We are officially three weeks out from grandaddy of them all! WRESTLEMANIA! This event is bigger to me than the Super Bowl. As it nears closer, good news for fellow wrestling fans out there. I intend to do a few posts about it. I wanted to start with my favorite Wrestlemania moments. Some of them made me cry. Some made me fan boy out. Some made my jaw hit the floor. So here are my top 5 Wrestlemania moments…
5. Brock Lesnar conquers the streak – Wrestlemania 30
This one is special because I was actually there to witness this. The undefeated streak Undertaker possessed at Wrestlemania is part of what made him such a legend. Going in to that match, no one ever thought Brock Lesnar would actually pin the Undertaker. I remember the eerie feeling when the refs hand came down for three. Everyone got dead quiet. You will never hear silence like that in wrestling…EVER! I was one of the few screaming for Lesnar. I was so happy it was him who broke the streak. The conspiracy theories after were my favorite part. Everyone thought it was mistake by either the Undertaker or the ref. After about a minute of letting the crowd sit there in absolute shock, 21-1 popped up on the jumbotron. Naturally, boos filled the arena. I am not the biggest fan of the Undertaker and I am tired of seeing him show up for Mania every year in all honesty.
4. Shawn Michaels “I love you” to Ric Flair- Wrestlemania 24
This match involved my favorite wrestler of all time (Flair) and arguably one of my top 5 guys (Michaels). Although Flair had seen way better days, this match was actually fucking fantastic and one of my favorites of Flair’s career. It was also his last. While the match itself was brilliant, the storyline made it. Michaels did not want to be the one to end Flair’s career, but his hand was forced. Right before Michaels set up for the final Sweet Chin Music to “put down Old Yeller” (Michaels said that in a promo in the lead up to Mania), he mouthed the words “I’m sorry. I love you.” to Flair. After he nailed his finisher, he pinned him for three. Then he proceeded to hug the man he defeated while Flair was sprawled out on the mat. Flair went out like a true legend…on his back looking up at the lights. I can’t watch this match without shedding a tear. This was the end of the best to ever do it.
3. Stone Cold Steve Austin turns heel- Wrestlemania 17
This was truly one of those “what the fuck just happened” moments. No one ever thought Stone Cold would actually join forces with Vince McMahon. When he did, the wrestling world had been turned upside down and flipped inside out. I could not believe what I saw watching that as a child. Did that actually happen? The two biggest rivals in WWE joined forces. Wow!
2. Daniel Bryan wins WWE World Heavyweight Title- Wrestlemania 30
Again, it also helps I was there when it happened. Daniel Bryan had been so close to the WWE World Heavyweight Title for so long only to be screwed over and over by Triple H and the Authority. As a fan, I was becoming increasingly pissed each time. This was a true underdog storyline. In order to even be considered for a title match, he had to defeat Triple H and then he would later face Randy Orton and Batista in a triple threat match. It was basically a handicap match. He was also carted off during the match after receiving a Batista Bomb RKO combo through the announcer’s table. But he later returned and took out Evolution and eventually made Batista tap to the Yes Lock! The Yes chants in the building were insane! I get chills thinking about it and every time I see it. 74,000 fans in unison chanting Yes as Bryan soaked it all in. It was awesome.
1. Seth Rollins cashes in- Wrestlemania 31
WWE had been doing a fine job of giving fans the opposite of what they wanted in terms of Royal Rumble winners. This time it was Roman Reigns who won the Rumble and earned the right to face Brock Lesnar. It was so bad that Lesnar (Heel) received the majority of the cheers in this match. As the two pounded the life out of each other, the match was still ongoing when Seth Rollins’ music hit while Lesnar and Reigns were laid out in the ring. Everyone knew what was about to happen. He cashed in the Money In the Bank briefcase and the crowd was electric. Despite being a huge heel aligned with the Authority, people will always love Seth Freaking Rollins. This made history because he was the first to cash in at Wrestlemania and he was also the first to cash in during an actual match. This made the match a triple threat match. He delivered a curb stomp to Lesnar and as he set up a second, Lesnar caught him. He was about to deliver an F5 before being speared by Reigns. Then Rollins hit Reigns with a curb stomp and covered him for the three count. It was freaking amazing because Seth Freakin Rollins became the new champ. This is easily my favorite thing to ever happen at Mania.