Top 10 WrestleMania Performers

Over the years there have been nearly 400 wrestlers that have entered the squared circle for a WrestleMania match. These range from Hulk Hogan and Greg Valentine to The Boogeyman and Michael Cole but only 10 of those wrestlers can make this list. When considering people for this list the win-loss record they have has no bearing whatsoever, what I care about is the matches they were involved in, and the level of performance they showed. Without further ado let's look at who made the cut.

10. Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

Hitman's list of WrestleMania matches contains a bit of everything. He finished second in a battle royal at Mania II and spent the rest of the early shows in tag team matches, none of which were particularly memorable. His first singles match was against Roddy Piper at WrestleMania VIII and it was a doozy. In the next two years he has two matches with Yokozuna that were perfectly serviceable but he also had another match.

At WrestleMania X Hart both opened and closed the show and it was the opener against brother Owen that really stands out. It may well be the best opening match in wrestling history. It is outstanding. It wasn't the last classic match that Hart had on the WrestleMania stage though as he also had memorable matches against Shawn Michaels in an ironman match and Steve Austin in a submission match. While I consider the ironman match to be good but ultimately overrated, I think that the Austin match is one of the most important, and best, that has ever taken place at WrestleMania. The storytelling on show there is out of this world. 

The Austin match was Hart's last at WrestleMania until he faced Vince McMahon at WrestleMania XXVI. This match was so bad that I considered leaving Hitman off this list completely but in the end, his 14 matches, 4 of which are considered classics, were too good to ignore.

9. Kurt Angle

The Ronda Rousey match at WrestleMania 34 will only be Angle's 8th at the show of shows but the standard of the matches he has put on is just too high not to get a place on this list. The closest thing that Angle had to a bad Mania match was his bout with Kane at X8, and even that is more forgettable than bad. The rest of his matches are all befitting a wrestler of Angle's standards. 

His first WrestleMania appearance was in 2000, where he defended both the European and Intercontinental Titles against Jericho and Benoit, losing both but putting in a good performance. At WrestleMania X-Seven he once again faced Benoit but this time it was a far superior match. The following year he had a throwaway match against Kane.

Following this Angle put in a great run of performances. At XIX he defended the WWE Title against Brock Lesnar, while injured, and delivered the goods. At XX he was once again in the WWE Title match, putting on another great match against Eddie Guerrero. This led to WrestleMania 21, and one of the best Mania matches of all time against Shawn Michaels. It is an absolute masterpiece with one of the best closing stretches ever. A must see match if ever there was one. 

Angle rounded out his WrestleMania matches with a solid but unspectacular triple threat match against Mysterio and Orton. With only one less than good match on his resume, Angle deserves his spot on this list.

8. Chris Jericho

Jericho has had one of the most random collections of Mania matches this side of Big Show. He has had some completely throwaway matches against Fandango (WrestleMania 29) and Steamboat, Piper and Snuka (WrestleMania XXV), though the segment of the latter match that featured Jericho vs Steamboat was really good. He has also been in a number of matches that were good but possibly didn't live up to the lofty expectations they had. These matches came against Regal, Angle, Benoit, Punk, Styles, and Owens, and to be honest they are still worth a watch.

The rest of Jericho's matches are varying levels of great. The oft-criticised match against HHH at WrestleMania X8 is a much better match when viewed in and of itself, rather than having to go on after the Hogan vs Rock match, and his match with Edge at WrestleMania XXVI is a bit of a forgotten gem. He was also a part of two excellent MITB ladder matches at both WrestleMania 21 and XXIV, but he is part of a multi-part whole there.

For my money, his two best matches were his match against Christian at WrestleMania XX and the one against HBK at WrestleMania XIX. The Christian match is one of those matches that should be far better remembered than it is. The build was good, the match was great and the finish was awesome. The HBK match is top notch. I don't really have anything bad to say about any part of their rivalry. 

While his Mania match history is all over the place, Jericho has never put in a bad performance.

7. The Rock

The Rock has technically had 11 matches at WrestleMania and the only ones that can really be considered substandard are the 8-second demolition of Erick Rowan, and his match against the Sultan at WrestleMania 13. You could definitely make a case that his match with Shamrock at XIV, the 4-way main event of 2000, and the second Cena match were all pretty run of the mill but the rest are all worth watching.

The first Cena match was pretty much exactly what it needed to be, a lot of smoke and mirrors that ultimately ended up much better than most people expected. That description could also apply to the 3-on-2 handicap match from XX that saw the Rock n' Sock Connection go against Evolution, a match that is pure fun. The reason that Rock gets such a high position on this list is because of his stand out moments.

His match with Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania X8 may not be a technical classic by any stretch but as a moment in time, it is damn near unbeatable. The crowd is absolutely rabid throughout and it still baffles me why it didn't close the show. The other reason that he ranks so high is the small matter of the Austin vs Rock Trilogy. At WrestleManias XV, X-Seven and XIX they put on three of the most important WrestleMania matches ever. All three of them are excellent matches that feel like huge events. The Rock is a one of a kind personality.

6. Triple H

HHH has had 21 matches at WrestleMania, second only to Undertaker, and for a man well known for his love of burying people, he has surprisingly lost 12 of them. His run started with a punishment squash by the Ultimate Warrior in a match that is retrospectively hilarious but it improved for him after that. He beat Goldust and Owen Hart in the next couple of years before losing to Kane at Mania XV. Following this, he would be almost exclusively in high profile matches.

His first main event at WrestleMania 2000, where he became the first heel to win the main event, but his first memorable match was his first encounter with Undertaker the following year. Mania X8 saw him win the Undisputed Title from Jericho in a good match that got overshadowed by Hogan vs Rock. At XIX he beat Booker T in a match that it is safe to say would have been better not happening, at least not in the way it did. 

He did his best to put the memory of that match behind him by being involved in one of the best triple threat matches in history at WrestleMania XX, facing both Shawn Michaels and Chris Benoit. At this stage, he had been involved in a world title match for three straight years and would have four more world title matches in his next four appearances. These matches came against Batista (21), Cena (22), Orton and Cena (XXIV), and Orton (XXV), with all of them being solid and the Batista match being very good. He was injured for WrestleMania 23.

He would have a nothing match against Sheamus at WrestleMania XXVI before having a pair of brilliant matches against the Undertaker. The No DQ match told a different story than had been previously seen in Undertaker's Mania matches, a beaten and broken Undertaker that only won because HHH got cocky and made a mistake. The Hell In A Cell match is, in my opinion, a masterpiece, and it should have been the day that both men retired. 

After this, he faced Brock Lesnar, Daniel Bryan, Sting, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins from WrestleMania 29-33. All of these matches were high profile affairs, and the Sting match was overbooked fun, but the only one that can be considered a truly great match is the one against Daniel Bryan, which told a fantastic story and is the second-best opening match in WrestleMania history. His match at this year's show is unlikely to add much to his legacy but he has done already done more than most.

5. 'Macho Man' Randy Savage

Savage was a wrestler that was miles ahead of most wrestlers that were around during the same period yet he still managed to put in one of the best WrestleMania careers. He only took part on 8 separate WrestleMania cards, though he did wrestle four times at Mania IV, but his strike rate is excellent. 

He started off inauspiciously with a below-par match against George 'The Animal' Steele at WrestleMania II but he made up for that, and then some, with his IC Title match against Ricky Steamboat at WrestleMania III. The match is a stone cold classic, the best ever up until that point, and highlighted everything that was great about two of the best workers of all time. If by some miracle you haven't seen it yet, do it now.

At WrestleMania IV Savage went through the entire tournament to capture his first WWF Title. None of the matches were particularly great but his performances were impressive nonetheless. This was the start of the feud that culminated at the following year's WrestleMania went he dragged Hulk Hogan to a very good match. Hogan obviously won, but Savage was the star. 

WrestleMania VI was an off year for Savage as he was involved in a throwaway mixed tag match, teaming with Sensational Sherri against Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire. He put that in the rearview mirror in no time, though, as he once again showed that he is capable of herculean carry jobs by having a spectacular match against Ultimate Warrior. It is the best match of Warrior's career by a decent margin. And then there was that reunion with Miss Elizabeth.

Savage's last two WrestleMania matches were against Ric Flair at WrestleMania VIII, where he won the WWF Title, and a falls count anywhere match against Crush at WrestleMania X. The Flair match was an excellent match between two of the greatest wrestlers that ever lived. The Crush match was way more fun than it had any right to be and was quite different for the time. 

It is a shame that Vince wanted Savage to retire, which ended up causing him to go to WCW, as he was scheduled to feud with Shawn Michaels. That would have been a Mania classic.

4. 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin

Steve Austin only had seven matches on the grandest stage of them all, but nobody did more with less. In those seven matches he had one throwaway match, against Savio Vega at WrestleMania XII, and one bad match, at WrestleMania X8 against Scott Hall. The rest of his matches hit the nail on the head. 

At WrestleMania XIV he won his first WWF Title from Shawn Michaels, in a match that holds a great deal of significance in the history of wrestling. It was the day that Austin took over as the true star of the company and ushered in one of the hottest periods in North American wrestling. The match itself is really good considering how injured Michaels was, and the addition of Mike Tyson brought more eyes to the product.

At WrestleMania 13 Austin battled Bret Hart in a match that is rightfully considered a classic. It is a match that was pretty much perfect in its layout and execution and involves the most well executed double turn in wrestling history. The image of Austin being locked in the sharpshooter, blood running down his face while refusing to give up, is one of the most iconic shots in WWE history.

The other three matches of Austin's Mania career were the 'Austin vs Rock Trilogy'. All three of those matches are fantastic in their own right and all tell different stories. At WrestleMania XV Austin was the biggest name in wrestling, and The Rock was trying to hit that level, only to fall short. At WrestleMania X-Seven they were on the same level, Austin saw the writing on the wall and had to turn heel to win. At WrestleMania XIX The Rock finally got the win he had been clamouring for, beating Austin in his last ever match. What a way to go out it was too.

Had Austin not been plagued by injury he may well have put on a few more classics but as it is he is still one of WrestleMania's greatest performers. 

3. Undertaker

This is a strange one. Unlike everyone else on this list, Undertaker has had way more bad matches than he has had good. It really isn't even close. Why he is so high on this list is that he had one of the greatest runs in wrestling history, and managed to establish his Mania match as essentially equal to a title match. 

Undertaker made his WrestleMania debut at VII against Jimmy Snuka and had to go through Jake Roberts, Giant Gonzalez, King Kong Bundy, Diesel, Sid, Kane, and Big Bossman, in matches that ranged from bland to pure garbage, before having his first really good match against Triple H at WrestleMania X-Seven. He followed that up with a fun match against Ric Flair before falling back into throwaway matches against A-Train & Big Show, and Kane (again).

He had his best WrestleMania match to date against Randy Orton during his 'Legend Killer' run, which would act as a preview as to what was to come a few years later. After beating Mark Henry in a casket match at WrestleMania 22 he faced Batista at WrestleMania 23 in what would be the first match of an incredible run.

After the match against Batista, he faced Edge in a match that isn't talked about nearly as much as it should. It really is excellent. He topped that at the next two WrestleManias, though, when he faced Shawn Michaels in two of the best matches that the company has ever produced. The match at XXV is the better of the two but it really is splitting hairs. Both matches had superb builds that ended in wonderful payoffs. The build for the match at XXVI is especially great, with Michaels obsessing over ending the streak. It was a perfect retirement match for him.

It would have been easy for Undertaker to cruise after that but instead he had back to back WrestleMania matches against Triple H. The first of the two, at Mania XXVII, was a fun brawl that told a different story than the typical Undertaker WrestleMania match. Undertaker won but he was battered and broken by the ordeal. This led to the Hell In A Cell match at WrestleMania XXVIII. I love this match. From the build of Undertaker being the one that wanted the match, to the brutality of the match, to the greatest near fall in history. It's excellent. Undertaker should have called it a day there. 

Despite my belief that Undertaker should have retired at WrestleMania XXVIII, he did manage to have one more great Mania match. This came against CM Punk at WrestleMania 29. The build may have been slightly dubious but the payoff was worth it. That is not something that can be said about his matches since. The streak was broken the following year and remains the most surprising moment in wrestling history. It also showed that Undertaker was clearly past his prime.

The matches he had against Bray Wyatt, Shane McMahon, and Roman Reigns were more about wheeling out the marquee star than they were about putting on good matches. And none of them were good matches. It looks like he will be facing Cena this year, and I hope that it shows signs of the Undertaker of old. I really doubt it though.

2. Edge

You might think that the fact that Edge has had 15 fewer WrestleMania matches than the Undertaker would work against him but in this case it is quality over quantity, and Edge's strike rate is exceptional. During his career he would also help to redefine an entire match stipulation. Nobody has put their body on the line more on the grandest stage.

His first WrestleMania match came in 2000, in a triple threat tag team ladder match, with Christian against the Hardy Boyz and Dudley Boyz. It was a match that would change both tag team wrestling and the way in which people perceived the ladder match. That was just the start though, as all three teams would return to face off again the following year, and they upped the ante once more in the second ever TLC match. 

That match, along with Austin vs Rock from this same show and the HIAC match from KOTR '98, is one of the definitive matches of the Attitude Era. It took everything that had been done in a ladder match up to that point and turned it up a couple of notches. The moment where Edge spears Jeff Hardy, while he is hanging from the belt holder, is one of the most iconic in company history.

WrestleMania X8 involves the only bad WrestleMania match of Edge's career as he battles Booker T for the rights to a Japanese shampoo commercial. Yeah. Edge would miss the next two shows but would fire back in style at WrestleMania 21 by winning the first ever Money In The Bank ladder match, and looked damn good in doing so. The following year he had one of the best hardcore matches ever against Mick Foley. That match provided another iconic moment, Edge spearing Foley through a flaming table.

At WrestleMania 23 Edge once again put his body on the line in another MITB ladder match. This would result in his first loss at WrestleMania but was another excellent match, and performance by Edge. The consistently great performances and ascension to the top of the card led to a feud with the Undertaker that resulted in the least talked about of Undertaker's WrestleMania classics. It is a match that deserves to be talked about more than it is. 

That was the last truly great WrestleMania match for Edge but his remaining three matches were all still very good matches. At XXV he faced John Cena and Big Show in a match that was better than it had any right to be. At XXVI he faced Jericho for the World Title in a really fun match, and at XXVII he defeated Alberto Del Rio to retain his World Title. This would turn out to be his last match ever, as he was forced to retire shortly after. 

Had Edge stayed healthy, who knows what kind of legacy he could have put together but it is safe to say that the one he did leave was pretty damn great.

1. Shawn Michaels

This may well be the easiest choice on any list, ever. Of the 17 WrestleMania matches that Michaels has been involved in, only one can really be considered as bad, the Rockers vs Twin Towers match at WrestleMania V. That was his first match on the grandest stage. The next two years also involved tag team matches, against the Orient Express and the Faces of Fear. Both of these matches are surprisingly great for the time they took place and the relative lack of expectation.

At WrestleMania VIII Michaels had his first singles match, against El Matador. It didn't steal the show but it was the third best match on the card, behind the two classics, and was a great way to kick off the show. The following year he got to open the show again, and this time he did have the best match. With Tatanka of all people. The show was junk though. WrestleMania X featured the first of Shawn's many WrestleMania classics, the ladder match against Razor Ramon. While it is poles apart from the ladder matches of today, its pacing is wonderful and its importance in wrestling history is undeniable. The crazy thing is that Michaels would only have great matches from there on out.

At the next two shows he was involved in WWF Title matches against Diesel and Bret Hart. The second of those was the famous ironman match. I am going to give my honest opinion here and say that I actually prefer the Diesel match. I have nothing against long matches and I think this one has a wonderful last 15 minutes, but it is overrated as people seem to forget that basically nothing happens for the first 45. The Diesel match, on the other hand, is vastly underrated. Go back and watch it, it's great.

The following year he 'lost his smile' and missed the show. At WrestleMania XIV he had his last match before being forced to take a 4 year break. On his way out though he put over Steve Austin and helped to cement him as the biggest name in wrestling. The match was better than anyone could have expected too, considering how injured Michaels was. It was an example of HBK's ability to put the match above everything.

One of the most miraculous things about the career of Shawn Michaels is the fact that he returned from a 4-year absence and was seemingly even better than he had been before he left. In his first WrestleMania match back from injury he had a wonderful match with Chris Jericho and then managed to top that the following year with one of the best triple threat matches in history, against HHH and Chris Benoit.

At this stage you would think that this level of performance is unsustainable, but you would be wrong. At WrestleMania 21 he faced Kurt Angle in another stone cold classic. The finishing stretch of the match, in particular, is amazing and the quality level never drops below incredible. The following year saw him have his worst match since WrestleMania VII, against Vince McMahon, and even that was wildly entertaining.

He was back in the world title picture by the time WrestleMania 23 rolled around, and that led to his match with John Cena. While this match was a touch below the marathon match that they had on Raw, it is still very good indeed. To this day it is still the best WrestleMania match of Cena's career. The following year he would be involved in one of the best WrestleMania moments ever. Ric Flair had got himself into a situation where if he lost he would have to retire. After 20 minutes of Flair putting up the valiant fight, Shawn Michaels told his hero he loved him and ended his WWE career. It is fantastic in every way.

By this point in his career only one thing was left for Michaels. He wanted to end the Undertaker's streak. At WrestleMania XXV they put on what may very well be the best WrestleMania match of all time. It had absolutely everything that makes a timeless match. There will never be a time when I don't thoroughly enjoy watching it. Michaels didn't win though, and he felt like he needed to try again, at any cost.

The build to their match at WrestleMania XXVI is one of the best I've ever seen. It started innocuously enough, with Michaels receiving the Slammy for match of the year for their bout the previous year. As Michaels walked away though he had a thought, he knew he could beat the Undertaker and he wanted another shot. Undertaker declined. Michaels entered the Royal Rumble to get the match, but came up short once again. With no other options left, Michaels cost the Undertaker his world title. Undertaker then accepted the match, under the condition that Michaels put his career on the line. Michaels didn't hesitate.

The match is every bit the classic and I'm not sure that anyone has ever had a better retirement match. Whether or not you think it was better than the previous year's match is entirely up to personal preference, and it doesn't really matter. They are two parts of an incredible story. 

Of the 17 matches that Michaels had at WrestleMania, he was involved in the best or second best match on the card 14 times. That is absolutely incredible. There will never be another performer that epitomises WrestleMania better than the Heartbreak Kid.