Wrestlemania 26 buildup – Memorable Wrestlemania Moments

The times fast upon us when on the 28th March, the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona will fill up with wrestling fans (old and new) for the spectacle highlight of the WWE calendar…Wrestlemania 26. With some pretty tasty matches already lined up (none more so than HBK against Undertaker again) i’ve decided to place some of the most memorable moments of the previous 25 Wrestlemania’s here (note this is in no particular order).

1. HULK HOGAN LIFTS ANDRE THE GIANT (WRESTLEMANIA III)

A moment that went down in history and also took the WWE to a new level of making Wrestlemania special. Some  say it is without doubt the greatest moment in WWE history if not THE greatest Wrestlemania moment but it clearly defined what Wrestlemania was about in creating a spectacle and having a moment that is still talked about to this day across the world. Hulk Hogan has to face his former friend and biggest opponent in Andre and the build up to the match was unbelievable and some thought that Andre would walk out the new champion. To win the match Hogan actually bodyslammed Andre (lifting a guy at 500lbs) and dropping the big leg and the crowd went nuts.

Moment caught on YouTube:

2. RIP AMERICAN BAD ASS….WELCOME BACK DEAD MAN (WRESTLEMANIA XX)

The fans at Madison Square Garden, New York witnessed the return of The Dead Man himself to go up against his brother Kane. The match itself was not  the most memorable but the entrance  more than makes up for it, also including the return of Paul Bearer and the minions with the torches lining up awaiting for the Undertaker to come out.  Was great to see the Dead Man persona return, not being biased at all that he was my favourite wrestler growing up.

Moment caught on YouTube:

3. FRIENDS BECOME CHAMPIONS  (WRESTLEMANIA XX)

It was a moment of beauty that two friends would celebrate together victories of their Championship Belt wins respectfully, little knowing how a few years later it would be all the more haunting  as these men now no longer with us. Eddie Guerrero faced off against Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship and won it by pinfall. Chris Benoit on the other hand had to face off in a Triple Threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship against Triple H and Shawn Michaels but won in the end by making Triple H submit to his submission move The Crippler Crossface. At the end Eddie Guerrero came out to congradulate Benoit and hugged and celebrated as confetti fell down on the ring. A great ending moment to Wrestlemania and will be it’s most remembered for years to come.

Moment caught on YouTube:

4. STEVE AUSTIN WINS WITH HELP FROM VINCE! (WRESTLEMANIA X-SEVEN)

Personally my favourite Wrestlemania of all time, X-Seven had some fantastic memorable moments. None of them was as shocking as when Stone Cold Steve Austin went on to face The Rock for the WWF title and would defeat The Rock….with help from none other than nemesis Vince McMahon.  The Texas crowd went nuts when they realised what was about to happen as Stone Cold done his best to destroy The Rock and the heel turn was complete some more when Vince came out to help him destroy The Rock. The defining moment of the peak of the WWF (well WWE) with the pair shaking hands and having a beer to the disgust of the fans closing out on Wrestlemania. It would take some special Wrestlemania to compete with X-Seven.

Moment caught on YouTube:

5. ULTIMATE VICTORY (WRESTLEMANIA VI)

More hyped up than the Hulksters match against Andre? Most definitely. better match? Absolutely. Both of them were fan favourites and faces of the WWF…and also the little fact they were also both Champions (WWF, Intercontinetal respectfully).  The Ultimate Warrior after a long match defeated Hulk Hogan by pinfall. Hulk Hogan, teary eyed, handed over the title to The Ultimate Warrior hugged each other. Fans in the Toronto Skydome went nuts as Warrior put himself in the history books of the WWF forever.

Moment caught on YouTube:

6. AUSTIN PASSES OUT TO BRET HART’S SHARPSHOOTER (WRESTLEMANIA 13)

The Attitude Era was here. Bret Hart didn’t like it. Austin didn’t give a shit. The no nonsense attitude from Austin took the WWF to a new level and it’s peak which lasted until he retired from wrestling. This was a no DQ submission match in which both men gave it their all and gave a match that many believe was the greatest match at Wrestlemania. The defining moment was when Hart had Austin locked in a sharpshooter, with a bloody faced Austin screaming in pain trying to get out of it, only to pass out. Hart may have won but Austin got a standing ovation from the Rosemount Horizon crowd. A certain  Ken Shamrock was referee of the match.

Moment caught on YouTube:

7. HBK WINS IRON MAN TITLE MATCH (WRESTLEMANIA XII)

The entrance set the tone for Shawn Michaels living up to his name of being ‘Mr Wrestlemania’ by zip-lining through the stadium….definitely the best entrance ever. Already seen as the ‘guy’ to take the WWF to  the next level at the time, Hart was  beginning to age but both gave the fans a fantastic match, a 60 minute Iron Man Match. In the end, HBK lived his childhood dream and beat Hart to become the new WWF champion.

Moment caught on YouTube:

8. FATHER VS SON – SHANE GOES COAST TO COAST (WRESTLEMANIA X-SEVEN)

The Alliance VS WWF storyline was about to be born, this match was a taster of what was to come. The storyline leading up to this was well documented, especially with Shane owning WCW and Mick Foley was going to be the special guest referee. There was many moments that should be mentioned (Linda after several months in a wheelchair and being tormented by Vince and his, um, actions with Trish Stratus, finally rises to boot Vince in the balls), but the main moment is when Shane places the trash can on his father, then topped the match off with a coast-to-coast dropkick on the can hitting Vince in the face. Shane ends up winning by pinfall.

Moment caught on YouTube:

9. THE PEOPLE’S CHAMPIONS….THE ROCK VS HOLLYWOOD HOGAN (WRESTLEMANIA X8)

Dubbed ‘Icon VS Icon’ this was a match for the ages, as a hero from the past came back to the WWE to face off against a hero of the future, The Rock.  The crowd was virtually splitting between the two icons, the crowd beginning to cheer for Hogan at the start, both giving it their all for the crowd. As The Rock won, the two shook hands as a sign of respect. Very soon after, Hogan’s nWo partners, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, took offense to Hogan’s sportsmanship and attacked him, only for The Rock to come back to help out. As further signs of respect between the two, The Rock urged Hogan to pose for the crowd and boy did he. It was great to see the two icons of the WWE in the same ring let alone face off and give the fans a good match.

Moment caught on YouTube:

10. STONE COLD ERA BEGINS! TYSON KNOCKS OUT HBK (WRESTLEMANIA XIV)

Suffering a bad injury from the Royal Rumble , Shawn Michaels went to Wrestlemania to defend his WWF title against Stone Cold Steve Austin. The match itself was great to watch, especially with Austin and his don’t give a fuck attitude, but also with Mike Tyson on the sidelines as a enforcer in the match. Austin won with a stunner and the moment came when he tossed Tyson a 3:16 shirt. Michaels, angered by this stood up to Tyson…only to be knocked out by him.  Not only did this create such a buzz not seen since the Hogan Era, this would also be Shawn Michaels last match for around five years due to the injuries he sustained at the Royal Rumble.

Moments Caught on YouTube:

11. EDGE SPEARS JEFF HARDY FROM 20FT LADDER (WRESTLEMANIA X-SEVEN)

This match had many special moments as the ante between the tag teams increased with a help from an extra member (inclusions of Rhyno, Lita & Spike Dudley coming to their teams aid) and many high risk moves off ladders and people going through tables. One moment that will always remain with me is the feeling of shock when Edge went to the top (well mostly the top) of the 20 foot ladder and speared Jeff Hardy,mid air,  who was dangling on the Tag Team belts. In  the end the winners were Edge & Christian and this was at a time when you really cared about the Tag Teams and who won them.

Moment caught on YouTube:

12. SHELTON BENJAMIN T-BONE’S EDGE OFF THE TOP OF THE LADDER (WRESTLEMANIA 21)

At Wrestlemania 21, fans witnessed the birth of a new type of match…Money In The Bank. Chris Jericho pitched the idea then in 2005 and it was signed up to be on the card for Wrestlemania 21. The match included Jericho himself, Christian, Chris Benoit, Edge, Kane and Shelton Benjamin. The match as full of twists and turns and had a highlight reel of it’s own in the form of Shelton Benjamin who in the special moment that’s mentioned, T Boned Edge off the top of the ladder and winning over the fans at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.  Money In The Bank would become a essential mixture onto the Wrestlemania lineup and is now becoming an exclusive PPV in 2010.

Moment caught on YouTube:

13. EDGE SPEARS FOLEY THROUGH BURNING TABLE (WRESTLEMANIA 22)

Foley stated he was gutted that he never had a Wrestlemania moment. Edge was feeling gutted because he believed he deserved to be at the main event. Thrown together in a hardcore match, the two provided a moment that gave one a wrestlemania moment, and another a chance to shine and to show that he can bring the goods to a main event. At the time Mick Foley was in control of the match, only for Lita to interfer (again woman!) and hit Foley with a barb wired bat to to where the sun don’t shine. This gave Edge the time to get back and then performed a spear by going through the ring ropes, leading them to fall onto the table in flames on the outside. Edge would end up to win the match by pinfall. Great moment.

Moment caught on YouTube:

14.BROCK LESNAR GOES FOR THE SHOOTING STAR PRESS…..HOLY SHIT! (WRESTLEMANIA 19)

Brock Lesnar. The man made quite an impression in his time in the WWE before making a move to UFC. He brought the pain to his opponents, but at Wrestlemania 19 he also brought it on himself. How the hell Brock got up to carry on I never know. This matchup between Brock and Kurt was classic ‘mania matchup and these two had a great future ahead of them in the WWE (how quickly the business changes). Brock hit Angle with the F5 and decided to go to the top rope to attempt the Shooting Star Press….a move he hadn’t done in years. Brock seemed to misjudge the distance or rotation and landed on his head, causing Kurt Angle  and the ref as well as the fans to freak out. Brock would end up winning the match by pinfall in the end after performing another F5 on Kurt.

Moment caught on YouTube:

15. RANDY SAVAGE AND MISS ELIZABETH REUNITE (WRESTLEMANIA 7)

The match was like a late night great soap opera…for guys. Randy Savage faced off against Ultimate Warrior in a classic ‘career vs career’ match in a business where people don’t retire, they take a break and come back down in the line for a new feud or storyline. Warrior was pissed at Savage for costing him the WWF title at the Royal Rumble where as Savage was pissed at Warrior for refusing him a shot at the title. Cue Wrestlemania. The match ending up being a classic, especially when Savage used his finisher, flying elbow drop, FIVE TIMES and Warrior kicked out from them. Suddenly The Ultimate Warrior looked like the strongest man in the world to kick out from five finishers (sometimes it’s odd now in the business for wrestlers to kick out from two) and went on a rampage to end up pinning Savage…with his boot to his chest. Savage was then attacked by Sensational Sherri after the match, only to be chased away by Miss Elizabeth, who had not been with Savage in over two years. Lovers reunited.

Moment caught on YouTube:

16. UNDERTAKER CHOKESLAMS TRIPLE H INTO THE CROWD (WRESTLEMANIA X-SEVEN)

It was a match that seemed to be there to fill the card. In fact this became a classic matchup between the two men who went into different levels of their persona. At this time, Undertaker only became the biker mentalist that year and Triple H  also only became sledgehammer happy that year. The build upto the match was great and the match surpassed peoples expectations. In one moment, the referee was out cold and the two men took the fight into the crowd, then climbed the scaffolding and went to the top. Triple H hit the Undertaker with a chair shot and as he went for another one, Undertaker grabbed him by the neck and chokeslammed him over the edge and into the crowd below. It was a great moment in a match which ended with the Undertaker winning by pinfall, continuing his streak.

Moment caught on YouTube:

17. KURT ANGLE TURNS SWEET CHIN MUSIC INTO THE ANKLE LOCK (WRESTLEMANIA XXI)

Now of the dream matchups for wrestling fans and on my list of favourite wrestling matches of all time. The moment arrives when Shawn Michaels has Kurt Angle on the mat and is tuning up the band for his finisher, Sweet Chin Music. As he goes for the kick, out of nowhere, Kurt gets back up to his feet, grabs HBK’s leg and reserves it into the Ankle Lock. It’s the fact Angle would pull the Ankle Lock out of nowhere most of the time but the way it was done and timed just put me into shock when I first seen it. The rest of the match I cannot desribe other than you should check it out for yourself. Angle won by submission.

Moment caught on YouTube:

18. OWEN HART BEATS HIS BROTHER BRET (WRESTLEMANIA X)

Best opening match in Wrestlemania ever? Quite possibly. Bret had to deal with the Title match after this but who expected the match to be so good? The kids actually cheered for Bret where as now in the current Wrestlemania 26 storyline between him & Vince, some of the kids are looking at him and wondering ‘Who the hell is this walking fossil?’ This match would also lead to a fued between the brothers…and why is this one of the best moments of wrestlemania? Well, one, It was the first brother vs brother match and two…..Owen WON!

Moment caught on YouTube:

19. SHAWN MICHAELS SPLASHES ONTO SCOTT HALL IN THE LADDER MATCH (WRESTLEMANIA X)

The ladder of all ladder matches that set the standard for what was to come. Just the image of HBK leaping from the top of the ladder onto Scott Hall is a great moment and the match ain’t to bad either though i’m sure you know how it ends (HBK mostly seems to lose at Wrestlemania). For people that have not watched this match hurry up and do so.

Moment caught on YouTube:

20. JEFF HARDY’S SWANTON OFF TOP OF THE LADDER (WRESTLEMANIA 2000)

The ladder match where the tag team feud between The Hardy’s, The Dudley’s and Edge & Christian. This is the moment where Jeff (on many ocassions after this) swantons off the ladder to take out someone. The first person to be introduced to Jeff’s madness was Bubba Ray. Edge & Christian went on to win the belts and next Wrestlemania brought TLC II.

Moment caught on YouTube:

21. Ric Flair Waves Goodbye  (Wrestlemania XXIV)

Okay so maybe this moment is tainted somewhat due to Flair wheelchairing around recently on TNA but this was the moment that a career ended….well, it should’ve remained that way. After a match which leading up to it, should have been awful, ended up being pretty good. But the defining moment was the end of Flair not backing down and getting back up as HBK paused over what he was going to do. Sweet Chin Music, pinfall and Flair’s finished. Standing ovation and waves to the crowd lead to a memorable moment in Wrestlemania.

Moment caught on YouTube: