles on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, including the WWE United States Championship and the WCW World Television Championship. There is still a gaping hole on his record though, as Finlay has never managed victory at WrestleMania. He's had the opportunity five times, four of which came in tricky matches involving multiple wrestlers. His only singles showing came against JBL at WrestleMania 24, following a horrendous storyline where Hornswoggle was revealed to be Finlay's son. Bradshaw beat the veteran in a very entertaining 'Belfast Brawl' match.
10 William Regal
William Regal has certainly made a decent go of things in WWE, as a former Commissioner, General Manager of Raw and now General Manager of NXT. He's also a two time Intercontinental champion, and has held the European title, the Tag Team Championship and the Hardcore belt multiple times. WrestleMania has never been a happy hunting ground for Regal though. Among his six defeats there he's unsuccessfully tried winning Chris Jericho's Intercontinental title, and lost that very same title to Rob Van Dam. Since those relatively illustrious heights, he's just made up numbers in battle royals.
9 Bray Wyatt
Big Bray Wyatt hasn't had his WrestleMania moment yet, but you can sense it's coming. He's competed in the last two against very good opposition. At WrestleMania XXX he taunted and teased John Cena throughout and even kicked out of Cena's first Attitude Adjustment, but not his second. Wyatt was then the unfortunate soul to be booked with The Undertaker last year with Taker looking to bounce back from his first ever WrestleMania loss the year prior to Brock Lesnar. In fact it was The Undertaker's first appearance in the ring since losing to Lesnar. Wyatt this time kicked out of a Tombstone, but was unable to do so when Taker hit the move for a second time.
Nothing more than a WrestleMania jobber over the years, Goldust has featured on the program nine times without success. In fairness it's probably a fair reflection of his place in the midcard hierarchy of the WWE. Roddy Piper was the first to cash on on Goldust back at WrestleMania XII in a match that even involved a car chase. Triple H beat Goldust a year later. He featured occasionally in mid card matches before challenging Maven at WrestleMania X-8 for the Hardcore Championship. Goldust wasn't pinned over the course of the night, but the belt did change hands five times, eventually ending up back in Maven's possession.
Not losing was the closest Goldust came to winning at WrestleMania. Since then he's featured four times, always as cannon fodder in battle royals.
7 Bob Backlund
One of the better wrestlers on this list given he was a two time WWE champion, although his two WrestleMania appearances came when he was well past his best. The first was a routine singles loss to Razor Ramon at WrestleMania IX. Then two years later he clashed with Bret Hart in an I Quit match, the man he'd won the WWE title off just a few months earlier at Survivor Series in controversial fashion. He lost the title three days after Survivor Series to Diesel, and also lost the forthcoming WrestleMania bout with Hart using Backlund's own Crossface Chickenwing against him.
6 Sycho Sid
Neither Sid Justice nor Sycho Sid were able to score a win at WrestleMania. He had two major bouts at WrestleMania in his career, his first at WrestleMania VIII against Hulk Hogan which was billed as one of two main events on the card. In truth it was a poor match, and Sid lost by disqualification after outside interference. Five years passed before Sid returned to the WrestleMania stage and unfortunately for him he was booked against The Undertaker. Sid's WWE Championship was on the line, which The Undertaker won for the second time.
5 Ken Shamrock
No one on this list has come closer to a win at WrestleMania than the World's Most Dangerous Man Ken Shamrock. After refereeing a submission match between Stone Cold and Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 13, Shamrock debuted in the event 12 months later fighting Rocky Maivia (The Rock) for the Intercontinental Title. He applied an ankle lock to The Rock who tapped out, handing Shamrock victory. But he was not finished, and after dispatching of The Rock's friends in the Nation Of Domination, who were ringside throughout the match, Shamrock reapplied the ankle lock.
Ultimately Howard Finkel announced that the result of the match had been reversed by match officials due to Shamrock not breaking the hold. Shamrock's second and last appearance at WrestleMania came a year later where he lost a four way match to Road Dogg, who also beat some of our other entries in Val Venis and Goldust.
4 Vince McMahon
For all the ass kissings and unrealistic championship belts the boss has given himself, one thing he's never indulged in is a win at Wrestlemania. In fact, he's used himself quite well on the Wrestlemania card over the years. At Wrestlemania 17 he engaged in a brutal street fight with son Shane. He was beaten by Hulk Hogan two years later in a similar match then by Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 22. Then at Wrestlemania 26 in an ultimate act of rebuilding a burned bridge, McMahon was beaten by Bret Hart, and members of the Hart family, eventually tapping out after a Hitman sharpshooter.
3 Jimmy Snuka
Jimmy Snuka has featured three times at Wrestlemania without success. The hall of famer lost to Rick Rude at Wrestlemania 6, the last match on the card before the main event where Ultimate Warrior beat Hulk Hogan. A year later he was beaten by The Undertaker, the first of Taker's 21 straight Wrestlemania wins in his infamous streak. Almost 20 years passed before Snuka fought at Wrestlemania again. He featured alongside Ricky Steamboat and Roddy Piper against Chris Jericho in a 3 on 1 handicap match, although Snuka tapped out to the Walls Of Jericho quite early.
2 The Dudley Boyz
It's crazy that the most decorated tag team in history doesn't have a victory at WrestleMania. Bubba Ray and D-Von have almost always come as a single unit, and so it is the case at WrestleMania. The pair have been involved in four tag team matches over the years at the WWE's premier event, without success. Two of those were in the pioneering tables, ladders and chairs matches with Edge and Christian, and the Hardy Boyz. In later years they lost two four way tag team matches, one to Billy and Chuck and one to Booker T and Rob Van Dam.
1 Jeff Hardy
The most surprising entry on this list, given what he brought to the company during his high flying heyday. Jeff Hardy has never won a match at WrestleMania. He started off at WrestleMania XV, partaking in a 21 man battle royal but the match was broadcast on Sunday Night Heat and not part of the main card.
His proper debut came a year later alongside brother Matt in the infamous Triangle Ladder match against Edge and Christian and the Dudleyz. This was where Jeff pulled out the astonishing swanton bomb from the top of a 20 foot ladder in the entrance way, slamming Bubba Ray through a table in the process. Edge and Christian won that match, and had a similar match, this time with the TLC moniker, the following year. At WrestleMania X-8 the Hardy Boyz lost in a four way tag team match.
After a five year absence Jeff returned as a singles wrestler. He lost an eight man Money in the Bank ladder match and his WrestleMania swansong came two years later when he squared off with his brother in an extreme rules match, which Matt won.