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A scientific ranking of every WrestleMania stage design

The title says it all. There have been thirty-three (and counting) WrestleManias and thirty-three stages called “the grandest.” Let’s break them down from worst to best (stage, ramp, décor, etc) as we get set for the big dance on Sunday.

Hit it!

That theme song is the closest New Jack will ever get to the WWE Hall of Fame.



Nothing. Just a curtain…well three curtains, one in New York, one in Chicago and one in LA.


My issue with the Trump Plaza venue is how bright the lighting was. The ramp was nice if plain.




Despite being a stadium show the décor was really lacking. Just a plain ramp and even though it’s basically what Mania III offered, it just feels less remarkable. Although watching Ultimate Warrior running down the ramp does not get old here, and will not again in two years.


A banners of Old Glory peppered around add a splash of color and a hint of “theme” to the night, but ultimately this is the same nothingburger from Manias 1-6.


There was no stage. But it had that iconic Madison Square venue, which doesn’t even need a stage. And there’s Roddy Piper being escorted in by security, like he’s Hannibal Lecter or something, which is such a memorable moment, along with the dangling MSG mic for Fink and the spotlight on the ring. There’s such an old New York house show feel, I can’t put it at the bottom.


Nothing but the logo and sparse ramp.


A giant of a ramp, with mini-rings to ride. Like Mania 1, it’s technically nothing, but it’s memorable because of Andre’s entry (with Mr. Baseball’s iconic “Andre…the GIANT!” intro), not to mention the overall venue just felt huge. I don’t know if it’s the lighting vs Mania 6 or what, but everything just feels so much bigger here.



It makes an effort. It’s a gaudy, early-90’s effort of neon surrounding the entrance curtain, but it’s an effort.


The first Mania put the hard camera away from the Garden’s iconic entrance, but X keeps it front and center all night, and allows for some memorable moments (especially Scott Hall and Shawn Michaels going under and not under the ladder). It’s not as flashy as VIII or as over the top as IX. It’s clean and simple.


A plain ramp but for the giant XV logo hovering over the entrance like a French Revolution guillotine.


The giant purple veiny butthole makes its debut here. It’s nice. It’s simple.


The butthole returns. But Austin stepping through the broken glass is iconic. That bumps it up a notch.


It’s a…tube? I think that’s what you’d call it. It’s a light-rigged tube. It’s not much but it’s fancier than the butthole.



I’ve never understood the thought process behind this one. It’s a meshing of scaffolding and seemingly-unfinished works. It’s not gaudy; it’s large and ultimately pointless…kinda like the show itself.


One giant screen, sandwiched between two pillars spelling out “WrestlMan” and “X SEVE.” That’s it. That’s all there is.


Bad show, great setting. It’s still sparse because the venue itself is so small, but they got the most out of it. Others may hate it, but I think that’s letting the poor event cloud the fact that the presentation was really fun.


The first honest to goodness “stage.” It’s not much, just a couple widescreen titantrons doing nothing but flashing the logo, in between the traditional square tron from which the superstars emerge. It’s a humble beginning, but the most extravagant in the show’s history to that point.


It’s the second time they’ve played around with a theme (this one being “Goes Hollywood”) but the overall production design isn’t as over the top as it was for IX. If anything it’s a bit underwhelming. Still, it’s clear they were going bolder and bolder with their productions, which would only increase when they switched the stadium shows.


The Rosemont is already a small venue, so that probably contributed to the sparse design. It has the advantage over 21 thanks to a spiffier stage. But still, it’s very little to look at. This was the last Mania to be in an arena; the show needed to expand and so would its productions.



That crooked ramp is hated by some but I love it. Safeco Field was a great venue I wish they’d go back to (maybe for a SummerSlam?). The stage was much cleaner than the year before and it was much more akin to the Manias to come than what 17 and 18 offered. Not overly fancy, but effective.


I’m of two minds about this. On the one hand, I think MSG is the one venue that doesn’t need anything fancy, and taking the WMX stage and tweaking it slightly would have been my preferred choice (something like the 2008 Royal Rumble). Instead WWE went away from the iconic entrance ramp and built their fanciest stage yet. It’s very nice but it also handicapped how many people the Garden could hold. In terms of looks, though, it’s good.


The one that looks like a giant Power Rangers Command Center. It’s a big screen and a big ramp, but it’s also a little too much like X8 for my liking. This is the beginning of the new era of WrestleMania and things will only go up from here.


I understand the idea; nine-tenths of the show would be happening in broad daylight (I was there and the sun was directly in my eyeballs from opening bell to Undertaker’s entrance). So they went for an intentionally sparse and stark—industrial—look. I get it, but it doesn’t make it any less unremarkable. Bray Wyatt’s scarecrows were great though and the overall production quality is lightyears better than in 2007.


It has its fans but other than the nice ramp there’s not much to comment on. It’s basically the WMXV stage on steroids: One big logo hovering ominously over the ramp.


It’s…broken. The giant screen and the WRESTLEMANIA above it both look like someone dropped it on the way to Miami. I get that it’s intentional, but it’s weird. And that’s all there is to it…oh except for the most infamous coconut trees in wrestling history.


Breaking the attendance record was clearly in the back of the designers’ minds as this is the smallest stage for an indoor Mania since 23. Two big stars and a logo are basically all there is. But the ramp is interactive and at one point a giant anus-themed cereal box made a cameo, so it’s hard to knock it too much. Being in the stands I can tell you the impressive thing to behold was not the stage; it was the sea of people all sharing in the magical moments and reveling in our collective boredom over the main-event.



Nothing says New Jersey like…eh hem (Vince Voice): THE STATUE OF LIBERTY! THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING! THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE! HOW BOUT THOSE APPLES, HUH?! Skyscrapers took the place of coconut trees but everything else is really really great. It’s clean, with soft blue tones washing over everything. This is the year where they really embraced the host city with their theme (coconut trees in Miami not withstanding), and it would be a design philosophy they’d improve on a few years later in Orlando.


Aztecs make for great Wrestling themes. Who knew? From the ziggurat stage to the pyramid lighting rig around the ring (still the best ring-canopy structure they’ve used for an outdoor Mania), the whole asthetic is impressive to behold and pleasing to the eyes (if you’re okay with so many amber tones).


It’s a shame the skies were so grey for the first half of the show. When the sun went down, however, and the lights really sparkled, this stage came alive. Watching Ric Flair’s entrance was the most perfect sendoff imaginable; he looked like a movie star (all he needed was a helicopter). The giant opening in the Citrus Bowl endzone was filled with what looked like a veritable city of lights. My only complaint is that it wasn’t in widescreen.


No words for how beautiful this show was to behold. Too bad there wasn’t much to enjoy, but every time someone made an entrance it was breathtaking. As much as I love the uniqueness of the outdoor manias, I love the indoor stadium shows that don’t have to rely on something directly over the ring. You can put all the creative focus on the stage and this is (almost) the best ever done. Everything is so…shiny. And the curved WRESTLEMANIA over the entrance, along with the giant spiderleg looking apparatus everyone walked out of to get to the uber-shiny ramp…it’s great, it’s all great. More of this.


The greatness begins and ends with the ramp. That sucker was a thing of beauty the way it glistened in the lighting and changed depending on the superstar walking on it. The giant XXX’s was not the most remarkable design choice but the purple color scheme, the giant logo and a boatload of pleasant memories all push this one to number two.


Stunning is the word, especially at night. On the one hand, c’mon, it’s stupid. A ring on top of the ring? The giant globe spinning like the Daily Planet? A roller coaster?! The interactive ramp featuring Randy Orton’s penus? It’s so over the top it goes from stupid to so stupid I love it and back again. It’s the ultimate in excess, which is exactly what WrestleMania has become. I love it.

That’s my ranking, Cagesiders. What’s yours? What’s your favorite Mania stage and most hated (among those that had stages)?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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