20. Roddy Piper vs. Goldust (WrestleMania XII, 1996)
Hardcore matches and falls-count-anywhere matches that go all over the arena and even outside the building have become passé, but that wasn’t the case when Piper and Goldust battled in a Hollywood Back-lot Brawl. In this instance, the match actually started outside – in a Hollywood back lot – and ended inside the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, Calif. The fight began with Piper brutalizing Goldust with a baseball bat, but Goldust eventually gained the upper hand, jumped into his gold Cadillac and struck Piper with his car. After Goldust sped away, Piper got into a white Ford Bronco and chased after him.
Later in the show, WWE showed stock footage of the infamous O.J. Simpson low-speed chase, as Vince McMahon did the voiceover and acted as if it was Piper chasing Goldust. Eventually, the match ended up in the ring, where Piper disrobed Goldust, who was wearing black lingerie. The humiliated Goldust ran back to the dressing room and Piper was declared the winner. It wasn’t exactly a wrestling match, but it was definitely unique and entertaining.
19. Edge vs. Mick Foley (WrestleMania 22, 2006)
In the buildup to this hardcore match, Foley talked about how he had accomplished a lot in his career, but he never had a “WrestleMania moment.” He got it during this match, when Edge speared him through a flaming table for the victory. In a brutal encounter that featured thumbtacks and barbed wire baseball bats, another memorable spot occurred when Foley applied the “Socko Claw” – with Mr. Socko wrapped in barbed wire – to Edge's girlfriend, Lita, who received a bloody lip. In the end, Foley did what he has done several times in his career: he helped make his opponent into a bigger star. He also added to his own reputation as a “Hardcore Legend.”
18. Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar (WrestleMania XX, 2004)
If this match had occurred a couple months earlier, it would have been a dream match, pitting two powerhouses who had similar meteoric rises to the top against one another. Instead, it was memorable for quite a different reason. The atmosphere during the Goldberg-Lesnar match was surreal. It was widely known for a while that this was going to be Goldberg’s last match in WWE, but then word leaked out just prior to the event that Lesnar also was leaving after the bout to pursue an NFL career.
The crowd never gave either man a chance, emphatically jeering both and chanting “you sold out,” “this match s****,” “boring” and “na, na, na, na, hey, hey, hey, goodbye.” Goldberg and Lesnar were both visibly frustrated by the crowd’s reaction. The only person in the match who was cheered was “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, the special guest referee. Goldberg ended up getting what amounted to a meaningless victory. After the match, Austin delivered stunners to both men, sending the crowd into a frenzy.
17. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho (WrestleMania XIX, 2003)
This was a dream match for me, as Michaels and Jericho are two of my favorite performers. They didn’t disappoint, putting on what was perhaps the best match of the show. Rarely have I ever wanted to see Michaels lose, but this was one of those occasions. I thought Jericho’s career really could have benefited from a win over Michaels on the big stage, but it didn’t happen. Jericho, who was a heel at the time, did get his heat back after the match, however. When Michaels extended his hand as a show of appreciation for the great match they had just had, Jericho responded with an embrace, followed by a low blow to Michaels, who did a tremendous job of selling it.