ALL fans know the greatest ever WrestleMania matches – the likes of Bret Hart v Stone Cold, Undertaker v Shawn Michaels, and Randy Savage v Ricky Steamboat.
But what about the forgotten classics? What are the great Mania clashes no one ever talks about? Here are 13 overlooked matches from the Grandest Stage to check out now that WWE is back on the road to WrestleMania:
The British Bulldogs v The Dream Team
In the lumbering Hulkamania era, The Bulldogs really were in a league of their own.
Here they dragged The Dream Team – Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine – to the best match on the card to win the tag titles.
This is the only worthwhile match on an otherwise rotten WrestleMania – easily the worst show in the event’s 35-year history.
The Rockers v The Twin Towers
There’s nothing revolutionary about this but it’s a fun watch – and old school tag team bout with classic in-ring storytelling.
The Rockers duo of Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty are plucky underdog babyfaces who have to use their speed and agility to topple the mighty Twin Towers team of Akeem and Big Boss Man.
The Rockers’ high-flying maneuvers seem tame by today’s standards but they were unique in late 1980s WWE. Unfortunately the Rockets are squashed by the Towers in the end.
Jake Roberts v “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase
A dream match between two of WWE’s greatest ever in-ring performers – and certainly two of the best performers to never hold the world title.
The match in enhanced by a classic Roberts promo beforehand – a master-class in pre-match psychology and wordplay.
It’s also a brilliant piece of wrestling storytelling inside the ring as Jakes tries to lock in his devastating DDT – and only let down by screwy non-finish when Jake gets counted out.
“Macho Man” Randy Savage v Crush
(Falls Count Anywhere Match) – WrestleMania X
This one’s more of a curiosity, coming from a time long before falls count anywhere was a regular stipulation.
The rules are slightly confusing. After being pinned, the wrestlers have 10 seconds to get back to the right – so Macho ties up Crush by his feet backstage to get the win. Crush was no ring technician but Savage’s heated performances sold this feud and made it worthy of a unique WrestleMania moment.
The Undertaker v Diesel
This battle of the seven-footers against each other doesn’t exactly scream “technical classic”, but it’s more entertaining than it should be.
It’s the last WrestleMania appearance of Kevin Nash’s Diesel character (he’d hightail it to WCW just months later) and the last Mania for Taker in his original Deadman phase.
He updated the character and the picked up the pace of his working style in a feud with Mankind, which began the very next night after this match.
Ahmed Johnson & The Legion of Doom v Nation of Domination
(Chicago Street Fight)
This WrestleMania is best remembered for Stone Cold v Bret Hart – the greatest ever Mania match – but this street fight is an absolute barnstormer.
On paper it should be a disaster, with the haphazard Ahmed Johnson (wearing LOD shoulder pads) and a pre-Rock Nation of Domination that featured Farooq, Crush, Savio Vega, and weedy rappers PG-13.
It’s arguably the Legion of Doom’s last great moment in WWE, as Hawk and Animal hammer the Nation with every weapon imaginable – even the kitchen sink.
Chris Jericho v William Regal
(Intercontinental Championship Match)
On a stacked card of what is largely considered to be the best WrestleMania of all time, it’s easy to forget about this gem.
It’s the perfect opening match – high energy action that sets the tone for the whole show and has a crowd-pleasing result with Jericho retaining the IC belt. Regal’s also on top form as the stuck-up, snarling heel.
Rey Mysterio v Eddie Guerrero
This is overshadowed by their superior matches in WCW – particularly their famous bout at Halloween Havoc 1997 – but this is still solid action from two very familiar opponents.
The storyline going in was that Rey and Eddie were Tag Team Champions who had developed a friendly rivalry. Later in the year they’d feud over the custody of Rey’s son Dominick (that’s another story altogether) but this was Rey’s night as he pinned Eddie with a hurricanrana.
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Money in the Bank Ladder Match
This is the last great MITB match – before all the multi-man ladder matches started to blend into one big schmozz of big stunts.
This one does have a killer spot, when John Morrison performs a moonsault from the top rope to the outside while holding a ladder. There’s another great moment when Matt Hardy makes a surprise return and nails MVP with a Twist of Fate off the. CM Punk gets the win after original planned winner Jeff Hardy was suspended.
Chris Jericho v Ricky Steamboat, Jimmy Snuka, Roddy Piper
Considering its featured spot on the card, this weird 3-on-1 handicap match had one of the worst builds in Mania history. And Piper and Snuka were dreadful.
Even though Jericho wins, it was saved by Ricky Steamboat in his first Mania match for an incredible 21 years.
When he hit his classic arm drags and flying cross bodies, then skinned the cat – to much deserved chants of “You’ve still got it!” – it was a genuine WrestleMania moment.
Rey Mysterio v CM Punk
This is only six-minutes long, but it’s packed with lightning-quick action. Punk was in his Straight Edge Society gimmick, with backup from Luke Gallows and Serena, and (as usual for Rey’s opponents) he was after Mysterio’s mask.
Before the match Punk cuts a self-righteous sermon before the match – a reminder of just how good he was on the mic. But Rey dazzles Punk with high-flying manoeuvres and hits a top rope splash for the win.
The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Every Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal since has been pure filler and barely worth watching, but this inaugural edition was a big part of the Mania card.
It ended with each the main contenders getting to perform their signature moves in a well-timed and laid-out spots.
But the best moment was saved for the end when Cesaro lifted and dumped out Big Show for a genuinely unexpected victory.
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Triple H v Roman Reigns
WWE Championship Match
This is so much forgotten as it is unfairly criticised. It’s remembered as another disappointing Triple H main event, but it’s actually a very decent match in the ring.
Unfortunately, it’s let down by bored fans who sabotage the match by chanting for NXT. The big spot comes when Roman Reigns accidentally spears Stephanie McMahon – the start of a yearly tradition of Steph getting pummelled at Mania.