SLAM! Speaks: The Very Best of 'Mania
By SLAM! Wrestling Staff
SLAM! Wrestling continues its countdown to WrestleMania with another edition of SLAM! Speaks. This time around, the boys and girls met at the offices to offer their thoughts on the greatest WrestleMania match of all-time. Everyone had their own opinion on which stood out most. Take a look at what we thought.
Like remembering the greatest World Series, it'll always be coloured by your age, and when/where you saw the event. For me, nothing compares to the WrestleMania 2 match where the British Bulldogs toppled The Dream Team of Greg Valentine & Brutus Beefcake to capture their first - and only - WWF tag team championship. It had been a long chase of the 'Dogs, and the heels needed to be beaten down. I was (and still am) a big fan of the Bulldogs, and the innovations that they brought to wrestling in North America.
The ladder match at WrestleMania 10 with Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon. It redefined how ladder matches were done. It wasn't the first ladder match, but the first of its kind.
Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart - WM13. I was there live for this submission match, which featured one of the best double-turns in history. It was incredibly dramatic, watching Austin, his face a crimson mask, steadfastly refuse to give up to Hart's Sharpshooter. It still blows my mind how intensely the audience got caught up in that match. I've seen countless matches in my life, and with the exception of maybe Rock-Hogan at WMX8, I don't think I've ever seen anything else like this one.
I know that a lot of people will vote for Michaels/Ramon from
WrestleMania X but I'm going to go with Steamboat-Savage from
WrestleMania III. It was the highlight of the first WrestleMania I ever saw live (albeit closed-circuit) and just stole the show for me. Plus, it even impressed my Dad and that's not an easy thing for a wrestling match to do.
The best match in Wrestlemania history would have to be Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart at Wrestlemania 12. The Iron Man match is still talked about today and it was another revolution for WWE at the time. There had been plenty of non-televised Iron Man matches, but for that to be the first televised one, and to get the response it got, it should definitely be recognized as the best Mania match in history.
Again ... pick only one, with over 20 years and close to three hundred matches to choose from? Probably Earthquake vs. Hercules from Wrestlemania 6 ... kidding! I have to go with sentimental favourites and pick Wrestlemania 20's headliner of HHH vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit. The emotion of that match, of 20,000 people screaming "tap" at Hunter before he finally did, and the explosion in Madison Square Garden when Benoit was handed the belt was awesome. While Wrestlemania has produced many classics, few have rivaled that one in intensity and emotion. Bret vs. Owen, Savage vs. Flair, Savage vs. Hogan, it was there, but this one sticks out in my recent memory.
There are so many matches that have been so good in 'Mania's storied past, but the one that always sticks out for me is Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho vs. Kurt Angle from WrestleMania 2000 for the European and Intercontinental Titles. While Benoit and Jericho had mixed it up several times (including at that year's Royal Rumble), Angle was relatively fresh, having only debuted a short time earlier and only fought Jericho once or twice. The match really stood out for me as being a unique way to get both belts contested at one event and really moved Angle up the ladder as an elite grappler.
What do you think was the greatest match in WrestleMania?s history? E-mail Jon with your thoughts. Reader responses will be posted later this week
-- compiled by Jon Waldman
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