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OO ROAD TO WRESTLEMANIA
Road to WrestleMania X-8: A Compulsive 
Fan's Guide to the Granddaddy of 'Em All
Part Two of Four

by Rick Scaia
OnlineOnslaught.com

 

WM By the Numbers: Winners and Losers and More

Winners and Losers... 'Mania veterans and one-hit-wonders... main eventers and curtain jerkers....  title winners and consummate choke artists.....  taking an in-depth look inside the numbers is another fun way to consider the legacy of the "Granddaddy of 'em All."

  • Through the first 17 WrestleManias, 233 different competitors have wrestled at the fabled event.
    • Of these, 199 were male wrestlers; 14 were women; 5 were midgets; 7 were football players; 4 were managers/announcers; one was a boxer (Butterbean); one was an actor (Mr. T); and two are McMahons (Vince and Shane), who don't quite fit into any of the above categories.  

     

  • Last year's Class of WrestleMania X-7 added just 11 new additions to the Mania tradition.  In addition to being sparsely populated, the Class also seems to have limited potential for future greatness.  Five of the additions were past-prime participants in the "Gimmick Battle Royal," and two more were managers who participated in the Battle Royal.  William Regal and Raven were the sole potential future stars in the entire Class (which also featured eye candy in the form of Ivory and a part-time-at-best worker in the form of Vince McMahon).  This Class, however, just might hold the record for most non-wrestling appearances at WM before finally popping their in-ring cherries:  Vince, Brother Love, Ivory, Jim Cornette, and Michaels Hayes all have multiple past non-wrestling appearances on their records (and Raven also appeared as Johnny Polo at WM10).
    • The Class of WrestleMania 2000 added 22 men and women to that tally.  That's the third largest class ever (inflated by multi-way matches and a hardcore battle royal), though it may well also go down in history as being the greatest "Rookie Class" ever at WrestleMania.  Take a look at some of these names:  Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, the Hardys, the Dudleys, Edge, Christian, Tazz, Chyna, and Eddie Guerrero.  All have ALREADY worn WWF gold, and more is to follow.
    • The Class of WM15 added just six men, one woman, and Shane McMahon to our list (a total of eight)...  of them, only Big Show, Test, and Val Venis seem to have significant upside potential.  Also of note:  after years on the WWF roster and missing out on WrestleMania, X-Pac finally busted through at WM15.
    • The Class of WM14 featured 18 rookies, though that number was seriously jacked up by a tag team battle royal that featured a ton of one-time-charlies.  Kane stands tall as the valedictorian of the Class of WM14.
    • The Rock and Mick Foley co-headlined a strong Class of WM13 that featured a total of 10 new workers.  Ken Shamrock and Faarooq also enjoyed WWF success after making WM debuts that year.
    • The Class of WM12 was also a very important one:  it featured 11 first appearances, with Steve Austin and Triple H leading the pack.  Sable (as HHH's valet) and Goldust also debuted that year.
    • Only six men were part of the Class of WM11.  And of them, Jeff Jarrett was probably the most valuable; honorable mention to Billy Gunn, who remains with the WWF to this day.
    • WM10 is often thought of as a transition year for the WWF, but the rookie class from that event was still only 10 performers (including one woman and one midget). Of them, only Kevin "Diesel" Nash really amounted to much (he was at WM10 as Shawn Michaels' bodyguard).
    • Yokozuna topped a list of 10 performers (including one woman) who made their first WrestleMania appearances at WM9.  The Class of WM9 also featured Scott "Razor Ramon" Hall and the Steiner Brothers (who have all enjoyed even greater success in WCW since their WM debuts).
    • Though he only spent a little over a year in the WWF, Ric Flair is still the cream of the Class of WM8.  Comprised of just eight men, Flair overshadows even Sid Justice.
    • The Class of WM7 brought us 10 new additions to the WM tradition...  the Undertaker is the hands-down MVP of the batch.  Sgt. Slaughter and the Road Warriors also made WM debuts at this event, though both probably had their best days behind them at this point.
    • The six-member Class of WM6 may be the thinnest of all.  Of them, only Earthquake would remain in the WWF long enough to ever appear at another WrestleMania.  
    • On the other hand, the 14 men who comprise the Class of WM5 are an elite bunch.  Shawn Michaels probably stands atop the group, but it's worth noting that Owen Hart, the Big Bossman, and Curt Hennig all debuted at this 'Mania, and all went on to become WM Veterans (4 or more WM matches)!
    • The Class of WM4 numbered 17 (thanks in part to a Battle Royal that artificially inflated the tally with one-timers).  Ted DiBiase and the Ultimate Warrior share honors as the most important men to make their first WM appearance at #4.
    • There were no stand-outs in the Class of WM3... but among the 15 debuting stars, there were a number of men who'd go on to be valuable role players (and future champions) in the WWF for years to come, including the Honkytonk Man, Jacques "the Mountie" Rougeau, and Rick Martel. 
    • The 30-member Class of WM2 is another case of a battle royal inflating the total number of rookies with participants who never appeared at another WM.  But there is no denying the importance of this Class.  Both Bret Hart and Randy Savage debuted at WM2 and developed into multi-time main eventers in future years.  Jake Roberts and Davey Boy Smith never main evented at WM, but were great upper-mid-carders who also debuted here.
    • Obviously, each of the 27 performers who appeared at the original WM were rookies at that time.  This "class" included Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, and Andre the Giant, all of whom are undeniable icons in this business.
    • A final note:  if the Class of WMX-7 was a bit thin, then WMX-8's is shaping up to be downright anemic!  From the currently-expected 10 match card, only Rob Van Dam, Booker T, Dallas Page, and a trio of Divas (Lita, Trish, and Jazz) are WM Rookies.  The three men all have a ton of upside potential, though, so despite its small size, this could still wind up being a memorable Rookie Class.
  • Out of these 233 WM competitors, a full 36 are still actively wrestling for the WWF.  That means 15.5 percent of all WM-experienced workers are still with the company, down from 19.8 percent (40 of 222) last year.  Additionally, there are 25 more performers who are technically still associated with the WWF, but who are not on the active roster (this includes 14 former performers who are now on the WWF payroll in non-active capacities -- such as Ric Flair and Arn Anderson -- as well as an additional 11 Mania-experienced workers who are still active wrestlers, but who are currently injured or biding time in a WWF-sponsored developmental territory).
    • The largest group of former WM participants -- a total of 82 men and women -- exist in a giant "Miscellaneous" category, meaning they are still working in some capacity in the wrestling business, just not for the WWF.  This includes some wrestlers who are headliners for possible new national companies like the WWA and XWF, some workers who are spending time in Mexico or Japan, or others who are toiling on the indie scene in the waning days of their careers.
    • An additional 62 former Mania workers are thought to be officially retired and done with the business.  I've also got 16 guys who I'm not sure of (they might still be working indies, but they could also be completely inactive)...
    • Unfortunately, 12 former WM stars are deceased.  On the bright side, nobody new joined that list this past year.

  • Over the course of WrestleManias, 48 men have stood the test of time by wrestling in 4 or more WM matches, becoming "WM Veterans."  Last year at WMX-7, a full SEVEN men were added to this list:  Kane, Bradshaw, Faarooq, and the Godfather all joined the list legitimately, while the Iron Sheik and both Bushwhackers make it into this elite company courtesy of the Gimmick Battle Royal.
    • Of these 48 WM Veterans, no fewer than 13 remain on the ACTIVE WWF roster (Undertaker, Hulk Hogan, Triple H, Steve Austin, the Rock, Billy Gunn, Big Bossman, Kane, the Godfather, Curt Hennig, Goldust, Bradshaw, and Faarooq).  An additional three are under contract to the WWF but are not active (Michaels, Hillbilly Jim, and Haku). 

  • "WM Ironmen" -- long-term WWF "franchise players" who have wrestled in at least 8 'Mania Matches to date -- number just eight.  These 8 men have truly established themselves as some of the WWF's signature stars:
    • Bret Hart -- 13 WM Matches (12 different WM appearances)
    • Randy Savage -- 11 (9)
    • Hulk Hogan -- 10 (9)
    • Undertaker -- 9 (9)
    • Tito Santana -- 9 (9)
    • Shawn Michaels -- 9 (11)
    • Jake Roberts -- 8 (8)
    • Ted DiBiase -- 8 (8)
    • Owen Hart -- 8 (8)
    • Suprisingly, this list has been static since WM15, when both Owen and Taker joined...   and no one is in position to join this list at WMX-8.  Triple H COULD -- barring injury -- join the group at WM19, with the Rock and Steve Austin following one year later.  That's a testament to just how exclusive this club is.

  • At the other end of the spectrum, you've the got WrestleMania One-Timers, who worked one match and then disappeared forever...  dis counting William Regal, Raven, Ivory from the Class of WMX-7 (all of whom are still with the company and could easily improve their standing), there are a total of 92 WM One-Timers.  

  • The most consecutive WM appearances were by Bret Hart, who wrestled in 12 straight WMs (WM2 through WM13). Hulk Hogan and Tito Santana (both 9), Shawn Michaels (8), and Triple H, Owen Hart, Brutus Beefcake, Andre the Giant, Jim Neidhart, Hercules, and Rick Martel (all 6), also had streaks worthy of note.

  • Currently, nobody is even close to toppling Bret Hart from the "Most Consecutive" spot... leading the pack is Triple H's aforementioned ACTIVE streak of six straight Manias (which will become seven this year).  The Rock is right behind at five straight WMs, going on six.  Kane -- four, going on five -- is the only other active streak of any note. 

  • The Undertaker stands alone as the man with the most WrestleMania wins ever.  In nine WM matches, the 'Taker has got an unprecedented nine wins.  Three men are tied for the second most wins at WrestleMania: Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and Bret Hart tie with 7 wins each.  Savage and Hart are likely stalled out, while Hogan stands a chance of adding to his tally in the next two years.

  • In addition to having the most wins, the Undertaker also boasts the best overall winning percentage with his nine wins and zero losses. Other extraordinary winning percentages among "WrestleMania Veterans" (4 or more matches):
    • Steve Austin -- 4-1 (.800)
    • Ultimate Warrior -- 4-1 (.800)
    • Earthquake -- 4-1 (.800), Quake would still be undefeated if not for participating in WMX-7's Gimmick Battle Royal
    • Hulk Hogan -- 7-2-1 (.750)
    • Iron Sheik -- 3-1 (.750)
    • Ricky Steamboat -- 3-1 (.750)
    • Owen Hart -- 5-2-1 (.688), including one loss as "the Blue Blazer"
    • Triple H -- 4-2 (.667) 

  • The most losses ever at WM belong to Tito Santana, who recorded a total of 8 losses (including a loss that took place at WM9, but did not air on PPV) in his career. Other notable losers include:
    • Bret Hart -- 6 losses
    • Jacques Rougeau -- 6 losses
    • Shawn Michaels -- 6 losses
    • Greg Valentine -- 5 losses
    • The losingest superstar on the WWF's current roster is Goldust, who counts 4 losses (and no wins) to his (dis)credit.

  • The losingest record among WM vets (4 or more matches), however, belongs to two men who never scored WrestleMania wins in their careers: Both Goldust (now Dustin Rhodes) and Crush (now Bryan Adams) never scored a win, going 0-4 at WM. Other pathetic winning percentages among WrestleMania Veterans (4 or more matches):
    • Tito Santana -- 1-8 (.111)
    • Jacques Rougeau -- 1-6 (.143)
    • Haku -- 1-3 (.250)
    • Hercules -- 1-4-1 (.250)
    • Dino Bravo -- 1-3 (.250)
    • King Kong Bundy -- 1-3 (.250)
    • Ko Ko B. Ware -- 1-3 (.250)
    • Curt Hennig -- 1-3 (.250)
    • Hillbilly Jim -- 1-3 (.250)
    • Billy Gunn -- 1-3 (.250)
    • Faarooq -- 1-3 (.250)
    • Bradshaw -- 1-3 (.250)

  • By a wide margin, Hulk Hogan has participated in the most WM main event matches, wrestling in 9 of them (and going 7-2, winning 3 WWF Titles in the process). The only other multiple main eventers:
    • Steve Austin -- 3 main events (a perfect 3-0)
    • Randy Savage -- 3 main events (2-1)
    • Bret Hart -- 3 main events (1-2)
    • Shawn Michaels -- 3 main events (1-2)
    • Yokozuna -- 3 main events (1-2)
    • The Rock -- 3 main events (a perfectly awful 0-3)
    • Ted DiBiase -- 2 main events (1-1)
    • Sid -- 2 main events (0-2)
    • The one-time-only main eventers include:  Roddy Piper, Mr. T, Paul Orndorff, King Kong Bundy, Andre the Giant, the Ultimate Warrior, Sgt. Slaughter, Ric Flair, Irwin R. Shyster, Lawrence Taylor, Bam Bam Bigelow, Diesel, Undertaker, Triple H, Mick Foley, and the Big Show.
    • Note:  For these numbers to work out, you've gotta use the same assumptions I did.  First, the final match of the show is ALWAYS considered a main event.  At some WrestleManias, there were cards promoted that featured Double Main Events, in which case BOTH matches do count towards these numbers.  There were double main events at WM8, WM9, and WM11.  Additionally, WM9 wound up featuring a third match that must count as a Main Event; the unscheduled Yoko/Hogan match meant both men wrestled in two main event matches on the same show!
    • After WMX-8, Hogan's number will balloon to 10 main events, while the Rock will get #4, moving into sole possession of second place on this list.  That could be a huge selling point in this "Icon vs. Icon" match:  these are the two men who have headlined WM the most times!

     

  • Hogan didn't only dominate in terms of main event appearances, he also dominated when gold was on the line; he wrestled in a total of 7 title matches (5 WWF Title matches, 1 WWF Title vs. IC Title match, and 1 WWF Tag Title Match), winning 5, and losing 2. Other notable performers in title matches:
    • Ax and Smash of Demolition were a perfect 3-0 in WWF Tag Title matches, setting an amazing standard that has yet to be matched...  Razor Ramon was also a perfect 2-0 in IC Title defenses.
    • By virtue of the WrestleMania 6 Title vs. Title main event, Hogan contended for all three primary titles (WWF, IC, Tag) under the WM spotlight, though most folks don't remember that Hogan could have walked out of that show with the IC strap.
    • Greg Valentine also contended for all three titles, presuming you count his participation in the WM4 WWF Title Tourney as contending for the big gold.
    • Bret Hart is the last man of three men to wrestle for all three "primary" WWF titles, en route to a remarkable total of five title matches at WM.  Every time he wrestled in a title match at a WM, the title changed hands. Hart was 2-3 in title matches, winning the IC Title once, losing the Tag Titles once, and going 1-2 with the WWF Title on the line.
    • Randy Savage also wrestled five title matches over his WM career, going 3-2.  He was 1-1 for the IC Title, and 2-1 in matches where the WWF Title was on the line.
    • Yokozuna also went 3-2 in five title matches.  He split four WWF Title matches, and was victorious in his one Tag Title match.
    • The Rock has wrestled for a title in each of his first five WrestleManias; he started off hot, winning two straight IC Title matches, but has since lost in three consecutive WWF Title matches, for a 2-3 record with gold on the line.
    • Owen Hart was 2-1-1 in four title matches, going an undefeated 2-0-1 in three tag title matches, and losing his one shot at the Euro Title.
    • To date, no one else has participated in more than three title matches at WM.  But...  can you believe this?  Out of 233 total WM competitors, 110 of them have wrestled in a title match!  I guess you can blame things like recent trends towards things like Hardcore Battle Royals and multi-way title matches for the fact that 47.2 percent of all performers who've made it to WM have wrestled with gold on the line...

  • For your enjoyment and personal edification, I've put together a stripped down "Lite" version of my WM Records spreadsheet.  It's still over 200K, but it's at least manageable, now, and should still have most of the highlights that my expanded 600K version does.  If you've got MS Excel, and are interested in playing with and sorting the data in ways YOU'RE interested in, then just click here to download the file (doing a right click and a "Save As" may be best).  And hey, if you spot an inaccuracy, let me know...  I dig doing this stuff, but I'm not particularly well known for my attention to detail; data entry isn't the right job for me!

  • In calculating the above stats, I worked with the following assumptions:
    • In-arena dark matches and Free For All match which aired on a PPV channel prior to a WM telecast DO count towards these numbers...  they are technically "part of the show," in my opinion.  However, effective with WM15, Sunday Night Heat or matches which air on another channel besides the PPV channel DO NOT COUNT.
    • Matches under alternate identities all count towards ONE win/loss record
    • Participating in a Battle Royal and failing to win DOES count as a loss
    • Effective with this Fourth Edition, I'm no longer counting all matches in the WM4 WWF Title tourney as WWF Title matches...  that seemed to unfairly skewer some stats.  All stats/observations have been adjusted accordingly.
       

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