Every WrestleMania aims to be more intense and entertaining than the last, but even with all the hard work that goes into each event, there are some matches that stick in the mind more than others.
Here is a rundown of the most iconic face-offs to ever grace the ring at WrestleMania, hand-picked from throughout its 35 year history.
Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant
If you were betting on who would win in a straight fight between a man weighing in at 500 pounds and standing almost seven and a half feet tall and anyone else on the planet, you would probably pick the former.
It’s no surprise, then, that Andre the Giant was dominant throughout most of his match against Hulk Hogan back at the third ever WrestleMania back in 1987. However, the audience loves an underdog and so it was fitting that Hogan’s comeback and eventual victory was so electrifying, unexpected and enjoyable as a result.
Bret Hart vs Stone Cold Steve Austin
Two titans of WWE took to the ring in 1997 at WrestleMania 13 to prove which one was the dominant force in that era of the sport, and plenty of fans and commentators alike recognize this as the event which elevated Austin to the top tier of personalities, a position he still occupies.
Aside from its importance as a career milestone and turning point, the match itself was both technically masterful and also satisfyingly brutal. Bret Hart came out on top in the end, but it demonstrated that he could let his vicious side show through when the time called for it.
The use of props to up the ante is a standard tactic for WrestleMania matches at this point, but in 2001 it was only the second year in which Tables, Ladders and Chairs (TLC) rules had been introduced. This created the perfect storm for a truly death-defying showdown featuring the Hardy Boyz battling against the Dudley Boyz, with Edge and Christian thrown in for good measure.
You could argue that this is also the time when tag team battles were given the most attention and exposure, and seeing how Jeff Hardy in particular put up with so much physical punishment during the course of the bout is still wince-inducing to this day.
Edge and Christian would eventually snatch the title belts dangling high overhead, but the real winner was teamwork.
Shawn Michaels vs Ric Flair
In 2008, Ric Flair was knocking on the door of 60 and yet still managed to step into the spotlight at WrestleMania 24 looking in fairly good shape for a many of his age, hoping to bring the pain to the much younger Shawn Michaels.
While the physicality of the match was not up there with those mentioned above, it was the emotional heft that came along with it which really sold the experience to the fans. And unusually for WWE, it was actually quite a genuine-feeling finale for Flair’s flagship career, even if he would continue to appear onscreen and off long after losing this swansong match.
The Undertaker vs Triple H
At WrestleMania 28, Triple H was poised to take the title from The Undertaker in a battle between two veterans of the WWE that fans of all ages were eager to see take place. Everything about it was epic, from the carefully-plotted storyline leading up to the main event to the presence of Shawn Michaels himself wearing the referee’s jersey throughout.
While Triple H may have lost on paper, in the stadium it was clear that all three participants were winners in the eyes of their adoring audience.