11th Aug2020

Ten Best: WrestleMania Matches of the 2000s

by Chris Cummings

I’ve previously given lists here on Nerdly of the Top Ten WrestleMania matches of the 80s and the 90s, so it only makes sense to delve into the ten best Mania matches of the 2000s. So, here, on this list, will be what I feel are the best Mania battles between the years 2000 and 2009. There were some good ones, that’s for damn sure, and while some of your favourites may not be present, I’m sure you’ll agree that all of these are classics from the decade. Here we go…

10. Edge vs. Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit vs. Kane vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Christian – Money in the Bank – WrestleMania 21

I think we’d all be hard-pressed to find a better Money in the Bank match than this one. WrestleMania was the place for MITB matches for a while, which I quite liked, and this one, featuring some of the very best workers in the company at the time (perhaps ever) was a shining example of how good this match can be. The selling, the unique and fresh innovation, and the vibrant response from the crowd made this an absolute blast to watch, and it’s aged like a fine violent wine too.

9. Edge vs. Mick Foley – WrestleMania 22

Many have said that this is the WrestleMania moment of Mick Foley’s career, and I’d be one to agree. This match, which saw Foley have one of his last matches in the company at a time where he only got in the ring sporadically, was an extreme bloodbath that still managed to pull things back, calm things down, and tell a very good story too. Foley as the formerly-retired and beloved babyface with a history of gore and ear-shredding-battles under his belt, against the arrogant and manipulative heel, the “Rated-R Superstar”, Edge. Lita did her part too here, taking bumps and helping the story along. It’s a very enjoyable and nasty affair that shows just how good both men are, and just how selfless Foley is when it comes to putting over the next generation of talent.

8. Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair – WrestleMania XXIV

The final WWE bout of “The Nature Boy” was billed as an “if Flair loses, he’s out” match, rather than an advertised retirement clash, but most folks still knew this was Ric Flair’s final match, so the emotions were high both with Flair and Michaels themselves, as well as the fans watching on. The match was a great one, with Michaels using his boundless abilities to help Flair have one of the best matches of his latter WWE tenure. A classic back-and-forth match, Flair showed glimpses of the man that had claimed countless championships, sold out arenas and become one of the biggest and most well-respected wrestlers of all time, and with Michaels doing some of his best work, it was the best possible way to go out. Michaels hitting the Sweet Chin Music on flair at the end of the bout after mouthing the words “I’m sorry, I love you” have been etched in the annals of great wrestling stories, and rightfully so. Wooo!

7. Chris Benoit vs. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania XX

The main event of Mania XX was one of the greatest WrestleMania main events to that point, in my opinion. History has altered how we look at this bout, but it was still an astonishing and wonderfully told story that ended in the right way. The post-match celebration which saw long-time friends Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit holding their World Titles up high was emotional and fantastic. It was one of those moments that left tears in the eyes of fans and wrestlers alike. The match itself was great, as you’d expect, with three of the best in-ring talents ever mixing it up. I’m still a fan of this match today.

6. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian – WrestleMania 2000

These three teams reinvented tag team wrestling in the late 90s and early 00s, popularising the medium and bringing in fans who might otherwise have rolled their eyes or scoffed at a tag bout. I’ve always believed in the power of tag wrestling. It can, when done well, be amazing. The Dudleys, Hardys and Edge & Christian took it to another level back then, bringing ladders, tables and chairs into the mix for matches that took hardcore wrestling and tossed it into a blender with technical wrestling, high-flying and brawling, to create a tapestry of violence, excitement and memorable action. This was one of the best of their series, but not QUITE their best. That should tell you how good these matches were, because this is still an all-time tag team classic. Get the tables!

5. Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania XIX

Chris Jericho was often, in his early career, compared to a young HBK, and they used that fact here, taking Jericho, who was a veteran with his own career under his belt, taking on the legend that was Shawn Michaels. The comparisons are vast, but both of these guys have unique things that they can each bring to the table, and they had a great chemistry together, made clear by their various matches over the years. This was a fantastic one that stole the show, a show that featured plenty of great matches. It was technical and told a wonderful story, and the final moments, post-bell, showed just how good Jericho is as the heel, too.

4. The Rock vs. “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan – WrestleMania X8

I remember this match being made. I remember thinking to myself… “I don’t want this”. I’d already been through the Hogan-era as a fan, and that time, for me, had passed. I wasn’t expecting the magic that these two men brought to the ring that night. This is one of those iconic matches, and as it was happening I knew it would end up being looked back on in such a manner. Hogan, walking in as a heel, left as a babyface as popular as he’d ever been. The Rock ended up being booed by the Toronto faithful. It was a weird but wonderful example of the “entertainment” and “charisma” of wrestling, and how you don’t need to do a whole lot if you have the fans eating out of your hand. The two brought their signature moves, taunts and expressions, and delivered a fun and electric bout together. What a reaction.

3. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock – WrestleMania X7

Austin and The Rock had a rivalry that will go down as one of the most famous and enduring in history. They feuded so many times during their careers in WWE that it became something of a mythology. This was one of their greatest chapters, and the lead-up was awesome too. The match itself showed both men at the top of their game, doing what they each did best. Many doubt the finish, with Austin turning heel and aligning himself with his sworn enemy, Mr. McMahon, but I liked it. It was new, it was interesting and it led to some fantastic moments backstage between the boss and the rattlesnake. Another classic from my personal favourite WrestleMania, ever.

2. Edge & Christian vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz – TLC – WrestleMania X7

Speaking of Mania 17, this was in my view the best match at that show, and it was a bloody brilliant show. The three teams who I mentioned earlier from their match a year earlier were back together in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match. The crowd was popping all over the place, The Hardys, E&C and The Dudleys all left it all out there, and this became their greatest encounter together in the process. Featuring some of the most replayed spots ever, this is one of the best tag team matches ever to feature in WWE.

1. Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker – WrestleMania 25

I mean, was there ever any doubt? Many consider this to be the very best match in WWE history. I’m not sure I’d agree, but it’s certainly up there for me as ONE of the best. It is a masterclass of storytelling by two masters of the game. The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels hit hard and took their time with this, a psychological chess-match between two of the best of all time. It is, for me, a flawless example of great pro-wrestling, and the best WrestleMania match of the 00’s. What else is there to say? It’s… the best.

So, there we have it. Do you agree with this list? Have I missed a match that you think should be here? Let us know on here on by following Nerdly on Twitter @NerdlyUK.


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