Armchair Vacation: The All Wrestlemania Edition

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You knew this was bound to happen. If there is one thing I Joshua Brunsting have ever attempted to do with this outlet I have been given it has been to turn every single person I come across into a fan of America’s great export, professional wrestling. And now, I’m back once again to try and do that. With Wrestlemania XXX hitting this Sunday, here are the five best Wrestlemanias you can stream, right now, via the WWE Network.

  1. Wrestlemania X

Okay, so tihs is going to be a niche list for sure, but I’m gonna spend the next five paragraphs convincing you all this sport is the greatest American artform (only slightly hyperbolic there). First up, the tenth Wrestlemania. Yes, there are a handful of matches that are ultimately nothing more than glorified toilet break soundtracks (Earthquake vs. Adam Bomb isn’t gonna take a spot in anyone’s mind), there are a handful of truly great bits of in ring storytelling. The crown gem of this card? Arguably the greatest ladder match of all time. With Shawn Michaels and newly crowned Hall Of Fame member Razor Ramon at the top of their powers, the two put on one of the greatest matches in Wrestlemania history, and the blend of great drama and breathtaking ring psychology could have anyone and everyone hooked on this sport. Toss in a truly superb opening match between Owen and Bret Hart that has about as much drama and storytelling as any opening Mania match in the event’s history, and this may not be the most dense of cards, but it is surely one of its most entertaining.

  1. Wrestlemania XIX

There’s a lot to be said for a truly dense card. There’s also something to be said for a dense card filled with generation defining athletes at the height of their powers. With a collection of classic matches, led by a roundhouse kick to the larynx that is the WWE Championship main event between Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar, the drama ran high during this event, particularly during the card’s best match, the battle between Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock. These two were the most important names of their generation, and it just so happened that they both drew the absolute best out of one another, a level of drama that neither ever matched in matches with other athletes. Seemingly born to fight one another in the squared circle, the two gave us a handful of masterpiece bouts, and this is most certainly one of them. Toss in an unsung gem between Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels and even a Diva pillow fight, and you have a little something for anyone and everyone.

  1. Wrestlemania X-7

Okay, this clocks in at #3, but when I scan through The Network, this has become the go to event that I plow through when I need some good drama. Possibly the greatest CARD in the history of the event, there is classic match after classic match here, led by a main event we just talked about, The Rock vs. Steve Austin. This is possibly their best match and one for the ages. Toss in a battle between Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit, and one of three Undertaker vs. HHH matches that prove these two are at their best opposite one another, and you’d already have a card for the ages. And then there’s the TLC Tag Triple Threat match. The six men involved, the three best tag teams of their day, give what is inarguably the greatest ladder match of all time, and one of the most dramatic and revered matches in wrestling history. A generation defining opera of a match, this is why this event may very well be the best Wrestlemania ever.

  1. Wrestlemania III

It literally does not get better than this. This event is without a doubt one of the watershed moments in the sport’s history, and possibly the best starting point for anyone and everyone interested in seeing why guys and gals like this 24 year old cinephile flock to their TVs every week to see these athletes perform. Headlined by the most important moment in wrestling history, the battle between Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant, that’s quite possibly not even the card’s best match. Delivering the closest thing to pure art the sport has ever seen, Randy Savage and Ricky Steamboat give what is arguably the greatest match in wrestling history, a perfect match that is everything a person could ever ask for in this type of purely visual and physical storytelling. Toss in some fun little nuggest like a Hair vs. Hair match with Roddy Piper and Adrian Adonis, and you don’t get much better than this. Well, at least not completely.

  1. Wrestlemania XX

Okay, so III may be a better event, with a better stack of matches and a more important spot in the sport’s history, but in my eyes, wrestling, and Wrestlemania, does not get better than the moments, or particularly one moment here, that this level of drama can give the viewer. Sure, Hulk Hogan body slamming Andre The Giant lives forever in infamy. But the image that closes out this event makes ever other Wrestlemania Moment pale in comparison. With newly crowned champion Chris “I Don’t Exist Anymore In The Eyes Of WWE” Benoit fresh off of a war opposite the greatest athletes of their day HHH and Shawn Michaels, in the sport’s Mecca Madison Square Garden, fellow champ Eddie Guerrero marches to the ring. And what follows is the stuff legends are made of. Hell, the show starts off with a singing of America The Beautiful by the Boys Choir Of Harlem that, if it doesn’t change your day, you are Satan and I no longer want you to read my writing for fear of being a grumpy person like you. This is the level of pure dramatic storytelling the sport offers, and is the moment I point to to convert people to following my footsteps as the leader of this cult.