WrestleMania! The Top 5 Premier WWE Events of All Time

Jul 12, 2022 - by Steve Gerweck

It’s hard to believe, but WrestleMania will celebrate its 40th birthday in less than two years – that makes the event just a little younger than this writer, and that makes me feel very old, indeed. There can’t be many of us who lack fond memories of watching wrestling on television as children. It doesn’t matter which era you grew up watching… oh come on, that’s a blatant lie! The Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, and Legion of Doom were the golden days of WWE and I will hear no arguments on the matter.

All joking aside, WrestleMania has become an institution that is difficult to compare to any other contemporary event – the level of production and scope could even be said to rival the Super Bowl, and that’s not a sentence that anybody can write lightly. Simply put, WrestleMania is the crown jewel of the WWE, a spectacle that transcends generations and brings together fans of the WWE both old, young, and everything in between.

Counting Down the Days

We’ve still a long wait ahead of us before WrestleMania 39 in April next year, but online sportsbook Unibet is already listing early bets for those who like to keep an eye on the Wrestling odds – and there are plenty of other bets listed if you don’t fancy waiting for the next WrestleMania to try your luck!

WrestleMania is where the best in the industry come together to create the next new storylines for the next year, as well as bring existing ones to a conclusion. As such, some of the best moments in WWE and pro wrestling history have taken place at WrestleMania events. The launch of the WWE Network back in 2014 allowed fans to relive their favourite WrestleMania events of all time. Will you agree with our picks? Many fans love specific WrestleMania events either for nostalgia reasons or because they attended the event in person, so there is at least a reasonable chance we won’t be able to tick all your boxes with just five picks, but let’s start with one obvious honourable mention…

Wrestlemania I

The first WrestleMania was a fairly average affair – nobody, including the WWE, recognized that it would later go on to become an all-American institution over the next few years. If you haven’t rewatched the first event on the WWE Network recently, we recommend you go give it a blast – sure, it’s not fantastic, but it certainly isn’t as great as some of the events we are about to discuss.

Wrestlers such as Bruno Sammartino, King Kong Bundy, S.D. Jones and Greg Valentine are rapidly becoming forgotten in the current era, and if you’re a youngster you really should go back and watch this to see where it all began. It’s important to remember that WCW was still a serious contender back then, and Vince McMahon took a huge gamble putting on such a huge card for an event that nobody was familiar with at the time. It was a decision that has paid off for him in spades during the decades since!

Wrestlemania VIII

It may seem like a strange reason for inclusion on the list, but Wrestlemania VIII was always supposed to be the fan’s dream event – a matchup between Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. Hogan had been dominating the WWE for years at this point, and Flair had been doing the same over at the WCW. When Flair came to the WWE in 1991, everyone felt sure that a fight would be a dead cert at Wrestlemania VIII, but it never happened, and fans never got to see the two face off until 1994 when both men were fighting for the WCW.

So, if the “fight of the century” never occurred at Wrestlemania VIII, why is it on the list? The Undertaker’s destruction of Jake the Snake was unforgettable, but it was simply just a warmup for the real fight to come – Rowdy Roddy Piper vs Bret the Hitman Hart! Hogan took on the Macho Man Randy Savage, and we got an early taste of the drama that the WWE has become so well known for today. An unmissable Wrestlemania that demands you go back and watch it right now!

Wrestlemania XVIII

This was the last Wrestlemania event that was contested under the WWF name – does anybody remember that? Yes, the WWF lost the rights to their name to an animal rights charity that somehow successfully argued that the use of the trademark in a completely different industry somehow harmed their brand. It was an unfair decision then, and Is an unfair decision today, but what can you do?

Taking place at the Toronto SkyDome, people knew this was going to be an exhibition on a level that would be bigger and better than ever before, and the WWE did not disappoint. When the Ultimate Warrior pinned Hulk Hogan there were gasps from the crowd, as it was Hogan’s first appearance since WrestleMania IX, and the fans were sure he would come back with a bang. This was also the first event after the WWE absorbed the WCW, and there was match after match of pure upsets – even if they were all very short. A true classic.

Wrestlemania X

The tenth anniversary of Wrestlemania had to be something special, and of course, the WWE did not disappoint. The shows leading up to the event set up a series of dramatic storylines which played out spectacularly on the night, kicking off with a grudge match between Bret and Owen Hart – few expected Owen could take on his vastly more successful older brother, but what we got was one of the biggest upsets in WWE history and a serious contender for one of the greatest WWE matches of all time.

The Randy “Macho Man” Savage vs Crush Falls Count Anywhere match was not Savage’s best performance, but as his final Wrestlemania match, it demands a watch all the same. He managed a technical victory when Crush could not make it back into the ring in time, letting Macho Man retain a Wrestlemania legacy of epic proportions.

And then there was the ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon. A beautiful example of a storyline coming to a close at a Wrestlemania event, with Ramon winning the Battle Royal and being crowned the new champion.

Wrestlemania XVII

You knew this had to be at the top of the list – a multitude of great matches combined with potentially the most anticipated event in Wrestlemania history. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin at the end of the night was just the icing on the cake for a WrestleMania that lives on in infamy to this day.

The event took place at the Reliant Astrodome in Houston Texas, and six championships were on the line. This was an epic event in every way, kicking off with Chris Jericho defending the Intercontinental Championship against Commissioner William Regal. Jericho held his own against strong competition, retaining the IC Championship.

A Triple Threat Match for the Hardcore Championship featured Raven, Kane, and the Big Show, and in most fans’ eyes is the greatest Hardcore Championship match ever held at a Wrestlemania event.

A technical masterpiece between Angle and Benoit often gets forgotten amongst the flood of other amazing matches at Wrestlemania XVII, but don’t skip it – it’s every bit as good as the Angle vs Brock Lesnar match held two years later. Holds, counter holds, reversals, pin and submission attempts – these two men went at it full force, so much so that even the referee got knocked down! IN the end, Benoit came out on top.

The final match between Austin and The Rock saw Stone Cold smash his opponent with the steel chair until he just couldn’t take any more, making Stone Cold the WWE Champion for the first time of many.

Could Wrestlemania XXXIX surpass the legendary 17th event? It’s been a while, and the WWE is already beginning to build some seriously dramatic storylines in preparation for what will undoubtedly be another action-packed Wrestlemania event. We just don’t know if we can wait!

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