10. WrestleMania VIII
Probably the most underrated/unrecognized show of all-time. Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair for the WWF Championship was a great bout–tons of drama, excitement and a solid finish that kept everyone at the edge of their seat. Flair even did his famous blade job and was a mess by the end of the match. This show also marked the singles debut of Shawn Michaels, arguably the greatest all-around wrestler in WWE history. Bret Hart fought Roddy Piper for the WWF Intercontinental Championship, which was also a great match to watch.
9. WrestleMania X
This show was highlighted by the first ever televised ladder match where Razor Ramon defeated the aforementioned Shawn Micheals for the WWF Intercontinental Championship. The ladder match, to this day, is widely regarded as the greatest in the history of professional wrestling. The match itself was so revolutionary, as the jumps, bumps, etc. were all never done before–the thought of jumping off a ladder and landing on someone was insane. The match solidifed HBK as a main eventer, as he’d go on to headline WrestleMania XI the following year. The show also saw Owen Hart beat his older brother Bret in technically-sound, top-10 all-time match. Bret later defeated Yokozuna for the WWF Championship later that night, much to the dismay of Owen.
8. WrestleMania III
This show is best remembered for the enormous crowd of 93,173 that filled the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit, Michigan. The main event of this match is the sole purpose why wresting became so globally popular–Hulk Hogan bodyslamming Andre the Giant and winning the WWF Championship match. This match, unquestionably, is the most historically-significant match in the history of professional wrestling. The match itself was poor in terms of wrestling, but the storytelling and emotion was unparalleled. Giant, mind you, was undefeated for two decades prior to this match. This match literally put wrestling on the map, and it’s often the first image that comes into one’s mind when the word ‘wrestling’ is said. Randy Savage and Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat also had a fantastic WWF Intercontinental Championship match that is widely regarded as one of the best all-time. The match vaulted Savage to the top of the WWF, and he’d go on to win the WWF Championship the following year at WrestleMania IV.
7. WrestleMania XIV
This WrestleMania is the starting point of the Attitude Era, and the first peg in the Monday Night War, as the following night on WCW Monday Nitro, WWF was defeated in the ratings department. This show is the exact moment that launched the greatest superstar in WWE history, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, atop the world after he defeated Shawn Michaels with Mike Tyson as the special guest ref. Tyson was believed to be sided with Degeneration X from the beginning, essentially giving Austin no chance to win. HBK was literally falling apart due to a gimpy back, making this match that much more impressive. To close the show, Michaels went for the Sweet Chin Music on Austin, who ducked and hit the Stunner on HBK. Michaels then threw Austin into the ropes and went for Sweet Chin Music again, but Austin spinned him around and hit the Stunner on Michaels. Tyson jumped in and counted the pinfall, then revealed that under his DX shirt was an Austin shirt. Michaels stood up, furious and in Tyson’s face, so Tyson KO’d Michaels with one shot to the chin. Austin celebrated in the ring with the WWF championship, officially putting the Attitude Era on the map. The Undertaker also continued his streak by defeating Kane, though it took him three Tombstone Piledrivers to do so. Triple H and Owen Hart also had a solid match for the European Championship, as did The Rock and Ken Shamrock for the IC title. Many people also remember the Dumpster match between the New Age Outlaws vs. Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie.
6. WrestleMania XIX
This show had a great card from top to bottom: Jericho/HBK, McMahon/Hogan, Triple H/Booker T, Rock/Austin III and the main event between Brock Lesnar/Kurt Angle. This was also the first ‘WWE’ WrestleMania. This ‘Mania also marked the final match from what is often considered the greatest feud in wrestling history between Stone Cold & Rock–Rocky hit 3 Rock Bottoms to defeat Austin. Jericho/HBK was also a great match, and Lesnar/Angle featured the now-infamous botched Shooting Star Press from Lesnar off the top rope that nearly broke killed him. Not to mention, Angle was essentially risking his life by participating in the match to begin with, as he was supposed to have neck surgery at that time.
5. WrestleMania 21
A solid opener between Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero. We saw Edge win the first ever Money in the Bank Ladder match, which, in many people’s opinion, including mine, is probably the best one to date. We also saw Legend vs. Legend Killer in Taker/Orton. Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels was one of the top 5 matches in WrestleMania history and was an amazing technical show between two of the greatest wrestlers of all time. The two main events saw Cena beat JBL and Batista beat Triple H.
4. WrestleMania XX
Probably the only ‘Mania that you won’t be able to see in it’s entirety anymore–the final image of this show saw Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero hugging after Benoit won the World Heavyweight Championship in a three-way. This card was also pretty solid from top to bottom, as it featured: Cena/Big Show,Undertaker/Kane, Jericho/Christian, Evolution/The Rock & Mick Foley and the two main events of Guerrero/Angle and the triple threat match of HBK/Triple H/Benoit. The Angle/Guerrero match for the WWE Title was an excellent bout between two of the best technical wrestlers to have ever stepped into a WWE ring. Despite the result (I wanted HBK to win), the triple threat finale was one of the best matches I have ever seen. As mentioned earlier, Benoit ended up winning the title for the first time after getting HHH to tap out to the Crippler Crossface. Many people will argue that because of Benoit’s double-murder suicide, it should no longer be among the best ‘Mania’s of all time. There can be an argument made for that, and I understand the facts backing it–in fact, I was never a Benoit fan, even from his WCW days–but there’s no denying what he was capable of bringing to the ring every night.
3. WrestleMania X-8
This entire show was overshadowed by the epic Rock vs. Hulk Hogan buildup. Hogan was supposed to be the heel of the match and Rock was supposed to be the babyface, but the fans at the Skydome in Toronto didn’t care and chanted however they saw fit–including myself. Aside from the show itself, this match was one of the best WrestleMania matches of all time–not for its wrestling, but for the entertainment and emotion behind it. The opening match between RVD and William Regal for the IC Title was also very good, as was the match between Edge and Booker T. Undertaker continued his undefeated streak, defeating Ric Flair. The main event between HHH and Chris Jericho is often forgotten because of the lasting memory of Hogan/Rock.
2. WrestleMania 2000
This was the first WrestleMania that Triple H had ever headlined, where he fought in a 4-way with Big Show, Mick Foley and Rock. Vince took the side of Triple H and let him retain the WWF Championship, marking the first time a heel had ever won in the main event at a WrestleMania. The Jericho/Angle/Benoit 3-way was a solid 2 of 3 falls match for dual ownership of the IC and Euro titles. This match is the blueprint of what a technical-wrestling match should look like. We also saw the Triangle Ladder match between E&C/Dudleyz/Hardyz that featured death-defying leaps and bumps never before seen that still resound in the minds of wrestling fans to this day. Jeff Hardy’s epic Swanton Bomb onto Bubba Dudley on a table is etched into the mind of everyone who saw it. Edge & Christian also won their first ever Tag Team titles after throwing Matt Hardy off of a ladder through a table.
1. WrestleMania XVII
This show marked the end of the Attitude Era and the Monday Night War, but from a booking card standpoint, really had four high-quality matches. The WWF had purchased WCW just seven days earlier, and WWE was back in complete and utter control of the wrestling audience. While the undercard wasn’t great, some solid matches included Benoit/Angle, TLC Match between Hardys/Dudleyz/Edge & Christian, HHH/Undertaker and Austin/Rock. The Astrodome in Houston, Texas had was filled with 67,925 fans, adding to the larger-than-life feel that WrestleMania XVII had.