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Wrestlemania 33: The Undertaker retires Shawn Michaels, Hulk Hogan bodyslams Andre The Giant…





Wrestlemania 33: The Undertaker retires Shawn Michaels, Hulk Hogan bodyslams Andre The Giant… The Undertaker retires Shawn Michaels, Hulk Hogan bodyslams Andre The Giant…

WRESTLEMANIA 33 is just days away, and promises to deliver more stunning action from a stacked card.

But how will the action compare to WrestleMania’s greatest moments so far?

And what are the best matches to ever take place at the “Showcase of the Immortals”?

SunSport takes a look back to definitively rank the 33 greatest WrestleMania matches ever.

33. Hulk Hogan (c) v Andre the Giant – WWE Championship Match

WrestleMania III – March 29, 1987

Andre The Giant and Hulk Hogan stare eachother down before their iconic Wrestlemania match

WWE

Andre The Giant and Hulk Hogan stare eachother down before their iconic Wrestlemania match

Disregarded as spectacle over substance, but the importance of that legendary visual – the Hogan and Andre stare down – can’t be overstated.

The Hulkster sells his yellow boots off for Andre and finally slams the mighty giant.

Fans at the time really didn’t know if he could topple Andre.

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33. Vince McMahon v Shane McMahon – Street Fight

WrestleMania X-Seven – April 1, 2001

Shane McMahon is battered by dad and WWE owner Vince

WWE

Shane McMahon is battered by dad and WWE owner Vince

Vince and Shane are no mat technicians, so pull out every trick in the book – weapons, interference, table-crashing stunts, Mick Foley as guest referee, and the zombified Linda McMahon resurrecting to clobber Vince in the crown jewels.

It’s a perfect storm of OTT booking and the peak of the McMahon family feud

31. Sting v Triple H

WrestleMania 31 – March 29, 2015

WWE fans had waited years to see WCW hero Sting take on Triple H

WWE

WWE fans had waited years to see WCW hero Sting take on Triple H

Another match loaded with distractions, as this WWE versus WCW war erupts with surprise run-ins from DX and the NWO (a battle of the factions that’s 16 years too late).

It’s self-indulgent stuff – and fans were scratching their heads over Trips defeating the heroic Sting – but plenty of fun.

30. Big Show v Floyd Mayweather – No Holds Barred Match

WrestleMania XXIV – March 30, 2008

It was a case of David vs Goliath when boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather took on the 7ft-tall Big Show

WWE

It was a case of David vs Goliath when boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather took on the 7ft-tall Big Show

A brilliantly constructed exhibition bout and Big Show’s top moment at ‘Mania.

Mayweather plays the cocky villain to perfection (funny that) and has an entourage on hand to take the big bumps.

He gets the win by clocking Show with a pair of brass knuckles. The very definition of “sports-entertainment”.

29. Edge v Mick Foley – Hardcore Match

WrestleMania 22 – April 2, 2006

Mick Foley was involved in a number of memorable Wrestlamania moments

WWE

Mick Foley was involved in a number of memorable Wrestlemania moments

Foley brings all the bells, whistles, and barbed wire for this brutal, blood-soaked brawl.

The hardcore legend loses but finally gets his big WrestleMania moment –  being speared through a flaming table.

He also elevates Edge by helping bring out his vicious streak – just as he did for Triple H at Royal Rumble 2000.

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28. Triple H (c) v Chris Benoit v Shawn Michaels – World Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat Match

WrestleMania XX – March 14, 2004

Not quite the masterpiece fans say it is, this suffers for triple-threat syndrome (someone’s usually waiting for their turn on the outside).

But there are slick sequences as it intensifies in the final minutes.

Michaels bleeds profusely after a nasty blade job and Trips does the sell of the century in Benoit’s Sharpshooter

27.Undertaker v Triple H – Hell in a Cell

WrestleMania XXVIII – April 1, 2012

The Undertake drops a big leg drop on Triple H inside Hell in a Cell

WWE

The Undertake drops a big leg drop on Triple H inside Hell in a Cell

A sluggish brawl that cranks up after guest ref Shawn Michaels (who ‘Taker had retired just two years earlier) gets involved. From there it’s shameless booking – multiple finishers, split-second near falls, and hammy acting from the conflicted Michaels.

Check out Michaels super-kicking ‘Taker straight into Trips’ Pedigree for a heart-stopping two count.

Undertaker wins.

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26. Roddy Piper (c) v Bret “Hitman” Hart – Intercontinental Championship Match

WrestleMania VIII – April 5, 1992

Bret Hart dropkicks Roddy Piper during their intercontinental championship match

WWE

Bret Hart dropkicks Roddy Piper during their intercontinental championship match

This quickly turns into a knock-down-drag-out scrap when the two friends start fighting dirty.

But compassion is Piper’s weakness. He’s about to clobber a bloodied Bret with the ring bell, but can’t do it – then Bret rolls him up seconds later.

A career best performance from Piper and early sign of Bret’s talent for storytelling.

25.Triple H (c) v The Rock v Mick Foley v Big Show – WWE Championship Fatal Four Way Elimination

WrestleMania 2000 – April 2, 2000

Much criticized for its “McMahon in every corner” storyline and for Vince’s nonsensical turn on The Rock.

But it’s a fun slice from the Attitude Era’s best year.

It picks up after Show is eliminated and months of backstory between Rock, Triple H, and Foley collide.

Trips wins – the first heel to leave ‘Mania as champ.

24. Undertaker v Triple H

WrestleMania X-Seven – April 1, 2001

The Undertake stalks Triple H with the Game's trademark sledgehammer in hand

WWE

The Undertake stalks Triple H with the Game’s trademark sledgehammer in hand

The ‘Taker versus Triple H match that WWE wants to forget – presumably because of ‘Taker’s “American Badass” character – but it’s still their best.

A cracking brawl that spills into the crowd, where ‘Taker chokeslams Triple H from a 10-foot drop onto a (unfortunately visible) crash mat.

Undertaker hits a Last Ride for the victory.

23.Bret “Hitman Hart” v Shawn Michaels – WWE Championship Iron Man Match

WrestleMania 12 – March 31, 1996

Bret 'The Hitman' Hart and Shawn Michaels put on a spectacular hour-long match

WWE

Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart and Shawn Michaels put on a spectacular hour-long match

Michaels’ first WWE title win isn’t the work of genius WWE would have you believe, but it’s still very good.

The first 30 minutes in very mat based (save HBK super-kicking the time keeper by mistake) before they bring out the big spots for the second half.

Michaels wins in sudden death overtime.

22.Edge (c) v Undertaker – World Heavyweight Championship Match

WrestleMania XXIV – March 30, 2008

This takes its time laying the groundwork – the result is a match with that sense of grandeur every WrestleMania headliner should have.

Everything Edge and ‘Taker do means something, unlike some modern spot-heavy matches.

Though usually credited to Undertaker – who gets the win to go 16-0 at ‘Mania – it’s also Edge’s finest hour.

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 21.Shawn Michaels v Chris Jericho

WrestleMania XIX – March 30, 2003

Chris Jericho locks Shawn Michaels in the Walls of Jericho at Wrestlemania XIX

WWE

Chris Jericho locks Shawn Michaels in the Walls of Jericho at Wrestlemania XIX

The story was that arrogant heel Jericho was jealous of his one-time idol Michaels.

And their natural chemistry’s no surprise – Jericho’s persona and move-set really was made in the mould of a young HBK.

The second half of the match explodes with a furious pace and expertly-timed spots.

A losing effort for Jericho, but still his best ‘Mania outing.

20.Charlotte (c) v Sasha Banks v Becky Lynch – Women’s Championship Triple Threat Match

WrestleMania 32 – April 3, 2016

Though it doesn’t quite reach the standards of their NXT work, Charlotte, Sasha, and Becky put together a dynamite effort – the show-stealer of a lukewarm ‘Mania and a landmark for WWE’s women.

It peaks with Charlotte’s jaw-dropping moonsault to the outside, before Ric Flair gets involved to help her get the win.

The moment WWE’s Divas became Superstars.

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 19. Edge & Christian v Hardy Boyz v Dudley Boyz – TLC Match

WrestleMania X-Seven – April 1, 2001

Jeff Hardy being speared by Edge while swinging from the tag-team titles is one of the greatest moments in Wrestlemania history

WWE

Jeff Hardy being speared by Edge while swinging from the tag-team titles is one of the greatest moments in Wrestlemania history

The culmination of a three-way rivalry that redefined tag team wrestling (especially on top ladders).

The spots flow seamlessly and there’s no waiting around for the next stunt to be set up – a trick few multi-man ladder matches have managed since.

Edge and Christian win, but Jeff Hardy owns it with the greatest ‘Mania bump ever – speared by Edge while hanging 15-feet above the ring.

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18. “Macho King” Randy Savage v Ultimate Warrior – Retirement Match

WrestleMania VII – March 21, 1991

Miss Elizebeth came running to the ring to reunite with Randy Savage

WWE

Miss Elizebeth came running to the ring to reunite with Randy Savage

Macho cost Warrior the WWE Championship at Royal Rumble, then carried him to the performance of his career at ‘Mania.

There’s cartoonish drama as Macho escapes the gorilla press, causing Warrior to question the gods and almost forfeit the match.

But the real emotion comes after, when the defeated Macho reunites with Miss Elizabeth.

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17.Shawn Michaels v Razor Ramon – Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match

WrestleMania X – March 20, 1994

Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon at Wrestlemania set the standard for all future Ladder Matches

WWE

Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon at Wrestlemania set the standard for all future Ladder Matches

Both claiming to the IC champ, the real-life buddies battle over two identical belts.

It’s tame by today’s TLC and Money in the Bank standards, but infinitely superior – a real match that has a ladder in it, rather than a series of stunts built around the ladder.

Groundbreaking stuff.

16. Batista v Undertaker – World Heavyweight Championship Match

WrestleMania 23 – April 1, 2007

No one expected this to tear the house down Savage and Steamboat-style, but it’s an absolute stunner – non-stop action from bell-to-bell, which kicks off with an almighty spear from big Dave.

This was the start of ‘Taker’s in-ring renaissance, when he had the best match of the card (and won, of course) at every ‘Mania between 23 and 29.

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15. Hulk Hogan (c) v Ultimate Warrior – WWE Championship Match

WrestleMania VI – April 1, 1990

Hulk Hogan takes down the Ultimate Warrior with a clothesline

WWE

Hulk Hogan takes down the Ultimate Warrior with a clothesline

The peak of WWE’s musclebound big man era, the clash of WWE’s two biggest babyfaces is a true spectacle – and much better than it has any right to be.

Hogan’s been criticized for his spotlight-hogging after Warrior’s win, but it’s a perfect passing the torch moment.

Shame it got passed right back the next year.

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14. Brock Lesnar (c) v Roman Reigns – WWE Championship Match

WrestleMania 31 – March 29, 2015

Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar turned into a Triple-threat match after Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank

WWE

Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar turned into a Triple-threat match after Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank

Roman smashes all doubts about his talents, while Brock proves he’s more than just an attraction.

Here he’s a ring general, dominating the match until Reigns finds a chink in Brock’s armour (a ring post to the head) and makes his comeback.

Seth Rollins’ surprise MITB cash-in to make it a tripe threat and snare the title is an ingenious twist.

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13. “Macho Man” Randy Savage (c) v Hulk Hogan – WWE Championship Match

WrestleMania V – April 2, 1989

Randy Savage stands over Hulk Hogan in their classic bout

WWE

Randy Savage stands over Hulk Hogan in their classic bout

Billed as “the Mega Powers explode”, it’s Hogan’s best match at this point.

Macho’s on top villainous form – stalling, choking, and getting physical with Miss Elizabeth – while Hogan even tries some proper wrestling (just a drop toehold, but still).

A match that lived up to the hype – and one the greatest storylines in WWE history.

12. Ric Flair v Shawn Michaels – Career Threatening Match

WrestleMania XXIV – March 30, 2008

Ric Flair was 'retired' by Shawn Michaels after he delivered the Sweet Chin Music

WWE

Ric Flair was ‘retired’ by Shawn Michaels after he delivered the Sweet Chin Music

A classy matchup that both breaks and pays respect to the classic Flair formula (he finally hits that flying cross body from the top rope).

Michaels hits an eye-watering moonsault ribs-first onto the announce table (a serious ouch), and gets the corny “I’m sorry, I love you” line before super-kicking his idol into retirement.

But the moment undoubtedly belongs to Flair.

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11. Kurt Angle v Shawn Michaels

WrestleMania 21 – April 3, 2005

Kurt Angle vs Shawn Michaels saw two of WWE's greatest ever superstars face off

WWE

Kurt Angle vs Shawn Michaels saw two of WWE’s greatest ever superstars face off

“The Olympic Hero” and HBK at the absolute top of their game.

This is match that turned the near fall into an art form, as the pair hit spot after spot and put innovative twists on their trademark moves.

Michaels does the sell job of his career before tapping to Kurt’s ankle lock.

10. “Macho Man” Randy Savage v Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat – Intercontinental Championship Match

WrestleMania III – March 29, 1987

Randy Savage took on Ricky Steamboat for the intercontinental title

WWE

Randy Savage took on Ricky Steamboat for the intercontinental title

The original WrestleMania show stealer.

It’s hasn’t aged particularly well, but is still godfather to the modern WWE style.

Savage was a notorious perfectionist, and laid the match out meticulously beforehand.

Everything just comes together brilliantly – two highly gifted performers, a hot crowd, and top notch commentary from Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura.

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9. Bret “Hitman” Hart v Owen Hart

WrestleMania X – March 20, 1994

The two former Hart Foundation members collided in this epic Wrestlemania match

WWE

The two former Hart Foundation members collided in this epic Wrestlemania match

A technical classic from two stellar talents.

Owen’s heelish one-upmanship is a delight and gets a surprise win, while Bret goes on to reclaim the WWE Championship later in the night.

Bret didn’t just put his brother over – he sets Owen up as a legit contender to the title.

Inspired storytelling.

8. John Cena v Shawn Michaels – WWE Championship Match

WrestleMania 23 – April 1, 2007

Shawn Michaels cemented his place as one of WWE's greatest ever with his display against John Cena

WWE

Shawn Michaels cemented his place as one of WWE’s greatest ever with his display against John Cena

Cena wins this gripping epic, but it’s the moment HBK transitions from exceptional performer to the greatest of all time.

It’s not just his wrestling, but his command of ring psychology – knowing exactly where he needs to be at every moment.

The typical Cena reaction puts Michaels in an interesting spot too – playing heel but cheered as a babyface.

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7. Daniel Bryan v Triple H/ Daniel Bryan v Randy Orton v Batista – WWE Championship Triple Threat

WrestleMania XXX – April 6, 2014

Daniel Bryan overcame the odds to beat Randy Orton and Batista to win the championships

WWE

Daniel Bryan overcame the odds to beat Randy Orton and Batista to win the championships

You can’t have without the other – they’re two parts of the same story.

Bryan beats Triple in a thrilling technical opener for a place in the main event, then goes onto the exciting three-way finale.

Just when it looks like Orton and Batista’s powerbomb-RKO combo has legit injured Bryan, he comes back to win the title in one of the all-time great ‘Mania moments.

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6.Undertaker v Shawn Michaels – Streak v Career Match

WrestleMania XXVI – March 28, 2010

The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels had not one but two amazing Wrestlemania match

WWE

The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels had not one but two amazing Wrestlemania match

This doesn’t quite top the previous year’s match, but has plenty of fun trying.

Michaels and ‘Taker take all the best bits and crank them up – faster, harder, with more earth-shattering near falls.

The result was never in question, but it’s still a stunning contest.

The highlight comes at the end, as the almost-beaten HBK definitely slaps ‘Taker ­– then cops one final Tombstone.

5. Hollywood Hulk Hogan v The Rock

WrestleMania X8 – March 17, 2002

The Rock vs Hollywood Hulk Hogan was billed as 'Icon vs Icon'

WWE

The Rock vs Hollywood Hulk Hogan was billed as ‘Icon vs Icon’

Everything a ‘Mania match should be.

The opening stare down is a contender for greatest ever WrestleMania moment, thanks to the red-hot crowd.

Hogan plays master manipulator, turning the fans to the point they boo Rock’s babyface comeback spots.

The action is also perfectly laid out – when Hogan starts “hulking up”, it’s simply electric.

Rock wins with a People’s Elbow.

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4. Undertaker v CM Punk

WrestleMania 29 – April 7, 2013

CM Punk dives from the top rope to hit Undertaker with a elbow through the announce table

WWE

CM Punk dives from the top rope to hit Undertaker with a elbow through the announce table

By now Undertaker’s streak appeared unbreakable (how little we knew).

Punk’s greatest achievement was making fans believe that he really could defeat the “Deadman”.

Even on re-watch, the near falls – particularly when Punk clobbers ‘Taker mid-powerbomb with the urn – are breathtaking.

The last great match of the streak before Lesnar ended it the next year.

3. Undertaker v Shawn Michaels

WrestleMania 25 – April 5, 2009

The Undertaker caught Shawn Michaels mid-air and delivered a tombstone to win the match

WWE

The Undertaker caught Shawn Michaels mid-air and delivered a tombstone to win the match

An undisputed classic from two veterans.

It starts as a technical slow-burner, before a nerve-shredding count-out sequence (after ‘Taker dives over the ropes and lands outside head first), and then final act of finishers, big spots, and nerve-shredding near falls.

Every big match since has tried to recreate the magic of the last 10 minutes.

2. The Rock (c) v Stone Cold Steve Austin – WWE Championship No DQ Match

WrestleMania X-Seven – April 1, 2001

Stone Cold aligns himself with Vince McMahon to win the title against The Rock

WWE

Stone Cold aligns himself with Vince McMahon to win the title against The Rock

The Attitude Era’s final showdown, a sizzling, blood-soaked war between its two biggest stars.

Rock and Austin hit each other with everything – even each other’s finishers – before Austin finally hits his stunner to a thunderous pop.

Austin eventually wins with assisatance from Vince McMahon.

The heel turn is a mistake, but detract from how good this match is.

1. Bret “Hitman” Hart v Stone Cold Steve Austin – I Quit Match

WrestleMania 13 – March 23, 1997

Stone Cold Steve Austin refused to tap out to Bret Hart's Sharpshooter and passed out

WWE

Stone Cold Steve Austin refused to tap out to Bret Hart’s Sharpshooter and passed out

Arguably the best match ever, not just at ‘Mania.

The action is relentless – even wear-down holds have fans on their feet – but there’s masterful psychology too.

The famous double-turn begins early in the match – by the time Austin passes out in Bret’s Sharpshooter, he’s become the hottest babyface in wrestling.

It’s also one of the defining images in WWE history – a bloodied Austin screaming but refusing to quit.

Truly brilliant.

Watch WrestleMania 33 on the WWE Network Sunday April 2

Brock Lesnar ends the Undertaker's legendary WWE WrestleMania unbeaten streak


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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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