Wrestlemania is THE biggest event in sports entertainment year in and year out without a shred of doubt. If you are trying to get someone you care about into pro wrestling, chances are you will try to ease them with the spectacle that is Wrestlemania, as it is “The Super Bowl of Professional Wrestling Sports Entertainment”. However, this article is to caution you NOT to show them any of these Wrestlemanias first…unless you are looking to torture someone. If that is the case, then by all means treat this column with an “opposite day” mentality.
These are NOT in order of how bad they are but instead in chronological order from the earliest "dried up turds" to the most recent "stinky piles of manure".
Sweats and I both agreed this was THE WORST Wrestlemania of All Time as the card is largely forgettable and the matches that are memorable, are not for the right reasons. A lot of people may not remember this but this event not only took place in 3 different locations (New York/Chicago/Los Angeles), but it also took place on a MONDAY…woof. The Boxing Match between Mr. T and Roddy Piper, while mildly entertaining only because you cannot deny the charisma factory that is Roddy Piper, under-delivered on its billing as a co-main event. Not to be outshined in the turd department with arguably the WORST Wrestlemania main event of all time as Hulk Hogan took on King Kong Bundy for the WWF Title in a Steel Cage match. This match is an immersive experience, but not in a good way, as it leaves the audience feeling they are trapped in the steel cage and fighting for the survival that is the end of the match. Not even the myriad of celebrities on the entire show (Ray Charles, Joan Rivers, William “Refrigerator” Perry to name a few) could not save this show as it fell very short in both the sports and entertainment categories WWF/E is known for. If anyone tells you Wrestlemania 2 is their "guilty pleasure", then that is just one of many potential "red flags".
It has been said that Vince McMahon does not like tournaments and hence why we did/do not see them often on WWF/E programming. Wrestlemania IV may be a reason why as this tournament for the vacant WWF Title was full of surprises. What kind of surprises you ask? N64 on your birthday surprise? No...more like EXPECTING an N64 but turns out it's a new sweater you'll never wear surprise...While we did get the spark plug of one of the greatest long-term storylines in history with the outcome of this event, Macho Man Randy Savage winning the title (after 4 total matches), and the beginning of Demolition’s historic 478 day tag title run, how we got there was anything but filled with pomp and circumstance (pun intended). The confusion started with it being a 14-man tournament, which is unusual but understandable given the Hogan/Andre situation. However, it only became more confusing from there as we had a time limit draw in the first round, and then the aforementioned Hogan/Andre match, which received a bye into the quarterfinals, end in a Double DQ creating multiple bye scenarios in subsequent rounds. Not to mention 3 other tournament matches ended in either a count out or disqualification so the fans were treated to quite a few (read: too many) non-definitive finishes. Throw in a Battle Royale with the most memorable part being Bret Hart destroying the trophy, an atrocious Warrior/Hercules match and an IC Title match between Brutus Beefcake and Honky Tonk Man ending in but what else…a DQ, and you get a hodgepodge of booty booking where it seems they used all their creative juju on the Randy Savage story arc and then used the “Spin A Wheel” method for the rest. Shame we didn’t get a Blindfold match or something gimmicky like that to spice things up…
This is where I regret asking for a Blindfold match to spice things up. How and why we arrived at this Blindfold match I understand…but does that mean we have to do it at "The Grandaddy of Them All"? We couldn’t save this type of gimmick match for a different event? Especially since Jake Roberts and Rick Martel, I believe, could have had one of the better matches on the card instead of arguably the worst. This event did have a few entertaining matches, including the opener of The Rockers vs. Haku & Barbarian (before they were The Faces of Fear) and what is undoubtedly The Ultimate Warrior’s greatest match ever against Macho Man Randy Savage. However, most of the card was either squash matches or pure-filler, featuring the beginning of The Undertaker’s famous “Wrestlemania Streak” defeating Jimmy Snuka in a timely and dominant fashion. As far as Mania main event matches go, this was all sizzle and no steak with Sgt. Slaughter as the champion and Iraqi sympathizer (capitalizing off of the Gulf War by turning an American hero and G.I. Joe personality against his own country) vs. “The Real American” Hulk Hogan (aka the only way people would care about this particular match/feud…and it kind of worked). While there are other Wrestlemanias that were saved from this list by the nostalgia or positive redeeming qualities (example: Wrestlemania VIII & IX), this Wrestlemania did not have enough of either benchmark to save itself from this Mania dumpster fire.
Another Wrestlemania on this list that is severely underwhelming, especially coming off of the heels of the highly successful and acclaimed Wrestlemania X, that featured many memorable matches and moments that have lasted throughout the decades of Wrestlemania history. Going from Madison Square Garden to the Hartford Civic Center was not the best omen to begin with and the matches itself did not make it that much better. While I understand the logic behind the decision, Lawrence Taylor, who was a newsworthy celebrity following his retirement from football, his match against Bam Bam Bigelow should not have been the last match viewers saw, despite both athletes giving a solid but not awe-inspiring performance. While I took issue with Diesel kicking out at 1 from HBK’s Sweet Chin Music during the match, that should have been the match to end the show as it was otherwise the clear match of the night, notwithstanding having both blonde bombshells of the 90s Jenny McCarthy & Pamela Andersen involved. However, the biggest pop seemingly belonged to a heel Yokozuna coming out as Owen Hart’s surprise replacement partner, which at this time it was not “the norm” to cheer a heel. This Mania also featured potentially the worst Mania matches, if not career matches, from two bonafide legends in Bret Hart (“I Quit” match with Bob Backlund that had me screaming those words at the TV to make it stop) and The Undertaker (against King Kong Bundy, who ironically logs another Mania stinker to his resume) respectively which solidifies it as a bottom dwelling Mania for the ages.
The fact that this is the ONLY Wrestlemania that does NOT follow the sequential number system alone grinds my gears and doomed this show in my eyes. Even the N64 game wasn’t the best one WWF came out with (No Mercy is G.O.A.T. and don’t even try to at me, but if you want it’s @maestroascott on all social media). The Triangle Tag Title Ladder Match was ALMOST enough to leave it off of this list for how good it was and setting up the now infamous TLC match gimmick. That was IF it was one of the only multi-person matches on the card. The problem is that the ENTIRE card (aside from the “Catfight”) is made up of ALL multi-person matches! Not a (true) singles match to be seen! The IC/European Title Two-Fall Triple Threat was a fun concept of a multi-man gimmick but it could’ve ended there with the multi-person matches. What about the Main event for the WWF Title? That can’t have less than three people right? Let’s make that a Four Way Elimination Match and add a McMahon in Every Corner! Lots of people in a match that took up lots of time! How many more people can we stuff in one match? How about the Hardcore Title Match? Make it a timed battle royal where the title changes hands via pinfall or submission to include ALL the people and be a total cluster! Some of the multi-person matches were truly unnecessary, for example the Kane & Rikishi pairing in a match only served to Tombstone & Stinkface Pete Rose in the San Diego Chicken suit. Yep…that is a sentence based in truth. The rest were filler that left a lot to be desired. I’m all for getting everyone on the card if possible but NOT for the sake of match quality, which is what happened on this show. Should’ve just called it Wrestlemania 16 and been done with it but I think they had to call it Wrestlemania 2000 because there were 2000 people booked on the card.
We fast forward from 2000 to 2011 before we get another true less than "mid" Mania. This Mania here (#27) was dubbed with the tagline “The Biggest Wrestlemania Ever”. The fact that it needs to be said should be the first sign that it is in fact not true, but at least it didn’t say the “best” or “greatest” or else they should be sued for false advertisement. This does not even come close to the tagline as there is exactly one match that is truly worthy to be in consideration for a positive moniker, the Undertaker vs. HHH in a No Holds Barred match. This was the time Taker was stringing together some bangers here with Trips and Shawn Michaels over these several surrounding Manias. That match alone with worth a watch but if you choose to watch the ENTIRE 27th installation of Wrestlemania, you must do so with VERY low expectations for everything else. Otherwise, this is known for the moments where The Rock hits John Cena with the Rock Bottom to cost him the victory over The Miz in the main event for the WWE Championship as well as Edge’s last match for what, at the time, was thought to be forever before he made a miraculous comeback at the 2020 Royal Rumble. Then in the BIGGEST matchups you have an intergender 6-man tag featuring John Morrison, Trish Stratus and…Snooki? From MTV’s Jersey Shore? Not my idea of a BIG Wrestlemania match or moment but I guess for the time it could’ve been viewed that way as a lot of people were (and still are like HTW co-owner The Killa Watt; @realkillawatt) DTF or GTL in 2011. You also have the team of Big Show, Santino Marella, Kofi Kingston, & Kane squashing The Corre (yeah remember that faction?) or even bigger…Michael Cole vs. Jerry Lawler? *insert thinking emoji here*. It may not get ragged on as much if it didn’t have that tagline but since it did *insert shrug emoji here*
Fast forward another two years and we are now seeing the payoff of the aforementioned Rock Bottom to John Cena with Cena winning the WWE Title off of The Rock in Cena vs. Rock II, which was the vehicle behind the entire promotional campaign of this Wrestlemania. Not the best match when it came down to it, but unfortunately The Rock hurt himself during the match so I am sure that was a contributing factor so I won’t knock it too much. At the very least, it paid off the rivalry we witnessed over the past two years and 3 total Manias. The rest of the show? Not a truly memorable match in sight…unless you’re a CM Punk guy, then you might consider his match with Undertaker one…or you’re looking for the origin of The Shield...but even so I’d look elsewhere for that. While you have your high profile main event, the obligatory “Undertaker match”, and a lackluster HHH vs Brock Lesnar match (not a career highlight for either current/future HOF’er, although it did put HHH’s career on the line if he lost), the remainder of the undercard left a lot to be desired…Fandango defeating Chris Jericho? Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger for the World Heavyweight Title? Mark Henry vs. Ryback? No disrespect to anyone mentioned but this is hardly a card fit for “The Grandest Stage of Them All”. Would've been better suited more so a non-Big-Four Pay-Per-View (now Premium-Live-Event) like Battleground or Payback rather than a Wrestlemania. The card overall didn’t move the needle then and it does not inspire anyone now unless they are looking for strictly John Cena or Rock matches to graze upon.
They say everything is bigger in Texas. Unfortunately for this record breaking crowd of 101,000+ fans in attendance at AT&T Stadium, they witnessed, along with many watching at home, one of the biggest disappointments of a Wrestlemania, especially after what can be considered one of the best Manias, Wrestlemania 31, the previous year. The several components that doomed this show were the haphazard booking, particularly in the WWE Title picture for the months leading up to it, and that many of the marquee matchups did not live up to expectations, most notably, Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose in a No Holds Barred Street Fight. The bright spots were a surprise Intercontinental title change to Matt Cardona Zack Ryder to start the main show and the Women’s Title Triple Threat with Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, & Sasha Banks. These were not enough to offset the otherwise disappointing show even though we did get an impromptu Rock appearance and match. Match lengths overall were too long for the quality we received (Rock match aside being only 6 seconds) and the show could have easily been condensed to be under the 4 hour mark, much less the almost 5 hours it almost became (including the kickoff). If you ever needed proof that "bigger isn't always better" than look no further than this Wrestlemania. Although we would REALLY advise you to NOT look at this Wrestlemania unless you have to or you have nothing better to do.
The reason why this makes the list is that this Wrestlemania was TOO LONG! WWE was a year too late with going to two nights for Wrestlemania because if they split up Wrestlemania 35 into two separate nights, this would have been way more palatable. Even has the potential to NOT be in consideration for this list. The fact that the main show was over 5 hours (a record breaking 5 hours and 20 minutes to be exact), not counting the two hour kickoff show, this Wrestlemania needed to be expertly paced to keep the audience’s attention the entire time, and it was not. The overall card was star studded and very attractive on paper. The final matches in the careers of both Batista & Kurt Angle as well as matchups like Seth Rollins vs Brock Lesnar as well as AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton, to name a few, should be enough to peak anyone’s interest who is a wrestling fan but has not seen this show. However, they will be sorely misguided in their attempts to find the redeeming qualities. Yes, we did get KofiMania when he defeated The Planet’s Champion (his most creative gimmick in my opinion) as well as the first Women’s match to main event a Wrestlemania, which was also a solid match, but in order to take it all in you need to spend a majority of your day to do so and have to lessen your expectations as far as the actual execution of the card is concerned. It was too much to watch in one sitting then, now, and forever (together or not). It is even longer to watch now knowing that we have now gone to the current two-night Wrestlemania format. If you're going to make someone watch this one...do them a favor and treat it like a two-night event and don't "binge" it...you will thank me later.
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