Even the most casual of wrestling fans tune in each year for “The Grandest Stage of Them All” at WrestleMania. The largest event in wrestling, WrestleMania is typically capped off by a match that fans around the world have been clamoring to see with some of the most iconic names in the industry. Which main events were the best, though? Here are our picks for the top five.
5. Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle (XIX)
One of the more unique settings for a WrestleMania, the 19th edition took place at Seattle’s Safeco Field and featured a match between Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock. However, that rematch was the penultimate match on the card, with “The next big thing” Brock Lesnar getting his coronation match against Kurt Angle.
The battle showed off Lesnar’s athleticism, even if it included one of the most notable botches in WrestleMania history when Lesnar came up short on a shooting star press. Lesnar ultimately won the match by giving Angle a third F-5, picking up the pinfall, and giving Lesnar the WWE Championship that he would lose to Angle and recapture throughout the rest of 2003.
4. Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H (XX)
The third WrestleMania to be held at Madison Square Garden, WrestleMania XX opened with John Cena winning the United States title over the Big Show and Eddie Guerrero defeating Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship. The main event featured one of the best triple-threat matches of all time, with Shawn Michaels and Chris Benoit being pitted against then-champion Triple H.
Prior to this WrestleMania, no other main event had ended with a tap out. Triple H would be the first to tap after his Pedigree was reversed into a Crippler Crossface. It was a huge night for former WCW stars as Benoit and Guerrero were both victorious in a moment of positivity before tragedy struck for both wrestlers.
3. Batista vs. Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan (XXX)
A decade after one of the best triple-threat matches ever, fans were treated to another one at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Originally scheduled to be a Batista vs. Orton main event, Daniel Bryan was added in the weeks leading up to the event due to a massive swell of fan support for the underdog. After defeating Triple H to officially enter the match earlier in the night, the stage was set.
After more than 20 minutes of brawling, it looked like Batista was going to get the win after tossing Bryan out of the ring. However, Bryan hopped back into the ring after Batista delivered his finisher on Orton. Bryan then gave Batista his finisher and placed him into the Yes! Lock to end the match, highlighted by Michael Cole’s pleading with Batista to tap out and secure the win for Bryan.
2. Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (XXVI)
Not every final match in a legend’s career lives up to the hype, but Shawn Michaels’s certainly did. Featuring a memorable video package leading up to the match, Undertaker vs. Michaels was built on the Undertaker’s then-undefeated streak at WrestleMania against Michaels’s career. If he lost, Michaels had to retire.
Naturally, as Michaels’s final match, the Undertaker would end up victorious. It was a classic last-stand match for Michaels in his vintage defiant fashion. It took three Tombstone Piledrivers to defeat Michaels, who was left in the ring following the match to show his appreciation for the fans one last time before calling it a career.
1. Steve Austin vs. The Rock (XVII)
Taking place in the Houston Astrodome, many consider WrestleMania X-Seven to be the greatest wrestling pay-per-view of all time. Of course, to be considered that great, there had to have been a classic match as the main event. Thankfully, that’s just what we got when The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin faced off in a no-disqualification match for the WWF Championship.
The Rock was the champion heading into the match that lasted for nearly a half hour and resulted in a major heel turn for Austin as he joined forces with Vince McMahon. It was the end of an era for many wrestling fans, but will still be considered among the greatest matches ever based on the hype alone.