The Wrestling Genius: Ranking the Top WWE WrestleMania Performers
With Wrestlemania just over a week away I thought I’d do something fun and Wrestlemania related before I do my prediction column next week. So, this week I decided I’d write a piece about who I think the real Mr. Wrestlemania is, that’s right Shawn Michaels you can’t just give yourself that title. You have to leave that up to some random writer on the internet who will use a completely arbitrary and biased criteria. I’ll rate the top 5 Wrestlemania performers of all time with unclear criteria because well nothing beats a good old fashion comments debate about how stupid and arbitrary the writer was with his list. Lists like sex sell so here we go the top 5 Wrestlemania performers of all time according to me and my panel of experts. (me and a few people I text with random questions)
5. Chris Jericho: Jericho doesn’t have a great win/loss record at Wrestlemania but that is only part of the equation I’m using. Jericho has put on three 5-star matches at Wrestlemania. Which three you are asking well here you go: Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels at WM XIX, Jericho vs. CM Punk at WM XXVIII, and Jericho vs. Edge at WM XXVI. Jericho is one of the few wrestlers capable of putting on a 5-star match on any given night, but he excels on the biggest stage of them all. I can’t think of a single bad Jericho Wrestlemania match and I’ve thought pretty hard about it. Undertaker has had a few duds but those were because of vastly inferior opponents. Jericho even made over the hill stars Steamboat, Piper, and Snuka look good at Wrestlemania long after they should have ever looked good. Jericho doesn’t get higher than 5 because his resume is much shorter than the rest on the list, but to leave him out of the top 5 would have been a travesty.
4. Edge: Edge is the only one on this list that made a huge Wrestlemania impact as both a singles and a tag team performer. Edge first set the Wrestlemania stage on fire when he teamed with his long time tag partner Christian in a triple threat ladder match. Edge holds the record for second longest win streak in Wrestlemania history. Edge was another gamer who no matter the opponent always seemed to put on a great match at Wrestlemania. Edge had three 5-star matches as a singles competitor and 2 as a tag team performer. The already mentioned match against Jericho, Edge vs. Undertaker at WM XXIV and Edge vs. Mick Foley at WM XXII. As a tag performer the triple threat ladder tag match at WM XVI and the TLC match at WM XVII.
3. Bret Hart: You can look at other guys here like HHH, Stone Cold, or The Rock but take a moment to look at Bret Hart’s Wrestlemania resume: An amazing Intercontinental Title match with Roddy Piper, made great drama with little brother Owen Hart, two very good matches against the hard to work with Yokozuna, a fantastic Submission Match with over the hill Bob Backlund, an Iron Man Match that finally made Shawn Michaels a mega star and the match that put Steve Austin as a must watch superstar. Sure you can have a few other guys on your list but for my money Bret Hart was at his best when the light was it’s brightest.
2. Shawn Michaels: We can go around and around on the top 2 on this list as I’m sure you will but I had to have a number one. No consolation prize for this list and unfortunately for Michaels there is a gap in his resume that wasn’t his fault but he has to be penalized for. Michaels put on so many amazing matches at Wrestlemania he certainly earned his reputation as Mr. Wrestlemania (even if I wont give him the title which hurts because I’m the biggest Michaels Mark I know) time after time. No one and I mean no one not even the guy at number one can say he had as many five star matches at the show as Michaels can. His match with Flair was high drama and was actually entertaining to watch despite the fact that Flair hadn’t had a watchable match in about five years. Michaels feuded with everyone who was anyone at Wrestlemania and made them all look good. His Iron Man Match against Bret Hart was a masterpiece that no one else will ever be able to duplicate. His two matches against Undertaker were arguably his best work in a long line of great work. You never watched a bad Michaels match at Wrestlemania, never. It’s only a shame a bad back and personal demons robbed us of a few more Wrestlemania matches.
1. The Undertaker: The reason to have him number one is an obvious one, he’s 20-0 at the showcase of the immortals. The Undertaker has had a few forgettable matches at Wrestlemania but as I mentioned earlier it’s hard to get a decent match out of some of the mediocre talent he had to face. The Giant Gonzalez was worse than Khali and the Undertaker actually made a decent match with him. Taker has shown an ability to raise his game every single year when the lights are at their brightest. Being 20-0 is a big deal for a few reasons outside of the obvious one. It means he had longevity in a business that can be measured in years not decades. The pressure year in and year out since the Streak became a part of the show isn’t an easy thing to handle. “Regular” matches aren’t suppose to be bigger than the championship matches but the Streak has transcended titles. Imagine the pressure of having to put on a 5-star match every single year and trying to exceed expectations from the year before. The Undertaker not only does it but it seems like he lives for it. His body isn’t what it use to be, a messed up shoulder, a bad back, and knees that make it hard to move would have ended lesser careers. The Undertaker has embraced the Streak for what it is, an amazing unmatchable achievement. I think it’ll be great for the business for a rising star to topple the Streak and I think Undertaker from everything I’ve read and seen is all about what’s good for the business. This doesn’t mean I think someone will end the Streak just that I think Undertaker wouldn’t be completely against the idea. No one will every come close being 20-0 at Wrestlemania, it just isn’t possible in today’s wrestling world. Take a moment to appreciate the hard work and sacrifice the Undertaker put into 20 years in the business.
That’s all for this week, watch out for next week as I will try to predict Wrestlemania outcomes. You can reach me and call me a genius, an idiot, or ask a question by posting you comments below or tweet me @jaredgebhardt .