WrestleMania has become bigger than anyone could have imagined. WWE’s yearly mega-show is now on par with the Super Bowl among the biggest attractions of the year with various cities battling it out with sales pitches to earn the rights to have WrestleMania take place in their stadiums. The power of the event brings many tourists and boosts the local economy in a big way. It would have been nearly unbelievable years twenty years ago to imagine a pro wrestling show having such a cultural impact but WWE has branded it perfectly. Casual fans, diehard fans, talent, stockholders and everyone involved views WrestleMania as the biggest weekend of the year.
Pro wrestling gets its own special weekend with various events running to give the fan base the chance to take in the experience over multiple days. The show itself is also pretty great. Wrestlers work all year to get to the honor of participating in WrestleMania. Considering wrestling is scripted by those in charge of the company, the ultimate payoff for their work is getting the chance to showcase their talent in front of tens of thousands in the venue and millions at home. WWE stars get to work in front of large audiences often but this is a special difference and the wrestlers try their best leave an impact with a “WrestleMania moment.”
As we’ll see on this list, there are a few wrestlers that have used WrestleMania to create their legacy with storied matches and memorable moments. The show has seen wrestlers become superstars with crowning moments and guys lower on the card catapult themselves into a bigger role with a clutch performance. Everyone has the goal of stealing the show and we’re going to look at those that actually did it. Over the thirty-one WrestleMania shows up to this date, one talent has stood out as the best performer of the night. We’ll break down each specific show and select the MVP of each WrestleMania in WWE history now.
Hulk Hogan, Mr. T and Roddy Piper all deserve credit for their pivotal roles in the success of the first WrestleMania, but Vince McMahon’s vision was the most important factor in getting the concept running. McMahon’s vision was before his time and he forced the time to catch up to him by bringing pro wrestling to mainstream America. Celebrities were utilized and the biggest wrestling show in the world benefited from having its own version of the Super Bowl. The idea could have easily failed given how limited wrestling’s outreach used to be, but McMahon took the chance and changed the business forever.
WrestleMania II started the trend of Hulk Hogan having a WWE title match in the main event of the big show every year. Hogan successfully defended the title against King Kong Bundy in a cage match to cap off the mega-event featured with matches taking place and being broadcasted in three different venues. The match was lackluster but it showed the star power of Hogan was here to stay and he would be the main attraction that the show was built around going forward. No matches on this show stood out as anything special, as it was carried by the spectacle and marketing.
The most memorable match at WrestleMania III is a controversial topic with two schools of thought having very different opinions. The main event of Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant is often remembered for the spectacle of the magical bodyslam but the right answer is definitely the Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat. Future stars were inspired by the latter and it still lives on today as one of the most celebrated matches of all time, rather than just skipping to a bodyslam spot. Steamboat was an all-time great in-ring performer but never was spotlighted as a WWE main eventer, so this was his only true chance to shine and he sure delivered. The match improved the future of WWE with the work rate becoming more important after these two stole the show.