wrestling / Columns

The Most Important WrestleMania Matches

February 14, 2019 | Posted by Caliber Winfield
WrestleManias WWF WWE WrestleMania III Andre the Giant Hulk Hogan WrestleMania's

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Greetings, all.

This week I figured since we’ve started our way on the road to WrestleMania, that we’d take a look at the most important WM matches of all time, and see which ones belong up on the mountain. I honestly felt like this was pretty much a no brainer, but I’m curious to see what you guys come up with.

Next week we’re going to go with a reader submission, so if you have a topic you’d like to see next week, speak your peace in the comments section and I’ll choose one.

Until then, I hope ya’ll are having a jim-dandy of a day. Take care.

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Why It’s On The Mountain: This is one of those deals that doesn’t even need explanation. Andre had been the biggest draw in wrestling, both literally and figuratively, for decades. He was the 8th wonder of the World. However, the big wrestling boom of the 80s hit, and it’s flag bearer was none other than Hulk Hogan. A man who had eclipsed Andre’s stature. Now, at this point, WrestleMania 1 was a success, WrestleMania 2 was not seen as favorable due to the ridiculous notion to have it emit from 3 separate locations. So, it was put-up or shut-up time. WrestleMania 3. For this, Vince needed the biggest main event he could get, and what better than the current biggest star vs the former?
The match was such a no brainer, that they didn’t even start planning it until a few months before WM. They didn’t even need anything elaborate! Andre shows up with Bobby, says you’ve been a dick, rips off the cross, and we’re off to the races. Back then, they believed in less is more, and it sure as shit was.

Hulk Hogan [C] vs Andre The Giant w/ Bobby Heenan – WWE Championship – WrestleMania 3
Hogan starts off with some punches, but a body slam attempt leaves his lower back destroyed, which Andre starts to work on immediately. Hogan eventually works on a small comeback, which Andre shuts down with the quickness, but after showing a little bit of weakness. They eventually brawl to the outside, and Hogan even looks to piledrive Andre on the concrete, which is pretty unheard of back then. Back in the ring, Andre looks to finish, but Hogan catches a running clothesline, a body-slam, and the leg drop. Basically, Hogan survived Andre. The match of course isn’t that great. It’s pretty boring. But that’s to be expected. They did a fine job with what they had.
Hogan wins with the Leg Drop at 12:01| ** for the match, ***** for it’s historic value.

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Why It’s On The Mountain: This was it, make or break time. Vince had put everything he had, his entire future, his vision, into this one night. Into this one match. Yes, WrestleMania 1 had more than one match on the card, however there was really only one that was promoted. There was only one that people were coming to see. There was only one that resulted in jack-off talkshow host getting his head split-open. That match is Hulk Hogan & Mr. T vs Piper & Orndorff. Wrestling’s boom period was about to catch a blaze, but there had to be some great kindling, there had to be a spark. All of these things were in the form of Hulk Hogan’s feud with Roddy Piper, as well as the involvement of MTV and Mr. T. Taping into the vein of pop-culture, Vince was able to make wrestling seem like the cool thing. On top of that you have Piper beating the hell out of everyone and smashing gold-records, and you’re off to the races. It all lead to a make-or-break night, and as we all know, it made it alright. WrestleMania 1’s main event went off without a hitch, and things wouldn’t slow down after that night for almost a decade after.

Hulk Hogan & Mr. T vs Rowdy Roddy Piper & Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff – WrestleMania 1
We start off with some “who’s gonna tag in” kinda stuff, before Piper & T finally have a go. They do strictly armature wrestling, making sure T doesn’t look like a goof trying to work. The awesome New York crowd is chanting for Piper. Man, this match is frantic. They got people all over the damn place. Hogan & Piper start off, with both ending up on the floor and Piper grabbing a chair. Mr. T tries to get involved a few times, but keeps getting held back by the ref, Patterson. They do some classic heel-tag wrestling, causing T to rush in so the ref has to turn away, so they can double-team Hogan. Eventually Mr. T gets in there, and they legit wrestle. They don’t work. He honestly does nothing before tagging in Hogan again. At this point everyone gets involved, Cowboy comes off the top and accidentally hits Orndorff with the cast, allowing Hogan to get the pin. This was the first time I’ve ever seen this match, and honestly, it was a lot more fun than I was expecting. The crowd was hot the entire time, and they definitely kept the match nice and tight, with zero down time.
Hogan pins Mr. Wonderful at 13:24 | **1/2

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Why It’s On The Mountain: There were a few moments that served as pillars for which the Attitude Era was built on. One of them is right here, arguably the greatest match in WrestleMania history. Over the last 6 months, Stone Cold Steve Austin & Bret Hart were involved in one of the best feuds in wrestling. It was no-bullshit, straight-to-it ass-kicking from the start of the feud, and people loved it. This was as old school as it got. These two wanted to pummel the hell out of each other, and they did. In turn, we got just that. The double turn. Bret became one of the greatest heels of all time, as a petulant whiner that felt he was owed the world, and Stone Cold became what Billy Graham should have become in the late 70s, the first tweener babyface. The moment where he’s locked in the Sharpshooter with blood pouring down his face remains one of the Top 5 most iconic moments in WWE history.
Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs “Stone Cold” Steven Austin – Submission Match – WrestleMania 13
Man, I will never get over that freaking outfit Shamrock wore. It’s so funny how hyper-masculinity borders so much with gay dudes. Fantastic start to the match, as you get the sense that Austin just can’t wait to hurt Bret. They soon brawl out into the crowd, and brawl right next to a guy with a “Shamrock 3:16” sign, and you just know that he was so stoked because Ken definitely saw it. They brawl back to the ring, and after Bret delivers a sharp blow to Austin’s knee, Shamrock asks Austin if he wants to quit, which Austin responds with 2 middle fingers. Old school Austin was just too damn good. They continue with the back and forth, Bret working the knee, Austin working everything. We of course get to the spot of spots, where Austin is locked in the Sharpshooter with blood pouring down his head, refusing to give up. Masterful match from both cats, and props to Shamrock for not fucking it up. But that also probably had to do with him not needing to make counts. Either way, I’ve seen a lot of guest refs just destroy a match, but Ken did great. Impossible to not like this match.
Bret wins after Stone Cold passes out at 22:05 | *****

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Why It’s On The Mountain: The Undertaker & Shawn Michaels have arguably the greatest chemistry between two wrestlers ever. They’re legit on the level of Steamboat & Flair, as every time they touch it’s a classic. At WrestleMania 24, ‘Taker had another classic with Edge, in which the Streak was firmly mentioned, and clearly a goal. So, here at Wrestlemania 25 is when the Streak becomes the reason for Undertaker having a match, and the biggest prize at WrestleMania. Although I’d say WrestleMania 23 was the start of Undertaker truly stealing the show at every ‘Mania, it was 25 that cemented it. They went out and not only delivered a monstrous classic, but gave us one of the best story-line & match-ups combination in wrestling history over the course of the next 3 WrestleManias. It was also the beginning of the greatest story-line end to a career ever.

Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker – WrestleMania 25
Shawn starts off trying to use his smaller size and quickness to get in and around ‘taker, before he finally gets a hold of Shawn and lays the boots to him. Shawn responds by working the knee, and throwing on 2 extremely sloppy submissions. Serious, his Figure 4 and Crossface were absolute trash. I mean, wow. That’s definitely a side affect of taking Jujitsu I didn’t expect, noticing how terribly unpainful most of these submissions are. This match is 2 parts, and it’s seam is when ‘Taker damn near breaks his neck when he dives outside on to a camera man. After that, the match turns into a finisher-fest, but it absolutely works in that aspect. They have the crowd eating out of the palm of their hand at this point, trading all types of finishers, as the crowd pops for basically any and everything they do. It’s one hell of an atmosphere. Shawn goes for a moonsault which ‘Taker brilliantly turns into a Tombstone, to end what many call the greatest match of all time. Me personally, I think their WM26 match has a better story, and is a much better outing. I honestly find this match to be pretty over-rated. But, I never saw it live, and I think that affects a lot of people’s opinions.
The Undertaker wins with the Tombstone at 30:44 | *****

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WrestleMania, WWE, Caliber Winfield