It’s the most anticipated event of the year. Yes, we can only mean WrestleMania. Each year the Grandest Stage Of Them All features something that shocks fans worldwide. This year’s main event in many ways can be viewed as shocking when the Women take the main event spot for the first time and with that we present, in no particular order, 10 moments that shocked the WWE Universe and beyond to its core.
10. Owen Hart Defeats His Brother! – WrestleMania 10
Many believed that going into WrestleMania 10 that Bret Hart was going to leave the event as a two-time WWE champion, regardless of the outcome of the match with his little brother. But despite that, fans were convinced Bret would defeat his brother and end the feud that had begun at the previous year’s Survivor Series. The match itself was an instant classic and is still considered the greatest opening match in the history of the event, and maybe even, PPV history. When Owen pinned his big brother clean, the sold-out crowd inside MSG were in a state of shock. Unpredictable and intense, it was a result few expected and set the tone for the rest of the night.
9. Triple H Retains the WWE Title! – WrestleMania 16
With Steve Austin missing Mania due to neck surgery, the stage was set for The Rock to end the show as the new champion. His popularity had reached, and maybe even surpassed, the levels that Austin had set and was unquestionably the hottest Sports Entertainer on the planet. All four McMahon family members were featured here backing The Rock, Triple H, Big Show, and Mick Foley respectively and the drama was at a fever pitch. Mania at that time usually ended with ‘the hero prevailing’. Given the storyline that preceded the event, even the so-called ‘smartest’ fan was shocked to see Vince McMahon turn on The Rock and aid Triple H to retain the title. Definitely shocking.
8. Rollins Cashes In! – WrestleMania 31
Would Lesnar leave or resign? It’s become a yearly thing now with Brock Lesnar but in 2015 everyone, and that includes WWE had no idea what the then WWE champion was going to do. Even when we resigned the week of Mania, it still left the result of the main event of Brock vs Roman Reigns in doubt. The match itself was a hard-hitting war and the outcome was very much up in the air. The music of the then Money In The Bank holder Seth Rollins then hit and the rest was history. No one saw this coming and the final image of Rollins holding up his new title as the PPV came to a close was shocking on so many levels.
7. Hogan slams the Giant! – WrestleMania 3
In 1987 the WWE was becoming the unstoppable force we know today and the one match that took them to the next level truly was Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant. One of the biggest matches in Mania history, the entire wrestling world truly wondered if Andre could be taken off of his feet, let alone defeated in front of a record-breaking crowd. Could Hogan do it? Could he slam the man he once called his mentor? Shock value was needed and it delivered when Hogan slammed Andre and retained the WWE title. Still an amazing sight 32 years later, the slam could be considered as the first Mania moment that shocked everyone.
6. Austin’s deal with the Devil! – WrestleMania 17
It was the most anticipated Mania main event since Hogan vs Andre when for the second time in three years, Steve Austin and The Rock did battle for the WWE title. The sold-out Houston Astrodome were a partisan Austin crowd, though The Rock definitely had his fans that night. As the action was nearing its close, Vince McMahon made his way to the ring. Earlier in the night, McMahon had guaranteed something shocking to occur but not even what was about to happen was expected by anyone watching. The sight of McMahon handing longtime foe Austin a chair to lead to a title-winning victory over The Rock was surreal to see. The sight of both men then shaking hands and sharing a beer was, at that time, truly the most shocking Mania moment ever.
5. Icon vs Icon! – WrestleMania 18
Every fan loves a dream match and the sight of Hulk Hogan vs The Rock at WrestleMania was a true dream match for fans old and new. Included here not for one particular moment of the match, but for the incredible sight of both men stood in the middle of the ring soaking in the adulation as, against what was the plan, Hulkamania was reborn for one more extended run.
4. 5-time champion! WrestleMania 9
Hulk Hogan made his WWE return in 1993 after a year away making more ‘memorable’ movies but not in the main event of Mania. That was at least what everyone was led to believe. Hogan and Brutus Beefcake unsuccessfully challenged Money Inc for the tag titles before Bret Hart defended the WWE title against Yokozuna in the main event. The title changed hands that night in a somewhat controversial fashion and fans started to imagine Yokozuna as the champ going forward. Here comes Hogan to help the fallen Hart and within seconds, Hogan had defeated the new champ and was leaving Mania once again as the new WWE champion. Shocking indeed!
3. “I’m sorry, I love you”! WrestleMania 24
As soon as the match was made for Mania, we all knew the end was near. Ric Flair vs Shawn Michaels with Flair’s career on the line. The result, in reality, was never in doubt as it had become clear that Flair was ready to hang up his boots… for the WWE anyway but that’s another subject. As predictable as the outcome was, what was shocking was the way it all went down and how much emotion was involved. Heck, the fact Flair was retiring itself could easily be considered as shocking. With a close up of HBK and the above-mentioned words uttered, the career of one of the true all-time greats was over. Predictable? Yes! Shocking? Yes!
2. Ultimate Return No.1! WrestleMania 8
It has been well documented that Vince McMahon was held up for money by the Ultimate Warrior at Summer Slam 1991 before going to the ring and then fired when he came back through the curtain. So the sight of the Warrior running to the ring to help Hulk Hogan fend off the attack of Sid and Papa Shango in the closing moments was definitely shocking. No one expected it and no one knew he was even there. Seeing him close out Mania 8 with Hogan was truly, and in many ways, an underrated shocking Mania moment.
1. 21-1! – WrestleMania 30
Did anyone ever think The Streak would be broken? The answer is usually a resounding no. When it was announced that The Undertaker would face Brock Lesnar at Mania 30, fans expected war but with a very familiar result. With the sight of Lesnar hitting a third F-5 and then pinning the Dead Man clean for the Streak ending victory, the sold-out crowd was in stunned silence. No one and we mean NO ONE saw this coming. The visual of the 21-1 graphic on the screens was a sight to behold. Many moments have come and gone and more will occur in the future but this was undoubtedly and easily the most shocking moment in WrestleMania history. Will any moment ever surpass it? Maybe but probably not!
What was your favourite shocking WrestleMania moment? Let us know in the comments section below!