Top 10 Moments from Wrestlemania 21-32
By the time Wrestlemania 21 took place, the “Wrestlemania moment” had been established, and became something the WWE built towards. Just about every year from 2005-2016 had at least one big moment. I’m taking a look at the top 10.
10. The Women’s Championship steals the show (Wrestlemania 32) – As a whole, Wrestlemania 32 was a bitter disappointment. I’d have it among the bottom 5-10 shows in the event’s history. But, the biggest highlight of the night was one of Wrestlemania’s most important.
It started when Lita came out to unveil the new Women’s Championship belt (a thing of beauty, by the way), and concluded when Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch absolutely stole the show. This triple threat was easily the best match of the night, as these women abolished the term ‘divas’ in the process.
9. DX battles the nWo (Wrestlemania 31) – You won’t find too many people high on the Triple H-Sting match from 2015, but I’m one of the few. Was it a wrestling clinic? No. But, it was loaded with nostalgia.
First of all, it was absolutely surreal to see Sting make his entrance at Wrestlemania. Second, the wrestling itself was decent enough. But, the big sell for me was getting the old factions involved. D-Generation X, the New World Order – it was as if my childhood had manifested in one match.
8. The Battle of the Billionaires (Wrestlemania 23) – You have to mention Vince McMahon getting his head shaved bald by Donald Trump as one of the peak celebrity Wrestlemania moments. Honestly, I don’t remember too much about the match itself, but I do remember thinking it wasn’t half bad. At the time, I was happy for ECW Champion Bobby Lashley and Intercontinental Champion Umaga. Two guys that were ascending superstars getting one of the prime slots on the card – in 2017, this probably would’ve garnered a “you deserve it” chant. Bonus points for all the Stone Cold Stunners.
7. The Flaming Table (Wrestlemania 22) – Unbelievable. Prior to 2006, the WWE stayed away from all major fire stunts. The exception, of course, being The Undertaker and Kane lighting each other and other random people on fire. But, those were vignettes and segments. It hadn’t really happened in a match like this.
Not only that, but this was Mick Foley’s Wrestlemania moment – something he had yet to achieve in his illustrious career.
6. The Cena and Batista eras begin (Wrestlemania 21) – Okay, I hear you. The matches were average, but no one can deny the importance of that night in Los Angeles. Every now and then, there’s a paradigm shift in the landscape of the WWE and this was one of those shifts. When John Cena and Batista won each brand’s respective championship, we knew who the company would be built around for years to come.
5. The “End of an Era” Match (Wrestlemania XXVIII) – What an emotional match. This was peak streak – brutal, physical, emotional, and exhausting. Once this match concluded, it’s like the entire wrestling community let out a huge sigh of relief.
Triple H and The Undertaker went through hell in this match, and this is coming from a guy who thinks “went through hell” is one of the most over-played wrestling cliches out there. The image of these three men taking bow at the entrance is iconic.
4. YESlemania (Wrestlemania XXX) – The WWE tugged on our heart strings big time – right from the jump with that Daniel Bryan montage set to “Monster” by Imagine Dragons. You know the one. The match with Triple H was phenomenal, but the years of Bryan being misused and miscast in WWE would not get its appropriate payoff until the end of the night.
Even though we all had a sense that he’d win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Bryan raising both titles in front of 80,000 people in New Orleans was damn near a wrestling miracle. Guys like that aren’t supposed to have these moments – but he did, and it was a joyous occasion for wrestling fans.
3. “The Heist of the Century” (Wrestlemania 31) – Make no mistake, Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns were putting on one hell of a Wrestlemania main event before Seth Rollins got involved. But, once he did, an excitement rose up through the crowd that hadn’t been felt all night. He became the first member of The Shield to win the ultimate prize in the WWE.
Michael Cole announcing that Rollins had just pulled off the heist of the century is one of the great calls in the history of Wrestlemania. The moment also represents the first major success of the NXT developmental brand, as Rollins was the first NXT guy to really break through as a main roster main event talent.
2. The Streak is over (Wrestlemania XXX) – I’ve never heard a wrestling crowd get so quiet out of shock and awe. I still get goosebumps just thinking about this match. I mean, it’s a shame that Undertaker was concussed like two minutes in and the match suffered because of it. Nonetheless, I don’t know if there’s a more shocking moment in the show’s history. The raw emotion of it – that’s what wrestling is all about, folks.
1. “I’m sorry. I love you.” (Wrestlemania 24) – The only thing that could top….I’m six words into this sentence and am already tearing up….Lesnar defeating ‘Taker is the year Shawn Michaels retired Ric Flair…who was actually crying as HBK’s foot approached his face.
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