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Ranking All 33 WWE WrestleMania PPVs

Which Granddaddy is the Grandest Granddaddy of them all?

Alright then, here we go.

WrestleMania, as we all know, is bigger than everything else in wrestling. Sometimes it's even bigger than wrestling itself, transcending the business and attracting casual or former fans in droves.

In a perfect world, 'Mania would be a consistently fantastic show. Storylines would come to a head, new feuds would emerge, and shocking moments would strike all of the right chords with the audience.

In fairness, some WrestleManias achieve just that. Some are regarded as masterpieces from the moment they take place, while others age well and are looked back upon as under-appreciated classics.

However, we don't live in a perfect world. Unfortunately, many 'Manias fall well short of the (understandably massive) hype. Sometimes the blame lies at the feet of uninspired or silly booking, while other times the action simply doesn't go as well as it perhaps should.

With WrestleMania 34 right around the corner - and having already ranked every Survivor Series PPV and Royal Rumble match - it would be rude not to list every 'Mania from worst to best, wouldn't it?

Skipping this task would certainly be more relaxing, and less likely to throw me into an existential crisis (seriously, what am I doing with my life?) - but we all understand the importance of our eternal internet master: list-based content.

So here we go. Prepare yourself to be in this for the long haul, because we're about to rank every single WrestleMania from worst to best. Along the way, we'll see some of the most historically important moments and matches in the history of the business; no biggie.


33. WrestleMania IX - 1993


WWE


Where: Caesars Palace - Paradise, Nevada

What: The most face-punchingly offensive WrestleMania of all time, in terms of both visual aesthetic and actual booking. The overt Roman theme may have been striking, but it only serves to make 'Mania IX even more memorable as the worst ever. It has the unfortunate distinction of hosting not only the worst WrestleMania main event but also the worst match of Undertaker's undefeated streak.

The Good: The show actually started off quite well, a wrinkle that has been somewhat lost to history. Shawn Michaels and Tatanka went almost 20 minutes in a good opener that was sadly deflated by a countout finish before the Steiners crushed The Headshrinkers in a nice tag bout. Unfortunately - and this is an understatement - it was all downhill from there.

The Bad: The worst thing on this show was unquestionably the main event - or rather the second main event. Yokozuna surprisingly defeated Bret Hart for the WWF Championship, a curious decision considering the Hitman was poised to become the star of a new generation. The political reasons behind this became clear when Mr. Fuji immediately challenged Hulk Hogan to a title match on his client's behalf. This led to the Hulkster running through the new champion in 22 seconds. It was a major step back for WWF, especially considering Hogan's waning popularity and relevance. Elsewhere, Giant Gonzalez knocked The Undertaker unconscious with a chloroform-soaked rag, losing the match via DQ and granting 'Taker the least impressive victory of his Streak by far.

Star of the Show: Shawn Michaels. Truthfully, this show is more remembered for its weak points than its strengths. The fact that HBK came across best - despite deliberately getting himself counted out in the opener - speaks volumes.

32. WrestleMania 2 - 1986




Where: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum - Uniondale, New York
- Rosemont Horizon - Rosemont, Illinois
- Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena - Los Angeles, California

What: A misguided attempt to make the sequel three times as big as the original. WrestleMania 2 emanated from three different states, lending the entire event a broken, disjointed feel. This would have weakened even the strongest of 'Mania cards, but 'Mania 2's action was also sorely lacking in quality.

The Good: For all of the pay per view's faults, it at least closed with a bang. Hulk Hogan's steel cage match with King Kong Bundy was a classic face vs. heel affair, and although not the most polished of main events, comfortably outshone everything else on the card. Or should that be cards? (It should, sadly.)

The Bad: You have to feel for those who decided to attend one of WrestleMania 2's live events, as each card was heavily diluted. Those in New York were perhaps the worst off, as their 'main event' saw non-boxer Mr T take on non-boxer Roddy Piper - in a boxing match. While it may have been wise to play off the main event of the inaugural 'Mania, this format made things incredibly difficult for both men. In Illinois, fans were 'treated' to a battle royal featuring a number of NFL players - which quickly devolved into an understandably clunky affair.

Star of the Show: Hulk Hogan. After his triumph one year prior, Hogan's star power gave WrestleMania 2 an undeserved sheen. No longer hamstrung by Mr T or a tag team stipulation, he enjoyed a heroic, action hero performance against a classic monster opponent.

31. WrestleMania XI - 1995


WWE


Where: Hartford Civic Center - Hartford, Connecticut

What: A WrestleMania that certainly didn't feel like one. Celebrity involvement has always been a key ingredient on the Grandest Stage Of Them All, but this show certainly took things too far. Mr T may have tagged with WWF's biggest star in 1985, but a decade later, NFL star Lawrence Taylor main evented in a singles match against midcarder Bam Bam Bigelow. Although a reasonable business decision, it was not one which has aged particularly well at all.

The Good: Truthfully, nothing on this show particularly stood out. The best bout was probably the WWF Championship match between Diesel and Shawn Michaels, even though it came in the midst of Diesel's unenthusiastically-received title reign. That aside, the rest of the card actually felt like a B-show pay per view (or an In Your House, as this was the mid-90s).

The Bad: First and foremost, it's important to realise that Lawrence Taylor actually did a pretty decent job for a non-wrestler. His performance is largely remembered as one of the more impressive celebrity matches in WWE history - but that doesn't mean it was good by normal standards. His (very) limited offence carried him to a predictable victory over Bam Bam, giving a bizarre ending to an otherwise flat 'Mania.

Star of the Show: Shawn Michaels. Although not one of HBK's most memorable 'Mania matches, he still put over old pal Diesel admirably. Well, apart from his awkward bump on the final move of the match - but we'll let that slide.


30. WrestleMania IV - 1988


WWE


Where: Atlantic City Convention Hall - Atlantic City, New Jersey

What: A WrestleMania utterly dominated (and stifled) by a tournament for the vacant WWF Championship. This was supposed to be the Macho Man's crowning moment but is sadly remembered as a slog of a show to get through. The final between Savage and DiBiase was decent, but the road to get there was very long and winding indeed.

The Good: With so many tournament matches taking place, a few had to be good, right? Ricky Steamboat had a decent opening round match against Greg Valentine (which the latter bafflingly won, especially given the Dragon's heroics one year prior). Savage and DiBiase played their respective roles well all throughout the tournament, and their eventual showdown was a satisfying conclusion to the show. Ultimately, however, the format of this PPV prevented anything from truly standing out.

The Bad: There were 16 matches on the card, and only two of them lasted longer than 10 minutes. That should tell you all you need to know about WrestleMania IV, perhaps the most difficult 'Mania of all to sit through. Very few matches were allocated the right amount of time to build any sort of momentum, with Hogan and Andre's double-DQ a particularly taxing contest. WWE thankfully learned from this, and haven't devoted an entire WrestleMania to a single tournament since.

Star of the Show: Randy Savage. This was the Macho Man's first WWF Championship win and should have been a defining moment of his career. Instead, Hulk Hogan took to the ring and celebrated just as hard as his title-winning buddy - if not more so. Still, Savage's efforts throughout the tournament were admirable.

29. WrestleMania XV - 1999


WWE


Where: First Union Center - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

What: A real Attitude Era WrestleMania, for better or worse. This show was certainly full of incident, from Butterbean knocking out Bart Gunn in the infamous 'Brawl for All' final, to Undertaker hanging Boss Man from the roof of the Hell in a Cell structure. Thankfully, for all its chaos and silliness, it was at least topped off by a fittingly epic Rock vs. Austin encounter.

The Good: Although comfortably the worst of their WrestleMania trilogy, the first Rock/Austin encounter still felt appropriately massive. It descended into a bit of a mess, as the McMahons and Mankind all involved themselves - but Stone Cold's ultimate win was a classic babyface payoff to close the biggest show of the year.

The Bad: Undertaker and Boss Man's hanging angle certainly left a sour, bizarre taste in the mouth - particularly when it was treated very seriously at first, only to be quickly shoved aside for the main event. On the whole, the matches were short and intense, but few connected very well at all. The Tag Team Championship match and Mankind vs. Big Show are prime examples of this. In terms of the women's division, the less said about Sabe vs. Tori the better...

 Star of the Show: Steve Austin. WrestleMania XV can be seen as a microcosm of the Attitude Era - perhaps not in terms of overall quality, but in terms of the fact that despite everything being highlighted as colourfully as possible, Stone Cold still emerged as the big star.

28. WrestleMania XXVII - 2011


WWE


Where: Georgia Dome - Atlanta, Georgia

What: Aside from the setting, the celebrity involvement, and one good match, this 'Mania felt more like a big episode of Raw. The main event is remembered as one of the most disappointing in WrestleMania history, as The Rock interfered to gift The Miz a victory over John Cena - thereby setting up the following year's main event. The Undertaker and Triple H did their best to save the day, but the bad of this pay per view firmly outweighed the good.

The Good: The aforementioned Triple H vs. 'Taker showdown is seen by many as an excuse to put The Game on the same level as Shawn Michaels - with whom the Deadman had enjoyed two incredible matches in the years prior. Ultimately, it was still a good bout with an intriguing finish, as Undertaker had to be helped from the ring despite winning the match. CM Punk and Randy Orton also shone early in the night.

The Bad: We've already talked about the main event, but it cannot be overstated how insulting it must have been to fans in attendance. The Rock's involvement basically spelled out that next year's show would be the really important one. The worst aspect of the show, however, was an utter slog of a match between Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler. It should have been a five-minute squash, but instead dragged on for almost quarter of an hour - only for Lawler's feel-good victory to be bafflingly reversed via DQ.

Star of the Show: The Undertaker. Triple H had faced the Deadman at 'Mania once before, beating The Game in entertaining fashion at WrestleMania X-Seven. This was a far grander encounter, however, a near 30-minute No Holds Barred epic. 'Taker may have a ludicrously one-sided 'Mania record, but much of the streak served to elevate his opponents rather than bury them. This match was a prime example of that.


27. WrestleMania V - 1989


WWE


Where: Atlantic City Convention Hall - Atlantic City, New Jersey

What: An inconsistent show, but not a WrestleMania that could be considered a really bad one - especially after the gruelling tournament of the year before. There were big matches here, including a huge main event between Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, a feud that has gone down in history alongside the tagline 'The Mega Powers Explode'.

The Good: Thankfully, the main event largely lived up to expectations. While not the best match of Savage's career, it could certainly be considered an all-time highlight for Hogan, who defeated his former friend in 17 carefully-choreographed minutes. Rick Rude gave The Ultimate Warrior the first pinfall loss of his career in an entertaining undercard highlight - although it was by no means clean, as Bobby Heenan tripped the babyface and held his feet down during the pinfall.

The Bad: Like its immediate predecessor, WrestleMania V was a long, difficult watch. With 14 matches on the card, some would inevitably be nothing more than filler - especially bouts like Dino Bravo vs. Ronnie Garvin and a 30-second farce pitting the Red Rooster against non-wrestler Heenan.

Star of the Show: Randy Savage. Were it not for Savage, this WrestleMania could well be remembered as one of the most unremarkable of all time. Thankfully, he was the perfect opponent for Hulk Hogan, elevating WWF's biggest star even further thanks to his incredible in-ring ability.

26. WrestleMania 32 - 2016


WWE


Where: AT&T Stadium - Arlington, Texas

What: An exercise in style over substance. This show boasted the highest attendance record of any WrestleMania and featured guest cameos from some of the biggest names in WWE history (Austin, Rock, Michaels, and Foley were all present). There were big set piece moments too, most notably Shane McMahon's jaw-dropping dive from the top of the Hell in a Cell structure - but when all was said and done, this show had little in the way of real quality beneath the sheen.

The Good: Two matches were able to stand out among the glitz. The opening Intercontinental Championship ladder match was an all-action affair, and Zack Ryder's underdog win was particularly satisfying. Later, Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks put on a wonderful triple threat for the new WWE Women's Championship - a bout instantly regarded as one of the greatest women's matches in WrestleMania history.

The Bad: Although other main events have been worse in terms of booking (WrestleMania VIII) and execution (WrestleMania IX), this show boasted the worst-received 'Mania main event of all time. With the usual anti-Reigns sentiment inflated by large numbers of hardcore fans, his defeat of Triple H was met with thunderous disapproval. Elsewhere, Lesnar's 'No Holds Barred' match with Dean Ambrose was disappointingly tame, and although he beat Shane in the end, it was sad to see Undertaker struggle so much against an ageing non-wrestler - even if he is a McMahon.

Star of the Show: Charlotte Flair. At the time of writing, Charlotte, Sasha, and Becky's Triple Threat is probably the best women's WrestleMania match of all time - and although it doesn't have too much in the way of competition, it still stands as a very enjoyable bout in its own right. Ms Flair brought the right combination of poise and intensity - and ultimately walked away with the gold.

25. WrestleMania 29 - 2013


WWE


Where: MetLife Stadium - East Rutherford, New Jersey

What: WWE's equivalent of the modern Wrestle Kingdom format, with a card building towards a trilogy of consecutive epic matches. Unfortunately, only the first of these truly hit the mark, making the rest of the show a gruelling slog. The main event saw Rock and Cena repeat their 'once in a lifetime match' of the previous year, this time with the added burden of a predictable outcome and unfortunate injury.

The Good: Of the show's three huge closers - Punk vs. Undertaker, Lesnar vs. Triple H, and Rock vs. Cena - the first was head and shoulders above the competition. It could also be seen as the last great match of 'Taker's WrestleMania career, depending on your opinion of his bout with Brock the following year. The Shield also made their 'Mania debuts here, as a historically significant opener saw the trio defeat the dysfunctional team of Sheamus, Orton, and The Big Show.

The Bad: This show felt far bigger on paper than it did in real life. While 'Taker and Punk tore the house down, Lesnar vs. Triple H and Cena vs. Rock didn't quite live up to expectations. The undercard also saw Fandango defeat Chris Jericho in under 10 minutes, a baffling and crowd-deflating decision that only gets more confusing with age.

Star of the Show: CM Punk. The Straight Edge Superstar was at his antagonistic best here, riling the Deadman into one last great performance on the Grandest Stage Of Them All. Ultimately, this match would also be a major catalyst for Punk's disillusionment with WWE, especially their decision never to book him in a WrestleMania main event.


24. WrestleMania - 1985


WWE


Where: Madison Square Garden - New York City, New York

What: Crazy but effective. This was an imperfect show, but a charming one all the same. The original WrestleMania may not be looked back upon with quite as much historical importance as the third instalment, but it must still be regarded as the spark that started a phenomenon. The action hasn't aged too well, but in terms of showmanship, crowd reaction, and sheer entertainment, it easily outstrips II, IV, and V.

The Good: There was a lot to enjoy here, from King Kong Bundy's shocking nine-second squash of SD Jones, to Ricky Steamboat's otherworldly ability, to the first mega-heel victory in 'Mania history (Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff ripping the tag titles from Windham and Rotundo). The main event was clumsy, and it's hard to get away from that through modern eyes, but it still carries a certain weight and significance. Rock and wrestling indeed.

The Bad: The wrestling itself got pretty drastic at times, and not just in the main event. David Sammartino proved to have very little of his father's ability, stinking up the joint in a woeful match with Brutus Beefcake. The Women's Championship bout may have benefitted from Cyndi Lauper's famous involvement, but the action itself was far from pleasant.

Star of the Show: Roddy Piper. Yes, everybody remembers the mega-fusion of Mr T and Hulk Hogan - but without an effective team of villains to defeat, their triumph wouldn't have been nearly as memorable. Piper was especially good here and matched the babyfaces' star power with a very convincing manic intensity.

23. WrestleMania 13 - 1997


WWE


Where: Rosemont Horizon - Rosemont, Illinois

What: The very definition of a one-match show - but what a match it was. WrestleMania 13 has since been completely overshadowed by its crown jewel, a riotous classic between Bret Hart and Steve Austin, to the extent that its overall weakness has been somewhat forgotten. Make no mistake, this would be far lower on the list did it not happen to host arguably the greatest 'Mania match of all time.

The Good: I'm repeating myself, but Bret vs. Austin was obviously the best thing on the card by a huge distance. Every aspect of this match paid off in spades, from the action itself to the post-match double-turn - a historically tricky angle to correctly execute. It also provided us with one of the all-time great WrestleMania visuals: the sight of Stone Cold refusing to submit to the Sharpshooter, with blood trickling down his grimacing face.

The Bad: Even if it didn't have to follow Bret and Austin, WrestleMania 13's main event would still be regarded as a weak one. The Undertaker and Sycho Sid put on a clunky bout, one further slowed by the involvement of a now-heel Hart and guest commentator Shawn Michaels. Little else on the card particularly impressed either, even if Rocky Maivia and Hunter Hearst Helmsley enjoyed historically important victories.

Star of the Show: Steve Austin. His match with Bret is rightly regarded as one of the greatest in WWE history, and also turned the Rattlesnake face - thereby acting as a launchpad for not only his own career but the Attitude Era as a whole.

22. WrestleMania VI - 1990


WWE


Where: SkyDome - Toronto, Ontario, Canada

What: Like 'Mania V before it, WrestleMania VI was a show built entirely on the back of its main event - the 'Ultimate Challenge' between Intercontinental Champion Warrior, and WWF Champion Hogan. Nostalgia has perhaps made history smile more kindly on this event than other one-match 'Manias, but I still find it a little tricky to navigate. It featured a lot of matches, but most were kept short - which could be seen as both a positive and negative factor. The good bouts weren't allowed to really develop, but the weaker ones mercifully weren't either.

The Good: Thankfully, the colossal main event was allocated a decent amount of time. Hogan and Warrior went 22 minutes - a monstrous amount of time for the Intercontinental Champion, who specialised in quick smash and grab efforts (often of dubious quality...). Thanks to careful planning and the big stage experience of Hogan, the bout rose to meet expectations nicely - and created a new megastar for WWF in the process. Sadly, that didn't pan out too well in the long run...

The Bad: As mentioned, the in-and-out nature of this event blunted a lot of the negatives. For example, Akeem and Boss Man didn't exactly cover themselves in glory, but their match didn't even last two minutes. However, one thing which does stick in the memory is the appearance of Roddy Piper - who unwisely decided to paint half of his body black for his match against Bad News Brown. Certainly not the proudest moment in WrestleMania history.

Star of the Show: Hulk Hogan. Although we usually remember (and criticise) Hogan for winning a lot, one of his greatest WrestleMania moments came in defeat. This was a real passing-of-the-torch moment - perhaps the first in 'Mania history - and one of the Hulkster's best in-ring performances to boot. If only he hadn't ruined the pinfall by kicking out so soon...


21. WrestleMania XII - 1996


WWE


Where: Arrowhead Pond - Anaheim, California

What: A show headlined by possibly the most divisive main event in WrestleMania history, a 60-minute Iron Man match between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. Despite not being the home run WWF may have hoped it would be, this is still remembered by many as a bold, ambitious 'Mania - albeit a flawed and arguably self-indulgent one.

The Good: HBK vs. Bret was too long for sure, but a match between two of the greatest of all time can only be so bad. The pair put on a bout that somehow managed to be both boring and enthralling, building to a satisfying conclusion as Michaels' 'boyhood dream' finally came true. Diesel vs. Undertaker and Austin vs. Vega supported the centrepiece nicely, without ever truly catching fire.

The Bad: As mentioned, the main event remains a difficult watch. However, even those who don't like it must admit that it was far from the worst thing on the show. Warrior's lightning-fast squash of Hunter Hearst Helmsley (complete with Pedigree no-sell) was a ludicrous booking decision in hindsight, while Goldust vs. Piper descended quickly into farce. WrestleMania XII certainly isn't for the faint of heart.

Star of the Show: Shawn Michaels. This entire show was built around HBK, in the midst of a rather saccharine babyface push - but the Showstopper at least had the decency to give it his all. From iconic zipline entrance to tear-soaked title celebration, he certainly put a monumental amount of effort into making his moment worthwhile.

20. WrestleMania 2000 - 2000


WWE


Where: Arrowhead Pond - Anaheim, California

What: A curiously weak 'Mania, considering the fact that it took place during one of the most compelling years in company history. That's not to suggest that there aren't highlights to be found here - far from it - but certain things missed the mark entirely. The main event probably should have been Triple H vs. The Rock, but found itself weighed down by the notorious 'McMahon in every corner' storyline, as well as two superfluous participants in Big Show and Mick Foley.

The Good: Despite featuring just one singles match (more on that later), this 'Mania benefitted from the electricity that was running through the entire WWF around this time. Never was that more apparent than in the groundbreaking triangle ladder match between Edge and Christian, The Hardy Boyz, and those damn Dudleys. The action within the main event was largely good, despite being weighed down by overbooking - and we finally saw an out-and-out heel win the closing match of a WrestleMania card.

The Bad: As we now know, there was absolutely no need for a McMahon family member to accompany each of the four participants in the main event. However, this was far from the most foolhardy decision on the show. That sole singles match saw Terri Runnels take on The Kat in a bout literally billed as a 'Catfight'; no prizes for guessing that it failed to impress. Earlier in the night, Bob Holly won a time limit scramble for the Hardcore Championship, a match notorious for its horrendously botched finish. 18 years on, and I still can't work out who was to blame. Bob, Crash, the referee, the timekeeper, and the ring announcer were all somehow involved.

Star of the Show: Jeff Hardy. Realistically, this spot could have gone to any of the six participants in the Tag Team Championship match. However, as he has done so often in his career, Jeff took it upon himself to pull off the craziest spots and take the most painful bumps. The bravest performance on a show featuring plenty of them.

19. WrestleMania XXVIII - 2012


WWE


Where: Sun Life Stadium - Miami Gardens, Florida

What: A real mixed bag, but one which commendably decided to swing for the fences and hope for the best. Matches such as CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho and Undertaker vs. Triple H divide opinion to this day, while the 'once in a lifetime' main event between Cena and The Rock delivered as a spectacle - if not in terms of in-ring action.

The Good: Some people love the 'End Of An Era' showdown between 'Taker and The Game, and even though it may seem a little overblown in hindsight, it certainly delivered all the drama one would expect from a WrestleMania Hell in a Cell match. It also featured maybe the most convincing near fall of Undertaker's entire undefeated streak, as special guest referee Shawn Michaels Superkicked the Deadman into a Pedigree that had even the most faithful of 'Taker fans on the edge of their seats.

The Bad: 18 seconds; that's how long it took Sheamus to end the World Heavyweight Championship reign of internet darling Daniel Bryan. This opener (yes, a world title match kicked off the main portion of the show) must be considered one of the worst-received matches in WrestleMania history. In hindsight, it actually became a key catalyst for Bryan's eventual push, infuriating his fans to such a degree that WWE couldn't help but hear their collective voice.

Star of the Show: The Undertaker. The Rock certainly surpassed expectations in delivering a decent main event, but as with so many others, this 'Mania belonged to The Deadman. The 'End Of An Era' match may not have actually been the final chapter for 'Taker or Triple H, but the former added another Hollywood epic to his back catalogue.


18. WrestleMania XIV - 1998


WWE


Where: FleetCenter - Boston, Massachusetts

What: If we're being brutally honest, this was a below-average WrestleMania - but one with historical significance that is quite impossible to ignore. The main event torch-passing must be taken into account, as WWF made all the right booking decisions to elevate Steve Austin into the stratosphere. The action throughout the night was fittingly scrappy, and while this 'Mania may have fallen flat in another era, it was right at home in the early Attitude Era.

The Good: The booking. The main event featured a physically and mentally broken Shawn Michaels (who somehow pulled through, because he's Shawn Michaels), but ultimately did its job. Austin defeated the bratty champ, while Mike Tyson put a crowd-popping exclamation point on proceedings. The standout match of the undercard saw Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie defeat the New Age Outlaws by stuffing them into a dumpster, which can be seen as a microcosm of this entire show. Messy, but satisfying in the end.

The Bad: On the surface, WrestleMania XIV may seem like a full-throttle thrill ride - but there were certain moments where WWF's foot was taken off the gas. Kane and Undertaker (who never enjoyed the greatest of in-ring chemistry) went 17 long minutes, while a potentially exciting Intercontinental Championship match between The Rock and Ken Shamrock was limited to under five.

Star of the Show: Steve Austin. Michaels turned in a brave performance for sure, but WrestleMania XIV is rightly remembered as the Stone Cold show. It would have honestly been difficult for the Rattlesnake not to steal the show here, so molten hot were the crowd in his favour.

17. WrestleMania VIII - 1992


WWE


Where: Hoosier Dome - Indianapolis, Indiana

What: The opposite of WrestleMania VI, this show had a very strong undercard ruined by a disastrous main event. Of all the 'Manias that could easily have ranked higher on this list, WrestleMania VIII is the most agonisingly close. Unfortunately, much of its early good work was overshadowed by Hulk Hogan, Sid, and the astonishingly late run-in of Papa Shango.

The Good: WrestleMania VIII boasted two very enjoyable title matches: Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper and Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage. Although very different, both were charged with a tangible intensity, the benefit of featuring some of the best wrestlers in the world. The first was a wonderfully scrappy brawl laced with technical expertise, while the second saw two of wrestling's biggest icons clash for the WWF Championship.

The Bad: It's one thing for a WrestleMania to feature terrible filler matches, but the main event has to deliver on some level. Hulk Hogan vs. Sid did not do that. On a card packed with such talent, this probably shouldn't have even main evented - but sadly it did. A clean win for Hogan would have been fine, but he was instead awarded a DQ victory due to the interference of Papa Shango. Even that may have been acceptable, but Shango's run-in was woefully mistimed - so late, in fact, that Sid was forced to kick out of the immortal Legdrop, and the ref had to call for a nonsensical DQ before Shango had even made it to the ring. The Ultimate Warrior returned to chase off the heels and send the fans home happy, but the damage had already been done.

Star of the Show: Ric Flair. The 'Dirtiest Player in the Game' was a magnificently detestable heel champion here, taunting Savage with fabricated claims of a prior relationship with Miss Elizabeth. His comeuppance feels immensely satisfying even today, the mark of an incredibly effective villain.

16. WrestleMania X8 - 2002


WWE


Where: SkyDome - Toronto, Ontario, Canada

What: The first post-Attitude Era 'Mania, this show felt both huge and empty at the same time. We were treated to some incredible dream match-ups (Rock vs. Hogan, Undertaker vs. Flair), yet nothing really stood out in terms of outright quality. Despite a roster absolutely bloated with star quality thanks to the death of WCW, the main event was a curious showdown between Triple H and Chris Jericho - a platform which neither man truly looked comfortable on this time around.

The Good: Arn Anderson interfering on behalf of Flair and Spinebustering Undertaker within an inch of his life. No, but seriously, there was plenty to enjoy on the show - even if no match could be considered a truly great one. Flair and 'Taker probably combined to provide the best effort on the night, while Rock and Hogan was received in understandably rabid fashion by the SkyDome crowd.

The Bad: The involvement of so many huge names meant that the fans ate up just about everything presented to them on this show - but that doesn't mean all of it was good. The main event was the culmination of a strange feud between Y2J and Triple H, one which sadly served to make the younger champion look like a bit of a chump. Spare a thought too for Steve Austin, who wasn't granted a dream match of his own, and instead had to carry Scott Hall through a truly bizarre singles bout.

Star of the Show: The Rock. Kudos to Mr Johnson for his intuitiveness during the match with Hogan. Realising that the crowd were favouring his opponent, Rocky switched things up on the fly, dipping slightly into his old heel persona in order to tilt things further in the Hulkster's favour. A truly selfless performance in an incredibly high-pressure situation.


15. WrestleMania XXV - 2009


WWE


Where: Reliant Stadium - Houston, Texas

What: A wildly inconsistent show, veering between ups and downs with reckless abandon. Despite all of this, most (understandably) remember only one match - a candidate for one of the best 'Mania bouts of all time. Michaels and 'Taker stole the show from main-eventers Randy Orton and Triple H, immortalising their already-enviable WrestleMania legacies even further.

The Good: I could write thousands of words on why HBK vs. Undertaker was so mind-bendingly great, but the best way to learn this is by watching the match. If you somehow haven't already, go out of your way to see it! However, this wasn't the only good thing on the card. We were treated to a very exciting opener, as CM Punk won his second consecutive Money in the Bank briefcase, while Ricky Steamboat rolled back the years to almost shock an egomaniacal Chris Jericho.

The Bad: Rumour has it that Triple H casually approached Orton backstage and told him of their predicament following 'Taker vs. Shawn. He was dead right, too. There was simply no way the main event could live up to the benchmark set by the two WrestleMania veterans, and an odd structure coupled with a fully burned-out crowd resulted in one of the most sadly underwhelming closers in the event's history. Elsewhere, Matt and Jeff Hardy tried their best but didn't quite click in a bout everybody wanted to see succeed, while 'Santina' Marella won the 'Miss WrestleMania' battle royal. I probably don't need to explain why that was a questionable booking decision...

Star of the Show: The Undertaker. Few wrestlers of The Deadman's age wrestle their heart out like he did on this show. His match with HBK is impossibly rammed with perfect moments, but none were more memorable (or terrifying) than his humungous dive to the outside - wiping out a cameraman and landing on his own head in the process. Thankfully, rather than end the match in disaster, it only served to elevate the drama.

14. WrestleMania VII - 1991


WWE


Where: Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena - Los Angeles, California

What: A 'Mania wedged between one with a stronger main event (VI) and one with a stronger undercard (VIII). Despite this, it manages to outrank both thanks to its sheer consistency. I'm so sorry. In fairness to WrestleMania VII, there's a lot to be said for a solid show in an era of wild unpredictability - although Hogan's jingoistic main event antics against 'Iraqi sympathiser' Sgt. Slaughter haven't aged well in the slightest.

The Good: The Ultimate Warrior 'ended' the career of the Macho Man in a dramatic retirement match, before Savage and Miss Elizabeth created the most heartwarming moment in 'Mania history. In fighting off Sherri and reuniting with her former lover, Liz reminded us all that we watch wrestling for such moments. This show also saw a match of incredible historical significance (in hindsight), as Undertaker defeated Jimmy Snuka to kick off his legendary undefeated streak.

The Bad: Although it resulted in a good match, the main event feud between Hogan and Slaughter was handled in uncomfortably heavy-handed fashion. Elsewhere, Jake Roberts and Rick Martel engaged in an ill-advised blindfold match, while Virgil was denied a feelgood demolition of Ted DiBiase - winning only by countout. Also, whose idea was it to have The Nasty Boys go over the Hart Foundation? (Probably their actual pal, Hulk Hogan).

Star of the Show: Randy Savage. Like Hogan the year before, Savage helped Warrior to one of the greatest matches of his career. While WrestleMania VI told the story of two powerhouses colliding, Savage utilised his quickness to highlight the contrasting styles between himself and his opponent.

13. WrestleMania 33 - 2017


WWE


Where: Camping World Stadium - Orlando, Florida

What: A slightly 'back to basics' WrestleMania, following ludicrous high spots (32), shocking twists (31), and emotional rollercoasters (XXX). Ultimately, despite containing less fireworks than its recent predecessors, last year's Mania benefitted from a more traditional approach. There was still plenty of incident - Undertaker's tearful goodbye, Cena proposing to Nikki, the Hardys' return - but it was all presented in a far more measured manner.

The Good: The one exception to that rule, however, was the Universal Championship match between Brock Lesnar and Goldberg. Nobody expected it to be a drawn-out affair, but the two behemoths barely grazed four minutes, blasting one another with finisher after finisher from the opening bell. It was a risky strategy, but one which paid off. Elsewhere, AJ Styles helped Shane McMahon to one of the matches of the night, while Matt and Jeff's return caused a WrestleMania pop for the ages.

The Bad: Opinions were mixed following Undertaker's main event loss to Roman Reigns, but I struggled to enjoy it. His post-match send-off redeemed the match's flaws somewhat, but if the Deadman returns to face Cena this year - as we all suspect he will - it risks making the end of 'Mania 33 entirely redundant. With that said, 'Taker vs. Reigns was far from the worst match on the show. That dubious honour goes to the WWE Championship match between Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton, featuring Bray's baffling bug-projection strategy.

Star of the Show: AJ Styles. Any man entrusted with wrestling Shane McMahon on the Grandest Stage Of Them All is clearly in Vince's good books - and AJ justified his unique position on the card, opening the show in enjoyable fashion.


12. WrestleMania XXVI - 2010


WWE


Where: University of Phoenix Stadium - Glendale, Arizona

What: Arguably the greatest WrestleMania main event of all time, backed up by a pretty damn underwhelming card. If any 'Mania on this list can be considered an overachiever, it's this one - and it's all thanks to Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. Opinion differs on whether the sequel is better than their bout the previous year, but it blew everybody away regardless.

The Good: The main event wasn't just an excellent wrestling match in its own right, but also the culmination of one of WWE's best storylines. The tale of HBK trying everything to earn a rematch against 'Taker saw him finally cost the Deadman his World Heavyweight Championship, before agreeing to put his career on the line. The streak had rarely looked so vulnerable. Also, Cena and Batista wrestled a nice 13-minute match just before this one. Nobody remembers it, but they didn't go too long and the action was exciting. Good for them.

The Bad: The most glaring misstep on an otherwise underwhelming midcard saw Bret Hart take on Vince McMahon. General consensus dictated that this should have been a very short squash indeed, with Bret getting one over on the man who screwed him in 1997. Instead, it became a 10-minute procession of double-swerves and interference. Immediately afterwards, Jericho defended his World Heavyweight Championship against Edge - a match that could have been brilliant but sadly failed to live up to the hype.

Star of the Show: Shawn Michaels. HBK's last stand is different from most other wrestling retirements in that it has actually lasted. It's easy to see why Shawn won't risk one more match, given the fact that he's already achieved the perfect send-off.

11. WrestleMania XX - 2004


WWE


Where: Madison Square Garden - New York City, New York

What: A tricky and painful WrestleMania to revisit, thanks to the prominence of Chris Benoit. The sight of him celebrating alongside fellow undersized, underdog World Champion Eddie Guerrero should have gone down as one of the greatest 'Mania moments ever - but tragic events have since tainted it irreversibly.

The Good: Like WrestleMania XXVI, XX benefits from one of the most well-executed main events in 'Mania history. Benoit's triumph against both Triple H and Shawn Michaels is often cited as one of WWE's best Triple Threats and laid the groundwork for Daniel Bryan's emotional victory a full decade later. Eddie's successful title defence against a seething Kurt Angle may not have been quite as good, but still provided entertainment and technical prowess in equal measure. This 'Mania also had a reunion of the Rock 'n' Sock Connection, which speaks for itself, really.

The Bad: Tragic real-world events aside, this 'Mania also featured some negatives in a wrestling sense. The most memorable is surely Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg, a lumbering, half-assed match played out in front of a crowd that knew both men were leaving their WWE contracts soon. Even Austin as Special Guest Referee couldn't really save the day. Later on, Undertaker and Kane split both world title matches with another lumbering encounter.

Star of the Show: Chris Benoit. Unfortunately, the Rabid Wolverine was on fire during this show's main event - taking it to both Triple H and HBK when necessary, and selling their offence to great effect at other times.

10. WrestleMania III - 1987


WWE


Where: Pontiac Silverdome - Pontiac, Michigan

What: The old school WrestleMania, and a massively significant show in company history - one which helped launch WWF (and Hulk Hogan) into the stratosphere. After an understandably ropey opening year and a bafflingly poor sequel, this was the first 'Mania to really transcend our expectations of a typical wrestling show. It also looked fittingly epic, the massive Silverdome packed out with delirious Golden Era fans, while miniature wrestling rings whizzed their favourites down the stadium's considerable ramp.

The Good: Hulk Hogan's main event bodyslamming of Andre the Giant has since entered wrestling lore and is often remembered as the greatest WrestleMania moment of all time. Purists (and cynics) may scoff at the quality of the match itself, but need look no further than Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage - the first bona fide 'Mania classic. Steamboat and Macho Man were on another level to anybody else at the time (aside from perhaps Dynamite Kid, stuck in the tag division with a young Bret Hart) and clearly relished proving that in front of such a big audience.

The Bad: As mentioned, Hogan/Andre doesn't hold up too well - particularly if you're used to the speed and precision of modern wrestling. It often gets a pass though, because unlike other underwhelming matches on the card (Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules, Butch Reed vs. Koko B. Ware) it really helped to encapsulate the passion and spectacle of professional wrestling.

Star of the Show: Randy Savage. Hogan and Andre may be more widely-remembered, and may have proven to be far more historically important, but I'm far too much of an analytical indie-boy to leave Savage out here. The Macho Man is alleged to have choreographed and practised the match months in advance. Looks like it worked out...


9. WrestleMania 21 - 2005


WWE


Where: Staples Center - Los Angeles, California

What: A card full of big, exciting clashes - which is what WrestleMania should be all about, isn't it? Sometimes there comes a 'Mania that makes you wonder what all the annual stress is about. Just take your most exciting guys and throw them into matches with each another! Anyway, this show is largely a very fun, easy watch, despite the length of certain bouts.

The Good: Batista wasn't just passed the torch by Triple H in the main event; he snatched that thing from his former boss and beat him repeatedly over the head with it. The Animal destroyed The Game towards the end of their match, a result that pleased the crowd greatly. Earlier in the night, Edge won the inaugural Money in the Bank ladder match, which was very innovative and exciting at the time. Additionally, Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels put on perhaps the least-surprising classic of all time. Two of the greatest of all time in singles action? At WrestleMania? Yeah, that'll probably be okay.

The Bad: I understand that it was important to have John Cena win a world title on the same show as Batista, thereby giving the event the feel of a dawning of a new era. However, unfortunately, his victory over JBL was a pretty lacklustre affair. It was at least received well by the crowd, whereas the same cannot be said of Big Show's sumo match against Akebono.

Star of the Show: Batista. The Evolution enforcer's babyface turn and demolition of his former leader is as clear a star-making performance as any in WrestleMania history and instantly propelled Batista to the very top of the company.

8. WrestleMania X - 1994


WWE


Where: Madison Square Garden - New York City, New York

What: The first WrestleMania to really achieve classic status, thanks to a mixture of clever booking and phenomenal in-ring action. This was also Bret Hart's redemption, a year after being unceremoniously carted from the main event by the politicking of Hulk Hogan. The event's Madison Square Garden setting only adds to the atmosphere of prestige.

The Good: Bret's opening match against brother Owen is still considered by many the greatest opening match in WrestleMania history, while his climactic triumph against Yokozuna ended the night on a wonderful feel-good note. Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels did their utmost to steal the show with an incredibly innovative ladder match, one which would pave the way for countless similar bouts in years to come.

The Bad: The memorable nature of this show's high points overshadows its negatives, but WrestleMania X is certainly not a dross-free event. This is proven by taking a look at matches such as Earthquake vs. Adam Bomb, and a bizarre tag match pitting Bam Bam Bigelow and Luna Vachon against Doink and Dink the Clown(s).

Star of the Show: Bret Hart. The most triumphant night of Bret's career saw him lose to his brother in a 20-minute masterclass to open the show, before winning back his WWF Championship from Yokozuna in the main event. Fittingly, one of the tidiest 'Manias of all time was bookended by one of its greatest ever competitors.

7. WrestleMania 23 - 2007


WWE


Where: Ford Field - Detroit, Michigan

What: A card of huge, hard-hitting matches, separated by short dips in quality. This 'Mania was booked very cleverly indeed, with the marquee matches given enough time to thrive and scattered wisely over the course of the night. The main event saw John Cena defeat Shawn Michaels - an unpopular result for sure, but one saved by the match's undeniable quality.

The Good: WrestleMania 23 was powered by four excellent bouts: the aforementioned main event, a riotous opening Money in the Bank ladder match, a classic addition to Undertaker's streak, and the rather ludicrous 'Battle of the Billionaires'. In a bout rendered even more bizarre by Donald Trump's presidential election, he and Vince McMahon each picked a Superstar to fight for their honour (and hair) - with Steve Austin serving as special guest referee. Ludicrous? Yes. Fun? Yes, albeit in slightly guilty car-crash fashion.

The Bad: Although the weaker moments on this show were dampened by short time allocations, they still prevent this 'Mania from ranking amongst the very upper reaches of this list. The Great Khali destroyed Kane in uninspiring fashion, while Melina and Ashley Massaro struggled with a troublesome 'Lumberjill' stipulation.

Star of the Show: The Undertaker. This WrestleMania signalled the beginning of 'Taker's incredible streak of show-stealing matches, with Batista the first to fall. He'd be followed by Edge, Michaels, Triple H, and CM Punk - but the blueprint for Undertaker's late-career excellence was established here.


6. WrestleMania 31 - 2015


WWE


Where: Levi's Stadium - Santa Clara, California

What: An excellent WrestleMania plucked from the jaws of disaster. WWE's booking in the run-up to this 'Mania looked to be a disaster, with fans readying their pitchforks in the event of a Roman Reigns main event victory over Brock Lesnar. Instead, a spot of clever booking (and a host of excellent performances) made 'Mania 31 one of the most thrilling of all time.

The Good: Even before Seth Rollins' game-changing Money in the Bank cash-in, the show's main event had exceeded all expectations. A Reigns victory would still have likely ended things on a sour note, but a last-minute change of plan ensured that the night ended in anarchic, brilliant fashion. It also opened on a high note, as Daniel Bryan won a tremendously exciting Ladder Match to become Intercontinental Champion - a title he'd sadly have to vacate due to well-documented injury problems.

The Bad: Triple H vs. Sting was a baffling one, for sure. The Game picked up a hugely unlikely victory over the debuting legend, making it apparent the match was simply another metaphor to remind us that WWE beat WCW - don't you ever forget it! Elsewhere on the card, Undertaker got back to winning ways with a faintly satisfying (but ultimately underwhelming) match against Bray Wyatt. It also took place before sunset, teaching a whole new generation that 'Taker bouts look very strange in daylight.

Star of the Show: Seth Rollins. Not only did the Architect pull double duty, he also provided us with the show's two major talking points. His daring cash-in grabbed the headlines, of course, but his earlier loss to Randy Orton saw perhaps the greatest RKO of all time, as the Viper popped Seth into the air from an attempted Curb Stomp.

5. WrestleMania 22 - 2006


WWE


Where: Allstate Arena - Rosemont, Illinois

What: Like WrestleMania 23, this show benefitted from four excellent matches - each with a slightly different flavour. Cena and Triple H did battle in the main event - another unpopular Cena victory, but another with the sting taken out by an impressive performance. Shawn Michaels dragged Vince McMahon to possibly the best match of the chairman's career, although the wording of this sentence perhaps does a disservice to HBK's very willing opponent. The more surprising highlights, however, came in the show's slightly less-heralded matches.

The Good: It only took 22 attempts for WrestleMania to give us a genuinely fantastic women's match! Mickie James and Trish Stratus conjured a nuanced feud out of seemingly nowhere and managed to thrash out an entertaining title match in just under 10 minutes. Mick Foley also did some thrashing of his own, specifically to the cocky Rated R Superstar in a terrifying Hardcore Match. Edge won spot of the night hands down, diving face-first onto a flaming table, and driving Foley off the ring apron in the process.

The Bad: You may have thought that James and Stratus' efforts would have signalled a reversal of fortunes for WWE's women's division - but sadly, you'd be wrong. Several matches later, we saw Torrie Wilson defeat Candice Michelle in a 'Playboy pillow fight', w

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Jack G. King

Written by Jack G. King

Head of News at Cultaholic.com | [email protected]