With Wrestlemania 34 looming over our heads like Shawn Michaels making that spectacular overhead entrance in Wrestlemania XII, I obviously wanted to take advantage here and dive into retro wrestling’s greatest Wrestlemania moments from years’ past!
If you’re a fan, (and hey who wasn’t in the ’80s and 90s), you can probably remember the first time you sat and watched the PayPer View spectacle that was (is), Wrestlemania. Whether you were lucky enough to be alive for the first or the twentieth, it stands as a sort of rite of passage for any wrestling fan to sit and enjoy the most important wrestling event of the year at least once at the time of airing. Bonus if you ever got to see the prestigious event loaded with neon spandex live in person! I myself never got to witness any major PayPer View events, BUT I was there when Earthquake performed animal murder (or at least my 9-year-old-self thought at the time) by cannon-balling his very large ass onto Jake “The Snake” Roberts’ bag that held the beloved Damian. And yes, the answer is I cried like a little bitch.
Anyway, beyond traumatic memories of dead pythons, be it that it is Wrestlemania weekend, I felt now would be a good time to look back on some of the greatest moments from the event throughout our childhood years. These moments shook us to our core, made us feel all the damn things, and have etched their iconic imprints onto the legacy that is, the glorious Wrestlemania. Here’s what I think is, in my humble opinion, of course, the ten greatest moments in retro Wrestlemania history!
10. The Mega-Powers Explode!
The Madness and the Hulkster had a lot of back-and-forth throughout their wrestling careers. One minute they were bitter enemies, the next absolute butt-buddies. It was just a vicious cycle of fighting, followed by forgiveness and we ate it up every time. However, after the duo formed the ever-so-epic Mega Powers force and then had another falling out over a misunderstanding with Miss Elizabeth, we got the mighty conclusion of the pair’s quarrel that began over a woman and a jealous fit, at Wrestlemania V. This match, in particular, is everything I loved about retro wrestling. Two of the greatest icons, with a totally believable story behind it, raging war at Wrestlemania. Doesn’t get much better than that folks.
9. The Backlot Brawl
This match of all damn rages is not only memorable as it is but kind of hilarious. Listen, no one talks the kind of trash like Mr. Ass-Kicking Bubblegum himself, Roddy Piper. And when the weirdo Goldust (Dustin Rhodes) began sexually taunting the Hot Rod, our boy in plaid wasn’t having any of that shit. Thus bringing the Backlot Brawl to Wrestlemania VII so the pair could settle the score like REAL MEN. I feel like that fight scene in They Live was good practice for this match. However, Piper punched the Dust of Gold so hard, he ended up breaking his hand. And he kept going like nothing happened. Talk about commitment to the match!
8. Lovers Reunited
I certainly am not taking anything away from the pretty awesome career-ending match between Randy Savage and The Ultimate Warrior at the seventh installment of Wrestlemania. However, no one can deny this was the most memorable moment resulting from it. Elizabeth and Randy have been like peas and carrots throughout (almost) Savage’s career in the WWF to date here. So to watch the demise of Scary Sherri and the rise once again of what seemed to be, a stronger Elizabeth fall into the arms of the madness once more, was quite touching indeed.
7. Icon VS Icon
Before Dwayne Johnson was fighting off the jungle in Jumanji, The Rock was the sport’s biggest star and athlete during the Attitude Era at the WWE. So when we got to witness one generation’s wrestling icon square off against another, it was pretty much the coolest thing ever, (if you smell what the Patti is cookin’ over here). I know. Terrible joke. But I felt this was a proper way to pass the torch, so to speak, from Hogan to The Rock ushering in a new icon as the face of the industry. And it was pretty cool of Hogan to do that for him.
6. The Rattlesnake Takes On The Bull
One year prior to The Rock taking on the Hulkster at Wrestlemania, he faced one of his toughest challenges to date with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. These two phenoms WERE the top contenders during the attitude era, and have etched a legacy inside the ring worthy of standing alongside the greats before them. For the pair of fan favorites that ushered in a slew of unforgettable one-liners and ass-kicking finishing moves to finally face-off at the Superbowl events of wrestling, was truly a moment not to be forgotten anytime soon.. or ever for that matter.
5. The Ladder Oozes Machismo
Never before had we seen a goddamn Ladder Match! And not since then, has one matched up to the power and glory as displayed between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon during the tenth Wrestlemania. Both athletes are some of the most exceptional executioners in the business, and the tense back and forth for the Intercontinental championship is definitely one of the best of all time.
4. Nothing But Hart and Gorey Glory
Single-handedly, the role-reversal moment in history happened at Wrestlemania 13 during the match between Austin and the “Excellence of Execution” himself, “The Hitman” Bret Hart. And I don’t even think it was something that was meant to happen! Which it made it that much better. The intestinal fortitude of Austin’s character during the match gained a lot of favor with the crowd, which in turn, kind of pissed off Hart. Marking the beginning of Bret Hart’s lack of faith in the industry and heel turn, which he talks in depth about in his documentary Wrestling With Shadows.
3. The Ultimate Challenge
Much like earlier in this article with The Rock, Hogan set the stage to make another athlete an iconic superstar at Wrestlemania 6. While The Warrior’s (rest his soul) career didn’t have the longevity as Dwayne Johnson’s has, he’s no less recognizable as The Warrior has his own spot in infamous WWE history. In any regard, say what you want about the Hulkster, but he’s always been a team player when it comes to his fellow competitors. As with this explosive match in 1989, Hogan accepted defeat with dignity, and a new champion was born in the ring.
2. The Savage Steamboat Ride of Awesomeness
Many consider the brawl between Macho Man and The Dragon at Wrestlemania III, to be one of the greatest of all time. And goddamn if I don’t agree with said people. Here we have two highly technical athletes who make this match look like a fuckin’ ballet of the ring. Everything about it is perfect and should be studied by any person looking to make a career in the sport. Or hell, just for the fun of it because it’s just that good. The brawl wasn’t even the main event, but it certainly stole the show. Mostly due to Savage’s role in the process of tediously planning every single move in the match, as Ricky Steamboat told Wrestling Observer Radio.
“It got to the point to where I would turn page after page after page in my notebook and then at about the fourth page, I’d say, ‘Okay this is step 112. I’m going to do this, this, and this. Tell me the rest of the match.’ And he would go through and tell me the rest of the match. And then he would get his book out and he would flip through same pages and he would go ‘Okay I’m on step number 86, and I’m going to be doing this, this, and this, tell me the rest of the match.”
1. The Giant Slam Heard Around The World
The only thing that can top the Steamboat/Savage interlocking dance of athletic ability, is this moment right here. The moment that forever etched Hogan as the true immortal and a man of real power and strength. It was heavily rumored at the time Hogan would try and slam the mighty Andre, but no one actually believed he could bodyslam the seven-foot-plus, 500-pound legend in the ring. That being said, the top two spots here confirm what I’ve always believed: that Wrestlemania III just might be, the greatest WWE ticket to date. It truly was a magical time for the sport, and when Andre humbly ended his undefeated 15-year streak at the company to the Hulkster, it made us really want to take those vitamins and say our prayers to no end.
What’s your favorite Wrestlemania moment?! Let’s discuss and Happy Wrestlemania Weekend!