Ahhhhhhh Wrestlemania. The very name conjures up countless images which have both thrilled and entertained millions upon millions of people, never failing to lose its appeal in almost 30 years. It’s actually scary for yours truly to think that the very fist ‘Mania I can recall was way, way back in 1990 – when the “Immortal” Hulk Hogan was set to square off with the lunacy that was The Ultimate Warrior. Title for title, muscle-bound behemoth versus muscle-bound behemoth. It’s surely an iconic moment in the history of World Wrestling Entertainment and serves as a welcome reminder of just how much excitement Wrestlemania can cause.

With that said, I’m going to attempt to celebrate Wrestlemania season by way of attempting to describe only FIVE moments which stand out in my mind as favourites. Of course, if I tried to list every moment which captured my imagination, it’s very plausible that we’d be here until Wrestlemania L (50)! I’d like to thank Mr. Gee Hall and all the folks at Bored Wrestling Fan, alongside those wonderful peeps at Wonderpod Online for this tremendous idea. A festival of sorts, celebrating the wonderment that is being a professional wrestling fan!

Initially, I was thinking that it’d be a good idea to list these moments in some sort of order, perhaps leaving the vaunted #1 spot to my all-time favourite Wrestlemania moment. What I’ve decided to do instead, however, is to simply scrap that entirely and decree that all these moments deserve to be #1 in my own personal hall of fame! These moments don’t have any specific category, so expect to see some utterly horrible matches in there somewhere. In-ring action is obviously why I watch the shows but there is just so much more to Wrestlemania than matches. Indeed it can be the overall feel of the event, which is why our first entry finds its infamous way onto the list..

 

  • Wrestlemania IX – Hail Caesar!

Oh forgive me pro wrestling gods, for I have sinned. Many people have decried this particular ‘Mania as being one of the worst ever, citing a lack-luster card and ridiculous premise as major negatives. This fan can heartily say that, whereas it’s not the best event from an in-ring standpoint, he enjoyed this event so much. True, the Roman-themed pageantry is cheesier than a cheese factory, but that’s one thing that has always endeared me to WWF/WWE action more than anything else. The outlandish, over-the-top and colourful costumes, characters and production values are exactly why I was kept glued to my TV set as a kid.

Looking beyond Jim Ross making his WWE debut in a toga (!?), there is some decent stuff to be found here. Shawn Michaels would go on to have far more impressive Wrestlemania matches, but here he is content to bump himself silly against the undefeated Native American, Tatanka. Further up the card, Bret “Hitman” Hart pulls the significant weight of Yokozuna to a competitive main event before none other than Hulk Hogan wheels in to steal the spotlight and have his last ‘Mania moment for quite some time.

I’m laughing quite hard with glee that many of you will SLAY me for including the horrific “Romanmania” in here!

 

  • Wrestlemania XIV – The Attitude Era..

 

Oh how we all loved the “Attitude Era” of WWE television. So much so that it’s still talked about heavily amongst wrestling fans today, even by some who weren’t lucky enough to witness is firsthand! Thankfully, I was a happy-go-lucky schoolboy in 1998 and was there to live through the madness. One moment which sticks out for me personally, is “Stone Cold” Steve Austin pinning Shawn Michaels shoulders to the mat with “Iron” Mike Tyson making the count. When Austin lifted that WWF Heavyweight Title above his weary head, I very nearly went through the roof of the Kennedy household.

Many predicted that Steve Austin would see success in the wrestling business, but few could predict just how big of a success he really would prove to be – ending up as perhaps the largest draw in the history of the industry, including Hulk Hogan.

This event is must-see, with almost every contest garnering a HUGE reaction from the crowd in Boston. Talk about defining an era.

 

 

  • Wrestlemania XX – A Celebration of Wrestlers..

 

Much has been made over the years of Vince McMahon and his love of massive, well-muscled performers in the main events. From Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior and Sid Vicious, to The Big Show, John Cena and The Undertaker – it’s very clear to see that McMahon likes girth in his superstars. He really does like it when they appear to fans as action figures come to life, with a cartoon-like vibe to their presence.

Many were surprised by the top matches on Wrestlemania XX in the legendary Madison Square Garden. They featured a plethora of smaller, more in-ring orientated grappler’s than before and the actual wrestling was placed before storyline or drama. Indeed, the wrestling WAS the drama.

With Eddie Guerrero, Kurt Angle, Triple H, Shawn Michaels and Chris Benoit being in focus, you could be forgiven for not seeing this line-up as being anything entirely new. Men such as Bret Hart had been main eventing many years before this and was a similar build to most of the men listed above.

For me however, I chose to concentrate on the awesome fact that Vince McMahon was handing the spotlight to performers he knew could captivate everyone around the world with what they could do inside the wrestling ring. It’s hard to describe just how fantastic a nod to hard-working wrestlers the world over it was when Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit, long-time friends and road buddies, embraced in the centre of the ring to celebrate their mutual championship wins.

 

  • Wrestlemania X-Seven – The Best?

 

As far as it’s true to say that Wrestlemania IX is widely considered to be one of the worst events, Wrestlemania X-Seven is credited as being one of the best.

Looking back at the card, it’s not hard to see why. Almost every match on the show is well-received and all of the main event levels encounters have that big-fight feel that Wrestlemania top-liners really do need.

Times were exciting, with WWE recently buying out long-time competitor, WCW and looking to a certain future of money when it decided to run the “Invasion” angle. I can remember being so hyped about this particular Wrestlemania, wondering if any top WCW stars would make their bow on the “grandest stage of them all”.

With so much talk about the former competition, it’s refreshing to think that The Rock and Steve Austin truly stole the show with one of the best ‘Mania main events I can think of off the top of my head. Having already faced-off at Wrestlemania XV, it was great to see these men come up with an entirely fresh match-up. History states that this was the evening on which the beloved anti-hero,”Stone Cold”, turned heel but it will forever be remembered as a glitzy showcase of all that was good about the “Attitude Era”.

 

  • Wrestlemania VIII – A Pipers Hart!

 

Perhaps a surprising way to round off this list, but by no means a disappointing one. The hype for Wrestlemania VIII focused on “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair for the WWF Heavyweight Title and Hulk Hogan vs Sid Justice in a grudge match. What I remember is most fondly for is a mid-card Intercontinental Title bout between Bret Hart and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper which stole the show.

A jam-packed crowd of over 60,000 fans were witness to exactly why the Intercontinental belt was considered the “workers” championship. Both Hart and Piper put on a clinic of why they are considered amongst the top names in wrestling history, thrilling both myself and millions of others with a match which has long been one of my favourite ‘Mania contests.

On the night, it was Hart who would walk away – once again Intercontinental champion. In this mind however, it’s both men who can rightly claim to be champions.

 

 

There you have it folks, my personal favourite moments and Wrestlemania events/matches from down the years! Still find it scary to think that this is Wrestlemania 27 and we’re getting closer and closer to that 30th anniversary mark! This fan is still saving up for the trip of a lifetime over to New York, where the 30th Wrestlemania will surely be held in Madison Square Garden. As for this years extravaganza, I hope you all enjoy it as much as possible and that there are some shocking moments which will someday make it onto a younger fans “Best Of” list! TAKE IT HOME!

I would love to hear YOUR thoughts on my favourite Wrestlemania moments or indeed, anything else related to pro wrestling! Drop me an email with your own picks and I’ll be sure to respond. I just love chatting to any fans of this amazing industry. You can reach me at [email protected] !

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