The 10 best WrestleMania performers ever
A Superstar can be great 364 days out of the year, but if they don’t deliver at WrestleMania, they won’t mean much in the grand scheme of sports-entertainment lore.
The competitors who have excelled on The Grandest Stage of Them All are a select fraternity. The best of them didn’t have a good match or two — they anchored WWE’s biggest event of the year on multiple occasions. They made history on a regular basis, stole the show like it was theirs for the taking. They walked into stadiums as men and left as icons.
WrestleMania is known as The Showcase of the Immortals. The 10 Superstars on this list are the reason why.
When you watch any WrestleMania highlight reel, you can always count on seeing Edge lunge from a 20-foot ladder to spear Jeff Hardy in air. At an event where every Superstar wants to raise the bar, few have been able to touch this iconic moment. And this was only the second match of Edge’s WrestleMania career.
In 10 contests at The Show of Shows, The Rated-R Superstar battled in two era-defining TLC Matches and two Money in the Bank Ladder Matches. He beat Mick Foley at his own game, a brutal Hardcore Match. He challenged for a World Title at four consecutive WrestleManias. Only John Cena (seven) and Triple H (five) have had longer streaks.
Edge then wrapped his career in the most glorious fashion possible, retaining the World Title on The Grandest Stage. It was like winning the World Series and retiring during the trophy presentation. — JEFF LABOON
"Macho Man" Randy Savage
Many people will argue that “Macho Man” Randy Savage reinvented what a Superstar should be with his flashy entrance gear and out-of-this-world interviews. Not only did Savage do that, but he also set the standard for the level of competition on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
Savage and Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat’s epic in front of 93,173 fans at WrestleMania III is still regarded as one of the greatest matches in sports-entertainment history. Not one to rest on his laurels, “Macho Man” followed up on that performance one year later by defeating four Superstars in one night to capture the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Legendary matches with Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior and Ric Flair at The Show of Shows followed, cementing Savage’s legacy as one of the most prolific WrestleMania performers of all time. — BOBBY MELOK
From his spectacular ring entrances to career-defining matches, Triple H has made WrestleMania his own personal showcase. The Game has competed at more than half of WWE’s WrestleMania events, facing a who’s who of WWE icons, from The Ultimate Warrior to John Cena. The Cerebral Assassin also has a clear knack for performing on center stage when The Show of Shows rolls around, fighting for the WWE Championship a remarkable five times and walking away the victor on three of those occurrences.
Whether he is battling for WWE’s top prize or putting an exclamation point on a storied rivalry, Triple H raises his game at The Showcase of Immortals. And because of that, this 13-time World Champion is one of WrestleMania’s greatest performers. — SCOTT TAYLOR
Bret "Hit Man" Hart
No matter the criteria for defining an all-time great WrestleMania performer, Bret Hart is exceedingly qualified. “Hit Man” competed in 12 of the first 13 Show of Shows, and with each edition, Hart improved his ranking, ascending from battle royal participant and tag team competitor to Intercontinental Title challenger and defending WWE Champion. He notched milestone victories on The Grandest Stage, earning his second WWE Title in WrestleMania’s birthplace of Madison Square Garden, no less. If you rate match quality with stars, Hart’s WrestleMania scorecard would resemble the densest constellation.
Maybe most important of all, Hart brought true emotion to WrestleMania. His morality play against Roddy Piper; the then-unprecedented sibling war against brother Owen; the expectation-defying, changing-of-the-guard WWE Iron Man Match against Shawn Michaels; and the complex and unforgettably gritty duel with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, which inconceivably turned Hart into a villain and Austin a hero. Whether inspiring chills, amazement or vitriol, Hart never failed to deliver. — JOHN CLAPP
If nothing else, The Rock has proven that he never once has withered under the bright lights of a big stage — not in Hollywood, not in music (or the occasional lip-sync), and definitely not on The Grandest Stage of Them All. The jabroni-beatin’, pie-eatin’, trail-blazin’, eyebrow-raisin’ People’s Champ has put his name to some of The Showcase’s signature contests, among them the denouement of WrestleMania XIX against “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and the emotional rollercoaster against Hollywood Hogan at WrestleMania X-8. The Great One even picked up hosting duties at WrestleMania XXVII, and when all was said and done, influenced the outcome of the bout’s WWE Title Match. And yeah, he kinda just wanted to screw Cena at that point, but perhaps there was a greater lesson at play: Even when he’s not competing, WrestleMania bows to the will of The Great One. — ANTHONY BENIGNO
For a guy whose motto is “You can’t see me,” John Cena has been exceedingly visible at The Showcase of the Immortals. In his 11 go-rounds on The Grandest Stage of Them All, Cena has either challenged for or retained a title in nine contests, beginning with his giant-slaying U.S. Title win over Big Show at WrestleMania XX and ending with his WWE Title retribution against The Rock at WrestleMania 29. He’s tussled with the biggest and best in WWE history, including Shawn Michaels, Edge and Triple H, and he has even gone toe-to-toe with exciting newcomers like Bray Wyatt and — at this year’s event – Rusev. Conventional wisdom suggests that a new crop will soon emerge to take Cena’s place, but not before he notches a few more WrestleManias under his belt. His time’s not up yet. — ANTHONY BENIGNO
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin was seen as not much more than a reliable hand heading into his WrestleMania 13 showdown against Bret “Hit Man” Hart, a Superstar capable of having a great match under any circumstances. While the all-out war with Hart in Chicago was just that, who could have expected that it would launch Austin into the stratosphere.
Just one year later, Austin cemented himself as WWE’s top dog, beating Shawn Michaels for the WWE Title. At WrestleMania XV, Austin started his series of epic matches against The Rock on The Grandest Stage of Them All, which took a shocking twist at WrestleMania X-Seven, when Austin joined forces with Mr. McMahon, and capped off with Austin’s final match at WrestleMania XIX. — BOBBY MELOK
If you were to ask the WWE Universe what performer first comes to mind when they think of WrestleMania, the overwhelming response would be Hulk Hogan.
The two names are synonymous with one another. Hogan has competed or appeared in more than a third of all WrestleMania events and battled in the conclusive contest of seven of them; eight if you count his impromptu WWE Title victory over Yokozuna to close out WrestleMania IX. That’s more than any other Superstar in history, including John Cena.
Even when he wasn’t competing on top, Hogan created moments that will live on forever. He helped Randy Savage win the WWE Championship, dueled against The Rock, beat the hell out of Mr. McMahon and shared the ring with Rock and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in the best WrestleMania opening ever. Thirty years after he main evented the first WrestleMania, Hulk made it clear that he still rules. — MIKE MURPHY
When commentators start to call you “Mr. WrestleMania,” you have some lofty expectations to live up to. But in 17 matches on The Grandest Stage of Them All, Shawn Michaels embodied that nickname. Whether flying off a ladder in Madison Square Garden or zip-lining to the ring in Anaheim, Michaels always had the WWE Universe talking at the end of the night.
He’s taken on giants like The Undertaker, brawled with hell-raisers like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and targeted icons like Ric Flair. He took each competitor to a new level and adjusted his in-ring style accordingly. Only HBK could have unforgettable matches at WrestleMania against a technical expert like Bret Hart and an unlikely fighter like Mr. McMahon.
When the lights shined brightest, so did Shawn Michaels. — JEFF LABOON
As the metrics guys like to say, ball don’t lie. The Undertaker boasts 21 victories in 22 WrestleMania appearances, including a two-on-one victory, a Casket Match, a pair of consecutive World Heavyweight Championship wins and a match where he retired one of the greatest Superstars to ever lace up the leather. Yes, the spotless Streak was smudged at WrestleMania 30 when Brock Lesnar rolled into town, but as we’ve learned, The Beast Incarnate is something of an exception to every rule, in this case, that The Undertaker more or less owns The Grandest Stage of Them All.
Even now, facing The Phenom at the big dance is such an honor that Bray Wyatt moved heaven and earth to exhume him for another rumble at WrestleMania 31. Understandably so. To make an impact, you go for the biggest dog in the yard, and for The Undertaker, WrestleMania is his yard. Then, now, forever. — ANTHONY BENIGNO