What do Stone Cold Steve Austin, Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Becky Lynch, and Daniel Bryan have in common? Well, besides being some of the most highly decorated wrestlers in WWE, these four superstars have given fans some of the most stunning and mesmerizing entrances in WrestleMania history. From Stone Cold breaking through the glass at WrestleMania 13 to "The Man" Becky Lynch holding an entire football stadium in the palms of her hands, there have been memorable and star-making entrances at the "Showcase Of The immortals" over the years.
For the first time in the event's storied history, WrestleMania 36 will not be held in an arena, a stadium, or even outdoor pavilion in Las Vegas. Instead, it will be held in the confines of WWE's Performance Center (and other locations) over the course of two nights (another first). No one really knows what the entrance situation will be like this year since the event is being broadcast from what is essentially a closed studio set, so now is a better time than ever to look back at some of the best wrestler entrances from the previous 35 events.
Coming up with such a list is no easy task, but after much deliberation and hours of scouring the WWE Network, I have come up with a list of 10 of the greatest entrances in WrestleMania history.
Triple H - WrestleMania 30
If you looked at Triple H's WrestleMania entrances alone, you'd probably think he's the biggest and most highly decorated performer in WWE history. And while he doesn't have the best record at WrestleMania, "The Game" has gone all out for each and every one of his entrances, at least in the past 10 years or so.
This is most notably seen at WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans, where Triple H, decked out in a golden crown, skull mask, and chain mail sat atop a throne flanked by some of WWE's up-and-coming female superstars, prepared for battle against the underdog Daniel Bryan. Serving as the gatekeeper between Bryan and a championship match later in the night, Triple H looked more like a mad king than a wrestler and WWE executive. Add a ton of smoke, more lasers than a Pink Floyd concert, and mood lighting, and you have yourself one hell of a way to start a show.
Daniel Bryan - WrestleMania 30
Triple H's opponent that night, Daniel Bryan, came out in a manner that held off on the theatrics of the "Cerebral Assassin" but provided for one of the most satisfying and epic moments in WrestleMania history. Leading up to their opening match, Triple H, and the Authority, had put Bryan through the wringer time and time again starting with a heel turn at SummerSlam the previous year.
As soon as Bryan's music hit and the undersized "B+ Player" started up with his signature "YES! YES! YES!" chant, the entire Superdome was on his side. You could barely hear his music as he marched down the ramp, with the crowd chanting "YES!" in unison. This entrance, the match, and everything that led to it and followed make this my favorite WrestleMania match and moment.
Becky Lynch - WrestleMania 35
Similar to Daniel Bryan five years earlier, Becky Lynch spent the better part of a year becoming a fan favorite while being forced to overcome setbacks and betrayals by her fellow wrestlers and some pretty gnarly injuries. Developing "The Man" persona, Lynch became not just everyone's female wrestler, but everyone's favorite wrestler in general.
This all led to Lynch (along with Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey) being involved in the first women's match to headline a WrestleMania for a triple threat contest for both women's titles. Flair flew in via helicopter and Rousey's entrance featured Joan Jett performing "Bad Reputation," but Lynch stole the show with her simple, yet highly contagious theme song playing over a stripped down entrance. The way Lynch confidently makes her way down the long ramp at MetLife Stadium made for an instant classic.
Stone Cold Steve Austin - WrestleMania 13
Why the five-star classic between Stone Cold Steven Austin and Bret "The Hitman" Hart didn't close out WrestleMania 13 will always be a mystery to me. This submission match which featured a star-making performance from longtime journeyman Steve Austin against the fed up and out of touch Bret Hart in the Rosemont Horizon, one of the greatest wrestling venues in the history of the sport.
Going into the match, Austin had won that year's Royal Rumble match and had been on a tear for the better part of a year following his "Austin 3:16" promo after winning the 1996 King of the Ring tournament. As Austin breaks through the glass of the WrestleMania 13 entryway, his head is bopping, he's cussing up a storm, and ready for a fight. The "Texas Rattlesnake" got his fight and then some and became a fan favorite in the process. Seriously, they pulled off the "double switch," which has never looked any better.
Ric Flair - WrestleMania 24
I've talked a lot about star-making entrances and performances from up-and-coming wrestlers so far, but the annual event has also featured some of the greatest swan songs in the history of the sport. Case in point, Ric Flair's retirement match at WrestleMania 24 at the Florida Citrus Bowl. In the months leading up to the match, Flair was told that the next match he lost would be his last. Flair came up victorious in multiple "career threatening" matches before he challenged Shawn Michaels to a bout at WrestleMania.
The writing was on the wall that this was going to be Flair's final match, and his entrance essentially plays off that assumption with a large firework display going off high above the elaborate stage, Flair's iconic robe, and a mixture of emotions all while "Also Sprach Zarathustra" by Richard Strauss plays throughout the stadium.
Charlotte Flair - WrestleMania 33
Nearly a decade after Ric Flair wrestled his final WWE match, his daughter, Charlotte Flair, followed in her father's footsteps in the same exact stadium where he hung up his boots. After becoming the inaugural WWE Women's Champion at WrestleMania 32, Charlotte Flair had become a bona fide superstar leading up to the fatal-4-way Raw Women's Championship at WrestleMania 33.
Much like her father did almost 10 years earlier, Charlotte came out for a career-defining entrance that included all the fireworks, charisma, and robe that her father brought to the stage throughout his career. Charlotte Flair looked and acted like the queen of the division as she confidently and arrogantly made her way down the ridiculously long entrance ramp. And while she didn't capture the gold that night, Charlotte proved that she could make an entrance like the best of them, her father included.
Hollywood Hulk Hogan - WrestleMania 18
Prior to returning to the WWF 2002, Hulk Hogan, now going by Hollywood Hulk Hogan, hadn't been had a match at "The Show Of Shows" since the much-maligned WrestleMania 9 back in 1993. For this reason, among others, Hogan's one-on-one match against The Rock in the Toronto SkyDome at WrestleMania 18 such a momentous occasion.
Leading up to the event, Hogan was still a major part of the NWO heel stable, so you'd think that the capacity crowd would boo him for leaving all those years ago and coming back as the villain, but no, the crowd lost their minds upon seeing Hogan come back home, so to speak. With his signature NWO theme, the customary black and white filter, and a new boa, Hogan set up the "Icon Vs. Icon" match better than anyone expected.
Shawn Michaels - WrestleMania 12
You'll never see anything like Shawn Michaels' WrestleMania 12 entrance, at least not in WWE. Three years before Owen Hart fell to his death in a similar stunt, Michaels made his way to the ring against Bret Hart for a 60-minute Iron Man match main event not by entering through the stage, but on a zipline high above Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim.
Zipping from one side of the arena to the other, Michaels looked down on thousands of fans screaming his name in this insane and extremely risky entrance. Love him or hate him, Shawn Michaels will remain as not only the "Heartbreak Kid" but also "Mr. WrestleMania" after this stunt.
The Undertaker - WrestleMania 30
Going into his match against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 30, The Undertaker was undefeated in previous years and had a record of 21-0. At this point, "The Streak" had become one of the star attractions of each year's Mania after The Undertaker built up a list of victories over the likes of Ric Flair, CM Punk, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and more than a dozen other wrestlers. Going by the lead up to the match, no one thought it would be any different. How wrong we were.
Looking back on the entrance six years later, there are a plenty of signs that this was going to be it for "The Streak," as Taker walked by a casket representing each of his opponents in a cloud of smoke, lasers, and his iconic funeral hymn. There's not much difference between this entrance and the 21 that came before it, but knowing the outcome of the match makes it that more ominous.
Andre The Giant - WrestleMania 3
Long before WWE invested millions of dollars in to pyrotechnics, elaborate stages, and videoboards, the company put on one of the greatest achievements in sports entertainment. After the previous two events were held in sports arenas, the WWF went all out and booked the Pontiac Superdome, the home of the Detroit Lions, for WrestleMania 3, which was needed for a main event as historic as Hulk Hogan going up against Andre The Giant.
With all the lights in the stadium shut off except for a few spotlights pointed towards Andre and manager Bobby "The Brain" Heenan on a motorized cart meant to look like a small wrestling ring, the aged and fragile wrestler was pelted with cups, wrappers, and all other sorts of trash from the record-breaking crowd. Seeing the massive giant being sprayed with trash and debris to a chorus of boos is not only one of the greatest entrances, but one of the greatest WrestleMania moments.
These are just 10 of the greatest entrances in the 35-year history of WrestleMania. Do you agree with my list or do you think I should have included The Ultimate Warrior, Macho King Randy Savage, or John Cena on the list? Do what any good wrestling fan does online, and tell me what I did wrong.