So I took the Ultimate Wrestlemania Challenge that a few twitter friends were kicking around. The rules were simple; come up with a card of nine to ten matches from previous WrestleMania shows, making one big event. The catch is that you can only use people once so if you pick Shawn Michaels Iron Man Match vs Bret Hart from WrestleMania 12 then you can’t use his ladder match from ‘Mania 10 or the Undertaker matches from 25 and 26, nor can you use Bret’s match at 13 against Steve Austin or his match at 10 against Owen Hart. Yeah it got a lot harder now. So, let’s see how it went:
Commentary Team: Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse Ventura
I know everyone loves Jim Ross, but as a team these guys were better. Jesse did the heel commentator shtick perfectly, walking right up to the line of being biased beyond hope but not crossing it. Monsoon wasn’t anything to write home about, but he was the perfect partner for Jesse.
Opening match: Roddy Piper vs Adrian Adonis, WrestleMania III
Why this one? Simple. You can’t talk early WrestleManias or WWE without Piper, and of his matches that I would consider usuable for this challenege because this one didn’t eliminate anyone else and it was a perfect capture of Piper’s relationship with the fans over his career. Piper walking off into the sunset of temporary retirement as the fans who once hated him more then anyone cheering him was and still is one of the great lasting moments in history.
Ultimate Warrior vs Randy Savage, WrestleMania VII
Savage and Warrior are two no brainer picks here. I went with this one because Warrior’s other great ‘Mania match would take Hulk Hogan off the board early, so I was essentially stuck with this. Doing so eliminates both Savage-Steamboat from III and Savage-Flair from VIII, which sucks, but it is what it is.
Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon, WrestleMania X
HBK was the hardest guy to pick a match for, because doing so could immediately takes out Bret or Austin or Undertaker or John Cena and all of their great matches. Picking this one did the least damage and it was also the match that certified Shawn as a solo star and a great worker in the business, as well as introducing the ladder match to the WWE.
Steve Austin vs Bret Hart, WrestleMania 13
I thought about going with Bret vs Owen here and Austin vs Rock from 17, but then Rock would be off the board too soon when I had other matches I wanted to consider for him. This was the match that solidified Austin’s place among the top tier in the business and lined him up to be the next leader of the company, and may very well be the most important match in company history in the post Hulkamania era. Without this match to set the table the entire comeback in the Monday Night Wars and the Attitude Era are in jeopardy before they even start.
TLC 2 – WrestleMania 17
If you gotta ask you just don’t know.
HHH vs Undertaker – WrestleMania 28
The best of their three WrestleMania matches in my book and with Michaels off the board this was the best choice remaining for an Undertaker match in my book. The last great Undertaker match period as far as I’m concerned; after this one he looked old and had to be led by his opponent across the finish line.
The Rock vs John Cena – WrestleMania 28
With HHH and HBK off the board for Cena opppnents, and Austin gone for the Rock, this was it for both guys. Really good match in it’s own right and showed what Cena could do as the lead in a big match. Rock held up his end after almost a decade away from the business.
Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns (and Seth Rollins) – WrestleMania 31
Brutal, hard hitting match that gave birth to Suplex City and WrestleMania history as the first time a Money in the Bank cash-in took place on the show. It also solidifed the places on the totem pole for both Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins as stars for the next decade.
Charlotte vs Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch – WrestleMania 28
Best women’s match in WrestleMania history, great match in it’s own right, and kicked off the women’s division that’s going so strong today.
Main Event: Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant – WrestleMania IIII
The original WrestleMania Clash of the Titans. Andre, the unbeaten major attraction for so many years, vs Hogan, the current face of the company and the man who spearheaded Vince’s global takeover of the business. Everything that’s transpired since can find it’s roots here. Without this match and the new benchmarks it set the last 30 years of wrestling history would have been written differently.
So there, I did it. Sure wasn’t easy.