Welcome to the final installment of the Ins and Outs of 30 Years of Wrestlemania.
A brief synopsis for those who missed part one and part two:
I’ve gone through all 29 Wrestlemanias and picked out one match from each that I feel warrants consideration for making it into the 30 Years of Wrestlemania mode in WWE 2K14, as well as one not-so-great match that doesn’t belong anywhere near the game. To make this article somewhat interesting, I’ve given myself a few constraints:
- No Undertaker or Shawn Michaels matches. Between The Streak and Mr. Wrestlemania, a huge chunk (if not all) of these matches will make the cut. No sense discussing them.
- No main events. This is defined for my purposes as the last match on the card as well as anything that received MAJOR main event billing (Wrestlemania VIII’s Savage/Flair was billed as part of the “Double Main Event”, so it is omitted; a World Heavyweight championship match receiving very little hype such as most recent WMs would not be).
- Nothing I’d consider as an obvious inclusion. This covers the Savage/Steamboats of history; iconic matches that should make it in despite not including either of the two biggest Wrestlemania participants or being the final match on the card. These are mentioned by name in the relevant WM section.
And now, on to the final 10 Wrestlemanias!
Goldberg def. Brock Lesnar with Steve Austin as the guest referee
This match was a real-world disaster, but doing it in the WWE 2K14 universe would be one hell of a battle. Not having a smart NYC crowd shitting all over the match due to both wrestlers leaving after the show would do wonders for it, as well as negating Austin’s presence as the only man they wanted to see.
* Benoit/HBK/HHH pulls the first omission superfecta, as it’s the main event, HBK’s match, worthy of inclusion based on the sheer quality of the match, and the inclusion of Benoit warrants disqualification. For five years this was the best match I’d ever seen and it is still the best triple threat I’ve ever witnessed.
Torrie Wilson and Sable def. Stacy Keibler and Miss Jackie in a Playboy Evening Gown match
First off it’s not at all PG, and secondly… shortest match on the card, shitty match, shitty workers, only there for sex appeal which has no business in the video game.
Edge def. Chris Jericho, Shelton Benjamin, Chris Benoit, Christian and Kane to win the first-ever Money in the Bank ladder match
And just like that Benoit gets in for the second time regardless, but he’s easily replaced in a six-man ladder match such as this. It catapulted Edge to the main event scene, and by proxy it catapulted the match itself to heights previously unimagined. No other match in WWE history has gone from Wrestlemania one-off to a Wrestlemania staple to its own PPV.
* Cena/JBL and Batista/HHH are omitted due to being co-main events after the Royal Rumble tie.
Akebono def. Big Show in a sumo match
Gimmick match, Big Show loses to a pro sumo wrestler and wears a sumo outfit so everyone can laugh at his bare ass. Gee, I wonder why this won’t make the top 45?
Mickie James def. Trish Stratus for the WWE Women’s Title
A phenomenal women’s match, and the first female match to make it into the game. Both women deserve credit for their work. This was great.
* The Edge/Foley hardcore match is omitted through the “Obvious inclusion” stipulation, and I consider the Mysterio/Orton/Angle triple threat to be a co-main event due to Rey having won the Royal Rumble.
Torrie Wilson def. Candice Michelle in a Playboy pillow fight
See Wrestlemania XX’s out. Sex appeal matches have no business in the game.
ECW Originals Rob Van Dam, Tommy Dreamer, Sabu and The Sandman def. The New Breed of Elijah Burke, Marcus Cor Von, Matt Striker and Kevin Thorn in an eight-man tag
Wow are the pickings slim at this PPV. How the fuck was this the highest grossing Wrestlemania ever? Mr. Kennedy winning Money in the Bank III does not need to be remembered.
* Lashley/Umaga is omitted as the pseudo-main event.
Great Khali def. Kane
The less said about this, the better. Two giants struggling to move put on a pretty horrendous match.
JBL def. Finlay in a Belfast Brawl
Two tough bastards beating the shit out of each other for 8 minutes. More importantly, Hornswoggle gets leveled with a trash can thrown by JBL:
I could watch that GIF all day.
Kane defeating Chavo in 11 seconds for the ECW Title is a close second. They tried to bill that one as the fastest match in Wrestlemania history; when they realized they’d already admitted it wasn’t (Bundy over SD Jones was 2 seconds shorter), they changed it to the shortest title match in Wrestlemania history to cover their ass. Again, the options are limited by the stipulations set before me.
* Orton/Cena/HHH and Big Show/Money Mayweather were billed as main events and were omitted.
Batista def Umaga for Brand Supremacy
Match meant nothing. Brand supremacy meant nothing.
Chris Jericho def. Roddy Piper, Ricky Steamboat and Jimmy Snuka in a three-on-one handicap elimination match
I sense this one would have a funky time travel gimmick; oh no, Jericho’s not fighting three geezers, suddenly it’s Piper, Steamboat and Snuka in their prime! A decent match, had a story line, ended up with Steamboat making a very brief run back on the active roster after a phenomenal showing.
Rey Mysterio def. JBL for the WWE Intercontinental title in 21 seconds
JBL “quits” right after this to go to commentary, which he would come out of to feud with CM Punk.
Triple H def. Sheamus
This was a pretty good match, the precursor to Sheamus taking out HHH a month or so later. Sheamus really should have won this match and been put over strong, but then again he shouldn’t have been buried as soon as HHH came back from injury either, so what can you do?
Randy Orton def. Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase in a triple threat match
This was the final explosion of Legacy, and Orton is still a face as a result. The crowd was hot for Cody to break the threesome up… and he didn’t. Then they were hot for Ted to break the threesome up… and he didn’t. Finally Orton snapped and attacked the two after yet another colossal fuck-up and the crowd went berserk. WWE couldhave made a star baby face in Rhodes or DiBiase… and instead just got Orton over. Well done!
Cody Rhodes def. Rey Mysterio
Brilliant use of props in this match. Cody was still wearing the protective mask (put there by a wild 619 that broke his nose several months earlier), so Rey took it off of him and used it as a weapon. Rhodes countered by removing Rey’s knee brace and waffling Rey with it to set him up for the finishing CrossRhodes.
* Edge/Del Rio is omitted under the “Obvious inclusion” stipulation due to it being Edge’s last match.
Kane/Big Show/Santino Marella/Kofi Kingston def. The Corre (Wade Barrett/Heath Slater/Justin Gabriel/Ezekiel Jackson) doesn’t belong in the game but it does let me add this .gif:
Michael Cole def. Jerry Lawler by disqualification
Fuck this match and everything it stands for.
Big Show def. Cody Rhodes for the WWE Intercontinental Title and his first one-on-one victory at Wrestlemania
Show finally wins one that matters. This feud was actually pretty good, involving Cody berating Show for always failing, showing several videos of Big Show being embarrassed and failing to win at Wrestlemania. While Show gets the win on the grandest stage, Cody gets rewarded by beating Show in a tables match through a brilliant finish a month later.
* Sheamus/Bryan is omitted due to Sheamus having won the Royal Rumble, making it a main event match as far as I’m concerned.
Team Johnny vs Team Teddy
Again, fuck this match. The John Laurinaitis era was awful. I hated it. Having this match swing based on Eve turning on Zack Ryder was the beginning of his downfall.
The Shield def Randy Orton, Sheamus and Big Show
Phenomenal match, far exceeded expectations. Kept The Shield strong, showing that maybe they’re not three main eventers, but three really good workers working as a cohesive unit can beat three superior workers who aren’t as well-oiled a machine in tandem.
Alberto Del Rio def. Jack Swagger
If not for the DUI arrest, Jack Swagger may have walked out the World Heavyweight Champion and the company may have gone a totally different direction coming out of Wrestlemania 29. Decent match, but the lame duck face Del Rio won when the fresh newcomer Jack Swagger was red-hot and on his way to potential heel stardom.
And that concludes my coverage of all 29 Wrestlemanias; it was far tougher than I expected it to be. There are a lot of Wrestlemanias where outside of Taker, Michaels and the main event(s) there really isn’t a match worth recommending. Overall, I hope you all enjoyed this look back, and we all await further announcements from WWE & 2K regarding this new mode.