1. Shawn Michaels: The “Mr. WrestleMania” moniker is more than just a gimmick. HBK has competed at 16 WrestleManias, dating back to 1989’s WrestleMania V, when he and Marty Janetty took on the Twin Towers. And starting with his classic1 994 match with Razor Ramon, every one of Michaels’ WrestleMania outings have been contenders for match of the year. It’s Michaels’ WrestleMania performances that have put him on the short list for the greatest of all time.
2. The Undertaker: The Taker’s WrestleMania winning streak is a major selling point for the event each year. It should be noted that about the first half of his 17 wins at WrestleMania were duds as matches, but, starting with his WrestleMania X-Seven win against Triple-H, the Dead Man has pretty consistently delivered strong performances at the big show, and for the last three years in a row, delivered one of the best matches of the night.
3. Hulk Hogan: For the first nine years of its existence, WrestleMania was all about the Hulkster. It was a given that the year’s biggest show of the year would be headlined by a “dream match” featuring Hulk Hogan and someone else. It was quite a successful formula, as Hogan vs. Andre, Hogan vs. Warrior, and Hogan vs. Rock remain three of the biggest matches in Mania history.
4. John Cena: For six years straight, John Cena has wrestled in a world title match at WrestleMania. That speaks to the longevity Cena has shown as the Hulk Hogan of the 21st century. Cena also ups his game for Mania, and his spectacular ring entrances have become an annual highlight of the show.
5. The Rock: As a testament to his conditioning, “The Great One” did not miss competing at a single WrestleMania between his 1997 Mania debut and his last WWE match at WrestleMania 20 in 2004. Along the way, the Rock wrestled in three world title main events, a legit dream match against Hulk Hogan, and a classic trilogy of matches against his top rival, Steve Austin.
6. Triple-H: The Game has been an important part of WrestleMania for 16 years now. During a few of those years, he was probably higher up in the card than he should have been. But nevertheless, Triple-H has wrestled in eight world title matches on the show. The only true classic among them was his triple threat match with Chris Benoit and Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XX.
7. Steve Austin: He’s one of the very biggest stars in the history of the sport, but his WrestleMania career isn’t as spectacular as you might think. Stone Cole competed at just seven WrestleManias, including in a couple mid card matches against Savio Vega and Scott Hall. But Austin also took part in some of the event’s greatest matches, including his series against the Rock and his submission match with Bret Hart. His involvement at several WrestleManias since his retirement have also helped sell the shows.
8. Bret Hart: Hart’s legacy at the big event dates back to WrestleMania 2, where he was the last man eliminated in the 20-man battle royal won by Andre the Giant. He competed in every subsequent WrestleMania until leaving the company in 1997, and along the way was an important part of the show during WWE’s lean years. His matches against brother Owen and Roddy Piper remain some of the best in Mania history.
9. Randy Savage: WWE’s two biggest babyfaces of the 1980s and early 1990s, Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior, both owe Savage for carrying them to some of the best matches of their careers at WrestleMania. Savage also was one half of several other good to great WrestleMania matches, including against Ricky Steamboat, Ted Dibiase, Ric Flair and even Crush.
10. Vince McMahon: Whether it was standing at ringside, wearing referee stripes, or competing in the ring, the chairman has been integral player at WrestleMania for more than a decade. His matches against Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels and his son Shane were major selling points for the show over the years. Let’s see if he can work his magic again this Sunday against Bret Hart.