WrestleMania season tends to bring out the best of WWE, whether it involves wrestlers’ performances inside of the ring, or their work on the microphone and in promotional settings.
The element of WrestleMania that tends to be the most overlooked, however, is the effort of the company’s video production and editing team members, who consistently one-up themselves as each year and each event passes.
Many call wrestling matches a form of art, and you could undoubtedly call WWE’s video packages the same thing. The trailers add a whole different range of emotion to the matches before wrestlers even enter the ring and the bouts even take place, and can sometimes make the difference between a good match and a great match.
With that in mind, it’s time to shine the spotlight on the work of WWE’s production team, and count down the top six video packages that the company’s editors have ever put together for The Show of Shows: WrestleMania.
6. The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan, WrestleMania 18
Starting off the list on a strong note is the video package that played ahead of a classic WrestleMania match between the faces of two distinct eras in WWE’s history.
Hulk Hogan symbolized everything that WWE (and WrestleMania itself) was in its early days, and The Rock signified everything that WWE and the event was at the time when WrestleMania 18 rolled around.
So, how do you market a match between two icons? You lean on their respective histories, and the collision courses each of them were on en route to an epic face-off at the company’s biggest event of the year.
As a result, fans were treated to a high-quality video package, with both wrestlers stealing each other’s thunder as The Rock called Hogan “brother” to his face before delivering a thunderous Rock Bottom, and Hogan saying that The Rock’s “millions and millions” of fans were “Hulkamaniacs” first.
It all built up to a picture-perfect battle at WrestleMania 18, and gives the package the honor of opening up this list of the best of the best.
5. Seth Rollins vs. Triple H, WrestleMania 33
“If you wanna know what you have with a lump of coal, you stick it under immense pressure,” Triple H once said to Seth Rollins during the latter’s WWE World Heavyweight Championship reign. “That pressure does one of two things.”
“The pressure either causes it to crumble and turn to dust and render it useless, or that pressure turns it into the diamond that you always hoped it could be.”
For Triple H’s eventual match with Seth Rollins at WrestleMania 33, the pressure of the Grandest Stage of Them All was just what WWE’s video package team needed to create a true gem.
With years of footage to work with, WWE’s editors put together an absolute masterpiece, focusing on betrayal, deceit and the passing of the torch from mentor to mentee as Rollins looked to dethrone the man who built him into what he is today.
The buildup to the match spanned across episodes of RAW and even Triple H’s own baby, NXT: TakeOver, and everything put together for the match’s video package was absolute gold.
Many remember WrestleMania 33 for Roman Reigns defeating The Undertaker to give the legend his second ‘Mania loss, but the true standout and star of the entire event was, without a doubt, this video package ahead of the battle between “The Architect” and “The Game.”
4. John Cena vs. The Rock, WrestleMania 29
It’s a common trend among 50 percent of the video packages on this list, but nothing beats a slow-burning, intense struggle en route to a career-defining moment at WrestleMania. In this case, that moment just so happened to involve two of the biggest names WWE has ever had in its history: John Cena and The Rock.
Many fans were disappointed at the fact that WWE built up to the duo’s first match for a full year before they inevitably collided at WrestleMania 28, and many were just as upset when WWE decided to pull the trigger on a rematch after marketing their first encounter as a “Once in a Lifetime” battle.
But, two full years worth of hype paid off in a big way, even if fans were to only focus on the video package ahead of Cena and The Rock’s WWE Championship match in the main event of WrestleMania 29.
WWE’s editing team found a way to turn everything that happened to Cena in the year between WrestleMania 28 and WrestleMania 29 into a byproduct of his loss to The Rock in their first match, including Cena’s numerous losses throughout 2012 and 2013, and even his divorce in May of 2012.
It made the match feel more real, and helped as it related to the match’s end result, with Cena overcoming the odds to beat The Rock and win the WWE Championship.
Sure, some may feel that the matches didn’t live up to the immense hype over the span of two years, but the video package ahead of WrestleMania 29 was worth the effort on its own, and therefore earns itself a spot on this list.
3. Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H, WrestleMania 30
There’s something about WWE’s use of Imagine Dragons songs that leads to great video packages (look no further than the use of “Whatever It Takes” for Battleground in 2017), but nothing will ever be able to surpass what the company created for Daniel Bryan’s match(es) at WrestleMania 30.
The “Yes Movement” was running wild in the months leading up to the 30th anniversary of The Showcase of the Immortals, and WWE found a way to jam-pack it all into a four-minute video package ahead of the WrestleMania-opening match between Bryan and “The Game” Triple H.
“The Cerebral Assassin” was hellbent on preventing Bryan from competing for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania. But, Bryan forced Triple H into a match at the event, with the winner being added to the main event between champion Randy Orton and Batista.
The whole theme of Bryan’s journey to WrestleMania was his struggle, and WWE perfectly utilized the song “Monsters” to underscore exactly what Bryan was feeling in the buildup to his WrestleMania moment.
The payoff, Bryan’s championship victory, ultimately made the video package 10 times better, but for four minutes ahead of Bryan’s first match at WrestleMania 30, WWE captivated fans in the best way possible with the absolute magic the company’s production team created.
2. Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker, WrestleMania 26
Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker’s match at WrestleMania 25 was arguably the greatest ‘Mania match of all time from an in-ring standpoint, and the video package for their rematch at WrestleMania 26 has a case for the top video package in the event’s history, as well.
The promo highlighted the desperation and emotion that Shawn Michaels had after coming up short in his first attempt to end The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania 25, along with his last-ditch efforts to get a second chance at greatness in the months leading up to WrestleMania 26.
The match found itself in the main event its second time around, which made sense given the fact that Michaels had put his historic career on the line to get his rematch with The Deadman, and the video package rightfully got its own main event treatment as a result.
The music, the editing and the selection of quotes from “The Heartbreak Kid” and “The Phenom” all equated to a perfect storm of wrestling content, giving the match a more personal feel than many of The Undertaker’s previous 17 ‘Mania matches.
In the end, it was the last video package for a Shawn Michaels match at WrestleMania, but it undoubtedly helped to end his career on the highest note possible.
1. The Rock vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, WrestleMania 17
When wrestling fans think of the Attitude Era, this promo is likely one of the first things that comes to mind, and it could be the only thing you need to show someone who asks what that time period was all about.
The buildup to The Rock and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s showdown at WrestleMania 17 was everything a wrestling fan could ever ask for, with the perfect amount of both verbal and physical jabs in the weeks leading up to the match between two of the greatest WWE stars of all time.
The match had a personal touch with Austin’s wife Debra forced to manage The Rock in the weeks leading up to the battle, and also featured plenty of showmanship with The Rock delivering a Stone Cold Stunner to his counterpart a few weeks before WrestleMania.
This video package captured it all perfectly, with Limp Bizkit’s “My Way” blaring in the background to showcase the feud’s intensity. It gave fans everything they needed before the duo’s second of three WrestleMania matchups, and set the standard for WWE video packages leading up to the Grandest Stage of Them All.