Over the past 30 years, the annual WrestleMania pay-per-view has given wrestling fans numerous reasons to enjoy being fans. From memorable matches to surprise returns to celebrity guests, WrestleMania has something for everyone. Even more incredible is the fact that the great moments heavily outweigh the bad ones, allowing fans to just sit back, enjoy the show, and remember why they started watching wrestling in the first place. It is a four hour escape from reality as we watch our favorite wrestler try to gain victory over a bitter rival or capture the title that has been eluding him for his entire careers, it is ticket for us to forget about the rest of the world and mark out.
With that in mind I have decided to rank the top 20 Wrestlemania moments over the past 30 years. These moments are a mixture of goofy, entertaining, shocking, and just great matches. Things I considered when making the list include how important the moment was in WWE history, its overall impact on the event as a whole, and how memorable it was to the wrestling public. There are no cringe-worthy moments on the list, though some of these moments have been known to bring out anger in fans when mentioned, though that does not make them any less important to the overall history of the event. Overall, these are moments that elicit strong emotions in fans when they think of them or they are discussed by fans in concern to the Wrestlemania event and its importance within WWE history.
So please read, enjoy, and let us know what you think down in the comments section. How would you have ranked these differently? Are there other moments or matches that you felt should have made the list or that one of the entries should be ranked differently?
21 Bonus: Roddy Piper vs. Goldust, Backlot Brawl
20 Gimmick Battle Royal
19 The Boyhood Dream Comes True
You can't classify 60 minutes as a moment, so we'll just take the ending from the iconic Iron Man match between the two greatest performers of their generation. After putting on a clinic for 60-plus minutes, Shawn Michaels delivered Sweet Chin Music to Bret Hart to get the three-count and fulfill his lifelong dream of being champion.
It's always a special moment when a top star wins his first title at WrestleMania, especially when it's perhaps the greatest of them all. Vince McMahon delivered some of his best commentary work, uttering the words, "The boyhood dream, has come true, for Shawn Michaels."
18 Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth Reunite
The most adored couple in WWE history emotionally reunited following Randy Savage's loss in his "retirement match" to the Ultimate Warrior. After Sensational Sherri had lost her meal ticket, she attacked a fallen Savage. Miss Elizabeth, sitting at ringside, couldn't bear to watch the man she still loved being kicked while he was down and chased Sherri out of the ring.
17 Kane Attacks Pete Rose
16 Ultimate Warrior Holds both WWE and Intercontinental Championship
15 Owen upsets his brother; Bret Stands Tall
What a way to open up the 10th WrestleMania. Tension had been building between brothers Bret and Owen Hart to where they finally agreed to fight each other at WrestleMania. Unfortunately for Bret he was also scheduled to face off against the winner of the Yokozuna versus Lex Luger WWE Championship match in the evening’s main event, so it was decided the Hart brothers would fight in the opening match to give Bret a chance to recover slightly before his second match. The match was a back and forth technical classic with Owen ultimately getting the better of his older brother.
14 The Deadman Returns
There's just something about Madison Square Garden that enhances moments. The Undertaker's reincarnation of his Deadman character is another example of that. After Kane had buried his brother alive five months earlier, we had seen cryptic signs that the American Badass version of 'Taker was gone, and that we'd once again see the Phenom we had grown up with.
13 Shawn Michaels Ascends the Ladder
Through a bunch of different issues there were two Intercontinental Champions going into Wrestlemania X, Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon, to be fair Shawn’s title was a fake belt as he felt he was the true champion since he was never beaten for the title. The two were set to face off with both of their belts hanging above the ring, set to determine who the undisputed champion would be. The match was a back and forth affair which featured both competitors falling off the ladder, leaping onto one another from the ladder, and slamming each other into the unforgiving metal.
12 Edge Spears Hardy off the Ladder
11 The Rock Cements himself as The Great One versus John Cena
After a over a year of buildup towards their first match, expectations were very high going into the main event of Wrestlemania XXVIII featuring John Cena and the Rock. With animosity between the two coming off as legitimate, fans were wondering how good the match would be between the two, especially after such a long buildup. Both would trade signature moves with one another but ultimately it was the Rock who would pick up the victory, leaving a stunned Cena sitting on the entrance ramp wondering how he could have gotten beaten by a part timer.
10 Hulkamania Runs Wild in Toronto
Although fans were unable to see Stone Cold Steve Austin take on Hollywood Hulk Hogan, they got the next best thing when it would be The Rock to battle the former face of the WWE. The match was truly electric as it was just two icons of wrestling battling it out in a dream match for fans. Oddly enough, it would be the heel Hogan getting the loudest cheers from fans during the match, with nostalgia consuming the Toronto crowd. This may have accelerated the idea to have Hogan leave the nWo after the match was over and The Rock ended up victorious.
9 End of an Era
8 Daniel Bryan Completes His Journey
The only thing that could have brought the New Orleans crowd back to life when the streak ended last year was seeing Daniel Bryan FINALLY get his recognition as the best in the business. After a thrilling opener with Triple H, Bryan earned his way into the main event against Orton and Batista.
7 Stone Cold Sells His Soul to Mr. McMahon
Some say it was the end of the Attitude Era. What's certain is that perhaps the greatest main event in the history of WrestleMania was followed by perhaps the most shocking moment in WrestleMania history up to that point.
6 Ric Flair Retires
5 Shawn Michaels Retires
4 The Streak is Broken
3 The Austin Era Begins
In the midst of the Monday Night Wars between the WWE and WCW, Stone Cold Steve Austin was slowly making his way towards his first WWE Championship reign. Unfortunately, standing in his way was long reigning WWE Champion Shawn Michaels and the newest member of DX, Mike Tyson, who was also the special enforcer for the match. Austin and Michaels would go back and forth for most of the match before Austin would hit Michaels with the Stone Cold Stunner and Tyson would count the pin, giving Austin the title and ushering the WWE into a new level of success. The cherry on top was Mike Tyson knocking Michaels out. This span of a few minutes also includes some classic J.R. commentary.
2 Hulk Hogan Slams Andre the Giant
It was the slam heard around the world as Hulk Hogan met Andre the Giant in the main event of Wrestlemania III. The lead up to the match involved Andre getting upset over Hogan getting more attention for being WWE Champion for three years and getting a giant trophy while Andre had been undefeated for 15 years and gotten a much smaller trophy, leading to Andre adding Bobby Heenan as his manager and stating his claim to wanting to fight Hogan.
1 Steve Austin Passes Out to the Sharpshooter
This was the moment that led to the WWE ushering in the next generation of superstar for its Attitude Era. After months of back and forth between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Bret Hart, the two were scheduled to clash in a submission match at Wrestlemania 13 with special guest referee Ken Shamrock. The match was brutal and saw Austin’s face covered in blood, but despite that and being locked in the Sharpshooter, he never quit, eventually passing out from the pain and giving the win to Hart.
Yet Hart would not let go of the hold which led to a rare double turn that saw Bret become a heel while Austin became an incredible babyface for defying the odds and showing such toughness against Hart. They would feud for a couple more months before Bret would leave the WWE after the Montreal Screwjob and Austin would go on to win the WWE Championship and become one of the biggest stars in WWE history.
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