Monday, March 11, 2013

Top 29 Matches in WrestleMania History - #29, #28, #27

The Top Matches in WrestleMania History has been a yearly feature since I launched Kick-Out!! back in 2009. Instead of posting a two-part list this year, I figured I'd post a match everyday leading up to the big day on April 7. Unfortunately, I forgot to start it on Saturday, which was exactly 29 days til WrestleMania 29. So today, you get three matches. Here we go!

29. Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels - WrestleMania XII
A lot of people have soured on this match over the years, probably due to the overwhelming amount of praise that was heaped onto it soon after it happened, but it's still a damn good match. I wouldn't put it in either man's top 25 matches of all-time, but that's just how good they both were; a decent Shawn Michaels/Bret Hart match is still one of the best WrestleMania matches in history. Love it or hate it, they wrestled for 62 minutes... I'm exhausted after typing for 62 minutes.

28. Triple H vs. The Undertaker - WrestleMania XXVIII
This is definitely a love it or hate it match, perhaps hurt a bit by the instant reaction culture of internet commentary, but I think it will stand the test of time and be looked back on fondly in a few years. You could argue that these two were just too broken down, but for the years leading up to this climactic battle, I've looked at it as a Clash of the Titans style battle where everything these guys did to each other was just brutal. Obviously it didn't have the story, the atmosphere and the culture of a Hogan vs. Andre, but in terms of working within their limitations and making it feel like they were killing each other, it felt somewhat similar. Their match the year before seems more divisive than this one, the addition of Hell in a Cell and Shawn Michaels being incredibly effective as the referee seemed to silence most (but not all) of the critics.

27. The Big Show vs. Floyd "Money" Mayweather - WrestleMania XXIV
Is it a "good" match, in what your typical, overly-analytical wrestling fan would describe? No, you probably won't be seeing anything like this on people who like their wrasslin' to be "wrestling," but if you ever want to watch something that exemplifies what American pro wrestling is, watch this match.

Wrestling has an iffy history with celebrity involvement - sometimes it works, and sometimes you have a disaster like Jay Leno beating up Hulk Hogan. WWE executed this crossover with perfection and the match did what it was supposed to do: it received loads of mainstream attention, entertained those watching and kept The Big Show looking strong even though he lost to a guy that's more than a foot shorter and 300 lbs. lighter. All for the low cost of $20 million to "Pretty Boy" Floyd. WWE hasn't been as quick to put a celebrity in an actual wrestling match at WrestleMania since (unless you count The Rock), and I think it's because this one is too tough to top.

Check back tomorrow for match #26.

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