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Presenting the WWE roster...AS WRESTLEMANIAS!!!

You’ve seen them as horror movies!

You’ve seen them stand-ins for Thanksgiving dinner!

You’ve seen them doppelganger’d as Holiday TV Specials!

You’ve seen them list their New Years Resolutions!

You’ve seen them as Rom-coms and you’ve read their Valentine’s Day love letters.

You’ve seen them as video games.

And now...oh baby.

Can you feel it?

Can you...hear it?!


It’s WrestleMania week ladies and gentlemen. That means of all the weeks where wrestling matters (from January-early April), this is the week where it matters the most. So what better way to celebrate that by randomly comparing the WWE roster to the showcase of the immortals itself!

Here are the rules so you can play along at home. I’ll take them in turn, one WrestleMania after another (even Eleven), summarizing it in one (or two or three) pithy statement(s). After that...well you know the rest.

Let’s do it.


The old granddaddy. A remarkable success at its time but was quickly supplanted by more refined—read: less embarrassing—successors. Go back to it for nostalgia, but it’s a hard watch in a lot of ways.

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Hulk Hogan boots Aces and 8s guy


The great experiment. Mario 2, Zelda 2, Metroid 2, WrestleMania 2: 80’s pop culture was defined by weird changes in formula before the creator(s) really knew what worked and what didn’t. It’s fun to see it as something radical, but ultimately it’s a misfire.

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warrior screen


The gold standard (to finish the previous analogy: Mario 3, Zelda 3, Metroid 3). This is the one that defined what the show should be for years to come. Huge, memorable, fun, with a great finish. This is what you pay for.

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A fourteen-man tournament? What even is that? Overstuffed, overhyped, under-delivered. The ultimate in “a good, simple idea on paper” done very wrong.

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Marginally better, but still too bloated, although the best of the show more than makes up for it. What a finish. It’s the perfect example of an ending being so good you will sit through the rest just to see it.

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I loved the worm, sue me.


Bigger isn’t always better, but I’ve always been partial to this show. It was Mania’s return to stadium seating after two shows in the small Trump Towers. The main-event is very polarizing but I have long loved it. It’s a show as big as it was underrated.

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The bursting of the bubble. A small venue with only the most loyal fans in attendance. It’s a big screw-up that would basically define Mania for the next ten years. It’s a show that could have been something special if it hadn’t been undone by hubris.

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The great false hope. The last stadium Mania until X-Seven showed the potential for a spark, with guys like Ric Flair, Bret Hart and Randy Savage seemingly ready to carry the post-Hogan torch. ...and then Ultimate Warrior (eventually) showed up and there goes the neighborhood. A teasing of potential, squandered.

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gail kim


A show so bad not even Vintage Jim Ross could save it. Just mediocrity across the board. There are a few moments of truly horrendous work but overall it’s not that’s it’s especially terrible, just sad and forgettable...or at least it would be but for the ridiculous costumes.

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An oasis in a sea of fecal matter. Tighter, more purposeful, with a clear sense of direction. Watching it at the time, you’d almost be fooled to think the company had it turned around and was finally about to get back to doing things right again. Alas, it was a mirage.

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The nadir. In some ways there are bright spots to pluck out: On their own, the two tag matches were good, and the WWF Title match was fine. The main-event would not be a bad idea as a novelty match in the middle of a SummerSlam, but the pieces don’t make the whole and the whole wholly stank. Terribly put together, woefully presented, and apathetically received.

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Like ‘Mania X, this one felt like the company at least knew what it was doing and what its plans were (unlike 9 and 11, where they seemed to be unsure of themselves, grasping and straws and flailing). But unlike X, the singular gimmick at the center failed to light the fire they wanted. Instead it sort of petered. It has its fans, though, and its hipster fans who pretend to be its fans but really end up skipping the middle 45 minutes of the IRONMAN match just like the rest of us do. Hated by few, disliked by some, liked by some, pretend-liked by the rest.

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What a weird show. From a distance it’s easy to be a cynic and dismissively call it “terrible.” But when you zoom in, that’s really only a pejorative to throw at the main-event. The rest of the show ranges from “mediocre” to “top five ever, maybe top three.” That’s...not bad when you put it in perspective, right?

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Remembered more for what it sparked than what it was. It’s the bizarro version of WM13: From a distance you’d say it was great, but zoom in and it’s a lot of trash. The main-event is pretty sub-par, but it’s the moments that you remember and it’s the moments, not the matches, that made this one a winner.

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I’m using the wonderful Crash Holly as a (fitting) stand-in for the whole Hardcore Title 24/7 era, which was delightful.


The first one after saying “I’m back baby!” This is full-on “victory lapping” by Vince McMahon, who finally returned to the top after so many years floundering. All that aside, and setting apart the hot main-event, the rest of the show is—put simply—a mess. It’s a LOT of fun, but it’s a mess. That said, it’s a hot mess, so we forgive it.

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Ric Flair on Twitter


When your product is so hot that you can lose the top star who put you back on the map and replace him with another top star who could have put you there if you’d let him, you know you’re doing okay. Which makes this ‘Mania such a disappointment. It’s the ultimate in “cruise controlling” and it shows, right down to the anti-climactic ending.

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The pinnacle of its era. The single greatest exhibition of the single greatest collection of talent Superstars Vince has ever had. They don’t make ‘em like this anymore.

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The greatest let down in the history of pro wrestling. Never has a year’s worth of dreaming, anticipating, wishing and hoping resulted in such a waste of a night, a crowd and one epic dream match.

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X-Seven’s neighbor’s hot daughter that you only see in the summer when she’s visiting her dad for a week so you forget how hot she is till she turns up at your front door to ask if she can borrow a roll of duct tape cause she ran out and needs some and you don’t even care what she needs it for and would gladly help her tape up anything even a body cause she’s so hot. She’s not WrestleMania X-Seven hot, but she’s right there.

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Epic when it needed to be but overall a show that buckled under the its own weight. Some magic moments though, and some matches I’ll never forget.

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The dawning of a new era and the christening of the next face of the company...and he’s not the guy in the main-event. The big oops.

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WWE Network


The do-over for missing the mark the year before. This is the christening of the next face of the company...except it’s not last year anymore, and now the face is getting booed like the biggest heel in a generation. Why can’t this company get their faces cheered and their heels booed? Why won’t they let the crowd decide who’s a babyface and who’s a heel?

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A SummerSlam card in front of a WrestleMania-sized crowd. Weird juxtaposition: the hype and the feel didn’t match the results and I can only blame the booking.

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Shinsuke Nakamura WWE Network


A show loaded with rematches (seven out of ten contests) but elevated by the spectacle, the pageantry and the larger than normal moments. You’ve seen it all before, but Mania makes everything more magical.

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Wrongly billed as the “25th Anniversary” by the guy who hates aging and numbering things. Like XX, it was hyped as a supershow bigger then the regular annual supershows, and (apart from that one match) it failed to live up to the hype. You live by the carny, you die by the carny and sometimes no amount of hype can polish a turd.

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Often paired and compared with ‘Mania 25 but arguably a much more robust success (though not a financial one). The lower expectations probably played a big role in that, too. Imagine that.

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Matt Hardy’s Twitter


Yeesh. The best part about it was the stage. Once you get past the entrance it’s all downhill from there.

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Really good but not great. It’s a very top-heavy show, with the top four matches getting 90 minutes of wrestling and the bottom four getting 23. The latter half is really good though, and it almost saves the whole thing, but ultimately, the early part of the show hamstrung it.

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A night of misfires. Triple H vs Brock again (no one wanted that). CM Punk vs Undertaker (felt like the wrong use of both). Cena vs Rock again (no one wanted it and it was the wrong use of both). That said, unlike last year, the undercard was a lot of fun. And Punk vs Taker was the one of the last great matches from either. Ultimately, the show fails because it wasn’t well-conceived, and rarely do bad ideas magically turn out okay.

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By Mshake3 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0


Take the best of WrestleMania X and XX, give it a truckload of memorable moments, including the most shocking finish since Sammartino lost to Koloff, and the most euphoric ‘Mania ending in a decade, you add some broth, a you got a stew goin’. Was it the best-wrestled show ever? No, but it brought out every emotion you had to give.

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Cena WWE

Yes, he’s here twice. Because if anyone will be, it’s Jern.


The one everyone just knew would suck, and then it was awesome.

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WWE Network


The one everyone just knew would be awesome, and then it sucked.

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Just kidding; everyone (except Vince) knew that would suck.


Some good, some bad, some bloat, some fun, a great stage and a terrible finish. Good matches had bad finishes, bad matches had fun spots, but overall it was too disjointed to fully appreciate, and too consistently frustrating to fully enjoy.

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It’s going to be long but it’s a loaded card. It’s probably the best ‘Mania show on paper in a decade. But as we’ve seen in the past, just because something looks the part doesn’t mean it’ll end up hitting all the right notes. History is filled with performers who had the look and a few of the intangibles, but ultimately flopped.

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I know, I know.

So edgy.

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