FanPost

Wrestlemania's Hidden Gems Part 3: Wrestlemanias 21-32

Hello and welcome to the final part of Wrestlemania’s Hidden Gems. In this three-part series, I’ve looked back at some great matches in Wrestlemania history that might have been forgotten about along the way. If you missed the first two instalments, you can still catch-up on Part 1 and Part 2 which cover the first 20 Wrestlemanias.

In this edition, I’ll be looking at the Hidden gems of Wrestlemanias 21 to 32. These events are relatively fresh in the memory so finding ‘Hidden’ gems turns out to be a little more difficult. But I’ll give it a go anyway.

1) Rey Mysterio vs Randy Orton vs Kurt Angle – Wrestlemania 22

A World Title match might not be the most hidden thing ever but WWE didn’t particularly prioritise the Big Gold Belt during this time. This is emphasised by how short this match is. It only lasts 11 minutes which sucks but it does give the whole thing a real sense of urgency. To describe the start of this match as being ‘on fire’ would be an understatement. It’s more of a ‘Towering Inferno.’ There are some ridiculously good spots just in the first 120 seconds. Orton hits a beautiful dropkick to reverse a crossbody attempt by Rey. Angle hits an insane double German to both Orton and Mysterio which causes Rey to fly all the way to the other side of the ring. Despite not being victorious, Angle’s ‘Wrestling Machine’ gimmick is put over in a huge way. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Olympic Gold Medalist look better inside the squared circle. He absolutely dominates the match and manages to make both Orton and Rey tap out. Sadly, the referee was too distracted to see them submit. Angle goes suplex crazy. He hits one German where he just tosses Rey straight over his head. This causes Tazz to use the term ‘Suplex City’, a full nine years before it was popularised by Brock Lesnar. An insane 11 minutes that could have made for a five-star match had it been given 20.

2) Money in the Bank match – Wrestlemania 23

Do you remember who won the Money in the Bank briefcase at Wrestlemania 23? It was the most uneventful winner of the briefcase in the gimmick’s history. At least Damien Sandow got to cash in his briefcase. Poor Mr Kennedy didn’t even get the chance to do that. But underwhelming winner aside, this Money in the Bank match might be my personal favourite. It has all the usual crazy spots we associate with Money in the Bank like when Jeff Hardy jumps off a huge ladder and hits Edge with a leg drop. It has many storyline implications. The alliances of the two tag teams in the match – The Hardys and Rated RKO are tested in this ‘every man for himself’ format and we see those partnerships break down. You’ve also got an alliance between Finlay and Hornswoggle to watch out for and it’s particularly entertaining to see Hornswoggle get killed by Mr Kennedy. Then there’s the star power. Three of the competitors– Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy & Edge were in the original TLC matches. It also features a former World Champion in Randy Orton and a 5x WCW champion in Booker T. They are joined by some interesting up-and-comers like CM Punk. It makes for a very entertaining affair that comes with my highest recommendation.

3) Chris Jericho vs Ricky Steamboat, Roddy Piper & Jimmy Snuka – Wrestlemania 25

Admittedly the start of this match isn’t particularly great. Snuka and Piper add little to this match and shouldn’t be competing. Steamboat though is in fantastic shape. The Dragon breaks out a top rope crossbody, he skins the cat and hits a sodding plancha to the outside. He’s doing all this at 56 years old! Crazy. You can’t help but get behind Steamboat in this one and every near fall he gets feels like he might just eek out the win. He even rolls up Y2J with a small package, reminiscent of how he beat Randy Savage at Wrestlemania 3. Jericho shows great heel credentials and gets a fair bit of heat for his actions. His post-match promo gets the crowd more riled up and his confrontation with Rourke went exactly as expected. After the match, Flair gets in the ring and ends up looking better than both Piper and Snuka. If only the Nature Boy hadn’t retired the previous year.

4) Intercontinental Title Ladder Match – Wrestlemania 31

Our second multi-man ladder match on this list would have blown the roof off Levi’s Stadium if it had one. It is your typical spot fest but a lot of creative thinking has gone into bout. You can see this in Stardust’s customised ladder "starbird" or how Barrett uses a rung of said ladder to clock the Cosmic King. Barrett puts in a particularly good shift, hitting multiple catching bullhammers and superplexing Stardust off the top of the ladder. Ambrose is as tough as nails. He does an elbow drop off the top of the ladder onto the rest of competition and gets taken out with a horrible looking powerbomb from Luke Harper. The trading of headbutts from Bryan and Ziggler at the top of the ladder shows their determination to win at any cost. An insanely good demonstration of the talent that WWE had in 2015, even if they weren’t all being used to their full potential.

5) Paige & AJ Lee vs The Bella Twins – Wrestlemania 31

When you talk about the Divas/Womens Revolution, you would be amiss for ignoring these four women that made significant strides to make it happen. To many this match might seem like the "bathroom break" of Wrestlemania 31. But if anyone went off to take a wiz, they missed one of the better Wrestlemania women’s matches. This match got about 7 minutes and only featured 4 women. That doesn’t sound like much but compared to the previous years where they tried to cram the entire Divas division into a five-minute segment, this was light years ahead. This match even incorporates some psychology as AJ Lee gets wiped out on the outside so Paige can’t make the tag. The match is technically sound too. Why wouldn’t it be when it features Paige, who was practically born into the business and Nikki Bella, who had improved significantly in the ring by this point. It may have not been a title match but don’t sleep on the start of a resurgence in women’s wrestling.

SPECIAL MENTION
Shawn Michaels vs Kurt Angle – Wrestlemania 21
I didn’t think that this match qualified as a Hidden Gem but I wanted to mention it anyway. A lot of people talk about how great the Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels matches were. But in my opinion, Shawn’s greatest Wrestlemania opponent was Kurt Angle at Wrestlemania 21. These are two of the greatest of all time. They can talk, draw and they damn sure can wrestle and here they produce one of the greatest Wrestlemania matches ever. For me, it’s only second to the sensational Rock vs Austin match at Wrestlemania 17. This has false finishes that will leave your heart in your mouth. Both guys try to steal each other’s tactics with HBK breaking out some technical wrestling and Angle going for a high-flying approach. Both leave the match looking super strong. If you haven’t seen this match, watch it. You won’t be disappointed.

So, that’s it for the Hidden Gems series. Thanks very much for reading. It’s taken many hours to put this together so I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Feel free to let me know if you’ve got any more Wrestlemania Hidden Gems in the comments below.



The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Cageside Seats readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cageside Seats editors or staff.