Thursday Thive: Wrestlemania I-X Matches

Posted on March 8, 2012

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My Top 5 Matches from Wrestlemania I-X
It’s that time of year again. It’s the time of year where myself and countless wrestling fans around the world abandon our tendency to over analyse it, and revert back to our 6 year old wide eyed selves, cheering on our favourites and booing the guys we hate. It’s Wrestlemania season.

So with that in mind, for the next 3 Thursdays the Thursday Thive is going to be Mania based, and all about the matches. I’ll be doing my top 5 from Manias I-X today, XI-XX next week, and then XI-XVII the week after. There will be all manner of Wrestlemania hooplah around the time of the event as well, hopefully some sort of big predictions racket among others. But either way, on with the thive.

V: Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon – Ladder Match – Wrestlemania X

Gimmick matches these days are ten a penny, as they say. Heck, there are even entire PPVs based around them. In 1994 however, this was not the case, and gimmick matches were only rolled out when an issue was so heated, or a feud could not be contained any more. Before Wrestlemania X, I don’t think I’d seen a ladder match before. This was fantastic. Whilst the ladder matches you see today are full of ridiculous spots and things that no one could possibly think of doing this, this match really started the ball rolling in this area, and set a pretty high standard. Michaels and Razor (or Scott Hall, as more might know him) went out and worked their arses off, Michaels in particular bumping like only he could. The spots were clever, the story told was gripping, and the ending was thrilling. And as hard as it is to believe, it wasn’t even the best match on the card!

IV: ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage vs. Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat – Wrestlemania III

A lot of people regard this as one of, if not the greatest Wrestlemania match of all time. Whatever you believe, it’s impossible to deny that it’s an absolute classic. The amount of near falls alone towards the end is just incredible, it’s near fall after near fall. In my head I remember it going on longer than it was, but the pace they worked was fantasic. Considering this was 1987, to say it was ahead of its time is a complete understatement. I can’t put it any higher than 4th here though, as you know, I was 2 years old, and have only come to this match in the years since. Still, a Wrestlemania classic, and Steamboat’s arm drags were almost poetry in motion.

III: Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart – Wrestlemania X

At the time, I really hated Owen Hart. Being the big Bret Hart fan that I was, I just could not believe that his own brother would betray him, as Owen did. Couldn’t believe it. I also refused to believe that Owen could compete with Bret, as Bret was of course the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be. But not only did Owen compete, he more than held his own and eventually got the win. This is a Wrestling classic, it’s got everything that makes me love the industry within its 20 or so minutes. It also reminds me, watching it now, of just how good Owen Hart was. A bloody classic.

II: Bret Hart vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper – Wrestlemania VIII

I love this match. It was really rare for 2 babyfaces to face off against each other, let alone 2 of the popularity of Bret Hart and Roddy Piper. The crowd is really divided throughout this match, and it really adds to the spectacle. My favourite thing about this match is the slow descent of both guys into almost heel moves. Piper in particular was fantastic, from the spitting onwards. It all built up to Piper being unsure whether to use the ring bell, and the classic finish. Piper was brilliant here, it was his best performance as far as I’m concerned. Bobby Heenan was incredible on commentary as well, my favourite of all time.

I: ‘Macho King’ Randy Savage vs. The Ultimate Warrior – Retirement Match – Wrestlemania VII

Let it be known. This is my all time favourite wrestling match. Warrior wasn’t exactly known for his in ring ability, but he managed to play a part in what I consider to be absolutely the pinnacle of professional wrestling. How much of that is down to Randy Savage, one of the all time greats, I don’t know, but everything here is perfect. The story, the timing, the in ring psychology, the side story with Elizabeth, the kicking out of the finishers (nobody kicked out of 1 top rope elbow, let alone 5), all to the big finish after the running shoulderblocks where Savage is out on his feet, and the foot on the chest pin. There was a big angle after the match as well, with Savage and Elizabeth re-uniting, which I remember me and my sister being very excited about. Even without that though, this match is wrestling for me. Stunning. If this was a list of matches from all Wrestlemanias, this would still be number 1 for me.

So there you go, Wrestlemanias XI-XX next week. Much harder list that one!

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