It’s WrestleMania season once again! And with less than 4 weeks to go before the 32nd “Showcase of the Immortals” Throwback Thursday on WrestlingDVDNetwork.com looks back at some of the best matches in WrestleMania history, as seen, of course, on the WWE Network.
While the main events draw the crowds and fill the stadiums, the undercard matches are often what makes or breaks a WrestleMania. With that in mind, rather than focusing on the main event classics, this week’s TBT takes a look at the best of “the rest” of WrestleMania – matches that either saved an event from mediocrity or made classic shows that much better.
— Tag Team Match (WATCH)
The Funk Brothers (Terry & Hoss) w/Jimmy Hart vs. The Junkyard Dog & Tito Santana
WWF WrestleMania 2 ? April 7, 1986
With no story going in, aside from the Funk’s being undefeated, this match was simply expected to fill time before the Hogan/Bundy main event but ended up nearly stealing the show. Though Terry Funk left the WWF almost immediately after WrestleMania 2, and Dory spent the last months of a legendary full-time career as part of forgettable tag teams, this match stands as a true WrestleMania classic.
— “6-Man Tag Team Grudge Match” (WATCH)
The British Bulldogs (Dynamite Kid & Davey Boy Smith) & Tito Santana vs. The Hart Foundation (Bret “Hitman” Hart & Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart)(WWF Tag Team Champions) & “Dangerous” Danny Davis
WWF WrestleMania III ? March 29, 1987
Due to what became a career-ending back injury for Dynamite Kid, the planned Hart Foundation/British Bulldogs tag title match was changed to a six-man to ease Dynamite’s workload. The result was a classic six-man tag that holds up extremely well nearly 30 years later.
— Singles Match (WATCH)
Mr. Perfect vs. “The Narcissist” Lex Luger
WWF WrestleMania IX ? April 4, 1993
This was more about Perfect’s continued beef with Bobby Heenan, who introduced “The Narcissist” to WWF TV, than Lex Luger. This match exceeded any and all expectations and was one of the matches that helped save WrestleMania IX, often considered one of the worst WrestleMania’s of all-time!
— WWF Light Heavyweight Championship (WATCH)
Aguila vs. Taka Michinoku(c)
WWF WrestleMania XIV ? March 29, 1998
To combat WCW’s wildly popular Cruiserweight division the WWF “created” their own Light Heavyweight Championship, a title that had been in existence since 1981 when the Universal Wrestling Association (UWA) of Mexico, as part of a larger agreement, began using the Federation branded title until folding in 1995. New Japan Pro Wrestling then used the title until 1997 when the WWF “created” the title for the American audience. This match, the only Light Heavyweight title match in WrestleMania history, wowed the crowd and proved that the WWF had just as much “crusierweight” talent as WCW. Though the title and the division struggled to find its place in the WWF this match is an often overlooked gem from one of the best WrestleMania’s of all-time.
— WWF European Championship (WATCH)
X-Pac vs. Shane McMahon(c) w/Test
WWF WrestleMania XV ? March 28, 1999
This was one of the most anticipated matches of the night, though few knew what to truly expect. Thankfully for the fans both men left it all in the ring and delivered a stiff, action-packed brawl punctuated by one of the most shocking swerves in WrestleMania history.
— Singles Match (WATCH – 53:22)
Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit
WWF WrestleMania X-Seven ? April 1, 2001
This is one of many undercard matches that helped make WrestleMania X-Seven one of the best (if not the best) WrestleMania’s ever. While Angle and Benoit would have better matches, this was a solid, classic encounter that left the Houston crowd hanging on every move.
— “Champion vs. Champion Match” (WATCH)
Eddie Guerrero (WWE Tag Team Champion) vs. Rey Mysterio (WWE Tag Team Champion)
WWE WrestleMania 21 ? April 3, 2005
Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio won the WWE Tag Team titles from The Basham Brothers at No Way Out 2005, the final title for the late Eddie Guerrero. An expected tag title defense at WrestleMania 21 became a one-on-one challenge, thanks in large part to Chavo Guerrero, that remains one of the single greatest openers in WrestleMania history. Though Rey’s mask wouldn’t cooperate and the timing was a bit off, the match remains one of the very best in the long and legendary Guerrero/Mysterio rivalry.
— “Belfast Brawl” (WATCH – 6:01)
Finlay w/Hornswoggle vs. John “Bradshaw” Layfield
WWE WrestleMania XXIV ? March 30, 2008
Finlay was looking for revenge after JBL injured Finlay’s “son” Hornswoggle. This was a well constructed brawl that helped set the tone for one of the best WrestleMania’s of the last decade.
— “Grudge Match” (WATCH)
Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes
WWE WrestleMania XXVII ? April 3, 2011
Centered on “breaking” the former “Dashing” one’s nose with an errant “619”, this old-school “Grudge Match” made believers out of many Cody Rhodes doubters. This vintage WrestleMania match helped salvage a lackluster event that remains, like WrestleMania’s 2, IX and XI, a largely forgettable event.
— “Grudge Match” (WATCH)
Randy Orton vs. “Mr. Money in the Bank” Seth Rollins w/J & J Security
WWE WrestleMania 31 ? March 29, 2015
Billed as the battle of the “face” versus the “future” this classic match not only helped further embellish Seth Rollins heel persona but brilliantly set up the close of the event where Rollins would walk out as WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
While the history of WrestleMania is told through the main events, the legacy of WrestleMania is in its undercards; the matches that fill out the events and give the shows color and depth. These are only ten of the best of “the rest” of WrestleMania, matches that illustrate the importance of the undercard and prove that every spot on a WrestleMania card is an important one.
That’s all for this edition of TBT – thanks again for reading! Are you a WWE Network subscriber yet? If you are, go back and relive these matches, and let us know what you think below. And don’t forget to tune into WrestleMania 32 April 3rd on the WWE Network at 7PM EST.
Until next time, see ya at ringside!
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