Notes from the Nosebleeds #107
March 19, 2011
By: Matt O'Brien of Wrestleview.com
This is it, the top nine of the Notes from the Nosebleeds WrestleMania countdown. For the past couple of weeks I have counted down my top twenty-seven WrestleMania matches. I won't waste any time. Let's get right to the top nine!9. WrestleMania XXII – John Cena vs. Triple H for the WWE Championship.
Everyone can admit the ring entrances for these guys were pretty horrendous. The match itself was anything but. Sure John Cena had his big WrestleMania title win a year prior, but it seemed like this was his true Mania moment. HHH had been without the title for a year, which was a drastic change from the three years before that. Many expected him to reclaim his spot on top over Cena, but that was not the case. Cena may have been beating all comers since he began his main event run, but his win over Triple H at WrestleMania XXII was a the official changing of the guard. The match was better than anyone could have expected and the crowd dynamic made the match all the more interesting.8. WrestleMania X – Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart.
I was a huge fan of both Bret and Owen growing up. I didn't get much in the line of channels so I only knew that they were going to fight at WrestleMania X. When I heard a few months later that Owen had picked up the win and Bret went on to win the belt later in the night, I freaked. When I first got the chance to watch this match I thought it was okay. Repeated viewings and my ever-changing taste has brought me to a greater appreciation. These two are able to use a wide array of moves on one another without it seeming forced. The match flows very well and the tension between two brothers fighting over who is better made for a great story. Own getting the win by countering a victory roll was very fitting. Instead of a finishing move, it was about using skill to capitalize.7. WrestleMania V – Hulk Hogan vs. Macho Man Randy Savage for the WWF Championship.
Make no mistake about it, WrestleMania IV and the entire year proceeding year were all a build for this match. You could probably argue the build started even before that. Hogan-Savage is one of the greatest stories WWE has ever told. You had Savage becoming champion with Hogan's stamp of approval and a blossoming friendship. Savage's paranoia derailed the friendship and resulted in an incredible WM match. What I liked so much about the story leading up to this was the way you could see both sides of the story. In a lot of ways Hogan's character was a jerk. Savage was able to show that without turning fans against Hogan. Savage was a new breed of opponent for Hogan, who had spent the last couple of years fighting big guys. In a way, Savage's feud with Hogan made him appear more tangible then mythical. When they go to the actual match, they lived up to the hype. They fought like enemies and the blood loss made sense. In the end, the good guy g t the gold.6. WrestleMania VI - Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior for the WWF Championship.
Over twenty years have passed and this still remains one of the best Mania main events. After more than six years on top, Hogan was about to pass the torch to Warrior. Warrior never became a long term main event guy for WWE, but he had a great run while he was around. The back and forth strength contest had fans on the edge of their seats wondering who was going to get the upper hand. In the end it came down to who could hit their finisher and get. Warrior was able to dodge a legdrop, giving Warrior a matter of seconds to hit the splash and walk out the title.5. WrestleMania XVII - Steve Austin vs. The Rock for the WWF Championship.
Austin and Rock are known for their WrestleMania trilogy. Their match at XV was a solid, as was their match at XIX, but their XVII match was by far their best. The best way to describe this match is intense. They just fought tooth and nail. Austin's chase for the gold was so different this time around. After being out with an injury and failing to reclaim the title in the prior months, he needed to get the win. He needed to defeat Rock at Mania and become the guy at the top of the mountain once again. The heel turn at the end drove home Austin's desperation to win. By aligning himself with his greatest enemy, Vince McMahon, he had sold his soul to the devil. The fallout of this match didn't turn out the best, as most fans of that era remember, but the build was tremendous and the match was epic.4. WrestleMania XVIII - Ric Flair vs. The Undertaker.
I know this match probably seems high on the list for most of you and I can understand that. I love a good brawl and this was a great brawl. Like many great Mania matches, the build was fantastic. I still have the images in my head of Undertaker sitting next to a bloody David Flair, telling Ric why he had to beat up his son. Flair as an angry baby face coming for Taker's blood was great. The American Badass character Undertaker had during this time was refreshing and allowed for this type of program to take place. Arn Anderson's interference was fitting. Seeing him hit a spinebuster on Taker was very satisfying. Aside from the quality, I think what makes this match so interesting is that you want the hero to win so badly. The villain deserves to lose, and it looks like he will. But in the end Undertaker still got the win.3. WrestleMania VII – Macho Man Randy Savage vs. The Ultimate Warrior in a Retirement Match.
Warrior didn't have a lot of Mania matches, but he did have a couple of great ones. The retirement match with Savage was one of the great Mania matches. There is a great moment in this match where Savage looks to be getting the upper hand. He goes to the top rope and jumps only for Warrior to catch him. Instead of tossing or slamming Savage, Warrior sets him on his feet, and then slaps him across the face. It was Warrior saying "Go ahead. Come at me with everything you have. It doesn't matter because I am going to end your career and there's nothing you can do about it." Savage uses Sheri to get the edge and comes close to beating Warrior, but there was no stopping him. Warrior got the win and ended Savage's career. The aftermath saw Sheri attack Savage for losing. Coming to his rescue was Elizabeth, who could not stand watching Savage be humiliated. It's hard to find a more heartwarming moment in Mania history then this one.2. WrestleMania I - Hulk Hogan and Mr. T vs. Paul Orndorf and Roddy Piper.
I don't know if it is just the age of this match or not, but the main event of the first Mania has been forgotten in recent years. Not a lot of people talk about this match even though it had the celebrity involvement of Mr. T and Muhammad Ali. I guess the best way to describe this match is fun. This match is still a blast to watch even today. This match had a formula WWE would use in later WrestleMania shows with Lawrence Taylor and Floyd Mayweather. Even WCW tried to replicate this match with the Bas at the Beach tag team matches with Hogan and Dennis Rodman.1. WrestleMania XIII - Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin in a Submission Match.
Hart-Austin was a Greek tragedy. What a great story. WrestleMania has a lot of great matches, but this tops many people's lists. It looked like we were going to see hart-HBK again, but injuries led to Austin and Hart having one more match. These two had been feuding for months. Recent Mania shows have seen the main event be the first in a series of matches, but this was truly a match that culminated at Mania. Fans of Bret saw him becoming more and more frustrated over the changing times. He took his anger out on Austin. It seemed that if he could just make Austin submit he could let go of all that anger and we would get back the man we had come to respect as our hero. But Austin didn't give up. Instead he hung on. His heart and will brought him through. The images of blood dripping from his face as he cried out in pain are still among the most moving in Mania history. Then pain overwhelmed Austin's body and caused him to pass out, he became an inspiration to fans. People always point to King of the Ring in 1996 when Austin launched his character, but it was WrestleMania XIII when he took a whole new turn.
That concludes the top nine of the WrestleMania countdown. Here is a brief rundown of the entire list:27. WrestleMania XXV – JBL vs. Rey Mysterio for the Intercontinental Championship.
26. WrestleMania XXII – Shawn Michaels vs. Vince McMahon in a No Holds Barred Match.
25. WrestleMania I – Ricky Steamboat vs. Matt Borne.
24. WrestleMania XXII – Mickie James vs. Trish Stratus for the Women's Championship.
23. WrestleMania XXVI – Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk.
22. WrestleMania VII – The Hart Foundation vs. The Nasty Boys for the WWF Tag Team Championship.
21. WrestleMania XXIV – Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair in a Career Threatening Match.
20. WrestleMania II – Terry and Hoss (Dory) Funk vs. Tito Santana and Junkyard Dog.
19. WrestleMania IV – Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase for the WWF Championship.
18. WrestleMania X - – Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels in a Ladder Match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship.
17. WrestleMania XIV – New Age Outlaws vs. Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie in a Dumpster Match for the Tag Team Championship.
16. WrestleMania XI – Razor Ramon vs. Jeff Jarrett for the Intercontinental Championship.
15. WrestleMania XV – X-Pac vs. Shane McMahon for the European Championship.
14. WrestleMania XVIII – Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock.
13. WrestleMania XVII – Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle.
12. WrestleMania VIII – Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper for the Intercontinental Championship.
11. WrestleMania XXI – Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero.
10. WrestleMania XVIII – Dallas Page vs. Christian for the European Championship.
9. WrestleMania XXII – John Cena vs. Triple H for the WWE Championship.
8. WrestleMania X – Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart.
7. WrestleMania V – Hulk Hogan vs. Macho Man Randy Savage for the WWF Championship.
6. WrestleMania VI - Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior for the WWF Championship.
5. WrestleMania XVII - Steve Austin vs. The Rock for the WWF Championship.
4. WrestleMania XVIII - Ric Flair vs. The Undertaker.
3. WrestleMania VII – Macho Man Randy Savage vs. The Ultimate Warrior in a Retirement Match.
2. WrestleMania I - Hulk Hogan and Mr. T vs. Paul Orndorf and Roddy Piper.
1. WrestleMania XIII - Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin in a Submission Match.
Thanks for checking out the list. As I stated when I first started it, not everyone will agree, but I hope you have enjoyed it. Feel free to shoot some of your favorite WrestleMania matches my way as well. Enjoy the rest of the road to WrestleMania!
Columnist, Wrestleview.com[email protected]