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The 5 Greatest Special Attractions In WrestleMania History

April 5, 2019 | Posted by Justin Watry
Ronda Rousey Stephanie McMahon WrestleMania 34

Hi, I’m Justin Watry. You may remember me from such columns as March 2012’s “WWE WrestleMania 28: Sheamus Should Defeat Daniel Bryan In Less Than A Minute” and October 2016’s “WWE NXT: Bobby Roode, You’re Next.”

Backstory

We are about one week away from the biggest event of the pro wrestling year – WrestleMania. I know we can all be cynics and carry a negative tone on the internet at times, but let’s be real. This is the Show of Shows. If nothing else, it is the grandest and most important evening on the 2019 calendar. This is what we live and breathe for as wrestling fans. Because of that, it is only fair I take a look back at past Manias that truly defined the name itself. Since money and being a ‘draw’ is something I tend to harp on a lot, that will be the main focus here.

Biggest WrestleMania Attractions

The Rock’s Return In 2011 – I didn’t want to list these in order, but if I did, this may be at the top. Little known fact: WrestleMania 27 had one of the biggest pay-per-view buy rates in WWE history. In history! The event was super hyped up, even if the actual show was only so-so. Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler had a near six month story that was handled to near perfection. The under card had some gems in terms of fan interest like Cody Rhodes vs. Rey Mysterio and CM Punk vs. Randy Orton. Plus, Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio was cool at the time, as was John Cena going for the WWE Championship after five months of The Miz carrying the gold around for the first time ever. Adding to that was the high rated television segment with The Undertaker AND Triple H coming back to do battle which sold WM27 in one staredown.

As great as all that was, The Rock returned to WWE on February 14th,  2011.

In one epic RAW ending, the entire complexion of the industry changed. The Most Electrifying Man In Sports Entertainment was back and better than ever. He was the guest host of WrestleMania 27 (something I predicted the week before during Raw in Milwaukee a split second after Vince McMahon teased the news), and Atlanta, Georgia had its’ attraction. The TV ratings sky rocketed after that week and WM surpassed a million buys in 2011, something the previous shows had NOT done. It was a special, special moment…

…but that was just the beginning.

He transition from guest host to wrestler, taking on John Cena in the main event of WrestleMania 28 after a full year of hype. Needless to say, the entire 12 months were going to lead to a record breaking buy rate for the dream match, and that is exactly what happened. The two had an epic main event in Miami, Florida and while that may be a “Once In A Lifetime” showdown, a rematch was in the works. The following year called for the rightful victor (Cena) but this time had the WWE Championship added. Once again, over a million PPV buys and record breaking business in the New York/New Jersey market – something that may be topped on April 7th, 2019.

Andre The Giant/Hulk Hogan – When you think of WrestleMania, what do you think of? Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold in an I Quit match? Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage? The Money in the Bank cash in by Seth Rollins? You know what I picture in my head? The image is Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant coming face to face in front of 93,173 fans in Detroit, Michigan. Pontiac Silverdome. March 1987. That is WrestleMania to me. While the attendance number has always been debated and was actually defeated in 2016, I still go back to Hogan/Andre. If WWE ever needs to go back to the drawing board and needs a MAIN EVENT OF WRESTLEMANIA, that’s it. There is your inspiration. The irresistible force meeting the immovable object.

Battle Of The Billionaires – You know the biggest buy rate in WWE history? It is the stuff from The Rock’s 2011-2013 and this in 2007. You can thank Batista vs. The Undertaker for the World Title. You can thank John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels for the WWE Title. You can even thank the loaded Money in the Bank ladder match if you want. Really though, Donald Trump and Vince McMahon arguing over their hair is what brought in all the money. It seems silly, but you can’t argue facts. Just go back and look at the television numbers and buy rate for this event. WrestleMania 23 ended up being a massive success. A similar tactic was attempted the following year with Big Show vs. Floyd Mayweather to similar numbers…but not quite Donald Trump levels. Huge.

WrestleMania 34 – The 2.12 million WWE Network subscribers is the only number I need as proof. Each year, the number has grown, and that is the biggest thus far. Because of that, it has to be mentioned. I wrote about this last year, but the card was surprisingly strong. Daniel Bryan was returning to the ring. Braun Strowman was against The Bar. The Miz vs. Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins was fun IC Title match. AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the top prize was a first time ever (in WWE) dream match to many. The Undertaker vs. John Cena had a very unique build. Charlotte Flair defending the Smackdown Women’s Title against the undefeated Asuka was amazing and must see. Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns renewed their rivalry after their unforgettable WrestleMania 31 clash. Best of all though, Ronda Rousey made her much talked about debut! Yes, that was the real draw of Mania last year and was my match of the year. Hats off to her, Kurt Angle, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon. She brought in the added attention, delivered in spades and is still doing it one year later. This time, in the main event…

Triple Threat Womens Main Event – Yep. I am calling it. This year is going to be a big time success. Like, BIG success. The 2.12 million WWE Network subscribers tally may be tough to beat, but I think they can do it. Years ago when the WWE Network launched, I said as long as it continued to increase, it didn’t really matter. So far, it has done that. Each year for Mania, the peak number has grown. Five years running now. What is the next benchmark? No clue. 2.2 million? 2.3 million? I have no idea. What I do know is that the women deserve this main event and has been something I have been talking about for well over a year now. heck, I made a case for Ronda Rousey main eventing LAST YEAR. Thankfully, she gets to share this moment with Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch. Nobody can make a case against either woman belonging and their career highlights. They SHOULD be in the WM35 closing bout in the biggest market in the United States. It is a no brainer and like 2018, WWE will bring in plenty of money while giving fans a WM Moment to remember forever. The Four Horsewomen of NXT have arrived in WWE and officially taken over. In the main event.

SUMMARY: In terms of being successful, what is your WrestleMania special attraction? What made you absolutely HAVE to see the event come PPV time? Let me know.

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