Mshake3 at Wikimedia Commons
What are the top 5 WrestleMania matches of all time? Let's break 'em down.
Just one week ago, one of our favorite FanPosters, The Notorious Eddie Mac, ticked off his list of the 12 worst WrestleMania matches of all time. It was a comprehensive list that stirred up plenty of discussion, though it wasn't done in the traditional countdown format we so love here at Cageside Seats.
Still, it's a fun exercise and I thought we would do it in reverse but only for the top five WrestleMania matches of all time. At first, this seemed like a daunting task. After all, there have been so many outstanding encounters at the biggest show of the year, how could I possibly come up with the top five?
Then I remembered: the Cageside Seats Greatest Matches Tournament, of course!
Using the final standings of that wonderful tourney, here's the list, as voted by all you lovely Cagesiders:
5. TLC II, WrestleMania 17
Three of the greatest tag teams of all time, as evidenced by two one-seeds and a three-seed in the Greatest Tag Team Tournament, got together for a rematch of one of the great gimmick bouts in WWE history.
Edge & Christian, the Dudley Boyz, and the Hardy Boyz were tasked with doing better than they did in their first encounter at SummerSlam the year prior and amazingly enough, all three teams proved up to the task.
Just as they did the first time, Edge & Christian walked away -- more like limped, actually -- with the tag titles.
4. Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart, WrestleMania 12
Iron Man matches had happened countless times before in other promotions but it wasn't until it was branded as such for the main event of WrestleMania 12 that it became popularized in the World Wrestling Federation.
And there were no two wrestlers more suited to breaking it in than Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart.
The two had a classic match that may or may not be overrated after all these years, especially considering what has come after it. Still, it's one of the better WrestleMania matches in history.
3. The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin, WrestleMania 17
Otherwise known as the beginning of the end of Stone Cold Steve Austin. When the decision was made to pair these two together another decision was made to turn Austin heel by the time the match was over.
The fans weren't ready for it, cheered him anyway, then turned off to the character he gradually morphed into.
Rock and Austin had great chemistry and put together a spectacularly physical affair at one of the biggest and best WrestleMania events of all time.
2. Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat, WrestleMania 3
Long considered the standard bearer for planning and execution, Randy Savage meticulously put the entire match together with Ricky Steamboat, even going through practice runs, before they went out and put on a flawless performance in Detroit in front of one of the largest audiences ever.
It wasn't just the match that made this one special. The feud leading up to it was done beautifully, so by the time they got to the show, they would have had to work to screw it up.
But because we're talking about Savage and Steamboat, they went above and beyond, creating a classic.
1. Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin, WrestleMania 13
It may not be the greatest double turn in history but it is definitely up there and there's no questioning it as the most recognized. Hart was the babyface hero growing increasingly upset at the reaction he was getting from the American public who was gradually growing out of appreciating his work while Austin was the heel who stopped giving a shit what anyone thought and flipped the middle finger to everyone.
By the time the match was over, there was no doubt. Hart was hated, Austin was beloved, and the fans were pleased as pie to have gotten to witness the process.
That's the list, Cagesiders, as determined by a majority vote. That doesn't mean you won't disagree and if you do, we would love to see what your top five consists of.