Ranking every WrestleMania show: Can this year’s 40th compete with the elite?


There have been more than 400 matches in the history of WrestleMania, dozens of title changes and plenty of highs and lows, in the ring and outside of it. The 40th edition of WWE’s “Showcase of the Immortals” takes place Saturday and Sunday in Philadelphia, and it’s an event that could shape up to be one of the best in the company’s history.

As wrestling fans prepare for WrestleMania XL at Lincoln Financial Field, we at The Athletic asked the question: Which was the best WrestleMania? And which was the worst? In taking a page from our Super Bowl halftime show rankings, we decided to use a rubric consisting of five factors to score each show (the highest score a show can get is 50):

  • Overall card (1-10): Simply put, how good was the wrestling, and how interesting were the matchups?
  • WrestleMania moment (1-10): What is the most memorable part of the show — and does it hold up?
  • Star power (1-10): Is the card full of current or future Hall of Famers? How impactful are the celebrities involved in the show?
  • Fun factor (1-10): These incorporate the vibes. More than just the wrestling, how fun is the show?
  • Main event (1-10): People remember the finish; did it send the people home the right way?

Which WrestleMania events ranked high? Let’s take a look back.


39. WrestleMania IX, 1993 (Caesars Place, Las Vegas)

  • Overall card: 2
  • WrestleMania moment: 1
  • Star power: 3
  • Fun factor: 2
  • Main event: 1

Total: 9 points

Some of the strangest moments in WrestleMania history happened this year. Giant Gonzalez (and his weird, hairy bodysuit) lost to The Undertaker by disqualification after using … chloroform? Yokozuna defeated Bret Hart in the main event, only for Hulk Hogan to get a title shot and beat Yokozuna in 21 seconds? Everyone is wearing togas? The worst WrestleMania of all time.

38. WrestleMania II, 1986 (Los Angeles/Rosemont, Ill./Uniondale, N.Y.)

  • Overall card: 2
  • WrestleMania moment: 1
  • Star power: 4
  • Fun factor: 1
  • Main event: 2

Total: 10 points

This show took place in three different arenas (Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, Rosemont Horizon and Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum), making for odd presentation and crowds. The lone bright spot was the British Bulldogs defeating the Dream Team (Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake) for the tag team titles. The low point was Roddy Piper losing to Mr. T by disqualification in a boxing match.

  • Overall card: 4
  • WrestleMania moment: 2
  • Star power: 2
  • Fun factor: 2
  • Main event: 3

Total: 13 points

Winners on this show included Snooki, Michael Cole and The Great Khali — and somehow, this wasn’t the worst WrestleMania. You can thank The Undertaker’s match against Triple H and some other mid-card matches for that.

36. WrestleMania XI, 1995 (Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, Conn.)

  • Overall card: 3
  • WrestleMania moment: 3
  • Star power: 4
  • Fun factor: 2
  • Main event: 3

Total: 15 points

WWE’s obsession with celebrity involvement really peaked on this show, as Lawrence Taylor defeated Bam Bam Bigelow in the main event with several NFL players ringside. LT actually wrestled much better than some might have expected, but this match being the main event highlighted the mess of this card. Additionally, Diesel (with Pamela Anderson) defeated Shawn Michaels (with Jenny McCarthy) in the world title match.

34. (Tie) WrestleMania IV, 1988 (Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, N.J.)

  • Overall card: 3
  • WrestleMania moment: 3
  • Star power: 4
  • Fun factor: 3
  • Main event: 3

Total: 16 points

I’m a fan of tournaments, but making almost an entire WrestleMania into a tournament was a strange decision. Randy Savage against Ted DiBiase was a good main event, but the rest of this is forgettable.

34. (Tie) WrestleMania VII, 1991 (Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, Los Angeles)

  • Overall card: 3
  • WrestleMania moment: 6
  • Star power: 3
  • Fun factor: 3
  • Main event: 1

Total: 16 points

Hulk Hogan against Sgt. Slaughter was a weak main event. The highlight was The Ultimate Warrior beating Randy Savage, with Miss Elizabeth coming to Savage’s rescue after the match.

32. (Tie) WrestleMania V, 1989 (Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, N.J.)

  • Overall card: 2
  • WrestleMania moment: 3
  • Star power: 3
  • Fun factor: 3
  • Main event: 6

Total: 17 points

Hulk Hogan took on Randy Savage, as The Mega Powers split up, capping one of the best storylines in wrestling history. Unfortunately, most of the rest of the card was not great and included some truly bad matches.

32. (Tie) WrestleMania 36, 2020 (WWE Performance Center, Orlando, Fla.)

  • Overall card: 5
  • WrestleMania moment: 5
  • Star power: 3
  • Fun factor: 1
  • Main event: 3

Total: 17 points

This is the toughest show to place, because most of the matches happened in an empty WWE Performance Center warehouse shortly after the start of the COVID pandemic. Almost everything in the ring felt weird to watch because of the lack of sound, but the wrestling wasn’t bad. The two cinematic matches — The Undertaker against AJ Styles in a Boneyard Match and John Cena against Bray Wyatt in a Firefly Fun House Match — were some of the most creative and rewatchable things WWE has ever done.

30. (Tie) WrestleMania 32, 2016 (AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas)

  • Overall card: 5
  • WrestleMania moment: 3
  • Star power: 3
  • Fun factor: 4
  • Main event: 3

Total: 18 points

A string of injuries to stars made this a tough card. The main event pitting Roman Reigns and Triple H was long and boring. The highlights of the event were Shane McMahon becoming the first person to jump off Hell in a Cell and a women’s Triple Threat Match with Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks. Also, Zack Ryder had a surprise ladder-match win for the Intercontinental Championship.

30. WrestleMania VIII, 1992 (Hoosier Dome, Indianapolis)

  • Overall card: 5
  • WrestleMania moment: 2
  • Star power: 5
  • Fun factor: 5
  • Main event: 1

Total: 18 points

It’s still hard to believe WWE didn’t give us the Hulk Hogan-Ric Flair dream match here. Instead, Flair vs. Randy Savage was a very good match. In turn, Hogan vs. Sid Justice was one of the worst main events ever. A fine show, but one of the least memorable.

29. WrestleMania 29, 2013 (MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.)

  • Overall card: 5
  • WrestleMania moment: 3
  • Star power: 2
  • Fun factor: 4
  • Main event: 5

Total: 19 points

The Undertaker-CM Punk match is always a good rewatch. But the rematch between John Cena and The Rock did not meet the quality of their first bout. Fandango beat Chris Jericho, and Jack Swagger and Ryback were part of big matches.

  • Overall card: 2
  • WrestleMania moment: 6
  • Star power: 3
  • Fun factor: 2
  • Main event: 7

Total: 20 points

The main event dubbed “The Ultimate Challenge” — a match featuring The Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan — was a big moment and a surprisingly good match. It was a champion-versus-champion affair, which was won by The Ultimate Warrior. However, that was the only match that had major pop during the entire show.

27. (Tie) WrestleMania 13, 1997 (Rosemont Horizon, Rosemont, Ill.)

  • Overall card: 4
  • WrestleMania moment: 9
  • Star power: 2
  • Fun factor: 4
  • Main event: 2

Total: 21 points

Bret Hart and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin competing in a Submission Match was one of the best bouts in WWE history. Some say it helped make Austin the star he is today. That match, however, wasn’t the main event. The match pitting The Undertaker and Sycho Sid was disappointing.

27. (Tie) WrestleMania XV, 1999 (First Union Center, Philadelphia)

  • Overall card: 2
  • WrestleMania moment: 4
  • Star power: 4
  • Fun factor: 4
  • Main event: 7

Total: 21 points

This is a one-match card: Steve Austin vs. The Rock in the main event for the first time. The only other notable result during this show was the boxer Butterbean legitimately knocking out Bart Gunn in a Brawl for All Match. Oh, and The Undertaker hung Big Boss Man with a noose during their Hell in a Cell Match. Weird show!

25. WrestleMania 33, 2017 (Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Fla.)

  • Overall card: 5
  • WrestleMania moment: 5
  • Star power: 5
  • Fun factor: 4
  • Main event: 3

Total: 22 points

Shane McMahon probably had the best match on this card against AJ Styles, believe it or not. The Kevin Owens-Chris Jericho match also was good. John Cena proposed to Nikki Bella, and Roman Reigns “retired” The Undertaker (Cena and Bella broke up a year later, and The Undertaker eventually came back the following year).

That about sums it up.

24. (Tie) WrestleMania XXVI, 2010 (University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.)

  • Overall card: 5
  • WrestleMania moment: 5
  • Star power: 4
  • Fun factor: 4
  • Main event: 7

Total: 25 points

The Undertaker retired Shawn Michaels in a barn-burner main event after one of the best promo videos WWE has ever done. Chris Jericho beat Edge in a good match for the World Heavyweight Championship. That said, Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon and Jack Swagger winning Money in the Bank were lowlights.

24. (Tie) WrestleMania 34, 2018 (Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans)

  • Overall card: 6
  • WrestleMania moment: 4
  • Star power: 5
  • Fun factor: 6
  • Main event: 4

Total: 25 points

This felt like an all-time show halfway through, but it fizzled down the stretch with The Undertaker squashing John Cena in three minutes, Braun Strowman picking a 10-year-old kid out of the crowd to win the Raw Tag Team Championships, and Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar getting physical for a crowd that didn’t care. I was there and can confirm.

22. WrestleMania 2000 (Honda Center, Anaheim, Calif.)

  • Overall card: 5
  • WrestleMania moment: 5
  • Star power: 4
  • Fun factor: 6
  • Main event: 6

Total: 26 points

In the building formerly known as Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, a four-way-elimination championship match pitting Triple H, The Rock, Mick Foley and The Big Show — with “a McMahon in every corner” — was convoluted but fun. The highlight of this show was a three-way tag team ladder match involving Edge and Christian, The Dudley Boyz and the Hardy Boyz, which ultimately would set up two similar matches later — including the WrestleMania X-Seven all-timer.

21. WrestleMania 22, 2006 (Allstate Arena, Rosemont Ill.)

  • Overall card: 6
  • WrestleMania moment: 5
  • Star power: 5
  • Fun factor: 5
  • Main event: 6

Total: 27 points

This was a mixed-bag show where everything was fine but very little stood out, other than Edge vs. Mick Foley in a hardcore match with a flaming table. Additionally, Rey Mysterio won his first World Heavyweight Championship in a Triple Threat Match against Kurt Angle and Randy Orton, honoring his longtime friend Eddie Guerrero.

20. WrestleMania 25, 2009 (Reliant Stadium, Houston)

  • Overall card: 6
  • WrestleMania moment: 7
  • Star power: 5
  • Fun factor: 5
  • Main event: 5

Total: 28 points

Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker at this event was one of the best matches in WrestleMania history, and WWE got it right the following year by making it the main event of the 26th WrestleMania. Nothing else quite lived up to the hype, including the Triple H-Randy Orton main event, but there were plenty of decent matches throughout.

19. WrestleMania XII, 1996 (Honda Center, Anaheim, Calif.)

  • Overall card: 4
  • WrestleMania moment: 8
  • Star power: 4
  • Fun factor: 4
  • Main event: 9

Total: 29 points

Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart competed more than 60 minutes in the main event, a classic Iron Man Match. Roddy Piper faced Goldust in a Hollywood Backlot Brawl, which was at least memorable, if not strange.

18. WrestleMania 23, 2007 (Ford Field, Detroit)

  • Overall card: 6
  • WrestleMania moment: 6
  • Star power: 5
  • Fun factor: 5
  • Main event: 8

Total: 30 points

This WrestleMania had two solid title matches, with John Cena over Shawn Michaels for the WWE Championship and Batista over The Undertaker for the World Heavyweight Championship. But this show is most memorable for Steve Austin and Donald Trump shaving Vince McMahon’s head.

16. (Tie) WrestleMania 35, 2019 (MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.)

  • Overall card: 7
  • WrestleMania moment: 9
  • Star power: 5
  • Fun factor: 4
  • Main event: 6

Total: 31 points

There was a lot to like here, such as “KofiMania” (Kofi Kingston winning the WWE Championship against Daniel Bryan), Triple H vs. Batista and the first women’s main event in WrestleMania history. But this show was unbearably long, Kurt Angle’s retirement loss against Baron Corbin was a bummer, and the final pin in a Winner Takes All Triple Threat Match by Becky Lynch over Ronda Rousey was botched. (Charlotte Flair also was in the match.)

16. (Tie) WrestleMania 37, 2021 (Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.)

  • Overall card: 7
  • WrestleMania moment: 7
  • Star power: 5
  • Fun factor: 5
  • Main event: 7

Total: 31 points


Bad Bunny jumped off the top rope during a tag-team match at WrestleMania 37. (Joe Camporeale / USA Today)

The first two-night, in-person WrestleMania had a lot of highs, including Roman Reigns beating Daniel Bryan and Edge in a Triple Threat Match for the Universal Championship during the main event of Night 2. Bianca Belair became SmackDown Women’s Champion after beating Sasha Banks in the Night 1 main event. Also performing on Night 1 was multiplatinum-artist Bad Bunny, as he teamed in the ring with Damian Priest. But Randy Orton beating “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt with the help of Alexa Bliss to open Nigh 2 was a bizarre letdown.

15. WrestleMania XX, 2004 (Madison Square Garden, New York)

  • Overall card: 7
  • WrestleMania moment: 6
  • Star power: 6
  • Fun factor: 6
  • Main event: 7

Total: 32 points

This card was deep with highlights like Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle and Evolution vs. Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection. But Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg was a debacle, and the lasting image of Chris Benoit celebrating in confetti is now tough to stomach for many wrestling fans.

13. (Tie) WrestleMania XXIV, 2008 (Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Fla.)

  • Overall card: 5
  • WrestleMania moment: 10
  • Star power: 6
  • Fun factor: 5
  • Main event: 7

Total: 33 points

The matchup pitting The Undertaker and Edge was a good main event, but what every fan remembers about this show was Shawn Michaels retiring Ric Flair with Sweet Chin Music. Floyd “Money” Mayweather defeating Big Show with a knockout punch was a bit goofy, but it happened.

13. (Tie) WrestleMania I, 1985 (Madison Square Garden, New York)

  • Overall card: 4
  • WrestleMania moment: 9
  • Star power: 8
  • Fun factor: 7
  • Main event: 5

Total: 33 points

The inaugural WrestleMania didn’t have classic matches, but it had plenty of big moments. Mr. T teamed with Hulk Hogan to face Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff in the main event, and Wendi Richter won the women’s world title with Cyndi Lauper at ringside. Muhammad Ali was a special guest referee, and Billy Martin was a special guest ring announcer. Liberace and The Rockettes also made appearances.

10. (Tie) WrestleMania 21, 2005 (Staples Center, Los Angeles)

  • Overall card: 8
  • WrestleMania moment: 9
  • Star power: 6
  • Fun factor: 6
  • Main event: 5

Total: 34 points

The tagline for this event was “WrestleMania goes Hollywood.” It ended up being one of those shows that crowned a new generation of stars, including Batista, who defeated Triple H, for the World Heavyweight Championship, and John Cena, who defeated JBL for the WWE Championship. It also featured Edge winning the first Money in the Bank ladder match, an all-time classic between Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels, and Big Show in a … sumo match.

10. (Tie) WrestleMania XXVIII, 2012 (Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.)

  • Overall card: 7
  • WrestleMania moment: 7
  • Star power: 7
  • Fun factor: 6
  • Main event: 7

Total: 34 points

Three really strong matches took place with The Rock vs. John Cena, CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho for the WWE Championship and Triple H vs. The Undertaker in Hell in a Cell with Shawn Michaels as the guest referee. This show also saw Sheamus beat Daniel Bryan in seconds for the World Heavyweight Championship.

10. (Tie) WrestleMania XIV, 1998 (TD Garden, Boston)

  • Overall card: 5
  • WrestleMania moment: 10
  • Star power: 6
  • Fun factor: 6
  • Main event: 7

Total: 34 points

At the building once known as FleetCenter, everything on this card was solid. It was punctuated by “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s first WWE (then WWF) Championship win, as he beat Shawn Michaels thanks to special guest enforcer Mike Tyson. The Undertaker vs. Kane match was wild to watch then and still is wild to watch now. Oh, and let’s not forget Kane delivering a tombstone piledriver to Pete Rose, who heeled it up in front of the Boston crowd.

9. WrestleMania 38, 2022 (AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas)

  • Overall card: 6
  • WrestleMania moment: 9
  • Star power: 7
  • Fun factor: 9
  • Main event: 4

Total: 35 points

This WrestleMania didn’t stand out for match quality top to bottom, but it did have some really good ones with Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair for the Raw Women’s Championship. In hindsight, this show was fun. It featured big moments like Rhodes’ return to WWE six years after quitting the company, Sami Zayn vs. Johnny Knoxville with the “Jackass” crew, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s return for an impromptu Night 1 match against Kevin Owens, as well as Pat McAfee’s first WrestleMania match. The Night 2 main event between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar, however, was forgettable.

8. WrestleMania X, 1994 (Madison Square Garden, New York)

  • Overall card: 9
  • WrestleMania moment: 9
  • Star power: 6
  • Fun factor: 7
  • Main event: 5

Total: 36 points

WrestleMania moved into another era of crowning new stars on this show. Bret Hart wrestled twice, losing to his brother Owen Hart in the first match but becoming the WWE Champion by beating Yokozuna in the main event. Razor Ramon beat Shawn Michaels in the first ladder match in company history. Bret vs. Owen and Ramon vs. Michaels are considered among the best matches in WrestleMania history.

  • Overall card: 7
  • WrestleMania moment: 10
  • Star power: 8
  • Fun factor: 8
  • Main event: 5

Total: 38 points

The Rock vs. Hollywood Hogan is, in the opinion of Cody Rhodes and me,  the greatest match in wrestling history, primarily because of the spectacle and the Toronto crowd. But that match wasn’t the main event of WrestleMania X8 (18 for you casual fans). That went to Triple H and Chris Jericho. The other matches weren’t classics, but fans also were treated to The Undertaker vs. Ric Flair and Steve Austin vs. Scott Hall, which were pretty historic.

6. WrestleMania 31, 2015 (Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.)

  • Overall card: 7
  • WrestleMania moment: 10
  • Star power: 7
  • Fun factor: 8
  • Main event: 7

Total: 39 points

This is a show that, to me, gets better with time. It ended with the most shocking finish in WrestleMania history, as Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank contract, entering an ongoing Roman Reigns-Brock Lesnar match and taking the WWE Championship. Other highlights included Randy Orton vs. Rollins earlier in the show, Triple H vs. Sting in a nostalgic frenzy, The Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt and Daniel Bryan winning an Intercontinental Championship ladder match.

5. WrestleMania 39, 2023 (SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, Calif.)

  • Overall card: 10
  • WrestleMania moment: 8
  • Star power: 6
  • Fun factor: 8
  • Main event: 8

Total: 40 points

It might be recency bias, but WrestleMania 39 holds up — at least for now. Even with the disappointing booking finish, Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes was a great Night 2 main event. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn over The Usos in the Night 1 main event was extremely strong, as well. Throw in Gunther beating Sheamus and Drew McIntyre in a Match of the Year contender, Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte putting on a banger and Rey Mysterio with his son Dominik, this was a loaded two-night show.

4. WrestleMania XIX, 2023 (Safeco Field, Seattle)

  • Overall card: 9
  • WrestleMania moment: 7
  • Star power: 8
  • Fun factor: 8
  • Main event: 9

Total: 41 points

This was the beginning of WWE’s “Ruthless Aggression” era. Brock Lesnar beat Kurt Angle in the main event, while Steve Austin and The Rock had their final match, Shawn Michaels beat Chris Jericho in a classic, and Hulk Hogan beat Vince McMahon in a bloody street fight.

3. WrestleMania III, 1987 (Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Mich.)

  • Overall card: 7
  • WrestleMania moment: 10
  • Star power: 8
  • Fun factor: 8
  • Main event: 9

Total: 42 points

This was the show that really moved the company to a new level with a record crowd in the Pontiac Silverdome. WrestleMania III was highlighted by Hulk Hogan’s slam of André the Giant in the main event, one of the most famous moments in all of professional wrestling. It also included Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat defeating Randy “Macho Man” Savage in one of the best matches in WrestleMania history, as well as Roddy Piper over Adrian Adonis and The Hart Foundation and Danny Davis over the British Bulldogs and Tito Santana.

2. WrestleMania XXX, 2014 (Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans)

  • Overall card: 9
  • WrestleMania moment: 10
  • Star power: 8
  • Fun factor: 8
  • Main event: 10

Total: 45 points

The 30th edition of WrestleMania featured the ultimate underdog story, as Daniel Bryan defeated Triple H early in the show to put himself in the main event, where he defeated Batista and Randy Orton in a Triple Threat Match to win the undisputed WWE Championship. Both matches were really strong. This show also featured John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt, Cesaro winning a fun André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, and Brock Lesnar ending The Undertaker’s WrestleMania undefeated streak. We also had Hulk Hogan, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock all in the ring at once to open the show. An epic night.

  • Overall card: 10
  • WrestleMania moment: 8
  • Star power: 10
  • Fun factor: 10
  • Main event: 8

Total: 46 points

The 17th WrestleMania (stylized as WrestleMania X-Seven) at the time was considered by many the best from start to finish, and today, it’s still the consensus choice for most fans. This show was highlighted by a main event featuring “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock, an all-time great Tables, Ladders and Chairs tag-team match between Edge and Christian, The Dudley Boyz and The Hardy Boyz, and a very good match between The Undertaker and Triple H, with plenty of entertaining undercard matches loaded with Hall of Famers. This was the peak — and maybe the end — of the “Attitude Era.”

It’s also worth noting the show included two big moments that are extremely difficult to watch in hindsight. Those are a very good Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle match and an entertaining Vince McMahon vs. Shane McMahon match. Benoit would, years later, murder his wife and son and die by suicide in 2007. Vince McMahon is currently being sued over allegations of sex trafficking, and this particular WrestleMania X-Seven storyline included McMahon demeaning Trish Stratus, a female wrestler whom his character had a (storyline) affair with while his wife was in a (storyline) coma. Linda McMahon came out of her coma during the match. The Astrodome crowd went nuts at the time. It was … a lot.

(Top photos of WWE’s The Rock, Triple H and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin: Jerome Miron, Dylan Azari and Joe Camporeale / USA Today)





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