The All-Time Wrestlemania Card
by Squeak Dudley
Hello jaded universe! this is your very own Squeak Dudley making a “hopefully” glorious return to the blogging arena…today we are going to dive into a topic that is bound to rile up some folks…because today we are going to be diving into what my all-time Wrestlemania card is using solely past Wrestlemania matches.
We will be looking back in time on Wrestlemania matches to pick and choose the “cream of the crop” and book the greatest Wrestlemania of all-time. This will include booking the venue, commentating team, and match card itself.
Before setting off on this journey I did set some general rules:
- There will be only two event commentators.
- There will 8 main card matches and 1 pre-show match.
- No wrestler can compete in more than 1 match (to add to the realism)
- A title can only be up for grabs one time.
Without further ado, lets do this!
THE VENUE: MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
When it came time to picking a venue this was pretty straight forward. Not only is the arena one of the most iconic venues in New York it is also rich in WWE history.
Many may point to the fact that the original Wrestlemania 1 was held here back in 1985. It was also the venue that Vince returned to for Wrestlemania X and Wrestlemania 20. However Madison Square Garden (MSG) has not just hosted historic Wrestlemania moments…it is rich in WWE moments in general as here are a few more moments to build its WWE legacy:
- It was the arena that saw the debut of Rocky Maivia. That’s right, the Rock we know and love today originally came strutting down the Madison Square Garden entry way looking like the faciest face that ever faced…The year was 1996 at Survivor Series.
- It was the venue that saw Jimmy Snuka superfly splash off of the top of a cage in 1983. The iconic moment helping to change not only wrestling, but one fan in the audience as well (cough…Mick Foley…cough).
3. Last, but certainly not least, is it held the RAW which saw the “stunner heard round the world.” To refresh your memory this RAW saw Vince take a Stone Cold Stunne (the worst stunner of his life) that kicked off the greatest feud of the attitude era.
THE COMMENTATORS: JIM ROSS AND JERRY “THE KING” LAWLER
Hear me out on this one as I know this seems like the easy pick (and it is). Jerry “The King” Lawler and Jim Ross were the voice of wrestling when it was at it highest peak during the Attitude era. The two blended perfectly with Jim Ross’ ability to call the action and Jerry “The King” Lawler incessant praising of heels and drooling over beautiful women.
My personal feeling aside on this they are also the two with the most Wrestlemania commentating experience. Jim Ross has been a commentator at a Wrestlemania event 16 times! Starting back in 1993 at Wrestlemania IX and as recently as last years Wrestlemania 33. Sitting right beside him is Jerry the King Lawler, who has been a commentator at a total of 21 Wrestlemania events! The only runner up who has close to that amount of experience is Michael Cole.
It is a no brainer that the two most iconic WWE commentators would work at an All-Time Wrestlmania.
Now, for the part you all have been waiting for.
THE PRE-SHOW: EDGE VS. MICK FOLEY IN A HARDCORE MATCH (WRESTLEMANIA 22)
This match was fire…am I using that right?
Man…only one match in and this was a tough pick.
The premise behind this one was simple enough…Mick Foley had been the guest referee in a WWE championship match with Edge and John Cena…Edge felt Mick was the reason he lost the title and an epic rivalry ensued.
The beauty of this feud is both men seemed to bring the best out of the other. Not only on the microphone (which are well worth going back and checking out) but in the ring as well.
This match was a hardcore clinic that involved baseball bats, barbed wire, cooking sheets, and what else…am I forgetting anything? Oh that’s right…fire. This match is most likely remembered solely for its final spot. A spot that saw Edge spear Foley off the apron to the outside through a burning table. INSANE. This saw Edge cover to get the victory in a match that stole the show. A great start to the “Of All-Time” Wrestlemania of all time.
OPENING MATCH: BRET HART VS. OWEN HART (WRESTLEMANIA 10)
What better match to start the show than arguably the best match to open the marquee event? That’s right at Wrestlemania 10, Owen and Bret went to battle against each other in a feud that had had a slow burn build. It had all started at Survivor Series the previous year with Bret sustaining an injury in their elimination match that led to a loss…things seemed to be patched over as Bret declared he would not fight his brother…This was until the Royal Rumble which saw the ref stop the match due to Bret sustaining an injury. This led to Owen attacking Bret and the match was on for Wrestlemania.
The two went at it for 20 minutes and led to a surprise victory for Owen. The two would feud throughout the year leading into Summerslam where they battled in the now classic steel cage match. Many wrestlers have praised this match including Chris Jericho, who said the following:
For me, the best match on WrestleMania X was always Bret vs. Owen, and it kicked off the show and it was hard to follow…the story was amazing, it was kind of Owen’s coronation — it was a great moment”
This match did not make the "Jericho" list.
KURT ANGLE VS. CHRIS BENOIT (WRESTLEMANIA 17)
Right off the bat lets just acknowledge that what Chris Benoit did was tragic and horrifying. I don't think anyone denies that.
Temporarily putting aside what happened outside of the ring... as a wrestler Benoit put on a near 15 minute classic with Kurt Angle at Wrestlemania 17. This was a match that didn't have anything on the line nor much of a story build (Angle didn't have a feud going into Wrestlemania) but Wrestlemania was the perfect place for these two technically gifted wrestlers to go toe to toe.
Angle in true heel fashion was able to kick out of a diving headbutt and roll up Benoit while pulling on his tights. Gah...what a heel.
THE HARDY BOYZ VS. EDGE AND CHRISTIAN VS. THE DUDLEY BOYS IN A TLC MATCH FOR THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS (WRESTLEMANIA 17)
Back to back Wrestlemania 17 picks! Sorry about that.
Not a hot take when I say: This match set the standard for what could be done in a TLC match. Whether it be Jeff's suicidal swanton bomb on the outside or Edge's iconic spear to Jeff hanging from the briefcase...This match is certifiably insane. It also is a match that still holds up.
Even if some may criticize it for being a bit of a spot fest, this match propelled an entire match type into the staple that we see today. If you haven't seen it you should probably stop reading this, don't worry i'll be here when you're done.
In the end Edge and Christian got the win.
RANDY SAVAGE VS. RICKY STEAMBOAT FOR THE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE (WRESTLEMANIA 3)
It says a lot that a match that was on the same card as Hogan vs. Andre the Giant wound up stealing the show. This was a technical masterpiece that was famously scripted move for move by Macho Man, to the point it drove Ricky Steamboat crazy. All the prep work was worth it as these two put on a 15 minute match that displayed at the very least the most aesthetically pleasing arm drags i've ever seen...seriously check it out.
In the end Ricky Steamboat was able to get the upper hand on Savage and cement his place in history.
Side note: I still stand by that Macho Man has the most graceful elbow drop the business has ever seen. Although Kairi Sane is making a run for it.
CHARLOTTE VS. SASHA BANKS VS. BECKY LYNCH FOR THE WWE WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP (WRESTLEMANIA 32)
Before this match started Lita came down to the ring and announced that this would be a bout for the innaugural WWE Women's Championship. Charlotte came down with the divas title and that was (hopefully) the last time we ever will see it.
This was a moment that finally presented the women as wrestlers first. Ever since I was little the women have always played second fiddle to the guys, either being just eye candy or the "bathroom break match." I feel this moment was the WWE finally acknowledging the talent in their own division.
That being said this match also went on to steal the show. This match was in the middle of the card but was without question the most exciting of the night. It included some great spots as well, like a moonsault by Charlotte to the outside and a Frog Splash by Sasha in homage to Eddie Guerrero.
In the end the Queen (Charlotte) took this one to not only become the last Divas champion...but the first WWE Women's champion.
SHAWN MICHAELS VS. THE UNDERTAKER (WRESTLEMANIA 25)
Arguably the greatest Wrestlemania match of all time. To be honest it was difficult determining if I should put this match as the main event or not...in the end because it wasn't for a title that helped make the decision a little easier. Maybe I could do what WWE does and say this card has 2 main events...nevermind.
Anyway, this is a match that pits two of the greatest of all time against each other. This was far from the first match the two have had together and it shows in their chemistry. When I went back and rewatched this match I knew that Shawn Michaels was going to lose...yet I caught myself actually thinking a few times "maybe he can do it" and that is what makes this match so good. You believe in the story they are telling. With a ton of false finishes this match has it all. Including a particularly scary spot involving a suicide dive to the outside by the Undertaker.
Go watch this again. Never gets old.
MAIN EVENT: STONE COLD VS. THE ROCK FOR THE WWF CHAMPIONSHIP (WRESTLEMANIA 17)
I'll admit, I am pretty bias about this match. I remember watching it as a kid and coming completely unglued as the two biggest wrestlers of my generation battled it out.
This match was the peak of the Attitude era, which had seen the WWF soar to new heights of popularity and success. Now the match itself is no technical masterpiece, but its significance lies in having the two biggest stars of a generation in the prime of their careers fighting for the top belt. It was picture perfect.
It also included one of the biggest heel turns in wrestling history when Stone Cold aligned with Vince McMahon to screw over The Rock on the way to victory. This move later turned out to be a questionable decision long term... but in the moment it made an unforgettable scene. To see Stone Cold shaking hands with as JR put it "satan himself" was jaw dropping.
It also has been recognized by some as the match that ended the Attitude era which gives it slightly more significance... and another reason why I made it the main event.
So there you have it. My picks for the all-time Wrestlemania card. I hope you enjoyed reading! Let me know how you think I did, or what you would have put instead!
Until next time...stay jaded.