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WrestleMania 30 2014 [VIDEOS]: Top 5 best and worst main events in 'Mania history

Mike Smollins
By Mike Smollins @MikeSmollins
on Apr 01, 2014 12:41 PM EDT
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"Stone Cold" Steve Austin
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin fought The Rock in one of the most memorable main events at WrestleMania X-7 in 2001.

(Photo : "Stone Cold" Steve Austin fought The Rock in one of the most memorable main events at WrestleMania X-7 in 2001. (Facebook))

For 30 years, WrestleMania XXX has been the marquee and cornerstone event in the WWE and an event that is highly anticipated every year on the WWE's calendar. The WWE has had some of the greatest moments, title changes and matches take place at the biggest event of the year, and with WrestleMania XXX airing this Sunday, people are highly anticipating the main event that will see WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton defend his title against Batista and either Triple H or Daniel Bryan.

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Top 5 best and worst WrestleMania opening matches

While every WWE Superstar has dreamt of headlining the biggest show of the year, not everyone gets to and it's an honor that so few ever get to experience. Earlier this week we discussed how important the opening match is for the show, but there is nothing more important than the main event as only 29 times have Superstars gotten the chance to close WrestleMania.

While there have been a lot of jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring main events over the history of WrestleMania, not every show in the franchise ended with a good taste in the mouths of the fans. We'll take a look at the Top 5 worst and best WrestleMania main events of all-time.

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Top 5 worst WrestleMania main events of all-time.

We'll work our way down from 5-to-1 with one being the worst main event in the show's history.

Honorable Mentions: Triple H vs. The Rock vs. Mick Foley vs. The Big Show for the WWE Championship (2000) and Lawrence Taylor vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (XI, 1995).

5) WrestleMania XXV: Randy Orton vs. Triple H for the WWE Championship:

It seemed as though Randy Orton and Triple H would close the show with a bang at what was billed incorrectly as the "25th Anniversary of WrestleMania," in 2009, however the two put together a very boring match in front of a dead crowd. Orton's character was interesting in 2009 and not yet as stale as it's grown to be in the five years since, however these two put on a boring match that ended with "The Game" extracting his revenge and retaining the championship.

4) WrestleMania XXVII: The Miz vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship:

The Miz got his claim to fame by being able to main event the biggest show of the year in 2011albeit in a forgettable match against John Cena. The main event of WrestleMania played out more like an episode of WWE Monday Night RAW with a false double countout and an interruption by the anonymous RAW general manager. In the end, the Miz earned a pinfall victory over Cena after special guest The Rock took Cena out with a Rock Bottom. The ending set-up the next two WrestleManias rather than closing out the current WrestleMania in strong fashion.

3) WrestleMania VIII: Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice:

There was a great match pitting Ric Flair against Randy Savage for the WWE Championship in 1992 at WrestleMania VIII, but it was relegated to the midcard as Hogan's "farewell" match was put on last. Hogan was originally supposed to face Flair for the title, but after the two stunk it up at house shows, the WWE pulled a switcheroo. Hogan and Sid labored through a very boring match that was supposed to end in disqualification after Papa Shango ran down to hit Hogan, however, Shango missed his cue and Sid ended up having to improvise and kicked out of the Hogan leg drop, which was taboo. Shango eventually labored down as the WWE called the match for interference by Sid's manager, and The Ultimate Warrior made his surprise return. The Warrior's return served as a great ending to the event, however having a WrestleMania match end in DQ --and a botched one at that -- is an awful way to close the biggest pay-per-view of the year.

2) WrestleMania 13: The Undertaker vs. Sid for the WWE Championship:

WrestleMania 13 in 1997 was another card that suffered from late changes. Bret Hart was set to take on Shawn Michaels in a rematch of their 1996 clash at WrestleMania 12, but Michaels suffered an injury that Hart believes wasn't legitimate. Hart thought in real-life Michaels didn't want to job to him and he ducked out of the plans by feigning injury. The WWE scrambled to make a new plan, having Bret Hart battle "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in a submission match while Sid won the WWE Championship from Hart and defended it against 'Taker at WrestleMania. What we got was a five-star classic between Hart and Austin on the under card that single handedly saved the show, while Taker and Sid put on a stinker in the main event. The match was slow and plodding until 'Taker finally put the fans out of their misery with a tombstone. While it was nice to see 'Taker win his first title in six years, the match left a lot to be desired.

1) WrestleMania IX: Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna and Hulk Hogan vs. Yokozuna for the WWE Championship:

The real-life backstage politics reared their ugly head at WrestleMania IX in 1993. Bret Hart defended his WWE Championship against the seemingly unstoppable Yokozuna at Caesar's Palace in a short match that saw Yokozuna pick up a win and his first championship. That's when things got bad. Hulk Hogan inexplicably came out to aid his "friend" Bret Hart and Yokozuna's manager Mr. Fuji dementedly challenged Hogan to a match for the belt that a tired Yokozuna had just won. Two minutes later, Hogan pinned Yokozuna and became the WWE Champion. In real life, Hogan demanded the belt backstage and Vince McMahon opted to put it on him if he'd lose to Bret Hart at SummerSlam in August. Hogan agreed, and then decided Hart wasn't worthy enough. The WWE booked Yokozuna to beat Hogan in his final match in nearly a decade for the WWE at the 1993 King of the Ring that June. Hart eventually won the gold from Yokozuna a year later at WrestleMania X. The WrestleMania IX main event is easily the worst in the history of WrestleMania.

Top 5 best main events in WrestleMania history

As with the worst, we'll countdown from 5-to-1 with one being the best main event of all-time.

Honorable Mentions: Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart for the WWE Championship in an Iron Man Match (XII, 1996), Shawn Michaels vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin for the WWE Championship (XIV, 1998), Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship (XIX, 2003), Edge vs. The Undertaker for the World Heavyweight Championship (XXIV, 2008)

5) WrestleMania III: Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant for the WWE Championship:

This match is by no means a five-star classic, but without it there might not be a WrestleMania. Hogan and Andre fought in arguably the biggest wrestling main event of all-time in 1987 where the unbeaten Giant took on the WWE Champion in front of an alleged crowd of over 93,000 people at the Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan. Hogan slamming the Giant is the definition of a WrestleMania moment, and Hogan's victory that night in Michigan put professional wrestling on the map.

4) WrestleMania VI: Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior for the IC and WWE Championships:

In 1990, there were no bigger stars in wrestling than Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior, and the WWE decided to do a rare face vs. face match at WrestleMania VI pitting The Ultimate Warrior and his Intercontinental Championship against Hulk Hogan and his WWE Championship in a title-for-title winner-take-all match. Hogan had never been pinned at WrestleMania up until that point and it seemed like The Warrior was set to be the first guy to pin him and take the torch to the WWE. The crowd was divided at the Toronto SkyDome as Hogan and Warrior fought in a monumental match. In the end, The Warrior pinned Hogan in arguably each of their best matches and took home both championship belts. The Ultimate Challenge is one of the most famous main events in WrestleMania history.

3) WrestleMania XX: Chris Benoit vs. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels for the World Heavyweight Championship:

WrestleMania XX went back to the place it all started for WrestleMania and marked the third time that the WWE's franchise event came to Madison Square Garden in New York City. In the main event of the evening, Chris Benoit won his first World Heavyweight Championship by defeating Shawn Michaels and World Heavyweight Champion Triple H in a blood bath that wowed the crowd and ended 'Mania in a huge way. Benoit made Triple H tap and overcame the odds to hoist up the championship. The site of Benoit and WWE Champion Eddie Guerrero hugging as confetti rained down on them was the biggest image taken away from that night, though it is looked on with sadness now in 2014.

2) WrestleMania XXVI: The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels Streak vs. Career:

After The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels stole the show at WrestleMania XXV, the WWE upped the ante by having them close WrestleMania XXVI in 2010 with the stipulation that The Undertaker was defending his streak against Shawn Michaels, who was putting his career on the line. The match was an amazing back-and-forth contest that ended with The Undertaker defeating Shawn Michaels in what has lived to truly be his final match in the WWE. This main event was a classic.

1) WrestleMania X-7: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. The Rock for the WWE Championship:

This had the perfect ingredients for a main event. Two superstars in their prime with a storied rivalry fighting over the WWE Championship. This was the main event of the 2001 installment and one of the most stacked cards. This happened within arguably the best WrestleMania of all-time, and The Rock and Austin did not disappoint. The two traded blows, counters and finishers all while playing up the storyline that Austin would do anything to win the belt. Austin's subsequent heel turn and alliance with Vince McMahon has been looked down upon, however it made sense that the Austin character would come back from injury and do whatever it took to win the title. Austin's heel turn and the attempt of WWE to make him a bad guy in his home state of Texas may not have been smart, however, regardless of the outcome these two superstars gave it their all on the biggest stage in what is considered one of the greatest main events of all-time.

WrestleMania XXX airs this Sunday from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, and it will be interesting to see if the main event will fall into the worst of all-time category, the best of all-time category or somewhere in between.

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