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WrestleMania Rewind: Ranking each ‘Mania from the 2000s

(Credit: WWE.com)

In any sport, people love to compare one marquee event to the next.

Football fans frequently talk about which Super Bowl goes down as their favorite, basketball fans discuss their NBA Finals matchups, and baseball fans like to reminisce about the best World Series they ever watched.

While many will debate whether or not professional wrestling belongs in that conversation with other “real sports,” those skeptics can think about the fact that wrestling fans will do the same thing when comparing their favorite WrestleMania’s of all time.

With a rich history of its own, WWE’s WrestleMania event has spanned decades at this point since it first debuted in 1985.

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But, similar to trying to rank Super Bowls and World Series, fans tend to run into trouble when trying to compare an installment from the 1980s to a more-modernized event from the 2000s and 2010s.

Instead, we’ll be evaluating events on a decade-by-decade basis in our WrestleMania Rewind series, focusing specifically on the 2000s and 2010s.

So, before we advance to the most recent full decade of WrestleMania cards, it’s time to check in on the 10 events that spanned the 2000s.

10. WrestleMania 2000

If you’re a fan of the McMahon family, you probably loved WrestleMania 2000. If you were more interested in the show as a whole, you would probably stick it at the bottom of the barrel for the decade, as well.

The main event, dubbed “A McMahon in Every Corner,” featured some of the company’s all-time greats in a four-way elimination match, with a Stephanie McMahon-backed Triple H successfully defending the WWF Championship against a Shane McMahon-backed Big Show, a Linda McMahon-backed Mick Foley, and The Rock, backed by the boss himself, Vince McMahon.

Away from that, each match was a bit of a mess, with only one singles match on the entire card.

The two matches that stuck out were the Triangle Ladder match between Edge and Christian, The Dudley Boyz and The Hardy Boyz, and the two-fall Triple Threat match for the Intercontinental and European titles between Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle.

While the three matches we mentioned were strong, they don’t compare to the single match that helped the next ‘Mania on this list. Instead, WrestleMania 2000 kicks things off both chronologically and from a success standpoint.

9. WrestleMania 25

It’s a shame that a card with arguably the greatest match in WWE history will go down as one of the lesser WrestleMania events of the 2000s, but that’s also a testament to the level each of the remaining eight shows were able to reach.

WrestleMania 25 could have ended with the match between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker, and fans likely would have gone home happy. Instead, the show peaked midway through, and the two world title matches that remained came across as duds.

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Had it been for some different placement of the show’s matches, this card could have been stellar. Instead, it falls down in the pecking order when looking at the 2000s.

8. WrestleMania XX

WrestleMania XX is often forgotten because of Chris Benoit’s win in the Triple Threat main event for the World Heavyweight Championship, but it’s a card full of hits and misses that fans either completely love or furiously hate.

Before the emotional moment surrounding Benoit’s win over Triple H and Shawn Michaels, fans got to watch Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit duke it out for the WWE Championship, and saw the Rock ‘n Sock Connection of The Rock and Mick Foley teaming up in a match against the three remaining members of Evolution.

While the show had lots of positives, many fans focus on the negatives, specifically coming in the high-profile match between Brock Lesnar and Goldberg. Both wrestlers were leaving WWE after the event on relatively poor terms, and fans certainly let them know how they felt in a variety of ways throughout the match.

The two title matches definitely help WrestleMania XX’s case, but the rest of the mediocre card doesn’t do it any favors here.

7. WrestleMania 23

WrestleMania was “All Grown Up” with WrestleMania 23 in 2007, and the event helped John Cena and Batista mature in pivotal points of their respective careers.

The show itself was a bit top-heavy, with title matches between Batista and The Undertaker for the World Heavyweight Championship, and John Cena and Shawn Michaels for the WWE Championship in the main event serving as the show’s highest of highs.

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Unfortunately, the rest of the show didn’t quite live up to the hype, with the “Battle of the Billionaires” match for the sake of Vince McMahon and Donald Trump’s respective haircuts serving as the closest thing to the two main events from a hype standpoint.

It wasn’t a bad show, but WrestleMania 23 certainly wasn’t as good as the top six of this decade.

6. WrestleMania 24

Two or three matches really stand out when looking back at WrestleMania 24, but they sure do help when looking at each installment of WWE’s version of the Super Bowl in the 2000s.

The Career-Threatening match between Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair was picture-perfect. The Triple Threat match between Randy Orton, John Cena and Triple H for the WWE Championship was strong and was placed at a perfect point in the show.

Lastly, the World Heavyweight Championship match between Edge and The Undertaker in the main event was one of the best ‘Mania main events of all time, and showcased why Edge belonged in WWE’s main event scene.

The rest of the card was solid and matches were placed and paced properly throughout the event, and helped solidify the show’s spot on this list.

5. WrestleMania X8

Icon vs. Icon. The Man vs. The Deadman. The Undisputed WWF Champion vs. The Game.

WrestleMania X8, taking place from one of ‘Mania’s most memorable venues in Seattle’s SkyDome, ended up serving as a changing of the guard of sorts, as it was the final WrestleMania of the Attitude Era.

Fans of that era couldn’t have asked for a better send-off, with Hulk Hogan and The Rock duking it out in the third-to-last match of the night, and The Undertaker and Ric Flair going at it midway through the card.

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The main event between Chris Jericho and Triple H capped off an incredible comeback for the latter, and was the perfect way to end a stellar event.

It holds a special place in many fans’ hearts, and chimes in as a top-five event in this decade.

4. WrestleMania 21

WrestleMania went Hollywood in 2005, and they showed up for the big stage in an event that capped off major pushes for two of the company’s biggest names: John Cena and Batista.

While WrestleMania 21 is probably known for the two main events that ended in Cena and Batista’s first world title wins, fans would be remiss not to mention the all-time classic between Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels earlier in the show.

It was widely-regarded as the match of the year, and easily goes down as one of the greatest in WrestleMania history.

Combine all of that with the show opener between Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero, and the catapult for Randy Orton’s career as he battled the undefeated Undertaker in an interpromotional match, and this pay-per-view is arguably the most underrated WrestleMania of the 2000s.

3. WrestleMania 22

This ‘Mania was brutal in the best sense of the word.

Between a bloody battle between Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon, a hectic Hardcore match between Edge and Mick Foley, and a masterful main event match between John Cena and Triple H for the WWE Championship, this one had all sorts of brutality to please any generation of fans.

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The World Heavyweight Championship match between Kurt Angle, Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio was great. The Money in the Bank ladder match was star-studded and solid, and Trish Stratus and Mickie James helped to set the tone for what would turn into a Women’s Revolution a decade later with their Women’s Championship match midway through the show.

It was one of the strongest WrestleMania events of all time, and gives the second half of the decade some representation in the top three.

2. WrestleMania X-Seven

If you asked a pool of 10 people that each watched every WrestleMania in the 2000s, at least half of them would probably say that WrestleMania X-Seven would top their list.

Rightfully so, considering how much fans fondly remember three of the event’s last four matches, and where two of those matches may fall when putting together a ranking of the best ‘Mania matches of all time.

Fans in attendance got an instant classic when Edge and Christian, The Dudley Boyz and The Hardy Boyz competed in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match a year after their Triangle Ladder Match at WrestleMania 2000.

They got the first of what would turn into three WrestleMania matches over the span of the next 12 years between Triple H and The Undertaker, with this one serving as a spark for the Deadman’s famous undefeated streak at the Grandest Stage of Them All.

And, in the night’s main event, fans saw the second WrestleMania match between The Rock and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and saw something that they never thought they’d ever see: “Stone Cold” aligning himself with a longtime rival in Vince McMahon.

A classic match between Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle, and a street fight between Vince and Shane McMahon, also help this ‘Mania stand out in a multitude of fans’ eyes.

It has a real case as ‘Mania’s greatest show of all time, and seems like an easy choice for the top two of this decade.

1. WrestleMania XIX

One of the best main events in WrestleMania history between Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar, with two of WWE’s greatest athletes of all time competing for the WWE Championship.

One of the best matches in WrestleMania history between Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho, two technical geniuses who were each at the top of their game.

One of the biggest matches from a star-power perspective between The Rock and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, which served as the finale of a classic trilogy that spanned three WrestleMania events.

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This ‘Mania had it all with just those three matches alone, and it still managed to pack in Hulk Hogan, Triple H, The Undertaker and more to round things out.

Many will consider WrestleMania X-Seven as the best of this decade and arguably the best WrestleMania of all time. But, in our books, WrestleMania XIX takes the cake in both debates.

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3 thoughts on “WrestleMania Rewind: Ranking each ‘Mania from the 2000s Leave a comment

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