The road to WrestleMania is all clear.
With WWE Roadblock officially in the books, there are eight matches set for the 32nd edition of WrestleMania, which takes place in less than three weeks at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on April 3. Here’s what the card looks like following a couple of matches being added at the Smackdown tapings on Tuesday night.
- WWE World Heavyweight Title Match: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Triple H
- Hell In a Cell Match: Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker. If Shane wins the match, he gains control of RAW.
- No Holds Barred Street Fight: Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar
- Triple Threat Match for the WWE Divas Championship: Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte (c)
- The Third Annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal: Participants TBA
- WWE Tag Team Championship: The New Day (c) vs. League of Nations
- United States Championship: Kalisto (c) vs. Ryback
- The Usos vs. The Dudley Boyz
Now, if I had to pick the one match that’s going to steal the show at WrestleMania 32, I’d have to go with The Undertaker vs Shane McMahon match. Shane has always been known to take a few risks and The Undertaker has put on some great WrestleMania performances, especially late in his career. Outside of that match, however, there’s nothing on the card thus far that looks like “match of the night” material, except for maybe Lesnar and Ambrose. I’m sure there will be a few more matches added to the card in the coming weeks. There’s been talk of a ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship and also the possibility of Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn, which has the ability to steal any show. Hopefully, the WWE Universe gets a few more big-time matches to look forward to before April 3.
Until then, let’s have a little fun and take a look back at what I feel were the best matches from every single WrestleMania. And yes, I’m expecting you to fight me on a few of these.
WrestleMania: Hulk Hogan & Mr. T Vs Rowdy Roddy Piper And Paul Orndorff
The original WrestleMania was obviously a big deal, but to be honest, there weren’t a lot of great matches. In fact, I’d venture to say that there were none. There were some good ones in there, but the highlight of the night goes to the main event. I still don’t think that putting Mr. T in the actual match was necessary, as I feel the WWF title should have been on the line in a one-on-one contest between Hogan and Piper, but that’s the way it goes.
WrestleMania 2: The Dream Team Vs The British Bulldogs
WrestleMania 2 was probably the worst WrestleMania in history. There was the chaos of three venues and there were just a lot of bad matches. The only real standout was this Tag Team Championship match between The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid) and The Dream Team (Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake). In the end, the Bulldogs won their first and surprisingly only tag team titles in what I consider to be the only great match of the first two WrestleManias.
WrestleMania III: Randy Savage Vs Ricky Steamboat
On a card that featured one of the biggest matches of all time in Hogan vs Andre, fans were also treated to one of the best matches of all time. Randy Savage and Ricky Steamboat put on a wrestling clinic at WrestleMania III in front of 93,173 people at the Pontiac Silverdome. The back and forth match for the Intercontinental featured more than 20 near falls and was the culmination of a great feud leading up to the event. This is easily one of the top five matches in WrestleMania history.
WrestleMania IV: Randy Savage Vs Ted Dibiase
This match wasn’t a classic by any means, but it did what it was supposed to do. On a night that saw a lot of quick matches for the tournament’s sake, the finale told a great story. Adding Hogan to the mix was a nice touch, as it would set up the year-long storyline between the two. I think the Hulkster may have overstayed his welcome in the ring after Savage won the title, but nevertheless, this was a great good guy vs bad guy story at WrestleMania IV.
WrestleMania V: Randy Savage Vs Hulk Hogan
WrestleMania V was an extremely crowded pay-per-view with fourteen matches. Outside of Hogan-Savage, the only match to go more than ten minutes was Brutus Beefcake vs Ted Dibiase and that clocked in at 10:01, so it’s really a matter of no other match having the chance to be that great. Hogan and Savage, while not the best match either has ever put on, was still very entertaining and was a good end to a great storyline.
WrestleMania VI: Hulk Hogan Vs The Ultimate Warrior
The WrestleMania VI card was a bit of a mess as well. There were a few decent matches in there, but “The Ultimate Challenge” between Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior won the night. It certainly wasn’t the best technical wrestling match, but it told a great story and was really the first time that fans got to see two fan favorites go at it. Throw in the fact that Hulk Hogan was actually willing to lose and we got the surprise factor in there, as well. Unfortunately, the rematch in WCW eight years later didn’t go quite as well.
WrestleMania VII: The Ultimate Warrior Vs Randy Savage
This was great storytelling at its best. The retirement match between The Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage at WrestleMania VII was a twenty-minute affair that kept fans on the edge of their seats with every pin attempt. With Sensational Queen Sherri at ringside and Miss Elizabeth in the stands, Savage took the three count, which ended his career (in wrestling, that means he just needed a few months off), but paved the way for an emotional reunion after the match. Great stuff.
WrestleMania VIII: Randy Savage Vs Ric Flair
But wait, I thought Savage was retired. Honestly, picking this one was a tough call. I’m sure some would pick the Intercontinental Championship match between Bret Hart and Rowdy Roddy Piper. However, I’ve gotta go with the WWF Championship match between Randy Savage and Ric Flair. Unfortunately, this great match was stuck in the middle of the card, as the monstrosity that was Hulk Hogan vs Sid Justice ended the night. Savage vs Flair was a great battle between two of the all-time greats in their prime and just squeak out a victory for my pick for WrestleMania VIII.
WrestleMania IX: Shawn Michaels Vs Tatanka
WrestleMania IX was full of really awful matches. The only really good one that came out of Las Vegas was the opening match between Shawn Michaels and Tatanka. This is a very underrated match in WrestleMania history and probably doesn’t get the credit it deserves due to the event that it’s attached to. The end of the match left a bit to be desired as well, but the action leading up to it was fantastic.
WrestleMania X: Bret Hart Vs Owen Hart
I strongly believe that this is the best opening match in WrestleMania history. I know the popular pick for WrestleMania X is the ladder match featuring Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon, but the curtain-jerker between Bret and Owen Hart gets the nod in my WrestleMania book. It was a classic encounter between the two brothers that was only a part of their epic feud in 1994. If you’re looking for another great match between the two, the steel cage match between the two at SummerSlam a few months later fits that bill. This match was a technical classic that should be shown to every wrestler getting into the business.
WrestleMania XI: Shawn Michaels Vs Diesel
You might remember this one as the WWF Championship match that had to play second fiddle to Lawrence Taylor vs Bam Bam Bigelow at WrestleMania XI. It also gets overlooked as a pretty solid match. It’s not the best match of Shawn Michaels’ career, but I’d go out on a limb and say that it’s probably one of Kevin Nash’s. The big man vs little man thing is sometimes difficult to pull off, but these two did a great job with it in what was unfortunately another average WrestleMania.
WrestleMania XII: Shawn Michaels Vs Bret Hart
It’s Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart wrestling for an hour. Enough said.
WrestleMania 13: Bret Hart Vs Steve Austin
This was the match that catapulted Steve Austin into the stratosphere and is arguably one of the greatest bouts in WrestleMania history. It certainly doesn’t hurt being in the ring with Bret Hart. Not only was it a great match, but the double-turn that the two were able to pull off during this encounter was phenomenal. The image of Austin’s bloodied face as he’s in the Sharpshooter is iconic and this match will go down as one of the all-time WrestleMania greats.
WrestleMania XIV: Steve Austin vs Shawn Michaels
What I like about WrestleMania XIV is that every match seemed to serve a purpose instead of just being thrown together. The biggest match on the card was the main event for the WWF title between Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin had become a bona fide star the year before and this served as his official coronation of being the biggest thing in wrestling. Even with a busted back, HBK put on a great performance in what would be his last match before a four-year hiatus. Coming in a very close second was the match between The Undertaker and Kane.
WrestleMania XV: The Rock Vs Steve Austin
Outside of a few matches, WrestleMania XV was a mess. There was the awful fight with Butterbean and Bart Gunn and the worst Hell in a Cell match in history with The Undertaker and Big Boss Man, but luckily Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock, who had become two of the biggest stars in the world, saved the show at the end. And let’s be honest, it’s always funny watching The Rock take a Stunner.
WrestleMania 2000: Edge & Christian Vs The Hardy Boyz Vs The Dudley Boyz
Just like the year before, the 16th edition of WrestleMania, WrestleMania 2000 was a bit of a mess. I still believe to this day that the main event should not have been a four-way, but instead a one-on-one between Triple H and The Rock. It’s a shame those two have never battled in legitimate match at WrestleMania. There were only two great matches that night. There was the two falls match featuring Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, and Chris Benoit, and then there was my pick, the three-team ladder match for the Tag Team Championship between Edge and Christian, the Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz. In what was only one of so many great battles between these teams, these six men stole the show as Edge and Christian prevailed to win their first tag team titles.
WrestleMania X-Seven: Edge & Christian Vs The Hardy Boyz Vs The Dudley Boyz
Outside of its ridiculous name, WrestleMania X-Seven is arguably the greatest WrestleMania of all time. There were so many great matches, including The Undertaker vs Triple H, Vince McMahon vs Shane McMahon, Chris Benoit vs Kurt Angle, and of course, Stone Cold Steve Austin vs The Rock, which was a truly great match, even if the ending didn’t make much sense. However, by a nose, I’ve got to go with a repeat match for my WrestleMania X-Seven pick. Edge and Christian, the Hardys and The Dudleys proved at their ladder match the year before, then again at Summerslam, that they could steal a show and once again, they did just that by testing the limits and putting on one of the greatest shows in WrestleMania history. That picture you see above was only one spot that gave this match the edge.
WrestleMania X8: The Rock Vs Hulk Hogan
I know I’m going to get a lot of complaints on this one, but I just couldn’t help myself. Yes, the Undertaker vs Ric Flair match and the Triple H vs Chris Jericho matches were technically better than this one, but the atmosphere and the sheer awe of seeing Hulk Hogan vs The Rock at WrestleMania X8 (another ridiculous name) got the better of me here. The two legends told a great story in the ring, even if it wasn’t the best actual wrestling match. Go ahead and yell at me for this. It was worth it.
WrestleMania XIX: Shawn Michaels vs Chris Jericho
In his first WrestleMania in five years, Shawn Michaels certainly didn’t disappoint in his return. It didn’t hurt that he was wrestling a man who was pretty much a mirror image in Chris Jericho. These two put on a great match on a great card that featured the third WrestleMania match between Austin and The Rock and an instant classic between Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle (minus the botched Shooting Star Press anyway). That match would have easily been the best match on a lot of WrestleMania cards, but my pick for WrestleMania XIX is Michaels vs Jericho.
WrestleMania XX: Shawn Michaels Vs HHH Vs Chris Benoit
I’m usually not one for triple threat matches, as they can just get really sloppy, but the main event of WrestleMania XX was the exception. You knew that you’d get a great match between Triple H and Shawn Michaels, but the addition of Chris Benoit put it over the top. The three battled for nearly 25 minutes and the end saw Benoit pick up the victory and celebrate with his great friend Eddie Guerrero, who had defeated Kurt Angle earlier in the night. The celebration from two guys that were never supposed to be world champions was a true WrestleMania moment.
WrestleMania 21: Shawn Michaels Vs Kurt Angle
While the title matches at WrestleMania 21 were a little disappointing, the inaugural Money in the Bank ladder match and The Undertaker vs Randy Orton really helped save the night, but the grudge match between Shawn Michaels and Kurt Angle was the highlight of the night, and it was expected to be. These two are two of the greatest in-ring performers in history and it certainly showed that night at the Staples Center.
WrestleMania 22: Edge Vs Mick Foley
There were some solid matches on this card, including another strong Money in the Bank match and a very good championship match between Triple H and John Cena, but the show-stealer was the hardcore match featuring Mick Foley and Edge. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when these two got in the ring, but Foley proved that he had something left in the tank, especially when he took that spear onto a flaming table. Great stuff.
WrestleMania 23: Shawn Michaels Vs John Cena
Most people are talking about WrestleMania 23 these days because that’s the WrestleMania where Vince McMahon got his head shaved by Donald Trump. Yes, that Donald Trump. However, what the night should be remembered for is one of the greatest matches in Batista’s career as he took on The Undertaker and the best match of the night, Shawn Michaels vs John Cena. Cena doesn’t get nearly enough credit for putting on some great matches over the past twelve years, but he was really on his game for WrestleMania 23. I suppose you have to be when you’re having a match with “Mr. WrestleMania” himself. After defeating Triple H the year before, Cena got the victory here in a fantastic main event.
WrestleMania XXIV: Shawn Michaels Vs Ric Flair
Maybe this is another one of my sentimental picks, but I’ve got to go with HBK vs Flair as my pick for WrestleMania XXIV. I was in the Citrus Bowl that night, and the emotion that was running through the place during this match was amazing. The main event between Edge and The Undertaker may have been the better overall match, but there was something special going on when Michaels and Flair got in the ring that night in Orlando. Michaels did what he always does and Flair proved that he still had one great one left in him. And that finish — beautiful.
WrestleMania XXV: Shawn Michaels Vs The Undertaker
Just when you thought that Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker would never meet in a one-on-one match ever again, they go and pull off what many consider to be the greatest match in WrestleMania history. The chemistry between these two was obvious as they went back and forth for over half an hour, hitting multiple finishers on one another with each man nearly getting the win on multiple occasions. You almost felt bad for the two title matches that had to follow this.
WrestleMania XXVI: Shawn Michaels Vs The Undertaker
While this WrestleMania rematch wasn’t quite as good as the match the year before, it came pretty close as Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker put on another instant classic at WrestleMania XXVI.
WrestleMania XXVII: Triple H Vs The Undertaker
A lot of WrestleMania XXVII was a train wreck. The main event was a joke, there was an eight-man tag that lasted less than two minutes, and the Jerry Lawler vs Michael Cole match was probably the worst in WrestleMania history. The Edge-Del Rio match was solid, and the Randy Orton vs CM Punk match was great, but neither could quite match the drama that Triple H and The Undertaker had in their contest. There were a few times that I legitimately thought that the streak would end that night. This may have been the best match of the three WrestleMania matches between these two future Hall of Famers.
WrestleMania XXVIII: Triple H Vs The Undertaker
While the match between Triple H and The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXVIII wasn’t quite as good as the one they had the year before, adding Shawn Michaels to the mix put it at nearly the same level. The drama and intensity were certainly there, and the sight of the three of them walking out together was another great WrestleMania moment.
WrestleMania 29: The Undertaker Vs CM Punk
If CM Punk was upset about not being in the main event and wanting to prove a point by putting on the best match at WrestleMania 29, he did his job. It didn’t hurt that he was in the ring The Undertaker, who makes his fifth consecutive appearance on this list. The buildup to this match, although a little controversial with the real-life death of Paul Bearer, was phenomenal and made this a real good guy vs bad guy kind of match. Both men excelled in their respective role and both definitely excelled in the match of the night at WrestleMania NY/NJ.
WrestleMania XXX: Daniel Bryan Vs HHH
There was a lot going on at WrestleMania XXX. Bray Wyatt got his first big chance to shine against John Cena. The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania would come to an end at the hands of Brock Lesnar. Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, and The Rock would share the ring in a great opening segment. But WrestleMania XXX will always be best remembered for being Daniel Bryan’s night. He would capture the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the end of the night in a triple threat against Randy Orton and Batista, but to get there, he’d first have to go through Triple H in the opening match of WrestleMania XXX and it was a great match. Even with the outcome being quite obvious, you still found yourself on the edge of your seat as the ultimate underdog knocked off the boss to set up his big win later on.
WrestleMania 31: Roman Reigns Vs Brock Lesnar Vs Seth Rollins
When the worst match of a WrestleMania is Triple H vs Sting, then it’s a pretty good night for WWE. WrestleMania 31 was very balanced and Seth Rollins had an incredible night. I’d say that his match against Randy Orton was the second best match of the night, right behind the main event. Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns put on a better show than I ever could have hoped for as they were very physical. Yet, the match got even better when Seth Rollins inserted himself into the match and stole the title by cashing in his Money in the Bank contract. This was the best scenario for all parties involved, as nobody came out looking weak after this one.
Okay, there it is. Let the arguments begin. Take to the comments section to let me know what you think I got right, what you think I got wrong, and which match you’re most looking forward to at WrestleMania 32.
[Image via WWE]