WrestleMania is synonymous with pomp and circumstance.
No, we’re not talking about Randy “Macho Man” Savage’s theme song. We’re talking about the event that has more nicknames than Babe Ruth, and there’s a reason for that.
Since its inception in 1985, WrestleMania has been the premier spectacle in professional wrestling. Sure, it represents the climax of WWE’s unofficial season, but “The Showcase of the Immortals” also was introduced alongside so much more than wrestling storylines. Whether it’s the incorporation of pop-culture figures (which started at WrestleMania 1) or the historic moments that transcend the business, there’s nothing else quite like “The Grandest Stage of Them All.”
Perhaps the most emblematic piece of that stage is the entrances. Here are some of the greatest, and not so great, entrances in WrestleMania history.
WORST — 5. Jack Swagger (WrestleMania 29)
This might be cheating, because no one really saw this entrance.
That’s right folks, Jack Swagger got a jobber entrance for his World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania 29. Why, you ask? Well, he was arrested on a DUI and possession of marijuana the week of the show, essentially forcing WWE to change their plans on the fly. Instead of having a competitive match with Alberto Del Rio, he made his entrance during a commercial and got squashed.
BEST — 5. The Hardy Boys (WrestleMania 33)
We’ll start the positive portion of this list with perhaps the loudest entrance in the history of WrestleMania.
After eight years outside of WWE, Matt and Jeff Hardy made their return alongside one another at Mania 33 in Orlando. In the internet era, it’s rare for wrestling returns to be kept a secret, but this one was as close as it gets and lead to a tremendous ovation for returning “Attitude Era” stars.
WORST — 4. The Rock (WrestleMania 32)
This entrance is weird. The Rock came out, not as a full-time wrestler but as an ambassador, lit his name on fire with a blow torch, walked down to the ring, eventually beat up a member of The Wyatt Family and left. WrestleMania 32 was marred by injuries which probably led to this favor, but it was a weird one.
BEST — 4. Charlotte (WrestleMania 34)
The women of WWE did not get their due for the first 31 years of WrestleMania, but have come on strong over the last decade.
Perhaps no woman in WWE history has had more influence than Charlotte Flair, and it showed in her Mania 34 entrance. After playing a minor role in Triple H’s entrance at Mania 30, Flair received a similar spectacle of her own with even more pomp and circumstance. They turned the volume up to 11, and it was incredible.
WORST — 3. Triple H (WrestleMania 31)
WWE is not afraid to shove ad partnerships down their fans throats, and they did exactly that here.
This entrance is literally a paid advertisement of a middle-aged man cosplaying as the Terminator. It stinks.
BEST — 3. Shawn Michaels (WrestleMania 25)
Many would choose Michaels’ entrance from WrestleMania 12 at Arrowhead Pond, but we’re taking this one.
Prior to his show-stealing match with The Undertaker at NOT the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania, Michaels descended from the heavens clad in white to represent the opposite nature of him and his opponent.
WORST — 2. Rey Mysterio (WrestleMania 26)
This is a mistake, but boy is it hilarious. Mysterio?s big-time entrances usually involve a launch through the floor and into the air. This one was supposed to as well, but the trap door malfunctioned leading to the luchador having to crawl up through the ground. His reaction — dressed as an Avatar — says it all.
BEST — 2. ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin (WrestleMania 13)
This is the entrance that sparked one of the greatest pop-inducers of all time.
WrestleMania 13 is when Austin’s entrance first included the glass break, with the physical wall coming down before he made his way out to face Brett Hart in an all-time classic. The next 25 years of entrances included those breaks, popping crowds around the world.
WORST — 1. Triple H (WrestleMania 29)
This was another mistake. This time, less funny.
The king of WrestleMania entrances, Triple H was looking to do his “cool dad” thing again prior to his match with Brock Lesnar at Mania 29 in
New York New Jersey. Instead, he received second-degree burns from a dry ice leak that sprayed across his midsection. You can clearly see the 14-time world champion uncomfortable as he makes his way to the ring to get battered by The Beast Incarnate.
BEST — 1. The Undertaker (WrestleMania 29)
This may not be the most iconic entrance in wrestling history, but it sure as hell is the coolest.
The Undertaker’s walk out to his 21st consecutive victory at WrestleMania was his best. Rising through the smoke, The Deadman had zombie-like figures reaching for him. As he made his way to the ring, the stage at MetLife Stadium — decked out in New York City monuments — served as the perfect backdrop for such a momentous occasion. In addition, his match with CM Punk was the last truly great one of his legendary career.