Editor’s note: This was written by guest columnist Aron Johnson. What matches would be on your dream card? Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant needs to be on this show, right?
Throughout the entire history of Wrestlemania, there have been certain matches that have stolen the show. These are the matches that still have many wrestling fans talking today. For the dire hard fan that gets tired of the fill in Battle Royal or the gimmick match, these matches I have selected will incite the hard hittin’ response that hasn’t been seen since the ‘Starcades” of the 80’s in the old NWA/WCW.
Please allow me to invite you to “THE ALL-STAR WRESTLEMANIA”.
Note: Since all of these matches are of main event quality….there is no particular order to them:
1. The Rock vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin – WrestleMania X-Seven: The background of this match set up the HUGE battle between two of the hottest, fast paced wrestlers in the “Attitude Era”. This no disqualification match had all the implication of a true (as Jim Ross would say) slobber knocker. For those who saw this match, you could clearly see why these two ruled the WWE for years to come and why the fans appreciate their occasional returns “home”.
The next two matches were picked, not only because of the quality of the match but the pure talent of the participants. In fact, the storylines that were built around these two were so well written that it literally kept fans on the edge of their seats.
2. Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena – WrestleMania XXX: This is probably one of Cena’s best matches. These two definitely brought out the best in each other.
3. “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat – WrestleMania III: These two were so evenly matched and equally as talented (not to mention popular) that no one actually realized what a classic it was going to be. I counted 15 near falls in this tug of war. Unfortunately today, we see many squash title matches. This was not and it brought importance and value to the Intercontinental Title.
4. Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart – WrestleMania X: Not only was this war the true culmination of sibling rivalry but a battle of two of the greatest technical wrestler’s of all time. Again, the story build up to this feud helped to propel this match to a whole different level. Owen wanted to prove he was better than Bret. Bret was World champion status…..and Owen won. An outcome many couldn’t believe in this scientific clinic.
5. Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels – Student vs. Teacher – WrestleMania XXIV: A special “career on the line” match between 2 legends. I have watched Ric Flair wrestle and beat the odds for over 25 years. He never ceased to amaze me. Ric Flair can make a piece of paper have a great match, however, in this contest, he was wrestling a man equal to hiis younger self. Part of the climax revolved around Mr. McMahon wanting Flair to retire. He threw obstacles like MVP, Triple H and others in but it was this Wrestlemania match that topped the cake. Both men were at the top of their game. I never thought “The Nature Boy’s”career would end but what a helluva send off. I think I even shed a tear.
6. Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar – WrestleMania XIX: Two college wrestlers turned pro. Two hungry up and comers. This match, in my mind, helped to transform both of these men to the next level of their careers. It seemed these two knew the others mind and it was truly a human game of chess.
7. The Undertaker vs. CM Punk- Wrestlemania 29: No WrestleMania is complete without a Streak Ending Match. There is no better heel or in this case jerk than Punk. He used the death of Paul Bearer to incite the anger of The Undertaker. But even through these cowardly and distasteful actions, it was the match that ones still remember. I didn’t believe my eyes….CM PUNK took the Undertaker to places I have (to that date) never seen anyone do. Several times, I thought Punk would take the Streak. Forget the Lesnar/ Taker match. This one will show the fortitude of the Undertaker and the skill of one CM Punk.
8. Triple H vs.Daniel Bryan – The Authority vs.The YES movement – WrestleMania XXX: The standard vs.the rebel. Call it what you want. I call it a true passing of the torch. Triple H spared nothing in this match and showed he still has “IT” but Bryan came out on top to represent the New Breed of TRUE wrestlers.
Now, if I had more picks to choose there are several more matches I could honor. Hulk Hogan who started the whole deal, Edge, Razon Ramon/Michaels ladder match and more. But the matches I chose are the reasons I call myself a Wrestling Purist. No Gobbledy Gookers, no celebrities…just quality wrestling. That is what the sport is about, right?
Your winner and Still Champion,
“All-Star” Aron Johnson