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WrestleMania Rewind: From Hollywood to Rock-Cena (the first time)
By JOHN POWELL - SLAM! Wrestling


John Cena versus Shawn Michaels was one of the highlights at WrestleMania 23 in Detroit. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea


If you are like me, you get all old school each year around WrestleMania time. You raid your disk library and watch some classic Mania cards, moments just to fuel your enthusiasm for the annual event. With 28 events to choose from, the desire to zero in on the most pivotal matches can be a daunting task.

This is where SLAM! Wrestling comes in.

WrestleMania Rewind is a series detailing the very best and very worst matches from each and every WrestleMania. Check out our guide and take the guess work out of scanning through all those disks.


WrestleMania 21


Date: April 3, 2005.
Location: Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

In a reversal of WrestleMania fortune, the undercard far surpasses the actual main events. The Cena-JBL match is especially disappointing clocking in at only 10 minutes, when one considers all of the hype that led up to it. HBK and Kurt Angle appear in one of the best technical matches you will ever witness, no matter how long you stay a true, blue wrestling fan.

Must See Matches
Rey Mysterio versus Eddie Guerrero
Money in the Bank Ladder Match
The Undertaker versus Randy Orton
Kurt Angle versus Shawn Michaels
Must Skip Matches
Akebono defeated The Big Show
Event MVPs: Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, Shelton Benjamin, Kurt Angle, Shawn Michaels.
Overall Event Rating: 7.5 / 10

WrestleMania 22


Date: April 2, 2006.
Location: Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois.

WrestleMania 22 features the best in a string of McMahon Mania matches. Shawn Michaels who proves he is the showstopper as he carries the WWE owner in a more than half-decent bout. Edge and Mick Foley participate in the most hardcore WrestleMania match ever. Barbed wire. Thumb tacks. A table on fire. What more could a wrestling fan ask for? The women's Heavyweight Title Match between Trish Stratus and Mickie James is the best ever in WrestleMania history. The highlight of the event though is seeing Triple H dressed up as Conan The Barbarian.

Must See Matches
Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Edge versus Mick Foley
Mickie James versus Trish Stratus
HBK versus Vince McMahon
Triple H versus John Cena
Must Skip Matches
Big Show and Kane versus Carlito and Chris Masters
Torrie Wilson versus Candice Michelle
Event MVPs: Edge, Mick Foley, HBK, Vince McMahon, Trish Stratus, Mickie James.
Overall Event Rating: 8 / 10

WrestleMania 23


Date: April 1, 2007.
Location: Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.

Sometimes, you just cannot go home again. Returning to Detroit 20 years after the masterful WrestleMania 3, the WWE manages to rescue what would otherwise be a lackluster broadcast by staging some hard-fought battles. Those three matches really carry the show forward and balance out a mediocre, meagre card filled with mediocre performances. At least we got to see Vince's head get shaved though.

Must See Matches
The Undertaker versus Batista
Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Umanga versus Bobby Lashley
John Cena versus Shawn Michaels
Must Skip Matches
The Great Khali versus Kane
Melina versus Ashley
Event MVPs: John Cena, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Batista.
Overall Event Rating: 7 / 10

WrestleMania 24


Date: March 3, 2008.
Location: Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida.

WrestleMania is all about those unforgettable, priceless moments and with the "retirement" of the legendary Ric Flair, the 2008 edition of the granddaddy of them all had more passion and emotion than any other WrestleMania. The ligitamacy of the retirement angle didn't matter. From the Hall of Fame ceremony to the event itself, it was a tribute to the Nature Boy and all that he has given to the wrestling industry. If you weren't there, you missed one hell of a celebration and an exceptional moment in wrestling history in which an entire stadium gave thanks to one man after his shoulders were pinned to the mat and the ring bell sounded. As a life-long fan, I will never forget that night or the genuine emotions associated with it.

Must See Matches
Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Shawn Michaels versus Ric Flair
John "Bradshaw" Layfield versus Finlay
Batista versus Umaga
Randy Orton versus John Cena versus Triple H
The Undertaker versus Edge
Must Skip Matches
Kane versus Chavo Guerrero
Beth Phoenix and Melina versus Maria and Ashley
Floyd Mayweather versus The Big Show
Event MVPs: Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Edge, Undertaker.
Overall Event Rating: 9 / 10

WrestleMania 25


Date: April 5, 2009.
Location: Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.

For WrestleMania's 25th anniversary, the WWE does things right. Although, surprisingly, the Hardy brothers match felt disappointing somehow. It could have been the ludicrious lead-up or the fact that we expect a lot more from the innovative and death-defying Hardys. Still, if you had the chance to watch only one WrestleMania in its entirety, this would be a very solid choice as it was worth the price of admission alone to see the great Ricky Steamboat fly high once again. While you are at it, it wouldn't hurt to watch The Wrestler as a special feature beforehand.

Must See Matches
Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Chris Jericho versus Roddy Piper, Ricky Steamboat and Jimmy Snuka
Matt Hardy versus Jeff Hardy
The Undertaker versus Shawn Michaels
John Cena versus Edge versus The Big Show
Triple H versus Randy Orton
Must Skip Matches
25-Diva battle royal
Rey Mysterio versus John "Bradshaw" Layfield
Event MVPs: Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy.
Overall Event Rating: 9 / 10

WrestleMania 26


Date: March 28, 2010.
Location: University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

The weak undercard was trumped by the main event matches. The problem is there are only four of those worth watching. The top heavy event almost collapses on itself. Without the exceptional, intense HBK-Undertaker encounter WrestleMania 26 would have just been a footnote in the history of the pay-per-view franchise.

Must See Matches
Triple H versus Sheamus
Chris Jericho versus Edge
John Cena versus Batista
The Undertaker versus Shawn Michaels
Must Skip Matches
Showmiz versus R-Truth, John Morrison
Bret Hart versus Vince McMahon
Michelle McCool, Vickie Guerrero, Alicia Fox, Layla and Maryse versus Beth Phoenix, Kelly Kelly, Mickie James, Gail Kim and Eve Torres
Event MVPs: Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Sheamus, Chris Jericho, Edge, John Cena, Batista.
Overall Event Rating: 7 / 10

WrestleMania 27


Date: April 3, 2011.
Location: Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.

Did someone call The Repo Man? Because someone took the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Everyone smelt what The Rock was cooking but even his hosting gig could not save this WrestleMania from being so mundane. A raging mess of a production, the matches ranged from great to bad with nothing in-between. WrestleMania 27 just played itself out with no real lasting memories except that it featured one of the best matches in the underappreciated Cody Rhodes' career, was Edge's last match and Undertaker, Triple really know how to kick some ass.

Must See Matches
Edge versus Alberto Del Rio
Cody Rhodes versus Rey Mysterio
Randy Orton versus CM Punk
The Undertaker versus Triple H
Must Skip Matches
Kane, Big Show, Santino Marella, and Kofi Kingston versus The Corre
Michael Cole versus Jerry Lawler
John Morrison, Trish Stratus and Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi versus Dolph Ziggler and LayCool
Event MVPs: The Rock, Cody Rhodes, Rey Mysterio, Edge, Alberto Del Rio, Undertaker, Triple H.
Overall Event Rating: 4 / 10

WrestleMania 28


Date: April 1, 2012.
Location: Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Ever want to know how to work a match hard? Ever want to know how to tell a story in the ring? Ever want to see one of the greatest matches in the history of pro wrestling? Check out Triple H versus The Undertaker at this WrestleMania. It has it all and so does this show. Bouncing back from a dreary 27, the WWE hits this one out of the park and over the fence with a rock solid workrate by everyone except Sheamus and Daniel Bryan for obvious reason. Still don't understand booking matches like that at the biggest pay-per-view of the year. What a waste.

Must See Matches
Kane versus Randy Orton
The Undertaker versus Triple H
CM Punk versus Chris Jericho
The Rock versus John Cena
Must Skip Matches
Sheamus versus Daniel Bryan
Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos versus Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres
Event MVPs: Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Triple H, The Rock, John Cena.
Overall Event Rating: 9 / 10


RELATED LINKS
  • WrestleMania Rewind: The first five
  • WrestleMania Rewind: From The Ultimate Challenge to the 10th anniversary
  • WrestleMania Rewind: From an 11th stinker to the Attitude Era
  • WrestleMania Rewind: From 2000 to XX
  • WrestleMania 29 section

    John Powell is a founding member of SLAM! Wrestling. Currently, you can follow his gaming coverage at G4 Canada and his take on Big Brother Canada and Survivor.