Just the mention the name of World Wrestling Entertainment‘s biggest event of the year opens the floodgates of every fan’s memory banks. Inevitably discussions are abound of everyone’s favorite matches spanning to date the 32 events held.
Hogan vs. Andre, Savage vs. Steamboat, Hart vs. Michaels, Angle vs. Michaels, Undertaker vs. Triple H, Rock vs. Austin. All are consistently included in just about every “Best” list ever compiled and rightfully so.
But what about the matches of every card that captured your attention in spite of not being a marquee match on the card? They may not go down as classics or even be considered memorable by the mainstream pundits of the sport but their personal meanings aren’t the least bit devalued.
In this article I proudly list five of my personal favorite Wrestlemania matches of all time.
Each has their own reason for being included and all are matches I still find enjoyment watching whenever I revisit any of the Showcase of The Immortals from the past.
Mr. Perfect vs. The Blue Blazer (WrestleMania V)
On a 14 match card headlined by the explosion of The Mega Powers, this eight minute clinic can easily be forgotten by fans.
Because of the natural, gifted abilities of Curt Hennig and Owen Hart, it has stayed with me in the nearly 30 years I’ve been a diehard follower of professional wrestling.
It helped that the style utilized by both men was not featured anywhere else on the show and was aided by the admiration expressed by Jesse Ventura on commentary.
Perfect was in the midst of his “Perfect Record” undefeated streak while the Blazer was nearing the end of his year and a half run but that didn’t prevent them from having a spirited back and forth contest.
Blazer’s high flying was on full display and the near falls recorded had me, then four years old, convinced he’d hand Perfect his first ever defeat. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be as the perfect one hit the Perfect-Plex and picked up another impressive win to add to the collection.
It’s only made bittersweet by the fact neither man is with us any longer.
Mr. Perfect vs. The Big Bossman (Wrestlemania VII)
Another hidden gem from the career of Perfect in my opinion, not to mention one of the better PPV outings from Bossman.
It was a culmination of a tried and true story arc of any genre; the hunt.
While Bobby Heenan’s Heenan Family had been reduced to three key members by the time 1991 rolled around, The Brain was still active especially where his mouth was concerned.
Endless insults at the expense of Bossman’s beloved mother brought out a rage in the law enforcement officer and he took it out on anyone even remotely associated with Heenan.
After plowing through Haku and The Barbarian, only Perfect and his Intercontinental Championship remained as targets. Perfect was in the midst of his second reign and was arguably at his peak as a wrestler. Bossman had to bring his A game and that he did in spades. It was a pretty solid match across the board.
He took it to Perfect and came within a grasp of winning the title and hurting Heenan where it’d hurt the most. Only the interference of Haku and Barbarian prevented it from becoming a reality. Fortunately, Andre The Giant in his final Mania appearance was there to help Bossman fend off his enemies.
The two would meet at various house shows afterward before being transitioned to other feuds; Perfect with Bret Hart and Bossman with The Mountie. Still, their Mania encounter helped a severely lacking overall VII a great deal.
The Funk Brothers vs. The Junkyard Dog and Tito Santana (Wrestlemania 2)
Out in Los Angeles, the third leg of Wrestlemania 2 was all about Hulk Hogan taking on King Kong Bundy inside a steel cage. For this fan, the semi-main event stole the show and the entire card.
Terry Funk was every bit of wild and out of control then as he is in present day. His 1986 arrival into the WWF ushered in a kind of lunacy that hadn’t been seen since the days of mad men who chased Bruno and Backlund at the Garden.
He hog tied ring announcer Mel Philips kicking off a feud with the JYD. They would be joined by Hoss Funk and Tito Santana to do battle in a tag team attraction.
It was a wild affair, Funk dishing out punishment and crazily showing the effects of the offense of the Dog and Tito. Chairs were tossed around and tables were flipped over.
Santana was worked over relentlessly and the place exploded when he finally got the hot tag to JYD. Alas, he wound up taking a nasty blow to the head courtesy of Jimmy Hart’s megaphone giving the Funks the win.
All four should be proud of their efforts that night. It comes of no surprise they all found their way into the Hall of Fame in 2004 and 2009 respectively.
Evolution vs. The Rock N’ Sock Connection (Wrestlemania XX)
These days it’s easy for people to knock Mick Foley. Sometimes he invites it himself and others are just nasty trolls parading around as “smart” fans convinced everything needs their snarky input.
While this three on two handicap match wasn’t a technical masterpiece, all the elements present cause me to look fondly back on it.
Foley and upstart Randy Orton had been involved in a masterfully crafted feud that came to include the then-IC Champion’s Evolution cohorts Ric Flair and Batista. In response, The Rock made a riveting return to reform one of the company’s most memorable tag teams ever.
Just the sight of Flair and Rock exchanging struts and counters alone made this awesome in my mind.
Batista showed early glimpses of the headliner he’d become a year later and though Foley himself felt let down by his involvement, he laid the foundation for what would come a month later.
Orton picked up his first of many Mania wins with an RKO on Foley. He followed that up with an epic war against Foley in the match that set him up for the success he’s enjoyed since.
The personalities and the action that I found to be entertaining and better than most felt it was made this a fun favorite.
Triple H vs. Owen Hart (Wrestlemania 14)
The Attitude Era was in full swing and that meant that spectacles made up for the lack of in-ring quality on shows.
There were a ton of talented men and women on the roster, don’t get me wrong, but the truth is that skits and pushing the boundaries took priority over anything that happened between the ropes.
Still, two talented men on this night had a really good, if not great match. That Hart had a badly injured ankle headed into the match and that the European Championship they fought over wasn’t high on valued belts made what they did out there even better.
Of course it had a gimmick attached to it; Chyna was handcuffed to commissioner Sgt. Slaughter but thankfully they weren’t a factor for the majority of the match. Hunter and Owen mixed technical skills and high impact maneuvers effortlessly.
In the end Chyna threw powder in Sarge’s eyes and low blowed Owen allowing Triple H to pick up the win. Their feud would rage on afterward and spun off into a highly memorable faction war between DX and a revamped Nation of Domination.
I am proud that these matches still hold their places in my wrestling fan heart and thank everyone mentioned for the memories.