Over the last couple of weeks, I sat down and compiled a 30 match card to celebrate 30 years of WrestleMania. This is not the top 30 matches in WrestleMania history. This is a 30th Anniversary Card, and because it’s a card and not a list, no person appears more than once. That is the challenge of compiling such a card.
This week, we’ll look at matches 20-16 so let’s get to it!
20. Umaga vs. Lashley (XXIII) (13:00)
The “Battle of the Billionaires” provided one of the most iconic images of WrestleMania history. Umaga and Lashley aren’t going to be anywhere else on this card, so why not put them together for this match? The match itself is a bonafide “Sports Entertainment Fest” with run ins, ref bumps, and stunners, but seeing Trump and Lashley shaving Vince’s head while Steve Austin held him is worth the spot here on the card.
19. Big Bossman vs. Mr. Perfect (VII) (10:47)
This is definitely one that I would consider a hidden gem. It was the 10th match on a bloated 15 match card and I’ll be honest, I didn’t even remember this match ever took place. Perfect was arguably the best in ring performer during his first WWF run and he deserved a spot on this card. Bossman was great during this era, was sneaky good in the ring and surprisingly agile for a guy his size. The screwy finish took a bit away from this match, but I’m still more than confident with its inclusion as the number 19 match.
18. Rick Rude vs. Ultimate Warrior (V) (9:36)
I think Warrior’s best match was the “retirement” match with Randy Savage at WrestleMania VII. I’ll be honest, I don’t like Warrior. I know last year we all pretended like Warrior wasn’t a terrible in ring performer nor totally crazy, but he was. Nevertheless he was a big part of WWF’s product during his run and it would be a crime for him not to be included on this card. I really enjoyed this match and I’m glad to be able to find a spot for Rick Rude as he’s one of my favorites. This match is actually one of the few matches where Warrior looks vulnerable. Also, Rude hits a picture perfect missile drop kick at one point, something not common in 1989. This is a grossly underrated match that I’d recommend going out of your way to see.
17. Jeff Hardy vs. Matt Hardy (XXV) (13:38)
I enjoyed the heck out of the build to this match. You felt like Matt and Jeff really hated each other. The match itself was brutal at times and told an excellent story with Jeff taking “one risk too many” as JR put it after this match was over. Matt and Jeff’s presence in the TLC matches warrant them a spot on this card. Again, I didn’t include those TLC matches because I have something else planned for Edge and Christian.
16. Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio (XXI) (12:18)
This would be Eddie’s final WrestleMania. Like many fans, Eddie was one of my favorites. Unfortunately his list of Mania matches aren’t spectacular for a guy as decorated as him. This match, however, is awesome. If you haven’t seen this one, do it. These two men had many matches throughout their careers, but this match felt fresh and new. Toward the end of the match, the crowd lived and breathed on every near fall. Plus, it’s the only time reigning tag team champions have ever faced each other at WrestleMania. This match on its own would probably get on the card, but when you factor in the resume of both men, it’s a no brainer.
We’re halfway there (livin’ on a prayer?) and heading into the upper section of the card. I still have a few surprising pics coming, but I think the match quality of most of the remaining matches are stellar… including a certain Vince McMahon match which makes an appearance in the next match on the card. But that’ll have to wait. Part 4 should be out by Thursday. I hope to see ya then.