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The Greatest Main Event Matches In WrestleMania History

WrestleMania is synonymous with the most iconic matches pro wrestling has ever seen!

By Chris Phelan
John Cena and The Rock at Wrestlemania in 2012

As WrestleMania gets closer and closer, the WWE Universe is getting excited over the prospect of another classic main event. Will Cody Rhodes and Roman Reigns deliver an iconic match for the Undisputed WWE Universal title that stands the test of time to live on in the annals of professional wrestling history? Of course, the stakes will be high, but that’s par for the course when discussing main event matches.

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Some main events transcend even WrestleMania as a whole. Some main events live forever. Some main events are so legendary that countless fans watch them repeatedly — even decades later.

Today, we look at those unforgettable main events — the bouts that will live forever. Here are the greatest main event matches in WrestleMania history!

The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels

Streak vs. Career Match, WrestleMania XXVI

We have to admit, the Undertaker/Michaels match at WrestleMania XXV rates slightly higher for us in terms of in-ring action, but it wasn’t a main event. Besides, this rematch had approximately 7,000 times the drama for our money since the stakes were so high. It didn’t get any more significant than the Undertaker putting his WrestleMania streak on the line against Shawn Michaels’ career!

This unbelievable matchup was worthy of being the main event — it over delivered in the best way. The best matches are the ones where the WWE Universe truly has no idea who will win, and trust us when we say that in 2010, nobody wanted either man to lose. The result was Shawn Michaels being forced into retirement as the Undertaker’s streak rolled on. Ultimately, it was a fitting way for HBK’s in-ring career to end, as he put on one final show-stopping performance before he hung up his boots for good.

Daniel Bryan vs. Dave Bautista vs. Randy Orton

WWE Championship Triple Threat Match, WrestleMania XXX

You can’t mention Daniel Bryan without including the WWE Universe — these two things historically have gone hand-in-hand. Without the unbridled support from the fans, Bryan couldn’t have possibly found himself competing for the WWE Championship against Dave Bautista and Randy Orton.

What can we say about this match that hasn’t been said before? Daniel Bryan’s Road to WrestleMania was filled with the most organic fan support ever seen in WWE. At WrestleMania XXX, the drama was off the charts, the fans in the Superdome were arguably the loudest crowd in WWE history, and the night ended with tens of thousands of people all chanting “YES!” in unison as confetti fell from the ceiling. For many people, this is the definition of a perfect WrestleMania main event: it told a true underdog story, it was filled with unbelievable in-ring action, and it sent the WWE Universe home happy. There’s been nothing like this match since, and it’s a main event that most likely will never be replicated again. 

Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant

WWE Championship Match, WrestleMania III

This main event brought WWE to new heights, becoming officially larger-than-life and working its way into mainstream pop culture. In 1987, there was no bigger match possible than Hulk vs. Andre. The main event was billed as the Unstoppable Force vs. the Immovable Object, and even that tagline wasn’t worthy of the gravitas surrounding these two Superstars.

Watching this match in the present day opens your eyes to the simpler WWE production values of the 80s, too. The match was filmed in a way that made it look like two Roman gladiators were battling out on a stage as the entire world watched — WWE was going for an epic main event feel, and they accomplished precisely that.

Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair

SmackDown Women’s Championship Match, WrestleMania XXXVII

In 2021, Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair made history by becoming the first African-American women to main event WrestleMania. It was a feat that many in the WWE Universe thought they’d never see. The fact that they were clashing over the SmackDown Women’s Championship upped the ante.

Sasha and Bianca didn’t take their place in history lightly, however. What transpired over nearly 20 minutes was some of the most awe-inspiring professional wrestling the WWE Universe had ever seen. The fans were treated to two larger-than-life Superstars battling it out for the most significant honor they could imagine: they both wanted to be the first African-American female wrestler to walk out of the WrestleMania main event as champion. While male African-American Superstars had stood in this spotlight before, the women did not — until this night. In the end, Bianca Belair wound up being victorious in what was a star-making performance.

(Side note: We really miss Sasha Banks competing in WWE!)

The Rock vs. John Cena

WWE Championship Match, WrestleMania XXVIII

Over 10 years ago, the Rock parlayed a previous WrestleMania hosting job into the main event of WrestleMania. It was a match that the WWE Universe thought they’d never see — John Cena defended his WWE Championship against one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. The war of words that preceded the match was second to none, and by the time the match rolled around, many fans thought there may have been legitimate bad blood between the two men. The result was a WrestleMania main event with the same mystique surrounding it that Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant enjoyed 25 years earlier. If we’re honest, we still can’t believe this match even happened. The Rock and John Cena delivered a classic on the Grandest Stage of Them All, and the fact that Rock took home the title made the experience even more unforgettable. 

The match was billed as "Once-in-a-Lifetime," which it was — until it wasn’t. But that didn’t mean this main event was any less remarkable.

Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels

WWE Championship 60-Minute Iron Man Match, WrestleMania XIII

In 1996, the hottest rivalry in professional wrestling was between Bret “Hitman” Hart and Shawn Michaels. The two future Hall of Famers found themselves on a collision course at WrestleMania, where they would have the opportunity to stake their claim as the best wrestler on the planet via an Iron Man match for the WWE title.

The WWE Universe had never seen an Iron Man match up to that point on WWE television, which was designed to be a match that would combine the drama of classic WWE action and the athleticism and technique that the two men specialized in. The result was a match that lasted more than an hour and blew away expectations in the process. Much like Bianca’s match against Sasha, this was the match where Shawn Michaels finally reached his apex in WWE as he was successful in achieving his boyhood dream of becoming champion. Although this match isn’t universally loved, as it moved at a slower pace than what fans were used to, we think this still holds up to the test of time!

This year, the 2023 edition of WrestleMania is again too big for just one night of action, as it will span two nights to give the WWE Universe the most legendary event of the year. So will the main event of Cody Rhodes and Roman Reigns join the ranks of the greatest WrestleMania main events in history? 

Only time will tell, but let’s be honest: it won’t be for lack of trying on Cody and Roman’s part. 

Catch up on all things WWE Universe on Peacock.

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