10. Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair – Wrestlemania 24
The fact that this match features two of the best wrestlers of all time alone should secure it a place on this list; however this match is not merely a great match up on paper. It occurred after Michaels had announced Flair’s induction in the WWE Hall of Fame, and made no secret of his admiration for the Nature Boy. The match itself was incredible, with both men on top form and Flair particularly putting on a great performance the equal of any wrestler (aged 59!), and the climax featuring Flair daring a reluctant Michaels to finish him with a Sweet Chin Music is one of the best in WrestleMania history.
9. Mick Foley vs. Edge – Wrestlemania 22
Much of the build up to this match was about Foley getting his defining Wrestlemania moment. And he did… by getting a pretty brutal looking spear through a flaming table. Not a technical classic, but with a some quality spots, not least Edge coming off second best from a spear attempt after Foley had wrapped himself in barbed wire and Lita eating a barbed wire socko. Raised even higher by the Joey styles “OH MY GOD!” as Edge and Foley crashed through the table.
8. Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock – Wrestlemania 18
It was billed as Icon vs. Icon, A clash of the two legends of two different wrestling eras. From the beginning it was clear that this was more than simply a match, more of a torch passing from Hogan to the new generation. Although not a classic wrestling wise, the match was full of enough memorable moments to secure a place on our list, including a particularly enjoyable Hulking up, and Hogan’s version of the Rock Bottom.
7. Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit – Wrestlemania 17
At Wrestlemania 17, along with Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle put on a wrestling clinic with a broken frickin’ neck (probably…). This one was the Ankle Lock vs. the Crippler Crossface, with both men using the others submission manoeuvre during the match. Technical wrestling at its best with lots of transitions and counter after counter. Angle held the ropes for the win after rolling up Benoit to end a great contest for the purists.
6. Triple H vs. The Undertaker – Wrestlemania 17
The match that they have to beat at Wrestlemania XXVII, one of the greatest matches that either of them ever contested, from the best Wrestlemania of all time. HHH vs. ’Taker at Wrestlemania X-Seven was a classic from the period that many consider WWE’s peak and certainly the wrestling peak of both mens careers. An all-out slobberknocker which epitomised the Attitude Era, this no-holds barred match was given nearly 20 minutes and was all the better for it. The encounter went back and forth all over the arena, with plenty of the elements that made Attitude great (i.e. blood, weapons, and crazy high spots) and is a highlight of the Undertaker’s variable quality ‘Mania streak.
5. Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H / Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle – Wrestlemania 20
WWE might only be willing to recognise one of the champions who left Wrestlemania 20, but Scorpion Death Blog rates the ending to the 2004 event highly and that’s thanks to both men. After Guerrero had beaten Angle is a quality bout, Benoit made Triple H tap in one of the best three-way matches I can recall (HBK being the other combatant). While both matches were worthy in their own right of being on this list, the real Wrestlemania moment came in the closing moments with the emotional Benoit’s arm being raised by his close friend Eddie Guerrero, both men realising their dreams. WWE at its best.
4. TLC II – Wrestlemania 17
The Tables, Ladders, and Chairs (oh, my!) match was one of the WWE’s best ideas, and proved a great way to showcase the talents of the three best Attitude Era tag-teams – the Hardy Boyz, the Dudley Boyz, and Edge and Christian. This particular TLC was the second, and what many considered best of the two classic matches (the first being at Summerslam 2000) and featured many now classic spots including Jeff Hardy’s Swanton on Bubba-Ray from a “20-foot” ladder, and awesome interference from Spike Dudley, Lita, and particularly (suck it Craig!) Rhyno. The match which every tag-team should aspire to have, a true WWE original.
3. Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle – Wrestlemania 21
The Showstopper against the Wrestling Machine. Two of the greatest pro wrestlers of our time put on an instant classic at Wrestlemania 21. On the last RAW before this years ‘Mania Triple H said that HBK didn’t have to actually win his matches at Wrestlemania, such is his popularity and charisma, to still be Mr. Wrestlemania, to still be the Showstopper. If evidence of this was needed, this match with Angle proves as much. A phenomenal contest between the two ended in Michaels finally tapping out to the umpteenth Ankle Lock, but fans will still look back on this match with immense admiration for both modern greats.
2. Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker – Wrestlemania 25 and 26
We couldn’t pick one of these two matches without the other, and really both should be counted as one as a fitting finale to the Heartbreak Kid’s career. The feud that culminated in the final confrontation at Wrestlemania 26 was nothing short of epic, with Michaels shedding much of his classic arrogant persona in his desperate pursuit of the Undertaker. While many consider the first match the technically superior, the second has the most resonance, and the incredible performance of Michael’s in his 17th ‘Mania appearance serves to underline his status as one of the greatest wrestlers in the history of the business. Unquestionably this blog’s favourite two matches of the Undertakers WrestleMania streak, and arguably HBK’s greatest ever Wrestlemania moments.
1. The Rock vs. ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin – Wrestlemania 17 and 19
The Rock vs. Stone Cold… WHAT!?…Stone Cold… WHAT!?… I said Stone Cold! In truth, a trilogy of matches, however, the corporate Rock vs. Austin 3:16 match from Wrestlemania 15 is just outside our timeframe of the last decade. Like a few of the matches on this list, these maybe weren’t technical clinics, but they were huge, huge matches that more than delivered on the enormous hype. The two biggest stars of the attitude era squared off in two epic main events. The match at ‘Mania 17 is one of my favourite endings to a Wrestlemania with Austin turning heel by creating an alliance with Mr. McMahon and repeatedly pummelling seven shades out of the Rock before eventually getting the pin. The later bout had Rock as the heel after leaving the WWE to pursue his film career and was also the last match of Stone Cold’s illustrious career, which alone is probably grounds to have these matches on the list. However, these contests top our list on merit. For a blog that grew up in the attitude era, the two biggest stars in the WWF/E’s most successful and popular period putting on such intense, engrossing epics was always going to come out on top. And that’s the bottom line…
Ali and Craig