WrestleMania season has arrived. As WWE prepares for their biggest show of the year, the WWE Universe is preparing to critique every single move they make leading up to this year's event in Dallas on April 3. No, that's not a knock on the entire internet wrestling community, but as wrestling fans, we often think we know what's "best for business" as The Authority would put it. We say that this guy should wrestle that guy or that team should wrestle this team and often won't listen to anybody else's argument no matter how rational it may or may not be. But man, it's still fun to do.
When it comes to the main event of WrestleMania, we tend to get even more stressed out when it comes to the booking. Roman Reigns, anyone? Sometimes we think that a certain guy should be in the WrestleMania main event, even when sometimes it's the right call to put that guy on the undercard or a guy that's on the undercard should be in the main event.
Now, when I say main event, I'm talking about the final match of the night. There have been a few WrestleManias that have been advertised as having multiple main events (especially when the brand split was going on), but in my eyes the real main event is the last match of the night. It's the match that WWE feels is the biggest attraction on the card and uses RAW, Smackdown, and the pay-per-views leading up to WrestleMania to promote that match the most.
Now, in 31 WrestleManias, there have been a lot of times where I think they got it right, and as I go down my list, I'll explain why I think that is. However, there are also times when I think they missed an opportunity or were just out of their mind (see WrestleMania XI).
Obviously, this is simply one man's opinion and you're bound to disagree with me somewhere in here, so I encourage you to give me your thoughts on what you think I got right and what I got wrong at the bottom of this page. It's just part of the fun of fantasy booking, which is something we all love to do. Enjoy.
31 WrestleMania - Hulk Hogan vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper
Actual main event: Hulk Hogan & Mr. T vs Rowdy Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff
Now, I know that Vince McMahon was looking to make a big splash with the first WrestleMania, which is likely why he included a celebrity in the main event. However, he could still have had Mr. T involved in the main event, but just throw him in Hogan's corner. To not have the WWE title on the line at what was then the biggest show of all time was a travesty. Hulk Hogan versus Roddy Piper was a great feud that would have done just fine on its own as the main event of WrestleMania I. But I'm betting it had something to do with Piper not wanting to take the clean pin from the Hulkster.
30 WrestleMania II - Hulk Hogan vs. Paul Orndorff
Actual main event: Hulk Hogan vs King Kong Bundy
With all due respect to King Kong Bundy, he was never WrestleMania main event material. Sure, the storyline leading up was fun as it was Hulk Hogan taking on one of the monsters of the World Wrestling Federation. However, later in 1986, Hogan would feud with "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff in a great storyline that saw Orndorff turn on Hogan for getting more attention than he did. It led to some great promo work from both men and a great steel cage match, which is what they ended up doing with Hogan and Bundy at WrestleMania II anyway. They should have just moved up the storyline and gone with this. Orndorff was an extremely effective heel in his prime and would have made a much better opponent for Hogan at the biggest show of the year.
29 WrestleMania III - Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant
Actual main event: Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant
It may not have ended up being the best match on the card (I think we can all agree it was Savage vs. Steamboat), but this was the exact right call for the main event of WrestleMania III. These were the two biggest stars in the company and throwing in Bobby "The Brain" Heenan to help turn Andre heel was a stroke of genius. There was no other match that could have sold out the Pontiac Silverdome at that time. They had to go big and it didn't get any bigger than Hogan vs. Andre. I still believe that this is the match (and the event for that matter) that really put professional wrestling into the mainstream. Perfect call.
28 WrestleMania IV - Randy Savage vs Ted DiBiase
Actual main event: Randy Savage vs Ted DiBiase
Again, this is a time where I think they got things right. Ted DiBiase had become the biggest heel in the company (and did it so well) and Randy Savage was starting to equal Hulk Hogan as the biggest face in the company. The build to WrestleMania IV was beautiful as they got the belt off of Hogan while still building the Macho Man. I think that Hogan might have overstayed his welcome in the ring after Savage won the title, but what that did was start one of the best programs in wrestling history that would get them through the next year.
27 WrestleMania V - Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage
Actual main event: Hulk Hogan vs Randy Savage
This main event was the culmination of that yearlong feud between Hogan and Savage and the build was excellent. As Savage became more and more jealous of Hogan, tensions arose between the MegaPowers and the fact that they were the two biggest stars in the company only made it more believable. Throw in the Miss Elizabeth factor and you've got one hell of a main event. Great stuff here...even if we knew what the outcome was going to be.
26 WrestleMania VI - Hulk Hogan vs Ultimate Warrior
Actual main event: Hulk Hogan vs The Ultimate Warrior
Speaking of two of the biggest stars in the company, this was the first time that the WWE went with a babyface vs. babyface match in the main event of WrestleMania. Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior. Title for title. And Hogan lost...and lost clean. The Ultimate Warrior had become such a phenomenon and with Hogan going off to shoot a movie, this was the perfect way to build another star. This was the fourth straight year that they got it right.
25 WrestleMania VII - Randy Savage vs. The Ultimate Warrior
Actual main event: Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter
Now, I know what they were trying to do with Hogan and Slaughter. The Gulf War was happening and with Hogan being the "Real American", they wanted to put him back in the main event to take down the now-Iraqi sympathizer. I get it. I really do, but they did not need the title for that storyline, and I'm one that thinks that the title needs to be defended in the main event.
The match between The Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage should have been the main event. I know they weren't keen on keeping the belt on Warrior at the time, but a "title vs. career" main event would have been epic. They still could have gone with the same finish (which was amazing), but then just have Warrior drop the belt back to Hogan at SummerSlam later that year. The reuinion between Savage and Miss Elizabeth is easily the best moment of this WrestleMania and would have been a great way to close the show.
24 WrestleMania VIII - Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair
Actual main event: Hulk Hogan vs Sid Justice
Why they didn't pull the trigger on Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair as the main event of WrestleMania is beyond me. Yes, I know the story that the matches between the two at house shows weren't going all that great, but this was Hogan vs. Flair. They had the two biggest stars in the world and they blew it. You don't think that they would have stepped it up for WrestleMania? Yes, we did get a great match between Flair and Savage, but I still maintain that they just missed the boat on this one. That also would have saved us from the Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice match we got. Just awful.
23 WrestleMania IX - Hulk Hogan vs. Bret Hart
Actual main event: Bret Hart vs Yokozuna/Hulk Hogan vs Yokozuna
If Hulk Hogan was going to go away a few months later anyway, then he should have just gone into WrestleMania IX as the champion and dropped the belt to Bret Hart. Obviously, Hogan didn't believe that Hart was championship material as the original agreement in which he would have lost his newly won WWE Championship to "The Hitman" at SummerSlam never came to pass. So what we got was a bad match between Bret Hart and Yokozuna followed by an atrocious 22-second main event with Hogan and Yoko, which led to a disaster at King of the Ring when Hogan dropped the title and left the company. What a waste.
22 WrestleMania X - Bret Hart vs. Randy Savage
Actual main event: Bret Hart vs Yokozuna
I'm sorry. I just never saw Yokozuna as worthy of headlining WrestleMania. Maybe that's all they had to go with at this point, but I just wasn't into it. It was a better match than they had the previous year, but it still wasn't all that great. Bret and Owen stole the show with the first match of the night, but that wasn't ready to be a main event of a WrestleMania yet. So it's more of a process by elimination that I arrived at Bret Hart vs. Randy Savage.
Come on, Macho Man wrestled Crush at the tenth anniversary of WrestleMania. Imagine the build for a title match between Bret Hart and Randy Savage. It could have been great...and the match could have been as well. It's a shame these two really never got a chance to feud, and it's something that Bret Hart really wishes would have happened as well.
21 WrestleMania XI - Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart
Actual main event: Bam Bam Bigelow vs Lawrence Taylor
I almost just wrote "Anything but that", but that might have been a bit too vague. A lifetime mid-carder and an NFL player should not headline WrestleMania. PERIOD! After their epic encounter the previous year and the classic cage match at SummerSlam, Bret and Owen Hart proved that they could put on five-star matches and should have been given an opportunity to do so in the main event of WrestleMania XI. Yes, HBK and Diesel put on a good match, but I don't think their match needed the title. Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart for the WWE Championship would have been amazing. Neither Bret or Owen had memorable matches at this 'Mania, with Bret having possibly the worst match of his career against Bob Backlund and Owen winning the tag titles alongside Yokozuna.
A main event like this could have saved an otherwise lackluster card.
20 WrestleMania XII - Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels
Actual main event: Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels
There was nowhere else the WWE should have been looking for the main event of WrestleMania XII and I'm so happy they didn't. Shawn Michaels had become an absolute star and there was no other place for him than the main event of WrestleMania and no better opponent than Bret Hart. I'm sure a lot of people had doubts about making the main event a one-hour Ironman Match, but after seeing it, I don't think there's too many people that think they made a mistake. The match was brilliant. The build was brilliant and after four straight years of getting it wrong, they finally got back to getting it right.
19 WrestleMania 13 - Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Actual main event: The Undertaker vs Sycho Sid
I don't know how Sid got himself into another WrestleMania main event, but he did. Obviously, the match between he and The Undertaker certainly wasn't an instant classic, but the Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin match earlier in the night certainly was. Imagine if it would have been for the title. Bret Hart was obviously an established WWE champion and there was no hotter feud than the one between Hart and Austin. Their match at Survivor Series only a few months prior was outstanding and the rematch should have been the main event of WrestleMania 13. It was either that or Hart/Michaels II. I would have been okay with either.
18 WrestleMania XIV - Stone Cold vs. Shawn Michaels
Actual main event: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Shawn Michaels
Once again, there was no other way to go than this. Stone Cold Steve Austin had become one of the biggest stars in wrestling and Shawn Michaels was on his way out of the company. DX had formed, which made HBK even more obnoxious than his on-air persona already was, and Austin battling Michaels and company was perfect. Throw in Mike Tyson (and not as part of the actual match) and you've got the whole world watching. It was a perfect passing of the torch as the Austin era began.
17 WrestleMania XV - Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock
Actual main event: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs The Rock
Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Rock. The two biggest stars of the Attitude Era facing off one-on-one for the WWE Championship in the main event of WrestleMania XV. I think it's safe to say they got this one right. There were rumors of Foley being added to make it a Triple Threat, but the best formula for a WrestleMania main event is always the no.1 face and the no.1 heel.
16 WrestleMania 2000 - Triple H vs. The Rock
Actual main event: The Rock vs Triple H vs Mick Foley vs Big Show
Wrestling is all about timing. Look, I'm all for Mick Foley getting the chance to main event a WrestleMania, and if they wanted to go that route, they could have just pushed back his feud with Triple H a couple of months. The matches between these two were amazing. On the other hand, The Rock and Triple H had some great battles over the years and with Austin out, these two could have easily headlined WrestleMania 2000. It's a shame these two never met in a one-on-one contest at a WrestleMania.
And come on, this card needed another one-on-one match. Did you realize that The Kat vs Terri Runnels was the only one-on-one match that night? The ending of Backlash the following month in which Austin returned to help The Rock win was a WrestleMania worthy ending and that's what WWE should have booked a month prior.
15 WrestleMania X-Seven - Stone Cold vs. The Rock
Actual main event: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs The Rock
With Stone Cold Steve Austin back in the mix and The Rock becoming a full-fledged star around the world, this made sense. The ending was completely ridiculous, but the matchup was the right call. The only other matches that would have made sense here would have been either one of these guys versus Triple H, but he was busy having his first of three WrestleMania matches with The Undertaker. But let's be really honest here. The majority of this card felt like a main event. This is arguably the best WrestleMania in history.
14 WrestleMania X8 - Hulk Hogan vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Actual main event: Triple H vs Chris Jericho
I certainly don't want to disrespect Chris Jericho and Triple H as they put on a good match, but they had no chance after that Toronto crowd went nuts for Hulk Hogan and The Rock. Imagine if it would have been Hulk Hogan vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin... for the title. We all know that neither Hogan nor Austin wanted to do the honors for the other, but the dream matchup would have been amazing. Would it have been the best actual wrestling match on the card? Of course not. Would it have been one of the biggest main events in WrestleMania history? Absolutely.
13 WrestleMania XIX - Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle
Actual main event: Brock Lesnar vs Kurt Angle
What I loved about WrestleMania XIX is that there were so many great grudge matches. HBK vs. Y2J (could have main evented). Austin vs. Rock III (could have main evented). Hogan vs. McMahon (could have...okay, maybe not). Even with all of those huge names on the card, the right two guys main-evented the show. Brock Lesnar had taken the wrestling world by storm in the year leading up to WrestleMania and capped off perhaps the best rookie season in WWE history by defeating Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship. If only he had connected with that Shooting Star Press. Nevertheless, Lesnar and Angle put on a great match to cap off a great show.
12 WrestleMania XX - Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit
Actual main event: Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit
I'm usually not one for triple threat matches, but this was one of the best in wrestling history. It's hard after watching this match to think that there could be a better main event. Part of me wanted to say that it would have been great to watch Triple H and Shawn Michaels main-event a WrestleMania on their own, but it's hard to say that after the match that these three put on. Chris Benoit had certainly proven that he was one of the best wrestlers on the planet and he did deserve to be in that spot. The finish also gave us a classic moment as Benoit and Eddie Guerrero, who had defended his WWE Championship against Kurt Angle earlier in the night, celebrated in the ring together to close the show. Great stuff.
11 WrestleMania 21 - Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels
Actual main event: Batista vs Triple H
I'm sorry, but I just never thought that Batista was a guy to headline a WrestleMania. A feud with fellow Evolution member Triple H was inevitable, but I just don't think it should have been the final match of the night. However, there was a match on this card that should have been. Two of the best in-ring performers in history, Shawn Michaels and Kurt Angle, put on an absolute clinic at WrestleMania 21 and it should have been the final match of the night and it should have been for the title, or I guess one of the titles at that point in time. It certainly would have made for a better main event than what we got.
10 WrestleMania 22 - Triple H vs. Kurt Angle
Actual main event: John Cena vs Triple H
At this point in time, John Cena had really solidified himself as a main-event player, but I just never saw the chemistry between him and Triple H. The match and buildup all seemed a little forced to me, which is why I think that Kurt Angle and Triple H should have main-evented WrestleMania 22. They did some great things together over the years and they could have done it one more time on the grandest stage of 'em all.
9 WrestleMania 23 - John Cena vs. The Undertaker
Actual main event: John Cena vs Shawn Michaels
I know that this was part of the plan for this year's WrestleMania, but with Cena out with an injury, we may never get John Cena vs. The Undertaker at WrestleMania. The problem with that is that there was a chance to do this almost ten years ago and they dropped the ball. Trust me, I've got zero problem with Shawn Michaels being in the main event of anything, but I really think they missed an opportunity here. John Cena was the hottest thing going and a "title vs. streak" match would have been fantastic. With that being said, the match between Cena and HBK was very good, so I can't complain too much on this one.
8 WrestleMania XXIV - Edge vs. The Undertaker
Actual main event: Edge vs The Undertaker
Believe it or not, I wouldn't touch this one. Edge and The Undertaker had arguably the best feud of the year in 2008 and this was a great part of it. I was actually in the stadium that night and even with the big names in the triple threat match for the WWE Championship (Cena vs. HHH vs. Orton), this match for the World Heavyweight Championship was the better contest. Edge had proven himself as one of the best heels in the business and deserved a main event at WrestleMania and came through in the big spot. It was also a great scene as The Undertaker closed out the show in the first outdoor WrestleMania in 15 years.
7 WrestleMania XXV - John Cena vs. Edge
Actual main event: Triple H vs Randy Orton
It's hard to believe that in the long history between John Cena and Edge that the two never main-evented a WrestleMania together. Yes, they were together in a match for the World Heavyweight Championship that night in Houston, but it was a triple threat involving Big Show. I think that with the chemistry that John Cena and Edge had that they could have put on a classic main event. Obviously, both men had proved that they could headline the show and really should have gotten that chance here.
6 WrestleMania XXVI - Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker
Actual main event: Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker
This is a tough one. The main event was a grudge match and as I'm sure you've figured out by now, that's not what I like to see. However, with the match that Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker had the year before, it was tough to not put them in this spot, especially with this being HBK's final match. So just the throw the title in there. 'Taker could have walked in and walked out with the belt and we still would have gotten this great match and Shawn's farewell. Easy fix there.
5 WrestleMania XXVII - John Cena vs. Randy Orton
Actual main event: John Cena vs The Miz
Much like with Edge, John Cena has never had a one-on-one match at a WrestleMania with his other big rival, Randy Orton. Yes, they were in that triple threat match at WrestleMania XXIV, but a rivalry that's spanned for this long deserves to be rewarded with a main event match at WrestleMania. No offense to The Miz, as he actually does his job as a heel very well, but he's not a main event at WrestleMania kind of a guy. Look, I know what the point was here with The Rock returning to set up the next year's main event, but you went ahead and wasted another one in the process. There were better ways to go about this and putting Cena and Orton, two guys that obviously know how to work well together, in the main event was easily the better option.
4 WrestleMania XXVIII - CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho
Actual main event: John Cena vs The Rock
I know that fans of The Rock are going to be upset with this, but he should not have been in the main event. As I think I've fully explained, the main event at WrestleMania should be for the title. The Cena/Rock matchup was a grudge match and while I have no problem with the match itself, it shouldn't have gone on last. During the year that it took to get to Cena/Rock, CM Punk had solidified himself as a main-eventer and the feud he had with Chris Jericho leading up to their match at WrestleMania was epic, but the two had to settle for being the penultimate match at WrestleMania. Tragic.
3 WrestleMania XXIX - John Cena vs. CM Punk
Actual main event: John Cena vs The Rock
"Once In A Lifetime". That's what John Cena vs. The Rock was billed as for WrestleMania XVIII. So what does WWE do? They put them in the main event for the second straight year while CM Punk gets left out of the main event yet again. Whether you like him or not, CM Punk was the hottest thing in wrestling around this time. They kept the title on him for more than a year, but he never once really main-evented a WrestleMania. They fed him to The Rock at Royal Rumble that year and then to The Undertaker at WrestleMania. While both were high-profile matches, they should have been building for CM Punk vs. John Cena for this main event.
2 WrestleMania XXX - Daniel Bryan vs. CM Punk
Actual main event: Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton vs. Batista
Yes, I know that CM Punk was gone by this time and I've been doing my best to use people that were on the card as I've gone down this list. However, I firmly believe that had WWE gone through with at least one of the past two main events that I recommended, CM Punk would be on the roster today, or at least wouldn't have walked out two months before WM XXX. With that being said, can you imagine what kind of a WrestleMania main event we would have gotten with Daniel Bryan and CM Punk?
1 WrestleMania 31 - Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar
Actual main event: Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar (vs. Seth Rollins at the end)
I know this isn't the popular choice, especially with the reception that Roman Reigns got after winning the Royal Rumble (and with how the WWE Universe is treating him now), but this was the right call. Reigns is one of the only guys that can physically match up with Brock Lesnar and make it look believable. And the match was pretty solid and very physical. These two really took it to each other and the inclusion of Seth Rollins at the end was a stroke of genius.
Neither Reigns nor Lesnar ended up looking weak and Seth Rollins became the best heel in the company. My only other option here would have been a triple threat with Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship...but I still think we'll get that match someday.
Okay, let the arguments begin.