We’re down to the top five in our greatest matches countdown.
5. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock – Wrestlemania X-Seven
Big D says:
In my personal opinion, this is the all-time greatest match in the history of Wrestlemania. I could write about this match for days and days and all of the little nuances in the spots, transitions, the build-up, as well as the aftermath because it meant so much.
This match, like Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant in 1987, was the defining moment of the Attitude Era wrestling boom. The two biggest stars in the business went at it. Both were babyfaces for the past year (Austin even helped Rock win the title a year prior), but in Texas, nobody was going to be worshipped like Austin regardless of the little heelish things he did during the match. Austin wanted to win, and how did he do it? It was with the help of his arch enemy for four years – WWF Chairman Vince McMahon. The crowd reaction in this match was louder than perhaps anything in all of Mania history. The work, heat, and fantastic moments make this truly fitting of the words “Wrestle” and “Mania”.
It’s a shame that they wouldn’t be able to follow this up ever again.
Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin
4. Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart – Wrestlemania X
WWE couldn’t have wished for a better match to kick off the 10th anniversary of Wrestlemania. The Hart brothers delivered an absolute technical masterpiece. It featured just tremendous back and forth action. There were some really great displays of counter wrestling throughout this match. I thought the victory roll reversal made for the perfect finish.
The benefits of this match were two fold. Firstly, Owen got a big win over a main event level guy. It established him as a star and set up a rematch for down the line. And secondly, it meant that the crowd was going to be particularly hot for Bret vs. Yoko in the main event. The story of Bret losing in the opener only to come back later and win the title played out perfectly. It was what made that show special.
Winner: Owen Hart
3. Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels – Wrestlemania 21
It was a dream match in every sense of the word. The first meeting of Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle was a bout that could have only taken place on the Grandest Stage Of Them All. In my opinion, this was the last classic Kurt Angle match. He’s had some good ones since and even a great one (vs. Yugi Nagata in 2008) but this match with HBK may have been his swan-song as far as matches of this caliber. Both wrestlers performed to the peak of their powers, wowing the crowd from bell to bell. The match culminated with some of the most dramatic nearfalls in Mania history and some absorbing submission teases. The spot where Shawn, with his tank past empty, mustered up one last superkick was incredible. It wasn’t enough though, as the ankle lock got synced back in and in a rarity, the babyface Shawn tapped clean.
Winner: Kurt Angle
(Remember Sexy Kurt?)
2. Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H – Wrestlemania XX
This match is going to be either overlooked because of how WWE has tried to erase it from history because of trying to erase Chris Benoit from history. Or, it’s going to be remembered even more fondly for the same reason. At any point, it was the perfect match with the perfect ending. I remember screaming at Triple H, pleading with him to tap so that Chris Benoit could finally win the strap. And when he did, I think I gained more respect for Triple H than I’d ever had. To me, at that point in wrestling, Benoit was everything that was right, and Triple H wasn’t. I’d be a fool for thinking that afterward, but not at that moment.
And who can forget the final scene in the middle of the ring with Chris Benoit’s family and one of his best friend’s in Eddie Guerrero standing next to him, congratulating him on winning something he’d earned because of hard work. WWE may try to erase that memory from history, but I’ll never forget it, no matter who Chris Benoit turned out to be.
Winner: Chris Benoit
1. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart – Wrestlemania 13
I thought that this match had a great chance to be our choice for number one, but any of the top three matches could’ve won in my book. I think the reason that this match won is because not only did Austin and Hart work so well together, but it also signified one of the greatest double turns in the history of wrestling.
The best part of the match is actually the end. Bret Hart had Austin in the sharpshooter while Austin was bleeding profusely. Austin never tapped, but he passed out, and the rest was history really for both of their careers.
Winner: Bret Hart
Thanks for reading through our lists of favorite Wrestlemania matches. I want to thank Alan, Duan, and Big D for putting a lot of this work together. They’ve been great in getting me all of the information necessary to put this thing together.