(by PHIL RIPPA)
Simple yet appropriate theme to throw out today on the day of another Mania. I have mentioned previously that we tended to not do a lot from WrestleMania just because it usually is the one time a year even the most lapsed fan will pay attention. It is wrestling Easter.
Just for the record before all the yelling starts: Savage/Steamboat, Hart/Austin, Bret/Owen were all already picked and other versions of Michaels/Ramon, Michaels/Taker, Batista/Taker, Brock/Taker and Hogan/Warrior are on the list.
559) TERRY & HOSS FUNK vs. JUNKYARD DOG/TITO SANTANA – WRESTLEMANIA 2 (04/07/86 – Los Angeles)
A lost gem of the WrestleMania era. Folks who complain now about the WWE trying to cram everyone onto the card just need to go back to Mania 2. “Hey! Here are a couple of popular babyfaces! Team them together!” Dory rambles on about the match on his website (Yes – it reads exactly like you would think it would. Basically if you let your 80 year old grandpa run a website.)
560) HULK HOGAN vs. ANDRE THE GIANT – WRESTLEMANIA III (03/29/87 – WWF Championship)
Match quality aside – at this point in time – you probably should have watched this already (or do watch it) just for the base frame of reference that most wrestling fans over 30 have. Plus it is always fun to fact check Hogan. “What – wait do you mean he didn’t break both arms and legs and slammed Andre with his ears?!?!?!?!”
561) ULTIMATE WARRIOR vs. RANDY SAVAGE – WRESTLEMANIA VII (03/24/91 – Retirement Match)
Savage drags Warrior to what is arguably Warrior’s best match plus you have all the return of Elizabeth stuff. Good thing they had moved this show inside so the terrorists couldn’t blow it up.
562) ROCK VS. STEVE AUSTIN – WRESTLEMANIA X-SEVEN (04/01/01 – No DQ, WWF Championship)
If one is going to watch a Rock/Austin match it probably should be the one where Vince decides to turn Austin heel. Right or wrong – the shadow of that decision has lingered over the booking of their #1 babyfaces ever since (specifically Cena and Reigns). Appropriate that this match happened on April’s Fools. Oh and also you get the “My Way” promo video.
563) ROCK vs. “HOLLYWOOD” HULK HOGAN – WRESTLEMANIA X8 (03/17/02)
Much like how Hulk/Andre is the reference point for old people – Hulk/Rock is that match for young people. I blame Canadians.
564) KURT ANGLE vs. BROCK LESNAR – WRESTLEMANIA XIX (03/30/03 – WWE Championship)
Appropriate to remember this match with Angle going into the Hall of Fame on Friday and Lesnar about to win the title again tonight. Neither man will have a match this good again in their career. And we are all thankful Brock didn’t die.
565) EDGE vs. MICK FOLEY – WRESTLEMANIA 22 (04/02/06 – Hardcore Match)
Another chapter written in the Book of Foley. That book being “broken down old man Foley goes out and has a crazy match to put a young guy over as having an edge… err… no pun intended”. Remember this Hardcore match was totally different stips than the Shawn Michaels/Vince McMahon No Holds Barred match later on the show. (The kids would put the eyes rolling emoji here.)
566) MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH – WRESTLEMANIA 23 (04/01/07)
Participants: CM Punk, Randy Orton, Matt & Jeff Hardy, Edge, Finlay, Booker T, Mr. Kennedy
The third MITB ever, this one probably remains my favorite (without going back and rewatching all of them). They told and amazing story with a terrible finish. It was amazing Matt Hardy work the psycology of doing anything and everything to win – convincing his own brother (Jeff – duh!) to eliminate his most hated rival (Edge) in the insane even for a Hardy ladder bump to the floor. THEN he threatens to destroy a man’s wife to keep him from winning (threatening to Twist of Fate Sharmell when Booker was about to win). So then of course Mr. Fucking Kennedy won. Still – one of the best opening matches of all time that is often overshadowed due to a certain President being featured later on.
567) BIG SHOW vs. FLOYD MAYWEATHER – WRESTLEMANIA XXIV (03/30/08 – No DQ)
You will definitely find folks who will say that this match is the best match featuring a celebrity. I don’t know if I will go that far but it is entertaining and the build up was hella fun. RIP random boxing dude that Show chucked to his doom.
568) EDGE vs. UNDERTAKER – WWE Wrestlemania XXIV (03/30/08 – World Heavyweight Championship)
I loved – LOVED – the Edge/Taker feud. If this wasn’t a Mania theme – I would pick the SummerSlam Hell in a Cell match but all the matches are at least very good and all of them had great builds. Long live Smackdown!
569) DANIEL BRYAN vs. TRIPLE H – WRESTLEMANIA 32 (04/06/14 – Winner goes to WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match)
This is why I always tended to not pick Mania matches because I am sitting here going “Have you really not watch this match at this point in time?” The last great Daniel Bryan singles match.
570) BROCK LESNAR vs. ROMAN REIGNS (vs. SETH ROLLINS eventually) – WRESTLEMANIA 31 (03/29/15 – WWE World Heavyweight Championship)
God this was such a good Mania and such a good match. Lesnar and Reigns wage a war that includes the birth of Suplex City and blood and so much Hossness. The next Lesnar championship reign won’t have anything this good and dopes will keep booing Reigns because… reasons. Seth Rollins was here at the end to win the title and subject us to the Seth Rollins Championship reign.