WrestleMania: the biggest spectacle in the pro wrestling calendar. Sadly though, this doesn’t always guarantee greatness. From time to time, WWE’s super show leaves fans disappointed and disgruntled, yet even in the worst examples of this annual tradition, we can find some truly great gems of entertainment. Whether they be promos, dangerous spots, or even entire matches, these are the Top 10 Great Moments from Bad WrestleMania’s.
10. Shane McMahon’s Leap of Faith – WrestleMania 32
Regardless of how good or bad the rest of the match is, or the quality of the card it took place on, Shane McMahon trying to destroy himself will always be entertaining.
Back in 2016, Shane McMahon turned up unannounced on Raw after many years away from his family’s company to a massive response. Despite having no financial reason to do so, fans always respected Shane’s willingness to step into the ring and put on an entertaining show with his impressive athleticism and daredevil antics, so to see him return to WWE was great to see.
His first match back however was not too well received. It was a slow affair with little action that was basically built around one moment happening, but what a moment it was. Although it was a forgone conclusion that Shane would try to break every bone in his body at some point, it was still jaw dropping to see him descend from atop that gigantic steel structure, and it’s a clip that will be played for many years to come.
9. The Rock’s Adventures Backstage – WrestleMania 27
WrestleMania 27 was built around The Rock. It was his glorious homecoming to WWE, and would act as an almighty hype vehicle for his eventual return to the ring, but the host of the show that night certainly did not put on a good Mania. Other than one great match and for being responsible for inspiring Bullet Club leader Jay White to become a pro wrestler (that isn’t a joke), not much is worth noting about the 2011 show. The Rock did put himself to good use throughout the night though.
Between matches, we got to see The Rock roaming around backstage, coming across an array of legends to entertaining results, culminating in a badass stare down with his greatest rival, Steve Austin. These segments were funny, nostalgic and elicited a great reaction from both the crowd and long-time viewers watching at home.
8. Zack Ryder Wins the Intercontinental Championship – WrestleMania 32
Just because it’s the biggest WrestleMania of all time doesn’t mean it was one of the best, but the disappointing WrestleMania 32 got off to a surprisingly nice start when Zack Ryder climbed a ladder and claimed his first Intercontinental Championship.
Zack Ryder is a veteran of WWE that at this point had been with the company for over ten years, yet had never even heard his entrance music at WrestleMania back in 2016. That’s all he wanted: a place on the biggest show of the year important enough to warrant his own entrance. And at WrestleMania 32, he wasn’t even set to have that privilege originally, yet when a badly timed injury forced Neville out of the Intercontinental Championship match, a spot opened for the Browski to fill.
Going into this multi-man match, nobody expected Ryder to come close to winning the title given how he was never planned to even be there, but after shoving The Miz from the top of the ladder, Ryder picked up the upset and shocked us all in a wonderful way. It may have only lasted a single day, but Ryder’s IC reign was a well-earned reward for many years of service and hard work that certainly made me smile.
7. The Opening of the Show – WrestleMania 9
You know the phrase, “It’s all downhill from here”? That applied to WrestleMania 9 after about five minutes. An awful Giant Gonzales match, two matches ending in DQ, one in a countout, and Hulk Hogan closing the show as WWF Champion despite the fact he wasn’t even in the fucking WWF Championship match because ‘MERICA, BROTHER, all these reasons and more make this easily one of, if not the worst WrestleMania of all time.
Despite this abomination of a card, WrestleMania 9’s Roman theme certainly sets it apart from the rest, with one of the most distinguishable sets in WWE history. Thanks to the show’s motif and Las Vegas setting, it makes for an unusual yet wonderfully memorable opening. The outdoor setting, Jim Ross wearing a toga, a golden-covered Macho Man being carried to the ring like a god, Bobby Heenan riding a camel backwards to the ring, Macho pulling up Heenan’s toga to expose his big blue undies, it’s all bound to make you smile.
Literally nothing other than these first ten minutes is worth your time whatsoever, but WrestleMania 9 certainly got off to a charming start.
6. A Heated Promo – WrestleMania 15
Technically this took place on Sunday Night Heat directly before WrestleMania 15, but this is part of the whole Mania experience, and these days it would be on the Mania preshow, so I’m counting it.
There wasn’t too much of worth on the show’s main card, but before the lackluster event started, The Rock dropped a classic promo which serves as a reminder of just how damn good and insanely charismatic he was and still is.
5. The Undertaker vs. Triple H – WrestleMania 27
WrestleMania 27 is not looked upon too fondly by the majority of fans, probably because the main purpose of the show was to set up the main event of the following WrestleMania, leaving little to get excited over on the card that night. However, buried beneath The Miz retaining his championship in the main event was the fantastic match between The Undertaker and Triple H.
Lasting just under half an hour, this epic No Holds Barred match was the saving grace of a forgetful card. Within the closing segments of the match, it seemed as though The Streak could very well end, and left Taker winning through an act of desperation that made him seem like he was in serious trouble.
Having to follow the Taker vs. Michaels matches from the prior two WrestleMania’s, Hunter had big shoes to fill, yet managed to produce a stellar brawl with The Deadman. Arguably their bout inside Hell in a Cell the following year was greater and certainly has a more memorable ending, but do not overlook how entertaining this match was.
4. CM Punk vs. The Undertaker – WrestleMania 29
I remember WrestleMania 29 ending, and all I could think about was what a waste of time it was. Try to remember something from good this show. Anything. It’s really hard. Mostly known for the main event mockingly dubbed ‘Twice in a Lifetime’, this show wasn’t insulting bad, it was just so uneventful that it was tough to make through. Thank god CM Punk vs. The Undertaker was there to at least entertain me for a bit.
Starting off with a fantastic performance by Living Colour of the awesome Cult of Personality, that alone would be enough to make this list, but then Punk and Taker just happened to have one hell of a match. It would end up being the last Mania match for Punk (and the last good one for Taker), but what a way to go out.
3. Macho Man Wins the Title – WrestleMania 4
Having a fourteen-man elimination tournament on one show is an ambitious task. Trying to fit all sixteen tournament and non-tournament matches on the card within 3 and a half hours, that’s bound to end in an absolute shambles.
Featuring a rematch from the previous Mania’s iconic main event, WrestleMania 4 is stacked with the most iconic names of WWF during its golden era, yet still managed to produce a lackluster event. With so many matches rushed to a quick finish, 1/4 of which ending in disqualification, one by countout, and one by time limit draw, it’s hard to pull much enjoyment out of this one, yet despite its many faults, WrestleMania 4 ended with the crowning of a mega star as champion.
In a way, it’s a shame that Macho Man’s WWF Championship reign kicked off at a show looked down upon as much as this, but this one moment remains fondly remembered and iconic despite the fifteen other matches that preceded it. Seeing Savage hoist both the title and Miss Elizabeth on his shoulder is an image engraved into many fans, and for good reason. I’m a big lover of Macho Man, I’ve even got him tattooed on my back, and for many others like myself, WrestleMania 4 will always be known as the Mania that made the madness a champion.
2. Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin – WrestleMania 13
WrestleMania 13 really is a one match card. Nothing else from this show is talked positively other than this bloody brawl between two Hall of Famers. Sandwiched in between a series of forgettable midcard bouts, a Chicago Street Fight and The Undertaker beating Sycho Sid in one of the more forgettable entries in the legendary streak, Bret Hart and Steve Austin had a five-star classic still regarded as one of the best WrestleMania matches to date.
Responsible for sending Austin’s popularity into the stratosphere, Hart vs. Austin was a physical war ending in the iconic image of The Texas Rattlesnack passing out into a pool of his own blood. Before the first bell rang, Bret was adored by the audience and Austin was his villainous enemy, by the end of the match, the roles had completely reversed, and a superstar was made.
If you ever go back to watch this masterpiece of storytelling, just make sure you don’t stick around to see anything else from this mostly forgettable Mania.
Run DMC – WrestleMania V
Ray Charles Sings America The Beautiful – WrestleMania 2
Austin vs. The Rock – WrestleMania 15
- Women’s Triple Threat – WrestleMania 32
When a match starts with Snoop Dogg performing a personalized entrance song, it’s automatically a great moment. Throw in three extremely talented performers with history and chemistry together, and you get the best match of the night.
The triple threat at WrestleMania 32 felt like a moment of change. It literally eliminated the Diva Championship and brought in the era of Women’s Champions once again. It was the first time in years where women were being given a competitive match on the biggest show of the year without being rushed or overbooked, opening many fans’ eyes to the abilities of those in the ring. Sure, they’ve arguably had greater battles since and definitely broken more barriers since then, yet Sasha, Becky and Charlotte definitely made major strides on that night in what will no doubt go down as a very important match in both WrestleMania and women’s wrestling history.
Follow me on Twitter – @HairyWrestling
My Top Patrons