WrestleMania has had some of the greatest matches in the history of the wrestling business over its 32 years of existence. Who could forget such classic matches as Ricky Steamboat vs Randy Savage, Bret Hart vs Owen Hart, HBK vs. The Undertaker, and Daniel Bryan vs Batista vs Randy Orton. Of course not all matches are created equal and sometimes we want to believe that a match is really better than it actually was. Of course this is all subject to opinion.
So I have decided to make a list of 10 matches from WrestleMania history, that tend to get a lot of love from fans, that I believe were really not as great as some may think.
The matches on this list for the most part are all good matches….heck most of them are really good matches, however they are missing something that would make put them in the all time great list, they way some may place them as such. I will present this in order of WrestleMania it appeared on and give my reasons why I think they fall short. I have also decided to balance this, I will make a list of the most underrated WrestleMania matches as well for later in the week.
So here are the matches that for whatever reason, just don’t stand up as classic to me.
Hulk Hogan vs Macho Man Randy Savage (WrestleMania 5)
When you hear people discuss the great matches of the early WrestleManias it is very likely that this match is going to pop up in the discussion. Now sure this is a very memorable match that was the showcase of a one year build leading to the 1989 version of the showcase of the immortals. However what it isn’t is a very good match, in fact if I was to order this list, this would sit in the #1 position. We have long heard the stories about how Macho Man liked to script his matches and have many practice run through before actually performing the matches. Well that never comes off more clear than it does in this match. The whole thing feels phony and extremely scripted and it really takes away from the match as a whole. Watch it again if you haven’t recently, you will see what I mean.
Why I believe it gets overrated: One of two things. First I think this is match that a lot of us watched growing up and we have that nostalgic feeling. Also the build up feud to this match was so epic, one of the best ever really, that I think we likely factor in how awesome it was and associate it with the actual match (something we for sure haven’t done with Randy Orton vs Triple H from WrestleMania 25).
Rowdy Roddy Piper vs Bret Hart (WrestleMania 8)
I will be the first to admit that I used to be one of the ones who overrated this match. WrestleMania 8 will always have a special place in my heart because it was the only WrestleMania I watched with my dad. So the tendency for me to overrated all aspects of that show is strong. However when I went back to watch WrestleMania 8 a few years back, while I did a complete WrestleMania review, I was stunned by how much I had overrated this match! Sure it is a very good match, between two of the all time greats and the story told in the ring is done well (Piper having never been pinned in his entire career and Bret having lost his IC title to unusually circumstances), but the match never really hits that classic level. Personally for me it had something to do with Piper, who almost feels like her is over working everything. I also feel like the match could have used a extra 10 mins to really hit the home room.
Why I believe it gets overrated: It is two icons, two of the best of all time, having their first major match together on the grandest stages, while both are red hot baby faces. It just has that epic feel to it, but when you watch the match you are likely to see that, perhaps we have been overrating this one for years now.
Kurt Angle vs Chris Jericho vs Chris Benoit (WrestleMania 16)
What a concept for a match! The WrestleMania debuts of 3 of the all time greatest performers in wresting history (yes Benoit will never be remembered as such, but before that fateful nigh in June 2007, he absolutely was), squaring off in an epic Triple Threat Match, for both the IC and European titles. It should have been an easy show stealer at a extremely weak WrestleMania. What we got instead was a complete mess of a match. For whatever reason the chemistry was off that night and this match ended up being one of the great let downs in the history of WrestleMania. Yet talk to many and you will hear them rave about how great this match was and how it stole the show at WrestleMania 16 (that honor goes to the Triangle Ladder Match). More so then any match on this list, I think if you sat down and watched this match again, you would agree this is just not a very good match.
Why I believe it gets overrated: Look at the participants! Three wrestlers who would go on to steal the show at so many events in their life time. I simply think it is just hard for people to believe that these 3 could have had a match that was bad together. But its true, its DAMN true!
TLC 2 (WrestleMania 17)
The match I believe that will get the most heat for me, but I am sorry it is just not as great as some people make it out to be! Look it is a GREAT match absolutely, hell I would put it in the all time great WrestleMania match category for sure, but I simply believe that a) it didn’t steal the show at WrestleMania 17 (that would go to Rock vs Austin), b) it wasn’t on the same level as the Triangle Ladder Match from WrestleMania 16 or TLC 1 at Summer Slam 2000, c) it was way to overbooked. Sure there are lots of cool spots in this match and all 3 teams absolutely bust their balls off. However what did it for me was the usage of Spike, Ryhno and Lita, which for me brought the match to overkill territory and took me out of what was about to be a 5 star match. I know that everyone is going to disagree on this one, but sorry I just don’t believe it is as good as some hype it up to be.
Why I believe it gets overrated: It was WrestleMania 17, arguably the greatest WWE PPV of all time, so everything on it is going to get overrated. Spot fests tend to usually get overrated as it is and this is the ultimate spot fest. Frankly because most people think the 3 outsiders in the match actually added something to it…I of course do not.
Mick Foley vs Edge (WrestleMania 22)
The match that was suppose to be the greatest hardcore match in the history of wrestling! Sorry but it really didn’t even come close. Sure the match is good enough and many would say it was the show stopper at WrestleMania 22 (I think the heavily underrated HBK vs Vince and Cena vs Triple H main event matches was better personally) but it doesn’t actually live up to the hype people love to dump on it. The match was basically a giant set up for the flaming table spot. Now that would have be great, if the week before WrestleMania, on Raw had they not basically given away, that was going to be a spot. That left me waiting the entire time for the spot, which yeah was cool, but the match was just good not great.
Why I believe it gets overrated: Two reasons really. The first is that WrestleMania 22 itself, which was a solid show all around, but really didn’t have a classic match attached to it. I get the feeling that people wanted their to be a classic and because this match does contain an all time great WrestleMania spot, people tend to rate the spot as the match. Secondly Foley and Edge themselves! After that match they were both on the record as saying this was the greatest hardcore match of all time….I don’t believe either man actually believes this but because they are on record as saying it, the people will follow suit.
Money in the Bank Ladder Match (Wrestlemania 23)
At WrestleMania 21, someone (many say Jericho) had the brilliant idea to do a match called the Money in the Bank match, which was a ladder match were 6 to 8 of the top WWE superstars compete to get their hands on a brief case held above the ring, that contains a guaranteed future shot at the top titles in the WWE. After Edge won the first and brilliantly cashed it in after John Cena had just wrestled an Elimination Chamber match, history was made and for a while it was an annual WrestleMania staple (till it became its own PPV). The second installment at WrestleMania 22 was almost as good as the first and with an all star line up set up for the third (Orton, Jeff Hardy, Edge, CM Punk, Booker T, Kennedy, Matt Hardy and Finnly) expectations for this match were through the roof. And the match was great actually! However many have claimed this to be the best MITB match at WM and think this match stole the show at WM 23. I don’t believe either to be the case (those honors go to the first MITB at WM 21 and HBK vs Cena). Even Dave Meltzer has this match ranked with the highest star rating of that card. For me it simply fell just a bit short. The epic Edge and Jeff spot, is what took a bit away from the match for me, removing participants from the match. Though I think this is actually the best match I am listing here, to me it is just a tad bit overrated.
Why I think it gets overrated: The talent involved, the crazy spot in the middle of the match, the fact that WM 23 has a disputed show stealing match debate, between the two title matches….I don’t know to be honest.
CM Punk vs Chris Jericho (WrestleMania 28)
The match that CM Punk likes to debate should have gone on last on this card. Sorry but I disagree as only the Rock vs Cena could have closed that show and its simple as that. This was a really good match though don’t get me wrong, but boy oh boy do the internet fans love to overrate the hell out of this match. I was there live for this one and I can remember being a bit disappointed at how this match went down. Re watching it on DVD and it still lacks something that puts it in the all time great WrestleMania match debate. It is simply put a 3 and 1/2 match plan and simple. As much as Punk and the internet fans want to believe this was something special, 5 years removed and frankly nobody is discussing this in the all time great discussion….as it should be.
Why I believe it gets overrated: It was a fantastic feud leading up to the match. People were annoyed that we were getting another Triple H vs Taker match at a WM. Jericho and Punk were both coming off of red hot career years (Jericho having had a year away to let his hype build). People just refuse to admit that Taker vs Triple H was a brilliant 5 star match, that not only stole the show but was one of the all time great WM matches. I simply believe people wanted this match to steal the show so badly, that they refused to accept anything else on the night of.
The Rock vs John Cena (WrestleMania 28)
The way this match was build up, the hype was absolutely through the roof and it was bound to be a bit disappointing, but we were all expecting at least a 4 star match. Well they just came up short of reaching that level when the time came. The match was announced a year out, the first and only time this has ever happened. It was two of the biggest icons in the history of the business finally going one on one. It was the generational gap between the fans at the time, with the two biggest stars of their era’s finally having an epic one on one match at WrestleMania. Both men are well known for having excellent big time matches. Yet on that night in Miami something just didn’t click to make this the next Hogan vs Rock from WrestleMania 18. Frankly I believe it was the fact that Rock hurt himself in the match and wasn’t able to go 100% and lets be real here, he had been away from the ring for a long time an was a bit rusty. Of course none of this stopped the overrating of the match after the show. People who believed they had watched an all time classic and refused to back down. Sorry folks but 5 years removed it has become pretty clear this was not the epic you all though it was.
Why I believe it gets overrated: It’s the Rock vs John Cena for the first time ever! I mean it is once in a life time match (LMFAO!) that should have been so epic! It should have been as good as Hogan vs Warrior, Hogan vs Rock and HBK vs Taker. Yet it wasn’t and I think this was hard for some people to accept. Also once again the set of fans who refused to accept that Triple H vs Taker stole the show that night!
John Cena vs Bray Wyatt (WrestleMania 30)
Of all the matches on this list, this is the one that most baffles me. I mean I could understand and entertain any debates about almost any of the matches listed here as being great and the few that I wouldn’t debate, I could at least understand were people are come from. However this match I simply can not understand the hype behind. Now first let me say that absolutely nobody came out of WrestleMania 30 saying this was the best match on the show. However I saw many reviewers giving this a 4 star rating and I was like WHOA take it easy there! This is very far from a 4 star match. It is a good match yes, but absolutely not a great one. Frankly I think this was the wrong opponent for Cena that year and it ended his epic streak of great moments at WrestleMania. This was a standard match, that did nothing for either person (had Cena lost maybe it would have helped Bray, but I think even that would have been stupid to be honest). No classic Cena entrance, a match that was very basic and hardly remembered 3 years later. Sorry but this is not 4 stars!
Why I believe it gets overrated: Very simple, this was around the time that Wyatt was being super overrated by just about everyone, who was calling him the next Undertaker. He was years away from becoming one of the best in WWE (that happened around last year I would say) and was giving a spot way to high on the card (a theme that would go on for every WrestleMania Wyatt appeared on since) based on a few who pushed him way to fast.
Triple H vs Sting (WrestleMania 31)
Some of you are probably thinking who is overrating this match? Well you would be very surprised! This match has started to be one of those things that has “it wasn’t that bad” defenders, who have worked it out in their minds that this match was actually good! Look I will be the first to say I was overly harsh on this match the night of WrestleMania 31. Sorry but I will always stand by the fact that it should have been Taker vs Sting and the WWE royally fucked up, one of the biggest dream matches in the history of the business. My anger towards that during the WrestleMania 31 season had me almost skipping the show! So no it wasn’t the worst match since Goldberg vs Brock at WrestleMania 2o. However it was still a pretty stupid match! Yes stupid! First off Sting looked terrible in this match and his style really didn’t mesh well with Triple H’s. Then you have the fact that for the entire feud, they kept making the point to say that this was NOT WCW vs WWE, yet in the match we had both DX and the NWO come out. Factor in that the NWO was actually Sting’s rivals in WCW and the night before we saw Hall and Nash celebrating with with Triple H and HBK at the Hall of Fame, making it all so hard to believe what was happening in the ring. And of course the stupidest thing of them all, having Triple H go over. UGH stupid beyond words! Stop trying to defend this match as a dream match that almost lived up to expectations. It was not the dream match we wanted and didn’t even come close to expectations or good match levels!
Why I believe it gets overrated: I think the coolness factor of seeing DX and the NWO in the ring at the same time, was something that made us all stop and say whoa. Its a great moment for sure…out of context. But a great moment does not make a great match (ok maybe Hogan vs Andre). Also because Sting would only have one other match in the WWE (not with Taker….JEZZZ fuck WWE!) they have to hold on to what they got. In that case go praise the Rollins vs Sting match later that year, because it is much better! Also WrestleMania 31 is the hands down most overrated WrestleMania of all time, so it fits the bill.