Roundtable: ‘My Favourite WrestleMania’

WrestleMania Logos
Credit: WWE

With WrestleMania 37 now less than a week away we asked our team to tell us what their favourite WrestleMania of all time is. Very deliberately we didn’t ask for BEST WrestleMania, we wanted our team to talk about the WrestleManias that mean a lot to them, and why. Maybe it was the event that made them a fan? Maybe it was one that reminds them of a great moment in their life. Maybe it was just the best damn wrestling card they had ever seen. Let’s see their picks below.

Of course, we want to hear your picks and why. Let us know on Twitter at @HO_Wrestling.

Marc Hemingway – WrestleMania VII

Credit: WWE

Without a doubt my favourite WrestleMania is WrestleMania VII. (Seven, in new money.) It’s the first WrestleMania I remember seeing and as a nine year old child it definitely left an impression! I’d been watching wrestling for around half a year (my first PPV was Survivor Series 1990) and already had an Ultimate Warrior shirt.

The Warrior and Randy Savage faced off in a retirement match and I had serious concerns I’d have to buy a new t-shirt but all came up Hemmy when Savage lost and retired (for a bit.) Also the Undertaker made his WrestleMania debut and started (what would be come to be known as) The Streak, Jake ‘The Snake’ beat ‘The Model’ Rick Martel in a guilty pleasure of a Blindfold match and in the main event Hulk Hogan won the World Championship after beating the traitor Sgt. Slaughter. 


Ash Rose – WrestleMania VII

Credit: WWE

I really tried to ignore the calling of the 90s when thinking about my favourite WrestleMania. I have a lot of love for 21 and 31, and Daniel Bryan’s fairy-tale ending in New Orleans and Rock/Hogan at WrestleMania 18 are moments I relive over and over again.

I even have a guilty pleasure for 2000’s much derived show, even though it doesn’t boast one singles match on the whole card.

However, the heart always wants what it wants and I can’t deny my life gimmick and therefore I landed on WrestleMania VII as my favourite show, from the show of shows.

Partly down to nostalgia – as it’s the first Mania I really remember – and partly down to the matches, moments and stars who made it the magical show it was. The headline act was Randy Savage’s retirement bout that firstly actually saw him draw a memorable in-ring performance from The Ultimate Warrior and secondly created the WrestleMania ‘moment’ that’s probably dearest to my heart. His reunion with Miss Elizabeth completely sold me, a sucker for a happy ending, and this was the happiest I’ve ever seen on the grandest stage of them all.

It was a card that had a bit of everything, along with Macho and Liz’s reconciliation, it had a main event where everyone still believed in the Real American against the most hated of hated heels. It had a gimmick match that shouldn’t have worked, but somehow Jake Roberts and Rick Martel carried the blindfold stipulation, and it had names that that epitomised that era of WWF who shone in matches like The Rockers vs Haku and The Barbarian and stories that you were invested in – see Virgil and Ted DiBiase for example.

Almost a love letter to early 90s WWF, for me WrestleMania VII will always have that little bit of magic more than most.

Justin Czerwonka – WrestleMania VIII

Randy Savage & Ric Flair
Credit: WWE

My personal favourite WrestleMania will always be 8. The year of 1992 might be my favourite year in the history of WWE. It starts with a great Royal Rumble and the best Rumble match in history, and WrestleMania 8 is a great follow to it.

The show starts with three matches where stars of the 80s (Tito Santana, Jake Roberts, and Roddy Piper) put over three of the biggest stars of the 90s (Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, Bret Hart). The IC title match in particular is great. The WWF title match between Flair and Savage is a classic and the story with Elizabeth makes it a blood feud with Savage out to kill Flair.

And the ending of the show is one of those forgotten great Mania moments with the return of the Ultimate Warrior. Add in a great performance on commentary with Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan and it makes for a great show.

Rob McNichol – WrestleMania X

WrestleMania X - Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon
Credit: WWE

The distinction between ‘favourite’ and ‘best’ is an important one, I feel.

There are several Manias I know to be exceptional: I think 21 is the greatest, but 17, 19, 20, 30, 31 and 33 deserve very honourable mentions.

I was at WrestleMania 25, my only live Mania, and am tempted to award it my favourite because of my excellent personal experience, as well as containing probably the greatest wrestling match of all-time in Shawn Michaels v Undertaker. In truth, that match and my own enjoyment aside, 25 is not up there with the greats.

Perhaps I could look to my first Mania as a fan. WrestleMania 8 is a polarising show. Bret v Piper and Flair v Savage were very good matches, but the show was largely filler, had a terrible main event and had none of the glamour that often marks Mania apart from other shows.

Glossing over the horrendous WrestleMania 9 – there have been better episodes of Velocity – I land on my decision: my favourite WrestleMania is WrestleMania 10.

With an April birthday, I am essentially the same age as Mania, so I know what when WrestleMania 10 rolled around, I would have been approaching my tenth birthday.

As a kid, Bret Hart was my guy. Who am I kidding? He still is. The difference is, nearly-10-year-old Rob never saw Bret’s first title win live, coming as it did, rather bizarrely, in a non-televised affair, over Ric Flair. Therefore, Hart’s second title victory, which culminated this WrestleMania, in Madison Square Garden, meant a lot to me. I still have the memory of celebrating the win, just as Bret did, surrounded by all the great babyfaces of the ages – and the bloke from Smokey and the Bandit.

The additional beauty of WrestleMania 10 is having two matches, of very different content, punctuate it. Bret and Owen’s opening clinic, with Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon figuratively and literally climbing to new heights, are as good a pair of matches that any Mania has ever boasted.

I am not going to pretend the entire card holds up. Bam Bam Bigelow and Luna v Doink and Dink is a hard watch, particularly after the Doink character, in the hands of Matt Borne, was the best thing on the previous Mania’s card. The women’s title encounter was forgettable, and a cluster of a Texas Death match against Crush was a terrible way for Randy Savage to leave the Mania stage.

All that is irrelevant to me. When I watch WrestleMania 10, I am that ten-year-old boy again, anticipating one of Bret’s finest nights, getting excited to see the returns of Roddy Piper and Mr Perfect, not worrying about star ratings or pushes. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go. Don’t want to miss the new episode of Round the Twist…

Chris Hatch – WrestleMania XIV

Credit: WWE

I was a very late bloomer getting in to the wrestling business, and with SummerSlam ’98 the first pay-per-view I was allowed to stay up for, going back to WrestleMania 14 and getting so invested in the main event storyline will always make that ‘Mania stand out as my favourite. 

Austin being the epitome of cool, the flip-flop of what Mike Tyson was going to do, and the natural arrogance of a villainous Shawn Michaels knowing he was on his way out (for now) just made it easy to get behind the whole thing. Once you were drawn in by that, the rest of the card had a great mix of everything. Naturally for me in the early days I was drawn to the opening match, with the likes of LOD2000 who I knew nowhere near enough about, and The Oddities not realising that one of them was Earthquake. 

Honourable mentions on this have to go to WrestleMania 32 and 35, mainly (as many would say if given the opportunity) because I was there. 32 may have been a poor show but it had some real bright points, and seeing Undertaker’s entrance live was a personal highlight. 35 I didn’t decide to go until lunchtime that day, and am now not regretting the decision one bit. Even if I did leave before the main event to get back to New York in half an hour rather than the four it took a lot of my mates!

Cameron Bennett – WrestleMania 21

Credit: WWE

This Wrestlemania was everything to me as a kid. It came with a turning point in how I viewed wrestling, it was amongst the last shows were it was still real to me dammit. And it holds some nice personal family nostalgia for me. 
So, I’ll break down my 3 reasons it’s my favourite ever Wrestlemania.
How it changed the way I watch Wrestling;
Shawn Michael’s Vs Kurt Angle – I was the biggest HBK fan in the world. I stan HBK (can a youth confirm if I’ve used that correctly) and his incredible match with Kurt Angle changed me,  for the first time ever the result did not affect how much I loved the match,  for the first time I truely loved Wrestling!
It was still real to me!;
Finally seeing John Cena dethrone the evil JBL and Batista dispatch of the villainous HHH were beautiful moments for the young kid who didn’t think heels were cool yet and that John Cena was a real life superhero (He 100% still is)Also, that Chokeslam into an RKO making me believe Orton had beaten Taker almost gave me a heart attack! 
Personal Nostalgia;
This was one of the few times I watched a Wrestlemania live with my dad. Now my dad was an old school fan of the golden era of Wrestling and it always being a smile to my face remembering him being so happy that John Cena won the championship and considering him his new Hulk Hogan. I enjoyed that very much!

Paul Benson – WrestleMania 31

WrestleMania 31 - Seth Rollins
Credit: WWE

This was a tough, tough choice. So many WrestleManias I could pick from for so many reasons. They almost bookmark my life from being a nine-year old watching my first WrestleMania in 1992, through to sitting there at my desk last year watching WrestleMania 36, scared for my families future as the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the Grandaddy Of Them All was on my screen reduced to a wrestling ring in a warehouse.

In the end I decided to balance quality of the card with what it meant to me personally and I have landed on WrestleMania 31. I was at college/university during the ‘glory years’ of WrestleMania between 17-21 and didn’t have that many wrestling friends so I ended up watching the majority of those alone, which always bugged me. In fact, it was one of the major catalysts for launching Hooked On Wrestling PPV parties in 2013. Our first ‘Hooked On’ WrestleMania was number 29 and was a real triumph in terms of numbers and atmosphere. However, WM31 was the one where I really felt we had ‘something’. It was our first event where we moved into Walkabout Temple for our London party, the venue I had always had in my mind’s eye as our ‘Madison Square Garden’. It didn’t disappoint either. With 600 people in the bar going crazy for Seth Rollins’ cash in, Sting’s match and more, it felt like something truly massive. Couple that with branching out to parties all over for the country and I felt an enormous sense of pride and accomplishment that made this WrestleMania a true highlight of my life.

And as for that finale!….

Josh Chapman – WrestleMania 36

Credit: WWE

Josh’s reasons for choosing WrestleMania 36 as his favourite were so powerful, that they are in a separate article which you can read here.