I have to start with a very big disclaimer, this is my personal list. My criteria is very far-reaching. In some instances matches made the list because of what it meant to me as a wrestling fan in the moment. In other instances matches made the list because of just how epic it was or what it meant to wrestling as a whole. In some instances matches made it because of just who was involved in the match. So don’t fight me when you realize Savage/Steamboat and Hogan/Andre aren’t on the list. I’m just saying.
10. The Rock vs Stone Cold Steve Austin, Wrestlemania 19
Yes, I was a bigger fan of The Rock than Stone Cold. Yes, this was the third time they fought at Wrestlemania. No, this was not the best of their three matches. No, this was not for the WWE title. HOWEVER, this was the only one of the three matches that The Rock won… and for that reason, this match makes the list where the other two don’t.
9. Hardy Boyz vs Dudley Boys vs Edge and Christian, Wrestlemania X-Seven, TLC
Edge jumped off of a ladder to spear Jeff Hardy in midair while Jeff was holding on the WWE tag titles suspending above the ring. This was also the first TLC match.
8. Bret Hart vs Stone Cold, Wrestlemania 13
This mach was epic. If you don’t know the storyline, it is worth looking up. Coming into this match, Stone Cold was a heel that fans were dying to cheer. Bret Hart on the other hand, was a babyface whose act was kayfabe starting to wear on fans. Vince McMahon used this match as a way to turn both wrestlers executing perhaps the best and probably only fully successful double-turn in WWE history. That it happened at Wrestlemania is amazing. That they had Austin lose by passing out while bloodied in the sharpshooter was simply stellar storytelling. The rest of the match was pretty damn good too.
7. The Undertaker vs CM Punk, Wrestlemania 29
First, they gave Punk and Taker 28 minutes of match time. Second, they gave them big entrances. This was a big match. I remain disappointed that Punk didn’t win here because him winning this match might be one of the biggest what ifs in Wrestlemania and wrestling history.
6. The Rock vs Hulk Hogan, Wrestlemania 18
This match makes this list partly because The Rock is one of my favorite wrestlers ever – but mostly because the fans just wanted to do what they wanted to do. Ultimately the two men in the ring seemed to adjust on the fly and give the people what they wanted. This was also one of those major moments where WWE got to trot out a current legend in the making against a past legend and actually give an acceptable match. Much kudos to The Rock for making this way better than it had any business being. One final note, the aftermath of this match alone makes this worthy of being on this list.
5. Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar + Seth Rollins, Wrestlemania 31
Seth cashed in the Money in The Bank briefcase at Wrestlemania to win his first WWE championship. Has to be top 5.
4. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Shawn Michaels, Wrestlemania 14
It’s so funny that Austin just talked about this match last week and said that it sucked. But Vince, ever the mastermind found the perfect way to attract more eyeballs to the product by bringing in Mike Tyson, who also worked as a bit of a distraction from some of the physical limitations Shawn may have had in this match. Those extra eyeballs also meant a whole lot of casual fans or boxing fans got to see Stone Cold Steve Austin maybe for the first time and fall in love with the beer drinking, mudhole stomping SOB. Given that this was also Austin’s first WWE title, and that it kicked the budding Austin McMahon feud into warp speed, this match and its outcome and the attention Vince brought to it, is a large part of the boom of the Attitude Era.
3. Daniel Bryan vs Randy Orton vs Batista, Wrestlemania 30
This match, this story, this ending was simply epic. Fans wanted a Daniel Bryan win and we sure did get one. This was the culmination of a story that started at the previous year’s Summerslam and as frustrated as WWE made fans during this time frame – and as much as we still aren’t sure if this was their master plan all along – the end result delivered the goods. One of those feel good Mania moments that fans will never forget.
2. Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker, Wrestlemania 25 & 26
This match speaks for itself.
1. Shawn Michaels vs Bret Hart, Wrestlemania 12, Iron Man Match
This is my personal favorite Wrestlemania match of all time. I first watched this about a year after it happened on a VHS that I rented from Super Video. Shout to moms for allowing my inner wrestling fan to really grow by allowing me to rent wrestling tapes in the mid to late 90s. This match is an epic – as much because of the story as the actual wrestling in the match. You may agree or disagree, but this match was and still is a classic. It also is only the beginning of Shawn Michaels claim to being Mr. Wrestlemania.