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Mania madness: with Wrestlemania XIX right around the corner, we choose the top 10 matches from the fabled history of WWE's showcase event - Cover Story

IN 1985, VINCE MCMAHON CHANGED THE face of professional wrestling by creating the ultimate wrestling card in a celebrity-filled pay-per-view that was watched by millions around the world.

Over the past 18 years, some of WWE's most incredible and action-packed matches have taken place at one of the sold-out Wreslemania showcases.

Here is our list of the 10 best matches in Wrestlemania history.

1 THE SILVERDOME SKIRMISH Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat WRESTLEMANIA III

In front of the largest indoor crowd ever assembled for a sporting event, these two veteran wrestlers managed to upstage the main event, Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant, in a match that has only grown in reputation in the years that have followed. Leading up to Wrestlemania III, an intense feud between Steamboat and Savage was festering for six months, as both wrestlers made claims for the intercontinental belt. Their previous fights were bloody with plenty of highflying activity, but no one could have been prepared for this stunning culmination. The battle lasted nearly 30 minutes, with both wrestlers shining for extended periods. The athleticism of the match was light years ahead of its time, and it still holds up as a nearly flawless match. In the end, Steamboat rolled up Savage for a quick pin to win the rifle, but it would be the Macho Man who would go on to heavyweight glory soon after.

2 I AM IRON MAN Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels WRESTLEMANIA XII

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After Michaels won 1996's Royal Rumble, he was given the chance to face the WWE heavyweight champion, Hart, at Wrestlemania XII, and the two agreed to an Iron Man match. Widely considered an epic of the modern era, this one hour-plus contest had the two most athletic members of WWE give their all in one of the best fights in the promotion's history. Not a single minute was wasted, as Hart and Michaels dolled out punishing move after move--though neither dropped a fall in the time allotted. It took a five-minute overtime for Michaels to finally come out the victor and take home the heavyweight gold.

3 PITY THE FOOL Hulk Hogan & Mr. T vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff WRESTLEMANIA I

This is the one that started it all. Hogan was the top draw in WWE, Piper its top heal. Add to that Mr. T, the incredibly popular star of "Rocky III" and "The A-Team," as Hogan's partner and the up-and-coming superstar Mr. Wonderful as Piper's bud and things really intensified. Vince McMahon's hype machine was in full gear leading up to the event at Madison Square Garden. The actual match had its share of colorful moments, thanks mainly to the entertaining Piper giving his all. Mr. T proved to be an adequate grappler, Hogan trotted out all of his signature pumping-up moves, and the duo were the not-too-surprising winners thanks to a pin on Orndorff. The pin put Piper and his bodyguard, Cowboy Bob Orton, into a frenzy, and when Orndorff subsequently turned babyface, it set up a great feud between Mr. Wonderful and Piper that lasted for years.

4 THE END OF HULKAMANIA, PART ONE Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior WRESTLEMANIA VI

The first Wrestlemania to take place outside of the United States, more than 63,000 people packed Toronto's SkyDome to watch heavyweight champion Hulk Hogan and intercontinental champion the Ultimate Warrior put their titles on the line for ultimate supremacy in WWE. Although not the most technical of matches, the two were the biggest names in wrestling at the time, and this stands as their one and only championship battle. The Ultimate Warrior scored a clean pin for the win in what was supposed to signify the end of Hulkamania. But the Warrior's much-publicized troubled history would prevent him from being a true legacy in the sport.

5 TABLES, LADDERS, & CHAIRS, OH MY! Edge & Christian vs. the Dudley Boyz vs. the Hardys WRESTLEMANIA XVI

The only three-way tag-team bout to make the list, this marked the first time that the championship belts were being decided in a triangle ladder match. Highlights of this intense--and dangerous--contest included: Edge performing a 3D on Jeff Hardy; Matt Hardy being Powerbombed through a table; D-Von Dudley jumping off a ladder onto a table, just missing Jeff; and Jeff doing a Swanton Bomb off a taller ladder onto Buh Buh Ray who was lying on a table. The devastating conclusion occurred when a table was set up on top of two ladders in the ting. Edge and Christian threw Matt Hardy off the structure and then grabbed the title belts to become new champions.

6 CLIMB EVERY LADDER Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon WRESTLEMANIA X

When the ladder stipulation was added to his match, it marked a turning point for WWE. And even though the ladder used that day may look small compared to those in today's contests and the moves where less death-defying than people are now used to, the inaugural ladder match had everything people could have expected. This contest for the intercontinental title put both Michaels and Ramon on the map as major WWE players. The two produced a human highlight reel with electrifying moves and dazzling drops. Even though Razor came out the winner on this night, Michaels emerged as one of the top stars in the organization.


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