Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wrestlemania's Best Moments

The day of Wrestlemania is one of my favorite of the year. Last year was a bit tampered due to my extremely low expectations of the show, but my enthusiasm for this year has returned twofold for this year's extravaganza. If Edge's injured ankle isn't an issue, I expect an excellent match between him and Jericho to make up for that awful buildup. I expect Punk and Mysterio to steal the show if they get the right amount of time. Taker vs Michaels will be an absolute classic, there is no way Michaels doesn't put on a wrestling clinic on his way out. You can look forward to these and much more in tonight's Wrestlemania.

In preparation for Wrestlemania, let's rundown some of the best moments in Wrestlemania history.

5. Stone Cold joins Vince McMahon

I know opinions vary greatly on Austin's heel turn, but I thought it was great at the time, and I stick by it even now. At the greatest Wrestlemania of all time (I don't think the WWE can ever top Wrestlemania 17, this was their peak), this was one of the most shocking and awesome heel turns ever. Hell, it might have been the perfect way to end that particular night. It was made even better with Jim Ross screaming "Austin has sold his sold his soul to the Devil". With all the history between these two men, no one ever expected it to happen, but it did, and it's one of the greatest moments in Wrestlemania history. Second, it led to the the formation of the Two Man Power Trip, just watch the video below. You cannot argue with results like those or you will get destroyed a plethora of chairshots.

4. Shawn Michaels ends Ric Flair's career

This is absolutely one of the greatest moments in Wrestlemania history. In fact, I actually got goosebumps when I saw a video of it just now. Years later, even after knowing that Ric Flair shit all over the greatest send off in history, Michaels' famous "I'm sorry, I love you, Ric" and reluctant pin on Flair gave me goosebumps. Really, that's all you need, that magical moment still holds up even after everything Ric Flair has done to tarnish it.

3. Hulk Hogan slams Andre the Giant

You have to realize the magnitude of this moment for wrestling. The first Wrestlemania was a massive success, the second on was far cry from it as it was overbooked and somewhat ridiculous. For the third one, Vince knew he had to have something special, so he lured an injured Andre back with a massive amount of money, and started this feud. Andre the Giant was huge celebrity back then, and one of the things he was famous for not losing. In order to make this moment larger than life, Andre not only had to lose but Hogan had to slam him, which was no small feat. If you ever read Hogan's autobiography (not a recommendation) you will see that this bodyslam gave him permanent back pain. It might have been worth it as more than 93,000 fans in attendance and millions at home stood in disbelief as Hogan continued his larger than life hero persona, and once again put pro wrestling on the map.

2. The Austin Era Begins

No, this isn't Austin's defeat of Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 14. This is moment where Stone Cold Steve Austin became a face and the Austin we all came to love was unleashed. Austin vs Hart was one of the greatest Wrestlemania matches in history, it told one of the greatest stories ever, and managed to turn Bret Hart into a heel (at least for the US) and Austin into a face. The end saw Stone Cold Steve Austin refusing to tap to Bret Hart's Sharpshooter, choosing instead to pass out in a pool of his own blood. How can you not respect a man like that? The fans certainly respected him as they gave him a standing ovation, and turned him from a heel into face. This is where the Austin Era truly began.

1. The "Vanilla Midgets" stand Tall as World Champions

I suppose the ultimate fate of these two men adds a Greek tragedy like quality to the greatest moment in Wrestlemania history. However, even before that this moment was special. 5 years ago WCW let Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, and Dean Malenko walk away. Kevin Nash called called them "vanilla midgets" who would never draw. At Wrestlemania XX, both Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit proved those naysayers wrong as both of them walked out with World championships around their waists. The moment was made even greater by what might be Good Ole' JR's (I'm going to miss him calling Wrestlemania 26) finest commentary as he talked about how Benoit had traveled mile after mile, came close time after time, and he had finally....finally.....FINALLY DONE IT. The Madison Square Garden crowd along with every wrestling fan recognized the significance of this moment. Whatever fate befall these men, this moment can never be sullied for me.

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