10 WrestleMania matches that stole The Show of Shows

The 33 best WrestleMania matches of all time

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Thirty-three years later and WrestleMania still stands alone as the pinnacle of sports-entertainment. But what bouts can be confidently called, as “Macho Man” Randy Savage would say, the cream of the crop? WWE.com combed through every WrestleMania ever to rank the 33 most controversial, explosive and flat-out greatest matches in the history of The Showcase of the Immortals, complete with facts, trivia and quotes for each contest, presented by Snickers.


Mick Foley vs. Edge — Hardcore Match (WrestleMania 22)

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Location: Rosemont, Ill.
Date: April 2, 2006
Time: 14:38

Why it’s great: In a literal sense, this grueling bout featured the most fiery conclusion of all Mick Foley’s matches, as The Rated-R Superstar Speared his indomitable foe through a table that Lita had set ablaze at ringside.

One shining moment: “Even as the referee counted three, and even as I was surrounded by this strange potpourri of charred hair, flesh and blood, I was very cognizant of the fact that this was my WrestleMania moment ... Now, I didn’t need the word ‘legend’ in my nickname to be considered a legend, although it never hurts.” — MICK FOLEY, “FOR ALL MANKIND”



Money in the Bank Ladder Match (WrestleMania 21)

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Location: Los Angeles
Date: April 3, 2005
Time: 20:08

Why it’s great: These days, the Money in the Bank Ladder Match is an institution. At WrestleMania 21, it was a demolition derby experiment, one that included a flying Shelton Benjamin and concluded with Edge claiming the first-ever Money in the Bank contract.

Jericho invented that: According to Chris Jericho’s book “Undisputed,” the original concept for this match was a “Hollywood Dream Ladder Match” where the winner would have any wish fulfilled. When that idea was nixed, Jericho himself came up with the first iteration of the contract as it exists today.


“Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. Goldust — Hollywood Backlot Brawl (WrestleMania XII)

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Location: Anaheim, Calif.
Date: March 31, 1996
Time: 16:47

Why it’s great: Among the more infamous matches in WrestleMania history, this bout saw the rabid Piper pursue the depraved Goldust across the state of California, finally defeating him once the action reached the ring … but not before he forcibly stripped The Bizarre One down to his skivvies. It was weird, but awesome.

The punch heard ‘round the world: On “WWE Countdown: Most Unique Matches,” Piper revealed he punched Goldust in the head so hard he broke his own hand during this match.



 The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar (WrestleMania 30)

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Location: New Orleans
Date: April 6, 2014
Time: 25:12

Why it’s great: You know good and well what happened in this match.

So speaketh The Advocate: “Why does this surprise you? I told you this was going to happen. Did you doubt my strategy? Did you doubt that I could lead the single greatest, most accomplished athlete in WWE history to do what he was born to do? … I told you I wanted The Streak. I got what I wanted.” — PAUL HEYMAN TO WWE.COM, MOMENTS AFTER THE MATCH


 “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock (WrestleMania XIX)

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Location: Seattle
Date: March 30, 2003
Time: 17:55

Why it’s great: In the Texas Rattlesnake’s final match, he went toe-to-toe with The Rock in the third of their WrestleMania series, and The Great One achieved a hard-earned victory on the strength of three Rock Bottoms.

Finally …: Of the three WrestleMania matches between these two legendary Superstars, this is the only one The Rock won.


Chris Jericho vs. Triple H — Undisputed WWE Championship Match (WrestleMania X8)

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Location: Toronto
Date: March 17, 2002
Time: 18:40

Why it’s great: The King of Kings completed his miracle return from a torn quad, defeating Jericho on The Grandest Stage of Them All to become Undisputed WWE Champion.

Main event men: This was the first WrestleMania “main event” in the classic sense — the match that goes on last — for Chris Jericho.



 Bret Hart vs. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper — Intercontinental Championship Match (WrestleMania VIII)

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Location: Indianapolis
Date: April 5, 1992
Time: 12:39

Why it’s great: It was havoc in Hoosier country when Bret Hart challenged Hot Rod for the Intercontinental Championship and claimed the victory, leaving with the mad Superstar’s title after a gruesome battle.

Signature moment: Hart reverses Piper’s sleeper hold by running up the turnbuckle and landing in a pinfall — a strategy Finn Bálor repeated in 2016 during his NXT Championship Match against Samoa Joe.



Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz vs. Zack Ryder vs. Stardust vs. Sin Cara —Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match (WrestleMania 32)

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Location: Dallas
Date: April 3, 2016
Time: 15:24

Why it’s great: Zack Ryder came out of nowhere to upset a stacked field and capture the Intercontinental Championship, denying The Miz in the bout’s closing seconds and leading to one of the most emotional WrestleMania moments of all time.

The Man That History Forgot: Originally, this match was scheduled to include Neville, but the high-flyer was felled by an ankle injury just weeks before WrestleMania. His resulting frustration would lead to a top-to-bottom change of heart following his return later in the year.



 Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch — Triple Threat WWE Women’s Championship Match (WrestleMania 32)

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Location: Dallas
Date: April 3, 2016
Time: 16:03

Why it’s great: With the assistance of Ric Flair at ringside, Charlotte defeated Banks and Lynch to retire the Divas Championship and install herself as the inaugural WWE Women’s Champion.

Diamonds are forever: This match featured three of the “Four Horsewomen” of NXT. The fourth Superstar, Bayley, will defend the Raw Women’s Championship against Charlotte, Sasha and Nia Jax at this year’s WrestleMania.


Edge vs. The Undertaker — World Heavyweight Championship Match (WrestleMania XXIV)

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Location: Orlando, Fla.
Date: March 30, 2008
Time: 23:48

Why it’s great: Despite pulling out every dirty trick in the book, Edge was vanquished by The Undertaker in this epic World Heavyweight Championship contest.

Gotcha!: The Deadman pulled off one of his best reversals ever in this match, administering Hell’s Gate to The Ultimate Opportunist only seconds after being struck with a Spear.



Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior — Champion vs. Champion Match (WrestleMania VI)

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Location: Toronto
Date: April 1, 1990
Time: 22:48

Why it’s great: History was made in the Great White North when The Ultimate Warrior defeated Hulk Hogan, becoming the first Superstar to hold the WWE and Intercontinental Championships simultaneously.

Did you know?: No Superstar since Warrior has been both WWE and Intercontinental Champion at the same time. Seth Rollins did achieve a similar feat in 2015, however, when he held both the WWE World Heavyweight and United States Titles.



The Undertaker vs. CM Punk (WrestleMania 29)

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Location: East Rutherford, N.J.
Date: April 7, 2013
Time: 22:06

Why it’s great: Despite Punk’s attempts to goad The Phenom into a disqualification by desecrating the late Paul Bearer’s urn, The Undertaker roared back from the Anaconda Vise to defeat The Second City Saint.

Last rides: This was Punk’s final WrestleMania match as well as the last victory in The Deadman’s legendary Streak, which would be snapped the following year by Brock Lesnar.


Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns — WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match (WrestleMania 31)

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Location: Santa Clara, Calif.
Date: March 29, 2015
Time: 16:44

Why it’s great: With Reigns and Lesnar drained from the heat of battle, Seth Rollins stormed the match and cashed in his Money in the Bank contract to turn the bout into a Triple Threat Match and claim the WWE World Heavyweight Championship —  the first time such an act had been done in the main event of WrestleMania.

Believe this: Rollins is the only former member of The Shield to not have a singles match with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. However, because of this Triple Threat win, he is the only Hound of Justice to defeat The Beast after pinning Reigns on The Grandest Stage of Them All.



The Undertaker vs. Triple H — Hell in a Cell Match (WrestleMania XXVIII)

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Location: Miami
Date: April 1, 2012
Time: 30:50

Why it’s great: After narrowly staving off defeat the previous year, The Deadman defeated Triple H with Shawn Michaels as the guest referee, culminating a four-year cycle and marking the “End of an Era” inside Hell in a Cell.

Match of the Year: “Every now and then you get to be involved in something in this business that can only be described as magic. … For me to be out there with two guys I respect more than anybody in this business, Shawn Michaels and a guy that, quite literally, I consider to be the benchmark of what this business is about, The Undertaker — that was a magical night I will never forget. It was an honor to be a part of it.” — TRIPLE H, AFTER WINNING THE 2012 SLAMMY AWARD FOR MATCH OF THE YEAR



Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho (WrestleMania XIX)

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Location: Seattle
Date: March 30, 2003
Time: 22:31

Why it’s great: Believing he had surpassed the skills and charisma of his idol Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho came at “Mr. WrestleMania” and missed, losing to a roll-up that he repaid with a cruel low-blow after the bell.

The G.O.A.T.s: “The general consensus was that our match stole the show which was a huge compliment. Only eighteen other matches in the history of the business could make that claim, and to do so was the goal of every single performer who’d been on WrestleMania. Personally, winning the Undisputed Championship was an amazing moment, but stealing the show at WrestleMania XIX topped it. In a lot of ways it was the greatest night of my career.” — CHRIS JERICHO, “UNDISPUTED: HOW TO BECOME THE WORLD CHAMPION IN 1,372 EASY STEPS.”


Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H (WrestleMania 30)

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Location: New Orleans
Date: April 6, 2014
Time: 25:28

Why it’s great: Avenging nearly a year’s worth of slights, Daniel Bryan powered his way past Triple H, placing himself in the main event later that evening and earning an opportunity to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

If you’re not last, you wanna be first: While Triple H has main-evented several WrestleManias, this is the only time The King of Kings participated in the show’s first match.



John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels — WWE Championship Match (WrestleMania 23)

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Location: Detroit
Date: April 1, 2007
Time: 27:48

Why it’s great: In a battle of The Showstopper and Mr. Hustle, Loyalty, Respect, The Cenation Leader prevailed, staking his claim as the modern era’s answer to “Mr. WrestleMania.”

Two submissions for ya: Cena achieved victory over HBK via submission in this match. Coincidentally, he defeated Michaels’ best friend, Triple H, in the same manner at the previous year’s WrestleMania.



Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar — WWE Championship Match (WrestleMania XIX)

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Location: Seattle
Date: March 30, 2003
Time: 21:07

Why it’s great: Mixing amateur wrestling science with sports-entertainment power, Lesnar defeated The Olympic Hero to seize Angle’s WWE Championship.

Shooting Star: While this match is known for Lesnar’s Shooting Star Press misfire, The Beast Incarnate actually performed the move fairly regularly in the early stages of his WWE career.


The Ultimate Warrior vs. “Macho King” Randy Savage (WrestleMania VII)

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Location: Los Angeles
Date: March 24, 1991
Time: 20:47

Why it’s great: With both of their careers at stake, Warrior and Savage battled to the final bell at The Show of Shows, and Macho King ultimately suffered the fateful pinfall.

Never say never: While Savage was indeed reassigned to the commentary table, the WWE Hall of Famer successfully petitioned for his reinstatement the next year, ultimately leading to a WWE Championship victory over Ric Flair at WrestleMania VIII.



Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle — WWE Championship Match (WrestleMania XX)

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Location: New York City
Date: March 14, 2004
Time: 21:34

Why it’s great: 2004 was a hell of a year for Eddie Guerrero, and this was the pinnacle, as Latino Heat defeated Kurt Angle to retain the WWE Title he had wrested from Brock Lesnar only a month earlier.

A rare breed: At the time of this match, Eddie Guerrero was only the fifth Superstar to successfully defend the WWE Championship at WrestleMania.



The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels — Streak vs. Career Match (WrestleMania XXVI)

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Location: Glendale, Az.
Date: March 28, 2010
Time: 23:58

Why it’s great: The most notorious of The Deadman’s WrestleMania victories, it was also the most impactful, as The Showstopper staked his legendary career on the outcome of the match.

Two for the road: This was the first time The Undertaker battled the same opponent at two consecutive WrestleManias — a feat he would repeat over the next two years when he faced HBK’s best friend, Triple H.


Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Batista — Triple Threat WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match (WrestleMania 30)

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Location: New Orleans
Date: April 6, 2014
Time: 23:30

Why it’s great: In “The Miracle on Bourbon Street,” Daniel Bryan submitted Batista to finally win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship that had been kept from him for nearly a year.

YES!: “I was the guy who wasn’t supposed to be there. I sneaked my way in because the fans wouldn’t accept anything else. You have this dream when you’re a kid, but to actually get there and hit it is a surreal feeling ... [Calling it] ‘Yes!’-leMania is kind of accurate because there were a lot of people chanting ‘Yes!’ WrestleMania 30 is kind of named after me.” — DANIEL BRYAN, “WWE 24: WRESTLEMANIA 30”



The Rock vs. “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan (WrestleMania X8)

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Location: Toronto
Date: March 17, 2002
Time: 16:22

Why it’s great: Icons clashed and the torch was passed in this epic battle between The Great One and The Immortal One, as notable for its in-ring action as the passionate crowd all but turning on The Rock and nearly propelling Hogan to victory.

Hollywood ending: “We create these moments and these moments are created by the energy in the building, by the WWE Universe. Rock and Hogan, I think, is one of the best matches ever. It’s exactly what it needed to be. You had the two biggest guys in the business squaring off in front of a capacity crowd at the biggest stage we have, and it was wonderful. It’s a match that’s talked about today.” — JOHN CENA, “THE EPIC JOURNEY OF THE ROCK”



Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair — Career-Threatening Match (WrestleMania XXIV)

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Location: Orlando, Fla.
Date: March 30, 2008
Time: 20:24

Why it’s great: With Flair having staved off retirement for months, The Showstopper stepped up to the plate and sent The Nature Boy off into the sunset in one of the most emotional WrestleMania swan songs of all time.

Signature moment: The Showstopper prepares to fire off Sweet Chin Music, but he hesitates at the moment of truth and Flair capitalizes, placing Michaels in the Figure-Four Leglock.



Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart (WrestleMania X)

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Location: New York City
Date: March 20, 1994
Time: 20:20

Why it’s great: Madison Square Garden transformed into the Hart Dungeon when Bret and Owen went to war in a classic that culminated in an upset victory for The King of Harts.

Sibling rivalry: This was the first time WrestleMania kicked off with a match pitting two brothers against each other.


Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels — 60-Minute WWE Iron Match for the WWE Championship (WrestleMania XII)

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Location: Anaheim, Calif.
Date: March 31, 1996
Time: 1:01:52

Why it’s great: The Montreal Screwjob is the one everyone remembers, but this WWE Iron Man bout — decided 1-0 by HBK in overtime — remains, perhaps, the definitive piece of wrestling between these two ultimate rivals.

The one and only: This is the only WWE Iron Man Match that has ever taken place at WrestleMania. It’s also the only time The Hit Man and The Showstopper clashed on The Grandest Stage of Them All.


Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon — Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match (WrestleMania X)

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Location: New York City
Date: March 20, 1994
Time: 18:48

Why it’s great: HBK made history when he took to the air and splashed Ramon off the top of a ladder, but The Bad Guy got the last word by defeating Michaels to unify the two Intercontinental Titles. (Long story).

Are you serious, bro?: A young Zack Ryder was not only in attendance for this match, he got a picture with Ramon and the Intercontinental Title. The WWE Hall of Famer would repay the favor 22 years later.



The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz — Tables, Ladders & Chairs World Tag Team Championship Match (WrestleMania X-Seven)

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Location: Houston
Date: April 1, 2001
Time: 15:42

Why it’s great: The sequel rose to the level of the original in this rematch of the initial TLC Match at the previous year’s SummerSlam, with Edge & Christian once again claiming the World Tag Team Championships at the end of an unfathomable battle.

Signature moment: Jeff Hardy obliterates interfering Superstars Rhyno and Spike Dudley with a Swanton Bomb off a ladder, sending them through a pair of tables.



Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle (WrestleMania 21)

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Location: Los Angeles
Date: April 3, 2005
Time: 27:25

Why it’s great: In one of the most savage efforts of his career, Angle silenced the proud Michaels by locking in a hellacious Ankle Lock, grape-vining “Mr. WrestleMania’s” legs to prevent an escape.

Wait, HOW long?: Michaels spent an agonizing two full minutes in the fateful Ankle Lock before finally submitting to The Olympic Hero.



“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock (WrestleMania X-Seven)

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Location: Houston
Date: April 1, 2001
Time: 28:07

Why it's great: Hell froze over when The Texas Rattlesnake joined forces with his archenemy, Mr. McMahon, to take the WWE Championship from around The People's Waist in the most shocking of Austin and Rock's WrestleMania series.

Say it ain't so: "I kept thinking of a sound bite to say when the moment happened, and I couldn't think of one! Because the vision itself was unthinkable!" — PAUL HEYMAN, "BEYOND THE RING: 'STONE COLD' STEVE AUSTIN"


Bret Hart vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin — Submission Match (WrestleMania 13)

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Location: Rosemont, Ill.
Date: March 23, 1997
Time: 22:04

Why it’s great: Widely considered the bout that truly launched Austin’s career, the iconic conclusion of the match saw a busted-open Austin refuse to tap to the Sharpshooter, forcing guest referee Ken Shamrock to call off the bout after The Texas Rattlesnake lost consciousness in the hold.

Hell, yeah: “Everyone was ready for [Austin]. We were all ready. He was ready. We were ready. It took him a long time to build to that moment, but he broke out, and WWE was never the same again.” — THE MIZ, “BEYOND THE RING: ‘STONE COLD’ STEVE AUSTIN”



“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat — Intercontinental Championship Match (WrestleMania III)

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Location: Pontiac, Mich.
Date: March 29, 1997
Time: 14:32

Why it’s great: WrestleMania III’s enduring moment is Hulk Hogan slamming Andre the Giant. But its enduring match is this whip-fast classic, which concluded when George “The Animal” Steele provided a crucial assist to The Dragon, allowing Steamboat to steal Savage’s Intercontinental Championship — and the show along with it.

The Match: “It was sold out for the wrestlers in the back. There was nobody that didn’t watch that match. Every single wrestler in the dressing room watched. That was the match that I wanted to try to equal, or at least come close to having as great a match as Randy had at WrestleMania.” — BRET HART, “MACHO MAN: THE RANDY SAVAGE STORY”



The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (The 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania)

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Location: Houston
Date: April 5, 2009
Time: 30:42

Why it’s great: The Showstopper took his first crack at The Phenom’s Streak in this epic WrestleMania classic. And even though “Mr. WrestleMania” fell short, he came close enough that he made the ultimate gamble — and sacrifice — at the next year’s Show of Shows.

Signature moment: HBK goes high-risk with a moonsault and gets caught right in position for a Tombstone, sealing his fate and setting him down the fateful path that would close his career at WrestleMania XXVI.

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