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GC: The K Files – Top Performers of Wrestlemania

Welcome Canton Universe to another edition of the K Files, I’m your host, Doctor David K., and today we talk Wrestlemania.  The Granddaddy of Them All is arguably the highlight of every year, bringing us new stars, and creating legends.  Over 250 competitors have stepped into the ring to take their claim at glory, and while numerous superstars have had their hand raised … only a few can truly say they became stars.  On today’s list, we look at 15 competitors that made their names at the Spring Classic, and what made them stand out from the crowd.  Along with the superstars, you’ll find their records, which Wrestlemania you’ll find them at, and the match you need to see to understand why they’re the best of the best.

15. Andre The Giant – (2-3), (I, II, III, V, VI)

Match You Need To See: Wrestlemania III – Andre The Giant vs. Hulk Hogan

There was an aura that Andre had that had never been seen before.  It was more than his size that made him the character he became.  It was the way he moved, the way he talked, hell, he even glared like a Giant.  While he was much more agile and athletic before the Wrestlemania days came around, the slow, lumbering way that he moved around the ring would add to his persona of an unbeatable force to be reckoned with. Before his match with Hogan at Wrestlemania III, he had yet to be pinned or forced to submit in fifteen years.  That build up is what made the match between him and Hogan so epic.  It was the classic tale of unstoppable force meeting immovable object.  In the end, Hogan body-slammed the 525lb giant, and made an iconic moment that still is etched into the minds of the WWE Universe.  Andre would serve as one of the foundations on which Wrestlemania stood for, the larger than life personalities.  With his hands around Bob Uecker, and Big John Studd looking up from the mat after a body slam, or Ted DiBiase buying the WWE Championship from him, we’ll always remember Andre for his Wrestlemania moments more than anything else.

14. The Undertaker – (17-0), (XI,XII,13,XIV,XV,X7,X8,XIX,XX,21,22,23,XIV,XV)

Match You Need To See: Wrestlemania XXV Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels

The Phenom, The Deadman, The Demon of Death Valley, whatever you call the Undertaker will never truly encompass the staple of Wrestlemania that he is.  For a man who’s feuded with the greatest legends out there, and had some of the greatest matches of all time, it’s hard not to talk about “The Streak” when talking about the Undertaker.  We’ll never know for certain when the idea of the streak came to fruition, but every match he’s had in the past decade has had just that much more intrigue because you wonder if this is the day the streak ends.  While the streak is notable itself, some of the competition during it wasn’t as notable.  Matches against Giant Gonzalez, Jimmy Snuka,and  Sycho Sid were less than stellar.  Poor booking aside, the Undertaker seems to be like a fine wine getting better with age as some claim his match last year at Wrestlemania XXV to be among the list of all time greats.  This year already is shaping up to be a classic, as it appears to be a Streak vs. Career match with Shawn Michaels.  It’s hard to say if they’ll duplicate the magic that they created last year, but if there’s one thing that I’ve learned over the past 17 Wrestlemania matches the Undertaker has been a part of … it’s that when he’s put in the ring with top caliber talent … he always seems to come through.

13. Ted DiBiase – (4-3), (IV,VI,VII,VIII,IX)

Match You Need To See: Wrestlemania IV – Tournament for WWE Championship

The Million Dollar Man was the consummate heel persona in the mid-80’s.  His stable of bodyguards, his hired assassins, his own championship belt made him bigger than life.  While playing both roles of manager and wrestler at Wrestlemania, DiBiase’s laugh would echo through the thoughts of countless fans just wanting somebody to squash his diamond encrusted vest into his giant smirk he had on his face.  DiBiase would see ample time in the ring during Wrestlemania IV, having 3 matches that night, with the last one being a classic for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship with Randy Savage.  He would go on to build his stable with the likes of Irwin R. Schyster, Virgil, even The Undertaker and Stone Cold Steve Austin.  His persona mixed with his in-ring technical prowess made the Million Dollar Man one of the greatest heels in Wrestlemania history, and reminds us that “Everybody’s got a price”.

12. Chris Benoit – (3-4),(2000,X7,XIX,XX,22,23)

Match You Need To See: Wrestlemania XX – Chris Benoit vs. HHH vs. Shawn Michaels

The one thing you could count on Chris Benoit for was a good match at Wrestlemania.  It’s hard (not impossible) to find a situation where he didn’t give your money’s worth inside the ropes.  The Toothless Aggression of this man won his first title within just a matter of months of signing with the WWF at Wrestlemania 2000.  He would go on to have the first main event at Wrestlemania that would end in a submission, as he forced HHH to submit to the Crippler Crossface at Wrestlemania XX to win the World Heavyweight Championship.  He was a technical machine, with a wide variety of moves in his arsenal to win over crowds.  Some are critical of his match times, as he was not in the main event picture until four years after his arrival with the company.  Still, it’s hard not to have that image of him on the top rope at Wrestlemania XX celebrating his win with confetti in the background, and hopefully history treats his feats the same way.

11. Hunter Hearst Helmsley – (6-7),(XII,XIII,XIV,XV,2000,X7,X8,XIX,XX,21,22,XXIV,XXV)

Match You Need To See: Wrestlemania XX – HHH vs. Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels

A lot of people stand on a fence and look at the two options you have with Triple H.  You either love him, or you hate him.  Either way, it’s hard to say that he hasn’t been a big part of Wrestlemania.  From his days as a mid-carder, to the main events for the World Titles, Triple H has elevated his “Game” for the Grandest Stage of Them All.  Working from all different angles, as a heel, face, favorite, underdog, Helmsley seems to get the job done every time he’s in that ring.  Aside from a couple poor booking decisions early in his career, he has used the event to boost himself into stardom, and then used it to create new stars like Benoit and Cena.  As much crap as people give him for being the son-in-law to the boss, it’s hard to look at him and say he’s not a company guy.  He didn’t take any shortcuts, bode his time in the mid-card until the time was right for him to go over … and he did.

10. Ultimate Warrior – (4-1),(IV,V,VI,VII,XII)

Match You Need To See: Wrestlemania VII – Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage

There are more than enough people out there that can denounce the Ultimate Warrior’s ability in the ring.  Plenty of wrestlers that have worked alongside him have gone on to publicly trash his recklessness inside the ropes.  However, his energy and presence in the ring were too much for the detractors.  His matches against Hogan and Savage in the early days were some of the things that hooked kids at the time, and are the fans you see now booing guys like Cena for pandering to the younger audience.  While the Warrior’s antics would grow old and tiresome after just a few short years, and his moveset shown to be a little more than lacking, he still lives on as one of the wildest guys to main event Wrestlemania.

(Writer’s Side Note:  Last year I was a Store Manager of a Gamestop in the Chicago-land region, and we got the chance to go to Las Vegas for our annual convention.  While there, we had to come up with a cheer for our markets, which were the North, South, and West Markets.  Thinking I had to do something bigger than wave a towel, or hold a dumb sign that my boss made for me, I brainstormed with two good friends of mine, Charles and Eric, and we came up with me dressing up like the Ultimate Warrior and running around the convention stadium.  In front of thousands of people, I made a complete and utter jackass of myself running around with big hair, face paint, and arm/leg bands.  Still, hundreds of people came up to me and took pictures with me talking about how they loved the Ultimate Warrior.  So if any of the readers remember that fool from the convention and are reading this, yes, I am the North Market Maniac, haha)

9. Edge – (5-2),(2000,X7,X8,21,22,XXIV,XXV)

Match You Need To See: Wrestlemania X7 Edge & Christian vs. Dudley Boys vs. Hardys

How many guys watch a baseball game, and say they’re going to become baseball players and do it?  Probably a ton.  How many guys watch a football game and say they’re going to go to the Super Bowl and do it?  Probably a handful.  How many guys sit ringside at Wrestlemania and say they’re going to Main Event … and do it?  Edge does.  From his 5-second poses with Christian to his almost near psychotic looks as he sets up a spear to becoming the first Mr. Money-in-the-Bank,  it’s hard to deny his Wrestlemania stardom.  The ladder matches with the Hardys and Dudleys were just the beginning of his career.  He rose through the ranks, like any good Superstar would, until he found his niche as the Ultimate Opportunist.  There are many that are critical of Edge for not being entertaining, but it’s hard to back that claim up.  He has so much range, just as Triple H did at this time in his career.  From comedic, to dramatic, from heel, to face, Edge has done it all.  This year he’ll see time in the ring with Chris Jericho, and time will tell if we see if it’ll live up to all the hype.

8. Owen Hart – (5-1),(X,XI,XII,XIV,XV)

Match You Need To See: Wrestlemania X – Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart

What made Owen Hart so great was how he carried himself in the ring.  A master technician and a great storyteller, he was able to absorb you into the matches and make you feel for the competitors.  Whether you loved his character or hated it, he was able to get your attention with his performance, and this led to some of the greatest Wrestlemania moments in history.  It’s hard for anybody to make a top matches list and not include his match with his brother Bret at Wrestlemania X in there somewhere.  The build-up for the match was great, bringing in the family dynamic of older-younger brothers, and lead to one of the all time greatest performances.  Owen would go on to create his own identity aside from his brother, and flourish both as an individual and tag performer.  Some wonder what the rest of his career would have been like had it not been tragically cut short, but it’s hard not to say that he lived up to his name during his time with the WWF.

7. Kurt Angle – (3-5),(2000,X7,X8,XIX,XX,21,22)

Match You Need To See: Wrestlemania 21 – Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels

The Olympian knows how to have good matches.  The only thing people worried about is whether or not he would be able to have a personality to back it up.  We saw the G-Rated superstar when he came in, and then he turned into an obsessive psychopath that he carries to this day.  It’s hard to say if we’ll ever see him on the Wrestlemania stage again, but he’s given us plenty to remember already.  What really benefited Kurt was the great competition.  From his first Wrestlemania with Benoit and Jericho, to his technical masterpiece with Benoit at X7, to the instant classic with Michaels at 21, he fulfilled everybody’s hopes for him coming into the WWE.  It should be no shocker that when he left, he’d become the face of whatever company he landed.  We can only hope that he returns to the company to finish his career off with the company that made him a star.

6. Bret Hart – (7-4),(III,V,VI,VII,VIII,IX,X,XI,XII,XIII)

Match You Need To See: Wrestlemania XIII – Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin

It’s hard to be a Bret Hart mark, and write objectively about him.  Separating emotions from reality, he stole the show at Wrestlemania X with his brother Owen, Wrestlemania XII with Michaels, and Wrestlemania 13 with Austin.  Before these singles matches, he spent his early Wrestlemania years getting used to the huge stage with his tag partner Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart.  These matches seemed to only be mere preparations for what would come.  Once he hit the big stage, he was held back a bit by Hogan’s politics backstage.  Regardless, he persevered, and was awarded the title at Wrestlemania X.  He would follow this up with one of the greatest Ironman matches with Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania XII.  He would then cap of his Wrestlemania career with what some consider the best match in Wrestlemania with Austin at Wrestlemania 13.  Not only was this a great match, not only was it a great finish, but it launched Austin into super-stardom.  Hart passed the torch when guys like Hogan before him weren’t ever ready to do it.  Now, we wait to see how Hart will be involved with this year’s event.  You want build-up for a match?  How many matches can say they’ve been stirring the pot for over a decade before they even signed the contracts?

5. Steve Austin – (5-2),(XII,XIII,XIV,XV,X7,X8,XIX)

Match You Need To See: Wrestlemania XIII – Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart

Can you name a problem in the late 90’s that couldn’t be solved with a Stone Cold Stunner?  From his first match at Wrestlemania XII against Savio Vega, until his last against The Rock at Wrestlemania XIX, Stone Cold was the quintessential badass that you cheered for.  Even when he “turned” on the fans and aligned himself with the ultimate bad-guy in Mr. McMahon, fans wanted to cheer for him beating The Rock. When you watched Steve Austin at Wrestlemania, you were watching that little demon on your shoulder go to work … that demon who flipped people off, drank beer, and beat the hell out of his boss.  Some people say the era of Stone Cold died when the WWE went PG, but if you watch his matches that he had … aside from a few times he’d flip the bird, or celebrate with a 6-pack, his matches were near flawless.  Bret Hart once said that Steve Austin was one of the best guys to work with, mostly because they both knew how to put a show on while being safe at the same time.  Austin would face off against The Rock in 3 of his 7 matches, yet every time they entered the ring, it was a new experience.  These guys were the new Hogan/Savage, and their matches still hold up to this day.  Austin’s character, in-ring ability, “it” factor, and one hell of a finishing move, all tie together to make him one of the true legends of Wrestlemania.

4. Randy Savage – (7-4), (II,III,IV,V,VI,VII,VIII,IX)

Match You Need To See: Wrestlemania III – Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat

Look up Unsung Hero in the WWE Dictionary, and you won’t find Randy Savage.  Mostly because Vince wants you to forget the hard work this man put into Wrestlemania.  The first decade of Wrestlemania saw Savage perform at his peak and captivate audiences, whether as a bad guy smashing Ricky Steamboat’s larynx, or become a tournament champion over Ted DiBiase, or as the jilted tag-team partner of Hulk Hogan.  It’s unfortunate that he’s just a caricature now in the memories of wrestling fans, because this man knew how to bring it when he was in the ring.  What catapults this man to the top of the list, however, was the storylines behind his matches.  He had some of the most intriguing stories ever told in the squared-circle, and mixed that with some great in-ring ability to bring you a level of entertainment rarely seen.  You NEED to watch Randy Savage in a main event at Wrestlemania.  No matter what your taste, he’ll always entertain.

3. Hulk Hogan – (8-3),(I,II,III,V,VI,VII,VIII,IX,X8,XIX)

Match You Need To See: Wrestlemania VI – Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior

Hulkamania.  What else need be said?  Eight of the first ten Wrestlemania main events had Hogan involved.  It was his larger-than-life ego that put him there.  He was the closest thing wrestling has ever had to a superhero (no offense SuperCena, Hurricane, Rosey-S.H.I.T., or Mighty Molly).  While his debatable backstage politics may have held many performers at the time back, he still drew sold-out crowds at these events.  Hogan was a blend of the MTV generation that was just starting to form, and the large wrestlers of yester-year, making him just the guy to make these early events special.  Nearly everybody who watched the WWF during the 80’s has their “Hulk-Moment”, whether it be a good one or a bad one.  From tagging with Mr. T, to slamming Andre, to defeating Sgt. Slaughter/terrorism, the man did it all.  Being an Icon of the 80’s brought Wrestlemania notoriety, and it’s hard not to put him at the top of the list.

2. The Rock – (4-4),(13,XIV,XV,2000,X7,X8,XIX,XX)

Match You Need To See: Wrestlemania X7 – The Rock vs. Steve Austin

Simply put, if this guy snapped his fingers right now and said he was headlining Wrestlemania, would anybody really mind?  If not for a jump to Hollywood, it’s hard to say what heights he would have reached.  While we never got to see dream matches with Michaels, Hart, or Angle … we were treated to some amazing matchups like Austin, Hogan, and Triple H.  His catchphrases were golden, his moves were immaculate.  He was the personification of perfection.  It’s hard to say this guy had a bad match under the lights of Wrestlemania … as long as you forget his opener against the Sultan.  Shamrock, Austin (three times), Triple H, and Evolution all were part of the evolution of The Rock.  He now claims he has nothing left to prove, opting out of matches against Cena at Wrestlemania.  We always will want one more match … but who would be perfect?  Maybe …

1. “Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels – (6-10),(V,VI,VII,VIII,IX,X,XI,XII,XIV,XV,XIX,XX,21,22,23,XXIV,XXV)

Match You Need To See: Wrestlemania XXV – Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker

Next to the Undertaker, he has the most appearances at Wrestlemania.  While he may not have the streak of wins that the Undertaker holds, he surely has a streak of stellar matches that no performer can come close to.  The evolution of the Heartbreak Kid from a tag team upstart to a cocky world champion to a Legend has been a trip like none other.  It’s hard to not write pages upon pages on what makes Michaels the one and only Mr. Wrestlemania.  He’s like Michael Jordan, always raising his game to new levels when it comes to the big show.  Whatever needs to be done, whether it be raise the level of the talent around him, or steal the show with a superkick … Michaels always has stepped up to the plate and delivered.  Last year’s match against the Undertaker saw Michaels add yet another five-star match to his Wrestlemania collection … with this year yield the same?  Will this be the last time we see Mr. Wrestlemania on the Granddaddy of Them All?  My guess is no, but then again, when has Michaels ever been one to do the expected?

As you can see, most of the men on this list are more than past their primes.  The stars from today have to carry the torch that these guys have carried for over 25 years.  With well over 300 matches to serve as a foundation, what will the future hold for these young Superstars who are looking to make themselves Legends like few before them.  Will they take pages from the books of the many shown here today?  Or will they write their own future, and etch their own place into the memories of the WWE Universe?  If the past has taught us anything, it’s that the only place to earn their spot is on this night.

Thanks for reading, and as always, follow my endless pursuit for a reply from Serena on Twitter @DaveTheAwesome.  Feedback is always appreciated, and you can email me at MLBTopProspect@gmail.com.  Next week I’ll be bringing you a list of the Top WTF Moments of Wrestlemania … whether they be the good, the bad, or the ugly.  Please comment with your own WTF moments and your own list of top Wrestlemania performers.  Thank you again, and see you next week on the K Files.

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  1. February 24, 2010 at 4:24 PM

    Very well done, a great read. I can’t really argue with anyone you have on the list, except I’d place Undertaker higher, maybe swap him with Owen.

  2. Freaksrcool
    February 24, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    Great Read!! It was fun and brief. I was expecting Hogan to be on top of the list but seeing Shawn Michaels up there made me really happy. I truly agree that he indeed is the only Mr. Wrestlemania. And Bret Hart will be right up there next to him. Bret and Shawn and their feuds back in the day is what helped me to become a wrestling fan that i still am :)

  3. Sam
    February 24, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    Didn’t The Rock Face Angle at No Mercy in 2000?

    • David K.
      February 24, 2010 at 5:15 PM

      They never competed at Wrestemania together.

  4. JCITY617
    February 24, 2010 at 4:50 PM

    GOOD LIST. I DO THINK UNDERTAKER SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE TOP TEN THOUGH.

  5. Sargon
    February 24, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    Great read. I’d argue Hardyz and Christian should be with Edge, but I stopped watching for a number of years so I’m not sure about the quality of their individual matches. Wrestlemania X7 and the TLC match just resonates in my mind when Edge, Christian, Matt or Jeff gets mentioned.

  6. Luke
    February 24, 2010 at 5:10 PM

    We saw The Rock face Angle at No Mercy 2000 and No Way out 2001. This was a good read though.

    • David K.
      February 24, 2010 at 5:23 PM

      Again, those PPV’s weren’t Wrestlemania … the stages of No Mercy and No Way Out are nothing compared to Wrestlemania. No Mercy 2000 saw roughly 540,000 buys, No Way Out 2001 saw roughly 640,000. Wrestlemanias in those respective years saw 940,000 and 872,000 buys. That’s 632,000 more people watching Wrestlemania. There’s a reason Wrestlemania is where stars are made.

  7. Jon
    February 24, 2010 at 5:23 PM

    Edge was in MITB at WM23. He is 5-3.

    • David K.
      February 24, 2010 at 5:25 PM

      The notes of the stats weren’t included unfortunately at the time of writing, as they were slated for a later post. Any Battle Royal losses were not included in the W/L records, while winning them was included. A Battle Royal was anything that consisted of more than 4 individual competitors, or 4 tag teams. The winner was given a win however.

  8. Tyson
    February 24, 2010 at 5:43 PM

    Awesome job, man. Every one has their own personal list of who would be the Top 10 Wrestlemania performers but, I wouldn’t argue too much against anyone on this list. Keep up the good work.

  9. Aaron
    February 24, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    While not being a hug fan of HHH as a politic guy, and a guy that stirred up shit, I think he needs to move up this list. Using your 15, I’d list them this way:

    15. Ultimate Warrior
    14. Owen Hart
    13. Ted Dibiase
    12. Andre the Giant
    11. Chris Benoit
    10. The Undertaker
    9. Kurt Angle
    8. Edge
    7. HHH
    6. Bret Hart
    5. Steve Austin
    4. Randy Savage
    3. The Rock
    2. Hulk Hogan
    1. Shawn Michaels

    It’s hard to put Taker higher as much as his streak means to ‘Mania now, but I can’t put him ahead of any of the guys ahead of him. I am not a Hogan fan, but even I am not dumb enough to omit him from the top 3. And because of his importance as nearly single handedly main eventing Mania for a decade (and putting asses in seats) I have to place him there, and ahead of Rock. HBK is #1.. I can’t put anyone ahead of him, and I am not a Michaels mark by any means.

    PERSONALLY, there’s a couple guys I take off the list and replace with other guys:

    Ultimate Warrior – gotta come off. I was a Warrior maniac as a kid.. but his claim is Mania 5 thru 7.. with 5 really being his best pure match (thanks to Rick Rude, his best opponent). I don’t think the longevity is there, nor the match quality.. even taking into account his popularity and the importance of holding the IC and World titles together.

    Owen Hart – Another guy I loved but his Mania matches weren’t memorable other than his match with Bret. He was there a lot and I remember them, yes, but they don’t stick out to a casual fan, nor in Mania lore overall. Owen was one of my favs, no doubt. Cheerd for him over Bret every time.. and thought the BRet/Owen feud was one of the WWF’s best pre-attitude feuds… but not a part of this list.

    Ted Dibiase – I love Ted.. but I’d have him at #16 if I could have a number 16.. Maybe #15, but I’ll explain who I’d have in the top 15, especially when we’re talking about Mania moments and PERFORMERS.. Most will disagree.. but here’s who I put in:

    Jake Roberts – The man was a gift to wrestling. Stood out, so different.. could do nothing but at the same time be doing everything. Memorable matches.. good opponets.. he was awesome. 5 with Andre, 4 with Rick Rude and an often forgtten 15 min draw, 3 against Honky Tonk Man (with Alice Cooper), He wrestled the Undertaker.. (blindfold match with Martel.. ehh.. ok) but the point is he was memorable a great performer and if he had the size, would have been a main eventer. Jake belongs on the list.

    Roddy Piper – Too many memorable moments.. the backlot brawl with Goldust and going back to Mania 1 with Hogan, Mania 2 with M. T (and that crossed into mainstream) Mania 3 with Adonnis and since we’re talking abotu entertainment.. the Pipers Pit at Mania 5 with Morton Downey is as memorable a moent as any from Wrestlemania 5. Painting himelf half black and half white at 6 against Bad News Brown.. a wrestling classic with Bret for the IC title at Wrestlemania 8.. Piper would not only be on this list, but would fight to crack the top 10.. I think he’s that vital.

    Bobby Heenan – Bobby was there during many memorable Wrestlemania moments.. weather it’s holding down Warrior’s feet to give Rude the IC title.. to escorting Andre down the aisle (on that weird mini-ring thing).. bobby was a huge part of Mania.. and I don’t think the first 9 Mania’s are the same without Bobby.. again, if we’re making this a list of just wrestlers, I’d not include Heenan.. but I think he’s important enough of a performer that he’d make my list. I know you made this a lsit of “competitors” I just feel sometimes Bobby didn’t get his due. Greatest manager ever, and he did it in the Wrestlemania age.

    This post nearly turned into a column, sorry guys. :) Anyone else have omissions/additions they’d make? I liek lists, good at sparking debate and conversation.

    • Jacob
      February 24, 2010 at 7:26 PM

      Remember that time you predicted a 1.1 rating for the first episode of NXT?

      • Aaron
        February 25, 2010 at 8:57 AM

        That was my prediction, yes. I see they pulled a 1.3.. I am surprised. Let’s see if it’s maintained.

        The rating could have been higher.. not THAT much advertising went into this new show. (It wasn’t pounded into our skulls…)

        If WWE is willing to blur the lines of Kayfabe just a bit, I think the show will be more successful.. I’m watching next week.

  10. Rance
    February 24, 2010 at 6:55 PM

    Undertaker shouldn’t be in the top ten because, even though he has the streak, his matches have been mediocre at best. His good matches at ‘Mania are few and far in between. Robert Horry has 7 Championship Rings in the NBA, but no one claims him as one of the greatest players ever just because he has those 7.

  11. jay
    February 24, 2010 at 7:09 PM

    Have you ever seen Andre the Giant before Wrestlemania?

    Wrestlemania did nothing but diminish Andre’s legend. It only showed how old, broken down, and slow time had made the gentle giant. If you had grown up with Andre before Wrestlemania, you would realize that he was a special athlete, (Andre could actually throw a standing drop kick.)

    I honestly think that you are the only person on earth that thinks the “slow lumbering way that Andre moved added to his persona…” (If others agree with you, I will eat crow.) Anyone who watched a match with Andre from the WM days would only need to take an Antonio Inoki vs. Ali strategy to beat Andre.

    Don’t feel bad you probably were just young and believed everything Vince McMahon told you.

    As much as I hate H3 and the Undertaker, you have them ranked too low. I think Shawn Michaels and Owen Hart are ranked too high.

    All in all, I think everything except for the Andre material is pretty good. Take a look at Aaron’s feedback, because they are solid critiques. I do not remember my early WM history, but does Captain Lou Albano deserve consideration like the Brain. Captain Lou in the Cindy Lauper video was one of the biggest crossover moments in wrestling history.

  12. JimBob
    February 24, 2010 at 7:53 PM

    What? No Earthquake? Scandalous.

    Very good article though, exactly the type of piece I want to read. Like a few here i’d prpobably put the Undertaker a bit higher, i’d also have to put the Hulkster at number one though as without him there is no Wrestlemania I don’t think.

    Aaron has a good point on a few of his picks, Piper and Heenan especially. You can’t get rid of the Warrior though, bonkers though he maybe, I think the writer’s note just shows how much his legend will live on to the point where if you went out into the street and asked a random 20 people if they know the Ultimate Warrior you’ll get a lot of positive responses. More so than Shawn Michaels i’d say.

  13. Matt
    February 24, 2010 at 8:04 PM

    In my opinion, all of these Shawn Michaels matches are **** or more.
    vs Undertaker WM25
    vs Ric Flair WM24
    vs John Cena WM23
    vs Kurt Angle WM21
    v Chris Benoit and Triple H WM20
    vs Chris Jericho WM19
    vs Bret Hart WM12
    vs Razor Ramon WM10

    Plus good/entertaining matches against Steve Austin, Vince McMahon and even Diesel. Thats why Shawn Michaels is the best Wrestlemania performer.

  14. JimBob
    February 24, 2010 at 8:17 PM

    I take your point on Shawn Michael’s great matches, I just thinkn that without Hulk Hogan there is no Wrestlemania for him to have those matches.

    I definately wasn’t advocating the Warrior being above Michaels, just pointing out that for the average joe, the Warrior is better known. Probably (I haven’t actually tested that theory out).

    • Aaron
      February 25, 2010 at 9:07 AM

      I think my point is that we’re talking Wrestlemania ONLY. And I’m not so sure you’ll find more people who will know Ultimate Warrior over Shawn Michaels. In any event, this is a list for wrestlign fans as joe schmoe is not reading this list who may have ehard of the Ultimate Warrior.

      MY opinion only, I think there’s 15 other guys who are ahead of Warrior. 5,6,7… and appearance at 8.. and squash match at 12… He had a pose down at 4… personally, I’d put someone else ahead of him (Like I mentioed in my earlier post.. or perhaps a Chris Jericho).

      As for the Hogan/Michaels thing.. Hogan’s importance cannot be ignored.. but you can only use the “if it weren’t for Hogan” arguement but for so long. Eventually you must consider who was the best. Appreciate who came before you, but aknowledge those who made it bigger. With hogan it was a big event. With Michaels it was big MATCH. I can dismissed Hogan’s matches and watch the last two minutes. I can’t mist any part of an HBK match. Not at Mania. It’s all in what you see as more important. I agree with HBK at the top.

      But by no means do I put Rock ahead of Hogan.

  15. jay
    February 24, 2010 at 8:19 PM

    JB: Your argument won me over. Without Hulk Hogan, there may not be a WWF/E, there may not be a WM, and there may never have been a WMI. (It kills me to say that, because I have disliked Hogan since before he won the title. He is my least favorite wrestler of all time. Hulk Hogan was the right man at the right time to ruin wrestling. (I am an old NWA mark.)

    You are right about Piper and Heenan. Both should be in the top 10. Piper should probably be in the top 5 or 6. (I still haven’t forgiven him for breaking the coconut over Snuka’s head. Little jay hated the Rowdy one. Of course I always did like Heenan since he managed The Great Bockwinkle.)

    You are right about Michaels. The only people familiar with HBK are wrestling fans. HBK, Bret Hart, Owen Hart, and Edge are unknown to the general public. All of the others have crossover popularity. (Benoit’s noteriaty is due to his past bad acts.) I think everyone over 10 knows something about the Dingo Warrior. (He was cool back in the Dingo Warrior WCCW days, before he became Hulk Hogan lite.)

    What is sad about this list are the number of cartoon characters on it. Of course that is what has always upset me about VKM.

  16. Shad
    February 24, 2010 at 8:29 PM

    Shouldn’t Undertaker be higher?
    After all after all is said and done he still is undefeated at Wrestlemania. And that there is a HUGE acheivement. . . And what about Jericho?

    His matches with Benoit, Micheals and Triple H have to count for something.

    He’s the best in the World at What he does!! DAmmitttt!

    • Joe
      February 25, 2010 at 1:24 AM

      What does being undefeated have to do as an achievement? Wrestling has pre-determined outcomes.

  17. February 25, 2010 at 1:01 AM

    dude your on fuckin drugs.
    1. Hulk Hogan….He built Wrestlemania!!!!
    2. HBK……He perfected Wrestlemania.
    3. Undertaker….Never Been Beat At Wrestlemania. 17-0 says it all.
    4. The Rock….match with austin, then hogan sealed it.
    5. Randy Savage….Macho Man v. Steamboat….5 star classic
    6. Steve Austin….Rock matches solidified his place.
    7. Bret Hart…..60 Min. Iron Man Match with HBK was another 5 Star Classic.
    8. Kurt Angle
    9. Andre The Giant
    10. Edge
    11. Triple H
    12. Ultimate Warrior
    13. Chris Benoit
    14. Owen Hart
    15. Ted DiBiase
    Honorable Mention…Jeff Hardy, Christian, Dudley Boyz.

  18. Chris
    February 25, 2010 at 3:40 PM

    Good read but there were a couple of errors. Bret Hart was also in WM 2, but you said you are not including battle royals. Alright. Owen Hart was also in WM 5 as the Blue Blazer (different name, same man) against Mr. Perfect and was in WM 8 against Skinner. Hulk Hogan was in WM 4 against Andre in a match during the tournament. Ther may be other errors, but those were some of the obvious major errors that stood out at me. I am a stats kinda guy though. Overall good read. I enjoyed it other than the statistical errors.

  19. David K.
    February 25, 2010 at 4:45 PM

    I did take the Blue Blazer into account, but omitted it at last print. In future editions, they will be considered as one … just as Foley was with Mankind. Double DQ’s weren’t listed under the W/L records, again a note that wasn’t included unfortunately. I’ll post the entire list of statistical notes in the next column (if there is one). However, good call on not listing Hogan and Andre at IV, as I pulled those directly from the W/L sheet.

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