With WWE news still buzzing over the excitement of WrestleMania 33, it’s fun to look back at some of the most memorable moments that the spectacle has provided us. It’s nearly impossible to narrow down the 10 greatest moments in WWE’s WrestleMania history, but the ones listed below are definitely standout happenings from the wrestling’s biggest annual event. Some of the instances listed are legendary matches and others are moments that occurred during or after a match, but they are all staple moments in WWE history that fans have cherished over the last few decades.
WrestleMania III: Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant
With a record-breaking crowd (at the time) of over 90,000 people, this remains one of the biggest events in WWE and WrestleMania history. And one match packed the arena that famous night: Hogan versus Andre. No feud in the WWE has had more depth than that of Andre and Hogan. They were friends for years, and Andre was just as a big of hero as “The Hulkster.” Andre’s heel-turn on Hulk remains a landmark in WWE history, and the attendance level of WrestleMania III is proof of that. With its historical buildup, that match alone is worthy of being on a Top 10 list. But it also provided the WWE universe a WrestleMania moment that’s been raved about for years—Hogan slamming The Giant!
WrestleMania 18: Icon vs. Icon
Though Hogan wasn’t in his prime at WrestleMania 18, he wasn’t far past it either. Let’s face it; as long as he can rip his shirt off, slam an opponent, Hulk-up, and drop a leg, fans will want to watch him in the ring. So when it was announced that Hogan (who just returned to the WWE) and The Rock were going to square-off, the WWE universe erupted. And though Hogan was a heel, the WWE fans in Toronto helped turn him face. Chants of Hogan echoed for the legendary wrestler, and the crowd cheered both of the combatants on throughout the match.
WrestleMania XX: Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle
If you want to see technical wrestling at its finest, then this is the match for you. Though there was some chicanery at the end of the match by the late Guerrero, and the WWE universe would expect nothing else, this near 30-minute contest is a wrestling clinic. Eddie Guerrero beat Kurt Angle that night for the WWE Championship, and many regard it as one of their best matches.
WrestleMania XII: The Iron Man Match
Much of the WWE universe celebrates this match because of the WrestleMania moment dubbed, The Boyhood Dream; when Shawn Michaels beat Bret Hart for the WWE Championship, he cried in the middle of the ring because his lifelong dream had come true. Though this is endearing, the bigger moment of the night was the 60-minute match itself. Many fans had never seen an Iron Man Match in the WWE, and there has never been one before or after WrestleMania XII, so the WWE universe was excited but unsure of what to expect. What they got was over an hour of wrestling with not a single dull moment.
WrestleMania XIII: A Bloody Rattlesnake
Bret Hart and Steve Austin stole the show at WrestleMania XIII and left the WWE universe in awe. Many consider the image of Steve Austin bleeding and passing out because of the sharpshooter one of the most iconic pictures in WWE history. In addition to their phenomenal match and that legendary image, the duo manipulating the crowds’ reaction throughout the match is just as impressive. When the bout started, the WWE universe was cheering Hart and booing Austin, but when it finished, the crowd may not have booed Hart, but they were definitely cheering for “The Rattlesnake.”
As WrestleZone reported, Steve Austin ranks the match as one of his favorites in the WWE and of WrestleMania; Steve Austin explained further when asked, what was it like being hand-picked by Bret Hart to face him at Survivor Series.
“That’s probably my number three favorite match of all-time, behind WrestleMania 13 with Bret Hart and X-Seven with The Rock, which was absolutely tremendous. That Survivor Series match and the promos leading up to it, I was basically handpicked by Bret for him to make his comeback after some kind of treatment on his knee. He was making his comeback.”
WrestleMania XXV: Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker
This was the first contest at WrestleMania between these legendary performers, and it was an absolute masterpiece from beginning to end. When fans hear wrestling pundits talk about telling a story in the ring, this is what they’re talking about. If you wanted to show a skeptic of the WWE a match to convince them to become a fan, this is the one to show them. It’s not only regarded as one of the best matches of WrestleMania but one of the best matches in WWE history.
WrestleMania 24: I’m Sorry, I Love You
Ric Flair had an in-ring career that lasted over three decades, which few have paralleled, and it came to an emotional climax when Shawn Michaels retired him at WrestleMania 24. Flair would go on to wrestle a couple more times in TNA, but this wasn’t known at the time (not even by Flair). So as far as everyone involved was concerned, this was Ric’s final match of his star-studded career.
Considering Flair was pushing 60 at the time, this was a pretty good contest. But the WrestleMania moment came right before Michaels would deal Flair his final blow, when Shawn said audibly to Ric, “I’m sorry, I love you.”
After the match, Flair left the ring crying and thankful to the audience who were giving him a standing ovation. Flair left the audience heartbroken and in tears with this bittersweet WrestleMania moment.
WrestleMania XXVI: Streak vs. Career
In WWE poetic fashion, Shawn Michaels lost a retirement match at WrestleMania just two years after ending Flair’s career. Just like they did the prior WrestleMania, these two WWE legends delivered a wrestling masterpiece. Though The Undertaker didn’t tell Michaels he loved him before pinning him, he did shake his hand and hug him after the match.
WrestleMania 30: 21-1
Even with the two historical retirement matches, there has never been a more shocking ending to a wrestling match—anywhere—than when Brock Lesnar beat The Undertaker at WrestleMania 30, putting an end to The Streak. Over 75,000 people were silenced as “The Beast Incarnate” celebrated in the ring with his advocate Paul Heyman.
WrestleMania XXXIII: A Walk into the Sunset
WrestleMania XXXIII was over five hours long (seven including the pre-show), and it provided the WWE universe with several special memories. Some were happy, like The Hardy’s returning, and one was heartbreaking.
It’s not clear whether or not The Undertaker is going to ever wrestle again, but he definitely sent the WWE universe a message after his match with Roman Reigns. He has never done anything like this before, so many are assuming the legend is truly done. Given his reputation at the big event and the fact that no other WWE superstar has performed in more of them, it’s wrestling poetry for The Undertaker to retire from the WWE at WrestleMania. But as we all have learned through the years, you never say never when it comes to the WWE and WrestleMania.
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As fans anxiously await next year’s WrestleMania one thing is for sure; the event will continue to make memories and WWE news for years to come.
[Featured Image by WWE]