Ranking WrestleMania – Part 4

ranking WrestleMania

Check out part four of our series of posts ranking WrestleMania.

We’re more than halfway home. These are WrestleMania rankings done by Alan (@Alan4L), Duan (@DuanDub), Big D (@EmperorBigD), and GG (@roheblius).

You can check out the previous posts below:
Part 1 (31-26)
Part 2 (25-21)
Part 3 (20-16)

15. WrestleMania X8

WrestleMania 30 for 30 – WrestleMania X8 podcast Part 1
WrestleMania 30 for 30 – WrestleMania X8 podcast Part 2

WrestleMania X8 was held on March 17, 2002 at the Skydome. This was the second WrestleMania to be held at the Skydome.

What was good about the show?
Even though our website probably enjoys great matches more than great hype, the fact that this show is as high as it is shows that we can buy into great hype and still be mesmerized by two huge stars.

If you were to rate the work of Hulk Hogan vs The Rock, you wouldn’t rate it highly. But if you rated their performance in using all the tricks in the book to get the crowd riled up and into the match and manipulating everyone’s emotions, it was a tour de force.

Compare that to the match that actually went on last with Triple H beating Chris Jericho. It was much better overall, but because Hogan and Rock stole the show before it, fans didn’t care all that much.

The Undertaker faced Ric Flair in a dream match of sorts, but I found it a bit weird. Taker took nearly the entire match and Flair never really had a chance, except for when Arn Anderson interfered and hit the spinebuster, which is one of the best moments of the entire show.

What was bad about the show?
With Rock working Hogan and Triple H in the title picture, Stone Cold Steve Austin really didn’t have a dance partner. The nWo had come into WWF the month prior and Austin began a feud with Scott Hall. Hall was a force six years ago as one of WCW’s biggest stars, but by 2002, he was a shell of himself. The program would’ve been great in 1996, but wasn’t so much in 2002. Austin looked like he was just going through the motions.

Much like Austin, Kurt Angle was wasted on this show, facing off against Kane. Angle was actually Hall’s replacement if Hall screwed up his opportunity. They should’ve just gone with Angle and Austin instead. It may have been the best match on the show.

Oh yeah, and Booker T and Edge had a match that started over a shampoo commercial.

14. WrestleMania XXIV

ranking WrestleManiaWrestleMania 30 for 30 podcast – WrestleMania XXIV

This show was held at the Citrus Bowl on March 30, 2008. This is the same Citrus Bowl which will host WrestleMania 33.

What was good about the show?
There was a ton of emotion involved in this show because it was Ric Flair’s retirement match. I’ve always wondered if the match would’ve been better had Flair not been emotional throughout, knowing that he was hanging it up in WWE against someone he respected. If it was a regular match without the pressure of trying to be Ric Flair one more time, I wonder if he would’ve been more calm and not as worried. He was a little frustrated throughout, trying to put on that one last performance.

But then, I think that’s what made it as real as possible to me. While I don’t think it was a great match, it told the story that even the best ever grow old and can’t be the best anymore. Interestingly, Michaels himself would retire on the same stage just two years later.

Other really good moments on the show included:
– Edge and Undertaker closing the long show strongly
– Floyd Mayweather looking like a pro out there with the Big Show
– CM Punk winning a very good Money In The Bank match
– Randy Orton beat John Cena and Triple H in a fun three-way

What was bad about the show?
I mentioned that the Flair/Michaels match could be seen as a slight disappointment in the ring. But as a match, Batista and Umaga was probably the biggest disappointment. It may have simply been the lack of time, but they didn’t mix well. A year after both had huge WrestleMania matches, they looked uninspired and maybe they felt a little disrespected being relegated to a fairly meaningless match.

JBL and Fit Finlay opened the show and rather than having a fun brawl, they had a cold opener that didn’t really fit. Sometimes, matches that feel out of place on the show deliver. This one didn’t.

13. WrestleMania VII

ranking WrestleManiaWrestleMania 30 for 30 – WrestleMania VII podcast

WrestleMania VII was held on March 24, 1991 at the LA Memorial Sports Arena (and not the LA Coliseum).

What was good about the show?
Sgt. Slaughter gave Hulk Hogan a quality WrestleMania match, but that match would be a bit of an afterthought. This show was all about the emotion of Randy Savage against the Ultimate Warrior. It was booked as a retirement match (and we ranked it at #28 on our top matches at WrestleMania list), but that didn’t really make sense, since both guys were still at the top of their game. It definitely screamed gimmick. But it didn’t matter.

You rarely saw wrestlers hit finishers and not get the pin back then, unless it was Hogan or Warrior kicking out of their opponent’s finisher. In this match, Savage hit his flying elbow five times on Warrior, but Warrior still kicked out. And Savage took a few flying shoulder tackles before being pinned. But the aftermath was just as good as the match.

Sherri put the boots to Savage only for Elizabeth to show up and save Randy. Savage milked it for all it was worth and you had people literally crying in the audience. That is how it’s done folks.

The Hart Foundation’s last appearance as a team at WrestleMania was in losing their tag straps to the Nasty Boys. While not an excellent match, it was probably the second best match on the show with a really strong hot tag. Also, it was really nice to see the Rockers score a win on the big stage against the much larger team of the Barbarian and Haku.

What was bad about the show?
Jake Roberts and Rick Martel could’ve had a pretty decent match. But you put them underneath hoods and make them work a “blind” match and you have a terrible, terrible match. The pop was nice when Jake finally hit the DDT, but it may have been because it meant the match was over.

Also, Genichiro Tenryu and Kōji Kitao beat Demolition, which was probably for the best, but they only got five minutes and there was zero follow-up.

While this wasn’t a negative about the show, the decision to take advantage of the Persian Gulf war was WWF at its sleaziest.

12. WrestleMania 22

WrestleMania 30 for 30 – WrestleMania 22 podcast

WrestleMania 22 was on April 2, 2006 at the AllState Arena in Chicago.

What was good about the show?
This show was first and foremost about legitimizing John Cena. Just one year earlier, he finally won his share of the title by beating JBL. However, Batista was still seen as the bigger star thanks to his win over Triple H. Now it was Cena’s turn to beat Triple H.

They had a very good match in the main event. Cena today isn’t the greatest wrestler, but back then, he was such a clunky worker that he was on Smackdown a lot simply so they could edit his matches for television. This was Triple H’s match. He’s one of the best guys at pacing a match and it worked here.

But there was good stuff all up and down this show.
– Edge beat Mick Foley and gave Foley his classic WrestleMania moment of being speared through a fire table
– Mickie James and Trish Stratus had a good match even with a botched finish in an edgy program
– Shawn Michaels beat Vince McMahon in a match that was better than it had any right to be

What was bad about the show?
There was truly bad stuff on here such as the Boogeyman beating Booker T. But my biggest disappointment of this show was Rey Mysterio, Kurt Angle, and Randy Orton only getting 9:19 in their triple threat title match. If you gave the match double the amount of time, it may have been one of the 10 best WrestleMania matches of all time.

Instead, there were matches like Big Show and Kane against Carlito and Chris Masters for the tag straps that were meaningless in hindsight. The Undertaker could’ve quickly squashed Mark Henry and gave them more time. It’s one of the missed moments in WrestleMania history.

11. WrestleMania VIII

ranking WrestleManiaWrestleMania 30 for 30 – WrestleMania VIII podcast

WrestleMania VIII was held at the Hoosier Dome on April 5, 1992.

What was good about the show?
There were two really strong matches on this show. The overall feel of the show was big. Ric Flair, who was the main player for the NWA/WCW and Hulk Hogan’s main rival, was now in the WWF. Sid Vicious left WCW to come to WWF the year before as well. There was an interesting dynamic with Flair in the company and maybe an expectation that the match quality overall in the main event picture would increase.

Bret Hart beat Roddy Piper for the Intercontinental Championship in a match that felt very much like a passing of the torch. Piper had Hart in the sleeper hold and Hart used the corner to push off and fall backwards on Piper to pin him. Hart and Stone Cold Steve Austin would use the same finish in an excellent match at Survivor Series 1996.

Ric Flair and Randy Savage had an epic match. It ranked number 12 on our top matches at WrestleMania list. I think many were surprised that Savage won the match, which probably helped in how the match is remembered. But it was two legends on the biggest stage having as good of match possible.

I always liked Shawn Michaels’ match with El Matador (Tito Santana). Santana was the perfect type of worker to open a show and Michaels was starting his ascent to become a major player. Tito played his part perfectly.

What was bad about the show?
I will always have an issue with Vince McMahon not giving us the Hulk Hogan vs Ric Flair main event. I know that Sid Vicious was promised the main event at WrestleMania VIII, but that was before you were able to get Ric Flair!

I also know that Flair and Hogan had already gone around the loop. But this was WrestleMania!

Hogan and Sid was a mess, including the end when Vicious kicked out of the leg drop and Papa Shango came down, kicking off the return of the Ultimate Warrior.

There was also a lot underneath that seemed thrown together, but hey, when you have two matches that deliver and Hulk Hogan in the main event, you don’t need much else.

There’s only two parts left!

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