WrestleMania is where WWE brings out its biggest matches, stars, and moments, but some of them rose above the pack where others flopped. Here’s where we rank every one from worst to best!
The entire wrestling universe revolves around WrestleMania, and for good reason. The flagship show for WWE serves as sort of a “season finale of wrestling,” where months of rivalries culminate in epic battles where everyone fights a bit harder and everyone in the crowd cheers a little bit louder. It’s almost always been a hell of a show, even when WWE hasn’t been at its strongest.
However, not every WrestleMania is created equal. Some overhyped matches fail to deliver, some under-the-radar rivalries end up becoming all-time classics, and some Manias became classics while others become forgotten before long. After multiple viewings of three decades-plus worth of WrestleMania, we’ve ranked every single show in WrestleMania history, from worst to best!
31- WrestleMania 2
After the success of the original WrestleMania, WWE tried to grow too fast too soon, attempting to run three simultaneous shows in Chicago, LA, and, er, Long Island. Unfortunately, none of the venues had a great match or moment as Chi-town had a bad football battle royal, LI had a boring fake boxing match, and LA laid claim to one of Hulk Hogan’s worst ‘Mania challenges ever.
BEST MOMENT: Andre the Giant eliminates both Hart Foundation members to win the battle royal.
30- WrestleMania 4
Again, WWE’s attempt at grandeur was ill-placed when they decided to have a one-night 14-man tournament for the WWE Championship. Unfortunately, that meant a ton of truncated bouts and few advertisable matches amongst the 16 that ended up happening. It was one of the longest Manias of the era, but with little fun, even dropping fan-favorites like Ricky Steamboat early. At least the battle royal was fun!
BEST MOMENT: Bret Hart destroying Bad News Brown’s trophy after the show-opening Battle Royal.
29- WrestleMania 9
This was an event truly befitting Ceasar’s Palace…’s parking lot, where a structure was build and togas thrown on every non-wrestler for a garish New Generation era event. Inspired set design notwithstanding, the card itself was plodding with few highlights after some decent opening matches, with even great wrestlers giving ho-hum performances. The whole show was capped off with the ugliest power play in Hulk Hogan’s career, as he hogged the spotlight in a main event that was never his to begin with.
BEST MOMENT: Rick Steiner pulls off an incredible powerslam while on the shoulders of his opponent.
28- WrestleMania 1
The first one may rank high amongst the most important WrestleManias, but it’s hardly enjoyable to watch. Sure, the celebrity involvement is fine (this is before WWE truly put celebs on a pedestal), but the matches themselves range from dreadful to simply average. This is also the only ‘Mania to lack a World Championship match, so it didn’t mean much for the main event picture. It was less eventful than a Saturday Night’s Main Event that’d follow a couple years later.
BEST MOMENT: King Kong Bundy beating SD Jones in “eight” seconds. In reality, it’s more like 25 seconds.
27- WrestleMania 11
It may not be a technical masterpiece, but Lawrence Taylor’s main event match against Bam Bam Bigelow is one of the best celebrity matches ever pulled off by the WWE. Besides that, there’s not much to ‘Mania 11, save for the Diesel-Shawn Michaels match that feels off due to the heel HBK trying too many cheer-worthy spots. And it went on mid-show, which is a little sad for the big title.
BEST MOMENT: Lawrence Taylor hits a flying forearm to beat Bam Bam Bigelow.
26- WrestleMania 16
Also known as WrestleMania 2000, this card’s biggest fault is that it ignores what makes most wrestling matches appealing. At the core of most great matches is a rivalry where two men, women, or teams have a grudge that needs to be settled in the squared circle. WrestleMania 2000 is filled with multi-man matches, thrown together tag team combinations, and a main event that put the McMahon family above the in-ring performers. The tag team ladder match is fantastic, though, only it’d be outdone by the next year.
BEST MOMENT: Jeff Hardy does a senton splash off a ladder and through a table onto Bubba Dudley.
25- WrestleMania 12
WrestleMania 12 is a one-match card, really. More than a third of this event is dedicated to the hour-long Iron Man match between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. While it’s a good technical showcase, the lack of any falls within the hour make the match a pretty big slog on a rewatch. Rounding out the card is a Goldust-Roddy Piper match that’s more spectacle than fight, but the Undertaker-Diesel match is the first decent bout in the deadman’s Mania win streak.
BEST MOMENT: Goldust runs over Roddy Piper with a gold cadillac.
24- WrestleMania 5
There may not be a main event with more build than Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage. A year prior, the two stood as allies and the 12 months that followed showed the Mega Powers blossoming, growing, wilting, and dying with the end point one year later in the same building. The match itself is pretty good too, but the rest of the card is mostly unmemorable.
BEST MOMENT: Roddy Piper sprays Morton Downey Jr. in the face with a fire extinguisher.
23- WrestleMania 27
This is the WrestleMania that’s main-evented by a cast member from The Real World, but The Miz isn’t really responsible for this show’s failings. The main event is tanked by The Rock’s involvement (which in turn screwed up the next two WrestleManias), and the rest of the card either lacks suitable buildup (CM Punk vs Randy Orton) or sufficient payoff (Cody Rhodes vs Rey Mysterio). This show also has the all-time worst WrestleMania match in the form of Michael Cole vs Jerry Lawler.
BEST MOMENT: Miz’s hype video, set to Nas’ “Hate Me Now.”
22- WrestleMania 29
WrestleMania is all about surprises and amazing events, and WrestleMania 29 was as predictable and by-the-books as WWE’s flagship event can get. You knew Undertaker wasn’t going to lose, so he didn’t. You knew Triple H wasn’t going to retire, so he won his win-or-go-home match against Brock Lesnar. The rematch between John Cena and The Rock was the worst offender, since the entire show (and the year previous) built up to a championship match that Cena was destined to win after losing against Dwayne last year.
BEST MOMENT: CM Punk counters a powerbomb by hitting the Undertaker in the head with an urn.
21- WrestleMania 6
While Savage-Hogan had the biggest build and Andre-Hogan had more mystique, no classic WrestleMania main event has felt as epic as Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior’s clash at WrestleMania 6. With two “good guys” in the final bout, neither of whom had lost cleanly to that point, the battle between the two biggest wrestling icons of the early 1990s had the gravitas to make up for an otherwise forgettable card – even if Roddy Piper painted half his body black.
BEST MOMENT: Hogan and Warrior’s “test of strength.”
Why can’t the best WrestleMania match ever buoy the rest of an subpar card? Find out in the middle 10 WrestleManias on the next page!