As many of you know, I have been a big wrestling fan for the last twenty years or so. Honestly however, in the last couple of years it has lost me a bit. The Rock left, Austin is old, Ric Flair is older, Nash and Hall are druggies and it just doesnt quite have the edge it once did for me. But even when I dont watch wrestling regularly, Wrestlemania is special. We are enjoying the fruits of the 24th Wrestlemania tonight and I will be doing my best to catch it once again. Ric Flair is in his last ever match, so I will watch and yell “Woooo!!!” as he walks down that aisle. Triple H, Cena and Orton go for one title and Undertaker puts his winning streak at the big event on the line against Edge. Add to that the train wreck that Big Show-Floyd Mayweather will be and it is worth the price of admission at the local Hooters to watch the event.
I will say this however, even if the event is awful, the weekend was worth it for the chance to watch Ric Flair be inducted into the wrestling hall of fame. Say whatever you want about wrestling being fake or a waste of time, but for nearly 20 years of my life, I have been being entertained by the white haired man from North Carolina. Watching him get inducted tonight was extremely cool and something I enjoyed immensely. It was weird watching Flair as he goes into his last match….I cant remember a time I didnt know who Flair was or wasnt watching him do his thing. His match tomorrow ends it and shows me that I am really getting old.
Anyway, this article from CNNSI, runs down the Top 24 Wrestlemania matches of all-time…..and is certainly worth a viewing.
The CNNSI Top 10:
10. Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle (WrestleMania XXI): Pound-for-pound, probably the best pure wrestling match ever at WrestleMania will also go down as one of the most underrated. Nevertheless, a list of the best matches in wrestling history would be incomplete without this classic.
9. Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart (WrestleMania X): Easily the greatest match to ever open up a WrestleMania. While Bret would win the world title later that night, it was Owen that would go home with the bragging rights after winning this classic wrestling clinic.
8. Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock (WrestleMania XVIII): The two biggest icons in wrestling history squared off in an unpredictable match that will be remembered for having the hottest crowd of any match in ‘Mania history and catapulting Hogan back to the yellow and red “Real American” that most remember him as.
NOTE: (From Matt🙂 This is my personal favorite….Hogan-Warrior (#5)had me going as a kid, Austin-Hart (#2) was a better match….and Hogan-Andre (#1) is more important, but I will always remember being at Duke in a room full of 15 people at my apartment, none of whom really watched wrestling like I did….but this match, with the crowd going crazy in the background, the kickouts on each’s signature move and the best performers of their day had a room full of non-wrestling fans screaming at the television. All involved (except me) would be embarrassed that they acted like kids at the time and all are working for some big-city fancy law firm now…..but for 20 minutes the Hulkster and The Rock had them…..
7. Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H (WrestleMania XX): The stellar three-way main event will forever be overshadowed by the show’s eerie final image of longtime friends Benoit and Eddie Guerrero, embracing each other while holding their respective championship belts.
6. Edge & Christian vs. Hardy Boyz vs. Dudley Boyz (WrestleMania XVII): The tag-team trio that revolutionized the tables, ladders and chairs (TLC) match nearly ended each others careers in one of the most dangerous ‘Mania fights ever.
5. Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior (WrestleMania VI): Champion vs. champion, title for title, good guy vs. good guy. What was a young wrestling fan to do? It may not go down as the most technically sound match but for a generation of wrestling fans, this will be remembered as the high watermark of a simpler time when wrestling shows lived on Saturday afternoons and Vince McMahon was nothing more than a clichÃ©d announcer.
4. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs. Randy “Macho Man” Savage (WrestleMania III): Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant may have sold out the Pontiac Silverdome, but Steamboat and Savage stole the show in a match still considered one of the best in wrestling history.
3. Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon (WrestleMania X): The first ladder match quite literally set the bar for the future of wrestling and the daredevil stunts that are quite common today. Still, few ladder matches have come close to topping the groundbreaking first one at Madison Square Garden.
2. Bret Hart vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (WrestleMania XIII): One of the most influential matches in wrestling history and one of the few times you’ll ever see two wrestlers switch roles (good guy/ bad guy) in mid-action. It was the match and the moment that ushered in the WWE’s “attitude” era, which would change the landscape of wrestling forever.
1. Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant (WrestleMania III): Another match that will not win any technical awards, but then again it didn’t have to. The simple fact that Hogan and Andre sold out a 90,000-seat football stadium in an era when wrestling cards took place in arenas and convention centers, makes this the most important match in wrestling history. Period