It’s the greatest time of year to be a wrestling fan – WrestleMania season. We fans all know that it’s the premier event of the year. No matter how good or bad the product is; fans from all over flock to bear witness to the annual Showcase of the Immortals. WrestleMania isn’t just the industry’s premier event, it is the time when old storylines conclude and new ones commence. It is a special time when all of the hard work that a wrestler puts in all year gets rewarded with a match at The Show of Shows and the payday that goes with it.
But not every match goes over the way some fans think it should, or even when it does go the way to make fans happy, looking back some victories just don’t make sense in the grand scheme of things. Some guys are just Vince’s favorites and are booked strong every year, while some guys just happen to stumble into some sort of booking conundrum that get themselves booked into victory. Even worse, some guys who have no business being on the main card somehow get booked to win.
For whatever the reason, as we get ready for this year’s event, let’s go back and revisit some wrestlers who you wouldn’t believe have a winning record at WrestleMania.
15. Shane McMahon (2-0)
As batcrap crazy as Shane–o–Mac has been in the ring, you would think he was involved in more than two Manias. But alas, the boy wonder has only been part of two WrestleManias with this year’s being his third. At WrestleMania X-Seven, which a lot of fans still consider to be the greatest of all time, he took on his father in a street fight, which he debuted his version of The Van-Terminator. But two years before. at the fifteenth installment, Shane was one of the biggest heels in the company and generally speaking WrestleMania is where they get their comeuppance. That wouldn’t be the case, Triple H and Chyna turned on DX, securing Shane’s victory over X-Pac in the shocker of the evening.
14. Virgil (2-0)
It’s unbelievable that we live in a world where Virgil is undefeated at WrestleMania, let alone even booked to wrestle at the show at all. Having broken away from The Million Dollar Man, he was given a small push and a victory over Ted DiBiase at WrestleMania VII, with Roddy Piper in his corner. For some reason, the lonely Virgil was also booked in an eight man tag match at WrestleMania VIII, where his team of the Big Bossman, Sgt. Slaughter, and Hacksaw Jim Duggan defeated a bunch of Jimmy Hart’s guys. If you visit his lonely convention table, ask him about it. He’ll go on for hours about it if you let him. A legend in his own mind, maybe he’ll tell you that he’s still undefeated at ‘Mania and the Undertaker is not.
13. Terry Funk (2-0)
Terry Funk is a wrestler who had a very long stretch between ‘Mania appearances. But what’s even more insane is that he was actually victorious in both of his tag team encounters. First, at WrestleMania 2, he and his brother, defeated the white-hot Junkyard Dog and the always popular Tito Santana. Twelve years later, he and Cactus Jack were part of the infamous dumpster match against the mega heel New Age Outlaws at WrestleMania XIV. The pair going over at the time was vindication, if not a bit of a head scratcher, since the rising heels could have gotten the rub. But the next night on Raw, The Outlaws joined DX and the rest was history.
12. Tatanka (2-0)
Some people Vince McMahon just likes and, for whatever reason, it’s hard to see why. Tatanka was one of these guys. While not a complete bust, his career never really went anywhere, but The Boss had him booked on an undefeated streak that went over a year. The run saw him take on, and defeat, Rick Martel at WrestleMania VIII. It’s also hard to swallow that Mr. WrestleMania, Shawn Michaels, actually has a losing record at The Show of Shows and one of those losses came at the hand of him turning chicken and walking away from Tatanka at WrestleMania IX.
11. The Iron Sheik (3-1)
The Sheik’s transitional run as WWE champion happened before WrestleMania even started. So since he wasn’t given much to do afterwards, the future walking internet meme teamed up with fellow foreign menace, Nikolai Volkoff as the pair shockingly beat the U.S. Express at WrestleMania I, and in another shocker, they defeated the mega baby faces, The Killer Bees at III. Fourteen years later, at the epic but not-so-epic Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania X-Seven, an older Sheik once again surprised everyone when he outlasted 19 other legends to win the Gimmick Battle Royal. His only loss came at WrestleMania 2, when he was a part of the NFL/WWE Battle Royal that Andre the Giant won.
10. Jack Swagger (2-1)
Jack Swagger was a part of Team Johnny at WrestleMania XXVIII, but being part of a winning team was just booking luck. The fact that a guy that the brass seldom got behind was booked to win Money in the Bank at WrestleMania XXVI, much less cash in a few days later to win the title, is the kind of hot shot booking that is unbelievable and would take a small miracle to get over, which unfortunately it didn’t. The WWE tried again with the All American American several years later, but it failed and he lost his last appearance at WrestleMania 29 to Alberto Del Rio.
9. Lex Luger (2-1)
Even though his name is synonymous with one of the opening salvos in the Monday Night War, Lex Luger didn’t exactly know how to set the WWE Universe on fire. The man’s ‘Mania performances are prime indications. First up, as The Narcissist, Luger worked with Mr. Perfect at WrestleMania IX in a lackluster match. One year later, firmly entrenched as The American Hero, Luger failed his country and lost to Yokozuna at WrestleMania X. Still never gaining traction with the fans, the WWE tried to pair him with The British Bulldog for the opening match at WrestleMania XI, which they won, but by then all semblance of the charismatic Total Package was gone until he snuck away to Nitro several months later.
8. Earthquake (4-1)
It’s not a secret that Vince loves big men and they don’t come much bigger than Earthquake. But the big guy will be remembered more for his jumping around the ring before delivering his devastating sit down splash…and donning a mask and dancing with a Cartman doll in his final years with the company. So it does seem fairly unbelievable that ‘Quake’s has a better WM record than most, especially when he faced off (mostly) against other big men. He took out Hercules and Greg Valentine at ‘Mania VI and VII, secured a countout victory against Money Inc at WM VIII when they were running from every opponent, and made quick work of new imposing big man Adam Bomb at WrestleMania X.His only loss came at the Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania X-Seven, which The Iron Sheik won.
7. The Big Boss Man (5-1)
Another big man that never had a lot in the way of big angles who somehow found a way to victory at WrestleMania was The Big Boss Man. Along with Akeem, he would hand HBK his first ‘Mania defeat at WrestleMania V, before he defeated his partner at WrestleMania VI. Then The Boss <an would be the target of The Heenan Family and Mr. Perfect failed to defeat him at WrestleMania VII. He also won matches at WrestleMania VIII in a four-man tag match and at WrestleMania 2000 in a tag match.
The Boss Man was also involved in one of the strangest bits in ‘Mania history, as he got hung by the Brood in the service of The Undertaker after his only Mania loss at WrestleMania XV. Minus the loss to The Phenom, the new Hall of Famer is undefeated at The Grandaddy of ‘Em All.
6. Rob Van Dam (4-0)
Considering the way Vince would eventually try to change and bury the legacy of ECW, it’s interesting that Rob Van Dam is actually undefeated at WrestleMania. He retained his tag titles alongside Booker T at WrestleMania XX and at WrestleMania 22 he won MITB, which led to one of the most raucous cash-ins ever. But the two real surprises were how he defeated William Regal at WrestleMania X8, especially with how every now and then Regal is booked to be a stopper. In his last Mania victory, RVD captained a team of ECW Originals to victory at WrestleMania 23.
5. The Legion of Doom (3-0)
Considering that The Legion of Doom established themselves long before they began in the WWE, combined with the Hawk’s volatile attitudes toward the brass, the team somehow still made it out of each of their WrestleMania appearances unscathed. Instead of being fodder for the would–be emerging team of Power and Glory at WrestleMania VII, The LOD exerted their dominance, just as they assisted Ahmed Johnson in dominating The Nation of Domination at the abysmal 13th ‘Mania. In their last WrestleMania, the team defeating The New Midnight Express wasn’t too surprising, but the new look and pairing with Sunny was a completely out of leftfield situation meant to re-invigorate the team… which didn’t work.
4. Randy Savage (7 – 4)
Why is Randy Savage on this list? Why is it hard to believe that the legend has a winning record at WrestleMania? Because for much of his run, Savage was one of the best heels there ever was and he knew how to get babyfaces over. Had it not been for the tournament that was WrestleMania IV, Savage wouldn’t have had four more victories to add to this belt. The record books might say he’s 7-4 at The Show of Shows, but he could have easily been 3-5 had he not been booked so well in the tournament.
3. Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake (3-2-2)
Ed Leslie’s entire WWE career is a headscratcher – he was always consistently featured but seldom pushed higher than a midcard wannabe. His titles came as a part of The Dream Team and with his friend Hogan. Perhaps it was Hogan’s politicking that enabled Beefcake to gain high profile victories at ‘Mania against likes of Ted DiBiase at WrestleMania V and Mr. Perfect at WrestleMania VI. But the oddball victory is over the Honky Tonk Man by DQ at WrestleMania IV, as if there was ever a time to have Beefcake win that elusive IC title, this was it. But he took the DQ win instead.
2. Daniel Bryan (4-2)
It’s amazing to think that the two blemishes on future Hall of Famer Daniel Bryan’s WrestleMania resume came from the hands of Sheamus and The Great Khali. Even though Vince didn’t think too highly of the guy in terms of marketability, he was left with no choice but to have The American Dragon not only become WWE champion at WrestleMania XXX, but defeat all of Evolution in one night to do it. One year later, having battled back from injury with no main event in sight, he booked Bryan to have the consolation prize – winning the IC title in the opener.
1. The Miz (3-1)
Can anyone believe that a MTV reality TV star became one of the top stars of the WWE? The Miz has worked very hard to erase the stigma of coming from The Real World to become one of the company’s most reliable hands. But that still doesn’t mean it wasn’t any more surprising when he became WWE Champion and headlined WrestleMania XXVII, against John Cena no less. Of all people, it is The Miz who stands alone with The Rock as the only two people who have beaten Cena in one-on-on competition at The Show of Shows. Besides besting Cena, The Miz also retained the tag titles as part of ShoMiz at XXVI and was part of Team Johnny at XXVIII. His only loss occurred at WrestleMania 31, when his protege, Damien Mizdow, eliminated him from The Andre the Giant Memorial.
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