Every day 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 17-24). 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 17 MVP: The Entire WWE
WWE Wrestlemania 17 may go down as one of the great, if not, the greatest ‘Mania in the 32 plus year history of the event. This event was essentially a four-plus hour celebration of the WWE’s victory over WCW, which had closed a few weeks earlier. Some of the lesser name WCW stars were in attendance, but the big stars wouldn’t appear for a few more months. The event was headlined by the heel turn of Steve Austin as he joined forces with longtime rival Vince McMahon.
‘Mania 18 MVP: Hulk Hogan
For the first time since ‘Mania 9, Hulk Hogan stepped into the squared circle against one of the biggest stars in WWE history, this time against The Rock. The Rock won the match, but then the old school WWE fans got to take a trip back to the eighties for a few glorious moments. After the match, The NWO attacked The Rock after the match and Hogan turned face for the first time since returning to the company. Hogan and The Rock then did the classic “Hogan Poses,” retro fans would get another treat a month later as Hogan would win the WWE Title from Triple H.
‘Mania 19 MVP: Brock Lesnar’s Neck
While Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle put on a classic match at WWE Wrestlemania 19, most people don't remember the match. What the majority of people remember from that night was the horrifying shooting star press attempt by Lesnar. For those who have never seen it, Lesnar went for a shooting star press on Angle, but didn’t make it all the way around and landed in a gruesome manner on his neck.
Lesnar somehow walked away that night without dying or being paralyzed, not to mention he won the match and the WWE Title.
‘Mania 20 MVP: Chris Benoit & Eddie Guerrero
I know the story of Chris Benoit and his family's life would take a truly terrible turn a few years later, but we are focusing on ‘Mania 20 here. During the broadcast, Eddie Guerrero defeated Kurt Angle to retain the WWE Title, while Chris Benoit won the WWE World Title by defeating Triple H and Shawn Michaels in a triple threat match. After Benoit won his match, Guerrero made his way to the ring and he embraced Benoit as the confetti fell from the rafters. Wrestlemania has had a lot of great moments, but this may be one of the greatest moments for hardcore wrestling fans.
‘Mania 21 MVP: Kurt Angle & Shawn Michaels
There was a moment in the Royal Rumble Match a few months earlier where Kurt Angle and HBK eliminated each other. The feud began and all the wrestling fans' eyes lit up with glee because we knew what was coming for us at Wrestlemania. The match between arguably two of the greatest wrestlers in WWE history may be one of the best matches of all time, not just at a ‘Mania. Angle walked away victorious when it was all said and done, but it was actually the wrestling fans in attendance and who watched the match on pay-per-view who were the real winners that night.
‘Mania 22 MVP: Mick Foley
While Edge went down as one of the greatest WWE superstars of the modern error, there was a time when his career was on the down slide after being on the losing end of a feud with John Cena. Mick Foley took it upon himself, if his autobiography is to be believed, to resurrect the career of the Canadian superstar. The two engaged in a classic hardcore brawl that ended when Edge got the win after nailing Foley with a spear through a flaming table. Edge saw his career resurrected that night and that came at the expense of Foley, who accomplished his goal that night.
‘Mania 23 MVP: Steve Austin
Stone Cold had been retired for a few years at this point, but while he would never return to the ring as a wrestler, that didn't stop him from being a special guest referee. At this particular event, Austin would officiate a match that saw Bobby Lashley defeat Umaga and as a result, Vince McMahon would have his head shaved. Austin would then deliver a series of Stone Cold Stunners to a lot of people involved in the match. The last person to receive a stunner is the current President Of The United States Donald Trump, the only US President to ever Stunnered by Stone Cold Steve Austin.
‘Mania 24 MVP: Big Show
Big Show will never go down as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, but the big man always came through in important spots. The biggest case and point to that statement would be his No DQ Match against legendary boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr at Wrestlemania 24. Much like Bam Bam Bigelow and Lawrence Taylor at ‘Mania 11, Show carried Mayweather Jr to one of the best matches of the night. Show would have many more great moments and blunders at ‘Mania, but this may be his biggest accomplishment at the show.