The View From Down Here – WrestleMania Edition (Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Shawn Michaels)

You may not realise this, but it is compulsory at this time of the year for anyone who writes about wrestling to at least mention WrestleMania once. It’s part of that super secret contract they make you sign as soon as you begin at a site that has ‘Wrestling’ in the title. So, anyway, last year I did a list column and one about the mystical Streak, so this year I needed an idea.

In that regard, thanks to someone named Josh on FaceBook who suggested that, as I am old enough to have seen all the Wrestlemanias before the advent of DVD anthology collections, here is one:

Here’s my Ultimate WrestleMania card.

Now, I’m sure I’m going to make mistakes, but here’s my ground rules – each wrestler can appear only once, no title can be defended more than once, and the show can only go for 3 1/2 hours (4 hours is just toooo long). This actually makes it hard because Randy Savage appears in two shoo-in matches (v Steamboat and Warrior) plus one or two others, while Rock could easily appear in 2, as well as Steve Austin and Bret Hart. But it is the ultimate card, so there you go.

Several matches have been left out because of performers appearing in other matches, and several wrestlers have also missed out. The main one would be Undertaker. I wanted to put Undertaker/Edge in, but Edge is elsewhere. But I am not a fan of the Undertaker, and it’s not like he’s appeared in every Wrestlemania. Yes, I know I could slot in UT/HHH from 2011, but I found that match dull. I know, apparently it’s the second best match evahh, but not in my opinion.

And for the record, I really wanted to include Savage/Steamboat, but the Savage match I have put in is my favourite Wrestlemania match ever. I also wanted to fit in Hart / Hart from WMX, and could have been justified as Bret wrestled twice in that show, so he could do the same here, but I have rules so I have to stick by them. I also wanted to put in a Rock/Austin match, but both guys are in other matches here, so, well, you know.

Your announcers are Jesse Ventura and Gorilla Monsoon.

WM 20 : Rock and Mick Foley v Batista, Randy Orton and Ric Flair. This is just a fun match, and would be perfect to open the card and get the crowd pumped. I know it’s not the most technically perfect, but everything from the Rock’s opening promo to Batista showing he can actually wrestle, I really enjoyed this match.
Winners: Batista, Randy Orton, Ric Flair (17:00)

WM 11 : Bam Bam Bigelow v Lawrence Taylor. Every Wrestlemania needs a celebrity appearance, so why not one of the best celebrity wrestling matches? Taylor looked good, the match was kept basic to make him look good and Bigelow did a great job (in all meanings of the word) against him. Better than it had any right to be.
Winner: Lawrence Taylor (12:00)

WM 22 : WWE Women’s title: Trish Stratus v Mickie James. I thought the show needed a Women’s / Diva’s title match, and really, there were not many good ones at the Wrestlemanias. This, though, still stands as one of the better, with actual wrestling and something even resembling a coherent storyline.
Winner: Mickie (9:00)

WM X7 : WWF World tag team titles: The Dudleys v The Hardy Boyz v Edge and Christian. TLC 2, where even those accompanying the wrestlers took absolutely insane bumps and the whole match set the benchmark for spot-tastic matches for years to come. With TLC, there would have been no Money In The Bank.
Winners: Edge and Christian (16:00)

WM 13 : Bret Hart v Steve Austin. The match that started the change in the WWE. It was done so very well, including the refereeing by Ken Shamrock. What a match on any card anywhere. This match started the resurgence of the WWE, as Austin v the Hart Foundation carried the rest of the year and morphed into Austin v Mr McMahon. All from this one match.
Winner: Bret Hart (22:00)

WM 7 : Retirement match: Randy Savage v Ultimate Warrior. Okay, my favourite ever Wrestlemania match; of course it is going to be on my ultimate card! Everything from the story they told in the ring to the post-match reunion was done so well. I can watch this again and again.
Winner: Ultimate Warrior (21:00)

WM 21 : Kurt Angle v Shawn Michaels. Two masters at the peak of their art in the ring together at the right time. And, really, we needed a match with Mr Wrestlemania in it.
Winner: Angle (26:00)

WM 3 : WWF World Title: Hulk Hogan v Andre the Giant. All right, the match sucks on a technical level. But the build and the feel of the match has yet to be surpassed in any main event anywhere. Seriously. Bad match, perfect for the ultimate Wrestlemania card.
Winner: Hulk Hogan (12:00)

Actual wrestling time was 2:15, but when you add in entrances, the Rock’s opening promo, the Savage/Elizabeth reunion, the post-match Hart/Austin shenanigans, video introductions, etc., this show reaches 3hrs 20 minutes, which leaves 10 minutes for a Hall of Fame or back-stage skits.

So… flame away in the comments below. (I fully expect the Shawn Michaels/UT was the “bestest match evahh” brigade to pipe up here, as well as those who feel I have cruelly overlooked Crush v Doink…)

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