Working in the main event of WrestleMania is the goal of every person that enters the wrestling business. There have been 34 WrestleMania main event matches and each of them have provided us with some of the most memorable moments in wrestling history. This list will explore matches that have been lost in the shuffle throughout the years. These matches have been forgotten, not mentioned, or overlooked for various reasons that sometimes weren't because of the quality of the match itself or the skills of the performers in the match. Ranked below are the top seven forgotten WrestleMania main event matches from the worst to the one that you should definitely revisit. Post your favorite under appreciated WrestleMania matches and main events in the comments below.
7. Lawrence Taylor vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
The mainstream news story for this match was: the greatest defensive player in NFL history steps in the ring for the main event of WrestleMania. The feud started with Taylor sitting ringside at the Royal Rumble. Bigelow attacked Taylor out of frustration. Taylor added excitement to the match by kissing Bigelow at the press conference.
The lumberjacks were the members of The Million Dollar Man's Million Dollar Corporation stable and NFL stars including Reggie White & future Four Horsemen member Steve "Mongo" McMichael. Lawrence Taylor entered to a live performance of "Whatta Man" by Salt N Pepa that has since been removed from every video of the event due to rights issues. Bam Bam Bigelow was at the top of his game in this match and Lawrence Taylor also entered the match in great shape. Pat Patterson was the referee and helped guide the action. Bigelow fed himself to Taylor early, allowing Taylor to score a couple of strikes before clotheslining Bigelow over the top rope. LT managed to execute a bulldog before antagonizing the Million Dollar Corporation outside the ring. Flash bulbs punctuated each move of the match, making it feel like even more of a big deal. Bigelow took over with kicks & headbutts building to a Boston Crab. Taylor struggled to break the hold, reaching for the ropes while providing great photo opportunities for the media in attendance. Taylor was able to deliver a teardrop suplex but Bigelow came back with his moonsault. LT won the match delivering a flying forearm from the second rope to Bigelow.
Although both men performed impressively, this was Lawrence Taylor's first and only wrestling match. His performance was admirable as was the work everyone else put in to make this match feel special. This main event was overshadowed by the tremendous performance put on just prior by Shawn Michaels & Diesel in the WWF title match. When people think of WrestleMania XI, they think of Shawn vs. Diesel. This wasn't the first time that Shawn Michaels overshadowed the main event at WrestleMania as we'll see later in this list.
6. Hulk Hogan vs. King Kong Bundy
Steel Cage Match
WrestleMania II is widely regarded as the worst WrestleMania of all time. Vince McMahon reached for the stars with this show by broadcasting it from three locations across America: The Nassau Coliseum in New York, The Rosemont Horizon just outside of Chicago, & the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. McMahon had celebrities at each location to provide extra glamor while splitting the WWF broadcast teams to support the endeavor. Elvira, Lord Alfred Hayes, and Jesse Ventura were the commentators for this main event in LA: a steel cage match between Hogan & Bundy for the WWF Championship. Ricky Schroeder from "Silver Spoons" served as timekeeper while Tommy LaSorda was the guest ring announcer and Robert Conrad was the guest referee. Hulk Hogan was nursing injured ribs from an attack by Bundy on Saturday Night's Main Event several weeks earlier. In a pre-match promo: Hogan worked out for Gene Okerlund & Hillbilly Jim to prove his strength and condition in spite of his injury. Reinforced cage "Big Blue" was brought in for the match to contain the big men and keep Bobby Heenan from interfering. Commentary emphasized how unforgiving the cage was in contrast to the more common chain-link cages used before and since "Big Blue" had been retired.
Hogan dominated the match early with punches. Hogan slammed Bundy's head into cage to the delight of the crowd. Bundy took over and got some strikes in before ripping off Hogan's medical tape. The crowd was all about this match after having to wait 2 hours to see any action live. Hogan took over and slammed Bundy's head into cage again busting him open. Hogan punched the wound to draw more juice. Bundy bled profusely but took over, delivering more strikes to Hogan. Hogan "Hulked up" to the delight of the crowd, got in his 5 moves of doom and knocked out Bundy with his Atomic Leg Drop. Hogan climbed out of the cage for the win. Bobby Heenan locked himself in the cage to avoid Hogan, but Hogan came in to attack him as the crowd cheered. Ventura pointed out that Heenan didn't interfere in the match at all and didn't deserve the beating but Hogan attacked Heenan anyway to more raucous cheers.
This match, while loved by the live crowd, is mostly forgotten due to the unfortunate circumstance of being on a weak show. It also felt like more of a match that you'd see on Saturday Night's Main Event instead of one that would main event WrestleMania. Hogan had much more interesting matches with Paul Orndorff, Terry Funk, Macho Man Randy Savage, and Harley Race on episodes Saturday Night's Main Event. This match just doesn't quite hold up to the others, leaving it to be forgotten.
5. Bret 'The Hitman' Hart vs. Yokozuna
This match had several factors that prevented it from being as memorable as it should have been. Both Bret Hart & Lex Luger won the Royal Rumble and earned the right to face Yokozuna at WrestleMania. President Jack Tunney ruled after a coin toss that Lex Luger would get the first shot at Yokozuna and that Bret would face his brother Owen first instead. The main event would then have Bret face the winner of Yokozuna vs. Luger for the WWF Championship. Bret and Owen started the night and had one of the greatest matches of all time resulting in Bret losing to his younger brother. Owen injured Bret's leg in the match, hobbling The Hitman and giving him a clear disadvantage going into the main event. Yokozuna faced Lex Luger in his first match of the night and was knocked unconscious by Luger's forearm. As Luger went to cover Yoko, Jim Cornette & Mr. Fuji intervened in the match, distracting Luger & guest referee, Mr. Perfect. Mr. Perfect disqualified Luger, allowing Yokozuna to retain the championship.
Burt Reynolds served as guest ring announcer for the main event and put Bret over as "best athlete in wrestling today". Rowdy Roddy Piper served as the guest referee for the match in a nod to the original WrestleMania main event. Piper had a clear bias towards Bret, administering fast 5-counts to stop Yoko's shenanigans. Unlike WrestleMania IX, Yokozuna dominated the first 10 minutes with Bret getting no offense in whatsoever. Bret took over after Yoko missed a splash into the turnbuckle. Yokozuna was able to regain control, but when he went for the banzai drop to finish off the Hitman, Yoko fell and slammed his head on the mat. Commentary noted that Yokozuna had already been knocked unconscious earlier in the evening by Luger, suggesting he was especially vulnerable to head trauma. Bret rolled Yokozuna up for the pin and won. The crowd went wild for The Hitman while Lex Luger ran out to shake hands with the new champion. The locker room emptied to congratulate Bret and hoist him on their shoulders in an epic celebration. Macho Man Randy Savage, Pat Patterson, Gorilla Monsoon, Donnie Wahlberg, and even Vince McMahon got in the ring to celebrate Bret. Owen Hart looked on from the aisle disapprovingly, suggesting their feud was not over yet.
The match wasn't nearly as entertaining as it could have been due to Bret being significantly less mobile from his previous match. The match was also hurt by having to follow another candidate for greatest match of all time: the ladder match between Shawn Michaels & Razor Ramon for the Intercontinental Championship. As great as The Hitman & Yokozuna were at the time, this match wasn't set up for success; leaving it to be forgotten in favor of previous matches on the card.
4. The Undertaker vs. Sid
No Disqualification Match
The original plan for WrestleMania 13 was to have a rematch between Bret Hart & Shawn Michaels but Michaels backed out of the show due to a severe knee injury and losing his smile. Michaels vacated the WWF Championship and a match was made to crown a new champion at In Your House Final Four. The match was a Royal Rumble-style elimination match between The Undertaker, Vader, Bret Hart, and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Bret Hart emerged victorious but lost the belt the next night on RAW to Sid thanks to interference from Stone Cold. Since The Undertaker was the runner-up in the Final Four match, he was named the number one contender for the WWF championship at WrestleMania 13 while Hart and Austin would face each other to resolve their feud.
WrestleMania 13 took place at the Allstate Arena (formerly the Rosemont Horizon of WrestleMania II) just outside of Chicago. Shawn Michaels returned to join Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, and Vince McMahon on commentary for the main event. The Undertaker entered first to cheers from the Chicago crowd. After Sid entered to a mixed reaction, Bret Hart came out with a microphone calling out Sid & Undertaker and aired his grievances with the WWF. Sid dispatched Hart quickly to loud cheers. Taker dominated the match early until Sid caught him in a bear hug and they stood in it for two minutes before breaking the hold and then doing it again for another minute. Things picked up as the two men worked outside the ring to the Spanish announce table. Sid slammed Taker on the table and the two worked their way back into the ring where Sid dominated the rest of the match until The Undertaker caught him on the top turnbuckle and threw Sid back to the mat. Sid recovered to steal The Undertaker's Tombstone Piledriver and pinning combination to the amazement of the crowd. As Sid & Taker took the fight to the outside again, Bret Hart attacked Sid with a steel chair and then again by choking him on the ropes. Undertaker was able to take advantage of the interference to seal his win with a Tombstone Piledriver. The Chicago crowd embraced The Undertaker as the new WWF Champion with a standing ovation.
How did this match get forgotten? Like the Hulk Hogan/King Kong Bundy match at WrestleMania II, it was on a show that wasn't very good besides one other match. Hart and Austin delivered what many consider to be the best WrestleMania match of all time earlier in the night. Hart and Austin would both switch character positions in the match: Hart entered a hero and exited as the new top villain while Austin entered as a villain and exited on a path to become the most popular WWF Superstar of all time. The length and pace of Sid and Undertaker didn't help it much either, especially after the audience had been exposed to the action of Hart & Austin. Although this match was good, it gets lost in the shuffle when looking back at past WrestleMania main events.
3. Bret 'The Hitman' Hart vs. Yokozuna
1993 was a year of major transition in the WWF. Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, & Macho Man were being phased out as top heroes while the WWF was grooming a new generation of heroes: Bret "The Hitman" Hart, The Undertaker, & Crush. The WWF wasn't fully committed to moving away from Hogan yet, he was victorious in a tag match with the returning Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake against Money Inc. earlier in the show. Hogan appeared again on the show just prior to the main event to hype up Bret Hart but also issue a challenge to the winner of the main event. Bret Hart won the WWF championship from Ric Flair, but since he never faced Hulk Hogan, Hogan was still number one in the eyes of the fans.
Yokozuna was undefeated going into WrestleMania IX and had established himself as a top villain with Mr. Fuji as his mouthpiece. Bret Hart had success early in the match against Yokozuna with punches, but once he tried a waistlock things went south for the Hitman. Hart took over again after trapping Yoko's foot in the ropes until Yokozuna took over with his power, strength, and knowledge of nerve holds. Hart and Yokozuna would exchange momentum until Hart hit his bulldog, second rope elbow drop, and two clotheslines to knock Yokozuna off his feet. Hart wrapped Yoko in the sharpshooter after smashing his head into the exposed turnbuckle but Mr. Fuji blinded Hart by throwing salt in his eyes. Yokozuna won the match with a roll-up. Hogan was in the ring almost immediately after the three-count to aid Hart. Fuji challenged Hogan on the spot and Hitman gave Hogan his blessing to take on Yokozuna. Hogan squashed Yokozuna in less than 2 minutes to win the WWF title once again. This moment is a stark contrast to the way the WWF built up The Undertaker in the previous match on the card. After getting disqualified for using chloroform on the Undertaker, Giant Gonzales stood taunting the crowd. The crowd responded by chanting for Hulk Hogan: the only hero that everyone could count on for justice in the wrestling world. As The Undertaker was wheeled out on a stretcher, his gong sounded, and he recovered to take down Giant Gonzales.
The Undertaker didn't need anyone to overcome a cheating heel, but Bret Hart needed Hulk Hogan. Bret would win the WWF title again at Summerslam, but was deprived of his moment of looking tough and strong on the biggest stage at WrestleMania IX. Hogan coming in so soon & dispatching Yokozuna so quickly took away the impact of this match and showed the WWF wasn't ready to commit to the new generation yet.
2. Triple H vs. Chris Jericho
At Survivor Series 2001, the WCW Championship and WWE Championship were united in a tournament to crown the first Undisputed Champion. Chris Jericho shocked the world, beating Stone Cold Steve Austin & The Rock in the same night to win it all, solidifying his place in wrestling history. Triple H tore his quadriceps muscle earlier in May in a tag match against Chris Jericho, forcing Triple H to miss the tournament. When Triple H made his return from injury in January 2002, he won the Royal Rumble and was put on a path to facing Jericho once again. The third element to this match is Stephanie McMahon. Triple H and Stephanie's on-screen marriage was on the rocks until Stephanie revealed she was pregnant. The pregnancy was found to be a ruse and Triple H dumped Stephanie on RAW during a ceremony to renew their wedding vows. Stephanie and Jericho joined forces to torment Triple H and keep Jericho champion after WrestleMania 18. WrestleMania 18 took place at the Toronto Skydome in Jericho's native Canada. The Toronto crowd was hot all night and reached a fever pitch during the epic clash between The Rock & Hulk Hogan. Unfortunately for Triple H & Chris Jericho, they had to follow one of the most epic match-ups of all time. WWE placed a divas match between that match and the main event to reset the audience's emotions: it didn't work. On top of the crowd being emotionally exhausted, it was likely difficult for them to hate Chris Jericho in his home country.
The match itself focused on Triple H's injured leg with Jericho working the leg in various legal and illegal ways and how Stephanie supports Jericho instead of her husband. This split focus also may have hindered the heat on Jericho when he took over in the match. Triple H had the support of the crowd, but his winning felt inevitable throughout the match. After going through the Spanish announce table and taking a chair shot to the head, Triple H was able to deliver a kick to the gut and the pedigree for the win. It should be noted that the crowd did pop significantly for the conclusion of the match in spite of being lukewarm throughout it. Stephanie & Triple H's relationship didn't completely get resolved until the next night on RAW when he pinned her in a triple threat match forcing her to leave the company.
Triple H & Jericho's WrestleMania match was very good and it's easy to pick out what's wrong with something after it doesn't go quite perfectly. Watch it and comment below why you feel it may have been forgotten.
1. Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena
WrestleMania 23 seems like a bit of a lost show in the history of WWE since half of the winners on the card aren't really acknowledged by the company anymore for various reasons. Shawn Michaels had put on great WrestleMania matches in this second run of his WWE career with Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, Triple H, & Chris Benoit. Michaels got this title shot by defeating Edge & Randy Orton in a triple threat match on RAW. Cena and Michaels were also tag team champions through all of this. This match was built as a true babyface vs babyface main event, which happens rarely at WrestleMania. Mixed reactions have followed John Cena for a lot of his career and Cena's detractors made their voices heard early in this matchup. In spite of entering the match as WWE Champion and crashing a Ford Mustang into Ford Field for some extra hometown theatrics, Cena still got booed by some of the Detroit crowd.
Shawn Michaels dominated the first ten minutes of the match. Shawn manipulated Cena through various wrestling holds building to a springboard moonsault off the second rope to Cena on the announce table. Cena finally took over after Michaels rammed his head into the post and came up bloody. Cena pummeled Michaels to boos from the Detroit crowd. Michaels drew blood from Cena after piledriving him into the steel ring steps. The crowd was absolutely on fire for this match and justifiably so because they were legitimately seeing two of the greatest of all time put on a classic in the main event of WrestleMania. Cena and Michaels exchanged momentum until exhaustion set in on both men. Michaels went for one more superkick to finish off the champ, but Cena managed to duck it and lock Michaels in the STFU. Michaels tapped out to Cena, signaling to hardcore wrestling fans that Cena is a great technical wrestler on top of being a sports entertainer.
The crowd had a mixed reaction to the finish but with Michaels refusing to shake Cena's hand after the match, it was clear that the two had unfinished business. This match was absolutely fantastic and deserves to be revisited. It's most likely forgotten because of the lack of conclusion to the feud coupled with the fact that Cena and Michaels would soon clash again in an even better match on RAW in England three weeks later.