We’re a little over a week from WrestleMania 26 from the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Despite what the WWE told you last year, this year’s event will be 25 years after the first WrestleMania that took place at Madison Square Garden. To celebrate the real silver anniversary of the biggest wrestling show on the planet, we are counting down the 25 best matches to grace the squared circle at the granddaddy of them all.
In a little over two weeks, WrestleMania 26 will take place from the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. This year’s event will be 25 years after the original WrestleMania emanated from Madison Square Garden in front of a capacity crowd and a closed circuit television audience around America. To celebrate the real silver anniversary of the biggest wrestling show on the planet, we are counting down the 25 best matches to grace the squared circle at the granddaddy of them all.
Since we’ve been mentioning the 25th edition of the WWE’s biggest show of the year, both here on the blog and on the radio show, it makes sense that I breakdown Sunday’s big dance. Like any good wrestling reviewer, I’ll look at why a match may or may not have been good and then assign it a rating out of 10. Continue reading →
About a month ago, we teased you with some memorable Wrestlemania video montages. Now, it’s time for the main event. With Wrestlemania XXV coming up this weekend, what better time is there to look back on 25 years of amazing matches and moments that could only be provided on the grandest stage of them all. You’ll notice that there’s a slight bias to older Wrestlemanias because that’s what I grew up watching but these are all classic matches.
When The Wrestler took off in popularity, the media lit up with stories on who the lead character, Randy “The Ram” Robinson, was based on. It was almost as if wrestling jumped back into mainstream pop culture like it did in the mid- to late-90s. But with all the controversy surrounding pro wrestling, the media isn’t looking for all feel good stories. They were looking for stories like “The Ram” where the business used them up and spit them out. But with pro wrestling back in the legitimate news, there has been some pretty good stories written. Here’s some of the best ones out there:
Santana is one of the few feel good stories to come out of professional wrestling (or so the media would have you believe). The two-time WWE Intercontinental and two-time WWE Tag Team champion still wrestles on the independant wrestling circuits while teaching Spanish in middle school. In short, his life has turned out the exact opposite of The Ram’s.
(Full Story: New York Times)
Jon Rechart (A.K.A. Balls Mahoney)
For every story like Tito’s, there’s plenty more about guys still scraping by, beaten from pillar to post by the sport they love. But as the three-time ECW tag-team champion says the roar of the crowd is infectious. While he did make some good money in wrestling, he occasionally did it at the expense of his dignity as evidenced by his WWF run as Xanta Klaus.
There’s not much to this Q&A with the ECW heavyweight and TNA X-division champion. But he resemblence between he and The Ram is scary.
(Full Story: Metromix Chicago)
While these three stars have all been on major television programs, pay-per-views, and made some decent money, not every wrestler has made the big leagues. Case in point, Taris was charged with insurance fraud and attempted theft after staging a fall to make a $50,000 damages claim. This goes to show that the business can be tougher on you if you can’t make the big leagues.
(Full Story: Philly.com)
I’m ending on this one because this is a redemption story. The media would have you believe that the sex, drugs, rock & roll lifestyle that wrestlers live leads to a downward spiral to an early grave. Ted was caught up in that lifestyle before finding his salvation in God. Now he’s using the lessons of his past to help people as a minister.
(Full Story: The Sun)
And one last bit of fun. Mental Floss has created another epic quiz. This one, appropriately, is about Wrestlemania’s past. Give it a shot and see if you can match my 14/14. Click here for the quiz.
One month from today, for the 25th time in history, the stars of the WWE will step between the ropes and enter the showcase of the immortals. The 25th edition of Wrestlemania brings to mind some of the great moments that Vince McMahon has given us. For all the crap that Vince takes, he’s given us Hogan/Andre, Rock/Austin, Warrior/Hogan, Savage/Steamboat, and I could go on and I’ll get to those moments closer to when the WWE takes to the grandest stage of them all.
Today, though, we build up to Wrestlemania. Almost as fun as the matches themselves is the feuds leading up to Wrestlemania unfolding. So to celebrate 25 Wrestlemanias, here’s some of the best video packages for Wrestlemania matches.
Wrestlemania 6 – Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior
This match was unprecedented for a number of reasons. The two combatants were champions going into the ring (Hogan holding the Heavyweight title and Warrior the Intercontinental) but one would leave empty handed. The match was also the first Wrestlemania main event where two babyface (good guy) wrestlers met which forced the crowd into making a choice to back Hogan or Warrior. And it led to some of the weirdest interviews ever like this one Warrior did.
Wrestlemania 14 – Shawn Michaels vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
This match was the one that ushered in the Attitude Era of the WWE. The man who led the WWE into and through that era was beer drinking, hell raising, son of a bitch by the name of Steve Austin. But to get there Austin had to go through Shawn Michaels and this match’s special enforcer and HBK’s D-X comrade Mike Tyson.
Wrestlemania 17 – The Rock vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
The Rock and Steve Austin was one of the great rivalries of the Attitude Era WWE. This match here though was their most iconic. The end of the match may have been the most shocking in the history of pro wrestling when Vince McMahon and Stone Cold joined forces. But what you knew heading into it was going to be a special match was given an equally as amazing video package to build it up.
Wrestlemania 18 – Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock
We’ll never see Bonds vs. Ruth. We’ll never see Ali vs. Tyson. We’ll never see Gretzky vs. Orr. But one night in Toronto, we saw the one of the biggest stars of the 80s take on one of the biggest stars of the 90s in a match for the ages. This match, like Hogan’s 15 years earlier with Andre the Giant, was the passing of the torch that launched The Rock into superstardom. On paper, this could have been one of the biggest train wrecks in history, it turned out to be an instant classic.
Wreslemania 24 – Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels
This could be one of the greatest pre-match video montages ever in the history of the world. Because Flair/Michaels could have been (and was) Ric’s last match, there was so much emotional investment in this match that everything about from the build-up to the video package to the match itself would seem to be the greatest of all time. And every wrestling fan has to admit that he (or she) gets a little choked up seeing the WWE highlight Flair’s career.
Wrestlemania 17 – Gimmick Battle Royal
Alright, this isn’t part of any feud nor is there a video package. Think of this as a bonus. This is all about old fashioned WWF (and I use that deliberately) fun. Okerlund and Heenan calling the action with some legends between the ropes as well isn’t an amazing Wrestlemania moment but is worth the watch for nostalgia’s sake.