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Wrestlemania 30: Most Exciting Swerves in Event's History

Erik BeastonFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2014

Wrestlemania 30: Most Exciting Swerves in Event's History

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    Credit: WWE.com

    While WrestleMania has hosted some of the greatest matches in WWE history and some of the most memorable moments in the sport, it has also been the setting for some truly exciting and monumental swerves.

    A swerve in wrestling is an event that happens that nobody expected. The promotion will have fans thinking one way, then swerve them to create surprise or shock television.

    Hall of Famers Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Bret Hart, Steve Austin and the Ultimate Warrior are only a few of the men who are responsible for the best swerves in WrestleMania history.

    They have stunned audiences with their actions and, in some cases, altered the course of wrestling history at the same time.

    With the potential for more at WrestleMania's 30th birthday on April 6, here is a look back at some of the greatest and most exciting swerves to ever take place on the grandest stage professional wrestling has to offer.

     

    *Choices listed in chronological order

Hogan and Andre Eliminated (WrestleMania IV)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    When Andre the Giant vs. Hulk Hogan was announced for the quarterfinal round of the WWE Championship tournament at WrestleMania IV, few fans could have imagined that neither of those iconic stars would compete for the top prize in sports-entertainment in the final match of the evening.

    That is exactly what happened, however, as the heated rivalry between the two boiled over. Both men were disqualified and eliminated from the tournament to the shock and amazement of the fans inside Trump Plaza in Atlantic City and those watching around the country via pay-per-view.

    With the two favorites gone from competition, all eyes turned towards the remaining Superstars.

    "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase had gained a great deal of momentum in the months since his debut and had a ton of buzz surrounding him. Don Muraco was enjoying somewhat of a career renaissance as a popular midcard star with "Superstar" Billy Graham by his side. Greg Valentine was a brute of a competitor and One Man Gang was a vicious and violent big man who simply overwhelmed most of his opponents.

    As history would have it, however, it would be the legendary "Macho Man" Randy Savage who overcame four different opponents to climb to the top of the proverbial mountain and score the first WWE title of his career.

    It was a magical moment for fans of smaller, more athletic and agile wrestlers whose considerable skill between the ropes matched their larger-than-life personalities outside of them.

Macho Reunion (WrestleMania VII)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Savage makes his second appearance on this list, this time as part of an unforeseen babyface turn that capped off one of the greatest matches in WrestleMania history.

    Moments after losing a Retirement Match to the Ultimate Warrior, Savage found himself on the receiving end of a verbal and physical assault at the hands of his valet, "Sensational Queen" Sherri. He was berated, humiliated and kicked, all the while trying to recover from a very intense match with Warrior.

    Unable to watch as the love of her life was degraded by Sherri, Miss Elizabeth hopped the guardrail separating fans from the wrestlers and hit the ring. She tossed Sherri out of the squared circle, then attempted to help Savage off the mat. He raised his hand to her in self-defense, unaware who it was that way trying to help.

    When he finally did make it to his feet and saw Elizabeth standing across the ring, tears in his eyes, he embraced her in one of the most emotional moments in WrestleMania history.

    Savage hoisted Elizabeth in the air, then held the ropes for her as she exited the ring.

    Everything from the performances of the stars to the shots of fans openly crying at the reunion of two of the most beloved stars of the era struck a chord, making it one of the most fondly remembered moments in the history of WWE.

An Ultimate Return (WrestleMania VIII)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The WrestleMania VIII main event between Hulk Hogan and Sid Justice was far from a memorable bout. It was as a bad match that no one really wanted to see in that spot and the finish, a disqualification, was a terrible way to end the night's festivities.

    Luckily, Vince McMahon and his promotion had a surprise up its sleeve for the WWE fans.

    As Justice and the villainous Papa Shango beat Hogan down, the opening chords of a very familiar theme song exploded over the PA system of the Hoosier Dome and the returning Ultimate Warrior sprinted to the ring to the surprise of everyone.

    Released back in August at SummerSlam following a financial dispute with Vince McMahon, Warrior had not been seen on WWE programming since.

    His return at the show was a surprise to everyone, and the image of he and Hogan celebrating to end the show as fireworks exploded inside the squared circle gave fans the WrestleMania moment that the rest of the show had not to that point.

    It remains one of the better, more unexpected moments in early-WrestleMania lore.

Two WWE Championship Switches (WrestleMania IX)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    A heel had never walked out of WrestleMania as the WWE champion, but at the ninth installment of the spring classic in 1993 it appeared as though that trend was going to end.

    Yokozuna had made quite the impact in his first few months with the company, destroying competition and winning the Royal Rumble match. With no other Superstar able to slow him down and halt his momentum, many wondered how the smaller Bret Hart would be able to overcome his massive challenger.

    Hart turned in a great performance against Yokozuna but outside interference in the form of a handful of salt from manager Mr. Fuji to the Hitman proved to be the deciding factor. The champion, blinded, crumbled to the ground and Yokozuna pinned him, becoming the first heel to win the WWE title in the main event of WrestleMania.

    Just when it looked like fans may be treated to the exact opposite of a happy ending, however, Hulk Hogan raced to ringside to check on Bret. Cocky and arrogant, the new champion spotted him and Mr. Fuji issued a challenge on his behalf.

    Hogan entered the ring, ducked out of the way as the manager attempted to throw salt in his eyes, caught Yokozuna with a leg drop and left WrestleMania IX with the WWE Championship.

    While the occurrence was the result of a backstage politicking and created an uproar among fans of the Hitman, it was completely unexpected and was responsible for creating another memorable 'Mania moment.

Double Turn (WrestleMania XIII)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Heading into WrestleMania 13 in 1997, there was a growing amount of support for "Stone Cold" Steve Austin as he prepared for a brutal Submission Match against Bret Hart.

    Austin had a take-no-prisoners attitude about him and was not above cursing or flipping the middle finger to get his point across. A new generation of fans gravitated to that attitude and demeanor and Austin became the hottest star in the industry.

    With his popularity increasing with each passing show and the disdain for Hart's more traditional hero also growing, the decision was made to pull off an incredibly rare double-turn at the biggest show of the year. For it to work to perfection, however, the match would have to come off flawlessly.

    That is exactly what happened.

    Austin and Hart delivered one of the best matches in WrestleMania history. They brawled all over the Rosemont Horizon in suburban Chicago, Austin bled buckets and Hart unleashed a side of himself fans had never seen before.

    One of the most iconic images in WWE history came near the conclusion of the bout as Hart had Austin locked in the Sharpshooter and the Texas Rattlesnake, defiant as always, refused to quit. Blood poured from a gash on his forehead, down his face and into his mouth as he screamed in agony.

    Rather than submitting, however, the pain proved to be too much. Austin passed out and the fans in Chicago unleashed with a chorus of boos directed at Hart, who refused to break his Sharpshooter submission hold.

    Special referee Ken Shamrock slammed Hart to the mat and the crowd erupted into a huge ovation. Moments later, they showed great respect for Austin as he walked out of the ring under his own power, shunning any official who attempted to help.

    It was a moment that changed the course of the Monday Night Wars forever and helped make Austin into one of the biggest stars the business had ever seen.

Triple H Goes Corporate (WrestleMania XV)

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    D-Generation X was one of the most over acts in professional wrestling during the first year of the Attitude Era. The group, headed by Triple H and including the New Age Outlaws, X-Pac and Chyna, was responsible for some of the funniest and most controversial moments in Monday Night Raw history. Their hijinks became must-see television.

    As is the case with any successful faction, however, it is only a matter of time before management tries to spin singles stars out of the collective group and that was the case at WrestleMania XV in 1999.

    Triple H met the hated Corporation's Kane in a grudge match that stemmed from Chyna betraying DX and joining the Vince McMahon-led group. She bonded with Kane and formed a friendship that would see the Big Red Monster develop feelings and emotions for the first time.

    In front of a rowdy Philadelphia crowd, Triple H and Kane went toe-to-toe in a very physical match that ended when Chyna turned on Kane and revealed that her relationship with Triple H was still intact. It seemed as though D-Generation X would have the storybook ending that everyone had hoped.

    Until X-Pac took on Shane McMahon for the European title later in the night.

    X-Pac overcame a great deal of adversity, including the debuting Mean Street Posse at ringside, to be in position to defeat McMahon and regain his title. Then, in a shocking moment, Triple H turned on his friend and delivered a Pedigree, ensuring McMahon a victory.

    Fans were left in disbelief as Triple H and Chyna revealed their allegiances with the Corporation.

    It was a stunning moment because, as much as Steve Austin meant to the Attitude Era, DX meant just as much. They were anti-establishment, they were vulgar and fun, and on one night at WrestleMania, Triple H's determination to be the best at any cost essentially brought an end to the group.

     

"I Guarantee I'll Make It Right" (WrestleMania 2000)

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    The main event of WrestleMania 2000 was a Fatal 4-Way Elimination match that pitted WWE champion Triple H against The Rock, Mick Foley and Big Show. If that star-power in that match was not enough, then a McMahon family member in each competitor's corner definitely would be.

    The McMahon family drama, in many ways, overshadowed the actual issues between the superstars and made for some interesting and entertaining television. Stephanie slapping her mother Linda, Shane attacking father Vince and the top four stars in the company interacting with one another on a weekly basis meant that the headline match on the biggest show of the year would be a must-see affair.

    With Big Show and Foley eliminated, Rock and Triple H battled for the right to leave the Anaheim Pond with the WWE Championship. All the while, Vince's guarantee to "make things right" hung in the air like a rain cloud waiting to burst.

    And burst it he did, as he shocked the audience by blasting Rock with a steel chair and helping Triple H retain his title.

    It marked the first time that a heel left WrestleMania as champion.

    No matter how many twists and turns wrestling fans had been witness to during the Vince Russo-era of booking, the McMahon turn at WrestleMania 2000 still managed to catch them off-guard.

    Why did he do it? What would the repercussions be for a roster of Superstars under the rule of the McMahon-Helmsley Era?

    The fans would get their answers beginning the following night on Raw, but on that night there was a considerable amount of buzz (both good and bad) coming out of the shocking swerve that capped off WrestleMania 2000.

Austin Shakes Hands with the Devil Himself (WrestleMania X-7)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    WrestleMania X-7 featured one of the biggest main events in WWE history as The Rock defended the heavyweight title against "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.

    The match, a clash between the two most popular stars of the Attitude Era, was to take place inside the historic Houston AstroDome in front of over 67,000 fans. 

    Austin and Rock pulled out all of the stops en route to having a near-flawless main event match. Both men bled, chairs and tables were used legally as part of the No Disqualification match stipulation added moments before the Superstars took to the ring and the fans ate it all up.

    A desperate Austin unleashed his entire moveset, including the Million Dollar Dream, but Rock refused to quit. That desperation on Austin's part was a major part of the story leading into the match and played a key role in one of the more expected-yet-exciting swerves in WrestleMania history.

    Late in the match, Vince McMahon made his way to the ring and for the second year in a row, he would have an impact on the finish of the main event.

    He joined Austin in an assault of The Rock, leading to a vicious attack with a chair by Austin for the win and the title.

    The image of Steve Austin shaking hands with Vince McMahon is not only one of the most stunning moments in WrestleMania history, it is also the end of the Attitude Era as fans knew it. Austin, the anti-authority rebel who flipped the middle finger, drank beer and cursed freely was now siding with the very man who represented everything he hated, all thanks to his determination to regain the WWE title.

    Austin's heel turn ultimately proved to be ill-advised, as the fans did not want to be the man they had supported for over four years, but for that one moment in time, fans were treated to a turn they had a good feeling was coming but were still shocked anyway.

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