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 15-11 so let’s get to it!
15. Vince McMahon vs. Shane McMahon (X-Seven) (14:12)
When you factor in the fact that neither competitor here is an actual wrestler, this match is incredible. The father and son combo beat the living crap out of each other in one of the best “bowling shoe ugly” matches ever. The story leading into the match was excellent, and the idea of a father and son fighting each other at the biggest show of the year was beyond intriguing. Again, the match is the definition of a brawl, but the image of Shane going post to post on Vince and the trash can in front of him is iconic. Plus, Linda McMahon gets the biggest pop of her career, simply by standing up (which was about the limit of her “range”). Considering this is Vince’s creation, it’d be a crime not to include this match on the 30th Anniversary Card.
14. Big Show vs. Floyd Mayweather (XXIV) (11:40)
Make no mistake about it, this is the greatest match in Mania history where a non-wrestler stepped into the ring. Mayweather’s involvement was great for WWE as he was at the top of his game (amazingly 7 years later, he still is). I love this match and the story Show told in it. In some ways, this might be Show’s best work ever. But what I loved more than the match was the build to it. Mayweather was brought in as the celebrity face and Show was the nasty, giant heel. But the fans would have none of it. They were wrestling fans, Show was the wrestler, so they pulled for him and booed the outsider. What did Mayweather do? He embraced the hate and became a heel. A really good heel. The payoff was great, with Floyd taking the ultimate heel route to victory, knocking Show out with brass knucks. Great stuff!
13. LOD & Ahmed Johnson vs. The Nation of Domination (13) (10:45)
This is the most underrated street fight style match in Mania history. I wanted to try to find an LOD match on the card, just because of who they were and what they meant to the business. Unfortunately, they have an awful Mania resume. I saw this match on paper and figured it wasn’t worth putting on the card. I didn’t think a match involving Ahmed Johnson and Savio Vega would be 30th Anniversary worthy. I was wrong. This was a crazy street fight with nonstop action. It sort of embodied what Hawk and Animal were all about. It was all smash-mouth with little poise or technique and for the 10 minutes and 45 seconds this match lasted, it worked. I know many would think I’m crazy for including this one, but I think if you go back and watch this one again, you’ll be just as enthralled with it as I was.
12. Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar (XIX) (21:07)
The two most decorated pure wrestlers the WWE has ever had in one match lived up to its hype. The only Olympic gold medalist in the company’s history defending the WWE Title against the only NCAA Division I wrestling champion in the company’s history. The botched shooting star press takes a bit away from the finish, but the wrestling we see in this one was enough to make you salivate. Kurt was actually in need of neck surgery at this time, which means he wasn’t even at 100% here, which is kinda scary. This was Brock’s first Mania match, he’d obviously go on to have some pretty memorable WrestleMania moments later down the road. Regardless, this might be the best pure wrestling match we’ve seen at Mania for the title.
11. Undertaker vs. CM Punk (XXIX) (22:07)
Taker had better Mania matches, but I don’t think Punk did. He was coming off his historic 434 day WWE Title reign and, though he was actually about 10 months from leaving the company, was at the top of his game inside the ring. I thought the stuff with Bearer and the urn took a lot away from the build up to this match. I would have loved to see what the build to this match would’ve been had Paul Bearer’s death not been put into the mix, as I didn’t care for that aspect of the build at all. Once the bell rings, however, all of that washes away. It was an epic battle that I felt was a fitting match for Punk coming off his title reign. I know he wanted the main event spot, but this match was something special and selfishly, I’m glad it happened instead of Punk’s proposed triple threat with Rock and Cena.
We’re into the meat of it now. All of these matches are worth going out of your way to see and that trend continues on to the top. There are 10 matches left on the card, I think you’ll appreciate them. I hope you’ll come back for part 5 which should be out Tuesday. I’ll see ya then!