In what I’m sure is a ‘random coincidence,’ Triple H will tie Hulk Hogan’s Wrestlemania main event record when he faces Roman Reigns at this year’s event.
As the centerpiece of the Showcase of Immortals, Hogan headlined an impressive 7 of the first 8 Wrestlemanias. It’s a testament to Hogan’s legacy that his matches are still some of the most enduring images in Wrestlemania history. Triple H took 17 years to accomplish that feat, which is both a testament to his durability and an indictment on the WWE for failing to create more legitimate main eventers.
Before this year’s show, Triple H last headlined a Wrestlemania at Wrestlemania 25 when he battled Randy Orton. I’m not buying into all the bogus double main-event deals. Bottom line, the main event is the last match on the show.
No matter the WWE narrative, Triple H has never had that all-time Wrestlemania moment. Typically, he’s overshadowed by the Stone Colds, Rocks or the McMahon clan. When you think of Hogan at Wrestlemania, you likely think his face off with Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania 3, bodyslamming Andre at that same show, raising Ultimate Warrior’s hand at Wrestlemania 6 or his iconic stand off with The Rock at Wrestlemania 18.
Now think of Triple H. Maybe him standing atop the ropes after beating Chris Jericho holding both world titles at Wrestlemania 18, but what else? That’s harsh, but you’ve still gotta give it up to Triple H for simply being in this position. Main eventing the biggest show in the WWE is nothing to scoff at especially when you consider the stars, legends and Hall of Fame stars who never headlined a Wrestlemania (Ricky Steamboat, Harley Race, Bob Backlund, Ric Flair) or were only in the prime position once (Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper).
And if we’re being nitpicky, Hogan still holds the record of closing out eight Wrestlemanias thanks to his impromptu match at Wrestlemania 9 against Yokozuna. Here’s the other stars who headlined multiple Wrestlemanias …
2. Shawn Michaels, John Cena
and The Rock [Tied with 5]
Despite earning the Mr. Wrestlemania nickname, HBK (1-4) closed out the show a surprisingly low number of occasions. But as Wrestlemania’s MVP, there’s no denying Michaels always delivered whether battling Bret Hart, Steve Austin or The Undertaker.
Of the group, HBK easily tops the list for best quality main event match and it’s not even close. HBK got gipped with Wrestlemania 11 as his match against Diesel should have been the main event instead of the Bam Bam Bigelow/Lawrence Taylor clash.
And it’s downright shocking to see The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment just having five. Both Cena and Rock helped each other out by main-eventing back to back Wrestlemanias against each other in Wrestlemania 28 and Wrestlemania 29.
Cena’s numbers would jump tremendously if double-main events were factored in, but these were the matches he closed the show. Rock fared bad in the main event spot going 1-4 and got a much needed win thanks to his WWE: WrestleMania XXVIII [Blu-ray] victory.
3. The Undertaker, Bret Hart,
Stone Cold Steve Austin [Tied with 3]
Although his Streak has been a major storyline in pretty much every Wrestlemania in the last two decades, The Undertaker’s matches have rarely been important enough to warrant the main event slot. It’s still odd for such a fixture of Wrestlemania to not warrant more important status especially in later years. At least two of his three (vs. Edge at WM 24, vs. Michaels at WM26) were classics and naturally he was undefeated in his three main event matches.
Bret Hart (1-2) likely would have caught Hogan had he stuck around in WWE even while battling HBK, Austin and The Rock for main event slots. His back to back encounters with Yokozuna at Wrestlemania 9 and WWE: WrestleMania X helped propel him above the rest of the pack even if his Wrestlemania 12 match with HBK was the main event most remembered.
Just as surprising as The Rock’s limited run on top is the fact that the most successful WWE champ of all time in Austin was only on top for three Wrestlemanias. There’s no doubt Austin wouldn’t have trailed only Hogan for most consecutive main events with four if it weren’t for the neck injury that kept him on the shelf for most of 2000. Stone Cold had the benefit of going undefeated in his three main events though.
4. The rest [Tied with 4]
- Batista (1-1) — The Animal continued what would be a three main-event losing streak for Triple H in winning the title at Wrestlemania 21, but he got pinned by Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania 30.
- Brock Lesnar (1-1) — If it weren’t for Seth Rollins cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase at Wrestlemania 31, The Beast likely would be undefeated.
- Psycho Sid (0-2) — battling Hogan in Wrestlemania 8 and falling to The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 13 gave the Vicious one an unenviable Wrestlemania main event record.
- Randy Orton (0-2) — No one was upset with The Viper losing to Daniel Bryan, but a lot of fans felt Orton’s legs were once again cut off from under him by losing to Triple H at Wrestlemania 25.
- Randy Savage (1-1) — The Macho Man had a career defining win at Wrestlemania 4, but fell to his Mega Powers partner Hulk Hogan the following year.
- Roman Reigns (?-1) — Reigns headlines his consecutive Wrestlemania joining Hogan, Bret Hart, Stone Cold, The Rock, Cena and Triple H with his Wrestlemania 32 appearance.
- Yokozuna (1-2) — Yokozuna is an anamoly as he won his first match at Wrestlemania 9, then went on to lose his next title match against Hulk Hogan and the following year at Wrestlemania 10.