WWE week in review – April 27 2018

Another week in WWE has been and gone. Maybe not as eventful as last week but nonetheless a lot going on. Please note that I’m releasing this on Friday afternoon at around 3pm, so BEFORE the start of the Greatest Royal Rumble. Enjoy!
Friday afternoon: WWE will air a Bruno Sammartino tribute documentary on the network immediately after Raw on Monday. Lovely stuff.
Booker T will temporarily replace Jonathan Coachman on commentary for Raw Monday (Coach is away covering a golf even, as his WWE contract also allows him to cover other sporting events alongside his WWE commitments). THANK GOD! MAKE THIS A PERMANENT THING! If you thought Booker T was bad then my oh MY Coach is AWFUL! Just to annoying and his points he makes and delivery of them are abysmal.
Alexa Bliss has reportedly had a boob job. This is being given as a reason why she hasn’t gone on WWE’s tour to South Africa. oi oi…
Friday Evening: WWE announce Asuka & Becky Lynch vs The IIconics (Billie Kay & Peyton Royce) for Smackdown this week. Great stuff. Billie and Peyton worked really well with Asuka in NXT so this should be good.
Saturday: a selfie posted by Alexa Bliss (showing off her new ‘boosted’ … ‘assets’) now has more likes than posts of the Wrestlemania returns of Daniel Bryan and The Undertaker. Wrestling fans……………….
Sunday: WWE release a new promotional image for the Greatest Royal Rumble match. It features (amongst others) Gallows and Anderson, Mark Henry, The Great Khali and Rey Mysterio. Expected really beens as they NEED soooooo many men to fill this match, but the big names of Henry and more notably Khali (not good) and Rey (absolutely brilliant) are a nice bonus.
Sunday Afternoon: WWE reveal 8 athletes have been successful at the tryouts in Saudi Arabia. And at least one of them will compete in the Greatest Royal Rumble match. cough cough *MONEY* cough cough…. lets hope whoever they choose gets a nice pop from the home crowd, and doesn’t embarrass themselves in the match.
Monday: John Cena turns 41 today. Given recent events lets hope he has a good one.
Monday Evening: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has once again become a father. MY GUY!!!
Ronda Rousey vs Mickie James announced for the upcoming WWE European (UK included) tour. Great match up this. Mickie is one of the most experienced and best wrestlers on the female roster, so putting Ronda with her in a run of singles matches is a wise move.
Monday: RAW

  • Bruno Sammartino tribute package airs to begin the show. Followed by a 10 bell salute. The tribute video was excellent, and also featured Vince McMahon SENIOR speaking about Bruno.
  • Lesnar and Heyman came out to open the show properly. Heyman cut a long promo, Reigns then came out and cut a promo of his own, standing face to face with Brock. The promo was good but long from Paul and not much of any difference to his pre-mania ones. And although it was obviously positive that Roman finally stood toe-to -toe with Lesnar, the lack of a physical altercation between the two was a tad disappointing.
  • Elias came out for another ‘performance’, he was though interrupted by Bobby Roode and the two had a match following. Elias eventually won with a roll up. A tad surprising that they had Roode lose after giving him the show closing spot when making his Raw arrival last week, but nonetheless this is surely only the beginning of an angle between these two so that should be fun.
  • WOKEN Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt cut a usual promo of theirs. they then beat The Ascension. No surprises at all here. Matt and Bray worked great together, their opponents are about as jobber as you could get.
  • Owens and Zayn presented ‘The Kevin & Sami show’ with Kurt Angle as their guest. They were very condescending with him, the gave him a tacky fold-out chair to sit on, and were just generally disrespectful to the Raw GM. He responded in kind (after they spoke of them winning the Greatest Royal Rumble match) by reminding them that he himself as well as Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho were also in the match and wanted to repay them for past grievances. He then also put Zayn and Owens in a tag team match later in the show against Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman. This was excellent simply put. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are just the best heel for a long time. HILARIOUS!
  • Bo Dallas and Curtiz Axel were backstage in the locker room with Seth Rollins. And as The Miz had departed to Smackdown the pair looked to Rollins to be the new team leader, with the idea they could be a 2nd version of The Shield. Seth said it was a “firm no”. This was pretty funny.
  • Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler beat Titus worldwide. Both then cut a promo afterwards with McIntyre being particularity vocal in his new heel persona. Drew also had new music (his old one with a heavy drum beat over the top of it). Drew’s was awesome here in his promo, so much fire in him. This guy is going to be a MEGASTAR! And he’s going to drag Dolph to stardom with him too for a time anyway.
  • Kurt Angle was backstage with Chad Gable (who it appears is a face now). Jinder Mahal eventually interrupted to set up a match after a brief ad break. The two had an ok match with Gable surprisingly getting the win. Jinder was furious as a result. 2 weeks on Raw, 2 matches, 2 losses for Mahal… hmm… when has a losing streak ever got anyone over? VERY rarely. Kind of obvious to me. Anyway at least Chad Gable is a great wrestler, so any chance he gets to showcase his stuff is a good time for me. So fingers crossed it continues and he build sup a decent character along the way.
  • The Riott Squad do a backstage interview with Renee, ahead of the 10 woman tag that will close the show. No thoughts really. It was fine. Ruby is great, needs to be a face though.
  • Samoa Joe did a cell phone promo. Fairly similar to what he said on Smackdown last week. Similar yes, but still really good work. Joe comes across as such a believable scary, monster, heel guy.
  • Finn Balor was in the locker room area with Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel. Bo and Curtis were wearing the “OG BC” t shirts and attempted to too sweet and team up with Finn. Finn declined. This was jokes.
  • Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman faced Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn. Finish came when Lashley did his delayed suplex to Zayn before tagging in Braun and he quickly did his running Powerslam for thew win. This was absolutely tremendous. All 4 guys played their role wonderfully. It was really entertaining. One conclusion that was clear as day for me after this though, was that Braun Strowman SHOULD be the guy. Not Roman. BRAUN. Now!
  • Baron Corbin was due to face No Way Jose (accompanied by his ‘conga line’, but after Jose came with his dancing friends to the ring Corbin came out and essentially said he wouldn’t be doing the match for fear some of the conga line would jump him. Corbin went to the back, Jose danced back up the ramp anyway before Corbin came back out and attacked Jose. This was fine enough, without being amazing.
  • Alexa Bliss was shown in a filmed segment, billed as a public service announcement, entitled: A Moment of Bliss. She cut a very solemn figure, and spoke very softly as she put across her “anti-bullying” message as she told a story about her ‘former best friend’ Nia Jax stealing a Burrito from a homeless person. This was one of the best women’s segment I had seen in a LONG time! Alexa Bliss acting here was out of this world good! I laughed. Maybe that wasn’t the intention but it was brilliant.
  • After their separate confrontations earlier in the show, Finn Balor and Seth Rollins beat Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel (as they have done on the house show segment recently) in quick fashion. Meh.
  • Natalya held court in the locker room with her tag team members for the main event: Ember Moon, Nia Jax (who each spoke separately too) and Sasha and Bayley. As the 3 other women made their exit Sasha tried to smile at Bayley but Bayley returned with a glare and shrugged off her sign of reconciliation it seemed. This segment was straight out of BORESVILLE!!! And Bayley vs Sasha maybe the worst feud of the year. NOTHING is happening!!!
  • The Raw main event then saw the team of Natalya, Ember Moon, Nia Jax, Sasha Banks and Bayley take on The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan), Mickie James and Alexa Bliss. Match came to an end when Sarah Logan chop blocked Natalya and hurt her knee real bad, Mickie James then tried to further hurt Nattie. That was when Ronda Rousey’s music hit to make the save, she helped her friend but was then kicked down by James. This prompted Ronda to enter the ring and do a Judo Throw and locked the Armbar in on James (this ended the match on a DQ). So: match was a bit of a clusterfuck, Alexa did absolutely nothing in the match (further evidence they’re keeping her away from action as she recovers from her ‘surgery’), Bayley and Sasha had ZERO interactions to advance their storyline, Ronda was a megastar and her spots with Mickie James looked so natural it gives me great hope for what looks like a feud between thew two going forward. But most of all… WWE… don’t think I don’t see you… putting all your Raw women in a match that you’ve just thrown them all in to, putting it on last and having your top female star close the show looking strong… just a few days before a massive event your promoting… that women just so happens are NOT on. I see right through you!

Monday: After Raw had finished WWE did indeed air a new Bruno Sammartino documentary on the WWE network. It was really good.
X Pac reveals on his podcast that had Bruno and the WWE not come to an agreement on his Hall of Fame induction in 2013, DX as a group were going to be the headline replacement instead.
Tuesday = A Backlash contract signing for Carmella’s Smackdown Women’s Championship defense against former champion Charlotte Flair AND Miz TV with guest Daniel Bryan are both announced as segments for Smackdown this evening. GREAT! Particularly the later announced segment will be enthralling!
Paul Heyman will reportedly NOT be travelling to Saudi Arabia for the Greatest Royal Rumble event this Friday. Hmm… this is interesting and potentially concerning… we shall see…

Along with Carmella vs Charlotte, Nia Jax vs Alexa Bliss is also confirmed for the upcoming Backlash ppv.
Zack Ryder reveals on social media that (in his match against Mike Kanellis that was tapped for the Main Event show on the network, tapped before Raw) he suffered a knee injury. He was not flying to Saudi Arabia but instead to Orlando for an MRI. Gut wrenching stuff this. Particularly when he’s just moved brands. Hopefully it’s not too serious. Got loads of talent has Zack, sadly never given a proper and long enough chance to showcase it.
Tuesday : Smackdown
– Miz TV was supposed to be with Daniel Bryan, but instead Big Cass came out in a great looking suit. They both talked down about Bryan. I guess this delays the inevitable Miz – Bryan feud…

Asuka and Becky Lynch are shown backstage as they are about to make their entrances for their match, but they stop walking upon seeing Daniel Bryan in the floor being tended to by officials. He has apparently been attacked (presumably by Big Cass)
– The IIconics come out, cut a promo then beat Becky and Asuka in a tag match. Finish coming when Peyton pinned Lynch whilst her feet were on the ropes. Good for Billie Kay and Royce to get a big win early in their main roster career, but Asuka losing a match AGAIN?!?!?!
– Renee Young is shown outside Shane McMahon’s office, but instead AJ Styles comes out looking very pleased with himself. He reveals their will be a 6 man tag match in the main event later on, pitting him and 2 partners vs Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev and Aiden English. Intriguing… I hope it’s what I think this is… But strange how after weeks of Rusev and English beating in him, Nakamura is now teaming with them. Heel or not, some continuity would be nice…
– a hype video plays for the upcoming Smackdown arrival of former NXT Champion Andrade Almas and his business associate Zelina Vega. YES YES YES! IM ALL IN ON THESE TWO!!!
– Naomi and The Usos did a segment from the locker room. Naomi expressed her concerns ahead of Jimmy Uso’s match with Rowan later. So… they’re all in on showing Naomi as Mrs Uso on TV as well now then… ok…
— Rowan (with Harper) v Jimmy (with Jey). Rowan dominates until Noami makes her entrance (neon clothes and flashy lights and all). This distracts Rowan enough to allow Jimmy to get a shock win. You have to give The Usos a bit of build going into this match I guess…
– Renee hosts a contract signing between Charlotte and Carmella. Carmella makes her way out first, she gloats and then shows a video package showing her road to becoming champion… Twice! But half way through the 2nd showing Charlotte comes out. She takes her seat at the other side of the set out table, Carmella continues to talk trash which leads Charlotte to slam Carmella’s head into the table and then flip the table onto her. This went the way every single contract signing ever in WWE has gone, nonetheless it was good enough.
– Dasha Fuentes is outside Shinsuke Nakamura’s locker room, instead Aiden English comes out and tells her “sorry, no questions”FANTASTIC!
– Shelton Benjamin looked set to take on US Champion Jeff Hardy in a rematch from last week’s show. But instead Randy Orton passed Hardy on the ramp (reverse of last week) and he took the match instead. With Jeff at ringside throughout a masked man attacked him. Orton dragged the man into the ring and took his mask off to reveal it was Jinder Mahal’s ally Sunil Singh. Singh got an RKO for his troubles but this was enough to provide Benjamin with the chance to get the upset win. ANOTHER DISTRACTION WIN WTF IS HAPPENING?!
– New Day backstage segment featuring a candle lit pancake dinner (don’t ask, just go with it) … The Bar came in and played party poopers. Simple stuff. Fued been done before, but wouldn’t be against it on Smackdown.
– AJ is in the locker room… with… GALLOWS AND ANDERSON!!! HALLELUJAH!!!
– Sanity hype package video. I still am sad Nikki Cross is sticking around in NXT but nonetheless I’m so excited for their arrival to Smackdown!
– Renee Young interview backstage with Daniel Bryan. His shoulder was heavily bandaged up. He was really fired up and revealed Smackdown GM Paige had made Bryan vs Big Cass for Backlash. Awesome. MASSIVE opportunity for Big Cass.
– Samoa Joe pre-filmed promo. Same sort of content as has been recently. But still as good.
– Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson followed by WWE Champion AJ Styles came out. They were followed by their opponents; Aiden English, Rusev and finally Shinsuke Nakamura (who had new music. A take on his old one but with a Japanese singer and an electric guitar playing over it. It was cool AF to me). Decent match ended with Nakamura predictably pinning Gallows after a Kinshasa. After the match AJ brawled with Shinsuke, until Nakamura once again low blowed the champion and then hit Karl Anderson with his signature knee strike as Anderson took the BULLET for his friend. Simply put this aftermath was wonderful. Really builds the grudge match feeling going into Friday, stunning contrast to the ultra respectful build to their last meeting. But by a long way the build to this has been so much better from a storytelling standpoint. Nakamura has gone to even higher levels as a performer as a heel. And given how good he was before that’s saying a lot!
– 2 other segments related to the show were put out by WWE; Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose mocking a crestfallen Becky Lynch backstage (presumably setting up a match next week) and also Tye Dillinger on the phone to R Truth, who it appears didn’t find his way to the arena………. yeah…..
205 Live featured the gauntlet match to decide the challenger for Cedric Alexander’s Cruserweight title at the Greatest Royal Rumble event. The match saw Mustafa Ali beat TJP, Drew Gulak then beat Ali, Gulak beat former friend Tony Nese, and then finally Kalisto beat Gulak to book his ticket to Jeddah.
Wednesday morning: so it now appears Paul Heyman WILL be making the trip to Saudi Arabia, he just will do so later on the week. PHEW!
Wednesday: WWE has now officially confirmed Rey Mysterio, Mark Henry, The Great Khali, Shane McMahon, Randy Orton and Kevin Owens will be in the Greatest Royal Rumble match. Again not a massive surprise… a 50 man match, there isn’t going to be many names NOT in it.
Wednesday evening: Zack Ryder reveals his injury isn’t as bad as first feared, and that nothing is torn or broken just strains suffered. No surgery needed. Thank god! Would be last thing he needs. Hope to see him back soon.
Tye Dillinger points out on twitter that he is not featured in the advertising for the Greatest Royal Rumble event. Dangerous came you’re playing there Tye…
Wednesday: NXT

  • Undisputed Era came out and each cut a promo. Adam Cole was last and spoke about his North American title match against Oney Lorcan. He said he would win by himself and even laughed about needing help to win the match. This was great. All 4 members are really into their role, particularly the newly turned Roderick Strong.
  • Cole retained his title against Lorcan. Cole had his ribs tapped up, and at one point Lorcan threw Cole onto the ropes on his ribs. Kyle O’Reilly ran down with a doctor to see if he was ok, in the meantime Roderick Strong came out and gave Lorcan a back suplex onto the apron. Adam Cole was suddenly ok, and he then hit his finisher on Lorcan to retain the title. After the finish Danny Burch tried to stop Undisputed Era beating down his tag partner, but he was beaten down too. This was expected, but I’m a big Undisputed Era fan so I loved it. Give me Adam Cole and his cronies beating people up and being arrogant dicks all day long pls.
  • Shayna Baszler video package.
  • Bianca Belair video package, She’ll face Candice LeRae next week. Great, should be a fun match.
  • Heavy Machinery beat Riddick Moss & Tino Sabbatelli. I love NXT, but I couldn’t be less uinterested in these two tag teams if I tried.
  • There was a video shown setting up potential challengers for the NXT Women’s Championship. Featured were Nikki Cross, Aliyah, and Kairi Sane. Aliyah? DPMO. Don’t even put her in the same conversation as my two girls!!!!!!!!!! HOW DARE YOU!!!!!
  • Dakota Kai was shown being interviewed by Cathy Kelley about Shayna Baszler earlier in the day. Kai didn’t want to talk about Baszler even though Kelley kept asking about her. Shayna then walked in. Baszler talked down to her and said that Baszler running the women’s division is Dakota’s worst nightmare. I like Dakota don’t get me wrong, but I hope this is just a TV feud, and they give Baszler another challenger for the next Takeover.
  • Kona Reeves with another hype package. ZZZZZZzzzzz…..
  • Lacey Evans, Vanessa Borne, & Candice LeRae also were shown saying they too would defeat the NXT Women’s Champion Baszler if they got the chance. I feel like there may be a multi women or battle royal type match in the upcoming weeks to decide the next main challenger. Far too many women talking directly about challenging the champion for it not to be for a purpose.

Next week we will have TM61 vs The Street Profits & Pete Dunne vs. Roderick Strong.

  • Johnny Gargano came to the ring for his NXT championship match with Aleister Black. But on hos way to the ring he was jumped by Tommaso Ciampa. Ciampa threw Gargano into the stage, Johhny fought-back until Ciampa gave him a low blow. Ciampa then kicked Gargano in the head and, ignoring the officials that had come out to try and stop the attack, then gave him an Emerald Fusion through some production tables off the stage area. (The same spot he did when he originally turned on his former partner almost 1 year ago). The medics stretchered Gargano away, Kassius Ohno was among those who cam to help out, Aleister Black too arrived to see what was happening. As the ambulance drove away the camera zoomed out and there Ciampa was pictured on top of a ring truck. This was heartbreaking obviously, but absolutely brilliant stuff. This incredible rivalry is NOT done then, so maybe a gimmick match between the two soon? Cage? HELL IN A CELL???
  • Aleister Black came out to the ring and took to the mic and appeared to be about to challenge Tomasso Ciampa (GIVE ME THIS MATCH PLEASE), but instead he was interrupted by SAnitY! Eric Young said that Gargano’s hope was taken away by chaos, but that ” we will find hope and we will find sanity”. As Young was about to continue Black saw what was coming and challenged Young to face him for his title! So the match took place, and it wasn’t spectacular but it was fine. Black won with a Black Mass. and as both Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain got in the ring to try and avenge their leader’s loss, they were both Black Mass victims too, as Black ended the show holding his title and standing tall. Presumably this was done to give Sanity there sendoff before they officially move to Smackdown. But it was fun enough, and the champion looking strong is something I will never be against, particularity when that man is Aleister Black, and he is cool AF!

Thursday:

Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven and Tyler Bate) issue a challenge to the Undisputed Era for WWE’s UK Championship shows in June, via a video released on WWE’s twitter. If we could have Undisputed Era vs British Strong Style (the name on the indies for the collective group of Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate and Trent Seven) that’d be great. Thanks.
Triple H announces potential plans for NXT to go global via ‘global localization’ (the idea being there will be feeder-like promotions in countries all over the world, all feeding eventually towards the main NXT brand and the main roster shows). This information was actually made available during Triple H’s conference call over Wrestlemania weekend, but seems to have only come to light now. This is really exciting for WWE but does seem as if they are attempting to take over the world, which might not please some other smaller promotions over the globe.

Friday:
It’s the Greatest Royal Rumble later TODAY! They have extra comfy seats at ringside… the type you’d see in a posh lounge. This show is going to be CRAZY! I’m absolutely fascinated to see it!

Josh.

Ranking The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania matches

25 matches. 23-2. The most incredible record in Wrestlemania history. And whilst The Streak may be behind us, we can still look back on an array of matches and memories that The Phenom has produced on the grandest stage of them all. So here is my personal rankings and reviews of all of The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania matches, ranked from worst to best. Enjoy!

25. Big Boss Man (Hell in a Cell match); Wrestlemania 15 (1999) = 0* (ZERO STARS)

‘Things can only get better’ as the phrase goes (trust me they do… eventually…) but we start off with a real DUD! So this match saw The Undertaker, representing his Ministry of Darkness faction, facing the Big Boss Man, of Vince McMahon’s Corporation, in a Hell in a Cell match. All sounds good right? Wrong! The match itself was sub-standard to say the least, but nobody remembers that as the aftermath was something that made me feel physically sick watching it. After Taker had won the match The Brood (Gangrel, Edge and Christian) ascended from the rafters of the arena and landed on top of the Cell, they then broke the roof of the cell and slid a NOOSE through the gap they had made, and then The Undertaker proceeded to HANG Big Boss Man as Taker’s manager Paul Bearer pressed a nearby button that raised the cell from the ground. So yes indeed, at WRESTLEMANIA a man was left hanging from a noose like something from some vile historical image. It was absolutely horrific and how it was even remotely acceptable even nearly 20 years ago is beyond me. Sickening.

24. Giant Gonzalez; Wrestlemania 9 (1993) = ¼*

Wrestlemania 9 is widely acknowledged as the worst Wrestlemania in history. So that should tell you all you need to know about a match between THE UNDERTAKER and an 8 foot tall man in a full muscle-ridden, fur-covered body suit. The Undertaker has down the years been lumped with a number of ‘monsters’ that WWE have wanted to push as big stars by having them take on their top guy soon after arrival, but Giant Gonzalez may be the most unbelievable and ridiculous of them all. The finish came when Gonzalez covered Undertaker’s face with a chloroform-covered cloth, and the referee waved off the match awarding the win to Taker by disqualification. 7 minutes and 33 seconds of misery.

23. King Kong Bundy; Wrestlemania 11 (1995) = 1 ½*

A match is never going to be good when it is the secondary focus to another story that is being told. And this match was all about the prized possession of The Undertaker; The Urn. The manager of King Kong Bundy, The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase, had taken possession of the Urn from Paul Bearer previously only for Taker to take it back during the match and return it to Bearer. That was until Kama (aka The Godfather) came and took it back. Anyway Bundy was on top for most of the match, until the finish came with Taker hitting a scoop slam on the giant Bundy, before a flying Clothesline was enough to get the win.

22. Jimmy Snuka; Wrestlemania 7 (1991) = 1 ½*

The first match of The Undertaker’s incredible Wrestlemania career was also the win that saw him take ‘The Phenom’ moniker from his ‘Superfly’ opponent. Taker punished Snuka en-route to a dominant win in less than 5 minutes in what would prove to be the first of many on the grandest stage.

21. Mark Henry (Casket Match); Wrestlemania 22 (2006) = 1 ½*

This was the zenith of what would be the peak years of both men’s career. A month prior ‘The World’s Strongest Man’ had cost Undertaker the World Heavyweight Championship, this eventually led to the first and currently only Casket Match on the grand stage of Wrestlemania. Henry demonstrated his power early on, Taker responded with a plethora of typically-hard strikes, and he would win the match by following up an amazing dive over the ropes to Henry on the outside (something which would be a re-occurring high spot for The Deadman in his Wrestlemania matches down the years) by rolling him into the ring, Tombstone Piledriver and then Taker rolled Henry into the casket before shutting the lid and extending his record to an impressive 14-0 at Wrestlemania.

20. Jake Roberts; Wrestlemania 8 (1992) = 1 ¾*

The ahead-of-his-time Roberts was the lamb to the slaughter here, designed to get the relatively new to the WWE scene Undertaker over by having him beat a big name on the biggest stage. And he did just that; Roberts would hit his finishing DDT (back when a ddt was a legitimate finisher) for the second time in the match before going to the outside to go after Taker’s manager Paul Bearer. However he would suffer a Tombstone Piledriver on the outside of the ring, eventually allowing The Undertaker to claim his second Wrestlemania victory in convincing fashion.

19. Sycho Sid (No Disqualifications Match for the WWE Championship); Wrestlemania 13 (1997) = 1 ¾*

A match that is more remembered for the fact the main event of Wrestlemania 13 was supposed to be a rematch of the previous year’s classic between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels saw The Undertaker take on the WWE Champion Sycho Sid (I don’t know how he was champion either) whilst the ‘injured’ former champion Shawn Michaels sat ringside at the commentary table. Bret Hart came out before the match and cut a promo on all 3 men (he was in-hindsight so clearly legitimately pissed off with HBK’s ‘injury’) and he was involved in the finish to as he distracted Sid long enough to allow The Undertaker to hit the Tombstone Piledriver to get the win. This match was awful because Sycho Sid was one of the worst main eventers of all time, and had it not been for the fact The Undertaker won the WWE Championship in the main event of Wrestlemania this match would be even further down the list for sure.

18. A-Train & Big Show (Handicap Match); Wrestlemania 19 (2003) = 2 ½*

This was supposed to see Taker team up with the physically impressive Nathan Jones in a tag team match, but Jones was unable to take part after an attack earlier in the show by both Big Show & A-Train (the real life reason is apparently Jones was taken out of the match due to concerns about how inexperienced he was in the ring still and not wanting to put him in such a big match so early in his career). A Limp Bizkit live performance of Undertaker’s entrance was one of many highlights of what was a great Wrestlemania. Although not one of the best matches on the show it still saw Taker hold his own against 2 huge opponents. The aforementioned Nathan Jones would though make an appearance, as a Spinkick in the crowd on the Big Show and then on A-Train (how this didn’t result in a DQ I don’t know but oh well) would allow for Taker to Tombstone A-Train back in the ring for the win.

17. Kane 1; Wrestlemania 14 (1998) = 2 1/2*

One of the longest running (still being used 20 years later) stories in WWE history had its opening contest in the unholy showdown between The Deadman and his newly-arrived brother. A few months in and Kane was already one of the most interesting and dominant characters we had ever seen. He would continue his dominance in this match before FINALLY succumbing to a 3rd Tombstone Piledriver from Taker for the win. Although Kane kicked out at 3 and beatdown his brother after the match, it was The Phenom who picked up the victory.

16. Diesel; Wrestlemania 12 (1996) = 2 1/2*

2 very powerful and very aggressive strikers did battle in an even contest. The cocky Diesel thinking he had the match in the bag, before being beaten after a Chokeslam followed by a Tombstone. Nice of Diesel to do the job shortly before he went to chase the coin in WCW. We didn’t hear much of him after that………..

15. Shane McMahon (Hell in a Cell Match); Wrestlemania 32 (2016) = 2 ½*

How do you try and save ‘the biggest Wrestlemania of all time’? You throw in your legend and put him in a giant cell against an authority figure we haven’t seen on TV in 6 years! Of course you do… In a match where Shane was fighting for control of Raw and The Undertaker was needing to win else he’d never compete at a Wrestlemania ever again. Going in to this match it was widely expected to be a one spot match, and indeed it certainly was. Shane climbed to the top of the cell and attempted to elbow drop Taker through the announce table, but Taker moved and Shane went through the table instead. He’d soon after suffer a Tombstone as Taker claimed the win. This was entertaining for sure, a technical masterclass it was not, and it was THIRTY MINUTES long. So you make your own mind up…

14. Roman Reigns (No Holds Barred Match); Wrestlemania 33 (2017) = 2 ½*

I have watched thousands of matches in my time as a pro wrestling fan, but this was the one I was most uncomfortable watching. My hero The Undertaker (whom it transpired was carrying an injury going into the match) was far from his peak, in the main event of my favourite Wrestlemania of all time against the man of the moment (who by stark contrast to his legendary opponent was in absolutely peak physical shape) Roman Reigns. And whilst this will be remembered for the lamented 2nd consecutive coronation with fireworks and all of the Big Dog at Wrestlemania and also the ceremonial laying in the ring of The Undertaker’s gear, the match itself was much less physically appeasing. Storytelling it was great, the old Lion fighting the younger Lion in a battle for supremacy, but just having to endure Undertaker (kayfabe or not) take an absolute beating for ¾s of this match was almost unbearable. A grand total of FIVE Spears later, along with a plethora of Superman Punches and chair shots later, notably prompting Roman to tell Taker to “stay down”, he eventually took mercy on The Deadman and rendered him just his second Wrestlemania loss that until very recently looked to be his last in-ring outing.

13. Kane 2, Wrestlemania 20 (2004) = 2 ¾*

The second match between the Brothers of Destruction on the grandest stage of them all saw The Undertaker return after a nearly 5 month absence (after losing a buried alive match at the previous Survivor series to Mr McMahon as a result of interference from Kane). This Undertaker though was different to the one we had seen before this, as with Paul Bearer by his side The American Badass gimmick was discarded and The Deadman returned instead at Madison Square Garden to take revenge on his brother. One of the all-time great Wrestlemania pre-match video packages and subsequent entrances proceeded a relatively short victory for The Undertaker after a Tombstone. And with that the greatest era of this legendary career had begun.

12. Bray Wyatt, Wrestlemania 31 (2015) = 2 ¾*

In his first appearance since losing his legendary Streak 12 months prior, The Undertaker returned to take on the self-proclaimed ‘new face of fear’ Bray Wyatt. Wyatt had for the entire 2 month build to this showdown been calling out The Deadman, questioning his power and mystique now that his streak had gone. In the end Taker proved it was still ‘his yard’ after winning the penultimate match of that years Mania in what was a wonderfully told story between a legend and a current-day superstar wanting trying to take his ‘lord of darkness’ title. A 2nd Tombstone Piledriver, after getting out of a potential Sister Abigail, was enough to take Taker’s record to 22-1.

11. Brock Lesnar; Wrestlemania 30 (2014) = 3*

The match that ended with the most famous moment in WWE of this past 20 years or so, one of the most famous moments in Wrestlemania, WWE and all of Pro-Wrestling history. The end of The Streak. “a 3rd F5 to The Undertaker… Brock Lesnar, into the cover, hooks the leg, The Streak… is over” called Michael Cole, as the crowd in the Mercedes-Benz Arena and everyone watching around the world was left absolutely stunned. The unthinkable had happened. The Beast Incarnate had delivered such a beating to Taker that the physically aggressive, shoot-looking style of offence had actually caused Taker to sustain a serious concussion during the early part of the match (albeit the actual moment was no such fault of Brock’s I should make that clear). It did though mean Lesnar had to take control of the large majority of the match, and that Taker was unable to fully take in the emotional and shocked reaction of the crowd after the match. The ovation he received became secondary to the concerns about his condition, as he stumbled out of the entrance-way and collapsed after the match once he got backstage. He was immediately rushed to hospital for check-ups and was accompanied by Vince McMahon himself. It was the first and only time Vince McMahon had left a Wrestlemania early, which just shows how high a regard Undertaker is held in. Always one to want to give back, this was the ultimate sacrifice. The most prized possession in all of pro-wrestling, The Streak, now belonged to Brock Lesnar.

10. Ric Flair (No Disqualifications Match): Wrestlemania 18 (2002) = 3*

This was the first Wrestlemania in which the former WCW stars were given the chance to shine on the Wrestlemania stage. It’s amazing to think that this match was half way down the card but this was a very unique event, as was this match. Flair bled almost from the start in typcially prefusive fashion, and the personal rivalry that had led to the match continued throughout this gruelling contest. But even with the interference of his best friend Arn Anderson (whom hit an exquisite Spinebuster to his opponent) to try and help him, Flair would eventually succumb to a Tombstone. And with that The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania winning streak was in to double figures.

9. Triple H 1: Wrestlemania 17 (2001) = 3*

This match featured a brawl through the crowd, a live performance by Motorhead, the debut of the American Badass Biker persona of Taker’s at Wrestlemania, a very peronal build up… there was a lot going on! Without being a technical masterclass (that’s still to come) this was an entertaining enough match, the finish saw the heel-ish Triple H be beaten by the Last Ride in the semi-main event of the most beloved Wrestlemania of all time. So not too bad I’d say.

8. Randy Orton: Wrestlemania 21 (2005) = 3 1/2*

It was highly appropriate that the first time ‘The Streak’ was specifically challenged, it was by none other than the ‘Legend Killer’. And Orton himself has since gone on to credit The Undertaker for helping him with this feud and elevating him to that next level. A very admirable match that included interference from Randy’s Hall of Fame Dad & a kick out at 2 after an RKO came to an end when Orton attempted a Tombstone Piledriver of his own… only for Taker to reverse it and hit the move himself for the win…… and we never heard much of Randy Orton again in WWE……

7. Batista (World Heavyweight Championship); Wrestlemania 23 (2007) = 4*

After The Undertaker had finally won his first Royal Rumble match, he went on to challenge Batista and so began one of the all time great series of matches across 2007. But the first is usually the best and this was the case here. It SHOULD have been the main event that year, instead this classic had to make do with the mid card spot. Crowd were enthralled throughout, eventually exploding with joy when Taker finally hit the Tombstone to win the big gold belt for the first time. Fabulous stuff all round.

6. CM Punk; Wrestlemania 29 = 4 1/2*

In a match that’s build up centred around the mocking of the recent passing of The Undertaker’s former manager Paul Bearer, one of the modern day greats carried one of the all time legends to a Wrestlemania classic. Punk (and most fans) would argue he should’ve been in the title match that year but nonetheless he made this match just as special. His mocking and imitations would eventually come back to haunt him as Taker would reverse a Tombstone attempt from Punk to hit his move himself for the win. The final match of the streak, and one of the best too.

5. Triple H 2 (No Holds Barred Match); Wrestlemania 27 (2011) = 4 1/2*

In the lead up to this one, Triple H vowed to do what his best friend (Shawn Michaels) could not; end The Streak. He could not. But in his attempt to he helped deliver an incredible match. Back and forth all the way through, chair shots, finishers hit and nearfalls for both, ended when Taker had the Hell’s Gate submission locked in. Triple H attempted to use his signature Sledgehammer to break the hold, but the pressure of the move was too much for Triple H to handle. After the match The Undertaker was so worn out he had to be carried out by paramedics. For the first time in his Wrestlemania career, The Undertaker failed to walk out the arena on his own two feet.

4. Edge (World Heavyweight Championship); Wrestlemania 24 (2008) = 4 1/2*

2 of the all time greats, in the main event of Wrestlemania, for the World Heavyweight Championship. Need I say more? This was simply excellent. Great storytelling, great wrestling, great drama. Finish was also great as Edge hit his Spear but was locked into the Hell’s Gate upon coming to the ground. The Rated R Superstar eventually succumbing to Taker’s new move, which eventually came to be a story in itself, and for the 2nd year in a row; Undertaker walked out of Wrestlemania with the big gold belt.

3. Shawn Michaels 2 (Streak vs Career); Wrestlemania 26 (2010) = 4 1/2*

Coming 12 months after their first Mania meeting, HBK’s one primary goal turned in to an obsession in the build up. As after Taker initially rejected his demand for a rematch, a failed attempt to win the Royal Rumble would leave a continually spiralling Michaels to cost The Undertaker the World Heavyweight Championship. This was indeed enough to persuade Taker to do a rematch, but only if Michaels put his career on the line. And so how do you follow a classic? With another one! A wonderfully told story had its conclusion when an exhausted yet defiant Michaels slapped Taker, and was punished with a huge, jumping Tombstone to keep the Streak alive, and to give Shawn Michaels the ending of his career that it warranted.

2. Triple H 3 (Hell in a Cell match with special guest referee Shawn Michaels); Wrestlemania 28 (2012) = 5*

‘The End of an Era’ was how this was billed. Indeed it was. 2 legends doing a match neither may ever come close to replicating ever again. This match had everything! Half an hour of sheer excellence. I cannot speak highly enough of it. Widely regarded as the best cell match ever, some even call it the best WWE match ever! The Tombstone would give Undertaker his 20th Mania win but this was more than just a match. The iconic image of Taker, Triple H and Michaels stood on the rampway after the match as they soak in the crowd admiration, and the sheer magnitude of what they just produced is something even your most emotionless WWE fan will surely begin to get teary eyed at. About as close to perfection as you could get in a WWE match… but not quite…

1. Shawn Michaels 1; Wrestlemania 25 (2009) = 5*

What can I say about this match? You knew this was going to be number 1 right? When I began to put together this list I was sure about only 1 thing, that this would be number 1. It’s my favourite WWE match of all time. It’s the best match in the history of Wrestlemania. It’s 2 of the best ever putting on an absolute masterclass. I could write 10000 words on this match and it wouldn’t be enough words to explain how perfect it was. Please watch this match asap. I loved it as a 13 year old, I absolutely adore it aged 22. Thank you for everything Undertaker. Thank you for being the most amazing performer in Wrestlemania history. And alongside ‘Mr Wrestlemania’ thank you for putting on my favourite ever match.

Josh.