As a wrestling fan, WrestleMania is like Christmas, and like Christmas some things stand out over the others. Of course, Christmas is great every year, but some presents are better than others, or a special dinner stands out among the others. In terms of WrestleMania, moments are the dinners and presents.
Now before I get in to what I feel are the best moments in WrestleMania history, you should probably know a little bit of background on my wrestling fandom. I became a wrestling fan later than I think most do. I became a pro wrestling fan around the time I got in to high school, roughly around WrestleMania 17 (yes, I sadly missed the Attitude Era). Now, I have of course become very aware of everything that happened before I became a fan, but I am biased on things that I was able to observe live as opposed to going back and watching something.
Now with all that said, let’s get in to my top ten moments in WrestleMania history!
10. Randy Orton Hits Epic RKO on Seth Rollins
We start off this list with possibly the greatest move ever hit at a WrestleMania. Seth Rollins and Randy Orton were having a solid match at WrestleMania 31, but honestly it probably would have ended up being rather forgettable. However, all that changed when it came time for the conclusion of the match.
Seth Rollins set Orton up to hit the Curb Stomp, but received a very unexpected surprise. Orton launched Rollins up in to the air and hit one of the best RKO’s of all time. You can see the genuine excitement on Orton’s face after landing the move, and the crowd absolutely loved it. WrestleMania is all about great moments, and this was certainly one of them.
9. Trish Stratus Turns Heel on Chris Jericho
Out of everything on this list, this will probably end up being the most controversial. This feud is one of my favorite’s in WWE history. For those that don’t recall let me recap. Christian and Chris Jericho made a bet on who could sleep with Lita or Trish Stratus first (Christian was going after Lita, and Jericho after Trish). Along the way Jericho developed feelings for Trish which caused a rift between himself and Christian. Trish found out about the bet but eventually forgave Jericho. Christian turned on Jericho which lead to their WrestleMania 20 match.
Trish got involved in the match, but out of nowhere slapped Jericho across the face which lead to Christian picking up the victory, but most importantly getting Trish Stratus at his side. I love this moment because it was culmination of great storyline, and delivered a twist I never saw coming. Moments like this are why I love pro wrestling.
8. Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and The Rock in One Ring
Probably the three biggest names in professional wrestling in the same ring, and at WrestleMania. Moments like this are what make WrestleMania so special. Hulk Hogan was the host of WrestleMania 30, and he came out to start the show, but pretty soon he would have some company.
After infamously calling the Superdome the Silverdome, Hogan was joined in the ring by Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock. One of the many things that makes WrestleMania so special is the blend of the current product with nostalgia. I doubt there is not a wrestling fan in the world who did not love seeing these three guys together in the same ring.
7. The Hardy Boyz Make Surprise Return to the WWE
I have to admit, I’ve always been a mark for the Hardy Boyz. With that said, this is still an amazing WrestleMania moment. Prior to returning, the Hardy Boyz (specifically Matt Hardy) were the hottest thing going in pro wrestling. The “Broken” character reinvented their careers, and fans were pinning for the extreme brothers to return to the WWE.
In an otherwise dull show, the crowd erupted when the classic Hardy Boyz music hit. A sea of delete chants broke out, and the Hardy Boyz were officially back.
6. Seth Rollins Cashes In Money in the Bank Briefcase
It’s not too often you get two epic moments at the same WrestleMania, but that’s exactly what Seth Rollins did at WrestleMania 31. Seth Rollins cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase was great for so many reasons. It was the first, and only, cash in at a WrestleMania, but more importantly it was so shocking.
We had never seen someone use the Money in the Bank briefcase in the middle of a match. Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar were in the middle of a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match, in the main event, and out of nowhere Seth Rollins’ music hit, and the WWE Universe lost their minds.
This night launched Seth Rollins career as a legit main event performer, and lead to a very impressive run as WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
5. Shawn Michaels Ends Ric Flair’s Career
If this was a most emotional moments in WrestleMania history list, this would be number one. We all remember when Shawn Michaels looked Ric Flair in to the eye and said, “I love you, I’m sorry” and the kicked him right in the face. I mean come on, the range of emotions you feel is unreal.
Flair and Michaels are arguably the two greatest of all time, and they performed like it in this match. This moment would rank higher if Flair stayed retired. For some that might seem petty, but Flair wrestling in TNA and during a tour with Hogan makes this moment a little less meaningful, but it’s still a classic WrestleMania moment.
4. Hulk Hogan Bodyslams Andre the Giant
I mean, this has to be somewhere on the list, right? This is truly the first epic WrestleMania moment. For years if you asked fans what do you think of when you hear WrestleMania, this moment would be the answer.
Although I was not alive for this moment, the gravity of the moment is not lost on me. No one had ever seen Andre get slammed before, and this took Hogan’s career to the next level. There really isn’t much that needs to be said about this moment, it is iconic and synonymous with WrestleMania.
3. Daniel Bryan Wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
What a special moment this was. For years the WWE refused to buy in to the Daniel Bryan hype, despite how over he was with the fans. At times it felt like Bryan would never get what he deserved, the WrestleMania main event. But the WWE Universe made sure it happened.
Every week on RAW fans would chant “Yes! Yes! Yes!” and even hijack the shows. Because of all this, when Bryan won the title, it felt like we won the title with him. It was an emotional rollar coaster with the ultimate pay off. Our guy won the title, and in many ways, we, fans, helped make that happen.
2. The End of The Streak
It’s hard to imagine WrestleMania without The Undertaker. For 20 years he was unbeaten on the grandest stage of them all, and in a moment it was over. I remember being genuinely shocked when the referee made the three count. Everyone could not believe what just happened. You could feel how the audience was taken back, and didn’t know how to react.
To this day fans still debate whether ending “the streak” was the right decision, and it Brock Lesnar was the right guy to do it. It is something that splits the fans like nothing else, but one thing everyone can agree with is it was an amazing WrestleMania moment.
1. Edge Spears Jeff Hardy Off a 20 Foot Ladder
This is the moment that got me in to professional wrestling. To be fair, the entire match did, but this pushed me over the ledge. Edge spearing Jeff Hardy off the top of a ladder has come to be the defining moment of each of their careers. Not winning multiple championships, this moment. When I think of WrestleMania, I think of this moment. Watching it live, I was legitimately concerned for their lives. I had never seen anything like it, and I was hooked from then on.
This moment will always have a special place in my heart, and for that reason it is the greatest moment in WrestleMania history.
What do you think of my Top Ten Moments in WrestleMania History? Do you think I left any great moments off the list? Let me know by tweeting me at @WrestlingOpins.