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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Top 34 Wrestlemania Moments

Hey all, Metro here.  On Thursday, the WWE ran a special on the USA network highlighting the "fan voting" of top Wrestlemania moments of all time.  It was pretty bad.  I'm talking Metro Times "Top 10 bands to keep your eye on" bad.  Here is a recap:
10. Cena vs. The Rock (eh, ok)
9.  TLC #1 (fine)
8.  Undertaker's streak broken (ok, little low)
7.  Hardy's return in 2017 (ummm what?)
6.  HHH/Undertaker Hell in a Cell (fine)
5.  Hogan vs Andre (little low)
4.  Charlotte winning the Women's title (reaching for remote)
3.  Daniel Bryan/WM 30 (ok, but too high)
2.  Roman Reigns/Brock Lesnar/Seth Rollins (broke remote in half)
1.  Taker/Michaels WM 25 (ok with that)

First off, its a crime to only devote one hour and 10 moments.  So leave it to me in my continuing WM weekend coverage to do this right.  Since this is Wrestlemania 34 this year, I am doing my Top 34 Wrestlemania moments list.  Now this is "moment" not "match", although many of the moments can be matches.  I already did a Top WM match list already (which will be restored this summer).  Also, this is not a top moment of each event list.  If a WM sucked (WM9) then you get no moments.  Simple enough?  Now lets vedge....

Metro's Top 34 Wrestlemania Moments
As always, these are my picks and opinions.  If you have different ones, the comment section is open 24/7.

Honorable Mention- Liberace vs. Pat Patterson No Positions Barred Match-WM 1/Referee Lee Majors- Since this took place behind the scenes and not televised this was not eligible for the main list.

34.  Bret Hart/Shawn Michaels Iron Man match- WM 12- One of the most overrated matches of all time but should be included.  Both were used to wrestling crisp 15 minute matches so this ended up being a crisp 15 minute match with 45 minutes of boring filler.

33.  John Cena Proposes- WM 33- A true, non-match WM moment.  Cena finally settles down after sleeping with half the female roster with the girl, Nikki Bella, who slept with the entire men's roster.  Hollywood ending.  Happy endings.

32.  Roddy Piper painted half black- WM 6- Among the most racist WM moments ever (second place to HHH vs. Booker T).  I'm guessing Piper came up with it the night before during a bender and Vince saying, "I love it because you are wrestling a negro!"  I actually think there is an action figure of this.  If I am mistaken you can make your own with any Piper figure and a sharpie.

31.  Roddy Piper/Goldust Backlot Brawl- WM 12- We have the first of our two Piper back to backs.  In this one he covers the homophobic angle nearly castrating Goldust in a "match" that was mostly filmed in advance.  This actually is influential because it gave birth to the pre-taped Broken Hardy universe.  Plus they recreated the OJ white Bronco chase.  Unfortunately, Piper did not have time to apply blackface again. Of note- Piper was my pops' favorite wrestler.

30.  Undertaker/Kane- WM 14- This was back in the days before one month buildups and was a match that everyone wanted to see.  Taker won the match, but still gave Kane a lot of offense.  More influential than people give it credit for.  Plus, had to get Kane on the list.

29.  Kurt Angle/Chris Benoit- WM 17- One of the greatest pure wrestling matches in history.  A classic.  Nothing more to be said.  Plus Kevin Sullivan is on line 1...

28.  Floyd Mayweather/Big Show- WM 24- Probably the best celebrity match in WM history (apologies to Lawrence Taylor and Snooki).  Mayweather came to fight and actually took some bumps which is insane given that a freak injury would have killed his boxing career.  Also, Show encouraged him to hit him for real resulting in a broken nose.  Your move Conor McGregor...

27.  Sting/HHH- WM 31- Has the honor of worst WM finish of all time (second place to HHH vs. Booker T). Still it is memorable for seeing Sting for the first time in a WWE ring and the NWO/DX brawl was great.  Wrong guy won though.

26.  Rock/Cena- WM 28- They tried to recreate the magic (and crowd reaction) of Rock vs. Hogan (more on that later) and came up short.  A match billed as "once in a lifetime" that had a rematch the very next year.

25.  Mike Tyson- WM 14- The Stone Cold/Shawn Michaels match was good given that Michaels was basically a cripple at this point, but the addition of Tyson got the mainstream media talking which led to WWE overtaking Nitro in the ratings.  I just wish Iron Mike would have practiced the crotch chop in the mirror more.  Like me every morning.

24.  Bret Hart/Roddy Piper- WM 8- The second of our Roddy Piper back to backs and his best match ever.  Enough said.

23.  Roddy Piper/Adrian Adonis Hair match- WM 3- I was here for this one! And this is the match I looked forward to the most.  My pops let me skip 4th grade the next day.  Also, the birth of the Brutus barber gimmick.

22.  Randy Savage/Ted DiBiase (w/Virgil)- WM 4- The first WM main event not to feature Hulk Hogan in the match (though he did appear) and the first time since wrestling went mainstream that somebody other than him held the title. Also, Savage holds the record for most wins at a single WM.

21.  Hulk Hogan/Randy Savage- WM 5- The main event of WM 4 led to a year long buildup for the next year's main event starting with one of WWE's best angles with Savage being jealous of Hogan and Elizabeth.  The match itself was Hogan 101, but the build made it.  Also of note, it's strange that during both of Savage's stinks as champion, he really didn't have any signature matches or feuds.

20.  Owen Hart/Bret Hart- WM 10- Probably the best opening match in WM history.  I would have ranked it higher but I can't shake the thought that they probably had the exact same match 100 times in Stu Hart's dungeon.

19.  Savage reunites with Liz- WM 7- The match with Ultimate Warrior was pretty good, maybe Warrior's best, but the real moment came after when Savage and Liz reunited leading to a storyline wedding.  The repercussions of this led to Jake the Snake turning heel and the Undertaker turning face, setting off his legendary run.

18.  Tables/Ladders/Chairs #1- WM 16- The first ever "Holy shit!" match (for those not watching ECW).  Edge, Christian, the Dudleys, and Hardys killed themselves in the match of that year.  I dropped it a few spots because it spawned indy guys killing themselves for a crowd reaction of 50 people that still happens to this day.  Get off my lawn.

17.  Austin/Rock- WM 17- Stone Cold and The Rock probably had the best chemistry of the Attitude Era and they delivered once again here.  The big moment was when Austin turned and joined Vince McMahon which made zero sense, a total "hotshot" angle to shock the crowd just for shock value.

16.  Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit as champs- WM 20- The closing moment of WM 20 was the culmination of a long journey for Eddie and Chris to both be champs despite not fitting Vince's look for a champ. I still wonder, what happened to those guys?

15.  Donald Trump- WM 23- I was here for this!  C'mon, the future president of the United States throwing punches that would make Shane McMahon seem like Mike Tyson, and then shaving Vince's head, and finally taking a Stone Cold Stunner??!!  David Lynch dreams of something as bizarre as this.

14.  Daniel Bryan's WM- WM 30- I was there for this!  After a year of crap angles yet organic fan support, Daniel Bryan finally won the big one, defeating HHH, Randy Orton, and Drax in the process.  It was almost enough to wipe the bad taste of #4 from earlier that night out of the crowd's mouths. 

13.  Undertaker/HHH Hell in a Cell- WM 28- Taker and HHH, hell in a cell, end of an era, Shawn Michaels as special referee.  This match is basically the culmination of a four year story.  The moment at the end where all three break character and hug is one for the ages.

12.  Bret Hart/Steve Austin- WM 13- The match itself was easily the match of the night, but this is all about the double-turn with Hart turning into a classic anti-everything heel and Austin becoming Austin.  This probably could be higher.

11.  Undertaker/Shawn Michaels 2- WM 26- This match is about as good as their first, but the big moment here is that it was the last of Michaels' career.  He still remains one of the few to retire that actually have stayed retired. And his leg never flew off.

10.  Wendy Richter/Cyndi Lauper- WM 1- Up until then, women in wrestling were treated as a sideshow in a business seen as a sideshow.  That all changed with the mainstream rub Richter and Lauper (with an assist from MTV) generated for WM 1.  Also, how is Kid Rock in the WWE Hall of Fame and Lauper isn't??

9.  Rock/Hulk Hogan- WM 18- I was there for this! Two of the biggest names ever at the biggest event of the year.  Easily the loudest, most bizarre, crowd I've ever been a part of.  The Rock had to call an audible and work as a heel because the crowd was eating up everything Hogan did.  The only downside is this lead to the crowd hijacking matches to make it about themselves which still happens to this day.  It was cute for a year, but now its just pathetic.

8.  The Main Event- WM 1- At the time, an event like WM 1 was sink or swim.  If this match would have bombed I probably wouldn't be writing this post right now.  The two most popular Hulk Hogan and Mr. T vs. the two most hated Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff.  The match itself was basic with good guys beating up bad guys, but its cultural impact lasts till today.  Plus Jimmy Snuka didn't murder anybody.

7.  Randy Savage/Ricky Steamboat- WM 3- I was here for this!  This is an example of two guys who weren't main eventing saying "Lets steal this show".  The best match on the most well known WM.  Shame they never worked together again.

6.  Shawn Michaels/Razor Ramon Ladder Match- WM 10- This is an example of two guys who weren't main eventing saying, "Lets steal this show".  I rank this a very thin hair above Savage/Steamboat because it made a ladder match a thing (for better or worse) and was a little more organic and less choreographed. Flame away.

5.  Hulk Hogan/Ultimate Warrior- WM 6- This is an example of two guys who were main eventing saying "Lets steal this show". The two biggest names in the company, both faces, could have bombed, but it actually worked. As a kid, I was alllllmost as shocked as #4 when Hogan lost clean.  Last of the classic pre-internet main events.

4.  The Streak ends- WM 30- I was there for this!  Easily the most shocking finish in WM and maybe wrestling, history (which I think they may try to recreate this year, but Asuka is no Undertaker).  In the crowd, I knew something was off and afterwards found out that Taker was concussed early in the match and Brock had to call the spots (not his strong suit).  I think in 5 years they will regret this, if not already, with Brock leaving for the UFC.

3.  Ric Flair retires- WM 24- This was the culmination of a year long angle where Flair had to retire if he lost a match. Flair is one of the most iconic wrestlers ever, even having a Beggars song about him.  He went out having the best match of his later era against HBK.  To have the type of match he did at age 86 is astounding.

2.  Undertaker/Shawn Michaels 1- WM 25- In my opinion, the greatest, most complete, match in WM history.  They had fought before but never at a WM.  They had years between this match and their previous ones where they solidified their characters and movesets so everything felt fresh. Though this did introduce the "kicking out of finishers" era that John Cena perfected, at the time, it helped create one of the best matches of all time.

1.  Hulk Hogan/Andre the Giant- WM 3- Did you know that I was here for this? Not the best match at WM but the most important.  If WM 1's main event was a jump start then this was a nitro boost (no pun intended) for wrestling. The build was perfect with the shocking Andre heel turn and Piper's Pit segments.  During the match I didn't see a single person sitting.  Two larger than life characters at the biggest show at the most popular WM of all time.  It was tough to pick #1, but also easy.

So that's it Constant Readers.  I do have to apologize to fans of Chris Jericho and Mick Foley for not finding a spot for them on my list.  Feel free to swipe out Piper in blackface for Jericho's WM 19 match with Shawn Michaels or Mick Foley's WM 16 match, his only WM main event.  I'm sure some may disagree with the rankings or if I left someone else off.  I'm looking at you Morton Downey Jr. Feel free to correct me in the 24/7 comments section and enjoy WM 34 Sunday.  I promise to be back to making fun of local festivals along with covering the local opioid crisis next week.  Till then, we'll meet again.

From the Iceman Commeth,
Bryan Metro

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