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WrestleMania Rewind: Ranking each ‘Mania from the 2010s

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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.

>>RELATED: WrestleMania Rewind: Ranking each ‘Mania from the 2000s

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

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 evaluated events on a decade-by-decade basis in our WrestleMania Rewind series, focusing specifically on the 2000s and 2010s.

After our initial look at the 2000s, it’s time to look back at the 10 ‘Mania events from the 2010s.

10. WrestleMania 32

Injuries tend to derail anything as it relates to sports, so it shouldn’t serve as a surprise that WWE’s equivalent of an injury-riddled “season” would lead to a low-quality WrestleMania in 2016.

In front of nearly 100,000 people at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, WWE looked to prove that everything is, indeed, bigger in Texas. Unfortunately, injuries to superstars like John Cena, Randy Orton, Seth Rollins and a litany of others created a disaster scenario ahead of WrestleMania 32.

The situation led to a mediocre undercard that was highlighted by the inaugural WWE Women’s Championship match between Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks, and a Hell in a Cell match between Shane McMahon and The Undertaker.

To cap off the night, Roman Reigns took on Triple H for the WWE Championship in Reigns’ second of what would turn into four straight WrestleMania main events.

The night as a whole could be considered predictable, which isn’t always a bad thing when it comes to WWE events with great storylines. In this case, it was predictable for all of the wrong reasons, with lackluster payoffs in most matches.

As a result, WrestleMania 32 clocks in as the “worst” ‘Mania of the 2010s.

9. WrestleMania 27

As crazy as it may sound to the casual wrestling fan, The Miz did actually compete in a main event a WrestleMania. Unfortunately for the two-time WWE champion, that night will be remembered as one of the more forgettable ‘Mania events of the decade.

In the grand scheme of things, WrestleMania 27 really just served as the prequel to WrestleMania 28, coming across as the “Batman Begins” to the WrestleMania version of “The Dark Knight.”

The main event’s sole purpose was to kick off a feud between John Cena and The Rock, which, on the very next night after WrestleMania 27, was announced as the main event for WrestleMania 28.

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WrestleMania 27’s only other true highlight was a match between the streak-holding Undertaker and Triple H, who was looking to avenge his friend Shawn Michaels’ losses from his WrestleMania matches against the Deadman in the previous two years.

Even that match served as the kickoff to something larger for WrestleMania 28, which we’ll get into more later on.

All in all, WrestleMania 27 almost comes off as an afterthought, and could honestly be considered for the tenth spot on this list if it weren’t for the stellar match between The Undertaker and Triple H in the middle of the card.

8. WrestleMania 34

Honestly, if WrestleMania 34 had a better payoff with its main event, it wouldn’t have been remembered as such a bad show.

Who could complain with the in-ring returns of Kurt Angle, Daniel Bryan and The Undertaker, the WWE debut of Ronda Rousey, a stellar SmackDown Women’s Championship match between Charlotte and Asuka, and a WWE Championship match between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura?

As crazy as it seems, even all of those moments couldn’t boost this marathon of a ‘Mania up on this list, and the night is remembered more for its insane length and one of the worst WrestleMania main events of all time.

The show ran a whopping five hours, 10 minutes and 54 seconds, and by the time WWE champion Brock Lesnar stepped through the curtain to defend his title against Roman Reigns in the night’s main event, those in attendance were gassed.

Add in the overall low quality of the match itself, which turned into almost 16 minutes of Lesnar beating down and bloodying Reigns en route to an anticlimactic finish, and fans wound up leaving the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with a sour taste in their mouths.

7. WrestleMania 33

WrestleMania 33 was billed by WWE as the “Ultimate Thrill Ride,” and even came complete with a massive rollercoaster as a backdrop for the night in Orlando, home of Disney World.

If we’re rolling with the rollercoaster analogy for the event at the Camping World Stadium, however, this would be a ride with some fun twists and turns, but an ending that was ultimately disappointing and left you wishing you had paid for a different ride.

Those positive twists and turns came in the form of the raucous return of The Hardy Boyz in a great ladder match in the middle of the show, and a 25-minute brawl between Seth Rollins and Triple H to cap off an eight-month feud with a solid storyline behind it.

The event did have a few low points along the way, specifically in the Universal Championship match between Goldberg and Brock Lesnar, and the weird, projection-filled WWE Championship match between Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton.

>>RELATED: ‘Greatest performer in the business today’: The revival of Randy Orton in a world impacted by COVID-19

All this “Thrill Ride” needed to keep it a solid show was a strong main event, which WWE hoped to get when they sent out Roman Reigns and The Undertaker for a No Holds Barred match.

Unfortunately for WWE chairman Vince McMahon and company, this wasn’t The Undertaker that fans had become accustomed to over the prior two decades.

This version of The Undertaker was much older and less energetic than he had been for his classic matches with Shawn Michaels, Triple H, CM Punk and countless others earlier in the decade.

As a result, Reigns wasn’t left with much to work with, and a highly-anticipated match came across as a big dud to end the night.

If WWE decides to go back to Orlando for a WrestleMania in the future, they’ll likely be hoping for a new-and-improved “Thrill Ride” after crashing and burning with WrestleMania 33.

6. WrestleMania 29

The next two spots on this list turned into the equivalent of a toss-up, and depending on fans’ preferences, could’ve been considered for a “5a” and “5b” type of scenario.

To solidify a top five, however, WrestleMania 29 gets the sixth spot as we roll through the best ‘Mania events of the 2010s.

For the second year in a row, fans were treated to a match that was initially thought to be a “Once in a Lifetime” clash between John Cena and The Rock.

On this occasion, The Rock entered MetLife Stadium in New Jersey as the WWE champion, which drew the ire of both fans and the former WWE champion CM Punk during the lead-up to the event.

Instead, Punk went on to have a classic match against The Undertaker, one that would go on to be remembered as The Undertaker’s last victory of his notorious, 21-match undefeated streak at WrestleMania.

Later on, Cena would cap off a feud that lasted two years and spanned three WrestleMania’s, defeating The Rock in the main event to win the WWE title and wrapping up an incredible example of WWE’s long-term storytelling.

Putting this card in the seventh spot may seem like a dig, but it truly just goes to show how insane the hype surrounding Cena and Rock’s first match at WrestleMania 28 was, and how solid five other WrestleMania cards from the 2010s were.

5. WrestleMania 28

Again, some fans would put WrestleMania 29 above WrestleMania 28 if they preferred the match between CM Punk and The Undertaker against ‘Taker’s tilt to move to 20-0 at WrestleMania 28, or if they preferred the second match between John Cena and The Rock.

On this list, however, one match helps to tip the tables in favor of WrestleMania 28: the “End of an Era” battle between Triple H and The Undertaker inside Hell in a Cell.

‘Taker and Triple H’s match from a year prior at WrestleMania 27 seemed like an impossible feat to top as the two prepared for war at WrestleMania 28. But, adding Shawn Michaels as the match’s guest referee made it a dream scenario for wrestling fans, and turned the night into a true rollercoaster of emotions.

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On multiple occasions, similar to the year prior, it looked like “The Game” was going to end The Deadman’s undefeated streak. Even Michaels got involved in Triple H’s favor, and it seemed like The Undertaker was going to come up just short in his pursuit of a perfect 20-0 record when watching the match live.

After all of the brutality and countless dramatic moments, however, The Undertaker found a way to come out on top in one of the greatest matches in WrestleMania history.

Add on the unbelievable atmosphere that accompanied the night’s main event between John Cena and The Rock, and you had a top-tier, top-five show on the Grandest Stage of Them All.

4. WrestleMania 30

This may be a hot take for fans of the journey that led to an unforgettable moment at WrestleMania 30. But, the night still lands inside the top five on our countdown of the best ‘Manias of the 2010s.

WrestleMania 30 will be remembered simply for one word: “Yes!”

That word perfectly sums up a lengthy stretch from the summer of 2013 until WrestleMania 30 took place in New Orleans, as Daniel Bryan did his best to weather the consistent storm that “The Authority” continued to throw at him in his pursuit of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

WWE capitalized on the moment perfectly, kicking off WrestleMania 30 with a stellar match between Bryan and Triple H. The former overcame the first of what would turn into many hurdles throughout the night, earning a spot in the championship main event in the process.

Topping the night off, Bryan would defeat both Batista and Randy Orton in a Triple Threat Match to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, sending what felt like the entire city of New Orleans into an absolute frenzy in one of the most iconic moments in WrestleMania history.

Oh, and to make the show even crazier, Vince McMahon decided to pull the plug on The Undertaker’s longstanding undefeated streak at WrestleMania. Sealing the deal on a run that lasted two decades, Brock Lesnar notoriously became the “1” in The Deadman’s new “21-1” record at the Grandest Stage of Them All in one of the most controversial matches of all time.

It was one of the strongest WrestleMania cards of all time, and

3. WrestleMania 26

If a new viewer was watching WWE for the first time and asked an established fan for an example of a “dream card,” that fan would likely tell them to watch WrestleMania 26.

WWE truly caught lightning in a bottle when the first WrestleMania of the 2010s rolled around, and those in attendance in Arizona were treating to a scorching-hot event that has a real case as the best show of the decade.

You had Chris Jericho defending the World Heavyweight Championship against Edge. You had Bret Hart exacting his revenge for the “Montreal Screwjob” in a match against Vince McMahon. You had two of the company’s biggest names battling for the spotlight and the WWE Championship when Batista defended his title against John Cena.

And, last but certainly not least, you had a rematch of arguably the greatest match in WWE history as Shawn Michaels put his career on the line against The Undertaker in the night’s main event.

>>RELATED: Pick-Six: WrestleMania’s best video packages of all time

Beginning a theme that would last throughout the decade, Michaels and The Undertaker capped off a yearslong feud that had already garnered immense praise after an instant classic of a battle at WrestleMania 25.

They told an all-time story, had one of the best build-ups in WrestleMania history, and delivered in a big way to put the exclamation point on Michaels’ legendary career in WWE.

There really aren’t many complaints about WrestleMania 26, it was just that good. But, it comes up just short when looking back at the 2010s as a whole.

2. WrestleMania 31

WrestleMania 31 was the first of what would turn into two WrestleMania events in the 2010s with Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns squaring off in the main event. And, had WWE rolled with the same type of finish as they had for their second battle at WrestleMania 34, this card would’ve dropped out of the top five on this countdown.

But, WWE showed some serious guts with an out-of-the-box finish to shift this event from “good” to “great,” and propel it towards the top of the list for the best ‘Mania’s of the decade.

Midway through the Lesnar-Reigns main event, with a bloodied Lesnar and a battered Reigns laying in the ring, Seth Rollins sprinted down to the ring to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase midway through the night’s main event. He hit a Curb Stomp on Lesnar, but when he set up for a second, Lesnar caught him in mid-air in preparation for an F5.

After Reigns hit Lesnar with a highlight reel-worthy spear, Rollins hit his former tag team partner with a Curb Stomp before pinning him to win the WWE Championship.

It was a creative way to avoid the disaster that the company would still face in the main event three years later, and helped to cap off a night that already featured a well-rounded Intercontinental Championship ladder match, a trip down memory lane between Sting and Triple H, a great match between Rollins and Randy Orton, and a combined appearance from The Rock and Ronda Rousey.

Had the decade ended a year earlier, this would have been a clear-cut favorite for the best WrestleMania of the 2010s.

1. WrestleMania 35

Like I said earlier, predictability has the ability to negatively impact a WWE event in a major way if the wrong decisions are made. But, when the company is predictable and listens to its fans, the magic that’s created can’t be topped.

So, when WWE did a rare, 180-degree turn from the norm and gave fans everything they wanted at WrestleMania 35, it’s easy to see why the night would be remembered as the best ‘Mania of the decade.

While the overall length of the card, which lasted five hours, 24 minutes and 16 seconds, could be deemed a negative in some viewers’ eyes, WWE did a great job of keeping fans in their seats for the entirety of the night and delivering an all-time product in the process.

>>RELATED: WrestleMania 36 review: Against all odds in front of no fans, WWE puts on two near-perfect shows

They opened the night with a highly-anticipated Universal Championship match between Brock Lesnar and Seth Rollins, which saw the latter take down the Beast en route to his first Universal title reign.

Midway through the card, they put the icing on an incredible story by having Kofi Kingston defeat Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship, ending a journey with nearly a decade’s worth of backstory and allowing fans and “KofiMania” as a whole to run wild at MetLife Stadium.

Finally, WWE made history by putting the Triple Threat Match between Ronda Rousey, Becky Lynch and Charlotte for both of the company’s Women’s Championships in the main event, marking the first time that women had competed in the last match of a WrestleMania.

Listening to a crazed following that had built up over the course of almost six months, WWE had Lynch pin Rousey after a 21-minute match to win both titles, leading to the birth of the name “Becky Two Belts.”

It’s rare for WWE to give fans everything they want, let alone in a single night, but WWE created a picture-perfect night by doing just that in 2019. In the process, they solidified WrestleMania 35’s status as the best WrestleMania of the 2010s, and one of the best WrestleMania’s of all time.

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