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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Undercard Matches at Wrestlemania
July 9, 2004 by Andrew Brick


I am a believer that what makes a PPV is not the Main event, but the undercard leading up to it. I am going to break down all twenty of the wrestlemanias that we have had, and point out the various matches in the undercard that I feel should go down as some of the best. No sometimes Main Event can be confusing, in all these "double, triple, quadruple" main events that we have had, so I am going to go ahead and define main event as "match including the WWE champion" and the last match of the evening. So at most, by my definition, we will have a maximum of two. so here is goes

Wrestlemania I: Sadly, I feel that this is one of the worst wrestlemanias we have had. A good main event, and a few good matches, but nothing mention worthy.

Wrestlemania II: We have a couple of great matches to remember from this undercard. Oddly, the two matches I feel to be the best were the first two matches of the night. Opening with Paul Orndorff vs. Don Muraco. Unfortunately it ended in a Double Countout and that always pisses me off, but still a great match by anyone's standards. Two superstars who I believe both were the total package when it came to what the fans needed to see. The next match on my mind is that of George Steele vs. Randy Savage for the IC Title. Great in ring story telling with a back story that was unmatched at the time.

Wrestlemania III: We once again have two matches that I feel should be remembered. One being the IC match between Ricky Steamboat and Randy Savage. I do not need to go into too much detail here in that many people consider this match the best ever. The other one would be that of Jake Roberts vs. Honky Tonk Man. Two outstanding performers with the character work of Honky Tonk and the ring psychology of the Jake the Snake.

Wrestlemanie IV: While some have issues with IV, this one had three undercard matches that I felt were phenomenal. Jake Roberts vs. Rick Rude was a great first round match, even though it unfortunately ended in a draw. Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant was another great rematch between the two, but once again, ended in a draw. The third match on my mind is that of Ted Dibiase vs. Don Muraco in round 2 delivering a performance that I feel is often overlooked.

Wrestlemania V: This one once again had two matches that in my opinion far above par and deserve to be recognized. One match being that of Jake Roberts vs. Andre the Giant. I typically hate it when PPV matches end in anything but a pin fall or a submission, but this match with its storyline and in ring psyche, I felt needed to be mentioned. The other being that of the Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude for the IC Title. This is probably my favorite rivalry ever, and it put on a number of Class A matches, this one being included.

Wrestle mania VI: This one like most before it, has two undercard matches that were great ones. Ted Dibiase vs. Jake Roberts was probably the best match ever the ended in a draw. The performance was absolutely phenomenal. The other being Rick Rude vs. Jimmy Snuka. An impressive clash of character storytelling mixed with a difference in styles made for an impressive undercard match.

Wrestlemania VII: There are two undercard matches here worth mentioning. The first being that of the Undertaker making his impressive Wrestlemania debut against Jimmy Snuka. Two different forms of impressive ring psychology and storyline developments make this match one for the books. Also, the retirement match between the Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage will be one of the most memorable matches ever in my opinion.

Wrestlemania VIII: This is the first with two main events, which I find to be kind of silly, but oh well. There are two matches here that I felt were better than the Hogan vs. Sid match. One being that of Undertaker vs. Jake Roberts. I cannot even explain this match, all I can say is watch it if you can, it is truly one of my favorites. Other than that, the IC Title match between Bret Hart and Roddy Piper is one that I will remember, mostly because I am a Bret Hart fan and Roddy Piper is from my home town, but I don't think anyone can argue with me that this match was one of the best.

Wrestlemania IX: The only match here that I feel is really worth mentioning would have to be that of Scott Hall vs. Bob Backlund. I have never understood what made Bob Backlund such a huge draw, but he simply was, and put on some damn good matches, this being one of them.

Wrestlemania X: The only match here is another Scott Hall match, when he wrestled Shawn Michaels for the IC Title in a ladder match. There is only one thing I can say about this match. Holy Shit!!! This coupled with the Main Event really carried this PPV in my opinion.

Wrestlemania XI: While this one had two mediocre main events at best, there are two undercard matches that carried it in my opinion. A match between two returning superstars, Undertaker and King Kong Bundy. One of the best Big Man matches I will ever remember. The other one being that of Bret Hart vs. Bob Backlund in an I Quit match. I already talked about Backlund, so I won't go into too much detail there.

Wrestlemania XII: Since this had the best main event ever, there is only one match in the undercard that was a standout in my opinion. That of the Ultimate Warrior and Triple H. Though the Warrior kind of pissed me off with this match, it still was a great match and one that truly put Triple H on the map.

Wrestlemania XIII: With the main event being decent, but not great, this had one phenomenal submission match between Bret Hart and Steve Austin. Not much to say about it, just great character development and in ring technical wrestling.

Wrestlemania XIV: The one match here that will go into my book is that of the Undertaker and Kane. I will never understand why they never had these two headline a wrestlemania. One of the most storied rivalries coupled with the total package of in ring skills, character development and the other thing, you all know what I'm talking about.

Wrestlemania XV: Once again, only one match, this one being that of Kane and Triple H. Though it ended in a DQ, this was great match from the get go, and really told a story that continued later on.

Wrestlemania XVI: Not a single match here that I feel to be worth mentioning. The main event was good, but still not to great standards in my opinion.

Wrestlemania XVII: The undercard match here that I found to be great was Undertaker vs. Triple H. Two of the best ever, just doing there thing in a strait up brawl. Brilliant performance from the veterans.

Wrestlemania XVIII: This one actually had four matches that I feel should be some of the greatest included ever. Kane vs. Kurt Angle was an interesting one, coupling the technique and skills of Angle, the character an monstrosity of Kane, along with the storyline that the two had. Undertaker vs. Ric Flair I feel to be one for the ages, stacking to legends together and continuing Takers wrestlemania streak to 10-0 following a grueling match. Scott Hall vs. Steve Austin is one that many laugh at, but I found to be an astonishing match from the get go. The NWO angle couple with the sheer brilliance of two outstanding superstars. Finally, the Rock vs. Hulk Hogan, will of course be considered one of the greatest, simply because history was made.

Wrestlemania XIX: Two matches here worth mentioning in my book. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho. What can you say, two outstanding superstars just displaying what this business is about, the total package of a great match. The other one being Steve Austin vs. the Rock. How can anyone ever get tired of this rivalry. I loved watching this match every time I saw it. Just a great match, and a great story.

Wrestlemania XX: Only one match here, though it has already been mentioned. Undertaker vs. Kane will always be a show stealing match. It was brilliant to have these two pitted against each other in the pinnacle of all wrestlemanias.

Well there you have it, the undercard, which in my opinion is the backbone of a PPV. So as you can see, I kind of felt that Wrestlemania XVI and Wrestlemania I kind of sucked.

by Andrew Brick..


Brad Dykens wrote:
My one problem with your comments is that Wrestlemania I --- That show was just plain awesome. An example of an Undercard match for this list would be easy to find --- Andre The Giant vs Big John Studd in a BodySlam Challenge! As for Wrestlemania 16 (2000), how could you forget the Tables & Ladders match between E&C and The Dudleyz & The Hardyz" How about Angle vs Jericho vs Benoit for the IC & Euro titles" And what about Terri vs Kat! JUST KIDDING!
Mike Petralia wrote:
Great Article, very interesting topic. My only problem would be WM12. HHH vs Warrior" If I remember correctly Warrior squashed HHH, wouldnt say that put HHH on the map. Other than that awsome article.
Trae Wisecarver wrote:
I have three things to say about this article. The first is that Warrior vs. Helmsly at WM12 was a total squash that last around a minute and a half, I think. Second is about WM17, how could you overlook Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit" While not their best meeting, it was still an excellent match. Lastly, while I did enjoy Undertaker vs. Kane at WrestleMania XIV, their match at WrestleMania XX was by no means a show stealing match. The best undercard match at WMXX was easily Jericho vs. Christian, those two have excellent chemistry together and always put on an entertaining match.
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