WrestleMania 30: Biggest Missed Opportunties in Event's History
WrestleMania is all about glory. The moments that are made and the matches that are witnessed are supposed to go down as the finest moments in WWE history.
To be fair, there have been plenty of moments for fans to enjoy over the years. With the 30th edition of the show just a couple of weeks away, there is much to be remembered and savored.
However, for all the good, there have been some moments where WWE have dropped the ball on occasions. They have managed to miss some golden opportunities to create even more history.
That could be dream matches that never occurred; it could be matches that quite simply had shocking endings. Or, it could be rivalries and moments that really did flatter to deceive.
With that said, let's look at some of the biggest missed opportunities in WrestleMania history.
Booker T Not Winning at WrestleMania 19
We start with a feud that goes a long way back—all the way back to WrestleMania 19, in fact.
It was a pretty big rivalry, in the way that Triple H and Booker T had never worked a program together before. This was going to be huge, and in many ways, it really was.
If anything else, it was certainly hugely controversial. There are moments where the theater of professional wrestling crosses boundaries with real-life scenarios, and Triple H's promo on Booker certainly was one of those moments.
The "people like you don't get to be world champion" could have been construed in many ways. To most though, it was deemed a racist comment—the kind Harley Race once threw at Ron Simmons.
But it got worse. Ric Flair started offering Booker T jobs like being he and Triple H's limo driver. It was all in bad taste, to be honest, but it would be OK, as long as Booker got the ultimate revenge.
Yet somehow, Triple H had to prevail once again. Instead of putting a fresh, new guy in WWE like Booker T over, he had to bury him. It was just a huge missed opportunity on so many levels. Even now, the culmination of that rivalry is just one we all want to forget.
Rey Mysterio vs. Kurt Angle vs. Randy Orton Was Wasted
Another rivalry with controversial moments attached to it, now.
Randy Orton is a pretty effective heel; we all know that. However, his rivalry with Rey Mysterio was certainly impressive, with Orton throwing some pretty tasteless comments about the late Eddie Guerrero into the mix.
The most notable of those would be Orton telling Rey Mysterio that Guerrero was "in hell." Whatever the opinion is about the comments, it certainly ramped up the interest in this hugely exciting match.
It wasn't just Mysterio vs. Orton, either. Throwing the immensely talented Kurt Angle into the match gives you a triple threat that has all the makings of a classic.
So why was it only nine minutes long? Three of the top guys in WWE at that time could only produce a nine-minute match on the biggest stage of them all?
There was scope for that match to go on and on and become one of the all-time classic WrestleMania matches. Somehow, WWE decided to drop the ball on this occasion which was a huge shame.
The Rock vs. Hogan Not Closing WrestleMania 18
Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant could arguably be described as the biggest match in WrestleMania history. In fact, it almost certainly is. There is nothing that tops it.
But The Rock vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan could have come desperately close at WrestleMania 18—had it been given the spotlight it deserved.
The Rock was a hugely influential figure in WWE at the time, and Hogan had just ended his exile from the company to return with the New World Order.
The two men colliding was a true fantasy match, something nobody could have ever imagined happening. However, it was lower on the card than the Women's Championship match between Trish Stratus, Lita and Jazz.
The actual main event, Triple H vs. Chris Jericho, was also higher up on the card. In retrospect, having The Rock and Hogan close this particular WrestleMania would have been the best thing all-around. Unfortunately, it didn't happen.
Sheamus' Momentum After Beating Daniel Bryan in 18 Seconds
This is a moment that will feature on every WrestleMania list in some shape or form.
The abomination that was Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus at WrestleMania 28 makes this particular list of missed opportunities on a couple of levels.
First of all, the actual spectacle that was the match. It could have been a great effort from both men, in truth. They were both just starting out, and we know now what they can produce in the ring. The 18-second jobbing of Bryan was ridiculous.
One thing that often gets overlooked though is what it did to Sheamus. Sure, he won the match, but his momentum was destroyed that night. Bryan was just starting to get over in the minds of WWE fans, and losing so quickly only endeared himself to the fans even more. They wanted justice for Bryan.
That meant Sheamus effectively became the fall guy for Bryan's loss. It was no fault of his own, but unfortunately, that night Sheamus had his momentum torn to pieces.
Culminating The Invasion at Mania
The Invasion was a remarkably fascinating storyline. It was hugely captivating and hugely innovative.
However, looking back, it was all a bit messy. The booking was off nearly all the way through, and it was nowhere near as good as it could have been.
One huge missed opportunity with The Invasion concerns WrestleMania. It all came to a head at Survivor Series, when WWE finally got the ultimate revenge over The Alliance.
Surely, this could have been done on the biggest stage of them all? It would have been a much better way to conclude what was a massive storyline.
WrestleMania is an event that demands the biggest matches and the biggest storylines. The Invasion was one such example that never got its true WrestleMania moment.
Edge vs. Christian Never Happening at WrestleMania 27
This one certainly is a missed opportunity, but it is no fault of WWE.
They don't have the wonderful gift of hindsight, but if they did, this match definitely would have happened.
The opening match of WrestleMania 27 saw Edge defeat Alberto Del Rio to retain his World Heavyweight Championship. The following night, Edge was forced to announce his retirement due to injury.
He would vacate the championship, and his great friend, Christian, would go on to lift the belt. Imagine if Edge and Christian—arguably the finest tag team in the Attitude Era—could have locked horns at WrestleMania 27?
Again, WWE were not to know that Edge's career would be cut so dramatically short. And if they did, this match would almost certainly have taken place.
Throw a ladder into the mix, and you have all the makings of a classic that never was.
Dolph Ziggler Not Cashing in at WrestleMania 29
The edition of Raw following on from WrestleMania is always a special one.
Last year, it didn't disappoint. The pivotal and defining moment of that show had to be when Dolph Ziggler finally cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase to beat Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship.
It was a great moment, and the crowd were absolutely engrossed by it. They went crazy when Ziggler got the pin. However, if they had done this moment 24 hours earlier, it would have been one of the best moments in WrestleMania history.
Ziggler was over big-time at that moment, and doing it at WrestleMania would have been a fitting spectacle for a great moment.
Austin vs. Hart Not Closing WrestleMania 13
It was the match that gave birth to the Attitude Era—or at least, Stone Cold Steve Austin's run to greatness.
Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin is the most important match in the history of WrestleMania. It started a chain of events that transformed WWE as we know it today.
The double turn that occurred in that match saw Hart transformed into almost a new man. We all know what happened to Austin when he turned babyface. His career rocketed.
Therefore, looking back, it would have been a remarkably impressive way to close WrestleMania 13. Sure, The Undertaker headlined the show, and he closed it with a win over Sycho Sid.
But in hindsight, having Hart walk out of the arena as a fully turned heel would have been some way to finish the show. It would have left everyone gasping for more, wanting to know what the next move would be from him.
As missed opportunities go, this ranks as one of the biggest.