The 36th edition of The Show of Shows is set to emanate from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, on April 5, 2020. Presented on closed-circuit television in 1985, WrestleMania turned into the biggest wrestling festival of the year and has been going strong for the past 35 years.
The show is dubbed by many as the culmination of the biggest storylines of the year, and a place where legends are made and careers come to an end.
With WrestleMania being the biggest show of the year, it's only logical that WWE would want to send the fans home happy at the end of the show, and that has been the case for most of the WrestleMania events.
The first 15 consecutive WrestleManias ended with a babyface standing tall, but it all changed at WrestleMania 16. Ever since then, we've had several instances where a heel came out on top to close WrestleMania on a sour note. Let's take a look at five such instances.
Before moving on to the next part, gear up by listening to the latest edition of Dropkick DiSKussions featuring the veteran ring announcer Lilian Garcia!
#5 Triple H - WrestleMania 2000
For the first 15 years of its existence, WrestleMania closed on a high note with a babyface posing for the elated crowd. At WrestleMania 16, the main event saw Triple H, The Rock, Big Show, and Mick Foley compete in a Fatal-4-Way Elimination match for the WWE title.
The Rock and Triple H were the last two remaining competitors in the match, and it seemed like The Brahma Bull was going to pick up the win. Vince McMahon, who was on The Rock's corner, turned on The Great One and helped Triple H win the WWE title, leaving the fans in a state of shock at what they had just witnessed.
#4 The Miz - WrestleMania 27
The main event of WrestleMania 27 was a WWE title match between The Miz and John Cena. The road to WrestleMania had seen The Rock making his long-anticipated return to WWE, and he went on to host The Show of Shows.
The Rock had called out both Cena and The Miz before the event. When the match ended in a Double Countout, The Rock restarted it and hit a Rock Bottom on Cena. This was enough for The Miz to pick up a huge win over Cena, and retain the WWE title.
The celebrations didn't last long though, as The Rock attacked The Miz and hit a People's Elbow on him to end the show. This main event was simply a set-up for next year's WrestleMania headliner, featuring The Rock and John Cena. The duo shared the ring again on the RAW after WrestleMania and set up the dream match a year before the actual event.
#3 Stone Cold Steve Austin - WrestleMania 17
After what WWE pulled with Triple H at WrestleMania 17, fans didn't expect the same story to repeat at next year's event. Regarded by many as the greatest WrestleMania of all time, WrestleMania 17 saw Stone Cold Steve Austin turning heel in the closing moments of the main event, and siding with his longtime nemesis, Mr. McMahon.
The main event of the show featured a WrestleMania 15 rematch between The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin for the WWE Championship. Austin had won his third Royal Rumble match earlier in the year to bag an opportunity for the top prize.
Austin went on to hit The Rock 16 times with a chair, and then pinned him to become the new WWE Champion. The final image of the show was of a newly turned heel Austin celebrating with McMahon by sharing beers with him, which is considered as one of the most iconic images in WWE history.
#2 Brock Lesnar - WrestleMania 34
At WrestleMania 31, Roman Reigns failed to take down Brock Lesnar, courtesy Seth Rollins' shocking MITB cash-in. Three years later, Reigns got another opportunity to headline WrestleMania with Universal Champion Brock Lesnar.
This time, fans were expecting that Reigns would finally put Lesnar down for good and capture the Universal title. A year earlier, Reigns had closed WrestleMania with The Undertaker, and became the second wrestler to beat The Deadman in his own yard.
The match left Reigns in a bloody mess, and Lesnar didn't hold back one bit while mauling The Big Dog. Lesnar hit a series of F-5's on Reigns, and the sixth one finally did the job and The Beast managed to retain his title. Fans had grown tired of Lesnar's reign at that point and weren't exactly thrilled with him skipping multiple RAW shows in succession.
Lesnar's victory in the main event was met with a chorus of loud boos from the WWE Universe, and it would be a few more months before Reigns captured the title off of him.
#1 Seth Rollins - WrestleMania 31
At WrestleMania 30, Brock Lesnar ended The Undertaker's legendary streak. Months later, he squashed John Cena at SummerSlam 2014. The WWE Universe was clamoring for someone to step up to Lesnar and end his reign of terror.
WWE chose Reigns to be the one to put Lesnar down, but it led to fans turning on Reigns and his victory at the Royal Rumble 2015 PPV was met with loud boos from the fans, despite The Rock being by his side.
Nevertheless, WWE gave the fans Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 31. At one point during the match, it looked as if Reigns would succeed in dethroning The Beast, but things suddenly took a shocking turn. Seth Rollins came out to a thunderous pop, and cashed in his Money In The Bank contract to insert himself into the match.
In a matter of seconds, Rollins had pinned Reigns and fled the spot with the WWE World title. Despite being a heel at the time, Rollins' win was met with an incredibly positive reaction from the fans.