'WrestleMania 31' Rumors: 3 Best Moments From WrestleMania 25, Countdown to WM 31 [VIDEOS]
Throughout the years, WWE WrestleMania has served as the backdrop for some of the most memorable moments and matches in the history of sports entertainment.
With WrestleMania 31 emanating live this Sunday from Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. we've reached the final week of our countdown to the biggest night of the year in the WWE.
In 2009, the company celebrated 25 years of WrestleMania and put together a huge anniversary edition of the marquee event as two of its greatest legends were set to clash one-on-one.
The WWE took WrestleMania XXV to Reliant Stadium in Houston, TX and 72,744 fans packed the place for the "25th Anniversary of WrestleMania" on April 5, 2009.
Here are our three best moments from WWE WrestleMania XXV:
Honorable Mentions: Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy fought in an entertaining Extreme Rules match on this show, which was won by Matt. It's also worth noting that Triple H defeated Randy Orton to retain the WWE Championship in the main event, though it was a bland match that didn't live up to the hype and won't make the top three list.
3) The Dragon's Still Got It: Chris Jericho was playing an ultimate heel role heading into WrestleMania XXV and he was upset over Mickey Rourke's portrayal of wrestling in the movie The Wrestler. Jericho was originally slated to face Rourke, however after the actor opted to back out, the WWE changed its plans and Rourke simply attended the event.
Jericho continued to talk down to all of the WWE's past legends and eventually four of them were sick of it as Ric Flair, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka took exception to what Jericho was saying.
After Jericho savagely attacked all of them at different points, a match was made that would pit "Y2J" against Steamboat, Piper and Snuka in a 3-on-1 handicap match while the legends would have Flair -- who retired from the WWE a year earlier after losing to Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXIV -- in their corner.
The highlight of the match was Steamboat, as he showed he could still go and had a highly-entertaining segment with Jericho while the fans chanted, "You Still Got It" at him during the bout.
Jericho disposed of Snuka with the Walls of Jericho and Piper with the enzuguri, but he had more problems with Steamboat, who flashed his tremendous offense 22 years after his legendary WrestleMania III clash with "Macho Man" Randy Savage.
After going back-and-forth, Jericho was finally able to end Steamboat's night with the Code Breaker. Following the match, Jericho got his comeuppance as Rourke knocked him out with a punch.
2) 'Best in the World,' Mr. Money in the Bank: CM Punk became the first person to ever win two consecutive Money in the Bank Ladder Matches at WrestleMania when he outlasted seven other opponents to win the fifth installment of the gimmick bout.
At this point, MITB started to lose some of its luster from the early stages as the WWE began to throw too many guys in there and the type of Superstars that didn't mesh well with the stipulation, but this one still had its memorable spots.
The field included Punk, Kane, Mark Henry, MVP, Shelton Benjamin, Kofi Kingston, Christian and Finlay.
The match was an entertaining way to open up the show as there was a series of memorable spots with the competitors using the ladder as a weapon throughout it. One notable segment saw Benjamin nail a senton bomb off of a ladder onto his opponents on the outside.
In the end, Punk fended Kane off by kicking him off the ladder and sending him crashing to the canvas. Punk then grabbed the briefcase to win his second straight Money in the Bank Ladder Match.
1) The Light vs. The Darkness: Two of the WWE's biggest legends went toe-to-toe on the grandest stage of them all as Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker, two native Texans, clashed at WrestleMania XXV in Houston.
Michaels had built himself up as "Mr. WrestleMania" due to the series of memorable moments and matches he's accumulated at the spectacle while The Undertaker came into the bout with his legendary WrestleMania streak intact.
The storyline was that both legends wanted to see who the better man was when it came to the WWE's cornerstone event and that Michaels, a born again Christian, represented the light while The Undertaker was the man from the darkside.
The WWE played into the contrasting personalities during their ring entrances as Michaels descended to the entranceway from above with the stadium shining bright while 'Taker came out draped in darkness, ascending from below the stage.
This marked Michaels' 16th match at the marquee event since his WrestleMania debut at WrestleMania V (1989) while it was 'Taker's 17th since first appearing at the biggest show of the year at WrestleMania VII (1991).
The match itself was an absolute classic. Both men hit all of their signature moves but near-fall after near-fall created a sense of drama that automatically made it an epic clash as there were multiple occasions where it seemed as though the bout would end, but the two Superstars kept coming back.
The Undertaker hit the normally academic Tombstone during the match, but Michaels recovered while "The Heartbreak Kid" landed the Sweet Chin Music twice and still couldn't put The Streak to rest. This created pulse-pounding action that had the thousands of fans in attendance on the edge of their seats and captivated the audience watching at home.
It was also a divisive match as the audience was split over who they wanted to win as the match progressed.
The bout is also notable for a scary spot where The Undertaker attempted his patented hands-free suicide dive onto Michaels, but Michaels pulled a camera man in his way and 'Taker nearly landed right on his head. The referee began to count, but 'Taker managed to make it back to the ring at the count of nine.
In the end, Michaels attempted to land a moonsalt off the top rope on The Undertaker, but the "Deadman" caught him and absolutely drilled him with a Tombstone Piledriver to put him away and improve to 17-0 in what was easily the Match of the Year for 2009.
Perhaps learning their lesson, the WWE booked The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels to close WrestleMania XXVI after this epic clash was placed in the midcard of WrestleMania XXV.
The Michaels vs. Undertaker match at WrestleMania XXV is easily one of the best matches in the history of the event.
Looking Ahead: Michaels and 'Taker would steal the show again at WrestleMania XXVI as HBK prepared to call it a career. We'll look at that on Tuesday.
Rank-O-Mania: As we go through each year, we will rank each WrestleMania as it comes along. WrestleMania XXV was very hit-or-miss as it had an absolute classic in 'Taker/Michaels, but the main event (Orton-Triple H) didn't deliver. The MITB and Hardy vs. Hardy matches were both good, but the WWE countered it with some bad moments as well. An example is the WWE having Divas from the past return in a battle royal only to not show them on television in order to hide Santino Marella dressing up as a girl and the company finally defending the Intercontinental Championship at the event only to have Rey Mysterio defeat JBL in a nothing-match that lasted 21 seconds. WrestleMania XXV was in some ways a major swing and a miss for the WWE and not even 'Taker-Michaels could save it from landing in the middle of our rankings, between WrestleManias X-8 and 23 in 14th place.
1) WrestleMania X-7
2) WrestleMania XIX
3) WrestleMania X
4) WrestleMania VI
5) WrestleMania III
6) WrestleMania 21
7) WrestleMania XIV
8) WrestleMania VIII
9) WrestleMania XXIV
10) WrestleMania XX
11) WrestleMania 22
12) WrestleMania VII
13) WrestleMania X-8
14) WrestleMania XXV
15) WrestleMania 23
16) WrestleMania V
17) WrestleMania XV
18) WrestleMania 2000
19) WrestleMania XII
20) WrestleMania IV
21) WrestleMania 13
22) WrestleMania I
23) WrestleMania XI
24) WrestleMania IX
25) WrestleMania 2