Everyday from March 1 until WWE Wrestlemania 33 on April 2, Fightful will be bringing you the Countdown To WWE Wrestlemania 33. Each day, you will be getting a top 10 list or an event preview or statistics/figures from past ‘Mania events and everything in between.
In today’s column, we will be taking a look at the ‘Mania MVP (Wrestlemania 9-16). A ‘Mania MVP is a person, wrestler or somebody/something else involved in the events that played a truly vital role in that particular ‘Mania.
‘Mania 9 MVP: Togas
We are starting this piece of by claiming the ‘Mania 9 MVP as Togas, an item of clothing synonymous with Ancient Greek and Roman culture. Also, think "Animal House." While this was arguably the worst ‘Mania of all time, it was made worse by the WWE’s insisting that the fans in attendance and various on air personalities wear togas. You know, because of the fact that the event was held at Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas. In fact, one of the tags lines for this event was the “world’s largest toga party” and it definitely wasn’t that in any way. Jim Ross, the legendary announcer who was making his WWE debut at the event, was seen on WWE TV for the first time wearing a toga.
‘Mania 10 MVP: Shawn Michaels & Razor Ramon
The first Ladder Match in ‘Mania history took place at ‘Mania 10 as Shawn Michael and Razor Ramon battled to see who would become the undisputed WWE Intercontinental Champion. This match was an instant classic, as both wrestlers took a beating that certainly left them bruised and hurting for weeks afterwards. Razor would become the undisputed champion that night, which was also the ‘Mania debut of Diesel, better known to some wrestling fans as Kevin Nash. The two would duel in a ladder match again a few years later at WWE Summerslam ‘95, but it wouldn’t measure up to the standards the first match set.
‘Mania 11 MVP: Bam Bam Bigelow
Bam Bam Bigelow was the first wrestler I ever met and although that doesn’t make him an MVP for this column, the performance he put on at ‘Mania 11 does. Bigelow met former professional football player Lawrence Taylor in the main event of ‘Mania 11 and the two put on a heck of a main event fight. Taylor would win the match with a flying tackle from the middle rope, but make no doubt about it, Bigelow was the star of the show. Sadly, the WWE really never rewarded Bigelow with a push after the match, just a $500,000 paycheck--which isn't bad.
‘Mania 12 MVP: Shawn Michaels & Bret Hart
‘Mania 12 was a three hour show on pay-per-view, with over an hour of that show dedicated to the Ironman Match between WWE Champion Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. The two battled back and forth for an hour with nobody scoring a single fall, then we got a sudden death overtime. In that sudden death overtime, Michaels nailed Hart with Sweet Chin Music to score the lone fall in the match and win the title. Say whatever you want about the booking, but Hart and Michaels went over an hour in a ‘Mania main event that is remembered over two decades later, and that makes them both MVPs of WrestleMania 12,
‘Mania 13 MVP: Bret Hart’s Razor Blade
One of the most iconic photo’s ever taken at ‘Mania is the one where Steve Austin is in the sharpshooter, screaming in agony while blood pours from his head. There is an interesting story behind the blade job and it begins with Austin’s reluctance to get cut by Bret Hart. Even as they were battling in the match itself, Austin was continuously objecting to getting color from Hart. However, Austin eventually relented,Hart cut him open on the arena floor and the rest is WrestleMania history..
‘Mania 14: The Undertaker
The Undertaker competed against Kane in their first ever meeting at ‘Mania 14, but that’s not the reason for his inclusion on this list. There is an awesome backstage story that a lot of people do not know about. It begins with a then arrogant WWE Champion in Shawn Michaels. Rumors were swirling backstage at the event that Michaels was going to weasel out of dropping the title to Steve Austin in the main event. However, The Undertaker sat at the gorilla position taping up his hands as HBK was preparing to make his entrance. That was a signal to HBK that if he didn’t do the job that was planned, a beating would be taking place when he got backstage…HBK did the job.
‘Mania 15 MVP: Shane McMahon
Shane McMahon had competed in a handful of matches prior to ‘Mania 15, but this would be the biggest match of his career. Unlike the story I told earlier about Bam Bam Bigelow and Lawrence Taylor, X-Pac didn’t have to carry Shane to a great match because Shane came in more than ready to hold his own in the squared circle. This is one of those ‘Mania matches that was far better than anyone could have expected going into it. McMahon would win the match and sadly for X-Pac, this was the last big match he would have in the WWE.
‘Mania 2000 MVP: Triple H
For the first 15 years of ‘Mania, a heel wrestler never closed out the show holding the WWE Championship. That changed with year sixteen and ‘Mania 2000, as Triple H won the main event Fatal 4 Way elimination match to make WWE history. This was the match that told fans that Triple H was here to stay and he would be a longtime main event player, which he still is to this day. This was also the first ‘Mania where Stephanie McMahon and Triple H were a couple, and seventeen 'Manias later, they're still.going strong.