As Wrestlemania 26 looms upon the horizon, I wanted to use this month's Wrasslin' Fan to look back at the most iconic moments in Wrestlemania-history.
I'm not talking about matches or promos, I'm talking about visuals. The ones that everyone remembers. Without further adieu:
The Rock-n-Wrestling Connection
The first Wrestlemania is far from the best, quality-wise, but it still has its historical merit. One of the classic visuals given to use in the inaugural Wrestlemania is that of Wendi Richter and then-pop sensation Cyndi Lauper running down the hallway. It's stood the test of time as a memorable scene.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more spectacular moment at Wrestlemania I than of Liberace kicking it up with the Rockettes. History was made in that brief moment that truly standardized just what Wrestlemania would be.
Mr. T and Roddy Piper go face-to-face, nose-to-nose. The main event of Wrestlemania I was going to be a big deal and these two made you believe the palpable hatred that existed between them.
At Wrestlemania III, Hulk Hogan did the impossible. It's a scene that fans worldwide will remember forever. Hogan hesitates, he shakes his head, and then does the unimaginable: bodyslams Andre the Giant.
It's a simple moment. Beaten and broken, Andre takes the ring-cart back to the lockerrooms. The crowd goes wild and trash is thrown at him. All the while, Bobby Heenan holds his head low in disgust at the result of Wrestlemania III.
In a moment not so serious at Wrestlemania IV, but almost impossible to forget, is Andre the Giant choking Bob Uecker. The light-hearted moment etched itself into the annals of Wrestlemania.
Beaten and retired, Randy Savage becomes beaten in a (excuse the wording) savage attack by Sensational Sherri. What happens next is one of those defining Wrestlemania moments. We all remember it. Elizabeth makes the save, Savage and she reunited, and then he holds her above him. It was a beautiful and fitting "end" to a career at Wrestlemania VII.
For years, the Undertaker has been defined by two things at Wrestlemania: the Streak and his entrances. His first unique entrance took place at Wrestlemania IX. Undertaker approaches the ring in a ring-cart with an ominous avian creature.
Stealing the Show
Certainly before Wrestlemania X, Shawn Michaels was a well-known performer. Then came the ladder match. Much has been said of the match that truly started Shawn Michael's career. The iconic moment, however, is that of which we've all seen countless times. Shawn flies off the ladder with a bodysplash onto Razor Ramon, cementing his position in history.
Two years later at Wrestlemania XII, Shawn is giving the opportunity to accomplish his dream. We look not at the match, however, but at the entrance. Shawn becomes the showstopper in one moment as he ziplines down the ceiling into the crowd.
I Will Wash My Sins With Blood
Only hatred existed between Bret Hart and Steve Austin at Wrestlemania 13. Bret busted Austin open and locked Austin in the Sharpshooter creating what is, for me, the most definitive image in WWE history. Bleeding, screaming in pain, Austin will not submit.
"Down goes Michaels! Down goes Michaels!"
In his last Wrestlemania appearance for five years, Shawn Michaels gets decked by Mike Tyson at Wrestlemania XIV. Jim Ross' perfect call and Michaels perfect selling make this moment what it is.
Leap of Faith
At Wrestlemania 2000, the 16th event, Jeff Hardy built his career off of one of the most dazzling sights ever seen. Climbing atop the highest possible ladder he could find, Jeff soars off onto (and through) Bubba Ray Dudley with his Swanton Bomb. With light bulbs popping all around him, Jeff Hardy becomes a legend.
Coast to Coast
With a main event of the Rock vs. Steve Austin and the second ever TLC match, it would come a surprise that one of the most memorable moments is from neither on the Wrestlemania X-7 card. Instead the moment belongs to Shane McMahon, a long-time wrestling fan who, unlike other McMahons, never faltered for a second in delivering the best he could. Stealing a page from Rob Van Dam, Shane flew from turnbuckle to turnbuckle to dropkick a trashcan into his father's face.
Icon vs. Icon
Wrestlemania X-8 has a defining moment all its own, one that we all know very well. Hogan looks to the left, the Rock to the right. Hogan looks to the right, the Rock to the left. They soak in the absolutely mixed (which would become pro-Hogan and then pro-Rock all in one night) crowd and prepare to embark upon history.
Wrestlemania XIX is remembered ultimately for one thing: Brock Lesnar's botch. The moment took the breath from fans and WWE officials all in one go. Brock attempted a shooting star press, a move he had nailed with perfection multiple times before, and landed on his neck. While not near as impressive visually, one must give Kurt Angle props for his ability to see it coming and work with.
Two lifelong journeys come to an end amidst a shower of confetti. At Wrestlemania XX, Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit hug after Benoit finally captures the WWE World Title. The moment serves as an emotional tearjerker for multiple reasons. Let's leave it at that.
Stealing the Show pt. 2
By the time 2005 came around, wrestling fans had seen everything there was to see in a ladder match thanks to the likes of the Hardys, Shawn Michaels, etc. That is, at any rate, until Shelton Benjamin entered the picture. Shelton wowed the world by running up a ladder and clotheslining Jericho, proving that the best was still yet to come.
"I'm sorry; I love you."
With those fateful words, Shawn Michaels (at the time) ended the career of wrestling legend Ric Flair. Much has been said about the lack of taste or finesse in pro wrestling, but this match proved that sometimes, it can be theater.
And there you have it. The most iconic, visually striking moments in Wrestlemania history. Strike back below with your thoughts on any snubs.
My Opinion is Right
There's a lot discuss this week, of course, but I figured I'd go for something out of left field.
Santino Marella is the biggest "dropped ball" of the 2000s. At first, when Santino turned heel, I predicted Santino would be main eventing by this time. I was apparently mistaken. Santino's charisma seemed like the perfect fit for the upper echelon of WWE's greatest characters.
Instead he's been booked like a bumbling fool.
His time in OVW proves he's an adept worker and there's no denying his comedic timing (the same attribute that made the Rock a star). Yet the booking of him has destroyed what could have been a huge moneymaker for WWE.
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