10. Randy Orton (1,077,950 PPV Buys)
The biggest match of Orton’s career was his confrontation with Triple H at Wrestlemania 25 and was a major contributing factor to him appearing on this list. His other big Wrestlemania matches have included triple threat encounters with Rey Mysterio and Kurt Angle (WM22), and Triple H and John Cena (WM24) as well as a singles collision with CM Punk (WM27). It is a clear indication of Orton’s current standing with the company that he has not been involved in one of the big three matches on the card for the last two years.
9. Edge (1,130,000 PPV Buys)
From a commercial perspective, Edge’s best run in the WWE came between Wrestlemania’s 24 and 26, where he headlined against Undertaker, was in a three way with John Cena and Big Show and then faced Chris Jericho. Had injury not cut Edge’s career short following Wrestlemania 27 who knows how many more big money matches he may have had at the big one.
8. Andre the Giant (1,249,000 PPV Buys)
Some might be surprised to see Andre’s name in the list, but he was a part of one of the big 3 in each of the first 5 Wrestlemania’s peaking with his legendary collision with Hogan at Wrestlemania 3. The rematch at (WM4), Andre’s singles collisions with Big John Studd (WM1) and Jake Roberts (WM5) and his appearance in the Wrestlemania 2 battle royal all add to his tally.
7. Steve Austin (2,135,050 PPV Buys)
Some will probably also be surprised by Austin’s position at only number 7. Whilst Austin had some monster main events opposite Michaels (WM14), The Rock (WM15, 17 & 19) and Bret Hart (WM13), his flame burned very brightly but only for a few years. This is mostly due to the injury problems that plagued him in the wake of Owen Hart’s botched piledriver at Summerslam 1997. If not for that, it’s likely that Austin would have also competed at Wrestlemania 16, which was during the height of WWE’s popularity and would have gone on as an active wrestler beyond 2003 when he retired.
6. Undertaker (2,624,400 PPV Buys)
Whilst the Undertaker will go down as the man with the most awesome undefeated streak in the history of Wrestlemania, not all that many of his 21 matches were big money ones. In fact, at Wrestlemania’s 7, 8, 10, 11, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23 the Undertaker either did not compete or was not in one of the 3 main matches. On top of this, he has only headlined three Wrestlemania’s- against Sid (WM13), Edge (WM24) and Shawn Michaels (WM26).
5. Shawn Michaels (3,479,000 PPV Buys)
Whatever you think of Shawn Michaels (and it is fair to say that not too many wrestling fans are negative about his contribution to wrestling’s rich history) one criticism that often sticks about him is that he didn’t really draw. His run as the top star in 1996/1997 in the WWE was one of the least commercially successful periods of the company’s history (and also coincided with WCW beating WWE for 84 weeks in a row in the Monday Night War). In spite of that, Michaels appears at number 5 in this list. As well as his retirement match against the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 26, Michaels also headlined opposite Bret Hart (WM12), Steve Austin (WM14), Triple H and Chris Benoit (WM20) and John Cena (WM23).
4. The Rock (3,654,750 PPV Buys)
Much like Austin, The Rock was only on his run for a brief amount of time, the difference is that during WWE’s peak years during the ‘attitude era’, The Rock appeared at all the Wrestlemania’s and headlined at 15 (against Austin), 16 (in a Fatal Four Way), 17 (again against Austin) and 18 (opposite Hogan). The Rock then returned last year and took part in the biggest money match in the history of professional wrestling against John Cena. With their rematch at Wrestlemania 29 having just taken place, it is likely Rock will move further up the list when those numbers are available.
3. John Cena (3,883,550 PPV Buys)
If you ever wondered why the WWE keeps shoving Cena down your throat, you now know the reason. Cena has drawn more Wrestlemania PPV buys than anybody in history with the exception of just two others. Cena has been a part of 4 Wrestlemania main events: against Triple H (WM22), Shawn Michaels (WM23), The Miz (WM27) and The Rock (WM28). But he has also been a part of one of the big matches at every Wrestlemania for the past 7 years (and it will be 8 once the numbers for Wrestlemania 29 come in). Like it or not, Cena is here to stay for as long as he wants to be around.
2. Hulk Hogan (4,226,000 PPV Buys)
It is little surprise that the Hulkster is in this list, though I had originally believed that he would be number 1. Hogan appears in all of the first 8 Wrestlemania main events, his opponents; with Mr T against Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff (WM1), against King Kong Bundy (WM2), opposite Andre the Giant (WM 3&4), Randy Savage (WM5), Ultimate Warrior (WM6), Sgt Slaughter (WM7) and Sid (WM8). He was involved in one of the big matches at WM9 as he and Brutus Beefcake took on Money Inc. and then returned in 2002 to headline against The Rock before having another big match the following year against Vince McMahon.
1. Triple H (4,402,450 PPV Buys)
It really is all about the Game, as Triple H comes out number 1 on the countdown. Triple H has played a major part in both the attitude era and all of the 1 million plus PPV Buy Rate Wrestlemania events (with the exception of Wrestlemania 23). He has headlined in the Fatal Four way at Wrestlemania 16, the triple threat match at Wrestlemania 20, after that he put over Batista in the main event of Wrestlemania 21 and did the same for John Cena at Wrestlemania 22. Triple H’s 5th main event came against Randy Orton at Wrestlemania 25. In total he has been involved in one of the big matches at Wrestlemania 11 times and, in terms of how many PPV Buys he has contributed to drawing he takes the title of ‘Mr Wrestlemania’.
So there you have it, after calculating all of the totals Triple H has come out as the number 1. Maybe you were surprised by it, maybe you weren’t, maybe you were also surprised about some of the people not included in the top 10 (after all, there was no Bret Hart, no Randy Savage, no CM Punk). Whatever the case, I hope this at least inspires more of those ‘who is the best of all time?’ conversations. With access to information at the click of a button allowing us to settle arguments in the blink of an eye, the simple act of debating the relative merits and demerits of a perspective has been lost to all discussions except those based entirely on opinions, so keep the debates coming because people have strong opinions on this one.