WrestleMania is known as the "Showcase of the Immortals" and for good reason. It's the one show a year that everyone brings their "A" game. It's where feuds end, legends are born and careers are defined. If you ask any wrestler worldwide what their goals are then appearing at WrestleMania is bound to be high on their list. Yet with so many matches and PPVs over the years it's a tough fight to be remembered in history among the best. So who out of hundreds of superstars can truly be considered the top WrestleMania performers? Let's take a look...
1. Hulk Hogan
No matter what may have happened with The Hulkster in recent times, there's no questioning his significance in wrestling and what he did for the industry as a whole. From main eventing the first ever Mania to that iconic match against Andre The Giant, Hogan was THE man for many years. He was the one to truly make Vince's empire what it is today and a real hero to children all over the world. Many years later he made a triumphant return and faced The Rock in an iconic battle we thought would never be possible, and the crowd that night showed that Hogan had never left their hearts. Without Hogan there probably wouldn't even be a WrestleMania.
2. Stone Cold Steve Austin
After the aforementioned Hart feud, audiences really got behind the tough SOB and a new era was ushered in. The following year he faced HBK and Austin took WWE into a new boom period where adults and teens were into the more adult product presented and a more violent and bloody style took over. There's no doubt that the match against Bret was always going to be a tough act to follow but Steve went on to feud with The Rock over numerous WrestleManias as both men fought to be the dominant man in wrestling. Their match at XV was a solid affair but their real shining moment came at 17, headlining what is often called the greatest PPV of all time. From Limp Bizkit's "My Way" promo video to the shocking ending with Mr McMahon, Stone Cold and The Rock created something special that night that wrestlers have aimed to beat ever since.
3. The Rock
As the other man in that spectacular match at WrestleMania 17, it's almost hard to believe that crowds were once chanting "Die Rocky Die!"and hating the man now known as The People's Champion. Years before Dwayne Johnson became a huge Hollywood star his focus was on becoming the best superstar the wrestling world had ever seen. His character was a real polar opposite to Steve Austin - more of a flashy, cocky and mouthy type - and this contributed to their epic encounters over the years at Mania. His "new vs old", "icon vs icon" match with Hogan remains spine-chilling to this day and he took the Hogan role himself years later to face John Cena twice. Nowadays he's happy turning up and shooting rockets and hanging out with celebrities but there's no questioning his ability to electrify the crowd like no other.
4. The Undertaker
He may not have the mainstream crossover of a Rock or Hulk Hogan, but you couldn't ask for a more loyal and dedicated man to drive your biggest PPV than Taker. This is a man who has managed to carry off a ridiculous gimmick for numerous decades and remain one of the most popular men on the roster to become a bona fide legend. The Streak speaks for itself and the names on that list are a who's who of legends in their own right. From Ric Flair to Shawn Michaels to HHH, Taker took his winning streak and turned it into a series of high quality matches that managed to steal the show. No one saw the end coming against Brock Lesnar but yet again The Deadman delivered that WrestleMania Moment he's known for. And while that may have been the end of The Streak, he's still going to this day. Will this year against Roman Reigns be his final walk down that WrestleMania aisle? Only time will tell.
5. Shawn Michaels
You could hardly have this list without including Mr WrestleMania himself. The Icon, The Showstopper, The Main Event. No one needs that many nicknames but HBK managed to deliver on them each and every time he went out there. Is he the best in ring performer of all time? Quite possibly. His ability to pull out a good match against absolutely anyone was something that set him apart from the rest. It was never just high quality wrestling for the sake of it though. His match against Kurt Angle delivered in ring, but his work against Chris Jericho and Ric Flair resonated on an emotional level many could only dream of showing. Even his bout against Mr McMahon surpassed all expectations. HHH, Benoit, Diesel, John Cena and more. The list goes on and presents such a variety of names and styles showing that Shawn could adapt to any opponent, whether it was a Ladder Match against Razor Ramon or going 60+ minutes with The Hitman. The final stretch of the career of Mr WrestleMania included two contenders for best match ever against The Undertaker, and Shawn couldn't have asked for a better way to go out.
Special Mention: Bret Hart
While his career in WWE may always be defined by that fateful night in Montreal, let's not forget that Hart was as much of a hero to many as Hogan was. A champion for the smaller wrestler, Bret was focused more on the technical aspects of wrestling and putting on good matches, rather than Hogan's masterful gimmick and promos etc. Hart featured in a number of high profile matches at WrestleMania including a battle against "Rowdy" Roddy Piper that had the crowd split, an iconic Iron Man match against Shawn Michaels, and an emotional fight against his brother Owen. Yet it was his WrestleMania 13 face off with Steve Austin that many consider to be the best match in Mania history and one that skyrocketed Stone Cold into superstardom. Hart deserves a lot of credit for the storytelling in that match and making his opponent look great in the process.
Disagree with David's choices? Leave your suggestions in the comments below on who you think are the best performers in Wrestlemania history.