by Daniel Johnson
For an event that is the Super Bowl of the wrestling industry and hyped as having the best against the best, a lot of the main events of the show have been pretty random. Instead of the legendary rivalries you would expect to headline sometimes the final pairing or whatever comes on last just seems…odd. Say what you will about The Rock/John Cena, but it definitely seems like a Wrestlemania main event with a top star from the past fighting a top star from the present.
On the other hand, the following were a bit awkward for the following reasons:
Wrestlemania XI: Lawrence Taylor vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
Not a bad match, but putting a novelty match featuring a football player ahead of the WWF Championship match? Of course, the WWF was in the crapper at the time so it makes some sense they’d want to leach off of a mainstream celeb, but still.
Wrestlemania XIII: Sycho Sid vs. The Undertaker
Bret Hart/”Stone Cold” Steve Austin didn’t need the WWF Championship, but does anyone think of Undertaker/Sid as a great rivalry? How many promos leading up to this can anyone even recall between the two? Too bad Mankind or Vader weren’t built up more and not stuck in a relatively meaningless tag match. Undertaker/Mankind or even Undertaker/Vader would have made more sense based on their history. Also if they went with Undertaker/Vader, Vader’s WWF run would be looked on more favorably. Alternatively, if they went with Mankind…just imagine what someone with his passion would have put into a one-on-one Wrestlemania main event!
Wrestlemania XIV: Shawn Michaels vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
This is a weird choice for a main event only because Austin/Michales was really the start of Austin becoming arguably the biggest wrestling star ever. When people think of Austin though I’m not even sure Michaels ranks among his top five most memorable rivals. In a way I like it as Austin beating Michaels kind of represents the Attitude Era replacing the New Generation Era. The only thing is Michaels fit in the Attitude Era too well to be thought of as New Generation. Too bad Bret wasn’t around to pass the torch and give Austin a win back as that would have worked better as a changing of the guard.
Wrestlemania 2000: The Big Show vs. Mick Foley vs. The Rock vs. HHH
I kind of agree with some people’s line of thinking the main event of Wrestlemania should always be a one-on-one affair. I guess it accurately represents the Attitude Era as it crams in too much into too little a space (not always in a bad way). Still, I can’t help but think Rock/HHH in a singles match (where The Rock actually wins!) would have made more sense.
Wrestlemania X8: HHH vs. Chris Jericho
The final match should have been The Rock and Hulk Hogan. HHH/Jericho has never been an even rivalry even back then. The crowd seems somewhat burnt out after Rock/Hogan and they never get anywhere near as loud as they got for that match.
Wrestlemania 22: HHH vs. John Cena
In 2006 Edge and Cena began one of the longest and most intense rivalries in modern WWE only for HHH to step in and claim the main event spot over Edge as that rivalry is heating up. The Edge/Cena war was rekindled a relatively short time after this to boot. This is the kind of thing that gives some credence to people demonizing HHH.
Wrestlemania 23: Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena
The main event at arguably the biggest show the WWE has put on in 20 years features Michaels who at the time was in a weird transition period between DX and another singles push. Heck, he even uses the DX theme at the event despite HHH being injured and Michaels being the only active member. People in that kind of period nearly never win significant titles. Cena and Michaels (in a transition period) would have been fine for a second tier pay-per-view or maybe even one of the other big four pay-per-view events, but it seems out of place at the biggest Wrestlemania in years.
Wrestlemania XXIV: The Undertaker vs. Edge
Okay the participants don’t seem that odd and they did have a memorable rivalry. However, given how much Raw was pushed over SmackDown during this time it does seem kind of odd. Especially given the commentary team. Jonathan Coachman called the main event of a Wrestlemania. Who would have thunk it?
As you can see in my opinion WWE had some logical main events for all their early Wrestlemania shows and the last few years have made sense. There are some questionable exclusions in this list. Hogan/Sid in the main event of Wrestlemania VIII made sense in that Hogan was still huge at the time and Sid Justice fit the monster mold. Despite being a terrible match, HHH/Randy Orton at Wrestlemania 25 was logically built up as a main event and Michaels/Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXVI also had enough of a story to main event. I could see the argument being made for The Miz/Cena at Wrestlemania XXVII as well, but Miz was kind of pushed as the be all and end all of cowardly heels at the time while Cena was his same Superman self, which seems like a logical bout for a Wrestlemania main event. Miz just kind of flopped as a main event player so it looks a little weird in hindsight.
Photos 1-9: en.wikipedia.org
Categories: Wrestling Lists