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Iconic WWE Matches That Changed Wrestling History

1 weeks ago By Jhon Woug

Professional wrestling is that unique, strange mix of sport and entertainment, with WWE—World Wrestling Entertainment—as the top organization in business. Over the years, World Wrestling has produced numerous historic matches, but few have dramatically impacted wrestling history. These kinds of bouts simply redefined the industry, turned performers into legends, and left their mark on fans worldwide. This article delves into some of the most significant WWE matches that have shaped the landscape of professional wrestling.

Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant – Wrestlemania III (1987)
WrestleMania III is best remembered for the highest attendance record and the mega match between Hulk Hogan and André the Giant. The event was held in the Pontiac Silverdome, Michigan, with over 93,000 fans filling the arena, setting a benchmark for people attending a WWE event. The storyline leading to this match was built on the premise of André’s undefeated streak and Hogan as the ultimate hero.

The vision of Hogan hoisting André and body-slamming him on the canvas is still one of the best wrestling pictures ever caught. The match itself promoted and established WrestleMania as the most significant stage/ platform for WWF and, moreover, sealed the stature of Hogan as the face of the company. This was one of those turning points that helped shove the product of WWE right into the mainstream, giving it a platform for the company to prosper in years to come.

The Undertaker vs. Mankind – Hell in a Cell, King of the Ring (1998)
The Hell in a Cell match between The Undertaker and Mankind, who was really Mick Foley, at King of the Ring 1998, is famous for being a train wreck of brutal spots and complete unpredictability. One of the most surprising and repeated moments in wrestling history came from Foley falling off the top of the cell and plunging through the announcers’ table.
This match was the epitome of extreme physicality to which WWE was willing to delve during the Attitude Era. It is Foley’s willingness to suffer such treatment in aid of great storytelling that solidified his legacy as one of wrestling’s most formidable performers, endearing him to fans across the globe. It also cemented the Hell in a Cell stipulation as elevating matches to breaking points almost synonymous with high-risk, high-reward bouts.

Shawn Michaels vs Bret Hart – Iron Man Match, WrestleMania XII (1996)
The match hailed as a technical masterpiece by Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart took place between WrestleMania XII and an Iron Man match. The game lasted an hour, and neither wrestler had obtained a fall until Michaels won the sudden death fall in overtime. Here was the game that showed the technical superiority and endurance of the wrestler—not the athlete—where wrestling became a sport and not some form of entertainment.
Michaels pulled his first big win and was on top of the WWE. Some even credit the match to give them a scenario that said wrestling matches could be long and still potentially hold interest because of great storytelling and in-ring psychology. In that sense, it changed the new standard for main-event matches at WrestleMania since drama and athletic showboating usurped the resort gimmickry and spectacle.

The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin – WrestleMania X-Seven (2001)
The enmity that existed between The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin was what defined the era of attitude, and their clash at WrestleMania X-Seven is considered to be the pinnacle of their rivalry. Held in Houston, Texas, the no-disqualification match for the WWE Championship had some intense action.

Sending shockwaves through the wrestling world, the controversial alliance of Austin and Vince McMahon at the end of this match signaled a seismic shift in the character of Austin. This match is debatably one of the single most extraordinary main events of WrestleMania, capturing the height of the Attitude Era’s popularity. Energy, storyline, and performances were pegs that future main events would need to be measured against—the blend of high-octane action with compelling narratives.

The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania XXV (2009)
The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXV is often cited as one of the greatest wrestling matches ever. The match featured two of WWE’s most storied performers in a about both technically superb and emotionally charged.

With Michaels trying to break The Undertaker’s long WrestleMania undefeated streak, the match was filled with near falls and dramatic sequences—name it, this match had it. The will of both men to keep moving and not drop their positions gained appreciation from the fans them. Not only that, but it set a new bar for what people expect in a WrestleMania, further proving that storytelling and skill in the ring could pull off another level of masterpiece. It further elucidated that character legacy and long-term storytelling could be the pivotal point of success for WWE.

John Cena vs. CM Punk – Money in the Bank (2011)
John Cena vs. CM Punk at Money in the Bank 2011 was a trendy and historic match, with a lot of it being set in the backdrop: his expiring contract and the infamous “pipe bomb” promo that blurred the lines between reality and fiction.
Punk’s win and subsequent walking out of the arena with the WWE belt created something else that the fans had never seen: unparalleled suspense over the title’s future. This was a match that reinvigorated fan interest and showed just what could happen if real-life issues were mixed with storylines. The victory developed a further storyline in place and pushed the WWE to ever more complex narratives, clearly showing the importance of compelling storytelling to engage fans.

The Hardy Boyz vs. Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian – TLC II, WrestleMania X-Seven (2001)
A match like the Tables, Ladders and Chairs (TLC) match between The Hardy Boyz, The Dudley Boyz, and Edge & Christian at WrestleMania X-Seven is a prime example of how creative resurrection of match stipulations can raise talent and ensnare an audience.
This was a continuation of their previous matches but took the high-risk, high-reward nature of TLC matches to a new level. The innovation in spots and unbelievable athleticism of all six competitors in the game reshaped the tag team division. This match not only showed what multi-man, high-stakes matches could potentially become but also solidified those involved as a noted influence on the future direction of tag team wrestling within WWE.

Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker – WrestleMania XXX (2014)
The Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker match at WrestleMania XXX will forever be etched in the annals of WWE history for its utterly shocking outcome. Stopping the 21-0 undefeated streak of The Undertaker at WrestleMania has come to be a moment that sent shock waves through fans and analysts the same. The magnitude of this match lay not only in the result but also in what the result itself meant for both performers’ legacies. Lesnar’s victory put him in a more dominating spot within WWE, while The Undertaker’s loss, which ended the streak, added another layer to an already storied career. That uncalculated outcome showed how unpredictability is essential within wrestling for one single result to create so much buzz and redefine characters.

Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey – WrestleMania 35 (2019)
Perhaps even more historic than the headlining match of this year’s WrestleMania 35 event is what the competitors represented. Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, and Ronda Rousey became the first females to headline a WrestleMania in WWE’s history, which is a really great stride for female wrestling. It was a defining moment for World Wrestling Entertainment in continuing its revolution when Lynch recorded wins to take both Raw and SmackDown Women’s Championships. This match proved to the world that WWE is committed to advancing gender equality, and women, too, can become more prominent than men wrestlers. It was a turning point in women’s wrestling history, with female performers now possibly able to gain as much, if not more, attention than their male counterparts.

Conclusion
These have been classic matches that have made millions of people happy, and, in the process, they’ve made professional wrestling redefine the limits of what used to be. Every match presented something different, groundbreaking, from the point of view of storytelling, technical excellence, or shocking results. They have helped mold WWE’s identity as wrestling went from a circus show to deeply engaging entertainment. As the WWE continues its expansion and breaks new ground, these matches will continue to be benchmarks of excellence and milestones in professional wrestling.

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