40. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock (WrestleMania XIX)
This match was the Final Showdown between the Sheriffs of the Attitude Era. They were both very popular but for different reasons. Rock was entertaining and flashy, while Stone Cold was straightforward and no-nonsense.
Going into this match, Steve’s body was wearing down. The night before, Austin was rushed to the Hospital because he was at the near point of a Heart Attack. Still, Austin fought on to give the very best that he could in this farewell. By this point, The Rock himself was no longer a regular WWE Superstar, as he had a deeper commitment to Hollywood.
When you watch a match, you don’t want to believe that this is the end for either competitor, especially since these two defined their Era unlike anybody else besides Hulk Hogan himself. So this match in and of itself was truly special, especially in front of such an incredible crowd in Seattle.
There were points where the crowd was divided in who to cheer for. The Rock made it so easy to dislike him, but still, like him at the same time even as a heel.
There was even a point in the match where The Rock put on Stone Cold’s leather vest to mock him and give him a Stunner. The action itself had built upon what they had previously done, especially from WrestleMania X-7.
The Rock finally conquers his biggest challenge by defeating Stone Cold with Three Rock Bottoms. The count was slow and marked a sad ending. It was a bittersweet moment, because of how their feud shaped the Industry and Pop Culture.
39. Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton vs. Batista (Triple Threat Match for WWE World Heavyweight Title: WrestleMania XXX)
In the opening match, Daniel Bryan overcame Triple H to make the next step toward his dream of wrestling for the WWE Title at WrestleMania.
Bryan was deep into his feud with The Authority at this point and was the Beloved Hero of the Anti-Corporate IWC fans. Daniel was needed to help save this match from being a stinker. Dave Batista returned to win the Royal Rumble as he was met with a sea full of Boos from the fans.
The fans booed not just because Dave won, but especially because Bryan was not even added to the Rumble Match itself. A simple Batista vs. Randy Orton match would have bombed as the Main Event, especially for the 30th Anniversary of WrestleMania. Daniel was the spark that this match needed.
Bryan scratched and clawed in true Underdog fashion. There was even a point in this match where Batista and RKO teamed up to give Daniel a Batista Bomb into an RKO through the announce table.
Still, Daniel fought with every ounce of energy in him. In the end, Daniel Bryan realized his dream of becoming WWE Champion as he made DC Dave tap out to the “Yes” Lock. A
s Bryan celebrated, confetti came down to close the show. This match was WWE’s way of rewriting history because it was an obvious recreation of the Triple Threat Match from WrestleMania XX (Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H). Bryan was obviously Benoit, Batista was Triple H and Orton was HBK.
It was still the best way to end an Epic 30th Anniversary of The Grandest Show of them All.
37. Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio (Mask vs. Title Match for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship: WCW Halloween Havoc 1997)
From the time that Brock Lesnar made his debut the night after WrestleMania X-8, he was an Unstoppable Force. Throughout the year, Brock cleaned house and destroyed Legends. From Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, to The Rock, Brock was destroying Legends well before Randall Keith Orton ever called himself the “Legend Killer”.
However, his next Big test would come at the hands of The Undertaker. After wrestling to a no contest at Unforgiven, Smackdown GM Stephanie McMahon ordered Lesnar vs. Undertaker to be a rematch at No Mercy inside of the match that Taker made famous, Hell In A Cell.
The match was a bloodbath. First, Undertaker hit Brock with his cast, causing him to bleed. Lesnar would target Taker’s injured hand, but the Deadman fought back. After a distraction from Paul Heyman, Undertaker grabbed Heyman by his tie and pulled him into the cell wall, causing him to bleed as well.
Lesnar continued to focus on Undertaker’s cast until he was finally able to get it removed. After giving Taker a DDT, Brock went to the outside of the ring. When Undertaker attempted a Suicide Dive, Brock moved out of the way as UT hit the cell wall.
Lesnar would then hit Undertaker with the steel steps, causing him to bleed profusely. Lesnar performed the Spinebuster for a near fall. As Undertaker went Old School, Lesnar countered. Undertaker Chokeslammed Brock for a near fall.
Brock tried to mock Undertaker with the Last Ride, but it was countered into a Back Body Drop.
As UT went for the Last Ride, Brock sent him into the turnbuckle. Brock would then start to Mount Punches, but Taker turned that into a Last Ride. However, Brock put his hand on the rope.
The match would come to a close when Undertaker went for the Tombstone Piledriver. Brock would counter it and drill him with the F-5 to retain the WWE Championship. In the end, Brock proved that he could conquer in any environment, as he defeated Undertaker in convincing fashion. This is the most blood that I have ever seen Undertaker shed. This match is not for those with a sensitive stomach.
34. The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan (WrestleMania X-8)
WrestleMania X-8 took place at the Skydome in Toronto, Ontario Canada, the same place where Hulk Hogan clashed with The Ultimate Warrior 12 years earlier for the “Ultimate Challenge”. However, Hogan was a heel at this point as he was “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan leading the NWO. The Rock was at the top of his game, headlining his fourth straight WrestleMania.
When it comes to the fans in Toronto, they still supported Hogan even though he was the villain, because they remembered the impact that he left on them during his prime. Fans in Canada will still cheer someone even when they are a heel. It worked for Bret Hart, it worked for Edge and it even worked for Hogan.
Much like the match with Warrior, Hogan would be in the position to pass the torch. This time, it was “Icon vs. Icon”. Hulk was the Icon of The Golden Era of the 80’s, while The Rock was the Icon from the Attitude Era.
The fans welcomed Hulk to a hero’s welcome because they believed that he could find his way back after falling to the vices of “Hollywood”. They still saw the good in Hogan the same way that Luke Skywalker saw the good in Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi.
Meanwhile, The Rock was met with boos when he walked to the ring. Still, The People’s Champ electrified the Millions AND Millions of fans around the world, including the record-breaking 68,237 fans in the Skydome as he went toe to toe with the beloved Sports-Entertainment Legend.
This match was so historic and epic that it made the Undisputed Championship Match an Afterthought. Rock and Hogan had the crowd right in their hands. The Young Lion defeated the Older Lion as The Great One defeated The Hulkster.
After the match, the NWO attacked Hogan, but The Rock returned to the ring to clean house. This was the moment where Hogan regained his confidence and his place as the WrestleMania Immortal that he was meant to be.
33. Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle (WWE Championship: WrestleMania XIX)
The matchup of Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle was a result of perfect casting. Both have backgrounds as accomplished amateur wrestlers. However, Brock Lesnar’s greatest strength was his power and athleticism.
Meanwhile, Kurt Angle’s greatest strength was his technical wrestling prowess and speed advantage. Angle knew that he could not overpower the Beast, so he made sure that he could outsmart him with his technique and submission advantage.
The match started with mat wrestling. However, Brock poured out his pure strength to wear down the Olympic Gold Legend
. This was a match that would prove to be the best Title Match of the night and the defining match of their rivalry.
On a Card that featured The Rock vs. Austin III, and Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho, Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle was a match that managed to not only stand out but was even better than those matches themselves. That speaks volumes of not only the PPV itself but of the match quality that Kurt and Brock delivered.
The match was almost doomed when Lesnar botched a Shooting Star Press that he would never live down. However, The Beast recovered to defeat Angle with an F-5 to become the new WWE Champion.
32. Edge vs. John Cena (TLC Match for the WWE Championship: Unforgiven 2006)
The stakes for this match were very high. By this point, John Cena and Edge were at the peak of their rivalry.
Since Edge was the WWE Champion, he was able to choose the match stipulation. Not only was Unforgiven in his hometown of Toronto, Canada, but the match would also be a match that Edge made Legendary: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs. If Cena lost, he would have to leave RAW.
Even with the odds stacked against him, The Captain of CENAtion found a way to pull off one of his greatest upsets of his career in front of a crowd that chanted “Cena Sucks” throughout the match.
Edge is a Legend in Toronto, regardless of the fact that he was a heel at the time. Canada has always been Bizzaro World in Wrestling (look at Bret Hart in 1997).
Edge showed why he was the King of the TLC Matches with the way that he operated on Cena during this match. However, John managed to raise his game even in an environment that he was not very familiar with.
The Exclamation Point came when Cena gave Edge the Attitude Adjustment off of the top of the Ladder through two stacked tables. Cena would then grab the WWE Title and reclaim his place on the throne of the WWE.
30. Sting vs. Ric Flair (NWA Championship: Clash of the Champions I)
At the very first Clash of the Champions, Ric Flair was out to teach Sting a lesson. Sting was a maverick with bleach blonde hair and face paint that was rising in popularity (Sounds familiar right? Ex: Ultimate Warrior). In what would be the first match between two of WCW’s cornerstones, Ric Flair brought the very best out of Sting. The Stinger was on fire in this match as he and the Nature Boy wrestled to a Draw. This is considered Sting’s breakout match, as this is what truly put him on the map.
29. Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit (WWF Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: Royal Rumble 2001)
Y2J and the Rabid Wolverine would be forever linked to each other as their rivalry started as far back as their time in Japan. However, their feud reached a new level in the WWF, especially over the Intercontinental Championship.
For much of their feud, Benoit had gotten the better of Y2J. The ultimate way to settle this was in a Ladder Match for the IC Title.
This match had a different twist compared to previous Ladder Matches. Instead of using the Ladder for huge spots like Shawn vs. Razor, Y2J and Benoit wanted to wear each other down before climbing the Ladder.
There were high spots in between, like Jericho’s missile dropkick as Benoit held the Ladder. The highlight of this match was when Jericho gave Benoit the Walls of Jericho on the Ladder. Y2J would recapture the Intercontinental Championship in arguably the match of the night besides the Rumble itself.
28. Eddie Guerrero vs. Brock Lesnar (WWE Championship: No Way Out 2004)
At this stage of his Career, Eddie Guerrero was on a comeback as he was overcoming his personal demons.
After winning the US and Tag Titles, there was one prize that was greater than them all, the WWE Championship. The biggest obstacle in Eddie’s way was The Beast himself and the Current Mayor of Suplex City, Brock Lesnar.
No matter how much Lesnar threw his past in his face, Eddie was determined to reach his destiny. People talk about Daniel Bryan, but this was the Ultimate Underdog story. This match defined the Underdog story of wrestling.
It had great passion and dramatic storytelling, along with desire and determination. That pretty much explains Eddie Guerrero.
Wrestling is also about dragons and dragon slayers. Brock Lesnar was the Dragon and Eddie Guerrero was ready to slay the Dragon. Brock was already physically superior, as he was bigger, stronger, meaner, younger and tougher than Eddie. For a man his size, Lesnar was no slouch in speed either.
Brock was an absolute monster in this match, as he threw Eddie from left to right with suplexes like a rag doll, while also nearly squeezing the life out of him with holds to wear him out.
Still, Eddie’s will would not let him give up. It became a battle of wills, Brock’s will versus Eddie’s will.
Eddie picks his spots by targeting Brock’s legs, but Lesnar would not give in. Suddenly, things take a turn when Brock goes for the F-5, but Eddie’s feet knock the referee down. With the ref out, Goldberg interferes and Spears Lesnar like he did earlier. Even with Goldberg’s Spear, Eddie still has to fight this monster on his own.
Brock goes for another F-5, but Eddie counters it into a Tornado DDT on the Title before flying through the air with the Frog Splash for the three count.
Eddie Guerrero conquered his demons by defeating the Monster known as Brock Lesnar to claim the WWE Championship. The greatest tribulations immediately precede the greatest triumphs and this match was the perfect example. This is the most significant match of Eddie Guerrero’s Career.
27. John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels (RAW, April 23, 2007)
After a great WWE Championship Match at WrestleMania 23, Shawn Michaels wanted to prove to John Cena, the World and especially himself that he could beat Cena. However, this was not for the WWE Championship.
Instead, it was to ease Shawn’s piece of mind. Cena and Michaels put together a 5-Star Classic live on Monday Night RAW in front of the London crowd. The detail and psychology in this match were top notch, as they were going into the Fatal Four Way Match at Backlash that included Edge and Randy Orton.
This match exceeded their Mania Match, which says something.They went the distance as it went nearly 60 minutes, as you can tell by the way that they wore each other down. With the last ounce of energy, HBK pulls out the win with a last ditch Sweet Chin Music to put Cena down for the three count.
26. 1992 Royal Rumble Match for the WWF Championship
The 1992 Royal Rumble had the Perfect Ingredients to be the Ultimate Rumble, and it was. With WCW Transplants like Ric Flair and Sid Justice mixed with WWF Mainstays like Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Roddy Piper and emerging stars like The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels.
To add to the excitement, the vacated WWF Championship was on the line for the first time (the second time was 2016). Ric Flair was the most despised wrestler in the match as he proclaimed to be the “Real World’s Champion”.
Flair proved himself and begrudgingly earned the respect of the fans by entering at No. 3, and surviving the 30-Man Rumble. Ric was part of the Final Four, along with Savage, Sid, and Hogan. As Hogan was eliminated, the fans cheered. Meanwhile, the Final Elimination came when Flair dumped Sid over the top rope to become the new WWF Champion.
25. Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels (World Heavyweight Championship: No Mercy 2008)
By 2008, Chris Jericho was white hot as a heel. He completely transformed himself, from a character standpoint to an image standpoint as well. At this point, he also reignited his feud with Shawn Michaels.
Going into No Mercy, Jericho was the World Heavyweight Champion, and HBK challenged him to a match that both of them are famous for a Ladder Match. By this point in their careers, they changed their approach to a Ladder Match. Shawn was in his 40’s, and Chris was knocking on the door.
Instead of the Classic Crash and Burn HBK Formula, this Ladder Match was all about psychology and methodology. Y2J and HBK paced themselves very well while telling the story that needed to be told.
This match was the high point of their entire feud. The match was hard hitting, but still methodical at the same time.
In the end, Y2J and HBK were hanging onto the WHC. However, Jericho was able to literally swing the match in his favor as he gave Michaels a headbutt to knock him off. Y2J would pull the title down to remain the World Heavyweight Champion. At that time, Chris Jericho truly was The Best In The World at What He Did. This perfectly sums up Chris Jericho’s character: No Games, and just Ruthless.
24. Kevin Owens vs. John Cena (Champion vs. Champion: Elimination Chamber 2015)
After winning the United States Championship, John Cena proudly issued challenges to whoever was willing to accept. Cena took on all comers. However, Cena’s US Title Invitational has put on hold thanks to Ring Of Honor Transplant, Kevin Owens (formerly Kevin Steen).
Kevin was the reigning NXT Champion when he joined the Main Roster. Owens called out Cena and wanted to prove that he could beat him. Another Indie Legend Challenging the Prototypical Company Star John Cena to make a name for themselves.
Their first encounter would take place at the Elimination Chamber in a Champion vs. Champion match with no title on the line. During the match, Cena attempted the Attitude Adjustment, but Owens countered for a Pop-Up Powerbomb for a near fall.
KO would mock Cena saying “You Can’t See Me” but Cena applied the STFU, which Owens escaped from. Kevin Owens ripped a page straight out of Cena’s book as he gave Cena his own Finisher, The Attitude Adjustment.
However, Cena would kick out at two so that he would avoid the embarrassment of losing from his own Finishing Maneuver. Cena gave Owens a Clothesline, but when he missed another one, KO executed his second Pop-Up Powerbomb for the win.
This was a huge feather in the cap for Kevin Owens, as he proved that he could not only hang with the best but beat the best. They had two other great matches, but this stands out the most because of how unique it was to see Owens win.
23. Undertaker vs. Triple H (“End of An Era” Hell In A Cell w/Shawn Michaels as Special Referee: WrestleMania XXVIII)
After a barbaric match at WrestleMania XXVII, The Undertaker and Triple H would decide to have a rematch. Taker did not want things to end like they did at WM 27 where he had to be carted out of the ring.
The Game wanted another shot at The Deadman’s Streak. Another twist was created when Shawn Michaels was named the Special Guest Referee. This match was declared the “End of An Era”. This was The Cerebral Assassin’s third attempt to break Undertaker’s Streak.
This War is ranked among the most emotionally intense matches of all-time. Hell In A Cell was the perfect battleground to hold the chaos and carnage that they would inflict on each other at WrestleMania.
The Game used everything he could to put Taker down, from steel chairs, ring steps, and multiple Pedigrees. HBK even gave Taker Sweet Chin Music to lead into one of Hunter’s Pedigrees.
However, the Deadman would not give up. Undertaker was not as worn down as he was the previous WrestleMania because this match was his element. The Phenom would ultimately put Triple H away with The Tombstone Piledriver as a teary-eyed Shawn Michaels made the three count, extending The Streak to a Perfect 20-0. The ending was great as all three Icons embraced each other at the ramp as they would leave together.
22. Undertaker vs. Edge (Hell In A Cell: Summerslam 2008)
Throughout 2008, The Undertaker and Edge had a rivalry that carried the Smackdown Brand. It was a Signature feud for both of their storied careers.
For much of the year, Edge and Taker exchanged the World Heavyweight Title.
However, The Ultimate Opportunist constantly had allies in his corner. From Vickie Guerrero to Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins. The Rated R Superstar got the upper hand with his win over the Deadman at One Night Stand in his specialty of Tables, Ladders, and Chairs (TLC). The Ultimate Way to end their feud was inside The Phenom’s Lair of Hell In A Cell at Summerslam.
Undertaker was reinstated by Vickie after she caught Edge cheating. So, this was retribution both for her and Taker. With that aside, this was the last Great HIAC Match that WWE would have in a long time. Brock vs. Undertaker was great, but not like this.
Early in the match, Edge and Taker both used Steel Stairs. Edge would then introduce his favorite weapons of choice: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs. Edge put Taker through the table with a Chair assisted Elbow Drop.
Undertaker would have the upper hand until Edge speared him through a cell panel, causing both of them to fall outside near the announce tables. Edge would give Undertaker another Spear through the broadcast table. When they went back into the ring, Edge gave Taker a third Spear, but only for a near fall.
As Edge attempted Old School, Undertaker countered and gave him a Chokeslam through the two tables that were set up at ringside. The Phenom finished the match off by giving Edge a taste of his own medicine with a Spear and Con-Chair-To before drilling him with the Tombstone Piledriver for the win. After the match, Undertaker would leave the ring, but returned when he saw Edge moving on the Titantron.
To finish him off, The Deadman returned to give him a Chokeslam off the top of the Ladder and through the center of the ring. That was the finale of the Undertaker vs. Edge feud.
21. Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart (WrestleMania X)
The Classic tale of sibling rivalry. Big Brother vs. Little Brother.
Going into WrestleMania, Bret Hart had two thorns in his side. One was the nearly 600 lb WWF Champion Yokozuna (Massive Thorn). On the other hand, Bret had to deal with his younger brother Owen.
Bret did not want to fight his brother. Meanwhile, Owen wanted to jump out of his older brother’s shadow to make his own name.
The seeds were planted at Survivor Series 1993 when there was friction between them during their match against Shawn Michaels and his team. Things got even worse at the 1994 Royal Rumble when Owen kicked Bret in his injured leg after their tag match.
The stage was set for WM X. This is the greatest opening match not just in WrestleMania History, but in WWE History overall. Coming from the Hart Family, the expectations were very high and they delivered. Naturally, they were already two of the best in-ring performers outside of HBK. It was a great technical exhibit. However, in true underdog fashion, Owen pulls out the upset over his Older Brother. Jerry Lawler said it best “Owen didn’t step out of Bret’s shadow, he jumped out it.”.