A Retrospective: The Highs and Lows of WrestleMania Main Events in the Past Two Decades

KEY TAKEAWAYS
Worst, No. 5: The Rock vs. John Cena (WrestleMania 29)
Best, No. 5: Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle (WrestleMania 19)
Worst, No. 4: Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker (WrestleMania 33)
Best, No. 4: Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar (WrestleMania 31)
Worst, No. 3: Drew McIntyre vs. Brock Lesnar (WrestleMania 36)
Best, No. 3: John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels (WrestleMania 23)
Worst, No. 2: John Cena vs. The Miz (WrestleMania 27)
Best, No. 2: Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker (WrestleMania 26)
Worst, No. 1: Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar (WrestleMania 34)
Best, No. 1: Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H (WrestleMania 20)

The main event at WWE’s WrestleMania is a high-pressure showcase, as it will be again this year when Cody Rhodes and Roman Reigns face off at SoFi Stadium in suburban Los Angeles.

In a recent interview, WWE superstar Cody Rhodes revealed that he draws inspiration from the legendary Rocky Balboa character when faced with pain and adversity.

Rhodes described his wrestling style as aggressive and mentioned how he pushes through physical challenges by focusing on images of the important women in his life – his mother, sister, wife, and daughter.

Rhodes recounted one of his most iconic moments since returning to WWE – his Hell in a Cell match against Seth Rollins, in which he won despite suffering from a torn pectoral muscle.

He admitted that it was the most pain he’d ever experienced, but the support from fans at the Allstate Arena and the images of his loved ones helped him persevere.

Over the past 20 years, some matches have become epic, timeless encounters, while others have fallen short of expectations.

Let’s take a look at the five best and worst WrestleMania main events of the last two decades, ranked by their overall quality.

Worst, No. 5: The Rock vs. John Cena (WrestleMania 29)

WrestleMania 29 featured a repeat of the highly anticipated matchup between John Cena and The Rock from the previous year’s WrestleMania.

While their first match lived up to the hype, the second was a lackluster repeat that failed to capture the magic of the first.

Fans were disappointed with the outcome, and the match is now known as one of the worst WrestleMania main events of the last 20 years.

Best, No. 5: Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle (WrestleMania 19)

WrestleMania 19 featured a match between two former world-class amateur wrestlers, Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar.

Despite Angle’s neck injury, which could have resulted in devastation, the two wrestlers put on an instant classic that highlighted their skills and toughness.

This match may have been overshadowed by other matches, but it remains one of the best WrestleMania main events of the last 20 years.

Worst, No. 4: Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker (WrestleMania 33)

The Undertaker’s last match at WrestleMania 33 was against Roman Reigns, who was still struggling to find acceptance in his role as the face of the company.

The Undertaker’s age and injuries resulted in disjointed spots and poor timing, making the match uncomfortable to watch.

While it was not a good match, the Undertaker eventually had the WrestleMania sendoff befitting his legendary career.

Best, No. 4: Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar (WrestleMania 31)

WrestleMania 31 featured a match that was not originally intended to be a triple threat, but it turned out to be one of the best WrestleMania main events of the last 20 years.

Roman Reigns faced off against Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship, and after a grueling match, Seth Rollins made a surprise appearance and cashed in his Money in the Bank contract, turning the match into a triple threat.

Rollins won the match and became the WWE Champion, marking one of the most unforgettable conclusions in WrestleMania history.

Over the past 20 years, some matches have become epic, timeless encounters, while others have fallen short of expectations.

Worst, No. 3: Drew McIntyre vs. Brock Lesnar (WrestleMania 36)

WrestleMania 36 was held during the COVID-19 pandemic and as a result, it was held without fans.

Drew McIntyre faced Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship, but the match was a shell of what it could have been.

McIntyre defeated Lesnar in under five minutes, making it more of a formality than a worthy main event.

Best, No. 3: John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels (WrestleMania 23)

John Cena’s defining moment came at WrestleMania 23 when he faced off against Shawn Michaels in a match that was never intended to happen.

Cena was originally slated to battle Triple H for the second consecutive year, but a torn quadriceps forced The Game to the sidelines.

Michaels slid into the challenger role and the two wrestlers created magic, taking the live and viewing audiences on a rollercoaster ride of emotions.

Cena eventually won the match and overcame a leg injury, solidifying his place among the upper echelon of professional wrestling.

This match between Cena and Michaels was a defining moment for both wrestlers.

Cena had already established himself as one of the top stars in WWE, but he needed a win against Michaels to cement his status as the face of the company.

In the end, Cena was able to overcome Michaels’ aggression and technical prowess.

Despite suffering a leg injury, Cena was able to hit his signature Attitude Adjustment move and secure the victory.

The crowd erupted in cheers as Cena celebrated his win, cementing his place among the top stars in WWE history.

Worst No.2: John Cena vs. The Miz (WrestleMania 27)

The match between John Cena and The Miz at WrestleMania 27 was overshadowed by the war of words between Cena and the host of the event, The Rock.

The match lacked chemistry between the two wrestlers, and the only memorable moment was the superb video package before The Miz’s entrance.

Best No.2: Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker (WrestleMania 26)

Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker delivered another classic match at WrestleMania 26, a year after their instant classic at WrestleMania 25.

The match focused on Michaels’ determination to end The Undertaker’s undefeated WrestleMania streak, putting his career on the line.

The storytelling, emotional rollercoaster, and impactful finish made it another classic match that differed from the original.

Worst No.1: Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar (WrestleMania 34)

The main event of WrestleMania 34 between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar was a disaster.

The layout was poor, and the match lacked hope spots or babyface comebacks to build drama.

Fans were already tired of the company’s reliance on Reigns and Lesnar to headline shows, and the match was sub-par.

Best No.1: Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H (WrestleMania 20)

The greatest Triple Threat Match in WWE history occurred in the main event of WrestleMania 20, when Chris Benoit and Shawn Michaels challenged Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship.

The match embraced known tropes of the Triple Threat Match while also featuring the three competitors interacting among themselves at once.

Benoit overcame a double suplex through the announce table to tap out Triple H with the crossface, providing the all-timers with a match that reflected their abilities.

Craig Miller

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