20. Mick Foley vs. Edge – Wrestlemania 22
This match is definitely one of the best brawls in the last couple of years. The match was about two things – giving Mick his “Wrestlemania Moment” and solidifying Edge as a top star. The twists and turns in this match were absorbing and extremely creative (i.e. Foley concealing barbwire under his flannel). Lita of all people took the bump of the match when Foley hit Edge with the Cactus Clothesline with her on his back. It was great. Also great was the finish, which will go down as one of THE classic Wrestlemania moments.
You can see the awesome finish at the 2:25 mark.
19. Money In The Bank Ladder Match – Wrestlemania 21
According to those in the know, this match was Chris Jericho’s idea. Put six strong workers in a ladder match with the winner receiving a future title shot. It was really a brilliant idea. Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Edge, Christian, Shelton Benjamin, and Kane were in the inaugural match, and what an inaugural match it was.
It was a smartly booked spot fest where all of the moves had a reason and led to the finish. The most celebrated move is probably when Shelton ran up one ladder, that was diagonally hooked into another, and clotheslined Chris Jericho off the top of the ladder and to the floor. Edge would win the match and earn a future title shot.
18. Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels – Wrestlemania XIX
Most people consider the Steamboat/Savage match to be THE classic “pure wrestling” match in Mania history. I would disagree with that, and I would cite this match as my reason. For over 20 minutes, Shawn and Jericho put on the clinic to end all clinics. One absorbing exchange of holds after another left me on the edge of my seat, leading to a great finishing stretch with some crazy near falls. The post match featured Jericho hugging HBK only to hit a low blow, and it was extremely well done.
Winner: Shawn Michaels
17. The Hardys vs. The Dudleys vs. Edge and Christian: Triangle Ladder Match – Wrestlemania 2000
Big D says:
A lot of people considered 2000 to be the year of the tag teams in the WWF. There were about 7 or 8 great tag teams in the company all fighting for supremacy. However without a shadow of a doubt, the company put the entire division on the backs of the Dudley Boys, Matt and Jeff Hardy, and Edge and Christian. The Wrestlemania 2000 ladder match was the moment that defined their careers and skyrocketed them.
In terms of innovation, they took the Mania X ladder match and went to a whole new level. There were scary spots all over, including one where Jeff Hardy did a swanton off a ladder and broke his tailbone. This was the precursor to the famous TLC matches of the future, including the one at the next year’s Wrestlemania.
Winner: Edge and Christian
16. The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin – Wrestlemania XIX
Austin vs. Rock at XIX was the final chapter in one of the all time great WWE rivalries. It also provided a fitting end to the in ring career of Stone Cold, and gave the Rock the chance to finally get that big Mania win over The Rattlesnake.
While it was almost certainly not the best match these two ever had, It was still brilliantly dramatic in its own right. And given Austin’s physical shape and Rock’s relative inactivity at the time, the match far exceeded expectations.
Winner: The Rock
Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker dominate the next five matches in our countdown.
Photo from Wrestlemania 2000 is believed to fall under fair use rights according to Wikipedia