The Best Matches In WrestleMania History

Since 1985, WrestleMania has been seen as the pinnacle of sports entertainment. Over-the-top set designs and celebrity cameos have added to its allure of the years, but nothing beats a compelling match between two top superstars. Here is a list of the top 20 matches in WrestleMania history.


Image via Getty/Orlando Sentinel


It's every wrestling fan's favorite time of the year—WrestleMania season. With the 34th rendition of The Showcase of the Immortals taking place April 8, 2018 in New Orleans, now is as good a time as ever to look back at all of the classics that WWE's biggest show of the year has given us over the past three decades.

There are a number of factors to consider when determining the “best” matches in the history of WrestleMania. From technical mastery to jaw-dropping carnage in special stipulations to the electricity in the arena when certain superstars meet in the ring, there are so many pieces that must come together to give us an iconic match. Since 1985, WrestleMania has been the pinnacle of sports entertainment, with each new installment producing memorable moments that will stand the test of time and, in some cases, even prove that the story the match tells can be more meaningful than the outcome it produces.

Some Manias, like the Attitude Era's X-Seven masterpiece, are littered from top to bottom with showstoppers. Others have a single moment moment that stands above the rest and has been ingrained into the minds of every wrestling fan. Some superstars were given one single match that helped to define their legacy, like Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat's classic with “Macho Man” Randy Savage at WrestleMania III. Others, like Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker have been able to grow their legendary status through recurring appearances in some of the event's most classic contests.

The best matches in Mania history is a debate that will never end. It is a list that can probably be changed yearly, which is a testament to just how incredible Vince McMahon's crowning achievement (sorry XFL) has truly become. Here is a list of the top 20 WrestleMania matches of all time.

20. Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker

View this video on YouTube

Where: WrestleMania 30

Winner: Brock Lesnar

Utter shock—just ask this guy. When it was announced that Brock Lesnar would be taking on the Undertaker at WrestleMania 30, most people assumed he was just going to be the next person to try and fail at beating the streak. Then, he actually did. It took three F5s, but Lesnar buried The Deadman. The immediate stunned silence of the entire crowd says it all.

19. John Cena vs. The Rock I

View this video on YouTube

Where: WrestleMania XXVIII

Winner: The Rock

Once in a lifetime;that’s how the match between The Rock and John Cena was billed at WrestleMania 28 in Miami. This time around, the Rock was the elder for a Mania dream matchup that nobody thought would ever happen. The Rock was a full-fledged movie star by that point, and Cena had been “the guy” in WWE for quite some time. The match between two of the biggest faces to ever step foot in the squared circle was a compelling finisher fest, with The Rock ultimately getting the victory. Ironically, it ended up happening a second time one year later, but nothing beats the original between the two legends.

18. C.M. Punk vs. The Undertaker

View this video on YouTube

Where: WrestleMania 29

Winner: The Undertaker

Matches like this one make us wonder why C.M. Punk never main evented a WrestleMania. Punk was still at the peak of his popularity and decided to challenge Taker’s streak at the Grandest Stage of Them All. Earlier that year, Taker’s long-time manager and friend Paul Bearer passed away. Punk brought this real life tragedy into the storyline of the match by carrying around an urn as a symbol of Bearer to mentally throw Taker off of his game. Despite the mind games, Punk still could not end the illustrious streak, and The Deadman scored another victory.

17. WWF Championship Match: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels w/ Mike Tyson

View this video on YouTube

Where: WrestleMania XIV

Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin

If there is a match that can officially mark the beginning of the Austin Era, it’s his match with Shawn Michaels for the WWF Championship at Mania 15. Michaels, the current champion, was on his way out the door and Austin was challenging him for the spot as the company’s top guy. The biggest factor in this match was that Michaels had special guest ring enforcer Mike Tyson—at the peak of his popularity—in his corner. Eventually, tensions rose and “Iron Mike” turned on Michaels. The match finally came to an end with a string of reversals that ended with Austin hitting a Stunner for the three-count to claim his first world title. Tyson raising Austin’s arm in victory after knocking out HBK was just the cherry on top of a matchup that preluded that beloved Attitude Era.

16. WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar

View this video on YouTube

Where: WrestleMania 31

Winner: Seth Rollins

The build-up to the main event match of WrestleMania 31 between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns left a sour taste in a lot of fans’ mouths. Many were not happy that Reigns was given the opportunity, and they let him hear it with plenty of boos for the Samoan superstar. Late in the match with both competitors down, the music of Seth Rollins hit to a raucous roar from the crowd. He would cash in his Money in the Bank contract, turn the match into a triple threat, and capture his first WWE title with a Curb Stomp to Reigns. The swerve sent the fans home happy as fireworks brightened the night sky and Rollins helicoptered the belt around his head in excitement at the top of the ramp.

15. The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan

View this video on YouTube

Where: WrestleMania X8

​Winner: The Rock

Icon vs. Icon. The crowd for WrestleMania X8 at the SkyDome in Toronto was electric before the match even began. The stare down between the man that helped make pro wrestling mainstream in the ‘80s, Hulk Hogan, and one of the biggest stars of the Attitude Era, The Rock, could have been enough. The crowd was so full of nostalgia they couldn’t help but cheer for Hogan, who was supposed to be the “bad guy,” for the entirety of the match. While the Hulkster was older, he still had enough in the tank to carry himself through the match, flexing for the crowd and "hulking up" before he was ultimately pinned for the three count. Hogan and Rock teaming up to take out Scott Hall and Kevin Nash after the match was just an added bonus.

14. Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels

Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle

13. Original Money in the Bank Ladder Match

View this video on YouTube

Where: WrestleMania 21

Winner: Edge

These days, the Money in the Bank Ladder Match has become an annual event that even has its own Pay Per View dedicated to the match type, but back in 2005 it was just a crazy idea by Chris Jericho to test the pain threshold of six superstars. Shelton Benjamin running hands-free up a ladder to clothesline someone is a standout moment, but Edge came out the other side of the carnage as the victor by grabbing the briefcase to secure his contract for a match for the WWE Championship.

12. Triple Threat Match for the WWE Women's Championship: Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch

View this video on YouTube

Where: WrestleMania 32

Winner: Charlotte

The evolution of women’s wrestling in recent years has been truly remarkable. Long gone are the minute long cat fights and bra and panties matches. Women are taken more seriously in today’s product and no match serves to symbolize this transition more than the triple threat match between Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch at WrestleMania 32. Fighting for the newly redesigned Women’s Championship, each woman had their shining moment. A personal standout was Banks’ homage to her favorite wrestler, the late Eddie Guerrero, with a Frog Splash off the top rope onto Charlotte as she had Lynch in a Figure Four Leg Lock. Charlotte would claim the gold at the end, but this match holds a spot in Mania history for far more than the final outcome.


11. Hell in a Cell Match: The Undertaker vs. Triple H

View this video on YouTube

Where: WrestleMania XXVIII

Winner: The Undertaker

This Hell in a Cell match between Undertaker and Triple H marked the “end of an era.” The two mega stars squared off in the Devil’s Playground to settle the score. Even with the help of a Sweet Chin Music from special guest referee Shawn Michaels, Taker still ultimately walked away the victor. The standout moment came after the match, whenall three icons held each other up as they walked up the ramp and back into the locker room.

10. 60-Minute Iron Man Match for the WWF Championship: Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart

View this video on YouTube

Where: WrestleMania XII

Winner: Shawn Michaels

Another iconic match in the seemingly endlessness that is Michaels’ iconic WrestleMania resume is his 60-minute Iron Man Match with Bret Hart at WrestleMania XII for the WWF Championship. As if an entire hour of back-and-forth competition was not enough, neither Michaels or Hart were able to score a pinfall or submission. Thus, the match was sent to sudden death overtime where Michaels hit two Sweet Chin Musics to secure his first WWE title and realize his boyhood dream. Michaels ziplining from the rafters to start the match is also an unforgettable moment that just adds to the mystique of the bout.

9. Triple Threat Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton vs. Batista

View this video on YouTube

Where: WrestleMania 30

Winner: Daniel Bryan

The culmination of the “Yes Movement” took place at WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans for Daniel Bryan and all of his fans. Bryan earned a spot in the main event for the WWE title after overcoming the odds and defeating Triple H earlier in the night. Bryan, Orton, and Batista put on a show (including a cringeworthy RKO spot through a table), but in the end Bryan overcame the odds to prove once and for all that he deserved his shot at the title. Bryan’s celebration alongside thousands of fans doing the “YES!” chant was a career defining moment for the fan-favorite.

8. Career-Threatening Match: Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair

View this video on YouTube

Where: WrestleMania XXIV

Winner: Shawn Michaels

If you know a wrestling fan and want to see them cry, chances are this match will do it. The Heartbreak Kid and The Nature Boy squared off in a match that would see Ric Flair put his career on the line. Flair fought until the very last three-count, but multiple Sweet Chin Musics ultimately did the legend in. If hearing Michaels say, "I'm sorry, I love you,” before the final kick, and then watching him embrace Flair during the final pin as he cried real-life tears doesn’t at least make you a little emotional, you might be a monster.

7. Career vs. Streak: Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker II

View this video on YouTube

Where: WrestleMania XXVI

Winner: The Undertaker

HBK was so close to breaking Taker’s undefeated streak one year earlier that he decided to challenge him again. He was so confident he could be the man to defeat the streak, he even put his career on the line. At the end of the day, Michaels was met with the same fate as all of the opponents before him, and The Undertaker left WrestleMania XXVI with his streak still intact.

6. Intercontinental Championship Match: Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat vs. 'Macho Man' Randy Savage

View this video on YouTube

When: WrestleMania III (1987)

Winner: Steamboat

Back in 1987, the Intercontinental Championship was held in a much higher place within the WWE (then WWF) than it is today. There is probably no better IC Title match in history than this classic between the “Macho Man” and “The Dragon.” Ultimately, Steamboat walked away with the strap following some interference by George “The Animal” Steele, but this showcase of technical mastery between Savage and Steamboat shows off wrestling in its purest form and also proves both men are two of the best to enter the squared circle.

5. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge and Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz (TLC Match for the WWF Tag Team Championships)

View this video on YouTube

Where: WrestleMania X-Seven

Winner: Edge and Christian

Seventeen years later and this match still stands as one of the wildest in Mania history. The Dudley Boyz, Hardy Boyz, and Edge and Christian did something special. The sequel to the first ever Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match was an absolute spot fest, peppered with breathtaking moments. None of these moments are more memorable than Edge spearing Jeff Hardy down to the mat as he was dangling from the titles hanging above the ring. Ultimately, Edge and Christian captured the gold, but the true winners in this match were all the fans who got to watch the madness unfold firsthand.

4. Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship: Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels

View this video on YouTube

Where: WrestleMania X

Winner: Razor Ramon

Ladder matches are commonplace in today’s wrestling product, but that was far from the norm when Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels battled it out for the IC Title at WrestleMania X. The addition of a ladder was foreign during that time period of wrestling and added a brutality to the match that was seldom seen in the until the Attitude Era kicked off in the late ‘90s. While Michaels would go on to become “Mr. WrestleMania,” this match in his career’s infancy proved he had the capability to steal the show whenever he wanted to. Filled to the brim with iconic spots like Michael’ splash onto Ramon off the top of a ladder, few matches in Mania history can truly compete with this one.

3. No DQ Match for the WWF Championship: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock II

View this video on YouTube

Where: WrestleMania X-Seven

Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin

The main event of arguably the greatest top-to-bottom card in WrestleMania history, the second Mania matchup between The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin was the perfect crescendo to X-Seven. Both men gave a masterpiece in the ring by trading Stunners and Rock Bottoms to no avail. Then, the unthinkable happened when Austin took a steel chair from the hands of his arch nemesis Mr. McMahon to finally put away The Rock and claim his fifth WWF Championship. Austin and McMahon sharing a beer remains iconic, and although Austin becoming a bad guy didn’t quite have a long-term payoff, it is still one of the most shocking moments in Mania history.

2. Submission Match: Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin

View this video on YouTube

Where: WrestleMania XIII

Winner: Bret Hart

Stone Cold Steve Austin might be the most popular wrestler ever and while he would go on to define the Attitude Era with his boss hating and beer drinking agenda, his blood-covered face from Mania 13 is still one of his most iconic moments. The climax of the match came as “The Hitman” locked in his patented Sharpshooter. Austin, sporting his red mask, screamed in agony at the pain but refused to tap out. Ultimately, Austin “passed out” from the pain and Hart was awarded the victory, but the way it was done led to a successful double turn that painted Austin as the resilient face to cheer for and Hart as the heartless heel to boo when all was said and done.

1. Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker I

Undertaker Wrestlemania 25

Latest in Sports