WrestleMania isn’t the “Grandest Stage of Them All” because the matches are all competitive or because it’s the definitive end of rivalries. (I mean, what’s Backlash if not an acknowledgement that ’Mania doesn’t magically end beefs?) Instead, WrestleMania gets its name from the spectacle.
Licensed pop music, large football stadiums, gargantuan stage structures, fireworks in the night sky. WrestleMania is a show about flashiness, and nowhere is that more present than in modern WrestleMania entrances.
Imagine you spend all 21 hours of this year’s WrestleMania waiting for the main event, only to see Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley come to the ring with their regular entrance music, regular gear, regular motions. The match may as well take place on Monday Night Raw, then!
The WWE Superstars™ have a history of grand entrances to live up to at the “Showcase of the Immortals,” but as pro boxer Deontay Wilder brought up after his match with Tyson Fury in February 2020, there’s a price to pay for a fashionable entrance.
Wearing too much armor could make your arms heavy and your knees weak. Additional pyro could make your palms sweaty. Ziplining down from the rafters could make you vomit your mom’s spaghetti.
But, on the flip side, there have been so many wrestlers who’ve spent months proclaiming that the Undertaker doesn’t scare them, only to quake in their boots as the Deadman makes his entrance. It seems that, for all of the factors that could spell your doom with a special entrance, the tradeoff is a psychological game that could buff yourself or nerf your opponent.
So, I asked the question: historically speaking, do special WrestleMania entrances help you win?
I’ve done the research. I’ve done the math. Here’s how it all shakes out.
Before we go any deeper, I want to lay out the special rules for this article/research paper. To start, let’s go over what constitutes as “special” WrestleMania entrance. It isn’t just wearing new gear or sporting new pyro, for starters. Rey Mysterio coming out dressed as the Joker at The 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania is great, but unless he comes out and beats down “Jason” Todd Grisham with a crowbar, it doesn’t count.
So, without further ado, our special rules:
- The BoogeyTaker Rule: It can’t just be your already awesome entrance. This rule disqualifies the likes of Boogeyman at WrestleMania 23 and new-mohawk Undertaker at WrestleMania XXVIII.
- The Flair/Bryan Rule: I’m not counting sentimental entrances like retirements or returns unless they put real effort in.
- The Lauper/Cash Rule: A one-time entrance theme will get you through the door, a rule that does help Wendi Richter at ’Mania I but is really here for Undertaker at ’Mania XXVII.
- The Heenan/Trump Rule: You must be in a match. Sorry, Mike Tyson.
- The Mayweather/Akebono Rule: You must wrestle another match outside of WrestleMania to show your “normal” entrance. Who’s to say Floyd Mayweather doesn’t ALWAYS come out with a full entourage and with money raining from the ceiling?
- The Johnson/Maivia Memorial “I Love You Dad/Grandpa” Rule: The Rock vs. Erick Rowan at WrestleMania 32 is officially a match.
So, with all of our rules set in place, it’s time to see what makes the cut.
By my count, there have been exactly 71 special WrestleMania entrances between WrestleMania I and WrestleMania 35 (with none taking place at WrestleMania 36 since the Performance Center is the Performance Center — though with all due respect to Becky Lynch’s Man Truck). Just to make sure you know I’m not yanking your chain, I’ll show my work.
Now, if any of you disagree with these findings, you’re going to have to take it up with my math teacher. For legal reasons, he doesn’t want me to tell you his name — but he did teach me how to hit a Steiner Screwdriver, so watch yourself.
So, going in chronological order, pointing out the wins and losses as we go, AND combining any entries where the win and loss counter each other, here are the 71 entrances in question:
- Wendi Richter’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” entrance at WrestleMania 1: Win
- Roddy Piper’s bagpipe entrance at WrestleMania 2: Loss
- Jake Roberts with Alice Cooper and a mini-ring at WrestleMania III: Loss
- Andre the Giant in the mini-ring at WrestleMania III: Loss
- The Macho King on a palanquin at WrestleMania VII: Loss
- Undertaker with a vulture at WrestleMania IX: Win
- Shawn Michaels on a zipline at WrestleMania XII: Win
- Steve Austin’s glass shatter at WrestleMania 13: Loss
- HHH with the DX Band at WrestleMania XIV: Win
- Shawn Michaels with the DX Band at WrestleMania XIV: Loss
- Godfather and D’Lo with Ice-T at WrestleMania 2000: Loss
- X-Pac and Road Dogg enter to Run DMC at WrestleMania 2000: Loss
- Chyna with a pyro gun at WrestleMania X-Seven: Win
- HHH with Motorhead at WrestleMania X-Seven: Loss
- Steven Austin enters to Disturbed at WrestleMania X-Seven: Win
- Hollywood Hogan with special nWo music at WrestleMania X-8: Loss
- HHH enters to Drowning Pool at WrestleMania X-8: Win
- Undertaker enters with Limp Bizkit at WrestleMania XIX: Win
- Undertaker returns with Paul Bearer at WrestleMania XX: Win
- Kane sets ladders on fire at WrestleMania 21: Loss
- Undertaker FREAKING FLIES at WrestleMania 21: Win
- Big Show’s traditional sumo wrestler entrance at WrestleMania 21: Loss
- JBL’s police escort and money-rain at WrestleMania 21: Loss
- HHH with Motorhead (again) at WrestleMania 21: Loss
- Rey Mysterio’s live entrance with P.O.D. at WrestleMania 22: Win
- John Cena’s mobster entrance (ft. CM Punk), AND Triple H’s “King of Kings” entrance at WrestleMania 22: Wash
- MVP and his cheerleaders at WrestleMania 23: Loss
- ECW Originals all Enter as Sandman at WrestleMania 23: Win
- John Cena drives through glass at WrestleMania 23: Win
- John Cena with a marching band at WrestleMania 24: Loss (Personally pinned)
- Shawn Michaels falls from Heaven at The 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania: Loss
- John Cena enters with a billion John Cenas at The 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania: Loss
- John Cena is The Marine at WrestleMania XVI: Win
- HHH comes out to Metallica, AND Undertaker comes out to Johnny Cash at WrestleMania XXVII: Wash
- John Cena with a gospel choir, AND The Miz with a giant “AWESOME” balloon-thing at WrestleMania XXVII: Wash
- The Rock with Flo Rida AND John Cena with Machine Gun Kelly at WrestleMania XXVIII: Wash
- Fandango enters with like 1,000 dancers at WrestleMania 29: Win
- CM Punk with Living Colour AND The Undertaker’s lost souls at WrestleMania 29: Wash
- HHH’s kingly entrance (ft. Flair, Banks, and Bliss) at WrestleMania XXX: Loss
- Bray Wyatt’s voodoo-themed live entrance at WrestleMania XXX: Loss
- Undertaker’s victim’s caskets appearing at WrestleMania XXX: Loss
- Randy Orton’s with Rev Theory at WrestleMania XXX: Loss (Not personally submitted)
- Triple H as the Terminator AND Sting with the drums at WrestleMania 31: Wash
- Rusev on totally-a-tank-guys at WrestleMania 31: Loss
- Bray Wyatt’s scarecrows in daylight entrance at WrestleMania 31: Loss
- New Day enter from a box of Booty-O’s at WrestleMania 32: Loss
- Sasha Banks enters with Snoop Dogg at WrestleMania 32: Loss* (Not personally submitted)
- Shane McMahon enters with his sons at WrestleMania 32: Loss
- The Rock sets his name on fire with a flamethrower at WrestleMania 32: Win
- HHH’s weird, scary, kinky (?) Authority entrance with Steph at WrestleMania 32: Loss
- Bayley’s ringside Bayley Buddies AND Sasha’s Boss Car at WrestleMania 33: Wash
- Seth Rollins with a torch AND HHH with his big wheel at WrestleMania 33: Wash
- Charlotte’s Ric-inspired entrance at WrestleMania 34: Win
- New Day with pancake men at WrestleMania 34: Loss
- Alexa Bliss as a goddess at WrestleMania 34: Loss
- Shinsuke Nakamura with Nita Strauss at WrestleMania 34: Loss
- The Bar’s parade float at WrestleMania 34: Loss to a 10-year-old
- Drew McIntyre bagpipe entrance at WrestleMania 35: Loss
- Triple H’s Mad Max entrance AND Batista with his entourage at WrestleMania 35: Wash
- Finn Balor as the WrestleMania-specific Demon at WrestleMania 35: Win
- Charlotte enters via helicopter at WrestleMania 35: Loss* (Not personally pinned)
- Ronda Rousey with Joan Jett at WrestleMania 35: Loss* (Personally pinned)
Now, let’s reconvene.
Out of the 71 special entrances, 19 resulted in wins against wrestlers who entered normally (26.8%), 34 were losses against wrestlers who entered normally (47.9%), 16 wrestled an opponent who was also doing a special entrance (22.5%), and two final ones — who we’ll get to in a moment — were put into what I’ll call “The Tangle” (2.8%).
The two matches that threatened to throw off this whole research project were both multi-woman matches. The latest of the two — and the easiest to work around — was the main event of WrestleMania 35, in which Charlotte and Ronda Rousey both had special entrances but Becky Lynch did not. Fortunately, because Becky won the match, this could simply count as two losses against a wrestler who entered normally.
The WrestleMania 33 clash between Bayley, Sasha Banks, Nia Jax, and Charlotte, however, throws everything off. Two blatant facts are that Bayley won and that Sasha Banks lost, but not only were the other two opponents not special entrants, but the four of them also competed in an elimination match. In the end, choosing what to do with this one would be based on “feelings,” but I’m trying to do indisputable, scientific work here. This match must be separated from the rest, while still acknowledged.
Now, there are some other facts that, though irrelevant to the scientific question, are still worth noting. For example, WrestleMania XXX has the most clear-cut special-entrant losses without a single winner at four, and this includes the Undertaker’s streak ending.
Another note that’s far less surprising but still got my attention was that HHH has the most special entrances of them all, standing at a whopping 11. Of those 11 entrances, 18% were uncontested wins, 36.4% were uncontested losses, and the other 45.5% were wins or losses with inconclusive data. However, if you take just the first two categories, The Game has a clear 1:2 ratio of wins to losses when using special entrances.
And as rough as that looks on paper, it’s pretty close to the WWE average, which is something any WWE Superstar™ should probably be aware of leading next month’s WrestleMania.
Taking out the 16 inconclusive entries and the two entrances involved in “The Tangle,” the 53 special entrants we have left walk away with 35.8% wins and 64.2% losses, a few percentages away from the same 1:2 win/loss ratio that “Mr. Special Entrance” Triple H has.
Stephen A. Smith and multiple other sports commentators clowned Deontay Wilder last year when he used his entrance gear as an excuse for losing to Tyson Fury, and though Smith’s actual comments were more nuanced (specifically stating that, even if Wilder believed that to be 100% true, he shouldn’t have publicized it), his “excuse” was actually more of a “warning” to fighters in any sport. It doesn’t matter if you’re boxing in MSG, grappling on Fight Island, or wrestling in Raymond James Stadium: a special entrance just might do more harm than good.
Whether it’s live music (3 wins to 10 losses), a one-time song (3 wins to 2 losses), an abnormal vehicle (1 win to 2 losses), or just walking/ziplining to the ring with cool props (12 wins to 20 losses), it’s a risk that doesn’t really help out in the long run.
Though not actionable, the best advice I could give a wrestler is “be the Undertaker,” a man who had a 21-0 streak and only bothered with a special entrance six times before losing with special entrance #7.
So, Drew McIntyre, when you arrive in Raymond James Stadium on April 10th, the best thing you can do to secure that win over Bobby Lashley is be yourself. And hit a few Tombstone Piledrivers.
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