The 25 Greatest Wrestlemania Matches, Ranked

1 year ago 7

Our definitive ranking of the best and most exciting bouts in Wrestlemania history

Wrestlemania is a singular event in professional wrestling, as it is one of the rare times that this normally niche form of entertainment brings in mainstream headlines, celebrity appearances, and nostalgia to solidify their crossover appeal.

However, Wrestlemania's appeal is built on the weight of the event, with a legacy of some of professional wrestling's biggest and best matches over the past 37 years. With the 38th edition of Wrestlemania on the horizon, we've assembled our ranking of the 25 best Wrestlemania matches ever, all of which can be watched on Peacock.

25. Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena in a “Firefly Funhouse” Match (Wrestlemania 36)


Stuck in a tight bind thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the WWE pulled an audible and transformed their big John Cena-Fiend match at Wrestlemania 36 into a cinematic "Firefly Funhouse" match. As a result, this non-traditional match played as an introspective journey throughout John Cena's career, from his lackluster debut during the Ruthless Aggression Era to his never-realized heel turn to even his breakup with Nikki Bella. It was WWE in rare form, paying tribute to the past and acknowledging the longstanding criticisms of Cena as a top star while furthering the depths of the psychological horror of The Fiend.

24. Kurt Angle & Ronda Rousey vs. Triple H & Stephanie McMahon (Wrestlemania 34)

Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle at WWE Wrestlemania 34

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No one really knew what to expect from this Mixed Tag Team Match at Wrestlemania 34, as it was not only Ronda Rousey’s debut as a competitor in WWE, but Kurt Angle, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon had not been full-time in-ring competitors in quite some time. But with exceptional staging, character work, and a white-hot crowd to their benefit, this match blew the roof off the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and quickly established that Rousey could handle the athleticism and physical storytelling needed to shine in the promotion.

23. Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk (Wrestlemania 28)

CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania 28

Zuma Press, Inc. / Courtesy Alamy

Though they may be two of the biggest names in All Elite Wrestling right now, Chris Jericho and CM Punk put on a hell of a clinic at Wrestlemania 28, nearly stealing the show from the likes of The Undertaker, John Cena, and The Rock. With Punk in the midst of a strong WWE championship run and Jericho at his most slimy, these performers displayed a natural chemistry and delivered a twisty, top-tier match that is more than a little underrated.

22. Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior (Wrestlemania 6)


A seminal match in the history of WWE, Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior’s title vs. title clash was not only the Ultimate Warrior’s best WWE match by a country mile, but remains one of the most beloved main events in sports entertainment history. It may be too goofy and over the top for some professional wrestling purists, but this “passing of the torch” on the Grandest Stage of Them All has resonated with audiences both past and present.

21. Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton vs. Batista (Wrestlemania 30)

Dave Bautista, Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania 30

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WWE’s ultimate underdog story came to its stunning conclusion with this edge-of-your-seat triple threat match in which indie wrestling darling and fan favorite Daniel Bryan took on Ruthless Aggression-era stalwarts Randy Orton and Batista at Wrestlemania 30. From its heat-seeking beginnings to its breathtaking finish, there are few moments that will be as iconic or emotionally charged as Bryan standing tall over his legendary opponents and cementing his place in WWE history. 

20. Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair (Wrestlemania 24)

Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair at Wrestlemania 24

Jacob Langston / Orlando Sentinel/ TNS/ Alamy Live News

Speaking of “emotionally charged,” there was a surreal mixture of excitement and solemn inevitability as Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair entered a match where the latter’s in-ring career in WWE was on the line. It may not be the flashiest and most fast-paced match in Wrestlemania history, but few pro wrestling matches carry the investment of the audience as much as this ultimately heartbreaking slobber-knocker that allowed Flair to be the dirtiest player in the game one last time (at least for those who didn’t tune into his sub-par TNA run).

19. The Rock vs. John Cena (Wrestlemania 28)

The Rock and John Cena at Wrestlemania 28

Zuma Press, Inc. / Alamy

Initially billed as “once in a lifetime” (though that was ultimately not the case), The Rock briefly put his big screen career on hold to set the stage for WWE’s most high-profile match in years. A hard-hitting battle between the Attitude Era and the Ruthless Aggression Era, The Rock decided to lay it all on the mat against the face of the company, proving he hadn’t lost a step in the ring despite his Hollywood commitments.

18. Edge vs. Mick Foley (Wrestlemania 22)


One of the more violent and vicious matches in Wrestlemania history, Mick Foley returned from retirement to challenge the “ultimate opportunist” Edge to a hardcore match that drew blood early and only grew in intensity. While the barbed wire, thumbtacks, and burning tables might be what fans most remember about this brutal bout, there’s no denying that the compelling character work and the shocking depiction of Edge’s desperation have made the match oh-so-memorable.

17. Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels (Wrestlemania 19)


Pitting two of WWE’s most charismatic performers against one another, Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels produced an inventive, 22-minute showstopper at Wrestlemania 19. Blending spectacular, high-risk moves and technically sound mat wrestling, Michaels’ return to Wrestlemania after a five-year absence was exceptional in every sense and further built Chris Jericho as one of the promotion’s most vindictive heels.

16. Kofi Kingston vs. Daniel Bryan (Wrestlemania 35)

Kofi Kingston celebrates his win at a WWE event in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Amer Hilabi / AFP via Getty Images

A phenomenal moment that this writer was lucky enough to watch live, Kofi Kingston found himself on Daniel Bryan’s underdog path with the latter now playing a manipulative and relentless in-ring villain holding the WWE Championship. Kingston, whose real-life story of being one of the promotion’s best performers instantly connected with fans, created emotional and thrilling in-ring magic with Bryan and helped to orchestrate one of the all-time feel-good moments in WWE history.

15. Undertaker vs. Triple H with Special Guest Referee Shawn Michaels (Wrestlemania 28)

Shawn Michaels, Triple H and The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 28

Zuma Press, Inc. / Alamy

The Undertaker and Triple H have had amazing chemistry throughout their respective decades-spanning careers, but the feud between the two wrestling veterans is probably best defined by their Hell in a Cell match at Wrestlemania 28. With Shawn Michaels bringing his complicated history with both superstars as the special guest referee, this match plays as the physical and psychological greatest hits between each wrestler with a bittersweet ending that has forever dubbed the bout as “the end of an era.”

14. Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins (Wrestlemania 31)

Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 31

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In one of the most clever twists in WWE’s storytelling, Wrestlemania 31 had Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns locking horns for the first time in a bone-crunching hoss fight that many assumed would be the coronation for Reigns as the promotion’s next top star. However, nobody predicted that Seth Rollins would race to the ring at the 11th hour with his Money-in-the-Bank contract, adding himself to the match and making quick work of the tired and beaten competitors for “the Heist of the Century.”  

13. The Rock vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan (Wrestlemania 18)

The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania 18

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When Hulk Hogan returned to the WWE after nearly a decade of rebranding himself as the villainous “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan, The Rock was at the top of the promotion, as his unparalleled charisma and stellar in-ring work made his star power undeniable. So the WWE top brass were caught off guard when Hogan’s first Wrestlemania appearance in nine years saw the legend receive a monumental reaction, which fueled these two performers to flip the script and produce a truly electrifying bout that effortlessly overshadowed the show’s main event.

12. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks (Wrestlemania 32)


A defining moment for women's wrestling at Wrestlemania, NXT stars Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, and Charlotte Flair brought emotion, drama, and exciting action to their match for the inaugural WWE Women's Championship. Moreover, all of the performers involved cemented their place as never-miss superstars in this stellar three-way dance.

11. The Undertaker vs. Edge (Wrestlemania 24)


In the main event of Wrestlemania 24, Edge and the Undertaker battled in a ferocious yet intellectually impressive match that focused on Edge countering every one of the Undertaker's signature moves. Mixing an old-school wrestling mentality with pulse-pounding modern flash, this match remains one of Taker's finest Wrestlemania moments and a testament to the energy of two premier superstars when everything just clicks. 

10. Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant (Wrestlemania 3)

Andre the Giant bearhugs Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania 3

John Barrett/ PHOTOlink / Courtesy Everett Collection

Perhaps the most renowned match in Wrestlemania history, Hogan vs. Andre at Wrestlemania 3 not only bolstered the former's reputation as the company's biggest star tenfold, but provided a perfect showcase for the latter's talents on a massive scale. It's the perfect example of wrestlers playing to one another's strengths to take the viewers on an emotional roller coaster that set the bar for all Wrestlemania matches thereafter.

9. Hardy Boyz vs. Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian (WrestleMania 17)


The world of pro wrestling was changing and evolving by the time Wrestlemania 17 came about, with the WWE buying out competitors WCW and ECW by the time the show hit the air. But as the business of wrestling changed, the in-ring product changed as well, as best exemplified by the unforgettable debut of the TLC (Tables, Ladders, and Chairs) match between the Hardy Boyz, The Dudley Boyz, and Edge and Christian that sent the careers of each competitor skyrocketing to extreme heights.

8. Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels (Wrestlemania 10)


Much like the previous entry on this list, another match that changed the wrestling business at Wrestlemania was the ladder match between the late Scott Hall (aka Razor Ramon) and Shawn Michaels, a bout that introduced the concept to mainstream audiences while testing the mettle of these performers. It's a brutal match, but the match was also incredibly innovative, as each wrestler discovered unique ways to use the ladders to their advantage while adhering to the psychology of pro wrestling storytelling. 

7. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock (Wrestlemania 17)


Widely considered to be the best match of their Wrestlemania trilogy, both Steve Austin and The Rock had phenomenal in-ring chemistry leading into the match, and audience investment in the match was at an all-time high. But with a last-minute change to a No Disqualification stipulation, the match evolved into a more violent bout, matching the personal animosity between the characters and affording the narrative twists and turns needed to lead toward the controversial climax.

6. Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle (WrestleMania 21)


A brilliant technical showcase with spectacular, high-risk moves and stellar wrestling storytelling, it was no surprise that Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels stole the show at Wrestlemania 21, given the pedigree of the performers and their ability to elevate even the most inexperienced opponent. But what was surprising was how fresh the entire affair felt, with every moment playing off the last so organically that it you never question a single beat of the nail-biting action.

5. Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart (Wrestlemania 10)


With two of pro wrestling's greatest performers operating at the top of their game, Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart had the built-in emotional draw of "Brother vs. Brother" and the added mystery of how the match would affect Bret's championship match later that evening. While the latter was somewhat of an eventual non-factor, though Owen did appear to taunt Bret during his celebration, the match is still a master class in almost every aspect of professional wrestling and often remains the most cited match when referring to the highlights of Owen Hart's tragically short career.

4. Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair (Wrestlemania 37)

Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair compete during Smack Down Women's Championship during Wrestlemania 37

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Making history as the first time two African American women main evented Wrestlemania, Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair tore the house down and built it back up in their image at Wrestlemania 37. Not only did this spell-binding match deliver on every level by the time the bell rung, but there's little argument that these two extremely gifted superstars put together the greatest women's match in Wrestlemania history.

3. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs. "Macho Man" Randy Savage (Wrestlemania 3)


Though Hulk vs. Andre was the most high-profile match from Wrestlemania 3, there's little denying that the best match on the card is the technically astounding bout between "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat. In addition to being Steamboat's best WWE outing, the match laid the ground for generations of wrestlers to come to embrace faster-paced, kinetic matches, which were all too rare in the slower, "heavyweight"-friendly WWE at the time.

2. The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (Wrestlemania 25)

The Undertaker makes his way to the ring for his match with Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 25

Bob Levey / WireImage

The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels brought their unique history, circumstances, and star power to the table at Wrestlemania 25, an exemplary "heaven vs. hell" themed match that somehow transformed into the best match of either man's prolific careers. But what sets this match apart from its predecessor (and Michaels' subsequent retirement match) is how much the match manipulates one's understanding of traditional wrestling psychology: Michaels using his speed, wit, and familiarity with his opponent would subsequently become his undoing as the Undertaker would exploit his cockiness and coax him into enough missteps until the old dog ran out of new tricks.

1. Bret Hart vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (Wrestlemania 13)


The gold standard for Wrestlemania matches, this Submissions match between the ruthless brawler "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and technical wizard Bret Hart started off as a grudge match between the company's wrong babyface (Hart) and the villain dead set on destroying Hart and his reputation as "The Best There Is, The Best There Was, and The Best There Ever Will Be."  But the match evolved so ingeniously, from Bret resorting to dirtier tactics as Austin's refusal to hold back came off as perseverance. By the time the riveting match reached its bloody end, with Austin's refusal to quit leading to his loss of consciousness, the unexpected double turn was executed in a most incredible fashion, with Hart walking out as the despicable heel and Austin limping to the back on his own accord to a chorus of cheers.

What is your favorite Wrestlemania match of all time?

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