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– by Michael Connally

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It’s that time of year again. Wrestlemania is soon upon us. This event has become the most important event in professional wrestling, showcasing the best of the best of the sport putting on the show of their lives. With Wrestlemania appearing this Sunday on the WWE Network, I thought I’d take the time to discuss my ten favorite Wrestlemania matches, matches that to me epitomize everything that is great about the event. Like any list, it is purely subjective so if you disagree with anything or feel I left something out, let’s discuss it in the comments below.

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs Shawn Michaels- Wrestlemania 14

“This is what our business is all about.”

The fact that a man with a broken neck could face a man with a broken back and have one of the greatest matches in Wrestlemania history speaks to both performers involved. At the previous year’s Summerslam, Owen Hart gave Steve Austin a pile driver but executed the move wrong, slamming Steve’s head on the mat, breaking his neck. Most thought his career was over but after careful consideration, and many months off to recover, Steve came back for the Royal Rumble in 1998 better than ever.

At that same Royal Rumble, Shawn Michaels faced off against The Undertaker in a casket match. At one point, The Undertaker back dropped Michaels out of the ring. Watching the video of it makes me cringe because you can see the lower half of Shawn’s back slam onto the wooden casket, breaking his back. He was able to finish that match but doctor’s warned him his career was over. He was able to convince them to have one more match however and this was the match.

I loved how it started off, with both performers walking through a hallway before their music hit. Jim Ross did some of the best work of his career, the emotion he felt coming through with every word. Add to that the media interest in the match thanks to the inclusion of “Iron” Mike Tyson as thespecial referee and when “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s hand was raised as the victor, the Austin Era had truly begun on a high note.

So what do you think? Does this cover the early Wrestlemania era well? Are there any matches that I should have included? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Look for Part 2 coming tomorrow. 

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