The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the views of Wrestling Inc. or its staff
Although we are still a week away from the show, I think it is safe to say that no matter what happens next week, I think we can all agree that this year’s WrestleMania show is going to be the strangest in history. The empty arena, the two nights, the pre-tapes, the various gimmick matches in different locations, WWE has bent over backwards to try and pull the show off during the coronavirus shutdown.
The result is that this year, it isn’t going to feel much like WrestleMania. There are various reasons why WWE is hell-bent on producing the show for the first weekend in April, but any expectations fans may have had for the show have to be tempered greatly. When fans think of WrestleMania, they think of a massive crowd watching matches that feel like the biggest matches of the year, something that is going to be impossible under these circumstances.
The uniqueness of this year’s show does ensure that fans will always remember this show, even if it is for the wrong reasons. However, in a lot of ways it is going to be the most unmemorable WrestleMania in history because it won’t feel like WrestleMania at all. That idea got me thinking, what is the least-memorable WrestleMania in history?
That question is different than asking what is the worst WrestleMania in history. A WrestleMania can be bad and still memorable. WrestleMania 4 for example, is regarded as being a bad show with a repetitive tournament that lasted way too long, and was devoid of any good matches. However, everyone remembers the show because it was the night Randy Savage won the world title for the first time. If you say “WrestleMania 4” to any wrestling fan, they can tell you what happened that night.
Instead, I want to look at some shows that even hardcore fans have a hard time recalling what happened. What shows had angles that didn’t end up working, or failing to capture fan interest? What shows had weak main events that didn’t deliver? What shows lacked key title changes of new top stars?
One thing is that most people remember WrestleMania’s based off of their main events, so having a memorable main event is key to having a memorable show. That isn’t always the case, WrestleMania 18 had a meh main event (Triple H vs Chris Jericho) but it had the classic Hulk Hogan vs The Rock match on the undercard, so it is very memorable. WrestleMania 13 is the same, with a forgettable Sid vs Undertaker main event, but the masterpiece Bret Hart vs Steve Austin on the undercard.
Another that can happen over time is that matches can end up being overshadowed historically. A match that might have been memorable at the time has become more forgettable, usually because something even more memorable came along after it. In a lot of ways this is an assessment of how certain matches and angles have aged over time. Some decisions in hindsight have not worked out well, even if they were defensible moves at the time.
Here are the seven most forgettable WrestleMania’s in history:
7. WrestleMania 16
The Attitude Era is fondly remembered by most fans, but this show was a real dud. It was hurt by The Undertaker and Steve Austin, two of the biggest stars of the era, missing the show. The main event was a convoluted four way between Triple H, The Rock, Mick Foley and Big Show, with the storyline being all four McMahon family members were in the corner for each guy. The match dragged and Triple H retained in an interference-heavy match. The rest of the card was a bunch of pointless gimmick matches, with the one exception being the Triple Threat Ladder Match for the tag team titles, which was a real watershed match and set the stage for the more famous match the following year. The ladder match keeps the show from rising too high on this list.
6. WrestleMania 8
This was supposed to be the show headlined by Ric Flair vs Hulk Hogan, but the match never took place after a December program between the two failed to deliver on business and the WWF re-routed to building the show around Sid and Hogan. Randy Savage beat Flair for the title in a good match that would have been more memorable if it wasn’t placed smack-dab in the middle of the show. Sid vs Hogan closed out the show with a stinker that saw Hogan win via DQ. The most famous match from this show is the Bret Hart vs Roddy Piper Intercontinental Championship match that was a real bloodbath.
5. WrestleMania 32
The biggest match on this show was Shane McMahon vs The Undertaker, with The Undertaker playing heel for some reason as Vince McMahon’s chosen hand to beat his son, who allegedly had some dirt on Vince he was going to spill if he won the match. The storyline sucked and made little sense, but Shane jumped off the top of the cell, which is what the angle was really about. The main event was Roman Reigns beating Triple H for the title, a match that went way too long to close out a six hour show, and the crowd was annoyed with Reigns throughout the entire match. The women’s match between Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks is the most fondly remembered match from this show.
4. WrestleMania 15
This was during the height of the Attitude Era, so you would think it would be great. However, this was a very forgettable show. The main event was the first major meeting of The Rock vs Steve Austin, which sounds better on paper than in reality, and their later clashes at WrestleMania would be much more memorable. Everything else on the show was quick and forgettable. The second biggest match on the show was The Undertaker vs The Big Boss Man in what was the worst Hell in a Cell match in history that didn’t involve The Fiend. Triple H beat Kane via DQ, Shane McMahon beat X-Pac…yeah not a lot happening at WrestleMania 15.
3. WrestleMania 9
The one thing this show had going for it was the outdoor setting at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Everyone remembers the togas. That being said, there was nothing really memorable on this card. The most pushed match was Bret Hart defending the title against Yokozuna, which lasted eight minutes and Yokozuna cheated to beat Hart. Then Hogan came out and killed Yokozuna in 20 seconds to regain the title. At the time this was seen as a return to the top for Hogan, the king of the WWF once again, but Hogan would be out of the company a few months later. Really, this show could be like this year’s show, everyone remembers the setting and atmosphere but most people don’t remember much about the matches.
2. WrestleMania 27
The Rock had returned to WWE earlier that year, but instead of wrestling he served as the host of the show, even though he was working a feud with John Cena at the time. With The Rock vs Cena match on hold for next year, the show was closed by The Miz vs Cena, a decision that has not aged well. The biggest match on the show was probably The Undertaker vs Triple H, which saw Triple H beat up The Undertaker for 28 minutes before somehow losing. People liked that match at the time, but it would be overshadowed the following year when they had their major Hell in a Cell blow-off. Nothing else on the show was really memorable, although this was Edge’s last televised match before 2020, although fans didn’t know it at the time.
1. WrestleMania 11
WrestleMania 11 checks all the boxes. The main event was Lawrence Taylor vs Bam Bam Bigelow, a celebrity wrestling a heel who was never a major main event star in the company who would leave the WWF later that year. The match before the main event was a successful Diesel title defense against Shawn Michaels in a match where the crowd cheered for Michales, who was the heel. Undertaker had probably his least memorable WrestleMania match, beating King Kong Bundy in six minutes. The show took place during a down year for WWE business-wise, and in probably the lamest location for WrestleMania in history: Hartford, CT. I think this is easily the least memorable WrestleMania in history.