The 5 Best And 5 Worst WWE WrestleMania Rematches Of All Time

WrestleMania is the showcase of the immortals. The granddaddy of them all. The one place that makes Disneyland look like a stroll through Walmart in comparison. Since the first WrestleMania debuted at Madison Square Garden in 1985, many 'Manias have featured a litany of legendary matches and the who's who of the wrestling business. Whether it be "The Heartbreak Kid" and Bret "Hitman" Hart's pulsating 60-minute Iron Man marathon at WrestleMania XII, The Rock and Hulk Hogan's icon-versus-icon skirmish at WrestleMania X8, or "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat's pure wrestling bout at WrestleMania III, there are countless contests to savor and pour over as fans of pro wrestling.

With WrestleMania being an annual event, of course, it's also allowed numerous rematches to take place. Sometimes, they could be back-to-back contests such as the infamous Undertaker and HBK showstoppers, and could also feature a 13-year gap like the brutal clashes between Goldberg and Brock Lesnar. Whichever way, the wrestling community has received the opportunity to see several second rounds (and even thirds) between performers throughout 'Mania history. The second time is a charm in the case of many rematches; however, there are also more than a handful that failed to outshine the original matches. So, let's take a look back at the best and worst WrestleMania rematches of all time.

Best: Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker

The Undertaker's fabled streak will long be remembered as a fundamental part of WrestleMania history and something that kept fans wondering if a wrestler had it in them to defeat the Deadman. Truth be told, there were only a handful of occasions where it seemed even remotely likely that he would be beaten by the chosen opponent. When "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels stepped up at WrestleMania 25, it seemed a real possibility that Mr. WrestleMania would be the one to superkick the Streak and keep it down for the three count. Michaels came up short in the end, but the match stole the show and earned both men the plaudits from the audience and wrestling community.

A year later, they decided to go at it again. This time around, though, the stakes were higher. The Undertaker puts his streak on the line, while HBK did the same with his career. Surely, Michaels would get the win here, especially since he was still such a huge part of the roster and didn't look like he was slowing down in the ring ... right? The two men put on another classic wrestling match, as they kept the audience on tenterhooks for 24 minutes, with the momentum shifting in both directions and proving to be a master class in storytelling. However, it was the Deadman who came out on top, pinning Michaels and forcing him to retire, as they created one of the most legendary 'Mania moments.

Worst: The Rock vs. John Cena

Whenever a match is promoted, common sense says don't believe any of the claims from the promoters. In the case of The Rock vs. John Cena at WrestleMania XXVIII, it was billed as "once in a lifetime." It made sense, too, since The Rock was one of the biggest movie stars in the world, so the chances of him and Cena locking horns again would have been minimal at best. The Rock defeated Cena after a 30-minute bout, put on his shades, and headed off to Hollywood to beef with Vin Diesel about "Fast & Furious."

Now, imagine the surprise of fans when "once in a lifetime" actually turned out to mean "once a year." At the following 'Mania, Cena and The Rock faced off again, with the Doctor of Thuganomics claiming the victory and the title from The Great One. Yet, here's the thing: CM Punk had been on a hot streak as champion, only to drop the title to The Rock at that year's Royal Rumble. Many felt this was disrespectful to Punk, since he had been the face of the company for a prolonged period of time, yet the title was put on The Rock, a part-timer, to add extra flavor to his bout with Cena. Unfortunately, besides the undoubted star power of The Rock, this wasn't a rematch that anyone really wanted to see. Punk, however, had the best match of that WrestleMania's card versus The Undertaker.

Best: Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns

It's remarkable to see how the attitude towards Roman Reigns has changed since his heel turn. There was a point in time when he had "go away" heat and the fans couldn't stand him as a goody-two-shoes babyface. His first two clashes with Lesnar at 'Mania had the fans cheering his rival, with the audience going particularly wild as Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank contract on both of them at WrestleMania 31. Then, no one even cared as the two headlined WrestleMania 34 and Lesnar came out on top in a generic main event contest. Yet, a personality change was all it took to get the audience to acknowledge Reigns as the Tribal Chief of the WWE and a mighty fine performer who had earned his spot at the top.

Going into WrestleMania 38, the audience was pumped for the unification bout of the WWE Championship and WWE Universal Championship. It was champion versus champion in a winner-takes-all contest. It could have gone either way, as both men matched each other in a 12-minute bout. But when the bell was rung at the end, it was Reigns who stood tall and held all the gold. While it might not have been as memorable as their 2022 SummerSlam match, where the Beast Incarnate lifted the ring with a tractor and subsequently broke the Internet, it was the sort of match that had the fans invested in the high-stakes outcome.

Worst: Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna

There's a belief that Bret "Hitman" Hart could wrestle a bowling ball and deliver a five star match. Cruiserweights. Heavyweights. Super heavyweights. It didn't matter, since Hart would play to his opponent's strength and put on a compelling story that would make sense to the audience. At WrestleMania IX, Hart put the WWF Championship on the line against Yokozuna. Thanks to interference from Mr. Fuji, who threw salt in Hart's eyes, Yokozuna was able to claim the gold. However, what happened next surprised the wrestling world, as Hulk Hogan came out and squashed Yoko in under 30 seconds to win the belt in an impromptu bout. The quick finish made Yoko and Bret look weaker, while elevating Hogan as some kind of invincible superhero who could pummel any opponent with the big boot and leg drop combination.

A year later, Hogan was gone, making a new home for his Hulkamegalomania in WCW, and Yoko was the champion once again. However, the hype for the rematch between Hart and Yoko was practically non-existent due to the shenanigans of the previous main event. The match itself was nothing special, being overshadowed by Hart's own clash against his brother, Owen, earlier in the evening. In many ways, the storyline should have been geared to make that the closing clash of WrestleMania X to begin with.

Best: The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin

When it comes to wrestling feuds, there are few bigger than The Rock versus "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. The two became the faces of the Attitude Era, as they electrified the audiences and split the fan base right down the middle. While they had many bouts throughout their rivalry, their biggest matches took place at WrestleMania: three to be exact. Wrestling someone three times as a main event might be as monotonous to playing AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" at every sporting contest, but The Rock and Austin always felt major with every rematch.

The first time they kicked off was at WrestleMania XV, when Austin defeated The Rock — who was then a part of the Corporation — for the gold. The follow-up was at WrestleMania X-Seven, when Austin turned heel in the middle of the match, sided with Mr. McMahon, and cheated his way to the championship. The last instalment in their trilogy occurred at WrestleMania XIX. There were no belts on the line this time, only pride. More importantly, it was Austin's last in-ring match (until WrestleMania 38) with an opponent who had defined him for so long. The Rock came out on top, but the result didn't really matter here, since it was the end of an era and everyone appreciated what these two men had done for the business and each other as rivals.

Worst: The Undertaker vs. Kane

The first clash between The Undertaker and Kane at WrestleMania XIV had a great build-up. Paul Bearer had turned on Taker and aligned himself with Kane, the Deadman's debuting kayfabe brother who had meddled his affairs for many months. As a result, the fans were hot to see these two behemoths go toe-to-toe in the middle of the ring and for Taker to get his revenge on the Big Red Machine. And that's exactly what happened, as the Deadman hit his storyline brother with everything he had. In the end, it took three Tombstone Piledrivers to keep Kane down for the three count, and he still came back after the match to inflict further punishment on Taker. Nonetheless, the match gave The Undertaker the satisfactory victory, while still making Kane look strong in his loss.

At WrestleMania XX, the Brothers of Destruction clashed on the grandest stage again. This time, Bearer was in The Undertaker's corner, since relationships in wrestling are meant to be broken and repaired more times than the Magic School Bus. In this rematch, Kane was destroyed in a little under seven minutes, as he appeared shocked his brother had risen from the dead once again. It's almost as if he'd never watched WWE's programming before.

Best: Triple H vs. The Undertaker

Like The Rock and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Triple H and The Undertaker faced each other three times at WrestleMania. However, most of us would be forgiven for failing to remember the first two contests at WrestleMania X-Seven and WrestleMania XXVII. It isn't because these bouts were terrible, per se, but they were largely forgettable considering other memorable matches on the respective cards. And, of course, 'Taker came out on top both times.

The rematch that sticks in everyone's head, though, is the Hell in a Cell contest at WrestleMania XXVIII. What made this bout more interesting, apart from the two being locked in the Devil's playground, was the inclusion of "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee. This gave Triple H an instant advantage, especially considering the friendship between the two men and how 'Taker had ended Michaels' career earlier. HBK has never been the most trustworthy figure in pro wrestling, so there was always the expectation that he'd break the rules to help his fellow D-Generation X member. The crowd was on the edge of their seat, as they feared The Game would be the one to finally end The Streak. Michaels got involved in the contest, too, as he and Triple H smashed up the Deadman at one point. However, the legend of The Undertaker and the mystique of The Streak proved to be bigger than D-X's loyalty, as he overcame the odds and defeated The Game.

Worst: Triple H vs. Batista

In pro wrestling, it's all about the story and why these individuals have conflict. The Evolution stable's primary intention was to make stars of Randy Orton and Batista by pairing them up with veterans like Triple H and Ric Flair, hence the name and concept behind the faction. The way to get these young guns over was through the typical student surpassing the master narrative. Orton broke free first, while Batista's build was more cerebral and well paced. It culminated with him turning on Triple H, leading to their big clash at WrestleMania 21 where the Animal claimed the World Heavyweight Championship and kicked off his career as a main event superstar.

Much like The Rock, Batista departed the WWE for the bright lights of Hollywood. However, he had unfinished business in wrestling and wanted one last 'Mania clash. And who better to serve as his final opponent than The Game? Unfortunately, despite the stipulations of Triple H's career being on the line and it being a no holds barred contest, the WrestleMania 35 match was, to quote MJF, mid. The ring rust was evident in both wrestlers' performance and it wasn't quite the powerful send-off the Animal might have imagined. He lost to Triple H, and he promptly retired from pro wrestling soon afterwards.

Best: Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg

The first encounter between Brock Lesnar and Goldberg should have been a battle for the ages. Two beasts colliding at WrestleMania XX with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin as the special guest referee — what more could fans want? The problem was the crowd knew that both men would be done with the WWE after the match, and they weren't too impressed by what they felt was about as much effort as an employee puts in during their notice period. At one point, Austin even had to convince them to do something to liven up the situation, in an effort to drown out the heckling and boos from the audience. Goldberg claimed the pinfall victory over Lesnar, who botched a nasty looking Shooting Star Press then proceeded to give Austin's signature one-finger salute to the crowd on his way out.

The rematch at WrestleMania 33 proved to be a different kind of monster, as the audience and both men were heavily invested in the contest. While it wasn't a modern classic or even one of the best 'Mania matches of all time, it allowed the two brutes to showcase their raw power and enabled Lesnar to pin Goldberg cleanly in the middle of the ring. No one expected these two to go for 30-plus minutes in the match, so they put on a short spectacle and called it a night. After all, they don't get paid by the hour!

Worst: Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus

Sometimes, a bad match isn't due to the performances in the ring, but the bad booking behind the scenes. The first encounter between Daniel Bryan and Sheamus took place at WrestleMania 27's pre-show, where they fought over the United States Championship in a lumberjack match. Unfortunately, it ended in a no contest after the lumberjacks outside the ring decided to swing at each other and send the contest into total chaos. Considering the talents of both men, to have them out as the curtain-jerkers for the event was the epitome of disrespect.

Well, the Celtic Warrior and Bryan didn't get the chance to make amends the following year, as their next battle, which was for the World Heavyweight Championship, lasted a whole 18 seconds, with Sheamus scoring the win. The fans couldn't believe what they'd seen, especially with a squash finish for one of the biggest titles in WWE. It seemed like an inexplicable burial of Bryan. From the wrestlers' side, there's also the belief that more could have been done with both their matches. As Sheamus told Digital Spy, they were not responsible for the booking but believed they could do more with it if they wanted to in the future. "I think that's a storyline that can be revisited any time," he said. "I'd love to wrestle Danny, I don't think we've ever had a fair crack at a WrestleMania match." Sheamus isn't wrong, and they certainly deserved better.

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