Bill Goldberg and Brock Lesnar will attempt to redeem themselves after their disappointment at WrestleMania 20. Does the rematch ever live up to the hype? Let’s take a look at 10 of the biggest rematches in WWE history and find out.
There is nothing more exciting in sports than a well-hyped rematch. Goldberg vs. Lesnar is no exception. Yet throughout the history of the WWE, there have been some much bigger rematches. I thought it would be fun to take a look back at the greatest and while some didn’t live up to the hype, plenty did.
John Cena vs. The Rock (WrestleMania 29)
Once in a Lifetime…again the next year for these two legends of two generations. Unfortunately this rematch came nowhere close to matching the excitement of their first thriller at WrestleMania 28. However, there aren’t many more rematches you’ll find in WWE history as monumental as this one. John Cena won this rematch in predictable fashion, yet the rematch did the biggest WrestleMania buyrates of all time which shows you how monumental the rematch truly was.
Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker (SummerSlam 2015)
I probably rank this match higher than most but in my opinion, this rematch from WrestleMania 30 is one of the greatest of all-time. You won’t find many rematches in WWE history that were promoted as great as this one was. Paul Heyman single-handedly built this one up for a full-year, mocking the Undertaker’s loss next to a smiling Brock Lesnar. The Undertaker returned unexpectedly at Battleground and the hype train was off. The pull-apart on RAW was one of the most exciting RAW moments of the decade and the rematch far exceeded expectations.
Arguably the biggest rematch in WWE history took place in front of the largest audience to watch a pro wrestling match in North America. The match aired in prime time on NBC on a Friday night special called the “Main Event”. 33 million viewers tuned in and watched one of the most memorable double crosses of all-time and the end of an era. The finish is one of the most memorable in pro wrestling history with the evil twin Hebner counting out the Hulkster.
Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels (Survivor Series 1997)
Ironically this match is generally left off of lists ranking or memorializing the greatest rematches in WWE history. Maybe it is often overlooked because the match itself isn’t their best but it was a much different match than the two had ever wrestled before. I don’t need to recap the history here but there probably isn’t another match on this list or any other that had as much impact on the future of the entire industry as this WrestleMania 12 rematch had.
John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels (RAW)
This rematch of the WrestleMania 23 main-event is revered as one of the greatest matches in WWE RAW history. The match aired on tape from London and remains one of the most memorable moments of the last decade. The match surpassed their previous encounter (which was a huge disappointment) as the excitement built throughout the entire match. In the end Michaels was able to avenge his WrestleMania loss thanks to some Sweet Chin Music. If there is any reason to have hope that Brock-Goldberg 2 will be much better than their first, this is the case study right here.
Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker (WrestleMania 26)
Like several rivalries on this list, this certainly wasn’t their first rematch but it was by far their greatest. What made this one so great? I think it was a combination of fans wanting to see more after their WrestleMania 25 classic and the stakes were some of the biggest in Mania history. Shawn Michaels put up his career against the legendary streak. While I didn’t find the rematch as exciting as their previous bout at 25, the ramifications will always put this one on any list remembering the best WWE rematches in pro wrestling history.
The Rock vs. Steve Austin (WrestleMania 19)
This was a rematch of a rematch of a rematch of a series that dated back three WrestleMania events back to the first time these guys headlined a Mania at 16. The landscape was entirely different and these guys were both at a much bigger level than ever, which is what made this one so historic. Of all Austin-Rock matches this was by far my favorite. Rock played one of the best heel characters at this time and the chemistry with Austin was just electric. Rock won the final battle which interestingly enough became Austin’s final battle with Rock and last match ever.
CM Punk vs. John Cena (SummerSlam 2011)
It’s easy to look back in WWE history and forget how big this rematch actually was. The Summer of Punk will go down as a special period in WWE history for those CM Punk fans who lived it. Punk upset Cena for the WWE title at Money in the Bank several weeks earlier. Punk did not have a contract according to the storyline and “left the WWE” with the title. This was his first match back and the match itself was nowhere near as exciting as the first. Triple H got involved as a special referee and the finish was lackluster to say the least. Regardless, the hype going into the rematch put this on the list.
Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin I-Quit Match (WrestleMania 13)
Personally this remains my favorite match in all of WrestleMania history. It is interesting to think back on how big this feud was and how few times Austin and Bret actually wrestled each other one-on-one on pay-per-view. This was a rematch of their Survivor Series 1996 encounter which saw Hart defeat Austin after a long layoff. Like many others on this list, this match had historical implications and essentially kicked off the Attitude Era. You’ll be hard pressed to find another rematch that outperformed its predecessor like this one did.
Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect (King of the Ring 1993)
Here is a match that is highly underrated in all of WWE history. Their previous match at SummerSlam 1991 is often considered one of the greatest matches in the history of the intercontinental championship. The context was much different two years later as both guys were tremendous babyfaces and while no title was at stake, the King of the Ring crown was up for grabs. Another big difference here is that Hennig was healthy as opposed to their SummerSlam match which saw him wrestle with a severely injured back. This all made for one of the most exciting matches from the time period. Watching this match back in preparation for the blog also reminded me how critical Jim Ross was to a big match as his announcing was the icing on the cake here.