10. Retirement Match: Randy Savage vs. Ultimate Warrior – WrestleMania VII
Sometimes, all a match needs to really put it way over the top is some good old fashioned emotion. At WrestleMania VII in Los Angeles, one match stood above all. Randy Savage took on the Ultimate Warrior in a high stakes match where the loser would be forced to retire. Savage in the midst of a heel run as the Macho King and he cost Warrior the WWF Title a few months prior, setting this encounter up. The little things about this match, right from the start, totally stood out. From Ultimate Warrior’s fantastic jacket to seeing Elizabeth in the crowd, it all worked perfectly. The crowd was on the edge of their seat throughout the entire match and reacted to each and every near fall. Ultimate Warrior’s best opponent throughout his career was, hands down, the Macho Man. Something about these two just clicked in a manner that others couldn’t match. Savage hit FIVE of his patented elbow drops but it somehow wasn’t enough to keep the Warrior down. After Savage kicked out of his signature stuff, Warrior ended his career (temporarily) with three shoulder blocks. This was a situation where the post-match stuff added to it as Queen Sherri attacked Savage until Elizabeth hopped the guardrail to stop her. It led to one of the most emotional moments in wrestling history as Savage and Elizabeth reunited and fans all around the world cried tears of joy.
9. WWF Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: Razor Ramon (c) vs. Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania X
The Ladder match that kind of changed everything. Sure the WWF put on at least one Ladder match before this, but this was the first one on a major stage. Shawn Michaels reigned as Intercontinental Champion but had the title stripped by President Jack Tunney. Remember when authority figures were just a guy that rarely appeared on TV to make decisions? Behind the scenes, there were rumors that he was in talks with WCW during a contract negotiation. Razor won the vacant title and when Michaels returned, he began carrying around his own Intercontinental Title and saying he was still the rightful champion. Both titles were hung high above the ring at Madison Square Garden and the two men proceeded to have a classic. Looking back, a lot of people that weren’t watching at that time may not understand the hype. We’ve seen some incredibly athletic things done in Ladder matches since then but this was groundbreaking. They beat the hell out of each other with the ladder, while making both the careers of both the winner, Razor Ramon and especially the loser, Shawn Michaels. Both guys were stars, but without this match, they may not reach that next level. Not only one of the best matches ever but it’s also one of the most influential.
8. Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania 21
Yes people, Shawn Michaels will appear on this list more than anyone else. During the 2005 Royal Rumble, Kurt Angle was a favorite to win but was eliminated by Shawn Michaels. He hopped back in and attacked Michaels. The feud was only built on that though. Angle went all the way back to nearly a decade earlier when he won the Olympic gold medal, only to hear everyone raving about a guy named Shawn Michaels wrestling for an hour at WrestleMania. The match was highly anticipated and ended up stealing the show on a very strong WrestleMania from Los Angeles. This was two of the very best to ever lace up a pair of wrestling boots going out and having a classic. The intensity that Angle display throughout the contest is unmatched. You truly believe that the story he told about hearing so much about Michaels after winning the gold medal really ate away at him. You believed that the match meant the world to him. It wasn’t something that happened often, but Michaels ended up tapping out, giving the win to Angle. They would rematch this later in the year and it would be great, but nothing tops their first match for me.
7. WWF Championship: The Rock (c) vs. Steve Austin – WrestleMania X-Seven
6. World Heavyweight Championship: Triple H (c) vs. Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania XX
5. WWF Intercontinental Championship: Randy Savage (c) vs. Ricky Steamboat – WrestleMania III
4. WWF Tag Team Championship TLC Match: The Dudley Boyz (c) vs. Edge & Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz – WrestleMania X-Seven
3. Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart – WrestleMania X
2. Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker – WrestleMania XXV
1. Submission Match: Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin – WrestleMania 13